Conspiracy sunspots, Batman!

The Interweb has been ablaze with rumours about the closure of a Solar Sunspot Observatory, by of all people the FBI. Who turned up out of the blue in a Blackhawk helicopter and shut the whole site down, including the on-site post office. The site is normally open to the public and the local Sheriff was shut out too, which makes the whole affair even more puzzling. All sorts of stuff has been mooted from Aliens crossing the sun, pending massive solar storms, secret weapons tests, Chinese / Russian hacking / spying on the nearby White Sands Missile Range, Uncle Tom Cobley and all. No-one has mentioned the Mayans yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

So what is going on? No idea. Although the spying theory sounds the most likely.

A more studied perspective is available from Linda Moulton Howe, an American investigative journalist and Regional Emmy award-winning documentary film maker.

She has a World Domination Cat.  What’s not to like?

Update: As a point of interest, the adjacent Apache Point Observatory, a collection of telescopes about a half-mile away, was operating as normal on Friday, with about a dozen cars parked outside.  Nor have other solar observatories been closed down as stated in some quarters.  So, no Aliens then.  Again.

2nd UpdateAand it’s open again.  Phew, so those pesky little green men have given us the go by yet again.  Funny how often that happens.

 

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Light at the end of the tunnel..

Well I thought there was light at the end of my personal tunnel, but it was some bugger with a torch bringing me more work. Fortunately they were bringing money with them as well, so that’s fine by me. The work is something I can do standing on my head but there is quite a lot of it, so this new state of affairs just means little time for blogging.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel regarding BREXIT as well, although I don’t think it’s a very healthy light. Frankly, the more I look at it the better a ‘no deal’ BREXIT looks. Despite all the propaganda in the FT and elsewhere. All the op-eds masquerading as ‘news’. Candidly me deario’s, most of what I read in the mainstream on this topic is utter bunk, unfit to line an incontinent moggy’s litter tray. There seem to be a lot of people who think that the EU is the fount of all there is right and proper, despite the plain reality that it’s an anti-democratic, opaque and bloated bureaucracy, with only one purpose, it’s own corrupt continuance.

Sargon has been spending some time in Strasbourg of late with his fellow-travellers from the Purple Gang and I recommend you watch the whole video below. If you eyes aren’t opened by this, go back to sleep and await your turn to fall foul of the ever tightening noose of EU rules and taxes.

What May come?

What was British PM Theresa May up to in South Africa, apart from proving she dances like a tailors dummy with arthritis? If any arthritic tailors dummies are offended by that last sentence – tough. You’re not covered by any hate crime laws (yet), so I can say what I damn well like about you. Which does not answer the question that has been meandering around in my head over the long weekend.

That question is; what is the British Prime Minister doing, cosying up to the ANC on the run up to the proposed mass land grab? Is this some belated retribution against latter-day white Afrikaners for the Boer Wars? Or is there a new ‘scramble for Africa‘ going on like in the late 1800’s?

On that topic, I know the Chinese are lending money left right and centre to a lot of African countries and have been doing for some considerable time to buy their way in. Contrariwise, as our cousins south of the 49th parallel would say, Britain’s influence has been in steep decline since the mid 1900’s so why the sudden interest? Is May going to offer asylum to those farmers threatened with penury when land they have been the stewards of since the late 1700’s is whipped from under their feet without recompense, leaving them at the mercy of the Banks, who will still want their payments and the murderous intent of the Communist EFF? Bet you she won’t.

Unlike the Russians or Australians, who have land they would like to see put to productive use and are offering refuge to the soon-to-be dispossessed. Or the Zimbabweans, who having seen the errors of their ways are actively welcoming back those nasty old white farmers Mugabe summarily asset stripped. Because the new regime realised that the so-called ‘bad guys’ had the work ethic, management and agricultural skills to make commercial farms pay. Unlike the people the land was given to by the Mugabe regime, who basically didn’t have a clue and weren’t interested in anything but the money. Which ran out very quickly indeed.

South Africa will suffer just like Zimbabwe did for this racist policy. Their economy is already in bad shape, with the Rand on an ever-downward path. Now they’re getting ready for the ethnic cleansing that will make them unable to feed their country. This is not ‘Land reform’. This is not ‘fairness’. This is economic suicide.

