Who wants to contribute to the “Fly Patrick to the moon fund?” Just form an orderly queue to leave your donations. All I need is about $157 million for my flight ticket. It might even be a few million less if I opt for the one way ticket.
Talking of flying, I have some more pictures of planes this week which I took at the Rhode Island air show – there will be a fuller selection in due course.
And just who got stopped by the Mounties on his trip back from the USA to Canada?
The youth who drank himself to death
This is probably one of the saddest stories I have ever reported on for this Friday newsletter.
Back in 2009 while I was working as a freelance journalist in Northern Ireland I wrote about a 19-year-old boy called Gareth Anderson who had been admitted to hospital with acute liver failure.
It seemed that he had destroyed his liver by drinking vast amounts of alcohol and the story made international headlines because he was so young.
Gareth’s parents were warned that their son could be dead within days but he was treated aggressively and his liver slowly began to recover.
However Gareth was back in the headlines when, while still being treated in hospital, he left his ward and walked to the nearest bar in an attempt to buy alcohol.
Shortly after that incident Gareth vowed: “‘l will never touch another drink for the rest of my life.”
For several months it seemed that he had indeed learned his lesson and the brush with death was enough to make him see sense.
Sadly it was not to be though and in January 2010 he was back in hospital when his kidneys failed and within six months he was back to drinking regularly.
He ended up in a Young Offenders Center after being charged with beating up and threatening to kill his mother.
He was also charged with attacking his brother, drugs possession and assaulting a police officer for which he was jailed for three months.
After being released from jail he was back binge drinking and two weeks ago he died of liver failure aged just 22.
As sad as this story is, many people in the UK, and especially young people have the mental attitude that it will never happen to them and that they are somehow immune to destroying their bodies through alcohol abuse.
Only last week I read of a man called Andrew Thompson who drank a full bottle of neat rum in one go to impress his friends as an act of bravado.
He became ill and was admitted to hospital where he died five days later. Andrew was aged just 29.
If these stories were just two isolated examples it would be bad enough but sadly stories like those of Gareth and Andrew are becoming all too common.
The enterprising schoolgirl and the blog they tried to ban
Last week Friday Newsletter: June 15, 2012 I featured the story of nine-year-old Scottish schoolgirl Martha Payne who highlighted the dismal offerings which passed as dinners at her school on her personal blog.
The NeverSeconds blog ended up making international headlines after Martha posted pictures of her school fare, like this one:
And the response from the local education authority when they heard of her blog…
They ordered her to stop blogging and banned the use of photography by students in school.
Not surprisingly this led to a huge public outcry and the council was forced to back down and allow Martha to carry on blogging.
In just a few short weeks her blog has had amazing results.
People from all over the world are sending in pictures of their own school dinners and the NeverSeconds project has helped raise more than £60,000 ($94,000) in donations to help feed impoverished children around the world.
Martha has even received a number of offers to appear on TV shows around the world and was even approached by Hollywood producers about potential book, television and film deals.
So far Martha has turned down all the offers but has decided to team up with Scottish celebrity chef Nick Nairn to help the council provide more nutritious meals at her school.
The only question now is what will she blog about once the meals improve?
Shall we start a “Fly Patrick to the Moon” campaign?
I would love to set foot on the moon.
Well actually if I was going to go all that way I would probably want to put both feet on the dusty surface and run around for a little bit.
Now it seems that I could potentially get to the moon…if I could afford the £100 million price tag ($157m) which is probably just a fraction beyond my current travel budget.
The only problem is that even at that huge price I would not actually be able to get out and walk on the moon – it seems such a pity to go all that way not to actually land there.
A British company is offering vacations to the moon using a converted Soviet-era Almaz space station for the 500,000 mile round-trip journey. (I am told that thrusters attached to the stations will convert them to long-distance spaceships.)
Four re-entry capsules, or re-usable return vehicles (RRVs), will ferry three people at a time to the orbiting space station and return them to earth.
