Saturday, 21 April 2018

My videos from two years ago

Just came across two videos which I had forgotten, showing my beloved Penne from two years ago.

I often called her Sweet Pea.  

I've been doing the same with Zion, but perhaps  (using American pronunciation) I should call him Sweet Zee.

Oh dear.  I cannot figure out how to post the videos here, so I've shared them directly to Face Book.

I faked it and barely made it

On Thursday 19th Zion and I met my neighbours John and Janice for a glass of wine and some good conversation at the nearby Meadows Pub and Grill.  

It was a pleasant occasion (I had one glass of Merlot @ $4 and made it last for ninety minutes!)

A gentleman came up to our outdoor table and said "Hallo Michael, it's Tim".   Tim and I exchanged greetings and small talk. 

He moved away and I said to J and J "I haven't the slightest idea who that was".

As John, Janice and I left we encountered Tim and his wife. The wife said "so here's the therapy dog".

A light went on in  my dim brain.   I had shared a table with them two days before at a Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon given by Anchin Pavilion.  There I had enjoyed their table fellowship.

I covered my traces by remembering that they were to drive north to Ohio on Friday 20th, and by wishing them bon voyage.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

What Race?

I was at my Vascular Doctor's office today.

When I got home I checked the printed "Summary of Today's Visit"

Here is what I saw



Ethnicity: Not Hispanic or Latino

Preferred Language: English

I found the description of my ethnicity to be  mildly amusing, (defined by what I am not!),  and very sad. 

If I am "not Hispanic or Latino" what am I? Native American?  Pacific American? .  

Why must my supposed ethnicity be a matter of concern for any doctor, or butcher, or baker, or candlestick maker?!

Would a Hispanic patient be identified as "not Anglo"?

The identification of my race as "White" made me hopping made.

There is no such thing as the White Race.  It is a construct created by European Colonialists/Slave Traders/Slave Owners to justify their supposed superiority.

It is a White Supremacist notion enshrined in the American Constitution; in the defence of Slavery; and in the Jim Crow laws; and blessed by many Churches, (even to this day).

I am not a member of the White Race.  I am a light skinned member of the Human Race.

If my Doctor will not change this I will find another one.


Wednesday, 18 April 2018


I/we go through life speaking, hearing or reading words without a thought as to their origin.

One such word in the English language is "Disaster".  It developed in the days when disastrous events were thought by some to be caused by an ill alignment of the Stars. 

Disaster =  negative or ill stars.

(See below for the origins of dis and aster).

(I learned this from a Public Radio programme about disasters. The person being interviewed pointed out that William Shakespeare challenged this notion).

Men at some time are masters of their fates.
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

(Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 6)

Please reply on the blog, or on Face Book with some other dis words which reverse, modify, or cast a negative light on the original word.

Here are a few starters:

grace     appoint   inter


a Latin prefix meaning “apart,” “asunder,” “away,” “utterly,” or having a privative, negative, or reversing force 



From Latin aster, from Ancient Greek ἀστήρ (astḗr).


aster (plural asters

 Meaning: a Star.

Derived terms "Asteroid"

Related terms astro

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Family Favourites

I have ten nephews.

I have nine nieces

I have eighteen great-nieces

I have seven great-nephews 

I know all their names but I do not know all their birthdays.

I have a great-niece and a great-nephew whom I have never met  (nor am I likely to do so).😞

Eighteen favourite great nieces!

One of the favourites is Bree.  She is ten years old today. We had a nice Skype (with camera) chat.

Bree is smart, intelligent, funny, empathic and all round cool.

She loves her Uncle and I love her.

P.S.  Bree and her Mum, Aunt,  and Grandparents are coming from the U.K. to stay with me in October.

Betcha wanna meet her! 

Monday, 16 April 2018

Down Memory Lane again - this time in the U.K. (and probably the Republic of Ireland)

One of the central figures in "The House of the Spirits" is Clara. She is the daughter of Severo and Nivea.  In an early chapter Sevoro (a prosperous man)  is the first in his town (in Chile?) to acquire a car, (probably in the  1920's or 30's.)

His car is a British made "Sunbeam".  Oh boy!  That name brought back memories of those British Car manufacturers which are no more.

In this blog I will concentrate on the companies which became part of the Rootes Group (more about that later).  Here are some photo's.


Sunbeam Volante 1934

Sunbeam Rapier (really a Hillman with a different badge).


Humber Hawk 1963 (Blah)

Humber Hawk 1953  YEAH!

Humber Super Snipe 1953  YEAH

Humber Super Snipe 1961  Blah


No connection with the Singer Sewing Machine Company

Once the #3 in British Car manufacturers (after Austin and Morris).

An innovative Company

Singer Airstream.  An  experiment with aerodynamic design

Singer Hunter 1956

Singer Gazelle (in fact a Hillman Car with a Singer badge)


A Talbot car with a Hillman design
Talbot Lago (could be a French not a  British Talbot)


Hillman Minx  A  car for respectable working people in the U.K., Ireland. India and Australia

Hilman Imp, and the end of a company.

The Hillman Company was persuaded (strong armed?) by the U.K. Govt. to open a factory in Linwood, Scotland.

This was to be the place where Hillman would manufacture their rival to the Morris Mini Minor, and the Austin 7. (known mostly as the original Minies).

The Imp with its aluminium rear engine was mostly a flop. 


What Sunbeam, Humber, Singer, Hillman and Talbot have in common is that they were all part of the Rootes Group.

William and Reginald Rootes were at first car dealers,  They decided to enter the car manufacturing business and bit by bit they acquired Hillman, Humber, Singer, Talbot and Sunbeam alongside the truck manufactuers Commer and Karrier.

The Rootes group became #3 in the U.K. car and truck hierarchy.

But due to poor design and labour strikes the Hillman Imp did them in.

Chrysler of America, anxious to have a U.K. presence (as did Ford and General Motors) bought the Rootes Group.  

Lee Iacocca thought that this was a dreadful and non profitable business decision. 

He was right.  In the end whatever was left of the Rootes Group was sold by Chrysler to Peugot and Renault.

Notwithstanding this: Brits, Irish, Indians and Australians of my generation have a soft spot for the Rootes Group and its many auto and lorry marques. 

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Much rain in Sarasota today.

We had a good, long and healthy rainstorm in SRQ today.

We needed the rain.  

Nevertheless it was all my fault.  

I washed my car this morning.  That almost never fails to summon forth a rainstorm.

Luckily Mr. Z and I had three good walks before the deluge.

But just as we thought that the storm had passed we took a few short pee walks, only to be soaked as the rain came back to tease us.

Ne'er mind.  Zion loves to be toweled down.  I bet that's true for your dog too!

For his urinary comfort I took Z for one last walk under cover at our local plaza.  He did his thing.

Then we encountered a young woman who works at the local man/ped studio.   She fell in love with Zion and decided that he should be a film star.

Her brother (waiting to drive her home?) took this photo'.