Reasons why

Trigger warningWarning: this entry probably constitutes ‘hate speech’ (Despite being in a written format) as defined by the loopiness of certain Social Activists, who really need to go out and get proper, productive jobs to occupy their time. It may also shortly be against the law to write what I’ve documented here. At least in Canada if bill C-16 passes. So I’m writing this down while I can still legally do so.

As an aside; Social Activists often say they want ‘free’ speech, but seem to have a strange Stalinesque idea of what ‘free’ actually means. FYI boys and girls, ‘Free’ means unfettered, unrestricted, and may include stuff critical of your chosen cause that you may not like. Yet Twatter, Farcebook and Google have agreed to ‘police’ online debate on given topics. I’m not really bothered because when the next big thing comes along and refuses to sell out to them, watch their stock plummet. One of my Brothers in law thinks Farcebook is here “Forever.” I disagree. Ten years and the next generation will be saying “Face-what?”

But that’s by the by. No poorly thought through legislation backed by our foolishly foppish prime minister, or anyone else, can change anything. You don’t change people’s minds by shutting them up, jailing them, calling them ‘haters’ or lambasting them with any other pejorative.

Anyway. One of the things I’ve given thought to every once in a while, is why certain issues have become more prevalent in Westernised societies all around the world over the past few decades. Why the upsurge in transgender issues (Reportedly up five fold, whatever that means) and the increase in homosexuality? (Up 42.4% in Canada since 2006) What has changed? Were these people always there and just shoved under the carpet? Or is there a bigger issue, one that underlies the increase? A root cause, so to speak.

So I did what I always do, and that is to go have a root around in the professional and medical documentation on a given topic and read up on it. Rather than rely on knee jerk, dog whistle reactive dogma based on incorrect assumptions. I’ve learned not to trust the media (They sell drama, not news) or one source alone, but try to have a look at what the real experts are saying and see if it stacks up against the anecdotal. I think about it this way; anecdotal evidence on its own is not enough to make a judgement, you have to see if the observed empirical evidence concurs. If the two match up, and you’ve winnowed out the impossible, then what you have must be close to the truth, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, right? If it’s a fact, how can it be ‘hate’?

So; here’s the skinny, as they say. Or is that too sizeist, thinnest, fattist, or some other invented and wholly artificial grievance? Dear gods, the economy is in the tank and all the government can come up with is outlawing ‘hate speech’ to buy the votes of professional victims? Clucking bell.

Notwithstanding. Many emotional and mental health issues have their genesis in early childhood emotional development. Modern post industrial society creates many opportunities for child rejection, like parents who place children in ‘childcare’ within weeks or even days of giving birth so they can go back to work. Way before the child is secure enough in its identity to resist the stress of perceived abandonment. Regarding parents; oddly enough it doesn’t seem to matter if both parents are men or women. Or even that the primary caregiver is not related by blood. The important thing is the bonding and nurturing. So long as the child does not suffer feelings of abandonment and feels needed at critical junctures in it’s emotional development, no problem. When this does not take place the child’s sense of loss and fear opens the door to self rejection, known to create emotional issues in later life like transgenderism, homosexuality, depression, addiction and chronic anxiety. All of said disorders are known to be related to dysfunctional upbringings and the inner rage associated with perceived rejection, abandonment or failures of nurture by either or both parents.

Now when a person “self rejects”, the only variable is what they will reject. A healthy body, misalignment of sexual identity, gender, sociality or humanity are all things the emotionally damaged turn against. None of which, it has been proven, have any physical or genetic component. Nor can these conditions be caught or passed on like a disease.

So you can stand next to that odd looking woman in the queue in perfect safety because it’s not contagious. Although sniggering quietly to yourself is a suitable deterrent because they’re so insecure they think everything is all about them. If challenged, come back with a tart; “Yes? What do you want? I’m rather busy.” There’s no law against laughing to yourself. Yet.

Anecdotal observation and several studies indicate that dramatic increases in such disorders have occurred since the mid and late 20th Century. This phenomenon is well known to psychologists but often not acknowledged by the psychiatric profession, who actually pander to transgender dysfunctions with hormone and surgical interventions. The intent being to placate these people’s troubled psyche’s when instead a given patient should be sent to a social psychologist who can help the afflicted reclaim their identities and learn to deal with the rage of perceived rejection that lives at the heart of their disorder.

Surgery and hormone treatment for transgenders is often seen as the solution, but if that is the cure, then why the huge recorded post operative suicide rate? Study here. This uptick in self destruction is attributable to the fact that hormone treatment and surgery and the subsequent public validation of their new gender identity only sublimates the individuals self rejection, confirming that their original gender identity was worthy of rejection, and ultimately resulting in the ultimate self-rejection of suicide. To quote from the study;

It is generally accepted that transsexuals have more psychiatric ill-health than the general population prior to the sex reassignment. It should therefore come as no surprise that studies have found high rates of depression, also after sex reassignment. Notably, however, in this study the increased risk for psychiatric hospitalisation persisted even after adjusting for psychiatric hospitalisation prior to sex reassignment. This suggests that even though sex reassignment alleviates gender dysphoria, there is a need to identify and treat co-occurring psychiatric morbidity in transsexual persons not only before but also after sex reassignment.

Which is a waste. Not only of life, but of the valuable health resources (Operating theatre costs, post operative costs, specialist staff, counselling, drugs, etcetera) expended to changing their gender. However, Trudeau can pass his silly law banning ‘Hate speech’ against a few hundred (?) individuals but it won’t address the problem, because transgenders will still keep self destructing at an alarming rate.

