Tag Archives: Crapness

Why is there no….

Why can’t I find a ‘Dislike’ button on Facebook? People have dislikes as well as likes, so why the hell not?

The reason behind my question is that Farcebook integration is currently playing merry hell with my London accommodation bookings. To cap it off, mildly panicky phone calls and e-mails to UK based places are not being answered and all I’m getting is cutesy little ‘Our outreach team will soon be with you’ bullcrap from the service provider. So yes, I’m looking for a way to publicly express my displeasure. Big time. I’m being fobbed off and I don’t like it.

I’m not that worried, if everything has fallen over there are plenty of other hotels in London. I have a credit card and money to spare. I’m just pissed off that the guilty parties have had my money since January and probably won’t give it back if our stay has gone sideways. Well chaps, if you want to play it that way, I’ll just hand the mess off to my lawyers (Lye, Cheetham, and Runne) and insurance company while I’m enjoying the pleasures of Paris. The extra fifty bucks I spent on trip cancellation insurance will mean I’ll get my money back, eventually.

My major beef with Farcebook integration is the demand that you share your personal details with them, then share your most intimate online emanations and personal preferences with their advertisers and every spammer and scammer on the planet. What if I don’t want to post my every frigging bowel movement online? No, I’m not giving you my cell number. Our home phone is also ex-directory for a bloody good reason. My spam filter permanently runs red hot as it is. No you can’t have the names and numbers of my friends because I want to keep them. Yes my ‘privacy’ settings are set to ‘friends only’ as if those Farcebook fcukers cared.

So there’s your next big market opportunity Mr Zuckmyarse. Let’s have an opportunity for the cheated and disgruntled to vent their spleen. The ‘Dislike’ button. Hey, it’s only ‘Fair’.

Still feeling a little carp

Well wasn’t that fun young Bill? Well, actually a clear and resounding ‘No’. Not a fun bout of the dreaded Lurgi at all. My chest is still a little sore, with leftover muscle aches from all the coughing and spluttering which has seen me consigned to the spare bedroom for over a week. “One of us has got to get some sleep dear.” Said my good lady wife, pointedly shutting the door on my palsied frame.

The green chunks have faded to clear, my snottiness quotient is now at more or less normal levels, and I am a functioning human being again. Feeling thankful that bouts of this kind are few and far between. Still feeling a little carp, but that’s to be expected.

Feeling a little Carp Normal sarcasm levels will be restored as soon as I’ve got a handle on what they should be anyway.

In the meantime, doubt is being cast (yet again) on those ‘Government Health Guidelines’ this time on salt. When you actually read the article and see the various assumptions the original researchers made, the light should dawn. The prodnoses have it wrong yet again. Or should we say ‘as usual’?

Grot

Not feeling so wonderful. I have either a heavy cold or a mild case of influenza. Fever, night sweats, aches, sore throat, coughing, sneezing and all that jazz. Nothing the Quack can do anything about as antibiotics are merely placebos when it comes to viruses.

So I’m just hunkering down, trying not to dribble snot and cough green chunks all over the place. Taking plenty of fluids and as much exercise as I feel comfortable with. Letting my immune system do its thing. Helping things along with the occasional medicinal hot toddy; 1 large measure blend whiskey (Not Single Malt you heathen!) to equal amount of hot water, stir in 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, stir until dissolved, taking paracetamol (Acetaminophen) for the fever and decongestants for the snottiness. Yes I know it’s not a cure, but the alcohol and sugar hit does take the edge off the worst symptoms.

I should be all better by the Saturday. Or Sunday. Or Monday. Possibly.

RIP Top Gear

As predicted, the BBC have fired Clarkson. The current iteration of Top Gear is no more. Ah, me. All good things must come to an end. Well, maybe the situation is not so terminal, and a return to the slower paced days of someone like William Woollard is on the cards.

Chris Evans has already publicly declined the poison chalice of following Clarkson, May and Hammond. Which for Evans is a wise move. The chemistry of the three bozo’s is a tough act to follow, and anyone taking a new, PC sanitised Top Gear on will have to be really, really, good, or more likely be so blindly ambitious they don’t realise they’re committing career Seppuku.

The end of the show will, no doubt please the Politically Correct Puritan faction. Who of course know what is good for everyone, whether ‘everyone’ likes it or not. No doubt said repressives will not be happy until all television (and the Interweb) is as anodyne and unchallenging at the Test Card or worse.

