Tag Archives: Apocalypse

My ten cents worth..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Facts and fantasies

Finished my studies and other work for today and took time out to pop over to Wattsupwiththat. A few minutes later Mrs S was knocking on my office door because I’d been laughing so hard.
“Bill, what’s happening?” She asked. By way of a reply I pointed at the screen. She paused, read, and then giggled mightily.

It turns out that some academic ‘green’ fantasist is trying to promote a return to collective manual labour and draught animals in farming as a solution to the non-problem of ‘global warming’. Well I’m sorry. I come from a long line of farmers and market gardeners and am calling this garbage out for the complete and utter ivory tower shite it is. I’m presuming that said Swede has never lived and worked on a farm that has no machinery to till the soil, or if he has, has only tried his theories out on a part time hobby farm for a couple of years at most.
Back to the land
Well, excuuuse me! There’s only one reason for such a retrograde move, and that is blind necessity. I’ve worked and grown up around farms for much of my younger life throughout every season, and I’ll tell you this for free. The last thing anyone with two brain cells to rub together is to go back to doing things the hard way. Without mechanised assistance, farming is hard, very hard work, not that I’d expect a soft handed academic to have even the faintest idea of what it’s like to graft for at least nine solid hours six days a week shifting shit, planting, weeding, harvesting and getting ready to do the same thing all over again, year in, year out, regardless of the weather.

Being in the great outdoors may look like fun while the sun shines or the rain is light, but if like me you’ve spent a few (In my case three) years with a fork in your hands in all conditions where the sky is flinging it’s load hard and horizontal across a farmyard and that job has to be done today or it won’t get done at all. And if it doesn’t get done, well, no crop, and after that, no wages. My excuse was that I was working my way through college at the time, and it was a local job that meant I could finish work in time to drive into town for my evening class. So I shut up and pitched in. Not that there weren’t fun moments. Getting the livestock together for a vets inspection. You’d think a fit young two legged man could outrun a three legged lamb with an ulcerated shoulder wouldn’t you? Wrong! I’ve helped a goat down from a tree, other livestock (mostly sheep) stuck in mud, herded sheep and cows, lost more than one Wellington boot (always the left one, oddly enough) in deep piles of cacky, and developed a sense of smell that can distinguish between numerous types of shit. I think said boots will still be there centuries from now until some latter day Time Team dig them up. “Arh, that be one of they 20th century foot garb.” An expert will opine. “Oi got this theory that in the 20th century they left these as offerins to some pagan goddess of shite.” That’s my best Phil Harding impression.

In cold weather, the boss usually got to ride in the relative shelter of the tractor cab when yardwork had to be done. The rest of us insulated ourselves against the elements as best we could. On one memorable occasion when the snow hit, I was swaddled in a waxed coat, gamekeepers gilet, two sweaters, two pairs of jeans, long underwear, two pairs of thermal socks and heavy boots. The wind cut through all of that, and after two hours I was quite drenched. By the end of the day my toes and fingers were numb, and when I got home the pain as my near frozen extremities thawed, was quite incredible.

My point is that really living such a life puts calluses on your hands and heels, turns the skin of your hands into leather and in Summer gives you a ‘farmers tan’ deep enough to pass for an ethnic minority in poor light. Notwithstanding all the constant little aches and pains from bone and cartilage damage due to prolonged physical labour in later life (Around 40). Hard agricultural work is neither for the faint hearted or the less than robust.

Not as though people like Andreas Malm, Naomi Klein, would ever sully their hands with such honest labour. That’s only for the little people….

Today’s lack of amusement

Today I have the signing of forms. Legal matters in the UK require my notarised signatures, so off I went to the local Notary Public to get my drunken spider crawl witnessed and stamped. Such are the occasional inconveniences of being an Expat. That and having wills in multiple jurisdictions. Not to mention the extortion that Canada post tries to apply while delivering a distinctly third rate overseas service. I’ve all but given up expecting Air Mail to be delivered within 4 to 7 working days. From Canada it’s more like three bloody weeks. So in future I’ll be sending important post UPS or Fedex. They’re actually cheaper would you believe? And they do express post to places Canada Post seems unable to reach.

