Tag Archives: Europe

There goes the neighbourhood

Strolling round Les Invalides about sixish last night we were treated to the spectacle of ten Police vans scooting hurriedly past to points unknown, scattering traffic as they went. They hung a quick right south towards the river to be joined by another ten or fourteen with sirens honking away. “The Interior Ministers forgotten his baguettes, again.” I remarked to Mrs S before we ducked down into the Metro for the ride home.

We turned on the France24 English news to find that, oh bloody hell, David Cameron was briefly in town as part of a whistlestop tour of Europe, pretending he was going to renegotiate the UK’s standing within the EU. “Well he can whistle off.” Remarked Mrs S. We’re receiving guests this weekend, and don’t want all the best Brasseries bunged up by self important politicians and their coteries of bodyguards and hangers on. Hells bells, we’re got enough armed police and soldiery on almost every street corner as it is.

Heavy sigh. There goes the neighbourhood.

We’ve also been greeted by the news that ‘King’ Blair has stepped down from his position as Middle East Peace Envoy. Well, so long as he buggers off elsewhere, we don’t really care. He can stay out of France and Canada for starters, with a big ‘not wanted’ immigration stamp on his forehead. With the Middle East going up in smoke I hadn’t noticed much peace coming out of it. So someone was falling down on the job, weren’t they?

Not that he was any good as the UK’s Prime Minister. So that should have been an employment ‘red flag’, but then the UN isn’t exactly full of towering intellects. More outright venality and low animal cunning. Rather like FIFA. If real brains were explosive I doubt they’d be able to blow their collective noses.

Something remarkable

In Chartres yesterday, picking up a minor bout of food poisoning. Mrs S has been hors de combat since last night, but the worst of it has passed me by with a brief but minor bout of feverishness and minor gastric upset. Getting back to our apartment via the late night Metro was an adventure, but we made it back safely, and that’s sufficient. I just played guard dog and nurse to my stricken other half, planted a “Don’t screw with me” expression on my face and helped her down, through and up out of the Labyrinth from SNCF to apartment. But that is beside the point.

Now Chartres is a nice looking little town. We rode the TGV to visit its famous baroque Cathedral, which is probably more impressive than Notre Dame. What we hadn’t bargained for was running into the end of a three day pilgrimage. When we arrived, we thought they were taking the banners and external sound system down. So we decided to have a look inside. About fifteen minutes into our slack jawed examination of the buildings internal majesty there was an announcement from the tannoy, asking everyone to leave the building. So we left and planted ourselves in a little bistro opposite and returned to our Cafe au Laits suitably impressed by the original medieval workmanship and state of the renovation project.

I’m not religious myself. God isn’t either. But one can’t help but be impressed at the skill and devotion generations of craftsmen have invested to produce such a grandiose, intricately engineered statement of faith in stone. Overwhelming is such a poor adjective.

However, what really impressed me was the crowds that started to arrive around lunchtime, singing as they came, filling up the edifice and surrounding square with their devotions. Phalanxes of the prayerful from toddlers to pensioners, whole Scout troupes of husky young men and girls accompanied by mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, priests and paupers, carrying banners and crosses representing their local church and nationality. All filling the streets with good natured noise. Not just French but British, Canadian, American, Swiss, German, Polish and even one Iraqi flag waved over the pilgrims heads. There were a lot of other national banners I couldn’t readily identify. All had taken a three day hike of 70 miles to get here. Their hiking shoes told the story.

Street confessionIn the square I saw priests taking confession from kneeling penitents, which to me at least, made a more powerful statement than the cathedral itself, because without the demonstrated faith, the building is just a pile of intricately carved rock. Incidentally yes, I took this picture myself and yes, have airbrushed out the identifying marks on the young ladies sweatshirt. Apart from image size reduction nothing else has been changed.

Then came the sermon. Which would have had radical lefties screaming ‘Islamophobiaaa!!!!’ at the top of their pathetically demented little lungs. Delivered in both French and English, the priest spoke of how a vacuum of faith has allowed radical Islam to thrive in the west and outlined strategies for combating its rise. I just sat and listened, ever more convinced that the ranting of morons like Choudhary and his ilk will get their wish of Religious war. Having seen the simple, quiet blue collar devotion of the Chartres pilgrims, I think the Jihadis will lose. Big time. All the radical Islamist gun and willy wavers have is murder and hatred, and while you might subdue faith with those tools for a while, it’ll always come back to bite you. Always.