You know, I’m wondering if news of the replacement show or succeeding presenters will turn into one of those tedious media soap operas where the BBC announces Top Gears return in a “Yes it is” oops! “No it isn’t” pantomime, until a daytime TV version with the budget of Gardeners Question Time finally hiccups and gasps into life for one truncated season to fade and die in TV hell on BBC4, sandwiched between Countryfile and endless reruns of Cagney and Lacey hosted by some nonentity ‘Dub poet’.

Update: On the other hand, if David Camerons 11 year old daughter and Guido Fawkes get their way, Clarkson may not be on the scrap heap challenge just yet. Time will tell. If popular support fails against the monolithic diktats of the Beeb, then it’s Requiescat In Pace Top Gear. It was fun while it lasted.

Nothing much to say

……and no real inclination to say it. Life trundles on. On the downside, I’ve just had to set the lawyers on a family member. A situation I’ve striven manfully to avoid, but they’ve been so dumb and plain obstructive I feel that a quick lick of the legal cat o’nine tails might bring them to their senses. If not, well, That’ll be their tough luck. Not that this gives me any satisfaction. We left the last chance saloon late last week and are now in the alley out back. It could get messy and expensive. For them, certainly.

Now excuse me, I have a trip to Paris to organise.

The bad news and some good news

Terry Pratchett, the finest humourist of the late 20th and early 21st Century, creator of the DiscWorld, Knight of the realm and all around good guy, is no more. No more Vetinari, Rincewind, Sam Vimes or Moist von Lipwig. No more Death, Albert, Detritus or Cheery Littlebottom. Their stories end here. He will write no more (Unless Death accepts the petition). The Sticker household is officially going into mourning. With a litre bottle of Talisker and as many Dry Martinis as is thought undignified. Or not. Deepest condolences to his wife and daughter.

The good news is that Iceland is not going to be joining the EU. Apparently this was over the European CAP access and the Icelanders desire not to have their fishing stocks eradicated by Spanish factory ships.

One is tempted to wonder when the EU will get NATO to sponsor a fascist coup like they’ve done with the Ukraine.

Now, gods…….

Shakespeare had it; why bastard, wherefore base? Indeed. History is liberally seasoned with those of us of (Cough) uncertain (cough, cough) parentage who have made good against the odds. Some would even say that condition can act as a spur for success. As far as I’ve been concerned it’s always been used as a sideways ‘shut up or we’ll tell everyone, slaphead’ or ‘Bill, don’t embarass your poor old Mum’.

As an aside to that topic, today I have found myself dancing a careful conversational Gavotte with UK lawyers and tax advisers. Dipping my toes in turgid legal waters to map out a fiscal path from A to Z. Not that this is a Machiavellian ploy on my part to asset strip another family member, more a sidestep to avoid being asset stripped. Both by family and ultimately, HMRC. The closest metaphor I can come up with is it’s like tapdancing through a minefield wearing outsize divers boots. Every leaden step becomes future threatening. Every decision must be taken only after consulting at least three sources.

When I’ve told friends and acquaintances of my difficulties, it’s interesting how quickly the old chestnut ‘blood is thicker than water’ is trotted out. In other words “Oo, you can’t call him out as a lying, cheating whoreson ‘cos you share some familial DNA.” Sorry chums but that’s just emotional blackmail, in effect saying that you can’t claim your rightful and legal due because you might hurt someone’s feelings and they’ll never talk to you again? Hmm. Now there’s a fine howdy-do and no mistake. What do I choose? Modest wealth and security for myself and my little clan of wife and stepkids who I have come to love as dearly as life itself? Or do I let my originating family, with whom I have little real emotional attachment actively prevent me from managing my own assets and leave me with a massive UK tax bill? No contest really. Hell, I’ve even emigrated.

‘Coming out’ to being a public bastard rapidly opens your eyes to the faults of others, especially when you suspect they think you’re some kind of total eejit, simply through the lottery of birth. Particularly when you think they’re going to screw you over. It’s also amazing how complex apparently simple matters can become. Especially when there’s a glint of gold in the air. So here I am. Do I, in thinking that there are financial and legal shenanigans afoot, cry ‘havoc’ and let slip the dogs of law? Or do I continue to solicit, beg, cajole, play nice and gently persuade the offending party, who has so far ignored requests to deal with matters to my satisfaction?

