The D words

Juxtaposed

Denier: noun

  1. A unit of weight by which the fineness of silk, rayon, or nylon yarn is measured, equal to the weight in grams of 9,000 metres of the yarn and often used to describe the thickness of hosiery: 15-denier stockings
  2. A former French coin, equal to one twelfth of a sou, which was withdrawn in the 19th century.

Origin:
late Middle English: via Old French from Latin denarius (see denarius). sense 1 dates from the mid 19th century.

Denialist: noun

  1. A person who refuses to admit the truth of a concept or proposition that is supported by the majority of scientific or historical evidence: the small minority of very vocal climate change denialists.

Origin:

Not known.

Moron: noun
• informal

A stupid person: we can’t let these thoughtless morons get away with mindless linguistic vandalism every day

Origin:

early 20th century (as a medical term denoting an adult with a mental age of about 8–12): from Greek mōron, neuter of mōros ‘foolish’. Which can reliably be considered the mentality of anyone using the words ‘Denier’ or ‘Denialist’ in the context of Climate Science. Although no offence should be implied or meant to real morons who are far too intelligent to abuse language in this manner. It should be noted that the use of ‘Denier’ or ‘Denialist in any conversation or statement about weather or climate automatically infers sub-kindergarten mental acuity (Emotional & intellectual age 2-3)

I wonder if they know

All these advocates of ‘Green’ energy. That their prophet in chief of climate doom Al Gore has been quietly dumping his stocks in that sector. Since 2012 no less. Odd that. All these people who infect every comment thread on Green Energy or Fracking articles with their ignorance of power generation and distribution; not aware that one of their causes chief cheerleaders has tiptoed his money to other, more lucrative investments.

‘Green’ energy is in real terms a joke. Wind Turbines that rarely deliver more than twenty percent of rated output. More likely single figures. Unit lifespan less than advertised. Cabling and distribution requirements more complex and therefore wasteful than say a modest 480MW four hall gas turbine power station with a far more massive landscape footprint and environmental effects. Even so they are far more effective than Solar, which isn’t much use in a temperate climate. As for the half baked mutterings about building solar power stations in the Sahara or Spain and stringing thousands of miles of high tension cable around the place, anyone proposing or supporting such an idea knows less than bugger all about power distribution. Tidal energy, well, if you could get around the issues with silting, flotsam damage or persuading people to have one on their doorstep instead of a lot of mud flats only used by wintering birds crapping all over the place. Maybe. Multiple small scale hydro-electric plants might work as part of a power generation and flood management strategy. If there weren’t so many half witted NIMBY activists campaigning for the removal of useful dams so that the Lesser Spotted Newt or similar could have a foetid swamp to wallow in. Along with mosquitoes and other assorted species.

So ‘Big Al’ has let his money do the talking. A long way away from ‘Green Energy’ schemes which were never really workable propositions. I’ll bet he’s already sold off all his exposure in ‘carbon credits’ too. He’s seen the writing on the wall, and no matter what you might think of him as a politician and the causes he advocates, that boy is not dumb when it comes down to dollars and cents.

Spandex and mad people

Upon my return to Canada from the UK, I’ve been given to musing about all the sights and sounds I experienced whilst there. Specifically the urge amongst many to wear skin tight clothing, particularly cycling gear. Even if they do not own a bicycle.

If there is one type of clothing that should be outlawed by international treaty, I think it should be Spandex, or any elasticated skin skin tight clothing. Leggings especially. The frame of the modern urban or suburban human is mostly best covered to conceal its shortcomings. Which in this day and age are legion. I blame this expectation of perfection on photoshopped seventeen year olds in glossy near-porn advertising photos. The truth is that none of us over nineteen have the body we’d like, but there you have it, and it’s no use trying to look otherwise. Likewise, no female over nineteen, unless a professional model, should go in for body painting.

