I am Evil

I am a very bad person and will probably boil in Hell for all eternity if there is such a place. Why? Probably because I’m an irreverent soul, and although I’ve rarely done anything naughty in my life; I’ve tried to be honest, never gone out looking to do people who don’t deserve it any harm. Mine will always be the necessary helping hand for those that will take it, not the boot in the face.

My major weak spot, and the one that will consign me to the lower reaches of the Pit is my disdain of God botherers, in all their guises. Even if Cranmer is still on my dwindling blogroll. I respect the man. He at least has integrity. Even if one disagrees with him.

This mornings episode came when there was a respectful soft knocking from the direction of the front door. At first I thought it was the wind. The dog was quiet, and he normally goes completely AWOL when there’s someone at the door. He even barks hyperactive welcome at me. So I ignored the noise and carried on working. There was the sound again. Dog was silent. This is a dog you understand, who has lungs of iron and no noise limitation. He’s a lovely animal, but his boundless enthusiasm can get a little hard to bear sometimes.

Got up and wandered into the kitchen to reload on coffee, only to see a sombre suited couple walking steadily away down the drive. Both looked around sixtyish, and the man was carrying a briefcase. Now I know we have no debt issues, all our bills get paid on time. We have no school age children, so they weren’t likely to be Social Workers, and if they were the Police, well, I haven’t done anything wrong. Likewise, we’re good with immigration, and our local politico’s know we haven’t got the vote here yet. Further observation demonstrated they were visiting each household in turn. Which leaves, by deductive reasoning, the only other possible conclusion – Religious nutters.

I sighed heavily. I’d missed my morning amusement. If I am sinful, I think my major sin is that I delight in mockery of proselytising pillocks who seem to think I have nothing better to do than listen to their irrational witterings when I should be working. Their activities have always struck me as eccentric because, if you think about it, God does not really need religions. Religions on the other hand, desperately need God, even if none of them are sure where to look. Even if they knew what they were looking for. Or wouldn’t burn / impale / blow up what they were looking for when they found it.

Bearing the aforementioned in mind; it is my contention that one does not need religion to be moral or of good character, as recent revelations about the shirtlifting habits of one specific religious priesthood have proven. Religions are all politico-tribal entities who reflect the moral dimension of whatever community gives the idle sods a living. Support a religion whose priests have been known to molest or even kidnap children? Advocate the murder those who think differently? Quod erat demonstrandum. This is not restricted to one sect of God botherers, many indulge in these moral lapses. No idea why, I suppose the religious lifestyle just seems attractive to those whose secret tastes run that way. Perhaps they simply get off on the power trip of having a Deity covering their eternal arses. Quite frankly, if I was God, I think I’d task my PR people with a few well aimed thunderbolts at these sects, but that’s just me.

Any old road up. As I watched the pair walk down the road to knock on our neighbours door, I reflected sadly that I’d missed the opportunity to try out a rather amusing wheeze. For me, not for them. Did I say I was evil? Good. Just checking.

Conversations with these people tend to follow a script as predictable and tedious as a cold call telemarketer. The conversation normally runs something like this;
God Botherer; “Good morning sir / madam Would you like to talk about God”
Householder; “No.”
GB (Trying to engage); “Nice house sir.”
HH (Suspiciously); “Are you with the Mafia?”
GB (Puzzled); “Er, no.”
HH (Annoyed); “Eff off, timewaster.” (FX: Door slam)

I have several versions of this conversation, which may leave the Householder feeling that the unwilling trudge to see who is invading their personal time has not proven a wasted journey.
Version 1:
God Botherer; “Good morning sir / madam Would you like to talk about God?”
Householder (Pretending to be shocked); “Oh no. What’s he been up to now? You aren’t Social Workers / Police are you? Has he been messing about with the firmament again? I’ve told him / her not to, but he / she’s got such a lively mind.”
GB; “Er…”(FX: Door close)

Version 2:
God Botherer; “Good morning sir / madam Would you like to talk about God?”
Householder; “He’s out at the moment, fishing. Do you want to leave a message?”
GB; “Would you like to read about him, sir / madam?”
HH; “No, no, he / she will probably tell me all about it when he/ she gets home. If you lot were in properly in touch like you claim I’m sure he / she’d have let you know.”
GB; “Err….” (FX: Door close)

