Tag Archives: Amusement

Told you so

Back last year, when the Brexit vote was first mooted all the prophets of doom were running around screaming about the economic damage leaving the EU would do the dear old UK, I cautiously espoused an opposing view here and here and here.

eutanic-rock-and-a-hard-placeNow Mark Carney, Chairman of the Bank of England has seen the light. Seven months late, but that’s why I put not my trust in Princes and watch the truth of real numbers. The City of London, like any other financial market, floats on a sea rich and royally reeking of bullshit, but, and it’s a massive curvaceous booty to boot, the numbers say that the EU is overstretched financially, and with the exit of the UK beginning in March 2017 will likely lurch into a deeper crisis than the one it is in already.

In the UK however, all the future indicators are positive. Countries are queuing up to do deals with one of the major trading hubs of the western world. For too long the UK was trapped as a satellite, bound into a fairly restrictive single market without all the global links it needed to really catch fire, financially speaking. Now those markets look set to burst wide open, and for a few years there should be an expansion as old and new relationships are exploited. More jobs, an expanding economy, and maybe even a loosening of the bondage ties of EU mandated directives. Of course there will be winners and losers, but for the guy who is quick off the mark, the rewards will be out there.

These are exciting times. At least for an investor with their eyes wide open. With a pro-UK man in the White House for a change, a deal maker at that, and with a possible new and more positive relationship with Russia in the offing I’m feeling quite sanguine. For too long the world has been fighting itself like a dog in a sack, now the sack can be opened, and the dog can go chase all the juicy bones out there. Sure, it won’t be all plain sailing, but this is the beginning of a new era, and with luck the morbidly obese bureaucracy of the EU will be a distant fading memory in a couple of decades time.

Wonder what they’ll do with all those grandiose insults to architecture the Eurocrats were so fond of?

Errm…

Was perusing some data in the early hours, after a pain wracked Mrs S turned me out of my pit. Not her fault, she got hurt badly, and I have to put up with the side effects. It’s only three months until she’s skipping like a spring lamb once more. (Only!)

However, our new bookcases are now up, secured, and being filled with fiction, faction and fact. From Douglas Adams to Emile Zola and many points in between, stopping at (Amongst others) Aristotle, Juvenal, Plautus and Plato, all change at Freakonomics for Terry Pratchett to P J O’Rourke with a minor halt at Bertrand Russell and a shunt into Germaine Greer and Mary Woolstonecraft. I think there’s a Grays Anatomy in there somewhere keeping our two dozen or so dictionaries, grammar textbooks and thesauri company. Not to mention the various trade textbooks (Usual suspects; A+, Windows 7, Linux, HTML, XML etc.) Make of that what you will. Did I say we like reading? My cookbooks live separately in the kitchen.

Notwithstanding I was looking at the available UK Cancer statistics, as you do when you’ve nothing to do at four in the morning and you’re trying to bore yourself to sleep, and came across this interesting chart from the UK’s statistics web site (See screengrab below).
cancer-statistics It’s for cancers of all causes except the one excluded.

Now we’ve been bombarded with government ‘health’ advice about cancer since I was a boy. Surely some of it should have sunk in? Or is the steady increase in Cancer not entirely due to our lifestyle choices? Or are the majority down to genetics and ‘pure bad luck‘. Some say not. Some of them have an agenda. There’s more dross written on diet and health than on any other self help topic. Mostly by people who have only a sketchy understanding of how the human body actually works. Frankly me dears, most of it can best be described as ‘Guff‘. Yet there’s a whole industry based on it. Go figure.

Now I’m intrigued by this steady increase in Cancer diagnoses. As well as the continual, slow but steady increase in diagnoses of other fatal ailments. With ‘healthier’ lifestyles becoming the norm and smoking being but a pale wraith of its previous self, you could be forgiven that perhaps there is another life-claiming villain ready to leap out of the closet and shout “Boo! Har-har, it was me all along!” at everyone. And there is.

