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.

Travelling again…

Next step of our journey looms. Amsterdam and all points Dutch. A Switch of beers from Tuborg to Heineken. From apartment to hotel. A few points further south. Day trips to the Hague and similar are planned.

As cities go I’ve enjoyed our stay in Copenhagen. Very easy to walk, very flat. Picturesque, with few buildings more than seven storeys tall. Also undergoing a couple of large scale redevelopments in the centre. I wouldn’t want to drive here, that’s a certainty. This is not a vehicle friendly city, even if it is mostly a friendly city. Fine to visit, but like most capital cities, very expensive to live in.

Youngest, although she’s not a girl any more but an intelligent young woman in her own right, capable of making her own way in the world, has gone back to jolly old Londinium to continue her work of trying to sort other people’s legal lives for them. She has a solid network of friends and associates now, some quite highly placed in her section of the legal firmament, so needs very little assistance, either emotional or financial, from us. ‘Youngest’ no longer seems an adequate term because although she’ll always be the second born, she’s earned the right to a more flattering label. Something will come to me.

I notice the two minute media hate is still spewing against the President Trump who has actually been talking to those naughty Russkians instead of listening to the constant litany of ‘Russia is bad’ propaganda, which gets us nowhere. Newsflash kiddies – this is not the old Stalinist Soviet Union we’re dealing with here, they’re mostly democratic and quite capitalist nowadays and definitely not filling mass graves with tens of millions like they used to in the bad old socialist and communist days. So why aren’t we talking to them? Jaw-jaw is better than war-war, as Winston Churchill once put it. Trade better than conflict. All right, Putin jails the odd journalist, but so does everyone else. The Russians are just more open about it. They have a robust attitude, which is to their credit.

Eldest has been to Russia and recommends Moscow and St Petersburg as Summer tourist destinations. So a trip there might be worth the price of a visa. There’s a lot of Russian tourists here in Copenhagen if these old ears don’t deceive me. Just like there are a lot of Americans. I’ve picked up a pdf copy of ‘Russian for Dummies’ and over Winter will be trying to gain a smattering of Russian so we can at least navigate and negotiate our way around.

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Deranged hatred

Having been woken up by spewing drunks trying to force their way into our rented Copenhagen apartment in the wee hours, I made the mistake of going online to see the news. Bad mistake. I should have hosed all the vomit from the stairwell first. But not only have I had to clean a startling display of projectile vomiting off a full flight of stairs and wall because no-one else would, but I have to listen to the unhinged ravings about Trump’s visit to the UK. A good deal of which is coming from official media sources.

I keep on hearing all the empty anti-Trump rhetoric and can’t help being bemused by the display of frothing anger. All the bad things he’s being accused of, Obama, Bush and Clinton did in spades.  Indeed Trump may be a bullshitter, but the hatred of him is so over the top even my wife and daughter, not the most political of animals, are looking askance at all the screaming nutcasery and going “Oh for heavens sake!”

Would someone please explain to li’l old thickie me, so everyone else can understand too; exactly what is so bad about what he is doing? Spare me the empty rhetoric, I want logic and reason, facts and figures. I understand this may cause unwarranted strain on certain people’s neurons.

For those expecting automatic slapdowns fear not, this is a serious request for information and I will engage with any rational and pertinent arguments. However, if I do not respond immediately, please be patient because I am travelling. For those who simply want to repeat meaningless mantra’s, my time is my own, not to be spent in fruitless arguments over whose dogma is being allowed to crap over whose lawn. Vomiting drunks notwithstanding.

Final note about the US President. Although I do not care for his style, I will confess to liking what Trump is doing for one reason only; he’s annoying all the right people. If this drives you to fits of incandescent rage, have you ever thought that most of the real problem lies between your own ears?

Update: Psychologist and Author Dr Jordan Peterson seems to have it nailed about Trump the man and President in the video below.

The big state is nobody’s friend…

When a parent can be jailed for temporarily leaving their child in a ‘safe’ location, then that child’s life destroyed by whisking it away into ‘care’, what kind of world do we live in? It seems that no-one cares. At least as far as an impromptu straw poll of Danish Museum visitors is concerned.

Went on a tour of the Danish National Museum yesterday, trailing dutifully after our tour guide. A fresh faced girl barely out of her teens who was waxing lyrical about the benefits of the big state. I got a little annoyed at her drivel, which had little to do with the exhibits, so slunk off for what North Americans tweely refer to as a ‘comfort break’. I came back to find Mrs S seated with a dark expression on her face. “What’s up love?” I asked.
“Let’s leave this group.” She said.
“Okay?” I was a bit puzzled but agreed. It was a little warm and I was looking for a place to cool off.

What my wife then recounted from the tour guides spiel actually shocked me. She told me that the tour guide had spoken approvingly of a woman being jailed for leaving her baby outside a store. Jail time? For thoughtlessness? I thought. That’s a bit excessive isn’t it? The baby was then taken away from her mother, permanently. Something, Mrs S said darkly, which met with our guides whole hearted approval.

“You know what bothers me most Bill?” My wife said as the rest of the tour group moved on.
“What?” I knew where this was going.
“No-one challenged her. No one at all.” Mrs S is a fine and expert teacher who cares deeply about her charges. She’s seen first hand the damage ‘social services’ do when families have been broken up for seemingly trivial reasons. I get that children with abusive parents need to be taken into the care system, but not for a single instance of foolishness. Besides, when I was a tiny tot it was customary for my mother to leave me outside a shop in my pram or baby carriage. In the middle of our local High Street no less. She could see me from inside the shop, and the only risk I ran was from elderly childless spinsters occasionally pausing to coo dribble all over me. Maybe times have changed, but jailing a Mother for something so frivolous? Now there’s a scandal.

As for taking the child away from it’s Mother permanently, in the UK there has been a longstanding scandal about forced adoptions as documented by Daily Telegraph Journalist Christopher Booker. Turns out there’s an adoption racket going on which the Family Court system are unwilling to address because they form part of the problem.

Yet stupid people like our tour guide wax lyrical about big state intervention at every level of life. Giving her ‘free stuff’ without a thought about where the original resource came from. Or how much this additional resource grabbing inflates the cost of the stuff she is ‘given’. Perhaps she will think differently when a moments thoughtlessness puts her in jail. But by then of course it will be too late.

Only then will she learn that the big state is nobody’s friend.

Back in the UK again

Well there I was. Back in the UK. Did the necessary family visits and with the backdrop of England’s recent World cup run, have been to the smoke for a long weekend in the fleshpots and museums before heading over to Copenhagen.

One thing made me stop and think; All of my relatives were parroting the same lines and stopped dead in their tracks when challenged. Everything they said was from the television. The idiot box, the boob tube. I was made aware how much this blaring boombox dominates their lives. Never even switched the cursed thing on in the hotels I stayed at, it was either full of the world cup or other crap.

Everyone talked about the insulting ‘Trump baby’ blimp, not that Trump will see it, he’s directly off to Chequers (Or has a deal been done at Blenheim, which is not London, it’s Woodstock near Oxford FFS!) when Air Force One touches down, then Scotland for a round or two of golf. What should he care about a country that’s doing like the UK football team? Specifically an early small success (Brexit leave vote) followed by a complete screw up (The current Brexit negotiations), but nowhere in the mainstream UK media was the news that another blimp of that ilk is being crowdfunded. One satirising the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, for his crummy downmarket virtue signaling support for the Trump blimp and presiding over a massive upsurge in crime? No doubt the cameras will be pointed away, provided the Police don’t actually prevent it’s inflation.

Perhaps a similar blimp could be crowdfunded to satirise May as the PM that betrayed the British people over Brexit? Or is she, as my wife has suggested, merely playing the EU, seeming to give in to their demands and all the while setting up to crash the UK out in March 2019 with no deal, simply refusing to pay the EU any more? The latter seems unlikely.

Although I’m reserving judgement until after Trump’s UK visit because, and here’s a thought to annoy remoaners and the left wing whiners. Maybe Trump will offer May a bargaining chip against the petty Euro overlords. An out so that if the Eurocrats do take it to the wire and there’s no decent European deal available, US markets will open their arms. It’s an interesting thought. And it would work for US interests. The US needs markets on the edge of Europe, so perhaps he’ll throw dear old blighty a bone or two.

Who knows?  Update; Well we do now.  Trump has dropped any hope of a US deal because May wants the UK as a vassal state to the EU with her Brexit in name only approach.

Oh what the hell.  Copenhagen is still warm and we’re here until the middle of next week, working our way up the street breakfast by breakfast. Youngest hits town tomorrow and we’ll be squiring her around. Poor thing has been going through a rough patch of late, the dreadful mathematics of the actuarial tables has come to play Danse Macabre in her social circle so she’s feeling a bit vulnerable. I know how it feels to watch your friends fall around you and will be playing the non-judgemental parent while she’s with us. It’s a bloody hard road and I shall be doing my best to keep her cheered up.

Copenhagen

Arrived in Copenhagen last night after running the gauntlet of lift failures and the vagaries of London Underground. Notwithstanding a false positive scan at airport security resulting in a fruitless second scan and mildly annoying and pointless body search. Frankly I was too wiped out by the heat over the last few days to even care. Go on you bastards, I thought. Prod, poke all you want. There’s nothing to find. I don’t bloody give a damn.

Arrived in Copenhagen and almost found myself locked out of our accommodation with the rain beginning to fall. It was only by the happy accident of me leaning back on the wrong doorbell that found us the right means to contact our keyholder. An hour later we were all settled in and sorted.

By the by. Copenhagen as a capital city has to be the most bicycle friendly city on the planet because it was designed to be so. A major expansion during La belle epoque led to a street design of broad boulevards and sweeping corners best suited to the antiquated sit up and beg velocipede design of human powered two wheel devil machines. But no Spandex. The sensible Danes have chosen not to adopt such outlandish modes of dress, preferring ordinary street clothing.

Lots of willowy blonde girls about, smiling and looking relaxed. There’s also a male counterpart with a physique I can only call ‘Viking’.

Still tired but recovering. First impressions of Copenhagen. Expensive but very pleasant. A cross of the heritage and modern. Wide cobbled streets. Untouched 1800,s architecture. Complex cupolas and spires of copper and lead. Like a nicer version of Paris.

The etiquette of vomitus

Right. I’ve been back in the UK for a few days and one of the things I’ve noticed has surfaced regarding the drunken antics going on over a little football tournament somewhere. In particular vomiting, chundering, technicolour yawning, upchucking, throwing up, talking to the great white telephone etcetera. I’m sorry to say this but you footy fans are doing it all wrong.

There are a clear set of do’s and don’t when it comes to vomiting which separate the well brought up from the clueless oik with all the style and grace of a badly soiled toilet brush. These rules apply to both sexes whichever end of the sexual spectrum you embrace, or fail to. Whatever. If you’re drinking that much, which is sometimes called for after a tense penalty shoot out or well performed header portends doom or victory for your team, then some form of self control is called for. A good aim can also be a sure and certain aid for those who wish to fully join in the drunken festivities yet retain a sense of style.

Okay; on with the serious stuff. The guidelines for emetic eructation that will define you as a person of taste and discretion rather than just some stupid gonzo who’s overdone it.

Rule 1; The gutter. It’s there for a reason, aim for it. Preferably as close to a drain cover as you can comfortably manage. Lean on a handy piece of street signage, brace yourself and let fly. The street cleaners will thank you for it. They’re a hard working bunch. Be nice, eh? The same guideline apples to the great white telephone (a.k.a the toilet bowl) Do so with as much dignity as you can muster at that particular moment.

Rule 2; Never, ever throw up over the following:
a) Your date for the evening.
b) The bar, please remember public hygiene rules. Also you may need another beer to wash away the taste. It’s hard to get served again if you’ve just soiled the bar top.
c) The biggest, nastiest looking person in the bar, especially if he’s a fan of your opposing team. Throwing up is not a pleasant experience and needing serious dental work can extend what is a temporary indignity into expensive and complicated pain lasting several days. A similar rule applies to encounters with Police Officers.

Rule 3) Vomiting over close friends is actually permissible and quite socially acceptable in highly emotionally charged moments like a missed penalty. Indeed, the comic value of your foolish antics may pay for many future rounds of drinks and elevate your social standing amongst your peer group, but remember that timing is everything.

Rule 4) It is very bad form indeed to throw one’s guts in the presence of parents / close family unless they are all as hammered as you. In which case, all bets are off and a deeper familial bond may be formed. Remember, the family that upchucks together stays together.

Rule 5) As a means of impressing the opposite sex / sexual preference of choice, vomiting is not the most elegant way of introducing yourself. However, the following apology must be done with style. Apologise to the object of desire briefly “I am so terribly sorry..” and try to look a little pathetic but not totally helpless. Just enough to need their assistance. If you can, it is the wise thing to throw up over the person whose sexual favours you are not interested in. Like all of the above, this is not a hard and fast rule, but has been found to be mostly effective.

As my last reader may have guessed I’m in London at the moment, enjoying all the moments. The scenes following Englands 2-0 win against Sweden were the inspiration for this public information post. Thank you for your future co-operation.

Regards

Bill

Kilauea again

Want to see molten rock flowing like water? A nine (I think) mile long lava flow out to the sea with huge plumes of toxic gas from a two mile flow front? The USGS video below is from the 29th of June so it’s a bit out of date. Still pretty damn spectacular.

Map of current situation here.

Elsewhere, the Pacific ring of fire has been quite active on all sides of the map. Kind of puts all the bloviating about ‘Global warming’ in perspective, doesn’t it?

I’m a tourist get me out of here part two

Packing today. The litany of lists and suitcases with a smidgeon of “Why the hell do we need to pack that?” Thrown in. Trying to get our single suitcase down to below the 23kg airline limit. This is not an easy task and requires a few sacrifices. Fortunately we’re going premium economy most of the way which means slightly looser baggage allowances. We might also invest in a small to medium suitcase for Mrs S, despite my misgivings after she tried to shift a bag that was way too heavy for her in Paris and ended up breaking her wrist.

We’ve only a few days to go before we step onto the plane headed east and I’m starting to have strong misgivings about the ‘family’ part of the trip. Phone calls to relatives have not exactly been encouraging. Indeed I feel they were a bit ‘off’ with me. There’s no apparent enthusiasm for any meeting and even a whiff of burned bridges in the air. Well this was what I was going to find out but all the clues so far are not that positive, so this looks like being a one time thing for me. As I’ve written about previously. We live and we learn, eh?

Otherwise, we’re just living out of the fridge and making sure there are no leftovers that have been left alone so long that they have spawned strange new lifeforms and evolved into tiny, highly specialised civilisations. Then there’s the final cleaning so we come back to a sweet smelling and comfortable apartment.

Frankly, I’ll be happier when next week is over.

I’m a tourist, get me out of here….

The news that US President Donald J Trump is to visit the UK at the same time as Mrs S and I has come as a bit of a shock. We book our tickets six months ahead and just when we’re due to arrive the UK political left decides to have a collective hissy fit, with planned riots (Not demonstrations-riots, these anti-Trump people are frothingly insane) and tube strikes (Why? Is he going to use the London Underground? I don’t think so). Flying facile inflatables above Parliament and other idiocy. Just because they don’t like him. And they think this is somehow moral, somehow justified? Dozy lot. That’s like burning down your own garden shed just to spite the guy with the mansion at the end of the street.

Personally I don’t get all the ‘Trump is Hitler’ bullshit. And it is bullshit. He’s doing no worse, and some would say far better, for the USA than any previous president. I’m just happy he’s diverting media attention from the most embarrassing Canadian Prime Minister ever. At least this way I can safely wear a Maple Leaf badge on my lapel in public.

If, as the flappy-hand pantywaisters contend, Donald J Trump is ‘literally Hitler’ he’s going about creating a Fascist state entirely the wrong way. True, he bullshits a lot and comes across as blunt, nationalistic and simplistic but; he’s presiding over a shrinking state, pro-business, pro-employment environment. Oh, and reducing the threat of Nuclear war. Unlike his predecessor, who with the previous three (Four?) presidents got the world into the tangled mess we’re in. There’s also the thought that if Trump were ‘literally Hitler’ he’d be increasing the state, controlling business, increasing legislation and telling people where they had to work, who for and for how many hours. And I get the impression he’s more an old fashioned jingoistic patriot than an overt nationalist. That may be hair-splitting on my part but it has the ring of truth. He’s not particularly bothered about what skin colour you are or what your sexual preference is either. And despite all the bloviating to the contrary he’s not anti-immigration. Just anti-illegal immigration. So why the two minute hate every time his name is so much as mentioned in conversation? Apart from a reflexive anti-Americanism. Honestly, even the mildest praise of what he’s doing is often responded to with a gnashing hysteria more often associated with some form of violent psychosis. It’s so, well, disproportionate. So unhinged. So, pointless.

Fortunately we will probably miss most of the surrounding security circus as we’re heading off to Copenhagen for most of the time he’s in the UK, so if he wants to drop by and say “Hi Bill” We’ll be elsewhere. In a Copenhagen bar drinking over-taxed beer. Drinking coffee. Sightseeing. Wandering around town or maybe taking day trips. I will not be paying any attention to any of the histrionics surrounding his visit apart from viewing the possible damage with a jaundiced eye and thinking “You did all this to yourselves. Just because you didn’t like someone paying you a visit? In-fucking-sane.”

A handy hint

Recently took delivery of a Samsung 4K TV screen after our old one went “Pft-fizz” and died a few weeks ago. Lovely definition, terrific picture, decent sound and intuitive setup with our DVD player and AppleTV box. One problem. When streaming a movie or TV show, every so often, the sound blanks off and needs to switched out to the main menu and back again. An evening with a stop watch found no pattern. Swapping the ports likewise. A total pain in the bum and an annoyance because as is the nature of these things, it always failed just when on screen stuff was getting vaguely interesting. Mrs S was reduced to snarls and loud shouts of “Bill!” Sometimes less than two minutes after I’d got the sound working again. Dark noises were being made about “Taking the bloody thing back.”

So I did what I always have when stumped for an answer, gone and checked out the support forums and tried all their solutions. HDMI connections were checked. Ports swapped (again). Firmware updates checked (Both for set and streaming box). All the suggestions on the Samsung support forums were tried and failed. Then I checked my cable specs. I’d bought my HDMI cable at the same time we bought the AppleTV box some five or so years ago. At the time it had been top of the line, 12Gbps full bandwidth and operated flawlessly. So what had changed? In the end I went shopping to one of the local electronics emporiums and put my reading glasses on. The answer had been staring me in the face. My old HDMI cable was not fully 4K compliant. Almost, but not quite. So I got out my wallet and stumped up for a full on 18gbps HDMI cable with gold plated connections (All right, it was on sale). A couple of hours after fitting I’m fairly sure the sound is fixed and domestic harmony is restored to the Sticker household. Well, for now. Until the next wanked-up Windows 10 upgrade.

Friends, Countrymen, whatever…

I write not to criticise but to praise. Saturday afternoon I was sitting in my office writing when Mrs S drew my attention to an email she had just received full of ‘Awesome’ and other superlatives commending her for a job well done. My good lady seemed somewhat stunned and cynical about the missive, automatically believing the sentiments contained to be a piss-take. Well, we are both British born, it kind of goes with the territory. “Can you read this Bill?” She said, handing over her iPad.
“It’s a bit OTT.” I remarked after a short perusal. “But accurate. You are officially awesome.” I gave her the tablet back.
“I find that hard to believe.” She rejoindered. We continued the conversation as she went into her bathroom.
“You shouldn’t. I know how good you are. Even when you were just one of the thousands working the teaching chalkface you were remarkable.” I pointed out, getting up to stand in the bathroom doorway as she washed her hands. “You forget, I saw the stats on your kids. I saw how you could get them up two grades and more in just one term. Even children others couldn’t be bothered with.”
“Well I’ve never thought of myself as more than ordinary.”
“But you are. Extraordinary.” I persisted. “Hell, I was just your backup when you were working ten hours a day at your job and then another eight having to requalify for your BC teachers permit back in 2010. I just kept you fed and watered.”
“You did more than that Bill, you kept me sane. You took the calls. Took care of business. Gave me a hug when I needed it. Did all my tech support.”
“Ach!” I protested. “That was just routine stuff.”
“But I still don’t think I’m anything but ordinary.”
“Rubbish!” I retorted. “You are so much more than that. I knew before we married how remarkable you are.”
“I’ve never thought of myself that way.”
“Well I have always thought of you that way.” I reiterated. “You’re better than you know. It’s blindingly obvious to me and I’m no genius..”
“Oh, Bill.” She said.
I wrapped my arms around her and hugged her close. “Look. You know I’d literally take a bullet for you. And the girls. What a great job you did with them. Look how they’ve turned out.”
“Yes, but you helped give them continuity.” She still won’t look me in the eyes until I make the effort to look right down into her face. I swear even then she tries to avoid my gaze. She’s embarrassed by the attention. My best girl has a terminal case of acute modesty.
“All right.” I concede. “We’re both a bit special. I’ve known that since the day that van driver tried to wipe me out on the Swindon Road and I didn’t even drop my bike.”
“Then that guy who…”
I pull her closer. “Enough.” I let her pull back and let her go. If she wants to list my misguided good deeds we’ll be here all week. Okay, I’m a bit of a Boy Scout, so sue me.
“I still don’t know how to answer that email.” She says.
“How about a simple thank you?” I suggest. “If it’s genuine, no one will mind.”
“Okay.” She disappears back to her office. There is a brief rattle of keys and an intake of breath as she hits ‘send’.

Half an hour later she gets a reply and all is well. Even so, such exaggerated praise does not sit well with her. At supper she seems distracted, out of sorts. Her inner world-view has obviously clipped the kerb. I know why this is. She thinks that whenever someone is that effusive it makes her wonder if she’s being set up for a fall. The fact that just occasionally they’re not adherents of Niccolo Machiavelli often comes as a shock to her belief system.

But I will repeat myself. My wife is an incredible woman. One who does an immense amount of good in her working life, every day. She also drives me nuts on a daily basis but she’s someone I couldn’t live without. I know how good she is and to me that’s all that counts. A thoughtful man should always praise his woman and be thankful for her to whatever deity happens to be his choice. Because a little gratitude in a relationship goes a long, long way. If I’ve managed to teach our two reprobates that simple lesson I can die happy.

P.S. The Lemon Tree seedlings are doing well.

The law of unforeseen consequences part deux

A few further thoughts about the EU’s heinous Article 13. This time on the possible downside. For the EU and those businesses pushing the proposed new copyright legislation. The law of unforeseen consequences, as I’ve pontificated about before, is waiting eagerly in the wings, ready to steal the scene with a big fat grin.

The gist of article 13 and it’s evil twin, Article 11 is to make it illegal to post any portion of a previously posted copyrighted article, soundtrack, photo or video without payment to the copyright holder. There appears to be no place for fair use or critique in the proposed legislation.

The thought occurs that all this reposting of content, either for parody or criticism acts as free marketing for the big media companies. How many sales of back catalogue items are down to snippets of music or video posted on YouTube for example? Does anyone know? I don’t, but what I do know is having watched stuff on Youtube I’ve subsequently gone to Amazon or the music store or the movie theatre to pay to see a movie or buy a new CD of a half forgotten favourite. The memes, parodies and critiques are free marketing on a massive back catalogue of stuff that actually does make money for the copyright owning companies. That’s right, the criticism and fandom, at least partially, is a source of profit. Kill that, or restrict the ownership and the market shrinks. The copyright holders are then left with the equivalent of a massive archive that generates little or no revenue. Like with the National Film Archive in the UK. A movie, book, or piece of music that is not shown is a missing piece in the jigsaw of existence.

As for the media companies and the link tax, if someone who critiques news coverage or a movie has to pay a fee to do so then they won’t. They will simply paraphrase, allude to and analyse without linking, developing their own credibility en route. Like with ‘professional’ Youtubers. They are the ones who help generate a word of mouth ‘buzz’ that is one of the most effective means of marketing ever. Not some ‘journalist’ working for a publication pushing it’s own agenda. There isn’t enough space in a web browser window for the needed advertising to drive content. And with everything paywalled, well, see that big toe? Ready, aim, fire!

Which prompted me to revisit an old childhood favourite;

The mainstream media sat on a wall,
Article 13 caused a great fall,
All the Zucks Farcebok and all their fake tweets,
Couldn’t get their content back out as repeats.

Why? Because as has been amply demonstrated ‘fake’ is so pervasive throughout the mainstream that anyone associated with it is tainted. According to Mark Twain a lie can run around the world before the truth can get it’s boots on, but the corollary of that is once the truth does get going it can, and often does, give the falsehoods a serious kicking.

Personally I have only one opinion on content sharing; links and commentary are fine, but the words are mine. Non-profit sharing is cool.

Have you seen this, Bill?

Sometimes you wonder where all the bullshit comes from. Seventy four years ago on the 6th of June and for the next few weeks, my Dad was having a whale of a time (He told me he actually enjoyed being under fire during his wartime service on Minesweepers and Landing ships) as an Ordinary Seaman Signals on the run in on the second wave of D-Day to a place called Juno Beach, Normandy. Today Mrs S sent me the link to this document on agriculture which is a BREXIT consultation paper doing the rounds in Wastemonster. My response; well, fuck me rigid. Are these people proposing what I think they are?

1. Once the UK leaves the EU, the Government plans to incentivise methods of farming that create new habitats for wildlife, increase biodiversity, reduce flood risk, better mitigate climate change and improve air quality by reducing agricultural emissions.1 It intends to do this by leaving the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and implementing a new system based on paying public money for public goods.

I read the first paragraph with a massive WTF? “implementing a new system based on paying public money for public goods” (sic) Like the old and failed milk, egg and potato marketing boards? Not to mention the clusterfuck of the Department for the Elimination of Farming and Rural Affairs, as DEFRA is known in fishing and farming circles (And Private Eye).

I look at this proposal this way; if the Eurocrats put the screws on, as those bitter petty tyrants are likely to do as the UK exits the EU, dear old blighty will need to ‘dig for victory’ in every square inch of their back yards. Because despite all the media hoo-hah about ‘climate change’ (a.k.a. the mythical man made global warming) the astrophysicists are pointing at a deepening solar minimum, reduced magnetosphere, increased cosmic ray radiation in the upper atmosphere resulting in increased cloud cover and albedo. And an overall global climatic shift and cooling. At least if you think that Henrik Svensmark has gotten his sums right.

Now if the folk pointing at a cooling phase of the global climate are right, productive growing areas will shrink and there will be less food overall for UK government policies to create famines from. On the upside this will mean be more marginal land for grazing, so more Lamb, Pork and Beef can be raised. More hedgerows for fences, so more havens for wildlife in the cold times. Which might be no bad thing.

Now I, as my one remaining reader will attest, grew up on home grown food with all it’s benefits and drawbacks. At school we learned about how to grow stuff. Indeed I began learning at my Mother’s knee because she was a born a farm girl and even if you’re a Jazz piano player at heart, you never lose the earth under your finger nails.

The other shocker is that from 30th March 2019 all the EU regs on UK airlines cut off. Which means flying a UK airline or with UK licensed pilots or aircraft might just get a bit problematic. If a flight, pilot, airline or aircraft is only certified in the UK then it can’t enter European airspace. No doubt all the major airlines already have plans in place to get dual certification. Unfortunately this state of affairs, if push comes to shove, may result in a tit for tat where transatlantic aircraft originating in Europe are refused entry to UK airspace. Which will be awkward for all those long distance flights into Amsterdam, Paris or Frankfurt, requiring extra fuel loads or Icelandic layovers. Just watch the video below of flight paths and take a look at how all the most economical flights to and from the US and Canada to Europe cross UK airspace.

This could be fun to watch.

Unlucky for some

The EU’s notorious Article 13 vote made it through the first stages of the legislative process recently. Which is another bloody good reason to hate that corpulent bureaucracy. The overweening state. That detestable cancerous growth of unearned, undemocratic privilege.

Yet I see hope. Not merely in the voter backlash but ensconced in history. In 1501, Pope Alexander VI, one of the notorious Borgia family (The father of Cesare, Giovanni, Gioffre and Lucrezia), issued a Papal Bull against unlicensed printing presses (Not listed on Wikipedia but is referenced in the Foreword of the 1993 “Dictionary of the Printing and Allied Industries” by F.J.M. & E.F.P.H. Wijnekus). However, like so many Papal Bulls, it failed. It failed because the papal position was weak. Rather like the modern EU, weakened by Brexit, threatened by secession by the Italians and overt non-compliance from Poland, Hungary and other of the ex-Warsaw pact Eastern European states.

Indeed, the comparison of the Borgia popes to modern day EU commissioners holds true. The EU commission is overtly corrupt, greedy and more than willing to use their power to serve the agenda of the rich and powerful.

As with the persecution of printers during the late renaissance and later reformation, this fight has a long way to go. Ultimately this conflict also has a foregone conclusion. The EU will lose. But not until after repeated battles. Which means all of us who care will have to prime our dictionaries and .303 eloquence and keep on fighting in the war for cyber-freedom. Because the power-junkies of the EU will never be satisfied if we don’t.

Let us hope that Article 13 will prove terminally unlucky for them.

I love this

Hey young Earth person! Are you tired of the dull life here on Earth? Do you want to be someone special? Someone great? To defend not just your country but the world? Become a Space Marine!

Yes it’s true. This is Trumps Star Wars moment. (H/T ZeroHedge) He’s just authorised the militarisation of space. Which rather walks all over a couple of old cold war treaties regarding military assets in Earth Orbit. Not that anyone was paying these treaties any mind you understand. The Chinese have been testing killer satellites for the last two decades to my knowledge and the Russians simply can’t afford them. Which means these treaties have effectively been ignored for years, so what he’s just said (See speech below) shouldn’t raise anything more than an ironic eyebrow.

So what good will the creation of this new ‘US Space Force’ do? Well, create a bit of competition for the private space efforts and add a spur to Musk and Bezos’s Falcon X and Blue Origin programmes. Maybe light a fire under NASA’s sluggish arse. Perhaps they’ll even think of putting some money into ‘Spike’ rocket engine development or Hybrids like the old Hotol concept or even resurrect the wholly reusable X-33 spaceplane concept. See Curious Droid’s video assessment below.  Which I can access off YouTube, but the linking has somehow gone awry.  Oops, no.  The trained Monkeys have done their thing and the 500 error is fixed.

For a sci-fi freak like me the possibilities are endless. I’m genuinely enthused.

P.S: Have just checked my Lemon Tree seedlings to find that all thirteen have pushed tiny shoots above the soil and even as I type are raising little green heads toward the sun.  Yay!