September 30, 2002

900,000 Brits Missing!
The Independent says “Blame it on Ibiza

Well I am one of the missing, and I have not been within 500 miles of that hole.

The initial results of the 2001 census are out and it seems that the bean counters who add up the census returns have lost more than a few of us. 600,000 of us male Brits who were not in the UK at the time of the census and yes, I can admit to being one of them.

Only 599,999 to reconcile chaps.

Reportedly the 600,000 young men (it is rather nice to be referred to as a young man, with 40 hitting me next year, at least I hope I am in the 600,000).

Perhaps not!

So where is everyone? The blame is put on warmer climes, wider horizons and good parties. Well Alex I’ll take warmer climes for $1000. (Can’t you tell I am watching Jeopardy while I type this).

Worse still, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) yesterday confessed that the UK had 900,000 fewer souls than it thought it would have. I would like to think that 300,000 are female or there is a real problem with the statistics.

On 29 April 2001 the UK population stood at 58,789,194 precisely – a 4 per cent increase over the past 20 years.
So returning to the pointed question of the British Airways adverts “Where is everybody?” (Perhaps they are responsible for flying many of the 900,000 from the UK to warmer climes, wider horizons and great parties). It would seem to be a simple question of maths and records. While the UK is very good at recording births and deaths, they are less than efficient when keeping tabs on emigrations.

Britain's incomplete emigration records, which do not record accurately the ultimate destination or duration of stay of those leaving the country, make it difficult to say where all the men have gone, the ONS said. Statisticians said the figures did not mean young women were staying at home while thrusting British males headed abroad with their pith helmets, but said men were noticeably leading the trend.

To help the math these facts are known over the last 10 years.
200,000 students account for an including the growth in university gap years, many taking extend stays.
50,000 Brits headed further afield to Australia
With a similar 50,000 being welcomed into Canada.

Trivia answers for the next Pub Quiz. CENSUS FACTS 2001.
* The UK population of 58.8m consisted of 49.1m in England, 2.9m in Wales, 5m in Scotland and 1.7m in Northern Ireland.
* The number in England rose by 2,318,000 (5 per cent) in 20 years.
* The population of Wales grew by 89,600 (3 per cent). The national average was 4 per cent.
* Northern Ireland had the greatest increase, with 9 per cent. Scotland had a 2 per cent decline.
* Fastest-growing was the South-west at 12.5 per cent up (547,100), then the eastern counties (11 per cent, or 534,100) and the South-east (10.4 per cent, or 755,100).
* The North-east had the highest loss, down 5 per cent to 2,515,479. The North-west lost 3 per cent to 6,729,800.
* London's population was 7,172,000, up 366,500, or 5.4 per cent, since 1981.
* Christchurch, Dorset. has the most of retirement age (33.1 per cent).
* Eastbourne had the fewest men (87 per 100 women), and Richmondshire, North Yorkshire, has the most (107 per 100 women).

So there you have it, and one of the missing is in Pennsylvania, nothing like I-BEEF-A!

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Chances are you are reading this with a cup of tea (or coffee) at less than arms length

If you are you MUST link to Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down. This site concentrates on the serious matters like will my biscuit crumble if it has been chilled in the fridge, and other totally inane tea related subjects. ENJOY!

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Possibly the funniest film I have ever seen.

I am ignoring the usual horrors that are bannered as news today as I want to give a two thumbs up to a film I saw over the weekend that is 22 years old and riotously funny.

Compared to my local Blockbusters in Potters Bar, I am most fortunate to have one of the best video rental stores within a short drive in Southampton PA. They stock not just the current and recent videos and DVD’s but have a great selection of “oldies” of which four can be rented for four nights for four dollars.

It can be something of a potluck as to if the golden oldies are golden or so tarnished they are mistaken for gold and stink! This weekend we picked up 4 nuggets that I wish to share with you.

Top billing has to go to The Gods must be crazy. Released in 1980 and filmed in South Africa. It is a subtle combination of National Geographic or David Attenborough, meets National Lampoons. The story is threaded together by a bushman whose tribe is untainted by everything 20th century who find a Coke bottle thrown at them from the sky. Believing this to be a gift from the gods, they set about using the bottle for all manner of uses. The bottle causes trouble between the Bushmen and one of the Bushmen agrees to take the bottle to the edge of the world to throw it back to the gods. Along the way he meets a scientist, a schoolteacher and a group of mumbling terrorists on the run. Although the film has a slow kind of geography class documentary style to it, hold on for the belly laughs from the slapstick and the satire.

Amazon.com don’t even have this, used copies instead of the vast majority of videos of this age being sold for a handful of small dollar bills, actually pass hands for crazy sums for film of this age. Today I discovered there is even a sequel. (Added to the must see list). In this film there are no special effects, the rough editing is part of the charm, if you can put your hands on a copy of this tape, I urge you to watch it.

Other films viewed over the weekend.
Mission to Mars, a recent sci-fi offering that steps back from the warp factors of Star Trek and the like. This is true blue first man on Mars stuff, a huge leap into the unknown and takes months to get there. It had a good plot, good acting, and a little suspense. The only downside was I had somehow seen the last 10 minutes on TV, but did not realize this as the viewer boldly went along with the ride up to that point.

Abbot and Costello, a comical whodunit from the duo that I have always admired since watching them morning-after-morning on TV during school breaks.

Finally the last of the four films this weekend was The Phantom Toll Booth, a childhood choice of my wife with live action and the bulk of the film, animation. Life getting you in the doldrums? Then watch this film. A real must see for every child aged 7-80.

Add to this I sat and watched the United States F1 Grand Prix resulting in the closest EVER finish, albeit orchestrated by the Ferrari drivers, anyone would have thought I sat in front of the screen all weekend. Wrong. My Mum always told me that if I sat in front of the TV too long I would end up with square eyes. (I now spend far too many hours in front of a VDU and after all these years I still don't event need glasses).

Feedback always invited, please email me.

September 27, 2002

A question of LAW! On the subject of Nuclear explosions

Just so you know... Causing a nuclear explosion. 1. - (1) Any person who knowingly causes a nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for life.

Link here for the full white paper.

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A question of Permission.

Thanks to IMakeContent.com for this little history lesson reported though the full story on The Independent.

There is no requirement in our constitution for Parliament to give its formal approval or permission for the use of military force, at home or abroad. The President of the United States is required by the constitution and by the War Powers Act of 1973 to gain the permission of Congress. The German constitution won't allow the Chancellor to send German forces on peace- keeping missions without a prior vote in the Bundestag. But in Britain there are no such niceties, and never have been. The greatest myth in the Iraq debate is that Mr Blair is in some sense more dismissive of Parliament than any of his predecessors when it comes to committing British forces.

Feedback always invited, please email me.
The Winner of the Guardian Unlimited Best British blog competition (is not London Chimes).

A sad truth but it does not help being outside the UK which disqualified London Chimes from entering. Nevertheless, I wish to add my congratulations to the winner Alistair Coleman and his “Scary Duck”. Quoted as being a witty, irreverent blog beat only 300 rivals to take the title of Best British Blog 2002 and claim the prize of £1,000.

The two highly commended runners up were
IMakeContent.com, and GreenFairy, completing the top 5 we have Blogjam and LinkMachineGo. (See links below).

Scary Duck, incidentally, had the highest vote for writing, Blogjam had the highest marks for design and LinkMachine Got the highest marks for its links. The Guardian is giving thought to running a similar competition next year and may introduce categories, in particular, a youth category: there were some great entries from under 18s, such as www.amateurish.org, but they weren't quite right for this award.

The best of the bunch with their links...
Scary Duck

Highly commended
I MakeContent

Runners up
Plenty of taste

The 24 shortlisted blogs (copy and paste these links).

