Tag Archives: Amusement

Routine shizzle

Not much happening chez Maison Sticker apart from hanging around for Mrs S’s appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon. She needs to talk to one to get a proper referral for rehab. Because she broke her arm out of country, she needs to follow procedure to get into the BC system. Which means a BC Orthopod has to give her busted wing the once over before she can get any physio. No matter our health insurance is paid up to date, and we’ve got cover coming out of her ears, the niceties must be observed. It’s a pain, but it’s slack season as far as work is concerned, so it’s not like we’re having to juggle two dozen other items at the same time. Just a case of hurry up and wait. So long as we can make our conference next week, we can easily shift arrangements. There’s also a little road trip dahn sarf to see how the folks across the border are faring and take a pootle along the Oregon and Washington scenic coastlines.

As for the Greek business, our investments aren’t going to be hit as we’ve no real exposure in the affected markets. The whole schemozzle, at least from this side of the pond and the FT’s pages, looks like it’s devolved into some kind of bizarre economic winking contest. No-one is actually dumb enough to take the last support from under their respective houses of cards, but it does look like the financial penny is dropping regarding the Euro. The ‘one-size-fits-all’ top down financial philosophy is showing a pair of Achilles heels which anyone with any real financial acumen could see a mile off. Real life economies are subject to the financial whims of populaces, politicians, banks and corporations, which tend, at least in Europe, to be a bit more locally focussed. The financial systems of the USA evolved from a roughly common culture with the same basic language. Europe can’t be like the USA, no matter how much the federalists would like it to be, because Europe doesn’t have the basis of that roughly common culture. It’s too, well, Balkan if you catch my drift. Not literally, but kind of. While the Common Market wasn’t a bad idea as far as promoting free trade was concerned, trying to shoehorn all the splendid diversities of mainland Europe into a centrally governed Federal republic was always a step too far. Various empire builders have had a go by assimilation and even military invasion, but in the end the locals always end up having their say.

And the centralisers wanted to bring Turkey and the Ukraine into their hegemony? Oh dearie me. Soo not a good idea.

What else? Various mini sagas over property etcetera grumble on. As far as that’s concerned I’m just biding my time. New neighbours downstairs. Some sociable, others not so much. Landlady is looking after a yappy little Yorkshire Terrier with a habit of shitting on doorsteps. Which can make walking through the back yard a very eyes down affair. Its owners will return next week, so by the time we come back from our conference and road trip, the little bastard will be gone. You can’t even make friends with the territorial little sod, it just runs away and yaps at you, as it it were his territory alone. Then when you turn away, tries to sneak after your ankles.

In my more evil moments, most of them between waking up and going to bed, I’m minded to remember a small rural adventure from my younger days regarding stupid dogs that have no off switch; a mate was shagging his girlfriend. Both of them a little shy of their sixteenth birthday, but this was in the 70’s and everyone involved but me is no longer around. No injury, no foul – right Officer? In the way of hormonally charged youth everywhere, he begged me as his best friend to keep his intrusive twelve year old brother out of the way. In my youthful lack of judgement I agreed, providing we could go rough shooting the following day with his Dads then-legal pump action shotgun. The lovers arranged their horizontal jogging, I baby sat younger brother downstairs and out of the lovers tryst. His and her lust was satisfied and all was well. Up until we were exiting the house. As we did, next doors Jack Russell broached the fence and began having a go at my friends ankles as we made our way out of said girlfriends back garden gate (That is not a euphemism BTW). I still have to work hard not to collapse in fits of giggles as I recall the rapidly dopplering ‘Yap-yap-yap-yap-yeellpppp!’ as my friend perfectly drop kicked the noisy little tyke back over the garden fence to where it belonged.

The temptation to do likewise to Landladies friends’ Yorkie is sometimes quite hard to resist.

Cast off

Pirate breath fresh advert bArrh me hearties! We be a-putting back to sea to flog the oggin once again. Back to work ye swabs and fetch me a fresh roast cabin boy!