Excellent reasons not to wear skin tight or Spandex type clothing in public:

  1. It amplifies the size of buttocks. By at least three times. It matters not that you have a superb physique, honed by daily sessions in the gym with not an apparent ounce of flab or even the merest hint of cellulite. After the age of nineteen, Spandex worn skin tight will make your arse look like it has been half-filled with bad jelly
  2. It makes you look flabby when you’re not. The slightest wobble is exaggerated past all ridicule. Each crease, each dimple develops a motion and mind of its own.
  3. Whether intentional or not, your genitalia will be on public display. Even the most discreet panty lines are blindingly visible, and anyone ‘going commando’ will be obvious to even the least observant. For females this is not so bad. For males in cold weather – well let’s just not go there. Even the most well endowed amongst us will end up with the look of a badly decapitated turkey
  4. Even the most benign perspiration stains make Spandex riding shorts look like the wearer has had an involuntary emission, loss of bladder and possibly also bowel control. None of which should be on public display. Unless of course the possessor wishes quiet ridicule to dog their every footstep. Which it will
  5. Frankly, it looks slatternly. Like you’ve mortgaged any dress sense you might have had and gone for the uber-chav look in spades. Like a Croydon facelift and metalflake purple nail varnish

To illustrate by example. About two weeks ago I was sitting in a UK Starbucks, mulling over an Americano, just idly staring out of the window, when a couple in cycling gear dismounted outside, both in their mid to late twenties, both slimly built. Fit, bright eyed and a little rosy cheeked from exertion, all smiles and self involved chatter. The girl came in to buy them two lattes as I recall, while her boyfriend responsibly locked up their bicycles. The day was damp and the Spandex skin tight, so on the way in I got an inadvertent eyeful of female camel toe and deformed limp male genitalia waggling within their elastic restraints, on the way out the motion of half toned flab was enough to make a seasoned mariner hurl a haddock. So I hurriedly averted my eyes. From the male posterior, certainly. Out of the corner of my eye I caught the expressions of certain other denizens of the coffee shop who had also watched the cycling pair come and go. I’m no mind reader, but I can read body language and faces fairly well. The expressions I caught were certainly not those of envy. Eyes rolled, three schoolgirls looked after them and giggled mockingly, and one chap hunched over his laptop glanced their way and gave a revolted shudder. Now either the pair were well known locally as those with freakish habits or had been identified as tax inspectors, I don’t know. In a good light neither was unattractive, but the skin tight cycling gear obviously affected the coffee shops clientèle most unfavourably.

For a replicable proof, any cyclist thus clad should undertake the following experiment. When next holding up traffic while pedalling up a steep hill in low gear, take a glance behind at the following line of traffic. They will, you may observe, be meandering within their lane. This is not due to any lack of control on their part. If the cyclist were to be able to observe their expressions more closely, he / she will detect an expression of amusement hastily concealed within the following vehicles. The burning questions answer being; yes, your arse does look really big in that. Enormous in fact. Possibly even deformed. Yes, the drivers behind are trying very hard not to collapse in hysterics. Sorry, but you made the fashion faux-pas. You might as well be dressed in a dayglo pink tutu with a sign over your head saying “Comic relief – please mock”. Any beeping of horns should be considered justly earned applause for your buttocks comic turn.

They’re joking, right?

There are signs around town that state ‘Nanaimo is a Nuclear Weapons free zone‘ I kid you not. As if Nuclear weapons could read. Maybe if it all goes pear shaped over the Ukraine, our one hope is that maybe the Russian targeting officers can’t pronounce the towns name and cross it off their list.
Hey Boris. what about Nana-whatever? This place here?
Ivan, if you can pronounce it we’ll nuke it.
Nanna-e. Nyet! Naimimimo. No. Nonnimio. Bugger it Boris, lets just bomb Campbell River instead.”

Seriously, there’s EU hawks getting their knickers in a twist about the Ukrainian situation. Talk of European troop deployments in a place that I always remember as part of Russia. The Crimea has decided it wants to be part of Russia, and the EU are crying “Foul! Ref!” Over the referendum. Although it’s odd that there were so few shooting incidents. In the same time frame, there were actually more reported gun related deaths in Vancouvers gangland. You’d think there would be quite a few if the situation were as bad as some of the Western media would have us believe.

