Tag Archives: Interweb

Smoking in cars, a modest proposal

Was meandering around the Tellytubbygraph website, and came across this little gem by Boris Johnson, a UK Tory politician who says that he is a Libertarian (Cough, cough, cough, snigger). In it, he argues, that smoking should not be allowed in any vehicle because of the damage second hand smoke is alleged to do to the delicate bodies of children. Whether the vehicle will be used for their carriage or not. Having read what he had to say, I was moved to key in the following comment:

Boris. Why not a law to keep children out of cars instead? Let the smokers have some sanctuary for pity’s sake, the poor dears being addicts, and addiction, as we are told, is a sickness not a crime. Besides, keeping children out of motor vehicles will protect them from poisonous exhaust fumes leaking in through every vent, seal, and window. Even the most eco-friendly vehicle is not air tight.

The regular reader of this blog will note tongue being inserted firmly into cheek at this juncture. Although I am moved to propose that any vehicle marketed as ‘eco-friendly’ should be made completely air tight to protect the occupants from the errant exhaust fumes of all the other vehicles on the road. This is only right and fair. Why should the eco-pious be forced to breathe the polluted soup of the worlds highways and byways? They should have their own space and atmosphere. And windows that won’t open. Sealed vents that will not share the pollution from other road users like in inferior vehicles, such as those only smokers will be allowed to drive. For the hand wavers own protection of course, which will spare them the merest whiff of the dreaded tobacco smoke, no matter its source.

But wait; what of the benefits to road safety? No children allowed in motor vehicles would mean a considerable improvement in quality of the parents lives as follows;

Such legislation would have the benefit of lowering the blood pressure of parents, sparing them from the back seat quarrels, unfortunate little gastric accidents, demands to be driven to unhealthy fast food outlets, and querulous whining and driver distracting litanies of “Are we there yet?” Thus improving road safety at a stroke and saving the NHS billions.

Boris, me old china, this is genius! By banning children from all vehicles, several modern major social scourges are solved at the stroke of a pen. By forcing children out of cars, they must take more exercise and therefore become less obese. Lowering parents blood pressure means fewer circulatory disorders in later life. Fewer distracted parents on the roads mean a reduced accident rate and a further lowering of the UK’s national health care budget and insurance premiums. Children would be insulated from the evils, whatever they might be, of second hand smoke and grow up healthier. Furthermore, the tobacco smoke would be contained inside a controlled environment, to wit the smokers car or house, thus not affecting anyone else. Fantastic! Win-win. Time for tea and a knighthood methinks.

Fortunately, or rather un, depending on your viewpoint; the only other problem such legislation would leave behind would be what to do with the bodies of all the self righteous planet savers, suffocated in their air tight mobile eco-prisons. Still, I’m sure it’s a sacrifice, considering how doomed we are through over population as we’re continually informed by eco-worriers, a salutary price a lot of the remaining population wouldn’t mind them making. Just think of the emissions they’d be saving.

Welcome back Anna

Anna Raccoon is back on the blogroll after being reported missing in inaction due to illness.

Absolutely delighted to see Anna back up and stumbling. Only sorry she trashed her blog layout which now needs rebuilding. I’m sure the magical Interweb wayback machine might be of some assistance here.

Big H/T to Leg Iron at Underdogs bite upwards

Zombie apocalypse

There’s been a meme out there on the jolly old Interweb for some time about the coming Zombie apocalypse. Very soon. In fact that’s probably them at the front door right now, coming to eat what little brains you have. Might be the Avon lady, Jehovah’s witnesses, or the Postman with a special delivery. On the other hand it could be (Dee-DAH-DAAAH!) Zombies. OMG! Keep a double barrelled shotgun loaded with cut shells inside the front door, just on the off chance someone pops by and wants to eat your brains. I actually once met someone who did just this – a hasty retreat was rapidly beaten.
Who ordered the double meat special?
This view of life is reflected in popular movies like World War Z, 28 Days, Sean of the Dead, Warm Bodies etc. As well as a lot of extremely bad teen slasher movies, in which category I include all Zombie, Vampire, Werewolf and other living dead movies, apart from Sean of the Dead, whose saving grace is that it is very funny indeed.