No, no, no, no, wrong! Not that type of casting off. Nor are we cannibalising the crew of the good ship Bill Sticker (or even doing other unspeakable things to them – even if the little scamps thoroughly deserve it). Yet. Although if the mutinous mutterings I’ve been hearing from the mob below decks continue, there may be floggings. If we’re lucky I’ll get a Groat for each of the devils rejects. Honestly, they’re so low they need a telescope to look up to the scum of the Earth.

No. The sun is above the yardarm, celebrations are afoot, and the Hummingbirds are visiting. I am enjoying a large Vodka and Tonic, and so is Mrs S, who has finally had the cast removed from her arm. Nice job by the French Orthopaedic surgeon BTW. Another month or two and you’ll hardly know there was a scar there. Very neat.

Mrs S has been in the shower, singing happily as she gets properly clean, and my heart is so light you’d think ’twere filled with Helium.

The outside world can do what it pleases.

Hands up the mittens Mister Bosun, full speed ahead and damn your tomatoes!

Really bad junk science

Apart from the ‘science’ of Carbon Dioxide caused ‘Man made Climate Change’, there is one area where really bad junky science is trumpeted as ‘TRUTH’, oh-yes-it-is and you’re a filthy ‘denier’ for even doubting it (Or so say those who’ve got lumbered with too many ‘carbon credits’ in their investment portfolios), and that’s in the diet ‘industry’.

Todays little epistle comes from a Skype conversation with Youngest, when she told Mrs S and I that she and her friend had gone to get their ‘Fat indexes’ checked.

Well isn’t that responsible of them? Two young women in their early 20’s keeping an eye on their health, taking responsibility for their dietary choices and keeping well. Both are fitness fanatics who use the gym at least 3 times a week, Youngest runs half Marathons every month or so, runs almost every day. I might also point out that Youngest and friend both have bikini fit bodies with hardly an ounce of additional flesh visible. Having had them as house guests, and been their house guest at various times over the past four years I can personally attest to this, as they were prone to wander mildly hungover through kitchens (My traditional habitat) in their underwear first thing in the morning, and swimsuits later in the day when they’d had an afternoon dip at our old place. Which can do strange (but very pleasant) things to an older mans mind. Subsequent decorous hugs of greeting have confirmed their lack of unwanted body fat. And? I still have a pulse you know.

However, what made me sit up in amazement was Youngest’s announcement that both of them were found to be borderline ‘obese’ with a body fat index of 30. “Seriously?” I guffawed. Ten pounds each lighter and these two girls would be borderline malnourished. Whoever administered the test, I opined, should have gone to SpecSavers. No, I was told; the test was done twice and still arrived at the same result. I asked if the test equipment was faulty. No, I was told, the gyms equipment had been checked the week before. Then perchance had the tester possessed no more than a room temperature IQ with only the haziest notion of how to administer said test? Again, a somewhat indignant ‘no’ came my way. At this point the subject was changed.

Then again this should come as no surprise, having seen the maladministration of ‘dietary science’ on more than one occasion. Examples include those unfortunate people now regularly dosed with Statins, suffering side effects like muscle aches, memory loss and even an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, then finding out that dietary cholesterol does not necessarily equal blood cholesterol (Don’t take my word for all this – look it up yourself). High fibre diets resulting in bowel obstruction / overload, fever and excruciating pain. (I’ve had this happen to me – it’s not very nice.) Nurses giving out enemas and other bowel flushing treatments to patients, even when said treatments are ‘contra-indicated’, for relatively mild constipation. For example, purgatives or enemas should under no circumstances be administered to patients with any type of heart failure or a range of other life threatening conditions. Yet they are. There are no statistics on this, but anecdotal evidence still filters out. Which proves the axiom; Just because you can’t measure it doesn’t mean it don’t happen.

The whole ‘dietary fat is bad for you’ meme has been found not to be as set in stone as once believed. As for the figures re alcohol and vegetables plucked from thin air – see the ‘Five a day’ and ‘no more than 21 units of alcohol a week’ campaigns. Both of which fail to take into account the variability of the human body. For an amusing take on that subject; Richard Hammond, latterly of Top Gear fame has done a series of videos on in this instance, the ‘Drink two litres of water a day’ and ‘Tap water not as good as bottled’ marketing BS. Today is Sunday; Watch and Smile.

