All for vanity

Canada’s Prime Minister has just returned from swanning around Africa, brown nosing for votes to give Canada one of the currently vacant seats on the UN’s insecurity council. This is nothing more than a vanity project, especially when Canada is being brought to a grinding halt by little more than a handful of Tides-funded fake nations protesters. Now he wants to engage in a dialogue? Do I hear someone laughing? Soros, is that you? Again.

The majority of real first nations are standing on the sidelines going “WTF?” They want pipelines. They want prosperity. I get the sense that they’re very pissed off about these fake nations taking their name in vain.

The Police appear to have been given stand down orders because they do nothing when main highways and rail lines are blockaded, yet will arrest any public spirited citizens who attempt to clear up the mess. Then there are the handful of activists who blocked the Legislature in downtown Victoria. Not sure if they’re still there. Perhaps they’re lecture dodging.

Protests are fine, but physical blockades? No, that’s a step on the road to anarchy. Not acceptable. It could even be described as terrorism. Not that there’s any terror involved for anyone above the level of total wuss.

There’s something going on beneath the surface because even the politicians are getting harassed yet the RCMP and local cops are doing nothing apart from jumping on any people who object to the blockades. Or are the Canadian Police simply doing this in mute protest at being given a big ‘hands off’ by their superiors when it comes to these blockades? By their forced inaction are the lower ranks making a political statement about enforcement? As political as they are allowed to be that is. Maybe they’re so fed up that they’re going to let things go down to the wire. Or are their upper echelons so subsumed by PC culture that the rank and file are ordered not to intervene? I have no idea.

As far as the first nations are concerned, the RCMP are damned if they do and damned if they don’t so maybe they’re simply choosing the least worst option, at least as far as they are concerned. If the country’s economy is heading toward lockdown, they don’t care. Or at least they’re not being allowed to care.

All the time the Federal Government refuse to allow the Police to do their job. All because the vanity of Trudeau wants a seat on the UN Security council, thinking that a worthwhile achievement. Even if the country he is supposed to be head of is slipping into deeper economic trouble. Even if Trudeau’s mate and sponsor George says things will be fine. Well, perhaps fine for someone who profits from the economic chaos engendered by the many NGO’s his Tides foundation gives money to, but not so good for the ordinary Canadian in the street.

I know it’s not all Tides, there’s the Rockefeller foundation and a few others as well as the Saudi’s funding these anti-oil NGO’s. The Saudi’s because they want to keep selling their oil to Canada, Rockefeller and similar US interests because the oil sands directly compete with their interests. Funding these NGO’s is just business, even if it does sabotage Alberta, and by proxy the rest of Canada.

For an informed commentary of what is currently going on, see video below. Max Bernier is right. It is a circus, and all for vanity.

On a personal front, life and work trundle on. These blockades will have little direct effect on me personally because my commute to work measures under ten metres to my windows on the world of finance and business. Which as far as Canada is concerned, look a bit sick. The Trump inspired USA continues to boom with no underlying issues that might cause a step change in the markets. Which is good for me because most of the companies I invest in have significant cross border interests.

The pound is stable, trading up on it’s pre-January 31st value despite the failure of the EU to be even remotely sensible when trying to strike a post Brexit trade deal. The EU want it all their own way and have no real idea about how to handle a proper negotiation. They want something but don’t seem to want to give anything substantial in return. Which will be the EU’s downfall. The UK holds all the aces. Links to global markets, restored fisheries, a veritable queue of negotiating teams including the USA lining up at the door. The EU is still working on the failed model of central banks, imploding economies and quantitative easing.

The only thing that can go wrong for the UK is if Bojo embraces the Green policies being discussed and sends the UK down a fiscal rabbit hole. HS2? Rail links? How very 19th Century. Never mind trying to power them with more wind farms and (derisive snort) solar farms in a cooling climatic phase. Better by far to go down the route of small scale nuclear and hydro than ‘renewables’.

Perhaps it is worth mentioning that Hydro power on a small scale can have the secondary benefit of local flood management whilst churning out stable base load, as well as being able to react quickly to upticks in demand. There are quite a few old UK mill sites that could have their networks of sluices and ponds rebuilt and a modest turbine installed. There’s also the possible added benefit of running trout farms in the mill ponds. Food and power together? Now there’s a project worth considering.

Trying to run a nation on whizzy little battery cars powered by wind and solar ‘renewables’ won’t do any good. Renewables are simply inadequate for farming or industrial use, apart from for subsidy farming. For useful power generation there’s just not enough energy density, even with the up and coming generation of battery technology. Better, and much cheaper to invest in Internet bandwidth, cabling and local distribution hubs. Now there’s an enabling 21st century technology that works. And it’s relatively cheap and flexible compared to building and maintaining railways.

If like me, your desk is at home, all you need to do is log on, hook up your comms and you’re away. Which is what I do. No scabby trains or traffic jams. No aggravation from thoughtless soccer moms or texting titheads. Add to that the advantage of not having to share an office with people I don’t really like or trust. Win-win I think.