Version 3:
God Botherer; “Good morning sir / madam Would you like to talk about God”
Householder; “Why?”
GB; “Because..(Insert blather about end of world, repenting of sinners and all the other BS they like to chuck around)”
HH; “Nice day for it. So you reckon it’s all going to end at that time?”
GB (Enthused); “Yes sir.”
HH; “Well we had the (Insert competing sect name here) around earlier, and they say you’ve got the dates wrong, again.” The pause indicated by the comma is crucial, don’t forget it. “They told me they thought you lot are all going to Hell if you don’t convert, which I personally thought was a bit steep. They were quite vehement about it. I think I heard them say something about burning Heretics next week. Anyway. Must dash. Can’t take up any more of your valuable time. Byee.” (FX: Door close and lock)

There are many variants on this theme, and I’m sure my reader can come up with many more. Yes, yes, we’ll probably all burn at the stake (Make mine medium done with a little charring – Dijon mustard) for our disbelief in the ludicrous, but what one has to remember is that once ion their power, these unhinged zealots will forever keep tightening their ‘rules’ until they start burning innocents anyway. Believe in what we tell you to or be punished. It’s how they retain their grip on the gullible and easily frightened.

Have yourself a Merry……. Elf ‘n safetee

During the Winter holiday season, all personnel and visitors are requested to note the following:

Please be advised that all persons planning to dash through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh, going over fields and laughing all the way are required to undergo a Risk Assessment addressing the safety of open sleighs. This assessment must also consider whether it is appropriate to use only one horse for such a venture, particularly where there are multiple passengers. Unlicensed carriers will be reported to the local licensing authority, and fixed penalties will be applied. Horses are liable to seizure by animal protection should Inspectors deem that overloading has occurred.

Please note that permission must also be obtained in writing from landowners before their fields may be entered. To avoid offending those not participating in celebrations, we request that laughter is moderate only and not loud enough to be considered a noise nuisance. All resultant manure must be collected and disposed of in the appropriate recycle facility. Seat restraints must be worn.

Benches, stools and orthopaedic chairs are now available for collection by any shepherds planning or required to watch their flocks at night.

While provision has also been made for remote monitoring of flocks by CCTV cameras from a centrally heated shepherd observation hut, all facility users are reminded that an emergency response plan must be submitted to account for known risks to the flocks.

The Angel of the Lord is additionally reminded that prior to shining his/her glory all around he/she must confirm that all shepherds are wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment to account for the harmful effects of UVA, UVB and the overwhelming effects of Glory. Untrained personnel are restricted from this activity.

Following last year’s well publicised case, everyone is advised that EC legislation prohibits any comment with regard to the redness of any part of Mr. R. Reindeer. Further to this, exclusion of Mr. R Reindeer from reindeer games will be considered discriminatory and disciplinary action will be taken against those found guilty of this offence.

While it is acknowledged that gift-bearing is commonly practised in various parts of the world, particularly the Orient, everyone is reminded that the bearing of gifts is subject to Hospitality Guidelines and all gifts must be registered. This applies regardless of the individual, even royal personages.

It is particularly noted that direct gifts of currency or gold are specifically precluded under provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Such gifts must be declared in advance on page 193 of personal tax declarations. Being a King, regardless of qualification, does not qualify for exemption.

Furthermore, caution is advised regarding other common gifts, such as aromatic resins that may initiate allergic reactions. These must be supervised by an appropriately trained First Aider prior to receipt.

Finally, in the recent case of the infant found tucked up in a manger without any crib for a bed; Social Services have been advised and will be arriving shortly.

Merry Christmas,
Risk Management Team

Shamelessly nicked and adapted from Theo Spark

Ten? reasons to hate and love Christmas (Redux)

I know I said I was gone forever, but the time of year has come when it must be said once more. Less than a month to go again and I’m seriously tempted to renew my membership of the Ebenezer Scrooge appreciation society. Bah! Humbug! If this offends, tough. Should objectors wish to drive a stake through my black and sardonic heart, I’d like to say the only steak I want anywhere near said muscular pump is a nice thick rib eye with a smidgeon of external charring and light pinkness enlightening its centre. Possibly even with a little Dijon Mustard. As it passes through the upper reaches of my digestive tract, having left fond memories with my taste buds, naturally.

The festival itself I have no quarrel with; good old hijacked midwinter solstice feast that it is. A time of good food, wine and forgiveness to celebrate survival for another year. Good will to all? Within reason, of course, and certainly not all of them. I’m not going to be nice to the cretinous, no matter the time of year. Heavens to Murgatroyd Cowboy, one has to maintain some form of consistency. What really turns my normal sunny disposition to that of lemon sucking misanthrope is the insistence that everyone has to join in the ‘fun’; when ‘fun’ entails leaving drunken saliva snail trails over the nearest total stranger. Good grief! If nothing else it’s all so damned unhygienic. Not to mention more than slightly creepy.