Where all this nonsense comes from is so often to be found in the cut and paste Lamestream world of ‘Science Journalism’ (Cough, cough, sardonic laughter) as promoted in ‘Health and Fitness’ magazines and the Sunday supplements. You know the sort of thing ‘Get your fit bikini body for Summer’ (Then complain about all those ‘sexist’ men ogling their newly ‘fit’ bodies – no pleasing some people) ‘Lose twenty pounds on the new miracle diet’ and find out that yo-yo dieting leaves that wonderful ‘orange peel’ effect skin (Cellulite) on the thighs and bum. Which, oddly enough, you can get rid of with the new ‘miracle’ anti-cellulite cream. Of course, much of this so-called ‘science’ often has more to do with press release content than the originating scientific paper. I’m often left wondering how many researchers in every field of scientific endeavour have read the media output on their study and gone “I never said that!” in incredulous tones, then heaved a heavy sigh and plodded on regardless as the lucrative public speaking invitations materialise.

Having a nice day

Well, no matter what the doom and gloom in the Lamestream media, it’s a glorious day here in sunny Victoria, British Columbia, and instead of my usual grumpy old guy posts, I thought I’d do one on some of life’s little victories. Our collapsing closet is fixed, so we no longer feel like we’re living in a charity shop. The loo has stopped leaking, Mrs S is healing nicely, she’s had a nice smart hairdo and the sun is shining. Isn’t that nice? We have had a very nice brunch, picked up one of those digital photo display thingies for a relative song, and having downloaded three or four hundred holiday snaps onto it, I’m enjoying a well deserved beer.

So, you might comment; it’s been a nice day so far Bill, now watch some bastard try and ruin it. Well not so fast my fine fetlocked fellows. Despite all the catastrophes we’re constantly told that befall us all if we don’t do exactly what we’re told, I’m feeling optimistic. The whole Global Warming thing continues to fail to happen. Rogue asteroids whizz past as they have done since time immemorial. Massed ranks of Jiahdis have so far failed to invade the downtown core. Was there a tidal wave? Not on my beach. Massive volcanic eruption. Not today. Has the Earth moved for me? Well yes, but only in the nicest way possible. No shark attacks or invasion of creepy crawlies. The zombie apocalypse can be watched downtown first hand as the junkies and beggars wobble their addled brains around for the entertainment of all and sundry. The global financial system is still intact, the powers that be will continue to kick the economic can down the road because they’ve got way more to lose than the rest of us put together. We might lose some of our savings, but we can still work. Their heads have a lot further to fall and they know it. So yes, I’m feeling optimistic, providing I keep my eyes and options open.

The bills are paid, we’re ahead of the game for once, and it is such a nice feeling I think I’ll do it all again tomorrow.

Trigger warnings and microaggressions

Trigger warningGood morning. This is a warning, courtesy of the Bill Sticker Institute for pointing and laughing at self destructive hypersensitivity. We have been informed by our lawyers, Lye, Cheetham and Runne that there are persons out there in interwebland whose single purpose in life is to detect things which might offend other people they’ve never met, and wouldn’t talk to even if they did because the offence takers are such delicate ickle bunnies. On the behalf of others, of course. Sorry, we’ve been told that describing people as hypersensitive should have had a ‘trigger warning‘ before it. We apologise for the microaggression that might be construed from this paragraph.

No we don’t. We lied. OMG! We lied! Well spank our nethers and tie us to a bondage bed (Yes please Monique, I’ll turn the other cheek). We’re not apologetic at all. Frankly we didn’t know that you might be offended, and can tell you in all honesty, that we do not care about your mealy mouthed, spineless victimhood. If you can’t take a joke you should stay out of the closet. Or come out of it. Whatever. Nobody of any account really gives a shit anyway about your personal ethnic or sexual sensitivities. Apart from our lawyers, who can smell a mobius twisted buck ten miles upwind in a blizzard.

