Now, gods…….

Shakespeare had it; why bastard, wherefore base? Indeed. History is liberally seasoned with those of us of (Cough) uncertain (cough, cough) parentage who have made good against the odds. Some would even say that condition can act as a spur for success. As far as I’ve been concerned it’s always been used as a sideways ‘shut up or we’ll tell everyone, slaphead’ or ‘Bill, don’t embarass your poor old Mum’.

As an aside to that topic, today I have found myself dancing a careful conversational Gavotte with UK lawyers and tax advisers. Dipping my toes in turgid legal waters to map out a fiscal path from A to Z. Not that this is a Machiavellian ploy on my part to asset strip another family member, more a sidestep to avoid being asset stripped. Both by family and ultimately, HMRC. The closest metaphor I can come up with is it’s like tapdancing through a minefield wearing outsize divers boots. Every leaden step becomes future threatening. Every decision must be taken only after consulting at least three sources.

When I’ve told friends and acquaintances of my difficulties, it’s interesting how quickly the old chestnut ‘blood is thicker than water’ is trotted out. In other words “Oo, you can’t call him out as a lying, cheating whoreson ‘cos you share some familial DNA.” Sorry chums but that’s just emotional blackmail, in effect saying that you can’t claim your rightful and legal due because you might hurt someone’s feelings and they’ll never talk to you again? Hmm. Now there’s a fine howdy-do and no mistake. What do I choose? Modest wealth and security for myself and my little clan of wife and stepkids who I have come to love as dearly as life itself? Or do I let my originating family, with whom I have little real emotional attachment actively prevent me from managing my own assets and leave me with a massive UK tax bill? No contest really. Hell, I’ve even emigrated.

‘Coming out’ to being a public bastard rapidly opens your eyes to the faults of others, especially when you suspect they think you’re some kind of total eejit, simply through the lottery of birth. Particularly when you think they’re going to screw you over. It’s also amazing how complex apparently simple matters can become. Especially when there’s a glint of gold in the air. So here I am. Do I, in thinking that there are financial and legal shenanigans afoot, cry ‘havoc’ and let slip the dogs of law? Or do I continue to solicit, beg, cajole, play nice and gently persuade the offending party, who has so far ignored requests to deal with matters to my satisfaction?

There’s the rub. Now if the letters speed, and my intention thrive………..We shall see.

Bought and sold, modern environmentalism?

Seeing as I’m interested in belief systems and how they warp what should be purely intellectual debates, I thought I’d have a nose round some fairly reputable sources and try to sort some wheat from the mountain of chaff. Now I do have a dog in this fight, as during my youth I was a card carrying member of the Green party. I’m firmly on the side of the environment, anti pollution and pro recycling when it’s done properly, not simply sorted and shipped off to landfill. What I’m definitely not on the side of is the Environmental movement as a bought, sold paid for advocacy group used to manipulate markets by foreign investors. I’d heard or chequebook Journalism, but chequebook Environmental protest?

Well, yes. It’s been an open secret for years that various protest groups from both left and right have bolstered their numbers by offering ‘incentives’, mostly for small scale events that they want to look bigger, ‘bussing in’ supporters to areas where there wasn’t really any ‘support’ at all apart from the less with-it residents of various care homes. Not so much ‘rent a mob’ but ‘protest a gran’.

If I can offer a true story of my very own from the times I used to (cough) hang out with (cough, cough, no this isn’t a confession Sarge) what in polite circles was called ‘the rougher type of boy’ there were three separate occasions when a bunch of us greasy looking yobbo’s were gently carousing (No casualties, just a little friendly ‘horseplay’ and discussions regarding the intricacies of various friends social lives) in various drinking establishments to be approached in a faux-matey manner by some grinning soft handed type, telling us earnestly all about some ‘bad people’ who we should go and ‘protest against’. Sometimes we listened, mostly not, before returning to more important matters like motorcycles and where to go in Summer.

A couple of my social circle actually went on two of these ‘protests’ for a free pint and a chance to grope some hippy chicks. These are the large unkempt leather and denim clad gentlemen featuring in numerous police photographs of said events, grinning hugely, with a can of beer in one hand and the other fondling one of the least ugly women. Was that my old mate DA exposing himself? Surely not constable. He must have been experiencing a minor crotch malfunction with his zip. DA was known to have issues in this department, especially with not being able to keep said zip done up in female company. Were incentives offered? Of course, and it was common knowledge that there was cash to be had. Although those I knew who tried to take up the offer were always bitterly disappointed in the amount that was often never paid.

