Tag Archives: Amusement

Excuse me for a minute or two.

The new job I’ve taken on is one of those you really really hate after a while. Not because it’s that difficult, just that I have to interact with smug NPC bureaucrats who have to follow their obstructive rules ‘cos it more than their job’s worth to meet me half way. I don’t get this kind of dumb insolence dealing with the private sector.

Between them and my employers asking me to do the highly improbable, I’m having a real ‘Dave’ kind of a day.

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Non Player Characters

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

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

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

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

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

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

Slow acting dope

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

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

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

Busy signal

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

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

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

Conspiracy sunspots, Batman!

The Interweb has been ablaze with rumours about the closure of a Solar Sunspot Observatory, by of all people the FBI. Who turned up out of the blue in a Blackhawk helicopter and shut the whole site down, including the on-site post office. The site is normally open to the public and the local Sheriff was shut out too, which makes the whole affair even more puzzling. All sorts of stuff has been mooted from Aliens crossing the sun, pending massive solar storms, secret weapons tests, Chinese / Russian hacking / spying on the nearby White Sands Missile Range, Uncle Tom Cobley and all. No-one has mentioned the Mayans yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

So what is going on? No idea. Although the spying theory sounds the most likely.

A more studied perspective is available from Linda Moulton Howe, an American investigative journalist and Regional Emmy award-winning documentary film maker.

She has a World Domination Cat.  What’s not to like?

Update: As a point of interest, the adjacent Apache Point Observatory, a collection of telescopes about a half-mile away, was operating as normal on Friday, with about a dozen cars parked outside.  Nor have other solar observatories been closed down as stated in some quarters.  So, no Aliens then.  Again.

2nd UpdateAand it’s open again.  Phew, so those pesky little green men have given us the go by yet again.  Funny how often that happens.

 

The lessons of History

A couple of decades ago, I was studying 9th and 10th Century Anglo-Saxon History when I came across a curious snippet. Under the reign of Athelstan (924-939), first King of all the Angles and the first to rule over a unified England with similar borders to today, there was a law, which does not appear in this brief selection, stating that no child should be left alone with a priest. That the parent of the child, or a Reeve, particularly if the child were a boy if memory serves, was always to be present. In short there were strict laws concerning priestly conduct. Why? Because even 10th Century monarchs knew about human nature and the effects of enforced celibacy. There were even strict penalties for Priests or Monks who ‘carried off Nuns’.

Now it seems the Catholic church is reaping the whirlwind for not just decades but potentially centuries of institutionalised child abuse and internal cover-ups. Good luck with those claims for ‘compensation’ though. The Catholic Church is land rich and owns vast archives but as far as I’m aware doesn’t have that much ready cash floating about. So any claims paid will result in a fire-sale of some very nice ecclesiastical real estate. The Pope can beg for God’s forgiveness all he wants, but it’s not God who wants the compensation.

The whole circus reminds me of one of my Dad’s favourite jokes (Although it was probably his father’s favourite as well), which goes thus;

A Catholic priest is hauled up in the Magistrates court for sodomising an under age choirboy. He’s about to put in a guilty plea when the Magistrate takes one look at the plaintiffs and the arresting officer, bangs his gavel (Ouch) and says. “Case dismissed.”
The arresting Police officer looks aghast; he’s literally caught the errant priest with his cassock around his waist, humping hell out of an eleven year old boy in the Sacristy. “Your honour!” He protests.
“I said; case dismissed.” Repeats the Magistrate, firmly.
“But, but why?” Asks the Policeman.
“Haven’t you heard that Choirboy sing?” Asks the Magistrate.

Well, it used to make me laugh. It’s like the whole casting couch phenomena that has all the #MeToo movement up in arms. In the working class circles from which I originate these things were well known from when I was a boy five decades ago. Priests buggered choirboys. Actors, hardly paragons of morality, often traded sex for a part in a movie or a show via casting couch culture. Single sex schools were known hotbeds of various under the age of consent vices. Various forms of sexual perversion is rife in prisons. Why? Because any port in a storm. That’s why.

Politicians often have mistresses (Even John Prescott). It was and is a careless parent who trusts these people too much because those who aspire to positions of power do so because that carries an implied licence to have sex with anything of woman born. Those with large sexual appetites will always be and have always been this way. We know these things to be true because we hear the rumours and read about the court cases.

The only thing that still baffles me is why everyone is so goddamn surprised. This is not to say that authority figures should not be trusted, but, only to a point. They are not Gods, simply slightly more ambitious and less restrained versions of our more mundane selves. And we all know how bad we are.

Wheel spin

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy weekend.

TTFN

Liberum oratio non est oratio odio

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

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

Danish; “Ytringsfrihed er ikke hadefuld tale.”

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

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

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

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

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

Nothing left Toulouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The etiquette of vomitus

Right. I’ve been back in the UK for a few days and one of the things I’ve noticed has surfaced regarding the drunken antics going on over a little football tournament somewhere. In particular vomiting, chundering, technicolour yawning, upchucking, throwing up, talking to the great white telephone etcetera. I’m sorry to say this but you footy fans are doing it all wrong.

There are a clear set of do’s and don’t when it comes to vomiting which separate the well brought up from the clueless oik with all the style and grace of a badly soiled toilet brush. These rules apply to both sexes whichever end of the sexual spectrum you embrace, or fail to. Whatever. If you’re drinking that much, which is sometimes called for after a tense penalty shoot out or well performed header portends doom or victory for your team, then some form of self control is called for. A good aim can also be a sure and certain aid for those who wish to fully join in the drunken festivities yet retain a sense of style.

Okay; on with the serious stuff. The guidelines for emetic eructation that will define you as a person of taste and discretion rather than just some stupid gonzo who’s overdone it.

Rule 1; The gutter. It’s there for a reason, aim for it. Preferably as close to a drain cover as you can comfortably manage. Lean on a handy piece of street signage, brace yourself and let fly. The street cleaners will thank you for it. They’re a hard working bunch. Be nice, eh? The same guideline apples to the great white telephone (a.k.a the toilet bowl) Do so with as much dignity as you can muster at that particular moment.

Rule 2; Never, ever throw up over the following:
a) Your date for the evening.
b) The bar, please remember public hygiene rules. Also you may need another beer to wash away the taste. It’s hard to get served again if you’ve just soiled the bar top.
c) The biggest, nastiest looking person in the bar, especially if he’s a fan of your opposing team. Throwing up is not a pleasant experience and needing serious dental work can extend what is a temporary indignity into expensive and complicated pain lasting several days. A similar rule applies to encounters with Police Officers.

Rule 3) Vomiting over close friends is actually permissible and quite socially acceptable in highly emotionally charged moments like a missed penalty. Indeed, the comic value of your foolish antics may pay for many future rounds of drinks and elevate your social standing amongst your peer group, but remember that timing is everything.

Rule 4) It is very bad form indeed to throw one’s guts in the presence of parents / close family unless they are all as hammered as you. In which case, all bets are off and a deeper familial bond may be formed. Remember, the family that upchucks together stays together.

Rule 5) As a means of impressing the opposite sex / sexual preference of choice, vomiting is not the most elegant way of introducing yourself. However, the following apology must be done with style. Apologise to the object of desire briefly “I am so terribly sorry..” and try to look a little pathetic but not totally helpless. Just enough to need their assistance. If you can, it is the wise thing to throw up over the person whose sexual favours you are not interested in. Like all of the above, this is not a hard and fast rule, but has been found to be mostly effective.

As my last reader may have guessed I’m in London at the moment, enjoying all the moments. The scenes following Englands 2-0 win against Sweden were the inspiration for this public information post. Thank you for your future co-operation.

Regards

Bill

I love this

Hey young Earth person! Are you tired of the dull life here on Earth? Do you want to be someone special? Someone great? To defend not just your country but the world? Become a Space Marine!

Yes it’s true. This is Trumps Star Wars moment. (H/T ZeroHedge) He’s just authorised the militarisation of space. Which rather walks all over a couple of old cold war treaties regarding military assets in Earth Orbit. Not that anyone was paying these treaties any mind you understand. The Chinese have been testing killer satellites for the last two decades to my knowledge and the Russians simply can’t afford them. Which means these treaties have effectively been ignored for years, so what he’s just said (See speech below) shouldn’t raise anything more than an ironic eyebrow.

So what good will the creation of this new ‘US Space Force’ do? Well, create a bit of competition for the private space efforts and add a spur to Musk and Bezos’s Falcon X and Blue Origin programmes. Maybe light a fire under NASA’s sluggish arse. Perhaps they’ll even think of putting some money into ‘Spike’ rocket engine development or Hybrids like the old Hotol concept or even resurrect the wholly reusable X-33 spaceplane concept. See Curious Droid’s video assessment below.  Which I can access off YouTube, but the linking has somehow gone awry.  Oops, no.  The trained Monkeys have done their thing and the 500 error is fixed.

For a sci-fi freak like me the possibilities are endless. I’m genuinely enthused.