The truth of the matter is that real live Zombies are all around us. The walking dead. The genuine article. Alive, yet not so. People who move, eat, shit and sleep, but whose last attempt at cogent thought fell flat on its face last week before they got out of bed. Some are only part time Zombies, others have it as a full time vocation. When you get used to looking, you’ll be able to spot them just by their shambling, purposeless gait, the mildly fearful vacant look behind the eyes, and dare one say it, their sheer lack of animus. The barely alive, unthinking mass, who exist not by acts of volition but mere instinct. The mob. Yup. Them. The dozy items who don’t look where they are going or think about what they’re doing. Vancouver Island seems to have a plague of them, and they all drive. Their lack of positional awareness is scarier still. You know what? The really scary thing is Zombies are everywhere and look, and often talk, like normal people. Amazing how many Eurozone Politicians suffer from this oddly vacant look. Those that haven’t a near permanent expression of single minded avariciousness, that is.

They’re people whose critical thinking is so non-existent that they believe everything they’re force fed by the lamestream media. They never question their belief systems, just to check. They never suffer from existential doubt or WTF! moments. The deeper questions of life never bother them, such as “Who am I?”, “What is my purpose in life?”, or “Why do I have to take pills that make my snot luminous green?”, or why when it’s supposed to be a record hot year, they’re still having to beat the ice off their undies on the clothes line. All the time repeating the mantra “I hate climate change deniers, they’re dooming the world forever.” While wondering what is causing all the strange bangs and other cold related phenomena. Not to mention that the Southern Hemisphere Winters have been suffering an increased incidence of increased cold events over the past few years.

There is another type of Zombie of course, but a self aware type who don’t go around moaning “Brains, brains.”, they’re the Bill Sticker variant, who range about the earth, moaning; “Brains! Where the fuck is anyone else with any Brains?” Forever seeking sanity in a world where there is apparently little to be found, but that’s my problem.

Have yourself a Merry……. Elf ‘n safetee

During the Winter holiday season, all personnel and visitors are requested to note the following:

Please be advised that all persons planning to dash through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh, going over fields and laughing all the way are required to undergo a Risk Assessment addressing the safety of open sleighs. This assessment must also consider whether it is appropriate to use only one horse for such a venture, particularly where there are multiple passengers. Unlicensed carriers will be reported to the local licensing authority, and fixed penalties will be applied. Horses are liable to seizure by animal protection should Inspectors deem that overloading has occurred.

Please note that permission must also be obtained in writing from landowners before their fields may be entered. To avoid offending those not participating in celebrations, we request that laughter is moderate only and not loud enough to be considered a noise nuisance. All resultant manure must be collected and disposed of in the appropriate recycle facility. Seat restraints must be worn.

Benches, stools and orthopaedic chairs are now available for collection by any shepherds planning or required to watch their flocks at night.

While provision has also been made for remote monitoring of flocks by CCTV cameras from a centrally heated shepherd observation hut, all facility users are reminded that an emergency response plan must be submitted to account for known risks to the flocks.

The Angel of the Lord is additionally reminded that prior to shining his/her glory all around he/she must confirm that all shepherds are wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment to account for the harmful effects of UVA, UVB and the overwhelming effects of Glory. Untrained personnel are restricted from this activity.

Following last year’s well publicised case, everyone is advised that EC legislation prohibits any comment with regard to the redness of any part of Mr. R. Reindeer. Further to this, exclusion of Mr. R Reindeer from reindeer games will be considered discriminatory and disciplinary action will be taken against those found guilty of this offence.

While it is acknowledged that gift-bearing is commonly practised in various parts of the world, particularly the Orient, everyone is reminded that the bearing of gifts is subject to Hospitality Guidelines and all gifts must be registered. This applies regardless of the individual, even royal personages.

It is particularly noted that direct gifts of currency or gold are specifically precluded under provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Such gifts must be declared in advance on page 193 of personal tax declarations. Being a King, regardless of qualification, does not qualify for exemption.

Furthermore, caution is advised regarding other common gifts, such as aromatic resins that may initiate allergic reactions. These must be supervised by an appropriately trained First Aider prior to receipt.

Finally, in the recent case of the infant found tucked up in a manger without any crib for a bed; Social Services have been advised and will be arriving shortly.

