All posts by Bill Sticker

Expatriate observer of life in the UK and British Columbia, Canada. Politically slightly right of centre with a pro libertarian bias. Writes, publishes and now a lot more relaxed about life in general. Is keeping his British accent for tax purposes. Travels a lot.

Despair

Don’t know what triggered it, but today it hit me, out of the blue, a sense of overwhelming despair. I’d done all my work for the day, met all my objectives. A bit of a struggle, but that’s not rare. At the moment everything is taking ten times as long at it should and that is weighing upon me.

Like so many others I’m not having a good lockdown. Frankly if I met anyone who rubbed my face in it about being a bit down I’d be inclined to lose my rag and give them a lesson they might not have the time to regret. If you’re having a good lockdown then you’re either one of the clever buggers who can get around the system, or one of those smug public sector arseheads who takes great delight in only doing a tenth of their usual workload and blaming a disease, when it’s the response to the disease that is really causing all the harm.

We keep on getting told that our hospital systems are ‘overstressed’ and we need to be locked down under house arrest because we have to ‘save our health services’. Well here’s a thing. It was reported in the Guardian that between 2010 and 2019, 15,834 beds have been cut in the UK’s ‘wonderful’ NHS (Stats Here).

No wonder the political class have been running around with their trousers around their ankles, blaming everyone else. Public health provision has declined in real terms. Therefore no spare capacity in the Health system when SARS/COV-2 escaped from the great prison-state of Communist China. Now the whole world is imprisoned.

But the ‘challenge’ was risen to. People voluntarily forfeited their turn in the health care systems, temporary hospitals were built and never really used, some even decommissioned. But the restrictions continued all through the Summer. Then the mask mandates were brought in, during the smegging Summer for heavens sake! Low season for respiratory disease. Face masks which do not protect against viruses and even act as a sink of infection for respiratory disease. See this article from Livescience, which contains the quote from one mask study;

” most swabs from the outside of patient masks were positive for coronavirus”

Consider this. Trying to stop the spread of SARS/COV-2, or any other virus with a surgical mask is like trying to stop a plague of mosquitoes with chain link fencing. The mesh of the fence only serves as a place for the mosquitoes to perch, like the fibres of a mask give the droplets carrying viruses somewhere to pause before being drawn into your mouth and throat with the next inhalation. The overall effect is to concentrate the amount of virus laden droplets you breathe in, because they are not dispersing normally to be killed by natural Ultra-violet light. One might even posit that the pandemic is being extended by the use of masks, when UV light and chemical means would be far more efficacious.

If we were looking for patterns of viral spread, we might be better following the weather rather for looking for patterns in lockdowns. Dry bright sunny days where UV is high means less viral spread. Chilly, rainy weather when the moisture content of the air is higher means a quicker and more pervasive spread. Or staying indoors. The average home or office is the best place to catch a disease, next to hospitals of course.

Now think about this; UV on the skin stimulates vitamin D immunoglobulins vital to boost immune systems. Which means half an hour under a sun lamp every other day would not only kill the viral spread, but also boost anyone’s immune system high enough to fight off most infections. As well as making them feel better. Sunlight, if you hadn’t already noticed, is a mood elevator. Being indoors all the time, not so much.

If we really, really wanted to kill this pandemic completely stone cold dead we should re-open all the tanning salons and give out free sessions, not get the Police to shut them down. Sunbathing in moderation is good for you. Better than you think. Science fact; UV light is both anti-viral and anti-bacterial. It has long been used in food production facilities to sanitise food prior to consumption.

Yet we’re still using lockdowns and masks when they are contra-indicated and found not to work.

Later today I’m off to run the gauntlet of Gardai checkpoints enforcing stupid regulations which are simply keeping this pandemic going. It really makes me despair.

Update: The UK Advertising Standards Authority are having a go at an advert put out by the Government. Commented on by the erudite Mr Webb below.

If you have concerns about one of these scaremongering advertisements. Complaints page is here. Every little helps.

Casualties

Just having a scroll down the Scriblerus blog list and note that a few went offline. James Higham, arguably the Godfather of the group has retreated to Blogspot, as has Orphans of Liberty. Scribblings from Seaham is completely AWOL. Demetrius at Cynical Tendency hasn’t posted in well over a year, likewise Tim Newman. Raedwald died. Our original number shrinks. Some lost interest, others simply drifted away like ghostly ships, vanishing over the horizon.

Links have been updated to new sites where available.

Thus it is that merciless time catches up with all of us. Orphans and Nourishing Obscurity disappeared because their web admin, Chuckles, died. Which is sad, but then all human life is finite. We all die. So that should be a spur to engage with life, before it inevitably ends. To do less is to have merely existed.

That said, a lot of the old long form bloggers have been carrying on the verbal fight for freedom of expression more intermittently, or on other platforms, so I’ve left their links untouched. The diehards amongst us will hopefully keep on posting because it’s become too much a component of our lives. Perhaps driven by bloody minded habit or the thought that if no-one speaks up against the darkness, the voiceless will be led mute down into eternal dystopias, stripped of hope and berated into subservience.

The mainstream press, with few salient exceptions, won’t help. They’re too much a part of the machine. Few modern politicians will for the self same reason, and if no-one speaks to oppose the erosion of basic human freedoms, that minority who might stand up, won’t. It’s also worth noting that great ideas like human liberty, cannot be killed, but they can die of neglect. So we must not be neglectful, no matter the temptation. We must light our own candles, no matter how small, or let the night take us all.

We’re not the only ones. Listen to this Talk Radio talk with Neil Oliver. This blog does not believe that there is ‘no point’. The only time that happens is when you give up on living, and that is a perniciously dangerous idea.

Thus dear reader, you can be assured that this blogs febrile and occasionally satirical ravings will continue, even if I’m just shouting into my own little bucket. Okay, which one of you smartarses shouted “Shame”? Go to the top of the class and then do us all a big favour by jumping off.

The madness

“I think they’re trying to frighten us to death.” I remarked to someone in a shop yesterday when he asked me what I thought of the lockdowns. They nodded agreement and said something about stringing up the people keeping us in lockdown. We chuckled darkly at the thought.

Personally I think almost half the population, including most of our political establishment has been driven mad with fear. Driven out of their wits by the constant drumbeat of fear porn put out by the media and political classes. Yet the observable threat does not justify the response. It’s an excuse for inadequate healthcare provision.

Yes SARS/COV-2 is, or rather was, a nasty bug, but the basic stats tell me that deaths are currently around seasonal norms. Yet society continues to dive ever deeper down the rabbit hole, seeking shelter from a threat that is nowhere near as bad as advertised. See Viva Frei’s account from Quebec.

Question; can we have the proponents of lockdown sectioned? Because they are insane and posing a distinct threat to the rest of us.

Also Question; is COVID-19 as bad as the Spanish flu? No. Even with the padding of statistics and counting every single false positive PCR result as a ‘case’. Now it is emerging that a lot of the initial fatalities died because of inappropriate treatment. Some staff weren’t as diligent as they might have been. I think most people have seen the video posted 8th May 2020 by a New York ICU nurse alleging widespread malpractice. It’s not new. And that was during the downcurve of the pandemic when casualties were already rapidly decreasing. See yet another Ivor Cummins analysis below.

Prove me wrong. If I am wrong I will review my position, but having examined the available evidence, I do not think I am.

P.S. News media reports are not ‘evidence’.

P.P.S. Elderly friend, for whom we are powers of attorney, having been conned into having a COVID vaccination (“For her own safety” we were told), is now testing positive and is now isolated for the next 14 days by her care home.

For a studied medical perspective about the data, see here.

It’s at times like these…

…that I just want to swear at the proponents of lockdowns like Samuel L Jackson.

Included in this number; The entire political establishment of Canada, the EU, New Zealand, UK and USA, and most of the panic mongering mainstream media. Also ‘Progressive’ NGO’s and anyone who follows their specious diktats are especially included in this number.

None of them have the wit to run a bath without inflicting their half-baked progressive politics on the rest of us. Neither do people who say they believe in ‘science’ without actually reading any of the scientific literature properly. Witless bunch.

My ill temper has been mostly created because I’ve just had a very trying meeting over building design with someone who just doesn’t understand about structure, services or the basics of sketching and don’t see why anyone should be exempted from a damn good swear. The mess we’re in is all the fault of people like the aforementioned. Every last single Muthaf*ckin’ thing.

I feel strangely better for having said that.

Muthaf*cka’s.

At what point….

Busy talking to Estate Agents and Architects at the moment, not to mention Canadian Banks and my Canadian stock brokers. No news from London, Victoria or Sydney from the last few days apart from gloom-laden family talk of ‘ghost towns’. It’s like the whole of the western world is over-run by fear. An unjustified fear at that.

