America Just Can’t Make It Anymore.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”


USA industrial economy

The statement in the title is not true, except that it is.

If you are a little confused stay with me and let me clarify.

The United States used to be the industrial power house of the world. Its industries generated unprecedented wealth for the country, creating the world’s first self-made billionaires and productive wealth creating jobs galore for everyone. The whole country prospered.

Today, however, the United States has become the world’s second biggest importer of goods. Worse than that, even though America still exports billions of dollars’ worth in oil, consumer goods and automotive products, it imports even more. This creates a trade deficit ($471 billion according to recent figures).

US Trade Deficit

So what are all these imports into the US?

Well, they include industrial machinery and equipment ($681 billion), automotive vehicles, parts, and engines ($309 billion), miscellaneous private services, primarily financial services ($201 billion), cell phones ($90 billion), travel passenger services ($86 billion), pharmaceuticals ($84 billion), computers ($65 billion), chemicals ($61 billion), other transportation services ($59 billion), computer accessories ($57 billion), telecommunications equipment ($54 billion), royalties and license fees services ($42 billion), apparel ($49 billion), petroleum products ($48 billion), fuel oil ($44 billion), industrial supplies ($29 billion), U.S. Government service imports primarily defense ($25 billion), fish ($18 billion), fruit ($13 billion), and vegetables ($11 billion).

Cartoon imports

If you are a bit shell-shocked by all those figures let me phrase it a bit differently using as examples the types of goods you would tend to buy.

  • 100% (almost) of the shoes bought in the U.S. come from China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Mexico;
  • 90% of white goods (washers, fridges, etc.) and consumer electronics are imported;
  • 85% of household furniture is imported;
  • 80% of cars on U.S. roads come from Canada (31%), Japan (24%), Germany (16%) and Mexico (12%); and,
  • 65% of U.S. clothing is imported from China (37%), Vietnam (9.4%), Indonesia (7.2%) and Bangladesh (6.7%).

Probably the saddest part is that even things you thought were “American” are now actually made overseas and imported.

I remember while on a business trip to the US many, many years ago I bought a gift for the young son of a friend of mine. He was a big sports enthusiast so I reckoned that one of the most iconic symbols of sport from America would be a baseball. I bought one in Wal-Mart. It was marked with all the different holding positions for the various ways to throw a baseball (fast ball, curve ball and all that). The perfect gift.

I gave it to him on my return feeling ever so pleased with myself. The kid opened it, showed momentary delight, then looked up at me accusingly. “It says ‘Made in China'” he told me.

Baseball made in China

But it’s not only baseballs. Similar types of product that you would think are all-American, like Converse All Stars, Levi’s, Huffy bicycles, televisions, Monopoly, Etch-a-Sketch, Radio Flyer wagons, Barbie dolls, and last but by no means least, most of those American flags just ain’t American no more.

modern monopoly board

It really doesn’t have to be this way. Apple, for example, doesn’t have to become the richest company in the world by manufacturing its products in China and storing its vast hoards of cash overseas.

Or does it?

Everything on the lists above could still be made in the US and surpluses exported to other countries. But the US government and its moronic bureaucrats are spending their time and our money thinking up new ways, not to help American businesses, but to add ever-increasing amounts of rules, regulations and bureaucracy on to American companies.

American businesses can no longer compete, because their own government has ensured that the deck is stacked against them.

In the mind of a bureaucrat losing a million productive wealth creating jobs, for example, in the automotive industry, and replacing them with a million more administrative jobs that cost the country money evens things out.

It doesn’t. Simple math will tell you that. Every time it happens things get worse and America gets poorer.

So America just can’t make it anymore, but not because China has stolen the jobs. It’s because the US government bureaucrats gave them away.

Put the blame where it should be.





Forty-Four Mouth-Watering Facts About Curry.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”


I’ve done ‘peanut butter‘ and ‘chocolate‘ and ‘coffee‘ in other posts. Today it is another fasab food favorite, the curry.

A curry, properly made, has to be one of the most delicious foods in the world.

I have spent many happy evenings with friends enjoying this delicacy in one form or another. Personally I like it with some naan bread or sometimes with rice. Either way is socially acceptable and extremely tasty.

Mouth watering already?

Very good, let’s get straight to the facts.



dishes of curry


The word curry comes from a Tamil word ‘kari’ or ‘karil’, meaning spices or sautéd vegetables.



The meaning changed when Portuguese traders used it for the sauces with which rice was served.



Essentially, the term curry was invented by the English administrators of the East Indian Trading Co. and later continued by British government employees.



The British army in India further changed the meaning as its liking for hot sauces introduced the modern idea of curries being hot.



Surprisingly, the term ‘curry’ isn’t used very much in India. There are many types of curry-style dishes, which have their own characteristic regional variations.



Curry Powder is a mix of spices, rather than a spice in its own right. It usually consists of turmeric, coriander, cardamom, cumin, sweet basil, and red pepper.



Some of the most common types of curry are ‘Korma’, ‘Massala’, ‘Dhansak’, ‘Phall’, ‘Rogan Josh’, ‘Dopiaza’, ‘Madras’ and ‘Vindaloo’.



Curry is said to have a number of valuable health benefits, including the prevention of cancer, protection against heart disease, reducing Alzheimer’s disease symptoms, easing pain and inflammation, boosting bone health, protecting the immune system from bacterial infections, and increasing the liver’s ability to remove toxins from the body.


In addition to being an established and firm favorite in Britain. and increasing popular throughout Europe and the United States, curry forms a major element of the diets of several Asian countries including India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Maldives, Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan and Fiji.


Chili (or Chilli) is the most popular spice in the world and can help combat heart attacks and strokes and extends blood coagulation times preventing harmful blood clots.


Contrary to common western belief, curries are not always ‘hot’, they can be mild, medium and hot.


curry with rice


The earliest known curry was made in Mesopotamia in around 1700 BC, the recipe for meat in a spicy sauce appearing on tablets found near Babylon.



The Scoville scale is the measurement of the pungency (spicy heat) of chili peppers or other spicy foods.


The ‘Bhut Jolokia Chilli Pepper’ (also known as the ‘Naga Jolokia’), is the hottest pepper in the world, accompanied with its own health warning! This pepper is also known as the ‘Ghost Chilli’ or ‘Ghost Pepper’, and is grown in the Indian states of Assam, Nagaland and Manipur.


The first commercial curry powder appeared in about 1780.

In Britain Indian food now surpasses Chinese food in popularity, with Indian restaurants outnumbering Chinese restaurants by two to one.



The word ‘balti’ means bucket. Balti is more a style of cooking than one particular curry.

In specialist ‘Balti Houses’ the balti is a meal in itself which contains both meat and vegetables and is eaten straight from the karahi using curled up pieces of naan bread. In standard Indian restaurants the balti is more of a stir-fried curry containing plenty of fried green peppers and fresh cilantro (also known as coriander).

South Indian food is more spicy than North Indian food.

The first curry recipe in English appeared in Hannah Glasse’s ‘The Art Of Cookery’ in 1747.

The world’s biggest ever curry was a 13 tonne Biryani, including 187lb of chilies and 6600lb of rice. It took 60 chefs to make in New Delhi in June 2008. And required three cranes to move the container and a 3ft high furnace to cook it!

In Western Europe and the U K, curry powders available contain more turmeric than anything else, and tend to be toned down to palates used to bland food.

curry with naan bread


The tallest poppadom stack in the world stands at a massive 282 poppadoms. The record was set by a chef from the Jali Indian Restaurant in Blackpool.


In 2008, Bath and North East Somerset Council advised a man to sprinkle curry powder on his wife’s grave to keep squirrels and deer away.

Tim Stobbs, aged 42 years, currently holds the world record for munching an impressive 15 poppadoms in 5 minutes! The annual World Championships, in aid of Cancer Research UK Scotland, is held every year at St Andrews University.

There are about 10,000 Indian restaurants serving curry in the UK, the vast majority of which are run by people from Bangladesh, not India.

To make a ‘hot’ curry mild, just add some coconut milk.

The word ‘masala’ means spice mix.

In 1846, William Makepeace Thackeray wrote ‘A Poem To Curry’, as part of his Kitchen Melodies.

Britain’s first curry house, called the Hindustani Coffee House and located in London’s Portman Square, opened in 1809. Now there are more curry houses in London, England than in Mumbai, India.

