Category Archives: End times

Floccinaucinihilipilification


My wife has a pet name for that part of me which that she calls an ‘unreconstructed male’. She calls that part of me ‘Mongo’, my inner Neanderthal. Which is something I do play up to, especially when I think she is trying to be obtuse. Or I am. Or I get bored. I joke that this is my primitive self, my primordial being, all muscle and little brain. Which I think is a little unfair on Homo Neanderthalensis, but there is so much floccinaucinihilipilification in the world these days.

So many people on the extreme political left estimate that others are worth little or nothing because they aren’t part of their subset or in-group. A mode of thought I consider very immature. Very high school clique. Not a Leftist? Don’t much care for Socialism? Have even a moderate opinion on any topic? Like freedom of speech? Then, according to them you’re a primitive moron.

Personally, I see no problem with being described as Neanderthal. I think they’ve had a bad press. Let’s put it this way; if your species of human can survive near-global glaciation with only subsistence technology, but have some beautifully intricate flint toolwork and sophisticated burial customs, then you can badmouth Neanderthals. Yes, yes, I know Neanderthals are officially extinct, well not unless you think my wife’s description of me is valid. They were also supposed to have died out beginning around forty and thirty seven thousand years ago when a series of massive volcanic eruptions blanketed Europe during an extreme cold event and probably ruined their best hunting grounds. Some authors say they were simply out competed by mass immigration. Whatever the truth of the matter is, many modern Northern Europeans still have between 2-3% of Neanderthal DNA from interbreeding. In certain Himalayan populations, that amount has been found to be as high as 6%. Not bad for an ‘extinct’ species, eh?

Of course, all these cosseted urban pundits describing average male behaviour as ‘primitive’ may be correct, for a partial value of ‘correct’, but what they really forget all those ‘primitive’ male traits that they deem ‘worthless’ are developed from highly successful survival strategies. Self reliance, independence, loyalty to the family unit etc. None of which are worthless. I would argue that the value of such primitive traits is greater than all the so-called ‘brilliant’ top-down solutions these pundits would like to see us adopt, despite a litany of failed applications. For myself, I am happy to retain my primitive aspect, if only for a giggle. As for ‘moron’, well, I leave my one remaining reader to judge that for themselves.

For a little parting humour, I would like to leave you with one of my favourite parts of Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles.

Enjoy.

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Have I missed anything?

Apologies to my last remaining reader. It’s been a rather busy time what with the jobs, the end of the tax year over here and forthcoming pensions. You might think not having any money is problematic, but looking after your carefully garnered wonga, nurturing it, making it grow and blossom on the run up to retirement is even trickier. It’s probably why so few people are rich, or even modestly well off like Mrs S and I. Money is hard work, juggling four pension funds and a growing investment portfolio is massively time consuming. Regular meetings with lawyers, accountants and financial advisers, all of whom are having fits of the vapours over BREXIT. It’s a lot of hard work. As well as being powers of attorney for an elderly friend whose marbles are starting to rattle more and more with every passing month. The phone hardly stops ringing. Blogging has had to take a back seat with it’s figurative wrists shackled and mouth firmly duct taped shut.

So, BREXIT. Does anybody else get the sense that this is gearing up to be a massive non-event? I’m hearing whispers that the key players, at least those with any brains, have had two years to prepare for the exit and everyone will wake up to a big non event on the day, deal or no. The sun will still rise over the jolly old no BREXIT deal UK, the birds will sing, the rain will fall and people will still be busy working away at their jobs apart from a bunch of now surplus to requirements eureaucrats and sundry affected time-pleasers. Remember Y2K? I was in IT at the time, coining it from all the replacement of old Windows 3.1.1 and 95 desktops. All those rolling upgrades. All that money. All the travel to exotic locales like Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham (Sometimes on the same day). What a shame it came to an end. Hi ho.

One of the things I will be doing this year is changing my passport from the horrible maroon (All right, ‘burgundy’) EU thing I currently have as a dual national of Canada and the UK to one of the smart new stiff upper lip covers that can double as body armour, the cardboard covers are so solid. Judging from the sour grapes being exhibited from some of the rabid remoaners, I may need it. To those remoaners I would say, come on chaps, get a passport why don’t you? Travel a little, see the world, broaden your horizons. The UK has been a global trading entity since Phoenician times and earlier. Why should it shackle itself to the restrictions of the turgid old European Union which is just greater Germany? There’s a whole world out here. You want to know why so many North Americans don’t travel? They don’t need to! Admittedly there’s a lot of sheer fuck-all over here, a good deal of it between Justin Trudeau’s ears and they all talk funny, but that’s half the fun.

