Cool Legal Pot images

Examine out these legal pot pictures:

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Inexpensive Legal Pots..
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Much more Legal Pots…
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Cool Effects Of Smoking On The Brain pictures

Some cool effects of smoking on the brain images:

Necron warriors on the hill open fire into the approaching hive tyrant
effects of smoking on the brain
Image by jon_a_ross
Full battle report here
jon-a-ross.livejournal.com/966006.html

Warhammer battle report Necrons vs Tyranids 1200 points
1200 point annihilation battle Necrons vs. Tyranids, dawn of war deployment. 4th edition tyranid codex against the 4th edition necron codex.

A necron force awakens to find their world has become infested with life. An annoying and aggressive life that needs to be cleansed. The nercon lord arose with his core troops and set an ambush. A monolith and some destroyers would backup the lord should this life force be stronger then what he can deal with.

(turn one)
The alien force themselves was a numerous horde of little clawed beasts and one larger mind leading them toward. The small horde would rush forward towards the nercon lord, ignoring the second group of warriors in their eagerness to rend the nercons. The larger one sprayed some thick acid towards the necron warriors. Three of them started to smoke, as the acid worked its way into their steel breasts. Only one falls as the self repair units are already knitting the others together.

The fallen necron gets back up as the repair units do their job. The tryanid hordes are weaving their way around a number of barriers. These same barriers were now giving the necrons difficultly in cutting them down with their gauss flayers. Only four of the little beasts would be ripped into their individual molecules.

(turn two)
But the screams of the little beasts must have excited the others creatures, as two giant creatures turned towards the necrons. Five larger then man creatures also arrived, acting with more brains then the little ones.

For the necrons however, it was the little ones that were their fixed attention. Two streams of them were flowing around the hill in the center, rushing towards the lord and his bodyguard. Before the little hordes could reach them the large Tyrant splashed more acid upon the warriors, but they were able to ignore such a biological attack with ease.

But as the little horrors reached the warriors, the nercon lord gave the signal to charge in turn. Lightning sparked and jumped between the warriors as they parried bone claws with ageless metal blades. Two warriors find themselves falling to the ground, their limbs removed. Four of the little creatures lay dead upon the ground. Any focus that they had was lost when they rushed and their fear had them flee away from the silent and emotionless warriors.

The necron lord with the cold mechanical skill of a man who has seen more years then a river holds water ordered his troops to cut down the fleeing creatures, wiping them all out.
(Failed leadership tests on the hormagaunt broods who lost combat, sweeping advance successful by the necrons because of the high initiative of the necron lord.)

Even as one of the fallen necron warriors arose, using his fellow fallen warriors head as his own the lord scanned the battlefield. Only nine creatures were out there, but another six in the distance. This battle should be quick indeed. Yet, there was something about the size of the creatures approaching that encouraged the lord to summon his support.

The warriors themselves dug into the ground they held and were prepared to push back the beasts. Fifteen yet unbloodied this battle watch as one large creature with huge claws and a weapon dripping acid approaches. The lord without a word orders his warriors to blast the original large creature. Their shots marked the shell of the creature but otherwise had no effect.

The destroyers also found their shots, for all they had larger gauss weapons, to have no effect upon the beast. The monolith, seeing the lack of success, uses it’s particle whip upon the Tyrant. The blast wounds the tyrant where the lesser weapons had failed.

(Five smaller tyranid warriors will arrive, this group with devourers and a barbed strangler. They join the first tyranid warriors who have deathspitters and a venom cannon. The hive tyrant has scything talons and a venom cannon as well as toxin sacs, bio-plasma and enhanced senses. One Carnifex has crushing claws, tusks, spine banks and a venom cannon. The second has scything talons, spine banks and a barbed strangler. The final carnifex, who doesn’t arrive on turn 3, has two pair of scything talons and bio-plasma.)

Now thirteen large creatures are moving towards the necrons. The large leader once more shoots acid over the warriors, this time two fall under its sticky weight. The one with the claws sprays acid over the monolith, but it is unable to find a crack in the living armour of the necron vehicle. The rest of the tyranid forces just run forward.

The necron force will stand fast to meet them. The gauss weaponry with its unnatural green light lashes out towards the approaching beasts. A beast with two large claws and a seed throwing gun was harmed by both the necron destroyers and the monolith, but it keeps going. The necron warriors led by the necron lord unload into the original large creature, scoring a minor injury for all the guns involved.

(turn four)
The Tryanids themselves kept moving forward. The large creatures all fired with their big guns, one necron warrior falling for their trouble. The little tyranid warriors opened up with their deathspitters and venom cannon on the same necron warriors having four more fall to the ground. The ragged line of the living was approaching the warriors.

The necron destroyers move back a bit as does the monolith. The approaching Tyranids will still have quite a run to get to them, but they are getting very close. The monolith fires into the creatures climbing upon a hill, but even a direct hit fails to kill any of them. (Three wounded) The warriors next to them blast into the clawed creature, but once again only minor wounds are inflicted. The destroyers shoot towards their target, but it refuses to fall. The warriors from their spot on the hill blast the creature that started all the trouble and finally are able to bring it down.

But the creatures are indeed getting close now.

(turn five)
One last large creature, this one all claws, arrives, while the rest move forward. Thirteen shapes remain, with the twelve that are in range all firing upon the necrons instead of running towards them. Two of the necron destroyers are surprised when the seed launched by the taloned beast explodes under them, growing quickly into a twisting vine and pulling them from the air. The same sort of pod grabs a number of the warriors by the meteorites, with another falls to a small slug like creature that was launched as part of a massive volley into them. Four warriors lie fallen, while two destroyers also drop. The necron lords own group weathers the attack much better, now that they know what to expect.

Neither destroyer is able to pull themselves together after their fall, but all the necron warriors get up. The monolith drifts toward, feeling itself indestructible and seeking to end the little creature threat. Between the particle whip and the gauss flux guns along the side four of those warriors on the hill fall, blasted into pieces. The necron warriors attempt to do the same with the large claws beast facing them, but fail to get even a minor wound. The necrons body guarding the necron lord fire into the approaching creatures, killing two for their trouble.

Seven creatures remain, all large and threatening, but perhaps not as much as they were at the start.

(turn six)
The beasts move forward, most blasting with their alien guns. The clawed giant beast melts one of the warriors under the acid spray before crashing into them like a train. The smaller creature on that side misses, perhaps because of the sheer bulk of the beast moving into his line of fire. The taloned beast with the seed pod fires his wide, but still catches the destroyer, only to have this experienced fellow escape damage. The other beasts pouring in kill three more necron warriors with their deathspitters and venom cannon.

The tusked and clawed beast smashing into the necrons had one last secret to share, the rows of spines along its back. One necron warrior gets a face full and falls, while three more are crushed between the claws. They fall into pieces to great to be repaired this battle. The great beast takes a wound from the necrons striking at hit, but otherwise it wins the battle. The fearless necrons see no reason to retreat and thus stay put, attempting to bring it down.

A total of seven warriors have been lost, while there are still seven beasts facing them. The necron lord is growing tired of taking all this damage and gestures a charge forward. The twelve remaining warriors fire into the beasts as they move forward, claiming two of them. The necron lord wounds the last one. The destroyer using his heavy gauss cannon finally strips enough of the matter from the taloned beast to finally bring it down. The monolith uses its guns to slay the final tyranid warrior, while the carnifex goes unharmed. The two scything talons carnifex takes the particle whip and has the wound.

In close combat the clawed beast is too slow to stop a warrior from blasting out a massive chunk of its chest. The rest finish it, reducing it into so many loose strips of flesh.

The two beasts that remain are not much of a problem (game ends.)

I think what did in the tyranids in this battle was the deployment. With only two troop choices on the table at the start it meant they had to pound across the table to get into combat at a disadvantage. Taking such a heavy force towards the large beast side of the scale was perhaps unwise, but with four monstrous targets if they could’ve reached close combat they would have pushed through the necrons in close combat. And once the necrons were reduced to eight people the monolith would no longer be much of a problem.

I was worried actually that the necrons were in trouble when the hormagaunts reached them on turn two. But under the 5th edition rules for close combat, once they lost with their low leadership they were in trouble. Breaking and being destroyed rather then being able to get back into the leadership range of the tyrant cost them.

But that charge is indeed something I would do again, as having the large block of warriors outnumbered and locked in combat slowing being pulled to pieces. I am also thinking of doing a rematch once I have the 5th edition Tyranid codex to see how they compare.

Tyranids closing in on the necrons on both sides
effects of smoking on the brain
Image by jon_a_ross
Full battle report here
jon-a-ross.livejournal.com/966006.html

Warhammer battle report Necrons vs Tyranids 1200 points
1200 point annihilation battle Necrons vs. Tyranids, dawn of war deployment. 4th edition tyranid codex against the 4th edition necron codex.

A necron force awakens to find their world has become infested with life. An annoying and aggressive life that needs to be cleansed. The nercon lord arose with his core troops and set an ambush. A monolith and some destroyers would backup the lord should this life force be stronger then what he can deal with.

(turn one)
The alien force themselves was a numerous horde of little clawed beasts and one larger mind leading them toward. The small horde would rush forward towards the nercon lord, ignoring the second group of warriors in their eagerness to rend the nercons. The larger one sprayed some thick acid towards the necron warriors. Three of them started to smoke, as the acid worked its way into their steel breasts. Only one falls as the self repair units are already knitting the others together.

The fallen necron gets back up as the repair units do their job. The tryanid hordes are weaving their way around a number of barriers. These same barriers were now giving the necrons difficultly in cutting them down with their gauss flayers. Only four of the little beasts would be ripped into their individual molecules.

(turn two)
But the screams of the little beasts must have excited the others creatures, as two giant creatures turned towards the necrons. Five larger then man creatures also arrived, acting with more brains then the little ones.

For the necrons however, it was the little ones that were their fixed attention. Two streams of them were flowing around the hill in the center, rushing towards the lord and his bodyguard. Before the little hordes could reach them the large Tyrant splashed more acid upon the warriors, but they were able to ignore such a biological attack with ease.

But as the little horrors reached the warriors, the nercon lord gave the signal to charge in turn. Lightning sparked and jumped between the warriors as they parried bone claws with ageless metal blades. Two warriors find themselves falling to the ground, their limbs removed. Four of the little creatures lay dead upon the ground. Any focus that they had was lost when they rushed and their fear had them flee away from the silent and emotionless warriors.

The necron lord with the cold mechanical skill of a man who has seen more years then a river holds water ordered his troops to cut down the fleeing creatures, wiping them all out.
(Failed leadership tests on the hormagaunt broods who lost combat, sweeping advance successful by the necrons because of the high initiative of the necron lord.)

Even as one of the fallen necron warriors arose, using his fellow fallen warriors head as his own the lord scanned the battlefield. Only nine creatures were out there, but another six in the distance. This battle should be quick indeed. Yet, there was something about the size of the creatures approaching that encouraged the lord to summon his support.

The warriors themselves dug into the ground they held and were prepared to push back the beasts. Fifteen yet unbloodied this battle watch as one large creature with huge claws and a weapon dripping acid approaches. The lord without a word orders his warriors to blast the original large creature. Their shots marked the shell of the creature but otherwise had no effect.

The destroyers also found their shots, for all they had larger gauss weapons, to have no effect upon the beast. The monolith, seeing the lack of success, uses it’s particle whip upon the Tyrant. The blast wounds the tyrant where the lesser weapons had failed.

(Five smaller tyranid warriors will arrive, this group with devourers and a barbed strangler. They join the first tyranid warriors who have deathspitters and a venom cannon. The hive tyrant has scything talons and a venom cannon as well as toxin sacs, bio-plasma and enhanced senses. One Carnifex has crushing claws, tusks, spine banks and a venom cannon. The second has scything talons, spine banks and a barbed strangler. The final carnifex, who doesn’t arrive on turn 3, has two pair of scything talons and bio-plasma.)

Now thirteen large creatures are moving towards the necrons. The large leader once more shoots acid over the warriors, this time two fall under its sticky weight. The one with the claws sprays acid over the monolith, but it is unable to find a crack in the living armour of the necron vehicle. The rest of the tyranid forces just run forward.

The necron force will stand fast to meet them. The gauss weaponry with its unnatural green light lashes out towards the approaching beasts. A beast with two large claws and a seed throwing gun was harmed by both the necron destroyers and the monolith, but it keeps going. The necron warriors led by the necron lord unload into the original large creature, scoring a minor injury for all the guns involved.

(turn four)
The Tryanids themselves kept moving forward. The large creatures all fired with their big guns, one necron warrior falling for their trouble. The little tyranid warriors opened up with their deathspitters and venom cannon on the same necron warriors having four more fall to the ground. The ragged line of the living was approaching the warriors.

The necron destroyers move back a bit as does the monolith. The approaching Tyranids will still have quite a run to get to them, but they are getting very close. The monolith fires into the creatures climbing upon a hill, but even a direct hit fails to kill any of them. (Three wounded) The warriors next to them blast into the clawed creature, but once again only minor wounds are inflicted. The destroyers shoot towards their target, but it refuses to fall. The warriors from their spot on the hill blast the creature that started all the trouble and finally are able to bring it down.

But the creatures are indeed getting close now.

(turn five)
One last large creature, this one all claws, arrives, while the rest move forward. Thirteen shapes remain, with the twelve that are in range all firing upon the necrons instead of running towards them. Two of the necron destroyers are surprised when the seed launched by the taloned beast explodes under them, growing quickly into a twisting vine and pulling them from the air. The same sort of pod grabs a number of the warriors by the meteorites, with another falls to a small slug like creature that was launched as part of a massive volley into them. Four warriors lie fallen, while two destroyers also drop. The necron lords own group weathers the attack much better, now that they know what to expect.

Neither destroyer is able to pull themselves together after their fall, but all the necron warriors get up. The monolith drifts toward, feeling itself indestructible and seeking to end the little creature threat. Between the particle whip and the gauss flux guns along the side four of those warriors on the hill fall, blasted into pieces. The necron warriors attempt to do the same with the large claws beast facing them, but fail to get even a minor wound. The necrons body guarding the necron lord fire into the approaching creatures, killing two for their trouble.

Seven creatures remain, all large and threatening, but perhaps not as much as they were at the start.

(turn six)
The beasts move forward, most blasting with their alien guns. The clawed giant beast melts one of the warriors under the acid spray before crashing into them like a train. The smaller creature on that side misses, perhaps because of the sheer bulk of the beast moving into his line of fire. The taloned beast with the seed pod fires his wide, but still catches the destroyer, only to have this experienced fellow escape damage. The other beasts pouring in kill three more necron warriors with their deathspitters and venom cannon.

The tusked and clawed beast smashing into the necrons had one last secret to share, the rows of spines along its back. One necron warrior gets a face full and falls, while three more are crushed between the claws. They fall into pieces to great to be repaired this battle. The great beast takes a wound from the necrons striking at hit, but otherwise it wins the battle. The fearless necrons see no reason to retreat and thus stay put, attempting to bring it down.

A total of seven warriors have been lost, while there are still seven beasts facing them. The necron lord is growing tired of taking all this damage and gestures a charge forward. The twelve remaining warriors fire into the beasts as they move forward, claiming two of them. The necron lord wounds the last one. The destroyer using his heavy gauss cannon finally strips enough of the matter from the taloned beast to finally bring it down. The monolith uses its guns to slay the final tyranid warrior, while the carnifex goes unharmed. The two scything talons carnifex takes the particle whip and has the wound.

In close combat the clawed beast is too slow to stop a warrior from blasting out a massive chunk of its chest. The rest finish it, reducing it into so many loose strips of flesh.

The two beasts that remain are not much of a problem (game ends.)

I think what did in the tyranids in this battle was the deployment. With only two troop choices on the table at the start it meant they had to pound across the table to get into combat at a disadvantage. Taking such a heavy force towards the large beast side of the scale was perhaps unwise, but with four monstrous targets if they could’ve reached close combat they would have pushed through the necrons in close combat. And once the necrons were reduced to eight people the monolith would no longer be much of a problem.

I was worried actually that the necrons were in trouble when the hormagaunts reached them on turn two. But under the 5th edition rules for close combat, once they lost with their low leadership they were in trouble. Breaking and being destroyed rather then being able to get back into the leadership range of the tyrant cost them.

But that charge is indeed something I would do again, as having the large block of warriors outnumbered and locked in combat slowing being pulled to pieces. I am also thinking of doing a rematch once I have the 5th edition Tyranid codex to see how they compare.

Necrons under fire on the hill from tyranid ranged attacks
effects of smoking on the brain
Image by jon_a_ross
Full battle report here
jon-a-ross.livejournal.com/966006.html

Warhammer battle report Necrons vs Tyranids 1200 points
1200 point annihilation battle Necrons vs. Tyranids, dawn of war deployment. 4th edition tyranid codex against the 4th edition necron codex.

A necron force awakens to find their world has become infested with life. An annoying and aggressive life that needs to be cleansed. The nercon lord arose with his core troops and set an ambush. A monolith and some destroyers would backup the lord should this life force be stronger then what he can deal with.

(turn one)
The alien force themselves was a numerous horde of little clawed beasts and one larger mind leading them toward. The small horde would rush forward towards the nercon lord, ignoring the second group of warriors in their eagerness to rend the nercons. The larger one sprayed some thick acid towards the necron warriors. Three of them started to smoke, as the acid worked its way into their steel breasts. Only one falls as the self repair units are already knitting the others together.

The fallen necron gets back up as the repair units do their job. The tryanid hordes are weaving their way around a number of barriers. These same barriers were now giving the necrons difficultly in cutting them down with their gauss flayers. Only four of the little beasts would be ripped into their individual molecules.

(turn two)
But the screams of the little beasts must have excited the others creatures, as two giant creatures turned towards the necrons. Five larger then man creatures also arrived, acting with more brains then the little ones.

For the necrons however, it was the little ones that were their fixed attention. Two streams of them were flowing around the hill in the center, rushing towards the lord and his bodyguard. Before the little hordes could reach them the large Tyrant splashed more acid upon the warriors, but they were able to ignore such a biological attack with ease.