If you want to look up who has been paying for what over here in BC and Canada generally, you could do worse than start with a visit to Vivien Krause’s worthy little web site, which while not encyclopaedic, does have extensive public domain evidence of back door payments to various soi-disant ‘Green’ activist groups. Not to mention the very public big oil sponsorship of Environmental causes from companies like BP, Exxon, Chevron. So much for ‘Big Oil’ being on the side of the ‘deniers’.

BTW; if a ‘science denier’ is someone who does not believe in the scientific method, because without method there is no science, only dogma, then those who bandy the D word around the most are ironically those most guilty of ‘denying science’. Because their faith is belief in fixed constructs, and ‘science’ only deals in facts subject to constant change and update, no-one can be a ‘science believer’, therefore there can be no such thing as a ‘science denier’. Succinctly put; ‘science’ is never settled. Only professional liars and the perpetually befuddled and deluded will say otherwise.

I mean, never mind the Koch brothers, of whom I’d only heard because of their contributions to PBS programming. There are far richer fish to fry. For example Billionaire financier and currency speculator George Soros is a known sponsor of the Tides Foundation, which has backed Vancouver Mayor George Robertson to the tune of over half a million bucks, amongst other things; including the current US Administration’s Internet grab via the ‘Open Society Foundation’ (Oh, the irony). Russian and Chinese funds filter via various shell companies into various advocacy groups back pockets in a massive protectionist financial shell game. Nine bob notes aren’t in it. Never mind the wild Salmon, it’s honesty which is the real endangered species. Frankly it’s the biggest open secret in Canadian politics.

Some things should not pass from memory…..

Just a quickie for all you youngun’s out in jolly old Interwebland. A small antidote to the doom and gloom about insane mass murdering death cults, inept Presidents, the dunderheadedness of bureaucrats, radical vegetarians, idiots who still believe against all evidence to the contrary that CO2 driven man made global warming is real, professional protesters and the general lack of worthwhile cerebral activity in the online world……

A pre Python Michael Palin introduces the legendary, the phenomenal, the so incredibly awesome Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band from Do not adjust your set (A 1960’s children’s TV show? Link to playlist here Oy gevalt already).

How can you not love a show that invented the ‘electric spoon’ concept? Which was so good someone had to invent one.

Well, they were more innocent times.

Religions of hatred

Well isn’t that nice? Rabid followers of a nameless middle eastern religion took pot shots at a Danish cafe where people were having a peaceful discussion about religion, bigotry and hatred. Elsewhere, a number of captured Kurdish fighters are about to have their colds cured permanently by being burned to death in cages. Which I feel is a bit of an extreme treatment for a relatively mild viral infection. As was another attempt to cure asthma amongst Libyan Coptic Christians by removing their heads. So much for fringe medicine, eh? Pass the pixie dust. As for being ‘on the doorstep’, the bastards are already in the parlour with their boots up on the coffee table demanding free lunches.

Temples are burned and wars fought, all over religion. Which, as God commented last time he dropped by for a post fishing foray coffee, is a bloody silly reason to kill people. Don’t even get him started on Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. Or Methodists and Anglicans. Honestly, last time some of his language curdled the cream in my fridge and scorched the wallpaper. Although he was very good about it, and sent JC down to the store to buy some fresh. A couple of cherubim with paintbrushes dealt with the property damage. Very gracious deity, God. Although he’s not very keen on many of those who claim to be his worshipers. He’s got some very forthright opinions about them. Specifically that he doesn’t like being used as an excuse for fantasists and fruitloops to go around killing people with impunity. The killing he can’t do much about because of the free will thingy, but he does draw the line at having the blame lumped on him. I have it on good authority that he’s negotiating more room for an extension to Hell. Specifically the lake of fire. Satan of course complains endlessly about these policy changes. His demons are on near permanent double time, it takes too much out of his operating budget, wear and tear on pitchforks, fire insurance etc. It’s bad enough having to take all the Lawyers and Politicians. They do so lower the tone of the infernal netherworld. I’m told the overcrowding has got so bad, like the punchline of one very old joke (One of God’s favourites by the way), is that you can’t get near the fire for priests.

One of the many, many ironies of the current situation is that should the rabid control freak psycho’s using religion as a cover for all their most frothingly violent fantasies get their way, as this writer posits, theirs would be the first religion in the firing line. The rule of ‘be careful what you wish for’ seems to apply here, in spades, with the law of unexpected consequences grinning from the shadows. Universal blasphemy laws make the mistake of equating God with religion. As God says, “They’re nothing to do with me.”