A donkey on the edge www.donkeyontheedge.com
anglepoised.com http://anglepoised.com
bagpusscoffeeshop www.bagpusscoffeeshop.co.uk
Bar Room Philosophy www.barsophy.co.uk
Bloggerheads www.bloggerheads.com
Dayorama www.gprem.com/dayorama
Exploding Fist www.explodingfist.com
Gina Snowdoll's Eeks! It's a Blog http://gina-snowdoll.blogspot.com
I Love Everything www.iloveeverything.co.uk
if you lived here, you would be home by now www.quinparker.com
imperial doughnut http://imperialdoughnut.blogspot.com
Interconnected http://interconnected.org/home
malevole www.malevole.com
Massive www.mssv.net
minor 9th www.minor9th.com
Naked Blog www.nakedblog.com
Not You, The Other One http://interconnected.org/home
Peter D Cox Personal web log http://pws.prserv.net/pdcox
Probably Pleonastic www-users.york.ac.uk/~mjb135
Tagline http://ijusttype.com/tagline
The Breast Chronicles - Reshaping Breasts on the web www.breastchronicles.net
The World of Badger www.outofthetrees.co.uk/badger
UK Environment www.ukenvironment.org
Voxpolitics www.voxpolitics.com

Congratulations to them all.(I kind of wished it might be me!).

Feedback always invited, please email me.
Angola, Chile, Germany, Pakistan and Spain elected to serve on Security Council
New non-permanent member receives congratulations

These countries were elected today to two-year terms as non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. They replace five non-permanent members leaving at the end of the year: Colombia, Ireland, Mauritius, Norway and Singapore.

Bulgaria, which currently holds the rotating Presidency of the Council, Cameroon, Guinea, Mexico and Syria will continue to serve as non-permanent members through 2003.

China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States are the permanent members of the Council, which is responsible under the UN Charter for maintaining international peace and security.

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September 26, 2002

Tropical Storm (near) Hurricane Isidore
Today has recorded 65mile an hour winds, in excess of 10 inches of rain along the gulf coast. Closer to home we have had but a little drizzle and increasing cloud. The promise of pockets of well-needed rain over the next 36 hours is most welcome but unlikely to be the amounts in the Southern states, with most of the soggy conditions passing Philadelphia to the west. Our thoughts are with those who have been affected with the heavy rainfall and winds.

Prince Charles says row will not stop letters to ministers
In a twist of fact becoming stranger than fiction, the Prince of Wales finds himself at the center of a political storm for daring to put his opinion to paper and sending them the government officals. Much in the same manner as any individual has a right to. The only difference is that the Prince of Wales word carries weight.
As to the fiction I invite you to watch the House of Cards trilogy dramatized by the BBC and the cunning skill of Ian Richardson. The three-part-works includes the intervention of the new King, (a character much like Prince Charles), who threatens the power wielded by a major British political leader. The programs occasionally broadcast on BBC America and available on video through www.BBCAmericaShop.com
As to the current facts, Downing Street is furious over claims that the Government is behind leaking of attacks on 'compensation culture' by among other David Dimbleby the noted broadcaster and friend of the Prince.

The Prince of Wales was at the centre of a political and constitutional row yesterday over the revelation that he had been sending ministers with letters questioning government policy. Reports indicate that letters had been sent on a weekly basis, bringing into question the Prince of Wales political motives.
Chief among the Prince's concerns is the growth of the "compensation culture" and some of Labour's high-profile legislation, including the Human Rights Act. In a series of letters to the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine of Lairg, Prince Charles also takes issue with the "degree to which our lives are becoming ruled by a truly absurd degree of politically correct interference".
It is also claimed that the Prince, a friend of the exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, wrote to the Foreign Office complaining about China's occupation of Tibet.
The Prince has already come under fire over claims he had written to Tony Blair to relay countryside campaigners' views that they were being treated worse than ethnic minorities or gays. MPs lined up to criticise him for overstepping his constitutional role by attempting to influence the policies of the elected government.
The former sports minister Tony Banks said: "He's getting into very, very dangerous waters now because he seems to be getting himself embroiled in what are party political issues."
A serving minister added: "This was a dam waiting to burst. Very few people realised the extent of Charles' role in affairs of state. He writes about one letter a week to the Government. I have a trunkload of letters from him. Many of them are about small local cases."
It appears the letters were leaked to the media by Whitehall officials (allegedly 10 Downing Street) on ministerial orders in an effort to stem the torrent of correspondence from St James's Palace.
But Downing Street distanced itself from this theory. Mr Blair's spokesman said: "The Prime Minister has an excellent relationship with the Prince of Wales and welcomes the fact he keeps in touch with him and other ministers." He is understood to be furious that the Government is being blamed for leaking the letters.
Yesterday, a St James's Palace spokeswoman said: "The Prince takes an active interest in British life and is highlighting problems and representing views which are in danger of not being heard."
Prince Charles has made no secret of his many strong views on such rarefied topics as organic farming and ugly architecture. But he has also been privately writing to ministers to change government policy on mainstream political issues including the "compensation culture", red tape and health and safety legislation.
In a letter to the Lord Chancellor, one of the more popular recipients, the Prince says: "I and countless others dread the very real and growing prospect of an American-style personal injury 'culture' becoming ever more prevalent in this country. Such a culture can only lead ultimately, to ... an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion, let alone the real fear of taking decisions that might lead to legal action."
To illustrate how lives are being changed by this growth in compensation culture he draws Lord Irvine's attention to the case of horse chestnut trees being felled in Norwich last year because of fears that falling conkers could injure passers-by.
But the Prince reserves some of his most vehement criticism for the Human Rights Act 1998, which Labour implemented two years ago with the boast that it was "bringing rights home" to the people of Britain. The Prince of Wales tells the Lord Chancellor that human rights legislation is "only about the rights of individuals [I am unable to find a list of social responsibilities attached to it] and this betrays a fundamental distortion in social and legal thinking."
In another letter to Lord Irvine he is particularly forceful on the law prohibiting volunteer workers in care homes from serving reheated food to the elderly after they have prepared it in their own kitchens.
"Many of these volunteers are middle-aged ladies who have cooked for their families for 40 years without poisoning anyone," Prince Charles says. "Awhole section of volunteers is in danger of being alienated. These sort of people will not volunteer if they are patronised or regulation makes it impractical." He adds: "This, I would contend, is the underlying danger of an increasingly over-regulated society."
But some recipients are flattered by his interest. Last night, a spokesman for Lord Irvine said: "The Prince of Wales does occasionally write to the Lord Chancellor. The Lord Chancellor has not complained in any way and, on the contrary, welcomes the correspondence."
The Prince's right to consult ministers in confidence was also backed by constitutional experts. Vernon Bogdanor, professor of government at Oxford University, said: "He's got a right to do so, some would say a duty. He will become the Sovereign. The more he understands about the country, the better for the country."
Another constitutional expert, the Conservative peer Professor Lord Norton of Louth, said: "The Prince of Wales has not started doing this under Labour; he was writing letters under the Conservatives too. It is up to ministers whether they listen to him."

The letters
The Prince of Wales is said to have "bombarded" the Lord Chancellor with letters on subjects ranging from human rights law and red tape to political correctness. Here are some of the reported extracts:
On legislation banning care home volunteers from cooking, supposedly to prevent food poisoning: "These sort of people will not volunteer if they are patronised or if regulation makes it impractical. This, I would contend, is the underlying danger of an increasingly over-regulated society."
On compensation culture: "The effect is multiplied by other issues relating to the passing of ever more proscriptive laws for example, health and safety at work legislation, the blame culture they can in practise encourage and the bureaucratic red tape which accompanies new rules."
On the Human Rights Act: "I am unable to find a list of social responsibilities attached to it, and this betrays a fundamental distortion in social and legal thinking."
On the Army: "Training boundaries are at risk of being set more and more within the comfort zone that already questions, for example, the use of barbed wire on fences."
And, in a reported letter to the Prime Minister leaked before the Liberty and Livelihood march at the weekend, Charles apparently backed the view of a farmer from Cumbria who had told him: "If we, as a group, were black or gay, we would not be victimised or picked on."

