Another day…

…Another few dollars, although not quite as many as I’d hoped. Still, not a bad result for all that. Money is complicated. People must be reimbursed for their services, taxes must be paid, and so the money goes round. The timing could have been better, but I’m not totally unhappy. Next time it will only be me with my finger on the financial trigger, so I’ll only have myself to blame if it all goes arse about face. However, I’ve looked at the options of my chosen course of action, and I’m fairly confident of a stable long term outcome. Short of a cataclysmic meteorite impact or the Earth suddenly opening up and swallowing the piece of rock my money will be accumulating in, or the world having a total civil and cultural meltdown of course. Which is the investment version of touching wood or other action meant to placate the gods of finance.

2017 Europe tripAnyway; with all the whining and bitching about Brexit, this weekend I thought I’d post something a little more uplifting and pro-Europe (Although not pro-EU). Or annoying, depending on how sore a loser you are. The road map for the Bill Sticker European tour of 2017. Ta-daa! (Click to enlarge)

Now as no plan survives contact with the enemy, the above map should only be viewed as a general guideline. All locations are open to change. No definitive bookings have been made, and only a deposit has been put on the machine we are to purchase. Proposed starting date is from the UK in the first week of May 2017, thence heading south and west into France, towards the Rhone Valley and may take us further East and North than illustrated on the return leg, depending upon weather. I’ve done my stint riding in all sorts of shit and slush over the last three decades and have decided it’s not much fun. Especially when even the most impermeable waterproof trousers (Why is it always the trousers?) start to fail and unwanted moisture begins to make its presence felt in all those embarrassing little places.

The only way our proposed tour can go tits up is if all the wronged Brussels bureaucrats have a major snit at anyone speaking English and decides visas and passports from predominantly English speaking countries are invalid. In which case I’ll have just flushed a great deal of money down the great white telephone to no good purpose. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. Article 50 negotiations and changes will take a lot longer than two years because the lawyers will want all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed. Then said negotiations can’t even start until there’s a new Prime Monster in Number Ten Downing Street. Even if Brussels decides a total ban on all things and people British is a jolly super wheeze, we’ll have until at least September 2019 to shoehorn our trip in. Besides, we’re Canadian with certificates to prove it. With an EU fiendish PM no less. So will bluff our way through somehow.

I’m not going to find myself in the position my dear departed old mother found herself in around 11th June 1940. She was touring with a band in Italy at the outbreak of World War II and found herself with a whole train load of British, French and other refugees at the French / Italian border, having been kicked out by Benito Mussolini’s Fascist government. “Suitcases all over the place.” As she often gleefully recounted her temporary predicament. How she got out of Vichy France she never said, but I think she escaped as one of the civilians taken out by Operation Ariel, which is the unsung cousin of the famous Dunkirk evacuation.

Not that anything like that is going to happen to we 21st century travellers. We might get a little unhappiness from border guards, but frankly I think their attitude will be; “We’ve had your money – now piss off.” Which is fine by me.

Not doomed then…

There’s a lot of doom and gloom being talked at the moment, and what Julie Birchill calls ‘poncing around on twitter’. Seriously, she’s in good fooling with this article (Thank you Bishop Hill). If you take all the pessimistic views from the bought and paid for lamestream and all the ‘Remainder’ twats panicking on twitter, then everything in the UK is going tits up in a massive way. Which back in realityville, just isn’t happening. The market has taken a hit, that much is true. Sterling is down over ten cents against the Canadian and US Dollars, but it was far lower when Harper was Canadian Prime Minister.

Yesterdays rate is about the same as back in September 2014, (around CAD$1.72). If you go back to my 2013 screenshot, the exchange rate was even lower.Currency screenshot November 2013 So it’s not the ‘lowest in 31 years’, far from it. As for ‘dollar parity’, that’s just a wild guess invented to scare the peons. As someone who needs to move money between countries a few times a year, I’m not panicking, far from it.

