Shall we talk?

I’m busy listening to a Livestream with interest when the phone rings. It’s our cable company. Hmm. That’s the third time this month. Oh well. I picked up.
“Hi, is this Bill?” Comes a friendly voice.
“It is.” I already know what this call is about. They’re going to try and sell me Cable TV. It’s Deja vu all over again.
“Hi. Notice you have internet and phone with us and we’re doing a special deal on cable this month.”
“No.” I can’t help but be amused. “We’re not interested. Not at any price.”
“Not even for ten bucks a…. Er, why?”
“The quality of content is terrible.” I’m trying not to burst out laughing. You can’t fault them for persistence but I’ve elected to be amused rather than get mad. “Two hundred channels and nothing worth watching.”
“What about the sports?”
“I don’t watch sport on TV.” Which is a bit of a fib as I will watch England Rugby matches when there’s footage online, but as most cable sport coverage is heavily cut Soccer, Ice hockey, American Football or Baseball I’m not interested. Watching cable sports coverage whenever we’re at a hotel or bar always irritates me as they keep on moving from game to game on the main cable channels as it’s all re-runs and best ofs. So you can’t get a good feel for the game. The decent coverage is all pay per view and I don’t like televised sport enough to go down that route.
“The news? We got news.” Tantalises the Telemarketeer.
“Which I can get online and in depth instead of the rotation half hour of soundbites cable news channels offer.” Oh I am a tease, but there’s no sense getting mad at these people as their Internet service is quite good.
“Oh.”
“We’re just not interested.” I affirm, so we close with the usual ‘have a great evening’ pleasantries.
“Was that the cable company again?” Mrs S calls from the sofa as she’s watching Midsummer Murders (Again) via our AppleTV box. “They don’t give up do they?”
“I think it’s rather sweet of them.” I chortle. Had I been busy I might have been less welcoming, but what the hell, I enjoy a little sport with sales callers now and again. Normally we don’t hear from them more than once a year, but they must be getting desperate to keep on trying a refusenik like me. Personally I think they should shut down the TV and free up bandwidth for even faster Interwebbiness.

Honestly, from what I’ve seen, the cable TV providers can’t even match the quality of something like The Rubin Report on YouTube which interviews people like Jordan Peterson or Niall Ferguson, who explains in quite an entertaining fashion how his position over Brexit shifted. And quite an insightfully nuanced view on Donald Trump to boot. Which I found quite interesting. A lot more engaging than any of CNN’s partisan cable TV output.

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Soros is right

Bloody hell Bill! Have you gone over to the dark side?

Actually no, but this money quote comes from arch villain and Hedge fund manager George Soros. Seen in this morning’s Financial Times (Behind subscriber paywall) “The EU is in an existential crisis. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong,” He has been quoted as saying. “it needs to reinvent itself.” Well bless my soul! This is something a lot of Brexiteers have been saying for a long time. Indeed the push to ‘ever closer union’ has been the prime mover behind the UK’s push to exit the EU. As a pan-European trading bloc the idea of a United Europe has merit, but as a political entity, no. Europe’s regional cultures are too diverse for that.

He points out that the Euro is a ‘problem’. Well, no shit Sherlock. He also points out the need for the top down governance of the EU to ‘engage’ with the grass roots. This too is a case of stating the bleedin’ obvious. Hashtag hefinallygetsit. Because the EU as currently structured is an unaccountable top down model that tries to force a series of one size fits all policies on places that are very different, even incompatible. Like say London and Yorkshire. Or Paris and the rest of France. Or Berlin and say, Bavaria. Or Ottawa and the rest of Canada. If you’ve visited both country and city in various countries and spent serious time there you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about.

Side note: what form of ‘engagement’ he’s talking about, at least from the article, isn’t clear. Maybe it’s a case of “Shut up peasants, we’ll tell you what to think.” Which ain’t democracy. Indeed it’s the very antithesis of the concept of citizen representation. The main problem is that these NGO’s tend to leech onto a minor issue and blow it up out of all proportion. Like with the EU, these institutions also need a serious downgrade.

What Soros omits to say is that a number of the NGO’s he funds are one source of the problems the EU is beset by. His Open Society Foundation, for example, acts as an enabler of the ‘migrant crisis’. Indeed it’s gotten to the point where Hungary and a number of ex-Warsaw pact Eastern European states / newer EU members are openly hostile to his various NGO’s manipulations. They think, and I’m inclined to agree with them, that he is part of the greater problem.

Of course Soros is not the only market manipulator who funds the offending NGO’s and pressure groups, he’s just the most publicly visible.