Good for him I say!

Oxford English Dictionary – new entries.
Klingons, “Jedi”, and “The Dark Side” are new additions.

The phrase "warp factor" and other gems of intergalactic travel have already been listed in the new edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. Words are generally considered for inclusion in the dictionary only if they have been used five times, from five different sources over five years.
The Falun Gong, a sect demonised by the Chinese leadership, and the Taliban have also entered the dictionary since it was last published nearly 10 years ago.
The phrase "asymmetrical warfare" – defined as "involving surprise attacks by small simply armed groups on a nation with sophisticated modern armed forces" – is also included for the first time.
The dictionary has included some 3,500 new words including Tardis, Dr Who's chosen form of transport from an earlier era of science fiction. It was included because the term is now seen as having a wider usage rather than just as a time machine, suggesting something that is bigger on the inside than it appears on the outside.
The modern-day fascination of outer appearance is also included with a number of words and phrases linked with appearance, size and diet. "Body-mass index", "sizeism" and "orthorexia" – an obsession with eating the right foods – all make their first appearance in the dictionary.
Specific new words and their Oxford Definitions follow:
A fictitious crystalline substance used as a source of power for spacecraft in the US science fiction television programme Star Trek
mind meld
A supposed technique for the psychic fusion of two or more minds, permitting unrestricted communication or deep understanding (originally from the US television series Star Trek)
parallel universe
A universe or world conceived of as existing alongside or in addition to that which is known, having many similarities to it but usually differing in some significant way
Pop music by British groups, specifically that of the mid-1990s, such as Oasis, which was seen as influenced by the Beatles and other British groups of the 1960s
bog standard
Ordinary, basic; unexceptional or uninspired
gym rat
A person who frequents a gym
1. A wedge-heeled shoe. Now also, a shoe with a platform sole. 2. The action of pulling up the material of someone's underwear tightly between the buttocks, as a practical joke
ass backwards
Backwards; in a manner contrary to what is usual, expected, or logical
(The wearing of) expensive designer clothing and flashy jewellery, as personified by Ali G
name and shame
Make public details of failure, wrongdoing, or other shortcoming on the part of a specified person, institution, etc

Perhaps armed with this info I might just win the occassional Scrabble game!
Feedback always invited, please email me.

September 25, 2002


It is 4:30am local time. I have just finished my first cup of tea of the day and after a restless nights sleep feel I have a need to address the current subject of Iraq this morning for London Chimes.

With information comes the ability to analyze and conclude. Yesterday morning the British government published for all to read the long awaited dossier on Iraq, followed by a debate in the House of Commons.

My problem is that we have an information overload, there are facts, there are speeches, there are debates and there is much that is not known by the public. Yet there are the millions worldwide who have an opinion on Iraq; my blog provides a platform for one more voice.

I have anguished long and hard over what to write on this subject today. As with a foot in both the British and American camps my opinion is reflected on the reports I have read and watched from both countries.

To take an objective view based upon the facts without the spin, this is what I see.

Playing by the rules for the best part of eleven years has got the international community nowhere with the leaders of Iraq. Over that time Iraq has continued to stockpile weapons of mass destruction (WPD) and sought to improve their arsenal of defenses including nuclear technology.

The people of Iraq have continued to be ruled by a government who remain putting their self-interests above those of the people and have committed atrocities of the worst kind on their people.

These facts are undeniable.

So what can be done?

Disarmament in accordance with the UN resolutions those previously past and those yet to be approved through a UN sanctioned program of weapons inspectors. These inspectors must have unrestricted access to all areas of Iraq including buildings deemed presidential palaces that may or may not be weapons dumps. After eleven years the UN must provide resolutions that give the power necessary for these searches to be carried out despite the protests and petty conditions that Iraq have previously devised to prevent and make the process more difficult for the inspectors.

Tony Blair in the commons yesterday asked the packed House of Commons, if a country has repeatedly ignored and wormed out of conforming with UN resolutions, “what then?”
An excellent question that all members countries of the UN need to answer sooner not later. It is clear that the UK are not battle ready, and the majority of MP’s after reading the 50 page dossier do not believe pre-emptive strike action with the US to be appropriate at this time.

Last night over 50 of PM Blair’s own backbenchers believe that it is wrong for him to continue down the route of military action. While this is not a majority it is still a sizable minority. The Conservative party is supportive of PM Blair plans. While the third party Gordon Kennedy has voiced the questions that he expected the conservatives to but did not. One poll in the UK puts support for military action at around 38%, with nearly 20% undecided. Since the publication of the dossier, the figure of support has increased.

Is it time for Saddam to go?

From the perspective of the international community, the issue of a regime change is a separate issue from the arms inspections. Although without doubt there is a strong link that without one the other threat of the other is considerably lessened. The military objective by a superpower and / or coalition of allied forces to topple a government regime is a minefield waiting to be crossed.

It is true that most recently the Afghans free of the Taliban regime are a great deal happier than they were a year ago. However will the people of Iraq feel the same following the removal of their government? What then, there will need to be a great deal of support by the international community to help the newly elected government along. That will in time provide a stable force in a region of the world that sorely needs this.

Yet, without the support of the international community to facilitate and support this change, both America and to some extent Britain is hanging out on a limb. I have said before that the hardest decisions are not necessarily the most popular ones. I believe that it is time for democratic elections in Iraq for the people of that country and the stability of the region.

Reasonable doubt

In the courtrooms of both Britain and America before a verdict is given by the jury the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable any reasonable doubt that the charges against the defendant are true.

Are the governments of the world looking for strong, clear evidence against Saddam before committing to a course of military action? Perhaps, although we know that there is a great deal more evidence from intelligence sources that are not in the public domain.

Is the evidence strong enough to commit to serious military engagement by the international community? It would seem not. The intelligence specialists and operatives on the ground behind the lines must continue their life risking efforts to secure the information that is sorely needed to persuade those sitting in their cities, away from the range of Saddam’s missiles and warheads, to change attitudes.

The next step

As of today, I see the next step through and with the support of the United Nations. Their system has been broken for the last 11 years. Every effort should be made to fix this problem, one final time. The UN members must then stand behind the resolutions backing up with the teeth that the words on paper have sorely missed, this must be supported by the military forces from around the world.

A week is a long time in politics. However unpopular my thoughts are today with some of my readers who want to “kick butt.” As the plot unfolds of a daily basis my position will change. The international community needs to be as flexible as each piece of evidence is brought before them.

On a final note I congratulate my British government for taking this stand and publishing this document for all to read.

PM Blair is not President George W. Bush lapdog, but a staunch ally and the bulldog in Europe. The coverage from the House of Commons yesterday is a great measure of the man who is Prime Minster.

Your comments are truly welcome.

Feedback always invited, please email me.

September 24, 2002

What is a “real” man?

What a great question and one the media facilitator Oprah Winfrey has finally asked on her TV program. London Chimes is not going all mushy but despite that today is a huge news day in the UK wants to focus on manhood and a change in attitude. On occasion my wife records the Oprah show for us to watch on a quiet evening. This hour of common-sense TV has recently been doubled in our house since Dr. Phil has his own show. Yesterdays show opened with the question, what is a real man? The answer is more complex than you may think and despite the Atlantic divide is just as relevant in the UK as it is in the US. Personally, I am delighted this subject has been aired. Following this program I have given thought to answer the question myself. But I seem to get caught up on the barbed stock comments. Nevertheless, I offer the following personal answer to the question what is a real man?