It’s also worth noting that you don’t & can’t insult God when you take the piss out of any particular religions inconsistencies. Why? Religions are not God. He thought he’d made that point with Moses and the whole Golden Calf debacle. Interesting religious point: A church or temple may be classed as a house of God, but don’t expect him to spend much time there, if any. They’re big, draughty, and a bugger to keep warm. Similarly for so-called ‘Holy’ relics. Ask yourself this, if God is omniscient and omnipresent, (he is, but only when he feels like it, some days, not so much); why can a particular bit of rock, a book written by sincere but slightly unhinged old men, or set of old bones that may or may not have belonged to a noted human waybackinnadawnatime be seen as a short cut to getting a priority collect call through on the celestial communications net? That’s pure cargo cult with its roots firmly planted in pantheism and idolatry. Want to get a prayer through? Take your time, be honest, don’t bother God with trivia, your petty jealousies and short time scales. He’s busy enough as it is. Yes, you decided to get yourself into the mess, now stop asking God to bail you out all the time. A heartfelt thank you occasionally would be nice, too. He’s a busy deity and the Universe wasn’t built in a day. BTW; the whole seven days creation myth is an allegorical joke the priests haven’t got yet. And probably never will.

So are the rabid psycho’s doing God’s work? No. If they were they’d be in the galaxy crafting business with the Gas Giants sub contract. In reality they’re just a bunch of small minded human crazies with less tolerance than a bad tempered rattlesnake on acid with severe personal space issues. As an illustration of this assertion they don’t even let their own head hackers bunk off for a quiet between stressful beheadings ciggie break. I dunno, some people, eh? No live and let live. Just die, die, and die again.

So, all that being said, what are we in the West to do? Personally I’d go for the quarantine option, which is to build a nice high wall all around their self imposed territory (Which Saudi Arabia has already started), let them have all their own brutal little regime away from the rest of the world, cut off all trade and other links, then shoot anyone trying to get out. Which might not be the answer, walls can be breached, undermined and flown over. Even the so-called ‘Iron Curtain’ was regularly breached by people wanting to get through, and Israeli attempts to blockade Gaza have regularly been tunneled under. Besides, the enemy is not only inside the gates, they’re being invited to set up shop just to show how ‘tolerant’ we are. Last time it took over fifteen hundred years to dig ourselves out of the resulting feudal mess.

Nope, I think what will happen is that this particular virulent head hacking faction will hamstring itself by killing off the brains they need to flourish because the moderately smart techie and mercantile types will always ask “What are we doing this for?” before the blinkered ones come back with their own brand of terminally cutting remarks. Which ultimately lowers the quality of their gene pool. History shows that regimes encouraging openness and enterprise last a hell of a lot longer than ones simply attempting to subjugate and oppress. Force alone is never the answer against information. The Japanese, Italians and Germans learned that hard lesson back in the 1940’s and they were technophiles and innovators rather than techno abusers. Since that time, Fascism, once thought to be the answer to all the socio-economic ‘ills’ of Western civilisation, has become a rightly reviled and widely banned philosophy. How long before the crazies drag Islam down to the same fate?

I was going to ask God, but he’s decided it’s too nice a day to talk about religion, and the fish are biting.

There’s no such thing as social justice

Welcome to the Bill Sticker Institute for Axiom Testing and Infinitive splitting. Our team of highly trained Stunt Grammarians and specialist word jugglers (We recruit only those who can handle a minimum of ten syllables) have been working day and night for at least half an hour testing some much cherished political sound bites to total aphorism destruct. We’ve saddled up our Thesauri, loaded our dictionaries, and straightened our phrasebook armoured trousers meaningfully before heading ‘em up and moving out to rope and brand a few of those consarned political soundbite critters for the last big drive to the railhead, pardner. Yee-haw. We think. Possibly.

Here’s how it works; A statement is selected and its underlying concepts thrown into our patented axiom tester for a full rinse and spin cycle before careful drying. Once cleaned, the statement is then carefully scrutinised for any bits of truth it might contain. There are no half way houses here. A statement is either proven or not proven.

Example:
Bill Sticker is a complete bastard.

Axiom test result: Proven. Bill’s parents were not married when he was conceived and born, therefore he was legally born out of wedlock, specifically a bastard. As far as ‘complete’ is concerned, several of our in house team thought that this was rather gilding the lily, because one is either a bastard or one is not. (Bill has also developed an evil streak that could be used to pave the entire two lane length of Highway One from mile Zero in Victoria BC to Halifax, Nova Scotia, including hard shoulders, but that’s by the by). Therefore Bill can be called a ‘bastard’ to his face with impunity, as the statement is proven. Cutting remarks in response are extra and will be charged accordingly.