Travel plans for 2020 are Southern Ireland this Autumn for a couple of months where we have rented a cottage in the South so that friends and family can pop over for a visit. The flights and accommodation are all now paid for, with a short hotel stay in Dublin for when we stumble thoroughly jet lagged off the plane yet to be organised. Oh my aching wallet. Car hire has yet to be booked and I’m not sure what will happen to my Lemon tree plants while we’re away, but I’m sure they’ll cope.

So, the game’s afoot and we will be gracing the Emerald Isle with out dubious presence this year.

Could be interesting.

It’s tough to make predictions…..

“….especially about the future” thus spake Baseball hero Yogi Berra. However, I’ve been looking at a post written over five years ago about the state of nuclear fusion. Nothing has happened to change my mind since then. Not even news of the German Wendelstein 7-X Stellerator. It’s still only half way to sustainable fusion. And it’s still a Tokamak at heart. Yes, they do work, after a fashion. However, the design concept has it’s limitations. I’m not a nuclear engineer and even I can see that. Although I dare say those involved have their doubts and would like to follow a better track, but nuclear physics is expensive and short sighted politicians hold the purse strings. So, Tokamaks it is.

About the future, you never know what is coming around the bend. In our case it was having to chase up Highway One, exercise our power of attorney for Elderly Friend who fell off her chair and brok her arm, then getting a flat at 8pm on our way home. Then finding out, having driven like Miss Daisy all the way home in pitch darkness on a skinny spare, that the one inch screw causing the puncture had done so in such a way as to render any attempted repair useless. On a brand new tyre with less than five hundred K’s on it no less. So, there’s another two hundred and fifty dollars down the pan.

Oh, did I mention that Accounts are getting on my case over a minor matter? They’re stressing over me not doing something I couldn’t have done because I wasn’t given the right information in time on Friday. They want it done now, now, now and aren’t prepared to wait while I deal with the chaos caused by all the other work related matters where some clever clogs was using our departments credit card for stuff they weren’t entitled to. Which means we have to get a new departmental one issued. Which shuts part of our operation down for two whole weeks.

So it’s all been fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fucking hell, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun.

Oh joy.

Could be worse I suppose. Could be in China. Plague of Locusts, Coronovirus plague. No frogs, boils or rains of blood (Wait a minute, what was that in 2014?) yet, and the firstborn don’t seem to be affected, but we shall see.

Chores

We were planning to go out today, on the first day of sunshine for what felt like Eons. Unfortunately, Elderly Friend has taken a tumble in her care home and been carted off to hospital with a cracked shoulder. There’s no point us roaring up the Island Highway today as we can do everything by phone. Discharge and transport to arrange. Updating the care home instructions and making it all look seamless. Which has eaten a chunk out of our day.

So. This being ‘Family day’ – a public holiday, instead of going out I am busying myself with chores.

It is quite amazing how many little tasks need to be done around the house when some displacement activity is needed. Garbage and recycling to be sorted. Secure documents to shred. Filter on the cooker hood to clean. Kitchen floor to mop. Dishwasher to flush and the bathrooms were only cleaned yesterday. My Bank needed a minor kick up the bum, as will my old PayPal account because I can’t transfer money between them. And so I spent a chunk of my morning sitting in a call centre queue awaiting someone to answer my cri de coeur, listening to mind numbing adverts for services I don’t need, provided by a bank who won’t do what I ask them to do. Unless I sit in a call centre queue, feeling my brain cells commit suicide in existential despair.

Then we have our taxes to do.

Mrs S is hanging on the end of her cell phone awaiting developments. Our plans for a pleasant day out thoroughly shredded.

Or, as I truculently pointed out to Mrs S earlier today. “It looked like such a nice day for someone to ruin.”

Hospital appointments tomorrow. Oh joy.

Totally f**ked

Canada does not have much of a recognised literary tradition and it’s about to lose even that. The Liberal party, in the person of Heritage minister Steven Guilbeault said on TV, Sunday 2nd February that all websites offering content on the Internet, including small ones, would henceforth need licencing from the government. On the third of February, after criticism on social media, he backtracked. Guilbeault said he had “no intention” of regulating media and believes in a “free and independent press.”

Spot the lie in those statements. Sorry, they are complete lies. Guilbeault is dishonest, rather like the entire Trudeau administration. They want to license all digital content in Canada.

I know where Guilbeault is coming from. The Liberal party has been nettled by criticism from places like Rebel Media and even some other blog based outlets like True North, so Trudeaupe and pals thought that siccing the RCMP on any errant Internet content provider who does not have a ‘license for their opinion’ would be a jolly good wheeze did they? Did they think that one through?

Will all the independent authors in Canada, of which I am one, potentially have to submit our work for Government approval? How many lesser voices will not be able to afford the new license fee that will undoubtedly follow. No doubt it will be just high enough to price out small fry like Rebel, but the inevitable mission creep will cut all the other talent out of the market, should they not be part of the heavily subsidized Canadian Media Party, like the major newspapers and lamestream TV channels.

