Tag Archives: Media

Black Friday…….

What’s the old Steely Dan number that’s been running through my head all morning? Oh yes, ‘Black Friday’. How does it begin? There’s that lovely, distinctly Steely Dan style keyboard riff to open and four or five bars in launching into the song; “When Black Friday comes / I’ll stand down by the door / And catch the grey men when they / Dive from the fourteenth floor”

This is the day for traditionally queueing up outside the big box stores to indulge in a bit of rampant overspending, maxing out those credit cards in the pre Xmas sales, and perhaps trampling the odd fellow shopper or innocent member of staff. Yet today my thoughts are perturbed by the news that Anna, Gildas, and Petunia at the Raccoon Arms are apparently hanging up their keyboards. Thus I will forego my desperation for that must-have discount on a multipurpose slow cooker / egg poacher / toasting machine to think out loud about their tireless dig for the evidence of truth.

End of the raccoon arms Being a natural sceptic, I’ve seen too much of what is presented in the lamestream media as ‘fact’ found wanting when it comes to real evidence. Instead of real journalism, what we seem to get is regurgitated press releases from people with a bigger agenda than the Committee for Really Screwing up Big Projects Again. Retrospective ‘Justice’ demanded by the mentally unstable with faulty memories for what was not an ‘offence’ over thirty years ago. The pursuance of petty grievances more realistically suited for a programme like the offensively lowbrow Jeremy Kyle show on British daytime TV “He touched my arm in 1979 and I’ve been peculiar ever since.” Anna, Gildas, Pet and friends had the experience and training needed to cut to the chase and expose the glaring lack of evidence. They brought their rationality to bear on the seeming juggernaut of lies daily presented as ‘facts’ in the media when faced with the angry, pointing denouncements of the unthinking mob.

Unfortunately we humans are not rational beings. If we were there would be fewer wars, less violence, fewer threats and perhaps we could turn our species’ boundless energetic curiosity to take us out beyond the stars, just to see what’s out there. To follow in the footsteps of our gods rather than kneel under the rule of priests. Instead we find ourselves perennially grubbing in a mud wallow of our own making, unable or unwilling to look upwards and outwards. Preferring the lowest common denominator of our own natures to that great expansionist impulse that could take our species onwards and upwards. Repeating the same old errors in the same old ways without seeming to learn very much. Sheltering under the umbrella of unreason, because comforting untruths are always preferred to feeling the refreshing rain of reality wash our spirits clean. Letting ourselves be ruled by habit rather than reason. Using the primitive Thalamus rather than our more highly evolved frontal lobes.

What’s worse is that we let people with an agenda build labels, those petty little mental fortresses built of words, or try to wall others in by projecting their worse natures onto them. Not only that, we apply these labels to ourselves; conservative, liberal, anarchist, communist etcetera. Not seeming to realise that applying a label is to paint a bloody big target on your position so the heavy artillery of propaganda and untruth, from all sides, can find you more easily. Anna and friends bravely planted a flag in their patch of sand and stood up for what they felt was real, questioning every piece of evidence, word by word, point by point. Questioning the main narratives. Defiantly refusing to be cowed by those who thought shouting the loudest and making sniping personal attacks made them right. For that alone the Anna Raccoon bar staff and some of the crowd in the Snug (a.k.a the Comments threads) all deserve medals. I hope that this time around they leave the site up as an archive rather than delete it all. At least while the domain name and hosting payments remain up to date.

Now I know very few people will ever bother to read and try to digest what I’ve written here. Most of those that do will think that Bill is going off on one yet again, and perhaps I am. It’s just my opinion about a far more worthy blog, and in the court of human words that doesn’t amount to much, except to me. But perhaps that is all that really counts.

Update: Looks like it’s not so much an end but a new beginning.  Whilst the Landlady (The eponymous Anna) has retired and Gildas also, Petunia is keeping the ball rolling in his own inimitable style in a new place called ‘The Tap room’.  Blogroll amended.

North America is more civilised than you think

Made the mistake of reading a clickbait article in the Barclay Brothers Beano this afternoon where an unrepresentative sample of New Yorkers were asked about that particularly English delicacy, Sausage rolls. Astonishment, surprise and dare we even say it, dicombobulation were expressed by those who were told that you cannot purchase Sausage rolls in New York, and thus by imputation, the whole of the USA. Just so some ignorant English people (Who are so stupid they believe everything printed in English newspapers) can giggle at the Yanks’ lack of knowledge of that quintessential savoury, the humble Sausage roll.