I grew up during the Cold War, when Nuclear midnight was often only ‘minutes’ away. It was the reason so many of my generation went ‘off the rails’. If you’re going to fry in a nuclear fireball anyway, why not have a continual party to see the dear green Earth off with a nicer type of bang? When it all came to an end in 1989 I was left feeling rather pleased, but with a string of epic hangovers reaching back to my 18th birthday. It’s worth noting that anyone under the age of 18 does not get hangovers, strange but true. However, this is besides the point.

The western media has been busy spray painting old Vlad Putin as the cold tyrant of a gangster republic. Which he’s certainly got the eyes for. Oo, and didn’t those eeevil Roosians jail some crap girl punk band for desecrating a church? Gosh, dwahleegs, the Russki’s are so naughty. Russian ‘defence’ spend is up 18%, so yes, they’re expecting trouble. They have forces on the Eastern Ukrainian border, just in case anyone tries to get funny. There’s talk of mercenaries inside the Ukraine, but no one seems to be quite sure whose.

It is worth noting, back in the Cold War, Russia had the Warsaw Pact countries acting as a series of buffer states between it and the rest of Europe. Which is quite understandable. Russia does not trust Europe for two good historical reasons; Hitler and Napoleon. The memory of the German invasion of ‘Operation Barbarossa‘ and Napoleon in a burning Moscow are both still raw wounds in the Russian psyche. Not to mention that messy business back in the 1850s. Read Johnathan Dimblebys Russia. We have a copy. Quite the eye opener.

Yet most of the war talk is coming from within the EU. I am seriously concerned that if some of the Euro Hawks get their way, NATO will get dragged in, and with it Canada, which I’d really rather not see happen. I mean call me an old fussyboots, but seeing a shooting war blot out half of the world is not the kind of legacy I want my kids having to deal with. Over the next few years I want to travel this little planet some more, and I would be quite delighted if it wasn’t a radioactive wasteland.

As an addendum; as poignant now as when it was first released in 1985.


Update:
Good news. Putin has told Europe to pay the Gas bill, and everything will be fine. The Eurocrats appear to have backed down. Until they can work out another devious ploy to keep the political ponzi scheme that is the EU expanding.

Spotting a scam

I love Canadians. They’re so damn, well, uncomplicated. Rather like Paul Gross’s Mountie character Benton Fraser from ‘Due South‘ they’re extremely polite (mostly), easy going (except when the cable TV cuts out in the middle of the Hockey game) and oh so pleasant to deal with (when not being terribly passive-aggressive). At least in comparison to their UK counterparts who often are all too ready to froth at the mouth and throw Teddy out of the pram at the least provocation. Unfortunately this makes many of my Canadian friends all too vulnerable to every scammer and confidence trickster who sees an easy mark.

To the practised eye, scams stand out like pink sparkly searchlights in the night. Mainly because they sound like some modern day fairy tale. Long lost relative, or friend of a friend left you a huge pile of cash / winning lottery ticket / lost treasure of the Golden Behind in their will, and they just need your bank details to pass your good fortune to you?  Yeah, right.

Disney don’t make ‘em any better.  Pixie dust,  Unicorns and Rainbows rule.  Polar Bears are fluffy, huggable things, not massive slavering predators always on the hunt for protein.  Any protein.  Including human.  Oh yeah, and Dolphins are kind and gentle, if you conveniently forget about the beating Harbour Porpoises to death thing, yeah?

Now to us cynical sorts, whose eyes have been forced open by dealing with the slings and arrows of outrageous UK local authorities, the single rule to apply is; if it sounds too good to be true then it is.

A Canadian friend of ours recently got taken in by scammers. When he finally got round to showing me the email that had kicked it all off I put my face in my hands, groaned quietly and asked. “You haven’t sent these people any money have you?” He had the good grace to admit that yes he had.
“You know this is a scam, don’t you? For Pete’s sake mate, don’t send them any more.” I groaned. The scammers were asking for five thousand bucks to release several millions from a ‘locked’ bank account in the Far East.