With this in mind I have compiled ten major issues about Christmas which every year threaten to turn Mr Nice Guy (Me) into a raging homicidal psychopath who’s just got his chainsaw out of the shed for a little pre-festive flesh trimming.

First; Date. The date and the association with Christianity is incorrect. 25th December is the wrong date for Christians to celebrate Christmas. It’s an historical fudge, a compromise between 6th December, 19th December, 22nd December, 7th January or 25th January depending upon which Christian / Pagan sect you belong to. As for the year, if you’re a Christian, about as close as you’ll get is six years either side of 0 AD; and that’s just from official sources.

Second; Presents and shopping. This asinine insistence that you have to drive yourself into near bankruptcy giving overpriced, unwanted gifts to everyone you know. This may sound like heresy and probably is; but I would rather have no gifts at all than a gift without a genuine kind thought behind it. I especially don’t like being dragged in and out of the same five or six stores four times each only to find that we could have bought everything on line. I could have been doing something interesting for heavens sake.

Third; Enforced jollity. There is no greater torture to a civilised mind than forcing another human to ‘enjoy’ themselves against their natural volition. My personal standpoint is that I am quite capable of being happy without outside interference thank you very much. My major dread is that in the near future the PC Thought Police will deem it a crime not to be smiling and joyful at mandatory times and places. Perhaps in this age of mass surveillance and facial recognition technology, such edicts may become camera enforced. Like with bus lanes. Not smiling enough? Your penalty notice is in the post. Ironically giving you less reason to be happy than before. Incidentally, has anyone tried to be artificially happy and smiling, at least for any length of time, when they really don’t want to be without extreme chemical assistance? That way lies madness. Horrified shudder.

Fourth; Inappropriate headgear. The wearing of fluorescent antlers, tinsel and artificial fur bobbled conical hats three sizes too small, not to mention those inane ‘jester’ style confections made of poor quality red, yellow and green felt with bells on. Apparently there’s some strange, arcane folk belief that wearing such headgear actually makes everything you say and do amusing. Such as telling unfunny jokes, committing random sexual assaults or urinating in the street. Trust me, it doesn’t work. Strangely enough, recent scholarly research has conclusively proven that the majority of people donning such headgear instantly turn into annoying pillocks. Forcing your dog / cat / pet tarantula to wear any such item should instantly engender an instant charge of animal cruelty punishable by thirty strokes of the cat (A bad tempered feral Tom, for preference. One tail, twenty claws.) Re the headgear, perhaps some sort of open season / bounty system could be arranged with local hunters.

Fifth; Alcohol. Actually this is a bit of a moot point. I am greatly in favour of some forms of alcohol as it is a great social lubricant (I said SOCIAL. Honestly, some people.). A good pint, bottle of wine, or warming Single Malt in good company is wonderfully relaxing. Sometimes I can be very friendly with an entire bottle of whiskey all to myself. This is something anyone can do anywhere. Sometimes its nice just to hide in the den with a good book, headphones on and some rock music blasting any potentially festive thoughts from seasonally stressed synapses. However be warned; excessive consumption not only damages your liver and wallet but may turn you into another dribbling maudlin festive idiot.

Sixth; Office / work related parties. Or as Oscar Wilde might have said had he ever been forced to attend; ‘The unattainable pursued by the unlovable’. Watching what you drink in case you say exactly what you feel to / about your boss or other influential colleague; no matter how incompetent / unpleasant / overbearing they might be. I detest such events and whenever invited to ‘socialise’ in this fashion with workmates make a creative and plausible excuse not to be there. Ones I’ve found that work very well are; Emergency engagement with family, as far from the event as possible; sick and very rich relatives are always a good one. Short and untraceable illness like a 24 hour dose of food poisoning. Domestic emergency requiring your urgent presence at home – all of these are good (Spousal corroboration is prerequisite for the last). One cautionary note, use a different excuse every year or be labelled ‘Anti Christmas’ and find all those more important invitations disappear. Unless you’re going to move on anyway. In which case – Just say no. What are they going to do in these circumstances? Fire you?