We have germination

Three of my Lemon seeds have actually germinated and have sprouted little rootlets, with which I am quite delighted. My Avocado likewise looks promising with a couple of cracks beginning in the base as incipient roots start pushing their way out. Out on the deck, our Hybrid Tea rose has ten buds a-burgeoning and everything else is popping up like nobody’s business. I keep on walking into the kitchen to be greeted by Mrs S standing on the threshold, admiring the new growth. She hears me approach, turns and the smile on her face, as always, buoys my heart. “Looking good.” She says and I nod my agreement. By the time June arrives we should have a fine show of blossoms gracing our little deck garden.

Other new arrivals include a copy of the George Orwell Omnibus which does not contain all his novels, but which leaves only ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’, ‘Homage to Catalonia’ and ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’ outstanding. When obtained, these will complete my hardback collection of Orwell’s works already sitting in our bookcases, including his ‘Lost writings’.

Something else of interest has popped up in the wake of reporting restrictions on the Tommy Robinson conviction being lifted. Allegedly, video footage has emerged of Geoffrey Marson QC (The Judge responsible for sentencing Robinson – a Blair era appointee) looking out of a window at Robinson’s arrest. Now if true, his presiding over Robinson’s case is in clear breach of accepted judicial practice, both of the 2013 Judicial guidelines and Bangalore principles governing a Judges behaviour. The rule is, so I am reliably informed, that a sitting Judge may not appear as witness or complainant in a case he is called to make judgement upon because then he cannot be impartial. Not sure of case law here, but if it can be shown that Geoffrey Marson QC sentenced Robinson shortly after witnessing the arrest, then said conviction could easily be ruled as ‘unsafe’ and immediately quashed. Also, if the Judge was the initial complainant who called, or directly caused the Police be called to arrest Robinson, the guidelines indicate that this particular Judge should have recused himself and asked a colleague to step in, rather than try the case for breach of the peace and pass sentence himself as he did. By doing so he’s left himself and the case wide open. Foot, bang, ouch!

While I’m not a fan of Robinson’s, I still have this old fashioned notion that the law is the law and in order to be effective, those responsible for upholding it must be held to the highest standards. Notwithstanding, also still think the thirteen months was a bit steep. Even if the guy is a bit of a one note symphony.

In most instances where the conditions of being bound over are breached (Even if it was a bit of a reach), the original sentence and only that imposed at the time should be applied and trial for additional offences should be dealt with later, not summarily. That and I don’t see what the Judge was hoping to achieve. At the time of Robinson’s arrest, the defendants in the case he was reporting on had already been found guilty and were going in for sentencing. So the claim that what Robinson was doing was prejudicial to the defendants’ case is a bit flimsy. So if the powers that be wanted all Robinson’s fuss to just go away, they’re sadly misguided. The best they can do is shunt him to a low security unit and quietly drop the extra ten months with time off for good behaviour.

Anyway, that’s all for the lawyers and politicians to sort out. I shall be watching from this side of the Pacific rim with great interest as events develop. Rather like our deck garden, things are germinating.

When the big one comes

Have taken to watching lectures on the geology of the Pacific North West. Particularly those given by Nick Zentner of Central Washington University. The one below is a little low tech for the most part, but worth watching all the way through.

Link to the New Yorker article by Kathryn Schulz that Nick references early in his talk here. It’s interesting isn’t it? And even more so when you appreciate the fact that a seven hundred mile subduction plate boundary comes unstuck every four to five hundred (or a thousand) or so years. I like to think of it as the biggest zip fastener in the world. And what a zipper it is. When it goes, so will the entire West coast of North America, all the way from Mexico to Alaska. My goodness. All that beach front property.

In the event of a 9.0 plus unzip, Downtown Victoria would be wiped off the map and Vancouver, even though it would miss the brunt of any subsequent tidal wave and Earthquake, would definitely be no place to be. The Airport Delta and Richmond areas would be flattened. The resulting Tsunami would hit everywhere on the Pacific rim as it did before on January 26th 1700. Don’t believe me? Read the report. Watch the video model.

However, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. If it happens it’s a toss up between the house falling down around our ears and the mountain we live half way up the side of sliding down into the sea. Such is death. We all have to go sooner or later.

The theory of cock up; part 2

Watching events from this side of the pond, I’ve been inclined to do a little thinking about the path that has taken a certain right wing activist (unjustly) to jail for more time than if he’d committed a far more serious crime. To be fair, he’s skated close to the edge in the past, but by reacting the way they have, the powers that be have exacerbated a situation they created in the first place.