Why May should want to hitch Britain’s coat tails to such a regime is, on the surface, quite baffling. Unless you know some of the expat community who have spent time in other parts of Africa.
There’s a government enforced policy in certain African states which dictates that the CEO of a company has to be a local. Can’t be ‘white’ or Asian locals either. So what outside funded multinationals do is recruit an ethnic local, load him with all the trappings, but give the important functional work, and thus the real power to hand picked and motivated people who are either trained and steeped in the productive ethos, or Expat Europeans or Asians brought in to keep things moving. Otherwise little happens.

As a rather cynical Expat, an old ‘Africa hand’ said to me when I expressed surprise at this state of affairs many years ago. “TIA.” or “This is Africa.”

Personally, I think Theresa May has been laying the political groundwork for another type of hostile takeover after the South African land reforms fall over, as they will, because land only has value to those who know what to do with it. Especially when those who take up the seized properties find out how much hard bloody work commercial farming actually is, British based multinationals will be politically placed to move in and buy up the productive land. A local will be selected as the front man and like elsewhere, Expat Europeans, Lebanese and Asians brought in to actually run the show. Possibly even the people whose farm was seized in the first place. Why? Because they have the experience to cope with all the poorly managed infrastructure, shortage of good roads and general levels of corruption endemic to the continent.

An internet Bill of Rights – A proposal

Seen over at Minds.com

MINDS.COM PROPOSED DIGITAL BILL OF RIGHTS

Alternative social network Minds has debuted a digital bill of rights amid accusations of bias and political manipulation at Google, Facebook, and other Big Tech companies.
“Minds is officially adopting the Manila Principles On Intermediary Liability, a digital bill of rights, outlined by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other leading digital rights organizations,” the social network announced, Thursday. “The principles have been endorsed by nearly 300 leading press freedom and technology policy organizations and individuals. They act as a guideline for protecting freedom of expression and create an open environment for innovation.”

The bill of rights are as follows:

  1. Intermediaries should be shielded from liability for third-party content.

  2. Content must NOT be required to be removed without an order by a judicial authority.

  3. Requests for restrictions of content must be clear, be unambiguous, and follow due process.

  4. Laws and content restriction orders and practices must comply with the tests of necessity and proportionality.

  5. Laws and content restriction policies and practices must respect due process.

  6. Transparency and accountability must be built into laws and content restriction policies and practices.

Discuss. I’m off to do some gardening. There’s some judicious potting out to do. Lemon tree seedlings again.

Baking Daze

By George I’ve done it! I’ve cracked baking both my favourite Black Olive Bread and French style Baguettes. Using bog standard flour, salt, instant yeast and water alone. No baking powder, no additives or ‘improvers’. Better than store bought. More flavour. Ee, I’m dead chuffed.

The trick for French style baguettes is in the dough which should be damp and slightly sticky but not too wet. Too wet and you’ve just baked a twenty inch long muffin, too dry and it comes out like bad pastry. Dry mix the Flour, salt and yeast thoroughly before adding room temperature water. Mix and add flour until you’ve got a dough ball that sticks to the bowl a little, but not too much. Leave resulting dough in mixing bowl for a couple of hours, punch down the dough and knead it until your dough ball gets smoother and more plasticky. Let it rise again. Knead once more then leave for twenty minutes or so before cutting dough into loaf sized bits. Roll and place dough, cutting as per your fancy to be cooked on some baking paper on a tray in an oven pre-heated to 415 Fahrenheit (About 210 Celsius) with a heat proof bowl half full of boiling water on the shelf below. Rotate tray after ten minutes or so. Remove baking parchment and leave loaf on grid or tray. Continue to cook until brown all over (About 15-20 additional minutes). Remove and leave on a grid or some baking parchment to cool. Works like a charm every time. Passes the toast test too.

Thanks to our Landlord’s apple tree, apple tarts have also been created and apple pie filling is being readied for the freezer. The tarts proved an absolute snip with some thinly rolled pastry, thin sliced apple and baking them in the oven for about twenty five minutes at 350 Fahrenheit (175 Celsius), although to get the full glistening glory of a patisserie produced product I will need to invest in some gelatin to brush over the baked apple and cinnamon.

Oh yes, all the wildfire smoke has gone. In forty eight hours. We’ve gone from an AQI in the hundreds (Almost hazardous) to single figures (Good) almost overnight after the Pacific winds drove inland and reports of snow and rain from the interior of BC. Snow in August? WTF? True, the snowfall is all up on the peaks in the Rockies, but hang on a minute! This is still August FFS! And it’s earlier than ever reported before, so what’s going on? Are we in for a long, cold Winter as the US Farmers Almanac is predicting or is this just a blip?

