Reading Chesterton

Many of the Scriblerus group writers remember some G K Chesterton from pre-PC English Literature courses. A number of us are fond of quoting from one of his most famous poems ‘The secret people‘, specifically the verse below when talking about the lack of real democracy in the European Union and elsewhere;

They have given us into the hand of new unhappy lords,
Lords without anger or honour, who dare not carry their swords.
They fight by shuffling papers; they have bright dead alien eyes;
They look at our labour and laughter as a tired man looks at flies.
And the load of their loveless pity is worse than the ancient wrongs,
Their doors are shut in the evening; and they know no songs.

For my part, as an antidote to the idiocy of the world and alternative to both Internet and TV, I have elected to rediscover some of his more obscure works like ‘Eugenics and other Evils (1922) and ‘What’s wrong with the world” (1910) Which I am currently reading through in my odd unquiet moments, when family and other matters beyond my power to fix become too distracting. Yet what I’m seeing is the many parallels between what G K was writing about in the early 20th century and more recent events. To quote Mark Twain “History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” Chesterton’s works still resonate. Especially in today’s economic and political climate.

Good grief. Reading Chesterton Bill? You’re not about to embrace Catholicism are you? No, definitely not. I’ve embraced a number of Catholic girls (Cough) before I was married of course, but never been tempted by their religion. Having read about many of the world’s religions my observation is that they are either attempts to influence random events like the weather or roll of dice, or to stop people chopping each other to bits over power or property by hanging an imaginary Sword of Damocles over their head so that everyone else can get on with their lives. Without getting chopped to pieces by the protagonists, that is. My belief is that if you occasionally bang people’s heads together hard enough, sometimes you get an echo of sanity and they will either compromise or fix a given problem without the notion of a God or other authority figure. Because it is in their common interest to do so. Most of the time, unfortunately, this is wishful thinking on my part because it implies that the intelligence required for this kind of thinking is more widespread than it actually is. Which is demonstrably not the case. Other people will have other opinions on this matter, which they are quite entitled to. So long as they tolerate me, I’ll tolerate them.

Talking of tolerance; Hilary Clinton has reportedly stated that if she is elected US President she will shut down ‘All Alternative Media’. Mostly this is thought to be stuff like Breitbart and Infowars put out. However, if a blogger decides to voice similar sentiments, who is to say they may not be arrested under such legislation for ‘thought crime’? Which of course will take the US one more step down the path towards being a dictatorial banana republic. And if you listen to the bigoted outpourings of the SJW crowd, who insist that everything is racist, sexist or homophobic or whatever buzzwords they choose to define their whole existence as being against, and which only they get to define, then people will end up going to jail merely for having a different view of the world, or contradicting their ‘betters’. The word ‘betters’ in this context being so packed with irony that it’s already beginning to rust.

Shutting down dissent is as good a reason as I can think of not to vote for Clinton. But then I’m Canadian now, so who cares what I think? However, I certainly think old G K would have had something to say, especially about laws restricting what opinions you are allowed to have.

A place to go

Ever heard of ‘Liberland‘? A small, almost forgotten 7 square kilometre parcel of land on the Croatian and Serbian borders, recently claimed by a bunch of renegade individualists for a grand social experiment. I’ve just realised that it may be not too far off our planned 2017 grand motorcycle tour.

Freedom for Liberland! from MEL Films on Vimeo.

Worth a visit, not worth a visit? Worth going to just to get a stamp on our passports, if they do that sort of thing? I have no idea. But it’s just the kind of goofy, off the beaten track adventure we’re looking for. We’ve got a planned stop around Split in Croatia. Could be worth a day trip.

Wonder if there’s a decent hotel close by?