Chili can help combat heart attacks and strokes.



One of the hottest curry dishes ever made is known as the Bit Spicy 3 Chili Phall which is even hotter than the infamous ‘Chicken Naga’, made with a high volume of Naga pepper seeds. More than 100 times hotter than jalapeño peppers!


People crave a curry because the spices arouse and stimulate the taste buds.

curry powder


Vindaloo was originally a Portuguese dish which took its name from the two main ingredients which were ‘vinho’, wine/wine vinegar, and ‘alhos’, garlic. Over time it was spiced up, hotted up and otherwise changed by the indigenous peoples of the ex-Portuguese colony of Goa.

The ‘Big Jim’, a large chili hailing from New Mexico, currently holds the world record for the largest chili ever grown. This plant frequently produces chilies that are over a foot in length, which is hugely impressive considering that the plant itself never grows more than two feet!

The town of North Curry is in Somerset while West Curry is in Cornwall.

Madras and pathia are both hot and sour dishes. Kashmiri a more subtle and creamy dish usually made with lychees or bananas – or both.


Scientists at Nottingham Trent University have discovered that people begin to crave for a curry because the spices arouse and stimulate the taste buds.


One in seven curries sold in the UK is a chicken tikka masala, making it the most popular Indian restaurant dish in the UK. It is thought to have originated in Britain after an enterprising Indian chef had the idea of adding a tomato and onion paste to the grilled chicken to satisfy the British preference for food that isn’t dry.

The largest naan bread ever made was a whopping 2.75m in diameter and contained meat dumplings – the equivalent of 167 normal sized naan breads. The bread took over ten hours to finish and required twelve chefs, 30kg mutton, 125kg flour, 16kg onion and 90kg of water to cook it.


Southeastern Asian cultures have always mixed a number of spices to flavor their dishes, usually according to recipes handed down from generation to generation.


A common way to categorize Thai curry is by the color of the curry paste used to make the curry dish. Green and red curry paste are the most typical. Yellow and sour curries (also sometimes known as orange curry, gaeng sohm) are also well known. Each has its own particular combination of herbs and spices to make up the curry paste that makes it unique.

‘Panang’ and ‘masaman’ curry are probably the most popular Thai curries in the West, because of their rich tastes.

Finally, if you are eating a curry which is just too hot for you, don’t drink water, that only makes it hotter!




It’s Friday 13th!!!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”


There is a lot of nonsense surrounding Friday 13th.

Many superstitious people consider it to be unlucky. So much so in fact that they spend most, if not all, of that day in their homes, afraid to venture out into the great world beyond in case something bad happens to them.

In fact it has been estimated that around a billion dollars are lost every Friday the 13th because people are scared to work and travel on this date.

The really unfortunate thing is that sometimes circumstances play right into their hands, which only serves to reinforce their superstitions.

You can find some of them below along with other facts about Friday 13th that I hope you enjoy reading.




Every month has a 13th but no single year

has more than three Friday the 13th’s

and on average there are two.



Months with a Friday the 13th

always begin on a Sunday.



Folklore remedies for triskaidekaphobia

include climbing to the top of a mountain

or skyscraper and burning all the socks you own

that have holes in them.

Another is to stand on your head

and eat a piece of gristle.



It is from the Norse goddess Frigg, or Freyja,

that we get Frigg’s Day, or Freyja’s Day

which became the English Friday.

Norse goddess Frigg



On Friday 13 2006,

36 inches of snow fell on upstate New York.

The ensuing chaos claimed three lives

and caused $130 million worth of damage.



On a Friday 13th in 1307.

thousands of soldier monks of the powerful

Knights Templar were massacred

by French king Louis IV.

Many people believe this is where

our fear of the date springs from.



Friday 13 January, 1939

in Australia is known as Black Friday

because on that date bushfires

decimated 20,000 km² of land,

killing 71 people and

destroying several towns entirely.

Victoria Australia Black Friday fires 1939



Retired bus conductor Bob Renphrey of North Wales

decided to spend every Friday 13 in bed

after a run of bad luck on the

fateful day during the early 1990s.

Among other misfortunes

he wrote off four cars,

got made redundant,

fell into a river,

crashed a motorcycle

and walked through a plate glass door.