My lifetime continues to be sewn together by an intricate series of pathways taken by the decisions I make in my life, some of these decisions are life changing, others simply affect attitude to the changing world around me. As a man first and foremost I respect my wife and my family. I respect my friends, my adopted country and my homeland, I respect both flags and the order of democracy and right for which they stand. I respect everyone around me. As a man I may lack the physical strength of the “perfect man” portrayed in film and print but I firmly believe that mental strength, self confidence, compassion, empathy and faith in positive measures are as powerful as brawn.

Real men do cry, I challenge any man to go to the Bryn Athyn School Christmas Program where as part of the proceedings the children present “Toys for Tots” to the marines in attendance and not “get in touch with their emotions”.

A real man has nothing do to with vanity, potty-mouth, violence, disrespect to women and children.

Returning to the Oprah show Link here to find out more about this show and this subject. I want to focus on a two of the speakers, Jackson Katz and a young gentleman called Josh.

Jackson Katz trains athletes, marines and college students to combat violence against women. His program, the Mentors in Violence Prevention Program, helps non-violent boys and men open up about relationships, sex and their emotions. He challenges boys and men to rethink their beliefs about themselves and what it really means to be a man.

It's Everyone's Problem
Jackson believes that only helping men who have been abusive or who "have a problem" won't get to the root of the problem. "One of the focuses of our work is not just on men that have already been abusive, but 'normal, average' guys. The idea is that we need to get more men involved in this conversation. We need more men confronting each other, and more adult men providing leadership to younger men."

"A lot of times guys will say, 'I'm not abusive. It's not my problem. I'm not a rapist. Why are you talking to me?' We believe that's whom we need to be talking to. It's not just a problem for some guys, it's all of us. This culture is producing lots of abusive men every year."

"Suck It Up"
Jackson believes that it's not just a problem of ignoring emotions for men—it's a power struggle. "Boys and men learn very early on that if you want to make it in the world of men, then you have to 'suck it up,' you have to keep things inside. This whole idea of control is about controlling your emotions, and how you present yourself, but it also bleeds over into how you control other people. So control becomes directly associated with manhood in so many men's minds."

Why Men Become Abusive
"The reason why so many men end up being abusive to women, whether sexually, physically or emotionally, is not just because they just don't have access to their feelings, it's also because they bought into the idea that being a man means being in control of other people—your wife, your girlfriend or other women."

How a Real Man Looks
Jackson believes that men are concerned with how they "look," and how other people perceive them, and he argues that this is only holding men back from improvement. "More guys need to have the courage of their convictions. A lot of guys feel uncomfortable with the way their friends are behaving toward women, but we don't say anything. We think our manhood would be questioned, our heterosexuality would be questioned, we might be ostracized and get negative feedback."

Daring to be a nice guy
Nineteen-year-old Josh wasn't afraid to confront his high school classmates about how they talked about women. "I was confronted with the choice of treating girls how I was raised to treat them—with dignity and respect—or to comply with the social norm that included belittling women."

Standing Up to His Peers
Josh says, "Guys at my school would treat girls terribly by cheating on them, lying to their face, and calling them names like 'bitch,' 'a fine piece of ass,' and 'ho.' Many guys also believed that sexual rewards came with being nice—like if you bought them dinner, then you deserved something sexual in return. When I spoke up against it, I was ostracized by the other guys at my school. Rumors were spread about me. But I didn't let these guys influence my values. I just want to say that you can be a heterosexual male, stand up for women, and still be successful in life."

The statement missing here broadcast yesterday is that Josh did not recognise himself as a victim of the actions of his peers. He eloquently put that to be a victim would be for his peers to have succeeded in their actions and influence against him. I congratulate this young gentleman for bucking the norm for what is right.

Why Boys Are Verbally Abusive
From a young age, boys are conditioned to control themselves, their emotions and how they present themselves. Don McPherson, former quarterback and motivational speaker, says that when they are challenged, or feel their control of a situation is threatened, they may resort to using the same language they use to dehumanize women to stop a confrontation from a peer. They know that many men are afraid that if they speak up, their sexuality will be questioned.

Tolerance Equals Acceptance
Jackson Katz, founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention Program, says most men are not violent, but a lot of them go along with the crowd. "It's not just a problem for some of the guys—this culture is producing lots of abusive men," says Jackson. Men and boys who aren't abusive have a responsibility to stop the violence by confronting their friends and peers."

Do nice guys come last, sometimes but from one nice guy to the readers of this piece, I can happily report that nice guys also win.


Feedback always invited, please email me.

September 23, 2002

On Tuesday, the government will publish a 55-page dossier outlining the threat allegedly posed by Saddam's weapons programme. The dossier, which coincides with the emergency recall of Parliament, will be available on the Downing Street website from 0800 BST (0700 GMT).


Government's Iraq dossier to be published online at 0800 tomorrow
The Iraq dossier will be published online on this website tomorrow morning at 8am. The Prime Minister's statement to Parliament on Iraq will also be streamed live from 11.30am.

Feedback always invited, please email me.

September 21, 2002

Weekend Posting:

Unfinished business, I want to return to the subject of the Tumbling Woman Statue that has been taken from display in New York this week.

As a student of art (many years ago) and the husband of an artist, I feel compelled to offer the argument that art, any art is supposed to invoke an emotion on the person who sees it. Certainly with this statue that is not in question.

Damien Hurst has found himself in the popular tabloids in the UK for cutting up animals in the name of art. Again invoking an emotion.

A couple of years ago there was a painting of the face of Myra Hindley hung in a gallery in London. The oil painting made by small foot and handprints of children, when viewed from a distance was an accurate portrait of one of the Moors Murders who remains in prison for the murder of several children with her partner Ian Brady. Again the emotional response taken by one individual involved the act of throwing a pot of paint over the canvas in disgust.

However, on this occasion while the artist was compelled to create this bronze statue depicting the point that a woman’s body hit the ground from falling from the World Trade Center is not so much in poor taste for it being made. But certainly for being shown to the public, shortly after the one-year anniversary in a central focus point, the Rockefeller Center in New York. I truly believe that someone showed a lack of good judgment in agreeing to this statue being shown at this time at this place.

Verging on the obscene
I am appalled that a decision to allow television cameras to film failed asylum seekers being deported from Britain has been approved. I agree with many who have condemned this as "macabre" and "verging on the obscene".

In corridors of power across Western Europe, not just the UK the subject of asylum seekers and immigration is dependent upon the country perspective high on the domestic political agenda.

As a legal immigrant in the USA the shoe fits comfortably on the other foot with me on this of all issues.Link here for full story.

Unnamed ministers in this report aided by the Home Office and UK Immigration officers invited journalists to witness immigration officials repatriate a group of 48 Czech nationals, including 21 children.

Does this make good TV watching 21 children boarding a plane back to Prague? NO
Is this feel-good TV? NO!
Does Britain have some hostility towards Czech nationals? NO

I think not and am ashamed that not only do ministers believe this to be a positive public relations exercise but to the news editors for broadcasting and printing this non-news story.


Within a matter of hours Germany heads to the polls in one of the closest elections for decades. I have a personal interest as through my work with the European Union in the past have witnessed first hand at the power base Germany and France wield in Europe.

My experiences were 4 years ago. Much water has flowed under the many bridges of the Rhine since then, a new leader has been elected and hangs on my a thread if the polls are accurate. But then I have my own opinions on political polls, this close to a major election they are all to frequently inaccurate.

