Site update

In keeping with this sites general tone of irreverence and total disrespect for authority, apart from my wife (Sorry Dear), I’ve elected to properly codify the various recipes that are in use on a day by day basis in the Sticker household. Accessed from the main menu item labelled ‘Cooking for Conspiracy Theorists‘ I’ll be posting useful food related stuff for those of you concerned about the state of the world and wanting to eat well while the powers that be screw everything up.

Whether it’s being bombarded by news of stuff like the state of Hilary Clinton’s obviously failing health, potential election rigging in the US presidential elections, lamestream media bias, the tardiness of implementing the Brexit vote, or the various petulant ‘We didn’t get our way so we’re going to make life difficult for everyone‘ proposed measures against the UK by the EU, and the lame irrational mutterings of retarded social activists and their fantasies. I think we’d all feel much better with a hot, nourishing feed inside of us. Even if the world is, as some would like us to think, going to hell in the proverbial handbasket.

Well someone’s got to think about the really important stuff like keeping properly fed. Hell, it might even be organic. Vegetarian not so much, but then you can’t have everything.

By the way. First comment moderation is currently on. Any sensible, amusing and on topic comment will be approved within twelve hours or so for you first timers. After that you’ll be free to post all you want. Hate stuff and irritating whining will probably get binned. Comments coming via anonymous proxies may not even get flagged up for moderation, as these are currently being sent straight to cyber-oblivion.

Triumph-ant

Road trip planning again. This time I’ve been reviewing my choice of machine for the trip, a brand new Triumph Trophy SE 1215 (The 2017 version). Now I’ve had an on again and off again love affair with Triumph Motorcycles for some considerable time. From the first time helping a mate rebuild his Triumph Tiger Cub clutch when I was just out of school, to my later trans-European adventures and high mileage high jinks on my old 900ST. In between there’s been a few Hondas and Suzukis, and I’ve test ridden a whole heap of other machines, but in the end my preference all comes down to long distance comfort.

My problem with most new motorcycles is that I’m a big guy. Long in both leg and body. Broad shouldered and heavy built, which is a legacy of hard physical work and extensive weight training regimen which began during my early teens removing tree stumps with axe, pick, shovel and brute force. I’m physically more carthorse than thoroughbred or Shetland pony so most motorcycles aren’t built for people of my size. There’s also the classic North American foot forward riding position and footboards which I don’t much care for. My riding heritage is Northern European where you fit around the very bones of your machine, not just sit in it like it’s a Lay-Z-Boy.

Harley Davidsons and the like were immediately off my buying list because despite their physical size and the reportedly fixed problems with electrics (especially in the wet). The positioning for feet and hands is more for those with short legs. Which came as a bit of a surprise. When I first sat astride one, I got the immediate impression that I would have to ride with my knees around chest level no matter how the seat was adjusted. Then I don’t much care for those heavy V-twins, they’re so agricultural and leave me with the feeling that I’d be better off buying Massey Ferguson or John Deere. Besides, there’s that whole ‘weekend warrior’ vibe which just isn’t me. So, crossed off the list.

Ducati and Moto Guzzi. Same issue. Lovely to look at, great performance, but the short legged peg position and problems with the electrics during wet weather tended to put me off.

Next to be examined were BMW’s. BMW’s, although the footpeg position was good for me, have a tendency to cut the handlebars a little narrower than is comfortable for long journeys. Love the long term reliability of the Boxer engine and the shaft drive…. But. And this is a big ‘but’, unlike mine, which Mrs S likes because of my still ‘high and tight’ buns. Apart from the 1150RT which they don’t make any more, none of the other models in BMW’s range had the feel that I was looking for. So bye-bye BMW.

Suzuki, Kawasaki and KLT? Close but no cigar. There’s a happy place in my heart for the 1200N Bandit and the V-Strom is okay, but Suzuki have long had an issue with finish that degrades a little too quickly for my liking, and Kawasaki tend to build for the smaller rider. KLT aren’t bad, but there’s something not quite right with the machines I’ve tried out. There’s an instinctive knowledge that after a couple of thousand miles my back would start to complain because of that tiny kink in the riding position that is almost, but not quite, right for me.

Honda? Mmm. Sooo close. Wish they still made the ST1100 Pan-European, which is a splendid touring machine, creme de la creme. Love that smooth V-four. After test riding, the ST1300 and Gold Wings are a little too big and heavy to be the kind of fun I look for as a rider. The Bagger ain’t bad, but my pillion has needs too, and she reports that the rear seats get a little uncomfortable after the first fifty miles. Which, if you’re going down the full helmet comms route, would result in a rides enjoyment being curtailed from the whining sound in my helmet earphones.

Now Triumphs. Again, there are a few which immediately get crossed off the list of potential purchases. The Supersports are built for the slighter built rider and relatively short distances. The Tigers are super trailies, but although they’re okay for rider, taking a pillion long distances is likely to cause a high pitched whining in my headsets headphones after a relatively short distance. The Bonneville and similar? Tried one while I was commuting to Bristol and back on a job. Quick and nimble, but the saddle was for shorter distances. Great for a pose down to the pub, but for serious travelling? No. So, this leaves the new Triumph Trophy with that lovely responsive in line triple powerplant and intuitive feeling riding position, comfortable saddle and leisurely pillion position. When you’re after something you can ride all day without a care. then for me, that’s it.

Still debating what we want to do about Southern France, whether we cut across the lower Central Massif and as far south as Carcasonne or stop in Nimes for a week and do day trips North, South East and West. It depends what accommodation is available on AirBnb or VRBO. Italy we’re pretty sure about our destinations, but we’ve yet to examine the options of Austria, the Czech Republic and Western Poland. The discussions continue. When decisions are made, we’ll book.

Family stuff

Busy with organising for extended visit from Eldest on her way to the fabled land of Oz. She’s done her Africa experience, and now is looking to move down under. Her entry and work visa has been approved, flights are paid for, and backup finances put in place. Which may or may not be needed. Hey, she’s still young, so should do these things while she can enjoy them fully. We will assist where we are able while she gets settled in her new life. She’s got friends and family already in country, so she’s not going in completely cold. Hell, she’s even got mates in Vancouver who moved there after University, so no matter where she goes she’ll have a place to crash, as well as with Mrs S and I whilst she’s passing through Canada.

Which is cool. There’s always that sense of inhibition when you visit family, and the old bug-a-boo of things you always wanted to say but felt you couldn’t. Such as; “Why does no one talk about Uncle Henry?” or “Why didn’t Mum and Dad tell me?” This is something Mrs S and I try not to encourage. Because we both know from our own upbringings how toxic that can be. Repression brings nothing but regret and unhappiness, and over the years I’ve formed the opinion that’s way worse than giving an issue a bloody good shake out and airing. No matter how uncomfortable it is at the time. If you can’t talk about an issue, it just goes underground and festers, poisoning relationships and leaving problems unresolved. Which is something the current politically correct climate in academia, politics and media doesn’t help.

You see, I’m aware of all the problems my personal family history has brought and how it has in some cases stopped me from being a better human being. Now I’ve cheerfully accepted that I’m a real bastard son of a bitch, I feel much more relaxed about my life, and have determined not to pass that shit on to the next generation, while trying to improve my own lot. Put it this way, my stepkids do not have either my, or Mrs S’s hang ups and have been set free to make their own way in the world. With a little help from us older folks of course, who in my case is setting a thoroughly bad example, just to show that fun can be had, no matter what age you are.

As well as all the “But you can’t say that!” voices crying out that we should not talk about certain issues, or even allude to said facts existence, there’s a ‘health’ lobby out there determined that we will all end our days restricted to ‘care’ homes, dribbling out our dotage, and subject to naught but pity as the Alzheimers inexorably robs us of our marbles, bowel and bladder control. Me, I know that it’s a short life but a merry one, and that seeing as there’s precious little of it, intend to relax and take what comes, even if my last words are “Shit! The ripcord didn’t work!” or “Just a moment, I’ve had an idea.” or even “Bloody Satnav!” When the book closes on me, there will be no regrets but that which says “I wish I’d had time to do more.”

Life may be a terminal disease, but you only get one, no matter what any priest or politician says when they want you to do what you’re bloody well told, you, you utter peasant, you. My only reply to that is outright contempt, and if this makes me not worth talking to, then it has the upside of freeing me from the interminable blatherings of the dim and depressing.

Anyway, I’ll conclude today’s little missive with a misquote by one of my old boon companions (often falsely attributed to Sir Walter Scott or William Blake). “Better one hour of crowded life, than an eternity without a name.” Although I think his version was actually an improvement on Mordaunt’s original.

Travel insurance

Road trip 2017 planning has slipped over the last week what with my bouts of sleeplessness. However, Mrs S and I are now into the main planning stages plotting not only the general route but the actual where and when prior to booking. The big expense of course is the flights and flying the motorcycle via Air Canada to and from Vancouver, which won’t leave us much change out of CAD$7050 (A shade over 4000 Quid, roughly. Including import taxes and fees etc). After that I’m off oop norf to go see some estranged family (If they’ll talk to me) while Mrs S stays with Youngest down in the smoke. I may be away for three or even five days before limping back down to London and getting ready to take the ferry to France. Overnight around Caen somewhere and thence off on the great trek along through Western France and around towards Provence and the Carmargue. Then down into Italy. Jesus! My course in Italian starts Monday! My how these things sneak up on us.

After that the general plan is to head south through Italy down to see the buried town of Herculaneum near Napoli. At present I’m crunching the numbers. Nothing insuperable, but the trip will be a little more leisurely than our dash around the USA, even if we do end up doing a similar mileage. I reckon about 8,500 miles as a rough guesstimate. I may even book in a service for the half way marker. I’ll have a look at the price quotes and see if there’s any advantage to doing so.

A quick word…

… about the Martin Scriblerus group of bloggers. Can I briefly point out that I am not responsible for the content or conduct of other people’s blogs or associated web sites. Nor is any other member of the group responsible for what I care to write about. Yes, I am aware of their affiliated sites and blogs content, but whether I approve or disapprove of any of them is a matter for my conscience, not anyone else’s.

We are a loose confederation, not some kind of retarded groupthink echo chamber and although we have common approximate areas of belief and opinion, we do not slavishly follow one another like the sheeplike morons with their political hashtags on twatter or arsebook. We all recognise the ultimate stupidity of that, preferring to consider and reflect upon a topic individually than go all Daily Mail on it. Sometimes we co-operate in common cause, more often not. Each blog and it’s audience being as unique as the next. As is each blogger. In the words of Frank Davis;

Scriblerus is maybe akin to a celestial constellation like Orion. It’s a small patch of the sky with links between the stars, some of which might be quite bright, others less, but which form a pattern or shape. Or something along those lines… The constellation actually pre-existed before its name.

For my part I would describe Martin Scriblerus more like cats in a sack than any kind of constellation. Our individuality can thus be seen as both our greatest strength and biggest weakness. If we are conjoined, it is by mutual tolerance and respect for our respective writings, nothing more.

Which is only my opinion of course. The other bloggers in our group may think of it differently. That is their privilege. How I see the group is mine.

The weekend calls. It’s siren song is resonating through my bones and I must follow though hell should bar the way. To conclude; I am not my brothers keeper, even if we were actually related, which we’re not. Pass the whiskey.

TTFN

Bill

Folk remedies

Feeling much better today. Sweet repose has returned as the Korean Kitten infestation (Ask Leg-Iron, he started it) has departed. My mind is more settled, with the shadows that conspired to rob me of sleep vanishing with the light of day. To the point where Mrs S noted “Bill, you’re whistling.” Which I was. Just an aimless tune whilst engaged in a mundane task, but it’s a sign I’m feeling much more relaxed.

I put my vastly improved humour down to applying the Sticker family cure for insomnia. Which is one of a collection of remedies for various mild ailments I grew up with. Hot sweetened milk (Honey, sugar, whatever) and 500mg of aspirin or paracetamol at bedtime is the one we applied last night because Mrs S was running a mild malaise and fever and I wasn’t feeling too wonderful either. Like a hot toddy it’s a very nice way of sliding into the arms of Morpheus and makes for a better nights repose, allowing the bodies immune system time to do it’s thing and fight the infection causing the malaise. Which, unless you have a serious illness, is a sensible thing to do rather than immediately run to the quack for the latest thing from the drug companies, which is far too often a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Besides, everything for a purpose.

For most minor health issues I try to avoid bothering our GP, and only make an appointment if I’m feeling really unwell. Then I’ll take my pills without a whimper, because my body won’t have developed any drug resistance through over prescription, so my reasoning is that any medication I’m prescribed will work more effectively and I’ll recover sooner. That and I hate sitting in Doctors waiting rooms, which are always full of depressingly sick people. And the copies of Reader’s Digest and National Geographic are way out of date and just covered in germs. Double-euw.

For example; a recent experiment on the old anti-inflammatory standby Apple cider vinegar showed that regular consumption can reduce ‘harmful’ cholesterol in the blood by up to 13% rather than the 5% generally achieved with regular Statins. Without the risk of liver damage. Hmm. Ma Sticker used to swear by daily doses of Apple Cider Vinegar and Raspberry Cordial to reduce the symptoms of her arthritis, but probably didn’t know (or care) about the whole Cholesterol thing. Some people think it acts as a slimming aid or mild diabetes remedy, go figure. All I know is that it does seem to work as far as mild Arthritis is concerned.

Regarding regular medication, a family anecdote Ma liked to tell from when she had to go to hospital for an eye problem (Cataracts at age 95) where she had the following conversation with the nurse taking her medical history;
Nurse with Clipboard: “Can you tell me what medications you take regularly?”
Ma Sticker: “None.”
Nurse with Clipboard: “I don’t think you understand me dear. I mean’t what pills do you take every day.”
Ma Sticker: “I understood you perfectly the first time. I have no prescription medication. No regular medication.”
Good old Ma. Sharp as a razor right to the last. During most of her long and interesting life I think she rarely took more than the odd antibiotic and generally viewed doctors and hospitals with a healthy scepticism. Until 2012 when her health began to go downhill. The rest of her life she relied on our proven family folk remedies. Apart from a small goitre removal when she was in her eighties, that was it.

YouTube and other matters

There are a great many interesting channels on YouTube. As a resource for information it currently has few peers. Every day people put up informative and enlightening content which is both entertaining and amusing. Some of the content providers have what’s called ‘Patreon‘ accounts that you can contribute to in order to fund their work.

Forgotten Weapons dot comOne of my particular favourites is “Forgotten Weapons” run by the iconic figure of Ian McCollum, or ‘The Gun Jesus’ as he is also known. Now Ian regularly travels to visit private collections, public museums, auction houses and examines their antique firearms in detail. Recently getting into a spat with YouTube over displaying the Nazi flag on the front page of one of his videos, which has resulted in him migrating his better and more up to date content to a specialist video streaming service at Full30.com. Compared to YouTube, the quality is a quantum leap improvement.

Now before anyone clutches their pearls in horror and faints (Noooo! The Nasty flag! Oh my ears and whiskers!), I might point out that Ian’s channel has always been about historical accuracy, and he likes to establish both the provenance and historical associations of every firearm he examines. As part of this process he displays the historically correct flag of the nation each firearm came from on the front page of each video. So for an American Civil war piece he will have the then flag of the Union or Confederacy or even the State of the firearms origin. For a firearm produced in Germany during the late 19th Century to 1918 he will display the flag of Imperial Germany, for Italy, the correct Italian flag for the period, the Red Flag of the Stalinist USSR, and of course the 1933-45 flag of Nazi Germany. Which fits in with his ethos of establishing the correct provenance for each weapon, including in many cases how to field strip most of them. Apart from the real antiques like a 16th Century revolving flintlock pistol.

If you are into antique firearms and the subtle mechanical evolution of a device for spitting out a piece of metal at high velocity, then Ian’s your man. He’s very good indeed and as a researcher takes great pains over his work.

Now YouTube are ‘demonetising’ channels like his that do not have ‘acceptable’ or ‘advertiser friendly’ PC content. Which is a shame. Not that there’s any benefit to being ‘monetised’ unless your channel attracts millions of viewers. However, some people make money at it and good luck to them say I.

It’s ironic really, that the people who campaign for the kind of censorship on display fail to understand that nothing in it’s proper context is that bad. Yes, the Nazi’s were an evil bunch and had to be put down hard, but that was years ago. We should have matured enough as a society to be able to examine their symbols openly and understand the connotations and contradictions of Nazism and how said symbols are now of mere historical interest. And learn the lessons that history can deliver rather than get all hot and bothered like Vampires faced with daylight and a crucifix.

Now what this ultimately means is that if YouTube drives some of their best content away is that the platform itself may wither on the poisoned vine of political correctness, and, this being the Internet, be replaced with other, less censorious video streaming services. Which no doubt the YouTube people will lobby to try and shut down or get blocked. Good luck with that. The cat is out of the bag, the Hydra of public opinion has many heads, and legislators will always lag light years behind the cutting edge because that’s heading away from their petty grasp at warp 9 and accelerating.

Will YouTube go the way some of the old mainstream has already gone? Losing the public trust and thus it’s target market? I think that process has already begun, and YouTube will only have themselves to blame. However; their gaff, their rules. Even if these rules will lose YouTube a great deal of business.

Public opinion is a fickle thing.

Update: The always interesting Sargon of Akkad on the curse of YouTube scepticism and its consequences with “The Curse of the YouTube Socratics”

Oh, BTW ‘Trigger warning’ he’s smoking. Chortle.

Light and shadows

If you’re like me and have effectively ditched Arsebook over privacy issues, you won’t be amazed, astonished or astounded or otherwise stupefied by the news that Whatsapp, it’s subsidiary, may be sharing your cell (mobile) phone number with the kingdom of Zuck. Amongst other personal details. Unless, and possibly even if you decline their generous (Cough, splutter, guffaw) offer to untick the box which gives them blanket permission to do so. Now I do not have a Whattsapp account, and have deleted my Arsebook profile (Twice!). Despite this I am told it is the matter of minutes for Arsebook to compile a ‘shadow’ profile from shared data garnered from other abusers. So if your mates have ever posted any pictures of messages of or to you, the details remain on Arsebooks servers. This is the downside of data mining. Call it the unacceptable face of Social Media. Your demi-monde social life exposed. Even if you don’t have an Arsebook profile. I suppose it gives the Intelligence Services something to laugh at and employers a backhanded reason to decline a promotion. Nothing to fear, hey?

Now I don’t know about you, but I’m a little uncomfortable with this state of affairs, and I’m pretty picky about what personal details I put online. My home phone number is never given to anyone outside of a small circle of friends. My cell number has been omitted from my profiles, well my current cell number has, and the moment random stuff from any social media starts hitting my inbox I go straight to ‘unsubscribe’ and as a precaution add the sender to my spam filter list. About the only daily news digest email I allow is from the Register and my video subscriptions. Still get Arsebook and LinkedIn spam though. It’s like Skype where random pseudonyms you’ve never heard of send faux-cheery little messages saying they want to be added to your contact list without explaining who they are or why the fuck they want to talk to you. Frankly, I’d delete my Skype profile if I didn’t use it to talk to friends and family all over the planet.

There’s far too much random communication online, which is why I tend to filter most of it out. On the other hand, if there’s something to actually talk about, I’m actually quite cool with that and eager to help where I can. It’s just having to listen to people clogging up your time just because they think you’ve nothing better to do than listen to them letting off esteem that irks. In real life I’m generally too polite to tell people to shut the fuck up and stop wasting my time. Although…

On the personal front, sleep has been a bit of a hit and miss proposition recently. Why, I’m not posting, but lack of sleep has been one of the things behind my recent dearth of blogging. No, I don’t want to ‘talk about it’ because the reasons are no-one’s goddamned business but mine. Especially not to people I don’t really know and experience tells me it would be folly to extend that level of trust to. Especially as the information would be shared with their friends, and friends of their friends, some of whom may decide that they don’t like what I’ve said and decide to ‘do something about’ me. Which would give me even more of a reason to lose sleep.

Fortunately the aggravating state of affairs should be coming to an end shortly and blessed repose will be my lot once more. Normal blogging service will be resumed as soon as I’m sure what is normal anyway.

Update: In a broad response to comments rather than as is my usual modus operandi, individually: The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band sum up my attitude to ‘Social Media’.

Give them all my contact details? So they can make money selling them for advertising space and spam? Like hell.

Reading Chesterton

Many of the Scriblerus group writers remember some G K Chesterton from pre-PC English Literature courses. A number of us are fond of quoting from one of his most famous poems ‘The secret people‘, specifically the verse below when talking about the lack of real democracy in the European Union and elsewhere;

They have given us into the hand of new unhappy lords,
Lords without anger or honour, who dare not carry their swords.
They fight by shuffling papers; they have bright dead alien eyes;
They look at our labour and laughter as a tired man looks at flies.
And the load of their loveless pity is worse than the ancient wrongs,
Their doors are shut in the evening; and they know no songs.

For my part, as an antidote to the idiocy of the world and alternative to both Internet and TV, I have elected to rediscover some of his more obscure works like ‘Eugenics and other Evils (1922) and ‘What’s wrong with the world” (1910) Which I am currently reading through in my odd unquiet moments, when family and other matters beyond my power to fix become too distracting. Yet what I’m seeing is the many parallels between what G K was writing about in the early 20th century and more recent events. To quote Mark Twain “History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” Chesterton’s works still resonate. Especially in today’s economic and political climate.

Good grief. Reading Chesterton Bill? You’re not about to embrace Catholicism are you? No, definitely not. I’ve embraced a number of Catholic girls (Cough) before I was married of course, but never been tempted by their religion. Having read about many of the world’s religions my observation is that they are either attempts to influence random events like the weather or roll of dice, or to stop people chopping each other to bits over power or property by hanging an imaginary Sword of Damocles over their head so that everyone else can get on with their lives. Without getting chopped to pieces by the protagonists, that is. My belief is that if you occasionally bang people’s heads together hard enough, sometimes you get an echo of sanity and they will either compromise or fix a given problem without the notion of a God or other authority figure. Because it is in their common interest to do so. Most of the time, unfortunately, this is wishful thinking on my part because it implies that the intelligence required for this kind of thinking is more widespread than it actually is. Which is demonstrably not the case. Other people will have other opinions on this matter, which they are quite entitled to. So long as they tolerate me, I’ll tolerate them.

Talking of tolerance; Hilary Clinton has reportedly stated that if she is elected US President she will shut down ‘All Alternative Media’. Mostly this is thought to be stuff like Breitbart and Infowars put out. However, if a blogger decides to voice similar sentiments, who is to say they may not be arrested under such legislation for ‘thought crime’? Which of course will take the US one more step down the path towards being a dictatorial banana republic. And if you listen to the bigoted outpourings of the SJW crowd, who insist that everything is racist, sexist or homophobic or whatever buzzwords they choose to define their whole existence as being against, and which only they get to define, then people will end up going to jail merely for having a different view of the world, or contradicting their ‘betters’. The word ‘betters’ in this context being so packed with irony that it’s already beginning to rust.

Shutting down dissent is as good a reason as I can think of not to vote for Clinton. But then I’m Canadian now, so who cares what I think? However, I certainly think old G K would have had something to say, especially about laws restricting what opinions you are allowed to have.

A place to go

Ever heard of ‘Liberland‘? A small, almost forgotten 7 square kilometre parcel of land on the Croatian and Serbian borders, recently claimed by a bunch of renegade individualists for a grand social experiment. I’ve just realised that it may be not too far off our planned 2017 grand motorcycle tour.

Freedom for Liberland! from MEL Films on Vimeo.

Worth a visit, not worth a visit? Worth going to just to get a stamp on our passports, if they do that sort of thing? I have no idea. But it’s just the kind of goofy, off the beaten track adventure we’re looking for. We’ve got a planned stop around Split in Croatia. Could be worth a day trip.

Wonder if there’s a decent hotel close by?

Expatriate expostulations from Canada; a.k.a. A Sarcastic man abroad trying to stay in the middle of the road without getting run over.

%d bloggers like this: