Beaches

We’re enjoying our new home. Not only is it only ten minutes from the stores, it’s less than ten minutes from the closest half way decent beach, there’s a small but perfectly formed fishing lake less than three hundred metres walk away, and I have my own full size office. It’s not beach weather, but it will be in a few months. And although the sand is a few shades darker than I’m used to, it’s still the same texture.

Mrs S is still hors de combat and will be until mid February / early March, so I’m having to ferry her around and perform various personal functions she has trouble with, like the simple action of pulling on a sock or lacing up her shoes. I don’t mind.

Our new place has a lot more space than our old apartment, and needs a few more sticks of furniture. Selection of which is a work in progress. New desk for her. New bookcases (Yes, more bookcases) for me. A new Ottoman for the front room. Small stuff. All of which I’m okay with. Pictures need to be hung. Two large mirrors need locating. All thieves of time, but hey, she is injured and needs time to heal properly, so I’m happy to go along. It’s just part of the whole “In sickness and in health” thing I signed up to. No biggie.

What I am getting annoyed with is the hatchet op-eds she keeps on insisting reading aloud about Trump and what a naughty man he is for doing exactly what he said he would do on the campaign trail. Why she and the various pundits are so surprised I have no idea, but if the FT doesn’t get back to reporting some proper financial news soonish, our subscriptions will be shut down. I pay for proper financial news, what’s really happening, not some Journo’s half-arsed emotion-ridden ‘opinion’.

If I wanted to read trashy personal attacks on Trump I’d go to CBC, CNN, the Huffington Post or similar. Although it’s such fun to read various Grauniad columnists getting their panties in a bunch over stuff Trump is doing which they gave Obama a total pass on. But I do so love the smell of burning hypocrisy in the morning.

Well it amuses me. But as I’m real bastard son of a bitch it would, wouldn’t it?

Well, there’s always the Winter beach and sea. There’s also a friendly Bernese Mountain dog who patrols one particular isolated little place and ‘adopts’ any moderately sensible human. The first time we met I half expected him to try and jump in the back of my car, just like my old mutt used to. But no, he just ambled on his way home to get fed, fussed and the sand brushed out of his coat by his real boss.

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Migrating off Twitter

Twitter seem to be suspending a whole bunch of accounts for what seems no good reason, and quite frankly I’m not bothered any more, not that I ever was, so my Twitter account is on its way to the junk heap to keep my old Facebook ID company with the rest of the digital trash.

Instead, I’m migrating to the ‘high beta’ Minds.com, which is a much more open platform. At least ideologically speaking. Look me up sometime. Or don’t. I’ll probably post just as often.

Then there’s the YouTube issue, where terrorist accounts are left untouched, but someone who says something ‘ist’ gets theirs suspended or deleted, or compiles the wrong sort of playlist, as in my case, gets their playlist summarily deleted.

Not that the Tech billionaires who run these service haven’t turned into blatant hypocrites. Zuckerberg for example has had security staff harassing people who walk along public beaches and paths close to his 700 acre Hawaiian property, and the locals have been protesting his attempted annexation of ancestral land. Then he stands up and pretends to be all goody two shoes, lecturing people on the evils of others? Frankly I’d rather he just stayed as a rampant capitalist and kept his public mouth firmly shut.

Then there’s ‘do no harm’ Google’s ironic motto when they provide various security services with access to everyone’s data. For a fee of course. I think one of the questions that should be posed when one signs up for any digital service should be; “Tick this box if you’re comfortable with our double standards.”

Update: Another YouTube account deletion, this time Richard (The Hamster) Hammond late of Top Gear and now part of the successful Amazon published Grand Tour.

A thought about toxins

Paracelsus had it; “All things are poison and nothing is without poison, only the dosage makes a thing not poison.” Or the more widely quoted abbreviated version; “The poison is in the dose”, which as translations go is fairly loose. But yes, all substances, even water and oxygen are toxic over a certain point.

Now Mrs S works with Autistic children, and I have been trained (although I think my training is by now well out of date) to work with Autistic spectrum children, amongst a range of other mental and physical disabilities. One of the things the mainstream press do not generally tell you of course is that Autism is a description of a broad range of symptoms from mild cognitive disassociation, in the case of ‘high functioning’, where someone is a bit anti-social and nerdy to full ‘rain man’ savant and everywhere else along the IQ range. Like most things in nature, all the data points on the autism spectrum are more scatter graph than bell curve or straight line. Like with other forms of mental disorder, there is no ‘perfect’ Autistic sufferer. Including all the shades of Asperger’s.