Merry Christmas,
Risk Management Team

Shamelessly nicked and adapted from Theo Spark

We need a revolution

Sir Ken Robinson talks about the need for a move away from the mechanistic ‘top down’ or ‘command and control’ management of education, but what he says also goes for life in general. As he says right at the end, “We need a revolution.” And not just a change of the individuals in charge, but one that takes us away from the top down one-size-fits-all model that is currently failing, and failing badly. Watch and attain enlightenment.

Subterranean homesick blues revisited

I see Bob Dylan’s old protest song is doing the rounds on YouTube again, but what would he have written had he lived in modern day UK? Here’s my adaptation. The usual apology in advance to Bob Dylan.

Johnny’s in the basement
Playing with his station
I’m on the pavement
Blogging ’bout government
The girl in the hi-viz
Hand out for new biz
Says she’s begging for the poor
Wants to get them paid off
Look out kid
It’s somethin’ you did
God knows when
But you’re doin’ it again
You better duck down the alley way
Tweetin’ for some new friends
Barista in the black shirt
Thinks they hit pay dirt
Wants eleven dollar bills
You only got ten.

Bob comes round the door
Says he’ll sleep down on the floor
Talkin’ ’bout David Icke’s
Lizards on a dirty bike
Phone’s tapped anyway
Bob raps many say
All will crash by early May
Built into our DNA
Look out kid
Don’t matter what you did
Walk on tip toes
Don’t try, ‘low dose’
Better stay away from those
Carry round a fire hose
Keep a clean nose
Watch the plain clothes
You don’t need no climate change
To know which way the wind blows.

Get sick, get fine
Tell truth, do time
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin’ to sell
Try hard, get barred
Get back, try, rail
Hit nail, get stale, go Galt, if you fail
Look out kid
You’re gonna get hit
By users, low bums
Six-time losers
Hanging round the forums
Girl by the whirlpool
Lookin’ for the next tool
Don’t follow leaders
Watch those parkin’ meters.

Ah get born, watch porn
Short pants, romance, learn to dance
Get dressed, Confess
Try to be a success
Please her, please him, buy trash
Don’t steal, be flash
Twenty years of schoolin’
And your world is full of ash
Look out kid
They keep it all hid
Better jump down a manhole
Light yourself a candle
Don’t wear sandals
Try to avoid the scandals
Don’t wanna be a bum
You better chew gum
The power’s too high
‘Cause the cheaters rigged your meters.

Feel free to copy / plagiarise / whatever. If there’s anyone still out there…………

All your interwebs belong to us (again)

A lot of kak is currently being talked about ‘regulating the Internet’ mainly by politicians who don’t seem to understand the medium. They seem to think that the dying mainstream press (owned or controlled by them) needs subsidising against what Glenn Reynolds called ‘An Army of Davids’. A mostly unpaid and unsubsidised bunch of amateurs. Shock! Horror! ‘Professional Journalists’ beaten by a bunch of mere amateur scribblers! SOMETHING MUST BE DONE! Cue Dalek like repetitions of “Regulate! Regulate! Exterminate!” from vested interests and those with something to hide. Including, and especially, the United Nations, which is looking increasingly like an organisation well past its sell-by date.

Okay, let’s be a bit more dispassionate, shall we? Why is the mainstream losing ground against the many voices on the ultra-connected sources of the Internet? I have a one word answer; Integrity. The Internet is the great leveller of information playing fields. The teller of uncomfortable truths, and, let’s be fair, a whole lot of bullshit as well, but at least that pile of crap is obvious and visible, accessible for fact checking and verification. It’s a full on assault on the sensibilities. Unlike the monochrome, one sided cut and pastedness of the mainstream, where too many press releases get uncritically reposted as incontrovertible facts.

For as long as I can remember, even before the Internet, I’ve heard tales of Journalistic ‘Integrity’. Misquoted interviewees. Cheque book journalism. Garbage rummaging, to name but three. Not to mention important stories ‘spiked’ (rejected) by editorial policy.