Cock-up and public sector cowardice created the UK’s current dilemma’s over the last two decades. Cock-up in thinking that legislation can enforce ‘fairness’ because one man’s (and woman’s, whatever) fairness can be another’s injustice, cowardice in not enforcing the law equally from the start. If the law had been properly and fairly enforced we would not be at the point of what is in effect a global gagging order being issued by a UK court and the subsequent public backlash.

My first reaction to the Judges decisions, both to jail the activist and to massively increase his sentence for what was a very minor infraction of bail conditions was a loud groan of “No, no, no! You’ll just make things worse!” Maybe said Judge was acting on his own instincts, maybe he’d received ‘guidance’ from the Home Office. Don’t know for sure, but it seems likely. What level that ‘guidance’ might have come from is moot. Certainly the politicians will be shouting at their functionaries things like; “Whatever possessed you to do such a thing! Now you’ve created a martyr!” To which the functionary (more likely functionaries) will point to guidelines established under a previous administration and trot out the old “But Ve vere only following orders.” Defence. Said guidelines were probably of the “For God’s sake don’t stir things up!” Variety. The idea being that by appeasing a certain religious community (Hem-hem, to use a Molesworthism) inter community violence, or the threat of it, due to a large influx of people (invited by the Blair, Brown, Cameron administrations and the EU) who have no intention of assimilating into British mainstream culture, would somehow magically go away. Sorry chaps, appeasement never works as a tool of public policy. I think the 1930’s proved that.

The above I know is pure conjecture on my part, but it does seem logically consistent with my own experience within UK local and national government institutions and how these things work. Anyway, Tommy should look on the bright side; his arrest made the front page of Drudge. See last nights screenshot below.

Now I also hear rumours that the UK has the Police literally arresting native British people on their own doorsteps for ‘hate speech’? Otherwise known as pointedly asking why a certain religious group gets preferential treatment? That is so going to end badly.

As a whimsical aside; are the days of thunderstorms England is likely to suffer until Wednesday God’s comment on the matter? Maybe the almighty is really a free speech activist too?

Cucumber Sandwiches

The wind was howling a little this afternoon, so I busied myself making cucumber sandwiches for tea. With the crusts cut off. Bloody hell Bill! Have you joined the upper crust then you class traitor!? No seriously. There’s something particularly civilised about cucumber sandwiches. Something special about these tiny triangles of bread, butter, thinly sliced cucumber with a swift twist of black pepper. Has to be salted butter, not margarine or anything ‘low fat’ which doesn’t cut whatever mustard you are fond of, be that the savage horseradish bite of traditional English, the fragrant acidity of Dijon or the sharp vinegar twist of Bavarian. The bread must be fresh, white and thinly sliced or else the whole experience becomes muted and insipid. Get it right, even adding a smear of cream cheese to the lower piece of bread and the reward is a fresh, mouth watering experience that is very moreish and dirt cheap.

Which kind of led me to a minor epiphany about all the ‘county’ people I used to know back in my rural English days, they were ‘rich’ because they never spent a penny they didn’t have to. Most of their wealth was / is what’s called ‘family’ money anyway, tied up in trusts and property so tightly it’s enough to give a church mouse a fit of the vapours. Cucumber sandwiches were simply a low-cost way of keeping the grocery bills under control while keeping up appearances with an ease that would make the legendary Hyacinth Bucket (Pronounced Boo-kay, you peasant) marvel. And they’re surprisingly tasty if done right. Not Hyacinth Bucket, the sandwiches.

You will need:
Cucumber
Bread (Doesn’t really matter which type, thin sliced is good)
Salted butter
Optional extras:
Ground black pepper
Cream cheese

Method:
Thinly slice cucumber and bread. Warm a little butter, or leave out in a warm room until it is soft and spreadable. Spread butter thinly on one side of bread slices. Lay thin slices of cucumber (the thinner the better) on the slices of bread. At this point a thin smear of cream cheese may be spread on the top slice of bread and a light scattering of ground black pepper added. Put the second slice on top and cut off the bread crusts with a sharp knife. Cut each sandwich into quarters diagonally and serve immediately with a nice hot cup of tea. Preferably on a hot sunny day. They’re quick, easy and can give you an air of charm and sophistication you may not display in your day to day life.

It’s worth mentioning at this point that these sandwiches have to be kept cool, possibly in a lightly chilled container before serving or they will either rapidly dry out and curl or become soggy and inedible. Freshness is important.

