#SoldOut Raising Funds and Awareness

I recall many years ago standing on the terraces at Hampden Park, Glasgow with 145,000 other rabid fans, waiting for the teams to come out of the tunnel to begin the annual Scotland v England ‘Home International’ football,(soccer), game. There would always be 140,000 Scots and about 5,000 English fans in attendance. As a Scot, born and bred, I was brought up, just like the majority of others who were standing around me, to ‘hate’ the English with a vengeance. It was just part of our parochial culture at that time, and probably still is today, although I have not lived in Scotland for 40 years and with the demise of Scottish football and an awareness that political correctness is now the order of the day, perhaps the ferocity of that hatred has mellowed. The two teams, now standing in the center of the field, would face the main stand, where all the dignitaries were seated, and the British national anthem would begin, God Save the Queen. This was before the Scots were allowed to sing their own anthem, a change in protocol that occurred some years later. The band, yes, a real brass or bagpipe band, would strike up the first chord and immediately there would be a wall of noise emanating from the Scottish support just booing as loud as possible at the UK anthem. It completely drowned out the band and any semblance they had in mind of being heard as a unit. We hated that anthem, supposedly, and we all gave it little or indeed no respect. Within seconds, our vocal distaste of everything that the British Monarchy stood for was demonstrated by this blasphemous howling and booing which seemed to last an eternity, but which in fact lasted only about 120 seconds, the length of the British national anthem being quite short. Once over, the game began and the fact that 140,000 Scottish football fanatics had remonstrated vocally against our forced inclusion under the monarchy we all loved, or at least some of us loved, was soon forgotten as the football took over and blood and guts was then spilled on the field of play rather than on the streets of Glasgow. It should also be noted that while the anthem was sung by the players on the field from the England team, all the Scottish team just stood in silence, some smiling, some not, but to a tee, not one of the Scottish team would sing along. It was an unwritten rule, followed religiously. Silent protests against supposed oppression, acceptable and respected throughout the world. No harm done, no one to cry foul. Until now!

When Colin Kaepernick knelt down for the Star Spangled Banner whilst playing for the San Francisco 49rs some two years ago, the whole world, at least the world that surrounded American Football and Donald Trump, went berserk, and for what reason? Well as far as I can tell, the National Anthem was never played at any sporting event before the end of the second world war. And even after that, there were sports events in the USA where the anthem remained just a figment of everyone’s imagination, laying silent as battle commenced on the field of play. So why, all of a sudden, after Kaepernick and some of his fellow Pro’s decided to protest, quite justifiably in silence to make what has turned out to be a very relevant point on an issue that has haunted this country for generations, has the President of the United States and the owners of some of the football teams where protests have been continual and well publicized, lost the plot by telling players they will be fired if they continue to ‘abuse their privilege’? There is not one reason on earth why anyone should be forced to alter their beliefs, especially those who feel threatened or abused and more especially inside a country that not only preaches pure democracy and a right to free speech to the whole planet, but a country that encourages its populous to be vocal in the form of protest when under threat of unjustifiable racism. Racism is rife in America. You can smell it in the streets, it’s a pollution that has become silent in its poisoning of its population. Racism cannot be tolerated, hatred of anyone, any race, any creed and any color has to be kicked out, but, unfortunately, and in the opinion of this author, it’s just being swept under an already filthy carpet, where, when the dust is uncovered, it becomes a mountain of trash that is becoming ever worse and unstoppable, fueled by a President and government that just turns a blind eye and looks the other way whilst telling us all, quite disingenuously that there is absolutely nothing wrong! Well, not much!

My guitar teacher Tony, remember him from the first article I wrote last week, inspired me to make the lapel pins you see in the image above. The players protesting and following in the footsteps of Kaepernick, have a right to do so. It’s not disrespectful, it’s poignant, it’s their human right, it’s peaceful and most importantly, it’s something they believe in. However, it seems if these protests carry on players will be fired or, and I say this with the utmost respect, the President will have to intervene personally, something not one of us would like to see happen.

With all of this in mind, I have this idea, not only to raise the awareness to a very great cause, but to raise money for charities associated with racism and the profound effect that racism still holds on our society. The #SOLDOUT will soon display the pins pictured above for sale, to make people aware that there is genuine suffering out there, whether it be in the murdering of Jews in Pittsburgh, or the simplicity of daily senseless traffic stops on innocent African Americans, it matters not. We have a right to protest, so by wearing this pin, our protests shall be seen, and by the money we raise, out protests shall be heard.

Keep reading this blog for more updates and check out our Instagram #soldout to get your pin.

If there are any athletes, well known or otherwise and or charities, who would like to be considered as spokes people for this idea, please get in touch. Colin Kaepernick, if you read this please know that I have tried in many different ways to contact you because I believe you should lead this movement, but to date, no response.

Thank you everyone.

Give Me My Money Back – Part 2

I was asked to attend a formal interview beginning at 8 am on the morning of May 14 1998 at the US Embassy in London. Errol had warned me that I needed to take pictures of myself and my wife, our home, our bank account details, our utility bills, and anything else that proved we were a family. I came armed to the hilt with a large brief case filled to the top with evidence. I was nervous. Well, perhaps I was excited. It’s hard to remember the feelings I had when I walked into the embassy knowing that today I would finally get the green card I craved and the right to enter the USA as a legal immigrant. For years I’d felt like a stowaway each time I entered US immigration at whatever airport I’d landed. Although the officers always made me feel welcome, the grief that they gave me each and every time was unwelcome. I travelled a lot, I still do, and when I’d eventually get to the front of the visitor’s line, the questions came fast and furious.

“Where have you been and why?”

“How long were you there?”

“What is it that brings you back?”

“Do you have a business card I can see?”

“Did you take a shit on the plane before you landed?” I’m joking of course, but that’s the kind of questioning that came spouting out from nowhere in particular as I stood, exhausted, at the counter willing them just to put the bloody stamp into my passport that would let me back in to the country and allow me to go home. The US by that time was becoming my home. It was mind numbing and often very degrading, but I knew I had to persevere and hopefully I would prevail.

Back at Gloucester Sq in London, I sat alone, pensive, sweating, just waiting to be called to the front of yet another line. It seemed that I wasn’t the only one who’d come to get that precious green card. I estimated at least 12 others, although at that point I wasn’t sure who was there for what?

Suddenly I heard want I wanted to hear. “Zoltie? Mr. Zoltie” I looked up, saw a man in uniform calling my name, picked up my fully laden briefcase and marched forwards towards freedom whilst humming “oh say can you see…” quietly under my warm and quite erratic breath. ‘America here I come!’

“Mr. Zoltie?” said the man in uniform.

“Yes”

“Mr. Zoltie, please put your right hand in the air like so…” he demonstrated. I followed. “Do you swear by almighty God that the information in the forms you sent to us applying for a Green Card, these forms…” he offered up the paperwork Errol had submitted some 6 months prior to this day, ” … are correct and true and that all the statements made are statements of fact?”

“I do” I was shaking.

“Very well Mr. Zoltie. Please take this form, read it, and remember that until the day is over you are not guaranteed your green card until you have fulfilled the obligations set forth in this form”

I looked at the form, looked at the officer, looked at the form one more time and that’s when it happened. The word AIDS came flying off the paper and into my face like that miss-hit golf ball from the first tee on a golf course in Troon did some 20 years prior, clattering into my head at the speed of light and without so much as a Foooooorrrrrre!  AIDS TEST! There it was, in BOLD, right in front of my eyes. The officer was still talking. I wasn’t listening. This was the height of the Aids pandemic. My mind went into overdrive. I’d never had protected sex, ever, and now, when millions were dropping from this horrible disease, here I was, faced with a test to confirm if I was going to be AIDS free. “Fuck” was all I could say to myself as that same officer handed over the paperwork and asked me to take my seat next to all the other hopefuls who’s comprehension of the same up and coming task seemed to be weighing heavily on every one of their stressed out faces. Once I’d sat down in my chair I began to read the rest of the requirements for that day. Blood test apart, I was to have a chest X-ray, a lecture on the USA and my legal obligations as a green card holder and a picture session where they’d take several images and fingerprints for all the documentation they were about to prepare. I was in despair. What if I was HIV positive? What if I wasn’t? How could they do that test in an hour anyway? I’d read it took two weeks to do an HIV test and get the results. “God” I thought, “please make me negative, please!!”

Suddenly this man came out of nowhere and was standing right in front of me. “You Scottish?” he inquired?

Mob Rules

IMG_0205As you step out of the taxi onto East Stewart Ave situated in the older part of Las Vegas, the one thing that hits you straight in the face is an incredible silence. Having just driven up from ‘the strip’ where continual noise bombardment sometimes becomes intolerable, this is paradise. Surrounded by older buildings, some in desperate need of renovation, some already renovated, it was abundantly clear to me that this part of Vegas was where the ‘poorer’ people came to gamble, and also to stay. With hotels dating back 50 years or more and streets that felt like they belonged in the wild west, not modern-day Vegas, I was amazed to see a line, longer than that at any casino buffet I’d visited, spread some 200 meters down a sidewalk that was littered with the smell of gangsters, both past and present. Yes, here I was, outside the famous, or should I say infamous, Mob Museum of Las Vegas.

Lansky, Siegel, et al, captured within these very walls, walls I was about to explore and to enjoy, but first I had to navigate this inconceivable line that I hadn’t planned for nor expected. I was grateful to have purchased tickets in advance and with one foul swoop, I exposed my Press pass to the lady at the end of the line and was immediately ushered inside the front door and ahead of all who were left gazing at me from street level. It’s amazing what an accent and a Press pass can actually achieve.

I had been told by a friend that her father spent hours meandering through this museum, and although at first glance the building itself didn’t look that large, my excitement had my mind raring to go and as soon as my wrist band was attached, I was off! I had been informed that the line outside was because it was Valentines Day and that massacre we all know about, depicted in movies and documentaries, was being celebrated this very morning, along with demonstrations by an FBI weapons expert on how a Tommy Gun used in that very same massacre was preserved and then restored into full working order. How exciting, especially if you are a would be criminal! I just couldn’t wait. After all, what man in his right mind wouldn’t want to fire a used Tommy gun? Ah, the second amendment! Pure heaven!!

And so off I went, inside an elevator taking me to straight the top floor, which was number three to be exact, where the exhibition began and then meandered downwards towards the lobby and that inevitable gift shop we always have to endure as we exit any theme park or museum on the planet.

With so many others joining in on this Valentines day, it was a priority for me to get in front of the mob, ( get it??), and into pole position inside the exhibit hall. I didn’t want to be stuck behind some know-all who read every word on every board. You know that type? Lip reading until they need Blistex! To do this required serious stealth and navigation skills along with a desire to win a race that no one else wanted to lose. I was out, free, and ready to barge into anyone I didn’t care for or who just got in my way! The first corner came easily, passing at least 20 of my new-found foe. I was on a roll. And then, just around that next bend, where a picture of Sinatra, Moretti and Tarantino came ever so close to being toppled by my unsociable vortex, there it was! Right in front of me. THE electric chair, or at least a version of it. In the flesh, close up and ready for use. So, why not give it a spin? And I did, quickly, but with just enough hesitation to not only take the picture above, but to also feel panic in my wee breastie, that this antique had actually fried more than one despicable criminal. Imagining what it might be like to be sitting there watched by 20 or so friends, family and haters, brought chills to my whole body. But, in the flash of another camera’s lens and the desire to be out of here before the first Tommy gun bullet could be fired, I was up and running once again, heading right towards the stairwell that would take me down one level and without a doubt, a massive stones throw away from anyone who might have the same inclination as I, to finish first!

The second floor was all about the FBI and with the crowd still upstairs, the coast was clear for me to zoom round without hesitation and fear of being trapped. Within 10 minutes I was on the ground floor and headed straight for that dreaded gift shop. I purchased a great book filed with Mob humor, signed by the author and after entering the building at 10 15 am, finally made my way outside, fully satisfied that my mission had been accomplished, at 11 am. 45 minutes to go from top to bottom. 45 minutes that could have probably been 30 if the crowds had been thinner on that top floor and I hadn’t stopped to buy the book. Once you’ve seen Al Capone lying dead in one picture, you’ve seen them all. No need to wander or indeed dawdle, just get in and get out and get back to reality.

Reality came in the form of Chris and Jane. See picture below. They were doing their best to celebrate Valentines day in as flamboyant a way as their fruit and veg stall at the Farmers market would allow. Not married, not divorced and not even dating, their purpose? Well they had decided that if they couldn’t get to the Mob museum for the free champagne and Tommy gun demo, then they would portray their own version of Bonnie and Clyde live and in person and for the whole world to laugh at. After all, this was Vegas and Elvis, along with about a thousand other dead Mafioso, had definitely left the building! If you do end up visiting Vegas and have any incline to go see that the Mob used to rule, be prepared for a short trip and certainly not a full day out. Perhaps you too can go dressed like Chris and Jane and perhaps you too will end up on that wall of infamy!

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Club Med For Jews- A Short Story. Part 1

The summer of 1975 in Glasgow, Scotland, was only consistent in its inconsistency. One day the sun was there, the next, gone. There seemed to be no end in sight to my work or the rain. My feet ached from pounding the pavement—marching from one town to another, trying to sell anything I could, and running three to six miles every night to keep fit. I was sixteen years old, ambitious and bored.

However, things were looking up. Earlier in the year my parents had contacted a London organization called Kibbutz Representatives, and after the completion of much paperwork and the exchange of substantial funds, my sister, Ruth, and I were about to be packed off for an eight-week stay on a kibbutz in the Holy Land. From the day they told us they’d arranged this trip I was unsure what to expect, but as the time to pack my bags grew closer, I was really quite excited. I was certain it was going to be a fun, eventful trip, and I thought the experience would shape how I would live the rest of my life. I was right on both counts.

In 1975 Glasgow Airport was small compared to other airports around Britain. You could arrive 30 minutes before your flight and still be early. We would fly to London, where we would meet the rest of the group from the UK and Ireland, and then on to Tel Aviv. We spent a bumpy hour on a British Airways Trident aircraft—it was only the third or fourth time I had flown and I disliked the experience intensely—and before long were on the ground at Heathrow, where we would transfer to El Al for the five-hour flight to Tel Aviv.

I stood at the El Al counter with my platform shoes tied round my neck for safety. There was no way I was losing them; it was the 1970s and I was sure that every Israeli would want to see my impersonation of Gary Glitter. After Ruth and I checked in, we met some of the people who would join us on the way to Israel. Ruth was going to stay with one of my uncles who had lived on a kibbutz for many years, so she wasn’t on the same program as I was. My program dictated that I spend six weeks on a kibbutz and then two weeks touring with the group. According to the tour leader from Kibbutz Representatives, the group would split into ten groups of three to four once we landed; each of these smaller groups would then go to its own kibbutz. After six weeks on the farm (which is basically what a kibbutz is), we would be reunited for the tour.

I looked around and saw a young guy wandering back and forth between the check-in counter and the tour leader. He looked as lost as Ruth and I felt. Not being the shy sort (sales cures you of that rather quickly) I took my boarding card, walked up and introduced myself.

“Alan Zoltie,” I said, offering my hand.

“Andrew Henry,” he said, taking it.

“You excited?” I asked.

“Maybe,” he replied, taking a drag from a freshly lit cigarette.

“What Kibbutz are you on?”

“Hazorea. You?”

“Dunno, I need to find out.” I went off, with Ruth in tow, to find our leader. Then I noticed the looks on everyone’s face. I had become—or rather, my feet had become—the center of unwanted attention. My platform shoes were making quite a splash, and not for the right reasons. This was obviously going to be a shorts, T-shirt and sandals situation, and it was clear that my shoes were turning into this expedition’s first running joke. But I couldn’t dump them or give them to someone to take home, so I was stuck with them.

I saw our fearless tour leader heading for the exit. “Yo! Jimmy!”

He turned.

“Alan Zoltie. What Kibbutz am I on?”

He looked down a long list. “Hazorea.”

So Andrew, my first contact, and his tobacco habit, would be my best mate. Suddenly, Jimmy informed us that boarding and security checks would take an hour, and we departed for passport control, then security, then security again, and then, at last, the plane. It was a huge 747. I’d read about them and seen them on TV, but this was my first time on board such a monster aircraft. It looked big enough to house a disco and a bowling alley.

Ruth and I ended up in the very last row on the right side of the plane. I had a pamphlet explaining all the details of this marvelous aircraft in my hand—and was right in the middle of reading that a jumbo jet could fly above all known weather patterns, which was a comfort—when without warning we were hurtling down the runway at 250 kilometers per hour on our way to Israel. On our way to a new and different life, if only for eight weeks. This was the trip that would turn the boy I still was into a man. It was the beginning of my beginning. I was certain that it would be an emotional roller coaster, but while taking off from Heathrow I had no idea how fast that roller coaster was or how high (and low) it would go. When I returned, I would be fully aware how hard this planet was to live on, and how different the rest of the world was from Glasgow.

Is Hawaii Being Targeted?

IMG_5561I arrived here, all excited, ready to relax, hoping for three or four days of pure bliss. Maui, ready and waiting, though very cloudy. ‘No worries’, I was reassured time and time again, ‘it will soon clear out and sunshine will once again be the order of the day.’ But first things first, a massive line for the rental car avoided by some true Scottish guile and some amazing chutzpah, a two-hour saving at least, and parked safely inside my 8 passenger mini van, it was onwards to Wal-Mart, and places beyond, ready, so ready for a nice wee break by the ocean.

Wal-Mart on a Sunday in Kahului around noon time. Picture this. A line to get a parking spot, a line for the bank situated inside the main entrance, a line for the McDonald’s, situated right next to the line for the bank and an even larger line to check out, situated right next to…… Well you get the idea, right? Up and down the aisles, hundreds of locals were clearing out shelves of anything they could get their hands on, faster than those same shelves could be restocked! It was incredible. “This is obviously the place to shop” I thought to myself, as I placed a 6 pack of water into my cart, turned a corner and bumped straight into 4 very large Hawaiian ladies coming in the opposite direction. Their conversation was riveting, well, not really, but it seemed that way as I slid one way then the other in order to avoid a full on collision. Me against them? No contest. I would have been flattened. Eventually, cart complete and ready to go, I slipped gingerly into a shortish line, only to have my line Karma fulfilled once again. First it was Hertz, now Wal-Mart, as that lovely lady appeared out of nowhere, ushering me into her brand new empty line where she was about to begin her 6 hour shift. I didn’t have the heart to ask her if she was part of the employee law suit against her bosses, her fake smile was the only indication I required to show she was ready and willing to go home before her day had even commenced.

Back in my mini van and pedal to the metal, an enthralling 40 MPH was achieved as I hurtled relentlessly towards the Marriott Maui Beach Club in Lahaina, fully stocked, fully stoked and about to be made fully aware of just how Hawaii is being secretly targeted by our government and by all our national TV stations.

Hawaii, often referred to as “Paradise” by those who live there and most who visit, is anything but. The population is growing, and not just in numbers, it seems that every time I come here I see human being larger than life and much larger that their height/weigh ratio suggests. This, along with the overweight and definitely aging visitors who flock from all around the globe, meets for an interesting people watching experience and now, with the advent of our ‘tattoo nation’, there are even more reasons just to sit and ogle the freak show that has become ‘Paradise Lost” That being said, the sunsets are still magnificent, the views incredible and the topography and geology, just out of the world, literally.