To suggest that “It’s all the fault of the Internet” as Boris Johnson (amongst others) did today in the UK’s Daily Telegraph is therefore a palpable, noisome, egregious nonsense. Never mind the impossibility of regulating every single voice and blog. It’s too big. Even highly censorious regimes have serious trouble keeping the drip-drip of dissenting voices silent. As for Theresa May’s “Anyone who doesn’t support regulation has blood on their hands” assertion, why do the presses not jam, their servers not melt and crash under such a heinous untruth?

My response? Anyone supporting such regulation is an obvious Statist, and as such to be viewed with automatic suspicion. Someone who is not worthy of trust. Warning! Danger! Danger! Will Robinson!H/T This post at|Counting Cats
Shop an Extremist today

There is a way the mainstream can survive and prosper. If they want to compete, they’re going to have to smarten up their collective act. Be more honest, rediscover the meaning of Journalistic integrity. Print only that which can be independently verified, and not by any ‘regulator’ – the facts have their own voices which need no outside help. Then the ‘lost’ readers will return; slowly at first, but in increasing numbers and revenues will climb. Not that I’m holding my breath waiting for such a miracle to occur, that is.

Simplistic but pithy

This Land Is Mine from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

Cartoon characters dramatis personae on this blog post. Yes, it’s not totally historically accurate, but that’s just nit-picking. Whenever I lurk past a blog touching on the perennial troubles in the Eastern Med, I’m forever amazed at the virulence of the far left and right on this topic. Not that there’s any real difference between either viewpoint, totalitarians to a knuckledragger that they are.

By way of comparison; in some pubs I frequented in my youth, mainly in certain University towns, simply uttering the word ‘Israel’ loudly in particular bars was, and probably still is, enough to start a fight. It rather reminds me of the mindless tribalism that goes on around football teams. An old friend of mine claimed he occasionally did this sort of thing for fun, but then he really liked fighting and beating the shit out of people. He was good at it; no names, no pack drill, and I know for a fact he once hospitalised a black belt because his opponent thought that a pub car park brawl worked the same way as a dojo. Newsflash; for anyone tempted to try it, it doesn’t. The same rules do not apply because there aren’t any. Visit any inner city Emergency department late on a Saturday night or early hours of Sunday morning for proof.

Yet I never understood why the existence of Israel as a nation is so offensive to those without obvious skin in the game. Why they were often willing to pitch into a scrap with a far more aggressive and experienced bar fighter over a country they really knew bugger all about, and never been to. I freely admit to knowing little about the region apart from that they’ve always been fighting.

Nina Paley’s video above rather puts this endless aggression into perspective. People have been so busy fighting over that particular chunk of real estate (And over the religions from that area) for so long, I think they’ve forgotten how to stop. You’d think after over four millennia of ping pong like mayhem people would learn. You know, maybe all the various parties could decide that the near constant killing is just pointless and decide simply trying to co-exist for a change. Do business. Do what the Zionists started, which is actually buy title to the land and sell stuff. Own it that way. On the other hand, I think that just shows pointless naivete and optimism on my part. Like Kashmir and any one of a dozen other semi-permanent war zones around the globe, fighting and killing is too ingrained as part of the way of life. The killing would continue regardless of any rationalising self justification or holy book, or lack thereof.

As the video predicts; if matters continue in the current vein, no doubt it will all end in tears, and any ‘victory’ will be cataclysmically Pyrrhic. For all concerned. Yet perhaps there is hope.

All the aforementioned gives me an idea; maybe if the various peoples involved turned their semi-permanent war into some kind of regular sporting fixture. Level the playing field. Pile a load of weapons and ammo in the middle of a football stadium or other large sporting venue, then let the interested parties have at it in private four times a year. Maybe even wall off a section of city too polluted or unpleasant for habitation, and Robert would be your Fathers brother, so to speak. Stick webcams all around and sell the rights, world wide. Think of the advertising revenue. Maybe even run a league. Let Simopn Cowell do a show on it; hey, perhaps call it ‘The Mayhem factor’. Each faction could put up a team, Hamas, IDF, Hezbollah, Orthodox and Armenian denominations, whoever, and the team with the most members still standing after three days wins. Perhaps some form of trophy could be arranged? A years free access for their followers to worship in the dome of the rock or something of that ilk. Televise said fixture and licence William Hill to run a book on the result. At least civilian casualties could be minimised, and since some of the current Palestinian factions seem to have an odd notion of what constitutes ‘fun’ anyway. Unless of course it involves religion and killing. Remember the theme park incident? Family fun is ‘un-Islamic’? WTF?