When it comes to carcinogens, the love that dare not speak its name or Elephant in the room if you like is Diesel emissions. Diesel fumes are a carcinogen (A ‘Group One’ Carcinogen no less). So says the World Health Organisation, based on reports from the IARC. That stuff coughing out of that bus, train or lorries exhaust? Can you smell Diesel? Yes? Run. Get away from the source as fast as you can but don’t breathe whatever you do. Especially if you live in a major urban conurbation. The particulates are often invisible, and they’re everywhere, along with cited evils like tobacco smoke (both first and secondhand), mustard gas, sunlight, Chinese salted fish, vinyl chloride, soot and wood dust. What sort of wood dust isn’t included in the literature. So maybe going back to nature won’t help either. However, compared to Diesel fumes they’re lightweights.

It’s funny. A few years ago, we were all being encouraged to buy Diesel cars so they could use ‘Bio-Diesel’ or whatever marketing ploy the politicians fell for. Now we find that riding a bus in rush hour traffic may be as deadly as a forty a day habit. Who knew? I’m not even a smoker and this dark little irony has kept a smug smirk on my fizzog all day long.

Oh well, I never really wanted to live forever. Oh dear, the bookcases are full and I’ve still got more books to sort. Another visit to IKEA is called for.

IKEA Bookcase Building

To-day we have IKEA bookcase building. Yesterday,
We emptied more boxes. And to-morrow morning,
We shall have what to do after cleaning. But to-day,
To-day we have IKEA Bookcase building.
Snow glistens like coral in neighbouring gardens,
And to-day we have IKEA bookcase building.

This is the lower shelf fixing. And this
Is the upper shelf fixing, whose use you will see,
When you find the damn screws. And this is the middle screw fixing,
Which in your case can’t be found in the box.
Bare branches rattle in gardens with silent, eloquent gestures,
Which in our case we have not got.

This is the upper left retaining widget, which is always released
With an easy flick of the thumb.
For heaven’s sake don’t use your finger.
Else you’ll trap it between the next side.
Icicles are fragile and motionless, never letting anyone see
Any of them using their finger.

And this you can see is the mid shelf.
The purpose of this is to fix the mid shelf, as you see.
We can slide it easily sidewards and downward: we call this adjusting the gap.
And easily sidewards and downward.
Ice fern patterns melt slowly from windows:
They call it adjusting the gap.

They call it adjusting the gap: it is perfectly easy
If you have any strength in your thumb: like the mid shelf,
The widget, retainer, and the middle screw fixing,
Which can’t be found in the box; and the bare buds
Silent in all of the gardens and the icicles drip, ticking like regular clocks
For to-day we have IKEA bookcase building.

Apologies to the shade of Henry Reed for butchering his poem ‘The naming of parts

It took a little less than an hour.

Snow ho bloody ho

Just looked out of the kitchen window and it’s snowing for the second time in four days. WTF is going on? This is Victoria for heavens sake. It’s not supposed to snow in this part of BC. The road out front is pretty much clear, but as I don’t have to commute, that’s not much of a problem.

Still packing and wondering where the hell did I buy this? Every so often. And more to the point, why? As far as the festering season is concerned Mrs S and I will be on a pretty tight schedule, bouncing back up and down Island like we’re riding a Yo-yo on bad knicker elastic. Shopping is done. Cards sent. Presents bought. I think we may be ahead of the curve. However, it looks like a busy Yuletide.

One of the associated exercises to do with moving is that you have to run down the amount of stuff in the freezer. Which often gives up pleasant surprises, but also the occasional booby prize. Nice surprise of the day was a Liver and Bacon Stew, which will be served with mustard dumplings, a little mashed potato and cut green beans. Culinary disaster lurking at the back was my attempt to do something spicy with cauliflower that ended up having the effect of paint stripper on the palate. Well, we’re moving, so the cauliflower will join a couple of other pots in the recycle bin. Reminder to self, cayenne pepper has to be used very sparingly. Anyway, I’ll stick the recipe for mustard dumplings on the ‘Cooking for Conspiracy Theorists’ pages as it comes under the heading of tried and proven.

Sooo. What’s going on in the big wide world out there? Apart from the snow, which has now stopped after leaving an inch or so on the ground, further startling the locals, bringing the comment from some of the perpetually offended that the whiteness of snow is part of the ‘racist patriarchy’ (Derisive snort).

In the headlines the F-35A debacle took yet another blow in the shape of President-Elect Trumps disapproval which has made Lockheed-Martins share price nosedive. Frankly, I’m not surprised. The F-35A is five years overdue and counting. So why aren’t the orders being cancelled? Or doesn’t it count because it’s only taxpayers money? I think that the F-35A’s major problem is that it tries to be all things to all men and fails.

Then there’s the whole transgender fad sweeping through university campuses and educationalist circles. Oh well, it’s a fashion, and will die when the penny finally drops, along with the removal of funding for Gender Studies courses and various worthless NGO’s. Somehow I get the feeling that some very convincing schizophrenics are embedded within academia, at least judging from the flood of neologisms and other strangeness bubbling therefrom. Please note; Coining Neologisms is one of the symptoms of Hebephrenia, part of the grab bag of behaviours indicating disorganised schizophrenia. Inventing new ‘gender pronouns’ for the sake of it certainly raises psychiatric red flags about the mental stability of the inventors. Insisting that everybody else use them also has that certain ring of ‘the lunatics are running the asylum’. To which I would respond; “if only they could be persuaded to stay there and leave the rest of us alone.” (Heavy sigh)

Newsflash! (Or rather not) If anyone wants a decent job when graduating, a ‘Gender Studies’ (Or similar) degree is going to be worth less than used toilet paper. I’d also add that if anyone tries to address me as ‘Ze‘, there will be ructions. And vitriol. Possibly even legal action, because referring to people by the incorrect gender pronoun may soon be an official ‘Hate crime’ in Canada. Which is absurd. But then George Orwell distilled my thinking on this topic when writing his essay Notes on Nationalism (1945);

“One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.”

I know he was talking about academics voicing the belief that American troops had been brought to Europe not to fight the Germans but to crush an English revolution during the early to mid 1940’s. However, it’s a damn good quote and illustrates that even if someone can wallpaper their walls with University degrees, it does not automatically follow that they know everything about anything. Only that they know a lot about a little. A sentiment which was later echoed by Bertrand Russell in ‘My Philosophical Development‘ (1959) as “This is one of those views which are so absurd that only very learned men could possibly adopt them.”
Not: “There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.” For heavens sake, if you’re going to quote someone, at least take ten minutes to check the bloody attribution. To find that the usually trustworthy Goodreads gets it badly wrong is somewhat galling and devalues their brand.

Anyway; back in the real world, the snow has stopped and the outlook is for five days of sunny but cold weather. Which means black ice and watching obvious newcomers slipping and sliding all over the place. To which I have been known to comment; “Welcome to Canada.” However, it’s all part of the learning curve of immigration and learning that what’s really great about this cold weather is being able to watch it from inside a nice warm living room. TTFN.

That was fun… not

Wednesday was a bit of a day all things considered. Kind of a good news / bad news day. There used to be a pub game where you had to take an item of news and spin it to either be good or bad. I think the gag has fallen into disuse since the 1970’s, but I’d like to dust this old joke off just for todays post.

First, the bad news; our current landlady refused to give us a reference. (You can boo now)
Now the good news; our new landlord accepted a reference from the bank! (Cheer wildly)
Ah, the bad news; we’ve got to change our address. (Boo, hiss)
Now the good news; to a much bigger apartment! (Yay!)
The bad news; the new apartment needs redecoration. (Euw!)
The good news; new landlord has offered to pay for the paint. (Cool!)

And so on. Okay, we’ve shelled out half the damage deposit already (No need to boo, joke’s over) but that’s secured our new tenancy for January 1st by which time all our kit will be undercover in the new place, and we’ll be painting over the current hideous colour scheme. Opening the doors to let in a bright sparkly 2017 and letting out tired old 2016 and a whole lot of paint fumes. Yes we’ll be paying more rent, but it won’t break the bank.

Now this will inevitably result in complications over the festering season, but complications and challenges are a piece of store bought Christmas cake with fondant icing on top. At least to us.

First complication is new furniture arriving tomorrow with Mrs S due to disappear for the weekend while I deal with the first practicalities. I’m a bloke, so this is my part of the ship. With Mrs S out of the way I can begin packing without interruption. All I need is enough packing tape as we already have boxes galore flat packed and ready for action. No doubt it’ll keep me out of trouble until she arrives back on Sunday. Another complication will be youngest arriving on the 20th of December for a week or so, but I have a cunning plan to have the majority of non-essentials packed and good to go long before then. After which she has decided she wants to stay with sister-in-law mid island. As far as decor is concerned, we can cover any gaps with tinsel and decorations until move out time. This may put me to some minor inconvenience, but what the hell, I’ve probably coped with worse. The decorations will have to come down a few days before 12th Night, but that’s no biggie. Rather reminds me of our first ever move within BC. That happened at New Year as well. Which I did with minimal help. Again from a small suite to a much bigger apartment. When we moved to Victoria in June 2014, we were downsizing. Now we need more space so we can work better.

Regarding the refused reference; no, we haven’t trashed the apartment. Even before packing it’s probably cleaner than when we first moved in, and I’m stone cold certain it will be abso-fucking-lutely sparkling when we move out. Because that’s what we do. You know why our landlady actually refused? Because we’re good tenants and she doesn’t want us to leave. Seriously. Which in an odd sort of way is rather sweet.

Funny old business, life.

For the moment

Until some bastard ruins it of course, life is good. The clouds that have marred the past two years are gradually clearing, and providing everyone does their job properly (Something I will be keeping a very close eye on) the Sticker household can look forward to a much rosier future. Winning after such a protracted battle is very, very nice indeed. A sensation only marred by the knowledge that if those concerned had followed my guidance last bloody year, the recent legal and financial mess I’m just extricating myself from could have been avoided altogether. I’d have probably made more money too, but what the hell, I’m getting out of a toxic business relationship and will not enter another like it again. Not without a differently worded contract. So that is a compensation. Everything is a learning experience and the approaching sound of people finally coughing up is Handel’s Messiah to my shell-likes. Well boys, you took your bloody own sweet time. However, now it’s all over bar the shouting, I’m going to contemplate being able to lie back and enjoy the things that are the best in life. What me? sarcastic? Never… (Embarrassed cough)

The following rather sums up my current world view.

Yes, and if you are a sarky old git like my fellow members of the Bill Sticker Society for Sarcasm and Irony, then you’re naturally more intelligent (Scientifically proven, see below), and by being sarcastic force other people to up their intellectual game. Stopping the less mentally acute coasting through their lives and apply the brakes (or accelerator) of self examination. Rescuing them from the living death of pointless conformity. Bringing the PC-afflicted a little non-violent emotional release. I mean, come on, doesn’t using sarcasm successfully make you feel better against the aggressive, and more pertinently, the passive-aggressive?

Like ‘preferred gender pronouns’ for example. An idea only liked by a few eccentric academics and the mentally ill (These terms may be viewed as interchangeable). If the poisonous bill C-16 gets onto the books in Canada, then the only defence against the politically correct speech code it enforces will be sarcasm.

Some say sarcasm may be the lowest form of wit, but those who do rather miss the point. Sarcasm is actually a readily learnable linguistic response which provides, not only a social defence mechanism for the powerless, but an offensive tool in the war for civilisation against the Politically Correct and insufferably earnest and dull. And we mustn’t offend them, must we?

More than twice an hour. (Twinkle) Or more. (Twinkle, snort of derision)

Sarcasm. An essential tool for dealing with the stumbling blocks of life. Without it, our current civilisation could not exist. Got to love it.

Anti-social media

Dentists today, and as usual, no problems. One thing my genetic heritage has blessed me with is a good set of choppers, teeth that have stood up to being abused many times over the years, including being used as adjustable grips, wire strippers and bottle openers. My hygienist was complimentary about their current state, and no fillings or other treatments were required. A state of affairs my Dentist, my wallet and I are very happy about.

While I was waiting for my date in ‘the chair’ I saw the following little missive posted on the notice board, which rather tickled my fancy.

“I’ve noticed recently how successful and popular some people are thanks to Social media like Facebook and Twitter. They post messages telling everyone what they are doing, what breakfast cereal they ate, who they talked to, funny videos of their cat chasing a torch beam, what shoes they like, whose party they went to, how many times they went to the toilet and what it looked like before they flushed it down. The wonderful thing is that thousands of people ‘like’ what these online celebrities post and ‘follow’ their every activity.”

“As I’m not a particularly popular person and don’t have many real friends, I thought I’d take a leap of faith and apply the principles of social media to real life. So I decided to obsessively greet total strangers in the street, telling them my whole life story, who my friends are, what funny things their pets do, the silly things they do when drunk, who my parents are and who they work for and every single thing we talk about including Dad’s recent arrest for sex crimes and embezzlement. I even showed my new friends pictures and videos on a computer tablet that I take with me wherever I go. And when they say they like it, I give them a thumbs up, and they do the same to me! It’s fabulous! I’ve never felt so popular!”

“And great news! My strategy has worked! After only a week I have six brand new ‘friends’; two Policemen, a private investigator, two psychiatric social workers and a nice Doctor Lecter who has already invited me around for tea!”

Okay, you’ve probably guessed that when it comes to the much-vaunted online social media, I am a self confessed Marxist of the Groucho faction. Some people seem to spend their entire lives on it, then get all bent out of shape when some embarrassing feature of their real life is put on public display or their wages disappear because someone has guessed that their online banking password is still ‘password’. To which I’d respond with the old saw “If you can’t take a joke, you shouldn’t have joined.” In Social media’s defence however, I think it would be fair to say that one should always remember that these are public platforms which offer a degree of utility, but perhaps not quite enough to justify throwing your privacy rights and quality time on the fire.

Katla

In-laws are currently in Europe due to fly back next week, and if the signs and portents from Iceland are right, they may have a bit of a wait to get home. Yes, it’s time for seismic grumbling from South East Iceland again. Which I ascribe to all the illicit Hákarl dumping. I’m told rotting Greenland Shark meat is a ‘delicacy’, which is one of those hilarious euphemisms for “Let’s see what we can get the tourists to eat”. Either that or one of those “Well, it’s not that bad once you get used to it” foods dreamed up when it was a case of eat your putrescent poisonous fish or starve to death.

Seriously, there’s a Yellow warning for Katla, a large volcano lurking under the Mýrdalsjökull glacier, which is one of those wonderful Viking names you’d swore the locals made up to make English speaking newsreaders look like idiots. Well, just because they don’t do the rape, burn and pillage thing any more doesn’t mean these descendants of Vikings have lost their sense of mischief, does it? The little tinkers.

Anyway, nothing has gone boom just yet, but those in the know are betting on an eruption in the not too distant future, even though at the time of writing there’s no harmonic tremor. However, when that is detected, then an eruption has already started and it’s a bit late to put your nearby Icelandic Holiday Home on the market.

Icelandic Met Office pages can be found here for regular updates.

What else might delay In-laws return? Hurricane Matthew, which is currently tearing northbound through the Caribbean? Hmm. If I was going to attempt a Transatlantic flight during the next few days, I’d be making damned sure my travel insurance covered accommodation costs in case of delay. I’ve tried kipping in airport terminals before, and it’s no fun at all.

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.

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.