Well I’m not going to let it ruin my day. I have appointments to keep, business to transact and places to go. Fortunately the Gardai out here in the Wilder West of Ireland are too busy with their real jobs (Catching proper criminals etc) to chase around after ordinary people simply going about their own business.

However, I’d just got off the phone with one guy this morning and found myself wondering; “At what point do these lockdowns get challenged as false arrest / imprisonment?” Do the lockdown regulations constitute a ‘prima facie’ case? This is stuff for specialist lawyers, and might even be broken by a civil tort against the government. One hopes.

I say this because the enabling legislation has often passed through various legislatures who use common law as a basis for their legal systems, with little or no substantive debate. Is it actually legal to keep people confined to their own homes when there is no proof that they are infected with anything? Even if one part of the law says it is?

What are people’s rights if it can be proven that the law is misapplied? Although officially the burden of proof does rest with the restraining authority. Mere allegation on their part is not sufficient, and detention limits, outside of the prevention of terrorism legislation, should still apply.

Note (UK only): “If you are arrested, the police can only detain you for a maximum of 24 hours. This is extended to 36 hours for a more serious arrestable offence.” This applies everywhere. You cannot even be detained in your own home for longer than this. Read the links, check the law. Do not, under any circumstances, take my word for it.

Now, harking back to my enforcement days, I’m familiar with the process of getting a ticket thrown out. It’s very simple; if you get booked, don’t worry, this is simply the first part of a process where you can challenge anything. Keep your cool, say you are unable to comply and clearly state your reason. See lawful excuses below.

Step 1: at time of issue, don’t make a fuss. Keep calm. A fixed penalty notice isn’t the end of the world. You can even ask the issuing officer about the challenge procedure. Under UK law, if asked, they have to telly you how to challenge the fixed penalty notice they have just issued. At least that used to be the case.

If you were physically unable to comply with the issuing officer, take a breath, don’t argue and go home to write a polite letter to the issuing authority, stating why you could not comply, include the numbers on the ticket and the name or number of the issuing officer, and ask nicely for the fixed penalty notice to be ‘set aside’ on this particular occasion. All you have to do is make up a lawful excuse.

Lawful excuses include;
A physical / religious / social inability to comply. In the UK, the enquiring officer cannot ask you for proof, and you don’t have to tell him / her / it / whatever FFS!
An exemption to the stated regulation. Or stating that the issuing officer did not satisfactorily explain you why they approached you, or issued a fixed penalty notice.
Temporary incapacitation “I was tired and needed to rest” is a good one. Or an indefinable medical condition like a mild dizzy spell. Or even “I’ve just had a vaccination and think I’m having a reaction.” If they offer help, thank them but politely decline, saying you don’t want to waste anyone’s time.
Remember, you don’t have to prove anything. The onus of proof is on the issuing officer. Been there, had the ticket cancelled. If he / she / it was rushed, did a sloppy job, or got any one of half a dozen details wrong, the ticket will probably be thrown out at the first stage of challenge. Oh and keep the ticket. Don’t throw it away or wipe your arse on it. This is evidence, and contains all the numbers you will need.

Also note; if you are roughly handled by the officer in question, despite telling them the reason for your non-compliance, you may have grounds for false arrest / assault charge against those officers who mishandled you. Stay calm, take their patrol numbers and memorise them if you can. You’ll need these details for later challenges.

If unsure; phone your citizens advice bureau or similar. They will help you write a challenge letter, which is the first step in the chain. Do this immediately, no matter how upset or aggrieved you feel. Emotion doesn’t work in the legal process. Weeping in front of a judge doesn’t work. Cool headed logic does.

Now if the issuing authority doesn’t like your lawful excuse, you can appeal their decision, and they have to tell you how to do it. Or you can hire an ambulance chasing lawyer to do it for you. However, if you have time and money to burn, there’s always ‘Judicial review’ where you challenge the legislation via the courts. If you have to go to court; do get a lawyer. Rebel Media and the Lockdown Sceptics sites may also be able to help. Ezra Levant and Toby Young are two sterling gentlemen and have been busily fighting this cause (and other civil rights cases) for some time now.

Good luck.

Update: The local Gardai are doing checkpoints and we did run into one today. We were on business, so had a ‘lawful excuse’
Side note; out here in the wilder west they seem to be focussing on major N roads and Motorways close to cities and county towns.