Apply to any war zone. Agree factions. Seal off limited area, give unlimited ammo, and let the games commence. It might just save the world.

Gravy snobbery

Hereby hangs a tale and a cookery conundrum; how do you make gravy? Traditional rich thick gravy. Not so thick as to stand a spoon up with, but not so runny it’s more like dark water. Simple question isn’t it? Hey, no problem, use the dripping from the meat, a little Bisto and corn starch mixed in cold water and liquor from boiling the spuds for mashing and no problemo, right? Perfect every time.

I happen to like gravy made in this fashion. Great when the dinner choice is traditional English meat veg and potatoes? Just the ticket every once in a while, yeah? Some good old fashioned British style nosh for a change. Gravy made heavy on the onions for serving with Sausage and Mash, or with a pinch of garlic salt to add an edge to chicken or pork. It’s grrr-eat! Or not. However, chacun a son gout. Each to their own, right?

This evening the Sticker household was faced with a dire emergency. A cataclysm threatening to dwarf that bit of inclement weather over the other side of the continent by a factor of 12. No Bisto gravy powder; and I wasn’t going to hike 15km along rainstorm darkened rural Canadian roads to the nearest stockist just for one five dollar packet, or 25km to the nearest stockist of overpriced British products. Think of the carbon footprint dahlings! I thought in my naive optimistic way I’d just fire up the ‘pooter and find a recipe on the jolly old interweb. Job done, brownie points in the offing, another expats hurdle overcome. Yay. Piece of cake. Or not.

Typed the search term “Home made gravy browning” into the mighty Google and was promptly brought up short. Some of the recipes were along the lines of “Roast corn starch in oven for two hours at high heat until dark”, or “Caramelise sugar in an old pan you don’t particularly like, oh, and don’t forget to leave your windows open” which almost made me reconsider cooking roast chicken for Sunday supper. Some of the recipes I came across were far too cumbersome and time consuming. On the cookery forums I also found some snotty types saying that they only cooked ‘Au jus‘. Yes, I really needed to have some sauce snob clogging up the forums when I was trying to find a recipe or some helpful hints. If you don’t know how to make gravy, then what the fuck are you doing telling someone who does want that specifically British sauce about your preference for ‘Au-fucking-jus‘ on a thread asking for recipes? The sheer, looking-down-my-nose-at-you-cos-Delia-don’t-do-it-that-way ignorance of some people, really. Like those sanctimoniously superior people whose response when asked a simple question is to tell you that what you want isn’t what they would do – so you shouldn’t. WTF?

Good gravy, for those of you not initiated into its intricacies, is an art that Michaelangelo would have carved paeans of stone to glorify for eternity, had he not been a renaissance Italian, and therefore ignorant of such a delicacy. Smooth slippery simplicity made wonderfully glutinous and conjured mid to dark brown to accompany Roast Beef, Chicken, Pork, Venison, Lamb, Sausage, Moose, Elk or whatever. It is a particularly English taste, and one I’m proud to cater for, even though it took years for me to perfect my technique. Both stepkids specifically love my Onion gravy, and Youngest has made it known that when she becomes disgustingly rich, she will have me kidnapped and set to work as her personal cook. Or else set up home close by in order to have my small culinary expertise on tap. By such things are the bonds of family strengthened.

Yet this isn’t telling you how I resolved my gravy powder less condition, does it? O-kay. Unfortunately I had cleaned the meat pan after breakfast, and had no cooking grease left. So; I took a rasher of fatty bacon and grilled (broiled) it until there were a couple of teaspoons of bacon fat left in the pan and the rasher was a dried husk of its former self. Then I took a teaspoon of cornflour and mixed it with enough cold water to form a smooth, milky liquor in the sauce boat. Next step was a couple of dashes of Worcestershire Sauce and Soy sauce to darken the cornflour and water mix halfway to the desired state of brown. Next, I stirred in some hot water from cooking the vegetables and, decanting the mix into a small saucepan, let the sauce thicken on a low heat. Potato water is good for this, being slightly starch heavy, but can result in excessive blandness. So I mixed in some liquor from cooking the green vegetables. Finally, I added the bacon fat and seasoned very carefully to taste, stirring constantly to keep the lumps at bay until it had thickened to the desired consistency. The end result was a slightly more aromatic than usual sauce, but was consumed with gusto, and English style (No milk) mashed potatoes, roast chicken and mixed veg. Re-sult!