Seventh; Christmas lunch. All that hard work put in to produce a table groaning feast to be met by refusal. For example an announcement by your wife’s sister / daughter (insert own preference here) that she’s become a Vegan without telling anyone; then flounces off when you, quite reasonably, refuse to specially cook a nut roast for everyone at five minutes notice because she can’t bear to be within fifty yards of that poor murdered Turkey. Another might be the kids whinging that they want to go to Burger MacWossnames for a “double death by cholesterol and fries”; refusing to eat anything green that hasn’t got four kilogrammes of sugar in it. I think Christmas lunches should be all ticket, invitation only affairs. RSVP Like a posh dinner party. If you want to be there, be there. If you don’t – don’t, and no social stigma should attach.

Eighth; Christmas Television. Especially those vomit inducing saccharine Coca Cola adverts. The endless mind strangling TV repeats of Christmas specials of ‘Only Fools and Horses’, and what’s going on in Emmerdale Enders. ‘The Sound of Music’ again. ‘Celebrity’ Christmas specials. Thank God for DVD’s. Don’t even get me started about Hogmanay specials. All I want from New Years Eve is a hot toddy, an early night and a clear head on a crisp winters morning, enjoying the peace and quiet.

Ninth; Christmas Songs. All of them. Especially (In no particular order) Slade’s ‘So here it is Merry Christmas’, Band Aid’s ‘Do they know it’s Christmas time’ and Aled Jones ‘Walking in the air’. When you’ve heard them sung extremely badly four or five hundred times by drunken cracked voices at up to half past four in the morning, you’ll agree all modern Christmas tunes should be banned by international treaty. I maintain that Christmas songs are crimes against humanity, and perpetrators should be tried at the Hague before being imprisoned for mass musicide. This goes for New Year celebrations as well; if I had a time machine I’d go back and shoot Robbie Burns dead before he could pen the words to ‘Auld lang’s syne‘. Posterity forgives the odd dead poet.

Tenth; Carol Singers. Not proper Carol Singers like in church choirs, they’re actually fairly pleasant and welcome in small doses. I’m talking about the avaricious little sods who turn up on your doorstep for a quick bit of extortion a month before the official date. I think we’re all familiar with this subtype of troglodyte; expecting you to give them money for an abysmal and desultory one chorus rendition of ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas’ when half of them don’t know the words and the rest are miming. Some years ago I handed out some warmed over vegetarian mince pies to the last lot who dared darken my doorstep, and joy of joys, haven’t seen any since.

Eleventh: Christmas lights. Well this is more ambivalence than dislike. Done well, hey, fine. It’s your electricity bill. Done badly, with lots of cheesy illuminated Walmart Santas, Snowmen and Reindeer, urgh. Seriously. It’s embarrassing. Don’t do it. Likewise decorating things that aren’t yours. No please. If your sense of taste is that stunted, it’s wise not to show it off in public. People will only point and laugh.

The above list is nowhere near definitive as I’m sure many of you can come up with your own reasons for wanting to spend your midwinter holiday overseas. The nicest Christmas day I ever spent was alone with my wife in Barcelona. Messing around in near deserted streets like a couple of school kids and getting soaked in a torrential downpour. No cooking, no turkey, wonderful Irish coffee in a bar where the staff were grooving energetically to Ricky Martins ‘La vida loca’ full blast on the sound system. Ganneting a quarter kilo of ‘Chocolat Naranja’ between us while drying out, watching an unfestive CNN News in the Hotel room. No tinsel, no tackiness and a thoroughly civilised time was had by both of us. A close second was a Spa break in BC having a (Sort of) merry detox with several bottles of eminently quaffable 2009 Quails Gate Proprietors Reserve pinot noir. No TV, in room Jacuzzi and no bloody tinsel. Bliss.

The last post

Over the past year I’ve grown ever more cynical and less inclined to post about the same old problems caused by the same old class of people. The tools, drones and otherwise hard of thinking behind desks who think they know better than the rest of us about how to run our lives, and eventual deaths.

So as far as Bill is concerned, I’m hanging up his commenting keyboard for good. Oh, I’ll be writing elsewhere on similar topics, but in different ways through a different medium. But Bill Sticker will no more haunt forums and comment threads. This is the final it. This blog and the blogger counterpart will be his memorial until I decide to take them down. The door will not hit me on the way out.

Why? We can rant and rage on our blogs against the machine all we like, but is the machine listening? Not a bit of it, say I. The machine is a clumsy, massive bureaucratic construction that carelessly crushes those bull headed enough to get in its way. Thus it is down to each of us to plough our respective lonely furrows, to create what small miracles we can in our own minuscule ways. By not giving into the temptation of every single shiny new toy. By not blindly following some glib ‘leader’ promising ‘change’ without actually defining what that change will be. Following leaders of that sort always leaves their followers with loose change and ashes, but little more. Maybe not quite the kind of change their followers were hoping for, but that is the way of things. The only person who can make real and lasting change for the better is the feet on the street. The little guy with a little heart, and enough guts to do the right thing at the right time. Whenever that is.