Within the last week or two there has been a great deal of anti-American feeling reported from Germany. The issue of Iraq has become a German election issue. Certainly listening to talk-radio on the East Coast last night, there is not much love lost for the current Chancellor and his ministers right now. This is a result of careless words from Chancellor's Justice minister for likening President Bush to Adolf Hitler. Which reports now indicate she has been FORCED to apologize to the US for today.

Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's Social Democrats (SDP) had to mount a full-scale damage limitation operation over remarks reportedly made by the Justice Minister, Herta Daeubler-Gmelin.
Her humiliating climbdown was matched by open conflict at the top of the Free Democrat Party, the liberal, free-market party that hopes to form a coalition government with Mr Edmund Stoiber's centre-right CSU/CDU alliance.
As the day wore on, and emergency press conference succeeded emergency press conference, it was hard to say which of the disputes was the most harmful. The first storm blew up around the SDP's Ms Daeubler-Gmelin, whose alleged remarks about Hitler were made at a campaign rally and reported in a provincial newspaper. Like Hitler, Mr Bush was using a foreign issue – Iraq – to distract voters' from his political problems at home, she reportedly said.

This likening of President George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler has reportly put the White House in frenzy, following these words from a major UN Security Council partner.

Ms. Daeubler-Gmelin personally attended a press conference today and is directly quoted as "I want to contribute to clearing away shadows, if there are any," she said she told the ambassador. But she also told reporters that she had been libeled and misquoted.

The potential harm was twofold: first, she appeared to have delivered the ultimate German insult to a foreign leader, multiplying many times over the harm inflicted on US-German relations by Mr Schröder's anti-war pronouncements. Second, it did not take much imagination to turn the accusation of finding a problem abroad to distract attention from domestic difficulties to Mr Schröder's own use of the Iraq issue in the last weeks of the election.

It is reported that in a normal election (what ever the Germans indeed any democracy actually means by this is open to interpretation). Even such high profile and sensitive disputes so close to polling day might have little effect on the outcome. This is factual enough as frequently the dirty tricks are notched up a peg or two just before the time to vote. Yet with the parties so close, the slightest gaffe could lose much-needed German votes.
Link here for full story.

And finally…

With the summer weather threatening to break into something a little soggier, today I hit the back yard for a well-needed tidy up. 7 30 gallon garden refuse sacks later I am it would seem only half way through the task. Yet certainly it does look a little better.

Despite a drought in these parts, I believe we are still some nineteen inches below where we should be mother nature has taken over and everything seems to have grown in bounds this summer.

Thanks to the small furry and feathered creatures that visit our garden we have had sunflowers this year and for the first time I reaped a harvest of corn (sweet corn). Not quite big enough to eat, the volume of the stalks surprised even me.

I keep looking up at the mature trees in and surrounding the front and back yard and have stopped counting the number of leaves that will fall before autumn is out. Incidentally, according to USA Today this week the peak time in Bucks and Montgomery County PA for the leaf peepers is mid October.

Have a good weekend everyone.

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September 19, 2002

Tumbling Woman statue.

NEW YORK — A jarring bronze statue in Rockefeller Center, meant to commemorate those who jumped or fell to their deaths from the World Trade Center, was removed Thursday after being abruptly draped in cloth and surrounded by a curtain wall the day before. Link here for full story

I have comment to make once I have completed my thought process.

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The Pennsylvanian Driving test is about to get easier, relatively speaking.

Let me quantify this statement, the PennDot test is not actually changing one iota. The British test is about to become more complex.

I originally passed my driving test in the UK in 1981. I took my optional advanced driving test as part of a program to reduce the company insurance premium in the mid 90’s. When I arrived in the US I had to take a theory test and a practical test to own a Pennsylvania license. To date I consider myself very lucky to have passed first time on each occasion.

To own a driving license is not a right it is a privilege one that has been taken away from me on two occasions on medical grounds taking me off the road for three years. I have little time for people who have by their own actions lost their license but not wanting to take a holier than thou approach, to err is human.

Today if you took the test in the UK it is a two-part test, a theory test which if passed allows the driver in training to progress to the practical part. From November the Driving Standards Agency are implementing a video simulation test. According to the BBC reporter who wrote this story

It is tougher than he thought. The new "hazard perception test" will become a compulsory part of the standard driving test. It is designed, according to the Department of Transport, to help new drivers cope with everyday dangers on the road.

The needs assessment that leads to this is the simple fact that "each year 3,400 people are killed on Britain's roads and many of these accidents are caused by those with little experience behind the wheel".

One in five new drivers has an accident within the first 12 months of passing their test.

In the early 80’s my driving instructor told me that the odds of having an accident within the first year of passing my test in my late teenage years was 50%. Needless to say my first insurance premium and many after this reflected these facts with only a noticeable drop in the premium once I passed 24.

The test is intended to sharpen the awareness skills of those new to the driving seat. The electronic test is taken in front of a normal computer monitor. The learner driver watches a series of video clips, each about a minute long, filmed on all sorts of roads, from country lanes to suburban high streets to motorways (Interstates). Candidates need to click the mouse button as soon as they see a hazard.

The reporter and many others are already raising the question what in this test constitutes a hazard.
For example, a woman running along the pavement is a hazard, a lollipop lady standing by the side of the road, a class of schoolchildren walking in crocodile, a motorcyclist pulling in and a roadside tree-cutting team, a parked car is perilous, since its door could suddenly swing open into the road. A green traffic is hazardous since it will, at some point, turn to red.

On that basis the BBC reporter suggests that you perhaps should simply click at everything on the screen, and this it would seem is the secret to the whole test. Pity!

Personally I like the idea of this form of testing as it offers a standard method of marking in a controlled situation. Once a license is earned it is simply a legal document that allows you to drive. Driving skills are accrued through experience. Hopefully not so much through trial and error, especially error.

When I took my advanced test on driving through Hertford City Center I was confronted with so many immediate hazards I stopped the car and let the “hazards” sort himself or herself out. The police officer testing me even noted that this was the most hazardous situation he had found himself on one of these tests and congratulated me on my decision to stop rather than become a hazard myself.

On a visit to the Hertfordshire Police Driver Training Center in Welwyn Garden City, we were shown a film and asked to note the hazards. On playback of the film the officer giving the presentation picked up on hazards that you probably would not think twice at, resulting in a score lower than one would have wished. But the police drivers need to be aware and through their advanced training they are the best in Britain.

1,000 hit
I did receive an email from the London Chimes thousandth visitor. It was my parents in the UK. Thanks Mum & Dad. Now who will be the 2,000th?

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September 18, 2002

2001 – Letters postmarked Trenton, New Jersey, which test positive for anthrax, are sent to the New York Post and NBC TV personality Tom Brokaw; US President George W. Bush signs a congressional resolution authorising military action against those behind the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, saying he is "unalterably committed to a direct, forceful and comprehensive response".
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Ferrari has proved itself to be the best racing team on Earth and now it is headed for Mars.

This is a unique story of my interests in space and F1 motor racing coming together in an unusual manner.

Speeding to Mars at 10,800 kilometres per hour (6,700 miles per hour), much faster than anything seen at a Grand Prix.

Interested?? Then read on here.

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Former Prime Minister John Major speaks out

Quiet by chance I have found that John Major has crawled from under whichever rock he exiled himself to recently. As Prime Minster during the Gulf War he is weighing in with his opinions and thoughts.

Link here this report from the BBC. A very different style and approach from former President George Bush below.

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Former President George Bush speaks out.

I have been waiting for former President Bush to speak out on Iraq and have the following link to his thoughts.

The timing of this report in our household is coincidental as my wife, mother-in-law and the other Mrs. B. went to see his wife, the former first lady and mother of the current President give a lecture last night at a school in our neighbourhood.

From the debreif over tea and coffee last night, I understand that Mrs. Bush is not one to be meddled with, (even if that person is the President, he is still her son). Mrs Bush entertained a room of 350 with witty stories of life with the Georges.

