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British Expat Newsletter:
27 August 2003

Hello, and welcome to those who have joined up since our last newsletter.

In this issue

  • This week: Mars
  • Virtual Snacks
  • Bizarre Searches
  • Joke and quotation

This week

If you’re a night owl, you may well have seen a very bright object with a reddish tinge in the southern sky after dark (if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere. Southern Hemisphere dwellers should look north. If you’re on the Equator, just look straight up round about midnight). As most news sources have been saying for the past couple of months, the planet Mars is just about as close as it ever gets to us – only (?) 34 million miles away, or just about a third of the distance between the Sun and the Earth. Apparently it hasn’t been this close for about 60,000 years. The main space explorers – NASA, the European Space Agency and the Russians – have all launched probes to try to unlock some of the planet’s hidden secrets, such as whether life ever existed there.

Life on Mars (apart from being the title of a rather good David Bowie song in the early ’70s) was the theme of H G Wells’s novel The War of the Worlds, in which beings from Mars invaded Earth. Orson Welles memorably staged a radio play version of the novel in the US in 1938 – so convincing that many listeners were convinced the news broadcasts which announced the invasion were genuine. An eerie realism was added when a major power cut hit north-eastern states during transmission.

Funny how history repeats itself, eh? I wonder how many New Yorkers started looking out for mysterious green flashes emanating from Mars during the power failure the other week!

Virtual Snacks – if you’d like to know what’s in the sky above you right now. – an Asiatic American guy conveys an unlikely range of emotions. Completely bonkers but good for a few laughs. Apparently he’s been doing it for over five years now!

Bizarre Searches

Some strange search terms which have led people to visit British Expat recently:

  • haggis ingredient (number of visits: 55)
  • _searchbox (36)
  • dog/webresults (8)
  • how to get that man (5)
  • CNN (4)
  • Bangkok fish and chips (3)
  • orla wellies (3)
  • cat (3)
  • free hairstyle pictures (2)

Till next time…
Happy surfing!

British Expat Magazine


“Few men even considered the possibility of life on other planets. And yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this Earth with envious eyes, and slowly, and surely, they drew their plans against us.”
– Taken from Jeff Wayne’s adaptation of War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells (1866-1946)


My son and I were en route to a music store called MARS, the musicians’ resource. It’s a huge discount store selling guitars and amps and musical accessories. We were on Freeway 71 North when I suddenly saw something that looked like a plane coming down in flames. Then I realised it wasn’t coming down. It was travelling in a straight line across the sky from west to east, throwing off flaming debris in green, red, and yellow colours. It seemed to move rather slowly across the sky.

Traffic on the freeway literally stopped. People pulled over and climbed out of their cars to stare at it in amazement. When we finally got to MARS, I immediately called the local television station and asked if they had been getting reports about a fireball.

The woman who answered said that they were swamped with calls. I told her that I was an amateur astronomer and could probably give her a fairly objective description of the fireball. “That’s great!” she said. “Exactly where were you when you saw it?”

“We were on our way to MARS,” I said.

She hung up on me.

(Apparently a true story taken from [obsolete link removed])

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