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My perverted tastes

Many years ago, when you could still do these things, I had a motorcycle licence plate bearing the subtitle ‘Leather pervert’ under the license number. It was a bit of fun, nothing to get wound up about because I used to wear a lot of leather. With body armour, because I’d learned that being hit by one of those clumsy people in their four wheeled tin boxes tended to hurt. As did falling off your motorcycle because your brakes jammed, or hitting a nasty patch of spilled diesel or ice on a sharp corner. These were my salad days, when I was green in judgement. At least according to someone else called William. I had a lot of fun back then, bending rules and generally just being a lad. Not that wild, but not that tame, either.

Anyway, I’ve always had a hankering for the different and occasionally exotic and my circle of close friends has often been a little eclectic to put it mildly. Much to my father’s irritation. He wanted me to join the golf club and settle down to a ‘job for life’, which never really existed anyway. Sorry Boss.

My issue with my Dad was always him telling me “Do this!” or “Do that!” but never exactly helping me find out how. Which was probably why I was such a disappointment to him. I was forced to make up my own rules as I went along. Without any guidance. So I experimented. In the process I ended up making some less than ideal life decisions but; I have learned a few things that I would not have otherwise have known. Like Frozen Vanilla Yoghurt and a teaspoonful of top notch Seville Marmalade make a dynamite dessert. By ‘Top notch’ marmalade I mean not the usual store bought stuff that’s mostly jelly. I mean the opaque, peel rich variety, solidly fruity and sinfully bitter. It’s like BDSM on the palate. The innocent creaminess of Frozen Vanilla Yoghurt contrasted with the wicked lash of Seville Oranges giving just a hint of barbed wire undergarment. This is a dessert that almost demands you raid the exotic corsetry section of your local sex shop to wear while eating it. Although if you’re not feeling formal you can go with the informal look of jeans and T-shirt with your zip partially undone at minimum. Notwithstanding; it’s what this perverted confection does on your tongue that’s important.

It’s so good it must be illegal.

A little weekend drama

A sunny Victorian Friday afternoon around four. Unscheduled call from sister in law up island. Our elderly widowed friend up there has suffered some kind of sudden illness and called an ambulance. Mrs S gets on Skype and contacts the sheltered living facility elderly widow is domiciled at. No answer. They’ve gone home because Friday is ‘poets’ day (Piss Off Early Tomorrow’s Saturday). Has the Ambulance been called or not? Has it arrived? Has friend been admitted yet? After half an hour of phoning hospital we have our answer. In-laws will go in first to check because they’re closest. We’ll get ready. Just in case.

While waiting for answers I pack. Five minutes and we’re all set. Suited and booted. I’ve even thrown in a couple of books because I know from long experience that hospitals are all ‘hurry up and wait’. In-laws agree to put us up for the night, saving us a hotel bill, and after a flurry of exchanges on cell and Skype, we decide that since we have power of attorney over friends ‘living will’ we have to be there. Just in case. We were heading oop norf tomorrow for a visit and delivery of birthday presents anyway, but this event has shifted our timetable forward by twenty four hours.

So, out into the crawling nonsense of Victoria’s Friday afternoon traffic we go. Taking half an hour to travel the first four miles. Once out onto the highway it gets better and the hammer goes down, in a genteel sort of way. Moving briskly but safely. Out of the way boys and girls, Uncle Bill has a job to do.

Around seventy miles later. Me driving and Mrs S on the phone, we pull up and head into the hospital emergency department. Finding to our eternal relief that elderly widowed friend is mostly just dehydrated after a nasty bout of gastroenteritis, and will be ‘filled up’ and sent home between twenty four and forty eight hours later, providing all the other tests hospitals and doctors like to do draw a blank. We regale friend with tales of our recent US road trip to keep her entertained before a porter comes to wheel her down to X-ray. By the time we leave the hospital it’s eight, so Mrs S and I brave the sluggish evening service at a White Spot restaurant because neither of us have eaten since breakfast.

Over to in-laws for a tea and jaw session before bedtime. Hospital in the morning so we crash and roll out of our pit for a swift mug of tea before getting on the road again. Agree to meet in-laws later.

We arrive at the hospital and pile into the short stay facility to find elderly widow friend has had her check up from the neck up and down again. According to ER physician “There’s nothing we didn’t expect to find in a ninety six year old body.” So we found her rehydrated and good to go home, which was a pleasant surprise. By eleven am Saturday we’re all done and elderly widow friend is home and resting. We make sure Reception knows about her current state and ask them to make sure an appropriate fuss is made, which they are happy to do.

Thence it’s coffee, chat and cookies in a trendy but basic café with in-laws before heading back to the barn. Job done. By twelve noon all is well. After a stop for a leisurely lunch we’re home by three thirty. Our little weekend drama is over and we have now stopped to catch our breath. Wasn’t that fun? No. But we’d have only been bored otherwise.

That Brexit business

I’ve been reading some interesting history about the causes of the American Civil war recently, with more in depth contemporary sources from both sides of the Atlantic. Civil war Bill? Isn’t this post title about the UK leaving the EU? Okay, bear with me. All will become crystal in due course.