The randomness of existence

Illness in our little clan has reared its head once more, with eldest having a close brush with Malaria two weeks shy of her Australian residential / work permit medical. Brother in law looks to be on the mend, although post-op he’s looking a bit tattered and torn. This has also been a frustrating time because Mrs S and I have debated flying off to Africa on a rescue mission, but then deciding we’d be as much good as a chocolate teapot, because the medics at the hospital in question gave Eldest the most up to date treatment for the Malaria parasite, which has now been purged from her system. Like brother in law, she’s looking a bit worse for wear when we talk to her on Skype, but give her another forty eight hours and she’s going to be fine. Brother in law will take a bit longer because his condition was a direct hit on his lymphatic system. However, he is too robust and will recover quickly because if I know him, it would take a small thermonuclear device to put him down. This is good, because his Australian immigration medical is scheduled for November I think, and he and my other sister in law have worked too hard to fall at the final hurdle.

What else? I managed to piss off junior sister in law this weekend because I gave brother in law a small bag of birthday goodies we’d picked up in our trans american travels. She’d have been just as pissed off at me if I hadn’t, but I’ve learned that as far as she’s concerned, I’m always in a lose-lose scenario. Apparently I’m to blame for everything from her older sister, Mrs S, not calling her precisely on time because junior sister in law has such a busy schedule and never answers the phone herself anyway. Or some other minor inconvenience because I had the temerity to marry into ‘her’ family. Not middle class enough I think. Or as one of my cousins remarked, having met her briefly when Mrs S and I got married. “Lady Muck.”

At home I’m trying to steer clear on the subject of the US Presidential elections because although I’m not necessarily pro-Trump, I just feel he’s a much better bet than Clinton. While Mrs S disagrees, having swallowed the narrative being fed to the public via the lamestream. Why do I feel this way? Because I’m betting that Clinton will be no better than Obama, whose presidency now looks like it will only leave scorched earth behind it. Clinton, from what I can see is in hock to special interests and overseas influences as well as the big dark question mark over FBI investigations (It’s not just the emails, folks) and what seems to be a serious health problem that will directly impact on her ability to adequately fulfil the role of US President. Anyone remember the premise of Ivan Reitman’s amusing political fantasy movie ‘Dave‘? Where a cynical and corrupt US President (Republican of course) is replaced with an underachieving lookalike after suffering a massive stroke, who ironically turns out to be a better president than the real deal.

Yet could life end up mimicking art? Because I still think Clinton will win the Presidency because she’s bought and sold. Every dirty trick in the electoral book will be brought to bear upon her behalf, and like the scheming fictional Queen Cersei the throne of the west will be hers.

Although I hope she won’t win the election because instead of representing the US population, she only represents her own interests and those of big business and foreign donors. It seems that this is not an opinion that is uncommon. As I’ve said before, we toured through twenty three States on our big US road trip in May and June, and saw plenty of support for all the other hopefuls, but not one lawn sign, bumper sticker, banner or advertisement supporting Clinton. Most of the overt support we saw was for Bernie Sanders, with Donald Trump and Ted Cruz banners coming in second. There was even a John Kasich billboard up in Utah, but nary a one for Clinton. Which tells me one thing; popular support won’t win this election. Big money will. Just like for Bush and Obama.

Anyway. More important things have been done, like getting my recipe for dry garlic salt and peppered pork ribs right. It’s so easy it’s ridiculous. A pound of frozen pork back ribs. Rub with a lick of Olive Oil. Sprinkle with salt and garlic powder to taste. Give it a quick rub, sprinkle with black pepper, set the oven at about 325-350 Fahrenheit (Gas Mark 3 or 180 Celsius). Stick the rack of ribs in a roasting pan, put in oven and leave for ninety five minutes. Switch oven off after time is up. Remove ribs and leave out to cool. Or if you’re feeling brave, eat while they’re piping hot. “Do not change this recipe. It’s evil.” Says Mrs S.

Well, far be it from me…. Good or bad it’s all part of the randomness of existence.

There goes….

In the days when I used to try and do stand up comedy there was a saying. In order to get some audience reaction, which any comic needs, an appeal is made for any member of an identifiable group or faction. Depending upon the response, the comics stock reaction was “There goes my act..” or “Oh good, I can tell that one…” and proceeded to deliver a particularly risque joke.