Conclusion "This is a lady with fortitude", not unlike other ladies I know here who are built of the same stern stuff.

Well done Mrs. B, and I am pleased the other Mrs. B liked the tea and cookies.

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September 17, 2002

London Chimes is getting very close to my 1,000th hit.
There is a site counter at the bottom of the page. I would really like to know who my 1,000 visitor is.
Please email me.

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The Number 26 Bus.

When I was a boy growing up in Finchley, North London, there were three bus routes that headed south into London each of them starting out a short mile north by the side of the Gaumont cinema in North Finchley. The 260, would peel of the southern route and head to Willesden. The 2B towards Crystal Palace in South London. Finally my personal favorite the 26, making its way to Victoria station, as it passed by Lord Cricket Ground, along Baker Street, passing in sight of the wax works and planetarium, along a short stretch of Oxford Street, and down Park Lane past the Dorchester Hotel. If you sat atop you could catch a glimpse of the rear garden of Buckingham Palace just past Hyde Park Corner before after a short distance it would rattle into the terminus on the front of Victoria Station with the conductor calling “Victoria Station, Everybody off”.

The 26 were at that time operated by the old-fashioned route master buses. The style that everyone fondly associates the shape and sound of the old London bus. In my teenage years while still at school it was popular to purchase a daily pass called a Red Bus Rover and hop on and off the buses all day long. Armed with a London Transport bus map, then a free publication now charged for, the 26 would be my doorway to buses operating in every direction from Central London.

Today for no particular reason I thought of my childhood bus story akin to the journey we are taking with Iraq. We get to the next mandatory bus stop along the route and countries like passengers seem to jump on or off depending on their choice of destination.

It is said that the pen is mightier than the sword. If this is true then some may well believe that from one letter submitted to the UN last night, that war will be averted in Iraq. (Piffle) This letter offering unconditional access to the arms inspectors comes a handful of days, too late. Some may argue that this comes four years too late. Certainly like a bus ride this letter has provided a “bus stop” for some countries to jump off the bus being driven by President Bush, while for others an opportunity to save face by jumping on the bus.

I am sure that there will be a few bus stops along the way for extra passengers to be picked up, and dropped off, and I am sure when this bus has reached its terminating point there will be others wanting to take the ride, despite that the bus has reached the end of its journey.

Foreign politics is similar to the 26 bus route. We have certainly left the departure point and Russia have just got off, while geographically closer middle eastern countries to Iraq have jumped on believing that the letter offers them “an opportunity”. Germany appear to want to wait for a different bus altogether and are being very loud about this.

Tony Blair appears to not only want to see this bus ride out, is operating as the conductor on the bus collecting fares with Jack Straw giving out the bus tickets. Australia has seats upstairs at the front as does Kuwait who plans to watch the journey from very close quarters. Norway recently boarded the bus and would appear to be along for the rest of the trip, while Sweden with their elections now behind them may be further down the route at a bus stop.

As for the United Nations, they are still debating where the bus stop is, what is looks like and writing a resolution on how to stop the bus that has not paid any attention to their requests to stop for the last ten years and remain split over the decision to take the 26 bus or not.

The international press corp who don’t need the bus are following closely behind it in their remote location transports. Their problem is that they can only see one side of the bus, the rear. The only indication to where they are heading is the destination board on the back. “Iraq”.

To the United Nations Security Council, I have but one simple piece of advice. The bus is standing outside your office, check you have the fare and get on board.

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September 16, 2002

The ultimate vacuum cleaner.

Before coming to the US my wife & I were made aware of a lawn mower robot that would cut your lawn unaided. Running off rechargeable batteries it would on sensing that power was getting low return to the home station for a recharge before setting off to cut the lawn.

A clever device, but as my wife said at the time it would be wonderful if someone took the idea further and produced one that would vacuum, and so they have.

Link here to read the full story about Roomba. a new housecleaning robot spawned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Artificial Intelligence Lab and built by a Somerville, Mass., company called iRobot. Roomba's function is a humble one: it's designed to vacuum your living room while you're otherwise engaged. But Roomba also represents a technological watershed: it's the first robot ever built that is designed to live in your home, serve a useful purpose and be priced for the mass market — at $199, it costs about the same as a mid-range vacuum cleaner. Roomba isn't quite Rosey the Robot, but it just might be Rosey's great-great-grandparent.
This is working its way towards the top of the Christmas wish list in this house. Granted it won’t work its way upstairs, yet!

If we do find ourselves proud owners of Roomba, this will be the second time this year that MIT have come to our rescue. As owners of 3 wonderful cats we have thrown out our self cleaning kitty litter tray in favor of a neat covered box called Roll Away that takes the mess out of kitty litter trays in a much more sanitary manner. We have 3 of these now as one of our cats seems most particular about the company she does not wish to keep by sharing a tray.

Our latest Roll Away acquisition cost less than $20 from Petco and from our home we highly recommend them. Originally I understand the concept of Roll Away was designed by MIT student, a simple answer to a singular problem.

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September 13, 2002

Just how much of a geek are you?

A few weeks ago my US family engaged in an on-line geek test. My score so was so pitifuly low it was obvious the questions were not skewed against my favor. It was all a matter of subject matter. Now if the questions included the sixties Sci-Fi classic Thunderbirds I would be as geeky as the rest. I am sure that we are all geeks in our own little worlds, experts on those things that interest few others but us.

Can you imagine my surprise this week when I discovered Thunderbirds is bring shown on TV here in the US. Thanks to TechTV available through my dish network the programme is shown at the weirdest times of the day. I have never seen the 30 minute episodes since the sixties and somehow this channel seems to have acquired the original 30minute episodes that includes some footage I recognise on not have seeing before in my memory.

Thunderbirds at 3am and other bizarre non-Malcolm Friendly times. Total geek with video recorder = sensible geek.

It would seem that TechTV viewers have had mixed reactions showing this program that is heading towards its 35th birthday. It without doubt the best of the Gerry Anderson offerings originally made with the US market in mind. This was before Star Wars and Star Trek with Bill Shatner. Somehow it is not technical enough! Yet there are others who rave about it as being the best thing the channel offers.

I wonder if TechTV will transmit Captain Scarlet, Joe 90, Fireball XL5 and Stingray? Who knows. The only thing I wish they would do would be to remove the MTV type fact banners during the program it totally detracts from the program.

In the meanwhile it would seem that Thunderbird 6 feature film was shown at some bizarre hour on 9/11. Not sure about the content on such a sensitive day (airship plummets to the ground).

Willow Grove Air Base Air Show weekend.(Horsham PA).

This weekend my local air and navy boys and girls are hosting their first of their ever popular air shows this weekend since 9/11/01. Local news reports have indicated that even at this stage it may be cancelled if the security threat is raised.

Nevertheless I fully expect the local roads to be grid-locked as the 100,000 expected visitors try to cram into space for only 5,000 cars. All of which will be searched on entering the base.

From the little I have seen and heard from the rehearsals over and sometime sounding through my roof it will be very spectacular.

From the noise and speed of the fighters in the air, I am glad I’m on their side. The shrill and roar should be enough to convince any enemy to hoist the white flag.

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September 12, 2002

9/11 The reviews from the UK.

Nobody emailed me personally, but the program 9/11 certainly had an impact around the globe.

Link here for some of the UK comments.

Unbeknown to me 9/11 was shown in Australia, Netherlands, South Africa and France perhaps other countries to last night.

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September 11, 2002

September 11, 2002.

Only last week I mentioned that September 11 this year for me would be business as normal, to mark the anniversary of the terror attacks and in memory of those lost, I would go to a memorial service this evening in reality as I write this that statement could not be further from the truth.

