Another day, another hotel

Off onto the land of the rising sun, and I’m not talking Japan here. We’re heading Eastbound and sideways. Scenery is still completely awesome, we raised the tally to nine Black Bears observed in the last four days when we photographed a mother and two cubs studiously ignoring tourists on highway 16 east of Jasper.

Which raises the question; are Ursus Americanus ‘black’ enough? Or will BLM and their cohorts claim that’s one of their sacred ‘ists’, and since I’m not the ‘correct’ skin hue am I on the list of people allowed to refer to these creatures as ‘black’? Having photographed a mother and two cubs; again, can one call the female parent of a bear cub a ‘mother’? I’m told there are people who make the rules in Ontario who have views about that sort of thing. They have a hit list of non-approved words, and ‘mother’ is most definitely on it.

Also a bit gutted because I slept through a magnificent display of the Northern Lights last night. Fortunately I met a like minded geek over breakfast this morning who let me know what tonights peak activity was going to be like. We’re also 100km north and 200km east of our last lodgings, so I’m going to stay up way past my bedtime, camera in hand in ‘movie’ mode to try and capture the sky dancing. Posting of pictures and such may be a bit delayed as I haven’t loaded any photo and video editing software on my new ‘pooter. However, watch this space.

As for the forthcoming UK election; are there people who seriously have a remaining brain cell going to vote for Labour with Corbyn in the driving seat? He’s a wetter re-run of Michael Foot for heavens sake! At least Foot was anti-EU. Corbyn is so keen to play lovable puppy to Juncker and Merkin that he’ll become everyone’s bitch as far as BREXIT is concerned. May is far too authoritarian, but at least she’ll get the UK out of the EU. Corbyn won’t, he’ll fold faster than a black belt in Origami.

Glad to see that Trump fellow is backing out of the Paris accord on Climate Change. He may be bombastic and a little boorish in manner, but isn’t he annoying all the right people? Must buy some more popcorn tomorrow, as I’ve run out and my handy dandy little hot air popcorn maker has remained at home.

That’s all for the present. Having a splendid time and am going up a glacier some time in the next day or so. Play nice now.

Aand we’re off!

Interweb connections have been far and few between over the past few days. At present I’m writing this off line for a quick post and paste when connections allow. Mrs S and I are having a forty eight hour chill out on the edge of Mount Robson National park with an excellent view of Mount Robson, highest peak in the Canadian Rocky mountains which looks like a peak shaped layer cake below brilliant blue skies.

Well it’s been an interesting trip so far as we hurtle through the sunny back country of BC toward the other side of Canada. Six black bear sightings, the first sitting ten metres back from the road on highway 24, head moving back and forth as if counting the traffic. Maybe he was doing his Green Cross Code, or perhaps was even a member of that secret cabal the Tufty club, doing his best Policeman Badger impersonation, who knows? Another camera shy counterpart was sighted ambling up a hillside on Highway 5 as a couple driving a rented camper van focused their long lenses upon him. Then there’s the rocks, the trees, some more rocks and OMG! Is that a Douglas Fir? Surely not. Maybe a Birch, Maple or dare I say it, Spruce. Four other fine looking Ursines were spotted doing their own personal photoshoots while we were passing through Jasper National Park.

May is truly the finest month to visit the Rockies. In the latter half of the month the lowland snow is mostly gone and most of the parks are open. There’s new growth everywhere, the alpine meadows look gorgeous and the mountains are decked out in the purest white. Can I say that or is it “Racist”? Don’t know, care even less. I don’t think the scenery cares what a lot of student activists say either.

In some ways I’m a little spectaculared out already. You can only take so much awesome in a day before you need a serious lie down and a nice cup of tea. At the moment I’m sitting twenty metres from one of the prettiest mountain streams I’ve ever encountered. It looks like someone learned how to make glass run like water. Oh and there’s Elk and a mother bear with two cubs in the neighbourhood so our very nice hosts tell us. As well as a forest fire being doused by helicopters working in shifts (And very pretty they look, too).