Actually I have a more positive view. I’m actually quite sanguine about the whole ‘out of EU’ business. Which my instincts tell me will be good for UK businesses and their trading partners after this short-term glitch, thus good for those who need a job, long term. The Bank of England has good liquidity and is solid as a bank can be. The UK economy overall isn’t in that bad a shape. The European banks and EU, I’m not so sure. With their track record of ‘losing’ 6 Billion unspecified Euros in 2013, to cite but one example, and not getting their finances signed off by the European Court of Auditors up to 2007. Since then the accounts have been rubber stamped but with some ‘observations of wastage’. No matter what the Euro apologists say, I’m less than confident about the EU’s ability to remain fiscally stable. No matter the gripes and veiled threats of raised tariffs, the EU has way more to lose from a divorce than the UK, and all the globalist bedwetters certainly don’t have a clue.

Now before Brexit became a probability, I was going to pull my money out of Sterling, but have decided to leave it where it is so it can breed with all those other lovely UK connected currency units and raise far more babies. Which will turn into more readies for Mrs S and I, and probably pay off the college funds for the next generation when they arrive (Although, please God, not just yet). And if handled right will provide for another generation after that.

As for Europe and travel. Our next big trip for 2017 has just entered the planning stages and we will be taking in the UK, Denmark, Netherlands, Atlantic France, South of France, Italy and maybe further East. On a motorcycle. Specifically a 2017 Triumph Trophy SE 1215. We’re going to ship it over via Air Canada’s new motorcycle service and ride around some haunts old and new. The general overview is a week or two at each location, maybe more depending on whether we’ll be hitting the vineyards in a big way or just pootling around sightseeing. Mrs S and I are both dual nationality, so can use either passport to cross borders and thus get around some of the visa restrictions that might be put in place.

Languages? Our French is adequate for day to day conversation, my German and Italian pretty basic, but enough to get by on. When I say ‘pretty basic’ I mean being able to count to a hundred, order a beer or three, say ‘please’, ‘Good day’, ‘thank you’ and ‘I’m Canadian / English’, book a hotel room and ask people to speak more slowly. I’ve even picked up the odd word in Swahili from Eldest who is currently working in Africa and heading off to the fabled land of Oz later this year. Our legal eagle (Youngest) is coming over for Christmas, even if we end up paying her air fare, so we’re looking forward, not back.

I wish….

A plague of flies has briefly infested the homestead, and I’ve been picking dozens of bluebottle corpses out of everywhere this morning. The fly spray and paper have done their work and I’m picking up the fallout. As usual.

I’m also a little melancholy having taken in the news of the Brexit vote. Not that I think it’s not a result for those who want a proper say in how their country is run, because it is. I’m sad because a man I used to correspond with is not here to see it. Not sure what happened, only that he died in April last year.

We shared a lot of ideological ground, he and I, believing that people own themselves, and that relentless officialdom, no matter how well intentioned, often does more good than harm. He was a firm believer in common law and common decency, even if he liked to butt heads with authority rather than subvert.

It seems that a lot of people all over the world have had enough with the status quo. Iceland, in a result overshadowed by the Brexit vote and footie results, has installed an Independent in the President’s chair after kicking out the mainstream incumbent over a corruption scandal. In the USA, Donald Trump is overturning the political apple cart. Backed by those disenfranchised by a politics disconnected from the day to day. By ordinary people frustrated with helplessness against massive bureaucracy, having their privacy invaded at will and feeling that they can’t win against the forces of perverse conformity who are now speaking out and voting. They’re angry at so called ‘anti-fascists’ who are bigger fascists than the people they’re mad at, physically attacking people in the street with seeming impunity. Sick of being insulted online and off by these purveyors of poisonous doctrines simply for voicing a concern, however mildly. Well here’s the pushback. A true blue-collar revolution has the underdogs out of their kennels, teeth bared and snarling against the soft fascism sanctioned by self concerned political elites supported by a dishonest mainstream media.

As an aside; Mrs S is currently doing an online course about the EU with Barcelona University, and she’s looking at me with new respect. “You were right about it all along, Bill.” She said over breakfast this morning. “I’ve just been reading up on the misleading language in publicly available EU documents, and it’s really opened my eyes.” Frankly I’ve been sceptical about the EU for some time, but everything she’s fielded to me has confirmed that the EU is being run for the sake of vested interests and political cronies and bugger the rest of us. You know what’s crazy? All the evidence has always been out there in plain sight. All you need to do is read the treaties and documents carefully. Or have a high priced lawyer do it. But not many can afford the legal expertise necessary. Ergo the EU Commissars and friends been getting away with it. For years.

