Trigger warnings and microaggressions

Trigger warningGood morning. This is a warning, courtesy of the Bill Sticker Institute for pointing and laughing at self destructive hypersensitivity. We have been informed by our lawyers, Lye, Cheetham and Runne that there are persons out there in interwebland whose single purpose in life is to detect things which might offend other people they’ve never met, and wouldn’t talk to even if they did because the offence takers are such delicate ickle bunnies. On the behalf of others, of course. Sorry, we’ve been told that describing people as hypersensitive should have had a ‘trigger warning‘ before it. We apologise for the microaggression that might be construed from this paragraph.

No we don’t. We lied. OMG! We lied! Well spank our nethers and tie us to a bondage bed (Yes please Monique, I’ll turn the other cheek). We’re not apologetic at all. Frankly we didn’t know that you might be offended, and can tell you in all honesty, that we do not care about your mealy mouthed, spineless victimhood. If you can’t take a joke you should stay out of the closet. Or come out of it. Whatever. Nobody of any account really gives a shit anyway about your personal ethnic or sexual sensitivities. Apart from our lawyers, who can smell a mobius twisted buck ten miles upwind in a blizzard.

Frankly, no-one cares if some immature, thin-skinned offence seeker fresh off mommies teats gets their panties in a bunch over what they thought was written that might have infringed upon their ‘rights’. Whatever those are, apart from some invented inanity claimed by emotionally stunted wankstains who had a hard time getting out of their Mother’s womb with someone else doing all the bloody pushing. A wet fart has a better right to existence.

We’re sorry, should we have inserted a warning of some sort before the aforementioned? Really? Christ on a bike, that’s sad to the point of derangement. Only in Academia could such garbage take hold and flourish like some bizarre, pointless, poisonous bloom kept alive for its curiosity value alone.

If anyone is offended and wants to send their lawyers, just try our nearest Bar Tabac in the Rue de Charonne, 11th Arondissement, Paris. Little bit of a rough neighbourhood but we like it. The graffiti’s spelled correctly. If the second hand smoke doesn’t get them first. Or the Pernod fumes. Or getting looked at in a funny way as they enter. Any resultant abuse will be free of charge and multilingual.

/rantmode

Should we have posted a warning or something……..again?

(Merry mocking laughter tinkling somewhere in the distance…)

Bullet and carrot

I read this in The Register this morning. An ‘operation’ in Northumbria taking twenty Policemen, a helicopter and no doubt several marksmen to take down one cow. Not a Steer or Bull, but a cow FFS! A milker at that.

Now I appreciate that cattle can be a risk to traffic on the highway, but shooting the poor bloody animal? Which was no doubt terrified with all these loud, whirly things and shouty black clad two legs chasing it. Now if the upper echelons of the Northumbrian constabulary ever drop by this humble blog, I have an alternative which may save their budgets. Instead of all those dramatic helicopter chases, shouting, urgent operational messages flashing through control, tracking the errant bovine via its cellphone signal and CCTV before a single crack! And down goes another enemy of the people, comrades. May I propose a solution known to all expert livestock handlers and rural Veternarians: a red bucket.

It’s a bit old school I know but when livestock escape, any old fashioned country copper would know where to find; A) A red bucket and a little dry cattle feed. B) A big, juicy bunch of grass. C) A properly trained Stockman who can be called upon to lure said errant bovine back into its enclosure who would understand the use of both. Back in the old fashioned 20th century, before whizzy Hollywood inspired Helichopper chases and brave, dedicated marksmen capable of dropping a Taliban Terrorist at a thousand metres, dealing with loose livestock was part of a country coppers daily round. At least in my neighbourhood. Livestock regularly got out because they broke down fences, were let out by ‘Animal rights’ activists, or simply wandered through a carelessly left open gateway. Sheep, cattle, pigs, Horses, chickens, Geese and even turkeys could regularly be found out of their proper enclosures. The solution was always the same. Red plastic bucket. Or a galvanised feed pail. Or call the nearest livestock farmer. Who would keep one as a matter of course.

The benefit of the proposed low tech solution is that first; it’s cheap, secondly the cow gets to live, thirdly, being a milker, it gets to dole out more of that lovely white stuff that with a little skill can be turned into smooth butters, excellent cheeses and yoghurts, or even drunk neat, if you’re not concerned about the low fat garbage some dietitians insist upon (A.K.A. The ‘cardboard’ diet).

Anyone who has ever had to deal with livestock knows the use of this high tech piece of rural technology. Red bucket, handful of gravel if no dry feed is available. Shake, rattle, let animal follow to nearest gated enclosure or pen. A bunch of grass or carrots and reassuring low pitched “Tch, tch” noises can be used, but these tools are only truly effective in expert hands, like a farm raised child of eleven. Pigs require a little more care as they do have a nasty bite, but that’s what a pig board is for.

Which is the downside of the red bucket and its ilk. It’s not dramatic. Teams of dedicated anti-terrorist units do not have to be deployed and the cost is minimal. Which, thinking about it, is probably why the Northumbrian Police didn’t look for one. What would all those highly trained marksmen and helichopper pilots do for target practice otherwise?

Scooters and stuff

In our little Arondissement (District) as well as many others, I’ve noted before how many scooters there are cluttering up the sidewalks and promenades. Particularly this type of thing and their contemporaries made by Piaggio and Peugeot. While I’m not a fan myself, I can see the utility for those who find it difficult to keep a motorcycle or scooter upright at walking speeds (You pussies).

No, what I’ve been looking at is a simple piece of kit marketed by an Italian company, mostly for scooters, but I’ve also seen their ilk wrapped around BMW LT1200’s, and having seen how useful they can be, I’m quite taken with the idea. Basically the cover acts as combo leg shield, bike cover and waterproof leggings. Not only that, but it costs less than a pair of leak proof waterproof trousers. Oh, and you have to love their advertising.

A set of these and some handlebar cuffs, and those long rainy Vancouver Island Winter months won’t seem so damp any more.

Weird shit

Okay, apart from the usual touristy sights and sounds. Today I’ve come across;

Two Gendarmes in full body armour carrying FAMAS assault rifles on their regular street corner, adjusting each others ballistic clothing and appearing to ask each other“Mon cul semble-t-il grand en ca?” (“Does my bum look big in this?”)
A hippy juggling feral pigeons in the Tuilleries gardens outside the Louvre. Honestly, they were jumping on and off his hands like he was throwing juggling balls, and he was getting ‘his’ pigeons to perch on the tourists themselves, which if they’d seen what pigeons do to all the statues, all the time around Paris they might not be so keen to have winged rats landing on their arms and shoulders. I’ve even found a Youtube video of him from last year.

This year he’s sporting a beard and shades.

We’re here for another few weeks. But I can say that we’re having a seriously wonderful time, despite a few hiccups along the way. Am currently de-dicombobulating myself with a couple of glasses of Bushmills Single Malt.

In praise of rain

What is it? Just condensed water vapour, falling from the clouds. Yet there is a poetry in it; a soft lilting cadence in even the most torrid downpour. Even when raindrops are coming down so hard they splash and meet themselves coming back up a foot above the ground, forming a sparkling fairy carpet of silver. When even trees provide scant cover against an aqueous bombardment rattling their leaves. Must be the Irish in me that sees such beauty in torrential rain.

Back in my foot patrol days, I liked being out in the rain. Unlike so many of my contemporaries, for whom the mere occlusion of a cloud over the sun was cause to stay close to base. Days when I’d go out bang on time, spending my day under trees and lurking in doorways, and having done my stint, get back to base only to find I was the last man out there. Not that I minded. Even when the rest of our crew said it made them ‘look bad’. As if I cared. Being paid to take a walk, which was my definition of the job, was my idea of heaven. In any weather. The authoritarian part of it was an inconvenience, but I was never the most enthusiastic enforcer, only resorting to that part of the job when contravention was so blatant that even the most liberal would cry “Oh FFS, Bill! Book him!” in frustration. The general dyslexic still kept me busy. Was it that long ago? Well I never.