Frankly, no-one cares if some immature, thin-skinned offence seeker fresh off mommies teats gets their panties in a bunch over what they thought was written that might have infringed upon their ‘rights’. Whatever those are, apart from some invented inanity claimed by emotionally stunted wankstains who had a hard time getting out of their Mother’s womb with someone else doing all the bloody pushing. A wet fart has a better right to existence.

We’re sorry, should we have inserted a warning of some sort before the aforementioned? Really? Christ on a bike, that’s sad to the point of derangement. Only in Academia could such garbage take hold and flourish like some bizarre, pointless, poisonous bloom kept alive for its curiosity value alone.

If anyone is offended and wants to send their lawyers, just try our nearest Bar Tabac in the Rue de Charonne, 11th Arondissement, Paris. Little bit of a rough neighbourhood but we like it. The graffiti’s spelled correctly. If the second hand smoke doesn’t get them first. Or the Pernod fumes. Or getting looked at in a funny way as they enter. Any resultant abuse will be free of charge and multilingual.

/rantmode

Should we have posted a warning or something……..again?

(Merry mocking laughter tinkling somewhere in the distance…)

Bullet and carrot

I read this in The Register this morning. An ‘operation’ in Northumbria taking twenty Policemen, a helicopter and no doubt several marksmen to take down one cow. Not a Steer or Bull, but a cow FFS! A milker at that.

Now I appreciate that cattle can be a risk to traffic on the highway, but shooting the poor bloody animal? Which was no doubt terrified with all these loud, whirly things and shouty black clad two legs chasing it. Now if the upper echelons of the Northumbrian constabulary ever drop by this humble blog, I have an alternative which may save their budgets. Instead of all those dramatic helicopter chases, shouting, urgent operational messages flashing through control, tracking the errant bovine via its cellphone signal and CCTV before a single crack! And down goes another enemy of the people, comrades. May I propose a solution known to all expert livestock handlers and rural Veternarians: a red bucket.

It’s a bit old school I know but when livestock escape, any old fashioned country copper would know where to find; A) A red bucket and a little dry cattle feed. B) A big, juicy bunch of grass. C) A properly trained Stockman who can be called upon to lure said errant bovine back into its enclosure who would understand the use of both. Back in the old fashioned 20th century, before whizzy Hollywood inspired Helichopper chases and brave, dedicated marksmen capable of dropping a Taliban Terrorist at a thousand metres, dealing with loose livestock was part of a country coppers daily round. At least in my neighbourhood. Livestock regularly got out because they broke down fences, were let out by ‘Animal rights’ activists, or simply wandered through a carelessly left open gateway. Sheep, cattle, pigs, Horses, chickens, Geese and even turkeys could regularly be found out of their proper enclosures. The solution was always the same. Red plastic bucket. Or a galvanised feed pail. Or call the nearest livestock farmer. Who would keep one as a matter of course.

The benefit of the proposed low tech solution is that first; it’s cheap, secondly the cow gets to live, thirdly, being a milker, it gets to dole out more of that lovely white stuff that with a little skill can be turned into smooth butters, excellent cheeses and yoghurts, or even drunk neat, if you’re not concerned about the low fat garbage some dietitians insist upon (A.K.A. The ‘cardboard’ diet).

Anyone who has ever had to deal with livestock knows the use of this high tech piece of rural technology. Red bucket, handful of gravel if no dry feed is available. Shake, rattle, let animal follow to nearest gated enclosure or pen. A bunch of grass or carrots and reassuring low pitched “Tch, tch” noises can be used, but these tools are only truly effective in expert hands, like a farm raised child of eleven. Pigs require a little more care as they do have a nasty bite, but that’s what a pig board is for.

Which is the downside of the red bucket and its ilk. It’s not dramatic. Teams of dedicated anti-terrorist units do not have to be deployed and the cost is minimal. Which, thinking about it, is probably why the Northumbrian Police didn’t look for one. What would all those highly trained marksmen and helichopper pilots do for target practice otherwise?

In praise of rain

What is it? Just condensed water vapour, falling from the clouds. Yet there is a poetry in it; a soft lilting cadence in even the most torrid downpour. Even when raindrops are coming down so hard they splash and meet themselves coming back up a foot above the ground, forming a sparkling fairy carpet of silver. When even trees provide scant cover against an aqueous bombardment rattling their leaves. Must be the Irish in me that sees such beauty in torrential rain.