Sargon of Akkad has an intelligent view of things on his latest ‘Week in Stupid’ video.

Now the whole EU house of cards is looking like the hollow shell I’ve often suspected that it is. And I’m not the only one. The penny is dropping rapidly all over the world. Eyes are being opened and they don’t like what they see. It’s not just the UK, the whole globalist structure is in the spotlight. Not from journalists who need to trade favours for access, but from the common and uncommon man (Or woman) who has nothing to lose but his chains.

We live in interesting times. Somehow I think Ranty as his uncommon self would have approved. I just wish he’d lived to see it.

On a happier note; I’ve finally decided what my next motorcycle is going to be. One of these. I don’t care if I’ll need a Visa to cross European borders or not. That’s just a detail, and Mrs S and I are good at details.

A new hope…

Well the rebel alliance has struck a genuine blow against the evil empire. Forgive the Star Wars reference but I feel it’s relevant.

My Youngest just messaged us to say “Can I come and live in Canada now the UK is going down in flames?”
To which we said “Sure. For a fee.” We’re practical folk.

Not that the UK will go down in flames. The European Union will. It is a solution that creates too many problems in a desire to shoehorn too many diverse nations under one set of laws, without understanding that those laws have to be simple enough for everyone to understand and abide by. Nor does it understand that real prosperity comes from ordinary people doing ordinary things every day of their lives rather than unelected bureaucrats making seemingly random rules and regulations.

Bags I be Obi-Wan Kenobi, or as Mrs S has just observed “I always think of you more as Chewbacca.” Heavy sigh.

Money, it’s a gas

Well actually, yes. For those willing to pay a little attention and try not to get frightened by all those pesky zero’s, Billions, Trillions and ones it’s quite interesting. I used to tune out of discussions about finance, until that is, I learned about international currency transfers. Now to illustrate my points I’m going to add a little bit of code to my sidebar over the next day or so, linking to Xe.com or CurrenciesDirect.com, who are two of the services I use when moving money around the world. Just so those interested can get more source information without having to navigate the factoids twisted by someone with an agenda, be they politician, speculator or ‘journalist’. Why? Because, unlike people, numbers don’t lie. Both web sites are having difficulties at the time of writing, and I know all the brokers (Cheers, guys) are working double shifts.

Here’s an interesting question (And I wish my younger self had understood this better).

Q: What is money?
A: The means of exchange, also a process.
Er.. WTF Bill? That’s bollocks. Money is a thing that you possess, what rich gits have and no one else does, surely?
Not so, and don’t call me Shirley. Money evolved from Barter as a representation for a sack of foodstuff as people began to notice it was a whole lot easier to carry round small pieces of rock, metal tokens or specially marked paper rather than have a chicken hanging off your belt in order to pay this weeks tithe. Money does not cluck, for one thing (Although in the right circumstances it can be made to sing), and can be recirculated so that the token can come to represent anything. The token or paper has no real intrinsic value of it’s own, but the token becomes the amount it represents. Also, the cost of producing the token has no bearing on the value of the token itself. Got that? A gold coin, for example, has the value that everyone agrees it is worth. No more, no less. A paper or plastic bank note likewise, is only ‘worth’ what everyone agrees is its value. Neither the coin, regardless of metallic composition, nor the note have any real value. A simple proof of this concept is to offer a gold coin to someone for a sack of spuds whilst there’s a shortage of spuds and a glut of gold coins from people desperate to be fed and breathing at the end of next week. Gold may be US$1270 or thereabouts an ounce today, but what was it six months ago, or last year, or forty years ago? Ampex Chart here.

In short, all value is relative. Stock prices and bond prices are what they are because all the traders agree this is their value. It’s a concept so elegantly simple that even I can understand it.

