Category Archives: Random Amusement

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.

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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

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.

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!

Busy doing nothing

…Working the whole day through,
Trying to find lots of things not to do,

Well not quite, but not as busy as I have been. Due to a plethora of good planning and foresight we’re on the wind-down to our Summer European trip. Not that anyone’s really interested. My only concern is making sure our little deck garden is properly watered and taken care of while we’re away. I don’t want to come home to a bunch of wilted stems like with my Tomato plants over Christmas.

For my one remaining non-comatose reader the Lemon seedlings are looking good following last weeks potting out. Ten Eleven out of the original thirteen have popped tiny glossy little leaves above the soil so far and have been put out in a sunny position during the day as the night time temperatures are still not conducive to plant health. Although the rose, Indonesian Lime and all our perennials are doing fine. The rose has three dark bloody blooms gracing its stems with four more to come. The Fuchsia has recovered from the travails of Winter and should give a display some time in late August / early September. The Nasturtiums and Sweet Peas aren’t so cheerful from overnight near-zero temperatures, but now the warmer Summerish weather is here they should recover. As for the herbs, no issues. By the time we return from Europe they should be ready for the kitchen all the way through to October / November.

Did I mention that I went to see Deadpool 2 last week? Must have done. Great dirty fun. Go see it. I’m going to add a hard copy to the video collection. Also to add will be Stallone’s ‘Demolition Man’ and a few others, which I’ll do when I get to a certain secondhand music store up island. I’ll see if I can get a copy of the first ‘Incredibles’ movie in North American format too before going to see the sequel on Friday as it has just opened here. The only trouble is I’ve seen so many damn trailers and clips it may just take the edge off my viewing pleasure, although that didn’t seem to matter for Deadpool 2. There was more than enough story and flash-bang for my buck to warrant a second viewing.

That leads to another thought; When life gives you lemons, don’t just make lemonade – enjoy the Gin and Tonic (Jinnan T’Onnix, whatever). Or Gin fizz. Or Vodka Tonic. Or even sell any subsequent Lemons on with an ‘organic’ tag at twice what you paid for the original lemon you got the seeds from. What a staggeringly good idea.

Must dash, well, maybe not so much. The sun is shining, Justin Trudeau is still an idiot for picking a trade war Canada can’t possibly win, the silly, virtue signalling half-wit. When we get to Europe I’m going to use my UK passport because I’ll be too embarrassed to use my Canadian ID. Poor ickle Justine can blither on endlessly about what he thinks ‘Canadian values’ are, but he never knew what they really were in the first place. Mr fake eyebrows speaks for no-one but himself.

Evil travel planning

Travel planning today for our July trip over the big eastern water to jolly old Londinium and points east and south. Double checking bookings, passports etcetera and making sure that we have the finances in place for the Copenhagen leg of the trip, which is all Danish Kroner. Then back to Euro’s for Amsterdam and France. Sterling is the least of our worries.

One of the things that has flagged up in our discussions is the increased crime rate in London. So we asked Youngest for a few handy hints, as she is our resident legal eagle in the great metrollops. First piece of advice she came up with is not to stand on a street corner with a map or cell phone in your hands discussing where to go. This marks you out as a ‘tourist’ and is an open invitation to the opportunist bicycle or moped shod thieves to swoop in and nick your stuff. So she suggested we do our map reading and route planning in a handy coffee shop or bar. Much more civilised. Safer too. So that is what we will do.

Aside from our impending trip all potters along steadily Chez Maison Sticker. My potted out Lemon tree seedlings are merrily pushing tiny leaflets up into the light. Out on our little deck garden most of the seeds Mrs S and I have planted have germinated and are in leaf. The rose has put out it’s first blood red blossoms, and the rain it raineth this morning. Which is good. In a small way.

Something else which might turn out well is the denuclearisation deal being done with the North Koreans. See the video below, whose clear persuasive message is quite compelling and is obviously designed to hit Kim Jong thingummy right in the ego. Hey you, young man. Want to be a really great leader? Get the prosperity like your neighbours? Sign here and put those dangerous toys away. We’ve got something better. There’s basketball too! Yes, I know it’s a Farcebook video, but someone who really understands people put it together, so I’m happy to share.

Wonder if the same kind of sales oriented approach would work with the Middle East? Selling the idea of prosperity rather than some wishy-washy idea of compelled ‘niceness’ and the odd handout. Well I like it. Palestine being open for business rather than just being a war zone? A shifted focus. A different zeitgeist. It could well happen. Of course my inner realist says that it won’t all be a bed of roses (Watch for those thorns buddy!), but it’s a way better idea than the current bed of nails.

Uscitalia

News is surfacing that the Italians have finally got themselves a Government after EU-appointed President Mattarella caved and allowed the appointment of a Prime Minister. Which means they now have an actively anti-EU administration. What with the Spanish threat to exit, the Brexit negotiations might just become unnecessary because there will be nothing left but the ashes of a fragile Franco-German alliance.

Just a thought.

Shall we talk?

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

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

Cucumber Sandwiches

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hummingbirds etcetera

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

All together now; “Awwwww!”

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

Here comes the… Ah.

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

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

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

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

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

Delightful

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

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

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

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

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

Movie night

… is Friday night. Couple of calls from Eldest making her way in the fabled land of Oz over this week, which makes me think she’s nerving up to break some ‘news’.

Anyway news or no news. We have finally seen “The Death of Stalin” which has some of the local lefties whining that it wasn’t ‘historical’. Of course it wasn’t, it’s a bloody satire for heaven’s sake. Which simply reinforces my observation that the extreme left isn’t exactly a hotbed of intellectual finesse, merely a slough of dogma. As is the extreme right, But that’s another story. As a committed very slightly right of centrist, I have no real sympathy for either camp. Both are just as toxic.

Anyway, the movie. Howlingly funny and chock full of dark and bitter parody. Steve Buscemi as Kruschev was great, and as for Jason Isaac’s portrayal of Zhukov, led to some of the best scenes in the whole piece “Where’s a man got to go to get some lubrication?”. Watching the portrayal of a murderous dictator dying in a pool of his own piss because everyone was too scared of him to see if he needed help – utterly priceless. One for the DVD collection.

Tonight we fired up the big screen at home and instead of paying forty bucks plus to sit in a movie theatre with all the attendant annoyances, like people talking through the performance. “What happens next is..” Fidgets and seatkickers, cell phone addicts and those interminable extended advertorials hosted by gushingly embarrassing perfect skinned teen presenters which encroach ever further into the performance. I swear the last time we went three weeks ago, the movie was scheduled to start at ten to three, but the fucking advertorials went on until five past.

So, what was last night’s first movie our home big screen? Ah yes, the star studded CGI-fest “Fantastic Beasts and where to find them” Verdict? Didn’t really like it much and after having bitten all the heads off my jelly baby ration, I fell asleep twenty minutes into the movie, so I can’t really comment apart from that J K Rowlings brainchild didn’t really grab me. Just couldn’t get engaged in the story. I suppose it wouldn’t be a waste of money if you like your ham sliced thick. Otherwise it was a glitter ball of a production. All flash but no real substance.

So for the second offering of the evening I suggested that we watched the low budget made for TV movie “Thin ice” Admirably held together by veteran actor Tom Selleck’s performance as small town police chief Jesse Stone (not to mention the dog). Much slower paced, finer story details, better and far more nuanced performances. I was totally engaged, despite having seen this particular episode in the series twice before.

I like the Jesse Stone series. Solid stories, sound characters and no pointlessly happy endings. Mysteries are solved, sometimes too late and there’s more than a hint of the rebel in Jesse Stone which resonates with me. As he states with no little irony, “I’m a small town cop, mostly I give out parking tickets.” Yes, well it would wouldn’t it?

When it comes to movie characters, I think that what engages me the most is their vulnerabilities. Their weaknesses rather than their strengths. If they’re all weak it makes me want to scream at the screen “Grow a fucking spine why don’t you!” If they’re all strong and are too bloody perfect I want to switch off. But if they’re flawed, human and prone to cock-up, then I’ll watch.

Sweet FA

Not much happening at the moment apart from work, work, work. Sweet Fanny Adams in fact. Just number crunching, which isn’t part of my usual workaday skill set, but it’s not really dragon magic, just a big game of arithmetical join the dots. I’m just mildly surprised that no-one else in this particular company has just buckled down and sorted out the mess they created for themselves. Oh well, it all makes work for the working man to do. As in ‘the gas man cometh’. See below.

I see that Starbucks is caught in a perfect PC storm where two guys who wanted to use premises without the normal niceties of a commercial transaction cried ‘foul’ when they behaved like arses and got nicked. Now that haven or PC hipsters has come under fire for asking two of a protected class to behave like ordinary people or leave. Does the boycott these Twatterers are talking about mean we’ll be able to get a table now all the latte classes will be boycotting Starbucks? Good. Although this means the hate mob will have to find another coffee shop chain to haunt. Who knows. if they all fuck off and stop hogging tables and bandwidth for hours at a time maybe other patrons will get a look in? As far as coffee shops are concerned, these keyboard warriors can’t be the most profitable of customers.

Mrs S likes Starbucks, but honestly I’m not that impressed. My taste is for less bitter brews. I prefer Italian roasts like Lavazza myself.