Having settled in to my hotel room after a two-hour wait for the room to be become ready, (my line Karma deserting me in favor of yet another Marriott hotel screw up), the three-hour time difference, the heat and the fact that San Fran were playing live in the Sunday night football game, made for a great excuse to shower, chill out and watch a few minutes of sport before retiring to bed for the night. San Francisco were way ahead in the game, in fact it seemed to be a completely one-sided match, so I switched the channel from NBC to ABC, to see if there was anything better to watch. What hit me first, and not as suddenly as it should have, was that every single commercial at every break in the show that was playing was advertising some kind of drug. It really didn’t hit home until I began to count the Ad’s and make notes of what was being sold to me on this small screen. It went something like this.

Zantac for ant acid or acid reflux

Androgel for low testosterone

Lyrica for diabetic nerve pain

Abilify for adult depression

Cymbalta, again for depression.

And this was only the first commercial break. The second followed a similar pattern, and every break thereafter. It seemed there was nothing else being advertised on ABC, other than the occasional diaper or local surf and dive shop. I changed the channel and went back to the ‘blow out’ football game on NBC. Waiting patiently for the next commercial break, which if you watch all these shitty American sports, you’ll know they happen at least twice in every 90 seconds of every game, if not more. That’s the issue with American sports. They are built around advertising and not the other way round. Let’s make a play and have a TV break! I took out my pen and paper and began to make notes as the commercials ran their course. Yet again,

Chantix to help quit smoking

Requip to treat muscle spasms related to Parkinson’s

Cialis for ED

All the above were followed by the usual disclaimers. “Don’t take these meds if you get a sore throat, itchy balls, runny eyes, have a heart attack, smell funny, can’t sleep, get an overly large erection, etc etc. You know the one’s I’m talking about. All rattled off in the time it takes to swallow one of their incredibly ‘bad for you’ pills.

And they kept on rolling. It was amazing, I couldn’t believe that this was actually happening. What on earth was going on here? Hawaii was being targeted by every major drug company in the USA. Not just targeted, but brain washed. Any Hawaiian watching these commercials, and believe me, most people do watch intently, would have to think that they were in need of a complete drug makeover and that a visit to their GP would be the order of the day come Monday morning. There was a pill and a cream for everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, other than how to get rid of the crappy adverts for the pills they were insisting you take. It was sad in a way that everyone tuning into these TV stations was being bombarded with nothing but drug related product, all advertised under the guise of ‘scientific life improvement’, only in San Fran, where I live, the variation of products advertised is completely different and even though drug related Ad’s are prevalent, they are in no way as common as they were on this particular night in Hawaii.

Do the Hawaiian’s need more drugs than any other state? Well I think that was a question that needed to be asked. Hawaii is often referred to as an ideal spot to live life in peace and in happiness. It didn’t come across that way to me as each Ad rolled off the screen screaming, ‘take me’ and pleading for participants in a new game called ‘let’s all be druggies’. Baffling, truly baffling. And when it was all over and the 49’rs had won the football game, my mind flipped back to that Wal-Mart and the rush to ‘clear’ the shelves of everything that seemed edible. Perhaps the locals had a ploy to eat, drink and then be drugged or perhaps it was just a silent reminder that although pretty, relaxing and certainly a joy to visit for a short period of time, Hawaii is just like any other state in the union, filled with gullible fat people whose health is dependent on drugs that do more harm than good and a diet in overdrive which has created a TV/video game laziness and an ignorance for the good old-fashioned idea of getting outside and enjoying the islands for what they give out naturally, fresh air and a desire to live life!

Recycling Madness

IMG_0145I look forward each Wednesday to placing the trash bins in front of my driveway knowing that at 6 Am the very next morning they will be lifted, cleared and then re-situated back in front of my garage for another week of garbage collection. It’s a cycle. I fill them up, they empty, then I fill them up again. Never ending! I have three bins total. One brown, one green and one black. Here in CA, the brown is for solid waste, the black for garden waste and the green for recycle. Funnily enough, I have watched the garbage truck arrive on many occasions and I am always intrigued by the way collections take place. In CA, the yard waste (black bin) is all separated and taken to a special plant that converts dead branches, flowers and grass into wood chips and compost, or so I’m led to believe. This truck is a truck that has only one task, that task being the removal of yard waste alone. The second truck that arrives about twenty minutes later has a different task. It’s purpose is to empty the green and brown bins simultaneously and drop their contents into two separate sides of said truck, one presumes? Presumption doesn’t always lead to curiosity, however in my case, I am curious as ever what exactly happens to each side and interested not only in finding out where they take all the crap I waste, but also what exactly happens to the rubbish I put in my recycle bin.

Recycle is such a strange concept to me. What do you place in your recycle bins? Has anyone ever told you what is allowed to be recycled and what isn’t? Are the items you recycle then recycled into some other form? Do you really care?  All reasonable questions, don’t you think? I know for a fact that a plastic bottle isn’t supposed to be placed in a recycle bin unless it has its top removed. Can you see it now? All these bottles showing up at some recycle plant and 4000 workers standing there unscrewing tops! Well I never take the top off the bottle before I throw it, do you? I don’t know anyone who does. And what about the items that your know should be out in the recycle bins but you decide at that particular moment in time that you can’t be bothered so you chuck them in the regular bins? What happens to them? They sit and rot on the dump site with everything else, but do you ever feel guilty? I don’t, but maybe I should. My points are all relevant and lead me to an experience that I had this past weekend inside Terminal C at Newark International Airport in New York.

One would presume that a garbage bin that has two different slots on its top, one for bottles and cans and one for paper, both clearly marked, would also have two separate bags inside, one reclaiming said bottles and cans and the other for the waste paper. Wrong! Take a look at the pictures I took on Saturday. Two slots, one bag. Obviously no one gives a damn! If our government-run organizations don’t care, as seen in these pictures, then why should we? Are we all being conned? Are we paying more money for garbage collection to our local authorities just to see it squandered on something quite unrelated to our garbage collection? Does recycling actually take place? If so where does it happen and who can confirm what happens in those plants? What do they do with the crap that’s put into these recycle bins that doesn’t belong there and who has the responsibility of deciding? If we all just stopped recycling, would it make any difference whatsoever to our planet, a planet that seems to be in steep and immediate decline? I was always led to believe that recycling was the best way and possibly the only way forward to avert the inevitable global catastrophe that is looming. Climate change, enhanced by excess CO2 gasses and Methane, all set free in massive tonnage from the garbage dumps we have created around the planet. Although not solely responsible for our issues of course, they are contributory in the damage the planet is receiving each day. Now, with the advent of recycling, weren’t we all supposed to partake and assist in aiding to the recovery of our planet? Hasn’t that been the ‘buzz’ word for the last two decades? Recycle and help mother earth get better?

It would appear from my discovery, your participation, or lack of, and the indeterminable fact of whether the earth will be able to survive with or without a recycle program, that our government, our leaders, the people who themselves are supposed to lead by example, just don’t give a flying fuck about anything other than throwing out the garbage the way it has always been thrown. Everything in one bag and off to the dump! When we run out of room, when the landfill is completely full, when space is at more of a premium that it is today, are we all going to look back at the bins inside Newark airport and say, ‘lazy bastards, you should have had two bags in that bin and you have enhanced global warming because of your stupidity?’ NO, we won’t. Why? Because we to, 99% of us, also don’t give a flying fuck what happens after we deposit our shit inside a garbage can, as long as the guy shows up next Thursday morning to remove it to someplace we will never care to see or never care to visit.

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Yummy Yummy!

