Category Archives: Random Amusement

If the tinfoil hat fits…

…goes the adapted saying – wear it  In other words, if it looks like a duck and quacks, it’s likely of the genus anatidae. So it is with the mainstream media. Be it the Trump – Russia collusion hysteria, or all the fuss over BREXIT and the Christchurch shooter. Nowhere have I ever seen so much conspiracy theory hogwash portrayed as fact by so-called ‘reputable’ news outlets. North of the border here in the not so frozen north it’s worse. The news media, apart from the National Post, who are kind of milquetoast Conservatives, is almost overwhelmingly pro Justine Trudeau.

Privately, the public at large are less than convinced. Hence this screenshot of a very accurate flowchart someone drew about the SNC-Lavallin affair, where the Trudeau Liberals literally changed the law to keep some of their mates out of clink.
Quite apropos, n’est-ce pas? As they say in Quebec. Well, it made me smile.

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What did they expect?

Busy gardening at the moment, the really cold weather has shifted to the Midwest and Spring has poked a cautious head around the corner here in Victoria BC. My remaining six large Lemon Tree plants have been taken outside to soak up some sunshine and we’re putting out some colourful blooms to provide us with a little visual cheer when the working week is too full of WTF! moments. Which happens a lot. Especially when our line managers come at us with a “We’ve got a little job. Can you help us out?” which happened last week.

Anyway, it’s been a nice day today. The heating has been switched off and our windows are all open to blow all the Winter miasma out of the house. Outdoor temperatures have just crept over the sixty eight Fahrenheit marker so it’s quite warm out on our deck. The fresh air is invigorating.

Looking at the news in the FT I saw the news about the New Zealand shooting and was filled with a profound sense of Deja Vu. It won’t be the last. Plenty of people are pissed off with the way Islamic migration and terrorism is often glossed over, then when a sick individual from the native population shoots up a place of worship, a certain section of the media use it as a stick to beat all ‘white’ people with. According to a bunch of academics and similar pantywaisters all us north Europeans very bad and ‘white supremacy’ (Whatever that is, I never got a membership) must end.

Well I’m not guilty of the shootings, nor are any of my neighbours or the population of New Zealand, or Australia, the USA or the UK. Donald Trump and Chelsea Clinton are not to blame. It’s the whole identitarian race-baiting industry once known as journalism. That’s where the finger should be pointed. A distinct class within their ranks has repeatedly berated the Anglosphere for asking pointed questions about mass immigration. Those are the witches we need to burn. The sowers of discord. Tim Pool has it.

To be charitable, these media types may have only been selling puritanical rage-bait to boost their terrible circulation figures, but when similar rage-bait is used by politicians to create a protected class of individual who get a free pass, well, the outcome is hardly surprising. You can only spit on people so many times before someone goes completely postal. This is true across all ethnicities, all religions and all cultures. So what did these rage-baiter media whores and their sponsors expect? Seriously people. Their IQ tests must have come back negative. As for farsightedness and statesmanship, one can only guess at where that went to. If it ever existed at all.

The whole business has taken on the air of farce. The NZ authorities have blamed and banned a commenting platform called ‘Dissenter’, when the whole thing was livestreamed via Facebook for heavens sake! Is Facebook now banned in NZ? No? Why not? Something stinks here. It may simply be incompetence on the part of the NZ powers that be, but I suspect pressure has been brought to bear and Facebook because they rolled over and played loveable puppy for the powers that be, whilst Dissenter did not.

We’ve heard of other, similar plots thwarted over the last five or so years, but successful ones, like Anders Breivik and the Christchurch shooter are thankfully rare and are a reaction rather than the root cause. In this case the root cause is the reckless mass-importing of an alien and diametrically opposed culture into a well-established society. The funny thing is, if we’d wanted to really help these people as has been mooted, it would have been far more simple and low cost to get aid to them ‘in country’ where they felt comfortable. Not to import the poor sods wholesale into places which they don’t understand and even have contempt for the cultural norms.