A bunch of muppets

As none of the muppets in power seem to have any bright ideas of to get us out of the mess they, and they alone, have gotten us into. May I offer some minor ridiculae to ease my occasional reader’s inner pain.

The European Union. Having a sing of it’s anthem to cheer itself up (and failing) post Brexit.

A screenshot of the World Economic Forums top secret COVID Recovery plan, in it’s entirety.

And a more chilling message, from the Outer Limits.

Hang loose, as it says in the Deisderata;

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Reap the whirlwind

The Twitter share price has been in a forty five degree nosedive since 4th January, long before the current round of de-platforming and account deletion hit. So obviously the clever money is on the move. Fortunately, for those who bought in during their October dip, there’s still time to get while the getting is good.

Personally, I still regard the Alphabet / Twitter / Facebook shares as ‘bubble stocks’ And forgive me for not being a stock market expert, but I would have put in my sell order on Friday when the news of deleting Trumps account hit. I mean, how thick do you have to be to let your politics get in the way of profits? It wasn’t that long ago when some opined that Twitter et al were like betting on a three legged horse in a steeplechase. And if you bought in earlier in the year, there is still time to cash out while the cashing is good.

Might even stop using Amazon too. If Mr Bezos wants to play politics with his companies share price, I’ll be going elsewhere for my online purchasing. Don’t get me wrong, I was quite a fan of Amazon marketplace, but now? Not so much.

Tech stocks are proving, like in the first tech crash to be ‘surfer’ stocks, and the wave is about to hit the beach. Some will ride it out, many, lured by promises of big gains, may be about to find out how tenuous those gains are.

Then there’s the whole ‘clap’ thing people are trying to bring back, which just serves to embarrass many medical professionals. If you’re having issues in your locale with people getting raided because they’ve been snitched on, the most enthusiastic virtue signallers are likely the folks who are the informers.

Maybe it would be fun to snitch right back at them. Let them reap the whirlwind of their own actions.

Nothing new

News from ‘North’ in London. She’s a bit gloomy, even though she’s still in a job. London, she tells us, is a bit like a ghost town.

It’s the same all over. Quebec for example is under curfew. No doubt the Quebecois political class is ‘exempt’, but hear what Viva Frei has to say about the nonsensical restrictions. As if the virus looks at it’s watch and goes; “After hours huh? Time to get moving.”

Fortunately, out here in the wilder west of Ireland, we don’t have such panic stricken nonsense. Similarly ‘South’ in the fabled land of Oz, reports she’s doing long walks to keep the lockdown blues at bay. Personally I think we’re more at risk from the fear and over-reaction than the actual virus itself.

A handy household tip

We had a bath in one of the downstairs bathrooms at our new Irish domicile. Somewhere previous tenants used to wash their dogs and also two year olds bearing permanent markers as well by the look of things.

The dog thing was easy. Drains were unclogged by removing the circular grid from the plughole and depositing the foetid mass recovered from the U-bend down the toilet. Scuff marks were removed with ordinary bathroom cleaner and lots of elbow grease. The other part proved more difficult. Bleach didn’t even touch the permanent marker artistry, nor did three kinds of disinfectant type cleaner.

Which left only one obvious choice; acetone, like that found in nail polish remover. But I was loathe to use it because acetone does horrible things to resin and many plastics. Fortunately Mrs S suggested her cheap acetone free nail varnish remover in conjunction with make up remover pads, although I’m sure that cotton wool or even paper towels of any kind would have sufficed.

So I applied the acetone-free nail varnish remover with a series of cotton face pads. Fifteen minutes and a lot of squeaking (With the occasional muted sound of amazement) later, the bath was blemish free and ready for use.

Now I don’t know if it was the ethyl acetate or nethyl ethyl keytone ingredient that cut the mustard, but the end result was a bath fit for human use; gleaming and clean. So afterwards I allowed myself the luxury of a good old soak in a solution of scented Epsom salts with a big mug of tea at hand.

End result; now a pale cloud of oil of Eucalyptus and white willow follows my every motion and I am relaxed and clear headed. A once barely useable bathroom is scented with something other than Domestos and more in keeping with our nasal preferences. Domestic equilibrium is restored.

Sometimes I think we could all do with a good old soak in scented water every so often. It’s so very relaxing. So much more so than just a shower. Perhaps that’s why the world seems to be so up it’s own arse all the time. The protagonists don’t spend enough time soaking all their cares away.