Now two items of news are pointing to possible causes of Autism, and not the spurious study that implicated the MMR vaccine and may end up dooming children to giving birth to poor souls with ‘Rubella syndrome‘. Rubella syndrome, as the linked article explains, is caused by the mother catching measles in the first trimester (First 3 months) of pregnancy and is much, much worse than Autism. Blindness, deafness and severe behavioural disorders result, and I have personally worked with two such children in my dim and distant past. Having seen the results of such an infection, I’d say that skipping the MMR or any vaccination for that matter, is possibly the worst decision any concerned parent to be could ever make.

There are two studies which may have found a possibly credible causative factor in Autism. The first is high doses of Folic acid (Vitamin B9) during pregnancy and the second factor Vitamin D deficiency in those vital first three months when the baby’s nervous system is first developing. Anaemia during early pregnancy has also been cited as a possible causative factor, but more recent thinking is that iron deficiency sometimes found in Autistic children is a symptom rather than the cause.

Right, Folic acid is an easy one to monitor, and vitamin supplements if the pregnant mother to be is already eating lots of food rich in Folic Acid may be unnecessary or even harmful to her unborn. Current thinking favours an absolute maximum dose of 1000 micrograms (1 milligram) with 4-600 micrograms of Folic acid as ideal. Now the vitamin D deficiency issue could be linked to low fat diets immediately before and during pregnancy, because, guess what? Vitamin D (Along with A, E and K) is’Fat Soluble‘ found in ‘Fatty’ fish, like Tuna, Mackerel, and Salmon, Beef liver, Dairy produce (Including cheese) and eggs. So if a pregnant woman’s diet includes reasonable amounts of these foods, then unless she has a gastric disorder she won’t need Vitamin D supplements. Because, and here’s the kicker, tablet based supplements alone aren’t as effective as a healthy mixed diet. A broad spread of proteins, fats, minerals are good. Low fat not so much because most low fat foods are loaded with starch or gel to replace the fats. The trick is to consume the right amount. Normal metabolisms can cope with periodic small excesses during pregnancy, but not megadoses.

By the same token, the Low-fat, Vegetarian and Vegan diets we’re all continually being hectored into aren’t really ‘healthy’ in the long term because they require supplements to fill the nutrition gap. A pregnant woman needs to have been on a reasonable mixed diet prior to and during pregnancy, allowing for the strange cravings and other anomalies that occasionally come with the package. I do not apologise for the sexism in that last sentence because nature and biology are inherently ‘sexist’. It is a biological fact that only fertile females can become pregnant without some freakish work in proverbial test tubes (or more likely a Petri dish or a microscope slide). Men do not have the necessary organs to conceive and bring a fully grown foetus to term. No Ovaries, Fallopian tubes or Uterus. So there. Unless some half wit wants the risks of an Ectopic pregnancy, the insane idea of a biological male getting pregnant must remain within the annals of science fiction.

Then there are the recent revelations about vegetarian diets and too much copper. Copper, which has in the past been implicated as a prime suspect for causing Histaphenia, a form of schizophrenia. Don’t understand the finer points of the biochemistry, but the science, at least to my reading, seems sound enough, even though there are dissenting voices. So a predominantly vegetable based diet of copper rich foods can certainly play les bougres risibles with brain function development and neurotransmitters. Especially if there’s a zinc malabsorption issue. Which could partly explain the sometimes bizarre antics of those who take their diets to extreme.

Well, that’s a steak for me, and only a very small Caesar side salad thanks. I’m eating healthily.

What is Davos?

Now I subscribe to a number of financial news services, from the FT to what some might call the ‘fringe’ which drop into my inbox every morning. I generally take them all with a grain of salt and tend to trust my own instincts. But sometimes you get an absolute gem. This one is from the “International Man” feed by a guy called Doug Casey who runs the International Man project which beautifully encapsulated the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland; “The 2017 Davos consensus – more welfare and warfare“. From which I take this perfect description of those who fancy themselves financial lords of creation over us cattle.

“A bunch of out-of-touch, self-anointed elites meeting to hand down from above their uniformly bad “solutions” to the world’s problems. Then they pat each other on the back for all the good they’re doing.

No matter the problem, their prescription is always more welfare, more warfare, more money printing, more taxes, and of course, more centralization of power into global institutions.

Interestingly, Donald Trump has never been invited to Davos. But his many opponents surely have.”

So it’s not just me who thinks this way. It’s a private club to run the world, and the public is not allowed a say.

Which gave me the idle thought. If those Islamic terrorists really wanted to do themselves some serious good, they wouldn’t be bothering about the penny-ante stuff of murdering ‘infidels’ on YouTube, or ramming perfectly serviceable aircraft into iconic buildings, they’d go after the Davos attendees. Because to go all Orwell, the rich and powerful meeting at Davos are the people for whom “Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.” These self appointed rulers own much of the media, fund the protestalot NGO’s, and you can call me a tinfoil hat wearer if you like, but what emanates from these meetings of the mega-rich and powerful makes me think meetings like Davos are wellsprings of true Fascism.