Now the US Civil War was fought over slavery, right? That’s what we’re taught in school. Erm… wrong! It began because of taxation. Ever hear of a thing called the Morrill Tariff? Those guys in Fort Sumter that got fired upon, kicking the whole thing off? Tax collectors, there to ensure the collection of said Washington imposed Tariff, which hiked internal Federal import duties for the Southern states from 20 to 47%. Yikes! Much to the annoyance of the Southern states and also the British, who were a major trading partner at the time.

Journalist and anti-slavery campaigner Charles Dickens (Yes, that Charles Dickens) wrote a number of scathing articles criticising the imposition of this tariff increase by the US Federal Government. Which of course went down like a lead balloon with our cousins in the north-eastern USA after they’d feted him in a grand tour. Myth, is it? Don’t think so.

As an aside, I’d never really realised what a nasty piece of work old Abraham Lincoln was. He actually gave orders to instigate the war. Other secret orders followed; orders for executions of civilians. A bizarre mass execution of 38 Minnesota Indians. Carte blanche for rampaging troops to burn and pillage. He wasn’t a lover of non-whites either, preferring to ship them back to Africa and suchlike after the war. Slaves might be freed by the Civil War, but they were definitely unwanted by the North.

As a history buff, I’m often amused by the way people keep on trying the same old games with highly similar results. History never exactly repeats itself, but you don’t have to be a towering intellect to understand that applying the same old answers to the same old questions always ends in tears. So, I’m given to think, will be the results of the breakup of the EU.

Now here’s a scenario. Say the ‘leave’ contingent of the electorate get their way and there is a massive vote to ditch the bureaucratic monstrosity that the EU has become. The UK begins the process of leaving, to which the EU’s response is a demand for a massive ‘penalty’ payment. To which the UK, quite rightly and like the Southern states did in 1861, says “F**k *ff”. The EU then imposes punitive tariffs on exports to the UK, and for a couple of months the Brits can’t get parts for their Fiats, Peugeots, Mercedes or BMW’s for love nor money, and they have to import their wine from Chile and Argentina. Amongst other things. Until said tariffs are circumvented by the simple expedient of shifting the paper trail of European imports via Norway. Norway’s economy booms with this new trade route, much to the chagrin of the Brussels bureaucrats.
Brexit
Unless of course Brexit is the first step in other major contributing countries deciding that the EU is more trouble than it’s worth. France for one. Some of the old Warsaw pact states and of course bankrupt Greece. The whole project could fold if Germany decides it’s not going to keep the whole shebang going on its own. Which would present challenges, but also many opportunities. As well as being one in the eye for those who think that Government always knows best (It doesn’t). Who will not like it, not one little bit, and will take measures of all sorts to make life difficult for countries who want out. Up to and including bullets and bombs. A close study of history teaches us that this is so.

As for slavery? In the mid 1850’s it was an institution that was on its way out, at least in the West. Allegedly.

Now I’m fully behind the idea of the UK leaving the EU, which was sold as a free trade area, but has turned into a massive greedy bureaucratic leech. One that is bloated, well past it’s sell-by date and needs a good rinse and spin to shrink it down to size. Unfortunately, too many useless mouths have got, in the words of my forbears “Too damn cosy with other people’s money.” But they will fight tooth and nail to maintain their lives of privilege and air conditioned offices. In their eyes ‘Brexit’ is a major threat which may require force. Rather like the US Civil War.

My final word on the topic (for a given value of ‘final’) Leave, but be prepared for a fight. Just in case.

Downtown again

Afternoon, downtown Victoria having recently returned from the USA. The population of ‘street people’ a.k.a. beggars appears to have more than doubled since I last meandered around Fort, Douglas and Government Streets. Might be just a seasonal thing, might be to do with the increase from the homeless encampment back of the court buildings. I’ve got to the stage where I just tune all the begging out and carry on with where I’m going. Same for those raising petitions for ‘Transgender rights’ and suchlike. Frankly you couldn’t pay me to care. I’d probably raise an eyebrow if a person in a dress stood next to me in a public toilet to use the boys urinals, but so long as they keep themselves to themselves I’m not bothered. I’ve spent too much time in Paris and elsewhere to be fazed by such weirdness. Although if I still had small children, my reaction might be a leetle bit more defensive.

However, closer to the camp, Victoria’s usually moribund crime rate has rocketed 46% with all sorts off bad manners. For example; while having coffee yesterday, I observed more than the usual number of uniformed officers on foot. Not in a hurry, just walking purposefully as if they were on the lookout for somebody or something. Which piqued my curiosity. My reasoning is thus; if the local coppers are, then some kind of game is afoot.

I’ve also noted new security measures going up all around downtown in a subdued, very Victorian manner. New railings and barriers in car parks etcetera. I mean the crusties are not a real problem for those who used to people being less than well behaved, but for others who have a fit of the vapours and call 911 on the silliest of pretexts…. Well, perhaps that’s another story.

As for the camp itself, the hearing over its existence has been put back to September, something which a lot of people are not terribly enchanted about. Me, I think the whole issue is borderline out of control since well-meaning, but totally witless, people authorised the provision of plumbing and flush toilets instead of simply kicking out the less desirable elements and providing homeless shelter spaces for those in real need. Which act has made it more comfortable for the less than law-abiding and left local residents with an escalating crime problem. See the comment from ‘Wafflesdemonslayer’ on this thread. I’ll lay odds that’s not the only story of this nature.

At present Mrs S and I are contemplating a move away from Victoria itself. Working online as we do, we don’t need to be this close to downtown as the rents are too high and there’s not enough quality entertainment there to keep us coming back. On the other hand, if increasing crime sends over inflated property and rental prices spiralling downwards, I might be willing to buy in and campaign hard for the nuisance to be removed. On the other hand, knowing how wringing wet some vociferous people are around here, I’d probably be backing a losing horse.

