Category: News

The passing of a true genius and a gentleman

This morning I learnt the sad news that Len Sassaman sadly passed away having taken his own life in an apparent suicide at his home in Leuven, Belgium.

Len was a major advocate for privacy and a great influence on some of my earlier work.  He leaves a great legacy but an even greater void in so many lives.  My thoughts go out to his wife Meredith (L. Patterson), may she have strength and courage through these difficult times.

Depression is the silent killer.

I’m coming to understand that "battle with depression" is sometimes very close in meaning to "battle with cancer."

@maryadydd 04 July 2011

Len Sassaman (1980-2011)

Lancaster Bomber over Bramley

I forgot to post these a few weeks back, but despite the delay and the fact the event is no longer relevant, I think a few of the images are still worthy of a post all on their own.

Trust me, the hairs were standing up on the back of my neck as this marvel of British Engineering flew over the house, and I mean right over the house.  

I can’t even remember which of the two nearby air shows it was, but it must have done 3 laps of the air field during a display and each time it’s turning point on it’s approach back was directly over my back yard.  The first time it came over I watched and listened in awe to the unmistakable sound of those engines, and then ran indoors to grab the first camera I could find in case it came back (for which I was rewarded).

Lancaster Bomber Lancaster Bomber
Lancaster Bomber Lancaster Bomber
Lancaster Bomber Lancaster Bomber

The last image is a final shot of the plane as it headed away from the air show back North, North-West.

I know it’s taken at long range on maximum zoom (both mechanical and digital), but what struck me about this picture was the exact angle away from me that the plane flew.  It was almost perfectly in a line with me. Every propeller and all of the tail is perfectly aligned.  Boy did I wish I had a high definition camera with me that day.

Anyway, like a said, just a short post because it was worth it. It doesn’t need many words to support it, the pictures are the post.

Congratulations to China

Just a quick post because I’m away from home right now, but I couldn’t NOT say something about today’s opening ceremony for the Olympics. So while I’m laying here waiting for my meds to kick in so I can slip into my drug induced ‘haze’ which I call sleep, I decided to give my congratulations to China on an amazing opening 2008 Olympic Ceremony.

Just how the heck the UK is going to compete with something like that I don’t know. We’ll be “knackered” for starters if we try and base it on our ‘past’ history.  We’re probably responsible for 99.99% of all world cock-ups (colonisation, religious wars, slavery, corruption, etc etc)…  It should be fun seeing how we match up to what the Chinese did today.

It was fascinating to watch and even had all 3 of my kids glued to the TV for the whole even (which did surprise me).

Apparently China has “human rights” issues, and China has “a bucket load of other issues” according to a bunch of so called “perfect people” in some “perfect country”.  Well hello…  Who are we to preach to anyone with our track record? (And that stands for both the US and the UK).  Who are we to impose our beliefs, our social and moral judgements on a country that basically 99.99% of us know absolutely nothing about. We (both the US and the UK) are not perfect, we don’t live in a perfect world and hello, at least some people are at least open to change.

I hope that these games allow us to see China in a different light, a much better light than the media/governments would have us see.  The Chinese people are themselves are amazing and I wish them the best of luck with the Olympic games and hope it brings them the success that they deserve.  (To be honest, I have absolutely no knowledge what-so-ever of the Chinese Government on a personal level, only from some business dealings, so I base all my assumptions on the various Chinese people I have worked with or have come to know socially over the past few years).

$20 Billion is a lot of money I guess, and even I wonder if that money would have been better spent elsewhere, but then it is about more than just the money.  It’s about the hope and belief that it brings to a country (and to all those taking part). It’s about bringing the whole country together, which after the earthquake disaster has got to be a good thing. (Which won’t be of any comfort to the families of the 20,000 people still missing). But who knows, it might give them something to focus on, to help them move on.  It might also educate the ROTW that the Chinese are not so different to the rest of us and it might actually bring us all that little bit closer.

“One World, One Dream”

We can only hope so.

Happy St. Georges Day

The Flag of St GeorgeIt’s a sad fact that more people in England celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and even Bonfire Night than they do St Georges Day. 

I would also bet, most people don’t even know who St. George was and when speaking to someone the other day, they didn’t even know what a St. George Flag looked like.

So head on over to the St. Georges Day website and take part in their campaign!

So have a happy St. Georges Day…

God knows what we do to celebrate it though…
So I’m off for a cup of tea, some toasted crumpet and to watch a bit of Morris dancing.
Then I guess it’ll be Guinness and a curry tonight (or should it be a kebab).

Am I in Bramley or Texas? | Hail Storm

The sky darkened and suddenly I was reminded of our 3 years in Texas.  I looked at my wife and said, "I think there’s a storm a coming".  One of our friends was visiting and as we all looked out of the window, the first few hail stones began to drop.

Nothing ominous at first. In the last few weeks we’ve had a few hail/sleet showers, but looking at the sky you could tell this was going to be something a bit more substantial.

Hail Storm | Bramley | April 2008Sure enough, there was a crack of thunder immediately following by an increase in the size of the hail.  Now it was starting to remind us of Texas.  (Although I will add here, the hail today never approached the golf ball sized hail we once had in Fort Worth).

(Clicking on the images in this post opens up a larger version in the same window. Use your browser back button to return to the post)


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Harry to be withdrawn from Afghanistan

Prince Harry is to be pulled out of Afghanistan after news of his secret
deployment leaked out.

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What has made me laugh about the press coverage are those arguing that the
UK Media should never have kept it quiet because “the people” have a right
to know.

A right to know what? This is not just Harry’s life we are talking about here,
what about those around him who would be put in danger. And what possible reasons
could “the UK public” have for wanting to know where he is and what he is doing
24/7 365 days of the year.

Give me a break.  He’s human, just like the rest of us. He leads a different
life to pretty much everyone else, but why should he be denied his privacy.  (Obviously
because of who he is and what he does there will be some aspects of this life
that will always be public, but where do you draw the line ?)

Those same retards that are harking on about how it’s some sort of cover up
and a denial of freedom of information are probably the same bunch who would
object to a National UK DNA database on the grounds of it being too much like
a Police State activity.

There are some people that won’t be happy until they have hounded Harry into
doing something that will get him killed, not that it hasn’t happened before…
Let me see, who was his mother again?  Journalist scum who prey on peoples
public lives are the lowest forms of life IMHO.

We seem to have lost the distinction between public and private and the media
of this day and age seems to have no responsibility what so ever. Viewing figures
and sensationalism are all that matters.

Good on Harry for going over there in the first place and kudos to the brass
who had the balls to make the decision to send him.

Second Anniversary Of the London Bombings


The second anniversary of the attacks will be marked by a public act of remembrance and opportunities for private reflection.  Tessa Jowell, the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy will formally mark the second anniversary of the atrocity by laying flowers at Kings Cross station at the time of the bombings.

7th July Assistance Site

There will be no national 2 minutes silence this year, but that shouldn’t stop each one of us from reflecting on past events and ensuring that we do something to help prevent this from happening again.

Embassy No 1’s : Beat the Smoking Ban

A Southampton licensee is hoping to get round the smoking ban by declaring his pub is ‘foreign soil’.


This article made me laugh, quite a novel idea to try and get round the upcoming smoking ban.

By declaring his pub as an Embassy, it would be classed as foreign soil, and therefore not covered by UK law.  Does that mean that all his drinks would be tax free too?

 A later article does quote a British Foreign Office official as saying:

Redonda is a territory of Antigua and Barbuda, and so is not entitled to an embassy.

Shame… Apparently he does have some other tricks up his sleeve.


Antigua and Barbuda

 I just might and find some space on the beach in Antigua and smoke instead. Not sure if it would be legal though 😉  (And I’m not talking about a law forbidding smoking in public places either).

Did you hear the one about the German, but not the Gay one?

Jeremy ClarksonTV presenter Jeremy Clarkson has been criticized by the media watchdog Ofcom for using a term which was “capable of giving offence to homosexual people”.

Ofcom said there was “no justification for using the word in this way”.

Last year, he was cleared of making a racist slur about Germany because this was adjudged to be amusing rather than offensive.

From: Clarkson rapped over ‘gay’ jibe | BBC News

Now Ok, let me get this right…
You can’t make jokes about homosexual people, because that is offensive.
But you can make jokes about the Germans, because that is funny?

Now I know some homosexuals would have found his comment funny.
I also know some Germans who would have found his comments offensive.

So just how did Ofcom determine which was right and which was wrong…
Either you allow some people to be offended or none at all.
You can’t have one rule for one lot, and another rule for the others.

Do you think it has something to do with the fact that the head of OfCom is called “Manfred Von PenisTrappen” ?
Ok, maybe not… but please… let’s have it one way or the other..
Plus, it’s Jeremy Bloody Clarkson for godsake, you can’t take anything he says seriously unless it’s the technical specs of a car he’s describing…

There must be a lot of gay people in the Green party that objected just for the fact it was Mr. Clarkson, and I guess that also means there can’t be many Germans.

PC gone mad…

I don’t care either way.  Personally I don’t take offense at either remark (because funnily enough, I’m not gay and I’m not German).

Homophobia = bad.
Racism = good.

So I can’t say “that car handled a tadge limp-wristed”, but I can say “it had more holes in it that the German Army at Dunkirk and the 1966 German World Cup Squad defense”….

I should start a petition to get all Germans to contact Ofcom and complain.
Bloody ridiculous and a waste of bloody money.