Now we hear about a fairly obscure (well I’ve never heard of him – but that means nothing) comedian being fined CAD$42,000 for making a gag that ‘offended’ a disfigured boy sent to sing badly in front of the Pope. Sorry, but I’m having a really bad case of WTF! right at this minute. Forty two thousand dollars? Almost a years salary for a dumb gag that didn’t get much of a laugh and would therefore be dropped from the act anyway? Over a five year old claim that the singer was supposedly ‘dying’ and hadn’t yet? Okay, the gag was tasteless and obtuse, but seeing as it highlighted a false claim for sympathy, it was apt, and therefore fair comment. On that basis the claim for damages should be thrown out.

This is where so-called ‘Human Rights Tribunals’ are in fundamental conflict with the rest of the society. Such bodies are currently being abused to enforce an egregious middle class morality that George Bernard Shaw was railing at in plays like ‘Pygmalion’ as far back as the 1920’s. Shaw himself I have no love for because he was an outspoken proponent of the evil philosophy of Eugenics, but he did write exceedingly good satires. If Shaw were alive today he’d be writing stuff about how ridiculous ‘hate speech’ laws are.

Infantile I know, but….

There’s an article in ‘Time’ magazine which carries on about how many nasty Trollish types there are out there on the jolly old Interweb, and how some form of regulation is needed to shut them up, but only a self-selected few of the ‘great and good’ should get to decide who is an Interweb Troll or not. They, the self-appointed, should set the narrative, not the hoi polloi. You know, the people who actually built, and continue to build, the jolly old Interweb with their blogs, posting of videos, personal servers, purchase of goods and services and contributions to forums. Whoever produces the content has the best claim of ownership.

However, the article makes the classic error of equating means with intent. Such as with the notoriously intrusive Ms Sarkezian (See GamerGate), who with other ‘journalists’ tried to impose her view of how things should be on a computer gaming public which did not, and still does not share her radical feminist mindset. For this, she and her narrative-creating associates faced an angry backlash from gamers who justifiably resented the interference with what they see as their world by people acting as self appointed ‘morality Police’. So the nastiness began. Which is one of the things the article bitches about. Yet were not Sarkezian and her associates actively trolling the gaming community with their false articles and spurious claims? In which case, the ‘journalists’ got what they deserved. They picked the fight. If a loosely collected bunch of keen gamers can be considered a ‘community’.

The thought occurs that if the radical feminists had spent a fraction of the energy producing games that met their moral standards than they spent on ragging at and machinating against the non-PC gamers, they might have created something useful. However, they chose to poke their noses into other peoples private affairs and try to use the force of law to obtain compliance. Now they’re whinging because people resisted their will? Oh, the irony.

Now bearing the aforementioned in mind, There are times when the tactics utilised by trolls may be legitimately used against those who wish to impose their will on others. ‘Doxxing’ for example, the publishing of someone’s personal data (Name, address, Social Security Number etc.) online. A variant of which, often used by mainstream publications, is known as ‘outing’, and has been used to try and harm the personal lives and careers of a number of bloggers which, unless the blogger was committing a criminal offence, is never justified. I cite ‘Nightjack‘, and ‘Girl with a one track mind‘ to name but two. So for journalists to complain that the very tactics they use against others makes non-journalists ‘trolls’ is a bit rich. ‘Doxxing’ and ‘Outing’ are exactly the same thing. Only the platform differs.

Yes, trolls are a sporadic pest, but there are ways and means of dealing with their pathetic ickle egos. Ways far more effective than having to drag the nonces through the court system at public expense. Because if you define a troll as a person who uses certain tactics, then one man’s ‘troll’ is another’s free speech activist. Unless of course the troll makes a real disruptive nuisance of themselves, in which case, the offended party should have every right to send a bill for all the time the troll has wasted to the offending party, plus costs. It should be a civil, not a criminal matter.