Better spend my Euros then

As the creaking noises erupting from the financial corsets of the European Central Bank become ever more audible, the news that Greece cannot currently pay the IMF its June protection payment loan installment comes as no surprise. When Greece joined the Euro in 2001 it went into a public sector spend, spend, spend spiral. Now they will reap the fiscal whirlwind. As will all the other countries in the Eurozone. Well, that’ll piss off the EU. Especially Frau Merkinel.

Greek ruins Parthenon and EuroYet the Greeks want the Elgin Marbles returned? Well okay, so long as they fully reimburse the British Museum for storage, transportation, restoration, and associated costs backdated to 1816. At full commercial rates. Cash terms only. No credit. Gold preferred.

Which rather proves Margaret Thatchers assertion from a 1976 TV interview when she said “Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money.”

At the time then leader of the opposition Thatcher was talking about the mess left, and being made by, the Wilson, Callaghan and Heath Governments. Brown and Balls did the same for the UK from 1997-2009. The same might be said of the current Greek administration, and no matter how many riots they have in Athens, it won’t pay any of the Greek Governments debts. Simple truth; riots don’t pay bills, they only create more. Voting for more taxes on the ‘rich’. Won’t work. The real rich of course will have melted away like the Cheshire Cat, leaving only the shark tooth smile of massive accountancy bills. Then the only poor buggers with anything left, like small landlords, business owners and the self employed will be left to shoulder the whole burden of state spending. And they will lose everything. Twas ever thus.

Any ancienne route jusqu’à, I’m in Europe for the next two weeks, so maybe I should spend most of my cash Euro’s before July when they might just become worthless. Just in case. Pass the Cognac.

Interesting stuff about Paris

As I’ve written before, Mrs S and I are going to Paris shortly for a well deserved jollyday where I will be avidly studying the art of Francophone sarcasm and irony as practiced and perfected by French service staff. C’est n’est pas votre dejeuner monsiuer, c’est la merde de ma tante. Et services vous droit pour ne pas apprendre le francais vous rosbif ignorant. So there.

On the topic of things Parisian I’ve recently come across this guy, Tom Scott, an entertaining fellow with his own channel on YouTube. As I will be spending some time in Paris this year, I thought I’d watch and post the following videos, which, quite frankly make a refreshing change from the touristy Rick Steves and Lonely Planet stuff relied upon by so many of our Southern cousins.

On ‘Paris Syndrome

But since I’m not Japanese or Chinese and have spent time (working) in Paris before, I’m not in the ‘at risk’ category.

Or Privacy In France: A Lot Of French People Might Be About To Sue Me

This may end up being a distinct possibility. If they can find me after I’ve gone home………

And ‘Point Zero’ outside Notre Dame.

Which isn’t that far from our apartment. Way cheaper than many hotels and with a little discrimination and early booking can land you in quite the little gem of a place. I may drop by one quiet Sunday morning when most other tourists are still tucked up in their little beddy-byes.

I’ll be posting my own misadventures and observations as time and Interweb connections allow.

Fortunately for me….

Invading ParisI shall be enjoying la vie Parisienne later this year. I will also be enjoying it at a time when a bunch of joyless nerks who love to tell all us plebs things like ‘the science is settled’ aren’t there. Which is complete codswallop, science is never settled about anything. Even the most cursory glance at the history of scientific research and endeavour will demonstrate how ill informed and stupid that oft-regurgitated claim is. But my reader knows this, and will forgive this minor sour note.

Essentially the Paris conference is yet another propaganda-fest designed to convince us that politicians have discovered the philosophers stone for controlling the weather (Hah!). Fortunately I won’t be in Paris when all the pseudo-green activists and their financial masters are out on the town, keeping the local prostitutes gainfully employed and drinking lots of Beaujolais Nouveau on the taxpayer dollar. To be honest, these climate conferences actually do some short term economic good, particularly if you’re a prostitute or purveyor of intoxicating substances. Apparently a lot of paid sex and drugs goes on at these events with so much raw money sloshing around. Mostly while the wide eyed useful idealists are busy knitting biodegradable clothing out of leftover linguine.

Anyway, my impending holiday (my first proper break in ten years) has had me practicing my French conversation which has become a little rusty of late. Like all vices and skills, a language needs constant practice to maintain its edge and it’s been a while since I passed the citizenship language test. However, to make up for this shortfall I have been practicing saying things like “Désolé monsieur” or “Désolée madame” and “Aww, mon pauvre petit.” in as insincere a voice as possible without giving the whole game away. My goal here is to become equally as sarcastic, ironic, patronising and dismissive in French as I can be in English. I’m told there are Parisian waiting staff who give masterclasses in the aforementioned. I will be studying them eagerly as they parade their expertise, feeling suitably humbled before the worlds formost experts in linguistic ledgerdemain. Even if it is not in my native tongue.

I’m quite giddy with anticipation.

No to Referendums

EU ball and chainSpotted via RT.com; ‘Cast iron Dave’ and any of the lamestream UK political parties will not be delivering on their referendum promises any time soon. Face it chums, whether or not the ‘source’ is kosher, the Germans don’t want to be left holding the baby as the EU’s other major cash cow goes AWOL, therefore they won’t let anyone else have the ball until 2020 at the earliest. Arch bureaucrat Claude Juncker has spoken. Allegedly. Democracy dahleengs? That’s not for you little people don’cha know.

Unless of course someone gets elected who doesn’t give a monkeys about a treaty which, incidentally, was privately ratified without parliamentary scrutiny by a whoreson who was parachuted into the UK Prime Ministers job without having to stand for election as such. There’s some legal wiggle room for starters. It’ll be enough to to keep the lawyers arguing for decades.

I’m due to pass through some of my old London stamping grounds in the next two to three weeks, so I’ll take a good first hand look at how the brave EU world is shaping up. With or without referenda or promises thereof.

Update: Hmm. According to Richard North’s EU Referendum either Juncker is backtracking heavily or he was misreported according to other sources. Both are possible because;
1. Juncker is a politician
2. The Lamestream have to sell advertising space
Or a mixture of both.

I’m still sceptical though. The Tories won’t allow the UK a referendum. Nor will Labour, the Limp Dems, the SNP or the Greens. A vote for any of them is still a vote for a Federal Europe.

Peeback time

I was reading the National Post this morning, and just before delving into the Financial pages, I came across this little gem of a tale. Apparently there’s a type of paint with the property of ‘reflecting’ fluid. Originally designed to keep cars cleaner, it’s now being deployed around the Red Light district in Hamburg, Germany.

Watch the video. Yers, I know it’s in German, but who says they don’t have a sense of humour?

Suggestions for other uses on the back of a very soggy envelope please.

Update: How to make a low cost version of this moisture resistant finish using Anti-Perspirant and spray on plastic coating (Sorry about the Torch commercial);

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.

The same script…

It’s just my mildly eccentric observation, but is the Western world working to a script? I only ask because certain issues seem to be pushed across the board by politicians throughout the Anglosphere and associated nations. Plain packaging for cigarettes and Gay Marriage seem to be the two big smokescreen issues. I say smokescreen because they are blown up by the politico’s to say “Hey, aren’t we clever Mommy, we fixed it.” When there was nothing really to fix. The whole Gay Marriage thing (Hey, there’s a minefield) is a sideshow, hardly worth notice. You’re a homosexual who wants to get married – is that wise? Big deal. Go for it. Why do you have to ask anyone’s permission or is it a tax dodge? As for plain packaging, the world is in a state of war, teetering on a financial high wire and all the pollies can come up with is pushing the smoking ban? Seriously? Never mind the discredited ‘CO2 driven climate change’ balderdash. Who with an active brain cell believes that any more? All we hear about the continued failure of that supposition are excuses so poor they make ‘the dog ate my homework’ look like Pulitzer winning prose. Oh yeah, why are they so afraid of Islam? It’s a religion of peace, right? Riiight?

As an aside to the man made climate change smokescreen, I wonder how many ‘influential’ people are stuck with worthless ‘carbon credits’ that are currently worth less than pennies? Maybe those who call people who aren’t taken in by all the blather ‘Deniers’ have bet the farm on (or are heavily influenced by those that have) and are trying to recoup their investments in ‘renewables’? (Good luck with that) Right, haven’t they heard of not throwing good money after bad? Mmm, yeah. Considering the quality of most modern left of centre politicians, probably not. Not that the political right are any better.

All of the aforementioned wouldn’t be worthy of notice if these new laws were being enacted only in the USA for example. Yet the same policies are being pushed all across the Westernised globe. I suppose this must be the real downside of ‘globalisation’, the busybodies and prohibitionists have insinuated their oleaginous selves into positions of influence, pushing their petty agendas and trying to micromanage the rest of us (It’ll all end in tears and they won’t be mine) when they might as well be building sandcastles in the Sahara. Excitedly talking about ‘change’, but not really understanding what said desired changes might eventually turn into. Their dreams will probably end up mugged in a dark alley by the law of unforeseen consequences. Or a bloodthirsty Jihadi. Hey ho, it’ll all be the same in a thousand years. The rest of us will end up footing the bill. So, no change there then.

By the way, I’m not the only one to have noticed. Christopher Booker, the Tellytubbygrasph’s last worthwhile contributor writes about it here (H/T Richard North at EU Referendum).

It’s almost like there really is a global club as David Icke claims; say and think the ‘correct’ things and you’re likely to be admitted and given a free pass, even for the most egregious cock-ups. Disagree, and you’re automatically the bad guy, to be excluded and derided. Which is possibly why Putin is getting such a bad press as he refuses to play ball. No matter who killed that Russian opposition politician. Although I get the impression that old Vlad is too canny a chess player to pull a blatant stunt like that. Maybe I’m getting too old and cynical, but the West is encroaching on what has been Russian territory, actively supporting an openly fascist government, and we’re supposed to believe we’re the ‘good’ guys. You know, I’m not so sure any more. Behind all the student rhetoric of ‘left’ and ‘right’ (A lot of which is coming from students and academia) there is a genuine fascist agenda, and it’s not just the EU and increasingly, the USA, it’s the group setting ne rules. Excuse my observation; but wasn’t a rather nasty and bloody global war fought against several nations with that philosophy less than a century ago?

I’m left wondering what will it take to expunge that evil a second time?

Sod this, I’m going off to catch some sunshine and think some happier thoughts…… TTFN

Sometimes Napalm is the only rational response…….

In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, it turns out that France has gone all Duke Nukem and is stepping up its airstrikes on one part of the 7th century death cult cancer. But then they were planning to up the stakes anyway and the students union level politics of the attackers have simply given the Frenchies even better justification for blowing even more Jihadists to the promised land. Nuke ’em jusqu’à ce qu’ils brillent et leur tirer dessus dans le noir (until they glow and shoot them in the dark – as if you didn’t know). Cheese eating surrender Monkeys? Mmm. Yeah. Personal experience? I like them. Outside of Paris I’ve found most French folks so laid back they only have to turn their heads to kiss their own pert little buttocks. Yet piss off any Frenchman, and they will go all Jeanne D’Arc on you.
Duc Nukem Merde Je Suis Bon
Even though, like a lot of people, I’d never even heard of Charlie Hebdo until the Jihadists propelled it centre stage. Quite frankly, having had a look at said magazines content I wouldn’t have crossed the street to piss down their throats if their lungs were on fire. Now however, outside of the lamestream media, those ‘blasphemous’ cartoons the fanatics wanted to suppress for ‘offending’ their prophet (How exactly do you offend a dead guy, BTW?), have spread like a forest fire on steroids. Said magazines readership is way up and the gunpersons Islamist buddies are about to catch some extra garlic flavoured hellfire and napalm. Oh yeah, and yet even more people are queuing up to ‘insult’ their prophet. Marches of support for the dead lefty’s (Whether the same amount would have turned out had Charlie Hebdo been right wing is moot). Growing protests across Europe against the attackers religion. That worked out well, didn’t it?

The problem is, these Jiahdists, like all fanatics, are beyond reason. Their rabid intolerance of any but their own narrow little world view has always put them beyond the pale. Ever since the Mughals (Muslims themselves, devised this amusing little public entertainment). Despite the more enlightened of their own religion saying (heavily paraphrased) Look guys, wind your necks in or we’ll all be casualties.” And even, “If you don’t like it here, fuck off.” The rabid death cultists cannot stop killing because they’re way past the point of thinking rationally about what they are doing. Over the sanity event horizon and accelerating. Hate and intolerance drives their souls, blackens their merciless hearts, gives them their very raison d’etre. The only way to deal with them, distasteful as it sounds, is to put the mad dogs down. Hard. While the politicians cower, the rest of us are saying, if you have to kill for your religion, maybe your version of God worship needs a little work. If not, sometimes napalm is the only rational response we have left.