For those not aware, the major media outlets are poised to rake in over 600 Million dollars of taxpayer moolah between them. On top of what is already paid to the CBC etc.

So much for the Canadian Charter of rights and freedoms. Free expression? But only if you can afford it.

Note to self; Time to get moving young Bill. Pack your bags because this shit isn’t going away.

nCoV 19 again

Presented without comment, three videos which shed a more scientific light on what is happening with the new virus on the street and why it differs from other doses of the flu.

Link to live data from Johns Hopkins.

Looking forward

Well, the champagne (A small bottle of Pol Roger) is on ice, awaiting 3pm Friday 31st, BREXIT day. That’s 3pm Pacific Standard, 11pm UK, midnight in Brussels, or should that be midnight for Brussels? Mrs S just reminded me, but I’d already made preparations.

Rain permitting I will be hanging out the Union flag to rub various noses in it. At least if I see any of the despised circle of stars banners on display in the neighbourhood. I choose to celebrate my countrymen’s decision and success in wresting themselves from the pelagic ooze of Brussels. Good luck chaps. I wish you all well. May the sun always be on your backs and the road rise to meet your feet. I have a seeming that those backing a Bojo led BREXIT have put their money on a winning horse.

My path looks like I shall be taking a different road and despite the current threat of Chinese Coronovirus, Mrs S and I are feeling optimistic. Plans are afoot and so shall we be.

The sad news is that Elderly Friend declines further by the day, her marbles continue to rattle out and down the memory holes of existence. However, that’s dementia for you. Within the next month or two we expect to visit her only to be greeted with a surly “Who the hell are you?” and the door of her sheltered accommodation slammed firmly in our faces. This is a thing we are resigned to facing. It’s part of the downside of being a Power of Attorney, but one you have to expect. All we can do is play along with her continual confabulations and await the long-dreaded phone call from the staff. She might see one more Spring, she might not, but at the current rate of decline I think she’ll be pushing up the daisies before they break bud. We’ll sigh, Mrs S will cry a little and I will do the honours like we did for her husband back in 2011. My goodness, was it that long ago?

Notwithstanding, the future beckons and we must heed its call, stepping up to the challenges we are set.

May our gods go with us.

Happy independence day UK.

I am not your label

Got into a minor comment spat over on YouTube where some so-called ‘intellectual’ type was spouting divisive nonsense about how the ‘Boomers’ have stolen their children’s future. I watched for three minutes before my bullshit detector overloaded and I switched to something more stimulating. I also left a comment to that effect.

It must have struck a nerve because someone responded, accusing me of being a ‘boomer’ with a disparaging ‘okay boomer’ remark, saying the ‘intellectual’ had proven his case with statistics. To which I say; any damned fool can prove any case with statistics. Statistics can be used to prove that the moon is made of blue cheese and are, in the wrong hands, merely numbers tortured to the point where reality starts cracking. As Sam Clemens said; “There are lies, damned lies and statistics.” Which is as neat an axiom as was ever laid in print.

All this talk of the ‘old stealing from the young’ is bollocks on stilts. Garbage reasoning to promote division so that the promoters of divisiveness may profit from asset stripping those they accuse. No-one has ‘stolen’ anything from anyone. My parents were modestly well off and worked hard to raise their boys, as did their parents before them. They are the giants whose shoulders I stand upon, and the next generation stands on mine, as with the next and the next. Overall, I am proud to say, we as a family have become more educated and better off by increments. As for ‘stealing’ from our children by burdening them with debt, well newsflash kiddies; so were we. The taxes paid by people born in my era were still paying off war debts incurred by previous generations right up until the 2010’s. From both the first and the second world wars.

Were our futures ‘stolen’ by our parents by paying these war debts? Don’t be ridiculous. Mrs S and I have what we have because we’ve spent our lifetimes laying up resources when times were not completely shit. Deferring our gratification. Not paying for the pub managers next holiday. All this talk of redistribution of wealth off the back of this ‘stealing from the young’ crap is just cheap political rhetoric to help asset strip the haves and then not give to the have nots.

Think of this; if authority takes from the haves, there is always a cost of collection. People to employ as collectors, office space, phone bills etcetera. All of which have to be paid for by more taxes. Then there are the costs involved in paying out the resources stripped from the haves, often from different departments with multiple redundant processes employing people who might be better off and happier doing real jobs. For every dollar raised for taxes of this nature, the redistribution tends to happen as follows; From every dollar taken in extra taxation, a good forty cents go into collecting and dispersal, twenty cents plus go into the back pockets of the politicians friends who build their offices and ‘help out’ with the financing of same and less than thirty cents out of the remaining forty end up where the politicians say they’re going to go. Although this is hard to prove. Sometimes the whole dollar just disappears into the black hole of general taxation, the redistributive schemes disappearing after a couple of years, whilst the increased tax remains. This is observation, not a statistic, and being merely anecdotal has no means of proof. Yet the extra tax money is still taken. Where it ends up is anybody’s guess. Don’t even get me started on carbon taxes.