Here are three left wing sound bites and concepts which were given exactly the same treatment.

Statement 1:
Governments can create a fairer society.

Axiom test result: Not Proven. Repeated attempts by various governments around the globe to produce legislation to promote ‘fairness’ have so far failed because one persons ‘fairness’ is demonstrably another’s injustice. Giving privileges to one section of the population invariably requires removal of rights from another according to the well known rules of societal causality.

Statement 2:
‘Social Justice’ is fairness for all

Axiom test result: Not Proven. The phrase ‘Social Justice’ was found by our team of extreme Axiom testers to be little more than a hollow political sound bite, a speechwriters catch-all with little or no real meaning. To say it is ‘fair for all’ is also palpably not true following the well known principle that taking another’s possessions without recompense is theft. Our chief Grammarian was also heard to remark that the phrase is “Utter bollocks” and has had to contribute a good deal of his disposable weekly income to our Axiom Testing Stations swear box.

Statement 3:
Redistribution of Wealth is fair.

Axiom test result: Not Proven. Actually it’s complete and utter nonsense. Asset stripping the active middle to support the growing inactive lower simply creates more poor people. In addition, a consulting team of highly skilled Stealth Economists who are currently Chair of the Society for Artful Accountancy have discovered that the money rarely gets where it’s meant to go, and often ends in the pockets of those least entitled to it. Usually logged as expenses.

Thank you for visiting.

Great bacon

Friday I was out doing the weekly shop and dropped in at one of our specialist local food stores. It’s one of my favourite stores for one particular reason. They do properly double smoked and cured bacon. It is, in my humble opinion, the best I have ever come across, ever. Seriously dry cured. Perfectly pink muscle, dense, solid white fat, not soaking wet stringy stuff like the crap advertised as bacon (horrified shudder) in many local supermarkets. This is the bacon that poets praise, exquisitely cured pork that would tempt the very gods down from Olympus. Fried or grilled (yeah, yeah, broiled, whatever), this store makes bacon as God himself intended. No white gunky residue after cooking, just a spoonful of mildly salty white fat splendid for frying eggs, adding richness to sweated onions and many other simple culinary miracles. I buy just over a pound a week.

The only glitch in my day was caused by a Deli counter assistant, having been asked for my usual ration, arbitrarily decided to cut a chunk of fat off the ends of said precious rashers. I immediately objected. That fat not only aids the cooking process, but gives flavour and body to the meat. At the time I was feeling pretty relaxed or I would have treated said staff member to a terse treatise of “My dietary fat intake is not your business.” Fortunately the counter assistant stopped, backtracked and apologised for her error. All ended in smiles and “Have a great day.”

The only thing that bothered me about this almost insignificant incident is why, having made my choice of product, given my instruction as to exactly what I wanted, did the assistant then arbitrarily decide to trim off the valuable and very tasty fat? Who tells shop assistants it’s okay to do this stuff? Who you can and can’t sell what to? What happened to “The customer is always right”? Why is only bacon and red meat subjected to this retail tyranny? Why are chocolate or all those other, far richer sources of dietary fat not subject to the same strictures? Say when I buy a bar of Belgium’s finest, does the checkout person feel the need to break off half and throw it away? Or open my bag of crisps and throw half of it in the bin? No. So why remove that which adds so much flavour?

Answers please in a plain, unsalted, lint-free, fat-free, low-calorie, flavour-exempt brown wrapper.

Update: This is what I mean by bacon.
Dry cured streaky bacon

Look what just hit Netflix….

Remember all that fuss about Sony corporation getting hacked by ‘North Korea’ over a movie called “The Interview”? So badly hacked in fact, that they can’t do their taxes?

Guess what just became available via Netflix?

This.

A major, leading Tech Corporate hacked by a country that has to struggle to make it to third world status? Seriously?

The question is; hack, or marketing hype?

Bill Sticker: Doctor, I think I’ve got a bad case of cynicism.
Doctor: Sorry Mr Sticker, I’m afraid there’s no cure. My advice is learn to enjoy it.