Just as a fantasy exercise; I wonder what would happen if someone with real money wanted the crusties gone? Say they hired four dozen private security guys from off island to wash the camp off the map in the small hours of the night with fire hoses. The local hipsters get plausible deniability and the opportunity to virtue signal frantically about how horrible someone must be to be so mean to all these poor people. The less desirables get a serious eviction message and the crime rate takes a nosedive. But I don’t think anyone round here is really that ruthless. Not that I’m advocating anything of that nature, but it’s a thought.

A more palatable alternative might be to get the local cops to strictly enforce existing bylaws forbidding booze and other intoxicants from being consumed in BC’s public parks and confiscating any containers found. Back it up by threatening the liquor licences of stores who knowingly supply the camp. As it is in a public space, a tent there is not covered by legal restrictions on searches, so, no need for warrants. Sure it’s harassment, but the camp itself is already a source of harassment for local residents. Not that some seem to be interested. They’re more interested in painting the crosswalks.

Heavy sigh. We’ll see what this years tourist season brings.

A touch of melancholia

Today I am feeling rather sad. Nothing desperate, just several glitters short of a sparkle. Pensively distracted. A wistful melancholy settling on my soul like low cloud, blocking the wider view. Last night, in the early morning hours where sleep would not come, I swore I could hear my late Mother’s voice singing the old Ella Fitzgerald number ‘Melancholy Baby’ like she did when I was small.

Ma Sticker was a secret Jazz lover, and played piano in a band when she was young. In her unguarded moments, when cares were miles away, I’d often hear her singing softly to herself. Lilting tunes from the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s. Now whenever my way is unclear, I can hear her voice in my head as though she were in the same room. Funny that. She’s been dead almost two years now and still she can reach out and lay hand on my heart.

Always thought Ma would make it to three figures, but in the end she simply threw up her hands and gave up the ghost four months short of her ninety ninth birthday. She’d be a hundred this year, if she’d lived.

Mrs S says I’m suffering from ‘road trip burnout’ and perhaps she’s right. I’m back behind my desk and in need of stimulation. I’m up to date with all my work and perhaps a little ennui has bubbled up between the cracks (again). Perhaps because I’ve recently gone from eighty miles an hour down to twenty and twenty is sooo boring. Maybe I need one of these and some big empty roads to play on. Or some other unfettered adventure perhaps?

At least this July I’m to be spared the tedium of Mrs S’s symposium and it’s appalling vegan cuisine. I get to slob around Vancouver for a couple of days checking out the fleshpots. Maybe I’ll get out of the city and just head West for a couple of nights, stopping and starting as the muse takes me.

Chromium malware

Chromium malwareThose accursed eHippies at Google have done it again (may they be consigned to eternal hell fire). Today they have wasted my time (On Victoria Day!) whilst I got rid of a browser I never consciously installed that did not show up in my Windows 7 machines Control Panel. Furthermore, it had no Uninstall option and kept on trying to set itself up in my default programs settings, as well as plugging into my machines microphone. I had to spend two and a half working hours digging through the registry on my machine to get rid of this insidious tentacular pest known as Chromium.

Let me explain; two days ago I found a Google browser called ‘Chromium‘ appearing every time I rebooted my machine. “Funny.” I thought. “I didn’t install that.” I looked for it in my startup folder. Not there. I hunted through my programs list to uninstall and couldn’t find it, yet this piece of zombie malware kept popping up every time I booted my machine. Even stealing program settings from other browsers, which I hadn’t asked it to do. Even if I’d installed the crappy thing in the first place. Diving once more into the tech forums for a couple of hours, I came across a whole host of others so afflicted over the last twelve months. Each with their own cure. Each equally annoyed. So it wasn’t just me then?

In the end I had to edit my machines registry key by key, which I don’t like having to do, deleting a total of over twenty six (I lost count after that) specific keys before I got rid of the wretched thing. It’s bad enough that you have to defend against hackers, crackers and every kind of demented 13 year old who thinks it’s funny to fuck other people around by spreading viruses and malware into their machines without so-called ‘reputable’ companies putting in their own sneakware that changes your machines settings without permission, as well as activating functions you deactivated for very good reason.

After trawling through my laptops various log files I eventually found out where this egregious pile-of-shit code had come from, piggybacking in on a shareware application that I downloaded and then uninstalled after finding it wasn’t up to snuff. Got the shareware via a reputable source as well, which kind of blindsided me.

But I’m damned sure I never asked for it.

Satellite navigation

I own a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 inch screen tablet and a very useful piece of kit it is. I use it for handling email when away from base, Instagramming and Skyping with family. Even occasionally taking pictures. It also has a moderately decent ‘maps’ navigation feature and built in GPS chip. While we were in Paris last year it served us well. The little blue dot representing our position on any map was our best friend. It directed us back to our little apartment on many occasions when we had become turned around. This year, several Google upgrades on, this specific application has become not so user friendly.

Let me describe what happens; we fire up the application while we’re in wi-fi access, set our journey options and follow the little blue dot. Ten minutes later the little blue dot turns grey and stubbornly stays on one point of the map we passed twenty minutes before. Now we didn’t use to have to do this in Paris as in the factory default application before Google got their grubby little digital paws on it, all the maps were internal and updated whenever we were connected to the Internet. When not online, it worked as well as any Satnag I’ve ever used, and was a cut above in that it did not send us the wrong way down any one way streets. During our recent journey however, we lost contact on a number (Twenty? Fifty? I lost count) of critical junctures, leading to unnecessarily harsh words being spoken between driver and navigator.

