Snow Scene

The area where The Englishman lives (the Vale of Pewsey) is indescribably gorgeous:  green fields, woodlands, endless rolling hills, and through the middle runs the Kennet & Avon Canal.

Now I often poke fun at Teh Brits for going into a DefCon1 Panic Attack when a few flakes of snow float down and render their roads “impassable” (in Wisconsin, these conditions would be known as “late September”).

But when snow falls on the Vale of Pewsey’s Kennet & Avon Canal, you get views like this:

Compare and contrast the same canal in summer (this pic taken near Devizes, not Pewsey itself):

No trip to Britishland should be considered complete without a drive through Wiltshire.

5 Reasons Not To Go To Australia

So it looks like our April trip to Oz has had to be called off, or at best postponed for a long time.  Here are the five reasons why:

1) They won’t let me take any of my guns into the country

2) Crocodiles in the streets

3) No cricket (the season has ended)

4) I hate snakes

…and the actual reason:

5) Angie can’t leave the country until her permanent residence visa gets approved, minimum six months’ time.

Now ask me whether we got a refund for our canceled air tickets from Qantas Fucking Airlines…

Beyond Redemption

When we moved from Chicago to north Texas back in 2002, I have to admit to some mixed feelings.  On the one hand, there was conservatism, no gun-prohibition laws, non-intrusive state government, no union bullshit, no Communist representation in the U.S. House;  and on the other hand: all the above.

But there was this, the dawn view from our apartment in Lakeview:

…and the view to the south (it was a 10th floor corner apartment):

…and let’s not forget the Chicago River (view of my office window, back when I worked downtown):


But time has passed, and now we have shit like this:

Deerfield Sen. Julie Morrison introduced Senate Bill 107 on Wednesday. It would prohibit a range of rifles, pistols and shotguns and require every such weapon in the state to be registered with the Illinois State Police. Owners would pay a $25 fee for that registration. A person found in possession of one of the prohibited weapons without registration could face a Class 3 felony, which carries a prison sentence of up to five years and a $25,000 fine.

In other words, you have to register your “illegal” rifle in order to be grandfathered into “forgiveness” of your “crime” — and in return the state of Illinois would promise, cross its heart, never to come and confiscate said rifle in the future.

Uhhhh, sure.

Now I am glad I left (and tossed my Illinois Firearm Owner ID — the hated FOID card — into the Mississippi River on my way down to Texas) — and not for the first time, either.

I could live with the freezing winters, I could even live with the Commie Bitch In The House (Jan Schakowsky).  But as for the rest?  Fuck that.

Don’t Do That

This article got me thinking:

Locals reveal the ‘common forms of torture’ tourists subject themselves to when visiting their countries

Here’s the one that caught my eye:

For American Roger Cole, it’s ‘the Cross Country USA Road Trip’.
He wrote: ‘Let’s take one state, Florida. Rent that car in Miami after hitting the beaches and drive north. Guess what… in eight hours YOU’RE STILL IN FLORIDA.
‘You’ve seen 47 exit ramps and some ads for Ron Jon’s Surf Shop, golfing retirement communities, and road signs telling you Jesus Saves and don’t abort your babies.
‘You ate at McDonald’s or maybe tried some alligator meat at a weird little place off a highway exit that smelled like bug spray.’

So, O My Readers:  if someone asked you what not to do when you visit the U.S. of A. (or your home country, if yer a Furrin Reader), what are the top three (3) things you’d tell them not to do, or places not to visit?

Mine are, in no specific order:

  • Avoid New York City.  It smells terrible, the people are rude, and everything costs at least three times more than it should, for no discernible increase in quality.  Most activities are crowded and overrated (e.g. Broadway plays such as Les Miz), food in the “best” restaurants is no better than you’ll get in any good restaurant in your home town, and walking in the streets of Manhattan is as close to a contact sport as you’ll get off a rugby field.  Don’t buy into the hype;  New York sucks.  If you can make it there, you probably have organized crime ties (just like Sinatra did).
  • Don’t drive on the interstate highways.  Almost without exception, the scenery is terrible (writer Bill Bryson suggests that beautiful scenery along the interstate highway system is in fact banned by federal law), the distances are astonishing (except in New England), the highways around major cities (e.g. Washington D.C., Seattle, Los Angeles and even Dallas are more like (slow-) moving parking lots than highways, and the plethora of 18-wheeler trucks make driving a white-knuckle exercise.  You will never find any decent food just off the interstates unless your idea of “interesting” is McDonalds or Waffle House, and in a word, interstate highway travel is BORING.
  • Don’t visit a theme park, any theme park.  Disneyworld/-land/-whatever is horrendously expensive and at least half of the “rides” will always be closed for maintenance, regardless of season.  Sea World is crap except for the killer whales.  Six Flags and Wet ‘n Wild “amusement” parks are an anthropological exercise in trailer-park entertainment, and the non-franchise local amusement parks are even worse.  Avoid too the goober theme parks known as “state fairs”.  They are designed for and run by farmers, and unless you’re a farmer or country hick who enjoys looking at livestock, the day will be a complete waste of time.

Your suggestions in Comments, and feel free to disagree with my selections, as always.

Travel Plans

As my own offspring have proved to be utterly shit in the Grandchild Production Process, I have had to resort to marrying someone whose kids (or one of them, anyway), has a clue.

Yes, Angie’s Elder Son has just given us a grandchild.

Sadly, however, he is not local to these climes;  in fact, he married an Oz-chick* a while ago, and… moved to Oz!

[pause to let gasps of horror die away]

You know what this means, right?  Yes… I have to go to Australia in April to wet the baby’s head.  And as any fule kno, this means being exposed to the various (and toxic) forms of Oz wildlife, such as the Brown Snake (and its buddies):

…the Funnel-Web Spider (and its buddies):

We all know about the Sand Tiger Sharks (and their buddies):

…and let’s not even talk about the other species of dangerous Australian fauna:

Thankfully, the last two species (sharks ‘n sluts) pose little danger to me as a.) I never swim in the sea, and b.) I’m taking my own woman with me.

So off I go, to wander ‘midst furriners again… [sigh]


*Some people may wonder why I got involved with a family which is happy to consort with Australians, but hey:  my own Son&Heir has a Canucki-Girlfriend, so we try to be inclusive.  It’s all about Diversity!, isn’t it?