Which reminds me, my old toaster just died and we’ve had to spend a few bucks on one of those fancy long slice models.

Oh dear

NAFTA is effectively dead and Canada is in even more trouble over the Saudi-owned Canadian Wheat Board. All the bloviating and focussing on minority issues from Ottawa isn’t doing us much good economically speaking. The Trudeau regime has effectively been asleep at the switch, preferring anti-Trump posturing to actually doing anything positive, saying that the “Economy would sort itself out.” Yeah, right. You can’t say that about supply chain type economies like Canada. The institutions they run on are Government mandated. Like the Liquor control boards, the various other bureaucratic machines which only really serve the big cartels. Not to mention that Trudeau’s government slamming heavy tariffs on things we can’t make from the USA hasn’t helped.

Now they’ve got until Friday to decide whether or not to throw the Canadian Dairy cartels under the bus. After slamming on massive tariffs on unfiltered milk products from the US, which are useful if you want to make cheese in Canada.

If the letter pages of the newspapers and overheard snippets of shoppers conversations are any guide, The Trudeau regime is growing ever more unpopular. Food prices are up significantly. One of the things I’m in the habit of is putting our grocery spends on a spreadsheet and even a casual glance tells me the Sticker household is currently paying sixty percent plus more for just groceries than in the last four years. True, this sum is partially down to changing purchasing patterns because we can now afford better stuff, but even the basics are way up. This is the penalty for electing a nice-but-dim Prime Monster who has never held down a real job for long.

The whole Canadian Liberal party narrative appears to be dissolving. Not that they are anything like ‘Classical’ Liberals, more a bought and paid for bunch of vanity project sockpuppets. Not that I think that the NDP or Progressive Conservatives are any better. From what I can see they’re all at the beck and call of various Canadian Cartels, be that Dairy, Telecoms or even Maple Syrup to name but three.

Update:  Looks like the trade talks with the USA will continue next week.  Ottawa isn’t ready to defy the cartels.  One thing is certain, with the current light shower in office bursting into tears for the camera, this will go on right up until the November deadline.

The lessons of History

A couple of decades ago, I was studying 9th and 10th Century Anglo-Saxon History when I came across a curious snippet. Under the reign of Athelstan (924-939), first King of all the Angles and the first to rule over a unified England with similar borders to today, there was a law, which does not appear in this brief selection, stating that no child should be left alone with a priest. That the parent of the child, or a Reeve, particularly if the child were a boy if memory serves, was always to be present. In short there were strict laws concerning priestly conduct. Why? Because even 10th Century monarchs knew about human nature and the effects of enforced celibacy. There were even strict penalties for Priests or Monks who ‘carried off Nuns’.

Now it seems the Catholic church is reaping the whirlwind for not just decades but potentially centuries of institutionalised child abuse and internal cover-ups. Good luck with those claims for ‘compensation’ though. The Catholic Church is land rich and owns vast archives but as far as I’m aware doesn’t have that much ready cash floating about. So any claims paid will result in a fire-sale of some very nice ecclesiastical real estate. The Pope can beg for God’s forgiveness all he wants, but it’s not God who wants the compensation.

The whole circus reminds me of one of my Dad’s favourite jokes (Although it was probably his father’s favourite as well), which goes thus;

A Catholic priest is hauled up in the Magistrates court for sodomising an under age choirboy. He’s about to put in a guilty plea when the Magistrate takes one look at the plaintiffs and the arresting officer, bangs his gavel (Ouch) and says. “Case dismissed.”
The arresting Police officer looks aghast; he’s literally caught the errant priest with his cassock around his waist, humping hell out of an eleven year old boy in the Sacristy. “Your honour!” He protests.
“I said; case dismissed.” Repeats the Magistrate, firmly.
“But, but why?” Asks the Policeman.
“Haven’t you heard that Choirboy sing?” Asks the Magistrate.

Well, it used to make me laugh. It’s like the whole casting couch phenomena that has all the #MeToo movement up in arms. In the working class circles from which I originate these things were well known from when I was a boy five decades ago. Priests buggered choirboys. Actors, hardly paragons of morality, often traded sex for a part in a movie or a show via casting couch culture. Single sex schools were known hotbeds of various under the age of consent vices. Various forms of sexual perversion is rife in prisons. Why? Because any port in a storm. That’s why.

Politicians often have mistresses (Even John Prescott). It was and is a careless parent who trusts these people too much because those who aspire to positions of power do so because that carries an implied licence to have sex with anything of woman born. Those with large sexual appetites will always be and have always been this way. We know these things to be true because we hear the rumours and read about the court cases.

The only thing that still baffles me is why everyone is so goddamn surprised. This is not to say that authority figures should not be trusted, but, only to a point. They are not Gods, simply slightly more ambitious and less restrained versions of our more mundane selves. And we all know how bad we are.

Wheel spin

It’s Friday. The one day of the week I’ve always had a problem with. Mainly because I’m not really a weekend person and always feel like I’m just spinning my wheels, going nowhere fast. The skies are clearing, but there’s still too much wildfire smoke outside to spend much time outdoors. I’ve even taken to wearing a filter mask.

However, because work is still slack and staying out on the deck for too long makes me cough, I’ve been in the kitchen experimenting and come up with a fun dish which isn’t too hard to make. I call them Nested Eggs. Very simple but quite cute. Goes well if you’re fed up of burgers in a bun or feel like showing off some rudimentary culinary skill. Who knows? Your kids may even take a liking to them if you’re having difficulty getting the little horrors to eat whole eggs. who knows? Live a little.

Stuff you will need for two servings;
One large baking potato
Two eggs
Two identical oven proof cup receptacles you can put under the grill. I use two stainless steel baking rings which are like cookie cutters only four inches across and about an inch and a bit deep placed on a piece of folded foil. Individual sized oven proof dishes greased with butter will do.
Salt and pepper to taste
Two teaspoons of Butter
Optional teaspoon of grated cheese, no more.

Method can get a bit finicky, but even I got it right first time so here goes;
Microwave your baking potato so it is fully cooked.
Peel and mash potato thoroughly, adding butter, salt and pepper to mash for seasoning. Mash consistency should be firm but soft enough to mould but which does not stick to the sides of your mashing receptacle. This is British style mash, not that sloppy North American stuff which looks like lightly solidified sludge. Powdered potato or ready mix mash will not cut it for this dish.
Add cheese to mash if you are so inclined. Not too much.
Grease your receptacles (Oo-er matron!).
Put half of mashed potato into each oven proof receptacle. Make a depression in the middle which will fully take one egg.
Put mashed potato cup under low to medium grill until it browns. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. Unless of course you like half of your egg white barely cooked. The idea here is to apply heat from both above and below. Besides, browning the mash first gives a lovely crispy note to the end result.
Remove receptacles, cups whatever from under grill making sure that you don’t burn your delicate pinkies when doing so.
Add salt and pepper to the centre of the depression.
While browned mash is still hot, carefully break a whole egg into the centre and put back under the grill immediately.
Cooking times will vary, but if you work to about the same timing as for a boiled egg of the same size, you won’t go far wrong. A large egg will take around eight minutes and thirty seconds. A medium about eight minutes if you’ve got the grill settings right.
Remove from under grill again when egg looks cooked and doesn’t wobble when you jiggle the grill. Again, being oh so careful not to scorch your delicate ickle pinkies. Leave on one side for a couple of minutes to let the cooking finish. The egg should be cooked through, ideally with a solid white and a golden oozing yolk. Sprinkle with a little seasoning to taste and judiciously loosen it from your cooking receptacle with a knife. If you’ve got it right, the nested egg can now be decanted onto your plate ready for consumption. Hold receptacle with a bit of folded kitchen towel while you do this as your cooking receptacle will still be hot and roast fingers are not on the menu here.

A minor note regarding sauce or accompanying dish. Nested Eggs go well with burgers, thick cut bacon, Sausages, a mixed grill or anything carnivorous. They’re even good on their own with Baked Beans in tomato sauce. Tabasco or HP sauce is a tasty accompaniment. Alternatively treat them like an eggs Benedict and smother in Hollandaise sauce but without all the fuss of poaching eggs, which is a skill I’ve never quite been able to master.

On the whole I’ve found Nested Eggs make an entertaining adjunct to casual food. They’re dead simple to make and a welcome change from chips (Fries) with everything. Enjoy.