Yes, and I learned a fascinating new word in Chinese (Cantonese) this week; “Baizuo” to describe that pestilential plague of whiny SJW’s who are always banging on about how unfair everything is (Yes. And….) and how it would all be sooo much better if the rest of us gave our worldly wealth unto the ever rapacious big state. Then confess our ‘white guilt’ before handing over everything the Western world has ever built over to those who didn’t help build it. Then shut up and don our chains like good little zombies to be lorded over by the ‘white left’. Just because we other mere mortals are all so racist, sexist, islamophobic or whatever. Even if we’re not. By the way, “Baizuo” is not a compliment. Quite the opposite. Yes, and if someone calls you “Sheng-mu” they’re not being very kind, either. But if the cap fits, wear it.

Posting will be somewhat erratic (As if anyone cared – heartfelt sob) as I’m breaking in a new laptop ‘pooter. So excuse prease and watch this space. In the meantime we’re off traversing the ice fields tomorrow. Cheery-bye.

There’ll be tears before bedtime

Road trip is booked, planned and good to go. Trans Canada all the way out to Newfoundland & Labrador and back. Hotels, gas stations, mileage are all plotted and sorted. We’re taking the northern route out and the quickest way back via Highway One. About the only provinces we’ll miss en route will be Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Yukon.

The one thing to sour the edge of this magnificent undertaking is the passing of the egregiously idiotic Bill C-16 giving what should be purely a civil matter over to criminal law.  Which means if you use the wrong pronoun to the wrong person you can go to jail. I watched Jordan Petersen give evidence to the Senate in the clip below and I’m inclined to agree with Dr Petersen’s gloomy prediction that this will not end well for transgenders.

The question the politicians overlook is this; if you run the risk of prison by offending someone by forgetting to use one of their alphabet soup pronouns, then will that encourage you to associate with them? Got it in one. It will have exactly the opposite effect to that intended. Transgenders and similar will find themselves even more marginalised as people will unconsciously avoid them even more. I’ve already heard of teachers saying they’ll hang up their teaching tools for good this year over this issue. These are veterans of the chalkface you understand. Experts in bringing children from bottom of the class to the top percentile. The cream of the profession. Now faced with this catch-22 of a bill, I can see other child care and social work professionals doing likewise. To the very detriment of the people they would normally help.

Likewise anyone with eccentric hairdo’s or any of the other indicators of such a lifestyle will be getting nothing from me but a cursory look and a long, deep silence. Because you can’t prosecute someone for something they won’t say. On the grounds that I might find myself prosecuted if I unconsciously offend the offence seeker in any given instance. So if you’ll forgive me I’ll be giving the high shoulder in future to those with blue, green or any unnatural hair rinse, or any of the other indicators that denote one of the newly privileged few. This is entirely understandable because I, like so many other Canadians, will be doing so in case we give some undefined kind of offence and run the risk of arrest.

Second thought: What this means is that I will be taking my money to businesses who do not attract such people. Again. It’s not because I dislike them in any way, although the one’s I have met haven’t really impressed me. It’s simply that now the threat of fine or imprisonment has been added to what should be a purely civil matter, I’ll be taking my custom elsewhere. This isn’t hate speech, it’s simply me protecting myself.

Sincerely,

His high Kekness Bill Sticker. God-Emperor of the known Multiverse, (Oi Vey for short)
FYI: The correct form of address is to Kowtow (meaning 2) three times before giving yourself a wedgie and kissing the ground under my feet. Get that wrong and you’ll be nicked chummy. Sauce for the goose etc.

The indefatigable Anna

While road trip planning this morning, a process punctuated by the sound of American Robins bouncing off our windows, I was utterly delighted to hear the news that the Scriblerus’ groups doyenne, the redoubtable and worthwhile Anna Raccoon is very much alive and poking nethers. The link to her updated blog is on the sidebar. It just goes to show, you can’t keep a good Raccoon down.

Now Anna and I have corresponded on occasion, and I’ve always found her a delight and a pleasure to deal with. Quite simply because people of her determination and integrity are admirable above all others. And her integrity, let me tell you, is constructed of Chobham armour plate with reactive munitions on the side. Even during the worst mudslinging of the Savile saga, she remained unflinching and resolute in her pursuit of factual accuracy. Standing aside from the media and compensation driven witch hunt asking simple questions that turned out to have far more interesting answers than the denunciations reprinted ad nauseum in the mainstream UK press.

Now Anna, our own Suzanne Cameron-Blackie is standing (or rather lying in bed) in the UK General Election June 8th as an independent candidate in the constituency of Islington North. If you are an Islingtonian who wants to really stick it to all sides of the political spectrum then I would recommend you vote for her. Because in the simplest terms she is a damned sight more worthy than Corbyn, or any of the other mainstream party candidates.

Now some would say “Hey, she’s terminally ill – what good can she do?” Suggesting that a vote for a dying woman is wasted.

My response would be that Suzanne has been told she was going to ‘die in six months’ before, a couple of years ago if memory serves. And another time before that. This alone would indicate an almost indomitable will and blast-your-eyes bloody mindedness powering her cancer ravaged frame. For which other mortal flesh can only stand in awe. Most other people faced with such pain and suffering would have turned their face to the wall by now and slid under quietly, but not her. This old girl is going down fighting all the way. The grim reaper is probably frightened of her anyway. So I have a feeling La Raccoon will be with us for a little while yet. I’ve even had an amusing vision of her delivering her maiden speech from a hospital bed wheeled into the House of Commons. Or even on a Skype screen installed for the occasion.

What a trooper. God bless her and all who sail with her.

Science, settling

Gritting my teeth today over a large car service bill. However, it’s money well spent as it keeps our little SUV chugging along and less likely to end up letting us down at some critical juncture. It was a large chunk of change, but we only get this kind of expense once a year. Well thrice if you count what’s coming next.

Mrs S and I are about to undertake another epic road trip, this time to Newfoundland and back. Unlike ten years ago we don’t have the complication of the dog, which meant we spent a lot of time looking for ‘pet friendly’ motels who would charge thirty bucks extra a night for the privilege of having our dog with us. We’re also taking the road less travelled along the northern route where cell phone coverage is spotty at best. However, so long as the motels we book have decent wi-fi, we’re all good. We’ve also bought a nice big cool box for picnics en route.

Talking of comestibles and the politics of food, sometimes you just have to give a grim faced nod of ‘told you so’ and shake your head at the sheer capriciousness of the diet industry and the quasi-political organisations that keep on handing down doctrinaire dictations about what we should and should not be eating, having first lobbied the WHO into backing their unhinged assertions.

Over the past few years there have been a number of food scares. All of which seem to be falling by the wayside. Recently the Framington Study, an analysis of dietary salt intake, came up with the long suspected result that a salt intake greater than 2300mg per day is not as dangerous as some would have us believe. The results indicate that good old sodium chloride is not the death dealing masked super villain the hand waving anti-salt lobby would have us all believe. See this article for the alternative guidelines and follow links back to the study.

Of course the anti-salt lobby have pointed out the weaknesses in the study, but the evidence indicates that so long as your kidneys are functioning normally, any excess salt gets flushed out of your system anyway. So why all the fuss? Indeed, more rational voices have argued that a daily intake of 4-6000mg per day is essential for a healthy heart and that the 2,300 FDA guidelines are far too low and may even be damaging.

As always, it seems that moderation is key and maybe the health problems the ‘experts’ claim, along with their total low-taste lifestyle recommendations are just wild guesses. Like the scares over dietary fat, the alcohol intake guidelines and just about every other claimed killer, all the figures behind these claims seem to be plucked out of thin air. It could be argued that by setting the limits way too low they are actually devaluing the case against excessive dietary intake which may well prove harmful at 10,000mg / day. Or are the panicmongers doing what I used to do with Eldest when we were going out, telling her that we were going half an hour earlier than we actually were and to get her buns into gear? Pitching the upper limit way too low because they know no-one’s going to do what they’re told anyway. Well I’m certainly not.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned it is that these Government Health guidelines too often have their genesis in advocacy organisations and commercial lobbyists (Sometimes working for the same people) who want to have their preferred product given more favourable market conditions. Like margarine was once promoted as ‘more healthy’ than butter (Hint; it isn’t). Or Gluten free diets for people without Coeliac Disease leading to an increased risk of heart disease. As with fanatic teetotallers pushing for yet another ban on booze, we’re still living with the consequences of that complete cock-up.

What the failure of all these guidelines should tell us is; a little bit of what you fancy is probably far better for you than stressing over Government guidelines that are based on 1) Wild guesses or 2) Advocacy directed ‘research’. Maybe Governments should stop giving out diet related advice as all they seem to do is get it wrong.