Also; have the people born in my era been ‘wrecking the environment’? More complete hogwash. I was a card carrying environmentalist until I saw the light and understood that there are other ways of working towards less pollution, cleaner air and water. I began my working life in the UK industrial midlands with the stink of used soluble oil ever present in my nostrils. Now you can walk those same streets and not catch a whiff. Similarly diesel fumes. As for the nonsense bloviated about ‘man made climate change’, well, I’ve stated my opinion about that imaginary bugaboo often enough. We, those of us now in our fifties, sixties and seventies, were the people who campaigned for less pollution and the west is now much cleaner. The east is beginning to follow, but all these massive changes take time. All of this in the last forty years.

Did I mention that people of my age raised families with the ever present threat of nuclear Armageddon looming above us? Yes we have minor terror attacks now, but I grew up with IRA bomb threats (and real bombs), so little has changed. The world isn’t ending, despite any Coronavirus, which incidentally is not the fault of people born in the demographic bulge of the fifties and sixties. Nor is anything else, including a minor warming trend as we crawl out of the last of the Little Ice Age, which has already turned into a minor cooling trend, scheduled to last for the next thirty years. We will still have plenty of arctic and antarctic ice, sea levels will not flood major coastal cities like we’ve been told will happen twenty years hence for the last forty years. According to these doomsayers that is due to happen this year (2020). Seriously, it’s like waiting for the Great Prophet Zarquon.

Yes, so I find all this labelling of people in my age group as ‘Boomers’ whatever the labellers think that means, offensive. Also I do not choose to accept their label. It’s nothing but a cheap toss off, a worthless mental squiggle, only to be used by the hard of thinking.

/rantmode

Coronovirus 2019 nCoV

Right. Have been trying to keep up with the news from China etc regarding this new end of the world scenario. This time in the form of a possible lab mutated Flu virus. Among all the fake news and conspiracy theory stuff there is so much conflicting information. We have confirmed cases in Toronto and Vancouver, some have been reported from the US. And almost every seasonal cough and sneeze seems to be attributed to it. This is a happy time for hypochondriacs. For a slightly more downbeat report, see below.

This is not to downplay the situation. This is a nasty bug with a reported 2% mortality rate. Compare that against 80,000 deaths in the USA alone during cold and flu season 2017-18. Not to mention the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, and the fuss over SARS. Again from the far east, the ‘bird flu’ and Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV, another Coronovirus) pandemics were considered serious threats which then burned out.

Out here on the Pacific rim we’ve got a big Chinese community and lots of active links direct into Vancouver from Beijing and environs. Chinese New Year events are being cancelled over here. West Vancouver won’t happen. Distribution of Chinese movies has been affected. So if you’re a fan of far east action flicks, you might have a bit of a wait. Hong Kong Chinese New Year celebrations have been cancelled, partly because of the continuing protests, now with the added impetus of infection. Looks like the year of the rat will be sneaking in very quietly.

For myself I’m not worried. My antibodies should be active enough as Mrs S and I had a nasty Coronovirus flu type infection in November 2019, so are less likely to contract a variant. This not to say we won’t catch it, but our respective immune systems should have enough active antibodies to successfully fight it off.

We also have no plans for transatlantic travel until September this year. So no infection risk from being crammed in an alloy tube for ten hours with another 2-300 people breathing their contagions into a semi closed cycle air conditioning system. However, a prolonged trip to Ireland for September / October is in train and we’re going to book our flights this week. We’re also looking at long term car hire in the Emerald Isle for around two months. So if anyone has any suggestions, we’ll be glad to hear them.

Update: There’s a lot of conflicting information coming out and very little clarity. The updated death rate has gone up to 4% in Wuhan, but from what I gather about the seat of infection, the whole release was a massive cock-up on the part of the lab where the Viral agent was being studied. Now of course it’s in the wild, what happens next is anyone’s guess. Canada doesn’t seem too concerned as screening appears minimal. Hong Kong on the other hand has shut down all train travel between it and the rest of China.

See below for a peculiarly Canadian take on this issue. Amongst others.

Scolds

Here at the Bill Sticker Paragraph Ranch, we’ve been raising sentences and phrases at stud for years and are currently training thoroughbreds for the rough and tumble of the St Mildews essay stakes steeplechase.

This morning, as I was making my daily tour of inspection, one of our doughty staff trainers waved me over as he was giving our little corral of suffixes their oat and bran mash. Beset by curiosity I went to the fence. “Morning Igor.” I said, raising my umbrella and sealing my immersion suit.
“Greetingth marsthter.” I could see by the look on his scars that there was a problem.
“Okay, what is it? Spit it out.” Shouldn’t have said it quite like that, but I did.
“We’ve got the Scoldth marsthter” He gushed.
“You mean Scolds?” I asked after I’d hosed off all the resultant snot and spittle.
“Yeth.”
“Nagging pain? Ringing in the ears? Depression?” I enquired.
“Yeth.”
“Oh dear. I knew there was an epidemic, but I hoped we’d be spared the worst of it.” I remarked. This was bad. A dose of the scolds at premises like ours can ruin everybody’s week. “How bad is it?”
“They’ve got the Thunbergth Marsthter.”
“Wrong climate eh?” I remarked, trying to make light of the situation. But I could see the state of our suffixes. They looked despondent, preferring to huddle in a corner, periodically glancing upwards in a manner best described as terrified.