Despite what some people say, we humans are not all the same. Men are not women, trans people are neither and you can take the local Yokel out of his hovel, but you’ll never take the hovel out of the local Yokel. At least not for at least three generations. That’s how long it takes to integrate into a non-native population. That’s discounting the throwbacks every generation throws up. Why, because they ‘identify’ as whatever. Only takes one generation of weak or heavy handed parenting.

The truth is out there….

“…but lies are in your head.” To quote the late Sainted St Terence of the Pratchett. I’ve been reading last weeks Sunday Times, which is one of the Sunday amusements I allow myself because so many of the stories are so different from their clickbait headlines. Especially the various BREXIT hit pieces. Look chaps, even HMRC has got its act together and has issued no-deal BREXIT guidelines. Which echo what I’ve been saying all along; Don’t panic.

In the event of leaving on WTO terms a.k.a. ‘No deal’ or ‘crashing out’ (What hyperbole) little will change. Apart from the EU being GBP39 billion out of pocket and suddenly realising they’re really, really in far more trouble than dear old no-deal blighty will ever be. The value of sterling may well rise significantly against the Euro. Which should please a few expat pensioners, but not the exporters, who have been reaping the benefits of the artificially depressed pound.

Those UK businesses with the foresight to do so have already laid their plans for a no-deal scenario instead of endlessly whining that it ‘snot fair. Like the senior EU bureaucrats. Honestly, as Mrs S has repeatedly observed, these failed politicians really have no idea how to negotiate. They’ve had first dibs at a favourable trade deal for two whole years yet have simply considered the UK like an errant child having a tantrum.

Anyway, we’re going over to see the results first hand. I’ve finalised the details of Autumn’s London trip. Flights and accommodation paid for and we’ll be mostly meandering around the Smoke on foot. Just taking the time out to see the sights. I may even revisit whatever that bar is called at at the Shard. Fun fact; did you know that the 31st floor Gents Lavatory only has waist high urinal pedestals in front of a plate glass window? Do not use if you suffer from vertigo, but the view is bloody spectacular on a nice sunny day.

Summer break will be a series of mini road trips around BC. Maybe a short sojourn over the border to see how our southern cousins are faring.

In the meantime it’s still snowing here and temperatures are regularly minus five Celsius. At least by our outside thermometer. The weather is scheduled to continue in this vein for another forty-eight hours. As you can see in the picture I took from my kitchen window.

Roll on Spring. Another two months of Winter to go.

A really great idea

I’ve been looking at a few notes in my off duty time (not easy working 55+ hour weeks and doing the cooking) and I’ve come up with this really great idea for a movie. Haven’t got a title, but given today’s social climate it’s an absolute winner. Totally PC and chock full of social commentary. Just what the modern educated movie-goers will flock to see. Here’s the plot…

  1. Boy and Girl meet at college and kind of fall in love. Very platonic. Very caring.
  2. Unfortunately an evil Gender studies Professor, thwarted in love herself and terribly warped (Or himself, totally flexible at this point of the process) sees the looks of frustrated longing across the lecture theatre and decides this shall not be.
  3. Professor declares war on “Heterodoxy” which means our two would-be lovers get swept up onto different sides in a college protest. So they fall out “I could never love you because you’re a sexist pig” She declares.
  4. On a drunken night out he (The Boy) falls in with the geek crowd, while she (The Girl) feels rejected and is welcomed with open arms (and legs) into the Alphabet soup ‘community’.
  5. Boy gives up on girls, falls in love with his Computer and eventually gets married to it, having himself surgically altered to the USB 3.0 standard with an HDMI Port.
  6. After a few dissatisfied years Girl loses girls and remembers boy.
    Unfortunately both are so warped by their liberal arts experience they can no longer form relationships with the opposite human sex.
  7. They meet again. Girl finds that Boy is now a genderless machine hybrid no longer able to form human relationships.
  8. Heartbroken she buys a kitten. Then gets adopted by another.
  9. Two years later the latest Microsoft release renders Boy incompatible, unable to interface with the latest and sexiest machines. A cat turns up on his doorstep and ‘adopts’ him. It gets run over. Heartbroken he buys another cat. Then another and one after that.
  10. Several years later Boy and Girl meet at a college campus reunion. She mimes an orgasm to demonstrate her feminist superiority and tells him how wonderful her life is. He lies about his interoperability with Linux. They part.
  11. Then they go back to their respective cats and die alone after long and pointlessly shallow lives.

So. That’s the basics. I think it’s a winner. A modern take on When Harry met Sally for the ultra-PC post white supremacy age.

What do you think?

Update:  Maybe I should put in a scene where she catches him trying to interface with her iPad?

Non Player Characters

There’s a very funny little take on a certain group of people doing the rounds of the jolly old Interweb that 85% of people are effectively what Gamers have taken to calling ‘Non-player characters’. Specifically people who react rather than think, use their limbic brains rather than their pre frontal cortex and often seem to be so self involved in their own little bubbles that any observations of neural activity can be thought of as purely accidental. They never seem to have the self reference to ask “Why am I doing this..?” or perhaps “What good am I doing…?” Followed by an existential “What defines ‘good’ and is attacking other people the right way to attain it..?” The more insightful might think that perhaps these NPC’s are painting themselves into a very small corner by not thinking.

Maybe the aforementioned is a function of their peer group structure? The self awareness of an NPC-level mob being the cube root of of the dumbest member? Yet these ‘activists’ are people who claim to know what is best for everyone and are willing to beat people up who happen to disagree? What they forget is that even if they win once, there will always be someone bigger, tougher, more skilled and more determined right around the corner. Possibly with a warrant. Or a grudge. No-one is immune. Direct action meet reaction. Hope you’ve got good legal and health insurance.

As an apposite aside, long ago (3rd February 2005 Yikes!), on a blog far, far away I wrote;

“Several years ago I worked out that roughly 75% of the human race are either plain stupid or just not paying attention. Mrs Sticker agrees, and helped modify the criteria so that the rule covers 85% of humans. After much spirited debate I was forced to agree. A proper mathematical analysis would bear this figure out. Think about it. In order for a proportion of the human race to be of average intelligence and above, statistically there has to be a corresponding fraction below those levels. Furthermore intelligence manifests itself in a number of ways. For example a Professor of Mathematics may be highly intelligent in a specific way but be a complete klutz in the kitchen. He / she might be great at advanced calculus but like many humans, reduced to the standard of the average moron when in charge of a car.

I’ve even joked that the zombie apocalypse has been with us for some time and left wing NPC’s area prime example, only there are right wing NPC’s too. This means we have two main tribes of zombies out there. Oh no, that can’t be right, the zombies are everywhere because each tribe only watches their own narrow section of the media and here’s the kicker, that’s what is eating their brains. Or should that be past tense? Has eaten their brains?

Make up your own mind. Just look around, observe, draw conclusions. Do not simply accept what you are told without question. Too many are willing to lie to back up their standpoint. NPC’s, Zombies, call them what you like. They all unthinkingly regurgitate what they’re told. Why? Because in the little bit of humanity they still do possess, they realise they really do have nothing to say. Because it’s the line of least resistance.

Slow acting dope

Here we go, we’ve just had a little leaflet explaining Canada’s new Cannabis law which come into force this week (17th October). Here’s the skinny on them, which may disappoint a few people.

First. No, not everyone can use. There’s an age limit, like for booze. Depending on your Province you’ll have to be over 18 at least to buy and legally smoke it. In BC, Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Nunavut, New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the age limit is 19. In Alberta and Quebec 18.
Second. No you can’t smoke your weed anywhere, Smoking a joint has exactly the same restrictions as for tobacco smoking or vaping. No smoking anywhere near anyone or anything, anywhere. At any time. So there.
Third. Yes you can grow your own, but only four plants at any one address at any one time in BC and a couple of other places. No converting the front room and saying “Swelp me ossifer, I only planted four seeds. These things do tend to spread don’t they?” When the tax man comes to call.
Fourth. Yes you can make Cannabis cookies or cake at home, but only with a maximum of 30 grams, which is all any one person can have on them at any one time. So watch those leftovers in the fridge.
Fifth. Only the Ontario Police have a saliva testing machine at present for checking if drivers are under the influence of old Maryjane. All the other Provincial and city forces and RCMP will rely on the old ‘Walk the line’ and ‘Touch your nose with your eyes closed’ type roadside tests. Although if your car reeks of the stuff to start with, your proverbial feet may not touch the ground. On the other hand, if a high driver ploughs through a bus queue, then they may find the book being thrown at them and insurance refused forever and ever amen. Not to mention working three jobs to pay court ordered compensation for the rest of their days.
Sixth. No you can’t take your stash over the border. Our Southern cousins won’t be happy for one. Nor will Canadian customs. No use offering them a joint either, they’ll just go into acute humour failure and you can join the hoi polloi in the slammer for a while along with all the really naughty people. Which may rather take the edge off your high.
Seventh and finally. No you can’t grow your own marijuana to sell unless you’ve got a licence, and those don’t come cheap. And like with alcohol, only licensed outlets can sell duty paid product all legal and properly stamped. Supply chain management eh? Ain’t it great?

Me, I’m doubling down on my Pizza outlet investments. With the predicted Canada-wide outbreak of the munchies after the 17th, I’ll be having to keep both hands in my pockets to hold my trousers up from all the money I’ll be making.

Busy signal

New job, new software, steep learning curve. New Internet too, if Tim Berners-Lee has anything to do with it. As for me, I’m not quite biting off more than I can chew, but there will be a short pause and a word from our sponsors.

Love this quote: “We are not talking to Facebook and Google about whether or not to introduce a complete change where all their business models are completely upended overnight. We are not asking their permission.” Yeah, go Tim.

World domination doesn’t happen all by itself you know…

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.

 

An internet Bill of Rights – A proposal

Seen over at Minds.com

MINDS.COM PROPOSED DIGITAL BILL OF RIGHTS

Alternative social network Minds has debuted a digital bill of rights amid accusations of bias and political manipulation at Google, Facebook, and other Big Tech companies.
“Minds is officially adopting the Manila Principles On Intermediary Liability, a digital bill of rights, outlined by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other leading digital rights organizations,” the social network announced, Thursday. “The principles have been endorsed by nearly 300 leading press freedom and technology policy organizations and individuals. They act as a guideline for protecting freedom of expression and create an open environment for innovation.”

The bill of rights are as follows:

  1. Intermediaries should be shielded from liability for third-party content.

  2. Content must NOT be required to be removed without an order by a judicial authority.

  3. Requests for restrictions of content must be clear, be unambiguous, and follow due process.

  4. Laws and content restriction orders and practices must comply with the tests of necessity and proportionality.

  5. Laws and content restriction policies and practices must respect due process.

  6. Transparency and accountability must be built into laws and content restriction policies and practices.

Discuss. I’m off to do some gardening. There’s some judicious potting out to do. Lemon tree seedlings again.

Baking Daze

By George I’ve done it! I’ve cracked baking both my favourite Black Olive Bread and French style Baguettes. Using bog standard flour, salt, instant yeast and water alone. No baking powder, no additives or ‘improvers’. Better than store bought. More flavour. Ee, I’m dead chuffed.

The trick for French style baguettes is in the dough which should be damp and slightly sticky but not too wet. Too wet and you’ve just baked a twenty inch long muffin, too dry and it comes out like bad pastry. Dry mix the Flour, salt and yeast thoroughly before adding room temperature water. Mix and add flour until you’ve got a dough ball that sticks to the bowl a little, but not too much. Leave resulting dough in mixing bowl for a couple of hours, punch down the dough and knead it until your dough ball gets smoother and more plasticky. Let it rise again. Knead once more then leave for twenty minutes or so before cutting dough into loaf sized bits. Roll and place dough, cutting as per your fancy to be cooked on some baking paper on a tray in an oven pre-heated to 415 Fahrenheit (About 210 Celsius) with a heat proof bowl half full of boiling water on the shelf below. Rotate tray after ten minutes or so. Remove baking parchment and leave loaf on grid or tray. Continue to cook until brown all over (About 15-20 additional minutes). Remove and leave on a grid or some baking parchment to cool. Works like a charm every time. Passes the toast test too.

Thanks to our Landlord’s apple tree, apple tarts have also been created and apple pie filling is being readied for the freezer. The tarts proved an absolute snip with some thinly rolled pastry, thin sliced apple and baking them in the oven for about twenty five minutes at 350 Fahrenheit (175 Celsius), although to get the full glistening glory of a patisserie produced product I will need to invest in some gelatin to brush over the baked apple and cinnamon.

Oh yes, all the wildfire smoke has gone. In forty eight hours. We’ve gone from an AQI in the hundreds (Almost hazardous) to single figures (Good) almost overnight after the Pacific winds drove inland and reports of snow and rain from the interior of BC. Snow in August? WTF? True, the snowfall is all up on the peaks in the Rockies, but hang on a minute! This is still August FFS! And it’s earlier than ever reported before, so what’s going on? Are we in for a long, cold Winter as the US Farmers Almanac is predicting or is this just a blip?

Which reminds me, my old toaster just died and we’ve had to spend a few bucks on one of those fancy long slice models.

Oh dear

NAFTA is effectively dead and Canada is in even more trouble over the Saudi-owned Canadian Wheat Board. All the bloviating and focussing on minority issues from Ottawa isn’t doing us much good economically speaking. The Trudeau regime has effectively been asleep at the switch, preferring anti-Trump posturing to actually doing anything positive, saying that the “Economy would sort itself out.” Yeah, right. You can’t say that about supply chain type economies like Canada. The institutions they run on are Government mandated. Like the Liquor control boards, the various other bureaucratic machines which only really serve the big cartels. Not to mention that Trudeau’s government slamming heavy tariffs on things we can’t make from the USA hasn’t helped.

Now they’ve got until Friday to decide whether or not to throw the Canadian Dairy cartels under the bus. After slamming on massive tariffs on unfiltered milk products from the US, which are useful if you want to make cheese in Canada.

If the letter pages of the newspapers and overheard snippets of shoppers conversations are any guide, The Trudeau regime is growing ever more unpopular. Food prices are up significantly. One of the things I’m in the habit of is putting our grocery spends on a spreadsheet and even a casual glance tells me the Sticker household is currently paying sixty percent plus more for just groceries than in the last four years. True, this sum is partially down to changing purchasing patterns because we can now afford better stuff, but even the basics are way up. This is the penalty for electing a nice-but-dim Prime Monster who has never held down a real job for long.

The whole Canadian Liberal party narrative appears to be dissolving. Not that they are anything like ‘Classical’ Liberals, more a bought and paid for bunch of vanity project sockpuppets. Not that I think that the NDP or Progressive Conservatives are any better. From what I can see they’re all at the beck and call of various Canadian Cartels, be that Dairy, Telecoms or even Maple Syrup to name but three.

Update:  Looks like the trade talks with the USA will continue next week.  Ottawa isn’t ready to defy the cartels.  One thing is certain, with the current light shower in office bursting into tears for the camera, this will go on right up until the November deadline.

Wheel spin

It’s Friday. The one day of the week I’ve always had a problem with. Mainly because I’m not really a weekend person and always feel like I’m just spinning my wheels, going nowhere fast. The skies are clearing, but there’s still too much wildfire smoke outside to spend much time outdoors. I’ve even taken to wearing a filter mask.

However, because work is still slack and staying out on the deck for too long makes me cough, I’ve been in the kitchen experimenting and come up with a fun dish which isn’t too hard to make. I call them Nested Eggs. Very simple but quite cute. Goes well if you’re fed up of burgers in a bun or feel like showing off some rudimentary culinary skill. Who knows? Your kids may even take a liking to them if you’re having difficulty getting the little horrors to eat whole eggs. who knows? Live a little.

Stuff you will need for two servings;
One large baking potato
Two eggs
Two identical oven proof cup receptacles you can put under the grill. I use two stainless steel baking rings which are like cookie cutters only four inches across and about an inch and a bit deep placed on a piece of folded foil. Individual sized oven proof dishes greased with butter will do.
Salt and pepper to taste
Two teaspoons of Butter
Optional teaspoon of grated cheese, no more.

Method can get a bit finicky, but even I got it right first time so here goes;
Microwave your baking potato so it is fully cooked.
Peel and mash potato thoroughly, adding butter, salt and pepper to mash for seasoning. Mash consistency should be firm but soft enough to mould but which does not stick to the sides of your mashing receptacle. This is British style mash, not that sloppy North American stuff which looks like lightly solidified sludge. Powdered potato or ready mix mash will not cut it for this dish.
Add cheese to mash if you are so inclined. Not too much.
Grease your receptacles (Oo-er matron!).
Put half of mashed potato into each oven proof receptacle. Make a depression in the middle which will fully take one egg.
Put mashed potato cup under low to medium grill until it browns. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. Unless of course you like half of your egg white barely cooked. The idea here is to apply heat from both above and below. Besides, browning the mash first gives a lovely crispy note to the end result.
Remove receptacles, cups whatever from under grill making sure that you don’t burn your delicate pinkies when doing so.
Add salt and pepper to the centre of the depression.
While browned mash is still hot, carefully break a whole egg into the centre and put back under the grill immediately.
Cooking times will vary, but if you work to about the same timing as for a boiled egg of the same size, you won’t go far wrong. A large egg will take around eight minutes and thirty seconds. A medium about eight minutes if you’ve got the grill settings right.
Remove from under grill again when egg looks cooked and doesn’t wobble when you jiggle the grill. Again, being oh so careful not to scorch your delicate ickle pinkies. Leave on one side for a couple of minutes to let the cooking finish. The egg should be cooked through, ideally with a solid white and a golden oozing yolk. Sprinkle with a little seasoning to taste and judiciously loosen it from your cooking receptacle with a knife. If you’ve got it right, the nested egg can now be decanted onto your plate ready for consumption. Hold receptacle with a bit of folded kitchen towel while you do this as your cooking receptacle will still be hot and roast fingers are not on the menu here.

A minor note regarding sauce or accompanying dish. Nested Eggs go well with burgers, thick cut bacon, Sausages, a mixed grill or anything carnivorous. They’re even good on their own with Baked Beans in tomato sauce. Tabasco or HP sauce is a tasty accompaniment. Alternatively treat them like an eggs Benedict and smother in Hollandaise sauce but without all the fuss of poaching eggs, which is a skill I’ve never quite been able to master.

On the whole I’ve found Nested Eggs make an entertaining adjunct to casual food. They’re dead simple to make and a welcome change from chips (Fries) with everything. Enjoy.

Happy weekend.

TTFN

Seen locally

Driving southbound down Patricia Bay Highway the other day we saw a white car pulled over by the Police for some moving violation. Unmarked Police vehicle. Dark grey Dodge 1500 Pickup with a truck top (I think), red and blue lights flashing. Nothing out of the ordinary, only this unmarked Police vehicle had a stick figure family on the rear window.

“Bill? Did you just see that?” Mrs S laughed. “A Police car, with a stick figure family on the rear window?”
“I certainly did. Great camouflage, but highly unsporting.” I guffawed as we passed by. Tsk. Disguising an unmarked Police car. How could they? The very nerve.

These nauseating stick figure family stickers have become popular over recent years, to the point where Police have warned that said displays advertise a families makeup to potential criminals.

Back in 2016 there was a bit of social moron ‘outrage’ when a Police Officer posted that they had put a stick figure family on the back of an unmarked Police car. Now this law enforcement fashion has worked its way north onto Vancouver Island? Whatever next? Unmarked Police cars with a ‘Baby on Board’ decal? ‘My children are honour students at the Police Academy’?

Could this adoption by the Police spell the end of the stick figure family on vehicles? Probably not, but I’m waiting to see if someone from the offenderati class gets nicked by an enforcement vehicle thus decorated and claims that the extra camouflage “infringes’ on their rights.” To which I would pose the questions; what ‘rights’ might those not be? The right not to get pulled over for bad road behaviour? The ‘right’ to be a dick while driving? Pray tell…

Personally I’d like to see a Police rear window sticker with a stick figure family in handcuffs. It would make me laugh.

Liberum oratio non est oratio odio

Well, we’re back to BC in a day or so. Just for a chuckle I’m posting translations of the above Latin blog post title in all the languages of the countries we’ve been visiting in Europe this year. Just not necessarily in the right order.

French; “La liberté d’expression n’est pas un discours de haine.”

Danish; “Ytringsfrihed er ikke hadefuld tale.”

Dutch; “Vrijheid van meningsuiting is niet het aanzetten tot haat.”

… and finally in English; “Free speech is not hate speech”

To which I would add (if challenged); “Tua sententia est impertinens.” and tell them I have a terminal case of eleutheromania, an archaic term that has fallen out of use and no longer listed in the current online OED. Perhaps this long dormant Chestersonism is due for a quick trip down to the word lab to see my crew of loyal Igors throw it into the electro-dictionaries and give it a few thousand volts up the wossnames to bring it zinging back to life. Freedom within reason of course. So long as you don’t burn other people’s stuff down or get them kicked out of their job.

For my own part I just had to cough up an extra fifty four Euro’s after I got flashed by a speed camera a few days ago while traversing the Vercors. I got the notice, decided not to fight it and took the early payment discount. Can’t have been going five km/h over the fifty limit even though I missed the initial speed warning (Rappel) sign in heavy rain, but what the hell. I hate speed cameras as much as the next guy, but I’m not going to waste my time over fifty seven quid (About sixty four Euros. Forty five Euros for the fine, nineteen for the hire company processing fee). I got snapped, end of. Of course I was annoyed but at least there’s no points on my licence. The French Ministry of the interior have had their money, the car hire company have taken their processing fee, but do I care? Non. Life is too short. That too is irrelevant.

We were going over to Hyeres near Toulon tomorrow, but Mrs S found out British PM Theresa May is down in that direction having talks with Emmanuel Macron, so we’re not going. We do have some standards.

Nothing left Toulouse

A quick reboot from the long lost days of my murky past. Love this tune, particularly the chorus line “If it’s all the rage to be insane, let me play the fool…” Very me. Listen to the whole thing below;

So where have we been? Or in the words of Blackadder’s Lord Flashheart “Where haven’t I been!” For one, seeing more of the rural French road network than I’d bargained for, courtesy of our hire cars satnag, although driving along the plane tree lined single carriageways winding through vineyard and Hectares of Sunflowers has been very pleasant indeed. Even though we almost ran out of ‘Essence’ (Gas, Petrol, Joy juice etc) the other day when the little electronic tinker elected to take us on the longest rural short cut I’ve ever been on. Seriously, we were running on fumes when we finally found an open filling station. I swear the fuel gauge needle had been resting on the stop yawning for at least ten kilometres before we finally found fuel.

Historical note; the planting of the Plane trees along most of Frances D and N routes was begun not because they look nice, but to shade Napoleon’s troops as they marched from battle to battle. A couple of years ago there was a disease scare, but in the region of Languedoc and Haute-Girond, many of these trees form cool green corridors in the heat of midday. Which if you were one of Bonaparte’s heavy infantry would be far better than fainting in the sweltering months of Summer when his nibs packed them off to kick some rebellious peasant arse. For the trees lost to disease in 2012-5 there is a replanting programme, so the little Emperors most worthwhile achievement will not be lost to posterity.

All the way to Toulouse via Carcasonne, the impressive fortress town once home to the Albigensians or Cathars as they were otherwise known. The Cathars of this area having been massacred repeatedly in the early 13th century, one particular bout of mass killing giving rise to the quotation “Kill them all for the Lord knoweth them that are His”, often paraphrased as “Kill them all, God will sort it out.” attributed to the Abbot of that time. Nice people, not.

Lots to see and do in Toulouse and an architectural treat to wander down some of the narrow medieval city streets. This is a town that has been around since before Roman times. There’s a fair bit of brickwork that looks like recycled Roman tiles. In our current hotel our inside bedroom wall looks like Julius Caesar and friends only packed up and left last year. Not quite as hot as it’s been, but warm enough for me to agree to visiting several shopping malls on a daily basis(!), just for the air conditioning.

I see from the FT and Times that Juncker and Trump have been holding trade talks, which is good but it does leave one question dancing through my frontal lobes; How did they keep Juncker sober enough? Answers on a mucky French postcard somewhere else please.

Heading off east now toward Monaco and Monte Carlo tomorrow. I may not break the bank, but I’ll restrict myself to a short drive around, just to say I’ve been there. Abientôt mes vieux.