One thing we need to stop fussing about too is the whole alphabet soup ‘offence’ industry who have conniptive fits over what sex they are, as if anyone else out of a tiny subgroup cares. The last time I came across a genuine transgender / transexual he / she / whatever was off to get a pint with her / his / its mates. That was over ten years ago. I think he / she is dead now. Drug overdose I believe. This whole pronoun business is just bunk and helps no-one. As is sexualising underage children, which is plain and simple institutionalised child abuse. Not that I’m about to insult anyone simply because they are on a different part of the sexual spectrum to me, far from it, life is too short. I just walk on by. The whole grievance thing is just the terminally self-aggrandising out to bolster their petty little ego’s and stave off their own sense of worthlessness. The politicians who cave into them mere panderers who have a pre-booked place in the eighth circle of Hell, at least if Dante is to be believed, forced to eternally trudge around a shitty circular ditch while demons flay the skin off their backs. Must be getting quite crowded by now.

Anyway, I refuse to be bothered by all the harbingers of doom, be it increasingly farcical claims that humans are ruining the planet or all the economic Cassandra’s in the FT. It might get a bit sticky for a while but I’m confident of one thing; we’ll all muddle through somehow. Even if the daft and deluded manage to get Corbyn elected. Which is not a happy thought. Britain has had it’s brush with the idiocy of Socialist economic theory and it took a Thatcher to drag the country back into the light of economic recovery. Now it has the chance to be free of the would be globalist elite and regain it’s rightful place in the world as a trading hub for the globe. Although I’d increase the defence budget, just in case the Eurocrats do get their act together and produce a real army.

In the meantime

While BREXIT appears to be stumbling towards the much-feared ‘No Deal’ scenario with the UK Government in open revolt against Madame Tracey, I’ve been too busy to follow things in too much fine detail. Don’t know if the rebels have enough letters in with the 1922 committee to force her much-needed resignation, but I suspect they’re close. The worms in the FT seem to be turning, too, with fewer doom laden articles about what will happen if the UK leaves to the danger of leaving the UK a virtual vassal state, like with the much-vaunted ‘Chequers deal’. Maybe the managing editor has seen the light.

Frankly I think the old country will be far better off able to make it’s own deals. It was only ever the big corporates and the CBI that wanted in. I’d like to remind my last remaining reader that all the promises made about the benefits of joining the EEC / EU since 1970 onwards have fallen flat.

Over this side of the water Canadian’s privacy is being openly and arrogantly steamrollered by the Trudeau regime, with Stats Canada wanting all the banking records of half a million ‘randomly chosen’ Canadians per year in 2019 for the last 15 freaking years. Just for analysis you understand. Your financial data won’t be leaked, misused or abused in any way shape or form, honestly. To which the only sensible answer is a cynical yeah, right. Some future lefty politician will no doubt expand this remit to all Canadians, just to get a more accurate picture. Jesus Christ on a Bike! Not even the Canadian Revenue Agency (The Tax man) has that kind of power. Not without a godsdamned court order.

Which does not please me. Maybe I should be looking at selling my Royal Bank of Canada shares. Before they take a hit and / or the dividends plummet. I have no other exposure in Canadian banks.

Whole lotta shakin’

Well actually no. Despite three big quakes hitting within reach of Vancouver Island at 11 last night, all I can tell you is that the Sticker household might have been shaken, but not stirred in the slightest. Not really surprising as the tremors were geologically speaking on the other side of the Juan De Fuca fault zone. Which means that, although I was sitting at my desk at the time, I never felt a thing. Not a grumble, rumble or anything else going ‘umble’ in any way shape or form. Now this may be down to the quality of my office chair, which is very comfy indeed. However, my six ten inch(!) tall Lemon tree plants never moved a micron on their window-ledge perches. Nothing shook or even essayed the faintest shimmy. So I think we dodged a bullet there.

Now of course this could be a precursor to something I think of as the ‘Great unzipping’, where 700 miles of the North American West Coast undergoes a massive 9.0 plus Richter scale event, one which we’re often told is way overdue. However, when the Cascadia fault does go, we’d all better be good at learning to surf, really, really quickly. At least in downtown Victoria, where a three or four metre Tsunami would put a crimp in everyone’s day. The Sticker household not so much, as we’re a hundred plus metres above sea level. Although we have been hearing unexplained booming noises over the weekend, which might be the Yanks trying something secret out of Puget Sound, where their big Naval base is.

Central Washington University geology professor Nick Zentner has an interesting lecture on the topic. Could be another hundred and ninety years until the next great unzipping, or it could be tomorrow. Who says Mrs S and I don’t like living dangerously?

Update: At 12:02 PST today (Tuesday) I was mildly startled by a loud booming noise that actually rattled my office window.  Checked the online seismographs – nothing.  No quake reports, nothing in the newspapers or online news, nada.  But it was just like an explosion had happened nearby.  Yet construction explosions don’t sound like this and are always muffled by blast mats.  Curiouser and curiouser…..

Once upon a time…

I’ve been looking around of late, in my few off-duty moments, wondering if the online culture war of faux-outrage has any cause and I regret to say I think it’s always been going on. Why I think that is a convoluted path, but the answer can be summarised with a Trudeau-like “Because, Humans”.

This answer derives from the 1941 movie (Okay, I love old black and white Frank Capra movies, so sue me) “Meet John Doe” starring Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper which is a satire on the state of journalism and politics during the early to mid twentieth century urban USA. What it, and many other similar productions tell us is (Including one Marx Brothers comedy) how mainstream media outlets, like all human institutions, are partisan and how that partisanship plays out with an audience and the powers that be. Particularly when said dead tree press is struggling to survive under severe financial pressure. I particularly liked the portrayal of a prototype SJW as a fat, rich and idle white woman bloviating over the phone to the Mayor’s office, giving him hell for not “Doing something” about an issue invented to save a journalists paycheck, then that invented ‘problem’ going on to create a national cause célèbre.

The parallels with today’s online society are obvious. A vociferous minority with otherwise empty lives, the #MeToo movement as a case in point, get told a lie to further the agenda or line the pockets of some rent seeker, then without looking at whether the information they are given is sound or not, go off on a rant about it. In the process not caring about the harm they do to any innocent party. Rather like the Salem Witch trials or Nazi and Soviet era denunciations. Due process goes out of the window, there is no examination of any evidence. In their eyes the accusation is the evidence. Emotion is all, mere facts or lack thereof are irrelevant. The Twitter or Facebook lynch mob wants blood and no evidence of innocence can be countenanced. Bugger human rights, sod innocent until proven guilty, the unthinking mob just want to see those necks stretch. They love the drama, the endorphin hit of feeling they’ve done the right thing, regardless of any inconvenient facts or even the lack thereof. Or the innocence of the people whose lives they try to destroy by going after their employers or family.

The irony of privileged white people crowing about the “end of white supremacy” is not lost on this blog. If these people had any real self awareness or insight they’d understand that if the societal freedoms and responsibilities they call “White supremacy” do disappear, so will their own privileged indolent lifestyles.

The rest of us end up with our freedom of expression muzzled by poorly thought through “hate speech” laws. And eventually so does theirs, because the law is a two edged sword, which cuts both ways.

Update:  A gentleman named Mark Kern has suggested calling SJW’s and their media allies “Information Terrorists”.  May I suggest an alternative term, “The Enemy”.

Conspiracy sunspots, Batman!

The Interweb has been ablaze with rumours about the closure of a Solar Sunspot Observatory, by of all people the FBI. Who turned up out of the blue in a Blackhawk helicopter and shut the whole site down, including the on-site post office. The site is normally open to the public and the local Sheriff was shut out too, which makes the whole affair even more puzzling. All sorts of stuff has been mooted from Aliens crossing the sun, pending massive solar storms, secret weapons tests, Chinese / Russian hacking / spying on the nearby White Sands Missile Range, Uncle Tom Cobley and all. No-one has mentioned the Mayans yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

So what is going on? No idea. Although the spying theory sounds the most likely.

A more studied perspective is available from Linda Moulton Howe, an American investigative journalist and Regional Emmy award-winning documentary film maker.

She has a World Domination Cat.  What’s not to like?

Update: As a point of interest, the adjacent Apache Point Observatory, a collection of telescopes about a half-mile away, was operating as normal on Friday, with about a dozen cars parked outside.  Nor have other solar observatories been closed down as stated in some quarters.  So, no Aliens then.  Again.

2nd UpdateAand it’s open again.  Phew, so those pesky little green men have given us the go by yet again.  Funny how often that happens.

 

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.

Loneliness of the long distance twatterer

Reading the FT the other morning to find an article speculating upon how loneliness might be driving the very partisan and uncivil ideological war currently raging online. Well it’s hardly a revelation. But who is to blame? What is creating the loneliness of the long distance tweeter? Well the answer to that is a no-brainer – ‘Social media’. Let me explain…

Everywhere I go I see people riveted to their phone screens walking down the street, crossing the road, sitting on benches, eating, drinking. Plugged in to their little electronic blinkers filtering out what’s going on in the real world. Indeed, doing little to interact with their immediate surroundings, choosing instead to evade reality by living in another. I see these damned souls every time I’m out. Hiding in plain sight in the modern expression of the ‘safe space’. Connected, yet so terribly isolated but convinced they are living in the real world whilst stuck in their own tiny echo chambers. A sort of 21st century tribe of Lotus Eaters.

My reaction is generally ambivalent and my only irritation with these slow motion creatures is their lack of consideration to their fellow humans when they won’t get out of the bleeding way. As I’ve written before, the zombie apocalypse is here and now, and they’re all plugged into their own bit of erratically cyber-policed anti-social media. Determined to hear nothing that challenges their narrow little world view, or getting all riled up enough to shout down an opposing faction. Useful note; shutting people up that you disagree with is not an argument. Calling strangers names is not debating.

Which is one of the many reasons these cell phone addicts look so deeply unhappy. Seriously, not a smile in a trainload. Some studies indicate that the little screen in your hand is actually robbing you of any happiness life might throw under your feet. Not to mention actively reducing your functioning intelligence. Ergo the tribalism. People are slowly stopping thinking for themselves, courtesy of that oh so handy four or five inch screen. Which has the additional downside of being about as secure as leaving your wallet on the sidewalk.

Which is why I have decided today not to buy another cellphone. I’m not in on-call tech support any more and I certainly do not want to be a mindless Google or twatter drone, which is all these social media addicts are. Anyone who knows me can get in touch any time via email or my home phone. If I’m out, then anyone who desires to hear my dulcet tones (I’m often told I have a nice voice) wafting into their ears will have to leave a message on my home phone. Maybe I’ll call them back. I’ve got other things to do first. Besides, I’ll be saving fifty bucks a month, or put more succinctly, six hundred bucks a year. Plus the cost of a phone, that’s well over nine hundred. Hell, I can almost buy two laptops for that. Or a few cases of decent wine. Which will give me far more pleasure.

As for being ‘out of the loop’ and therefore vulnerable to some great public harm, I respond thus; there is no messaging system that will save us in the event of a cataclysm. If say a nuclear war is declared, regardless of whether we own a cell phone or not we’ll be casualties, because if you’re too busy watching funny cat videos or a slappy video message from someone you met last year and can’t seem to get rid of, it’s lights out either way. I cite the old nuclear air raid sirens I grew up with during the cold war. Four minute warning? Four minutes only if you were lucky and had any time to do more than indulge in three minutes and fifty nine seconds of blind existential panic. In the recent Tusnami alert we could hear the sirens going off from three kilometres away and besides, our home is built on a decent bit of solid rock, we’re way above the Tsunami line. And if old Spoonbanger does manage to drop a big one on Seattle, hey we’re all toast anyway.

So I’ll leave Twatter and Farcebook alone. They’re nothing but vacuous echo chambers anyway. I have no use for them. Apart from something to point at and go WTF? occasionally.

Am I just being anti-social? An embittered old blogger railing against smarter (Guffaw), prettier people? Perhaps I’m simply expressing a preference for real life human contact, which, at least I think it is, far more conducive to improving my quality of life.

Note to self

The world ended on the 23rd September. Or at least it was supposed to according to some people. Did I mark it in my calendar? No. Did I bother to look up into the skies to see when we were annihilated by a rogue planet and the sinless were transported to some domain of bliss? Well stap me vitals I missed it. Again. Too busy booking hotels in Melbourne, Australia for the New Year and looking up details of things to do on the Princes Highway between Melbourne and Sydney. Then Mrs S needed a chair fixing, there were mirrors to be hung and trans Atlantic and trans Pacific calls to be made to family and friends, and someone (me) had to cook the supper, to a brand new recipe I might add. Not to mention an online University course assignment. So yes, I missed the end of the world on Saturday. Guilty as charged, goshdarnit. Now what?

I mean, this is just not good enough young Mr Bill, you missed the apocalypse. Doesn’t matter that it didn’t happen. Again. Detention for you and a damn good spanking. If you’re lucky, you little scamp. Don’t do it again. Pay attention next time someone starts their semi autistic attention seeking about oblique biblical prophesies, Nostra-vague-as-all-fuck-damus, asteroid impacts and volcanoes. There’s bugger all you can do about them but cower, tremble and hand over the contents of your wallet. So cough up there’s a good boy, then go and quiver in that corner over there, all right? Do as you’re told.

Okay, we’re all still here on the 25th, but the end of the world schtick continues. Whether it’s climate change, running out of drinkable water, zombies or Sharknadoes, those who wish us to be frightened all the time have the UN / Al Gore / Bill Nye / David Suzuki frighten-everyone-with-dire-predictions business model. Which is fleece the punters, then feed them more scary stories so they can be fleeced again without ever doing anything about real issues. Major religions have been doing it for millennia, and now everyone else is at it. Politicians, media whores, the UN, everybody. All they want is your money. Stuff the planet.

Frankly me dears, all this doom mongering gets more than a little tiresome sometimes. There are so many real things to take simple pleasure in, even workaday chores like shopping, editing reports, cooking supper and researching. Even assembling flat pack furniture can be relaxing with the right attitude when her ladyship isn’t kibitzing over my shoulder. So long as she tells me where it has to go, that’s just dandy.

Anyway. World still here. Still be here ten centuries on. I’m cool with that. What else happened? Oh yes, my desk has a sparkly new chrome LED lamp.

Isn’t that nice?

1971 Redux etc.

I see the current situation with student unrest somehow reminiscent of the early 1970’s. I don’t know if it’s just me, but seen through the Hollywood mirror there are a lot of similarities. The banners, the language, the shouts of ‘Fascist’ at every less that extreme left wing view. Which were forgotten when the instigators ran out of other people’s money and had to get real jobs. As happened in the early 1980’s and into the 90’s, when stuff settled down and people stopped shouting about all the ism’s and we all just got on with things. Regardless of skin colour or sexual orientation. We learned to joke about ourselves again and not worry too much.

Until of course the next generation forgot the lessons of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Or at least some people forgot, or more like never learned that it is wrong do what the hell they like to hurt others, regardless of political views, just because they think they have some nebulous moral ‘right’. To them, the slavery that stained the 16th-18th century West is still real, but instead of moving on, go full retrograde and act as though slavery of the African descended importees to America were a real modern issue. All the time ignoring the real slavery of non-Western states like India (14.3 million), China (3.2 million) and Pakistan (2.1 million) to name the three biggest offenders. Map here. All the bleating is a cheap ‘give us your money’ con trick because the people who really need help will never see a penny piece while their ‘leaders’ will have pockets so full they’ll need weight training to hold their trousers up. Twas ever thus.

In the 90’s most people got over all the fuss and worked as part of a team with whatever colour skin your workmates had. No-one even asked about religion, because the question never arose. Of course there were minor frictions, but if you were good at your job and paid attention, who the hell cared? Tolerance was more widespread and opinion was less polarised than at present. Sometimes I feel that if everyone nowadays wound their collective necks in and went back to a more relaxed live and let live attitude we’d all be miles better off.

The rot seemed to set in in the late 00’s on the run up to the US Presidential elections. The Messiah was to become the US President and all the people dispossessed by the financial crash, ironically caused by an attempt to legislate ‘fairness’ by the Clinton Administration, coupled with the financial sectors solution to all the dodgy debt it created, thought that their chosen one would magic up money and make all their problems vanish. Only their problems didn’t. They got worse. Then we got all the divisive rhetoric to go with it. Here in the late 2010’s race relations are dropping through the floor because no one seems to understand that the solution to all Bear problems (Racism) is to stop prodding the fucking Bear! (and in the process giving the real racists ammunition). The answer is, as Morgan Freeman said so succinctly; “Stop talking about it.” But no-one seems to be interested. They just want a fight.

Speaking of which, looks like there’s going to be a scrap over the forthcoming Catalan referendum. If you thought there was a fuss over BREXIT, the powers that be are gearing up for some serious fun. A whole cruise ship full of armed riot Police have been brought in, just in case the election rigging doesn’t go the right way. While the EU bureaucrats look like they’re relying on Tessie May to cock things up so Britain comes back to the EU fold with tail tucked tween it’s legs, they must reckon those rebellious Spaniards will only be cowed by a sound public whipping. After all, they’ve stepped up raids against those angling for independence. Tomorrow’s vote in Germany will probably keep Merkel in power by the look of things. But polls have been wrong before. As have bureaucrats.

Meanwhile, back on the topic of BREXIT I have a hunch that May’s Florence speech was a bluff, or at least a form of damage limitation. The UK’s credit rating has been marked down, which she probably knew was coming, so her seeming to give way might just take the pressure off the city despite the fast recovering value of Sterling (Up seven cents against CAD since last Friday by my reckoning). A lot is going to happen politically and economically over the next month or so and I’m going to hunker down, financially speaking, and see what happens. This could get real interesting real fast. For a given value of ‘interesting’. P.S. I’ve sold all my Euro’s.

Update: Re the two ships reputedly full of riot Police currently docked in Barcelona. Each has a passenger complement of around 1,760. So that’s a possible 3,520 riot Police, a small army in anyone’s books. Could of course be more, as I recall tales from drinking mates who went on a little ‘Pussers holiday‘ back in 1982, and how tightly they were crammed onto every berth they could find. So the total capacity of these two ships could be over half as much again. More, if they’ve taken over all the crew cabins.

Another thought occurs; are all these riot Police actually members of the Spanish Guardia Civil or CNP, or are a few on loan from other parts of the EU? Enquiring minds etc. My, this is getting interesting.

Another Update: Merkel has held onto Germany for a fourth term, but her pro-open door immigration policies have given the extreme right a doorway into power with 13% of the vote. This is also very interesting. We’ll see what the markets say on Monday morning.

Moon shadow

Spent my Monday morning watching the ‘Great American’ Solar eclipse from my deck. The last time I saw an solar eclipse was on an overcast day, 1999 in Cornwall, UK. I was down at the waterfront, watching the wildlife when the untimely darkness came and the fish began to jump. Then there was a moment of absolute stillness, no breeze, and the sea was millpond still before the Sea birds began heading for their roosts and a thin band of sunset red appeared below the clouds. Of course there were dickheads trying to take pictures of the eclipse with flash cameras, still others leaping up and down, setting off fireworks, yelling and screaming to ‘frighten away the Dragon’. Then totality passed, and the light faded back up, like someone was playing with a massive solar dimmer switch. The fish started and stopped jumping again and the seabirds returned, squawking angrily as they did a 180 at the wrong time of day.

Today we were just a little too far north of the line of totality that passed through Oregon to see much more than a softening of the light. Great for eclipse spotting, but just a hundred miles too far north to see much but a bite out of the sun at eclipse maximum. So I elected to observe what happened to the wildlife, and what effect the eclipse had on the quality of light. How do I describe it? Well, on this bright BC morning, at totality the sunlight softened like it was a bright Winters morning and all the birds suddenly went quiet for around five or six minutes. A quick glance at the sun through three sets of dark glasses and a filter confirmed that just under half of the sun was missing, like someone had taken a big bite out of it, but that was all. Bit of an anticlimax really. Still, a good enough excuse to sit outside and drink coffee on a Monday morning.

No doubt the doomsayers and religious nuts will see significance in what is a wholly predictable astronomical event, but I do not subscribe to these rather eccentric notions. There are better things to do with my time. If you listen to the crazies, everything from Donald Trump growing horns and torturing kittens in the Oval office to the end of the world as we know it will come to pass, and as usual these whacked-out prophesies will ring as hollow as the crazies heads. As usual. So I don’t go for that kind of clickbait trash. From the many, many failures of Nostradamus, who was a clever enough man to make his predictions just obscure enough to be taken seriously by the gullible, to the rantings of every common or garden evangelist tub thumper preying on weak minded old ladies; none of them are worth spit.

So that’s it. The eclipse has come and gone, the moons shadow now speeding across the globe until it’s track disappears over the Atlantic Ocean. The next one is due in South America, 2nd July 2019. Indeed, here is the schedule for the next ten.

Well wasn’t that interesting? Would I like another cup of coffee? Yes, I think I would.

Frying tonight

Ah, the days of youth. Fish and chips collected from the chip shop up the street, wrapped in a large square of grease proof paper and whatever newspaper you brought with you. Sitting on the floor with Ma (during divorce) at four years old in our rather empty front room dipping finger fulls of greasy chips and battered cod into a generous blob of Mr Heinz’ famous tomato ketchup. Ah nostalgia, it’s not like it used to be.

Now a few decades on, half way around the world, the saying ‘frying tonight’ takes on a whole new and sinister meaning. Specifically with regard to the batshit crazy pudding head currently occupying the North Korean dictators hot seat. Now I don’t know what sort of targeting technology the North Koreans have, but I’m guessing it’s pretty rudimentary. Think 1980’s Soviet era Scud with a CEP (Circular Area of Probability) accuracy, where half the missiles will fall within a radius of 6-700 metres at 3-550km range, but that’s with a conventional warhead. Put a nuclear warhead on that and the range drops by half and the accuracy likewise suffers. Let’s be generous and say the maximum range for nuclear Scud-level technology the North Koreans have reverse engineered scales with around about the same accuracy. Starting with a CEP error per thousand kilometres of 0.1 degrees. Which at 7,600 kilometres range between North Korea and the closest US territory of Hawaii is an approximate CEP of around 14 kilometres. Using simple trigonometry, this means that any range capable missile fired by the North Koreans might just about hit the biggest Hawaiian island. Or not. They’ve only just successfully tested an 800km capable missile. So a trans-pacific strike is hardly likely. At least not yet.

However if North Koreas frothing fruitcake regime did manage to make a missile capable of hitting Seattle (The closest major US mainland target) and we apply the same margin of error… Well, we in Victoria or Vancouver are as likely to be on the receiving end of North Korean ‘Bluff’ diplomacy as our cousins across the Juan De Fuca. Which would not please our large (Just under a million) ethnic Chinese population. Not that parts of Vancouver couldn’t do with a little urban renewal but this just isn’t funny.

That said, it’s far more likely that any ballistic missile attack from DPRK will be sent south rather than east, targeting US bases in South Korea rather than risk the embarrassment of hitting the wrong country entirely. What to do, it might muss our Prime Ministers lovely hair. The brutes.

From my perspective I’m hoping that the Chinese President sees his Florida meeting with Trump this week as an opportunity to negotiate an end to a regime that has become as big a thorn in China’s paw as to the USA and South Korea. Perhaps Kim Jong thingy and his top cohorts could meet with an ‘accident’ and in the ensuing confusion the Chinese could allow US aid in to feed North Korean refugees whilst they install a more business friendly regime.

I think I’ve said this before but a joint US / Chinese decapitation strike on Pyongyang is a far a better prospect than the possibility of the US or Canadian (Or maybe even the Mexican) West Coast ‘frying tonight’.

Update: Interesting way of ‘delivering a message’ to North Korea by sending 59 (Why not 60, or was one a dud?) cruise missiles winging into a Syrian air base suspected of dropping nerve agent onto civilians.  Production and stockpiling of that sort of chemical weapon has been illegal since 1993, so an airstrike can (just about) be justified with the backing of international law.  Providing of course that the Intelligence for the attack was solid.  However, knowing that a certain dictator had his older half brother assassinated by Nerve Agent one is temped to ask;  “Still feeling brave, Kimmy old thing?”  I have a feeling that Pyongyang may have to rethink their most recent bout of willy waving missile threats.

Winter is coming

Took a look out of our rear window yesterday morning and an early light frost had just started to melt off the carport roof and the tarmac tiles off the bungalow next door. “Is that snow?” Asked Mrs S, indicating the hills to the north of Sooke. I grimaced because there is a not quite denuded Poplar tree in the way, but was forced to conclude that yes, it did indeed look like there were bands of snow over a couple of the hills in that direction. Which is odd this far south. We don’t normally see anything roughly approximately resembling snow until at least the turn of the year. In the mid-island yes. The odd flurry is no big deal but doesn’t normally give anyone grief until late January. It actually took my 20×50 binoculars to determine that what looked like bands of snow was actually dazzling low angled sunlight reflecting off the new housing around Bear Mountain.

As far as Summer goes, it’s been warm but a little truncated here in Victoria, with the expected run on of warmth and sunshine that normally lasts until early October replaced with chilly showers from early September onwards. I’m told it’s actually worse where we used to live. An elderly friend has repeatedly complained that she’s seen more rain than usual. Sis in law is so fed up with the near constant drizzle that she’s seriously contemplating a move south. Other friends have come back from Guatemala and all points south, so we’ll be swapping tales of derring don’t with them over a curry on Friday. See what they say.

Oh yes, and the Yanks had something called an election Tuesday night. A Globalist vs Nationalist grudge match with the political Establishment and most of the lamestream media in one corner, and a billionaire businessman turned politician and a whole bunch of disenfranchised blue collar types in the other. Quick note to the propaganda arm of the Democrat party, latterly known as the mainstream media; you don’t win people over by insulting their intelligence. Which should translate as; you may have been to college, but that doesn’t mean that those who didn’t are thick. If certain commentators were really as intelligent as they claim, they would understand that true intelligence takes many forms, not merely the academic.

The stock markets, as they are wont to do when the narrative fails, initially tried to throw dolly out of the pram but then bounced back. But I’ve come to expect this kind of behaviour, and if you’ve the nerve for it there’s a great deal of money to be made by going against what the lamestream media tell you. Wish I’d had the capital in play to go short on the US dollar for the predictable market panics over the last couple of days, but it was not to be.

Will Trumps victory change anything? Well, the big money was behind Clinton but on the whole the grass roots weren’t. Which will give a yet another well-deserved upset to the apple cart of Establishment politics. But then again, that’s what all the anti-Clintonites were upset about. The same shit different day of endless wars, foreign influence, divisiveness, political correctness and large parts of the populace feeling dismissed as of no value. Not to mention the attempt to create political dynasties. As an aside, I wonder if all those foreign contributors to the Clinton Foundation are already asking for their money back? Who knows?

So, the Ancien Regime of globalism is down, but not out. A Winter is coming, and we should be prepared for a tough ride for the next year or so. However, I console myself that no matter how rough it gets, the Winter we will have to endure will not be of the nuclear variety. As would have been likely had the crazed Clinton implemented her insane ‘No Fly zone’ over Syria. I was watching Vlad Putin’s reaction to the news of Trumps election, and despite his affected public calm, looked very relieved.

Me, I shall be planning for the worst, but hoping for better. The 2017 Europe trip is still very much on, and I have a few more financial tools in the box to make things happen.

Oh, shit.

Just when you think you’ve finally got things under control. While travel plans are all moving ahead, bookings are being made, and everything is looking positive for our forthcoming motorcycling tour of Europe. I’m beginning to wonder if there’s going to be anything left to see. Especially if Hilary Clinton wins the US Presidential election. In their efforts to shift the blame onto someone apart from their own crap cyber security, the Washington Headbangers are blaming the Russki’s to the point where the Russians are recalling the children of their diplomatic diaspora and making Naval forays down the English Channel just to show that they can’t be intimidated over Syria.

Do we in the West (Well, our politicians and their media at least) have a terminal dose of the stupids? First the EU goes barging around in the Ukraine in an effort to corner the gas export market and bail out their bought and paid for politicians. Mainly because all their ‘Green Energy’ policies are proving as useful as a rubber spanner. Next when the Crimean locals get humpty and secede from the Ukraine, calling on what they see as ‘the mother country’ to back them up, Russia obliges. Then NATO gets pulled in and Russia gets hit with the first batch of sanctions. Which cuts off a big slice of potential export market, even if the powers that be say the effects are ‘minimal’. That’s without even mentioning the mess in Syria.

I think the US Democrats understand they’re going to lose big in the forthcoming US Presidential election, and are going to leave nothing but radioactive scorched earth behind them. They want a war. Just like in “Wag the Dog” but for real and on a far grander scale. Who says that art doesn’t mirror real life? And it’s not just me who thinks this way.

It was a really shaping up to be nice year for me in 2017, touring, having nice holidays and visiting people, but now I’m watching the US Democrat administration deliberately fuck it up for everyone. But that’s what the Democrats do. Not content with their race baiting resulting in an upsurge in inner city unrest and their neocon agenda increasing the risk of terrorism, now the Democrats want to go pick a fight with the other big kid on the block. One big and mean enough to hand the West’s collective arses back to them. On a smoke blackened plate that glows in the dark.

Now. Let’s take pause a moment and engage our critical faculties. No-one is stupid enough to want another World War. Especially not the nuclear kind. Such things might look like fun if you’re into video games like Mobile Strike, but the real life version, as I’m sure the civilians in any war zone will attest, not to mention the civilians of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is no fun at all. Besides, there’s all the extra funeral expenses and the attendant risk of a drone strike just as the priest intones “Ashes to ashes.” However, the upside of all out nuclear war means even the politicians little bolt holes get ruined, and that would never do.

What my third thoughts have come up with is like in ‘Wag the dog’ all this ‘poking the Russian Bear’ is a ruse. A ‘Vote for Hilary or you all fry!’ gambit, with the rhetoric ramping up right to the edge of nuclear Armageddon, then oh! the drama! there will be desperate last ditch peace talks, ‘Hilary to the rescue!’ which, miracula et signa will result in ‘world peace’ so long as the biggest piece of that world ends up belonging to the globalists. ‘The little people’ (You, me and the rest of the serfs) will of course end up footing a very large bill. War, even a narrow escape from one, being a very expensive business. Heaven forfend that the people who actually started the bloody thing have to pick up the tab.

Pass the whiskey. Might as well drink it while I can. Damn. I think I just stubbed my toe on my cynicism. Again.

Stormy weather

Not felt much like posting recently. Mainly because I felt I’d run out of things to say, so did the natural thing, which was to shut up and listen for a while. Not much to do apart from hurry up and wait anyhow.

We’ve had a few storms locally, which have shut down transport to the mainland and smaller islands for a day or so. Nothing out of the ordinary out here on the Pacific Rim. I’ve been entertaining myself watching the odd scad of airborne debris heading up the road horizontally at about fifty to sixty kilometres an hour. Just clumps of leaves and the odd twig or two zipping by, and the trees in the garden thrashing around like a hyperactive teenager in a mosh pit.

Lots of storms in teacups, well apart from near misses with hurricanes on the eastern seaboard. This whole Trump thing. Oh seriously? Is this the best they can do? The guy has less baggage in his past than I do. Anyone who can get all bent out of shape over a bit of locker room talk must have serious issues themselves. Especially when the opposition is associated with cheating charity organisations, taking massive, barely concealed backhanders from overseas and corporate interests, has defended child rape, sexual assault and a number of other crimes, not to mention breaching US National Security. And people think she’s a safe person to trust with the US Nuclear codes? Holy shit! One bout of PMT and we’re all history.

Not that the US elections aren’t all bought and paid for anyway. I don’t think the popular vote will mean a thing. The Electoral College is the one that counts. Buy enough Senators and Congressmen and the electorate can all go hang. Having read the linked article, I’m moved to comment that it’s come to a pretty pass when Russia (!) has a more democratic selection process. Who knew?

The world events that have me currently pacing the floor are the various provocations going on over Syria and Iraq. Military presences are ramping up, and with the current idiots in chief declaring a ‘cyber-war’ on Russia, they may just get the shooting war they want. Not only are US ‘intelligence’ services complicit in creating and funding the current major terrorist threats, the current US Administration want to get in a military pissing match with the Russians and Chinese.

After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, I breathed a huge mental sigh of relief, thinking that the threat of nuclear annihilation was past. Now that threat is firmly back on the table. If, as I think is likely, Clinton becomes US President, seriously people (either of you), I think there’s even more stormy weather ahead. The glow in the dark sort.