Happy weekend.

TTFN

Hunkering down

Wildfire smoke has gotten worse over the last twenty four hours so the Sticker household has completely battened down the hatches and watched the AQI go from the ‘Unhealthy’ particulate count (AQI 170-185) end of the spectrum to ‘Hazardous’ (AQI 340! last night) in the last few hours. So over the last seventy two hours we’ve been indoors listening to the Hummingbirds coughing outside and wondering when our scenery will get un-photoshopped. As well as sweltering a little because we can’t have any windows open. The taste of burning forest has been everywhere.

Fortunately a change in the wind brought brief surcease this morning with the worst of the smoke flowing northbound up the west side of Vancouver Island, remaining a louring presence across the hills. AQI dropped below 100 for a couple of hours, which is like the air in a major capital like Paris or London on a bad day. Breathable, but nicer when you get into the air conditioned indoors. The forecast is for particulates to drop to their more usual low teens. Which hasn’t happened yet. Temperatures likewise are to drop to around 20-22 Celsius, which is cool for August, but you won’t catch me complaining about that. Cool air you can breathe? That will do. When it arrives. At the moment the AQI is firmly in the ‘Unhealthy’ range of around 120-60+ and our scenery has been photoshopped once more.

Our ever-expanding deck garden seems unaffected. The herbs are fine, we’ve acquired a small conifer and another two of my Lemon plants (no longer mere seedlings) look like they’ll need potting out into their own little receptacles soon. So a quick trip to the stores was required for some more potting compost which means this evening I’ll be potting out our new Thyme and Mint plants as well as my nascent Lemon trees.

I see our cousins down south are talking about impeaching Trump. For something Obama’s campaigns got a mere slap on the wrist for? It smacks of desperation from the ensconced power elites, who are actually the real problem in the USA. These are the folks who should be standing in the welfare lines. Trump’s actually sticking up for important things like free speech online and asking pertinent questions about South Africa’s land seizures. He’s asking other questions certain people don’t want in the high level public domain because such questions will probably hurt their investment strategies. That sounds like a reasonable reason why they’re out to get him by any means necessary.

Regarding those South African land seizures. It’s been widely known that being a Boer descended farmer has been a high risk occupation for well over thirty years. Farm raids and murders have been glossed over by the media because, well, all white South Africans are bad yeah? All that Apartheid? Personal anecdote here; when we lived up Island we found that a good number of our neighbours were ex-Afrikaners and White Rhodesians who got out when the ANC and Mugabe regimes took over. My Doctor was South African. So was my next door but one neighbour. Another neighbour was white Zimbabwean who always talked of the land of his birth with affection. This in a community of less than twenty five properties. I knew of at least three more Afrikaner families in our locale.

Now we hear that the Zimbabwe government are begging for the eeevil white farmers they kicked off their land to come back because the guys their farms were given to didn’t have a clue how to manage them. Which is what will happen to South Africa. The country will implode even further economically speaking because the ANC will have ethnically cleansed (Dispossessed) the most productive and industrious people from ‘their’ country and their agricultural skill base will collapse followed by the rest of the economy.

Lauren Southern’s polemic, ‘Farmlands’ covers the history of how the current state of affairs came to be, but does miss out the Boer war and disagree with a few other salient details listed in timelines like these. For example, in ‘official’ versions the massacre of 100 Boer settlers led by Paul Retief by the Zulu King Dingnaan (Dingnane) in 1838 state that Retief tried to obtain land by ‘trickery’ and that ‘only’ 60 died, not the 100 claimed by Southern and Wikipedia. Dingnaan’s warriors later massacred another 534 Voortrekkers in the Weneen massacre. A figure composed of 41 men, 56 women and 185 children from the Dutch settler party killed along with 250 or 252 of their native tribe servants / followers. Wikipedia may not be the most reliable of sources, but in this case is more credible than some ‘official’ timelines. And that’s just one example out of several. I’ve been checking. Mainly because I’m a history buff and don’t like being misled. Anyway, see for yourself, I’ve embedded Lauren’s YouTube video below. It does not make for happy viewing. But make your own mind up.

As an afterthought, you hear a lot of SJW types crowing about the ‘end of white supremacy’. Well chaps, fasten your seat belts because that’s exactly what happened to Zimbabwe and other African countries and what’s happening to South Africa. Liberia, Angola, Congo, Libya, Chad, Somalia, Sudan and the Central African Republic for example. Never mind the occasional tribal genocide or ongoing US interventions in the Trans Sahara and Horn of Africa. Or isn’t that quite the ‘end of white supremacy’ these ‘Social Justice’ types ordered, eh?

Useful fact checking website; Africa Check. For those interested in the stats regarding the number of farmers murdered, try looking at this article; Why Calculating a farm murder rate in SA is near impossible.

Why we need ‘free’ speech

I was watching this Jordan Peterson presentation this morning (See video below) and was struck with a small epiphany.

Having listened to him I’d say it’s not so much ‘free’ speech we need as honest speech. The right to honestly challenge all ideas, good and bad. Firstly to challenge the bad and by doing so (and I would say more importantly) improve the good.

Canada’s, indeed the whole Anglosphere’s, new ‘hate speech’ and blasphemy laws are antithetical to honest discourse, which is why these laws must go. And no, you can’t punch someone simply because you disagree with them either, because that is common assault and should bear the penalty of the law. Nor should anyone suffer penalty, be ‘de-platformed’ or have their livelihood threatened for simply speaking their mind. Even, and especially so, if their ideas are wrong or harmful. Like the obvious misandry of 3rd wave feminism. Or even the “Shut up or we’ll kill you” tactics of the Wahabi sect of Islam, or radical Communists and Socialists of whatever kidney. Or the crazy armed isolationism of extreme right wingers. Or National Socialism. History is full of some truly epoch making bad ideas like these.

Honest speech also allows any individual to examine and dismiss sources of ‘fake news’ for the charlatans they are. To tell anyone they aren’t allowed to and force your will upon them brutally strips people of their individuality, which I always thought was the best and greatest thing about humanity.

Update:  Here’s a perspective from the working man’s side of things which tends to fit with my own thinking (Okay, it’s a US source but none the less on the money).  And he’s right.  Free, or better still honest speech, is dangerous.

But honest speaking is often very, very necessary. Which is why it should not suffer Government constraint, no matter how ‘hurtful’ it is.

Smoke gets….

Smoke gets everywhere over here. Wildfire smoke that is. We can taste it in the air and today visibility has dropped to below a hundred metres. I was able to just about see the Weather radar tower, but now can’t even see the hill it sits upon. Missed the Perseid meteor shower the other weekend because the sky was too full. Then we had a little rain which cooled things down from an oppressive thirty plus Celsius to a more comfortable mid twenties. Now it’s getting warmer again.

If it’s not from California, the smoke is coming from the many mainland fires and further east. It’s got so bad that some of the smaller airports are closing until the air clears. Not that we’re going anywhere, but there’s a lot of outdoor camping holidays being affected and Canadians do like to go camping.

Work is picking up with being called to a video board meeting to explain how the financial systems our team has developed to handle money, only to see it outright vetoed. Why? Because dwarleengs it might hurt someone’s ‘feelingz’. Which I didn’t get. What we’ve done is streamline the process, iron the bugs out and make life easier for everyone on our side of the business as well as improving the financial reporting. A win-win for most as everyone gets a say and usually exactly what they ask for. The boards objections to our new and improved way of working sounded like they were trying to reinvent the wheel. Oh well, they don’t have to adopt our working practices, but they will once reality bites or their side of the business will implode. The money men will see to that. I can see lots of tearful conversations ahead.

That’s the thing working over here on the Wet coast of BC, this is SJW central. Down here in Victoria it’s all flowers, pink unicorns, fairies and pixie dust because actually working is so passe. And if you object you often face the full flamethrower of irrational fury. Seriously, there’s a lot of crazy over here. It’s why the City of Victoria couldn’t agree on a sewage treatment plant and busies itself removing statures and putting in bike lanes. Until local people stood up for office and forced the issue through in 2016-7.

That’s right. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, like a lot of other major Canadian cities still discharges untreated sewage into waterways like the Juan De Fuca Straits, a body of water two thirds the width of the English Channel. Why? Local politics, thats why. Too caught up in a smog of soft words to focus on really important things, so they fiddle around with bike lanes and rainbow pedestrian crossings while the sea around the provincial capital, as well as that of our southern neighbour, Seattle, remains contaminated by raw sewage. Fortunately a new treatment plant has finally been agreed and is being built but will not be fully effective until 2030.