Today I went and checked out a few tech forums, and rapidly found the answer. In the factory default, the original application works off ‘GPS only’. In the Google ‘upgrade’, it switched my device location (Without asking me for permission to do so) settings to ‘Internet and GPS’. In which mode the little blue dot stops for a breather without asking permission. The fix is simple; in the ‘Settings’ menu on your Tab. Select ‘Location’ menu and change location selector to ‘GPS only’. Check after each Google upgrade to ensure that the latest ‘upgrade’ has not switched it back. Bloody Google. They used to be so useful until they went all Microsoft on us.

As an aside: Google may be experimenting with self driving cars, but until they sort out the satellite navigation side, I certainly won’t consider riding in one.

Science doubleplusungood

Grain of salt not guilty verdictIn between donating stuff to the Salvation Army Thrift store today I was amiably sifting through the news and found cause for hope in this world. As an aside; it always gives me a smile when activist propagandised ‘health’ advice gets a well deserved kick up the arse.

Today a study has surfaced about that big bad bugaboo of the illness establishment, salt. Good old Sodium Chloride, that essential nutrient which now seems to be rather good for you as part of a balanced diet. A study some establishment voices are decrying loudly with “Foul! Ref!”.

Which those of us with a slightly better than average working knowledge of the human frame have been saying all along. While the illness establishment and its well funded activists have been saying; “No, no, salt is bad, really bad. Don’t use it! You’ll die horribly, your legs will drop off, erm, er, next Tuesday week unless you cut back to under five grammes a day!” All the time ignoring the harmful effects of too little salt in the diet (Hyponatremia).

For the final time; over five grammes of good old NaCl a day is only bad for you, as the hand waving activists maintain, if you already have a dodgy heart, liver or kidneys and high blood pressure. The healthy human body can easily cope with more and is surprisingly resilient, as well as coming in a wide range of shapes and sizes with differing dietary tolerances. What the hand wavers and professional political advocates cannot understand is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to anything. If there were, then we wouldn’t need all these clothing and shoe stores for one. Which would give lots of non-males out there nothing to do at the weekend (Dis-aster dwarlings). The retail and distribution sectors would collapse, resulting in massive unemployment and penury, and there would be a lot of shopaholics in dire need of psychological therapy. Yes, and poor Sophie Kinsella wouldn’t have a career, you uncaring bastards.

Me, I tend to treat these media ‘science’ alarums and diversions with the contempt they so richly deserve. For example; if people knew that potatoes belonged to the Deadly Nightshade (Solanaceae) family of plants, along with Eggplant and Tomatoes, would they be so keen on tucking into an extra portion of fries with tomato on the side? Or what about Broccoli and all those other ‘healthy’ vegetables? Mm-mm, taste that gorgeous Sulforaphane. Which is one of Broccoli’s defence mechanisms. Even if in the right doses it (As part of a prescribed course of therapy) can be used to treat cancer. Those doses must be relatively small. Concentrated, this chemical is very nasty indeed. So maybe it’s not a good idea to have that daily broccoli smoothie. To quote Paracelsus “The poison is in the dose.” A little is fine, a lot, not so much.

As regards vegetables, I would like to remind my last remaining reader that they are plants. One thing you should know about plants. All plants have some sort of defence mechanism against predators (Grazing animals with specialised digestive systems), either mechanical (Thorns) or chemical (Toxins). Which is why a vegan diet will not protect anyone from cancer or heart disease. There is even a distinct possibility that exclusively eating vegetable matter may in fact have deleterious long term effects on the human anatomy and contribute to an increased cancer and heart disease risk. Anecdotally speaking I’ve come across a few real life vegans, and frankly they never inspired confidence in their way of life. One insipid little guy had the temerity to stand over me while I was eating a well earned home made beef stew, calling my meal ‘dog meat’. I’m told he died over fifteen years ago. I reiterate. The human frame thrives best on a mixed diet. Proteins, animal fats, vitamins and minerals (and we don’t digest chlorophyll very well). Something, in their naive quest for a single solution to the world’s ills, the hand wavers conveniently ignore. What is good for a rural Inuit (Adapted over generations to a high protein, high fat diet) will not be good for an Urban Southern European, and so forth.

Which leads me to think that if the hand wavers had their way, we’d all live in identical houses on identical streets wearing identical robe type clothes and eating nothing but low salt, low fat gruel and dying when we’re jolly well told to before our pensions kick in. Apart from them, because they’re so superior and well, better from the rest of us aren’t they? Apart from being consistently wrong. About everything. All the time.

What the hand wavers also don’t seem to get is that most of us are grown ups quite able to make our own choices. Given accurate and timely information. Which their fad-driven factoids so often aren’t. Which so many ‘journalists’ nowadays seem not to fact check out of all the activists’ doom laden press releases. Well, most mainstream ‘news’ outlets sell drama more than real news.

The actual problem I feel, has deep roots in Academia, where in order to get a grant for research, a given academic must please the bureaucracy who hold the research fund purse strings. The bureaucrats in turn must please their political masters, who dole out the bigger funds according to their own (often ossified and underdeveloped) belief system. With the effect that everyone has to do what they’re told or the grant money dries up like rain on hot rock. The word is; toe the party line or starve.