I don’t recall voting for any of them either. Ever.

Taking care of business

Am keeping a very tight reign on my UK business affairs at present, demanding that i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. There have been too many details missed of late by those ‘experts’ my business partners gave the job to, and so I’m going to be on their backs like a monkey with a bad case of Tourettes.

Honestly speaking I’d prefer to trust, but when they’ve repeatedly demonstrated a lack of care, that trust goes out of the window. Like with politicians and BREXIT, you have to be on their case, or you just know it will get screwed by powers that be and all the useful idiots out there. Like with the latest successful Supreme Court challenge, Parliament now needs to give the process the nod before the UK can be freed from the tentacles of the EU’s bureaucratic nightmare. The populace should be watching them very carefully indeed.

If there’s one thing I hate to see going to waste, it’s opportunity, mainly because I know how infrequently it knocks. And BREXIT is a great opportunity. Well it could be. Providing the Remoaners stop whining, get their heads out of their collective arses and instead of fighting a constant rearguard action, take an energetic stroll down the path of enlightened self interest. Or is that me having an over optimistic view of their abilities?

An unfinished work

For anyone with a passing interest in the topic, I’ve been digging out my notes and came across something I first began mucking around with over ten years ago. It was meant to form a small ebook simply entitled ‘Stepdad’, which was supposed to be a collection of thoughts and tragi-comic experiences of my small part in bringing up someone else’s offspring. For one reason or other it was never finished. There’s only twelve thousand words or so, but it’ll do.

I’ve tried to keep the tone light, focusing on the funny side of the disaster curve that our domestic life skated through, and names have been changed to protect both innocent and guilty alike. Although it was sometimes hard to tell who was what at what time.

It’s not meant to be a definitive guide, it’s just my thoughts and impressions of what went on in the relationship between a stepfather, in this case me, two teenage girls and their mother with guest star roles of a much loved dog and various family members from staff and distaff. If anyone finds anything useful in it, let me know. If all you’re going to do is be negative, don’t sully your keyboard. Take the link from the menu bar and have a giggle at my mixed fortunes. More will be posted every day or so as I tidy the manuscript up until I run out of notes.

Interested? Click here or the top menu.

Youtube Censorship

I used to have little ‘mature content’ playlist of rather gorgeous Burlesque performers on my sidebar and am sad to report that YouTube has deleted my selection of delightful prancing young ladies for whom clothing was a secondary concern. Apparently some snowflake decided it was ‘inappropriate’ and I received a missive this morning with the following;

The YouTube community flagged one or more of your playlists as inappropriate.

To which my response is; “Sorry, but you guys hosted the content, I just collated a list of it.” Even if the video’s are deleted, Some kind soul will upload more for those of us over 18 whose blood runs a healthier shade of red. I will find something else to entertain my one remaining reader under the ‘Not Safe For Work’ category on the sidebar. As the mood takes me.

As for ‘community’. Yerss, well. Frankly I never wanted to belong to any ‘community’ or be judged by censorious asshats. They can all just go fuck themselves with a barbed wire covered baseball bat. Which I’m told is something that may appeal to those at the extreme end of BDSM. Not my thing. But hey, if you’re a consenting adult, don’t let me get in your way. I hear that there’s a dominatrix or two that caters for such sexual eccentricities. Chacun à son goût.

YouTube is a resource which I have a membership of, nothing more. That membership was an accident of signing up for a gmail account back in 04′ and Google subsequently buying up Youtube. Not of any ‘community’, which would imply I actually approve of YouTube’s Hyacinth Bucket-level prudery policies. I never signed up for anything but a free email account, the rest of my ‘membership’ was a result of Google’s expansion. So no, I’d simply say this is the result of Google’s ‘Mission creep’ by very creepy people. And lawyers pressured by the prurient.

As for their YouTube ‘heroes’ or unpaid moderators. There’s nothing even vaguely ‘heroic’ about them. They’re generally the type of lowlife who become classroom sneaks, politically correct tattle-tales and virtue-signalling toadies. Committee fodder. About as far from the classical definition of heroic as it is possible to be. The fact that YouTube openly recruits immature (Under 18) people for this unpaid task should be a red flag. How can anyone judge someone else’s standards if they aren’t mature enough to understand their own?

Anyway. The pendulum has swung to extreme political correctness, and now it is beginning the long, inexorable swing back through sanity to the other extreme. Popcorn maker on, butter and salt ready. Catch you on the flip side.