Getting a dose of the Thunbergs, a nasty carrier for the terrent caeli virus can play havoc with a paragraph, not to mention what its related condition the iustitia socialis bacterium can do. You often end up with runaway pronouns and it takes ages to get those under control. Most of those infected pronouns die of course, but the infected language then needs a thorough de-worming, which is a protracted and very messy business no-one really likes doing. The Grammarian fees are phenomenal.

I paused, opened my visor and scratched my chin thoughtfully before closing it again. “Have we any Sargonite left?”
“Didn’t work marsthter. Itth the logic rethithtant variety.”
“How about a quick course of the historicals? I thought we had some Hellerian or Wattsup for this kind of thing.”
“Tried everything thur. Lithten to the poor little thingth marsthter. Itth pathetic.”
Sure enough, all I could hear from the pen of suffixes was the sad, soft bleating of “Denier, denier.”

Frankly it was heartbreaking. A whole chapter of suffixes infected. Well, desperate times call for desperate measures. “Shoot them all.” I said grimly.

New neighbours

Mrs S and I were having a chat about the news that Harry and Meghan Windsor, possibly the soon to be ex-Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have set up shop on the other side of the Island highway in Saanichton.

Saanichton isn’t that bad an address. At least the rural part of it. a little dull perhaps. But there’s reasonable transport links, the Brentwood to Mill Bay ferry. A decent marina for a hundred foot plus boat. I know it well. Then Victoria (cough) International airport (Only if you’re travelling to the States) isn’t far away. There’s also a cute little seaplane place not far from the Spitfire Grill around the back of the airport. It’s pleasant enough in the Summer months. The traffic on the Patricia Bay Highway can get quite congested when the ferries from Vancouver are unloading, but there are ways around. A couple of winding back roads from the airport through Brentwood and into Saanichton. West Saanich road can also get you off the beaten track and down onto Highway One if you know which turns to take. There are wineries producing rather average Canadian wine, hiking trails, a couple of parks, sea fishing, Kayaking and suchlike. A lot of Deer, and the occasional Bear and Cougar.

Regarding the possible loss of titles, from what I hear Meghan is the major fly in the ointment. She’s been backchatting the Queen and behaving in a most unregal way in public. Which may be one reason why she and Harry are over here on Vancouver Island. If they do lose the Duke and Duchess titles over their lèse majesté, they’ll have to go through the whole immigration process to stay in Canada like the rest of us plebs, or at least their lawyers will.

Now I can’t speak for Meghan, but I’m told Harry is a decent enough sort who is allowing his affection for his wife and newborn to cloud his judgement. If I were him I’d quietly upgrade my military training on helicopters and parlay it into a professional civilian rating. Which wouldn’t do any putative immigration application any harm. At least if he and his wife intend to stay. Canadian immigration rules, okay? Do either of them speak passable French? Mais non? Desolee messieurs dames.

Fortunately they’re both set for life as far as money is concerned, although their security bills will eat through their respective fortunes fast enough without the protections afforded to those on the Civil list.

In addition; for the benefit of those who don’t understand the UK’s Royal Family, may I offer a little insight. An insight which Diana, late Princess of Wales and latterly the ex-Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, forgot. They too thought they could do what they wanted, and look what happened there. HM Queen rules, UK? She said frog, they had to jump. Which, after some wandering willies got in the way of their relationships, they declined to do.

The UK’s Royal Family is unique in that it is the last real sacerdotal monarchy left in the world. That means the hereditary head of state, currently Elizabeth II, is both the titular head of state and landlady to most of the UK, she is also the head of the Church of England. Well so what? You might say. Well actually not so much “so what” as what HM Queen does as her job.

From sparrow fart until bedtime Liz II has her whole life mapped out for her, from cradle to grave. She is the head of ‘The Firm’ as Prince Philip once perceptively referred to the Royal family as. Because as Royals their lives are a business, the business of the visible state. All the parades, protocols and flummery that help socially glue the UK together.

Not only that but as head of state Elizabeth II is also the head of the UK’s military. You know when someone makes the rhetorical challenge “You and whose army?” Ahem, well that’s hers, including the tanks. As well as the UK’s Navy and Air Force, which she lets politicians borrow from time to time. Their oath of loyalty is to the Crown (Apart from the Royal Marines, who swear fealty I believe, to the board of Admiralty), which Liz II is the public figurehead of. It’s a strange, symbiotic relationship between the person and her immediate family, and the entity that ensures the continuity of her rule, or rather not rule. The queen is notoriously apolitical. Sometimes, some would say, to her personal detriment.

