Depravity

Hello. Once more, greetings from the Bill Sticker Sarcastic Society for the Protection of Words. It has come to the attention of our Senior Librarian that another word is in serious trouble. This dire circumstance forces us to mobilise our highly trained team of Stunt Linguists, Grammarians and Etymologists to rise and take up dictionaries in defence of a word so twisted by misuse it could work as a haunted trees stunt double in an enchanted forest.

Today’s word is:

Depravity
Line breaks: de|prav|ity
Pronunciation: /dɪˈpravɪti
Source Oxford English
/
Definition of depravity in English:
noun (plural depravities)
[mass noun]
Moral corruption; wickedness: a tale of depravity hard to credit [count noun]: I wondered what depravities had occurred in that place

Mid 17th century: alteration (influenced by deprave) of obsolete pravity, from Latin pravitas, from pravus ‘crooked, perverse’.

What truly counts as depraved? Sex? Hmm. Some of the more extreme aspects of BDSM, perhaps. Kidnapping and raping children, most definitely. However, top of the list has to go to killing people for simply saying they don’t think much of your religion, or giving support to said killers by word or deed. Specifically when applied to defenders and promoters of a certain 7th Century death cult. Which, by the way, you can stick right up your arse. No matter how many defenceless satirists the death cult is willing to kill. Only those truly steeped in the deepest slime of depravity could think otherwise.

By the way: Here’s the French ‘Wanted’ poster.
Suspects in Charlie Hebdo massacre
Now reported dead.

Vive Charlie Hebdo. Vive la France. Nothing depraved about them (mostly).

Working class hero

New year in a couple of hours. At least in this time zone – it’s already New years day in Oz. There’s also a curious sense of change in the wind. Although maybe not the ‘change’ those on the big government side were hoping for to keep them in their cosy sinecures. Or the ones Lennon hoped for. He forgot that class is a veneer, an illusion, which can be altered by anyone with a minor talent and will to change. It’s the secret of self made people all over the planet. Want to be working class? Dead easy; take on an accent, move to a new town, slip into that way of life and you’re there. Want to be upper class? More difficult as the credentials are harder to fake. Ask any con man. Better to be (the toughest option by far) your own person. Besides, the notion of class is merely a hangover from feudal times. You don’t have to be in any class if you don’t want to.

As far as this blog is concerned, I’m going to put a few things together and post them, just for fun. See what happens when lightning strikes. (Igor! Throw the switch! Not at me! You just can’t get the henchmen nowadays, I blame the media.) I’m sick of bitching about the ‘do as I tell you’ brigade. Fuck ‘em. They don’t listen anyway, so I’ll be returning the compliment. Apart from sticking my oar in on the occasional blog post or lamestream comment thread. So, no change there then.

In future, I’ll be focusing a little more on the humorous, satirical, scatological and sarcastic. That and perfecting my Martini mixing technique. I’m developing quite the taste for them.

TTFN. See you next year.

Why worry?

Every day it seems, some public figure pontificates that life would be so much better if we just did what their pet academic suggests. Give up another freedom, do what you’re told peasant, because we’re so much more clever than wot you is, thickie. We will save the world if you just sit down and shut up (although I’d really, really like to know who they’re saving it for and what from – probably for themselves and the hoi polloi, surprise, surprise, won’t get a look in). After all, they’ve got all those letters after their names, nary a one from the bailiffs (That we hear about), so they must know what they’re talking about, right? So the rest of we mortals should just shut our moronic mouths, bend over, and take it up the chuff. Whether we like it or not. As usual. Yet wasn’t something similar out of their mouths in 2011?

Excuse me if I sound a smidge more grouchy than usual, because I’ve been having a fairly unfestive reduced fat, salt and taste Christmas at the in-laws this year. Both of whom are slimly built with BMI’s in the ‘normal’ range, doing enough exercise to keep two couples their age fit. Yet, according to their physicians, both have blood pressure and cholesterol ‘issues’ meaning both are on a permanent regime of statins. My drug use by comparison, is limited to a couple of painkillers every now and again. Maybe once a month, if that. My blood pressure, on a diet rich in fats, proteins and salt, although very light on grains and gluten, is (wait for it) a rather staid one twenty five over eighty at rest.