When Bob died of cancer in 1998,

his widow Betty, who on previous Friday 13ths

had fallen downstairs,

been hit by falling guttering

and been hospitalized

after Bob hit her in the face

with a stick he was throwing to a dog,

decided to book his funeral for

Friday 13 March as a final tribute.

Alas, all Rhyl’s undertakers were too busy.

“Bob would have seen the funny side,”

said Mrs Renphrey.



On Friday 13 July, 1951

in Kansas ‘The Great Flood’

left 2 million acres of land underwater,

causing $760 million and killing 24 people.

Kansas ‘The Great Flood’



Friday 13 August, 1976

was particularly unlucky

for New York man Daz Baxter.

Having elected to stay in bed

to ward off bad luck,

the floor of his apartment block collapsed

and he fell six storeys to his death.



Black Sabbath’s self-titled first album

was released in the UK on

Friday, February 13, 1970.

It wasn’t unlucky for them.

Black Sabbath’s self-titled first album



Michelle and Gary Docherty had a

memorable wedding on Friday 13 August 2004.

First, a swarm of wasps attacked guests

at East Kilbride Registry Office, Lanarkshire,

as they waited for Michelle’s arrival.

Her aunt Mary Strachan

smashed an expensive digital camera

trying to swat one of the pests,

and when Michelle finally did turn up,

an insect flew up her dress,

triggering a panic attack.

After the ceremony,

two minibuses booked to transport guests

to the reception failed to turn up

and the couple lost their wedding video.



On Friday November 13, 1970

a monster South Asian storm hit Bangladesh

killing 300,000 people in Chittagong

and creating floods that killed one million people

living on the Ganges Delta.



Women drivers have a 64% increased chance

of death when driving on Friday the 13th.

Woman driver



Friday 13 February, 1998

was simply business as usual for Manchester man,

John Sheridan, dubbed Britain’s unluckiest man

after once having his car stolen five times in one day,

making 16 trips to casualty in two years,

seeing eight TVs explode in six months

and losing out on a £4000 lottery win when he

put the ticket in the washing machine with his jeans.

John’s big day began when his Saab ran out of petrol.

He hitched a lift with a sympathetic policeman,

whose car broke down at the garage.

John returned to his car with a can of petrol,

got it started but lost a wheel as he turned a corner.

He returned home on a bus, which broke down.

Completing his journey on foot,

he realized he’d left his keys inside the car

and had to return in case in was stolen.



Friday, October 13th, 1989,

the stock exchange suffered a serious crash,

the second most damaging in market history at the time

(this was in the pre-recession era). 

Brokers were in a state of shock,

as the Dow Jones Industrial Average

was down 190.58 points.

In Britain a deadly virus crashed IBM computers,

terrifying people and deleting lots of data

that could not be recovered.

This was before backup systems were used.

stock exchange crash



A full moon on Friday February 13 1987

drove troubled Robert Bullard, 21,

to attempt suicide by putting his head in a gas oven.

Not only was his methodology flawed,

suicide by natural gassing is virtually impossible

since Britain moved from lethal coke gas

to less dangerous natural gas,

but a flicked light switch caused an explosion

which injured his mother and a policeman

and caused £35,000 of damage.

Robert was unharmed.



On Friday the 13th, 2012,

the cruise ship Costa Concordia partially sank

killing more than 30 people.



Friday 13 October 1972 was the date

a plane carrying Uruguayan rugby team

Montevideo Old Christians crashed

on its way from Montevideo to Santiago, Chile.

When rescuers finally found the fourteen 

survivors two months later,

it emerged that they had survived

by eating human flesh from some of the

thirty-one crew and passengers

who had perished in the crash.

In 1992, the story was filmed as

Alive, starring Ethan Hawke.

movie Alive



On the same day, Friday October 13, 1972,

an Aeroflot Il-62 airplane carrying 176 people

took off from Paris on a commuter flight

bound for Leningrad and Moscow.

The plane landed at Leningrad

and then took off for Sheremetyevo airport,

located just outside Moscow.

The weather was bad with rain and poor visibility.

The pilots were told to descend on approach to

the airport, but for unknown reasons,

they attempted and failed to land twice.