So for example, someone attempting to harm the online reputation of others, regardless of pseudonym, by impersonating them in comments of other blogs, apart from richly deserving a real-time real-life kicking, should be liable to pay for all the time expended on dealing with the impersonators dribbling infantile nonsense at high level Consultancy rates of say a hundred and fifty GBP an hour on all extra activities (blocking, deleting and banning offensive comments) incurred by the impersonator. With a minimum fee of one thousand GBP. Plus legal costs. Now that would be a kind of ‘fairness’ I could get right behind.

Yes, there are a lot of room temperature IQ’s out there. Yes there are stupid extreme right wingers, and equally stupid extreme left wingers. Frankly I think we should let all the interested parties fight it out in a disused stadium especially sealed off for the purpose. Drop a varied pile of edged weapons in the middle of the pitch and let these heroes sort it out for themselves. Livestream the grudge match globally on pay per view to cover costs of clean up and basic cremation. They die, the sum of human intelligence goes up, and some fertiliser gets created. Think of it as evolution in action.

Hmm…

A lot of stories are bubbling under the surface about the Clinton campaign south of the 49th parallel. Concerns have been voiced about a possible stroke risk to the candidate in question, especially in light of the public ‘symptoms’ which include repetitive coughing, occasional stumbles and small changes in facial appearance. Then there’s the prescription of blood thinning medicine Coumadin – might be something, might be nothing, US Doctors prescribe heavy duty medication at the drop of a Stethoscope. The other stories concern the deaths of those who have been associated with that family and their business over the last three decades, which at the very least do seem statistically anomalous. From the rather convenient deaths of key witnesses over Whitewater and the known murders of people reputed to have witnessed certain drug deals to the latest 2016 tranche of demises.

Now by comparison I’ve lost most of my old friends through one cause or another, and we led a very robust lifestyle. Most of my close old mates died in drink drive incidents, SMIDSY (Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You) RTA’s (Collisions), dumb accidents (Getting paralytically drunk and falling into a frozen canal), with only two by actual suicide and none by murder. Four have succumbed to various cancers and medical conditions around the big five-oh. With a few of us still soldiering on man (and woman) fully with only the occasional health glitch. So the number of violent deaths of people associated with the Clintons over the past three decades do seem to stand out, at the very least, as being frightfully unlucky. At least in comparison to the US Actuarial life table.

However (Adjusts tinfoil hat), if the deaths are proven to have a suspicious conspiracy element, I’m minded to think that no major criminal mastermind has time to fuss with all that detail, all they have to do is give a well timed shake of the head, laboured sigh or loaded sidelong glance at an article and their minions do the rest. These bosses delegate all the tedious details, and just like in any other major organisation, trust their subordinates to do what they think they’re told. Off the record, of course. Like a certain meeting at Phoenix Arizona airport’s tarmac with the U.S. Attorney General and the FBI, where no recording devices were allowed. Where the conversation was about about ‘golf and general social chit-chat’? Mm-hm.

Which is all rather academic if you’re the poor sod who ends up dead of an ‘overdose'(Shawn Lucas Died 2 August 2016, awaiting autopsy report), shot in the back during a ‘robbery’ (Seth Conrad Rich. Died 6 July 2016), a crushed throat reported as an untimely heart attack (John Ashe. Died: June 22, 2016), murdered at her home in Honduras (Berta Caceres. Died: March 3, 2016) or does a header under a London Tube Train (John Jones QC. Died: 21 April 2016) is just a casualty. If these people had even the most tenuous links to the Republican presidential campaign, the lamestream would be all over it like a cheap suit.

Then there’s Joe Montano, ex DNC chief who died Aged 47 of a ‘massive heart attack’ July 25, 2016. Not to mention anti-Clinton writer Victor Thorn, who ate a bullet on August 1 2016. Which is a lot of people dying in a relatively short time frame with one common denominator. That’s a lot of coincidences in just over two months. Not that any evidence of a connection between these latest deaths or anyone associated with the Clinton Foundation will be found of course. Well, naturally. But if I had any links to their dealings I’d make damned sure my life insurance was up to date and my affairs were in order.