The article is, as must be expected from such airheaded space filler, complete balderdash. I have been to New York and seen a wide range of foodstuffs produced for consumption, including, yes, you guessed it, Sausage rolls. Just because Starbucks don’t have them in stock, or the New York Times ‘introduces’ them to the North American diet does not mean they haven’t been available for yonks. For example; Myers of Keswick on Hudson Street, has been making said delicacy in New York for nearly thirty years. Then there’s ‘The Tuck Shop‘ and ‘Parkers‘ in Buffalo, New York. Unlike the much lamented Pie Face eatery that once graced Broadway until 2014, these are still going concerns.

You could recycle said article and say the Belgians are astonished by the mention of English savoury pastries. Or the Germans, Swiss, Italians, French or Danes. But I know quite a few places in Paris and Frankfurt where you can get a form of Bacon sandwich or sausage roll even if it goes under another name, but this does not mean the French or Germans are culinarily ignorant or deprived, merely disdainful about the lower meat content of English sausage.

To conclude; just because there isn’t a Greggs on every bloody corner doesn’t mean the Yanks have never heard of the British taste in Savoury pastries. Here in BC, Thrifty’s and several other grocery store chains do a very nice example, although getting decent flaky pastry over this side of the great divide is a bit hit and miss and they do tend to put more sausage meat in the pastry than the classic English version, but that is no bad thing. On my travels south of the 49th parallel I’ve seen such sundries as Scotch Eggs and Pork Pies on delicatessen displays in Eugene, Oregon and elsewhere. True, Sausage rolls etcetera, are not as widespread in the USA and Canada as the UK, but then we’re not in Clapham any more, Dorothy.

The End

Well it might be. On the other hand probably not. But…

Nothing to do with me folks, I didn’t break it, but according to some obscure religious fruitcake scholar, the world is going to end today. No, this particular doomsaying is not from the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Pope, United Nations, David Suzuki or Al Gore (This time), it’s some obscure Bible thumping sect called the eBible Fellowship. Well, they’re from Philadelphia, what do you expect?

Apparently the world is about to be obliterated by fire or something. So I thought I’d take a look around. It’s raining out, so that should damp things down a bit. Everything’s so wet over here you couldn’t light it with Napalm. Riiight, so I meandered over the a couple of relatively reputable information sources like Spaceweather.com. Any killer asteroids heading our way? No. Oh well, are the seas about to rise and cover the land, leaving a lot of beached fish and the odd annoyed crab? No. Not in this epoch. Not unless the moon gets hit by something at least half its own size and buggers up the tides. Rogue black holes? Sorry to disappoint, but none have been spotted. At least not in our spur of the galactic arm. A glitch with the Large Hadron Collider? Nope. Just finished an upgrade. No sign of a Vogon Constructor Fleet, either. Is God so pissed with us he’s going to throw a cosmic fireball our way? I gave him a quick call; “End of the world Bill?” He said. “Not on my to do list.” Well if an omnipotent being says he knows nothing about it….. Besides, we’re going fishing this Thanksgiving weekend, as God says, just to get away from all the bloody prayers. I also have it on good authority that the four horsemen of the apocalypse are booked for a Gymkhana for the rest of the week.

So, is the world really going to end? We’ll know in six hours or so. I could take the day off, but I’m just too darned busy for an apocalypse.

Must be a Wednesday. Never could quite get a handle on Wednesdays…. Hi ho. Back to the ennui.

Update: Yay! I’ve filled up my Apocalypse gift card! This means I get a free end of the world next time. Huzzah!
Apocalypse gift card I was looking for the full set, but only got my gift card after the Gordon Brown token had been withdrawn from issue.

Grand plans and statistics

When I saw the advert about the United Nations SAWA plan in the cinema the other day, my bullshit antenna buzzed madly. See advert below. I would advise either of my readers to have a sick bucket on standby before viewing. It’s that false and saccharine.

Now apart from Richard Curtis’ cute fluffified animals talking about such nebulous nonsense as ‘promoting Social Justice’, ‘ending World Poverty’ and ‘Tackling Climate Change’ after arriving at the UN in very expensive limousines, I was moved to wonder; how does all these high level diplomats having all the best stuff and the ‘carbon footprint’ of a million Soviet era tractor factories each ‘solve’ anything? Then I thought I’d consult the views of someone who can demonstrate, often with the UN’s own data, what the state of economic change is from the 1960’s to today. That source is Dr Hans Rosling, the brains behind Gapminder.org See one of his many TED talks below. This particular twenty minuter is from 2006.

He’s worth watching. Especially on the global economic and health improvements from 1960 to the present day.