There’s the rub. Now if the letters speed, and my intention thrive………..We shall see.

Bought and sold, modern environmentalism?

Seeing as I’m interested in belief systems and how they warp what should be purely intellectual debates, I thought I’d have a nose round some fairly reputable sources and try to sort some wheat from the mountain of chaff. Now I do have a dog in this fight, as during my youth I was a card carrying member of the Green party. I’m firmly on the side of the environment, anti pollution and pro recycling when it’s done properly, not simply sorted and shipped off to landfill. What I’m definitely not on the side of is the Environmental movement as a bought, sold paid for advocacy group used to manipulate markets by foreign investors. I’d heard or chequebook Journalism, but chequebook Environmental protest?

Well, yes. It’s been an open secret for years that various protest groups from both left and right have bolstered their numbers by offering ‘incentives’, mostly for small scale events that they want to look bigger, ‘bussing in’ supporters to areas where there wasn’t really any ‘support’ at all apart from the less with-it residents of various care homes. Not so much ‘rent a mob’ but ‘protest a gran’.

If I can offer a true story of my very own from the times I used to (cough) hang out with (cough, cough, no this isn’t a confession Sarge) what in polite circles was called ‘the rougher type of boy’ there were three separate occasions when a bunch of us greasy looking yobbo’s were gently carousing (No casualties, just a little friendly ‘horseplay’ and discussions regarding the intricacies of various friends social lives) in various drinking establishments to be approached in a faux-matey manner by some grinning soft handed type, telling us earnestly all about some ‘bad people’ who we should go and ‘protest against’. Sometimes we listened, mostly not, before returning to more important matters like motorcycles and where to go in Summer.

A couple of my social circle actually went on two of these ‘protests’ for a free pint and a chance to grope some hippy chicks. These are the large unkempt leather and denim clad gentlemen featuring in numerous police photographs of said events, grinning hugely, with a can of beer in one hand and the other fondling one of the least ugly women. Was that my old mate DA exposing himself? Surely not constable. He must have been experiencing a minor crotch malfunction with his zip. DA was known to have issues in this department, especially with not being able to keep said zip done up in female company. Were incentives offered? Of course, and it was common knowledge that there was cash to be had. Although those I knew who tried to take up the offer were always bitterly disappointed in the amount that was often never paid.

If you want to look up who has been paying for what over here in BC and Canada generally, you could do worse than start with a visit to Vivien Krause’s worthy little web site, which while not encyclopaedic, does have extensive public domain evidence of back door payments to various soi-disant ‘Green’ activist groups. Not to mention the very public big oil sponsorship of Environmental causes from companies like BP, Exxon, Chevron. So much for ‘Big Oil’ being on the side of the ‘deniers’.

BTW; if a ‘science denier’ is someone who does not believe in the scientific method, because without method there is no science, only dogma, then those who bandy the D word around the most are ironically those most guilty of ‘denying science’. Because their faith is belief in fixed constructs, and ‘science’ only deals in facts subject to constant change and update, no-one can be a ‘science believer’, therefore there can be no such thing as a ‘science denier’. Succinctly put; ‘science’ is never settled. Only professional liars and the perpetually befuddled and deluded will say otherwise.

I mean, never mind the Koch brothers, of whom I’d only heard because of their contributions to PBS programming. There are far richer fish to fry. For example Billionaire financier and currency speculator George Soros is a known sponsor of the Tides Foundation, which has backed Vancouver Mayor George Robertson to the tune of over half a million bucks, amongst other things; including the current US Administration’s Internet grab via the ‘Open Society Foundation’ (Oh, the irony). Russian and Chinese funds filter via various shell companies into various advocacy groups back pockets in a massive protectionist financial shell game. Nine bob notes aren’t in it. Never mind the wild Salmon, it’s honesty which is the real endangered species. Frankly it’s the biggest open secret in Canadian politics.

Where there’s a will……there’s a won’t

For anyone who has ever been a beneficiary in a will, or who expects to be, here is a cautionary tale.

Last year, as followers of this blog will be aware, my Mother died. Lost my dog on the same day, but well, that’s another hole in the heart. Now while my dog, being canine did not leave a will, Ma Sticker did, and a pretty penny it is too. Well it would be. If not for the Executor, my elder sibling. Who is being an idiot. And may be about to get a very nasty legal and fiscal shock. But first, let me fill you in on some family background.

Elder sibling and I share the same mother, but that is the total depth of our relationship. My mother married his father, according to family legend “Only because he had a car.” At least according to one of my cousins, who spent a gleeful hour at my mothers funeral letting cats out of bags, showing me a familial walk-in closet full of skeletons and reminding me that I am the family bastard. “But Bill, we thought you knew.” Was another family members semi shocked response to my statement of disbelief. Well kind of yes, and kind of no. Of course I was aware through a combination of guesswork, surmise and ‘why am I over six feet tall and built like a dray horse whilst everyone else struggles to get past a slender five feet eight’, but it’s a hell of a thing to get the news you’re a “Love child” straight from the horses mouth. Especially at your Mothers funeral. With all the gruesome details of how my mother was cheating on my brothers father, who did what, to whom and when. Cheers, cousin.

Well it’s true. I am the scion of an adulterous relationship. My biological parents were not married when I was conceived or born. I know this is no big deal any more, but autre temps, autre choses. It was back then. My only beef is that my parents, particularly Ma, continually bluffed and obfuscated on this topic while they were alive. Honesty on their part would have made my life so much more straightforward. Isn’t family guilt just wonderful dahleengs? There are so many things they should have done but didn’t because they thought they would get into trouble. Now belatedly I have to do the fixing myself. My birth certificate has to be changed for one. I’ve contacted the relevant court, and doing the changes means an expensive personal visit to the UK. Court fees and lawyers. Clucking bell.

What my parents’ misplaced guilt also resulted in is stuff like elder sibling going to private school and getting his university education fully funded while yours truly went to a bog standard comprehensive and a variety of technical colleges. He got the Gap year, I went straight to work at seventeen, all that jazz. Not that I resent these ‘advantages’ (if that’s what they are – I think they’ve narrowed his mind rather than broadening it, but that’s just me), it’s just that no-one seemed bothered to give me the choice when there was one. I was the one who took the beatings, both fathers not believing in sparing the rod. Such is life. You can play the ‘what if’ game until the cows come home but it won’t change anything. All you can do is not pass the bad shit on. There, having just talked to youngest via Skype, who is currently touring New Zealand, I think I may just have succeeded. So not all bad then.

So, that’s the background. I’m a genuine bastard son of a bitch, but you all knew that anyway, you cuddly little kittens you. Meanwhile, back on the subject. Legacies. Wills. Legal shizzle. Inheritances. Money. Moolah.

The good news is I stand to receive a goodly sum which will set me up for the rest of my days. If the Executor can get his act together. The bad news is, elder sibling is doing anything but. Getting anything out of the estate with him in the drivers seat is like pulling back molars with a set of nose hair tweezers. The will states the estate is an even split. No trusts, challenges or codicils. Probate was granted back in early October. All discoveries have been made and outstanding bills settled. No challenges, taxes paid, yet sibling wants to hang on to the major asset, which is a brace of rather pleasant little country cottages, officially valued at just shy of a very large sum indeed. He tells me he wants to ‘invest’ our inheritance jointly in those cottages and live off the rental income. I try to tell him they’re potential money pits which we should sell off, or we’ll end up losing money. I tell him I don’t want estate funds spent on them. I tell him he could make more money by selling up, splitting the estate and investing his share in more modern rental properties. Response? *crickets* La-la-la, he’s not listening. Even though he’s legally bound to execute the will and any losses he makes have to come out of his pockets, not the estate, for as long as he remains Executor. Which until the estate is fully paid out, he will remain. It’s not as though I’ve seen a penny so far, either. Despite there being significant liquid assets available ready for paying out.

