Tag Archives: Amusement

Trump card

Now that Donald J Trump is officially the Republican Presidential nominee I expect to keep hearing even more stories about people from south of the border (and I don’t mean Mexicans) threatening to move to Canada should he become President of the USA. Trust me chaps, it’s a bad idea. Honestly, as this cartoon by the irrepressible XKCD points out. Our Winters can get a bit brutal, especially in the Rockies and Eastbound. Which is why most of us prefer to snuggle up close to the 49th Parallel or thereabouts. Even here in the comparatively mild Maritime climate of the Pacific Northwest it can get decidedly chilly. Especially Campbell River and north.

Dont move to canada To begin with, north of the 49th parallel we do not enjoy the same diversity of goods as in the US of A. Grocery stores do not stock wine or even lite beer. Did I also mention it’s more expensive to live up here as well? Food and rent prices are generally higher, and property costs more to buy, even with the current exchange rate. A lot of places close on public holidays as well as Sundays and Mondays and Wal-Mart is no longer taking VISA payments in some of its stores. And if you want to shop at Target instead… oh, wait. You can’t. They’re all shut. Permanently. Then there’s the bears. Who aren’t to be messed with, even in the suburbs of Vancouver. They’re are also known to break into cars (To be fair, it was a Lexus). On the plus side, the wildlife does tend to keep the human varmints indoors, when they’re not indulging in the odd gang shooting (The gang bangers, not the Bears or Cougars). Which keeps our local Police busy. Yes, and Marijuana isn’t fully legal just yet. So before you sell up and fill up the U-Haul, take a deep breath.

Then there’s the Governance. It’s a bit more, well, intrusive if you know what I mean. Especially at the local scale. We might currently have a progressive prime minister, but no, Canada is not the progressive paradise you might think it is. Trudeau or no.

Don’t even mention the First Nations land claims or the endless prevaricating over relatively simple decisions like building a new sewage treatment facility for BC’s provincial capital. Or that our Provincial Prime Minister avoids coming to Victoria as much as possible because there’s “No real people” here (Which I find a bit insulting). Dear me no. A can of worms? More like truckloads. It’s why things move at a slower pace up here in the not so frozen north. Especially immigration.

However, we like it, but for Americans some of our more, ahem, eccentric practices might be too much of an an acquired taste. So are you damn Yankees absolutely sure you’re going to head north if, or more likely when, Donald Trump becomes the next US President?

Minor issue

If my last remaining reader visits the comment stream in the previous entry they could be forgiven for thinking something is amiss. Particularly comments marked “Fake comment” or “Another fake comment” with Longriders gravatar attached. Not so; we have an impersonator troll issue from a total slaphead who used to hound the late lamented Captain Ranty amongst others. Our impersonator troll seems not to have learned anything from that experience, which does not imbue one with any confidence in his cognitive abilities. At present I’m actually having a bit of fun with our unwanted visitor, who is currently reduced to the level of highly unimaginative monosyllabic invective. Poor ickle bunny, has I upset oo den?

An Internet TrollSo I’m trying very hard not to howl with laughter as I type. He is such a sad, deluded little puffed up pile of unpleasantness I’m almost tempted (But not quite) to get my pity out of cold storage. On the other hand, why bother? To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw’s Henry Higgins from the stage play ‘Pygmalion‘ (Act 2, pg. 40) “He’s so deliciously low”

Should any of you wish to hear the story of how our rather unpleasant little visitor was first encountered, may I refer you to this post from May 2012. You may be amused.

I’ll block him when I tire of his shenanigans.

Interesting…

I’ve just been fielded an email about the UK’s referendum to exit the European Union. Specifically about this press release from London Law firm Miscon De Reya’s legal challenge regarding the EU Referendum result. Oddly enough on behalf of anonymous clients. The briefest précis of which is to forbid the UK’s Prime Minister ‘triggering’ Article 50 without a full parliamentary debate and act of Parliament.

However, there are differing opinions; the Jack of Kent blog runs a legal thought experiment on whether or not, because the intent had already been stated to ‘trigger’ article 50 if the British people voted in favour of leaving, then a Parliamentary debate and act of Parliament is unnecessary.

Pass it on; this looks like being fun.

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.

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.

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.

A short pause

… for a commercial break and a word from our sponsor.

Still hereWell, isn’t all the doom and gloom out there wonderful? The world is supposed to end today. Again? On a Saturday? Bugger. Is there still time for morning coffee? Well, they missed the last big one, so I presume the “We’re all doomed” faction got it wrong yet again. Why do some people want the world to end? Can’t they make it in this one? Sheesh.

Talking of doomsaying, we’re told voting for Brexit will cause economic chaos. Well colour me sceptical, but the odds are that any extrication from the bloated monster that is the EU is going to take a few years at least. Even if the ‘out’ faction win by a massive landslide. In which time new trade treaties can be negotiated with new partners, so the transition doesn’t promise to be as traumatic as the ‘Remain’ camp would have everyone believe. There will no doubt be a couple of wobbles, but trade won’t come to a crashing halt, and the City of London and all its important financial markets will keep on humming away. Quite frankly I think the UK will be far better off without the bureaucratic busybodies of Brussels and Strasbourg. The EU on the other hand, will be in deep shit, having just lost its third largest contributor. Boo-fcuking-hoo.

