Thursday, 17 April 2014


Malaysian tiger Karpal Singh dies in car ‘accident’

The driving force of opposition politics in Malaysia since 1970 has died in a car accident. Karpal Singh was 74. He survived an earlier ramming collision in 2005 and was confined to a wheel chair, but continued to serve in the parliament until his death.
Karpal Singh

Karpal Singh was a fearless rebel both in politics and the legal profession, and received many death threats during his long career. One of his most controversial cases was defending Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim who was charged with sodomy in 1998. Many people considered the charge to be means of fending off a challenge to the leadership and when Karpal mentioned that he was charge with sedition. That charge was later dropped.

Karpal was an outspoken opponent of Malaysia’s death penalty, particularly the death penalty for drug trafficking. He famously defended several Australians and New Zealanders charged with drug offences. One, Kevin Barlow, was executed in 1986. The others received death sentences which were later commuted to life sentences. A New Zealander, Lorraine Cohen, was sentenced to death and later pardoned.

Karpal was an outspoken opponent of political corruption and a strong advocate for poor and oppressed people. He was suspended from parliament many times and was detained from 1987 to 1989 under the Internal Security Act but was never tried in court. In 2009 he was charged with sedition after threatening to sue the King of Malaysia, Sultan Azlan Shah. The charge was dismissed by the High Court in 2010.

Karpal Singh married Gurmit Kaur in 1970 and they had five children.

No doubt Karpal will be as controversial in death as he was in life. There may never be a final answer to the question on many lips: Was it an accident, or was it a political murder?

 Available now from Amazon or Smashwords


Freedom campers challenge council law makers in court

New Zealand motorhome and caravan enthusiasts have trotted out internationally renowned constitutional lawyer Mai Chen to challenge the legality of the Thames-Coromandel District Council’s bylaws at the High Court in Hamilton.

Members of the 52,000 strong New Zealand Motorcaravan Association packed two public galleries to capacity, even though the Association’s two events of the year (the annual general meeting and national rally) were taking place elsewhere at the same time.  By contrast, the Thames-Coromandel District Council serves a population of just 27,000. The council was not supported at the hearing by staff or councillors.

Motorhomers outside the High Court, Hamilton, New Zealand where their 52,000 member
organization the New Zealand Motorcaravan Association was contesting anti freedom camping laws

The hearing was in the form of a judicial review of council bylaws and was presided over by the Honourable Justice Mark Cooper of Auckland who, as a lawyer, had extensive experience advising local government. Mai Chen, from Wellington law firm Chen-Palmer, is in partnership with former Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer, himself a renowned constitutional lawyer. Ms Chen has a Masters degree from Harvard University and worked at the United Nations in Geneva for several years. The District Council was represented by Padraig McNamara of the Auckland firm Simpson Grierson.
Thames is the main town on New Zealand's
Coromandel Peninsula and the seat
of local government.

The plaintiff (NZ Motorcaravan Assn) submitted that the Freedom Camping Act 2011 was passed by the New Zealand Parliament to encourage freedom camping within reasonable restrictions and that the Act prohibited a total ban in any council area. However, The Council had passed a Freedom Camping Bylaw which had the effect of creating a total ban with the exception of a half dozen car parking spaces throughout the area that could be used by motorhomes until 7:30 in the morning.

To assist with the council-wide ban the council relied on a Public Places Bylaw and a Parking Control Bylaw, the legality of which were both questioned by the plaintiff. It was submitted that the council had not followed the correct consultation process. It was also argued that the council’s last minute offer to revoke one of these bylaws and meanwhile to not enforce it was also illegal. At this point the judge commented that, “Either you have a law or you don’t have a law.” He went on to cite judgments that upheld that view.

The defendant (the District Council) submitted that there was a need for the three bylaws because of litter and other problems in the district. But the plaintiff countered this argument by pointing out that since the Act and Bylaws had come into force the council had issued 1,900 infringements at $200 each, but only three were issued for behavior matters. The remainder were issued for simply parking in the wrong place.

A lighter moment in the proceedings occurred when Justice Cooper spotted a fly landing on the bench in front of him. “I’ll just have to deal with this freedom camper,” he announced to laughter from the campers who were there because they believed their own wings had been clipped.

There was also argument about the clarity of the council’s bylaws and confusion between council locality descriptions and council maps.