However as monarch, the Queen’s whole life is bound up in narrow protocols. She has very little say over her daily activities because she is the visible component of the whole machine that is the Royal Family. She can’t publicly disrespect anyone. Not even the nastiest little third world dictator, so long as they’re on a state visit. She has to be on her very best behaviour at all times. No room for even the smallest public slip in decorum.

Unlike Meghan, who seems to think that simply because she married Harry, she can treat anyone any old how. Actually the opposite is true. If she wants to retain her title, she has to apologise to the Queen, promise to do better and then keep her word to the absolute letter. She must now set an example. Follow protocols and precedence. Do the duty of deputising for the sovereign when called upon to do so. Because by marrying into the UK’s Royal Family and taking on the title and privileges, that became her new day job. She is no longer a B-list celebrity actress but a Duchess, which probably requires far better acting ability. Indeed, it could be construed as the role of her lifetime. Unfortunately Meghan doesn’t seem to have the stomach for it and she’s dragging Harry down with her. Which is a shame.

Oh well, there goes the neighbourhood.

Digging out

Well, the snow has stopped falling and our driveway cleared after an hour of vigorous snow shoveling on my part. It was good exercise as there was between ten and eighteen inches of global warming snow to shift. Now my working morning is being punctuated by soft subsonic thumps as the ten inches or so of snow on the roof slides off in a series of mini avalanches as a welcome thaw sets in. However the sun is out and I’m looking forward to getting out of the house for the first time since Friday. Or was it Saturday? Bloody hell, I’ve lost track. It’s already Thursday.

Working from a home office is all very well, but you do need a change of scenery after four or five days or a little cabin fever starts to set in. So we’re going out. I’ll deal with the rest of the shenanigans my morning job throws at me later. It’s only numbers. Easy enough.

The outside world trundles on without any input from this household. The Iranians have ‘fessed up to downing that Ukrainian airliner and are having to put up a patsy to take the fall for an error from higher up the food chain. BREXIT moves ever closer to a WTO ‘no deal’ outcome because the Eurocrats are still trying to stymie the whole process and why wouldn’t they? That’s their fat expense accounts that are about to walk out the door. A seventh of total EU yearly contributions are about to wander off whistling happily. Unless they get their act together, fast.

If asked I’d say the spectacle was almost pathetic, rather like the Limp Dem peer who essentially called all pro-Brexit voters ‘ignorant Nazi’s’. Which just illustrates the depths of desperation some people will sink to.

Despite all the whining and bitching from the opposition benches, who seem to be of the disarrayed mindset that if they can’t direct the game, they’re going to run interference for the opposition, things proceed. Unfortunately for them, Bojo has his majority and can more or less ramrod through the necessary legislation regardless of any opposition from the upper house. Blair set the example in the 00’s with his repeated use of the Parliament act, so the boot is now firmly on the other foot.

For BREXIT night itself I’ll be laying in a bottle of pink fizz to drink the health of the dear old UK and wish everyone in the old country every possible success. Eleven pm UK time translates to three pm Pacific, so a Friday afternoon glass of bubbles should provide a happy end to that working week.

Anyway. Where’s me shades? That reflected snowlight is getting kind of intense.

Off the wagon

Our seasonal snow has arrived and at the time of writing is drifting down in big fat lazy flakes. Mrs S and I have hunkered down and are getting on with the usual run of things. Which has led to me needing a stiff drink of an evening to unwind. Just the one.

Work is gearing up, but it looks like one of my current jobs is going to disappear during the next round of reorganisation. However, that’s six months down the line and I’m busy looking to replace that specific income stream. Of course it might not happen, but my instincts tell me it’s better than 50:50 so I’m on the hunt for an alternative.

Of course there are lots of minimum wage alternatives, but I’m a number cruncher, a linker of information chains, so going for one of the plentiful minimum wage McJobs out there isn’t something I want to do. I’ve served my term face to face with the general dyslexic and reckon I deserve the rest of my lifetime off. So, that kind of narrows my choices, as does the notion that Canada is getting less hospitable with all it’s hate crime laws and suchlike. There’s no way I personally am going to persuade the rest of the populace that voting for the wetter kind of politician like Trudeau or Scheer is a bad move. Time to bail out.

Won’t be going back to the UK. I’ve gotten used to the sheer wide open spaces of this part of the world. Rudyard Kipling’s Chant-Pagan sums up how I feel about that option. No idea what the future holds, but I’ll give it the old college try.

On the wagon

I’ve given up alcohol for a while. I’m on the wagon, but will be skipping merrily off it at a juncture of my own choosing. Not because I’ve been hectored into it by any campaign or other, but just because I wanted to. Just to make sure I’m seeing the world as it is without any chemicals fogging things up and to give my taste buds a time out. After four more weeks, perhaps less, I will resume my habitual imbibing of a modest whiskey every other evening or perchance a glass or two of Malbec, Carmenere or Cabernet Sauvignon to end the working day.