Update: Three YouTube accounts I subscribed to; Ex Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Clarkson Hammond and May have been terminated for ‘copyright violation and deceptive practices’.

Watching history

This morning I watched the livestream of President Trumps inauguration. Prior to ten fifty a lot of which seemed to be taken up by two nervous looking Marines standing in front of a door. two-marines-and-a-door-still-life
Then just after ten to eleven (Eastern Standard time that is, in my case 9:00a.m. Pacific) the doors opened and Trump stepped into the light. And guess who he stepped through the door with? Like they were a couple of old business buddies?
trump-and-obama-01
Although I recognise the expression on Trumps face as he appears to be lectured by his predecessor. It was that; “I hear what you say, but I’m going to get my lawyers to check it over first.” Look. And well he might.

I was also watching the comments stream flashing by. Jeebus, what a throng of room temperature IQ’s from both sides of the aisle. Some trollish moron kept posting swastikas. Which is odd, as their sigil is probably more like the old Soviet hammer and sickle. Mrs S was kibitzing over my shoulder making sarcastic remarks all through Trump’s acceptance speech. Youngest posted something moronic like “Nice knowing you all.” Which I’d have posted had Clinton been taking the oath of office, because her Neocon leanings would definitely have put the West one step closer to a full blown war with Russia. Me, I’ll cut the guy some slack and see how things go.

Anyway, Friday’s major task is throwing out a carload of cardboard and paper from our recent move at the recycling depot. No doubt President Trump has his own garbage to be rid of. Let’s see how he manages the first hundred days. This could get very interesting.

Update: Looks like he’s started already.

Would someone please explain…

To me what these globalist politicians are referring to when they talk about ‘Our Democracy’ vs the dangers of ‘populism’. Forgive my boyish naivete, but I thought Democracy was people voting for representatives or on an issue and whoever gets the most votes (Unless they’re using the electoral college system) wins and gets to do the stuff they say they’re going to for the voting public. Sometimes. Allegedly.

So how does the ‘democracy’ these privileged Davos-attending dimwits bang on about different from, let’s say for the sake of argument the ‘popular vote’, which is what democracy is, isn’t it? People belonging to a group vote for a person to represent their interests depending on how popular their ideas are with the electorate… No. Hold on a minute, I get it. These people are talking about the ‘democracy’ their rich friends have paid for, right? The type of ‘democracy’ where the voting peasantry (you and me) jolly well go to the ballot boxes and vote how and when they’re told to by the bought and paid for mouthpiece media.

Because the globalists are worried. Very worried. Because the peasants are revolting. And we’re not talking about poor standards of personal hygiene either. The populace at large are developing their own voice with their own direct information sources. Many no longer trust the lamestream because they can see how they’ve been lied to. Repeatedly. How ‘stories’ have been misrepresented to turn neighbour against neighbour, race against race, to make people afraid of speaking up for themselves lest they be accused of ‘hate speech’ or ‘thought crime’. Or fingered as the serial killing paedophile next door. Or have protesters and activists ‘go after’ their families and livelihoods. Mencken almost had it when he wrote

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

Or fund a bunch of radical anti-social activists, primed with what is for the globalist faction, chump change, to run around gleefully making mischief and fucking up ordinary people’s lives.

One such funder of radical causes is Hedge Fund Manager and Currency Speculator George Soros, who is known to donate to many anti-western causes. Why? I have no idea, save that organisations known to have taken his dollar are behind pushing a poisonous melange of ideologies that would normally be laughed out of the room. At least in any serious debate. MoveOn, Tides, 350org, DisruptJ and fellow travellers. They’ve all taken the Soros Dime and therefore not to be trusted. He’s even gotten the Russians so pissed off there’s rumours of an open arrest warrant on him, and the Hungarians have promised to get rid of all his NGO’s. Yes, and a ‘Stop Soros’ movement is emerging in Macedonia. But Hungary? Macedonia? Who cares about them? Apparently the Hungarians and Macedonians do, and maybe we should too.

We should also care that this meddling monster speculator is suspected of stumping up cash to help fund a series of UK High Court challenges to BREXIT, as Raedwald discusses here.

How much?

Which was my reaction to my lawyers bill this morning. Fifteen hundred quid. Which I suppose is just the cost of doing business Internationally, plus another fifty dollars for notarised documents from my end. Lawyers are essential to the process and they sometimes get things wrong. Which is what happened to me recently. For a given value of ‘sometimes’ because the laws are so damn complicated that all my business partner’s legal eagle can do on some occasions is take an educated guess. I reluctantly took advice I was given as gospel and it turned out to be so wrong it was a mirror image of what should have been done. I was half way inclined not to pay up, but then relented, simply because the effort to change lawyers would be time consuming and expensive. Contracts being what they are.