Well that’s all very well Bill you old smartarse, but what about wealth redistribution, or guaranteed base income? What about ‘fairness’?
I’ll come to that later you cheeky little scrote. Show a bit more respect or I’ll set the Igors on you. Did you get the bit about “All value is relative”? Remember it, it’s very important. Like at the moment with the uncertainty over Brexit, the pound is plunging on the markets. I know this because I am a fully paid up international capitalist, albeit in a small way, and make it my business to watch these things as they happen. I probably ‘made’ CAD$500 last night by timing a small international money transfer correctly. Although if the pound rebounds in the next few days or the fop does something economically irresponsible to make CAD sink through the floorboards, I’ll have ‘lost’ it again. It’s not Dragon Magic. In the meantime I’m quids in.

Right; ‘Fairness’, ‘redistribution of wealth’ et cetera are empty buzzwords which keep on getting bandied about by those without an understanding of simple economics. They’re empty political soundbites which really mean; “We’re going to take money off you and give it to our friends who vote for us to stay in our cushy non-jobs.” Which isn’t actually generating anything, in fact it’s a classic method of how to shrink an economy. As for ‘guaranteed base income’; that’s a thousand truck highway pileup just waiting to happen. It’s an economic train derailment of an idea. If it’s brought in over here I’m going into the alcohol and marijuana distribution business, because that’s exactly where the money will go. Not rent payments. Not on a better diet. Not paying increased Hydro (Electricity) bills because much of that ‘redistributed’ cash will go in politicians boondoggles and subsidies. Because the remainder will go straight into the dispensaries, liquor stores and bars. Hey, I’ve seen too much of human nature close up and personal not to be cynical.

Anyway, that’s besides the point. All value being relative. Which is the only absolute in terms of money. Trade is trade, and the big secret of trading is what? Come on. I’m waiting. That person at the back whining that it’s cheating and everyone would be better off under socialism, WRONG! (Venezuela, Cough, cough, isn’t that yet another failing socialist regime? Like all the others?)

The answer is timing. Like space is relative to time, like surfing is to waves, comedy or music, so is money to trade. Which is why I ‘made’ five hundred bucks in two hours last night. My small amount of money is now worth that much more because the markets got talked into a panic. That much on a basic 5K transfer.

All this came about because the pound ‘plunged’ in the wake of the UK referendum vote (Two weeks ago it was 1.78 CAD per GBP. Last night it was 1.87). If you had a little money put by in say, dollars, now would be the time to buy Sterling. Or invest in some stocks and shares when their markets hit bottom on Friday. Because there’s a bloody good chance it’ll all bounce back on Monday morning when everyone who panic-sold has sobered up and thought about it. Only to find the cash-rich Chinese have pounced and driven prices back up. Markets are like that.

As for the whiny little tossers on Twitter saying that the older ‘Leave’ voters have just screwed the ‘Remain’ young. Wrong again. The older folks who voted ‘leave’ may have given their heirs (Providing Britain is allowed to leave the EU on such a narrow margin) the legacy of having a vote that actually counts for something. The freedom to choose their own time and place. Their own futures. To take the tide of fortune and sail to riches or failure (I’ve done both – still here). By their own efforts. Which is far more valuable than anything the unelected EU Commissars will ever let them have, and they can take that to the bank. Or in the case of the EU commissioners, not.

Enter title here…

Vintage mosquitosMe and my big mouth. Mrs S was complaining about mosquito bites last week. I made the cardinal error of saying; “They seem to be leaving me alone this year.” Ouch, ouch. Itch. One (Two? Three?) of the little sods got into my office and now I’m paying for my Hubris. Socks and long sleeves are now order of the day. Bugger. I have fumigated twice, and the little bastard(s) is (are?) still treating me like an all you can eat buffet. Where’s the Raid?

Meanwhile, other annoyances over on the other side of the Atlantic.

Watch (again?). Digest. Consider.

The UK’s reasons for leaving the EU should be economic, not emotional, and the economics are screaming “Get out!”. The cost benefit analysis is clear. A similarly honest SWOT analysis also comes out in favour of leaving. Too many rules and regulations, too many protectionist tariffs, few real benefits for the working man / woman / whatever. Not to mention the economic threat of mass migration from a hostile culture via Turkey and it’s attendant cost of 3billion GBP per year extra on the poor bloody British taxpayer. Never mind helping the third world, if it stays in the EU, Britain will become third world. Like Hmm, let me see, Rotherham for example.