The plaintiff submitted that the bylaws breached several acts of parliament including the Local Government Act, Bill of Rights Act, and Acts Interpretation Act in addition to the Freedom Camping Act. When challenged on the intent of the Freedom Camping Act, Ms Chen read from Hansard (the Parliamentary minutes) part of a speech by the minister in charge of the bill as it proceeded through Parliament, confirming that the intent was to encourage freedom camping.
Judgments were cited from other High Court cases, as well as from the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords.

In closing the case for the motorhomers, Ms Chen submitted that the Association had been trying to work with the Council for over two years and had brought the case to court as a last resort. She gave notice that the plaintiff would seek costs.

The Thames-Coromandel District Council area is one of New Zealand’s most scenic places and includes most of the mountainous Coromandel peninsula on the north east of the North Island. It is a popular place for New Zealanders to visit and retire, but has become less popular with motorhomers since the council crackdown on freedom camping. This may be causing local businesses a downturn in trade. Due to a lack of tourism infrastructure and difficult roads the area is not popular with coach tour operators.

In spite of the difficulties that motorhomers have been experiencing with the Thames-Coromandel District Council, most agree that elsewhere in New Zealand local councils extend a warm welcome to visitors and motorhomers alike. It is still a great place to visit.

Available now from Amazon or Smashwords

Wednesday, 9 April 2014


From A Twist of Fate
A novel by Peter Blakeborough

A silence came between them for a moment while Bob Asker’s thoughts were elsewhere.
‘Do you remember Mrs. Stockwell who went on the Ned Kelly tour?’ he asked.
‘You mean the lady that banks her money under the bed?’
‘That’s the one. She’s a marvellous old thing. I promised to look in on her from time to time and I’ve decided to pay her a visit tomorrow morning. I’m sure she would enjoy meeting you. Will you come with me?’
‘I’d love to.’
Janet and Polly Stockwell got along famously. The old lady loved to talk about the family she once had and Janet plied her with questions.
‘Please tell me about your childhood, Mrs. Stockwell? Did you grow up in Carrathool?’
‘No, me dear. I was born an’ grew up in Sydney in an area called the Rocks. We were a large family and pretty poor. It was hard in them times. Me pa was a blacksmith and he an’ ma lived in a rented shanty with a dirt floor all their lives. That’s how they brought twelve babies into the world. Only half the twelve got to see their twentieth birthdays. That’s how it was when yer were descended from convicts. Me great grandfather came to Australia aged twelve with the First Fleet. I wrote a book about it when I was fresh outta school, the first generation of me family to attend school. The world is a much better place now.’
Bob was spellbound and shocked. Now he knew where he had seen the name Polly Stockwell. There could be little doubt. There were too many coincidences. But he had to be careful not to reveal his own true identity.
‘Do you remember telling me that your son went to live in New Zealand?’
Polly smiled cleverly.
‘I might be old an’ a bit worn out, but me memory is still as sharp as a tack, Bob Doyle.’
‘I’m sure it is, Mrs. Stockwell. You see, I was wondering because Janet is from New Zealand she might be able to help you trace your son.’ He nudged Janet’s knee under the table. ‘You’d just have to give her some more information to go on.’
‘Oh, that’d be wonderful if you could find ‘im, Janet. I’d be eternally grateful, me dear. It was about 1902 when he sailed from Sydney with his bride. The ship they were on was wrecked on the New Zealand coast. Cedric and Doris made it to the shore an’ they went to live in a place called Napier where they had buses. They had a big family but Doris died about 1919 or 1920. I had several letters from Cedric after that but nothing after about 1930. I just don’t know what happened after that.’
‘Was his name Cedric Stockwell?’ Janet asked.
‘Oh, no. Cedric was born before I met Harley. Outta wedlock, as they say, so I gave ‘im me own name. I called ‘im Cedric Nathaniel Asker. If he’s still alive he’d be seventy something now. It’d be wonderful to hear from him. But if ‘e ain’t still o’ this world it’d be nice to hear from ‘is family. Let’s see there was Dick, Emily, Gordon, Connie, Mary, Ted, William, Martha and Clarrie.’
It was the name that Bob had finally expected to hear but even so the shock was too much for him. For years he had fretted for his family, his brother and sisters, his mother, his father and even the grandparents he had never known. And right there, sitting across the table from him, was his very own great-grandmother, Polly Asker. He wanted to jump up and hug and kiss her and dance and sing till it hurt. But he could not. Nor could he tell her that Cedric had been dead twenty-six years. Overcome with emotion he pushed his chair back and walked out the door choking back his emotions.
It was a long time before he could compose himself enough to go back inside the little old house. Granny Polly would never want for anything while Bob Asker was around.