Not unsurprisingly, many academics choose the easy option, just so that they can focus on their proper research while nobody’s looking. This isn’t always the case, but at present there’s far too much “Find the results we want” ‘science’ like with climate modelling. Models have their place, like providing a basis for prototyping, but they do need to mirror reality to be truly useful. Which climate models so far have not. Same with diet, there are way too many stray dogmas which need euthanising. Veganism for one.

Unfortunately, the politics surrounding certain areas of research is stunting real scientific investigation. At least within the University system. Politicians and their globalist mentors want to extend their power so they fund activist groups to lobby themselves and spread their version of what is ‘right’. Which is a bit of a con-job and no mistake. Then under ‘advice’ from said activist groups advice, they (directly and indirectly) influence bureaucrats and researchers looking for a meal ticket, funding by giving both activist and bureaucrats cushy little sinecures on policy influencing Non-Governmental Organisations from which dissenting views are often excluded. Maybe that’s a model that needs changing.

Blood and sand!

I just checked my odometer on our faithful little SUV and got a bit of a shock. Since we began what I’m still minded to think of as our ‘little adventure’, the reading has gone from 71418 to 87974 Kilometres. Which means we’ve driven 16,556 Kilometres in the last six weeks. A shade over 10,000 (ten thousand) miles. About two fifths of the way around the Earth. The equivalent of driving from Victoria BC to Victoria in jolly old Londinium, UK, and back with miles to spare. Even if you could drive in a straight line without getting very damp crossing the Atlantic. We’ve driven well over the distance to Victoria Australia for heavens sake! My Guinness! I haven’t done that sort of mileage since my road warrior days back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Or even when I was working my way through college driving a van in the 1980’s, clocking up close to 50,000 personal miles in one year. Blood and sand! As I am often heard to expostulate.

The only mechanical issue encountered was a blowout of the rear drivers side tyre on the road between Amarillo, Texas and San Antonio. Which says a lot for our car. It has lugged us and our baggage all the way without missing a beat. However, for the moment I think our brave little Subaru has earned a rest and a thorough service for its travails. So it’s back to shopping and errands, with the odd commute on the side.

Anyway, what have I learned during our journey? Well actually quite a bit, but perhaps not quite so much as some would think. Then again, possibly more than I can enumerate at present as my brain is currently still processing all the sights, sounds and experiences of the last 42 (forty two) days, drip feeding them into long term memory and hard coding everything into my consciousness for easy retrieval. Normally I’m quite good at replaying the videotape of my memories back to myself, but the vastness of landscape and enormity of distance have left my subconscious running around in panic mode trying to file it all properly. I’ll have to refer to the thousand or so pictures we took to refresh my memory, just so I can bore people to tears with tall tales of derring don’t.

Mrs S remarked that her own brain is still a little overwhelmed because whilst the body may move at over sixty miles an hour, the brain follows at a more pedestrian pace. It’s small wonder we haven’t, metaphysically speaking, collided with ourselves on the way back. I may have to practice standing very still for the next couple of days while I catch up with myself.

The rest of the world will have to wait.

The end is nigh

Well actually it’s here. The long trip is over and we’re safe home to a leaky toilet and thoughts of moving to a less plumbing troubled apartment. Yesterday we crossed the border back into Canada and reached home. We are taking a huge tranche of memories and experiences, some of which I will be sharing with my last remaining reader as I shoehorn the relevant memories into some semblance of order. We’ve taken over a thousand pictures, some of which are actually in focus, a select few of which will be cropped, resized and posted on this blog, possibly with amusing captions and text.

One of the reasons I haven’t posted so much about our trip is simple; we’ve been too busy doing to write about it, and there’s been at least an hour a day when my brain’s been too overwhelmed to put everything down in a half way cogent fashion.

This content will not be appearing on Facebook. First because I’ve tried to shut my Facebook account down several times. Yes, I followed all the tips and hints religiously, but still the wretched thing has been resurrected so many times you’d think it had been buried in a Yo-yo. Second because I now do all my picture and video sharing with family and friends on Instagram. As our kids have migrated away from Facebook, so have we. Third because Facebook censors stuff it’s employees don’t like. It’s politically censorious because that was always part of its design. Which will eventually be the death of the site. Remember Friends reunited? Yes? No? Don’t care? That was big. Once upon a time. No doubt Facebook will follow as people tire of getting those annoying little ‘Your content has been removed’ notices. Tout passe, tout lasse, tout casse, et tout se remplace. I don’t care how many ’emotional speeches’ people make about their personal lives. You’d think they were the only people who’d ever suffered troubled times. Newsflash! Been there, done that. Not impressed with all the public caterwauling.

Any old road up, of which we have encountered many, I’ve got two major projects for this Summer. One is work related, but the other is to go through all the photo’s we took and spend a little time documenting our trip properly with all the events and anecdotes associated with our journey. From underwhelming hotel accommodation and nice surprises to random stuff like finding ‘white power’ visiting cards under our windscreen wiper one merry May morning. Which amused me, but also brought forth the snippet that there was an active community of such people in Boise. The noisy sort who hold marches and suchlike. We missed them all while we were there. They must have been taking the day off is all I can say.

Talking of taking the day off, I’ve just been looking for volunteer opportunities locally to help victims of the Fort McMurray fire. To which I must report I found none in Victoria. At least not online. There are plenty for Syrian refugees, SPCA, Eating Disorders, Invasive Plant Species, Farmers Markets, but none for sending supplies to the afflicted in Alberta. Maybe I’m just too late and all the fuss is over? Or is the well known BC prejudice against Oil Sands production making itself felt yet again? Hmm.

