Monthly Archives: September 2015

20150924 – Water falls; white water rapids; fried apple pies

Thursday – warm and sunny.

 

Amicalola falls

Amicalola falls

Up early and out to the Amicalola Falls state park. The highest waterfalls East of the Mississippi – yet another biggest and best. The weathers perfect not to hot. Have a pleasant stroll around the falls, up and down the 175 steps. Then walk up to the lodge for coffee and some awesome views over a few more trees. Wendy passes on a very reasonably priced buffet lunch – too much to eat.

Amicalola falls.

Amicalola falls.

Stop at Burts farm. Pumpkins as far as the eye can see. Giant ones that need a wheel barrow – provided – to carry one.

Call in at one of the Orchard shops. Pass on pick your own fruit but try the fried apple and peach pies. They’re delicious, calorie and cholesterol specials, but deep fried Oreos are still the tops so far.

Pumpkins for Halloween. Only £40 each.

Pumpkins for Halloween. Only £40 each.

Yet again I’m in a place with dodgy Internet. The bane of my nerdy life. Isn’t it about time that the UN mounted an all out effort to make free and speedy Internet access universally available and a human right violation if it’s not. It’s up and down like a praying muslim. No BBC iPlayer, no Netflix, no Prison Break – fortunately only 13 episodes of interminable bad luck and subsequent cliff hangers to go before we escape it. We man up and survive the evening without resorting to watching American TV.

Don’t you just love the “law of unintended consequences”.

This is what happens to you in Georgia if you stand still for too long.

This is what happens to you in Georgia if you stand still for too long.

The vine Kudzu was introduced to the United States as an ornamental bush and an effortless and efficient shade producer at the Philadelphia Continental Exposition in 1876. In the 1930s and ’40s, it was rebranded as a way for farmers to stop soil erosion. Southern farmers were given about eight dollars an acre to sow topsoil with this invasive vine. Now the dam thing seems to be throttling Georgia.

Kudzu’s environmental and ecological damage results from acting through “interference competition”, meaning it outcompetes other species for a resource. Kudzu competes with native flora for light, and acts to block their access to this vital resource by growing over them and shading them with its leaves. Native plants may then die as a result.

Fascinating programme on Horizon about Quantum Evolution. Did you know that the robin navigates by quantum entangled electrons – incredible, or as Einstein said “spooky”.

Brabble
Meaning: To argue loudly about something inconsequential.
Origin: 1530s
As in: I can’t stand Question Time, it always descends into brabbling.

Corn on the cob American style.

Corn on the cob American style.

I see the the left and their lovvies have been falling over each other in their rush to join the Corbyn carnival of jesters and chuckle heads. Turns out he’s a vegan. Am I surprised? You could almost guarantee it. But best of all he’s put a raving feminist vegan nazi in as shadow farming minister. She advocates treating meat eaters like smokers with a tax on meat. She doesn’t eat meat or dairy and she’s there for farmers! You really couldn’t find a comedy script writer capable of dreaming up such nonsense.

Soon we’ll have a new word in the English language. Corbynism – the mindless following of communist, loony left wing policies with zero common sense, completely out of touch with the electorate, reality and financial sense.

 

Friday – more rain than in Blackburn.

 

I'll just polish off the rest of this fried peach pie. Delicious.

I’ll just polish off the rest of this fried peach pie. Delicious.

Rain all day so we knuckle down and have a lazy day in. For a laugh, to raise my blood pressure and to see how the crazies of the World are going on, I have a browse of the daily blood boiler. Yes it’s as crazy as ever out there.

Beef-witted
Meaning: Stupid, imbecilic.
Origin: 1590s
As in: Big Brother is a TV show for the terminally beef-witted.

I just love this. Sums up the IT industry and the password hell we encounter daily:

1896772_685275748196547_1755721502_n

Olympic white water slalom  course - well perhaps not today.

Olympic white water slalom course – well perhaps not today.

A congressman stole the water glass Pope Francis was drinking out of during his address at the White House. Representative Bob Brady, a devout Catholic and Democrat from Pennsylvania immediately made his way to the podium after Pope Francis finished speaking and grabbed the glass that was still filled with water. He then drank the water, gave some of the water to his wife Debra, and saved the rest for his grandchildren.

How unhygienic. Only in America, well perhaps not, after all he is a politician. Would you really want this knuckle head as your representative.

 

Saturday – grey and cloudy.

 

On the left you can hardly understand them, on the right they might as well be speaking in tongues.

On the left you can hardly understand them, on the right they might as well be speaking in tongues.