Of such is the coarse cloth of my lack of amusement cut. Still, I stand to make a pretty penny, so I shouldn’t bitch. I just wish I didn’t have to send hard copies via an insecure means because of companies whose business models haven’t quite made it into the 21st century. Why my Bank and Lawyers won’t accept a fax or have a secure portal I can update my records on is a source of all too frequent irritation. Every time I have to authorise changes, with legal costs and postage we’re talking about a hundred and ten dollars, which is about fifty five quid a pop at the time of writing. That’s a hell of a lot to have your signature witnessed and to send ten sheets of paper. I don’t care how ‘carbon friendly’ the service is.

Anyway. While browsing the pilots forums at PPRUNE.org, I see the desperation about so called ‘man made climate change’ has sunk to a new low. At least according to the propaganda machine called the BBC. Apparently it’s supposed to make transatlantic flights longer, although the mechanism detailed in both the article and study looks like some sort of doomsday fantasy, which is what the lamestream keep feeding us. Yay! Wreck your economy and doom your descendants to penury over ‘science’ that would even make a Fourteenth century alchemist go “Carbon Dioxide? Really? Pass that philosophers stone will you and bugger off, I’ve got to transmute this lead into gold by next week or I get shortened by ten inches. Monarchies, eh?”

Well just let me pull my worn and tattered scepticism out of the drawer, yet again. The models this ‘science’ is based on makes Piltdown Man and Phlogiston look like cutting edge. None of these carbon dioxide driven climate models has ever made an accurate prediction three days ahead, let alone a century. So isn’t it about time they were consigned to the junk pile of failed theories? Like the flat Earth, Earth centred astronomical model, celestial spheres and Angels dancing on pinheads? The climate changes, and if you listen to people who are thinking outside the CO2 box, you start to get the idea that the Earth’s Atmosphere in no way resembles a greenhouse (Lack of glass, no frames or doors), and that a trace gas which is essential to photosynthesis could be a whole lot higher and actually improve the biosphere of dear old mother Earth. Cut the level of CO2 below 150ppm, and photosynthesis stops. The plants die and so do we. We need more CO2, not less. The whole ‘back radiation’ thing is an assumption based on the work of 19th century Swedish researcher Svante Arrhenius, whose equations assume straight line values for temperature response. Which is fine, to a point.

However, anyone who has studied meteorology in any depth, like those whose livelihoods are shaped by atmospheric physics, for example pilots, will understand that there is nothing straight about nature. A few years decades ago, when I was much younger and flush with funds, I had an ambition to learn to fly. Part of this entailed taking lessons how to fly gliders, light aircraft and even on two wonderful occasions in a helicopter (Once as navigator, once hands-on). Necessary background study gave me a rough working knowledge of atmospheric physics, airflows over laminar surfaces, cloud formation, air currents, the Jet stream, Anabatic and Katabatic winds etcetera. In short, what causes your tiny airframe to be lifted and tossed around by outside forces and how not to die when it is. Wish I’d kept my log book, now lost in multiple house moves, up to date. But that’s by the by.

What my studies have taught me is that Nature is curly. Things have limits. The speed of sound is a good one. Flying faster than sound requires much more complicated mathematics than simple straight line equations. Supersonic pressure wave build up is not a straight line response. Likewise, the speed of sound is not an absolute, it’s a variable which changes with pressure, density and temperature. Likewise, the IR absorption of Carbon Dioxide does not follow a straight line or even, as some have claimed, an exponential relationship with proportion. Any increase of temperature down to CO2 drops off rapidly after 20ppm.

Wait a moment. Twenty parts per million, but our atmospere contains around four hundred now? WTF? If it was an exponential relationship, shouldn’t we be baking in a Venus-like hell already? Apparently not. CO2 and Temperature H/T to Jo Nova for the original graph based on the work of Lindzen and Choi, 2009. So all this stuff about CO2 being a major climate driver doesn’t look so solid when you take a long, cool look at the real information.

So why is CO2 even an issue? Possibly because there are a lot of people with money tied up in Carbon derivatives, and politicians who have already spent all your tax dollars and need an excuse to raise even more taxes, who would like us all to think otherwise. So a number of very able Public Relations specialists are paid to keep the issue on the boil, brain dead media luvvies who leech off the whole apocalyptic drama of the thing, protestalot ‘climate’ activists who get back door funding from rich donors, and the politico’s making sure that grant money is directed to those who are (unsuccessfully) trying to prove that CO2 is the big climate bogeyman come to murder us all in our beds. Notwithstanding the ‘groupthink’ by the underinformed and credulous. If it wasn’t for the constant demands with menaces, I could laugh at these people a whole lot more.

