Archive for June, 2005

Alas, dear reader…

Thank you all for bearing with my tales of woe and happiness over the last six months or so.

However, as much fun as the blog has been, it has meant that I have negleted my website and also I seem to be buying and selling a lot on eBay as well – and that is time consuming.

So this will be my last blog.

If you have enjoyed my blog, do visit my website at www.ampers.co.uk but bear in mind that it is to be completely rewritten over the coming months and that I haven’t done anything to it this year.

You may also like to visit http://groups-beta.google.com/group/Andrews-Humour – this is a list where I put up jokes that I like, but I keep these postings to you from two a quarter to four a month. In other words very sporadic.

If I include a joke with a swearword it is only if the word does actually fit in with the joke, I won’t include bad language just for bad language’s sake. Same with sex and smut. Don’t sign on if that is all you like. Finally, if you are a politically correct person, keep well away.

When you go to that link, you can choose to receive the jokes by e-mail, or read them on the web. This means that if you are going away for a while or are too busy, instead of resigning, you can just change the pointer to keeping them on the web for you to either ignore or look at later.

Once again, thank you all for reading my views and news.

Andrew

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And then they came for me…

Many of you have read the comments by Pastor Niemoeller (victim of the Nazis) when he wrote…

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew

Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a communist

and then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist

and then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me

I was reminded of these words when I read about the “Ken Livingstone and the Metropolitan Police” decision to put up warnings in Trafalgar square about watching for photographers with digital cameras photographing children. I suppose it is OK if you have a camera with film in?

First they came for the pigeons
and I did not speak out
because I was not a pigeon

Then they came for the bathers
and I did not speak out
because I was not a bather

and then they came for the photographers
and I did not speak out
because I was not a photographer

and then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me

Is there no end to the authorities panic in everything around us? You only have to travel by air nowadays to know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that “Al Quada” have achieved, totally, what they have set out to do. This is to turn the freedom states of this world into the same dictatorial states that they seem to admire so much.

I have to confess, I never had children, not through medical reasons but because I couldn’t bear the noisy, dirty little brats being around me! I did enjoy watching my brother-in-law’s children growing up, but we only saw them once a year on Christmas Day! It was fun but it was enough!

But why should that stop me if I see a pretty kid interacting with her mum, or a fun loving boy with his dad? Although I wouldn’t want them around me, they are, on the whole, photogenic and sometimes fun to watch.

Humbug to that meddlesome Livingstone… now if he was lost in Africa…!

Andrew

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For the men out there…


John Muirden’s website logo

A few years ago I discovered a website in Nottingham that sold the clothes that I loved in South Africa. Apart from Tents, knives and cooking pots they sell great bush shirts and trousers, fantastic walking and hiking boots and all sorts of hats, leather, suede and what have you.

The website is run by John Muirden who also trains people to drive 4×4 in very rough terrain especially put together in Sherwood Forest. 1:1.5 hills, three foot water and trees everywhere. He also takes part in trials with landrovers all over the world.

I met John when I went up to Nottingham last year and he took Pam and me on a one hours drive over the course. It was really thrilling and, to my surprise, Pam absolutely loved every minute of it. I don’t know, you can be married to someone for twenty-eight years and still not really know them!

John is not what one would expect when you first meet him. Especially when you had previously learned that he was a soldier in Southern Africa in his youth. He is quietly reserved, softly spoken and a real expert in his field.

Take a look at his website and if you find you need advice, phone him – you will find him totally knowledgable about his goods, both in theory and in practice. and if you are going to Nottingham book him to take you arround his 4×4 course especially if you have your own 4×4 vehicle.

He supplies my leisure clothes including my boots, hiking socks, trousers, shirts and hats.

Follow the link after my sign-out

Andrew

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Affirmative Action

A friend sent me this article quite a long time ago and I only got around to reading it this evening!

It is powerful stuff and oh so true! I am publishing it in full, if only to upset the bleeding hearts who may see my blog from time to time.

You, dear reader, I am sure, will agree with Mt Jonas

A fancy name for triblism – George Jonas

Six reasons why I dislike affirmative action:

One, I dislike reverse discrimination for the same reason I dislike discrimination; it’s unfair to individuals.