Drive up to the Ocoee Whitewater Center, scene of the 1996 Olympic canoe slalom. Lovely setting and a pleasant walk around, but alas no white water, merely a dribble flowing down the course. Apparently they dam the water up and only release it on selected days to create a white water paradise. Today wasn’t one of those days.

Olympic white water slalom centre.

Olympic white water slalom centre.

Have a brief stop in McCaysville, Tennessee. Well we’ve not understood much for the past 3 weeks in Georgia, but by comparison the drawl in Tennessee makes Georgia seem like they’re all speaking the queens English. They might as well be speaking Serbo Croat. Places main claim to fame seems to be a Gun & Drug store, you can buy a superb automatic killing machine, along with a first aid kit and antibiotics to help the wounded. Only in America. Aside from more junk and antique shops than woodworm in a 16th century coffin, it’s other claim to fame is that it’s on the Georgia / Tennessee border and like a devoted, camera toting, Japanese tourist you can have your photo taken straggling two states. Wow!

McCayville

McCayville

Call at Mercier Orchards on the way back. Judging by the crowds, I can only assume they must be giving it all away free. They’re all there, queuing to throw their money away. It’s a jollux’s magnet and paradise. Every kind of fried pie you can imagine, but alas no fried Oreos. Instead of the normal 30% obesity rate in America, this place excels with at least a +60% obesity rate. You can’t move for waddling adipose tissue bellies slapping you around.

And finally to end the day, a quick nip in the supermarket – never a quickie with Wendy.

McCayville

McCayville

Well I quite like the idea of a packer in the supermarkets, saves me standing around with both hands in my pockets or picking my nose, in order to avoid packing. I only ever did the packing once and got treated like a 4 year old whose brain had dropped out on the pavement for putting the wrong things together in the wrong bag – seems like there’s some secret high order feminine fetish algorithm which dictates these things. But, I do find it somewhat insulting when they offer to push the trolley out for you. Yes, I’m hobbling on me walking poles, but we’re still mobile enough to push a trolley. Plus, being America, I’m sure they’ll expect a tip.

Fuzzle
Meaning: To make drunk, intoxicate.
Origin: 1910s
As in: It’s never a good idea to drive while fuzzled.

Apple farm.

Apple farm.

If You Encounter a Black Bear…

Don’t play dead. They eat berries, nuts, acorns, honey, fruit and carrion. If it’s brown bear then do play dead.

Remain calm and avoid sudden movements. I suppose this means I’ll have to put my iPhone away.

Give the bear plenty of room, allowing it to continue its activities undisturbed. Think strictly come dancing.

If you see a bear but the bear doesn’t see you, detour quickly and quietly. Get your iPhone out and do a selfie with the bear in the background.

Eating us out of house and home.

Eating us out of house and home.

If a bear spots you, try to get its attention while it is still farther away. You want it to know you’re human so talk in a normal voice and waive your arms. Perhaps you should read it one of Shakespeare’s sonnets.

Remember that a standing bear is not always a sign of aggression. Many times, bears will stand to get a better view.

Throw something onto the ground (like your camera or a young child) if the bear pursues you, as it may be distracted by this.

Never feed or throw food to a bear.

If a Bear Charges…

Remember that many bears charge as a bluff. They may run, then veer off or stop abruptly. Stand your ground until the bear stops, then slowly back away. You hope.

DSC_4833Never run from a bear! Unless of course you’re with someone who cannot run as fast as you.

Don’t run towards or climb a tree – especially if you’ve not had working at height training. Black bears can climb trees.

If you have pepper spray, be sure that you have trained with it – if not stop and read the manual – before using it during an attack.

If a Black Bear Attacks…

Be loud, waive your arms, and stand your ground. If you have young children pinch them to make them scream and bawl.

Fight back! Be aggressive and use any object you have.

Wow it seems that Mark Zuckerberg (if you don’t know who he is tough) and Bill Gates (and if you don’t know who he is become a nerd) must be reading my blog, as they kicked off a campaign to make Internet access universal, saying this was critical to fulfilling the United Nations’ newly adopted agenda to combat global ills. Sadly speed and latency were not mentioned, but it’s a start.

Calling for efforts to ensure Internet access for everyone globally by 2020, Zuckerberg said Internet connections are a dynamic tool for sharing knowledge, creating opportunities, lifting communities out of poverty and promoting peace.

You just know it makes sense.

You just know it makes sense.

20150920 – Drive In Movie; Drive In The Trees, Trees, Trees And Yet More Trees

Sunday – hot and sunny.

 

Sunday night date night.

Sunday night date night.

Yet another minor step forward with the gamy leg. I can now step into a car normally.

Drive in movie.

Drive in movie.

Drive down to Blue Ridge lake for a stroll along the lake. Then go down to the marina. Check out the price of kayak hire. “No we don’t hire kayaks”. Well can I rent a kayak, “Oh yes”. What have they done to the English language?

We have to put the bird feeders away each night, otherwise Ma bear will come onto the deck and eat it, wrecking the feeder in the process. Dustbins are kept in a locked box. The joys of mountain living.

showcalendar_swanI thought these log cabins would be horrendously expensive. Just seen a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom, 2,500 square feet with decks etc, in the trees all for about £200k. What a bargain.

In the evening we go to a drive in movie, an all American experience dating back to the 1950’s. It’s one of the few drive ins left in Georgia. A really neat experience, very comfy, stereo sound via the FM radio. Really enjoyed it, especially the deep fried Oreos.

Groak
Meaning: To silently watch someone while they are eating, hoping to be invited to join them.
Origin: Unknown
As in: It’s hard to enjoy your meal when the guy opposite is groaking you the whole time.

Deep fried Oreos. An American culinary delight.

Deep fried Oreos. An American culinary delight.

Redneck Wisdom

If everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane!

If rabbits’ feet are so lucky, what happened to the rabbit?

If the Lord had meant us to fly, He would have given us aluminum skin.

It’s colder than a mother-in-law’s love.

Ain’t no point in beatin’ a dead horse…’course, can’t hurt none either.

They’re off like a herd of turtles.

Excuses are like backsides. Everybody’s got one and they all stink.

Looks good to me.

Looks good to me.

Now the hindus are suffering from hinduphobia, they’re all at it.

A current promotional offer at “ampm” stores links a cheeseburger with “Holy Cow” and upset Hindus are calling it inappropriate and urging the immediate withdrawal of concerned posters.

The posters displaying “Big Western BBQ Cheeseburger” in “ampm” stores contain the words “Holy Cow” in bold and capital letters at the top. This cheeseburger contains barbeque sauce, diced onions and bell peppers on a hoagie bun.

 
 

 

Monday – hot and sunny.

 

Him and his mates are costing us a fortune in bird food.

Him and his mates are costing us a fortune in bird food.

Well deserved lazy day, enjoying the log cabin, birds and surroundings.

In the afternoon Wendy gets her supermarket fix, I have to while away the time at Starbucks.

Here we are in the back of beyond. Down a dirt track. I don’t think the nearest neighbours are even aware that the civil war is over. There are more bears than cars and yet the road here has 5 sleeping policemen / speed bumps to slow you down. Now like most things American these speed bumps are whoppers, you get whiplash going over them even at a snails pace. Why do they need them?

I will get to that bird seed.

I will get to that bird seed.

Well done Kurt on passing your driving test in a manual / stick shift.

What a pity these manual / stick shifts still exist. Who knows, perhaps one day the UK will come to it senses and go automatic. Yes, I know it’s “not macho to drive an automatic”; “it wastes petrol”, I really doubt it; “you’re not in control”; “it takes the fun out of driving”, what fun, have you every driven on our gridlocked roads lately; and other spurious reasons from the macho drivers motoring club. But hey the Worlds moved on, we got rid of the man with the red flag; we don’t need to advance and retard the spark anymore; the manual chokes finally choked to death; no need to double de-clutch with a sychronous gear box. Role on the driverless car I say. Just think how many deaths and accidents it will save.

Gorgonize
Meaning: To have a paralyzing or mesmerizing effect on someone.
Origin: Early 17th century
As in: Don’t look into his eyes. He’s so charismatic, you’ll be gorgonized.

Driving down these back woods roads we're keeping a wary eye out for him and his kinsmen.

Driving down these back woods roads we’re keeping a wary eye out for him and his kinsmen.

I couldn’t quite decide whether this was a rant or a joke. Joke won.

I see from the local rag, The Fannin Focus, that loony religious zealot inspired Blue Laws are rife here in Blue Ridge. The local mayor is in deep bear dung for allowing attendees at the Blues & BBQ festival to walk the streets with alcohol cans and aluminium bottles (thank the FSM they weren’t glass) displaying labels of various beers.

Georgia State law prohibits alcohol to be within 300 feet of a church. Does this mean that Catholics have to go 301 feet outside the church when having their Sunday tipple?

DSC_4714City ordinance states that for events alcohol is only allowed in confined areas and then in plain unmarked cups. Perhaps they should serve beer in the ubiquitous brown paper bags.

While we’re on the subject of brown paper bags it’s intrigued me why off licenses / liquor stores always try and put my booze in one.