The next scare story

Hitting a newsstand near you should be reports of a terrifying ‘brain shrinking’ virus called Zika. For many people I’d be inclined to say “But you weren’t using it much anyway….” as cerebral activity does not seem to pose a major part of their day.  If you’ve ever spent much time in Vancouver Island traffic, this will be a given. Even pedestrians seem to be affected. Very few of them seem to even look where they’re going. I’ve seen them try to walk straight into vehicles already half way over crossings. Like the eyes are somehow not connected to the brain. Or Mr Brain is in “La-la-la” shutdown mode, which seems more likely.

Symptoms of Zika are; fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes), muscle pain and headache lasting about a week.  Rather like a nasty dose of influenza with added rash and red-eye.   Dying is not likely.  But hell, don’t take my word for it, read the CDC’s Zika information pages.

Now before you all go panicking to your doctors and clogging up surgery waiting rooms, know this; Zika is a tropical virus for which there is no current remedy. No vaccination, no specific drug therapy, and it’s completely random, spread only by mosquito bites. Yes, and the whole ‘brain shrinking’ thing only affects a percentage of babies born to an infected mother. Scary huh? Well not so much. A bite from an infected Yellow fever (Aedes_aegypti) mosquito has only a 20% chance of causing an infection and even if you do get a bout, the treatment is as follows;

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration
  • Take medicines, such as acetaminophen or paracetamol, to relieve fever and pain
  • Aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen and naproxen, should be avoided until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of hemorrhage. If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.
  • If you have Zika, avoid mosquito bites for the first week of your illness.
  • During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites.

That’s it; no need for panic. Usual anti mosquito regimen applies. Set up a zapper to attract and kill the little critters before they can become a nuisance, which is usually three days after rain. If your area is prone to mossies (Like most of BC), wear long sleeves and cover up after 9pm, use mosquito coils or other insecticide repellent. You’ll still get the odd nip, but de nada. Unless of course you’re a pregnant woman in an affected area, in which case, a bout of Zika during pregnancy, so some researchers suspect, can produce a child with microcephaly. But Brazil is the only place reporting such a phenomenon. So not going there while pregnant sounds like a modestly good idea. Otherwise your 2016 Olympic visit to the Rio games sounds pretty safe. Well, apart from Malaria, Dengue or Yellow fever, or any of the other infections endemic to that part of the world. In which case, stock up on DEET and use liberally.

Squirrel!

squirrel-up-dog-gifFrom a recent news item comes information vital to our civilisations survival.  Via the Igors at the Bill Sticker Institute for Assorted Trivia I bring dire news of a global conspiracy.  A real one.  Not local like most terror threats but one whose breadth truly does affect all humanity.  Friends, we are under assault from the most effective cyber attacks ever imagined by a delusional paranoid schizophrenic completely off their meds, with or without added LSD. Oh yes, it’s that bad.

We’re not talking about Cyber attacks by Anonymous, or China, Daesh, threats to civil liberties by the very people sworn to protect us or even zombie armies looking to snack on what little brains we have left after watching daytime TV.  We’re talking about a real threat, responsible for genuine power outages and all manner of suicide attack as well as nut theft on an industrial scale.  The real enemy is….. Squirrels.

Cybersquirrel with bluetoothInformation is emerging of the sheer magnitude of these assaults on our civilisation. A map of power outages caused by these Decepticon borg-like creatures can be viewed here.  The heinous acts by these creatures include causing multi-vehicle pile ups, single squirrel kamikaze attacks on drivers in open topped vehicles, with invasions of licensed premises and failure to pay for their own drinks tab.  Not to mention the recent California terror rampage and reports of Vampire squirrels targeting deer. Even major sporting events are not immune. The list goes on.

So what can we do, how can we protect ourselves from these random terror attacks? What is the actual depth and scope of the threat we face? Most of the attacks appear to be a ‘suicide’ variant; Squirrels throwing themselves under the wheels of traffic or into sensitive infrastructure thus terrorising entire communities. How do we identify the threat?