Orwells World

Friends, wossnames, countrymen. Lend me your thingummyjobbies. I come, not to praise liberty, but to bury it. That’s right. Freedom is dead, or very much on life support. Shakespeare himself might have done a quick rewrite to outline the situation (Julius Caesar Act 3 Scene 1, Mark Anthony’s speech)

O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of truth,
That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!
Thou art the ruins of the noblest concept
That ever livèd in the tide of times.
Woe to the hand that drained this costly blood!
Over thy wounds now do I prophesy—
Which, like dumb mouths, do ope their ruby lips
To beg the voice and utterance of Twitter—
A curse hath lit upon the voice of man.
Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
Doth cumber all the online world.
Blood and destruction is so in use,
And dreadful objects so familiar,
That Mumsnet shall but smile when they behold
Their infants smothered by the nanny state,
All pity choked with accusation of sex crime,
Yet Freedom’s spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Whatsap by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the words of war,
That these foul deeds shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.

I think Bill the Quill would have approved. Or what’s that whirring, buzzing sound from the chancel of Holy Trinity Church, Stratford upon Avon?

Seriously. I woke up thinking this morning that the country of my birth has turned into a warped version of Orwell’s nightmare 1984. This isn’t me being paranoid, it’s so in your face it’s not true. Twitter storms have become the “Two minute Hate”. People are regularly arrested for “Hate speech”. Voicing legitimate concerns has become “Thought crime”. Constant warfare. Near ubiquitous CCTV. Surveillance of e-mail and web activity. Webcams that can be remotely switched on. I don’t need to provide links. The evidence is in plain sight everywhere. If you don’t see, then you ain’t looking.

The UK, now rebranding as Orwell’s World theme park. Try the Grauniad rollercoaster, where tribes of shrieking lefties throw shit and outrage at everyone. It’s a blast. Thank you for not smoking or drinking. Or thinking. Anywhere.

Funny thing, life

A couple of weeks ago, an old mate I hadn’t spoken to for a couple of decades tracked my real life self down. He’s dying of a lung condition, poor bastard. Since then we’ve been corresponding via e-mail. Me trying to cheer him up with a few less than socially responsible anecdotes. Him bringing me up to date with the fates of a few shared acquaintances back in the old country (Remember so-and-so? A wall fell on him back in ’99). Playing the old nostalgia game as you do with old drinking buddies. What with one thing and another, it’s making me feel, not nostalgic because I don’t have fond memories of some people, but thoughtful. Mindful of who I am and how easily I could have shuffled off this mortal coil any number of times in my half century of life. Right! Who was that who shouted “Shame!”? Spawny eyed wassuck. Go stand in the corner. I hope you brought enough sarcasm for everyone.

Also mindful of my ancestors, who, it turns out were not exactly villains, but let’s just say consistently non-conformist. My parents. My Grandparents. Great Grandad was a right tearaway so I’m told. Always in trouble which almost, but never quite, ended with him hauled up before the beak. Including an incident over a spring gun set to scare water cress poachers. A few great Uncles who were less than pillars of society. A couple who never made it back intact from WW1. One who went down on the Lusitania (and we’re not talking about sex here). I think he was one of the Deck or Engineering crew, family history is a bit fuzzy after almost a century. Granddad kept his bedroom as a bit of a shrine at the old family farm. I recall seeing it when I was knee high back in the early sixties. A sepia portrait of a young man who never came home and an ageing poster of the liner itself. A made up brass framed bed and net curtains over a small window are the only other impressions I recall.

Other family legends include a Great Aunt who ‘took to her bed’ at the age of seventy something, only getting up for that last ride down to the graveyard thirteen years later. From her family memoirs came the wonderful little tale of the late Victorian era couple who never married despite raising eight children. She took in laundry and he worked as a road mender. Constantly managing to thwart the efforts of the local Minister, who apparently thought that having such a well known couple ‘living in sin’ on his patch was a personal affront. My Great Aunt’s version of the tale ends with the couple finally agreeing to walk up the aisle (in their 70’s with great grandchildren no less), then on the day the little old road mender goes missing. The local Minister, irate at this breach of promise goes searching for him, finally finding the little Parish Road Mender at his usual resting place, lying as though asleep at the side of the road with his road mending kit and sandwich box nearby. Dead as his flask of cold tea with a smile on his face as though he’d cheated the forces of conformity.

Then my own parents and the hows and whys I got brought into the world. Which makes me aware that all of my immediate forbears have been self employed and small business owners, yet Dad wanted me in an industrial ‘job for life’. Which never really worked out as such employment doesn’t really exist any more. Nor am I really employee material, I’m a maverick from a long line of mavericks. A self motivating self starter who can self manage and just hates control freaks looking over his shoulders all the time. Nor do I play well with others, mostly because I’d rather not play their games at all.

Wonder where I get it from? (Not)

Expatriate expostulations from Canada

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