But as the little horrors reached the warriors, the nercon lord gave the signal to charge in turn. Lightning sparked and jumped between the warriors as they parried bone claws with ageless metal blades. Two warriors find themselves falling to the ground, their limbs removed. Four of the little creatures lay dead upon the ground. Any focus that they had was lost when they rushed and their fear had them flee away from the silent and emotionless warriors.

The necron lord with the cold mechanical skill of a man who has seen more years then a river holds water ordered his troops to cut down the fleeing creatures, wiping them all out.
(Failed leadership tests on the hormagaunt broods who lost combat, sweeping advance successful by the necrons because of the high initiative of the necron lord.)

Even as one of the fallen necron warriors arose, using his fellow fallen warriors head as his own the lord scanned the battlefield. Only nine creatures were out there, but another six in the distance. This battle should be quick indeed. Yet, there was something about the size of the creatures approaching that encouraged the lord to summon his support.

The warriors themselves dug into the ground they held and were prepared to push back the beasts. Fifteen yet unbloodied this battle watch as one large creature with huge claws and a weapon dripping acid approaches. The lord without a word orders his warriors to blast the original large creature. Their shots marked the shell of the creature but otherwise had no effect.

The destroyers also found their shots, for all they had larger gauss weapons, to have no effect upon the beast. The monolith, seeing the lack of success, uses it’s particle whip upon the Tyrant. The blast wounds the tyrant where the lesser weapons had failed.

(Five smaller tyranid warriors will arrive, this group with devourers and a barbed strangler. They join the first tyranid warriors who have deathspitters and a venom cannon. The hive tyrant has scything talons and a venom cannon as well as toxin sacs, bio-plasma and enhanced senses. One Carnifex has crushing claws, tusks, spine banks and a venom cannon. The second has scything talons, spine banks and a barbed strangler. The final carnifex, who doesn’t arrive on turn 3, has two pair of scything talons and bio-plasma.)

Now thirteen large creatures are moving towards the necrons. The large leader once more shoots acid over the warriors, this time two fall under its sticky weight. The one with the claws sprays acid over the monolith, but it is unable to find a crack in the living armour of the necron vehicle. The rest of the tyranid forces just run forward.

The necron force will stand fast to meet them. The gauss weaponry with its unnatural green light lashes out towards the approaching beasts. A beast with two large claws and a seed throwing gun was harmed by both the necron destroyers and the monolith, but it keeps going. The necron warriors led by the necron lord unload into the original large creature, scoring a minor injury for all the guns involved.

(turn four)
The Tryanids themselves kept moving forward. The large creatures all fired with their big guns, one necron warrior falling for their trouble. The little tyranid warriors opened up with their deathspitters and venom cannon on the same necron warriors having four more fall to the ground. The ragged line of the living was approaching the warriors.

The necron destroyers move back a bit as does the monolith. The approaching Tyranids will still have quite a run to get to them, but they are getting very close. The monolith fires into the creatures climbing upon a hill, but even a direct hit fails to kill any of them. (Three wounded) The warriors next to them blast into the clawed creature, but once again only minor wounds are inflicted. The destroyers shoot towards their target, but it refuses to fall. The warriors from their spot on the hill blast the creature that started all the trouble and finally are able to bring it down.

But the creatures are indeed getting close now.

(turn five)
One last large creature, this one all claws, arrives, while the rest move forward. Thirteen shapes remain, with the twelve that are in range all firing upon the necrons instead of running towards them. Two of the necron destroyers are surprised when the seed launched by the taloned beast explodes under them, growing quickly into a twisting vine and pulling them from the air. The same sort of pod grabs a number of the warriors by the meteorites, with another falls to a small slug like creature that was launched as part of a massive volley into them. Four warriors lie fallen, while two destroyers also drop. The necron lords own group weathers the attack much better, now that they know what to expect.

Neither destroyer is able to pull themselves together after their fall, but all the necron warriors get up. The monolith drifts toward, feeling itself indestructible and seeking to end the little creature threat. Between the particle whip and the gauss flux guns along the side four of those warriors on the hill fall, blasted into pieces. The necron warriors attempt to do the same with the large claws beast facing them, but fail to get even a minor wound. The necrons body guarding the necron lord fire into the approaching creatures, killing two for their trouble.

Seven creatures remain, all large and threatening, but perhaps not as much as they were at the start.

(turn six)
The beasts move forward, most blasting with their alien guns. The clawed giant beast melts one of the warriors under the acid spray before crashing into them like a train. The smaller creature on that side misses, perhaps because of the sheer bulk of the beast moving into his line of fire. The taloned beast with the seed pod fires his wide, but still catches the destroyer, only to have this experienced fellow escape damage. The other beasts pouring in kill three more necron warriors with their deathspitters and venom cannon.

The tusked and clawed beast smashing into the necrons had one last secret to share, the rows of spines along its back. One necron warrior gets a face full and falls, while three more are crushed between the claws. They fall into pieces to great to be repaired this battle. The great beast takes a wound from the necrons striking at hit, but otherwise it wins the battle. The fearless necrons see no reason to retreat and thus stay put, attempting to bring it down.

A total of seven warriors have been lost, while there are still seven beasts facing them. The necron lord is growing tired of taking all this damage and gestures a charge forward. The twelve remaining warriors fire into the beasts as they move forward, claiming two of them. The necron lord wounds the last one. The destroyer using his heavy gauss cannon finally strips enough of the matter from the taloned beast to finally bring it down. The monolith uses its guns to slay the final tyranid warrior, while the carnifex goes unharmed. The two scything talons carnifex takes the particle whip and has the wound.

In close combat the clawed beast is too slow to stop a warrior from blasting out a massive chunk of its chest. The rest finish it, reducing it into so many loose strips of flesh.

The two beasts that remain are not much of a problem (game ends.)

I think what did in the tyranids in this battle was the deployment. With only two troop choices on the table at the start it meant they had to pound across the table to get into combat at a disadvantage. Taking such a heavy force towards the large beast side of the scale was perhaps unwise, but with four monstrous targets if they could’ve reached close combat they would have pushed through the necrons in close combat. And once the necrons were reduced to eight people the monolith would no longer be much of a problem.

I was worried actually that the necrons were in trouble when the hormagaunts reached them on turn two. But under the 5th edition rules for close combat, once they lost with their low leadership they were in trouble. Breaking and being destroyed rather then being able to get back into the leadership range of the tyrant cost them.

But that charge is indeed something I would do again, as having the large block of warriors outnumbered and locked in combat slowing being pulled to pieces. I am also thinking of doing a rematch once I have the 5th edition Tyranid codex to see how they compare.

Cool Alternative Smoke Shop photos

Some cool alternative smoke shop images:

The Waterstones on New Street in Birmingham
alternative smoke shop
Image by Wootang01
9.4.09
The flight arrived on time; and the twelve hours while on board passed quickly and without incident. To be sure, the quality of the Cathay Pacific service was exemplary once again.

Heathrow reminds me of Newark International. The décor comes straight out of the sterile 80’s and is less an eyesore than an insipid background to the rhythm of human activity, such hustle and bustle, at the fore. There certainly are faces from all races present, creating a rich mosaic of humanity which is refreshing if not completely revitalizing after swimming for so long in a sea of Chinese faces in Hong Kong.

Internet access is sealed in England, it seems. Nothing is free; everything is egregiously monetized from the wireless hotspots down to the desktop terminals. I guess Hong Kong has spoiled me with its abundant, free access to the information superhighway.

11.4.09
Despite staying in a room with five other backpackers, I have been sleeping well. The mattress and pillow are firm; my earplugs keep the noise out; and the sleeping quarters are as dark as a cave when the lights are out, and only as bright as, perhaps, a dreary rainy day when on. All in all, St. Paul’s is a excellent place to stay for the gregarious, adventurous, and penurious city explorer – couchsurfing may be a tenable alternative; I’ll test for next time.

Yesterday Connie and I gorged ourselves at the borough market where there were all sorts of delectable, savory victuals. There was definitely a European flavor to the food fair: simmering sausages were to be found everywhere; and much as the meat was plentiful, and genuine, so were the dairy delicacies, in the form of myriad rounds of cheese, stacked high behind checkered tabletops. Of course, we washed these tasty morsels down with copious amounts of alcohol that flowed from cups as though amber waterfalls. For the first time I tried mulled wine, which tasted like warm, rancid fruit punch – the ideal tonic for a drizzling London day, I suppose. We later killed the afternoon at the pub, shooting the breeze while imbibing several diminutive half-pints in the process. Getting smashed at four in the afternoon doesn’t seem like such a bad thing anymore, especially when you are having fun in the company of friends; I can more appreciate why the English do it so much!

Earlier in the day, we visited the Tate Modern. Its turbine room lived up to its prominent billing what with a giant spider, complete with bulbous egg sac, anchoring the retrospective exhibit. The permanent galleries, too, were a delight upon which to feast one’s eyes. Picasso, Warhol and Pollock ruled the chambers of the upper floors with the products of their lithe wrists; and I ended up becoming a huge fan of cubism, while developing a disdain for abstract art and its vacuous images, which, I feel, are devoid of both motivation and emotion.

My first trip yesterday morning was to Emirates Stadium, home of the Arsenal Gunners. It towers imperiously over the surrounding neighborhood; yet for all its majesty, the place sure was quiet! Business did pick up later, however, once the armory shop opened, and dozens of fans descended on it like bees to a hive. I, too, swooped in on a gift-buying mission, and wound up purchasing a book for Godfrey, a scarf for a student, and a jersey – on sale, of course – for good measure.

I’m sitting in the Westminster Abbey Museum now, resting my weary legs and burdened back. So far, I’ve been verily impressed with what I’ve seen, such a confluence of splendor and history before me that it would require days to absorb it all, when regretfully I can spare only a few hours. My favorite part of the abbey is the poets corner where no less a literary luminary than Samuel Johnson rests in peace – his bust confirms his homely presence, which was so vividly captured in his biography.

For lunch I had a steak and ale pie, served with mash, taken alongside a Guinness, extra cold – 2 degrees centigrade colder, the bartender explained. It went down well, like all the other delicious meals I’ve had in England; and no doubt by now I have grown accustomed to inebriation at half past two. Besides, Liverpool were playing inspired football against Blackburn; and my lunch was complete.

Having had my fill of football, I decided to skip my ticket scalping endeavor at Stamford Bridge and instead wandered over to the British Museum to inspect their extensive collections. Along the way, my eye caught a theater, its doors wide open and admitting customers. With much rapidity, I subsequently checked the show times, saw that a performance was set to begin, and at last rushed to the box office to purchase a discounted ticket – if you call a 40 pound ticket a deal, that is. That’s how I grabbed a seat to watch Hairspray in the West End.

The show was worth forty pounds. The music was addictive; and the stage design and effects were not so much kitschy as delightfully stimulating – the pulsating background lights were at once scintillating and penetrating. The actors as well were vivacious, oozing charisma while they danced and delivered lines dripping in humor. Hairspray is a quality production and most definitely recommended.

12.4.09
At breakfast I sat across from a man who asked me to which country Hong Kong had been returned – China or Japan. That was pretty funny. Then he started spitting on my food as he spoke, completely oblivious to my breakfast becoming the receptacle in which the fruit of his inner churl was being placed. I guess I understand the convention nowadays of covering one’s mouth whilst speaking and masticating at the same time!

We actually conversed on London life in general, and I praised London for its racial integration, the act of which is a prodigious leap of faith for any society, trying to be inclusive, accepting all sorts of people. It wasn’t as though the Brits were trying in vain to be all things to all men, using Spanish with the visitors from Spain, German with the Germans and, even, Hindi with the Indians, regardless of whether or not Hindi was their native language; not even considering the absurd idea of encouraging the international adoption of their language; thereby completely keeping English in English hands and allowing its proud polyglots to "practice" their languages. Indeed, the attempt of the Londoners to avail themselves of the rich mosaic of ethnic knowledge, and to seek a common understanding with a ubiquitous English accent is an exemplar, and the bedrock for any world city.

I celebrated Jesus’ resurrection at the St. Andrew’s Street Church in Cambridge. The parishioners of this Baptist church were warm and affable, and I met several of them, including one visiting (Halliday) linguistics scholar from Zhongshan university in Guangzhou, who in fact had visited my tiny City University of Hong Kong in 2003. The service itself was more traditional and the believers fewer in number than the "progressive" services at any of the charismatic, evangelical churches in HK; yet that’s what makes this part of the body of Christ unique; besides, the message was as brief as a powerpoint slide, and informative no less; the power word which spoke into my life being a question from John 21:22 – what is that to you?

Big trees; exquisite lawns; and old, pointy colleges; that’s Cambridge in a nutshell. Sitting here, sipping on a half-pint of Woodforde’s Wherry, I’ve had a leisurely, if not languorous, day so far; my sole duty consisting of walking around while absorbing the verdant environment as though a sponge, camera in tow.

I am back at the sublime beer, savoring a pint of Sharp’s DoomBar before my fish and chips arrive; the drinking age is 18, but anyone whose visage even hints of youthful brilliance is likely to get carded these days, the bartender told me. The youth drinking culture here is almost as twisted as the university drinking culture in America.

My stay in Cambridge, relaxing and desultory as it may be, is about to end after this late lunch. I an not sure if there is anything left to see, save for the American graveyard which rests an impossible two miles away. I have had a wonderful time in this town; and am thankful for the access into its living history – the residents here must demonstrate remarkable patience and tolerance what with so many tourists ambling on the streets, peering – and photographing – into every nook and cranny.

13.4.09
There are no rubbish bins, yet I’ve seen on the streets many mixed race couples in which the men tend to be white – the women also belonging to a light colored ethnicity, usually some sort of Asian; as well saw some black dudes and Indian dudes with white chicks.

People here hold doors, even at the entrance to the toilet. Sometimes it appears as though they are going out on a limb, just waiting for the one who will take the responsibility for the door from them, at which point I rush out to relieve them of such a fortuitous burden.

I visited the British Museum this morning. The two hours I spent there did neither myself nor the exhibits any justice because there really is too much to survey, enough captivating stuff to last an entire day, I think. The bottomless well of artifacts from antiquity, drawing from sources as diverse as Korea, and Mesopotamia, is a credit to the British empire, without whose looting most of this amazing booty would be unavailable for our purview; better, I think, for these priceless treasures to be open to all in the grandest supermarket of history than away from human eyes, and worst yet, in the hands of unscrupulous collectors or in the rubbish bin, possibly.

Irene and I took in the ballet Giselle at The Royal Opera House in the afternoon. The building is a plush marvel, and a testament to this city’s love for the arts. The ballet itself was satisfying, the first half being superior to the second, in which the nimble dancers demonstrated their phenomenal dexterity in, of all places, a graveyard covered in a cloak of smoke and darkness. I admit, their dance of the dead, in such a gloomy necropolis, did strike me as, strange.

Two amicable ladies from Kent convinced me to visit their hometown tomorrow, where, they told me, the authentic, "working" Leeds Castle and the mighty interesting home of Charles Darwin await.

I’m nursing a pint of Green King Ruddles and wondering about the profusion of British ales and lagers; the British have done a great deed for the world by creating an interminable line of low-alcohol session beers that can be enjoyed at breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner; and their disservice is this: besides this inexhaustible supply of cheap beer ensnaring my inner alcoholic, I feel myself putting on my freshman fifteen, almost ten years after the fact; I am going to have to run a bit harder back in Hong Kong if I want to burn all this malty fuel off.

Irene suggested I stop by the National Art Gallery since we were in the area; and it was an hour well spent. The gallery currently presents a special exhibit on Picasso, the non-ticketed section of which features several seductive renderings, including David spying on Bathsheba – repeated in clever variants – and parodies of other masters’ works. Furthermore, the main gallery houses two fabulous portraits by Joshua Reynolds, who happens to be favorite of mine, he in life being a close friend of Samuel Johnson – I passed by Boswells, where its namesake first met Johnson, on my way to the opera house.

14.4.09
I prayed last night, and went through my list, lifting everyone on it up to the Lord. That felt good; that God is alive now, and ever present in my life and in the lives of my brothers and sisters.

Doubtless, then, I have felt quite wistful, as though a specter in the land of the living, being in a place where religious fervor, it seems, is a thing of the past, a trifling for many, to be hidden away in the opaque corners of centuries-old cathedrals that are more expensive tourist destinations than liberating homes of worship these days. Indeed, I have yet to see anyone pray, outside of the Easter service which I attended in Cambridge – for such an ecstatic moment in verily a grand church, would you believe that it was only attended by at most three dozen spirited ones. The people of England, and Europe in general, have, it is my hope, only locked away the Word, relegating it to the quiet vault of their hearts. May it be taken out in the sudden pause before mealtimes and in the still crisp mornings and cool, silent nights. There is still hope for a revival in this place, for faith to rise like that splendid sun every morning. God would love to rescue them, to deliver them in this day, it is certain.

I wonder what Londoners think, if anything at all, about their police state which, like a vine in the shadows, has taken root in all corners of daily life, from the terrorist notifications in the underground, which implore Londoners to report all things suspicious, to the pair of dogs which eagerly stroll through Euston. What makes this all the more incredible is the fact that even the United States, the indomitable nemesis of the fledgling, rebel order, doesn’t dare bombard its citizens with such fear mongering these days, especially with Obama in office; maybe we’ve grown wise in these past few years to the dubious returns of surrendering civil liberties to the state, of having our bags checked everywhere – London Eye; Hairspray; and The Royal Opera House check bags in London while the museums do not; somehow, that doesn’t add up for me.

I’m in a majestic bookshop on New Street in Birmingham, and certainly to confirm my suspicions, there are just as many books on the death of Christianity in Britain as there are books which attempt to murder Christianity everywhere. I did find, however, a nice biography on John Wesley by Roy Hattersley and The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. I may pick up the former.

Lunch with Sally was pleasant and mirthful. We dined at a French restaurant nearby New Street – yes, Birmingham is a cultural capitol! Sally and I both tried their omelette, while her boyfriend had the fish, without chips. Conversation was light, the levity was there and so was our reminiscing about those fleeting moments during our first year in Hong Kong; it is amazing how friendships can resume so suddenly with a smile. On their recommendation, I am on my way to Warwick Castle – they also suggested that I visit Cadbury World, but they cannot take on additional visitors at the moment, the tourist office staff informed me, much to my disappointment!