CybersquirrelThe problem with threat identification is as demonstrated in this rare picture of a cybersquirrel caught off guard by a courageous camera person, who, although they took this picture using an extremely long lens, was shortly thereafter ambushed and hospitalised by several lightsabre wielding assailants later pictured fighting amongst themselves over credit for the ‘kill’ (See below).

Lightsabre squirrels So what are we to do in the face of a threat more real than global warming, mad bankers, room temperature IQ politicians, rogue asteroids, alien invasions and people who forget to carve new calendars? Fear not. I have a solution, but I would caution my last remaining reader to sit down with a stiff drink before proceeding further because what I am about to propose may seem unpleasant and may even make you nauseous. Are you sitting comfortably? Okay, brace yourself. My proposal is that we have to eat them. All of them. Every last single tree rat has to go. Before these cybersquirrels bring our brave 21st century civilisation and all the comforts we have come to rely on crashing to it’s knees. Because it really is them or us.

It may be the only chance we humans have left……..

Still here then?

Well, we’re back. Enjoying a nice cool breezy day or three after the all-encompassing heat of the last seven. Mrs S and I are indulging our new found tastes for things like ‘Moscow Mule‘ cocktails. The ingredients for which are Vodka, lime juice and Ginger beer (Not ale, not enough Ginger). Very quaffable. Mrs S does like Cosmopolitans, but we didn’t have any of the right liqueur (Cointreau) in house, so I had to adapt and improvise with Stolichnaya. On its own, Ginger beer with a shot of Roses lime cordial over ice is very nice, but add Vodka and a generous squeeze of real lime and well, you’ll have to try it for yourself.

The various global crises keep grumbling on. The Greeks constantly wanting more money to pay their old age pensions, then shifting the bills onto someone else continues. The Chinese economic woes. Iran getting nuclear technology so they can build atomic bombs (That’s not going to end well). A surprise medical bill for four thousand Euro’s that should have been paid by our insurance company which has led to several frantic phone calls. Pension paperwork coming at us from all directions. Oh what jolly bloody fun. I’m not even of pensionable age yet, and they’re going to change the rules yet again. Good job I won’t be relying on a pension then. Hey ho. We’re taking it all in our stride.

Well, we’ve had a thoroughly nice time in the USA, apart from a few navigation hiccups on Saturday because our SatNav had a minor nervous breakdown caused by all the roadworks off the I-5 into south Tacoma. We had a wander around the American Car Museum and saw these. American 1930s classics Which cost the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of modern dollars in their day, such were the costs of hand coach building, even during the height of the American depression of the 1920’s and 30’s. Oh yes, and from the triumph of hope over experience department, these examples of Electric vehicles; Electric cars from the 20th century Their modern descendants only possible because of massive subsidies. While electric cars are superficially economical, they will always remain a fringe technology until the fuel / refuel issues can be fully addressed, or failing that, a small molten salt nuclear reactor, hydrogen or other non battery technology becomes practical for personal transport. You can probably hear the sound of my breath not being held from half a world away. Until a long time hence we’re probably stuck with the reliable(ish) Internal Combustion Engine. Seven litre Chevvy CamaroWhich on the plus side, has given us beauties like this Seven litre Chevrolet Camaro. It couldn’t match something like a Porsche on European roads of course, but on North American highways, it has the legs and legroom to just eat up those endless miles.

For those who protest about how much energy those naughty Gringos use, they forget the large distances between towns. You can walk down to the store to get the groceries, but that walk will take a long, long time. They also forget that continental North America is a bloody big place, and therefore tends to suffer from more extremes. Everything is bigger over here. Weather, distances, trees, and also the average fast food restaurant customer. We are talking three hundred pounds and upwards.

Anyway, back home in the more environmentally friendly land of British Columbia, I’ve just been given about twenty pounds of fresh figs which I have to find a use for. Do I make some preserve? Chop a few then soak in Vodka? Make Fig rolls (yum). Put a few out to ripen in my office? Apparently there’s a trick with a dab of Extra Virgin Olive Oil which hastens ripening. See these posts on a gardening forum. Treating figs with motor oil, we have been assured, does not work. At least if you want something vaguely edible afterwards. I may do all these things. There may be a progress report.

Bye for now.

Greek out?