Some Australian and New Zealand cooks, so I am informed, use half a teaspoon of Vegemite, but I find that gives the end result a slightly odd flavour for my palate. The same for stock cubes. I really don’t like gravy made with stock cubes, I feel they overpower the taste of your dinner, and produce watery gravy anyway. My personal preference is for something with a bit more body, because runny gravy gives me PTSD-like nightmares of school dinners past, from which I sometimes awake sweating and screaming. The trick here is balance. Good gravy should not overpower the roast, like some sauces do. Its purpose is to accentuate, and add a rounded, softer edge, not to swamp. Unless it is particularly good gravy and carries much of the roasts flavour anyway, in which case, mine’s a pint.

Fortunately, Canada is a civilised country and good gravy is generally not hard to come by, even over here on the hippy drippy wet coast. The Quebeckers (bless ’em) even invented Poutine, which is French Fries with lashings of cheese curds and thick gravy. But on the cookery forums, oh my goodness, there’s more controversy over gravy than global warming alarmism, the pro and anti camps are so polarised. For heavens sake it’s just a bloody sauce!

Yet I find in my search for Bisto-less gravy the mirror for much that is wrong in the world. When you go looking for advice, there is too much telling you what you should want, and too little telling you how to do what you want the right way. Sometimes I feel it’s like going into a cigar store and asking for a fine Havana, only to be offered a lecture on the evils of smoking and handed a pamphlet on Cancer awareness with a pack of nicotine flavoured gum. Or, if you like, entering a liquor store and asking for a 15 year old fine Malt Whiskey only to be handed half a pint of Soy Milk and a stern imprecation about the evils of alcoholism. Both of which, if anyone is interested, I would consider a casus belli. There are people in this world who really should know when to butt out. The only problem is that far too many appear entrenched in positions of public trust, snouts firmly wedged in the taxpayer trough, narrow minded eyes on their pet causes and regarding all else as a threat. Perhaps we could do with a cull.

In the meantime, all I have to say to such people is this; you can stop me having gravy with my fortnightly English roast when you can pry the sauce boat out of my cold and dying hands. To me, saying ‘Au Jus’ is the only way is just another way of declaring your culinary incompetence.

For those interested in Weather

A rational view is online at the doughty Mr Watts web site with explanations of current extreme and not so extreme weather phenomena. Anthony has organised this exposition of meteorological expertise in an online live TV event to counter the rather less scientific assertions of a certain failed presidential candidate.

Youtube clips will be available in the next few days.

iDemocracy

Have just been forwarded an email from Guido Fawkes about Douglas Carswell’s latest idea to fix Britain, and perhaps the world’s woes. Regrettably, brilliant man that Douglas is, he will be mostly ignored. His plan to fix Britain was a tour de force, but destined for the scrap heap of good ideas, not because it isn’t good, because it is; but because those in power are there, and they’re staying there, so the buggins turn of two and a bit party politics will continue.

iDemocracy is on Amazon. Worth buying and reading? Almost certainly. The ideas Douglas often espouses are generally well thought through and practical. Regrettably, the status quo of civil service and establishment will not permit such radical paradigm shifts. As for the populace? As has been mooted over at Anna Raccoons, the UK is a sick country, a welfare junkie due to go cold turkey because there has been no real money to feed their addictions for years.

Well, that’s all from me. Just thought I’d drop by and look in at the old place. TTFN

What does FTW Mean?

I used an acronym in this morning’s post which I think could use a little disambiguation. That term was ‘FTW‘. In the lexicon I learned as a youth it has only ever meant one thing.

Now hands up those who thought FTW means, ‘For the win’? Really? No. I’m sorry, that is so weak it isn’t true. That is geek speak, and as such ephemeral (Not to mention teeth grindingly, embarrassingly awful).

Hands up those who think it means ‘Forever two wheels‘? Work in marketing do you? It most definitely does not carry this meaning. Never has. Knowing Biker society as I used to, if it was meant to carry that meaning it would be ‘TWF’. Karol Griffin’s quotation from ‘Skin deep’ is bullshit, crap, total bollocks, and just goes to show you shouldn’t believe all you read. ‘Real’ bikers, or at least the ones I used to know, would laugh themselves senseless if they heard anyone espouse this view. Probably uttering that expression of Interweb amused incomprehension; “WTF?”

Hands up those who think it means ‘For those wondering‘? Okay, this acronym has a little more credibility as the syntax makes reasonable grammatical sense if you’re a nerdish researcher on one of the more studied and polite Internet forums. However, it is not correct.

Hands up those who think it means ‘Fuck the world‘? Correct! Go to the top of the class, give yourself a slightly tarnished gold star. This is the meaning it had prior to the 1980’s, and the one I always use it for.

“FTW” expresses the desire for the rest of the world to stop interfering, for solitude, for surcease from the falseness and the doublespeak that perverts the course of human relationships. It means ‘I don’t care, leave me in peace’s. A meaning of honest brutality. It is the last snarl against the world on a suicide note. It means; “I am going my own way and damn the rest of you.” Usually expressed in a tattoo or graffiti. It is the frustrated roar of the underdog who has slipped his leash. It is sound and fury made flesh. It is an angry phrase made from gasoline, alloy, spilled SAE 10w40 oil, scarred fists and steel toed motorcycle boots.

I can see where the other, and much later invented meanings came from. They are the lies you tell your Mum when she finds you in hospital after a nasty crack up, undressed for the first time since you were three and sees your motley collection of skin art. The lies you tell the cute Nurse or the pretty young thing with doe eyes you’re having serious lustful thoughts about. The lies you tell your beloved on your wedding night when she asks you to tell her why you got that strange tattoo and what it means. The lies you tell your parole board or crusading prison visitor (Never done time, never want to, but some of my old close friends have). The lies you tell teacher when he / she finds the hastily written expostulation in your homework and you don’t want to fail the course. The lies you tell an employer / employee who sees you with your sleeves rolled up and doesn’t know about your previous unsavory history. The lies you tell an Officer who has the presence of mind (or not) to read squaddie tattoos. The lies told to a curious child who Daddy does most definitely not want to follow in his footsteps. A clumsy but well meaning attempt to ‘gentrify’ motorcycling from its less than respectful late 20th century outlaw roots.

All the aforementioned are reasonable excuses to dilute this most pejorative of phrases. They were invented and promoted by the kind of middle class meddlers who ‘preserve’ old folk songs but deliberately exclude the mucky (and some would say the best) bits.

“FTW” is, and to the best of my knowledge has been outlaw biker / con / squaddie speak since the 1950’s for ‘Fuck the World’. The ultimate expression of frustrated liberty. Everything else is a pallid falsehood.

It is also worth noting that Vietnam era GI’s sometimes meant it to mean “Fuck the war”, but this is probably a perversion of its original meaning.

Government as Godzilla

Picked up from the irrepressible Frank J Fleming of IMAO, the idea that most modern Governments resemble Tomoyuki Tanaka‘s comic creation, the fictional raging Japanese Manga* Monster, Godzilla. O-okay. Kind of weird and goofy as a mental image, but upon careful examination, quite accurate, even witty.

What do Governments do best? Hmm. That’s fairly easy. Big stuff like defence, wars, infrastructure, all that jazz. What do Governments do worst? Another easy one. Everything.

Asking Government to fix a relatively small scale problem is rather like calling for Godzilla to do your windows. The end result is the Windows smashed, your home and all its contents trodden into an unrecognisable pile of rubble, and the shrubbery thoroughly trampled. Not to mention the resultant defoliation caused by its radioactive breath. Watching Big Government at work is an entertaining spectacle from afar, but not so funny when you’re the poor sod getting under its feet. Big Governments do not do small. They do the one size fits all thing very well indeed, but when it comes to the fine detail bring the Loki like law of unforeseen consequence grinning and dancing in their footsteps.

For example; dealing with Government departments, as we all know, is a difficult and delicate process. One must always be aware that there is a massive gap between the brain, which like Godzilla is a long way off and difficult to reach, and the bit you want to stop doing what it is doing, e.g. radioactive halitosis, trampling, claws, tail and property damage. Unfortunately, successfully dealing with one Government department often leads you into conflict with another. Also like Godzilla, discovering it has another vestigial brain in its bloody tail which you must now successfully deal with. Which is frustrating. All the boxes must be ticked in precisely the right order to placate the beast and send it happily wandering back into the primordial ooze from whence it came.

So yes; I think Frank’s entertaining little metaphor works. Invulnerable monster, heavy handed, do not summon lightly. Yet there are a lot of people who will cheerfully call on the beast without a thought for the consequences. Which is where a whole new set of problems arrive.

*Yes, yes, I know, but the alliteration was just so darned tempting.

So what did they actually do?

I see various upholders of moral rectitude like Madonna, and Paul McCartney (Yeah, right.) are up in arms about a three member Russian punk band called Pussy Riot being jailed for ‘desecrating’ a Russian Orthodox church. Oo, aren’t those Russians bad people, well because they’re Russians and ex-communists, and, and well bad, aren’t they? Jailing those poor harmless pretty girls. Isn’t that nasty ‘Vlad the Impaler’ a really bad man, den? Cos it was all about protesting Putin right?

Call me an old stickler if you will, but let’s see the bands own video of what actually happened shall we?

Okay, a bad song. Let’s face it, all punk rock is pretty bad. This particular performance makes thrash metal look cool and intellectual. A poorly choreographed dance routine, and lots of inflammatory gestures in a house of worship. The denomination is not important. Church, Temple, Synagogue, Mosque. Do that sort of thing in any place where people come to talk to their version of God and you deserve all you get. Invade the space of others and insult them and their version of worship to sing (this is debatable) a bad song, dance badly, make insulting gestures and essentially wound the silence of a church with pointless noise.

Two years? Siberian exile for ten might be more appropriate. Or just confiscate their guitar strings. On the other hand, ‘musicians’ that atrocious probably wouldn’t notice.

Paid to troll?

There’s been a long held view that a certain element on various interweb forums do what they do, not because, like most of us beknighted souls out in the dark little corners of the great electronic nowhere, they believe. No, these are what might be called ‘professionals’ who are specifically paid to spread disinformation beneficial to their employer. Now short of a number of insiders coming clean and ‘fessing up, the availability of proof is a little shaky, and without proof, all we have is unfounded assertion. Sure I’ve looked at the Alex Jones end of the spectrum, and what he says often touches a nerve, but he’s very fond of going off half cocked.

Nevertheless. There are most definitely people who fit the description of ‘paid shill’. A lot of these can be found on various forums, ironically often accusing each other of being ‘paid shills’ for various causes. The thing is, it’s not simply the usual suspects of activist organisations and industrial combines who have the odd zealot in their midst. It’s almost like there’s a burgeoning industry out there. The Chinese are known to do it. As are the employees of certain activist groups. Even Governments, and more often NGO’s were observed to be the source of annoyance, until their operatives realised their IP’s could be tracked, and started to use people working via anonymous proxies, working from home and Wi-fi hotspots.

To be honest, it’s hard to tell the difference from your average tinfoil hat wearer from someone who makes a few pennies from trolling and pasting false reviews. There are even rumours going round the block of ‘hit trolls’, those paid to assault particular forums because the ideas expressed there are not acceptable to the trolls employers. Fortunately these people are rare, because the scuttlebutt is that they aren’t paid well for the skill level required. And despite their blinkeredness in some ways, these people aren’t stupid. Well, stupid in having no independence of thought, courtesy or common sense with a fragile molecule thin ego the size of Jupiter, but technically quite bright. Albeit with the spiritual wedding tackle of a Weasel who’s just had a very cold bath.

Mostly, paid or not, Trolls are just time wasters who butt into conversations and smear metaphorical shit all over the place before running away. People whose parents spared the rod and thus spoiled their child. Fantasists stuck in low paid employment because they believe in their ’cause’. In short, the kind of people who roundly deserve what one of my expatriate Afrikaaner neighbours would, in an unguarded moment, call a ‘lekker slaap’. If only to wake them up from the sleep of ignorance.