In addition, despite all the in-laws talk of how many fabulous, just fabulous dahleeng, recipe’s they knew, none of said comestibles were observed on or anywhere near our plates. So, following a less than happy yuletide visit I will say this; whatever my dear wife’s blandishments I’m not going there again because next Christmas I intend to be somewhere else. Berlin perhaps. China maybe. Or Alpha Centauri, the Andromeda galaxy, whatever. And all the festive seasons thereafter. Somewhere I don’t have to keep my bloody mouth clamped firmly shut because my wife’s sister and her husband have ‘mainstream’ (Islingtonite) corporate views. Sorry Bill, but you can’t say you don’t believe in man made global warming and totalitarianism, that would like saying you like to torture kittens. Notwithstanding, I rather like animals. In-laws by comparison, have never been observed to have so much as a goldfish around the house. They didn’t much like my dog while he was alive, either. Bill Sticker rule of socialisation 64B para 4: Never trust anybody who doesn’t like animals.

Sister in law hasn’t liked me since the moment Mrs S introduced me to her clan and sis-in-law greeted my appearance with “Oh, it speaks!” Now I know I’m a big quiet (mostly – honest officer) guy who can appear (very) intimidating at times, but really I’m just a big ol’ teddy bear who likes nothing better than having his back scratched, a good book and a quiet corner. But doesn’t much care for being prodded. Nor insulted to my face by a then total stranger. Then told I couldn’t simply ignore their bad manners or retaliate in any way shape or form. On last visit sis-in-law also called me paranoid for not wanting big government to oversee my every motion. Which firmly zipped my lip for the rest of the visit. If it wasn’t for my deep and abiding affection for my lady wife, I would have verbally ripped Sis-in-law a new one on the spot and walked out never to return, but you can’t do that (So I’m told). Anyway, that’s beside the point. She is a lifetime corporate drone with an awful letterbox grimace doing duty as a smile. So much so even I can see where the “A smile is evolved from a threat gesture” idea came from. Her conversation was limited to how rich and wonderful ‘her’ friends are. Repeatedly.

Speaking of which, now where was I? Oh yes. Academics and public authority figures. Now let me make this clear, I have nothing against others having a more extended education. Let those who are best suited to such study keep going to college or Uni. Let those degrees pile up. Let them expand their minds and delve into the very essence of matter and space / time and the tiniest nuances of DNA. Develop their intellects to Charles Atlas like proportion. Only I wish others would keep more of it to themselves instead of trying to kick intellectual sand in other people’s faces.

There was a time when Academics, oh best beloved, were rarer and stuck to their studies, mostly eschewing the world outside their dreaming spires and ivory towers, leaving the rest of us mere mortals alone. Now they twitter, tweet and publish, making all sorts of theoretical claims. Now pay attention at the back. I say, you boy! Remember that word, theory. Which some people confuse with postulate, which isn’t even enough to qualify as an hypothesis. Theories are partially ‘proven’ (Under given criteria), postulates are not, got that? I will be asking questions later. I hope you brought enough Scientific Method for everybody or the whole class has to stay behind.

Now all this would be fine if these wild postulates stayed corralled within the realm of academia. Academics should discuss and argue their postulates and theories. Between themselves. The problem is funding. Academics need to live too. Under the current system, to live they must publish in academic journals. Which is unfortunate, as a lot of ideas that really need the lumps knocked off them are published way too soon. Then politicians and activists sink their claws in and go quoting specific papers as gospel, when the publications in question are really just ideas for checking, duplication, replication, proof or rebuttal. Let’s say, ‘When reverse pummeling Transept A, B and C did K. I think it’s because K is a specific value of N, a subset of D which correlates with F. Does anyone else get the same answers?’ Which is what may have a lot of science researchers doing massive faceplalms when the media get hold of (or are fed) their carefully thought out postulations. Perhaps vouchsafing; “Oh God, I never said that K was related to mutant flesh eating bacteria at all. Can’t these people read. Who wrote that effing press release?” Then heaving a massive sigh of relief because publication means they actually get paid for the next year. Only a politician or activist on the make would ever claim “The science is settled.” Because science is never settled. Even Hawking says he got it wrong about event horizons (abstract here) and has since amended his views in the light of evidence. Peer review or no.

Speaking of evidence, are the polar ice caps and glaciers still there? Er yes. Polar Bears? Doing nicely thank you. World not ended because someone switched on the Large Hadron Collider? Still here. Is the Oil running out. Cheaper and more plentiful than ever it would seem. More superstorms? Not so you’d notice, no. The end of snow? Not in Las Vegas this year, or the year before. Ahem, are we noticing a developing theme here? Not doomed? That’s nice. Denier? Who’s them then? Not me. The only people in denial are the prophets of doom. You know who you are. Wankers.

/rantmode

To everyone else, a very anxiety free, safe, prosperous and above all happy 2015 (Yes, even to my insulting Sister-in-law). See you next year sometime.

Back by unpopular demand

Well I’ve caved in to apathy. The Archive blog ‘Walking the Streets‘ is back up for public viewing. Shonky HTML and all. Some links might work, most probably won’t. Too many friends have moved on, been sabotaged, given up blogging, leaving the old pile a lumbering Frankenstein of a thing, hardly worth repair; keloid scarring on the HTML and everything. Some code has had to be amputated, other fragments left inoperable. Don’t even try viewing on your smartphone.

Is he funny?

Every so often I pop out for the evening, then I do my zip up before I get arrested. No seriously. The most pertinent question of modern times is; is Russell Brand funny? Or even profound? He certainly thinks so, and is determined to tell the rest of us just how funny, profound, caring and intelligent he is (Yeah, right). Very loudly. In a profoundly irritating in-yer-face hectoring manner guaranteed to put backs up. Even if he knew where to find the right targets (Which he doesn’t). Especially when the guys bankrolling him were the very people he’s railing against. There’s a curious kind of irony there.

My only reason for speaking out is because at present his ghost written garbage is clogging up downtown Victoria bookshelves. Which rather puts a damper on what should otherwise be a pleasant Saturday afternoon bookstore experience. Placed in large end of aisle displays, Brand’s deranged eyes follow you around the store, making you want to plant the blade of a very large logging axe very firmly between them. Or take a chainsaw to in self defence. Not that I’d waste the energy. Having on one occasion picked up a copy and skim read some of the contents, I was unimpressed. That’s three minutes of my life I won’t get back.

Brand is like so many others of his ilk whose acts I’ve actually seen live, crap. I’ve seen these so-called ‘big names’ and found myself wondering why they’re so famous if they’re so rubbish. These media darlings can’t handle hecklers and their material is as tired as Ben Elton shouting ‘Thatcher!’ very loudly. Wasn’t funny then, isn’t funny now – one trick pony’s never are. Nowadays even the hecklers don’t have a go because there’s either a ‘no heckling’ rule in the club (which is really very sad, and very poor training for would be comedians) or the audience can’t work out what the imbecile on stage is ranting on about and are bludgeoned into a kind of stunned silence punctuated by nervous laughter. Known as the ‘Let’s laugh at the nutter until he goes away‘ type of faux-hilarity. As for ‘edgy’, sorry folks, I’ve seen ‘edgier’ custard tarts. He’s only on the tired old wall to wall media because he has the ‘correct’ lamestream political views popular with a small Fabianesque London-centric clique of media influencers. Who are so lacking in any real form of wit that they form a curious kind of anti-intelligence. Part of the dumbed down cultural Alzheimers afflicting the western world. Proof of Rory Bremner’s assertion that satire has died. I cite Brand, the X-Factor and Simon Cowell as proof that this is so. They may also be at least partially to blame for the UK’s ‘obesity epidemic’.

On the whole I’d give the failed hairdressers model a big thumbs down. Wouldn’t even cross the sidewalk to give him a toonie to stop busking. Brands kind of un-hilarity strikes as more funny peculiar than funny amusing. Like the occasional crazed street beggar with a bad case of Tourette syndrome, more to be pitied than laughed at.

Things I’ll miss about England….. Part one

I’m in a bit of a nostalgic mood at the moment. Missing my dog a lot, even over four months on I’m still having the odd little moment when passing displays of pet food in the local supermarket. Funny that. Having lost two close family members this year, you’d think my mind would be constantly referring back to them, not the family pet. On the other hand, the revelations I received about my parents and what they did have tempered my grief somewhat.

Having recently sworn the oath, signed on the dotted line etc, this is the time to count ones blessings and take note of why Mrs S and I walked the path that we have. While I’m in this reflective state of mind, I thought I’d list a few things I miss and don’t miss about the country I was born in.

The weather; there’s actually quite a lot of this in England. Microclimates by the bucketload. Morning sunshine almost inevitably followed by a cloudburst around teatime and leaden grey skies the rest. Nonetheless, despite having been stuck out in some pretty inclement stuff at all times of the year, I have a genuine affection for it. Particularly the last week of April and first two weeks of May when all the buds have broken and the air is laden with heady Maythorn blossom, new mown grass, the first scent of roses outdoors, keeping all those whiny hay fever sufferers inside.

The countryside; Outside of the urban centres the UK can be quite a pretty little place, when the inhabitants are not busy fouling their own nests with windblown garbage. Doesn’t take much to find it either. Just a small step off the beaten track with a mind to wonder and an ordnance survey map. Leaning on a gate, reading the landscape for the plethora of hidden history. Lumps and bumps in pasture that could be a hidden Roman ruin, Medieval fishponds or last years silage heaps. As a long time fan of Time Team, I’ve always been amazed at how chock full the British countryside is with the remains of civilisations long gone.

The class envy; Canadians are, on the whole, not really bothered about whether someone has an educated accent or not. Education for most is a thing to aspire to, rather than be jealous of. But the whole unthinking “He’s posh / poor so I think he’s a tit.” or “I went to Eton / Inner city compo so I’m better than you.” (Having met a few public school types, this is so often not the case. Likewise for its inverse) attitude is not so embedded or widespread as in the UK. We have no real equivalent of Jeremy Clarkson.

The crowding; If I want to get stuck in a people jam I’ll go back to a rainy Oxford Circus tube station on a Friday at rush hour. Then there’s the narrow little roads full of narrow little houses and a lot of narrow little people. Not all, but they’re a dying breed. Here we all give each other room, and it’s not unusual for there to be a metre gap between people in the Tim Hortons queue, although the Canadian habit of leaving two car lengths between vehicles when stationary at traffic lights can get a tad frustrating. This is where Jeremy Clarkson’s attitudes might come in useful.

The bad manners; No, don’t miss this at all. Not a whit or even a gnat’s bollock of a smidgeon. Don’t miss the long faces, the bitter petty jealousies, the petty race-baiting. Yeah, well we get a bit of that, but not much. Everyone seems to be pretty relaxed about race and sexuality over here, apart from the odd fruitloop. Love the customer service over here, all the “Have an awesome day.” and “No problem.” (either Canadians are a nation of bloody good actors or they really mean it.) Apart from when dealing with cell phone companies, but that’s a global problem. Or is it just related to T-Mobile? Or Bell? Were they trained by Jeremy Clarkson?

Who knows. Maybe that’s something else to be happy about. Or not. TTFN.

Regards

Bill

P.S.; Watch this space….. or not.

Slight technical hitch

With regard to the possibility of putting out an updated copy of ‘Walking the Streets – the book, not the blog’ there’s a bit of a hiccup. I’ve had three ‘pooters since I went to press back in 2007 so the original files are sitting on salvageable hard drives tucked in my chaotic filing system.

However, the original blog can be resurrected zombielike to a shambling version of existence and made visible to the general dyslexic should enough people request its return. It would save me the problem of finding the original MSS and reformatting for eBook. Any takers?

A blast from my past

We have house guests over this weekend, so have been pouring libations to Bacchus like Niagara in flood. Which is nice, as Mrs S and I have had some very happy news for a change. About bloody time too. So we’re celebrating, or should that be decerebrating. Whatever. At the moment of writing, Mrs S is introducing them to ‘Lord of the Rings’ on DVD.

“Must ask you Bill.” Said one of our guests, a friend Mrs S has known since she was five years old. “You wrote a book once. About your time working as a Traffic Warden.”
“Oh that old thing. I thought ‘Walking the Streets’ was dead and buried. What about it?” I replied. How did she know about that?
“Can I have a copy?” She asked.
“It’s out of print.” I told her. “Has been since 2009.” Then I had an idea. “Hang on.” I dived off and rootled around in our bookcase. Sure enough, there was the one proof copy I’d kept, although God knows why. Must ask him some day, he seems to have all the answers. I handed it over. “Take it. My gift.” I said.
“I’ll pay you for it.” She said.
“Nonsense. I won’t hear of it.” I demurred.
“Are you sure?”
“Certainly.”
“Can I share it with my friends?”
“Err…” I replied. Our family friends are very proper people and might not take kindly to the often rather fruity and non-PC language couched within the pages. “Are you sure?”
She read one of the excerpts and giggled like the schoolgirl she’d been nearly eighty years ago. I almost blushed.
“Ooh yes.” Said our old friend.

Well, when you’ve passed your eighth decade I suppose you’re allowed a little more latitude than most. Now I’m sitting in my office typing this post, glass of Argentinian Malbec in one hand, I recall that the offending text still resides on my hard drive. There’s also a few other anecdotes which weren’t included with the 2007 edition because they were too damn near the knuckle.

Which midwifed the thought; if I put out the text as an eBook at five bucks a pop on Amazons Kindle, Kobo, iBookstore or suchlike, would anyone be interested? Just a thought.

Expatriate expostulations from Canada

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