I set out not to listen or watch to the radio and television news today, but have found this an impossible task.

I have attempted to avoid the run up media coverage to this day. Although despite best efforts the pain that so many are feeling today started yesterday evening with the news of the increased security alert. Given the information available and the date it seemed a wholly appropriate action. Then as dusk fell I heard the military planes flying into the local airbase. A noise that we had heard on many occasions but on this one evening seemed to announce something more somber.

Picking our way through the television schedules last night we watched a two-hour adaptation of 2,000 leagues under the sea to lighten the atmosphere.

This morning I awoke to blue skies and sunshine, a similar scene to the morning one year ago except for the flags at half mast, the moments of silence, the reading of the names of those lost at the WTC, the parades, the ringing of church bells. I saw on the TV the crowds outside St. Paul’s Cathedral in London and in some small way felt a little closer to my family and friends in the UK. In Philadelphia, a crowd of some 6,000 stood together this morning at 8:46am to remember.

Today there is a keen breeze sweeping through the WTC site. The dust swirling around the families of those who lost someone as though the ground wants to embrace and support them. In Washington the breeze blows as strong as though the noise made by the rigging of the stage shouts out in support of the speech from the President.

It seems that the last year has not seemed that long, the memories of that morning one year ago seem as fresh and raw but without the fear of the unknown. That fear then was from the events unfolding seen through the windows of my hotel across to the New York skyline. Added to the TV coverage and the rumors of other aircraft as I sat surrounded by the three New York airports.

Last year seemed to me to only last under 4 months, as if everything before September 11 had paled into insignificance.

Those feelings that I felt last year, however much I thought I had worked them today simmer just below the surface.

If this is part of the healing process then we all know that the healing hurts. This will help us together move on to an unfolding future.
I had given thought to adding my story from last year to this blog, I have one as we all do. But I cannot find the right words today, but perhaps on another tomorrow.

The heroes of September 11, 2001 will never be forgotten. This tragedy touched the hearts and minds of many countries, not just the US, England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland but Canada, Australia, and so many others.

God Save the Queen!
God Bless America!

I offer the following links today A Perfect Morning a series of personal accounts dedicated to remembering the events of September 11, 2001.

Personally I am looking forward to meeting up with my wife later today. Something that I was unable to do last year, for several days after the tragedy. We will be attending a memorial service, a right and fitting way to recognise the day. In addition to our proudly flying both the Old Glory and the Union Flag at our home.

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September 10, 2002

With a little time on my fingertips I have had a chance to add to London Chimes today on a number of topical and related subjects.

Children and 9/11.

The first near and dear to my heart is that of how to keep children away from the horrors that will be broadcast across TV screens worldwide this week. The answer crystal clear comes from First lady Laura Bush who is asking parents to turn off the television on Sept. 11 and instead read to their children and perhaps light a memorial candle.

``Don't let your children see the images, especially on Sept. 11, when you know it'll probably be on television again and again - the plane hitting the building or the buildings falling,'' Mrs. Bush is quoted in an interview late last week.

With photos and videotaped images of September 11, 2001 already appearing on TV newscasts, newspapers and magazines as the world prepares to remember the more than 3,000 people killed, over 600 British, when hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

“Parents who decide to allow their older children to watch television on the anniversary should limit the time they spend in front of the set”, Mrs. Bush said. “Children need assurance they are safe, and it's important to remember and mourn those who died and support victims' families”, she added

However heroes also need to be remembered. ``We saw a handful of people do something so horrible, but then we saw so many other people, on the other hand, do good things. The firemen, policemen, rescue workers - the children themselves,'' Mrs. Bush said. ``It's really great for families to figure out ways to let their children be involved and be helpful.''

She encouraged parents to read and spend time with their children to comfort them.

``I also think it's a time if parents want to do this, especially if your children are a little older, to have a little, you know, memorial service of your own. Maybe light a candle,'' Mrs. Bush continued in a separate interview broadcast at the end of last week.

In a third interview, with ABC's Mrs. Bush recalled that a reporter asked her what parents should tell their children. ``I think really that's when it first occurred to me that we had say something to our children.I mean, my children are grown, and I still felt like I had to reassure them, and then, to be perfectly frank, I called my mother because I wanted her to reassure me.''

(Source of story, Associate Press).

Personally I do not plan to watch much TV on Wednesday, I saw enough last year and when I switched off my TV set in my hotel room, I only needed to look out from the hotel windows to see the images I had seen on TV, I really need not see anymore one year on when the experience is still fresh in my mind. Despite the opportunity to deal with my thoughts and move on there is still a feeling of unfinished business.

When I ask the question when will the business in hand be complete and reconciled I do not have a clear answer.

The filling of the hole at ground zero with new buildings and a monument to those who suffered on 9/11 may be but part of it.

In medieval times in London, murderers would have their heads displayed on pikes along London Bridge as an incentive to others not to follow the same route proof that crime did not pay. While I condemn such an act of barbarism to have proof that Bin Laden is dead I understand that there are those who would see this as help in the reconciliation of 9/11, if it was not the truth that cut one head of this monster and others will take its place.

The Lone Terrorist

I turn to a British story Watch for lone terrorists on the day, police warn. Source of this story The Independent.

Last week Scotland Yard announced to the media that lone terrorists unconnected with al-Qa'ida could use the anniversary of the 11 September attacks to commit their own bombings in Britain, as if there aren’t enough security headaches on that one day.
London will be ringed by roadblocks as security is increased with additional patrols at City institutions with links to the United States, underground stations and airports. The anti-terrorist police warned Londoners and visitors to the City to be on a state of alert but not alarm.
While there has been no specific threat the security services will be keeping Islamic extremists under surveillance who are believed to be a small pool of support for extremist groups capable of further attacks.
The focus was not only on potential al-Qa'ida attacks, but those who might attack "because of the publicity it represents". Regrettably we shouldn't just think about the ghastly spectacular happening, but also the range of possibilities that smaller groups and individuals may use. There may be individuals who think here is an anniversary which is a world stage in terms of publicity and for their own reasons they might attack. We shouldn't underestimate these individuals."
An interesting fact from Scotland Yard since 11 September, Scotland Yard has received 8,000 requests for assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mr Veness said: "By any comparison, this has been the busiest 12 months of counter-terrorism anyone can recall. Barriers have crumbled in the pursuit of the overwhelming public good."

Interesting to note that the American media have reported a similar story in the US, the conclusion, extra vigilance by everyone on a day when our eyes will see less than our hearts.

How the UK will mark 9/11

The next news story is in part in answer to family and friends asking me what the UK plans to do on September 11th.

I am not repeating myself in full but I urge all those with access to the BBC to watch the 9/11 documentary. (See separate blog entry).

First I have found reference to Britain to observe an official one-minute silence for 11 September victims (Source The Independent), at 1.46pm in a service at St Paul's Cathedral.

The quiet contemplation will be mirrored across the country. In railway stations, airports, supermarkets, offices, factories, high street stores, schools, courts and churches, people are expected to stop and remember more than 3,000 victims who perished in the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced yesterday that the memorial service – to which 2,000 people including relatives of the 67 British victims as well as the Prince of Wales, the American ambassador, William Farish, and senior government figures have been invited – would start at 1.15pm.
Meanwhile, Britain's firefighters will be marking the first anniversary and remembering their 343 New York counterparts who died in the attacks by gathering outside their stations to observe the silence.
Television and radio stations, including BBC1 and ITV, plan to fall quiet while the London Stock Exchange announced a two-minute tribute.
The TUC Conference, where the Prime Minister was told of the atrocity as he prepared to speak last year, will also follow suit.
Cities and towns across Britain have planned their own tributes, as have religious organizations from all denominations– mirroring events across the Atlantic.
The airports operator BAA was among several organizations to announce that it would be observing the silence in airports. "Airline staff would particularly like to take the opportunity to remember colleagues but it's up to individual airlines to decide what to do during the minute's silence," a BAA spokesman said.
Many City firms will have personal reasons for memorials next Wednesday. Cantor Fitzgerald – which lost 658 of its workers when the north tower collapsed – will be sending staff to the St Paul's service as well as holding a private commemoration at the company headquarters. Lee Amities, the president and chief executive in London, said: "I think we want to be by ourselves, for the staff to remember their colleagues."