By way of an afterthought, candles and wine are permissible, and for Mrs S essential. She has been promised some of the same to help forget about all the self-important drama queens who abrade our sensitivities on a daily basis. I’m just about up to my back teeth with all the hand waving over climate, some virus that has passed it’s worst and who gets to be king of the castle over the water. The markets may dip, but they will recover. It’ll all be the same in a decade or so.

Pass the bath oil.

PCR – A Doctor speaks

Is the PCR test fit for purpose? Does it really say “For lab use only” on the packaging of all of these tests, like the warning on many mask packages “Will not protect against viruses”

A Dr Sam Bailey puts forward her observations after she was ‘fact checked’ by some self appointed ‘fact checkers’

That was interesting…

Mrs S and I had a difference of opinion yesterday morning. She opined that it was a good thing that the sitting US President with the initials DJT had all his social media accounts suspended and deleted. Apparently for spreading “disinformation and hate”. Which is interesting. Apparently he was trying to tell his supporters to “Go home.” because “We need peace.” So Arsebook and Twatter decided this was not what they wanted their users to hear. So his accounts were suspended. Along with thousands of others. Took the screenshot below just before posting. Video from GABTV here. Does that sound like ‘hate’?

I disagreed vehemently with my other half, referring to these social media shutdowns as ‘fascist’. I told her that shutting down someone just because you don’t like them much, is a very, very bad idea. It’s like smacking the phone out of someone’s hand when they’re talking to someone else. Principally because how do you know someone is being an arse and ‘spreading hate’ if the only ‘evidence’ there is comes from some dodgy rumourmongers and propagandists (Calling themselves ‘journalists’ ho bloody ho)? Even on the supposedly neutral BBC (Guffaw) and even hitherto respected organs of the UK press (FT, Times, Telegraph and Guardian). Can what they say be verified by primary source information or not? If so, okay. If not, they’re more full of it than I am. Likewise, if the primary source is denied to me using the argument “We will tell you what to think.” or “You wouldn’t understand it”, then my subconscious tends to cry “Foul! Ref!”

Seems to even my limited intelligence that someone is telling massive porkies or at least misrepresenting what really happened at the US capitol. For my part, as a staunch advocate of fair play, I actually try and find out what the recently unseated DJT actually said on a given occasion, and it is so often at odds with what the mainstream tell us he said. Far from being a ‘spreader of hate’, DJT tells his audiences that he loves them, repeating allegations that the mainstream will not touch. “Oh noes!” Scream the lamestream. “He’s spreading hate and disinformation!” Despite information being in the public domain that supports the case for prosecution of those favoured by the mainstream media.

Say for example that old you-know-who had destroyed possibly incriminating computer hard drives and phones, his feet wouldn’t have touched the floor, but someone from a family beginning with ‘C’ only had to state that this was not so, presumably with her fingers crossed behind her back, and magically there was no case to answer. Or fact based allegations that a specific politician was taking foreign money and making a crooked buck by peddling influence, not to mention being a possible paedophile.

The public too often get patted on the head and told “Nothing to see here, move along.” But we can see what’s going on. Only the wilfully blind cannot, it’s that blatant.

Despite not liking DJT much as a public persona, I had to admire some of the things he was doing. Scaling back US military interventions in the Middle East and Afghanistan for example. When of course his military staffers did what they were told. Bringing jobs back to the USA despite the lockdowns and civil unrest perpetuated by mostly Democrat administrations. He also liked BREXIT, which his successor doesn’t.

Not to mention the election shenanigans that gave the victory to the Democrats, despite evidence of fraud that the courts point blank refused to examine, not entirely sure why. Yes there is evidence. Shady stuff was done. But those perpetrating such deeds presumably steered far enough to the windy side of the law that the courts couldn’t do much. So dies the US Republic.

Regarding the US Elections, satirically commented upon by JP. Were some of those ‘Trump supporters’ actually Antifa? Certain tattoos tell an interesting story.

How long before poor old JP gets hauled off to the Gulag for revealing state secrets?

Drone strikes incoming to all the pro-Trump faction. Must invest in those companies before the share price goes up. Personally I’m with Viva Frei as below.

Here we go again…

Well, it’s 2021 chums! Aaaand here we go again. More useless, futile lockdowns following all the other futile and useless lockdowns which didn’t work throughout 2020. Frankly I’m amazed, not at the obvious lack of intelligence on display, but at the sheer lack of imagination. Hey! Let’s do the same thing which didn’t work last time around, just change the name. Genius, eh? No.