Back in my foot patrol days, I liked being out in the rain. Unlike so many of my contemporaries, for whom the mere occlusion of a cloud over the sun was cause to stay close to base. Days when I’d go out bang on time, spending my day under trees and lurking in doorways, and having done my stint, get back to base only to find I was the last man out there. Not that I minded. Even when the rest of our crew said it made them ‘look bad’. As if I cared. Being paid to take a walk, which was my definition of the job, was my idea of heaven. In any weather. The authoritarian part of it was an inconvenience, but I was never the most enthusiastic enforcer, only resorting to that part of the job when contravention was so blatant that even the most liberal would cry “Oh FFS, Bill! Book him!” in frustration. The general dyslexic still kept me busy. Was it that long ago? Well I never.

Today I’m watching rain fall from our tiny Parisian apartment as the skies dump a cleansing dollop of airborne water over our little Arondissement. The Plane trees in the centre courtyard occasionally thrashing like manic dancers under periodic downdraughts. Cafe owners glowering up at the leaden grey and counting the Euros lost. Locals and smokers lurking under their umbrellas or in cafe’s until the pleut passes.

Then the clouds, having divested their skirts of so much water vapour, will sail sedately on like fat women after liposuction and the sun will bless the world again. Umbrellas will be returned to their stands, cafe proprietors will lay out their tables, people will stop by on their way back from work and a cleaner world will turn once more. Then there will be the warm, clean smell of wet earth replacing the odd ammoniac whiff of Eau de Tramp, garbage, traffic fumes and spilt diesel. At least for a while.

Be alert, your country needs, erm….. Lerts

Taking our daily post travail Parisian perambulation this lunchtime, Mrs S and I were meandering down the street when we noticed a fully armed Policeman, uniform almost blending into the painted wall on a street corner, automatic assault weapon at low port. “Hello. I think there’s a terror alert on.” I vouchsafed.
“Really?” Said my other half a little sceptically. However, suspicions were confirmed several times during our wander round Ile De La Cite, where we came across four distinct patrols of soldiers. Not Police or paramilitaries, but soldiers toting FAMAS Automatic weapons. Berets were being worn, but Spectra pattern helmets were slung within reach on belt packs.

Mile for mile, I’ve never seen so many police and military kitted up and loaded for bear. Locals, National Gendarmerie and full on military all looking for trouble among the tourists. While Mrs S and I were sitting and chatting, full of ourselves and Irish Coffee, three soldiers wandered close past us (Within two metres) in the Notre Dame gardens, giving our tourist camera bags the eyes over in case us two old farts were undercover Al’whatevertheyarethisweek terrorists and not two slightly inebriated Canadians enjoying the early evening sunshine. As for being a terrorist, whilst I freely admit to having done the odd Dance with Danger, Tango with Terror, and mildly unco-ordinated boogie with a bit of bovver, today we just smiled and chatted away to each other while the guys (and gals) with the guns meandered past.

A few years ago, armed Police would have made me very nervous indeed. Now, like the rest of the populace, we affected the “Oh so M’sieur has a gun? – Pff.” and got on with our lives. Apparently the heightened alert has been on for three months. Oh well, street life continues, and everyone’s out and about as usual. Drinking, eating, talking, doing business as usual. If it wasn’t for the Police and military presence, you wouldn’t have known.

Incidentally, while we were out, we didn’t see one of the notorious white faced French mime ‘Street Entertainer’ artistes. A few buskers and beggars, but only one clown, who honked his nose at a few Ile de la Cite tourists before moving on. If we’re lucky, the Police National have kept their zero tolerance policy on clowns after the 2014 Halloween ‘killer clown’ scare. Well isn’t that nice? Vive les Flics say I. Maybe they have a shoot on sight policy for all those white faced ‘artistes’, who go around terrorising tourists with their mimicry and invisible panes of glass.

Footnote: Just to clarify, I am of the Vetinari mindset when it comes to street mimes. They should all by chained upside down over hot tar facing a big sign saying; ‘LEARN THE WORDS’.