And people keep telling me that Donald Trump is ‘dangerous’? Well, maybe some of his public statements are ill considered, poorly presented or appear rash, but at least people who have done business with him and his companies don’t seem to die in suspiciously violent circumstances.

Update for clarification: assertions that Hilary Clinton is suffering from Parkinsons disease have been mooted, which are plainly quite ridiculous. The early onset symptoms of Parkinsons are quite unmistakable, and having carefully watched recent videos of her moving around a stage with the sound turned off, have seen nothing to justify such a remote diagnosis. No stoop, no pin rolling gestures, no visible tremors which generally precede ‘freezing’ of thought or motion. Far more likely is a Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA, or mini stroke) or the obscure but debilitating Subcortical Vascular Dementia ( Subcortical Arteriosclerotic Encephalopathy) or Binswanger’s Disease, either of which are a better fit with her observed lapses and coincide with a known family history of strokes. Could be wrong, but the reports of blood thinners being prescribed would rule out Parkinsons because the treatment for that is Levdopa and perhaps some form of anticholinergic drug.

Moving

I’ve been thinking of ditching Gmail for some time because of the privacy issues, and the address may have been compromised, so my Google profile, such as it is, will be dwindling until it is no more and all that lovely free advertising will gradually disappear. Then there’s Youtube, used by the world and it’s partner of choice. No, scrub that, used by the world and his wife. The creeping censorship of YouTube, Google, Twitter and Facebook has just become so blatant that the services are becoming a constant irritant, with content taken down at what seems the faintest complaint. What used to be practical and democratic is now seemingly the tool of every petty online tyrant, so, I’m voting with my feet, changing to a different service and using other means to view online videos and talk to other people. Might even put up a few myself.

My Gravatar has now changed as I was bored with the old one, and once I’ve sorted out the new email addresses, my old contact details will gradually be discontinued. Memo to self, pass details on the the Martin Scriblerus team. The blog will continue, but I may do a bit of a redesign, tweak some of the widgets, delete a few. Improve security. Just enough to have a bit of a Summer clearance between sitting out in the sunshine, reading, sipping a little wine and generally chilling before the rush starts again.

It’s Sunday and the sun is shining, the sky is a brilliant blue and it’s too nice to be indoors. Time for coffee.

Update 2:30pm PST: Aaaaand in the spirit of self improvement, we’ve just upgraded our Internet connection to one that is (Allegedly) four times the speed of our previous one. Time from conversation about connection speed to Modem installation (Which I did – dead easy plug ‘n pray) and wi-fi reboot, less than 1 hour. Thank you Shaw Internet, who are our local cable company. Would have gone down the route of an even faster connection, but as that would hand over the security and management of our internal network via one of their all singing, all dancing combined modem and wi-fi routers to an external agency, we said no thank you.

We have wine, and the sun is still shining.

Another update; Apparently ‘hate crime’ trolling is now subject to investigation by the Met But who defines the ‘crime’? And against whom is one thing a crime, and not against another? Now there’s a dangerous road to travel. This is going to get messy.

The sun continues to shine. At least in the real world. If anyone wants me, I will be working in the garden.

Grumpiness

At present I have much to be annoyed about, and I’m letting my inner grump have free reign. Why? From people in the UK trying to screw me over for tens of thousands (Good luck with that one – I know what they’re up to and so do my lawyers) and ill relatives, to the happy clappy attitude of some of the locals, who, it turns out, are far more likely to die younger than I. Which is a relief. A man can only take so much ‘nice’ before he considers committing an uncharacteristic act of malice and mayhem. Which tends to upset local law enforcement, and that would never do.

However, there is hope, because a new study has found that being a curmudgeon makes you likely to live longer, be more creative, effective, and generally be more prepared against life’s little vicissitudes. Of which there are a plethora.