However, remedial measures are in place and six months down the line I’ll more than have recouped my ‘loss’ and will be looking forward to a bumper payout. Which could have been avoided if everyone had done what I asked two flaming years ago. I’d sue, only the legal fees would swallow up my gains to no good purpose, and prolong a business relationship in which I truly don’t want to remain. The whole business has been a real eye opener for me, but also confirmed to me that my business instincts are pretty sound. Which is, in a way, good. For a given value of ‘good’. Live and learn, eh?

The business instincts of mainstream politicians, however, appear to range from bad to utterly appalling. Especially when they think they can ‘change the world’ to some sort of Utopian pipe dream. Funny thing. Every time the current crop of politically educated, never worked in commerce in their life politicians try to change stuff they always fuck up. Which would indicate to me a distinct disconnect somewhere in their thought processes. Also in the thought processes of the people they con into electing them. This has been a constant puzzlement, not only to me, but I suspect the rest of the world in general.

At least until this morning, when I was checking some of the fittings on our new IKEA made King size bed, which had somehow worked loose and threatened to dump us on the floor in the middle of some dark and stormy night. Not an edifying prospect.

The fault lay with me. I am not a carpenter, although I do know one end of a wood chisel from another, I’m no better than the average DIYer (Which is a damning indictment in itself). Nor am I one of IKEA’s rather cunning furniture designers. When reassembling the bed just over two weeks ago, I had not used the correct tool to tighten the fitting in question, so it had not properly engaged and needed to be undone and re-engaged. Which involved stripping the bed down to the base frame and re-engaging the offending bits. All is now solid and we can sleep and (ahem) whatever without risk of night time disaster. Half an hours work and an easy fix. And it set a train of thought chugging out of the sidings of my mind onto the main line.

That thought was that the politically educated rhetoricians who form the bulk of elected officials and representatives in many Western ‘Democracies’ are the wrong people to give the job of governing or setting policy in the first place. True, as we’ve seen with Obama and Trudeau, they can talk a pretty talk, but are well and truly into Chocolate Teapot territory when it comes to actually doing the job they’ve been hired for. Which is to make the lives of the majority they supposedly represent better. Not to pander to the five minute lifespan whims of minority interests from both left and right. Or to the 0.1% of the mega rich. Like with my experience reassembling the IKEA bed, this particular type of politicians are the wrong tool for the job.

Trump on the other hand, now there’s a thing. He can actually run large scale real estate projects, business empires, TV series, Pageants. Despite what some commentators have actually said about his lack of ‘experience’, the only experience he lacks is exactly the sort that has gotten the West into the mess it’s in. He is patently not an experienced rhetorician, which is his greatest strength. He has a clarity of vision and drive to achieve it, not some vague hopey changey schtick to fool the peons into voting for him. Or even the “Vote for me-I’m not as bad as the other guy.” partisanship that seems to drive so many to the polling booths.

As proof I would point to Trumps powers of persuasion, which even before Friday’s inauguration, have succeeded in repatriating jobs from overseas. He’s done more good for the USA in his days before taking office than Clinton, Bush Jnr and Obama in all of their terms as president. All those three ever did was preside over the biggest transfer of wealth from the middle and working classes to a close circle of globalist speculators and their hangers-on. Who, incidentally, are fond of telling the rest of us peasants via their paid proxies how to live then getting their minions all bent out of shape when the populace at large tells them to get stuffed.

Which is what BREXIT and Trumps election are. A big fuck-you-sunshine middle finger to these ‘elites’ pushing ‘Democratic Socialism’ which is as close as you can get to fascism without it actually being fascism. All the bollocks about those who voted against it doing so because of ‘racism’, ‘sexism’ and whatever ‘phobia’ is flavour of the month is just unadulterated wibble fit only for landfill. The only ‘Socialism’ these people want is to legalise wholesale theft of ordinary people’s income and assets and give them to the 0.1%, the mega rich who buy influence at the highest level with favours and things like ‘Free family holidays’ and perks for high level politicians. Or promises of a cushy sinecure at the end of their term. Or an estate paid for by the taxpayer, because well, the hired mouth of a politician in question is just so important, right? Even though the truth is that these rhetoricians are like buses. There’s none for ages then they all turn up at once with the begging bowl out. All after taxpayer dollar to fund their exalted lifestyles.

Conversely, Trump is only taking a dollar a year during his term as US President instead of the USD$400,000 salary (Plus Perks), only taking the expenses the US Presidency attracts like flying on Air Force One, having the White House and all its staff as a residence, and a pretty hefty piece of kit to be driven around in, not a fleet of nine like Obama, one of which notoriously got stuck on a ramp in Ireland (Video here). Which is a big ‘Only’ but Trump has attracted such hate from a bunch of sore losers, he needs all the protection he can get.