Now, you might ask; if all this information is public domain based on the UN’s own information; why are the UN trying to convince us to fix ‘problems’ that are already being fixed, without UN intervention, by simple market economics and the growth of freedom? Or, as my cynicism posits, are they trying to set up a claim that they ‘fixed’ stuff that was already being fixed by free(ish) trade and globalisation of markets? Hmm…..

Update: Just as an afterthought. The UN might be proposing robbing the ‘rich’ (People who can’t move their money fast enough – ) to aid the ‘poor’ (Those who whine the most about impoverishment – not necessarily ‘poor’ people), but what they actually end up doing is enriching themselves. Sometimes they even get caught……

That’s odd

a spartacus momentJust as a matter of curiosity this afternoon, I googled “Bill Sticker” to see what was going on under that soubriquet only to find someone has created a user ID at the Guardian under my name. At first I read the comments under ‘Bill Sticker’ and went “Did I write that?” Then I looked again at the dates. I haven’t read the Guardian in what, five years? Not only that but either of my readers will note that I almost never use caps (Except for the titles of organisations) when posting, both here and elsewhere. It’s bad netiquette and jolly bad form which would get me kicked out of the Society for United Reformed Civil Enforcers (S.O.U.R.C.E.), which I never joined anyway. Also a number of the comments appeared on days when I was travelling and unable to post. Not only that but I have certainly never posted “VOTE UKIP” anywhere on any forum (Except in that example just then). Now this Disqus comment ID is mine. See the differences?

As anyone who peruses this blogs archives will note; between May 2013 and December 2014, my posting was pretty sporadic at best (it’s not much more regular now), I did drop by the old Tellytubbygraph and other blogs from time to time, but not at the Grauniad. So who has been taking the house of Stickers honour in vain? I have a few well chosen words to say to them. Some short, pithy and Anglo-Saxon, others a little more inventive, which might involve calling said perpetrator less well evolved than an Amoeba having a bad Cilia day, or a Nematode with a necrotising dose of the clap. All the time remarking on the narrowness and crudeness of their intellect which would make the most retarded of weasels seem like Albert Einstein.

Friends (Either of you);My official ID at the Groan, opened 21st July 2006 and not used since, is ID0938707. This eponymous poster is not me. It is an impostor, a traducer, a mountebank, charlatan and bunko-steerer. Heed him / it (Whatever) not.

There is only one real Bill Sticker. Me. Accept no inferior alternatives.


Not much time to blog today as by only 8am my coffee machine died, we’ve started celebrating birthdays and that damn Chaos butterfly is making its presence felt. Fortunately the weather is being kind.

I see Volkswagen, already caught with ‘green’ credentials around their ankles and spanked for cheating an emissions test, have decided to admit that the fix has been in on just about every diesel engine they make, even the commercial models. I’ve had VW’s before and they’re a damned good make. Good quality control and a reasonable price. I see no reason for not buying one. If VW made a symmetrical All Wheel Drive as good as Subaru’s, we’d have bought one instead. Not a diesel though. I’ve driven other makes of ‘Eco-diesel’ and wasn’t impressed with the engine cutting out at traffic lights to ‘save’ fuel because an engine cutting out at low revs and speed is bloody unsafe. These things may auto-restart, but there’s a second and a halfs lag at best, which in heavy traffic can be an eternity. I hate them. They’re dangerous because they always stall right at an awkward moment.

Right. We’re eating a late breakfast out today. Must dash……

Warm is good

Curry night in the Sticker Household tonight, with guests. So we’re going to go the full nine yards, poppadoms, a little mint raita and Major Greys Mango chutney. Cocktails, followed by a modest but economical Malbec for quaffing. There may be cheesecake. After that I’m going to fade into the back room to let Mrs S and sisters chew the fat, or more often these days, the fat free. Whatever.

Still blogging at a much reduced level because there’s so little I want to blog about. The sun is shining, the skies are blue, and I’m feeling quite relaxed about everything. Even if my little office overlooking the garden is a little chilly first thing. Once I’ve been in there for a couple of hours it’s cosy enough. Still waiting for this global warming to turn up, failing that my cheque for being a ‘shill for the fossil fuels industry’, or my arrest for being a ‘denier’. Not that I’m holding my breath you understand. I think a late January break in Hawaii or somewhere warm is on the cards. I like warm, warm is good.

So, what’s in the news? Volkswagen have become ‘Smokeswagen’ after being caught cheating on their emissions test. The penalty for which is having your green pass removed and sent to the headmasters office for a quick spanking with your share prices around your ankles.