Visiting Warwick Castle really made for a great day out. The castle, parts of which were established by William the Conquerer in 1068, is as much a kitschy tourist trap as a meticulous preservation of history, at times a sillier version of Ocean Park while at others a dignified dedication to a most glorious, inexorably English past. The castle caters to all visitors; and not surprisingly, that which delighted all audiences was a giant trebuchet siege engine, which for the five p.m. performance hurled a fireball high and far into the air – fantastic! Taliban beware!

15.4.09
I’m leaving on a jet plane this evening; don’t know when I’ll be back in England again. I’ll miss this quirky, yet endearing place; and that I shall miss Irene and Tom who so generously welcomed me into their home, fed me, and suffered my use of their toilet and shower goes without saying. I’m grateful for God’s many blessings on this trip.

On the itinerary today is a trip to John Wesley’s home, followed by a visit to the Imperial War Museum. Already this morning I picked up a tube of Oilatum, a week late perhaps, which Teri recommended I use to treat this obstinate, dermal weakness of mine – I’m happy to report that my skin has stopped crying.

John Wesley’s home is alive and well. Services are still held in the chapel everyday; and its crypt, so far from being a cellar for the dead, is a bright, spacious museum in which all things Wesley are on display – I never realized how much of an iconic figure he became in England; at the height of this idol frenzy, ironic in itself, he must have been as popular as the Beatles were at their apex. The house itself is a multi-story edifice with narrow, precipitous staircases and spacious rooms decorated in an 18th century fashion.

I found Samuel Johnson’s house within a maze of red brick hidden alongside Fleet Street. To be in the home of the man who wrote the English dictionary, and whose indefatigable love for obscure words became the inspiration for my own lexical obsession, this, by far, is the climax of my visit to England! The best certainly has been saved for last.

There are a multitude of portraits hanging around the house like ornaments on a tree. Every likeness has its own story, meticulously retold on the crib sheets in each room. Celebrities abound, including David Garrick and Sir Joshua Reynolds, who painted several of the finer images in the house. I have developed a particular affinity for Oliver Goldsmith, of whom Boswell writes, "His person was short, his countenance coarse and vulgar, his deportment that of a scholar awkwardly affecting the easy gentleman. It appears as though I, too, could use a more flattering description of myself!

I regretfully couldn’t stop to try the curry in England; I guess the CityU canteen’s take on the dish will have to do. I did, however, have the opportune task of flirting with the cute Cathay Pacific counter staff who checked me in. She was gorgeous in red, light powder on her cheeks, with real diamond earrings, she said; and her small, delicate face, commanded by a posh British accent rendered her positively irresistible, electrifying. Not only did she grant me an aisle seat but she had the gumption to return my fawning with zest; she must be a pro at this by now.

I saw her again as she was pulling double-duty, collecting tickets prior to boarding. She remembered my quest for curry; and in the fog of infatuation, where nary a man has been made, I fumbled my words like the sloppy kid who has had too much punch. I am just an amateur, alas, an "Oliver Goldsmith" with the ladies – I got no game – booyah!

Some final, consequential bits: because of the chavs, Burberry no longer sells those fashionable baseball caps; because of the IRA, rubbish bins are no longer a commodity on the streets of London, and as a result, the streets and the Underground of the city are a soiled mess; and because of other terrorists from distant, more arid lands, going through a Western airport has taken on the tedium of perfunctory procedure that doesn’t make me feel any safer from my invisible enemies.

At last, I saw so many Indians working at Heathrow that I could have easily mistaken the place for Mumbai. Their presence surprised me because their portion of the general population surely must be less than their portion of Heathrow staff, indicating some mysterious hiring bias. Regardless, they do a superb job with cursory airport checks, and in general are absurdly funny and witty when not tactless.

That’s all for England!

Irene at the Grocer in Chinatown
alternative smoke shop
Image by Wootang01
9.4.09
The flight arrived on time; and the twelve hours while on board passed quickly and without incident. To be sure, the quality of the Cathay Pacific service was exemplary once again.

Heathrow reminds me of Newark International. The décor comes straight out of the sterile 80’s and is less an eyesore than an insipid background to the rhythm of human activity, such hustle and bustle, at the fore. There certainly are faces from all races present, creating a rich mosaic of humanity which is refreshing if not completely revitalizing after swimming for so long in a sea of Chinese faces in Hong Kong.

Internet access is sealed in England, it seems. Nothing is free; everything is egregiously monetized from the wireless hotspots down to the desktop terminals. I guess Hong Kong has spoiled me with its abundant, free access to the information superhighway.

11.4.09
Despite staying in a room with five other backpackers, I have been sleeping well. The mattress and pillow are firm; my earplugs keep the noise out; and the sleeping quarters are as dark as a cave when the lights are out, and only as bright as, perhaps, a dreary rainy day when on. All in all, St. Paul’s is a excellent place to stay for the gregarious, adventurous, and penurious city explorer – couchsurfing may be a tenable alternative; I’ll test for next time.

Yesterday Connie and I gorged ourselves at the borough market where there were all sorts of delectable, savory victuals. There was definitely a European flavor to the food fair: simmering sausages were to be found everywhere; and much as the meat was plentiful, and genuine, so were the dairy delicacies, in the form of myriad rounds of cheese, stacked high behind checkered tabletops. Of course, we washed these tasty morsels down with copious amounts of alcohol that flowed from cups as though amber waterfalls. For the first time I tried mulled wine, which tasted like warm, rancid fruit punch – the ideal tonic for a drizzling London day, I suppose. We later killed the afternoon at the pub, shooting the breeze while imbibing several diminutive half-pints in the process. Getting smashed at four in the afternoon doesn’t seem like such a bad thing anymore, especially when you are having fun in the company of friends; I can more appreciate why the English do it so much!

Earlier in the day, we visited the Tate Modern. Its turbine room lived up to its prominent billing what with a giant spider, complete with bulbous egg sac, anchoring the retrospective exhibit. The permanent galleries, too, were a delight upon which to feast one’s eyes. Picasso, Warhol and Pollock ruled the chambers of the upper floors with the products of their lithe wrists; and I ended up becoming a huge fan of cubism, while developing a disdain for abstract art and its vacuous images, which, I feel, are devoid of both motivation and emotion.

My first trip yesterday morning was to Emirates Stadium, home of the Arsenal Gunners. It towers imperiously over the surrounding neighborhood; yet for all its majesty, the place sure was quiet! Business did pick up later, however, once the armory shop opened, and dozens of fans descended on it like bees to a hive. I, too, swooped in on a gift-buying mission, and wound up purchasing a book for Godfrey, a scarf for a student, and a jersey – on sale, of course – for good measure.

I’m sitting in the Westminster Abbey Museum now, resting my weary legs and burdened back. So far, I’ve been verily impressed with what I’ve seen, such a confluence of splendor and history before me that it would require days to absorb it all, when regretfully I can spare only a few hours. My favorite part of the abbey is the poets corner where no less a literary luminary than Samuel Johnson rests in peace – his bust confirms his homely presence, which was so vividly captured in his biography.

For lunch I had a steak and ale pie, served with mash, taken alongside a Guinness, extra cold – 2 degrees centigrade colder, the bartender explained. It went down well, like all the other delicious meals I’ve had in England; and no doubt by now I have grown accustomed to inebriation at half past two. Besides, Liverpool were playing inspired football against Blackburn; and my lunch was complete.

Having had my fill of football, I decided to skip my ticket scalping endeavor at Stamford Bridge and instead wandered over to the British Museum to inspect their extensive collections. Along the way, my eye caught a theater, its doors wide open and admitting customers. With much rapidity, I subsequently checked the show times, saw that a performance was set to begin, and at last rushed to the box office to purchase a discounted ticket – if you call a 40 pound ticket a deal, that is. That’s how I grabbed a seat to watch Hairspray in the West End.

The show was worth forty pounds. The music was addictive; and the stage design and effects were not so much kitschy as delightfully stimulating – the pulsating background lights were at once scintillating and penetrating. The actors as well were vivacious, oozing charisma while they danced and delivered lines dripping in humor. Hairspray is a quality production and most definitely recommended.

12.4.09
At breakfast I sat across from a man who asked me to which country Hong Kong had been returned – China or Japan. That was pretty funny. Then he started spitting on my food as he spoke, completely oblivious to my breakfast becoming the receptacle in which the fruit of his inner churl was being placed. I guess I understand the convention nowadays of covering one’s mouth whilst speaking and masticating at the same time!

We actually conversed on London life in general, and I praised London for its racial integration, the act of which is a prodigious leap of faith for any society, trying to be inclusive, accepting all sorts of people. It wasn’t as though the Brits were trying in vain to be all things to all men, using Spanish with the visitors from Spain, German with the Germans and, even, Hindi with the Indians, regardless of whether or not Hindi was their native language; not even considering the absurd idea of encouraging the international adoption of their language; thereby completely keeping English in English hands and allowing its proud polyglots to "practice" their languages. Indeed, the attempt of the Londoners to avail themselves of the rich mosaic of ethnic knowledge, and to seek a common understanding with a ubiquitous English accent is an exemplar, and the bedrock for any world city.

I celebrated Jesus’ resurrection at the St. Andrew’s Street Church in Cambridge. The parishioners of this Baptist church were warm and affable, and I met several of them, including one visiting (Halliday) linguistics scholar from Zhongshan university in Guangzhou, who in fact had visited my tiny City University of Hong Kong in 2003. The service itself was more traditional and the believers fewer in number than the "progressive" services at any of the charismatic, evangelical churches in HK; yet that’s what makes this part of the body of Christ unique; besides, the message was as brief as a powerpoint slide, and informative no less; the power word which spoke into my life being a question from John 21:22 – what is that to you?

Big trees; exquisite lawns; and old, pointy colleges; that’s Cambridge in a nutshell. Sitting here, sipping on a half-pint of Woodforde’s Wherry, I’ve had a leisurely, if not languorous, day so far; my sole duty consisting of walking around while absorbing the verdant environment as though a sponge, camera in tow.

I am back at the sublime beer, savoring a pint of Sharp’s DoomBar before my fish and chips arrive; the drinking age is 18, but anyone whose visage even hints of youthful brilliance is likely to get carded these days, the bartender told me. The youth drinking culture here is almost as twisted as the university drinking culture in America.

My stay in Cambridge, relaxing and desultory as it may be, is about to end after this late lunch. I an not sure if there is anything left to see, save for the American graveyard which rests an impossible two miles away. I have had a wonderful time in this town; and am thankful for the access into its living history – the residents here must demonstrate remarkable patience and tolerance what with so many tourists ambling on the streets, peering – and photographing – into every nook and cranny.

13.4.09
There are no rubbish bins, yet I’ve seen on the streets many mixed race couples in which the men tend to be white – the women also belonging to a light colored ethnicity, usually some sort of Asian; as well saw some black dudes and Indian dudes with white chicks.

People here hold doors, even at the entrance to the toilet. Sometimes it appears as though they are going out on a limb, just waiting for the one who will take the responsibility for the door from them, at which point I rush out to relieve them of such a fortuitous burden.

I visited the British Museum this morning. The two hours I spent there did neither myself nor the exhibits any justice because there really is too much to survey, enough captivating stuff to last an entire day, I think. The bottomless well of artifacts from antiquity, drawing from sources as diverse as Korea, and Mesopotamia, is a credit to the British empire, without whose looting most of this amazing booty would be unavailable for our purview; better, I think, for these priceless treasures to be open to all in the grandest supermarket of history than away from human eyes, and worst yet, in the hands of unscrupulous collectors or in the rubbish bin, possibly.

Irene and I took in the ballet Giselle at The Royal Opera House in the afternoon. The building is a plush marvel, and a testament to this city’s love for the arts. The ballet itself was satisfying, the first half being superior to the second, in which the nimble dancers demonstrated their phenomenal dexterity in, of all places, a graveyard covered in a cloak of smoke and darkness. I admit, their dance of the dead, in such a gloomy necropolis, did strike me as, strange.

Two amicable ladies from Kent convinced me to visit their hometown tomorrow, where, they told me, the authentic, "working" Leeds Castle and the mighty interesting home of Charles Darwin await.

I’m nursing a pint of Green King Ruddles and wondering about the profusion of British ales and lagers; the British have done a great deed for the world by creating an interminable line of low-alcohol session beers that can be enjoyed at breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner; and their disservice is this: besides this inexhaustible supply of cheap beer ensnaring my inner alcoholic, I feel myself putting on my freshman fifteen, almost ten years after the fact; I am going to have to run a bit harder back in Hong Kong if I want to burn all this malty fuel off.

Irene suggested I stop by the National Art Gallery since we were in the area; and it was an hour well spent. The gallery currently presents a special exhibit on Picasso, the non-ticketed section of which features several seductive renderings, including David spying on Bathsheba – repeated in clever variants – and parodies of other masters’ works. Furthermore, the main gallery houses two fabulous portraits by Joshua Reynolds, who happens to be favorite of mine, he in life being a close friend of Samuel Johnson – I passed by Boswells, where its namesake first met Johnson, on my way to the opera house.

14.4.09
I prayed last night, and went through my list, lifting everyone on it up to the Lord. That felt good; that God is alive now, and ever present in my life and in the lives of my brothers and sisters.

Doubtless, then, I have felt quite wistful, as though a specter in the land of the living, being in a place where religious fervor, it seems, is a thing of the past, a trifling for many, to be hidden away in the opaque corners of centuries-old cathedrals that are more expensive tourist destinations than liberating homes of worship these days. Indeed, I have yet to see anyone pray, outside of the Easter service which I attended in Cambridge – for such an ecstatic moment in verily a grand church, would you believe that it was only attended by at most three dozen spirited ones. The people of England, and Europe in general, have, it is my hope, only locked away the Word, relegating it to the quiet vault of their hearts. May it be taken out in the sudden pause before mealtimes and in the still crisp mornings and cool, silent nights. There is still hope for a revival in this place, for faith to rise like that splendid sun every morning. God would love to rescue them, to deliver them in this day, it is certain.

I wonder what Londoners think, if anything at all, about their police state which, like a vine in the shadows, has taken root in all corners of daily life, from the terrorist notifications in the underground, which implore Londoners to report all things suspicious, to the pair of dogs which eagerly stroll through Euston. What makes this all the more incredible is the fact that even the United States, the indomitable nemesis of the fledgling, rebel order, doesn’t dare bombard its citizens with such fear mongering these days, especially with Obama in office; maybe we’ve grown wise in these past few years to the dubious returns of surrendering civil liberties to the state, of having our bags checked everywhere – London Eye; Hairspray; and The Royal Opera House check bags in London while the museums do not; somehow, that doesn’t add up for me.

I’m in a majestic bookshop on New Street in Birmingham, and certainly to confirm my suspicions, there are just as many books on the death of Christianity in Britain as there are books which attempt to murder Christianity everywhere. I did find, however, a nice biography on John Wesley by Roy Hattersley and The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. I may pick up the former.

Lunch with Sally was pleasant and mirthful. We dined at a French restaurant nearby New Street – yes, Birmingham is a cultural capitol! Sally and I both tried their omelette, while her boyfriend had the fish, without chips. Conversation was light, the levity was there and so was our reminiscing about those fleeting moments during our first year in Hong Kong; it is amazing how friendships can resume so suddenly with a smile. On their recommendation, I am on my way to Warwick Castle – they also suggested that I visit Cadbury World, but they cannot take on additional visitors at the moment, the tourist office staff informed me, much to my disappointment!

Visiting Warwick Castle really made for a great day out. The castle, parts of which were established by William the Conquerer in 1068, is as much a kitschy tourist trap as a meticulous preservation of history, at times a sillier version of Ocean Park while at others a dignified dedication to a most glorious, inexorably English past. The castle caters to all visitors; and not surprisingly, that which delighted all audiences was a giant trebuchet siege engine, which for the five p.m. performance hurled a fireball high and far into the air – fantastic! Taliban beware!

15.4.09
I’m leaving on a jet plane this evening; don’t know when I’ll be back in England again. I’ll miss this quirky, yet endearing place; and that I shall miss Irene and Tom who so generously welcomed me into their home, fed me, and suffered my use of their toilet and shower goes without saying. I’m grateful for God’s many blessings on this trip.

On the itinerary today is a trip to John Wesley’s home, followed by a visit to the Imperial War Museum. Already this morning I picked up a tube of Oilatum, a week late perhaps, which Teri recommended I use to treat this obstinate, dermal weakness of mine – I’m happy to report that my skin has stopped crying.

John Wesley’s home is alive and well. Services are still held in the chapel everyday; and its crypt, so far from being a cellar for the dead, is a bright, spacious museum in which all things Wesley are on display – I never realized how much of an iconic figure he became in England; at the height of this idol frenzy, ironic in itself, he must have been as popular as the Beatles were at their apex. The house itself is a multi-story edifice with narrow, precipitous staircases and spacious rooms decorated in an 18th century fashion.

I found Samuel Johnson’s house within a maze of red brick hidden alongside Fleet Street. To be in the home of the man who wrote the English dictionary, and whose indefatigable love for obscure words became the inspiration for my own lexical obsession, this, by far, is the climax of my visit to England! The best certainly has been saved for last.

There are a multitude of portraits hanging around the house like ornaments on a tree. Every likeness has its own story, meticulously retold on the crib sheets in each room. Celebrities abound, including David Garrick and Sir Joshua Reynolds, who painted several of the finer images in the house. I have developed a particular affinity for Oliver Goldsmith, of whom Boswell writes, "His person was short, his countenance coarse and vulgar, his deportment that of a scholar awkwardly affecting the easy gentleman. It appears as though I, too, could use a more flattering description of myself!

I regretfully couldn’t stop to try the curry in England; I guess the CityU canteen’s take on the dish will have to do. I did, however, have the opportune task of flirting with the cute Cathay Pacific counter staff who checked me in. She was gorgeous in red, light powder on her cheeks, with real diamond earrings, she said; and her small, delicate face, commanded by a posh British accent rendered her positively irresistible, electrifying. Not only did she grant me an aisle seat but she had the gumption to return my fawning with zest; she must be a pro at this by now.