The reason for my grumpiness? Hunting for a new apartment. Bills. ‘Hate crime’ laws going back on the books, people you’ve never met acting like you’re their best friend, usual shit. Now Mrs S has just announced she’s had a belly full of ‘nice’ because she’s just asked me what country I’d like to move to because she’s pissed off with the stinking tide of Political Correctness over here in BC. And going back to the UK isn’t going to happen because we like our personal space too much. After a few moments reflection I said “New Zealand. South Island.” For six months, certainly. Okay, I’ll give it a try. This is one of those ‘can hack’ situations where I have to do the hacking. Hey, I got us through the hoops of immigrating to Canada. Five or six months in NZ during 2017-8 by comparison should be a snip.

Just got to work out how to store the car, as the Bike will definitely be coming with us.

Stuff I think about…

“What’s going on in that head of yours, Bill?” Asked my lady wife while we were out shopping this morning. Well, she was shopping, I was just waiting.
“What happens when a warp field collapses.” I replied honestly. Truly. I was bored and wanted to give the old brain cells a quick wander around the block, just for fun. “Just random stuff like that.” Actually I was thinking along the lines of conservation of energy, the possibility of dropping a starship headlong into a relatively particle dense environment like an asteroid belt, comets tail or Lagrange point. Never mind the possibility of quantum foam erosion. In essence, what might happen when a travelling mass transitions from one state within a protected bubble of space time into an uncontrolled near vacuum with no field capable of deflecting incoming masses.
Her reply? “I don’t think I’ll ask you in future.”

A cure for boredomIt’s just my way of switching off. When stress is overwhelming, some people go for a run, bury themselves in their work while others read a book, burst into tears, drink a lot or gorge themselves silly. Sometimes all of the aforementioned. Which don’t work for me. Work is slack, I can’t focus on writing or reading a book and going out for exercise just makes me worry even more about things I can’t control. Telling other people is also off the table, because watching their eyes glaze over always makes me feel worse. That and there are things which should not be shared because in my experience they give others ammunition against and leverage over you. So, I put my mind on a leash and go for a stroll down the path less travelled. Some do pixie dust and unicorns. I like the chilly honesty of deep space.

The reason behind this is having to deal with familial events that I cannot help with but am desperately concerned about, like financial issues of a close relative in the UK which directly affect me, and a near fatal illness of a relative in the fabled land of Oz. I could leap on a plane and arrive all full of vim and vigour, but would my presence achieve anything? No. The UK matters are being handled by my lawyers, who know what they are doing, and the business in Oz by some surgeons with pretty impressive CV’s. Who also know what they are doing. All I can do is worry and get in their way, and that doesn’t do me or anyone else any good, so I have to lead my thoughts down a more picturesque route to take my mind off the bad stuff.

Which is why I think about weird shit that no-one else wants to bother with. Just for fun.

Old joke, but true..

A Biker (Motorcycle rider, not those wussies in spandex) is visiting a zoo when he sees a little girl leaning too close to the lion’s cage. Suddenly, the lion reaches out through the bars, grabs her by the collar of her jacket and tries to pull her inside, right under the eyes of her screaming parents. The biker runs to the cage and smacks the lion square on the nose with his fist. Whimpering from the pain the lion jumps back, letting go of the little girl. The biker then returns the girl to her terrified parents, who thank him profusely.

A reporter watches the whole event and approaches the Biker in the car park as he is about to leave, saying; “Sir, that was the bravest and most gallant thing I’ve ever seen a man do in my whole life.”
The Biker replies, “Why, it was nothing, really. The lion was behind bars. I just saw this little child in danger, and acted as I thought was right.”
The reporter says, “Well sir, I’ll make sure this won’t go unnoticed. I’m a journalist, you know, and I can guarantee tomorrow’s paper will have this story on the front page. So, what do you do for a living, and what is your political affiliation?”
The biker replies “Well I run my own small company, and as for my politics I’m generally but not always conservative.”

The journalist smiles, thanks him again, and leaves.

The following morning the biker buys the paper and reads the following headline:
“Right wing fascist thug assaults African migrant and steals his lunch.”

Well it made me smile.

Expatriate expostulations from Canada; a.k.a. A Sarcastic man abroad

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