Just saw this little snippet begin to spread across the Forex world;

Due to the possible exit of Greece from the European Union, we would like to inform you that from 29th June, 2015, instruments may be temporarily set to Close Only mode.

While I’m not exactly sure what ‘Close only’ mode entails, this does not bode well. Such measures are only put in place when there’s a sign saying “Crisis – this way up – do not bend” above the Foreign Exchange markets.

My own currency brokers are closed over the weekend, but I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of fallout over the next 72 hours. Looks like it’s one of those financial ‘Hang tough’ moments. So that’s what I’ll do. Take a step back and let the markets oscillate a bit.

Greek ruins Parthenon and EuroFor most people, shifting money across borders is the province of those so-called ‘rich’ buggers. For me (I’m ‘modestly well off’ not ‘rich’) it’s a case of necessity. I have assets to buy, money to shift, taxes to pay, but if the landfill has hit the wind turbine, while the Greek tragedy plays itself out I shall put my Fedora on and go soak up some sunshine, stick me rod in my hand and go stand on some rocks to see if the fish are biting. We’ll see what doom and gloom, if any, that Monday brings.

Will the powers that be let Greece fail? We shall see who blinks first.

P.S. Watch this Twitter feed
Update: Also this breaking news feed on the Eurozone.
And just to throw more fuel on the fire, we hear the State Governor say that Puerto Rico can’t pay its debts.

While the rest of North America seems to be going to see Gay Pride parades, What’s that creaking noise?

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.

Life before the Interweb

I love gadgets. I own several. One of which, a Samsung ten inch screen tablet S4 is proving its worth with every single advancing day because it has built in GPS, and I don’t have to bother with logging on to every single dodgy Wi-Fi connection every time I use most of the non-Interweb maps. Do I care that ‘the authorities’ can track my every move when I bother to take said item with me? No. I don’t feel the need to cart it around, so whoever wants to figuratively read over my shoulder will know what city I’m in, but that’s it. If I’ve locked it in the Hotel safe they won’t be able to find it at all, as a quarter inch of pressed steel makes a reasonable RF shield. That and the RF shielded carrying bag I keep it in when travelling. Switch it on when I need it, the rest of the time it’s pretty much invisible.

Anyway, that’s beside the point. Yesterday had me thinking. Over the weekend I’ve found myself remembering times past, and how we young ‘uns (as I was then) got by without the instant in-your-face immediacy of modern mobile communications. We had no Windows, Android, Tweets, blogs, Skype, Whatsap, Texting, Sexting, aps, iPhones, mobile phones, or Tablets. Computers and Telephones were far too unwieldy to be mobile, but we did have access to a form of Radio Telephony. If Dad was a high level service or Civil Engineer. Which one of my boyhood friend’s Dad’s was. No-one else we knew was, so it was no use to us. Yet we got by without much fuss. No zombie cannibal gangs dropped by to eat our brains. None of the nightmares conjured up by Hollywood came to play. The Apocalypse was for other people.

Yet we had the three day week. Scheduled power cuts for eight hours at a time in Winter. Strikes that seemed to shut everything down for days. The phone worked, but we kids weren’t allowed to use it. Later on I had my own place, and the joy of getting a phone (or trying to get) put in by British Telecom. BT’s advertising slogan ‘It’s for You-who‘ carried particular irony.

Indeed, the pace of life was slower. Much slower. Treacleishly so. People raised in today’s society would have trouble coping because their brains would be set up wrongly. Their memories are not so well developed. I also remember doing a hell of a lot of walking to see far flung friends. A brisk twenty five minute hike down unlit English B class roads with a national (60mph) speed limit which was more of a guideline than an absolute, to the nearest form of public transport. Which was usually late. Closest shop in the next village. One black and white TV in the house. My Dad liked watching snooker, which is a slightly surreal experience when you have to guess the colours. No remote control (That was me). And only, horror of horrors, three erratic channels! Remember signal ‘ghosting’?

So we kids spent a lot of our time outside. Tramping across ploughed fields. Dawn to dusk. Hunting water rats, pigeons and rabbits with catapults (slingshots) or air rifles. Or just walking, simply because you had bugger all else you could afford to do. Under age sneaking into local pubs and clubs, the closest of which were a fifteen minute shank up and down some quite steep hills and dales. Learning about building our own cars and motorcycles in our mid to late teens, if our parents allowed us the garage space, and the guy with a car was king. Or at least someone to sponge lifts off with up to eight of us crammed into an ageing Ford Corsair with suspect brakes and limited power on a Saturday night. Using side roads which we knew the local coppers rarely patrolled. Come to think of it, the Police didn’t figure much in our lives. And we were invariably unsupervised. Walking and talking. Face to face.