I saw her again as she was pulling double-duty, collecting tickets prior to boarding. She remembered my quest for curry; and in the fog of infatuation, where nary a man has been made, I fumbled my words like the sloppy kid who has had too much punch. I am just an amateur, alas, an "Oliver Goldsmith" with the ladies – I got no game – booyah!

Some final, consequential bits: because of the chavs, Burberry no longer sells those fashionable baseball caps; because of the IRA, rubbish bins are no longer a commodity on the streets of London, and as a result, the streets and the Underground of the city are a soiled mess; and because of other terrorists from distant, more arid lands, going through a Western airport has taken on the tedium of perfunctory procedure that doesn’t make me feel any safer from my invisible enemies.

At last, I saw so many Indians working at Heathrow that I could have easily mistaken the place for Mumbai. Their presence surprised me because their portion of the general population surely must be less than their portion of Heathrow staff, indicating some mysterious hiring bias. Regardless, they do a superb job with cursory airport checks, and in general are absurdly funny and witty when not tactless.

That’s all for England!

Top Shop protest, Oxford Street, London – 26 March 2011
alternative smoke shop
Image by chrisjohnbeckett

Cool Hi Times Smoke Shop photos

A few nice hi times smoke shop images I found:


hi times smoke shop
Image by wakingphotolife:
(Sunday cont.)

When the sheriffs let me out of county, it was my brother who came to pick me up. Doug. 18 years, fresh out of high school, skinny, short, spoke with a speech impediment and under-bit jaw. Soft spoken, sensitive, shy and loyal. Douglas. My brother. Braces and retainers throughout the most exciting years of his life. Instead of smoking pot and shop lifting, he spent his time by himself in record shops finding heavy metal records. Doug Funny everyone called him. When I was a senior then, he was only a freshmen.

"Did you tell mom and dad?" I said.
"No."
"Thanks. I’ll tell them myself."
"What happened?" he said.
"They said I was drunk driving."
"Were you?"
"I don’t know."
"Where’s the car?"
"At the tow yard. It’s totaled."
"You should be glad you’re fucking alive and that you didn’t kill anyone."
"I know."
"Fuck you John."
"I know. Sorry."

He wasn’t about his car. He was mad about me. As his brother, I was always causing shit for everyone. So rarely mad. Never cursed at me like that before. Ever. My baby brother. My only brother. I knew he wanted to say: Why do you keep doing this to yourself John?

Me: a young twenty one at the time, coming from a party at four in the morning. Hit a guard rail and did a 360 in the middle of the freeway a few miles past the Golden Gate Bridge. Car was smashed in from the front. Axle twisted enough so that wheel was parallel to the ground. I guessed this is what kept the car from flipping over too. A few miles earlier and I would not be here. I would be in San Francisco Bay with the car. Or could have been worse. Could have hit a tree. Funny. There are a lot of trees on that part of the highway 101. But none for me.

Doug. My brother. My sweet brother. Was pissed but didn’t say anything else. I was grateful that he came to get me. They put me in the cell for 18 hours. Took my tie and shoe laces. The floor of the detox is not concrete but a funny plastic texture. Cold, and like a rubber mallet. "Where’s my phone call?" I said to the deputy.
"If you have coins."
Fuck, I thought. They were laughing at me. The sheriffs. People only get phone calls on TV cop shows.
I called Doug collect and left a message. It was 5:30 in the morning.

He drove two hours, all the way to Marin County Jail in San Rafael to pick me up. Didn’t say anything when we drove up to the tow-yard. We actually bought McDonald’s on the way there. Didn’t say anything when he saw the car he had spent the last year and a half trying to pay off. A red Nissan Fairlady Z with twin turbos, aftermarket intake, exhaust and racing rims. Now sat like a broken red nail. Doug, my brother who did not know how to be angry at family could not say anything else while looking at his car.

Parents didn’t cry. Mom asked me to go to the hospital ER to get my head checked out. I thought she meant it so I went. Doug drove me to Kaiser. When I came back, she asked me, “Where did you guys go?” My dad locked himself in his room. Something I would do.

DUI Laywers. Court cases. Community service. Fines. Accident fees. Hiked up car insurance. Unable to get to work. Lost work. No license to work. No legs. No mobility. Lost year. "Fuck it!"

During this year, two months after the accident, Doug joined the marines. Hoo-rah. Went to Camp Pendleton for a bit. Got buff. Got tanned. Came home with a crew cut. Sweet brother Doug no more. But still shy, still soft spoken, still loyal. Still spoke with a speech impediment and underbit jaw. Would have surgery on it later, one of the many surgeries he would have. "I just shut up and shoot," he said.
“What the hell?” I said.

My mom caressed his shaved head. Jar-head now. My dad came outside and we had a barbecue. Drank Heineken’s in the backyard and had bulgogi style beef and Chinese short ribs. No hamburgers and hot dogs here. What are we, white?

We never talked about the car. I never paid him back for it either. But he was joining the marines during wartime. Who would had ever thought? How could you talk about anything else?

Doug invited his girlfriend with him. Dougy, she called him. She had a kid too but we did not this until after he left.

Very cliche. Soldier warrior leaves for battle. Proposes before he gets sent off. Child birthed while he was overseas. My brother couldn’t have reenacted it better. My brother. The one who kept Captain America and Batman comics under his bed.

He got on one knee and proposed to Connie. Right there on the backyard lawn. There was only for of us. Mom gasped and cried. Dad didn’t know what the hell was going on and was flipping meat over the Weber grill. Me: I yelled at him, "Fuck you Doug!" but in a happy way. "Hoo-fuckin’-rah! You’re bitch made now." I kept laughing. Boyz II Men start playing in my head.
"Watch your mouth boy. Don’t talk to him like that," my dad said.
Dougy and I looked at him. It’s alright, Dougy was saying. We’re family. He’s happy for me too.

Weeks later, they sent him to Iraq. His humvee column hit an IED on the way back to base. He lost a leg. Another cliche. Mom cried. Dad locked himself in his room for the second time. Connie, I could never forget her face that day. We couldn’t have written it any better.

They sent him to San Antonio first, Brooks Army Medical Center, before he came home. When he came back, he only stayed a few days. He was going to move in with Connie, who was in Santa Barbara with her family. He leave the day after. When I brought him from the airport, my dad came out to look at his sons.

Me, standing there. The one always causing shit. The one who went to college but was wasting away. Doug, the good one. The soft spoken shy sweet son. The sensitive and loyal one. The one who barely made it through school and made mom cry in all kinds of way, but never through his own fault.

Me: standing on two legs next to Doug. Doug: next to me with only one. The other half was his Navy colored uniform pants tucked underneath him. No wonder the first thing my dad did was punch me in the face. I didn’t say anything.
“Fuck you shit John!” he said. "Get out of my house! Get out! Get out!"
"See you later man," I said to Doug and left.

But I knew it wasn’t me he was really mad at. He didn’t mean to say that to me.

At night, we went out to the bar and he got smashed. He cried in the car while I drove him home. After that, I didn’t see Doug for a while. When I did, we were "grown ass men" by then who didn’t talk about feelings and memories.

A hot dog, a soda, a churro. A drive down to Pismo Beach. I realized that Santa Barbara was not that far from Pismo. It had been three years already. Junior should be almost ten now.

After calling Louis, I called Doug and told him I was coming down to Santa Barbara.
"What?" he said. He didn’t believe me.
"I said I’ll be there in six hours."
"Why all of a sudden?"
"A friend told me that when a person is busy being sad about them self, they forget about the rest of the world. I missed my brother. Is that not a reason."
I could hear something crash in the background.
"Alright alright. I’ll see you then."
"Later."
"Call me when you get here."


hi times smoke shop
Image by wakingphotolife:
I waited for her everyday at Exit A. It’s the exit that is closest to the APM shopping mall and the stairs on the other side will lead you onto the street that leads into the center of Kwun Tong. If you go to the end, where the railing and concrete barrier is, every few minutes, you can see and hear the MTR travel by in its muted roar.

Many people wait here. It is its most busiest during the late afternoon and early evening rush hour. People wait for their lovers. People wait for their friends and classmate. They stand by the railing smoking cigarettes, playing their hand-held games, seclude themselves into their headphones, or check the texts on their cell phones. I waited here everyday for her. She worked at a bank office during the day and went to school every night. I met her during her transition period when she transferred from one side of Hong Kong to the other. There was only enough time for a quick meal and we went through our daily ritual — "How was work?", "What did you do today?", "Have you ate yet?" — quickly. Then we would have a period of silence as we walked through the crowded streets.

It was a suffering existence. I use the word suffering because that is how we treated it and how we had felt. It suffered to be apart from each other. Enough that over time, even though we had lived under the same roof and shared the same bedroom, we had become ghosts to each other: the empty coffee cups left on the kitchen counter, dishes unwashed in the sink, the air conditioner suddenly turned on when it had been off, the ironing board that was hot to touch. And then there were the transitions: I would there early and look at the MTR travel by in it’s muted roar, the people around me, the people on the blurring by above me, and at 5:30 she would be coming from the end of the walkway. And I would wave and she would wave back. And I’d hug her and she’d hug me back. There is only so much that you can do in such short time.

During dinner one night, where they placed your cup of milk tea onto a bowl of ice to prevent the dilution that’s cause from melting ice, I told her, "I don’t feel like I know you anymore. And I want to know you again." She looked out the window at the MTR that you could feel and see whenever it came by, "But you do know me. What’s wrong? You’ve become so needy," she said.
"I’m not needy, I just feel like we’ve become indifferent; like routines that we go through everyday."
"I think you are trying hard to think about it; just let things go. The harder you try to analyze and think about things, the less you’ll know. And I’ll become unknowable."
I didn’t really understand her, but she had the feeling of being right.

We walked to the bus station down the street. I’d ride the bus with her to school. She would change out of her heels into her Converses. And I’d put them into my bag for her to bring back home. It was close to a two hour trip on some days including the walk to the front of the school. But what difference does two hours make in the end.


hi times smoke shop
Image by wakingphotolife:
"So what did she say?"
"She said, she said she cant’ make it and has other things to do."
"What things?"
"I don’t know. Why don’t you ask her for yourself?"
"I don’t want to. She’s probably screwing around with that guy."
"Which one?"
"The one who works at the hotel, the one from Shenzhen."
"Oh him."
"Let’s go."
"I don’t see why you’re getting worked up about it."
"I’m not."

They walked back across the bridge and into the rundown shopping plaza. Some of the men who loitered around town crowded around a window to watch Miss Hong Kong on the television screen. On other days, they would be rooted to turned up buckets crouched over wooden boards and chess pieces. But not today.

They forced a path through the gawkers. "Hey, watch were you going?"
"Why don’t you fuck off."

He unchained the motorbike and put the chain into the storage compartment on the back and then got on. She stepped lightly and quickly on a peg on the kickstand and straddled the seat behind him.

The engine reverberated along the alleyway as they joined the rest of the traffic along the ride. She reached over his shoulder and removed the carton of cigarettes from his breast pocket, removing one and gripping it between her lips with her chin on his shoulder. She then reached into his pocket and removed the lighter. With her arm reaching across his chest and underneath his chin, she lit it.

"What the hell are you doing?"
"Smoking."
"How many times have I told you to not put that thing near my face."
"Lighten up."

He unlocked and opened the door to the apartment. It was small and spare. The ceiling leaked during half the year and for that, they lined buckets underneath its drip along the corner. Occasionally, the floor drain in the kitchen would flood over. It splashed as he stopped over a small line of tiles on the other side of the door.

"Fuck. It’s flooded again."
"Do you want me to get the mop and the towels?"
"No. Just leave it. I’ll take care of it later. Let’s check the bedroom first."

She sat on the edge of the bed, facing the television as he propped himself up on one elbow and drank. As she watched, he observed the curve within the bottom of her neck line.

"Who do you think’s going to win this year?"
"None of them, if I had my choice."
"Well, choose one."
"The one on the left then."
"That one?"
"No. Number 14, the one over there."
"Are you serious?"
"Yeah, why?"
"She’s ugly."

He placed the cup on the window sill. It began to rice outside. Soon, they would hear the droplets as they hit the bottom of the empty plastic bucket.
"Do you still want to go?"
"No, it’s raining. I don’t think it’s going to stop for the night."
"That’s too bad, I really wanted to go."
"Maybe tomorrow. My sister can go with you then."

"I’m going downstairs to cover the motorbike."

He took the blue tarp from the corner of the room and walked down the flight of stairs and to the sidewalk. He threw it over the length of the motorbike and tied it down, looping the rope through the spokes of the wheels. It rained harder as he worked while around him, interior lights along the sidewalks shops and buildings gradually turned on.

He looked up at the window of their apartment on the fifteenth floor. She opened the window and shouted down, "Hey! The one you picked! She won! Hurry and come watch with me."

He looked at her and then past her. The drops fell directly on this face and with his eyes open, he could almost see them form from nothing, tiny shards of light that shone briefly before they landed.

Cool Rolling Papers Free Shipping images

Some cool rolling papers free shipping images:

Dramway to Railway
rolling papers free shipping
Image by brizzle born and bred
As Our first local ‘railway’, the historic Dramway certainly deserves room in the history books. Its construction straddled that period between horse-drawn transport, such as carts and canal barges, and the newly invented steam engine.

Although there is no recognised origin of the word ‘dramway’, it is used locally to describe a narrow railway connected with, and used by the coal industry. Whilst not identified as such in a dictionary, the word ’dram’ appears to be a South Gloucestershire colloquialism or sobriquet for the coal carrying truck, but may just be the local mispronunciation of the word ‘tram’, which is used to describe the same type of vehicle in other parts of the Country. Locally, the dramway was constructed to convey coal from the coalfields at Coalpit Heath to the River Avon at Keynsham, having on its route connected up with other mines at Westerleigh, Mangotsfield, Syston, North Common and Oldland Common.

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Problems with coal transportation

In this day and age of modern roads, it is perhaps surprising that Mine Owners should have contemplated, not only the need, but were also prepared to meet the cost of , constructing such a railed track over so many miles, just to get their coal as far as the river, and for it then to have to be transferred to barges, before the coal could arrive in the market place of either Bristol or Bath.

However, the state of the roads at the end of the eighteenth century, and into the beginning of the nineteenth century, was so bad that the mine owners had little choice. The owners were, after all, business men with a constant eye for profit, and it was soon realised that the construction of such a circuitous route would not only ease the carriage of coal, it would also lower the cost of transportation.

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from the coalfields to the customer

As the nineteenth century developed, the demand for coal grew at an ever increasing rate, and many ideas were put forward to bring the product from the coalfields to the customer more quickly and, importantly, at less cost. In 1803, a proposal was put forward by the Wilts & Berks Canal Co. to build a railroad from Pucklechurch and Coalpit Heath to the Avon near Keynsham. Although this proposal was supported by the Kennet & Avon Canal Company, nothing seems to have come from it. Some 9 years later, a John Blackwell surveyed a route from Coalpit Heath to the River Avon, but was unable to recommend that a railway line should be built, on the grounds that the proposed route was too hilly, and it would mean that the line would have to be very crooked.

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A further 15 years were to pass before the matter of getting the coal to the river was resurrected, and with the increasing need to bring the coal to the customer, there was perhaps a greater urgency to get things done. After a number of frustrating delays, an Act of Parliament to build the line received the Royal assent on the 19th June 1828.

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From Coalpit Heath to River Avon

As Coalpit Heath is some 400ft. above the level of the River Avon at Keynsham, the railroad was carefully graded so that full trucks could "free-wheel" from the mine to either Londonderry Wharf at Willsbridge, for onward shipment to Bristol or, to Town Wharf for onward shipment to Bath and onto London.

The practice of the day was to collect a number of trucks together to form a train which would travel at around a walking pace. (ie 3-4 miles per hour) Each truck was about 9ft.long, and built on a railway standard gauge wheel base of 4’8" wide. It could carry 4 tons of coal in its wooden body which had sloping ends for ease of tipping, and ran on four – 30" diameter iron flanged wheels. The only motive power ever used on the line was that provided by the horse who pulled the trucks whilst walking between the rails, with the driver walking beside the wagons in order to operate the brake.

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Horsepower

For the journey to the river, the hardest job for both man and horse was to prevent the wagons from over-running the downward gradient. On at least one occasion, a driver failed to apply the spragg (ie the long handle), to the brake lever on the wagon quickly enough, which caused the loaded vehicles to gather speed, pushing the horse in front of them. Before the driver was able to recover the position, the speed and force of the train was such that the poor unfortunate horse was tripped to the ground and killed as the wagons crashed into it. Almost certainly other instances of a similar nature took place but, this would appear to be the only time that the horse was killed whilst still on the track.

More often than not, the horse carried out its work unattended, although, with the majority of the route consisting of a single track, there must have been some form of control/signalling, so that the down loaded wagons could pass with safety, the up empties.

Each mine would have its own trucks, which under the conditions of the Act, had to have the mine owners name shown in 2" high letters on each side. In addition, the trucks had to display its relevant wagon number, and its weight. Almost certainly, a group of trucks from the same mine would, as they had left the mine together, stay together whilst traversing the dramway, but nevertheless it would have been an important part of the working day to ensure that each empty truck was correctly returned to the right mine.

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Avon & Gloucestershire Railway

Although starting at Coalpit Heath, the dramway entered the north eastern boundary of the parish near Shortwood, passing the site of the first Mangotsfield Railway Station, where it officially became known as "the Avon & Gloucestershire Railway", branching off the main route (The Bristol & Gloucestershire Railway), which ran on through to Bristol, terminating at Cuckold’s Pill (now known as Avon Street Wharf), on the Floating Harbour.

Once beyond the Mangotsfield station, the dramway entered a narrow brick-lined tunnel under the road embankment, curving off to the right on its way to the Clay Pit and Syston Hill Colliery. During the construction, in 1869, of the Midland Railways’ branch line to Bath, the dramway was diverted into the railway cutting so as to avoid crossing the main line twice on the level. As the original curve of the dramway turned right, it passed a building originally used as a horse gin and, just beyond, the route was joined by the branch line from the lower Soundwell Pit.

This pit, which was situated at or near the junction of Chiphouse Road and Station Road, joined the main trackway by means of a small incline (still clearly visible today). The incline is therefore one of the very few stretches of track on the whole dramway system which would have required the loaded trucks to have been hauled uphill.