So how easy was the con to spot? Very. Childs play in fact. I get two dozen of these missives a week, aren’t I a lucky chap? I derive considerable amusement from reading them all before throwing said missives into my yawning pit of hell-spam, ne’er to be seen this side of eternity. All right Bill smartarse Sticker, if you’re so bleeding clever, why don’t you tell all the boys and girls out in there interweb land how to spot one of these con tricks? Plaisir mon vieux. There now follows a brief lesson in scam spotting.

When one of these ‘too good to be true’ emails lands in your inbox. Ask yourself the following questions;

  1. Who is this?
  2. Where did they get my details?
  3. What is said glittering prize?
  4. Why did they pick me?
  5. How come they write such appalling English?

If any one of these questions make your bullshit detectors twitch, bin the offending email.  Or at least run a few simple checks. Does your benefactor really work at the United Nations? No matter how much their cause may tug at your heartstrings. African orphanages, baby animals threatened by eeeevil hunters or whatever. Remember, a little judicious cynicism now will save a whole heap of heartbreak later. I routinely bin these false messages of monetary gain because I never buy lottery tickets. You’d be better off betting on three legged horses at those odds. I also really used to know two people who worked for the UN in Geneva, but we don’t talk. Not even at Xmas. I don’t have any long lost relatives. Certainly none that would give me any money. Besides, any such offer would come directly from a UK based lawyer who I could check out in the phone book.  Any such legacy would also have to make it unscathed through a family who can make a shoal of ravenous Piranhas look like charm school graduates. There are specialists who trace relatives of large and small fortunes, but they write well spelled, grammatical English, and never, ever, ever, ask for your bank details or cash up front to ‘unlock’ funds.   Not even in ‘good faith’.  Nor do any of them live and work in Nigeria.   That last statement might be considered ‘raaaaacist’, but it is nonetheless correct.

If still not sure; check the originating email address.  If the organisation is a .com, why does the email address  end in .in.th?   It takes ten seconds to check out using WHOIS.com.   Is there a phone number?  Type said phone number into the search bar of your web browser and let Google, Bing, or any one of the many search engines bring enlightenment to your browser.   Then try one of the local phone directory services.  411.com for North America or in the UK 118118.com. The work of seconds.

When finding out that you are not heir or beneficiary to a massive business deal / lost millions, which the tax man would no doubt want an unhealthy bite out of, console yourself thus; it might have been real, but with all the scams out there, the odds are that it wasn’t. Add the sender to your spam or junk mail list and move on. There’ll be another one along shortly. That much is guaranteed.

Where does the money go?

Having just got back from the UK, I’m wondering about all the taxes on, well, just about everything. These extra taxes acting as a drag on the rest of the economy. So I asked myself, where is all this money actually going? Cui Bono? Who benefits? Does taxation, as so many of its advocates claim, actually increase, or decrease ‘fairness’? These are all fair questions which need fair answers.

At present UK public spending outdoes the tax take by an estimated £84 billion per year. Most of that disparity is interest payments an the estimated £2.2 trillion public debt if you factor in the public ownership, liabilities and support of RBS, Lloyds TSB etc. Total 2012-13 tax take by HMRC, about £468 billion. According to their own figures. So where’s the £648 billion figure come from? Confused? Join the club. £180 billion isn’t just chump change. Besides, government doesn’t make money, it has none of its own and only spends taxpayer dollar.

The approximate 2013 UK public spending breakdown is as follows. Public Pensions for well, people the workforce has decided it no longer needs. Let’s ignore all those overpaid leeches on salaries well above their real pay grade for the moment; £139 billion. National Health Care, you know, for that wonderful ‘free’ service which includes such joys as the ‘Liverpool Care Pathway‘ and compensation payments to Ambulance chasing Lawyers; over £124 billion. State Education, the edifice which no amount of political meddling seems to improve; over £87 billion. Defence, for all those wars the UK really can’t afford to fight, including the one the EU wants to declare on Russia; about £42 billion. Social Security, which includes all those ‘tax credits’ which would be cheaper to run if the tax wasn’t taken in the first place; over £117 billion. State Protection, whatever that means; over £31 billion. Transport about £17 billion. Which is a lot to cover cones, contraflows and potholes. General Government, an opaque description if ever I saw one; over £14 billion. Other Public Services, hmm, large Rattus Norvegicus smelt here; over £54 billion. Public Sector Interest, on the money the Government borrowed to buy the votes of the ill informed and lazy; over £47 billion. Additional Balance, or should that read ‘petty cash’; over £2 billion. Total Spending about £675 billion, maybe a little more, maybe a little less. The UK’s EU contribution hidden somewhere in those figures is about £8.7 billion. Source here. Somewhere in that lot is the electronic money ‘printed’ by ‘Quantative easing’ of well over £60 billion and paid direct to banks. No wonder we hear about planned raids on savings and other legalised theft like ‘Green taxes’. It’s a financial plughole of doom. Which will be the last metaphorical straw on the proverbial taxpayers back? Bank accounts raided at will?

According to this neat little infrographic from the Guardian, the difference is £84 billion, which needs to be ‘borrowed’. No idea from whom, but £47 billion in interest payments alone? My one remaining reader will note the disparity between the two sets of figures referenced. Hey, but what’s the odd billion or three between friends, eh?

The discerning reader, having done a little digging, will also note the step increase in UK taxation that happened back in 2000 and the flattening in public spending since 2011. So yes, Slaphead and friends are trying, but the purchase of the banks and resultant QE have doomed the UK taxpayer to ever increasing interest payments. Unless those debts and liabilities are sold off, those interest payments will continue to head for the stars faster than a Saturn 5 booster with a nuke up its arse.

Last time it took the UK eighteen years to bring the taxation rate and public spending into financial balance. 1998 / 9 I believe. Then Blair and his pile of grinning idiots were voted in, public debt skyrocketed and the tax take hasn’t caught up since. Figures don’t lie. No wonder the politicians are trying to skim off more and more all the time. We were told all this extra spending was all about ‘fairness’. What it has done is lumber current and future generations with an escalating debt bigger than World War 2. Which I don’t think has been fair at all.

Noah

Don’t normally do movie reviews. On this occasion I’d like to offer my thoughts on the current pseudo biblical epic ‘Noah‘ starring Russell Crowe, Anthony Hopkins and Ray Winstone.

Here goes. Technically the CGI is a tour de force. Good, strong, character performances from the excellent Mr Crowe and Mr Hopkins. Ray Winstone oozed psychotic menace like only he can. Sadly the script is a turkey, a preachy piece of proselytising, apocalyptic eco-garbage that sent me to sleep half way through. That’s a first. I have never gone to sleep in a cinema before. Ever. I’ve only ever walked out on one movie in 1972, a cranky old Frankie Howerd vehicle called ‘The House in Haunted Park‘, and if it hadn’t been for my wife’s insistence on staying to the end credits of ‘Noah’, I’d have been out of there in the first half hour. Before we went in I was eager to watch, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and I’d even dosed up on coffee an hour beforehand. To no avail. I was out for the count around the half way marker. Mid afternoon. Go figure.

Tinfoil hat adjusted

Excuse the relative silence, but I’ve had to watch relatives die recently. The old grim reaper has been on overtime in our vicinity, and grief has been the baseline emotion underscoring our little clans daily lives. Funny thing grief. Sometimes it’s not the person who dies who has the hard time, but their nearest and dearest. So it is with us. Grieving makes people say and do crazy, out of character things. They lash out. Often at people who only want to help. Dealing with the grief of others is a skill I have obtained a little, if unwanted, education in. Comes with maturity I guess. There are times being a grown up sucks. This is one of many.

So I’m not surprised at the reactions to current speculation surrounding Malaysian Airlines MH370. The Malaysian Government are being accused of not releasing information, which they probably aren’t sure about, and don’t want to look like a bunch of idiots by tipping their hand prematurely. Remember all the fuss about the pilot, a highly experienced professional by all accounts, being branded a ‘Terrorist’? Well, here’s a thing; the FBI found nothing suspicious on his home flight simulator. Apart from a few innocuous ‘deleted files’. So he deleted some files on his hard drive. Who doesn’t? Then there was the much vaunted ‘All right – goodnight’ which was a mis-attribution of the co-pilots sign off remark with ground control? Talk about grasping at straws. The most plausible speculation came from a pilot who argued that a cockpit electrical fire would have firstly caused the transponder failures, and secondly, sent the aircrew looking desperately for the closest place to land, but incapacitated them before they could make a landing. So the plane flew on autopilot until it ran out of fuel and crashed into the sea. No terrorists, no kidnaps, just sheer dumb bad luck and maybe a bit of bad maintenance, but that’s for the crash investigators to find out.

There is one aspect of the whole MH370 affair that I find oddly comforting. In the wake of the Snowden revelations about world wide and domestic surveillance, it’s funny that this massive big brother machine hasn’t a clue about where something as big as a Boeing 777-200R, and little media mention of the incident reports on this aircraft type. Maybe the reports of ‘intelligence’ omnipotence and competence are being massively over sold?

In a word, predictable

Spring is here, with all its gentle showers, methinks it’s time to hack the Prince to death. Or release another hyped up piece of scaremongering like the IPCC AR5. A report that at least one leading academic has sought to distance himself from. A report that had to be ‘sexed up’ before release. Really. If disaster is all that bleeding obvious, then why does the ‘evidence’ (If a heavily politically doctored report can be called evidence) need ‘sexing up’, hmm?

Frankly me dears, this is getting tedious in the extreme. The lie that is catastrophic man made climate change is being trotted out again like some arthritis tortured show pony well overdue the kindness of a final bullet. No one with a functioning brain cell really believes it any more. The climate models these assertions are based upon might just as well have been produced by Airfix for any semblance of reality they hold and any forecasts based on these models have less than one percent accuracy when compared with a weather rock.

The politicians and true believers would have us all think that if only we were to give up our modern way of life and live ‘closer to nature’ the birds would sing, the flowers would bloom, and no-one would ever get a nasty, icky disease ever again. Good luck with that one. I’ve done the whole closer to nature thing, and can assure my one remaining reader that it’s either too hot or cold, insects bite, birdshit drops on you, and small cuddly looking things take a nibble at your extremities if you sit or lie still for too long. There is no romance in ant or mosquito bites let me tell you, and apart from bacteria all over everything, there’s fungal spores, viruses and all sorts of unpleasantness lurking out there. Been there, done that. Give me a nice warm bed in a well insulated and heated house free of extraneous wildlife any day.

Then the true believers say there’s just too many people. Okay, if that’s the case, there’s a nice high cliff over there, off you go. Leave your parachute with me, I’ll take care of it for you. Don’t forget to get sterilised, just in case you get the urge to pass on your genes before you jump. This is another lie. There’s a demographic depopulation coming anyway across the West as those born during the nineteen forties and early fifties ‘baby boom’ line up to shuffle off this mortal coil. You know, those people who paid taxes all their lives and now find themselves freezing because ‘green taxes’ are putting the heating bills beyond their taxation raided pensions reach. Similarly China, with its one child policy is beginning to hit the buffers as there’s a burgeoning gender imbalance. All because of a pseudo-environmentalist lie.

Stuff it. What really pisses me off is that my children and their children after them will suffer. The world will be a poorer place. On the other hand there is hope because if the world gets poorer, there won’t be enough money around to pay all the people pushing the lie of man made global catastrophe and the whole bloated edifice will collapse. I derive some ironic amusement from this thought as it’s all so, well, predictable.

Expatriate expostulations from Canada

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