Get it right and you will feel the sophistication literally flood into your veins as you partake of this quintessentially English delicacy, making you a better, more rounded person and all your cares will fade into the background. Unless someone else nicks your cucumber sandwiches, then may battle commence. To the death.

Anyway, whilst I was preparing said degustatory delights my email inbox was going crazy with notifications of updated terms of service because of the EU’s latest ERDP GDPR (Whatever) regulations. Several came in making me wonder when I’d actually signed up for these specific accounts. More to the point, why? Note to self. Must get busy with cancellations tomorrow. If I don’t have an account, they can’t slurp my personal data, well not legally anyway.

Another side effect was popping over to Head Rambles and trying to leave a salient comment only to be refused with a message saying my comment had been blocked, directing me to contact the site admin with a ‘case number’. So I dashed off a quick missive to Himself and hoped that it didn’t end up in his spam filter. After a brief email discussion we concluded that neither of us had ever seen anything like this before. Despite significant experience in IT on both our parts. Didn’t happen again, but if it ever does I’m taking screen shots.

As for the censorship that seems to not be on University campuses any longer but spilling out everywhere, with obscure tinfoil hatters being prosecuted for ‘Holocaust Denial’, arrests of protesters against the religion of being blown to pieces etcetera one could be forgiven for thinking the world has gone madder than usual. I blame Donald Trump. If he hadn’t been elected we’d still have no idea that almost half the population of North America (including Canada) is completely out to lunch and screaming to give away their civil rights because they can’t accept responsibility for their own actions. Or have even the faintest idea of the scientific method which demands evidence. There have even been calls to jail people for having a difference of opinion on other scientific, cultural or social issues but who will that benefit? We are either a free society or we are not. Part of our freedom comes from tolerating opinions we do not share. Jailing people who engage in peaceful verbal protest is the hallmark of weakened societal institutions.

Perhaps if all parties could come together for tea and cucumber sandwiches (no food fights) for a polite discussion of evidence and issues we might make the world a better place.

Site Admin

Work has scaled down to the point where I’ve signed off on all my allotted tasks, finished all the associated administrative duties and set up for the next round, which doesn’t really get going for a while. So I thought I’d spend a little time updating the blog and getting rid of stuff I don’t want. There was a currency widget that wasn’t working right, which I may replace, also the notes about Facebook and Twitter. Since I don’t use (and have great distaste for) either platform I removed both text and links at the bottom of each post.

A number of non-Scriblerus blogs which have not been active for a long time (over two years) or have gone completely dark have been removed from the right hand sidebar. I think I’ve updated the rest to keep up with their authors current activities. Any discrepancies, let me know.

Winter is coming…

Forgive the quick ‘Game of Thrones’ riff but I foresee a change in politics here on the left coast of BC. The price of gas (petrol) is currently up at European levels and there’s even a threat of shortages if the inter-NDP turf war between BC and Alberta continues throughout Summer. All over a pipeline expansion. Not that the Ottawa Trudeaupians will be doing anything. The e-ideological blinkers are on and the people who will end up hurting the most are your basic average Canadian. The poorest most of all.

Let me expand. Higher gas and ‘carbon’ taxes mean the price of everything goes up. Why? Well because in Canada most stuff moves by truck and if the cost of transport goes up, what do you think the distributors and retailers are going to do? Watch their profit margins disappear? See their businesses sucked dry of capital for improvement and staff wages? Guess who is going to feel the burn first. Go on. Prize to that clever clogs at the back! The people who are always first to catch it in the neck. The poorest workers, that’s who. All the shortly to be laid off support staff. Shop workers, all the minimum wage folk who will lose their jobs and are now paying more to get to work even if they’re lucky not to be pink-slipped (Laid off). These are the people who will have to make the choice between Chicken and canned beans. Pensioners and anyone else on a fixed income. All the people the NDP, Greens and Liberals claim to support. Irony, much?

These are the ruling NDP, Green and Liberal parties who haven’t been able to sort out a sewage treatment plant for Victoria for the last few decades. which means Victoria for example discharges raw sewage into the Juan de Fuca. The ones who would rather build bicycle lanes and paint rainbow crosswalks than sort out the local rail line. Those who suspend tax audits on their tax-dodging political friends and supporters. Proposing changes to tax regulations on ‘charities’ so that tax exempted organisations taking foreign money can politically campaign against Canadian interests. Which is supposed to be against the law because it’s a corrupt, third world practice that only benefits extremely rich sponsors like foreign oil companies, hedge funds and other speculators with a vested interest in keeping Canada down.

We’ll be away in Europe when incoming shit may well start to hit the fan in July, our money far out of the grasp of tax greedy politicians. Which is one of today’s tasks. Wills have been drawn up and signed, trusts established, executors appointed and money put aside to pay for same. We here at Maison Sticker are not millionaires, but we do plan. Dry ingredients will be in the larder and the freezer full. Even in the unlikely event there’s temporarily no fuel to go to the stores my most critical rule will apply. No one goes hungry on my watch.

For those currently too busy keeping their heads only just above water the result of all these changes will be palpable, raising living costs for those who can least afford to take the hit. For them, the sun may currently be shining but it’s not much of an exaggeration to say that Winter is most certainly coming. For us, Mrs S and I have discussed this matter and are looking at moving our base of operations into another jurisdiction. Somewhere our buck has a far heftier bang while having good transport links to another safe haven.

Update:  For those interested, this is a rough guide to the Kinder Morgan pipeline situation; the BC NIMBY’s (Not In My Back Yard) and BANANA’s (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anywhere) claim that an increase in oil flow will lead to catastrophic spills and increased tanker traffic bringing invasive marine species, more global warming (Hah!) and there will be signs and portents of the end of days.  So the NDP and Greens are opposed to increasing pipeline capacity from Alberta. Which means we can’t sell to the Chinese or Asian markets as effectively.

A lot of foreign funded NGO’s are also opposed (For their own reasons) and are lobbying the provincial and federal governments, even though under current tax law they should lose their tax status and government hand outs for doing so.  The Liberal Trudeaupians are also opposed, but scared witless of the opposition in the oil producing provinces (Alberta,Saskatchewan & Manitoba) going back to the Conservatives.  So they officially make all the right noises, but unofficially are letting BC and Alberta Duke it out with petty little wine and beer restrictions.  Result; stalemate with a threat of Alberta switching off the oil tap entirely, but at the same time giving the NDP time to buy oil supplies from the USA.  Which is insane for an oil-rich country like Canada which actually supplies the US.

The upshot is that Alberta has lost and is losing investment and jobs, as has BC.  All because of the NDP/Green coalitions doctrinaire opposition to fossil fuels and the mistaken belief that an atmospheric trace gas controls the climate.   Even when the real (and more up to date) science quite reasonably points out that the claimed ‘signature’ of the trace gases effect is lost in the ‘noise’ of a semi-chaotic climate system.  If CO2 really were the culprit for an increase in global temperature, they might reasonably ask, then why is it snowing in Newfoundland?  In late May.

Hummingbirds etcetera

We have four distinct hummingbirds who visit the feeder we’ve set up half way along the back deck. Two pairs who I presume take it in turns to incubate their eggs in trees downslope of us. One male with a bright copper cap and orangish breast. His mate with a gorget of red on an otherwise green based colour scheme. Another male with what look likes a black hood which flashes iridescent copper at certain angles and his mate who has a thin green piping down the right hand side of her neck, from beak to wing-root. I managed to get some pictures but damn, those little suckers are fast! I was lucky to get this image of the female with the white stripe down the side of her neck.

All together now; “Awwwww!”

This is a seriously cheeky individual that hovered within eighteen inches of my face two weeks ago. I was sitting outside reading Niall Ferguson’s The Square and the Tower when I heard this low pitched buzz and there she was, giving me the once over. All I could do was sit there transfixed by this exquisite little creature thinking “Damn! My camera is indoors. If I so much as twitch she’ll disappear.” So it was. A moment later I blinked and like some UFO, she zipped off at warp speed and was gone. Fortunately, I managed to take some video of her feeding today which I may post when I’ve edited out my heavy breathing.

Odd stuff

I’m quite chuffed with the way our little deck garden in developing. At present just over three quarters of the seed we planted a few weeks ago has muscled it’s way out blinking into the sunlight. Even one of my attempts of germinating Lemon seed is showing the first signs of green after only a week. My Avocado seed is still just sitting in my office, but that’s only eight days into the long wait for anything to happen. It may rot, it may germinate, who knows?

Yet my old third form biology teacher would be quite pleased I’m sure. I went to a rural high school and agriculture and horticulture ranked high on the curriculum. As for sex, well, we knew what bits went where by age twelve, especially as most of us boys knew our way around a farmyard and saw what animals got up to. As for the girls, well, they were well ahead of us. Half the third (Grade 8) form girls hanging around with a crowd of us fifth form boys (Grade 10) to indulge in some light sexual horseplay in which much elastic got twanged. Nothing backward in our little corner of the shires.