As an aside; for those of you who need to make international currency transfers, here’s a piece of advice: don’t send it by cheque or in cash. Use a currency broker. Reason; you’ll get a much better rate of exchange from a broker than a bank, and they take care of all the money laundering restrictions. Broker transferred funds are available within 48hours, cheques take almost a month to clear. Canadian Banks also report cash transfers over $5000 direct to the tax man if they think the provenance of the source is a bit dodgy. They don’t like sterling cheques over CAD$5,000 either. Over a certain amount, cheques and money orders also get reported to the security services as possible terrorist activity. Believe it, the banks use special data mining applications to comply with these financial regulations. They can get fined millions if they don’t comply. RBS got caned a cool 5.6 million GBP a while back for not being careful enough. As did NatWest, Ulster Bank and Coutts. Oracle provide products for the very purpose of detecting money laundering. The only way round these restrictions is carrying large wodges of cash in your luggage, which is something the customs guys tend to frown upon.

Elder sibling does not ‘believe’ any of this. He refuses all my advice. I do not care. I just want him to execute the will and pay out my share of the estate a.s.a.p. before he manages to fritter half of it away. What he does with his own share is his business. Am I going to use my share of the money wisely? I think so, yes. I have an carefully selected Investment Fund Manager and Tax Accountant on standby. The additional question is, do I trust sibling? Well, funny you should ask that. No. His repeated failures to cough up and the way he is handling communication between us is ringing loud warning bells. I may have to lawyer up smartish. Which may prove expensive for both of us. Fortunately I have a top notch UK-qualified and based family lawyer waiting in the wings (Youngest). What I hope to gain, properly invested, will not only benefit me, but eventually our two reprobates and their families when it comes to check out time for Mrs S and I. As for who will get the job of Executor, well, it won’t be one of the beneficiaries. I’d rather pay a lawyer to do it.

You know, it’s at times like these I’m moved to reflect that I’ve never really had a close family and nowadays find myself wishing for even more distance. Maybe Canada was nowhere near far enough. The next galaxy, perchance?

Is he funny?

Every so often I pop out for the evening, then I do my zip up before I get arrested. No seriously. The most pertinent question of modern times is; is Russell Brand funny? Or even profound? He certainly thinks so, and is determined to tell the rest of us just how funny, profound, caring and intelligent he is (Yeah, right). Very loudly. In a profoundly irritating in-yer-face hectoring manner guaranteed to put backs up. Even if he knew where to find the right targets (Which he doesn’t). Especially when the guys bankrolling him were the very people he’s railing against. There’s a curious kind of irony there.

My only reason for speaking out is because at present his ghost written garbage is clogging up downtown Victoria bookshelves. Which rather puts a damper on what should otherwise be a pleasant Saturday afternoon bookstore experience. Placed in large end of aisle displays, Brand’s deranged eyes follow you around the store, making you want to plant the blade of a very large logging axe very firmly between them. Or take a chainsaw to in self defence. Not that I’d waste the energy. Having on one occasion picked up a copy and skim read some of the contents, I was unimpressed. That’s three minutes of my life I won’t get back.

Brand is like so many others of his ilk whose acts I’ve actually seen live, crap. I’ve seen these so-called ‘big names’ and found myself wondering why they’re so famous if they’re so rubbish. These media darlings can’t handle hecklers and their material is as tired as Ben Elton shouting ‘Thatcher!’ very loudly. Wasn’t funny then, isn’t funny now – one trick pony’s never are. Nowadays even the hecklers don’t have a go because there’s either a ‘no heckling’ rule in the club (which is really very sad, and very poor training for would be comedians) or the audience can’t work out what the imbecile on stage is ranting on about and are bludgeoned into a kind of stunned silence punctuated by nervous laughter. Known as the ‘Let’s laugh at the nutter until he goes away‘ type of faux-hilarity. As for ‘edgy’, sorry folks, I’ve seen ‘edgier’ custard tarts. He’s only on the tired old wall to wall media because he has the ‘correct’ lamestream political views popular with a small Fabianesque London-centric clique of media influencers. Who are so lacking in any real form of wit that they form a curious kind of anti-intelligence. Part of the dumbed down cultural Alzheimers afflicting the western world. Proof of Rory Bremner’s assertion that satire has died. I cite Brand, the X-Factor and Simon Cowell as proof that this is so. They may also be at least partially to blame for the UK’s ‘obesity epidemic’.

On the whole I’d give the failed hairdressers model a big thumbs down. Wouldn’t even cross the sidewalk to give him a toonie to stop busking. Brands kind of un-hilarity strikes as more funny peculiar than funny amusing. Like the occasional crazed street beggar with a bad case of Tourette syndrome, more to be pitied than laughed at.