 Available now from Amazon or Smashwords

Saturday, 29 March 2014


The likely B-777 scenarios are narrowing down to just one

When the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 vanished almost a month ago speculation was rife about its fate: Suicide terrorism, criminal acts by passengers or crew, hostage taking, catastrophic structural failure (something that has never happened to the 777 in its 20 year history) were all on the table.

Although widely criticized as incompetent and dishonest, the authorities were wise to play their cards slowly while some form of criminality was considered highly likely. To do otherwise may have played right into the hands of those responsible. But the likelihood of criminal interference, or criminal actions by the pilots, are now receding.

Much news media mileage has been made of the captain’s flight simulator, but lots of pilots have their own simulator and many former pilots regularly ‘fly’ on a simulator. In my own case I’ve spent many hours on various Boeings including the 777. It’s not uncommon to indulge in flight activities that would be most unwise in the real aircraft. For example I sometimes simulate returning to the airport after all power is suddenly lost during climb out at 15,000 to 20,000 feet. Large jets are capable of gliding much better than many people would imagine.

Simulators, airline and private, have have done a lot to make flying safer. They keep pilots ahead of the game, and it’s my belief that the Malaysian pilots were right up with the game until fate took a hand. Every pilot worthy of the title will always fly with an instant action plan in mind to cover every possible emergency.

In the flight plan there may be only one alternate airport for diversion in the event that the destination cannot be used. But every minute of the flight the crew will always know the location of the nearest suitable landing place, and in a life and death emergency turning toward that airport will be the first priority.

We know now that shortly after the last communication the aircraft suddenly turned from a northerly heading to a southwesterly heading on a course that would take it into the southern Indian Ocean. But that heading also pointed the aircraft to a 13,000 foot runway in Malaysia that was closer than the departure airport.

The next actions should have been to start the descent and transmit a distress call. The rule is Aviate Navigate and Communicate, in that order. The autopilot would have been used to turn the aircraft onto the new heading and the altitude bug may have been turned off while the pilots selected a new flight level and rate of descent. But programming the autopilot may have been interrupted when the pilots were suddenly incapacitated.

The likely culprit must be poisonous fumes of some kind; a smoldering tire, or fumes from the consignment of troublesome batteries that were in the cargo hold. The fumes from those batteries can kill within 10 seconds.

So we have a situation where the aircraft is trimmed for the turn (slightly nose up) and is being flown partly manually and partly by autopilot. If the pilots are unconscious at the completion of the turn the aircraft will climb. This may explain why it climbed 10,000 feet above its assigned altitude. At 45,000 feet the 777 would be struggling to fly and left to its own devices the nose would drop quite steeply. As it gained airspeed again it would level off and start another climb.
This may explain the sighting of a jet airliner flying low and fast over the Malaysian Peninsula around the time that MH 370 would have been crossing.

The process may have taken several oscillations before normal flight resumed on the new selected heading, possibly with the altitude increasing slowly as the fuel load burned off. It all depends on the actual settings for the autopilot; heading we can be fairly certain of, but airspeed, altitude and power settings will only ultimately be revealed when the black box is recovered.

When the aircraft ran out of fuel it is likely that one engine failed before the other and the asymmetric thrust would probably disengage the heading setting on the autopilot. The remaining engine would wind the aircraft into a graveyard spiral with the airspeed increasing very rapidly.

If the last engine failed a few seconds after the first it would make little difference. Once in the spiral without a pilot at the controls the aircraft would in all probability disintegrate before hitting the sea and may account for the large number of small pieces of scattered debris being reported.

In aviation anything is possible once. In most other fields of endeavor the same mistakes can happen over and over again, but aviation is different. Aviation learns from its mistakes. That is why flying is safe.

But that is no consolation for the victims and their loved ones. However, if my scenario is the correct one, then the suffering was probably very brief.

Sunday, 16 March 2014


A circulating email written by an anonymous racist

The email below arrived in my inbox this morning and it is reproduced below exactly as it was written. I like to do a little editing and general tidying up on these to make them more readable. But this one is so poorly written and formatted that it would really require complete re-writing, and I don’t think it’s worth the effort.  My comments are in red.

This was shown on “60 Minutes” a few weeks ago. Disgusting! (Where is the precise reference to the program date and the journalists involved?)
Starkist Tuna is now owned by Korea, and is in big conflict with the U.S. concerning quality, safety,and records, which Korea refuses to provide.  (Yes, Dongwon Industries in South Korea and the so-called big dispute was resolved in 2011. A cannery in American Samoa failed an inspection by the FDA but has since been cleared.)

There have been several articles on Google about this, and even one that was defending the eating of tilapia said to avoid the fish that came from China ..  Albertson's 4-day special of 4 bags of frozen tilapia for the price of one.  Sure enough, on the top of the bags, it read "farm raised", and on the bottom in small print it said, "China ".
Read all the way down...  (I’m always alarmed by this demand.)

Recently (Exactly when, please.) a Food inspector (Name the inspector.) on TV ( Which TV?) said he had lived overseas and he had seen the filthy conditions their foods are raised and processed in. (Specifics, please.)

It is enough to make you throw up.  Some foreign workers have to wear masks as they work in these places, because the food is so rotten and filthy, it makes them want to throw up. (Again, specifics, please.) Many of their Fish on Fish Farms are fed Raw sewage daily.  (Prove it!) He said he has seen so much filth throughout their food growing and processing that he would "never" eat any of it.  They raise this filth , put some food coloring and some flavorings on it, then they ship it to the USA & Canada for YOU to consume and feed to YOUR families.  They have no Food & Safety Inspectors. They ship it to you to buy and poison your families and friends. (Food products cannot be imported into the US or Canada without going through inspection processes. The above statement is false and racially inflammatory.)

Imported food we eat and the junk we buy: 
Green Giant frozen vegetables are from China , and so are most of Europe 's Best.

Arctic Gardens are Okay.   So is Birdseye.

Never buy the grocery store garlic unless it is clearly marked from USA or Canada , the other stuff is grown in people poop (even worse than chicken poop).

China is the largest producer of garlic in the world U.S. is next.

Buy only local honey, much honey is shipped in huge containers from China and re-packed here.

Cold-FX is grown and packed in China and is full of fecal bacteria.  Doesn't work anyway, big scam. 
If the country of origin is not clearly marked beware.
If produce, ask an employee.

Watch out for packages which state "prepared for", "packed by" or "imported by".  I don't understand the lack of mandatory labeling, especially the produce.

The country of origin should be clearly shown on the item in the store.  I go to the local farmers' markets in season and keep a wary eye open the rest of the year. (Local markets can have very lax food safety rules and enforcement.)

Please read this very carefully, and read to the very bottom.  It's important for all of us.

How is it possible to ship food from China cheaper than having it produced in the U.S. or Canada ? (Learn how to compete without protectionism and the whole world will be better off.)


After this serious read, 
you'll need something to make you laugh

Available now from Amazon or Smashwords

GOLD BRAND OR THE DOLE IS FROM CALIFORNIA (Always look for the best value and quality for the price regardless of origin.)

Beware, Costco sells canned peaches and pears in a plastic jar that come from China . (China is not alone in putting food in plastic. It’s a normal practice everywhere.)


Recently The Montreal Gazette (Again no specifics.) had an article by the Canadian Government (Who in the Government?) on how Chinese feed the fish: They suspend chicken wire crates over the fish ponds, and the fish feed on chicken s--t.  (I’m surprised that this writer, after spreading so much muck. can’t bring himself to say shit.)
If you search the internet about what the Chinese feed their fish, you'll be alarmed; e.g., growth hormones, expired anti-biotic from humans.  Never buy any type of fish or shellfish that comes from these countries: Vietnam , China , Philippines .. (I’m getting a little tired of this crap.)

Check this out personally.  I did.  Steinfeld's Pickles are made in India - just as bad!

Another example is in canned mushrooms.  No-Name brand came from Indonesia .
Also check those little fruit cups.  They used to be made in Canada in the Niagara region until about 2 years ago.  They are now packaged in China !

While the Chinese export inferior and even toxic products, dangerous toys, and goods to be sold in North American markets, the media wrings its hands!

Yet, 70% of North Americans believe that the trading privileges afforded to the Chinese should be suspended!

Well, duh! Why do you need the government to suspend trading privileges?
SIMPLY DO IT YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Simply look on the bottom of every product you buy, and if it says 'Made in China ' or 'PRC' (and that now includes Hong Kong ), simply choose another product, or none at all.  You will be amazed at how dependent you are on Chinese products, and you will be equally amazed at what you can do without.


If 200 million North Americans refuse to buy just $20 each of Chinese goods, that's a billion dollar trade imbalance resolved in our favor... fast!  The downside?  Some Canadian/American businesses will feel a temporary pinch from having foreign stockpiles of inventory.

Just one month of trading losses will hit the Chinese for 8% of their North American exports.

Then they will at least have to ask themselves if the benefits of their arrogance and lawlessness are worth it.

START NOW and don't stop!!!!!!!!!!

Send this to everybody you know. 
Let's show them that we are intelligent, and NOBODY can take us for granted. (Oh! Now the writer claims to be intelligent! What do you think?)

Some people think they can turn the clock back to the era of cavemen in which every country, city and village would only allow trade and employment between the people within its own borders. But more than anything else, transportation has changed the world, the way we work and trade, our standard of living and quality of life, and our life expectancy. 

Friday, 14 March 2014


Mandatory speed limiters coming for US truckers
According to a report from the US Department of Transport, October 1 could see a new motor carrier rule requiring all heavy vehicles to use speed limiters. This is in spite of a recent court ruling declaring speed limiters unsafe.
But a study of traffic flows in America, and most other civilized countries, would quickly show that average truck speeds are considerable less than the average for other vehicles. Truck speed problems are imaginary only.
Trucks travel slower for two reasons: In many places the speed limit is lower for trucks and trucks are incapable of traveling faster on hills, or accelerating rapidly after a slow-down. But most truck drivers would feel safer if they were allowed to go with the flow, complying with uniform speed limits for all vehicle types.
In the USA a truck driver is five times more likely to be killed on the job compared to the average worker and this fact may be unduly influencing the lawmakers. But let’s look at how these truck drivers are killed.
Firstly, they are rarely killed in single vehicle accidents. Most fatal truck crashes include one or more cars. For many years the truck/car crash statistics have shown a 70/30% apportionment of fault against the car driver. But this ratio is not clear-cut because sometimes there may be more than one driver at fault.
Typically, the car drivers in these crashes fall into two categories: First, a confused or inexperienced car driver who, unaware of the danger, just drives inappropriately while close to a truck. Second, is the driver with “small man” syndrome who deliberately drives inappropriately near a truck, or just drives at high speed to prove to one and all that he’s a real man.
In many crashes the truck driver has died trying to avoid an accident created by someone else. But a big rig does not respond well to abrupt changes of direction.
The latest statistics from the USA show that the 70/30 apportionment is now out of date. Rule changes and training have lifted the bar for truckers and they can now claim  80/20 as the norm. Meanwhile, many car drivers still fail to understand the risks they are taking with their own lives and the lives of others.
In many truck/car crashes the car was being driven erratically and even at exceptionally high speed for the conditions. What chance would a trucker have of avoiding a collision with such a vehicle, either going the same way, or in the opposite direction?
All over the world speeding cars have always been a major factor in road crashes. The younger the driver, the worse the problem; they know so much when they know so little. When they are young they can react in a split-second (they believe), so for them it is safe to drive like a bullet (they believe).
Therefore, I propose to throw a spoke in the wheel of the US legislators, who are influenced by voters, who incidentally are mostly car drivers. My suggestion is that speed limiters should only be mandatory in cars driven by inexperienced, young drivers.
I further suggest that compelling a truck driver to travel slower than the limit for other vehicles is a breach of his human rights because it exposes him to unnecessary and avoidable danger.

But my 50 years of professional driving won’t count for anything unless others endorse what I am saying.

It's safer to stay home with a good book
Available now from Amazon  or Smashwords

Tuesday, 11 March 2014


Bob Hoover the 92 year-old gentleman pilot

Starting as an assistant in a Nashville, Tennessee grocery store Robert A (Bob) Hoover went on to become one of the greatest aviation legends of all time.

Flying Legend Bob Hoover
Hoover learned to fly at Berry Field, Tennessee in the 1930s and soon developed a taste for aerobatics, in spite of early encounters with air sickness. He joined the Tennessee National Guard and during World War II served in North Africa as a fighter pilot, being shot down on his 59th mission he became a prisoner of war. His third attempt to escape was successful – flying a stolen German FW 190, the same type that had shot him down.

Bob Hoover became a test pilot after the war and flew many new types of jet and piston-engine aircraft. Then he turned to demonstration flying at air shows and became famed for his aerobatics in a Shrike Commander, an executive six place twin.

His favorite maneuvers included engine-out eight-point rolls, barrel rolls and loops followed by an engine out landing.
Bob Hoover with the Aero Commander Shrike

Bob Hoover retired from flying at the age of 82, but was temporarily pulled out of retirement at the age of 90 to advise, by telephone, the pilot of a P51 who was having trouble lowering one side of the undercarriage. Hoover advised, “Yaw it really good and try to force some air under the gear door. Then do a series of positive and negative G maneuvers.” The P51 landed safely.

Gentleman pilot, Bob Hoover has been honored and awarded probably more times than any other pilot in US aviation history. He lives in coastal Southern California with his wife Colleen in the house they have owned for 65 years.

Watch the video: Skilled pilots - Bob Hoover

Available now from Amazon or Smashwords

Tuesday, 25 February 2014


All in a day’s flying 
From Ailsa Reece

'If the enemy is in range, so are you.'
- Infantry Journal-  

 'It is generally inadvisable to eject directly over the area you just bombed.'
- US Air Force Manual - 

 'Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword, obviously never encountered automatic weapons.'
- General MacArthur - 

 'Tracers work both ways.'
- Army Ordnance Manual- 

 'Five second fuses last about three seconds.'
- Infantry Journal -  

 'Any ship can be a minesweeper. Once.' (Any aircraft can clear barrage baloons. Once.)
- Naval Ops Manual -  

 'If you see a bomb technician running, try to keep up to him.'
- Infantry Journal- 

 'Yea, Though I fly through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil.  For I am at 50,000 feet and climbing.'
- Sign over SR71 Wing Ops-
 'You've never been lost until you've been lost at Mach 3.'
  Paul F. Crickmore

 'The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.'
-Unknown Author- 

 'If the wings are traveling faster than the fuselage it has to be a helicopter -- and therefore, unsafe.'
- Fixed Wing Pilot- 

 'When one engine fails on a twin-engine airplane, you always have enough power left to get you to the scene of the crash.'
  -Multi-Engine Training Manual-  

 'Without ammunition, the Air Force is just an expensive flying club.'
-Unknown Author-  

 'If you hear me yell; "Eject, Eject, Eject!", the last two will be echoes.'
If you stop to ask "Why?", you'll be talking to yourself, because by then you'll be the pilot.'
-Pre-flight briefing from a Canadian F-104 pilot- 

 'What is the similarity between air traffic controllers and pilots?
If a pilot screws up, the pilot dies; but If ATC screws up, the pilot dies.'
-Sign over control tower door-  

 The three most common expressions (or famous last words) in military aviation are: 'Did you feel that?' 'What's that noise?' and 'Oh S...!'
-Authors unknown-  

 'Airspeed, altitude and brains. Two are always needed to successfully complete the flight.'
-Basic Flight Training Manual-  

  'Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding or doing anything about it.'
- Emergency Checklist-  

 'The Piper Cub is the safest airplane in the world; it can just barely kill you.'
- Attributed to Max Stanley (Northrop test pilot) - 

'You know that your landing gear is up and locked when it takes full power to taxi to the terminal.'  
- Lead-in Fighter Training Manual -

As the test pilot climbs out of the experimental aircraft, having torn off the wings and tail in the crash landing, the crash truck arrives. The rescuer sees the bloodied pilot and asks, 'What happened?'
The pilot's reply: 'I don't know, I just got here myself!'

 It's safer to stay on the ground with a good book!

 Available now from Amazon  or Smashwords


Advertising Complaints Authority endorses occupational abuse

New Zealand’s Advertising Complaints Authority has declined to proceed with a complaint that a truck driver was wrongly, and publicly, accused by police of causing a major accident on Auckland’s Southern Motorway.

A police road safety video clearly showed a car cutting across the front of a truck, colliding with the truck and rolling several times. The truck did not deviate from its lane and its speed was steady until struck by the car without warning. There was no evidence that the truck driver had been using a phone while driving, as claimed by police and given as the cause of the accident. Police later apologized to the truck driver.
Peter Blakeborough -
A professional driver since 1964
and still driving safely

The first police officer on the scene has denied that the truck driver was in any way to blame. But someone else decided that it would be okay to blame the truck driver. Presumably, they thought that people would understand and agree that truck drivers generally are a bad bunch and the more they can be dumped on the better.

That is totally wrong and a clear-cut case of the worst kind of occupational abuse.
The road safety video missed an opportunity to explain the real cause of the accident, a cause that is seen far too often and frequently has fatal consequences. No driver, of any vehicle, should ever attempt to overtake a merging vehicle. When the lanes merge the driver who has the front of his vehicle in front, should be allowed to stay in front. There is no other safe way to merge.

Meanwhile, in its decision not to take the complaint further, the Advertising Standards Authority said that the wrongful accusation that the truck driver had caused the accident was unlikely to cause widespread concern.

Would they have reached the same conclusion if the Prime Minister had been wrongly accused of causing an accident while on the phone? Are they saying that truck drivers don’t warrant fair and honest treatment? Are they saying that truck drivers are not worthy members of society? Do they not understand that truck drivers also have families, friends, employers, work associates and future work prospects? 

Continued below . . . .
Available now from Amazon or Smashwords

I suggest that the Authority was influenced by a public perception that truck drivers are unworthy and generally not important. But surely the Authority has a responsibility to set the record straight when advertising wrongly indulges in this kind of occupational abuse.

Do we really have to have laws (as we do for race, age and religion) that will protect professional drivers, lawyers, car salesmen, politicians, teachers, police and others who frequently have to endure unfair abuse, not because of their behavior, but simply because of their occupation?

It will be a sad day, but it may have to come to that.

Watch the video:

Monday, 3 February 2014


Middelfart is a real place in Denmark

This another revealing episode in the series of strange and unusual place names from around the world.
Middelfart, Denmark

Middelfart is a real town of 15,000 people in central Denmark, and according to Wikipedia Middelfart means central passage (well, I think we already know that), and it is close to the Jutland Peninsula (I think we know that too, but only in the male version of the species).

Middelfart has had a long association with whaling and fishing dating back to the Middle Ages and famous landmarks include two large bridges over Little Belt Strait.

The town of Middelfart has a post office, tourist office, cinema, a café and a library. The local attractions are sailing and whale watching.

The most notable Middelfartians include a former Tottenham Hotspurs player and an entrant in the Eurovision Song Contest. All other residents should therefore be considered mediocre Middelfarts.

Place names aplenty in these books

From Smashwords: Peter Blakeborough's Books


By Peter Blakeborough (Tune: The Gambler)

About fifteen years ago on a plane bound for Little Rock,
I’d set my heart on trucking, I was too excited to sleep,
So I studied the Arkansas manual till I thought I knew the answers,
Believin’ when I didn’t know, I’d just have to cheat.

Well, I passed that written test and passed the physical too,
But I had no idea what to do when I backed that semi-trailer,
The trainer grinned and rolled his eyes. He’d seen it all before,
Cos I backed that son-of-a-bitch like I had a skin-full of tequila.

Cos every trainer knows which way to turn the wheel, how far and back,
So I skilfully turned it to the left and turned to the right,
But the trainer threw his hands in the air and gave up in disgust,
And when I searched the mirrors that goddam trailer was clean out of sight.

Well, I got to know that trailer, when to turn the wheel, when to bring it back,
So I hooked up a load for Ohio, eight hundred miles aways,
And an old hand gave me this advice to chew on as I drove,
There’s more young bold truckers, than old bold truckers, on the freeways.

You gotta know when to drive and know when to sleep,
Know when to write the log, know when to fudge,
Don’t ever count the dollars until you’ve run the miles,
And take is easy out there, sunshine, or you’ll become a smudge.

And when he finished speaking he turned back toward his rig,
Connected up his trailer, connected up his hoses,
Cos he knew that, man or woman, bein’ an over-the-road trucker,
Is more hard work than a life of beer and roses.

You gotta know when to drive and know when to sleep,
Know when to write the log, know when to fudge,
Don’t ever count the dollars until you’ve run the miles,
And take is easy out there, sunshine, or you’ll become a smudge.

You gotta know when to drive and know when to sleep,
Know when to write the log, know when to fudge,
Don’t ever count the dollars until you’ve run the miles,
And take is easy out there, sunshine, or  you’ll   become    a      smudge.

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