Think this is just applicable to the West Coast? Even Canada’s major city, Toronto has a serious sewage problem.

Oh yes, just an observation; all this NSAATANA (no smoking at any time anywhere near anybody) doesn’t happen in mainland Europe. In Copenhagen, Amsterdam and the South of France there are outdoor and indoor smoking areas with people puffing away contentedly. The whole ‘No Vaping’ thing is likewise ignored everywhere except the Anglosphere (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, USA etc). Funny that.

Sixteen hours later…

Early yesterday afternoon my Windows 10 laptop informed me that there was yet another ‘upgrade’ for my machine and that it was going to nag and nag until I let it do what the Micro-Serfs wanted it to. In the early hours of the morning, some time around five thirty AM it finished ‘upgrading’ and to be quite honest I can’t tell the difference. Apart from some losses of functionality, like losing the zoom function on my webcam, for which I have since installed some proprietary software. Stuff that actually works and is stable. Unlike Windows 10.

Now here’s the thing; I started my working life in IT configuring and sorting out Windows based kit back in the early 90’s and I can safely say with my hand on my heart that I have never had to upgrade computers this often and take so long to do it. Even back in the early days when all upgrades had to be done manually, but never this often. It seems that never a month goes by that the ‘upgrade’ warning comes on and your machine is essentially unusable for four to five hours. This time sixteen hours elapsed between me heaving a heavy sigh, clicking on the ‘Upgrade and restart’ option and going off to read a modestly long book, water the deck garden, dead head the roses, clean my kitchen, watch a couple of YouTube documentaries, get most of a nights sleep and make some sausage rolls for tea this afternoon. Which left me another six hours to play with before the ‘upgrade’ finished its last reboot. I could have cloned ten hard drives in that six hours using Ghost, working sequentially and starting over on a fresh hard drive that needed formatting and wiping first.

It’s the longest I’ve ever spent upgrading a machine. To ‘upgrade’ three apps? Not to mention that my laptop feels like it’s running almost twenty percent slower than before the upgrade. Now I would go down the Linux route if I could find a version that would work with my laptops wi-fi card. Don’t even get me started on Apple, over-priced, data-slurping S.O.B’s. So I’ll be switching off the ‘upgrades’ using the tips and tricks listed in the video below.

The upside is that for my next laptop, I will definitely be looking at one which will function properly with a Linux build and KDE desktop. Windows will not be a purchasing option. Which is a pity. They’ve had a couple of really good platforms; Windows 2000 (SP4) and Windows 7. The rest have been, in varying degrees, total kak. I will be a Windows user no longer.

Seen locally

Driving southbound down Patricia Bay Highway the other day we saw a white car pulled over by the Police for some moving violation. Unmarked Police vehicle. Dark grey Dodge 1500 Pickup with a truck top (I think), red and blue lights flashing. Nothing out of the ordinary, only this unmarked Police vehicle had a stick figure family on the rear window.

“Bill? Did you just see that?” Mrs S laughed. “A Police car, with a stick figure family on the rear window?”
“I certainly did. Great camouflage, but highly unsporting.” I guffawed as we passed by. Tsk. Disguising an unmarked Police car. How could they? The very nerve.

These nauseating stick figure family stickers have become popular over recent years, to the point where Police have warned that said displays advertise a families makeup to potential criminals.

Back in 2016 there was a bit of social moron ‘outrage’ when a Police Officer posted that they had put a stick figure family on the back of an unmarked Police car. Now this law enforcement fashion has worked its way north onto Vancouver Island? Whatever next? Unmarked Police cars with a ‘Baby on Board’ decal? ‘My children are honour students at the Police Academy’?

Could this adoption by the Police spell the end of the stick figure family on vehicles? Probably not, but I’m waiting to see if someone from the offenderati class gets nicked by an enforcement vehicle thus decorated and claims that the extra camouflage “infringes’ on their rights.” To which I would pose the questions; what ‘rights’ might those not be? The right not to get pulled over for bad road behaviour? The ‘right’ to be a dick while driving? Pray tell…

Personally I’d like to see a Police rear window sticker with a stick figure family in handcuffs. It would make me laugh.

The Axis of Evil

Well I declare; Facebook is sniffing around US banks to obtain users transaction data. By proxy, considering that Facebook maintains databases which compile profiles on even non-users like myself, this is dangerous territory. I have already written to the banks of whom I am an account and shareholder for assurances that they will not provide any customer transaction data to Facebook or any other Social Media company whatsoever. Whether these ‘Social Media’ companies are ‘actively’ seeking it or not. Personally I find the denials flimsy and untrustworthy.

