Social death

Facebook is hurt. Badly hurt. 30 points down and falling as of 28th March.
See my screenshot taken on the 23rd, a mere five days ago.

Yes I know one is for over the last twelve months, the other for the last three, but neither paint a pretty picture. I have a feeling that the Cambridge Analytica scandal is just the tip of a very big problem-berg. Over the next few months I can see a larger loss en-route, as in shit, fan, incoming! Perhaps a complete collapse. Who knows? It’s like watching a run on a poorly funded bank.

While this is all very entertaining in the median term, it may blow over, it may not. Facebook may survive, but it is what I’d describe as a ‘Castle in the Air’ stock. Looks pretty, but has no real fiscal security, as like one of the fairy fortresses, the only thing that keeps Facebook going is the power of belief.

Elon Musk (To name but one) has pulled his companies out of Facebook and there’s a class action in the offing. As far as some of the other tech giants go, Alphabet, parent company of YouTube and Google is also suffering with a less drastic 4% fall after accusations of bias, which they strenuously deny, but a number of their users who have had their content demonetised and even deleted aren’t convinced. Amazon may be worth a punt though, as their share value has taken a hit. But they actually sell real things, so I’d view them as a fairly safe bet and treat the current downturn as a buying opportunity for their stock.

Facebook on the other hand, what do they have to sell, apart from their users data? Twitter likewise. Which begs another question. Where will all the Twatter outrage mobs go if the platform collapses? Will they suddenly find themselves suffering a form of electronic social death? Mmm. Couldn’t happen to a nastier bunch of people.

Talking of social death, the institutional antisemitism endemic within the UK Labour party has surfaced once again. This is no surprise to me, as every extreme left winger I’ve ever met has been a racist anti-Semite. Never understood it myself. I think the only half way sane reason must be that extreme left (and right) wingers are avidly pro big government and the Zionists are big on family. The family (A very human, grass roots institution) and big government (Big state, top down driven) are philosophically opposed. The big government people see the family as the biggest obstacle to their authoritarian utopian fantasies, so to their mind anyone who has a strong family as the basis of of their culture must be undermined and if need be, eliminated.

Well it makes sense to me.

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Tool blaming

Watching the impassioned “March for Our Lives” anti-gun crusade currently hogging US headlines with vague amusement. According to the surprisingly well-funded and organised teenagers (Organised teenagers? wTF?), all guns are bad and the NRA is the scapegoat. As if an NRA member pulled the trigger. Or as if NRA members are responsible for the routine gang shootings in LA and Chicago. Or Vancouver BC, Canada.

What, Vancouver Canada? Oh, didn’t you know? In January and February 2018 there were eight (I think) fatal shootings in the Metro Vancouver area alone. And we have much tougher gun laws than anywhere in the USA. You do have to jump serious hoops to get a gun licence north of the 49th parallel, but it’s not impossible and any legal gun owner is heavily restricted on how any guns, especially handguns, are moved. However, it’s not the legal gun owners that are the problem.

In every mass shooting it’s always an unbalanced individual that does the killing with firearms that don’t belong to them. So simply banning a particular weapon will not reduce the risk of bloody murder, simply move it downstream to serial killer territory. The impulse to kill will still be there and cannot be removed simply by means of banning guns, or knives, or trucks. Or even large pointy rocks and sticks.  School shootings won’t be ended by banning guns.  The killers will simply use other means.

Or even banning online swearing. Like Microsoft will be doing across all their online platforms including Skype and Microsoft’s cloud services from May 1st. Which will be a bit of a bugger for people who write the dialogue for a number of popular TV shows where ‘Fuck’ gets said a lot. Oh, like Game of Thrones or Boardwalk Empire. No saying that Windows 10 is a bag of shite either. Even if it is.

Imagine a world where you can’t let off steam with a good swear-fest occasionally without being permanently banned from public discourse. Where you can’t call idiots out for the shitheads they are because that is ‘hate speech’. Well friends, it’s nearly here so you won’t have to tax your imagination that much.

Well, Tech stocks are tumbling and the only way is down. I’ll miss Skype. But there are other platforms up and coming which will do the trick. The genie is out of the bottle and the censorious will only damage themselves trying to put it back in.

Anyway, here’s a blast from the past about dystopian futures and swearing.

Oh dearie me

… I missed the pointless farce called ‘Earth Hour’ yet again. It’s still a bit parky outside, so switching off the heating wasn’t going to prove anything but the gullibility of the switchers off. Light a candle? I often do, but only for the ambiance. I’m not dumb enough to think that candle light is good enough to read by, or that shivering in the dark is a way of promoting responsible environmentalism.

Last night around ten, we’d just finished watching season 7 of Game of Thrones with it’s rather chilly finale when I picked up my Tablet and got a notification. “Oh, Earth hour? That foolishness.” I thought as I dismissed it. “Don’t they know all the big activist outrage is in gun control this week?” Some people, eh?

On the topic of Interweb money and gun control, YouTube is probably going to be the next stock to nosedive. Fortunately I’ve pulled all my investments out of those side of things, taken my profits and put the cash to work elsewhere. If, as seems likely, YouTube are going to delete any content and channels about guns and military stuff, it means they’ll delete whole channels and in the process leave nothing but funny cat video’s until the Animal Rights activists get round to denouncing those as ‘cruel’ and get them deleted and banned. Maybe YouTube are hoping all the faux-outrage will blow over and it will be business as usual by the start of April so the new guidelines won’t have to be implemented.

The fallout will be telling. I foresee YouTube and Google owner Alphabet’s stock price taking a big, big hit. They’ve already damaged their brand by going after even moderate content creators who are critical of certain policies. This should make many advertisers realise that YouTube is effectively becoming worthless as a platform. End result; fewer advertisers, less revenue, Youtube shrinks and all their flash corporate HQ offices go off into the electronic unknown with the content creators. Such is life.

Update: Well, as far as content is concerned I’ve signed up for Bitchute, which I will be using far more often.

Business as usual

Summer trip is mostly booked. London, (For Mrs S) UK Midlands (For me) then on to Copenhagen for the second week in July followed by Amsterdam and a little town not far from Beziers, South of France. Flights and accommodation are all paid for and I’ve just put the credit card in the freezer to let it cool down a bit.

We’re planning also to go back to Australia next year for a probable wedding of Eldest and current boyfriend. He’s a steady lad, Engineer by trade working long term in Oz. He can even cook and has a green thumb. He’s Irish too, so that’s a quadruple plus. Tell you the truth, we knew about Eldest and Boyfriend as only parents can when we were in Sydney over Christmas. It was fairly obvious because when two people have decided, even unconsciously that they’re right for each other, there’s a look in the eye you can’t really miss, their faces shine and they’re so relaxed and unselfconscious whenever they’re together. So, that’s settled then. I hope.

Anyway, that’s for the future. This Summer we’re off to visit Youngest in jolly old Londinium while I do some long overdue familial fence mending oop norf of Brum. There are conversations I need to have to straighten things out while the opportunity still remains. It’ll take three days, no more. There’s also a legal matter to round off that I can only do in person. Family business, you know how it is. It’s an emotionally charged situation and I just have to man up and do the necessary.

Talking of business, I see Farcebook shares are in a steep nosedive, losing over 5% of their hyped up value following the Cambridge Analytica allegations. Facebook share price fall to 23rd MarchMy broker suggested I invest in them last year, but I gave him a firm ‘No’. Like with Bitcoin, if you weren’t in on the ground floor, don’t bother. The price is no good for any significant buy in, and Farcebook, at least from this investors perspective, is going nowhere, fast. Their market share and user base is stagnant and shrinking. Even a fool like me can read the writing on the wall. My personal account has been dead and deleted for over seven years. Twice. And I have always resisted linking any of my other personal and professional data to Farcebook. So any data ‘mined’ is out of date and therefore worthless. I am not the only one. My kids have moved on and no-one seems to use it but spammers and the hopeless.

Elsewhere on the Interweb there are issues raised over privacy, boredom and even prosecutions (WTF!?) for rather lame jokes that ‘offend’ people. Look, if you’re that easily offended, step away from the keyboard. Don’t watch YouTube. Go out into the world and do something useful. Hashtag #growapair. As for the UK Police, oh for heavens sake, don’t you have any real crime to deal with? Yes you do. Chasing down all these petty complaints is just wasting Police time.

Personally I think that with the recent conviction of a notorious YouTube prankster for a spurious ‘hate crime’ there’s been a real case of perverting the course of justice. Which is as good an argument as I’ve heard for repealing the hate crime legislation passed by the idiotic Blair Government. Same as over here with M-103 and C-16. Policing what people say or think (Providing they don’t belong to a protected and therefore ‘privileged’ group) is idiotic. Slander and libel are civil matters which are sufficient to cover insult. Making them criminal offences just pisses many people off because no-one can tippy-toe round another’s imagined petty grievances all the time. It’s corrosive to the spirit to duck every time some bonehead with a large plank on their shoulder turns around. Better that they should fix their own inner problems and get on with life instead of looking for slight and insult around every corner.

In closing, trying to read between the lines of all the BREXIT op-eds in the FT is making me a bit twitchy too. The ‘negotiations’ seem to be giving away far too much to the undemocratic Eurocrats and securing too little in return. However, Sterling isn’t doing so badly, so I’ll have a look at the state of play at the end of the month before making further commitments. At this moment in time, Sterling is on the up so I’ll hang with it until there’s a possible shift in the market.

Hey-ho. Business as usual.

Froody pron

Recently I’ve been experimenting with that illicit foodstuff, not generally available in Canada. A staple of my UK midlands upbringing. A small guilty pleasure I first encountered in a younger, more innocent time. If food were sex, this would be the knee trembler up an alley after closing time. Quick and deliciously dirty. Feeding an immediate appetite that nothing else can quite touch. A foodstuff designed to make middle class busybody heads explode.

I refer of course to that excellent British delicacy, Pork scratchings, for which I have developed my own so easy to do even-I-can-do-it recipe. This is a dish said busybodies would ban if they could. An ideal accompaniment to beer or ale it is not low salt, low fat or politically correct, but a taste Gods would create from raw firmament if they could.

All you will need is the pork rind most supermarket butchers insist on removing from their pork joints. Why, I have no idea. For best results this should have at least around a quarter inch of pork fat on the inner surface or it just goes all leathery. Pork rind is cheap as well. I can pick it up by the kilo for just a couple of bucks. Over here it’s sold by Chinese owned supermarkets, because they at least appreciate the value of the whole pig, which is an animal venerated in Chinese folklore.

Simply spread your skin (Skin side up of course) on a baking tray, score like with ordinary pork crackling.  I have a dedicated craft, Stanley type blade for this specific purpose.  Give a thorough oiling with a splodge of any old cooking oil, then throw salt on it. About a teaspoon. Rub evenly.  Then add ground black pepper to taste. Heat oven to 420 Fahrenheit, 220 Celsius (200 for a fan oven) or gas mark 7. Put in prepared skin and wander off for forty minutes while it bakes and crisps up like pork crackling. Take out and leave to cool. Break off a piece. Eat, enjoy. and whatever you do, don’t feel guilty. Because guilt is a means of control and when it comes to control, that’s for other people. The rest of us can have pork scratchings and I know which I prefer.

Froody.

Catching up

Right, I’m back. sort of. At the moment. We’ve been booking flights for a trip to Europe this Summer. London, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and the Sarf ‘a France. Current booking progress is flights to Amsterdam, London and Copenhagen sorted. We have places to rest our travelworn heads of a night and I’m looking at an apartment to rent somewhere in the Narbonne / Beziers area, away from the overpriced areas of Nice and Monaco to ride the French back roads in a small hire car this July. Although we might shoehorn in a day trip to cruise past Juan-le-Pins and join the holiday traffic jams along the coast road through Cannes. Or maybe not. My thoughts are for the majestic fortress of Carcasonne and perhaps the rose granite of Toulouse. I’ve never been a one to lie on a beach all day, then dance the night away despite severe sunburn. My pleasures nowadays are more cerebral.

Talking of which, I’ve just bought a copy of Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules for life” that I’m working my way through in small doses. He’s a little biblical for my tastes, but his recounting of 1970’s Alberta rural Teenage life is interesting. I see parallels with my own mis-spent youth, but more from the perspective of one of his stoner ex-friends. The alienation and nihilism he describes are all familiar territory. Because we were repeatedly told that nuclear annihilation were just minutes away we fell in love with the idea of a short licentious life. Or perhaps we grew to love the glamour of death. I cannot say. All I know is that I am one of four from our little peer group still breathing, that I know of. Actuarial tables, eh? Who knew how prophetic they were.

It’s easy, reading Peterson’s work, to dream of a life that could have been. Had we not swallowed the lie of the ‘live fast, die young’ era. So many of us did. Die young that is. We saw the writing on the air and took the singers at their word, believing we had no better choices when we did.

We were told we would be free. Free of what? Free of constraint, of fear? Or perhaps of a life we felt ill-equipped to succeed in. We said we did not fear the reaper, but that did not stop him coming for so many of us. And despite our affected worldliness we knew so little of it. Most of my contemporaries got to see so little of this big wide planet before they were laid beneath the sod. Daisy pushing seemed to be looking like a competitive sport among us during the late 70’s and early 80’s.

Am I saying I regret those years, my foolish days, the wild times? Yes and no. Without them I would not appreciate what I now have. Family, a few friends, a relatively good life. A few things ticked off the old bucket list. It hasn’t been so bad so far. However, Peterson’s book raises the age old question; what would I have done differently? Quite a few things. Not all of them moral or ‘nice’. Most of them to settle scores. Others for my own gratification. And others which might have made me a happier, wealthier man. Others not, but we can all be wise in hindsight.

On the whole I’d say Peterson’s book is for those just starting out in life, unsure of where to go. Because it gives you a bloody useful walkaround all those difficult questions such as “Who do I want to be?” or “Does anything I want to do with my life matter?” The questions we all instinctively know the answers to, but can’t bring ourselves to believe the answers are that simple. Be born, live, love, breed, mentor, guide and die.

An old bit of folk wisdom

Not much happening chez Maison Sticker at present. No real dramas apart from mild anxiety upon shifting six figure sums around our pension investment funds. I’ve never trusted state pension funds and have elected to store up resources for my frail dotage using all the legal means at my disposal. Mainly because Mrs S and I will be far better off both medically and comfort-wise if we have our own money set aside with something for the kids when we finally die. To this end taxes have to be carefully calculated and paid, figures collated from various modest (Some extremely modest, but they all count) income streams and expenses claimed. Then sent off to our accountants for submission to the revenue. De nada. Just the dull, day-to-day of keeping our fiscal heads above water. Which leads to the occasional domestic argument.

Mrs S and I are not a perfect couple and we do argue. Mainly because as a man and woman, our brains are wired slightly differently and we perceive, react to and communicate things in a different manner. She gets mad about some matters, I make sure we get even and occasionally vice versa. She tends to react more emotionally and I’m generally more practical and cold blooded in my initial approach. So we talk. Then for the most part we accept our not infrequent misunderstandings brought on by our differences, often laughingly brushing them off with a carefully timed; “Yes dear.”
To which the good humoured response is a mocking; “I’ve been ‘yes deared’ – how could you?”. Well, it works for us.

Apropos the dissimilarities between men and women, I say they should be celebrated as in “vive la difference” To which I often apply an old ditty the original version of which dates back to before 1891, updated variants of which can be seen below All have been tested to a value of six sigma, or 99.899% inverse partial variance ‘true’ value on the Bill Sticker institute Massive Contextual Axiometer and Adage tester. Please note that the remaining 0.011 is necessary to allow for Quantum EMO effects while testing took place, which is an experimental constant allowed for freak events outside the constraints of Einstinian space / time.

Therefore;

Feminists have many faults,
Men have only two,
Everything they say, and everything they do.

or

BlActivists have many faults,
But white males only two,
Everything they say and everything they do.

Because, as any fule kno, there is no pleasing these people. They beclown themselves and anyone else who takes them seriously.

So when some ‘Gender Studies’ type Academic trots out their latest insanity, the best thing anyone can do is say; “Yes, dear.” or “Whatever.” in as patronising a tone as possible and watch their heads explode. Then give them the finger when it comes to funding. Of course the faux-outrage this will generate may make the powers that be try to outlaw words like China has done with certain terms; and the letter ‘N’ for some reason known only to Beijing. Or create new ‘genders’ out of thin air who must have their own compulsory pronouns, on pain of prosecution as proposed (Or have the silly buggers in Ottawa actually passed M-103 c-16?  Oh yes they did – the bone brains) in Canada. Which can leave embarrassing gaps in a language and play havoc with translating business documentation.

So, having accepted that I, as a northern European complexioned male am ‘wrong’ about everything, I can just go my own sweet way and quietly get on with investing while everyone else pointlessly argues over what colour or sexual variant they might be. And who offended or oppressed whose great great great grandfather back in the early 1800’s or wherever. Why should that be my problem? Do tell.

Fortunately, my money bears no such grudges. It’s probably why I mostly prefer it to humans. Money can be trusted. It has no prejudices. Money is completely colour blind and non-sexist. Money doesn’t have a brain fart half way down to the shops and come back with a shopping cart full of chocolate and junk food (Unless you tell it to). Money does what I tell it to without four hours of pointless, round the bushes bickering. And it goes where it’s bloody well told. When it’s told. And does what I tell it to do. Which is why money occupies such a large place in my affections. See video below.

I’m moved to consider that while diversity may be a noble goal, it should be diversity based upon personally earned merit and effort, not because some grievance-monger wants a handout.