You had hobbies, part time jobs. You experimented. Especially with something dangerous (Particularly the local girls – especially those who rode horses). Travelling for two hours just to go ten pin bowling or to see a movie. Hunting through poorly indexed racks of twelve inch vinyl for your favourite bands latest album. Then the luxury of hours spent reading, standing rapt, almost statue like in front of the paperbacks in W H Smith.

Some would call it ‘idyllic’, even a ‘golden age’, but I disagree. There were long, dare I say interminable periods of boredom, staring listlessly out at traditional English weather (rain, sleet, hail). Rarely getting out to play under heavily cloud punctuated blue or more often totally grey skies. Come to think of it, that’s what the Internet is; like constant sunshine with occasional light refreshing showers. Information to bathe, soak, indolently loll and roll recklessly around in the long grass. A world of knowledge and opportunity at your very fingertips. Book a rail ticket on the other side of the world. Book a restaurant or day trip. Learn a language. Watch a movie. Watch endless ‘banned’ content. Compared to the pre internet days, when all information was closely guarded, hard to find, and only sporadically available via the nearest library (two hours away on foot and by public transport) today is the golden age.

Same old same old

Every day it seems we are promised climate disaster as unthinkingly regurgitated by the lamestream media. Yet here we are at yet another ‘Earth’ day, the continually predicted disasters and inconveniences supposedly attributable to humanity’s annoying habit of breathing out carbon dioxide still absent. No real sea level rise, only the slow increase of temperatures as Earth gently warms out of the Little Ice Age. Although a lot of this warming isn’t certain, as temperature measurement ‘error bars’ are 0.8 of a degree centigrade (Celsius, whatever, it’s an SI unit) and the temperature ‘rise’ over the past century is maybe a degree or so centigrade. Do the math, as they say over here. A degree is only 25% or a quarter of the potential error in temperature measurement. So the actual temperature ‘increase’ could be as much as 1.8 degrees, or as little as 0.2 degrees. Depending upon who read the thermometer and how carefully they did it. We’re talking about temperature monitoring from the early 1900’s and before, which is not as ‘accurate’ as today’s digital thermometers. Not so scary now, huh?

The one thing that constantly amazes me about this whole ‘climate change’ thing is how flimsy the ‘evidence’ has been for all the decades of pantie bunched hand waving. Yes the temperature is gently rising. Has been for over a hundred years. So what? Quite frankly I think the whole hysterical “You’re all gonna die horribly” panicmongering of ‘Earth’ day is coming from people who should stop worrying everyone to death, and go out and get lives. Maybe actually do something useful for a change. Help the disabled. Volunteer to get their hands dirty for a change.

Viewed objectively, the current overall climate of the Earth is unusually benign at this point in time. Sure there are tropical storms hitting Australia, but that’s nothing new. 60mph winds aren’t that extreme. We regularly get windstorms around the island of that intensity. Tornadoes in the midwest? Meh, nothing unusual. Fewer Hurricanes than 1997, certainly. When was the last big one to make serious landfall? Sandy in 2012? Yeah, but wasn’t that only rated as a Tropical Storm when it hit New Jersey? Not even a ‘hundred year storm’.

What is certain is that there will be storms in future, like there have been in the past. The sun will shine. The rain will fall. Californians and other short sighted fools will neglect or even dismantle their water infrastructure and then whine when the water companies can’t keep their golf courses green enough. Then they’ll blame it all on some poor dude who needed to drive their car to work. Which is as irrational as it gets. But then that’s the whole ‘Green’ mentality for you. Irrational.

Oh yeah. I see that Greensleaze have their old rustbucket the MV Esperanza tied up at Ogden Point downtown. Man, that vessel needs a decent paint job. Considering how much money said organisation has sloshing around in their coffers they can surely afford to have it dry docked and given a serious refit. Or maybe just sink it as a marine ‘reef’ to encourage sea life. Improve the fishing. Now that would be really useful.