The risk here is that Facebook, Twitter, Google et al are actively seeking to extend their tentacles into every aspect of modern life. Given these platforms propensity for shadow banning, account deletion and general censoriousness, there is good reason to suspect that once such access is gained they will use it to further their own corporate agendas, not just sell advertising. Given that these platforms have demonstrated a clear propensity for de-platforming people they disagree with, those who do not conform may find their financial affairs restricted.

Working as I do with money, which has no politics, I find the hinted intrusion of Social Media companies into the financial arena a direct threat to my affairs, even if that threat is so far existential. As far as I am concerned, Facebook (LinkedIn), Alphabet Corporation (Google, YouTube), Twitter etc. just became the bad guys, forming an ‘Axis of evil’. “Don’t be evil.” just lost the “Don’t.” These corporate monsters now represent a more insidious form of soft Fascism than anyone would have previously thought possible, but here we are. All the trust we have given them, they have routinely abused.

Over the next few days I will also be deleting my Facebook-owned professional LinkedIn account, after first informing all my real life friends and professional contacts that I am doing so via email. LinkedIn never brought me any worthwhile work offers anyway.

Some holiday reading

Back home and unpacking now. Our little deck garden has survived our absence and the Lemon tree seedlings are doing very well indeed. The biggest issue we face having returned to BC is where to get half way authentic French bread in our locale. We’ve tried some of our local outlets, but their output is too dense and not crusty enough. Good French bread is a simple thing but so hard to get right without the correct T55 or T65 grade flour. Which is very difficult to get over here in BC, Canadian import restrictions being what they are.

While we have been traversing the byways and higher ways around Western Europe, I’ve been using a couple of books to pass the time in various airport lounges and flights. The first is a Penguin edition of Orwell’s ‘Why I write’, the second, Christopher Hitchens’ commentary ‘Why Orwell Matters’. Finished ‘Why I write’ on the flight to Marseille and ‘Hitchens on Orwell’ on the flight back to BC.

Conclusion; like another of my favourite writers, Rudyard Kipling, Orwell was a man of his time shaped by conscience and experience. To me Orwell was right as an opposer of totalitarianism, which is a doctrine which always assumes that others should dictate how you live your life, wrong regarding Democratic Socialism, which puts power in the hands of some supposedly benign, unbiased authority. Which as the Communist and every other form of Socialist regime have found and are finding, is a path that leads only to mass graves. Because the tighter the definition of what is mandated by these supposedly beneficent individuals, the less becomes allowed and the more ‘outliers’ there are across the general population who won’t fit.

Think of it this way, we’ve all got enough going on without having some eternal parent figure supervising and regulating our every waking thought. Running people’s lives through fiat and diktat is a bad idea because Government or religious rules set up to tightly govern irrational, greedy, selfish humans are set up and often enforced by, guess who? Irrational, greedy and selfish humans. Possibly more so than in private institutions. If you’ve ever worked in the public sector anywhere, you will know this to be true. The majority of people who work in them are not fit to rule themselves, let alone others, which is an excellent reason to minimise Government power wherever possible. The same goes for cartels and monopolies, like Alphabet inc (Google, YouTube et al) Facebook or Twitter.

Perhaps Orwell, had he lived long enough, would have wholeheartedly agreed. He’d probably have been horrified by the wholesale banning of InfoWars too because someone like him would have been first on their list for no-platforming. Especially when Facebook are sniffing around the US banks after people’s transaction data.

What would happen to someone like George if Facebook etc got that access and enforced their will on his personal life? “Sorry Mr Orwell, but we don’t like your opinions so we’re going to stop you getting a credit card or having a bank account.”

Which makes me look at my LinkedIn and Instagram accounts and think about deleting those as well. That and a word to the banks I’m a shareholder of, telling them that should they enter negotiations with the axis of evil (Alphabet Inc, Facebook and Twitter), I will be voicing serious concerns about security and voting against any board Director who wants to go in that direction.

Update: I see that Instagram have deleted the ‘realtommyrobinson’ page.  Well, he can join another social media platform and take all his followers with him.  Instagram’s loss.

A Sarcastic man abroad.

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