The big potato

That was a bit of a hike across from West Yellowstone to Boise. Across miles of hills, volcanic left overs (I can honestly report that I have been to see the Craters of the Moon) and potato fields. Miles and bloody miles of nothing but potato fields interspersed with the odd ranch. Well, this road trip is an exploration, and what we found in Idaho was mile after mile of potato fields.

Yellowstone by contrast was brilliant. We saw no bears or wolves, but did come across dozens of buffalo grazing by the roadside. Parts of the park were still closed because of snow and the real risk of being attacked and even eaten by a grizzly bear. Let me explain; bears come out of hibernation in the spring, having hibernated through the coldest months, and like anyone who’s had a nice long kip, they tend to wake up very hungry. Which isn’t much fun if Mr Bear is looking out for a little smackerel of something, and today it’s your turn on the menu under ‘dish of the day’.

Notwithstanding, Mrs S and I went “ooh!” and “ah!” at all the Geysers and hot springs, saw Old Faithful spout it’s stuff, went around the visitor centre and ate hot dogs purporting to be made from Bison before wending our directionally challenged way back to our Hotel. On that topic, there was a great deal of spirited discussion about how the hell we’d missed our turning back to the park entrance, and the additional interest of watching a rescue crew go to the aid of a car that had mistaken a river gorge for the road. Then watch in amazement as an ignorant driver tried to shove a stop sign bearing park ranger aside with their vehicle while reading a cell phone screen. A word to anyone out there who texts while driving; you’re a fucking moron whose name we hope to see in the obituary columns, hopefully without taking anyone else with you. That and I hope your insurance company refuses to pay for any damage done. Having seen the antics of drivers peering at their tiny cell phone screens while driving, I’m inclined to observe that texting while driving is worse than driving under the influence of any drug. A relapsing alcoholic is a better insurance risk. A shoot on sight policy may be necessary.

One additional note from recent news reports. About this whole transgender thing and public toilets. Here’s a suggestion; let those self identifying as neither fish nor flesh nor fowl use the disabled toilets. So all those parents fretting about perverts in public loos leering at their offspring can now breathe. I’m also minded to note that those who are male to female TG’s will never truly be biologically female, no matter how good their cosmetic surgery. Their glands will always be intrinsically male, and they can’t have ovaries. Likewise the female to male. Cosmetic surgery can’t give them a functional set of testicles or shrink their Corpus Callosum (Although recent studies have called the sexual dimorphism of this brain structure into doubt). Transgenders are self-disabling, they can neither be defined as male or female, so I would posit that the disabled toilets are where these unfortunately psycho-sexually scrambled individuals belong. Wasn’t that easy? No need for new laws or anything. Besides, there are so few real TG’s proportionately speaking in the population that I’m moved to ask why the hell this is even an issue requiring legislation. Or is this a case of Social Activists making a civil rights mountain out of a molehill? As per bloody usual. I suppose it gives them something to do. Although I wish they’d take up a more socially useful pursuit like building train sets or stamp collecting.

On an associated topic, having spent time in France on more than one occasion and become used to Frances eclectic mixture of public male and female sanitary facilities, I personally am less likely to be startled when Mom suddenly appears behind me while I’m recycling my coffee because junior is afraid to go to the loo on his own. As recently happened in one restaurant facility. I was siphoning the old python and heard the clicking of female heels behind me. Glancing curiously over my shoulder I saw a woman ushering her recalcitrant and protesting little boy towards the mens cubicles. “I’ll be here.” She reassured him. I looked at her with a sympathetic grimace and she graciously apologised for the intrusion. Which was fine. Kids sometimes do have issues when out in public. All you can do is accept any apology with a polite smile and make sure your zipper or fly buttons are properly closed before moving on to the washbasin and hand drier. It’s only good manners.

Above and below the snow line

That was fun, wasn’t it young Bill? All we needed was hail and a hurricane and we’ll have collected the set as far as weather is concerned on this trip. As you can see by the photo below we’ve been up above the snow line, watching the less prepared skid and swerve after powering past us on dry roads lower down. The chap in the picture below for example, was travelling on summer tyres and shortly after Mrs S took this picture shimmied into a left filter lane to let us past when the fog got too much for him.
Snow Joke driving Then he cut in behind us as we caught up with an eighteen wheeler on the downgrade, only to vanish off the road a few minutes later, having already stirred my survival instincts with his mildly erratic steering. Did he lose the road completely or lose his nerve? No idea. All I know is that he was there one second and gone the next. The three pickups and cars behind us showed no signs of alarm, so I assume he swung off into one of the laybys on the other side of the road to catch his breath. The old US-50 through the mountains isn’t a road I’d like to travel in less than totally dry conditions on summer rubber. Anyway, I digress.