Nor was there any of this “He abused me!” victim stuff. At least not to date. Perhaps we were made of sterner stuff than later generations. Despite being part of the late ‘baby boom’ generation, I don’t recall any of us having anything handed to us on a plate. You finished school, you got a job. You went to work. Period. Christ on a bike! I hate the term ‘Baby Boomer’ (Or worse, the cringeworthy ‘Zoomer’). It’s a cheap little whiners term used to denigrate and diminish people, just because they were born in a particular set of years. I bet there’s a serious tranche of people who hate being tarred with the ‘Generation X, Y Z’ tags. Jesu! These cheap little labels for the hard of thinking are worse than fucking Astrology and way less accurate!

Notwithstanding, it’s been a statutory holiday today, so I’ve officially not been working (All right, I worked a bit because I was bored, okay?). The only item worthy of note was a low flying military aircraft (A CF-188) buzzed our end of Victoria this morning heading what looked like straight at the US border. I’m pretty sure it was an RCAF plane, didn’t get the number, but it was the right shade of blue. Didn’t see it turn after crossing over the Juan De Fuca, just watched it pootle on over towards the USA until it disappeared behind the leaves of next doors Cherry tree. Maybe the pilot was looking for cheaper aviation fuel south of the border where they don’t lump so much in the way of ‘carbon taxation’ on. Who knows?

What with the inter province spat over the Kinder Morgan Pipeline upgrade and BC’s ‘carbon tax’ the Summer price of gasoline is way up above 2013 levels, hitting more and more Canadians in their wage packets. Not so much us. We’re not planning any more transcontinental road trips and don’t need to commute, so our trusty little Subaru isn’t going to get as much use as it has over the last three years. Although Gasoline prices south of the border are just under a Canadian Dollar a litre at the time of writing, which is pretty good. If we lived in somewhere like White Rock, Langley or Abbotsford it would be worth popping over the border just to fill up. No doubt some of the locals do exactly that. Don’t blame them either. This farcical idea that Canadians driving less will somehow ‘save the planet’ is long past it’s sell-by date. Anyone who still believes that needs to read a bit more and not swallow everything they get told via the idiot box.

On the oil front, I see the Venezuelans have re-elected Maduro. Well, the ones who voted anyway. He’ll be the only fat man left in Venezuela at this rate. Until someone does the Venezuelans a favour and gets rid of his administration by other means. From my point of view it’s just another failure of socialist style politics. Doesn’t help hungry Venezuelans much, or their rapidly increasing diaspora, poor bastards. What actually makes me laugh (although not very much as I’m not completely heartless) is UK Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn pointing to what could be a wealthy country in an economic nosedive as a ‘success’ of socialist economics. Shows how much he knows. About as much as a failed divinity student turned politician knows about climate science. At least you know Al Gore doesn’t really believe his own bullshit (He wouldn’t own so much beachfront property if he did). Corbyn does.

Here comes the… Ah.

Looks like the rumours of possible Tsunamis from Hawaii are more ‘don’t panic’ than panic. According to the geologists it’s not that kind of eruption because Kilauea is a shield volcano, not the more explosive Strato or composite type. Still, I’ve seen a few people locally wandering around with face masks on, just in case of fumes, okay? Even though the winds are blowing any emissions in the opposite direction from our little corner of the Northwest Pacific. So lots of oozing type lava flows and local disruption, but next to no risk of major landslips or subsequent tidal waves. At least according to the Vulcanologists and Geologists on site. However, it can’t be much fun on that side of Oahu (Big Island) as the dramatic civil defence video below shows.

So no big boom. What else is new? Not much.

Oh yes, over on the other side of the world a nice young chap called Harry married a pretty American girl called Meghan on Saturday. Now this event would be unremarkable, because young couples who want to raise families get married all the time. However, Harry’s grandmother (Who likes dogs and horses) owns quite a lot of property in and around a little place called the UK. Not only there, but she’s the Chairman (Chairperson is such a verbally clumsy term) of a big global property conglomerate. Which means people tend to take notice when the next generation want to get hitched. Mainly because they think Grandma shouldn’t own all this stuff and want to give it to an amorphous group they call ‘the people’, who are in reality the preferred in-group that these vocal people claim to support. Just so long as they can say who gets what. Frankly I’m happy for Harry’s Grandma to keep all her stuff because I don’t trust the greasy little sods who want to take it all away. Mainly because what they want is to take her place and have everybody else’s stuff (Yours and mine), not just that owned by Harry’s Grandma.