Today I’m watching rain fall from our tiny Parisian apartment as the skies dump a cleansing dollop of airborne water over our little Arondissement. The Plane trees in the centre courtyard occasionally thrashing like manic dancers under periodic downdraughts. Cafe owners glowering up at the leaden grey and counting the Euros lost. Locals and smokers lurking under their umbrellas or in cafe’s until the pleut passes.

Then the clouds, having divested their skirts of so much water vapour, will sail sedately on like fat women after liposuction and the sun will bless the world again. Umbrellas will be returned to their stands, cafe proprietors will lay out their tables, people will stop by on their way back from work and a cleaner world will turn once more. Then there will be the warm, clean smell of wet earth replacing the odd ammoniac whiff of Eau de Tramp, garbage, traffic fumes and spilt diesel. At least for a while.

Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness

Or so goes the old saying. First coined by Amnesty International Founder Peter Benenson. If you want to get all biblical about it, there’s always Romans 13:11 “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.”

In this CCTV, Internet and phone surveillance daze, has the first sign that the ‘security’ pendulum is stuttering, and at last beginning the long slow swing away from total surveillance? Which was an impossible dream anyway. With the amount of digital traffic out there, even the most heavy duty filters would be hard pushed to track down bad guys as quickly as in a TV cop show.

Are we seeing a new, predawn light? Who knows? Even though the US Congress has passed the US Freedom Act by a landslide, legislation designed to curb the worst excesses of the notorious Patriot Act. Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. Providing that the Senate don’t trash it and the Golf pro currently occupying the US Presidents chair doesn’t veto it on the grounds of ‘National Security’, even though the sponsors of the original, and notorious Patriot act have admitted publicly that mass metadata collection is of little use against terrorism.

Wonder if it will catch on?

Probably not. It was a happy thought while it lasted.

Not a lot of people know that

I recently posted this Tom Scott video about Paris and ‘Paris syndrome’. What Tom doesn’t tell you is that the Parisian padlock craze isn’t just on one steel mesh guard rail bridge over the Seine. Around Ile de la cite, it’s all of them.

Seriously. On a sunny day they glitter like they’ve been gilded. Nor is this phenomena constrained to Paris. According to legend, this ‘tradition’ began in Serbia prior to WW1. Moscow has special wrought iron ‘trees’ for those determined to display their undying commitment by shackling an overpriced cheap lock to a piece of steel railing. I say ‘overpriced’ because some street entrepreneurs set up shop at either end of the bridge when Les Flics aren’t around, and flog locks at thrice the price and more to unsuspecting lovebirds. As well as the cheap sheradised models of La Tour Eiffel. One detail of which I’d forgotten.

Around premiere etage of said steel song are listed some of the great 18th & 19th Century scientists (Lagrange, Coulomb, Ampere) only half of whom I could remember from school and college. Everyone in the Anglosphere knows about Newton, Faraday and Hooke, but these men were also intellectual giants of their day, laying much of the groundwork for modern technology.

Meanwhile, back on Earth; just around midnight last night I was awakened by the noise of sudden heavy rain accompanied by a good deal of shouting outside in the street. I rolled over muttering “Noisy bloody kids.” and went back to sleep, thinking it was some of our less worldly neighbours celebrating the rain. This morning on my way down to the Boulangerie, I noted one small storefront had lost its plate glass door and a good chunk of a tempered glass window. Hmm. Don’t know if the street noise and damage were related, all I know is what I see.

There is nothing worth quite so much doing……

………..as simply messing around in boats. Truly. You see so much more from the rivers that still form trade arteries. Details on bridges, views of strange architecture and places, people and oddities that engage a mind more fully than any bus tour.

Recommendation: BatoBus day tours. Sixteen of the best Euros you will ever spend, and a reminder that when it comes to real Fcuk off monuments, I don’t think anyone does it better than the French. Even the most crazed dictator with a coterie of truly terrified style advisers simply lacks the flair of the Frogs for commissioning and placing poems of gilded rock and bronze around the landscape. Style. Bags of it. Even the beggars have a certain je ne sais quoi.

This is rapidly becoming my favourite city in the whole world. Although my feet are telling me not to try walking so much of it at once. Letting my pauvre pieds have the day off tomorrow, when I shall be attempting to improve my French by launching into Marc Lemonier’s epic treatise; ‘Dictionaire de Gros Mots‘. A tome worthy of minute study for the really serious student. I mean I did the stuff for the citizenship test, but you can never really claim mastery of language until you can freely bandy insults around, and understand when they are friendly banter, and when they are fightin’ words.

By way of an aside; I hear Ed Millipede has slunk off to Ibiza to lick his wounds. The moment I heard the news, the thought crept into my head; what if Millipede got all tranced up to dance naked on a nightclub table. I’m reliably informed that such events do happen in certain Ibiza clubs. And nobody noticed? Evil snigger (Simultaneously in English and French).

Be alert, your country needs, erm….. Lerts

Taking our daily post travail Parisian perambulation this lunchtime, Mrs S and I were meandering down the street when we noticed a fully armed Policeman, uniform almost blending into the painted wall on a street corner, automatic assault weapon at low port. “Hello. I think there’s a terror alert on.” I vouchsafed.
“Really?” Said my other half a little sceptically. However, suspicions were confirmed several times during our wander round Ile De La Cite, where we came across four distinct patrols of soldiers. Not Police or paramilitaries, but soldiers toting FAMAS Automatic weapons. Berets were being worn, but Spectra pattern helmets were slung within reach on belt packs.

Mile for mile, I’ve never seen so many police and military kitted up and loaded for bear. Locals, National Gendarmerie and full on military all looking for trouble among the tourists. While Mrs S and I were sitting and chatting, full of ourselves and Irish Coffee, three soldiers wandered close past us (Within two metres) in the Notre Dame gardens, giving our tourist camera bags the eyes over in case us two old farts were undercover Al’whatevertheyarethisweek terrorists and not two slightly inebriated Canadians enjoying the early evening sunshine. As for being a terrorist, whilst I freely admit to having done the odd Dance with Danger, Tango with Terror, and mildly unco-ordinated boogie with a bit of bovver, today we just smiled and chatted away to each other while the guys (and gals) with the guns meandered past.

A few years ago, armed Police would have made me very nervous indeed. Now, like the rest of the populace, we affected the “Oh so M’sieur has a gun? – Pff.” and got on with our lives. Apparently the heightened alert has been on for three months. Oh well, street life continues, and everyone’s out and about as usual. Drinking, eating, talking, doing business as usual. If it wasn’t for the Police and military presence, you wouldn’t have known.

Incidentally, while we were out, we didn’t see one of the notorious white faced French mime ‘Street Entertainer’ artistes. A few buskers and beggars, but only one clown, who honked his nose at a few Ile de la Cite tourists before moving on. If we’re lucky, the Police National have kept their zero tolerance policy on clowns after the 2014 Halloween ‘killer clown’ scare. Well isn’t that nice? Vive les Flics say I. Maybe they have a shoot on sight policy for all those white faced ‘artistes’, who go around terrorising tourists with their mimicry and invisible panes of glass.

Footnote: Just to clarify, I am of the Vetinari mindset when it comes to street mimes. They should all by chained upside down over hot tar facing a big sign saying; ‘LEARN THE WORDS’.

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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 221 other followers

%d bloggers like this: