Tag Archives: Comments

Oddities and space

I’ve never understood why certain people feel compelled to approach obviously busy strangers simply to indulge in ‘social’ chatter. Don’t know about the rest of you, but I like my personal space. Especially when working. To totally focus on a task to the exclusion of all else, detesting unnecessary distraction. I’m not totally asocial, I’m just picky, that’s all. Life has taught me that not all conversations are safe. Got something meaningful to say? Unload your soul in the comments (if you must), it’s what they’re there for. I may reply. I may not. Depends how busy I am. Yeah, I’m a party pooper, so don’t invite me, okay?

While the kids were growing up I made allowances, and always tried to respond to their anxieties / questions, hug when needed, and sometimes exercise extra care when getting up in the morning as Youngest had a habit of sneaking into our bedroom and sleeping on the floor next to our bed. Poor lamb, I almost trod on her one morning when I was new to the game of married life and every day was an ‘adventure’. Those were the days, eh, Bill? Clucking bell. Never mind, despite all the humps and bumps, both stepkids have turned out relatively okay, and I love them both dearly, so maybe I got it right. For a given value of ‘right’.

The future of social mediaOtherwise the whole multi tasking thing has rather passed me by, apart from when I’m cooking. It’s probably why I killed off my Farcebook account (twice), and while I do have a Twitter feed and ID, never Tweet. Why? Because they’re both time killers, distractions. Filling up empty lives with fluff and replacing actual thought. Hmm. Now there’s an interesting notion. Maybe social media will eventually evolve into some kind of electronic hive-mind for the ‘connected’, leaving them wide open to manipulation. An unwitting zombie army to be directed onto non participating ‘unbelievers’ or ‘deniers’ who don’t agree with the goals of the manipulators. I’m sure Leg Iron could twist that into one of his excellent scary stories or use the concept to taunt one of his drone co-workers.

As for me. Others might consider my relative standoffishness odd, but I’ll give the whole social chatter thing the go-by. Life is too short, and I have a flight to catch.

Yes, I’m evil, so sue me….

Firstly a small declaration of interest; I am a landlord. An owner of property in the UK which is rented out to others. A ‘parasite’ in the words of those whose grasp of economics is considerably lower than that of a heavily sedated slug. A ‘blood sucking vampire’ whose untimely passing shall be rejoiced at by all the lefties doing X-talentless dance challenges on his grave. If they can drag themselves from in front of their taxpayer-subsidised video games to be bothered. Please be advised; dancing on my grave may prove difficult, as my will stipulates that my ashes be scattered outside territorial waters. But chaps, don’t let that stop you trying.

Okay, that’s that out of the way. I’m out of the closet. Yes I’m an evil landlord, so sue me (Good luck with that). Now to the meat of the subject. In the run up to the UK general election there’s a lot of talk about ‘Mansion’ taxes on wicked and predatory ‘buy to let’ landlords. As prophesied many times in this blog and elsewhere across various forums and comment threads of the jolly old Interweb, this is a mark of the mainstream politicians desperation. They’ve spent all your money, and your grandchildren’s money buying votes, now they’re coming for private property. The public cupboard is bare and the pollies* are desperate, and anyone with any assets at all (unless they can afford really good tax accountants) is in their short sighted target area.

The reason behind this post is me getting into a minor comment thread spat in the Tellytubbygraph with one of the ‘Entitled’**. In a mildly robust exchange of views I posed the question; Does anyone remember the late 1970’s and early 80’s before people could buy their council houses so readily?

I do. I have clear and vivid memories of vandalised and derelict council housing throughout the industrially declining UK West Midlands. Whole streets of them. Whole council estates even. A little like a genteel version of modern day Detroit. Post WW2 semi-detached properties (for a North American equivalent – think ‘Duplex’) boarded up like wall eyed ghost towns. Broken side doors where unruly kids, copper thieves and the down and outs had broken in to leave devastation, illiterate graffiti, human faeces, decay and piles of syringes in their passing. In short, places where no one cared now made uninhabitable through lack of maintenance. There are still instances of houses, especially in Liverpool and similar, where whole streets are in this condition. And the equation is simple; Economic stagnation = few or no jobs = fewer people with less money = Lots of unwanted housing.

Throw left-wing, ideologically stifled bureaucracies into the mix and there you have it. ‘Managed decline’. The default position of big government. Empty houses in economically stagnant districts with no-one who can afford to live in or maintain the existing properties. Which might as well be bulldozed and the whole site left to turn into unproductive scrubland and swamp, thence woodland, followed in a century or two by the Greens favourite; ‘Ancient Forest’ full of Bambi and friends, but very few humans. Hooray! Or rather not. As a side note; putative Bambi’s should take note that ‘Ancient Forests’ are not full of pixies, elves, gnomes and pretty ickle flutterbies like in those cute animated Hollywood movies but rather home to Mr B B Wolf and friends, whose name for Bambi translates loosely as ‘Lunch’.

So what’s the answer? Government subsidies and plane loads of immigrants to provide a future tax base and spend their money on improving the housing stock? Which won’t do much good if said migrants don’t have the skills or motivation to build a better or economically active society. Or whose imported culture means they spend their disposable income on new religious buildings. Ending up dependent upon handouts from an ever more cash strapped country where the cupboard has been bare for quite some time. Because no-one is actually innovating, trading or making things. So more migrants will be needed. Who will bring their own baggage. And not much money. So the slow spiral of decline will continue. Until some far sighted politician (Unlikely to be elected, never happen) decides to take the wheels off said cycle, or the whole lot burns to the ground. BTW: The riot and burning strategy was tried in UK city centre riots of the early 1980’s (Which didn’t work – see the economic ‘broken window’ fallacy).

In these blighted areas, where councils can’t or won’t maintain and rent out the properties in question, the buy to let landlord becomes a tool of regeneration. They will put money into vital property maintenance and indulge in the necessary day to day negotiations and arguments with tenants. Where there is a market. It’s how we Evil Landlords make a living off our investment. If there are people with jobs and money, they need places to live. That is what we provide. A ready base of operations, especially for a highly mobile workforce.

To call someone who actually spends money on a building to make it fit for habitation a ‘parasite’ is rather ungracious to say the least. The tenants did not wish to invest time, effort, and twenty (possibly thirty!) years or so in their own bricks and mortar, but are happy for others to risk doing so, no problem. For property investment is a risk, one of the largest anyone will ever make. A hint about renting; treat it as a business arrangement, and all will be well. Mess things up then bleat like an entitled sheep about how ‘unfair’ it is that you have to actually pay for the roof over your head, then the Gods of decay and desolation will never be far from both your and your landlords door. I’ve heard it said that houses are not built as slums, they are made slums by the very people who live in and own them.

At this point I would like to introduce my reader to some useful Evil Landlord rules.

Rule 1: Never rent to male students, people on benefits or those with extensive skin art.
Rule 2: Insist on direct debit for rent. Avoid anyone who wants to pay by cheque or cash.
Rule 3: Never get involved in anything longer than a 6 month ‘Shorthold Assured‘ tenancy.
Rule 4: Keep in touch with your tenant on a monthly basis and make any non tenant incurred repairs promptly. Agree regular maintenance schedules in the tenancy agreement and stick to them.
Rule 5: Avoid entanglement with Social Services or any Local Authority body as much as possible.
Rule 6: Trust nobody and use lawyers.

Of all the above, please note that Rule 6 is the most important. Keep it brisk and businesslike. Anything else invites disaster.

*Pollies; Lamestream politician. So called because of their characteristic repetitive parrot like squawking.
** Entitled; someone who thinks they should be given a free ride off the backs of others, in short, a parasite.

Man down

Yes, Captain Ranty is gone. Last heard of on his Twitter feed 6th March 2015. The augury was not good. Now via Henry Crun and JuliaM we have the news of his passing. No whys or wherefores, just R.I.P. Colin Grainger.

Despite our differences, I always held Ranty in high regard. His blog sent a lot of traffic my way, and for that I’m grateful. We’ve corresponded privately on various matters from time to time and I actually developed a genuine liking for the man. For no matter what you think of his views, the one thing he didn’t lack was integrity. For sheer bull headed stubbornness, he never minded taking the biscuit, sometimes the entire lemon meringue. He was an entertaining fellow and regrettably this has become an alas-poor-Yorick post. There were too few of his calibre in this world and I know we’ve all got to go sometime, but not without a bit of serious kicking and screaming in the process, eh?

Now please Death, no more of our friends and favoured ones for a while, yes? There’s been too much dying of late, and frankly I need a break.

atque in perpetuum frater ave atque vale

Comments reactivated.