Which might beg the question do I want to live forever? To which I would answer, no, I’d only get bored. Variety is life’s spice, and drinking all the time is like permanent sobriety, it’s okay, but gets a bit tedious after a while. A little wine is good for you anyway, and permanent sobriety has been proven not. Alcofrolic beverages might not be the elixir of immortality, but a glass of three don’t half take the edge off the worst that living can throw your way.

What else? Lemon Tree plants looking good, the tallest has just topped thirty inches tall with lovely green waxy leaves. Mrs S and I are going to Ireland this September for a while and are busily booking our big time out. Our tax advisers are discussing possible tax exile with us and stepkids are making plans to come stay whilst we’re in the emerald isle. Things proceed.

Our festive season was relatively quiet, with only the existential sound of elderly friends marbles slowly continuing their rattle out of her head. Poor old thing has now completely lost track of what day it is and has taken to phoning us at all hours because she’s not even sure of what time of the day it is, or even that we live over a hundred kilometres away and not on the next floor down in her care home, which we will never be. Which can get a bit disconcerting. She’s not how she used to be and we’re getting resigned to the probability that she won’t see out the year. Such is life. Sure as it begins, thus it must end.

On that topic of lives ending, am watching how the big man down south is handling the ever-present irritation of Iranian sponsored terrorism. The news that he’d had the head of yet another terrorist organisation droned brought a grim smile to my face and the word “Good.” Popped into my forebrain. Mrs S of course, was concerned with the inevitable terrorist backlash. However, a head has been cut off the Hydra. No doubt it will regrow at some stage, weaker, but still there. It took Solemani from 1988 to build up his current network of militias. That’s right, over thirty years of misery for the Iranians and their neighbours at his hands.

This is why we put mad dogs down. They can’t bite any more when they’re dead. His owners might be all of a lather and threatening dire things, now their attack dogs pack leader has been put down I have a sense that a cold wind is blowing through their spavined souls. Trump has drawn his line in the sand. The attack on the US Embassy in Iraq was the impetus. It was a direct assault on US territory under international law, and the Iranian organisers therefore put themselves at direct hazard. Not that they’re all that popular in Iran.

There are rumours circulating from Iran of brutally suppressed protests and internal economic woes that are nothing to do with the USA and more to the fact that the current ruling elite of Iran aren’t as clever as they might think. That and it should be plain to them that they’re not dealing with Obama now. No more Danegeld. No more payoffs. Hunker in your bunker boys, because you just stepped over the line.

This version of ‘The Great Satan’ has decided to react to the Iranian regimes serial provocations, regardless of the fact that Russia and China say they have Iran’s back. They know the Iranians have gone too far, but will be content to sell them the arms while quietly backing away into the shadows. Say what you like about the Russians and Chinese, but they are not stupid. It doesn’t matter how many cocaine-addled celebrities want to ‘apologise’ to the Iranians. World War Three isn’t going to happen because the casus belli isn’t strong enough.

There might be a stand off, but Trump’s a savvy negotiator and I don’t think will blindly send more US forces into harms way without good reason. He’ll target the top dogs and send over a few GBU-57A/B‘s. There aren’t that many of these bunker busters in the US stockpile so I’m told, but it won’t take many. I wouldn’t be surprised if there weren’t three or four already in theatre ready for a decapitation strike if necessary. Then there are the drones like the one that took out Solemani. Yet the average Iranian (or Iraqi, or whatever) in the street is not the enemy. It’s the extreme regimes. Get rid of them and the conflict goes away, kind of. Although as Mahyar Tousi points out, it’s not all black and white.

Still watching the Brexit situation from afar, and I still think no-deal is the default. The EU have faffed and fumed pointlessly while Bojo, the UK’s suspiciously unclowninsh Prime Monster holidayed on the Caribbean Island of Mustique, once favourite haunt of the late Princess Margaret and other celebrities. I think he’s going to sit on his hands and go full WTO at the end of January so the EU will lose that billion a month of taxpayer pound sterling they’ve been hoovering up so happily. Someone, somewhere in the EU infrastructure is going to have to think about reigning in their expense accounts. Having watched their privileged antics from the sidelines in Paris and elsewhere, I can’t help thinking that the EU pigs are watching the trough dry up and are panicking a little.

Terrorist leaders waxed? BREXIT happens? I’m beginning to like 2020 already.

Merry whatever

These are strange times when even wishing someone well can elicit a hate crime prosecution. Despite this, I am feeling pretty optimistic for the New Year what with a successful BREXIT being on the cards, want to wish my last remaining reader all the best for the festering season. Solstice, Christmas, Yule, whatever; and if you’re offended by that there is no hope for your diseased and raddled soul.

Here’s an old favourite of mine to pass the flowing bowl around to. Unless you’re one of the perpetually offended, in which case you do not love yourself and will find that very few others do.

See you in the New Year.

The fear factor

While crunching numbers, as I am wont to do because it’s what I earn a crust doing, I was listening to a Timeline documentary on YouTube, where the narrator was telling the tale of the Black Death and the social changes it helped bring about.

The thing that resonated with me was the various fanatic cults that arose during those times, even before the plague arrived in their locale. Convinced that the plague was the wrath of God (Although God has told me he did try to tell them about having a good wash now and then, but no-one was listening – as usual), certain groups of people turned to that good old standby of, instead of trying to deal with their personal hygiene issues and stop killing the cats that kept the rats down, chose self flagellation. That’s right, they went about the streets crying “Woe, woe, we’re all doomed” whilst lashing their own backs with a knout, a nasty sort of cat of nine tails with metal bits sewn into the whip ends. It is said these groups of ‘Flagellants’ as they were known, whipped themselves so hard that their blood would spatter street walls as they passed. It did not save them. In their self-weakened state, most perished.

So it is that I see the “Not my Prime Minister” and anti BREXIT campaigners, driven by their own fear, choose to roam the streets crying “We’re all doomed!” and getting under everyone else’s feet. Rather like the silly ‘Extinction rebellion’ protesters. They achieve nothing and are wasting their own and everyone else’s time. Rather like the flagellants of medieval times. They lack the reasoning ability to connect cause with effect themselves, so in ignorance devolve into a hideously primitive groupthink.

Unfortunately, Youngest is counted amongst their number. Which is a disappointment. I thought she’d learned about people who keep themselves down by being the authors of their own undoing, and that there are no saviours our there. According to her, they’re all apparently terrified that those nasty mustachio-twirling Tories are going to go around gloating over all the “Aha! Some poor people to torment, har-har me proud beauties!” You know, the working people who the Limp Dems and Islington Labour don’t really care about. Except when getting their vote in to support a bunch of unemployables like Corbyn.

What I saw during the campaign was Bojo, the UK’s very unclownish Prime Monster, going around, getting his hands dirty on the shop floor. Which is something I can respect rather than the opposition whose sole electioneering approach was gladhanding activists and loyalists while mostly ignoring the electorate or beating them over the head with scare stories, earnestly trying to re-educate any recalcitrant voter and crying “Vote for us, or the Tories will eat your babies.”. That and calling anyone who didn’t agree with them immediately unpleasant names. Well done chaps. Did it work? No prizes for giving the correct answer.

The thing is that neither BREXIT nor minor variations in the Earth’s climate are going to be harmful. Now they could be, but only if people refuse to rise to the challenge of a bit of extra sunshine rain or snow, or cling to the notion that a bunch of people who have never worked in the private sector over the channel know better than local people with their noses to the grindstone, fixing problems as they arise. Seriously, the immediate future contains more opportunity than threat. At least for the UK.

All the public moaning and groaning from the defeated are like a bunch of mardy teenagers who Mum and Dad have finally called ‘time’ on are achieving precisely nothing. All the Slebs whining like kicked bitches instead of claiming a little grown up dignity and facing their mistakes likewise. Although Lily Allen’s tactic of bursting into tears and sobbing ‘vote Labour’ has given a lot of people a bit of a giggle. It’s not that we’re unkind, it’s just that it’s funny to see all these people who think because they are good at entertaining have any idea about how the world really works.

So all these British slebs who didn’t get their way are going to leave the UK? Yeah, right. But where to? Surely not to that hell hole the Trump-infested US of A? No? Well the Yanks just dodged a bullet there. To the cultural backwater that is Canada? Mm, only if they’re happy to play to the odd bilingual Moose and a couple of puzzled bears. Australia? Watch out for the big hairy spiders and the Salties, not forgetting the deadly drop bears and one extremely unfriendly sheep near Brisbane. Heaven forfend that these ungracious slebs might have to learn another language. Even if they had the brains.

The truth is, as I pointed out to our young companions whilst we were visiting London, despite the odd knife attack, the western world is safer than it has been for quite some time, if ever. Fewer deaths from disease, wars, and even extreme weather events (Explanation here). Fewer road deaths. Indeed, fewer deaths from everything, apart from those claiming a Darwin Award, (Sightseeing on erupting volcanoes and suchlike).

Most of us are living longer and healthier lives to the point where getting a message from HM Queen to centenarians now has to be semi automated. That’s right, more people than ever before in the western world are making three digits, elderly friend included. Even if her wits are somewhere west of their preferred location.

Indeed. it’s getting to the point where pension payouts won’t begin until you’re eighty. Not that it’s a bad thing. One of my cousins just picked up his last P45 at age 79. Wound up his business and was last heard of travelling eastern Europe. Similarly I expect not to officially ‘retire’ until 70. Not that I really mind. Even then I’ll find something to make a few extra bucks on the side. Trusting for state pensions to be your sole source of income in your frail dotage is not a brilliant idea. Personally, I have two pensions in the offing, Mrs S has three and that’s without factoring in our investments. Having lost three pension funds over the years, (2 pots raided by New Labour, one when the company I worked for went belly up big time) I’ve become very cautious about those Ponzi schemes and nowadays employ a broker, an accountant and a lawyer to keep my investments secure. They earn their money.

Oh well, it might not be such a short life after all, and we will have to find our merriment where we may.

A Sarcastic man abroad.