Having passed the old pump house, the dramway continued over the common on a sizeable embankment before being joined by a small spur from Syston Hill Colliery. Once past this colliery, the track crossed the road by means of a small bridge, (unfortunately no longer in existence) as the road level has been brought up to meet the trackbed. Continuing across the common, the track then ran under the bridge carrying Norman Road, passing on the left a brick and tile works which was later to have a short spur connecting it with the system. Beyond this point, the next obstacle met by the dramway was the London Road at Warmley which it crossed on the level, just down from the level·crossing to be built by the Midland Railway Company. In this section, the dramway was connected with Crown Pit Colliery, one of the largest mines in the area.

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Oldland Common

Continuing south, the dramway ran through a cutting, and passed under a bridge near St. Barnabas Church, before entering an old sandstone quarry and on to yet another embankment. Passing under Poplar Road and Victoria Road, the track continued across North Common, meeting the High Street, Oldland Common almost opposite Weston Court. Crossing the turnpike the track entered a brick lined tunnel, beneath a house, and then went through part of Redfield Farm, where there was a branch which curved back, under High Street and over the Midland Railway, on a stone bridge, for a quarter of a mile to Bull Hall Colliery. There was also to be built at this point, a small spur to connect Hole (sometime referred to as Haul Lane Pit). Almost certainly the track bed at this point was well below the natural ground-level, as upon leaving the farm area, it passed under Redfield Hill, along the backs of the houses facing the High Street, (probably in a cutting)passing the bottom of Castle Road to a short tunnel which took the dramway under Barry Road. It then continued, in a cutting just south of School Lane, which was becoming progressively deeper, before bearing left to enter a 73 yard long tunnel to take it under the Midland Railway line and Cherry Gardens Lane. It is said that most of this tunnel was bored out of solid rock which meant that the rails could be pinned straight onto the rock floor, without the need for using the customary stone sleepers. Having passed through the relatively short rock cutting found immediately south of this tunnel, the track emerged on a high embankment overlooking a steeply sided, picturesque valley some 30-40 feet above the meandering stream.

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California Pit

Sweeping around to the right, the dramway was in later years to meet at this point the track from California Pit, to become known as Tramway Junction. To get the coal from the California Pit by rail, meant that there would have to be built an incline to bring the colliery wagons down to meet the lower dramway, as well as bridging the Warmley Brook. Having done so, the engineers then had to ensure that any rogue trucks in the system which might run away down the incline, would cause the least amount of damage possible. Accordingly, the track was laid so that having descended the incline, the rails turned to the left, running along side the dramway for a short length, before using a trailing point to connect with the "main line". By taking this course of action, any run away wagon from the incline would, (provided it remained on the track) be made to run uphill and thus slow it’s speed to a stop, rather than turn straight into the descent, and cause all sorts of havoc in either the tunnel or over the un-manned level crossing or, at Willsbridge wharf.

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Willsbridge Tunnel

Having passed what was to become, some 50 years later, Tramway Junction, the line curved left, and entered yet another stone-line cutting, although this one was at around 50ft. deeper than the others. Through this cutting, the track was then swallowed up by one of the most difficult engineering projects on the whole line, the 150 yard Willsbridge Tunnel. Beyond the tunnel, the track ran through a grass-lined cutting, complete with a passing loop, before crossing the Bath Road at an unguarded level crossing. South of the crossing, the track divided into wagon sidings for use as storage and, for the purpose of collating of owners wagons, and was fully equipped with its own weighbridge. The main track continued passed this storage area, and just before reaching the lane which led down to Clack Mill Farm, the track entered a further small tunnel (just 65ft long) to take it under the Keynsham Road and on across the fields in a cutting to Back or Avon Wharf.

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Towards the end of 1830, and after a number of inspection trips had taken place, the Committee was told at its November meeting, that the Willsbridge tunnel had a mistake in its level which would involve the need to deepen it, and that two bridges had not been built to plan. It was also highly recommended at that meeting that, for safety reasons, and also to minimise future maintenance costs, that a maximum speed limit of 6 mph, should be laid down, and rigorously enforced, with offenders liable to instant dismissal.

1830, the first train of 6 loaded wagons left Hole Lane Colliery

By December, the Committee were informed that rails were shortly to be laid at the Backs (Avon Wharf`), whilst the crane to be used there was already in situ. Work proceeded so well that on the 30 December 1830, the first train of 6 loaded wagons left Hole Lane Colliery and travelled through to Avon Wharf, despite the fact that Hole Lane did not have, at that time, a rail connection with the dramway, and thus to make the journey, the loaded wagons had first to be dragged across the road, and then rolled on to the lines.

By the middle of January 1831, the dramway was usable for more than 12 miles from the river, and although Hole Lane stopped sending down any coal for the time being, Syston Hill Pit was properly connected, and able to send coal through. Thus, for the first time ever, coal from that pit, inquantity, was able to reach the river in less than an hour from leaving the pit-head.

The winter of 1831 was quite severe, with heavy rain and deep frosts causing the newly formed cuttings, and embankments to move and slide. Work however continued on the northern section, and repairs were carried out to the damage caused by winter weather so that by the first week of May 1831, Hole Lane was able to send through 60 tons of coal in 15 wagons, despite the problems of the previous weeks when, damage had been caused to a number of its wagons, after vandals had released the trucks and sent them rolling down the dramway.

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The cold wet winter was followed by a hot dry summer, which, when combined with the pounding of the loaded wagons, brought just the right recipe for further, and more alarming settlement of the earthworks. Concern was expressed about the movement of the embankment at Warmley and stout timbers had to be used to restrict further movement. However, the Oldland embankment overlooking the Southwood Valley was found to be so unsafe, that it was necessary to build a massive stone retaining wall to keep the earthworks in position.

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maintaining the dramway

Throughout 1831 work continued, to improve and maintain the dramway, including, at the cost of £80.37 for materials, the construction of the branch line to Hole Lane. When completed, that colliery was able to fully use the line, and loaded wagons were dispatched to the wharfs on at least 5 days per week. By November 1832, the line was fully operational, and around 3,000 tons of coal per month in around 750 wagon trips, was being shipped out of just Avon Wharf. This involved considerable logistic problems in ensuring that the empty wagons did not foul the running line and cause delay in the loaded wagons arriving at the wharf whilst, at the same time, ensuring that the empty trucks were at the correct pit-head ready to receive the coal, as and when required. Such was the effect of the dramway in easing the transportation of coal to the market place, that the price fell by 3/- to 4/- (l5p—20p) per ton.

new branch-line added

Partly to ease the traffic, and partly to avoid the cost of using the Keynsham lock, it was decided to construct a branch to a new wharf, to be built on the river at Londonderry Farm and locally known as Jacky Whites. Work on the branch started in December 1832, and the wharf became operational in October 1833, with two berths, one for large and one for small coal.

The amount of coal shipped out over the dramway had probably reached its peak by March 1836, but a substantial decline started later that year, and continued over the next, 14 years, so that by 1850, only around 204 tons of coal per week were being taken over the route. A year later, the owners of the Avon & Gloucestershire Railway – The Kennet & Avon Canal Company, were taken over by the Great Western Railway, but by then there was very little traffic using the line, particularly from the northern section, with pits having been worked out, flooded, or abandoned. By 1865, the GWR had obtained powers under the GWR (Additional Powers) Act to abandon the whole or part of the dramway, and during January 1867 Hole Lane Pit sent through the last revenue earning load of coal to the river.

For the next 10 years or more, the dramway remained unused

For the next 10 years or more, the dramway remained unused, whilst nature continued to reclaim that which was hers. However, with the re-opening in 1876 of California Colliery, plans were made to lay a connecting branch with the dramway in order that coal could be taken out in bulk. To do so would involve the need to construct an incline, and the building of a bridge across the Warmley Brook. Eventually in 1881, the line from Oldland was repaired, and coal was taken to Londonderry Wharf.

By then a wharf had been built at Willsbridge for coal to be taken away by road, whilst the sidings had been considerably enlarged. During 1892 it was recorded that over 100 tons of coal was being shipped out through the three wharfs per day.

As was the pattern of the local coalfields, success was not to last, and within 14 years the California Coal Company was in financial difficulties. The amount of coal dispatched over the dramway in October 1903, had fallen to 1,164 tons, or less than 40 tons per day, and it was becoming less and less economical to send coal out in this way, especially as the maintenance of the infrastructure was increasing all of the time. Matters came to a sudden and dramatic end in March 1904. when a considerable amount of water burst in from old workings and, totally closed down the production of coal. According to an entry in the wharfage book, the last load of coal to-be sent through to Willsbridge wharf, occurred on the 30 January 1904, when 66 tons left the pit-head.

Whilst it is possible that coal was sent through to the river wharfage during February, there is a suspicion that, due to the financial difficulties being experienced by the owners, the production of coal, and the maintenance of the coal face, was neglected during February, and that very few, if any, miners worked underground after the last week of January 1904.

all traffic on the Avon Tramway has now ceased

On the 9 July 1906, the Traffic Committee of the Great Western Railway, were informed by it’s General Manager that, "all traffic on the Avon Tramway has now ceased" Thus for the second time in its relatively short existence, the line lay abandoned, whilst nature again tried to reclaim that which was hers.

Although the track in the colliery yard and along to the incline was sold as an asset of the California Coal Company, the bulk of the track on the dramway remained until it was removed as salvage during the First World War. However, some of the rails ended up locally as fence rails and some can still be seen at Londonderry Farm.

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Midland Railway Company

In 1845 the Midland Railway Company took over the broad gauged Bristol & Gloucester Railway, and in May of the following year gave notice that it intended applying to Parliament for an Act to enable a line to be constructed from Mangotsfield to Bath. Had their first proposal not been withdrawn at the time of the second reading, then it is quite probable that Oldland would never have been on the railway map, as the original intention was to build a branch line north of Wick, through Freezing Hill, before descending into Bath via the Swainswick Valley, and onto a terminus to have been built at Bathwick.

Whilst the Act was dead and buried, the idea was not, although it was to lay dormant for a number of years. It was not until 1862 that the idea re-surfaced, when serious consideration was given to the report of a survey which took the new 9 mile long proposed route through to Bridgeyate, Upton Cheyney, Kelston and on into Bath, to terminate at Queens Parade. However, this proposal did not suit everyone, particularly wealthy landowners at Kelston and at Bath. Many influential objections were raised, resulting in the plan being subsequently abandoned in October 1863.

At this time the Midland Railway were even more determined to get to Bath, and a new route was chosen to take the line along the now familiar route through Warmley and Bitton. With less objection, this new plan was presented to Parliament, and on the 21 July 1864 the "Mangotsfield and Bath Act received its Royal Assent. By May 1866, well over 600 men were employed on the construction of the route, which continued for the next three years, the line being officially opened on the 3 August 1867, even though the Bath terminus was at that time not complete and the trains had to stop just short of the river, the eventual terminus being built on just the other side.

During 1874, the Somerset & Dorset Railway Company their extension to Bath thereby connecting with the Midland Railway at their Bath Green Park Station. This meant that instead of the branch being no more than a long spur culminating in a dead-end, trains from the north could now continue on to the south coast and the holiday town of Bournemouth.

Throughout most of its existence, the work of running the branch line was mostly mundane, probably reaching its peak during the the 1930’s and l940’s. A station at Oldland Common was opened in 1935, whilst another station, the one at Kelston was closed in 1949.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_pBPgUxnRY

Beeching Cuts

Following the infamous Beeching Report the writing was on the wall with regard to the well-being of this line, and in 1953 the Bristol terminus at St. Philips was permanently closed, with trains now starting and finishing at Temple Meads. In the same year the station at Weston (Bath) was closed to passengers. The end came quite quickly, with the closure in 1965, of the goods yards of Warmley, Bitton and Weston plus the closure of the Bitton signal box. Just four passenger trains per day were left to keep the line open, but on the 7 March 1966 these trains succumbed to the pressures of the railway hierarchy, and Warmley, Oldland Common, and Bitton, together-with the other stations on the line, closed completely.

Bath Gasworks

All that remained was a daily service of coal being taken to Bath Gas Works. However, with the introduction of North Sea Gas, the need to produce town gas from coal became unnecessary, and in July 1971, gas production at Bath ceased, and so did the need for the line.

This should have been the end of line and, for most of it, that is precisely what happened.

However, part of the line, and in particular that part which runs through the area covered by the-village and the parish was resurrected. More of this later, but first a general description of the local route.

www.flickr.com/photos/bogbrush6666/3908675515/

Warmley Station

When built, Warmley station gave the appearance of being a temporary structure with the platform buildings being constructed of wood, although the Station Master’s house was, and still is, a solid stone construction. A goods yard was set out, and contained three roads, plus a large goods shed built of brick and stone. In 1899, a timber foot-bridge was built at the London Road end of the station, which not only enabled passengers to cross the tracks but, also enabled pedestrians to continue with their journey when the level-crossing gates were set for the movement of the trains.

www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/2120677793/

Odland Station

This bridge was eventually replaced by one built of plate girder around 1929. From Warmley, the line descends towards Oldland Common, but the village had to wait until the 2 December 1935 before its name was added to the Railway Gazetteer, with the opening of its own station. Although by all standards, the station was a very poor example of those built on the branch, it was the only one on the line to be connected to the mains electricity, and thus, had the sleeper built platforms and the modest waiting rooms lit by this power. The decision to build a station at Oldland proved popular, and generally the trains picked up more passengers here than at Bitton.

Although parcels could be collected and left at Oldland, the station, being in a cutting, had no sidings and, thus, there were no facilities for goods traffic. With the run-down of the branch, the station was no longer manned after 7 December 1964.

www.flickr.com/photos/midlandexplorerboy/5116698537/

Bitton Station

After leaving Oldland station the route continued through a series of cuttings for a mile before reaching Bitton station. Here the main building on the down platform was built of local stone whilst, opposite there stood a shelter also built of local stone. Just north of the station, there was built a four road goods yard, one of which ran through a substantial goods shed, where up to six or so wagons could be unloaded under cover.

The goods yard was well patronised, and handled a variety of materials ranging from chemicals to locally dug moulding sand (from a quarry in Ryedown Lane), raw and finished materials re the Bitton Paper Mill plus, sheet steel, coal, machinery and farm implements and, animal hides. Within the yard there existed a fixed crane with a lifting capacity of 4 tons. Flowers, fruit and vegetables from nearby garden nurseries were dispatched by passenger train, with some of these products going as far afield as Scotland. To deal with this traffic, there was, at the turn of the century, a station master plus, 4 porters; 2 clerks and, 2 signalmen, employed at Bitton station.

www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/2038209532/

The End from rail to road

As already stated, having built up the traffic and importance of this line by the 1930/40’s, there then occurred a decline in the use of railways, with both passengers and goods being switched to the roads. This manifested itself when the line was closed to passengers in 1966 and, to goods in 1971. By then the branch line had, during 1969, been reduced to single track working and was basically treated by the railway authorities as being nothing more than a long siding which stretched all of the way from Yate to Bath.

www.sgmrg.co.uk/kingswoodcoal.php

1958 Edsel: Lousy Car But Great Planter.
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Here’s a link to how this same Edsel looked in 1959. I took this picture with my Brownie Hawkeye when I was thirteen.
farm2.static.flickr.com/1286/544933741_8e82112e81.jpg

A bit busy today and tomorrow, but will try to visit everyone’s stream. Thanks for your patience

When my stepfather first met my mother in 1959, he was driving a brand new 1958 Ford Edsel. At that time it was touted as being far ahead of its time. The big feature was the ability of the driver to shift gears by pushing buttons on a touch pad in the centre of the steering wheel.

After a few years the Edsel was abandoned. It had become an embarrassment to Ford. The button shift did not live up to its potential, and was notorious for losing its timing. It sometimes took up to five seconds from the time you pushed a button until the time the transmission shifted, usually with a jolting ‘thunk’. Further, the Edsel was an overly heavy car, even in an age of heavy cars.

I did drive it a fair bit over a ten year period, and it could be scary at times.

Over the years I wondered what happened to it. I couldn’t remember it being traded in. Then, several years ago, I spotted it in the farm yard at my brother, Steve’s, place. it was pretty badly smacked up, and had been used for .22 practice. I always meant to photograph it, but didn’t get a chance until yesterday. It had been towed about fifty feet from where I originally saw it, and the tow had not been kind.

From my set entitled “Steve and Marg’s Farm”
www.flickr.com/photos/21861018@N00/sets/72157608031549391/
In my collection entitled “Places”
www.flickr.com/photos/21861018@N00/collections/7215760074…
In my photostream
www.flickr.com/photos/21861018@N00/

The Story of the Edsel
(taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edsel
The Edsel was a marquee division of Ford Motor Company during the 1958, 1959 and 1960 model years.

In the early 1950s, the Ford Motor Co. became a publicly traded corporation that was no longer entirely owned by members of the Ford family. They were then able to sell cars according to then-current market trends following the sellers’ market of the postwar years. The new management compared the roster of Ford makes with that of General Motors, and noted that Lincoln competed not with Cadillac, but with Oldsmobile. Since Ford had an excess of money on hand from the success of the Ford Thunderbird the plan was developed to move Lincoln upmarket with the Continental at the top, and to add another make to the intermediate slot vacated by Lincoln. Research and development had begun in 1955 under the name "E-car," which stood for "Experimental car." This represented a new division of the firm alongside that of Ford itself and the Lincoln-Mercury division, whose cars at the time shared the same body.

The Edsel was introduced amidst considerable publicity on "E Day"—September 4, 1957. It was promoted by a top-rated television special, The Edsel Show on October 13, but it was not enough to counter the adverse public reaction to the car’s styling and conventional build. For months Ford had been circulating rumours that led consumers to expect an entirely new kind of car when in reality the Edsel shared its bodywork with other Ford models.

The Edsel was to be sold through a new Ford division. It existed from November 1956 until January 1958, after which Edsels were made by the Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln division (referred to as M-E-L). Edsel was sold through a new network of 1,500 dealers. This briefly brought total dealers of all Ford products to 10,000. Ford saw this as a way to come closer to parity with the other two companies of the Big Three: Chrysler had 10,000 dealers and General Motors had 16,000. As soon as it became apparent that the Edsels were not selling, many of these dealers added Lincoln-Mercury, English Ford and/or Taunus dealerships to their lines with the encouragement of Ford Motor Company. Some dealers, however, closed.

For the 1958 model year, Edsel produced four models, including the larger Mercury-based Citation and Corsair, and the smaller Ford-based Pacer and Ranger. The Citation came in two-door and four-door hardtops and two-door convertible versions. The Corsair came in two-door and four-door hardtop versions. The Pacer came in two-door and four-door hardtops, four-door sedan, and two-door convertible. The Ranger came in two-door and four-door hardtop or sedan versions. The four-door Bermuda and Villager wagons and the two-door Roundup wagon were based on the 116" wheelbase Ford station wagon platform and shared the trim and features of the Ranger and Pacer models. It included several innovative features, among which were its "rolling dome" speedometer and its Teletouch transmission shifting system in the center of the steering wheel. Other design innovations included an ergonomically designed controls for the driver, and self-adjusting brakes (often claimed as a first for the industry, although Studebaker had pioneered them earlier in the decade).

In the first year, 63,110 Edsels were sold in the U.S. with another 4,935 sold in Canada. Though below expectations, it was still the second largest car launch for any brand to date, second only to the Plymouth introduction in 1928.

For the 1959 model year, there were only two Edsels: the Ranger and the Corsair. The two larger cars were not produced. The new Corsair came in two-door and four-door hardtops, four-door sedan, and two-door convertible. The Ranger came in two-door and four-door hardtops, two-door and four-door sedans, and the Villager station wagon. In the 1959 model year, 44,891 cars were sold in the U.S., with an additional 2,505 sales in Canada.

For the 1960 model year, Edsel’s last, only the Ranger and Villager were produced. The 1960 Edsel, in its final model year, emerged as a Ford. Its grill, hood, and four taillights, along with its side sweep spears, were the only real differences separating the Edsel from the Ford.

Ford announced the end of the Edsel program on Thursday, November 19, 1959. However, cars continued being produced until late in November, with the final tally at 2,846 1960 models. Total sales were approximately 84,000, less than half McNamara’s projected break-even point. The company lost 0 million on the venture [1].

On Friday, November 20, United Press International’s (UPI) wire service reported that book values for used Edsels had decreased by as much as 0 [approximately 00 in 2006 dollars] (based on condition and age) immediately following the Ford press release. In some newspaper markets, dealers scrambled to renegotiate newspaper advertising contracts involving the 1960 Edsel models, while others dropped the name from their dealership’s advertising "slugs." Ford issued a statement that it would distribute coupons to consumers who purchased 1960 models (and carryover 1959 models) prior to the announcement, valued at 0 to 0 towards the purchase of new Ford products to offset the decreased values. The company also issued credits to dealers for stock unsold or received, following the announcement.

There is no single reason why the Edsel failed, and failed so spectacularly. Popular culture often faults the car’s styling. Consumer Reports cited poor workmanship. Marketing experts hold the Edsel up as a supreme example of corporate America’s failure to understand the nature of the American consumer. Business analysts cite the weak internal support for the product inside Ford’s executive offices. According to author and Edsel scholar Jan Deutsch, the Edsel was "the wrong car at the wrong time."

One popular misconception was that the Edsel was an engineering failure, or a lemon, although it shared the same general reliability of its sister Mercury and Ford models that were built in the same factories. The Edsel is most famous for being a marketing disaster. Indeed, the name Edsel came to be synonymous with commercial failure, and similar ill-fated products have often been colloquially referred to as Edsels. Since it was such a debacle, it provided a case study for marketers on how not to market a product. The main reason the Edsel’s failure is so famous was that it flopped despite Ford’s investment of 0,000,000 in its development.

The prerelease advertising campaign touted the car as having "…more YOU ideas," and the teaser advertisements in magazines only revealed glimpses of the car through a highly blurred lens or wrapped in paper or under tarps. Edsels were shipped to the dealerships undercover and remained wrapped on the dealer lots.

But the public also had a hard time understanding what the Edsel was, mostly because Ford made the mistake of pricing the Edsel within Mercury’s market price segment. Theoretically, the Edsel was conceived to fit into Ford’s marketing plans as the brand slotted in between Ford and Mercury. However, when the car arrived in 1958, its least expensive model—the Ranger—was priced within of the most expensive and best-trimmed Ford sedan and less than Mercury’s base Medalist model. In its midrange pricing, Edsel’s Pacer and Corsair models were more expensive than their Mercury counterparts. Edsel’s top-of-the-line Citation four door hardtop model was the only model priced to correctly compete with Mercury’s mid-range Montclair Turnpike Cruiser model.

Not only was the Edsel competing against its own sister divisions, but model for model, consumers did not understand what the car was supposed to be—a step up or a step below the Mercury.

After its introduction to the public, the Edsel did not live up to its overblown hype, even though it did have many new features, such as self-adjusting rear brakes and automatic lubrication. While consumer focus groups had said these and other features would make the "E" car attractive to them as car buyers, the cost of the cars outstripped what the public was willing to pay. When many potential buyers saw the base price tag, they simply left the dealership, and others were frightened by the price for a fully loaded, top of the line model.

One of the external forces working against the Edsel that Ford had no control over was the onset of the recession in late 1957.

When the Edsel was in its planning stages in the early and mid-1950s, the American economy was robust and growing. However, in the years that spanned the planning to its introduction, an economic recession hit, and American consumers not only shifted their idea of what an ideal car should be; in prior economic downturns, buyers flocked to the lower price marques like Plymouth, Chevrolet, and Ford. But in 1958, even these cars were perceived by some as unnecessarily large, and while the compact Rambler saw itself shoot to the third best selling make, none of the Big Three had anything compact to sell except their European cars built for Vauxhall, Simca, and Opel. The compacts introduced by the Big Three in 1960 were the direct result of the recession of 1958.

Compounding Edsel’s problems was that the car had to appeal to buyers of other well established nameplates from the Big Three, such as Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Dodge, DeSoto, and even its internal sister division, Mercury — itself never a stellar sales success.

Even if the 1958 recession hadn’t hit when it did, the Edsel was entering into a shrinking marketplace. While Ernest Breech convinced Ford management that this market segment offered great untapped opportunity in the early 1950s, when the "E" car was in its earliest stages, by 1957, independent manufacturers in the mid-price field were drifting towards insolvency. Hoping to turn around their losses, Packard acquired Studebaker, yet the venerable Packard was no longer produced after 1958. On the other hand, American Motors changed its focus to the compact Rambler models, while their pre-merger brands (Nash and Hudson) were discontinued after the 1957 model year. Even Chrysler saw sales of its DeSoto marque drop dramatically from its 1957 high by over 50% in 1958. Following a disastrous 1959 model year, plans were made in Highland Park to discontinue DeSoto during its 1961 model year run.

Thus, the large, expensive Edsel that was planned to be all things to all people suddenly stood for excess, not progress.

The name of the car, Edsel, is also often cited as a further reason for its unpopularity. Naming the vehicle after Edsel Ford was proposed early in its development. However, the Ford family strongly opposed its use, Henry Ford II stating that he didn’t want his father’s good name spinning around on thousands of hubcaps. Ford also ran internal studies to decide on a name and even dispatched employees to stand outside movie theaters to poll audiences as to what their feelings were on several ideas. They reached no conclusions.

Ford hired the advertising firm Foote, Cone and Belding to come up with a name. However, when the advertising agency issued its report, citing over 6,000 possibilities, Ford’s Ernest Breech commented that they had been hired to develop a name, not 6,000. Early favorites for the name brand included Citation, Corsair, Pacer, and Ranger, which were ultimately chosen for the vehicle’s series names.

David Wallace, Manager of Marketing Research, and coworker Bob Young unofficially invited poet Marianne Moore for input and suggestions. Moore’s unorthodox contributions (among them "Utopian Turtletop," "Pastelogram," and "Mongoose Civique") were meant to stir creative thought and were not officially authorized or contractual in nature. History has greatly exaggerated her relationship to the project.
At the behest of Ernest Breech, who was chairing a meeting in the absence of Henry Ford II, the car was finally called "Edsel" in honor of Edsel Ford, former company president and son of Henry Ford. Marketing surveys later found the name was thought to sound like the name of a tractor (Edson) and therefore was unpopular with the public.

Moreover, several consumer studies showed that people associated the name "Edsel" with "weasel" and "dead cell" (dead battery), drawing further unattractive comparisons.

Perhaps the most important factor in the Edsel’s failure, however, was that when the car was introduced, the U.S. was entering a period of recession. Sales for all car manufacturers, even those not introducing new models, were down; consumers entered a period of preferring less expensive, more fuel-efficient automobiles.

Edsels were fast, but required premium gas and did not have the fuel economy desired during a recession. Mechanics disliked the bigger engine because of its unique design. The cylinder head had no combustion chamber and was perfectly flat, with the head set at an angle and "roof" pistons forming both a squish zone on one side and a combustion chamber on the other, meaning that the combustion took place entirely within the cylinder bore. This design reduced the cost of manufacture and possibly carbon buildup, but appeared strange to mechanics.

There were also reports of mechanical flaws in the models originating in the factory, due to lack of quality control and confusion of parts with other Ford models. Edsels in their first (1958) model year were made in both Mercury and Ford factories; the longer wheelbase models, Citation and Corsair, were produced alongside the Mercury products, and the shorter wheelbase models, Pacer and Ranger, were produced alongside the Ford products. There was never a stand-alone Edsel factory devoted solely to Edsel model production; workers making Fords and Mercurys literally had to change parts bins and tools to assemble extra Edsels once their hourly quota of regular Fords and Mercurys was achieved. As such, the desired quality control of the different Edsel models was difficult to attain for the new make of car. Many Edsels left the line unfinished, with the extra parts having been put into the trunks, with assembly instructions for the mechanics at the dealerships.

The Edsel is best remembered for its trademark "horsecollar" grille, which made it stand out from other cars of the period. A widely circulated wisecrack at the time was that "It looked like an Oldsmobile sucking on a lemon." Men often referred to the horsecollar grille as being akin to a woman’s genitalia. In fact, Robin Jones, a Ford designer at the time, later recalled that someone in the design studio – presumably as a cruel joke – actually taped hair to the inside of the grille area on one of the clay models produced during the design process; the end result, according to Jones, "looked like a hormonally-disturbed cow after giving birth."

Jokes aside, the front of the original Edsel turned out nothing like what was originally intended. Roy Brown, the original chief designer on the project, wanted a slender, almost delicate opening in the center; engineers, fearing engine cooling problems, vetoed the intended design, which led to the "horsecollar." The vertical grille theme, while improved for the 1959 models, was discontinued for the 1960 models, which were almost indistinguishable from Ford models of the same year, although the new front-end design bore no small resemblance to that of the 1959 Pontiac.

Many drivers disliked having the automatic transmission as pushbuttons (above) mounted on the steering wheel hub: this was the traditional location of the horn, and drivers ended up shifting gears instead of honking the horn. While the Edsel was fast, the location of the transmission pushbuttons was not conducive to street racing. There were jokes about stoplight dragsters and the buttons: D for Drag, L for Leap, and R for Race (instead of Drive, Low and Reverse).

There were also complaints about the taillights on 1958-model Edsel station wagons, which were boomerang-shaped and placed in a reverse fashion; at a distance, they appeared as arrows pointed in the opposite direction of the turn being made. While the left turn signal blinked, its arrow shape pointed right, and vice versa. However, there was little that could be done to give the Ford-based station wagons a unique appearance from the rear; corporate management insisted that no sheetmetal could be changed. Only the taillights and trim could be touched.

While the car and Ford’s planning of the car are the most often cited reasons for its failure, internal politics within the executive offices at Ford are as much to blame for the failure of the Edsel. Following World War II, Henry Ford II brought on Robert McNamara as one of the "whiz kids" to help turn Ford around. McNamara’s cost cutting and cost containment skills helped Ford emerge from its near collapse after the war. As such, McNamara eventually assumed a great deal of power at Ford. In many ways, McNamara was very much like Henry Ford: both men were committed to Ford above all other things and had little use for Continental, Lincoln, Mercury, and Edsel brand cars made by the company.

McNamara was against the formation of the separate divisions for Continental, Lincoln, Mercury, and Edsel cars, and moved to consolidate Lincoln, Mercury, and Edsel into the M-E-L division. McNamara saw to it that the Continental program was canceled and that the model was merged into the Lincoln range for 1958. He next set his sights on Edsel by maneuvering for elimination of the dual wheelbases and separate body used in 1958; instead, the Edsel would share the Ford platform and use Ford’s inner body structure for 1959. In 1960, the Edsel emerged as a Ford with different trim. McNamara also moved to reduce Edsel’s advertising budget for 1959, and for 1960, he virtually eliminated it. The final blow came in the fall of 1959, when McNamara convinced Henry Ford II and the management structure that the Edsel was doomed and that it was time to end production before the Edsel bled the company dry. (Note: McNamara also attempted to end the Lincoln nameplate; however, that effort ended with Elwood Engel’s now classic redesign of 1961.) McNamara left Ford when he was named Secretary of Defense by President John F. Kennedy.

During the 1964 presidential election, Republican nominee Barry Goldwater blamed McNamara, then Secretary of Defense, for the Edsel’s failure. Eventually, Ford’s former executive vice president and financial contributor to Goldwater’s campaign Ernest R. Breech wrote the Senator’s campaign explaining that "Mr. McNamara … had nothing to do with the plans for the Edsel car or any part of the program." However, the charge continued to be leveled against McNamara for years. During his time as head of the World Bank he instructed his public affairs officer to distribute copies of Breech’s letter to the press whenever the accusation was made.[2]

The scheduled 1960 Edsel Comet compact car was hastily rebranded the Comet and assigned to Mercury dealerships. The Comet was an instant success, selling more cars in its first year than all models of Edsel produced during its three-year run. Styling touches seen in the Comets sold to the public that allude to being part of the Edsel family of models included the instrument cluster, rear tailfins (though canted diagonally), and the taillight shape (the lens is visually similar to that used on the 1960 Edsel, and even retained the embossed "E" code). The Comet’s keys were even shaped like Edsel keys, with the center bar removed from the "E" to form a "C." For 1962, Ford officially assigned the Comet to the Mercury brand.

As the Edsel was a large commercial failure, the name became a popular joke in various media. A backronym, "Every Day Something Else Leaks", was inspired by the car’s failure. Television programs, cartoons, video games, and films have all used the Edsel as humor, usually as a quick joke or as a sight gag.

In May 1958, then Vice President Richard Nixon was on a trip to Peru, riding in an Edsel convertible, when he was pelted with eggs and tomatoes by demonstrators. Nixon later joked: "They were throwing eggs at the car, not me."[3]

Fifty years after its spectacular failure, Edsel has become a highly collectible item amongst vintage car hobbyists. Fewer than 6,000 Edsels survive and are considered collectors’ items. A mint 1958 Citation convertible sometimes sells for over 0,000,[1] while rare models, like the 1960 convertible, may price up to 0,000. While the design was considered "ugly" fifty years ago, many other car manufacturers, such as Pontiac and Alfa Romeo, have employed similar vertical grille successfully on their car designs.
Many of the Edsel’s features, such as transmission lock on ignition, adjustable brakes, gear selection as steering wheel buttons etc, which were considered "too impractical" in the late 1950s, are today standard features of sports cars.

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Stained Glass III
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St. Michael’s and All Angels Church

Stage 1 of a private project, to make and install stained glass windows in the historic church of St Michael and All Angels in Sandakan, Borneo (Sabah) has been completed. The world class, heritage windows are a memorial to Australian and British prisoners of war who died in Sabah – at Sandakan, Ranau or on the death marches – during 1942-1945, and a thanksgiving to the local people who risked, and gave, their lives to help them. A total of 2428 POWs (of whom 1787 were Australian) died at Sandakan or on one of the infamous death marches to Ranau, the bulk of them in 1945, sixty years ago. Only six Australians who escaped, survived. All 641 British POWs perished. This is the first time Australians from all states have had the opportunity to participate in such a project or to show their gratitude to the people of Sabah, many of whom were tortured or imprisoned for trying to help the prisoners. Eight were executed by firing squad. How many others died is impossible to assess.

Many of the prisoners, who were transferred from Singapore by ship, spent the night in the church before marching to the Sandakan compound, 12 kilometres away. Built in the late 1890s from local stone, in the style of a cathedral, St Michael’s is one of only four buildings to survive World War II. All, interestingly, were places of worship – two small Chinese temples, and the town mosque.

The idea to create a memorial window was conceived in 2003, during a trip to Sandakan, where I conduct an Anzac Day service with a small group of POW relatives each year. I approached the Rector to discuss my idea and, as a result, the church authorities made available the entire, tri-panelled west window. Over five metres in height, it dominates the main entrance. Response to the project from relatives of the prisoners and other caring people was so great (over 0,000 donated) that it was possible to commission the west window, and three more below, and to create a beautiful POW Chapel in the church.

Philip Handel, a well-known Sydney artisan who has spent a life-time designing and making stained glass windows for gothic-style churches, came out of retirement to undertake the project. He used only hand-blown, antique French glass of the highest quality, and which he had not seen in Australia for twenty years. Using this exquisite glass as his basis, he then began creating his masterpiece. Coincidentally, the main window consists of 2,500 pieces – one piece for each POW. Each piece of glass, after Handel had added the detail he required to create his design, was fired in a special kiln, up to three times, depending on the depth of detail required.

The design of all four windows is integrated. The main window is spread across the three panels, or lights. Various shades of blue on the outer border represent the oceans which link the three nations. The subject for the upper, or memorial section, is from the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 12, depicting a shining angel backed by ruby-coloured, spiralling shapes suggesting movement, and enclosed by a rainbow-hued circle – a symbol of peace and hope for the future.

Below, in a prison cell, sits St Peter, who is under sentence of death. He is amazed at the awesome sight and incredulous at the miraculous loosening of his chains, and his subsequent deliverance which the Roman guards are unable to prevent. This scene is a reminder of the Almighty’s power to free the spirit of mankind from evil and oppression. The text, ‘By the strength of your arm, preserve those condemned to die’, reinforces this message.

Above the angel, at the top of the central arch, sprays of wattle surround the floral emblems of the Australian states from which the men enlisted. The orange and yellow hues in the centre represent the colours of the outback and the setting sun; the purple tones, the mountain ranges.

The lower section of the window features the well-known parable, The Good Samaritan. This story, which teaches compassion between strangers, typifies the spirit of mateship which sustained the prisoners until the end, and exemplifies the compassion of local people towards strangers in need of help and comfort during many dark days. Included in this setting is a representation of The Big Tree – a mengarris and a prominent landmark at the infamous Sandakan POW Camp. Another coloured spectrum, echoing the rainbow theme, frames the figures and the whole picture is encompassed with the flowers of Australia, Britain and Sabah, united by their wartime experience. The focus words Endurance, Honour, Compassion, Courage and Sacrifice, describe the triumph of the spirit and will over flesh – the purpose of the memorial.

Below the main window are a large arched window over the west door, featuring a brilliantly coloured Christian cross, and two much smaller windows to either side – an angel representing Peace and another representing Eternity. The centre piece of the chapel, directly below the main window and incorporating the small angel windows, is a finely crafted, altar-like Table of Honour, with polished granite top, on which are inscribed the words ‘For there are deeds that should not pass away, And names that must not be forgotten.’ Over the granite is a glass case, containing the Roll of Honour, inscribed with the names of all our POWs, and local people who died or helped, and the Book of Special Remembrance, containing the names of all donors, along with the names of people they are jointly or individually honouring, and any special inscription. The books, hand-bound in burgundy, Moroccan leather and hand tooled in gold, are composed of archival parchment guaranteed to last 500 years. Each week, a new page will be turned. Resting on the blank left-hand page of each book, as a paper-weight, is a life-size pewter gum leaf, with a cluster of gum nuts. Around the walls of the chapel are regimental plaques, donated by associations and individuals and a hand-made pulpit banner, donated by the family of Padre McLiver, an Australian army officer, who used it at his services, following the liberation of Borneo in 1945, and which we had framed.

The breathtakingly beautiful windows and the chapel were dedicated at 4 pm on Anzac Eve. The 130 Australians and four British present, along with 50 family members of local people being honoured, knew they were about to witness something very special when the opening notes of the Trumpet Voluntary heralded a grand procession of a forty-voice choir dressed in brand-new robes, colour parties carrying the flags of Australia, Britain, Sabah and Malaysia (the Australian flag escorted by an Australian soldier whose grandfather had died at Sandakan) and senior Anglican clergy, headed by the Archbishop of South-East Asia Province, Datuk Yong Ping Chung, all clad in gorgeous cream, gold and red regalia.

The four windows, draped in burgundy silk shot with gold, were unveiled and dedicated, one by one, with various people from the POW families, and local people, assisting the Archbishop. With the afternoon sun lighting up the three lower windows in spectacular fashion, the strains of the Hallelujah Chorus filled the church and the final curtain rose slowly, to reveal a window of such stunning and awesome magnificence that every person present, some 300 all told, stopped clapping and stood in rapt silence, absolutely transfixed. Tears poured down almost every cheek, including those of cameramen and journalists. I have never experienced anything like it. The Windows of Remembrance must surely be Philip Handel’s finest work.

The following day, at 4 pm, there was an ‘official opening’ by the Deputy Chief Minister and Sabah’s Minister for Tourism, at a most joyous and moving celebration, a wonderful community event at which children danced and balloons were released. The Minister, along with representatives of the Australian and British High Commissions and other dignitaries, entered the church, where they gazed in wonderment as the Windows were revealed one at a time, as on the previous day.

However, it was not until later, at the reception attended by the VIPs and our donors, that I realised how much our windows meant to the wider community. There was total silence and a good many more tears when a tiny Chinese lady presented me with a beautiful oil painting of Mt Kinabalu, where local legend says the spirits of the dead ascend, to express her gratitude for honouring the local people in the Windows of Remembrance. Aged 82, she had travelled by public bus with her son, as her interpreter, all the way from Kota Kinabalu – a journey of seven hours – to meet me.

The many people who have expressed their disappointment at having missed out on Stage 1 are now invited to participate in Stage 2 – to install stained glass in the two remaining major windows, over the north and south doors.

Our prisoners left us a wonderful legacy – goodwill and friendship between nations, forged by our prisoners with the people of Sabah in a time of great adversity. We will endorse this legacy by having friendship and love for our fellow man as our focus for Stage 2.

Here is your chance to be part of something very special. If you would like to ensure that the precious legacy of our POWs is passed to successive generations; if you would like to transform the tragedy and grief of Sandakan into something beautiful and uplifting, a testimony to the triumph of good over evil and a source of wonder, awe and a joy for hundreds of years to come, please contact me. Any excess funds will be used to set up a maintenance fund for all the stained glass and to support the Sandakan Memorial Scholarship Scheme.

Scripted by author – Lynette Ramsey Silver, Australia

Cool Marijuana Vaporizers images

Some cool marijuana vaporizers images:

Noble Vapor VP500
marijuana vaporizers
Image by ILiekCake
I mean, It REALLY sucks, but for , what could you expect??

Noble Vapor VP500
marijuana vaporizers
Image by ILiekCake
It Sucks

DSCN0311
marijuana vaporizers
Image by ILiekCake
Me Hittin da Vape, You can SEE how bad it sucks

Cool Head Shop Free Shipping images

Check out these head shop free shipping images:

Mother Day’s Gifts from OSIM
head shop free shipping
Image by www.OSIM.com
Give your mum this mother’s day the treatment she deserved with the world’s 1st Human-3D Massage Chair designed by Japanese Master, Sato Tsuyoshi.

The OSIM uDivine precise, realistic system delivers the most effective massage on mum’s back ever, a perfect gift for this honorable day.

Shop now at www.OSIM.com to enjoy 10% discount + FREE shipping with our selections for the perfect Mother Day’s gift!

Army Photography Contest – 2007 – FMWRC – Arts and Crafts – Heading to Safety
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Image by familymwr
Army Photography Contest – 2007 – FMWRC – Arts and Crafts – Heading to Safety

Photo By: SMSGT Munnaf Joarder

To learn more about the annual U.S. Army Photography Competition, visit us online at www.armymwr.com

U.S. Army Arts and Crafts History

After World War I the reductions to the Army left the United States with a small force. The War Department faced monumental challenges in preparing for World War II. One of those challenges was soldier morale. Recreational activities for off duty time would be important. The arts and crafts program informally evolved to augment the needs of the War Department.
On January 9, 1941, the Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, appointed Frederick H. Osborn, a prominent U.S. businessman and philanthropist, Chairman of the War Department Committee on Education, Recreation and Community Service.
In 1940 and 1941, the United States involvement in World War II was more of sympathy and anticipation than of action. However, many different types of institutions were looking for ways to help the war effort. The Museum of Modern Art in New York was one of these institutions. In April, 1941, the Museum announced a poster competition, “Posters for National Defense.” The directors stated “The Museum feels that in a time of national emergency the artists of a country are as important an asset as men skilled in other fields, and that the nation’s first-rate talent should be utilized by the government for its official design work… Discussions have been held with officials of the Army and the Treasury who have expressed remarkable enthusiasm…”
In May 1941, the Museum exhibited “Britain at War”, a show selected by Sir Kenneth Clark, director of the National Gallery in London. The “Prize-Winning Defense Posters” were exhibited in July through September concurrently with “Britain at War.” The enormous overnight growth of the military force meant mobilization type construction at every camp. Construction was fast; facilities were not fancy; rather drab and depressing.
In 1941, the Fort Custer Army Illustrators, while on strenuous war games maneuvers in Tennessee, documented the exercise The Bulletin of the Museum of Modern Art, Vol. 9, No. 3 (Feb. 1942), described their work. “Results were astonishingly good; they showed serious devotion …to the purpose of depicting the Army scene with unvarnished realism and a remarkable ability to capture this scene from the soldier’s viewpoint. Civilian amateur and professional artists had been transformed into soldier-artists. Reality and straightforward documentation had supplanted (replaced) the old romantic glorification and false dramatization of war and the slick suavity (charm) of commercial drawing.”

“In August of last year, Fort Custer Army Illustrators held an exhibition, the first of its kind in the new Army, at the Camp Service Club. Soldiers who saw the exhibition, many of whom had never been inside an art gallery, enjoyed it thoroughly. Civilian visitors, too, came and admired. The work of the group showed them a new aspect of the Army; there were many phases of Army life they had never seen or heard of before. Newspapers made much of it and, most important, the Army approved. Army officials saw that it was not only authentic material, but that here was a source of enlivenment (vitalization) to the Army and a vivid medium for conveying the Army’s purposes and processes to civilians and soldiers.”
Brigadier General Frederick H. Osborn and War Department leaders were concerned because few soldiers were using the off duty recreation areas that were available. Army commanders recognized that efficiency is directly correlated with morale, and that morale is largely determined from the manner in which an individual spends his own free time. Army morale enhancement through positive off duty recreation programs is critical in combat staging areas.
To encourage soldier use of programs, the facilities drab and uninviting environment had to be improved. A program utilizing talented artists and craftsmen to decorate day rooms, mess halls, recreation halls and other places of general assembly was established by the Facilities Section of Special Services. The purpose was to provide an environment that would reflect the military tradition, accomplishments and the high standard of army life. The fact that this work was to be done by the men themselves had the added benefit of contributing to the esprit de corps (teamwork, or group spirit) of the unit.
The plan was first tested in October of 1941, at Camp Davis, North Carolina. A studio workshop was set up and a group of soldier artists were placed on special duty to design and decorate the facilities. Additionally, evening recreation art classes were scheduled three times a week. A second test was established at Fort Belvoir, Virginia a month later. The success of these programs lead to more installations requesting the program.
After Pearl Harbor was bombed, the Museum of Modern Art appointed Mr. James Soby, to the position of Director of the Armed Service Program on January 15, 1942. The subsequent program became a combination of occupational therapy, exhibitions and morale-sustaining activities.
Through the efforts of Mr. Soby, the museum program included; a display of Fort Custer Army Illustrators work from February through April 5, 1942. The museum also included the work of soldier-photographers in this exhibit. On May 6, 1942, Mr. Soby opened an art sale of works donated by museum members. The sale was to raise funds for the Soldier Art Program of Special Services Division. The bulk of these proceeds were to be used to provide facilities and materials for soldier artists in Army camps throughout the country.
Members of the Museum had responded with paintings, sculptures, watercolors, gouaches, drawings, etchings and lithographs. Hundreds of works were received, including oils by Winslow Homer, Orozco, John Kane, Speicher, Eilshemius, de Chirico; watercolors by Burchfield and Dufy; drawings by Augustus John, Forain and Berman, and prints by Cezanne, Lautrec, Matisse and Bellows. The War Department plan using soldier-artists to decorate and improve buildings and grounds worked. Many artists who had been drafted into the Army volunteered to paint murals in waiting rooms and clubs, to decorate dayrooms, and to landscape grounds. For each artist at work there were a thousand troops who watched. These bystanders clamored to participate, and classes in drawing, painting, sculpture and photography were offered. Larger working space and more instructors were required to meet the growing demand. Civilian art instructors and local communities helped to meet this cultural need, by providing volunteer instruction and facilities.
Some proceeds from the Modern Museum of Art sale were used to print 25,000 booklets called “Interior Design and Soldier Art.” The booklet showed examples of soldier-artist murals that decorated places of general assembly. It was a guide to organizing, planning and executing the soldier-artist program. The balance of the art sale proceeds were used to purchase the initial arts and crafts furnishings for 350 Army installations in the USA.
In November, 1942, General Somervell directed that a group of artists be selected and dispatched to active theaters to paint war scenes with the stipulation that soldier artists would not paint in lieu of military duties.
Aileen Osborn Webb, sister of Brigadier General Frederick H. Osborn, launched the American Crafts Council in 1943. She was an early champion of the Army program.
While soldiers were participating in fixed facilities in the USA, many troops were being shipped overseas to Europe and the Pacific (1942-1945). They had long periods of idleness and waiting in staging areas. At that time the wounded were lying in hospitals, both on land and in ships at sea. The War Department and Red Cross responded by purchasing kits of arts and crafts tools and supplies to distribute to “these restless personnel.” A variety of small “Handicraft Kits” were distributed free of charge. Leathercraft, celluloid etching, knotting and braiding, metal tooling, drawing and clay modeling are examples of the types of kits sent.
In January, 1944, the Interior Design Soldier Artist program was more appropriately named the “Arts and Crafts Section” of Special Services. The mission was “to fulfill the natural human desire to create, provide opportunities for self-expression, serve old skills and develop new ones, and assist the entire recreation program through construction work, publicity, and decoration.”
The National Army Art Contest was planned for the late fall of 1944. In June of 1945, the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., for the first time in its history opened its facilities for the exhibition of the soldier art and photography submitted to this contest. The “Infantry Journal, Inc.” printed a small paperback booklet containing 215 photographs of pictures exhibited in the National Gallery of Art.
In August of 1944, the Museum of Modern Art, Armed Forces Program, organized an art center for veterans. Abby Rockefeller, in particular, had a strong interest in this project. Soldiers were invited to sketch, paint, or model under the guidance of skilled artists and craftsmen. Victor d’Amico, who was in charge of the Museum’s Education Department, was quoted in Russell Lynes book, Good Old Modern: An Intimate Portrait of the Museum of Modern Art. “I asked one fellow why he had taken up art and he said, Well, I just came back from destroying everything. I made up my mind that if I ever got out of the Army and out of the war I was never going to destroy another thing in my life, and I decided that art was the thing that I would do.” Another man said to d’Amico, “Art is like a good night’s sleep. You come away refreshed and at peace.”
In late October, 1944, an Arts and Crafts Branch of Special Services Division, Headquarters, European Theater of Operations was established. A versatile program of handcrafts flourished among the Army occupation troops.
The increased interest in crafts, rather than fine arts, at this time lead to a new name for the program: The “Handicrafts Branch.”
In 1945, the War Department published a new manual, “Soldier Handicrafts”, to help implement this new emphasis. The manual contained instructions for setting up crafts facilities, selecting as well as improvising tools and equipment, and basic information on a variety of arts and crafts.
As the Army moved from a combat to a peacetime role, the majority of crafts shops in the United States were equipped with woodworking power machinery for construction of furnishings and objects for personal living. Based on this new trend, in 1946 the program was again renamed, this time as “Manual Arts.”
At the same time, overseas programs were now employing local artists and craftsmen to operate the crafts facilities and instruct in a variety of arts and crafts. These highly skilled, indigenous instructors helped to stimulate the soldiers’ interest in the respective native cultures and artifacts. Thousands of troops overseas were encouraged to record their experiences on film. These photographs provided an invaluable means of communication between troops and their families back home.
When the war ended, the Navy had a firm of architects and draftsmen on contract to design ships. Since there was no longer a need for more ships, they were given a new assignment: To develop a series of instructional guides for arts and crafts. These were called “Hobby Manuals.” The Army was impressed with the quality of the Navy manuals and had them reprinted and adopted for use by Army troops. By 1948, the arts and crafts practiced throughout the Army were so varied and diverse that the program was renamed “Hobby Shops.” The first “Interservice Photography Contest” was held in 1948. Each service is eligible to send two years of their winning entries forward for the bi-annual interservice contest. In 1949, the first All Army Crafts Contest was also held. Once again, it was clear that the program title, “Hobby Shops” was misleading and overlapped into other forms of recreation.
In January, 1951, the program was designated as “The Army Crafts Program.” The program was recognized as an essential Army recreation activity along with sports, libraries, service clubs, soldier shows and soldier music. In the official statement of mission, professional leadership was emphasized to insure a balanced, progressive schedule of arts and crafts would be conducted in well-equipped, attractive facilities on all Army installations.
The program was now defined in terms of a “Basic Seven Program” which included: drawing and painting; ceramics and sculpture; metal work; leathercrafts; model building; photography and woodworking. These programs were to be conducted regularly in facilities known as the “multiple-type crafts shop.” For functional reasons, these facilities were divided into three separate technical areas for woodworking, photography and the arts and crafts.
During the Korean Conflict, the Army Crafts program utilized the personnel and shops in Japan to train soldiers to instruct crafts in Korea.
The mid-1950s saw more soldiers with cars and the need to repair their vehicles was recognized at Fort Carson, Colorado, by the craft director. Soldiers familiar with crafts shops knew that they had tools and so automotive crafts were established. By 1958, the Engineers published an Official Design Guide on Crafts Shops and Auto Crafts Shops. In 1959, the first All Army Art Contest was held. Once more, the Army Crafts Program responded to the needs of soldiers.
In the 1960’s, the war in Vietnam was a new challenge for the Army Crafts Program. The program had three levels of support; fixed facilities, mobile trailers designed as portable photo labs, and once again a “Kit Program.” The kit program originated at Headquarters, Department of Army, and it proved to be very popular with soldiers.
Tom Turner, today a well-known studio potter, was a soldier at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina in the 1960s. In the December 1990 / January 1991 “American Crafts” magazine, Turner, who had been a graduate student in art school when he was drafted, said the program was “a godsend.”
The Army Artist Program was re-initiated in cooperation with the Office of Military History to document the war in Vietnam. Soldier-artists were identified and teams were formed to draw and paint the events of this combat. Exhibitions of these soldier-artist works were produced and toured throughout the USA.
In 1970, the original name of the program, “Arts and Crafts”, was restored. In 1971, the “Arts and Crafts/Skills Development Program” was established for budget presentations and construction projects.
After the Vietnam demobilization, a new emphasis was placed on service to families and children of soldiers. To meet this new challenge in an environment of funding constraints the arts and crafts program began charging fees for classes. More part-time personnel were used to teach formal classes. Additionally, a need for more technical-vocational skills training for military personnel was met by close coordination with Army Education Programs. Army arts and crafts directors worked with soldiers during “Project Transition” to develop soldier skills for new careers in the public sector.
The main challenge in the 1980s and 90s was, and is, to become “self-sustaining.” Directors have been forced to find more ways to generate increased revenue to help defray the loss of appropriated funds and to cover the non-appropriated funds expenses of the program. Programs have added and increased emphasis on services such as, picture framing, gallery sales, engraving and trophy sales, etc… New programs such as multi-media computer graphics appeal to customers of the 1990’s.
The Gulf War presented the Army with some familiar challenges such as personnel off duty time in staging areas. Department of Army volunteer civilian recreation specialists were sent to Saudi Arabia in January, 1991, to organize recreation programs. Arts and crafts supplies were sent to the theater. An Army Humor Cartoon Contest was conducted for the soldiers in the Gulf, and arts and crafts programs were set up to meet soldier interests.
The increased operations tempo of the ‘90’s Army has once again placed emphasis on meeting the “recreation needs of deployed soldiers.” Arts and crafts activities and a variety of programs are assets commanders must have to meet the deployment challenges of these very different scenarios.
The Army arts and crafts program, no matter what it has been titled, has made some unique contributions for the military and our society in general. Army arts and crafts does not fit the narrow definition of drawing and painting or making ceramics, but the much larger sense of arts and crafts. It is painting and drawing. It also encompasses:
* all forms of design. (fabric, clothes, household appliances, dishes, vases, houses, automobiles, landscapes, computers, copy machines, desks, industrial machines, weapon systems, air crafts, roads, etc…)
* applied technology (photography, graphics, woodworking, sculpture, metal smithing, weaving and textiles, sewing, advertising, enameling, stained glass, pottery, charts, graphs, visual aides and even formats for correspondence…)
* a way of making learning fun, practical and meaningful (through the process of designing and making an object the creator must decide which materials and techniques to use, thereby engaging in creative problem solving and discovery) skills taught have military applications.
* a way to acquire quality items and save money by doing-it-yourself (making furniture, gifts, repairing things …).
* a way to pursue college credit, through on post classes.
* a universal and non-verbal language (a picture is worth a thousand words).
* food for the human psyche, an element of morale that allows for individual expression (freedom).
* the celebration of human spirit and excellence (our highest form of public recognition is through a dedicated monument).
* physical and mental therapy (motor skill development, stress reduction, etc…).
* an activity that promotes self-reliance and self-esteem.
* the record of mankind, and in this case, of the Army.
What would the world be like today if this generally unknown program had not existed? To quantitatively state the overall impact of this program on the world is impossible. Millions of soldier citizens have been directly and indirectly exposed to arts and crafts because this program existed. One activity, photography can provide a clue to its impact. Soldiers encouraged to take pictures, beginning with WW II, have shared those images with family and friends. Classes in “How to Use a Camera” to “How to Develop Film and Print Pictures” were instrumental in soldiers seeing the results of using quality equipment. A good camera and lens could make a big difference in the quality of the print. They bought the top of the line equipment. When they were discharged from the Army or home on leave this new equipment was showed to the family and friends. Without this encouragement and exposure to photography many would not have recorded their personal experiences or known the difference quality equipment could make. Families and friends would not have had the opportunity to “see” the environment their soldier was living in without these photos. Germany, Italy, Korea, Japan, Panama, etc… were far away places that most had not visited.
As the twenty first century approaches, the predictions for an arts renaissance by Megatrends 2000 seem realistic based on the Army Arts and Crafts Program practical experience. In the April ‘95 issue of “American Demographics” magazine, an article titled “Generation X” fully supports that this is indeed the case today. Television and computers have greatly contributed to “Generation X” being more interested in the visual arts and crafts.
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MS Oriana IV, Invergordon
head shop free shipping
Image by Mark Howells-Mead
We were lucky enough to be at Invergordon on the Cromarty Firth in Scotland, when this huge cruise liner was preparing to depart. I shot a time lapse sequence over the course of twenty minutes or so, as the dock hands freed the ship and it headed out along the firth to the North Sea.

Cool Legal Spice Smoke images

A few nice legal spice smoke images I found:

FrogE Magic Plant Food
legal spice smoke
Image by 666isMONEY ☮ ♥ & ☠
Friend said FrogE was mimic cocaine but a little research makes me think this stuff is Mephedrone, a mimic Ecstacy hence, the "E" in "Frog E".

Here’s a link to a drug forum about Mephedrone. Someone at this forum (Part One) describes Mephedrone: "I sort of think off [sic] it as the Cocaine version of MDMA."

FROM READING THE FORUMS, IT SOUNDS LIKE REALLY BAD STUFF, ESPECIALLY IF U HAVE A BAD HEART. Another person at the forum says, "It’s still SatanSpunk an y’all are gonna die painfully in about five years from now ;)"

Here’s what it says on the back:

FrogE is formulated as a soil conditioner designed to enhance your plant’s health and happiness.

Empty or dissolve one capsule in one-half cup of water and gently feed your plant.

CAUTION: PLANTS LIKE PEOPLE CAN OVERDOSE ON A GOOD THING, NEVER FEED YOUR PLANT MORE THAN ONE TABLET IN A 24 HOUR PERIOD.

NO SALE TO MINORS

Must Be 18 To Purchase

CAUTION: NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION.

Abuse of this product can be harmful.

FrogE is Distributed By The LifeSmart Products Co., Los Angeles, CA 90016

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The friend knows I have an interest in things like this gave me the empty package, which he said contained another package inside. The person who gave it to him can not use illegal drugs because he needs to "drop" at the P.O.. They sell FrogE at headshops.

The same company that makes this product also makes "Spice," a synthetic marijuana.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_cannabis

Methylenedioxypyrovalerone or MDPV is sold as "Bath Salts". Media warnings and law enforcement officials refer to it as a "dangerous but illegal designer drug", "copy-cat cocaine", "the devil", "poison", and "synthetic speed".

Here’s more info from the federal government on these type products:
www.justice.gov/dea/pubs/pressrel/pr030111.html
www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/fed_regs/rules/2011/fr0301.htm

Here’s a story about it on a criminal defense website that uses my pic:
www.saltlakecriminaldefense.com/2011/09/%E2%80%98bath-sal…

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The owner of a south side smoke shop was arrested on suspicion of selling a synthetic pot banned by the state legislature, police said Thursday.

Richard Gurule, owner of “Just Ta Dream” smoke shop, 4609 S. 12th Ave., is facing two counts of dangerous drug sales after police say sold synthetic marijuana, also known as “spice” or “K2,” according to a Tucson Police Department news release. Police say they found packets of the drug while serving a search warrant at the smoke shop following a tip the product was being sold there.

Read more: azstarnet.com/news/local/crime/article_6e025ed4-5bf6-11e0…

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October 22, 2011
D.E.A. Bans Chemicals Used in ‘Bath Salts’
By ELIZABETH A. HARRIS
The Drug Enforcement Administration took emergency action on Friday to ban three synthetic stimulants used to make products that are marketed at head shops and on the Web as “bath salts,” but are actually used as recreational drugs that mimic the effects of cocaine, LSD and methamphetamine.

The emergency measure places these substances — mephedrone, methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and methylone — under the D.E.A.’s most restrictive category for at least a year, while they study whether they should be permanently banned. This classification is reserved for substances with high potential for abuse and no accepted use under medical supervision.

Read more: www.nytimes.com/2011/10/22/us/dea-bans-chemicals-used-in-…

popular eating location
legal spice smoke
Image by permanently scatterbrained
from bajalife.com:

Puerto Nuevo-style lobster has been a phenomenon since 1956, when several women in the tiny fishing village south of Rosarito started dropping fresh lobsters into pots of bubbling oil and serving them to a few outsiders.

Last year, the still-small-but-now-bustling Puerto Nuevo served more than 672,000 deep-fried California rock lobsters.

Dozens of restaurants in Rosarito and the surrounding area served more. More than 250 tons of the bottom-crawling crustaceans are pulled from Baja California waters each year just to feed the frenzy of lobster-loving tourists. Hundreds of additional tons are shipped in from elsewhere between mid-February and mid-September, when harvesting Baja California lobster is illegal.

Today, Puerto Nuevo boasts more than 35 side-by-side restaurants that all sell the same thing — fried lobster, beans, rice, flour tortillas, chips and salsa. To the uninitiated, confusion reigns. We’ll tell you which spots are the best, but first, a few insider tips:

Fresh vs. frozen: Most of the larger, more popular restaurants are owned or controlled by two families. This gives them the volume and ability to import live lobster from Baja California Sur and from as far away as Cancun during the months when local lobster is out of season. Smaller mom-and-pop operations are often forced to serve frozen lobster during this period. All of the restaurants we recommend serve fresh lobster year-round.
Choosing a lobster: The most tender legal lobster is the medium size, weighing from 1 to 1* pounds. Restaurant owners will admit that anything over this is tough. While very small lobsters, often called "slippers," are delicious and extremely tender, they are illegal to catch, sell or serve at any time of year.

Price: The larger, long-standing restaurants run very close in price for basic lobster dinners: about to for a full meal with a medium lobster; for a large lobster; for the extra-large "burro," which can weigh up to four pounds. The smaller restaurants have less overhead, less staff, offer fewer choices and thus can compete hard in price. But, ask the right questions before committing. If a sign outside shows " SHRIMP – ALL YOU CAN EAT," ask if that means all the shrimp you can eat or all the side dishes. If a restaurant offers five lobster tails, ask to see the size.
Just say no: Usually, you’ll be shown a tray with three different lobster sizes to choose from. The enormous "burro," grande or extra-large may look tempting, but don’t order it. According to Puerto Nuevo chefs, lobsters this large are tough and best suited for Lobster salad.

Spice it up: Ask for spicy molcajete sauce rather than the bland tomato salsa.

Side dishes: Salsa, chips, tortillas, rice and beans are all in the all-you-can-eatcategory. Don’t be afraid to ask for more of any of these, especially fresh, hot tortillas. Nobody eats flour tortillas in a restaurant once they’ve gotten cold. Before you go

Credit Cards: Not all Puerto Nuevo restaurants take credit cards. Best to bring cash or ask before you order.

Reservations: Most Puerto Nuevo restaurants do not take reservations directly, but the Rosarito Convention and Visitors Bureau (011-52-661-612-0396) is happy to make calls on your behalf.

Hours: Most restaurants are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays, winter and summer, and until 10 p.m on Friday and Saturday. A few restaurants stay open until 11:30 p.m. on summer weekends.

Getting there: Puerto Nuevo is a clearly marked village on the Old Road, 10 minutes south of downtown Rosarito. Take the Rosarito-Ensenada toll road to the Puerto Nuevo turnoff at kilometer 49. Turn left onto the Old Road and continue south a short distance to the village, which will be on your right. It is exactly 10 miles from Rosarito’s southern toll gate.

Pride of Puerto Nuevo: the best spots
The most popular restaurants in Puerto Nuevo are La Casa de Langosta, Puerto Nuevo I and II, La Escondida and Ortega’s Manuel’s. Sandra’s also is a favorite with locals, and Ortega’s Patio and the Lobster House rate a visit as well. All are winners when it comes to a great lobster dinner and are all competitively priced. Here are other considerations to help narrow your choices:

Best Menu: La Casa de Langosta. With everything from lobster burritos to lobster omelets for breakfast, this broad menu also includes steamed lobster with wine, lobster thermidor and several creative combo plates like the Seafood Combination, which features calamari, fish and lobster. You’ll also find oysters Rockefeller, along with Seven Seas soup.

Best Food: Puerto Nuevo II. Chef Enrique Murillo loves to cook, and his appetizers are as good as his lobster. Depending on the availability of fresh ingredients, they include smoked marlin with capers and chile chipotle, steamed baby clams in butter and parsley sauce, awesome octopus loaded with garlic and butter and perhaps the best mussels on the Gold Coast.

Best Atmosphere: Ortega’s Patio. The upper deck of this smaller restaurant is the\ prettiest, most charming place in Puerto Nuevo, with billowing blankets strung for shade and bougainvillea blooming all around. A nice slice of sea view and good people-watching on the main street below add to the casual atmosphere.

Best View: The Lobster House. It’s the only major restaurant on the dirt street closest to the ocean, and the upper deck here has the only unobstructed, 180-degree ocean view in the village. On a warm, sunny day, this is a splendid place to be. On windy, cool days opt for the first-floor dining room.

Best Value: The Lobster House. With almost the same menu as La Casa de Langosta (and the same ownership), this restaurant usually charges .50 to less per meal for the same size portions. The Lobster House is relatively new and has been building business with competitive pricing.

Best Wine List: La Casa de Langosta and The Lobster House. You’ll find a full selection of Baja’s top wines, including L.A. Cetto, Santo Tomas and Casa Domecq at both places. Good choices with lobster are Santo Tomas’ Blanco Seco, Cetto’s Fume Blanc and any of the Baja wineries’ Chardonnays.

Best Wait Staff: Puerto Nuevo II.

Most Kid-Friendly: Ortega’s Patio and Puerto Nuevo II.

Getting around: Puerto Nuevo is only three blocks deep. Puerto Nuevo I and II, La Casa de Langosta and La Escondida are all on the left, in that order, as you enter and head toward the sea. Ortega’s Patio and Ortega’s Manuel’s are both on the right, closest to the ocean. Sandra’s is on the second side street to the left, around the corner from Puerto Nuevo II. The Lobster House is the last restaurant to the left, on the dirt road fronting the ocean.

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The Foundation: A Great American Secret; How Private Wealth is Changing the World (January 2007) …
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Foundations are a peculiarly American institution. They have been the dynamo of social change since their invention at the beginning of the last century.

Yet they are cloaked in secrecy— their decision-making and operations are inscrutable to the point of obscurity-leaving them substantially unaccountable to anyone. Joel Fleishman has been in and around foundations for almost half a century…running them, sitting on their boards, and seeking grants from them.

And in this groundbreaking book he explains the history of foundations, tells the stories of the most successful foundation initiatives—and of those that have failed—and explains why it matters. The baby boomer generation is going to participate in the largest transfer of wealth in history when it passes on its assets to its successor generation.

The third sector is about to become more powerful than ever. This book shows how foundations can provide a vital spur to the engine of the American, and the world’s, economy—if they are properly established and run.

Publication Date: January 9, 2007

………***** All images are copyrighted by their respective authors ……..
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……item 1)…. Amazon.com … www.amazon.com

The Foundation: A Great American Secret; How Private Wealth is Changing the World [Hardcover]
Joel L. Fleishman (Author)

www.amazon.com/The-Foundation-American-Private-Changing/d…

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his first book, law professor and philanthropist Fleishman has created a thoughtful, engrossing, comprehensive guide to the origins, initiatives, successes and failures among the largely unsung 68,000 private foundations in America, which together grant over 32.2 billion tax-exempt dollars per year.

Tracing the history of this distinctly American institution, Fleishman considers the philanthropy of such financial titans as Andrew Carnegie, George Soros, Warren Buffett, Michael Milken and Bill Gates. Fleishman’s view of the foundation is distinctly favorable: foundations serve a vital social function by providing seed funding to innovative initiatives, having led to such benefits as the 911 emergency response system, the development of the Pap smear, the alleviation of poverty in Bangladesh and the establishment of Johns Hopkins and Carnegie Mellon Universities.

Fleishman doe not hestitate, however, to criticize foundations for arrogance, poor planning, unresponsiveness, waste and irresponsibility, using 12 case studies-Rockefeller’s Population Council and the Children’s Television Workshop among them-to set the stage for "Some Not So Modest Proposals," most of which involve increasing transparency and accountability. Fleishman’s efforts prove an illuminating guide to a little-examined aspect of the American tradition.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review
"Any budding philanthropist who aspires to make a better world…should read Joel Fleishman’s wise book." — The Economist, January 27, 2007

"In `The Foundation’…Joel L. Fleishman penetrates this opaque culture." — Bloomberg.com

"Passionately and persuasively, Fleishman makes the case for greater accountability." — Baltimore Sun, January 7, 2007

"Satloff lifts a veil on the Holocaust in North Africa." — Toronto Globe and Mail, January 6, 2007

"This book has an important role to play by educating the public and encouraging foundations to become more accountable" — San Francisco Chronicle, January 7, 2007

"a thoughtful, scholarly, complete discussion… Must-read for staff and board members of non-profits and for anyone running for public office." — Fayetteville Observer, May 13, 2007

"a warm, loving tribute to the large foundations, their donors, and their chief executives." — The Nonprofit Quarterly, Spring 2007

"he has been engaged in a lifelong `lover’s quarrel’ with foundations. His book is a form of tough love." — The Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2007

More About the Author
› Visit Amazon’s Joel L. Fleishman Page

Biography

Joel L. Fleishman is professor of law and public policy at Duke University and the author of The Foundation. He has served as president of the Atlantic Philanthropic Service Company, the U.S. program staff of Atlantic Philanthropies.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful

*******Deserves serious reading from people who want to make a difference. February 5, 2007
By D. Stuart
Format:Hardcover

Joel Fleishman’s book lays an excellent bedrock of history underneath its discussion of philanthropy as a great element of American tradition. We live in days of some staggering examples – from Warren Buffet’s living bequest of billions, to the fine work of Bill and Melinda Gates – and many others. But rather than see this as some product of the new millennium – Fleishman shows how the new avatars of corporate generosity are following a fine tradition. More than this, the author shows that certain gifting strategies have been leveraged for huge social benefit. For those who are thinking – at whatever scale – of giving to support a cause, this book sets out the strategies that have produced most benefit. This is an excellent, thoughtful piece of work on a topic that currently has wide currency. Well worth reading.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful

******Examining a Big but Little Known Area March 8, 2007
By John Matlock
Format:Hardcover

Foundations are a subset of Non-Profit organizations that have become surprisingly big busines in the United States. Somewhere around 1/7th of the business in the country is conducted by these organizations. Somewhere around 1/9th of the workforce is employed by one. They have become an integral part of the American economy.

In this book Mr. Fleishman looks at Foundations (a number of which he has been associated as employee, trustee or some other capacity). He examines what makes a foundation successful, and how some have failed. He offers insight and advice on how to make a foundation more successful, and at the same time how foundations should have an obligation to become more accountable since they received special tax considerations from the Government. He suggests that this accountability should be done by the foundations voluntarily. However, Mr. Fleishman is an attorney and believes that if voluntary response is not forthcoming then new legal requirements should be placed upon them to require more openness.
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