Category Archives: Musings

Odd stuff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This could get interesting..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t give a……

The weather continues colder than usual, and we’re getting out first decent bit of sunshine for a month, which is a relief. Don’t know what’s happening to the weather, but it’s definitely a lot cooler this year. Locally the flowers and tree blossoms are almost a month late. Farmers can’t plant yet and the temperature here in Victoria is decidedly chilly. Which is odd, considering all the prophesies of doom we’ve been fed over the years. I think we’d all welcome a little warming right now.

On the upside I’ve just bought a copy of Mark Manson’s ‘The Subtle art of not giving a fuck’ which should be arriving tomorrow as an antidote to all the emotionally underdeveloped stuff happening online. Not that I actually do give a spit about the twatter hate mobs roaming the Interweb like weaponised teenage girl gangs. Which is really all they are.

Personally I tend to leave twatter to others. It’s too full of bitch fights and pubescent personalities. To be honest it’s outgrown any facility or worth as the hormone-crazed lunatics are well and truly running the asylum. See the little talk between Jordan Peterson and Johnathan Haidt below which rather neatly explains the current state of (anti) social media.

Does this point of view make me a Dinosaur? Maybe. But then I don’t really give a fuck about that. My weaponised apathy acts as an antidote to all the hate mobs online insanity.

Petersonism

Having finished my second re-read of his work ’12 Rules for life – an antidote to chaos’. To bowdlerise Mark Anthony’s funeral speech from Julius Caesar; I write to praise Jordan B Peterson, not to bury him. He has it. In his video lectures lie the answer to the craziness of compelled speech and the ugliness of political correct(less)ness.

Like the one below, he addresses the concepts with a sympathetic interviewer. Although he’s demonstrated an ability to operate in what others would call ‘hostile environments’. Like more than holding his own in hostile interviews, like with that of Cathy Newman.

Incidentally, I found among all the biblical stories, where Jordan draws upon the folk tales ensconced within the Christian bible (And Walt Disney), a lot of principles which I’d always tried (and too often failed) to live up to, much of worth and use. Like the stuff my Dad tried to teach me but failed. So I had to learn for myself, and apply what little wisdom I obtained to my life. Which has been an uneven process. The problem for me was always the religious references. As a teen I saw how organised religion poisoned communications between people, only serving the believers while punishing those for non-belief. So the moment religion crept into the argument, I switched off. I suspect a lot of other people felt this way too.

Maybe it’s just me, but perhaps these folk tales he draws on could do with a little re-framing?

Play Dirty

Regarding the recent spate of shootings in the USA, I was watching the public response to the London terror attacks where some people took to fighting back in the only way left open to them. Thirty years ago things would have been different as British and American men (and women) were far more accustomed to fighting with their fists and feet. Indeed, within some neighbourhoods and social groups this still happens. Especially in parts of London, where the 2018 murder rate recently topped that of New York. Although still nowhere near that of Los Cabos, Mexico, where the murder rate per 100,000 was 111.33 (Total 365). But that’s by the by. London and New York don’t even register in the top 50 of murder capitals.

Thirty plus years ago in the UK, a more usual response to a man with a knife wildly slashing out and stabbing random people, at least in the circles I once moved in, would have been them immediately getting bashed over the head or in the face with the nearest handy object like a chair, pool cue, beer glass, or bottle (Broken or not). Usually after being partially blinded by getting someone’s drink in their face. It’s amazing how quickly that can stop an assailant in their tracks.

Now you can take this at face value for what it’s worth, but in my late teens I was told by a snooker playing boon companion who others described as an ex “rough house barman” who had done this sort of thing and got away unscathed on more than one occasion (But not when four attackers got him down and beat him so hard they burst his left eye, so his story went), the only way for an unarmed combatant to take down any armed assailant is to throw a heavy or blinding object at their eyes, following through immediately with something else heavier and to keep hitting their face, eyes and ears until they drop their weapon and run, or it is safe for the defender to do so, like if their assailant is down and definitively out.

Now I have to stress that this sort of tactic is last ditch, do or die, but if you’ve no other protection, it seems the only immediate way to survive an armed assailant is to attack your assailants eyes and keep on attacking. Literally to blind the bastard. A kick in the unmentionables can also disable, but God help you if you miss. Better to blind, knock them down, then kick them in their tender parts just to make sure they stay down. Then run. Apparently this is a well known special forces tactic. Blind or blindside your attacker(s), close the distance, get inside their swing and keep at their tender parts with whatever comes to hand until they’re hors de combat. Use them as shields against their fellow assailants if need be. Just keep them so busy trying to keep their eyesight that they don’t have time to focus on using any weapon(s). Disarm if you can, kick their weapon well out of reach and don’t muck about.

Personal anecdote here, I was actually forced to fight this way once, in sheer terror I might add, against two other guys, one with a large knife, one with a large adjustable wrench, and blow me down it works. All really that matters is speed, aggression and surprise. The guy with the weapon always expects others to back down. My particular assailants ran from a complete headbanger with an apparent kamikaze complex (L’l old bookish me) swinging a chair and screaming blue murder. Which probably saved me a trip to hospital or worse. All I know is that they ran like hell and never came my way again. Which is lucky for me because I generally abhor violence and will walk ten miles to avoid a possible fight.

Secondary anecdote; I once had nine types of crap beaten out of me when I went into a scrap half-heartedly. Two guys. One baited, the other one drop kicked me in the back from behind. Next thing I know is I’m on my knees taking a kicking to the head and shoulders. All because I thought it was a stupid drunken fight that wouldn’t come to anything. Now I was lucky to get out of it with just a broken nose and without a fractured skull. Which served me right. After that I always asked a mate to ‘watch my back’ when going to places where trouble might lurk. On the proviso that I would do the same for them and never, ever get into a fight unless I was prepared to go all in. Must have worked, because I never caught another beating like that again.

Lets face it, if some nutter is yelling “Allar akbar!” or similar and trying to stick a bloody great knife in you, last resort tactics like spitting in their eyes and at the same time whacking at their faces and eyes with the nearest relatively heavy object or even your fingernails in their eyeballs may just stop them cold. Which sort of dirty tactic may be all that stand between you and bloody oblivion. The idea is that they will be so busy trying to defend their sight that they won’t have time to use their weapon. Then once the attacker is disabled or distracted long enough, get out of there, fast. Leg it. Put as much distance as you can between you and them, and preferably some big, heavy and above all, lockable doors. It may just save your life and the lives of others around you because chummy may still have their weapon but is now easier pickings for the Police, when they eventually arrive. The Police in turn may thank you, but they probably won’t. Indeed, in the UK and Australia they’re likely to arrest the victim and let their assailants off. Why, I have no idea.

Personally, I wouldn’t hang around to find out. Getting clear relatively unscathed should be the only reward you will ever need. You may even get a little hurt in the process, from bruises or a scratch to a wound needing stitches, been there, done that, but it’s way better than getting very dead indeed.

This is also the secret behind why a hundred pound, five foot four woman can take down a six foot four body builder with a black belt in Martial Arts. And I’ve actually seen that happen. Mind you, she was an ex-Greenfinch, a female ex-squaddie who’d actually seen active service in Ulster, and the guy was a Dojo only fighter, so maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised. He certainly was.

Now I know this is purely for one on one situations, because two nasty bastards with knives or guns can ruin anyone’s entire weekend. But the cardinal rule is this; don’t cry, don’t scream, just disable your immediate assailant, put them down hard, kick them hard while they’re down if you can (In the side ribs works nicely -nice big target area – very sensitive), then get the hell out of the way if you can, and for fucks sake don’t hang around to film the fun with your rinky-dinky little smartphone. Terrorism or serious bar fights are not a spectator sport. One of life’s simple truths is that you cannot upload to your playlist of funny cat video’s on YouTube if you are languishing in hospital or worse, seriously dead. Also remember, anything can be turned into a weapon, even the spine of a paperback book or a tightly rolled up newspaper (The notorious ‘Brummie Brick’). I’ve even seen a lightweight folding aluminium table pushed corner first into an attackers face making both an adequate shield and weapon. The trick is not to let them back you into a corner.

And you don’t need a gun. Just looking at my desk I can see at least four items within arms reach that can be used to stop and possibly kill an assailant. A 30oz glass paperweight (Heavy enough to crack a skull), pens (One pushed into the eye socket can ruin anyone’s day), a paperknife (Likewise or into any soft tissue; eyes, neck, belly or groin), a small tray (Swung hard edge-first into the larynx or across the bridge of the nose). A hardback book likewise. Even the spine of a heavy paperback systems manual, providing it’s held and swung right, can fracture a skull. My kitchen by contrast is full of lethally sharp bladed and heavy objects that can ruin any home invaders day. From my expensive German and French bladed cooking knives to either of my heavy cast iron skillets. Not that I want either my knives or skillets damaged – they’re too valuable.

The simple truth is that anything that can be thrown or made solid enough to be held and swung hard enough to blind. Dirt in the face, pepper (Cayenne especially), even squirted ketchup (Chilli sauce or tabasco works best) will do and you don’t even need to be a black belt in Asemi-detached, Deja-foo-jong with fried rice or any other martial art to do it. If your attacker is bigger and stronger than you, anything in the soft parts should be considered fair game. Survival is all that counts.

Now I know as a society in the West we have generally become more peaceful, less prone to settle our differences with fists than in the days of my youth. Indeed, civil society nowadays runs on this principle. Overall this is a good thing. But if we are being attacked by people with bloody murder in their hearts and hands and the Police are minutes (and longer) away, what else are ordinary members of the public to do? We are not important, well apart from to ourselves. We the public have no armed bodyguards like politicians or the elites.

And like it or not, the everyday forces of law and order are no more superhuman than anyone else. In the UK, all they have are batons and maybe pepper sprays if they’re bloody lucky, and we expect them to cope with fanatics bent on mass murder? Seriously?

Indeed, if some crazy pulls a big knife or a gun then gets a drink thrown in their face, or spit in their eyes followed by a swung chair over the head and a few more people join in, kicking and punching. How do you think the would-be killers are going to react?

Answer; they will go down.

Remember John Smeaton, a Glasgow Airport baggage handler? Or Newsagent Mohammed Afzah? Chef Florin Morariu? Other ordinary, nameless people who bombarded the London Bridge attackers last year with bottles, tables and glasses. They saved the lives of others. No-one can calculate how many. Five? Ten? Fifty? All we know is that without their intervention, the body count would have been higher. Like with those guys who took down a gun toting crazy on that train to Amsterdam.

The examples are all out there. Given the attitude of the certain powers that be to favour a certain religious group in case the officers in question are seen as ‘racist’ or ‘phobic’ or they’ve been given orders to ‘wait for backup’ to tackle a weaponised, off his meds nutcase. Meaning you may have to fight for your life alone. Why? Because you may be the only one who can. As an observation I’d say that in general, people have forgotten how to fight hand to hand. Perhaps these are skills that the populace at large may have to relearn. Or at least turn their own desperation around and use their fear to fight back when occasion demands.

On the other hand you could rely on this one simple rule, which I’ve found is an absolute life saver; whatever you do, don’t get into a fracas unless there is absolutely no other alternative. Keep your eyes open and don’t escalate, because as I have found to my own cost; you have to watch your back because no-one else will.

I’m not talking they’re-all-out-to-get-you paranoia here, just a little everyday situational awareness. Like looking left and right before you cross a road. Being aware of your surroundings and actions. Staying clear of trouble. Maybe taking a martial arts class or three to learn a little close up and personal self defence. Doesn’t take much. I prefer Judo and Atemi-Jitsu myself. Far more relaxed. And they work. They also teach confidence and self discipline which is a plus. Not like all those flashy jumps, punches and kicks some places teach. A block, hip throw or wrist-lock will still work, even if you mis-time it. Not so a punch or kick. Besides, punching and kicking, if you don’t know what you’re doing (or in the heat of battle, do it wrong) can actually hurt you more than the object of your attention. As I know to my own cost. Floating bone splinter in left hand still not healed right after three decades.

One last thing; if forced to fight this way in self defence, accept you will get hurt when you go all in, but getting hurt on your feet fighting for survival is far preferable (At least to me) to the shame of cowering and dying on your knees like some animal in a slaughterhouse. When there is no other alternative. Especially if you’re terrified. Fear is useful. The adrenaline boost it brings will give you speed and strength in an emergency. Which may just be enough. Don’t think, just do. Like they tell you in this handy little book. If you’re too  cheap to buy a copy, there’s a good online version here or a copy of the hand to hand fighting manual ‘Get Tough’ here. Dated or not, these are the only manuals on self defence you will ever need.

Authors note; if you’ve seen it in the movies, it probably won’t work. Screen fighting is not real fighting. Even Jet Li fakes it.

This is where the line between survivor or victim lies. Choosing to play dirty for your life. Because when push comes to shove, yours is the only one that matters. May you, gentle reader, never have to make that choice for real.

Update:
Have a listen to Geoff Thompson (Thanks Bucko) on violence.

Social death

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well it makes sense to me.

Tool blaming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh dearie me

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

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

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

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

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

Catching up

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things to be aware of

Feeling partially human yesterday. Got out of the house from my self-imposed quarantine to pick up some necessary items for my kitchen. A replacement electric hand mixer for my last one that has just died and a new German bladed bread knife which should last a few years. Another worthwhile purchase was one of those magnetic knife holders, which works brilliantly, keeping all my best blades to hand and nicely sharp, instead of losing their edges from being banged around in a kitchen drawer. As well as reducing the risk of Russian Roulette with your fingers every time you go looking for a sharp edge. Or having to resharpen before every use. I also bought some Barkeepers Friend, which is the only stuff I’ve ever found which is really good for cleaning burned-on clag off stainless steel pots and pans or oven glass.

The other good news is that the pain from whatever infection I had has now gone, subsiding into a mild localised itch, which is easy to resist scratching after an application of good old Germolene. Up until relatively recently we couldn’t buy said ointment over here, and Savlon or any other available ointment simply can’t cut the mustard, so we used to have to get visiting friends and family to pick some up for us whenever they’re in the UK. It’s always the same conversation gambit on Skype when they run out of gossip; “Anything we can get for you while we’re in Blighty?” So until it became available via Amazon we used to ask for large tubes of the pink stuff. Then there’s another essential we can’t get here, an insect bite pain relief product from New Zealand called Stingose. So that comes to us from the Australian contingent of the family. Beats the hell out of anything we can get in Canada. We don’t need sting relief that often but when the local mossies are biting, it’s bloody good kit.

The only blot on the horizon is hearing of Longrider’s loss. He’s a good guy, and shit like that shouldn’t happen to good people but it does. I always feel that mere words can seem very cheap when someone loses their soul mate. Any phrases meant to comfort often end up sounding lame, cliched and insincere. However, I’ve used the following stanza in a couple of funeral speeches, wrote it myself some thirty years ago when I thought my days were seriously numbered. LR, hope this helps.

Well maybe I’m around no more,
But what was life to me,
I could laugh and leave it any time I chose,
Yet when night folds itself around you,
And the dark is all you see,
My heart’s still yours when no one wants to know.

Best regards,

Bill