When it comes to the expensive failures of globalist ‘professional’ politicians like Obama and Trudeau presiding over (and I think prolonging) a near continuous economic stagnation. I look at Trump and his general philosophy, and you know what? I think he’s the right tool for the job.

No such thing as ‘Revenue Neutral’

I often spend the early hours of the morning answering transatlantic queries that I could have sworn I answered six months ago. Like this morning, and the one before that. To confirm my suspicions I went into my saved emails, ran a simple text string search and, yup. Already told ’em that. In the same words no less. Sometimes I feel like I’m dealing with Goldfish level attention spans because I have the annoying (To my opponents) ability to recall what was said on a given topic for some time afterwards. And if I’m not sure of a critical detail I bloody well go and check. I make no claims to more than a slightly better than average intelligence, however, some so-called ‘qualified’ people make me despair.

Like with this stupid ‘Carbon tax’ we’re going to get foisted on us by the idiot fop Canadians made Prime Minister. Like with the carbon tax the NDP have just dumped on the Albertans. And these dumb fuck politicians say their new tax will be ‘revenue neutral’.

Well there isn’t such a thing as revenue neutrality. If tax is applied then it has to be collected. New taxes always have a collection cost. Administrative staff need to be recruited and paid, new (often very expensive) offices built or leased and furnished, electricity, sewerage and water for all those workers so they don’t have to work with their legs permanently crossed. Computer systems and support staff. Money to pay for the phone bills and software licences. Then there’s the kind of Ouroboros-like effect of taxing government employees to pay for their own wages, offices, phone and electricity etcetera, etcetera. With every new tax, the tax collection system has to be enlarged. Web sites have to be built with FAQ’s and phone lines to keep frustrated taxpayers on while they stare disbelievingly at the way taxation has just taken yet another bite out of their stagnated income.

In short, you can’t get more out than you put in. Which is a fundamental law of economics. ‘Revenue neutral’ is one of those ghastly hollow little soundbites used by virtue signalling left of centre politicians who don’t have to keep a vice like grip on the family budget. The politico’s and their hangers on (By contrast to ordinary people, for a given value of ‘ordinary’) have privileged little lives insulated from the effects of their actions. What they can’t see is the simple fact that any new tax, like, let me see, the insane ‘Carbon tax’ that Albertans have just been saddled with cannot ever be ‘revenue neutral’. No matter how many cheques are sent out to the people they’ve just sent careering down the slope to energy poverty. Someone has to pay for all the people to administer such a scheme. Ergo any tax take is not going to be anything like ‘revenue neutral’. But anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows this anyway.

Don’t even get me started on the David Suzuki bullshit about ‘saving the planet’ as justification for the new Carbon tax. What does he know? He’s an Entomologist for Christs sake, not an atmospheric physicist. His field, before he found there was more money to be made in advocacy and media whoring, was the study of insects. Ergo, anything he has to say on a climate science can reasonably be assumed to be no more well informed than some random bloke down the pub. Atmospheric Physics requires some serious Mathematical skill, which very few people have, even then climate modelling has failed dismally to reflect reality. Although I do admire Suzuki’s ability for making millions out of scare story advocacy. He’s made a mint from speaking fees and public appearances. The fact that all his prognostications of climate doom have repeatedly been shown to be complete and utter bollocks make me that much more in awe of his talent for turning dross into cold hard cash. That and his much-cited demand to be escorted by a ‘bodyguard’ of the hottest girls on campus. You have to take your hat off to the sheer, bare faced chutzpah of the old con merchant.

Mind you, I don’t think Suzuki had much sway over Harper, but his resurgence as influence over a half wit drama teacher who looks like Mick Jagger was his real father has to be admired. As for when Trump takes office at the end of this week and the pseudo-environmentalists like Suzuki lose their influence within the US, I will be listening to the outraged wails with a grim smile on my face.

Socially contructed

Mrs S loses her leg splint today. I may borrow it when my rugby injured knee starts it’s periodic grumbling. Outside it’s cold and bright, and there’s a massive cloud band over the Juan De Fuca Straits to the sparkling lights of Port Angeles in the USA and the peaks of the Olympic mountains peering over the top. Our new apartment has more much space and my office a cracking view.

Meandering through the morning news, trying manfully to sort the faction from fact, I kept on bumping into the weird idea that gender is a ‘social construct’ To which my response was “WTF!” Especially over a so-called ‘pregnant man’ getting death threats. Because she’s not a man, she’s a surgically altered female on hormone treatments. In order to carry a foetus to term she still must have her Uterus still in place. If she truly was a ‘man’ she would be having an Ectopic or ‘non uterine’ pregnancy, which are usually fatal if untreated.

Open any worthwhile reference book on human biology and read the sections on the male and female Endocrine and reproductive systems, along with certain structures in the brain like the corpus callosum, which tends to be thicker in women than men. This will inform the reader who has an above room temperature IQ, that men and women are quite distinct but complementary members of the species Homo Sapiens (Or Pan Narrans, if like me you are a Pratchett fan).

You are biologically male or female, and no amount of surgery and hormone treatment can turn a man into a woman or vice versa because the glands will always be wrong. Or until some clever dick perfects a genetic technology that can change XX chromosomes to XY and vice versa, which isn’t likely. Then there’s all the new bits that need to be added, like testes and their biological support mechanisms, or a uterus and ovaries. Which is just the obvious stuff. Never mind all those more subtle differences in the brain, circulatory and endocrine systems. The differences between male and female are more than just sex organs, the skeletons are quite distinct, the biggest giveaway being the angle of the pelvis, even if you miss the obvious brow ridge structure of the adult male skull. Or the laryngeal prominence of the male ‘Adams apple’ which is a thickening of the throat cartilage that happens around puberty. Or… well I could go on and on (and on), but you get the picture, yes?

Where the ‘gender is a social construct’ nonsense falls in the biological stakes is at the first hurdle. From even the most cursory analysis the whole concept throws its jockey and then stands looking over the fence neighing with laughter, if you’ll forgive my horse racing metaphor. Even the most casual glance shows that the whole idea is arrant nonsense. Because anatomy and physiology trumps ‘social’ every time. And while surgeons can give the appearance of gender fluidity, it will always be an echoing shell of misery to the patient. Personal anecdote here; having looked after a couple of Transexuals back in the day, both of whom I found out had committed suicide (Nothing to do with me Guv, honest), I’m convinced that these are deeply unhappy individuals for whom life has no respite. I have sympathy for that unhappiness of course, but that sympathy is tempered with a soupcon of “You made your own bed, chum.”

As for the people in liberal arts academia who push these strange ideas, they too should be objects of pity rather than scorn. They cannot fully come to terms with the realities of their own sexuality and as a compensatory mechanism try to project their deeply flawed philosophy on the rest of us. It’s an academic fad, a fashion, an aberration. Yet the real harm these rather unhinged ideas do to individuals, rather like the pregnant ‘man’, will last lifetimes.

You know, the Communist Chinese and Soviet Russians used to complain that the west was “Decadent” meaning that our culture and morals were in decline. Consulting a gently grazing Thesaurus from my bookshelf, I find that one of the synonyms for decadent is ‘lost’. Poor bastards.

As usual, Python got there first.

Told you so

Back last year, when the Brexit vote was first mooted all the prophets of doom were running around screaming about the economic damage leaving the EU would do the dear old UK, I cautiously espoused an opposing view here and here and here.

eutanic-rock-and-a-hard-placeNow Mark Carney, Chairman of the Bank of England has seen the light. Seven months late, but that’s why I put not my trust in Princes and watch the truth of real numbers. The City of London, like any other financial market, floats on a sea rich and royally reeking of bullshit, but, and it’s a massive curvaceous booty to boot, the numbers say that the EU is overstretched financially, and with the exit of the UK beginning in March 2017 will likely lurch into a deeper crisis than the one it is in already.

In the UK however, all the future indicators are positive. Countries are queuing up to do deals with one of the major trading hubs of the western world. For too long the UK was trapped as a satellite, bound into a fairly restrictive single market without all the global links it needed to really catch fire, financially speaking. Now those markets look set to burst wide open, and for a few years there should be an expansion as old and new relationships are exploited. More jobs, an expanding economy, and maybe even a loosening of the bondage ties of EU mandated directives. Of course there will be winners and losers, but for the guy who is quick off the mark, the rewards will be out there.

These are exciting times. At least for an investor with their eyes wide open. With a pro-UK man in the White House for a change, a deal maker at that, and with a possible new and more positive relationship with Russia in the offing I’m feeling quite sanguine. For too long the world has been fighting itself like a dog in a sack, now the sack can be opened, and the dog can go chase all the juicy bones out there. Sure, it won’t be all plain sailing, but this is the beginning of a new era, and with luck the morbidly obese bureaucracy of the EU will be a distant fading memory in a couple of decades time.

Wonder what they’ll do with all those grandiose insults to architecture the Eurocrats were so fond of?