The Union Jack.
I am not sure if the American flag hoisted by the firefighters over the rubble that was once the WTC has been found. But I was totally unaware that there was a Union Jack unearthed at the New York site and this itself has a certain symbolism in Britain.

Source The Independent.
A tattered Union Flag discovered in the rubble of the World Trade Center will feature at a ceremony in London honoring the dead of the 11 September attacks. David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, will be presented with the flag by New York police lieutenant Frank Dwyer at a service outside the American embassy in London. It was brought to Britain to honor the 67 British victims among the 3,000 dead.
Liverpool will follow the lead of New York and shine two beams of light from the top of the Liver building for seven nights from 11 September.
In Manchester, a vigil involving 13 faiths will be held in Albert Square headed by the Rt Rev Terence Brain, the Catholic Bishop of Salford.

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September 05, 2002

No apologies for repeating myself.

About 6 weeks ago I added the following posting to London Chimes. It has since found its way into the archives. Given that September 11 is less than a week away I wanted to take this opportunity to remind my British readers to watch this program.

Film 9/11 is to be shown on BBCtv.
I understand from reports that the film 9/11 previously shown on the CBS network is to be aired on the BBC on the first anniversary of the attack on America. The timing of this broadcast in the UK is in my personal opinion in poor taste and lacks managerial judgment for the sensitivities of those from Britain who suffered a loss last September 11.

Nevertheless, I urge everyone to watch this film for several reasons.

I have seen this film shot by two French journalists who were on assignment covering the everyday activities of a firehouse in downtown New York last summer. Through circumstance they have provided us with a unique historical record of an act of violence and hatred that should, never, ever be allowed to be repeated.
There are other 9/11 films, this without any doubt in my mind the only one film of its type that you need to watch. Even if you only watch it once in your entire life I urge you to watch this film so that you can understand.

I urge you to watch this film, I warn you in advance that it is not an easy film to watch; yet aware of scenes of abject horror beyond the periphery of the viewfinder at the WTC site they refused to capture these scenes on camera. But what is included will touch you deeply.

I urge you to watch this film, in memory of all the heroes that ran into the WTC when any sane person would want to turn and flee, especially those who did not return.

I urge you to watch this film, to remember why Britain should stand united with its allies against the enemy of terror, remembering that next to the Americans the British lost the highest number of fatalities.

I urge you to watch this film to understand why certain courses of action are deemed necessary for the common good of civilized mankind, not just for today but for tomorrow and all the tomorrows necessary to prevent this from ever happening again.

I urge you to watch this film in memory of those faceless, nameless allied heroes from the armed services and security forces who are fighting this war across the world.

I urge you to watch this film to remember first and foremost. Then I ask you to stand in support of your country, your flag, and those charged with the responsibilities of ensuring the right decisions on what must be done.

I urge you to watch this film on BBCtv on September 11 2002. Then email me.

Since I wrote this piece there have been a number of diplomatic manouvres that are being described in some quarters as diplomacy leading to war. There are still a number of hurdles that need to be jumped before miltary action takes over from diplomacy. Nevertheless, if as I suspect military action will follow possibly before November as POTUS expects the House to give its unswerving support before it adjourns in November. Then by watching this film you should understand why it is time to stand up for what is right.

As an individual I am as much of a coward as the next man. Especially if someone else will do the dirty work for me. In this case the brave military forces of the US and its allies. Some people have difficulty connecting the War on Terror with the pending War on the leaders on Iraq. Note I did not say the people of Iraq. Since September 11 last year the rules have changed. Rather than wait for someone to misuse weapons of mass destruction or and here is the main point, be willing to sell weapons of mass destruction for financial, political or personal gain, should we in the free-world allow such an act to take place.

Cast you minds back 11 years to the end of the Gulf War, the images of the oil wells on fire, the environment scarred, the people victims of their own leaders through chemical warfare and hunger.

I remember this well.

It is reported that Saddam was but 6 months away from having nukes in his arsenal, a fact that alarms me beyond belief.

There is the nagging undertones that this is all about oil. (again). From what I have read and understand oil is way down the agenda, as I have said the rules have changed and the gloves are coming off.

Time will tell how this will unravel, in time we will know how history views the start of the 21st century. There is a unique opportunity here if other NATO countries can put aside petty differences and start to work together.

Feedback always invited, please email me.
Popcorn Pop?

For the few weeks I have been sucked in to watching the American Idol series here in the US. Last night thankfully was the grand final between two wannabees Kelly from Texas and Justin from a town just up Route 611 in Pennsylvania.

I started watching from the final 6 and both my wife and I agreed that Kelly at that point was a mature singer with a great range. Whether that would be enough to win over the voting public was in doubt but at the end of the day I believe the final 3 deserved to make it to the podium and the finalists were the best of the small bunch I listened to.

It is wonderful that another British import has done so remarkably well on prime-time in the US. The finals rated 18 million viewers and the two finals programs scored number 1 and 2 on the neilson ratings.

Simon Callow the British judge and record producer awarding the million dollar record contract was a real star. At newsagents, and on the popcorn entertainment programs his face has been shown everywhere. Without question he is the most visable British celebrity in the US at the moment.

He reminded me of Tony Hatch a judge on the former New Faces talent show in the 70's who acid remarks were just as popular. However Hatch who was responsible for composing many TV themes including Crossroads and the Australian Neighbours.

I have a couple of disappointments. The "hosts" of the Fox version were annoying at best. From the brief snippet seen here in the US, Ant & Dec hosted the British version and I am certain they added to the program.

Will Young the UK finalist appeared in the US finals and has a very unique voice. It reminded me of a Liverpool sound from the 60's. Not a bad thing, but I am not sure that it is current in the moving and shaking pop-world of today. Simon Callow is quoted live last night of saying that the quality of the talent is better in the US. So wake up Britain the challenge has been placed at your feet.

I won't be waiting to watch the next US series, but I'll probably tune in for the last few episodes.

In the meanwhile I cannot wait for the new season of programs to start in the US later this month. While the reality programs have kept my attention like the Mole and dare I say Big Brother 3, there has been little else to interest me to wind down at the end of the day. At least London Chimes has helped keep my brain cells active.

Well now that I have sunk to a new low on London Chimes, I plan to bounce back soon.

Feedback always invited, please email me.

September 04, 2002

Blair to meet Bush this Saturday.
Downing Street has confirmed that UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is set to fly to America for talks with US President George Bush.
Mr Blair meets President Bush at his official Camp David retreat on Saturday when tackling the alleged threat posed by Iraq is certain to top the agenda.

And so the clock continues to tick. I strongly beleive that it is not so much a case of if there will be an assault on Iraq, but when it will happen WITH the support of senior NATO partners.

What I cannot easily measure is the true feeling of the Brits back home and there considered opinions.
Please email me and let me know.

Feedback always invited, please email me.
MPs in skyscraper safety plea
Tall buildings are not "inherently unsafe" but it is almost impossible to prevent September 11-style attacks on them, a report by MPs says.

And so it begins, with the countdown to the anniversary of September 11th here is but one lesser reported non-news story from the UK.
Feedback always invited, please email me.
Back Again.
Postings to resume soon.
Feedback always invited, please email me.

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