IMG_0029When I was a kid we used to look forward to the fair at Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall. It arrived in December and played all through the Christmas and New Year period. It was an indoor fair but it still contained all of the attractions found in the more common outdoor versions that play regularly all summer long. There was a ferris wheel, dodgems, or bumper cars as most people refer to them, shooting the duck games, haunted tunnel, etc, etc. I also remember that we were often given a treat, just before we left to go home,  sharing a candy floss, (cotton candy), devoured in minutes by my two sisters and me.  Other treats you would find, (although we were never allowed to samples them) were hot dogs, (still in their infancy in Scotland at that time), Scottish pies, fish n’chips, and shortbread, (the real stuff), mixed with a plethora of sweeties and of course Scottish tablet or fudge. It was a huge night out for us kids and although at the time this event seemed as if it was held in a massive hall, once I grew up and traveled a little, I began to realize that the Kelvin Hall was really small in comparison to other venues I eventually discovered. Over the years, I have had the pleasure, although I sometimes wouldn’t be so bold to refer to it as pleasure, of experiencing fairs in many parts of America, all interesting, all filled with delights that would be better served on another planet and all frequented by people of differing sizes and ethnic backgrounds. But two weeks ago my son Paul asked me to go with him to the California State Fair, an opportunity I was unable to make, which, as it turned out, was a huge mistake from my standpoint. Read on.

The CA state fair is held in Sacramento. It only happens once a year, but that may be a blessing for those of us who are adventurous enough to try to ride the fastest rides, the tallest and most terrifying drops and sample extraordinarily strange and often delicious foods. My brief guide to the delicacies offered at this year’s state fair is brought to you courtesy of my son. I am going to list then one by one, along with his assessments.

IMG_00351 Krispy Kreme donut bacon cheeseburger!  An iced donut, split in two, encapsulated with a half pound Angus burger, melted cheese, lettuce, pickles, tomato and onions and two rashers of thick salted applewood smoked bacon!! Calorific content, off the charts. Eating one of these would require defibrillation after consumption.  Red Cross volunteers provided by the fair, free of charge and lined up in waiting as each hungry fair-goer leans gently towards death by desire and stupidity with every delicious mouthful. Paul’s rating, a whopping 20 out of 10!

2 Deep fried turkey leg covered in smoked bacon. This 3lb delight is the largest turkey leg I have ever seen. It must have come off a prehistoric bird, or if was genetically modified just for this show. This monstrosity is filled with protein, fat and all the other good things that are bad for you. With two hands required to hold it and a mouth the size of the QE2 tunnel in London just to bite it, it probably feeds at least 4 but is sold as an appetizer for 1. Paul’s verdict. Go to the gym at least a month before attempting to ear this, not to lose weight, but to strengthen your biceps in order to be able to lift the damn thing off the counter when they serve it up.

3 Deep fried NY cheesecake. This whopping 1/2lb gooey ball, served on a stick, contains more cheese than is served daily at any Safeway, more batter than any baseball team has and the longest lollypop stick I have ever seen. It’s like looking at a Dunkin’ donut on steroids. A Rod is just a mere pretender in comparison to this beauty. Quite how they have managed to keep the cheesecake solid, I will never know. It’s deep-fried to perfection and boasted the largest line for people wanting to purchase any of these foods, with an incredible 45 minute wait just to be served. Paul’s verdict, and I quote, “One bite and I wanted to puke and then bite again!” In other words, it was incredible, but my stomach could only handle it one bite at a time and required emptying before the next bite.

4 I have left the best for last. Deep fried bacon covered chocolate. One large thick cut rasher of bacon, covered in dark chocolate,  fried once again and then served as a chaser to the cheesecake. Makes me want to throw up just thinking about it, but that would be after I have had time to take a wee nibble. Paul’s verdict. Keep clear of this one. Not only will it kill you instantly, it will embalm your body and corrupt your soul, simultaneously! Send LIPITOR!

And so, I have decided that the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow, was just a pre cursor for me to go to the CA state fair next summer and spend all evening trying these abominably good delicious treats. I am salivating at the thought of ending my life prematurely in honor of my desire to to be the first person ever to consume all four of the above without any assistance, medical or otherwise. No wonder this country is obese. No wonder it craves more and more of the extraordinarily bad and no wonder everything that is good for you tastes like shit!  Kashi might be on a mission to make 7 grains delicious and popular, but with treats like this available and ready to go, who gives a shit about adding 10 years onto your life when your 80. I want it now, all the enjoyment, all the sugar, all the calories and all the satisfaction from eating what is simply, cruel and decidedly sinful!!

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