Then there’s all the “You’ll die if you eat this” faction in uproar. What happened there? The official report, which has annoyed many lobby groups, has come out with a solid “No it doesn’t.” Repeat after me. Dietary cholesterol does not equal blood cholesterol. Dietary fat does not equal body fat. We wouldn’t need a digestive system if they did. A carbohydrate rich diet on the other hand does result in more body fat. Snacking on Pizza and fries with a large side of chocolate while sitting on your arse watching daytime TV is probably the culprit for the much vaunted ‘obesity crisis’. As for ‘low-fat’, what do you think replaces the fat? Starch fillers, that’s what. The ‘official’ advice has been wrong for years, and may even have made matters worse. Who knew, eh?

Make mine a large steak with a small side salad. I may go fishing this afternoon.

TTFN

My perverted tastes

Many years ago, when you could still do these things, I had a motorcycle licence plate bearing the subtitle ‘Leather pervert’ under the license number. It was a bit of fun, nothing to get wound up about because I used to wear a lot of leather. With body armour, because I’d learned that being hit by one of those clumsy people in their four wheeled tin boxes tended to hurt. As did falling off your motorcycle because your brakes jammed, or hitting a nasty patch of spilled diesel or ice on a sharp corner. These were my salad days, when I was green in judgement. At least according to someone else called William. I had a lot of fun back then, bending rules and generally just being a lad. Not that wild, but not that tame, either.

Anyway, I’ve always had a hankering for the different and occasionally exotic and my circle of close friends has often been a little eclectic to put it mildly. Much to my father’s irritation. He wanted me to join the golf club and settle down to a ‘job for life’, which never really existed anyway. Sorry Boss.

My issue with my Dad was always him telling me “Do this!” or “Do that!” but never exactly helping me find out how. Which was probably why I was such a disappointment to him. I was forced to make up my own rules as I went along. Without any guidance. So I experimented. In the process I ended up making some less than ideal life decisions but; I have learned a few things that I would not have otherwise have known. Like Frozen Vanilla Yoghurt and a teaspoonful of top notch Seville Marmalade make a dynamite dessert. By ‘Top notch’ marmalade I mean not the usual store bought stuff that’s mostly jelly. I mean the opaque, peel rich variety, solidly fruity and sinfully bitter. It’s like BDSM on the palate. The innocent creaminess of Frozen Vanilla Yoghurt contrasted with the wicked lash of Seville Oranges giving just a hint of barbed wire undergarment. This is a dessert that almost demands you raid the exotic corsetry section of your local sex shop to wear while eating it. Although if you’re not feeling formal you can go with the informal look of jeans and T-shirt with your zip partially undone at minimum. Notwithstanding; it’s what this perverted confection does on your tongue that’s important.

It’s so good it must be illegal.

The end is nigh

Well actually it’s here. The long trip is over and we’re safe home to a leaky toilet and thoughts of moving to a less plumbing troubled apartment. Yesterday we crossed the border back into Canada and reached home. We are taking a huge tranche of memories and experiences, some of which I will be sharing with my last remaining reader as I shoehorn the relevant memories into some semblance of order. We’ve taken over a thousand pictures, some of which are actually in focus, a select few of which will be cropped, resized and posted on this blog, possibly with amusing captions and text.

One of the reasons I haven’t posted so much about our trip is simple; we’ve been too busy doing to write about it, and there’s been at least an hour a day when my brain’s been too overwhelmed to put everything down in a half way cogent fashion.

This content will not be appearing on Facebook. First because I’ve tried to shut my Facebook account down several times. Yes, I followed all the tips and hints religiously, but still the wretched thing has been resurrected so many times you’d think it had been buried in a Yo-yo. Second because I now do all my picture and video sharing with family and friends on Instagram. As our kids have migrated away from Facebook, so have we. Third because Facebook censors stuff it’s employees don’t like. It’s politically censorious because that was always part of its design. Which will eventually be the death of the site. Remember Friends reunited? Yes? No? Don’t care? That was big. Once upon a time. No doubt Facebook will follow as people tire of getting those annoying little ‘Your content has been removed’ notices. Tout passe, tout lasse, tout casse, et tout se remplace. I don’t care how many ’emotional speeches’ people make about their personal lives. You’d think they were the only people who’d ever suffered troubled times. Newsflash! Been there, done that. Not impressed with all the public caterwauling.

Any old road up, of which we have encountered many, I’ve got two major projects for this Summer. One is work related, but the other is to go through all the photo’s we took and spend a little time documenting our trip properly with all the events and anecdotes associated with our journey. From underwhelming hotel accommodation and nice surprises to random stuff like finding ‘white power’ visiting cards under our windscreen wiper one merry May morning. Which amused me, but also brought forth the snippet that there was an active community of such people in Boise. The noisy sort who hold marches and suchlike. We missed them all while we were there. They must have been taking the day off is all I can say.

Talking of taking the day off, I’ve just been looking for volunteer opportunities locally to help victims of the Fort McMurray fire. To which I must report I found none in Victoria. At least not online. There are plenty for Syrian refugees, SPCA, Eating Disorders, Invasive Plant Species, Farmers Markets, but none for sending supplies to the afflicted in Alberta. Maybe I’m just too late and all the fuss is over? Or is the well known BC prejudice against Oil Sands production making itself felt yet again? Hmm.