The current middle eastern refugee crisis is full of people we’re all supposed to feel very sorry for, even if a goodly proportion may want to see us western types and our culture ground under the heel of religious repression. It may mean the end of free movement across European borders as countries like Hungary stick up massive razor wire fences and drop their Schengen treaty obligations like a hot rock. Oh well, at least it will increase employment opportunities for border guard work. Perhaps some of these new wannabe immigrants might be considered for all the new customs and immigration jobs this will create? Germany seems to have some vacancies.

Yes, and more inconveniently, Skype fell over big time yesterday. Well what do you expect? It’s owned by Microsoft, which is one of the reasons I won’t buy Ford. All the onboard satnag and stuff on the Escape for example, have been running on Microsoft for a while. It’s what steered me away from buying one and towards a Subaru instead.

The more observant of either of my readers might observe that the header image has been adjusted. Our motley crew of Igors slaved day and night for at least half an hour to make the ‘improvement’ which saves me having to post the ‘trigger warning’ graphic all the time because this whole site can be considered to be chock full of ‘triggers’, but not Roy Rogers. Incidentally, that old joke was found in a Downtown Thrift Store, where it has been hidden (Some would say rightly so) for over thirty years. As for the ‘no soliciting’ rule, well, that has been covered on the comments policy page.

Offended? Oh I do hope so.

Gay shark jumping

Well isn’t that fun? Jailing a clerk for refusing marriage licenses. The latest episode in the ‘rights for all’ crusade has resulted in an otherwise blameless (if deluded) woman being jailed. Superficially over refusing to issue marriage licenses to a number of the entitled. Who, instead of simply saying “Okay” and going off to Lost Wages for a weekend of excess and a (Still equally legal and binding) wedding by an Elvis Presley impersonator made a big issue of things, instead electing to involve the increasingly ironically named American Civil Liberties Union; and when they couldn’t have the stubborn God-squadder fired or fined, ended up with an elected county official in jail.

Now as I understand it, this particular clerk can still be carborundum in the oil of law administration in her county while banged up, and is being so by refusing to instruct her staff, who are reportedly a little nervous about taking decisions without their bosses approval. A judge can’t issue court documents themselves, nor can the Sheriff. The Judge and Lawyers do the law, the Sheriff and Deputies do the enforcement. Many critical courthouse documents however, are issued by the county clerks office. Which kind of puts everything in a little bit of a procedural quandary. The Judges can give out all the orders they want, but if a key person in the administrative process has been slung in the old hoosgow for refusing to issue a document over a matter of conscience, certain aspects of the administrative process of law in that county can be sabotaged. Especially if unsigned licenses are given out under duress, as is reportedly the case. Will a less sympathetic judge or civil servant refuse to accept those licenses at some future date? They are after all official court documents, and in all western jurisdictions, if the i’s and t’s aren’t properly dotted and crossed, well, there’s a fine howdy-do and no mistake. Some lawyer down the track is going to have a complete field day.

The whole matter is such a comedy of hurt feelings and entitlement that you’d need, as dear old Oscar Wilde once wrote; “A heart of stone not to laugh.” The massive, one size fits all, hammer of Federal law brought down on someone whose only ‘crime’ was one of conscience? Kind of makes a mockery of the whole freedom of conscience principal the good old US of A was founded upon. The whirring noise from the vicinity of Martin Luther Kings tomb is nothing to worry about. Move along now.

North of the 49th Parallel of course it’s a different matter. If two people want to get ‘married’ regardless of sex; fine, no problem. No one bats an eyelid. Well, no-one of a critical nature anyway. No-one has that kind of power, apart from the court itself. In the USA it’s different; they have ‘States Rights‘.

Other clerks in various Kentucky counties are also refusing licenses. Possibly because states law hasn’t (at the time of writing) caught up with Federal and still prohibits the following;
Prohibited and Restricted Marriages: (In Kentucky)
Marriages between persons who are nearer of kin to each other by blood, than second cousins.
Marriages between first cousins.
Marriages with a person mentally incompetent.
Marriages where there is a husband or wife living, from whom the person marrying has not been divorced.
Marriages not solemnized or contracted in the presence of an authorized person or society.
Same sex marriages.
Common law marriages.
Proxy marriages.

I have a distinct feeling this one isn’t over yet. Midden, windmill, incoming!

Another weapon in the Victimhood arsenal

Institute for dead horse floggingA message has been received from the lads down at the Bill Sticker Academy for Dead Horse Flogging (I thought they’d all retired, but there you go), about a relatively new practice called being ‘Ghosted’ or ‘Ghosting’. Actually it’s not new at all. Apparently in some journo’s lexicon to be ‘ghosted‘ is to be ‘dumped’. Specifically having a relationship truncated for reasons not made clear to the person who is being dumped and further contact denied. You know the sort of thing, ex has dumped all your emails in their spam filter, they’ve changed their telephone number and gone ex directory, changed job, moved with no forwarding address, run away to sea, joined a circus, a monastery or became a Nun.

It happens. People walk out on relationships every day and there’s nothing remarkable about it. That said, it’s no fun getting dumped with your ex refusing to talk to you any more, but there are perfectly good words for it rather than taking another word and painting it in rainbow colours for the aggrieved victimhood industry. Just for the sake of a piece of complete and utter Fark.

The rest of us understand that dumping occurs when one half of a relationship decides that enough is enough and it’s time to bail out. Whether the reasons given are good or not is always very subjective and not worth making a federal case out of. Which is probably what those claiming to have been ‘Ghosted’ want. They want a new legal tool to bloodlessly beat ex-partners into submission with even if erstwhile whatever think the ‘Ghosted’ are too much of a flaming nuisance to bother talking to any more. What the perpetually aggrieved want is a way for those of the ‘bunny boiler’ persuasion or perennially annoying (Which might be a gentle hint as to why someone got dumped in the first place) to enforce contact long after the rabbit is dead. Even though the world has turned and the ghosts have given up on whatever feeling there once was (at least for one party) and buggered off to haunt somewhere else. My advice? If whoever won’t take your calls after a week or so and has changed their number and details, move on. They’re not worth the heartache. Unless they’ve got your property or money, in which case may I advise hiring a decent lawyer.

We live in an age where language is becoming ever more of a lottery. Everyone wants to stake a claim in ‘cool’ (Whatever that is) and make a word or phrase their own. Even if it does sprain your grammar (And put a crimp in poor old Grandpa). However in this particular case I’d say they’re selling metaphorical Belgian beefburgers. It doesn’t matter how you dress it up, getting dumped is just that. A full stop in the story of a relationship. Changing the language to justify chasing after an ex is a truly bad idea because if they cared about how you felt they wouldn’t have dumped you, right? My advice? Don’t flog a dead horse. Lovers are like taxis. It may take some time and effort to flag another one down, but it will pay off with a comfortable ride, if of course you’re willing to take the necessary leap(s) of faith with your eyes wide open this time. You just have to get out more. To change metaphors, it doesn’t mean you have to ride a lot of horses until you find your My Little Pony, but there’s a lot to be said for hanging around the right (for a given value of ‘right’) paddock and just checking stuff out before making a bid.

Being ‘dumped’ therefore shouldn’t be viewed as a totally negative event. Looked at properly it’s actually a time for personal growth and new opportunities. Even if the miserable bitch / bastard in question won’t take your calls. You’re probably better off without them. No matter what words you use.

Interesting stuff

There’s nothing like new light being thrown on old subjects. Regarding yesterday’s post, I’d like to thank everyone for pitching in and being so civil about it. I’d particularly like to thank the commenter Dan Germouse (Is that the David Jason and Terry Scott version Dan?) for highlighting the Cochrane Reviews. Rest assured, I shall try to include said reports in future reading to keep my knowledge a little less out of date. Some topics are subscription only, but the available reviews look interesting.

One topic that comes up regularly is the assertion that banning the advertising of Alcohol or related products would reduce public consumption. Read the brief review here. Make up your own minds.

Off the same list, I also had a brief run through the reviews on Green Tea and weight loss, and Cranberry Juice and Urinary Tract Infections.

The news that Statins are effective as a prophylactic against MI’s (Heart Attacks), but makes no case for scattergun mass medication as proposed by some politicians. I would cite the cautionary example of mass use of antibiotics and the subsequent development of hard to control MRSA type infections. Longer term studies needed methinks. Sister in law and husband got put on a course of Statins and had to stop because of the side effects. They’re still on a low salt, low everything diet, but the last I heard their cholesterol levels hadn’t changed that much.

One thing I was amused to note was the conclusion that while vitamin D supplements do not help safeguard against falling in older people, but exercises which help develop poise and balance like Tai Chi do. Must keep up the old Judo exercises then.

Overall, as regards information I consider myself schooled. However in this instance I am quite relaxed about the experience. Primary sources without having to dig through reams of guff? I’m good with that.

As a reward, here’s a possibly NSFW video playlist of young women getting their kit off in a very artistic fashion (Well I happen to think so) for all you gentlemen out there with the odd red blood cell still ranging around your veins. Or ladies with girl crushes. Hey, we don’t judge. Any complaints, keep ’em to yourselves.