I’ve noticed there’s a lot of pressure from public sector unions, which I know from experience form the least productive part of the economy. Frankly, if you shut all the daycare centres masquerading as the state sector education system, and maybe all those pressuring for the additional lockdowns should have their salaries cut by 50%+ during the next ‘wave’ or ‘spike’ or whatever excuse the powers that be are using, like the few private sector workers currently being ‘furloughed’ into penury. But maybe the UK public sector is indulging in a little sabotage, having been told their wages will be frozen for the next three years they’ve decided to watch it all burn to the ground.

Personally, if a union is one of those pressuring the government to shut down schools, then maybe the union’s members should be sent home on the quarter pay pittance offered to those not on the public dime. Like the teachers unions. What are they going to do when the schools are shut anyway? Go on strike? Who would notice? In the meantime, just like in the early 1970’s, UK education, politically correct mish mash that it appears to be, of the next generation suffers.

Yep. It’s a crazy old world out there and no mistake. My current major issue is the banking system, and shifting funds from Canada back into Europe and the UK keeps my head slamming into the nearest wall. Mrs S and I had a bit of a row over it. She had a go at me for no good reason twice in the same day. Which almost made me lose my temper, which for me is an event akin to finding the manure pile in a rocking horse stable. I was rather annoyed though. I’m not a bloody doormat and get really pissed off when my good nature is mistaken for me being anyone’s bitch.

However, sanity has prevailed, we’ve talked things through, and we’re back to our more usual selves, although after a particularly stressful session with a not so helpful help desk today, my rabid Donald Duck impression as I walked downstairs made her jump, then she burst out laughing. So we’re all good again. Life is too short not to see the ridiculous side. Even if the continual repetition of stupidity gets right on my tits.

Now I need a drink.

Update. By the way; for those of you thinking I may be full of it. Have a look at the analysis below. No ‘denial of science’, no propaganda, just the numbers and nothing but the numbers. In context. Like being compared to like. Peer reviewed studies and information derived from proper, reputable scientific publications.

Now would anyone carefully explain to me, using proper science and without resorting to the pejorative, why the hell we’re still doing lockdowns?

Numbers don’t lie

The mainstream media over here in Ireland have picked up on the ‘Numbers don’t lie’ theme and are abusing it by misrepresenting the data on their front pages, by posting overall death stats without context, or how they fit in with the seasonal norms. Mr Cummins, see below, gives the context the mainstream media and politicians won’t, or can’t provide. He points out that overall mortality (All deaths) is down on 2015, 2016 & 2019 according to the Euromomo all cause mortality stats. To clarify, overall mortality, not just deaths attributable to SARS/COV-2 is less than ‘normal’, (albeit marginally) despite an increasing population and the spike of deaths in March and April 2020.

Derived from the statistical analysis, a great deal of the ‘cases’ appear to be nosocomial (Hospital originating) infections, meaning that if you didn’t have the infection when you went in to hospital, there is a better than average chance you would catch a dose whilst a patient or visitor. Outside, not so much. Hospitals appear to be the sinks of infection, so therefore the only people who should have to be covered by the mask and lockdown regulations are patients, visitors, health care workers and support staff. The rest of the public should be able to go about their business in the world outside the hospital system with minimal risk. The numbers, taken in context, don’t lie. Only those seeking to profit from an unjustified public panic would say otherwise by presenting seasonal norms as something new and outlandish.

So, no need for mask wearing and lockdowns in the general population. Only at hospitals and medical facilities. This is where the effort to contain the spread of any bug is most effective, by improving disease control measures where they can do the most good. Where the sinks of infection are. Which is infection control 101. Control the source, contain the disease.

As for those of you thinking a mask does any good, try the following bit of real experimental science you can do at home. No tricks, no unpleasant bending. Put on a dark coloured jumper. Charcoal or dark blue is best. Being careful not to get talc anywhere else, lightly (lightly! not throw it all over the flaming place!) dust a surgical or cloth mask with ordinary talcum powder on the outside only. Now carefully put on your mask, having first wiped your face with a wet wipe. After that, simply go around the house, doing normal chores for half an hour or so. Now stop. Take a careful look in the mirror. Where is the talc residue on your chest and shoulders? Wipe your face again. Do you find any traces of talcum powder and where do you find them? Around your mouth and nostrils or on the inside of your mask? On your hands? Did you find yourself wanting to sneeze or cough more or less than usual whilst wearing your mask? Look around the house where you’ve been lounging / working / whatever. Where do you find traces of talc? That is where all the germs and viruses go. All over the smegging place. Mask or no.

This is how good a surgical mask is at stopping disease spread in an uncontrolled atmosphere (Your home) whilst you are wearing street clothes. This is why surgical masks work best as part of a structured regimen of disease control. Specifically wearing a disposable apron over freshly laundered scrubs in conjunction with a surgical cap or hood in a controlled atmosphere and regularly disinfectant-treated surfaces, they work just fine at helping reduce the spread of a given pathogen.

This is not to say people aren’t dying from SARS/COV-2 infections, just that as far as a cause of death is concerned, it’s even taken the place of the seasonal influenza toll in parts of the Southern Hemisphere, no idea why that is. Maybe SARS/COV-2 is simply scything down those who would otherwise have been offed by a milder and less infectious, but equally lethal to those with compromised immune systems, seasonal influenza. Which is good, for a given value of ‘good’ because by reducing the numbers of those who are infected with flu, it means those strains of coronavirus caused influenzas may well die out altogether. Why? Because no hosts mean no disease. Viruses, to the best of my knowledge do not multiply without a host, i.e. you or another living creature. Including plants. Funny old thing life, isn’t it?

As for Mrs S and I, we’re healthy and doing very well, having received unexpected gifts and some excellent personal news over the last three days. All we really need to get going properly with the next phase of our grand adventure is for these pointless lockdowns to be removed and we’ll be verily flashing along like greased lightning. As will everyone else. Speed the day that sanity returns.

Now I need a nice hot mug of tea.

The year that fun forgot…..

So much for a white Christmas although we had a three degree frost last night. Oh well, it was a long shot anyway. Well chums, hasn’t the last ten months been a real barrel of feckin laughs? Frankly, if 2020 was a person, I’d be tempted to throw it face down in a puddle and firmly plant my boot on the back of it’s neck until the bubbling stopped. Which is roughly how I feel about the people responsible for all the panic mongering over SARS/COV-2.

The terminally terrified, media and panicking politicians have done incredible damage to everyone else, just in case they’d catch a nasty dose of the flu. Yes it’s a nasty bug, yes it is worse than the normal seasonal influenzas, but not by that much. And it has done it’s worst. as I and many others have pointed out before. We effectively have ‘herd immunity’, regardless of new mutations that don’t seem to be doing much. The only thing that made the stats look bad is the misapplied PCR test, which was never intended as a diagnostic tool. The death stats are back to around seasonal norms. But I repeat myself. Yet again.

Update: see screenshot of stats for the UK below.

The renewed lockdowns mean Mrs S is chafing over every tiny detail, getting uptight with me for anything less than perfection. I do not blame her for this. I blame the arseheads responsible for closing everything down, yet again. For so little cause.

On the upside, a BREXIT deal has been agreed, with no serious tariffs between the EU and UK, which will work well for us here in Ireland. Just a little customs paperwork, which will be streamlined over the next few months. The markets like the outcome, and sterling took over a three cent uptick in price when the news hit, which should help any people on pensions and bode a little better for those reliant upon funds from the UK. Some are calling the fisheries part of the deal a ‘sell-out’, but it buys time for the UK to rebuild it’s fishing fleet and set up conservation zones. So it’s not a total shitshow. Silver linings abound. If you know where to look.

Overall 2020 has been a very frustrating year. Complicating for us what should have been a relatively simple move. The constant delays have resulted in our search for a place to refurbish is taking three times as long as it should. Getting out to view properties has been a constant game of sneakaround when no one, least of all the local law, is sure what the damn restrictions are anyway. Hell, we’re on ‘business’ anyway. The business of a little property development. So no-one is going to bother us much.

Originally, we were all told three weeks lockdown to ‘save’ nationalised health services, which turned into three months, and now at the current rate, with vaccines that don’t really give that much immunity, looks like heading into three stuffing years. When does this torture end? When no-one can die of anything any more? Don’t hold your breath for that one. Now the politicians have claimed the power over the minutiae of our lives, they will be loathe to let it go. Which is a very depressing thought.

Apropos of nothing, might I mention in passing that over here in the Wilder West of Ireland, Michael Collins is still a figure of deep reverence, the picture of this legendary guerrilla fighter hanging on many an Irish wall, as well as being portrayed by Liam Neeson in a very watchable feature film. After all, it was Collins who was the key figure in founding the Irish Free state, the birth father of the modern Republic of Ireland.

Even my family, protestants and heretics all, used to speak well of the ‘big fellow’ or ‘big man’ as he was known, despite one of our remote relatives being murdered by republicans back in the early 1900’s. Although fair’s fair, we had distant relatives murdered by both sides in the struggle for Irish independence, like so many others of Irish descent. And I was never a fan of what the paramilitaries did during ‘the troubles’. Neither side. But Collins was a realist and man of his people.

I try to look at it this way, it was all a long time ago and life is too short to hold that kind of grudge. The killers and order givers are all dead and long cold in their graves anyway. The fires of hell have claimed the wicked. Justice of a sort has happened.

Funny thing though, a few days ago between lockdowns, Mrs S and I were sitting in a pub having a quiet drink and I found myself looking up at a picture of Mr Collins in army uniform and wondering; “What would Michael Collins think about these curbs on Irish freedom and hate speech laws?” For a moment all the pub sounds faded into the background and I slipped into a short daydream until Mrs S Prodded me back to reality. Was it my imagination, or had I heard a ghostly chuckle and the double-snick of a well greased rifle bolt? Nah. Probably just my over-active imagination.

Anyway. Happy New Year all. Let’s try not to make a complete 2020 of the new year. Although no doubt the political classes will give it their best try.

Best Regards,

Bill

Being mindful

We are continually being told that ‘mindfulness’ is a good thing, a goal to be aspired to, the epitome, the acme of all that is good and righteous. To be ‘mindful’, practitioners inform us, is the path to enlightenment, nirvana, and paying off the mortgage on time. Now it seems that this key precept is failing, with many practitioners straying from the path and in the process becoming narcissistic, vile little eejits you wouldn’t cross the road to piss down their throats if their lungs were on fire. But they weren’t nice people to begin with, and no amount of ‘awareness’ and Yogurt can change their true nature, merely the way it is expressed, in saccharine insincerity, passive-aggressiveness and massive self-delusion.

Now it may surprise you, dear reader (Look, there’s one of you out there, I think) but I too once delved into the innermost secrets of the universal soul through meditation and Yoga. Through my contemplations of the infinite and divine, I have become the person I am today. Does this surprise anyone? Yes? No? Don’t give a monkeys? Whatever.

Now my yoghurt and mendicant training goes back a few years to the Dojo where I studied, a small covert room over a Chinese Restaurant in sunny Stoke on Trent. A secret place where ancient masters taught the stoic arts and the ancient, obscure Welsh martial art of LLap Mivitalls, which consists of disciplining mind and body to hardship via the use of large cups of tea and bacon sandwiches consumed in the vast hidden reaches of industrial estates and lorry parks. The major part of which consists of learning how to eat your bacon sandwich in a torrential downpour without diluting your tea or letting your bacon sandwich get soggy. You can brag about the athletic prowess of Shaolin monks all you like, but such things are child’s play when faced with the inner serenity a black belt in this Welsh martial art can attain. Let’s face it, when you can calmly munch your way through breakfast in a heavy Welsh downpour whilst looking totally relaxed, you are indeed a force to be reckoned with.

BC, my home for the last decade or so, is now infested with a plague of ‘mindfulness’ and narcissism to the point where recovery is not possible. There can be no vaccine for this plague, only the burgeoning awareness of the sufferer that all is not well with them, and why their friends seem to clam up or roll their eyes whenever the practitioner of mindfulness opens their mouth.

At my Dojo, we were warned about this outcome by the Dojo’s chief mentor, Lobsang Dai, a Cardiff born man and part time Tom Jones impersonator (Ask your Granny). “Now young disciple, look you.” He would say. “All this talk of inner focus is all very well, but will it keep the rain from getting inn your tea?” He would opine further. “The path to inner serenity lies not in the actions of others, but of looking to yourself and not letting the water in. And putting your right leg behind your left ear isn’t that impressive.” With such sage teaching has my path to inner enlightenment been scattered. If we studied hard that lesson, he would demonstrate his hip twist, and how it could instantly bring down ladies underwear. Never understood why he wore such apparel, but to each their own. We were a very progressive class.

Sadly Lobsang Dai is no more, having fallen from grace to the charms of a Hungarian long distance lorry driver called Magda, but my fellow disciples and I remember his teachings with great fondness.