A sea change

The tides of my fortune have undergone a welcome sea change. To be honest I haven’t quite let it sink in yet. Busily patting myself on the back today. New Stand / Sit desk and full length dining table have been ordered. Debts paid in full with quite a bit left over, so I’m feeling fairly chipper. I’ve also bought half a dozen bottles of assorted single malt whiskey. Mostly 10 and 12 year old. Auchtentoshan, Talisker, Aberlour, Laphroaig, Bowmore and Singleton. Nothing too fancy but these are my personal favourites. I also picked up a bottle of Famous Grouse smokey black, which is for day to day unwinding.

Mrs S is in London at the moment with Youngest, so I’m rattling around the homestead on my lonesome planning our Canadian Summer road trip and Christmas in Australia and New Zealand. Which is nice because I get to slob out a bit, get some beers in, leave the toilet seat up, all that guy stuff. That and binge watching Boardwalk Empire when I’m not working or planning.

I’m not with Mrs S this trip because I don’t really like London or big cities that much. Why? Because I get a bit fretful if I can’t see the horizon from time to time. Not really a people person either. So cities have always left me feeling a bit ‘Meh’. They’re okay to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there full time. Even the ‘burbs out where we live sometimes feel a bit confining.

Anyway, it’s at times like these I’m reminded of Ariel’s song from from Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’

Full fathom five thy father lies; Of his bones are coral made; Those are pearls that were his eyes: Nothing of him that doth fade, But doth suffer a sea-change Into something rich and strange.

So it seems with the Sea change on the Interweb. Hunters are becoming hunted. Twitter stormers who ‘go after’ people they don’t agree with are being caught in a digital tornado of their own making. Why? Because the nerds have now weaponised their autism and are expressing their disdain for censorship in all its forms. See Sargon of Akkads video on 4Chan/pol.

One of 4Chan’s chief targets is Antifa, that bunch of black clad haters who want to shut down the free discussion of ideas. Antifa are violent. Antifa are totalitarian, Fascist by the most concrete definition of the word, even though they are really a bunch of loser Communist agitators founded by Leon Trotsky. This is the Leon Trotsky who was murdered on the orders of his fellow communists you understand. And I’m not surprised. He was an unpleasant shit. Clever, but still a shit. The Ice Pick in the head was well-deserved.

Now Antifa and their mates have good reason to be quaking in their little black painted sneakers because they are finding out what it’s like on the receiving end. I hear they’re deleting their Farcebook and Twatter accounts so 4Chan can’t find them. Which won’t help. In this digital day and age you can find loads out about people in seconds without going anywhere near their social media accounts.

Anyway, it’s their own silly fault, they’ve been prodding a bear through the cage bars, now the bears have just strolled around the end of the fence to take issue with the dickheads who have been trying to mind their business for them, the opposition is widespread. From the ultra-right faction known as the ‘Soldiers of Odin’ who actively walk into Antifa squats around Vancouver and elsewhere, cleaning up graffiti and taunting lefties, to some of the geekier gamer basement dwellers inhabiting forums like 4Chan, who are unleashing their focused Autism on the injustices perpetrated against freedom (and gaming), as well as helping target the odd terrorist training camp. Performing some epic trolling in the process. It is even rumoured that they may even break the jolly old Interweb. See Tim Pool’s analysis below;

Personally I think the real World War Z has already started, but the zombies are waking up to how few they actually have on their side. Now I’ve topped up my whiskey supply I am really going to have to go get a bigger popcorn maker. Canadian Tire, here I come.

But….

One question I’ve noticed that left leaning journalists like to ask people in various vox pops is; “How many gay friends do you have?”
If asked that question I’d answer: “But I don’t really know any gay people. Why is that important?”

Which is true, or at least if any of my very small group of friends is gay, then they are keeping that snippet to themselves. Probably because they know that I don’t really care about their sexual preference. That’s a personal matter for them in which any opinion of mine is immaterial, so why ask me? Of course over the years I’ve met a few openly gay people, but none I’d care to call ‘friend’, simply because we’d nothing in common and I occasionally found their antics rather off-putting. So we passed like far off ships in the night, never to cross courses again. But I never ‘hated’ them, that would have been irrational, like hating a fish for swimming.