Errm…

Was perusing some data in the early hours, after a pain wracked Mrs S turned me out of my pit. Not her fault, she got hurt badly, and I have to put up with the side effects. It’s only three months until she’s skipping like a spring lamb once more. (Only!)

However, our new bookcases are now up, secured, and being filled with fiction, faction and fact. From Douglas Adams to Emile Zola and many points in between, stopping at (Amongst others) Aristotle, Juvenal, Plautus and Plato, all change at Freakonomics for Terry Pratchett to P J O’Rourke with a minor halt at Bertrand Russell and a shunt into Germaine Greer and Mary Woolstonecraft. I think there’s a Grays Anatomy in there somewhere keeping our two dozen or so dictionaries, grammar textbooks and thesauri company. Not to mention the various trade textbooks (Usual suspects; A+, Windows 7, Linux, HTML, XML etc.) Make of that what you will. Did I say we like reading? My cookbooks live separately in the kitchen.

Notwithstanding I was looking at the available UK Cancer statistics, as you do when you’ve nothing to do at four in the morning and you’re trying to bore yourself to sleep, and came across this interesting chart from the UK’s statistics web site (See screengrab below).
cancer-statistics It’s for cancers of all causes except the one excluded.

Now we’ve been bombarded with government ‘health’ advice about cancer since I was a boy. Surely some of it should have sunk in? Or is the steady increase in Cancer not entirely due to our lifestyle choices? Or are the majority down to genetics and ‘pure bad luck‘. Some say not. Some of them have an agenda. There’s more dross written on diet and health than on any other self help topic. Mostly by people who have only a sketchy understanding of how the human body actually works. Frankly me dears, most of it can best be described as ‘Guff‘. Yet there’s a whole industry based on it. Go figure.

Now I’m intrigued by this steady increase in Cancer diagnoses. As well as the continual, slow but steady increase in diagnoses of other fatal ailments. With ‘healthier’ lifestyles becoming the norm and smoking being but a pale wraith of its previous self, you could be forgiven that perhaps there is another life-claiming villain ready to leap out of the closet and shout “Boo! Har-har, it was me all along!” at everyone. And there is.

When it comes to carcinogens, the love that dare not speak its name or Elephant in the room if you like is Diesel emissions. Diesel fumes are a carcinogen (A ‘Group One’ Carcinogen no less). So says the World Health Organisation, based on reports from the IARC. That stuff coughing out of that bus, train or lorries exhaust? Can you smell Diesel? Yes? Run. Get away from the source as fast as you can but don’t breathe whatever you do. Especially if you live in a major urban conurbation. The particulates are often invisible, and they’re everywhere, along with cited evils like tobacco smoke (both first and secondhand), mustard gas, sunlight, Chinese salted fish, vinyl chloride, soot and wood dust. What sort of wood dust isn’t included in the literature. So maybe going back to nature won’t help either. However, compared to Diesel fumes they’re lightweights.

It’s funny. A few years ago, we were all being encouraged to buy Diesel cars so they could use ‘Bio-Diesel’ or whatever marketing ploy the politicians fell for. Now we find that riding a bus in rush hour traffic may be as deadly as a forty a day habit. Who knew? I’m not even a smoker and this dark little irony has kept a smug smirk on my fizzog all day long.

Oh well, I never really wanted to live forever. Oh dear, the bookcases are full and I’ve still got more books to sort. Another visit to IKEA is called for.

IKEA Bookcase Building

To-day we have IKEA bookcase building. Yesterday,
We emptied more boxes. And to-morrow morning,
We shall have what to do after cleaning. But to-day,
To-day we have IKEA Bookcase building.
Snow glistens like coral in neighbouring gardens,
And to-day we have IKEA bookcase building.

This is the lower shelf fixing. And this
Is the upper shelf fixing, whose use you will see,
When you find the damn screws. And this is the middle screw fixing,
Which in your case can’t be found in the box.
Bare branches rattle in gardens with silent, eloquent gestures,
Which in our case we have not got.

This is the upper left retaining widget, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb.
For heaven’s sake don’t use your finger.
Else you’ll trap it between the next side.
Icicles are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
Any of them using their finger.

And this you can see is the mid shelf.
The purpose of this is to fix the mid shelf, as you see.
We can slide it easily sidewards and downward: we call this adjusting the gap.
And easily sidewards and downward.
Ice fern patterns melt slowly from windows:
They call it adjusting the gap.

They call it adjusting the gap: it is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb: like the mid shelf,
The widget, retainer, and the middle screw fixing,
Which can’t be found in the box; and the bare buds
Silent in all of the gardens and the icicles drip, ticking like regular clocks
For to-day we have IKEA bookcase building.

Apologies to the shade of Henry Reed for butchering his poem ‘The naming of parts

It took a little less than an hour.