On the third attempt to land,

the plane crashed into a large pond

about 4 miles short of the airport.

There were no survivors.

No cause of the accident was ever established.

At the time, the crash resulted in one of the worst

loss of life incidents for a single plane crash, in history.

It remains the 44th worse loss of life in

an airplane crash in aviation history.



On Friday the 13th August, 2010

at 13 minutes after the 13th hour (1 PM),

a 13 year old boy was struck by lightning

as he was watching an air show

at Lowestoft, England.



The Hollywood sign above Los Angeles, California,

was first unveiled by the owner

of the Los Angeles Times newspaper,

Harry Chandler,

on Friday the 13th of July, 1923.

Hollywoodland sign



According to at least one interpretation

of the Mayan calendar the world will end


or in the Gregorian calendar,

Friday, October 13, 4772.



But before then,

on Friday the 13th in 2029,

Asteroid 99942 Apophis

is forecast to pass earth at a

closer distance than any of our satellites.






The Last Post – Of 2013.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”


The Last Post Of 2013

31st December has rolled round again and so it’s time to bring 2013 to a close.

This is always an appropriate time to reflect on what has happened during the previous twelve months.

These are just some of the things I remember about 2013. It’s a personal choice and you may have thought of other things that could have been mentioned, but, in spite of the fact that the time seems to fly, a lot happens in the space of a year so only so much can be included.

Hope you find something of interest.




The Weather

As good a place as any to start since the weather is a constant topic of conversation at all times of the year.

Statistically 2013 appears to have been a year where major weather events were at a minimum. Not much comfort to those at the extreme end of that distribution curve and who suffered hardship and discomfort as the result of extreme weather.

But here are some of what I think are the most memorable weather events of 2013.

In January Malaysia, Indonesia and South-East Africa saw major flooding events caused by monsoon and other heavy rainstorms. It also saw Australia’s hottest month on record.

Malaysia floods

February saw the largest snowfall from a single storm ever recorded in the North-eastern United States. Major winter storms also affected central US states and even the Texas panhandle.


In March New Zealand saw its worst drought in more than 30 years. China had its second warmest recorded March temperature, while in usually sunny Spain they had their wettest March on record with three times the average for the previous three decades.

New Zealand drought 2013

Contrast was the name of the game in the US in April with California experiencing drought conditions while in the Central US there was widespread flooding.

May was the wettest ever seen in China for forty years. Indeed it was a month of extremes with more than 1 million people evacuated from their homes as Tropical Cyclone Mahasan struck Bangladesh, while in the US the widest ever observed tornado hit Oklahoma bringing more than 20 deaths and widespread devastation.


June was the hottest ever, Portugal, China, Hungary, Finland, and Britain, all recorded heat-waves, and the temperature in Death Valley, California hit 129.2F (54.0C), the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth during June.

In July in the US 19 firefighters were killed trying to contain wildfires in Prescot Arizona.

Arizona firefighters

More contrasts later in the year with the 2013 Atlantic Ocean hurricane season being one of the weakest recorded in 50 years, with no major hurricanes in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic basin. Only Ingrid and Humberto out of the 13 named storms reached hurricane strength.

In the western-north Pacific on the other hand, 30 major storms had been recorded by early November, 13 of them typhoon-strength. The biggest was typhoon Haiyan, possibly the most powerful tropical cyclone to make landfall in recorded history, which smashed into the southern Philippines, killing at least 6,000 people and wreaking massive damage.  

typhoon Haiyan 2013

The end of the year saw the focus change to Europe, where a major depression moved eastwards from northwest Scotland to southern Sweden bringing strong winds of up to 142 mph and a massive tidal surge that affected coastal areas around the North Sea. In the UK thousands of people had to evacuate their homes along the east coast, where the coastal surge was the worst since 1953 with local flooding and some houses being washed into the sea as cliffs gave way. At least six people died by the time the winds moved finally down over northeast Europe.

storms uk 2013




2013 has been noted as a great year for scandal and corruption. Here are some of the highlights (or low lights perhaps?).


In the food industry we had the Aflatoxin scandal, where throughout much of Europe contaminated milk and other food products were found to be ‘infested’ with this toxin.