It’s been fun being Bill. He’s the guy who’s said all the things I sometimes haven’t been brave enough to voice in person. As far as he’s concerned, I’ve only ever documented a fraction of the real life strokes pulled, of the sheer bare faced cheek needed to survive the myriad of metaphorically jackboot wearing whack jobs out there. Of the many little victories against the blind behemoth of tick box bureaucracy. Now it’s time to move on.

TTFN

We need a revolution

Sir Ken Robinson talks about the need for a move away from the mechanistic ‘top down’ or ‘command and control’ management of education, but what he says also goes for life in general. As he says right at the end, “We need a revolution.” And not just a change of the individuals in charge, but one that takes us away from the top down one-size-fits-all model that is currently failing, and failing badly. Watch and attain enlightenment.

Subterranean homesick blues revisited

I see Bob Dylan’s old protest song is doing the rounds on YouTube again, but what would he have written had he lived in modern day UK? Here’s my adaptation. The usual apology in advance to Bob Dylan.

Johnny’s in the basement
Playing with his station
I’m on the pavement
Blogging ’bout government
The girl in the hi-viz
Hand out for new biz
Says she’s begging for the poor
Wants to get them paid off
Look out kid
It’s somethin’ you did
God knows when
But you’re doin’ it again
You better duck down the alley way
Tweetin’ for some new friends
Barista in the black shirt
Thinks they hit pay dirt
Wants eleven dollar bills
You only got ten.

Bob comes round the door
Says he’ll sleep down on the floor
Talkin’ ’bout David Icke’s
Lizards on a dirty bike
Phone’s tapped anyway
Bob raps many say
All will crash by early May
Built into our DNA
Look out kid
Don’t matter what you did
Walk on tip toes
Don’t try, ‘low dose’
Better stay away from those
Carry round a fire hose
Keep a clean nose
Watch the plain clothes
You don’t need no climate change
To know which way the wind blows.

Get sick, get fine
Tell truth, do time
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin’ to sell
Try hard, get barred
Get back, try, rail
Hit nail, get stale, go Galt, if you fail
Look out kid
You’re gonna get hit
By users, low bums
Six-time losers
Hanging round the forums
Girl by the whirlpool
Lookin’ for the next tool
Don’t follow leaders
Watch those parkin’ meters.

Ah get born, watch porn
Short pants, romance, learn to dance
Get dressed, Confess
Try to be a success
Please her, please him, buy trash
Don’t steal, be flash
Twenty years of schoolin’
And your world is full of ash
Look out kid
They keep it all hid
Better jump down a manhole
Light yourself a candle
Don’t wear sandals
Try to avoid the scandals
Don’t wanna be a bum
You better chew gum
The power’s too high
‘Cause the cheaters rigged your meters.

Feel free to copy / plagiarise / whatever. If there’s anyone still out there…………

Petitions, petitions

Ex UK tabloid Editor Piers Morgan has apparently annoyed quite a few of our cousins south of the 49th parallel (So what’s new?) with a rant about the 2nd Amendment to the US constitution. There is an active petition lobbying the White House for his deportation. There is a counter petition lobbying for him not to be deported. I’ve heard this mis-reported on CBC Radio that the second petition was raised by his ‘supporters’. Not so. I’m reliably told it was UK residents saying “We don’t want him back”.

There is a problem. If the White House does deport the odious little tabloid hack and he wants to stay in Canada; I personally do not want to have the nasty smegger polluting the airwaves up here in the not so frozen north. He has a vile, and some suspect, criminal past. Violating people’s privacy, damaging their reputations without good cause, causing the deaths of UK troops by publishing sensationalist and untrue allegations about UK armed forces in Iraq, and even suspected insider share dealing. If I was Immigration Canada I’d have him on the next flight out if ever he dared show himself at the border.

Although an amusing thought occurs. He could always take a gig up in Churchill, Manitoba, where he could go see how a gun ban works on one of the local Polar Bears. Or the Grizzlies on North Vancouver Island, even Northern BC would do. The bears would probably appreciate a free hack snack. How would that be for an edition of “I’m a celebrity – get me out of here!“? Hey, I’d watch.

Evil smirk.

Expatriate expostulations from Canada

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