An Internet fable

The Troll and the pixie dust

Once upon a time, oh best beloved, there was a young blogger who painted his thoughts, such as they were, on the magic pages of the Interweb. A happy frolicker in the fields of dreams that forms the blogosphere. His name was Bill, and he loved the idea that people being free was heaps better than anything ever invented. Better even than the wheel, good whiskey, or fresh black olive bread with lightly salted butter and a nice chunk of Camembert. Or even the entire Interweb itself. Although not as good as sex (Well, we all have our own criteria.)

Most days, young Bill would take his blog down to the village of freedom ideas, deep in a small corner of the Interweb, and put up his board with what he had written on that day. Sometimes he would sit all day in the village of ideas and no one would come and talk to him. Occasionally he would stroll over to another board and scribble a note, sometimes serious, sometimes meant to amuse, as a comment on the other postings. More rarely Bill would return to his obscure little blog to find comments written by others. Sometimes he would reply, at other times he simply read and laughed at his friends cleverness or their enemies stupidity.

One day, Bill came back to his message board to read an angry comment from a fellow blogger, a wise man who went by the name of ‘Ironlegs’ which read; “I hate you, and don’t want you playing on my board any more. Go away forever and ever.”

Mildly upset at the vehemence of this comment, Bill erased the links as requested, and with a heavy heart wondered if he would ever read the wise sayings of Ironlegs again. A few days later, another comment appeared on his message board while he was out chatting to friends and drinking coffee. He returned to read “I don’t want to talk to you any more, and you can’t play with me.” From the Captain of Ranters from the far side of the village. Now Bill actually knew the Captain of Ranters and a few of the other members of the village to talk to, so sent a magic message to him which no one else could see or hear, then he took a short walk over to the Captain of Ranters message board, and asked what the problem was.

“Hello Bill.” Said the Captain of Ranters. “Sorry about that, but there’s a silly troll who has found a magical chameleon cloak. He’s using it to pretend he’s other people and go round writing foolish messages telling us not to talk to each other any more.”
“Why?” Said young Bill. “What’s the point?”
“Could be because he’s simply a weapons grade twat.” Commented the good Captain sourly. “Go talk to the Rider.”

So young Bill sent a magic message to the Rider, who stepped off his iron horse and sighed. “Sorry Bill, this silly troll who can neither read nor write properly has stolen a piece of the Interweb wizards magic chameleon cloaks. We think he’s doing this to us so the Wizards of the Interweb will think he’s jolly clever and ask him to join them. He hasn’t a hope.”
“Why is that?” Said Bill.
“Because the wise old Tea Witch knows of him. She says that without the magic cloak he’s a fat, blubbery pointless loser with all the grace and panache of a masturbating twelve year old. The Wizards of the Interweb all think he’s stupid as well.” Sighed the Rider, sadly. “He’s becoming a pest, so we’d better put out the Pixie dust, which he will tread in, and show us exactly where he lives.”
“Then we go over and beat him to a pulp?” Suggested Bill, then caught a stern reproving cough from the Inspector of Gadgets, who happened to be passing by.

As they stood and chatted, Bill noticed a number of the villages other inhabitants wandering over to talk with the Rider. Ironlegs, Richard of the Coated Puddle, High James, The Captain of Ranters, the wise old Tea witch. All the visitors to the village dropped by to discuss what to do, and how to stop the troll being so annoying. One thing was certain, thought Bill, the troll was going to be very unhappy because some of the villagers were talking about using Billygoats. Not that the troll would understand the folklore reference, because he was a very poorly educated, unimaginative and pointless troll, but that Billygoats were very bad indeed for trolls in general. They hurt a lot.

“Okay.” Said the Rider. “Here’s what we do. We scatter the pixie dust, which will only stick to the feet of invisible fairies like trolls, then use it to track it to its lair.” A number of the village bloggers took the pixie dust and scattered it around their message boards. Shortly afterwards, trails of glowing footsteps could be followed from board to board as the troll continued to leave silly pointless messages.