Major supermarket retailers were the subject of another major scandal in the UK when they were found to be selling meat products labeled “100% beef” which were actually horse meat.

horse meat scandal


In sport several Major League Baseball players were accused of obtaining performance-enhancing drugs, specifically human growth hormone, from the now-defunct rejuvenation clinic Biogenesis of America.


However, undoubtedly the biggest scandal of 2013 was perpetrated by the US Government.

It was discovered during 2013, as the result of documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden, that US Government agencies, in particular the NSA, had been guilty of a widespread snooping and spying campaign, even on its own citizens.

It was reminiscent of the old Soviet Union and the KGB, but it was happening in the “Land of the Free”. The snooping projects included “PRISM”, a clandestine mass electronic surveillance data mining program that collects stored Internet communications based on demands made to Internet companies such as Google; “Dropmire”, a secret surveillance program of surveillance of foreign embassies and diplomatic staff, including those of NATO allies; “Fairview”, a secret mass surveillance program used to collect phone, internet and e-mail data in bulk from the computers and mobile telephones of foreign countries’ citizens; “Hemisphere”, a mass surveillance program conducted by US telephone company AT&T and paid for by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Drug Enforcement Administration; “MUSCULAR”, a surveillance program jointly operated by Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and the NSA that was used to secretly break into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world; and “XKeyscore”, a formerly secret computer system used by the United States National Security Agency for searching and analyzing Internet data about foreign nationals across the world.



In 2013, the United States Department of Justice, under Attorney General Eric Holder, also came under scrutiny from the media and some members of Congress for subpoenaing phone records from the Associated Press and naming Fox News reporter, James Rosen, a “criminal co-conspirator” under the Espionage Act of 1917 in order to gain access to his personal emails and phone records.


And the IRS was also condemned when it was revealed that it had targeted political groups applying for tax-exempt status for closer scrutiny based on their names or political themes.


All in all a bad year for the reputation and standing of the US Government.



In other countries perhaps the worst scandal of 2013 was “Danielgate”, a political scandal in which Mohammed VI, the King of Morocco, issued a pardon for a Spanish convicted serial child-rapist named Daniel Galván who was serving a 30 years prison sentence for the rape of at least 11 Moroccan children in Kenitra—a city where he had been living in since 2004.

The Pardon sparked unprecedented popular outrage in Morocco where several protests were held denouncing the monarch’s decision.

It was revealed later that this wasn’t the first time Mohammed VI had pardoned a convicted foreign paedophile, having pardoned Hervé Le Gloannec, a French citizen convicted of child rape and child pornography in 2006.


In India a Ponzi scheme operated by the Saradha Group financial Group, a consortium of Indian companies that was believed to be running a wide variety of collective investment schemes, collapsed causing an estimated loss of INR 200–300 billion (US$4–6 billion) to over 1.7 million depositors.


In politics there was the usual sex and drugs scandals during 2013. In May videos were exposed that showed Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine and commenting on political issues. Rob Ford consistently denied the existence of the video, and denied that he uses crack cocaine, remaining Mayor despite calls for him to step down. On November 5, 2013, Ford eventually admitted to smoking crack cocaine “probably in one of my drunken stupors”, and to hiding his drug abuse from his family, his staff and the people of Toronto, but pledged to continue on as Mayor.

Toronto Mayor Bob Ford


Back in the US former member of the United States House of Representatives from New York City,  Anthony Weiner, was involved in another sexual scandal relating to sexting, or sending explicit sexual material by cell phone. First caught in the Weinergate scandal in 2011 that led to his resignation as a congressman, this idiot has learned nothing. During his attempt to return to politics as candidate for mayor of New York City,  Weiner admitted having sexted again, after more explicit pictures were published in July 2013.

Weiner Scandal Headlines




As every year, 2013 saw many departures. Here are some of the better known faces that passed on during the year.


Astronauts, C. Gordon Fullerton and Scott Carpenter.

astronauts fullerton-carpenter


From politics, Ed Koch, U.S. Representative from New York (1969–1977) and Mayor of New York City (1978–1989), later a television judge in “The People’s Court”.


Margaret Thatcher aka “The Iron Lady”, daughter of a greengrocer who became the first woman Prime Minister of the UK. 