Besides, in the circles I move in gays are not that common. Not that I’ve ever been a big socialiser. Given the choice between reading a book and going to a dinner party, the book wins every time. Besides, I have my own criteria for choosing friends and sexual orientation comes right at the bottom of that list. However, at the very top comes trust, and if I don’t trust someone, then they can never be any friend of mine.

Items of interest

Aside from the French elections, there are a number of issues bubbling under which as a small time currency trader I find of particular interest. These are as follows; the French Presidential election and how that will impact on Sterling and the Euro, also a mini trade war between the USA and Canada over a particular type (‘Ultrafiltered’ milk used in cheese making) of Dairy produce which the Trudeau government have implemented. Which is odd, because by doing so the Canadian Government are dictating that Canadian cheese makers cannot import and use a product which no-one in Canada makes.

For the curious this article may explain matters. However, it is worth noting that to get into the supply management chain to access Canadian markets, a license to produce is required. The cost of which varies from Province to Province, but effectively means that Canadian Dairy farmers have to pay the Government to produce Dairy products. Which effectively keeps small producers out of the marketplace. Farmers can keep cows, but unless a farmer has a permit, they can’t sell the milk or any product made from that milk (As well as needing a processors licence). So only the big guys or large co-ops really get to be players.

This trade conflict’s issues balance on a two edged sword of supply management (Canada) vs subsidies (USA). Although from my perspective I don’t need to know all the ins and outs, just the effect they are likely to trigger. Canada will lose this fight as the USA is already complaining about those north of the 49th who haven’t been paying their share of their NATO commitment. Which is another bone of contention.

Now which do I think is more important? For me the answer is a no-brainer. It’s the low level trade war over Dairy produce and collapse of the North American Free Trade Agreement these issues look like triggering. Which means taking a short position on the Canadian Dollar looks to me like a good idea. Not that I’m not going to go short on the Euro, but if the French popular vote goes the way of Macron and not Le Pen, then the profit I stand to make over the shrinkage of the Euro will be much less. Macron is very much the establishment candidate and unless put under extreme pressure (And perhaps not even then) won’t give the French a referendum on membership of the EU or do anything on French border control. Although I did say that about Cameron and BREXIT. However Macron is being backed by such august personages as Jeremy Corbyn which is probably the kiss of death on anyone’s electoral campaign.

Singing my own praises

Why sing my own praises? Because I’m the only one that will… hold up a moment, did Sister in law just give me a compliment? Can I cook for them again? Hells bells, I think I’m going to faint!

Well not to my face, but the Sticker household has developed a reputation for being pretty damn sharp when it comes to comestibles. Take for example Easter weekend, our dinner guests got treated to my roast pork with crackling recipe. Which for some reason didn’t seem to be on my ‘Cooking for Conspiracy theorists’ list. Even though I’d already posted it elsewhere. Have now remedied this omission. In-laws even asked for my assistance with getting a proper Lamb joint. I said that I would search around and try to source some proper Lamb, not the Mutton which too often gets passed off as Lamb in Canada. Fortunately we’ve found a good local butcher who should be able to help. I’ll get the Mint sauce out for a 2lb shoulder of Lamb this weekend and see what happens.

I know one thing, too few places over here know how to cook Lamb properly. For example, a Lamb Rogan Josh at one of the local curry houses was effectively chunks of lamb cut way too big and not cooked long and slow enough. The meat hadn’t had enough marinading either, which made what should be a very spicy dish that melts in the mouth into something akin to chewing recycled car tyres dipped in curry sauce. Seriously, that was one serious sheep. I bet it had been beating up bears and cougars before dying of old age it was so tough. Guess where I won’t be going again.

A word to the wise; Lamb, beef or chicken for curry should be roughly cut into half inch cubes before marinating at for least two hours. Then given ten minutes in a pressure cooker to tenderise it before adding sauce ingredients. That way the meat cooks properly and the sauce flavours penetrate the meat. As a proof I’ll post my method (Including quick cheat) on the sidebar at a later date. A clue, my good friends Messrs Patak and Sharwoods are often a great help. Providing the Canadian Food Inspection Agency lawyers don’t get involved and screw around with what ingredients my culinary friends are allowed to use. In which case, pass the salt cellar.

Expatriate expostulations from Canada; a.k.a. A Sarcastic man abroad trying to stay in the middle of the road without getting run over.

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