Well apparently the answer lies in the USA’s 4th amendment, which protects the property of a person against unreasonable searches.

It is illegal in most states to possess an open container of booze:

On a public sidewalk,
In a parking lot,
On the front steps of your apartment building, or
In a parked car. Sounds like you’re ok drinking while actually driving. Unbelievable! I personally try and avoid it as I’m frightened I might spill some. The short answer is yes. As long as there are no local ordinances banning open containers in vehicles.

But if you’re carrying a drink in a brown bag that “may or may not” have alcohol in it, it would be a violation of your rights under the fourth amendment to search the bag.

A bit like “shrodingers cat”, the bottle in the bag could be alcohol or it might not be, but since the possibility exists that no law has been broken there is no cause to search the person and to do so would be a violation of their 4th amendment rights.

 

Tuesday – hot and sunny.

 

DSC_4719Up early and out early – well 10:00 is early for us. Take a drive ????

Divert on our drive down to Dahlonega. Quaint little touristy town. Claims to be the first American Gold rush, occurred here in 1828. Like all these places the marketing departments scratched around for some claim to fame, but sadly North Carolina beat them by 29 years with the first American gold rush of 1799.

DSC_4715Drive back up to Blairesville for the farmer market. All 9 stalls of it.

Interesting drive. Very scenic and as the leaves turn to gold and red then it will be splendid. Slow windy roads and oh so many trees. We were on the road for 6 hours and most of that time driving.

Actually made me realise how well situated Belthorn is for significant tourist attractions. Within an hours drive we have so much diversity of scenery, history and places of interest. When you compare this with most of the places we’ve been to in America you start to appreciate what we have condensed into our small island. Having said that I’d still rather be over here.

Old court house in Dahlonega. Now a gold mining museum.

Old court house in Dahlonega. Now a gold mining museum.

Anyone remember, in the good old days, the phrase: “Whale the tar out of you.” Don’t you just love such evocative phrases even if they would strike dread in you.

Twattle
Meaning: To gossip, or talk idly.
Origin: 1600s
As in: I wish you’d quit twattling and get on with your work.

DSC_4640Why is it a universal law of nature that the morons who write driving instructions and then publish them at great expense never bother to get someone to validate them

We decide to go on the Mountains & Countryside drive. Very nice printed copy on really expensive paper freely available from the Blue Ridge welcome centre. 1st instruction “Start at the intersection Hwy. 515 and Hwy. 5 (McDonalds on the corner). After 0.7 miles turn right….”. Now MacDonalds is at a 4 way junction, so depending upon which direction you’re coming fro you have 4 possible permutations. And so it goes on and gets even better. Common sense yet again rarer than a Taliban doing the washing up in bright yellow Marigolds. Personally I think these were written by the local divorce lawyer or trauma hospital. I am amazed there isn’t an advert for their services on the leaflet.

Anyone remember this guy, Dave Allen another awesome stand up comedian, with his rendition on my first contact with God.

 

Wednesday – hot and sunny.

 

DSC_4693
Another lazy day enjoying our surroundings. Pop out to the Amish store in the afternoon and the supermarket, but that’s about as tough as it gets for the day.

Cockalorum
Meaning: A little man with a high opinion of himself.
Origin: 1710s
As in: He’s a boastful shortarse. Total cockalorum.

This is why I have no respect for the misery and joke we call “Airport screening”:

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) own review shows that its own airport screening process fails about 95% of the time.

TSA checkpoints failed 67 out of 70 times to detect mock explosives or banned weapons.

A detailed mathematical study shows that treating all passengers equally is illogical as well as inefficient. Just a modicum of common sense would tell you that, without the need for any detailed mathematical study.

The TSA study shows that certain groups known to present a statistically higher risk than others should be selected for heightened pre-boarding screening more frequently – a frequency determined not just by age and gender, but also by ethnicity, religion and national origin.

Previously, the TSA has refused to even consider openly using this logical and established technique.

But the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that factors such as race and ethnicity – much less religion, gender and age – can be used in making selections, provided that it serves a compelling governmental interest, and that it is not the only factor used.

If members of groups with a higher risk potential were singled out more frequently, everyone would benefit, including even members of those very groups. We would be more likely to stop potential terrorists and at a far lower cost, and even innocent young Muslim males would benefit because lines – and the waiting time on them – would be much shorter for everyone.

As the GAO has now shown, the TSA procedures, have little scientific validity, and apparently waste billions of taxpayer dollars while causing unnecessary delays and providing only marginally increased security.

For full article go to http://www.valuewalk.com/2015/06/tsa-searches/.

Pat Condell – why suck up to Islam?