Art Dula, founder and chief executive of Isle of Man-based Excalibur Almaz, told a recent space tourism meeting in London: ‘We’re ready to sell the tickets’ but the £100m price tag may not have people queuing round the block to place their orders.
The aim is for three people to fly to the moon, orbit the lunar surface and then return to earth, parachuting to the ground in an RRV.
Why the school sports day race did not start with a bang.
It is traditional that many athletics events start with the firing of a gun – or a starting pistol to be more accurate.
As Wikipedia puts it: “The loud report of the gun going off is a signal to the athletes to begin the event.”
The sound of the starting pistol is designed to be loud and distinctive so that the athletes know when to begin.
Next month in London we have the 2012 Olympics. So when Alan Bell, the man who will fire the starting pistol at the Olympics 100m final, was invited to start a school sports day event in Scotland there was much excitement amongst parents and children.
However when Alan arrived at the school sports day he was told that he could not fire his starting pistol…on health and safety grounds.
Specifically he was told that the pistol could not be fired at the sports day in case the loud sound it made might frighten some of the children at the event.
And the solution of the health and safety ‘police’…
They suggested that Mr Bell should record the sound of a starting pistol being fired and then play the recording on an iPod instead. Not surprisingly he refused. Eventually he agreed to use a klaxon instead. Presumably the loud noise made by a klaxon is not deemed to be frightening.
Fanatical Health and Safety zealots are turning the UK into a laughing-stock. Is it not about time this madness ended?
Sure the world is unfair but that is no excuse to be average.
I was listening to motivational speaker David Martin talking on Randy Ritter’s Avenues to Success conference on Tuesday evening.
David is always good to listen to. He does not worry if he offends anyone. In fact he would probably offended if he thought you were offended by anything he said.
Anyway the theme of his talk on Tuesday was ‘definiteness of purpose’ and the message was that to be successful in life then one must never, ever be prepared to accept being merely average.
Sadly we are now in a world where being average seems to be encouraged.
Average is mediocre and why are we prepared to accept this in our lives?
Try and be outstanding instead.
So what if you don’t make it?’
Then either try harder at being outstanding or try to be outstanding at something else in life.
Don’t accept average.
£11K insurance quote for a £1K car…where is the sense in that?
My friend Darren has just tweeted the Prime Minister.
It is not that he is particularly interested in politics but he had something he wanted to get off his chest.
You see Darren – who, heaven help us, is the brains behind YourGadgetGuide – is about to buy his first car.
He has selected a decidedly average ten-year-old Vauxhall Corsa with a top speed of around 70mph and a 0-60 time of about a week with a good tail wind and a road pointing downhill.
Hardly what one would call boy racer material.
It is also in a rather unflattering color of mint green, the sort of color you see in the summer frocks favored by old ladies in nursing homes.
The car he wants to buy looks a bit like this:
So he looked around for some insurance quotes and this is what he got back…
Of the eight quotes he received the lowest was just short of £4,000 ($6,240) and the highest was almost £12,000 ($18,750).
Given that he lives at home with his parents and is a college student that sort of money is pretty hard to come by.
So that is why he sent this tweet to the British Prime Minister:
Sadly I doubt that our current rather useless PM could care less.
Is it any wonder that more and more young people (and not so young people) are tempted to take o the roads in uninsured vehicles because the insurance premiums they are being quoted are so unrealistically high?
Coming soon…lots of planes.
I never need an excuse to take pictures of planes.
So when I found out that there was an airshow taking place a few blocks away from the hotel I was staying at last weekend I had my camera clicking away for hours on end.
I will write a separate blog post about the air show to give me an excuse to print lots of pictures of planes but, for now, here are a couple to be going on with…
Pictures: ©2012 Patrick Griffin/PatrickGriffinOnline
The Mounties, it is often said, always get their man.
But who have they got this time and, more importantly, why?
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