“What is he trying to do?” Asked the Wolf of the Snow.
“I think he’s trying to stop us talking to one another.” Opined Bill. The Captain of Ranters looked at the other villagers and smiled. The Rider picked up the smile, and then all the villagers began to laugh amongst themselves at the abject failure of the stupid troll, because, oh best beloved, all he had managed to do was to make the villagers co-operate more closely. After the laughter died down, the Wise Tea Witch said “Let’s see who we’re dealing with.” And all the villagers trooped off to their far seeing scope, following the trail of pixie dust coated footsteps to the trolls real home in the fabled poisoned woodland of Anglia.

As they looked closer, the troll came bounding out of his lair and roared at them very fiercely indeed, waving a club that was almost half his height long. The villagers stopped and looked at each other in astonishment. “Goodness!” Said Bill. “Hasn’t he got big feet!” Sure enough children, the troll had the biggest, ugliest, most scabrous feet ever seen on a fairy creature.
“Doesn’t match the rest of him.” Giggled someone else. And all the villagers stared at the tiny and very ugly troll with the oversized feet as he danced with impotent rage, waving his teensy weensy twig of a club at them.
“I think the Billygoats might well be overkill.” Said the Wolf of the Snow.
“I don’t think there are any Billygoats quite small enough.” Remarked the wise Tea Witch.
“Gosh, he’s really fat and ugly.” Commented someone else. “No wonder he’s got no chums.”
“Dirty too. He really should take a shower.” As if to make the point, a passing Woodland pig took one sniff at the troll and turned away in disgust.
“How could anyone love a thing like that?” Remarked someone else.
“I think that’s why. Nobody loves him because he’s so deformed and unpleasant, so he creates mischief instead.” Commented the Rider. “He hasn’t anything worth saying either, so all he can do is disrupt. He hasn’t got any worthwhile reason for existing at all.”

With wise murmurs of agreement, everyone turned away and went back to the village and carried on as usual. Of course dear children, this did not stop the troll leaving pointless messages, but now everyone knew who he was, no-one cared, so he became even lonelier and sadder than he had ever been before. Eventually he became ever more deranged and developed an obsession with collecting used pizza boxes and filled his tiny house with them. What is sadder still, when the troll died prematurely of a massive heart attack because he spent his life behind a keyboard, pointlessly taunting people and getting no exercise, nobody really cared. Not even the trolls mother, who was already hiding in shame for giving birth to such a sad creature. Not even the council workers who had to dispose of his maggoty decomposed remains or the tons of smelly pizza boxes. His noisome cadaver was eventually shoveled into a cheap chipboard box and burned at the crematorium as a health hazard. Because he had been so nasty to others in real life, there was no-one to cry for him at his funeral. No one even to put up a headstone to say who he’d been, or if he’d done anything positive with his life.

The moral of my little tale, children, if morality means anything; is that if you treat others like morons, then they will feel no need to even consider your point of view, and you will eventually die alone, ignored and uncared for after an unfulfilled life. Your brief sojourn on this mortal coil will have been wasted. Here endeth the lesson.

Pruning the blogroll

It seems I have upset Leg-Iron with a post I made, purely in jest, on his blog.  He has asked me not to do so again.  As a gesture to his obvious antipathy, I’ve also excised the link to his blog.  It will not be restored, even though we share a good deal of the same ideological territory.

This raises an interesting point; is there anyone out there who does not want me linking to them?

All requests for removal will be honoured without question.

Comments policy update

Regarding replies to comments. There is a point past which I will not go when answering comments.

  1. Sensible points, well raised will always be addressed. Well, if I think they are, and if I’m not too busy  – my blog my rules – capisch?.
  2. I refuse to go trawling back through posts of over a month old. This blog is a hobby, not something to be defended at all costs.
  3. If I think contributors to the comment thread just can’t or won’t comprehend points made I will not engage in further conversation.
  4. Personal attacks may or may not be deleted. Any such attacks will definitely not be deleted if I am of the opinion the comment contributor is being a dick and showing themselves to be so.
  5. Spam is not tolerated and will be deleted immediately upon detection (So why bother?).
  6. If the above makes me a killjoy – tough. I have a life, a job and a family. If you want more of my time, you’ll have to pay for it.

Here endeth the lesson.

Back to wordpress

I’ve been with blogger for so long I think I’ve been getting a bit complacent. The free tools that made it such a cute little platform are beginning to pall. Haloscan is no longer available as a free service, which is a pain, but there you go.

Did try to make a WordPress blog once, but it never went anywhere. Will migrate and see what I can do with this new blog.