P.S: Have just checked my Lemon Tree seedlings to find that all thirteen have pushed tiny shoots above the soil and even as I type are raising little green heads toward the sun.  Yay!

Planting out

The time has come the Walrus said; to talk of many things
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax — Of cabbages — and kings — And why the sea is boiling hot — And whether pigs have wings
.

Right, the time came today to plant out my germinated lemon seeds. All thirteen (!) of which have germinated and have begun putting out tiny rootlets. So I potted all of them out this morning, watered them in and will keep these precious tiny Lemon seedlings indoors in my office until the warmer weather arrives. Because it still gets very cold at night, even in June here on the Canadian Riviera. As evidenced by our Geranium’s leaves going red with cold stress, so yesterday we brought them inside to recover. Likewise, some of our Sweet Peas and Nasturtiums have the look of being lightly scorched around the edges, a clear sign of unseasonal cold. The hardier plants, like my Indonesian Lime, perennial herbs and the rose bush have been doing okay but the more delicate items, like our Geraniums, have been suffering more than a little. Based on the aforementioned the plan is to keep the Lemon seedlings and similar outdoors during July, August and September where they will be tended by our automatic watering system. But not until then. When the weather cools we’ll bring them in to the sunny part of the kitchen for the Autumn, Winter and early Spring. In the depths of Winter when snow and ice abound we’re planning to transfer our more delicate blossoms to hibernate in the Garage with the Geraniums for occasional watering by our Landlord while we’re away in January / February 2019.

What I’m going to do with a kitchen full of home grown Citrus fruit plants I have no idea, but this is simply an experiment to see if growing such verdancy can be achieved in BC. Note to self; I may need to invest in one of those big fcuk off machetes they stock in all our big outdoor stores if things go well. Especially if the Avocado kicks off like I’m hoping. The little bulge in it’s bottom grows larger by the day, and should break out by the weekend after next. Maybe even within the week. I’ve never grown an Avocado plant from seed before, so all this is new territory.

Mind you, on the topic of machetes, anyone can make one with a power hacksaw blade using an angle grinder. Available from many industrial tool suppliers, even in the UK. I used to have one such fourteen inch double edged blade as a weed whacker many years ago. Great tool to go camping with. Good for cutting down and splitting dead saplings for firewood. Made from High Speed Steel so it never lost it’s edge. Gave it away in the end to a mate who wanted it for clearing the long grass at his favourite riverside haunt. A modern urban SJW would have a screaming fit and call the cops if they so much as saw one. Presumably because they’re so paranoid they think everyone is out to hurt them. Which isn’t true by the way. No one I know really cares enough about ‘social justice campaigners’ to do anything but avoid them like the plague. Or wind them up and watch them run. Whichever happens to be most fun at the time.

All of which is rather academic. Such people cannot make anything grow faster or slower. Or indeed do anything but make life exceptionally tedious for others. Seeds and greenery have their own laws and seasons. Which are a much better type of vegetable matter.

All things bright and, oh, see for yourself

Germination proceeds. Out of thirteen Lemon seeds originally taken from a supermarket lemon, eight now have roots sprouting from two to ten millimetres long. Three others seem to be in various stages of life. All I did was take them out of the lemon, soak them overnight in water, then stick in a handy zip up freezer bag on a damp piece of kitchen towel and wait. My Avocado seed too is showing signs of root development with a gravid little bulge about three millimetres across and high forming on the bottom. All I did was set the seed up using four cocktail sticks and a glass full of water. Grade 5 level stuff like the old growing Cress thing we used to do in Junior School, before doing simple stuff that worked was replaced by ideologically driven rubbish like Man Made Global Warming and Gender studies. Neither of which have half the fun and frolics of playing with copper sulphate crystals or dissecting frogs.

Out on the deck our rose bush looks like it will burst into blossom within the next two or three days. The hummingbirds have been busy at our feeder. They are quite magical little creatures. At one point on Sunday evening, after a quick peruse of the cruise ships plying the Juan De Fuca I was examining the biggest rose bud and one of our two pairs of regulars stops at the feeder less than three feet away. I gently turn my head and it pulls back from the feeder perch. I turn my head gently and the little sucker decides it’s time to give the big slow motion statue (me) the once over, stopping in mid air for two whole delightful seconds less than a foot in front of my face, tiny dark eyes watchful, ready to disappear at the fist sign of hostility. I move gently backwards and zip! She’s gone like a little green bullet only to return to the feeder when I’ve retreated indoors. See some of her antics in the video below.

One of the things I hear from the UK ahead of our visit next month is the ridiculae from a retiring Judge and London’s Mayor that kitchen knives should have their points filed off because these things are being used by gang members for murder. God knows what these people would think if they saw even my modest collection of cutting implements. My particular favourites (and most used) are the heavy bladed Sabatier K’s with Teak handles on the right, the bigger one routinely slices through frozen chicken and has a lovely balance in the hand. Might have to replace my filleting knife as the serrated ‘Miracle blade’ is hard to keep sharp enough for filleting. As for their size and variety, they’re working tools in a working kitchen. Their forms reflect their specific functions. Which is something someone who has never prepared food (Only peons do that) is incapable of understanding. These bansturbators are retards who blame the tool, not the perpetrator. Which is why all their bans and meddling will achieve nothing but piss the rest of the population off. Maybe if they and those before them focussed on root causes rather than the fallout, there might be less blood staining the UK’s streets.

But that wouldn’t have been very progressive now, would it?

Shall we talk?

I’m busy listening to a Livestream with interest when the phone rings. It’s our cable company. Hmm. That’s the third time this month. Oh well. I picked up.
“Hi, is this Bill?” Comes a friendly voice.
“It is.” I already know what this call is about. They’re going to try and sell me Cable TV. It’s Deja vu all over again.
“Hi. Notice you have internet and phone with us and we’re doing a special deal on cable this month.”
“No.” I can’t help but be amused. “We’re not interested. Not at any price.”
“Not even for ten bucks a…. Er, why?”
“The quality of content is terrible.” I’m trying not to burst out laughing. You can’t fault them for persistence but I’ve elected to be amused rather than get mad. “Two hundred channels and nothing worth watching.”
“What about the sports?”
“I don’t watch sport on TV.” Which is a bit of a fib as I will watch England Rugby matches when there’s footage online, but as most cable sport coverage is heavily cut Soccer, Ice hockey, American Football or Baseball I’m not interested. Watching cable sports coverage whenever we’re at a hotel or bar always irritates me as they keep on moving from game to game on the main cable channels as it’s all re-runs and best ofs. So you can’t get a good feel for the game. The decent coverage is all pay per view and I don’t like televised sport enough to go down that route.
“The news? We got news.” Tantalises the Telemarketeer.
“Which I can get online and in depth instead of the rotation half hour of soundbites cable news channels offer.” Oh I am a tease, but there’s no sense getting mad at these people as their Internet service is quite good.
“Oh.”
“We’re just not interested.” I affirm, so we close with the usual ‘have a great evening’ pleasantries.
“Was that the cable company again?” Mrs S calls from the sofa as she’s watching Midsummer Murders (Again) via our AppleTV box. “They don’t give up do they?”
“I think it’s rather sweet of them.” I chortle. Had I been busy I might have been less welcoming, but what the hell, I enjoy a little sport with sales callers now and again. Normally we don’t hear from them more than once a year, but they must be getting desperate to keep on trying a refusenik like me. Personally I think they should shut down the TV and free up bandwidth for even faster Interwebbiness.

Honestly, from what I’ve seen, the cable TV providers can’t even match the quality of something like The Rubin Report on YouTube which interviews people like Jordan Peterson or Niall Ferguson, who explains in quite an entertaining fashion how his position over Brexit shifted. And quite an insightfully nuanced view on Donald Trump to boot. Which I found quite interesting. A lot more engaging than any of CNN’s partisan cable TV output.

Hummingbirds etcetera

We have four distinct hummingbirds who visit the feeder we’ve set up half way along the back deck. Two pairs who I presume take it in turns to incubate their eggs in trees downslope of us. One male with a bright copper cap and orangish breast. His mate with a gorget of red on an otherwise green based colour scheme. Another male with what look likes a black hood which flashes iridescent copper at certain angles and his mate who has a thin green piping down the right hand side of her neck, from beak to wing-root. I managed to get some pictures but damn, those little suckers are fast! I was lucky to get this image of the female with the white stripe down the side of her neck.

All together now; “Awwwww!”

This is a seriously cheeky individual that hovered within eighteen inches of my face two weeks ago. I was sitting outside reading Niall Ferguson’s The Square and the Tower when I heard this low pitched buzz and there she was, giving me the once over. All I could do was sit there transfixed by this exquisite little creature thinking “Damn! My camera is indoors. If I so much as twitch she’ll disappear.” So it was. A moment later I blinked and like some UFO, she zipped off at warp speed and was gone. Fortunately, I managed to take some video of her feeding today which I may post when I’ve edited out my heavy breathing.