More pleasantly, out in our little deck garden all things seem to be progressing well. The Parsley. Basil, Sweet Peas and Nasturtiums have germinated nicely, our hybrid tea rose has at least eight flowering buds in various stages of development and the new honeysuckle should be blooming shortly too. That and I fixed the leak in the automatic watering system. So far so good.

Workwise, things have settled into a routine and I’m thinking about doing a gun safety course, just for the hell of it. Doesn’t mean I’m going to spend my hard earned on firearms, it just means I’ll have a gun licence to flash in a gun shop so I get to legally handle the merchandise. Alternatively, it’s a useful extra piece of photo ID.

Delightful

Our seedlings are doing well. There’s a minor leak-glitch in the automatic watering system I installed yesterday, but nothing that can’t be fixed by a little PTFE (Plumbers) tape. A five minute fix. Otherwise our drip system works perfectly and will do the necessary job of keeping our plants suitably refreshed and thriving without wasting water while we’re away in July. Mrs S is delighted and so am I. A little green on the deck creates a pleasant space for work breaks where we can rest our weary screen-dried eyes on the local scenery. It’s also become a place where, when the weather is suitable, we can dine on tea and cucumber sandwiches. Which feels very civilised. There’s just something about sandwiches with the crusts cut off and one bite H’ordeuvres for supper that act as a balm to the soul. Must be a cultural thing. To paraphrase a famous quote from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam;

A glass of wine, a plate of sandwiches and thou, talking softly to me in Victoria.

Another thing that I found utterly delightful this morning was Alberta UCP leader Jason Kenney’s statement that Justin Trudeau is “an empty trust-fund millionaire who has the political depth of a finger bowl.” Who “Can’t read a briefing note longer than a cocktail napkin, OK.” Although I’d be inclined to observe that even the shallowest finger bowls generally have more gravitas than the empty-headed talking points regurgitated by Trudeau.

Which rather throws Trudeau’s comparison of people who do not agree with current CO2 driven climate dogma to advocates of Female Genital Mutilation into sharp relief. Which is a cheap way to demonise people who don’t agree with what a lot of researchers now consider very shonky ‘science’. Hells bells, even the latest IPCC report has downgraded the predicted impact of any human effect on the climate. By repeating the failed dogmas Trudeau is like the talking toy recently marketed to promote his popularity. Yes, our darling mop top is pretty, but he’s also pretty vacant without his team of advisors and handy teleprompter. Even with them he’s not exactly the sharpest tool in the box by a long chalk. As the last couple of years have amply shown, he just just isn’t up to the job of being Canadian Prime Minister. Even a half way competent one would have called in the witless Provincial Premiers Horgan (BC) and Notley (Alberta) and firmly told them to stop playing les bougres risibles with Canadian jobs. He’s got to go. The Federal elections in 2019 can’t come soon enough.

Not so delightful has been the news that Amsterdam is going to try and cut down tourism by restricting holiday rentals and putting up hotel taxes. Fortunately this won’t interfere with our travel plans this year as the changes don’t come into effect until January 2019. Talk about being a victim of your own success, eh?

This could get interesting..

Have just had to undertake ‘Anti-bullying training’ for my latest contract. Not that I wanted to because I only acknowledge one approach to bullies which can be summed up in this phrase; “please don’t do that, as an elbow to the throat often offends…” Not that I’ll ever be around when some authority figure comes to take issue with me for ‘retaliating’. Or that my first resort to intimidation would be violence. I’ve had special training in how to stand up to people bent on intimidation without having to resort to punching them out. That and having a well-honed Vetinari (Or Blackadder if you must)-like line in irony and sarcasm. One of my all time favourites being “Really? Well you might think that, but I couldn’t possibly comment…” or “Prey, tell me…” in a cool tone of voice.

Now while I’m not in favour of bullying, having been on the receiving end one too many times, I’m also of the mindset that says that bullies exist to be dealt with, but emphatically do not think that the best way to deal with them is to go looking. Like offense, if you go looking for your definition of ‘bully’ all sorts of daily human interactions can be classed as ‘offensive’ or ‘bullying’ by some thin-skinned son of a bitch (Was that sexist? – ‘Daughter of a dog’ doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it?) Indeed, I tend to agree with this 2016 article from Psychology today that;

“The anti-bully movement is a short walk to genocide.”

Because seeking out and punishing people for behaviour that might be construed as ‘bullying’ or voicing an unpopular opinion ‘hate speech’ is based on highly subjective criteria. As well as being dangerous, flagrantly petty, totally asinine and bad for your human rights. Life’s too short to waste it in continual recriminations. As well as possibly symptomatic of a profound mental illness. In mental health literature, The Journal of Psychological Medicine and Mental Pathology, as far back as Volume 9 contains the following statement(Screenshot); Which, as I have posited so many times before, that offense-seeking behaviour often creates more of a problem than the proposed legislative ‘cure’. See the public backlash over the Count Dankula affair. Which has yet to run its course. And could get even more interesting than it has to date. Especially for the powers that be. Public opinion being what it is.

Anything else? Oh yes. Have spent the princely sum of sixty bucks out of my latest wage packet on one of those automatic watering kits for our little deck garden. Just in case I get caught up in my next round of number crunching and forget to water our burgeoning little collection of plant life.

Mrs S by the way, is delighted at the way all her seeds are germinating and pushing fresh (the saucy little things) green shoots up to be seduced into flower by the sunlight, which is so strong at the moment I can’t walk on the deck barefoot after two o’clock in the afternoon. So I’ve been having to hotfoot (groan) back inside every so often while setting up the watering system or suffer deep fried tootsies. Which I’m reliably informed are no fun at all, and not very tasty either. Cooking your feet is not advisable kiddlewinks, especially when they’re still attached to your ankles. I’ve heard of people chewing their nails, but toenails.. euw.

That’s it for now. I’ve poked my nose above the parapet and nothing much has changed in the outside world so it’s back to work. Figures to reconcile, bills to pay, you know how it is.

Gardening leave

Not much happening right now. Well not here, apart from an increase in personal gardening activity. A new Rose bush, Lilies, Honeysuckle, Junipers, Indonesian Lime, germinating Sweet peas and casting Nasturtiums hither and thither. I’m even having a go at germinating Avocado, Lemon and Orange seeds.

Anything really new? Well, Justin Trudeau is still the most cringeworthy Canadian Prime Minister ever. So no change there. Apparently that darling mop top is rather upset about all the mean (and well-deserved) comments coming his way. Although I’m sure some fuckwit might construe saying that as a ‘Hate Crime’. No idea why, but that’s their problem, not mine.

What else? We at Maison Sticker are keeping a weather eye on the Hawaiian situation. An explosive steam event is on the horizon, although how big that will be is anybody’s guess. Am checking in on the USGS pages for Kīlauea and half way listening for a far off low grumble that means Oahu has gone up in smoke and a big Tsunami is on its way. But that’s a few days away if it happens at all. Besides, even a ‘mega Tsunami’ caused by a massive Hawaiian land slip won’t touch us, we’re too high up and looking down on the rest of the neigbourhood (Damning the rest with faint praise and patronising the remainder.) Besides, the possible slip zone points are South and east of Oahu.  Meaning the focus of any Tsunami will be pointing right at Cali-forn-aye-a.  So much for beachfront property eh?

Liking what Sargon and friends are up to re free speech in the UK. I’m actually hoping that we’ve reached peak PC and some sort of grand ‘oops’ moment will cause various Governments to scale back on the current tidal wave of repressive legislation. Not that either the EU or the UK seem to be free of the insanity. The UK is considering jailing people for up to six years for ‘hate crime’. six years? You don’t get that for manslaughter FFS! (Current guidelines for an unlawful killing are 2-10 years) Saying something critical of the Religion of being blown to pieces can get you jail time? That is so coming back to bite the pollies who put and let these things stay on the statute books. Apart from being a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Which will create deeper and more permanent cultural divides. This is notwithstanding the EU’s latest directive on the topic. Dissent has, like in the old Soviet Union and other Communist and other extreme right and left regimes, become a crime, threatening to drive millions of otherwise moderate citizens right into the political arms of some destructive reboot of Fascism. Especially as voicing or publishing a dissenting point of view is now a ‘hate crime’. Unless, according to the latest proposed EU guidelines, you’re a service provider.

Wonder what happened to ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me‘? Gone the way of all flesh it seems. Every privileged minority seems determined to find something somewhere to get excited about. The rest of us look on at their antics with a certain astonishment. Especially when the perpetually offended get all vocal about a cause they aren’t directly affected by.

For my part I consider myself on unofficial gardening leave because work has tailed off and there’s bugger all to do apart from write and run errands. I’m still getting paid, so what the hell. Serves me right for being so efficient over the last few months.

After we get back from Europe in August, think I’ll join one of the local archery clubs so I can use their shooting range and get some new shafts made. Might be worthwhile keeping my eye in, just in case I get an invite to go bowhunting up country again. In the meantime, my roses are budding, Lilies trumpeting their heavy pollen to the skies and multiple seedlings straining to be set free from the confinement of the soil. Could be worse.