Although I have a strong suspicion that actually implementing any British exit from the bureaucratic morass that is the EU will be strongly resisted. Will the unelected bureaucrats and has-been politicians of the EU Commission let Britain leave, even if there is a landslide vote in favour of doing so? Other referendums have been dismissed for not voting the right way, so what do the British do if Brussels and Strasbourg don’t like the vote result and say “Non, no, you can’t go”? To which there is only one answer; “Hey, hey, we won’t pay.” Off with their contributions, say I.

Last word: Britain has tried ‘reform the EU from the inside’ – didn’t work then, won’t work now.

Which begs the question; Is there a can of Raid big enough to get rid of the bloodsucking bureaucrats of the EU?

Meanwhile, away from the politics…

A pick a nic basketPolitics, like all creepy crawlies, gets everywhere doesn’t it? However, today I will be making a strenuous effort to avoid the wretched topic by staying away from the Interweb and going out for a picnic. We’ve been doing quite a bit of that recently. Going out to the park, choosing a shady spot away from all the noise, and just sitting to relax and partake of a little light lunch and delve into something literary. We’ve even got a proper picnic basket, just like the one in the picture. We have a small cool box for the food, a chill sleeve for the wine. Well, non alcoholic Cider really, as I don’t drink and drive, ever. Not even one glass of wine with a meal, but that’s just me. All of which fits in the pictured basket. Stylish, huh? Well I think so. No sitting on insect infested blankets for us, as we’ve also purchased two sturdy and very comfortable lightweight folding chairs which now live in the back of our pert little SUV.

Anyway, today’s little repast is spinach, salami and cheese stuffed chicken breasts, a small side salad with my patented hard boiled eggs (Large egg, boil for 8 minutes and 45 seconds only, then immediately dump into iced water for half an hour before serving – golden yolks with a still oozing centre) and a couple of nice crusty buns. I would have included a couple of small slices of cheesecake, but felt that would be gilding the lily. Did also toy with the idea of Salmon (It’s cheaper than chips locally at the moment), but decided against it. The idea of taking a small barbecue along has been mooted, but frankly they’re just too much fuss. Especially for just two of us.

Such is currently setting the tenor for our Late Spring / Early Summer Sunday afternoons. Mrs S and I chew the fat, set the world to rights, read, or just watch the antics of everyone else letting their kids burn off steam away from their Xboxes. Which is as pleasant a way of spending an afternoon as I can think of, short of fishing. Which is the next step. Leaving Mrs S to watch while I do some casting practice so she can have a giggle when I screw up. I can think of worse ways to spend my downtime.

The idea for today is to avoid politics. No American election news or reading about the forthcoming EU Referendum. Even though Mrs S insisted upon reading an article from the Spectator to me this morning about Donald Trump. Yes, he’s pissed off all the political insiders, which is no bad thing. They’ve had it all their own way for too long, made too many messes, and need a kick up their collective arses. Frankly I don’t care about whether some journalist thinks he’s ‘presidential material’ or not. I’ll reserve judgement until if and when he actually gets elected. The scary lady hasn’t finished singing yet. Or is there an Aria yet to be composed when the FBI finish messing around and decide to play hardball?

That is speculation for another day. For today we are going on a picnic.

Who said that….

” I think it will take a nonpolitician to break the logjam. Somebody with a big-picture outlook. “

I wonder who said that back in 2000? Hmmm.

First to answer doesn’t get a prize for being a smartass. I wouldn’t like to be around to argue with the mildly scary guys who are volunteering to do extra security for his supporters either. Oddly enough, I’ve seen rent-a-mobs fade away from such a robust response. Well, they don’t want their asses handed to them on a plate. It’s why vegan activists generally don’t throw things at big guys wearing lots of leather.

Gosh, this looks like it’s going to be fun.

My ten cents worth..