I dislike affirmative action because it highlights the least important aspect of people’s identities, ethniticity and gender. We don’t go to the theatre to see a Danish male; we go to see Hamlet.

Three, I dislike preferential treatment programs because they perpetuate the myth that is the basis of prejudice, namely that some groups are inferior.

Four, I dislike remedial measures because, far from fostering social harmony between diverse groups, they have the potential of setting them against each other.

Five, I dislike ”goal-oriented schedules of inclusitivity” – to cite the sort of euphemistic boiler-plate that stands for affirmative action – because they lead to a debasement of standards in crafts, arts and industry. They cause people to spend their energies on seeking advantages for their ethnic or gender groups instead of striving to achieve their personal best in their chosen fields.

Finally, I dislike quotas by whatever name because they seek group parity rather than individual equality. They replace the worthy aim that any woman can become a boilermaker with the bizarre idea that 50% of all boilermakers should be women. While the first goal can be realised in a free and fair society, the second can only be realised in a state of Kafkaesque bureaucracy.

————————————————————————————

Encouraging people to define themselves by their membership in some ethnic or gender group is noxious and nonsensical. It lets group-status decide how people fare at important junctures in their lives, such as being hired or promoted, instead of letting achievement or conduct decide it. Even letting looks or chance decide it would be better.

Race- or gender-derived identity bolsters the dimwitted notion that people must bear a physical resemblence to their role models. It reduces individuals to tribal appendages. It makes them pay more attention to where they’re coming from than where they’re going – an especially divisive fallacy in any country.

There is a kind of affirmative action that I like. It’s what it was supposed to be when people first started talking about it. Affirmative action was meant to spread the word that in society everybody is welcome at the starting gate. It was meant to encourage any person from any group to try out for the team.

Affirmative action was about raising motivations, not expectations. It was about helping all people to meet standards, not about relaxing standards for some. It was about unlocking every door, then inviting every individual from every group to turn the knob for himself or herself. It wasn’t about barring the doors for some and carrying others across the threshold. That’s only what it turned out to be.

*George Jonas is a Toronto writer and journalist. This article appeared in the “National Post” of 17 May 2005.

There is absolutely nothing I can add to this subject, other than the fact that there is a high amount of this going on in South Africa.

Something which, although you can’t blame the black government after all those years of apartheid, is not helping the country as it is driving all their hard working whites with the expertise to keep everything going away. The blacks are learning fast but it will take generations before they get to the same levels of expertise.

Something I am not in total disagreement with though! Many of the Afrikaners are coming to England and they are an asset to our country. They look after each other through their church over here. The church helps them find accommodation and then a job, and they repay the church so funds are available for the next group who come over. Like the Eastern Europeans, they work and are not a drain on our resources. They are honest people and do a good days work for their pay.

South Africa’s loss is England’s gain. Thank you, Mr MBeki.
Andrew

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Minolta Dynax D7 DSLR

At long last, knock on wood, the camera seems to be working well.

In addition to this, unlike the Canon, the ISO goes right up to 3200 and when on that setting I can get good pictures in quite dark places.


Test photo using the f2.8 70mm-200mm lens at an ISO of 3200
– Photo by Andrew Taylor

When using my 1,3 Kilogram f2.8 70mm-200mm I can get good pictures on an overcast day when set on Speed Priority and taking at 1/4,000th second at F11. At that speed I have no worries about camera shake with such a heavy lens!!!

Mind you, it is going to take a while before I will feel really relaxed about things so to safeguard myself, I have just purchased a Dynax 5000 film body on eBay for £10.50.

I will immediately put a film in it, and test it with all three zoom lenses and the flashgun. Get the film developed and check everything, then put it at the back of my camera bag and forget it is there, except change the batteries once each year. (Keith, don’t forget to change the batteries of your Canon backup every now and again).

With the camera grip (for easier portrait shots, and holding a second NP-400 battery, the complete body and the 70mm-200mm f2.8 telephoto lens weighs in at 2.52 kilograms. Which is why I use a wrist strap rather than a strap around my neck!!!

Andrew

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