Slow news day

It’s May, the UK elections are over, political blood is being mopped up and the ‘silly season’ stories have begun to take over the headlines. Like giant killer asteroids and the Loch Ness Monster. BTW: a kilometre (Not a mile) wide asteroid pootling by at 26.5 lunar distances (6 million miles, not 3, FFS! That’s over 10 million Kilometres) is hardly cause for the mass panic some think it should be. Although the tabloid media would be dead in the water without sexing up scary stories to fwighten all the poor ickle bunnies out there. Personally, the only use I have for tabloid newspapers is for lighting fires or as an emergency substitute for toilet paper.

Although I am deriving some quiet pleasure at watching all the UK based control freak lefties beating themselves senseless with wet Che Guevara T-shirts over the Tories getting a majority. Oh, vraiment? As I’m learning to say over here. Les pauvres (Avec un rire sarcastique). You’d have to have a heart of stone not to laugh.

Had the piss taken out of me royally first thing when my pronunciation slipped and I asked for ‘Doux’ not ‘deux’ pain au chocolat at the closest Boulangerie / patisserie. The proprietor corrected me and when I’d acknowledged my goof, was all smiles and ‘abientot’. I’ll be back. Demain.

Street life

Markets, I love ’em. Street markets even more so. They’re a whole circus of their own. Various stall holders periodically going into a semi manic routines when trade lags off a little. One super animated skinny blonde Italian stallholder (Well, she said she was Italian) treating us to almost a dance routine as she busily shifted stock on her fruit stall. Everyone practicing their not so much broken as mildly bent out of shape but still adequate English on me while I unstick the heavily corroded French language synapses in my brain. We’re getting by.

As for sarcasm, well, I’ve been enjoying badinage with one of our local Boulangeres, an example of which I’ll try to relate as accurately as possible, having not made notes at the time and consumed a couple of bottles of a half way decent Sauvignon Blanc in between times;
Boulangere: Bonjour (As I enter boulangerie)
Me: Bonjour
Boulangere: Well that was a ‘bonjour’ with an accent
Me: A Canadian accent
Boulangere: You’re from Quebec?
Me: Non, No, nous sommes a British Colombia, the West coast.
As conversation openers go it went, and we chatted about a few things, his visit to Saskatchewan and the unintelligibility of Quebeckers to the average Frenchman or Canadian. Oscillating between his accented English and my bent out of shape French, but it should be enough to give my reader a flavour of how relaxed and easy going most French traders (Even Parisians) can be if you at least try to learn and speak the generalities of their language. Nothing pisses the average French person off more than some arrogant English (or worse, American) twat who can’t be bothered to try. I’m even catching a little mild flak off some of the local waiters because I won’t let them practice their English on me. So I hand a little back in a good humoured way, and we all get it right eventually. It’s fun.

Yesterday Mrs S and I sat and watched a low level drug bust by the Flics across from the cafe we were sitting at. A woman fixing the tyre of a childs bicycle while her husband controlled their Spaniel and their excitable four year old little boy. It may have been a girl, no young lad should be forced to ride anything that pink. Not even in such a cosmopolitan place as Paris. An Angry Dyke stereotype (Very mannish short hair, wearing boots, jeans and golf shirt, pissed off expression nailed to her face) crossed the road and took a seat outside the cafe, ordering an espresso, chain smoking Gauloise, making fluttery finger gestures while talking sotto voce on her phone. She appeared to be watching the Police. Young Couple speaking very heavily accented French tucked into the corner. A tourist parking his sparkly hire car right across from the intersection, effectively blocking a buses turning circle and getting soundly honked for his transgression. Cars and buses squeaking down twisting narrow streets, miraculously missing wing mirrors by millimetres. And scooters, scooters everywhere. Somehow missing getting squished by cars and buses, in turn not squashing pedestrians and the incredibly agile Parisian cyclist. Close calls seem to be the order of the day. Africans punctuating the sidewalks in variants of the Dishdash or Thawb, those long lightweight robes suited more for sub tropical and middle eastern climes. Hey, but this is Paris, right? Street life in the raw.

I’m quite enjoying myself.