 Margaret Thatcher

Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan politician and military officer and President since 1999.



Television and the movies also lost many well known characters including,

Conrad Bain, Canadian born and usually cast as the erudite gent, advice-spouting father or uptight, pompous neighbor, included roles in “Diff’rent Strokes”.


Michael Winner a director best known for dramatic and violent movies like “Death Wish” starring Charles Bronson.

Michael Winner 

Richard Briers, television comedy actor well known on British sitcoms such as “The Good Life” and “Ever Decreasing Circles”.

Richard Briers 

Dale Robertson who, after service during WWII in North Africa and Europe, became an actor and made his name in television Westerns in the 1950s and ’60s.


Richard Griffiths, a British character actor who came from radio and the classical stage.

Richard Griffiths 

Steve Forrest began his screen career as a small part contract player with MGM and made his name as an action man in the 1960’s and 70’s. He is a brother of star Dana Andrews.

Steve Forrest 

New Jersey-born James Gandolfini began acting in the New York theater, making his Broadway debut was in the 1992 revival of “A Streetcar Named Desire” with Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin. James’ breakthrough role was his portrayal of Virgil the hitman in Tony Scott’s “True Romance”, but the role that made him a household name was as Tony Soprano in the award winning television series “The Sopranos”.


Gary David Goldberg was born in Brooklyn, New York but moved to Hollywood to try to make it as a writer. He was responsible for the hit series “Spin City”.


Although Dennis Farina did not start acting until he was 37 years old, he achieved success as a character actor, often being cast as a cop or gangster.

Dennis Farina 

Eileen Brennan was a supremely gifted, versatile player who could reach dramatic depths, as exemplified in her weary-eyed, good-hearted waitress in “The Last Picture Show”, or comedy heights, as in her sadistic drill captain in “Private Benjamin”. Perhaps one of her best remembered performances was in the hit movie “The Sting” with Paul Newman and Roberts Redford and Shaw.

Eileen Brennan 

Lisa Robin Kelly first made her acting debut, at age 21, in a 1992 episode of “Married with Children”, and went on to guest-star in many popular television shows, such as “Murphy Brown”, “The X Files”, “Sisters and Silk Stalkings”. She got her biggest break in “Days Of Our Lives”.

Lisa Robin Kelly 

David Frost achieved success on both sides of the Atlantic, first in the UK and then in America. He is most remembered for his political interviews, particularly those with former US President Richard Nixon.


In a film career that has extended for over four decades, Ed Lauter has starred in a plethora of film and television productions since making his big screen debut in the western “Dirty Little Billy”.


Hal Needham was the highest paid stuntman in the world. In the course of his career suffered many injuries breaking 56 bones, including his back twice, punctured a lung and knocked out a few teeth. His career has included work on 4500 television episodes and 310 feature films as a stuntman, stunt coordinator, 2nd unit director and ultimately, director. He wrote and directed some of the most financially successful action comedy films.

Hal Needham 

Robin Sachs, 61, was an English actor who made it into American television series such as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Galaxy Quest” and “Babylon 5”.

Robin Sachs 

Frank Thornton, was a British actor best remembered fot his role as “Captain Peacock” in the long running sitcom “Are You Being Served?”. He also appeared in “Last of the Summer Wine” and “Gosford Park”.


Bryan Forbes, was another Briton and an accomplished actor (“The League of Gentlemen”), director (“The Stepford Wives”) and screenwriter (“Chaplin”)


Lewis Collins, was most famous and best loved for his role as action man “Bodie” in the television series “The Professionals”. He also starred in the terrorist hostage movie “Who Dares Wins” loosely based on the dramatic Iranian Embassy siege in London in 1980.


Paul William Walker who was killed in a car accident was an American actor and the founder of Reach Out Worldwide. He became famous in 1999 after his role in the hit film “Varsity Blues”, but later garnered fame as “Brian O’Conner” in “The Fast and the Furious” film series. His other well known works are “Eight Below”, “Running Scared”, “The Lazarus Project”, “Into the Blue”, “Joy Ride”, “She’s All That”, “Takers”, and “Hours”.


Peter O’Toole, was a British-Irish actor with a reputation as a bit of a hell-raiser. Among his movie credits he starred in “Lawrence of Arabia”, “The Lion in Winter”, “Becket”, and “Troy”.

Peter O'Toole



The music scene too has lost a few well known names during 2013. They include,


Patti Page (born Clara Ann Fowler) toured the US in the late 1940s with Jimmy Joy, and notably sang with the Benny Goodman band in Chicago.


Patty Andrews and her sisters, Maxene and Laverne, were “The Andrews Sisters”, an American close harmony singing group of the swing and boogie-woogie eras. They accumulated 19 gold records and sales of nearly 100 million copies.


Lou Reed formed the group “The Velvet Underground” with Welsh multi-instrumentalist John Cale, second guitarist Sterling Morrison, and drummer Maureen Tucker in New York in 1965. The group soon became a part of Andy Warhol’s Factory scene, which housed a great number of experimental artists at the time.


Never as famous as his namesake Elvis, Reg Presley was a British singer and songwriter. His group was called “The Troggs” and among many other hits, he composed “Love Is All Around” which was first a hit for the Troggs but made real fame by the group “Wet Wet Wet” when it featured in the movie “Four Weddings And A Funeral” and spent 15 weeks at number one in the UK charts in 1994.




Sports best known departure during 2013 was former WBC world heavyweight champion boxer Ken Norton, remembered for his trilogy of fights with Muhammad Ali. He defeated Ali in their first bout by a fifteen round split-decision, a fight in which Norton famously broke Ali’s jaw. Norton also fought a classic battle with Larry Holmes over fifteen brutal rounds in 1978, a fight which ranks as one of the greatest heavyweight contests in boxing history. 




The world of Pubishing & Books saw several famous departures during 2013.


Tom Clancy whose fiction works, “The Hunt for Red October”, “Patriot Games”, “Clear and Present Danger”, and “The Sum of All Fears”, have been turned into commercially successful movies with actors Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck as Clancy’s most famous fictional character “Jack Ryan”.


Robert Kee, British writer, journalist and broadcaster best known for his historical works on World War II and Ireland.

Robert Kee 

Steven Utley, was an American writer of poems, humorous essays and other non-fiction, but best known for his science fiction stories.

Steven Utley 

Dave Hunt was a Christian Evangelist speaker, radio commentator and author, in full-time ministry from 1973 until his death. He wrote numerous books on theology, prophecy, cults, and other religions, including critiques of Catholicism, Islam, Mormonism, and Calvinism, among others.

dave hunt 

Richard Matheson, was an American author and screenwriter, primarily in the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres. Known best as the author of “I Am Legend”, a 1954 horror novel that has been adapted for the screen four times, five more of his novels or short stories have also been adapted as major motion pictures, namely “The Shrinking Man”, “Hell House”, “What Dreams May Come”, “Bid Time Return” (filmed as “Somewhere in Time”), “A Stir of Echoes” and “Button, Button”. Matheson also wrote numerous television episodes of “The Twilight Zone” for Rod Serling, including “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” and “Steel”. He later adapted his 1971 short story “Duel” as a screenplay which was promptly directed by a young Steven Spielberg, for the television movie of the same name.

Richard Matheson

William Stevenson, was a British-born Canadian writer, whose 1976 book “A Man Called Intrepid” was a best-seller and made into a 1979 mini-series starring David Niven. Stevenson followed it up with a 1983 book titled “Intrepid’s Last Case”. He published his autobiography in 2012. Stevenson is also noted for having set a record with another 1976 book, “90 Minutes at Entebbe”, about Operation Entebbe where Israeli commandos secretly landed at night at Entebbe Airport in Uganda and succeeded in rescuing the passengers of an airliner hi-jacked by Palestinian militants, while incurring very few casualties. The remarkable record is that in the pre-internet age Stevenson’s “instant book” was written, edited, printed and available for sale within weeks of the event it described.

Wm Stevenson



Other notable people who died during 2013 include,


Mikhail Kalashnikov, a Russian arms designer responsible for the AK-47 rifle, millions of which have been produced.

Mikhail Kalashnikov 

Roy Brown Jr., an American car design engineer responsible for designs such as the Edsel, and the much more successful Ford Consul and Ford Cortina

Roy Brown Jr with the Edsel