A week left. Wow. I keep getting asked by various people about what I, as a Canadian and expat Brit, think about the USA. To which the answer is a big “Don’t know”. Which sounds like a bit of a cop-out and maybe it is, but my sense of scale is still in complete overload. ‘What I think’ is not something I care to distil into a single sentence. I could of course cheat and resort to vague and cheesy adjectives like ‘fantastic’, ‘amazing’ and even ‘awesome’, but these would be highly misleading. The USA is too diverse, too big to sum up in this fashion. From desert to swamp, farmland to forest, from flood plain to salt flat. Oh yes, regarding Bonneville salt flats (Another one ticked off my bucket list), this is what the raceway looked like yesterday.Bonneville salt flats 11th May 2016
The bullet hole riddled black sign (I estimate at least 20 perforations, and another 30 bullet dents) in the lower right of the picture is at the end of the access road. After that the rest of the area, several square miles, are two to six inches deep in water. By the end of the month this water will be gone. Evaporated, just like every year. We didn’t take our sturdy little SUV out on the waterlogged flats, as the fee for getting towed out of the mud and salt should you get stuck, is a cool twelve hundred bucks US. I’m not sure if the towing companies take credit cards either. Anyway, the salt will all have dried out by early June, and the crust will be hard and smooth enough for race week and speed record attempts by the blistering head of mid July and August. I’d like to see that. Fly into Salt Lake, hire a car, park out at the rest area at mile 104 with a big sunshade and my 20×50 binoculars and watch the fun.

Back in time

Well sort of. We’re now only an hour and six days from home base. One hour in time zones and six more days of driving around the good old US of A. National Parks and general meandering around. Yesterday in Colorado Springs however brought a nasty reminder of how things can catch you out, but also an object lesson in using available resources to sort it out.

In short, an old health problem raised its head. My back locked up. A legacy of years of weight training and generally abusing my body with physical exertion. Two muscles, specifically the Quadratus Lumborum that help stabilise the lower back took it into their fibres to spasm and seize up. Now if you know anything about this condition you will understand two things; firstly it is paralysingly, spine gratingly painful. Secondly you cannot bend or straighten, and walking is sheer torture. It’s a show stopper. Even the slightest misalignment of the back when lying or sitting is agony. A bed or chair that is too hard or soft renders you immobile, teeth clenched, and there is no painkiller short of Morphine that will make a dent in the pain. How do I describe it? Like someone has jammed a rusty crowbar in your lumbar vertebrae. Then twisted it. Attempting to move or bend is impossible. Yes, it’s that bad. I’ve suffered from periodic episodes since I was in my late twenties.

There is a trick, however, that works when painkillers or traction will not. All you need is a nice firm ball like one used to play Softball and something to roll it between you and the unlocking pressure points. This will start the ‘unlocking’ process and with a half days rest, will return you to almost full working order. Ideally you’ll need 36 hours of proper rest to let the muscles fully unwind or run the risk of recurrence.

Fortunately I am happy to report that there is an additional short cut. A Shiatsu massage chair like this one. One of those things you find in some malls and service areas. The ones that cost a couple of quid, Dollar or Twoonie to operate when they haven’t been switched off because the mall rats or someone’s messy little four year olds have been hogging them. I spent the best five dollars of my life and fifteen minutes in one yesterday. It hit all the pressure points and reduced my pain from excruciating to mild discomfort. Today I found the pain completely gone and full mobility returned. For five measly bucks. Something my UK doctor would only prescribe painkillers for. Painkillers that took forty eight hours to even begin returning me to normal, yet dulled my other senses and reduced my effectiveness. Yet a toy ball and five bucks in a massage chair did the trick, no chemicals required within twelve hours. Bloody marvellous.

Colorado Springs? Nice place. Very tidy downtown. Recently upgraded with a lot of money being spent on tidying the place up. Quite a few beggars around until the Police patrols hit the streets around 10am, then the crusties evaporate like morning dew. That was yesterday. Today we’ve been up above the snow line, letting our little Subaru strut its stuff in the fog and ice when other vehicles on their summer tyres were slip sliding away. Tonight we’re stopping over in Grand Junction, feeling relieved and quite pain free. Looking forward to the rest of our trip and also planning the next.

What day is it?

Colorado Springs and we’ve been on the road so much I’ve hardly had chance to put fingers to keyboard. We crossed the great plains yesterday, racing a big storm that looked like it was after us personally. To the south and east a huge dark core, at its heart a tornado, on the edges, long fingers of cloud clutching north and west like a dismembered hand still moving inexorably toward a victim. Ghostly grey virga curling tendrils of smoky rain drifted toward the ground from these dark grey bellied monsters. I was driving, and the illusion of parallax made it look like those grasping fingers were hungrily converging with our little tin box, hurtling across the wide rolling expanse of Western Kansas and Eastern Colorado at sixty five miles an hour. Elsewhere it was less fun for those who could not get out of the storms path. Hope their insurance is good.

We’re back in mountain time today prior to cutting across to the national parks via Bonneville salt flats and various other stops. While en route in various hotel lobbies we’re seeing a lot of news reports about the big fire up near Fort McMurray, Alberta, which had burned a lot of peoples homes to the ground and displaced a whole lot more.

There are rumours and informed speculation that the original fires were started by people. Some think careless campers, others have more darkly suggested radical environmentalists. Okay, so no human deaths to date, but for the livelihoods, property and wildlife destroyed still really bad. It’s so bad our photo-op seeking Prime Minister hasn’t put in much of an appearance. Heaven forfend he might get his glossy hairdo all messed up. Me, when we get home in a weeks time I’m off to volunteer what help I can give from the BC end instead of bleating that it’s all to do with the mythical man made climate change like some hideous little tools claim.

One parting shot; if radical environmentalists did set the original fires to shut down the oil sands production for good, then they and their sponsors (Rockefeller, Tides foundations, Sierra Club) should be made responsible for fixing all the damage done. To everyone. Hell, they’ve got the money. They could spend it on something useful for a change.