I think the world and his wife / husband / hamster have commented on a possible Brexit and everyone has an opinion. I’ve read the reports, all the scaremongering articles, watched the pound recently dip over ten cents against the US and Canadian Dollars and the UK property market take a hit. What my observations have told me is this: The ‘Remain’ faction are talking bollocks. Complete and utter crap. They’re just throwing out unsupportable assertions with little basis in fact. As for ‘Sir’ Bob Geldof getting a whole bunch of media types to hate on ordinary working people having a legitimate protest on the Thames the other day. Heavens to Murgatroyd, the guy’s Irish for Pete’s sake.

As for poor Jo Cox, that was tragic. Apparently she got in the way of a psycho having a bust up with somebody else, and all the allegations that the psycho shouted “Britain first” and targeted her have been made up by elements in the lamestream. No such thing was heard by most eyewitnesses.  Not that it matters, because the whole circus is designed to tar all those who want out of the EU with the same ‘spot the looney’ brush.  (Post updated June 19th)  As I have observed before, it’s awfully hard to change someone’s mind when you’ve just blown their brains out.  Changed minds are better.

Regardless of dead campaigners and other shenanigans which have nothing to do with the real issues, the simple truth is that the UK gets less out of the EU than it puts in for no real monetary gain and a whole shitload of bureaucratic interference. To the tune of just under a thousand pounds sterling a year cost in extra taxation per family (This may be a low estimate; some say this is down to every taxpayer). The UK could put that money to good use, like oo, lemme see, paying off the national debt for one. Or feeding the fiscal black hole which is the NHS.

Then the UK could take back control of its fisheries and a whole lot of other stuff. As a deep sea sport fisherman, I often used to despair at the wastefulness of the Common Fisheries Policy and noticed how catches around UK coasts declined throughout the 1980’s and 90’s. Then seeing French and Spanish purse seiners swanning around inside Eddystone, hoovering up everything in their path.

There’s also the risk to startups posed by the beginning in 2017 of the EU’s Unified Patent Court, which promise to make it easier for the big guys with teams of lawyers to nick ideas and screw over small innovators by getting patents bought and paid for before the inventors can. Everything in the EU is guided by the interests of big corporate entities, who are the only ones able to afford enough legal eagles to successfully fight an action through the court system. The little guy hasn’t the wherewithal to do so. It’s hard enough to get a business going.  Especially in these straitened times.

Then there’s the abuse of EU arrest warrants, which have often been used for petty rather than major crimes, and on one notorious occasion resulted in the arrest and imprisonment of a UK citizen for murder, even though his alleged victim was alive and well (Link to Fairtrials article here).

How about the EU’s expansion and military interference in the Ukraine? We could do without stirring up the Russkies, and perhaps now they’re reasonably capitalist, make some advantageous trade deals instead of trying to muscle in on the regions natural gas supplies? Which, I might add is a failed strategy. The military invasions of Hitler and Napoleon are still fresh in Russian memory, and look what happened to them.

Let’s face it; the EU one-size-fits-all top down model doesn’t work. The only people who really derive any benefit from the EU are those directly employed by it, the big corporate entities who lobby to bring in cheap labour, the politicians who get to virtue signal, and those who receive funding from the ‘redistributed’ extra taxation. Everyone else just pays. And pays. And gets more and more snowed under by ‘compliance’ issues. While a few have ultra modern offices and little empires within the EU empire.

If the whole rotten edifice of the EU collapses with the threatened Brexit, as far as small entrepreneurial businesses are concerned, it might not be such a bad thing overall for the people of Europe. Without the bureaucrats to siphon huge tranches of tax money away to spend on their boondoggles, all the people of Europe (As opposed to the EU) might just be a whole lot better off. We’ll still have to trade, and maybe some kind of free trade area can arise from the ashes. French farmers protests and Turkey threatening to flood Europe with refugees notwithstanding.

… and yet more words…

Hmm. While I’m still wrangling over resources I was having the odd thought. With regard to BREXIT, what happened to a country that said “Nei!” to the EU. Oh yes, dear little Norway, and how are they doing? You know, still having control of their borders, fisheries and resources and all?
Hoe is Norway

After all those lies and veiled threats of economic disaster? Which never came to pass…

Expatriate expostulations from Canada; a.k.a. A Sarcastic man abroad

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