Tag Archives: Media

The next scare story

Hitting a newsstand near you should be reports of a terrifying ‘brain shrinking’ virus called Zika. For many people I’d be inclined to say “But you weren’t using it much anyway….” as cerebral activity does not seem to pose a major part of their day.  If you’ve ever spent much time in Vancouver Island traffic, this will be a given. Even pedestrians seem to be affected. Very few of them seem to even look where they’re going. I’ve seen them try to walk straight into vehicles already half way over crossings. Like the eyes are somehow not connected to the brain. Or Mr Brain is in “La-la-la” shutdown mode, which seems more likely.

Symptoms of Zika are; fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes), muscle pain and headache lasting about a week.  Rather like a nasty dose of influenza with added rash and red-eye.   Dying is not likely.  But hell, don’t take my word for it, read the CDC’s Zika information pages.

Now before you all go panicking to your doctors and clogging up surgery waiting rooms, know this; Zika is a tropical virus for which there is no current remedy. No vaccination, no specific drug therapy, and it’s completely random, spread only by mosquito bites. Yes, and the whole ‘brain shrinking’ thing only affects a percentage of babies born to an infected mother. Scary huh? Well not so much. A bite from an infected Yellow fever (Aedes_aegypti) mosquito has only a 20% chance of causing an infection and even if you do get a bout, the treatment is as follows;

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration
  • Take medicines, such as acetaminophen or paracetamol, to relieve fever and pain
  • Aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen and naproxen, should be avoided until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of hemorrhage. If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.
  • If you have Zika, avoid mosquito bites for the first week of your illness.
  • During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites.

That’s it; no need for panic. Usual anti mosquito regimen applies. Set up a zapper to attract and kill the little critters before they can become a nuisance, which is usually three days after rain. If your area is prone to mossies (Like most of BC), wear long sleeves and cover up after 9pm, use mosquito coils or other insecticide repellent. You’ll still get the odd nip, but de nada. Unless of course you’re a pregnant woman in an affected area, in which case, a bout of Zika during pregnancy, so some researchers suspect, can produce a child with microcephaly. But Brazil is the only place reporting such a phenomenon. So not going there while pregnant sounds like a modestly good idea. Otherwise your 2016 Olympic visit to the Rio games sounds pretty safe. Well, apart from Malaria, Dengue or Yellow fever, or any of the other infections endemic to that part of the world. In which case, stock up on DEET and use liberally.

From one ‘wassock’ to another

Investors showcase tonight, where people who call themselves ‘financial experts’ will be making a bid to increase our capital. Not that they will, I’ve seen these guys come and go (normally with your cash lining their pockets) over the years, and can’t help but think it’ll be a wasted evening. I’m only going for the freebies. When it comes to signing on the dotted, we Stickers have a limpet like hold on our resources and will no doubt come away from the event slightly bemused and waiting for the cold light of day to help us sort the real from the faecal cow residue.

In the meantime, I made time between coursework, work and cooking to have a look at the fuss over this Trump fellow. He certainly has polarised people hasn’t he? Out of the mouths etcetera.

My goodness, he hasn’t even won a nomination or even a primary, and a bunch of spineless gimps have already got their undergarments all rucked up.  If you believe what’s in most of the left leaning lamestream media, the floppy haired Barbarian is at the gates and we’re all dooomed if he so much as sets an ignorant, stupid foot within ten miles of elected office.  Stefan Molyneux on the other hand, no matter what you think of his sometimes apocryphal style, does one of his excellent dissections of what the lamestream get completely one hundred and eighty degrees from reality.

What the lamestream and their owners are all frightened about are that the Barbarian is complaining about the real barbarians who indulge in such things as, oo lemme see, rape attacks and sexual assaults and celebrating notorious terrorist attacks, which threatens the blatant gerrymandering and vote buying commonplace in the west. The real barbarians are not already inside the gates, but are messing up the living room, hogging the couch and Xbox with their booted feet up on the coffee table demanding more Nachos and playing grab-ass with every comely young female within reach. What’s worse is that these racist, sexist, hostile slimeballs can’t be kicked out because mainstream politicians need their fresh votes. Even worse is that many of the bad guys are second generation. Born and bred. Not simply ‘immigrants’.

As fans of the X-files will attest, the truth is most certainly out there, (but lies are definitely in your head) and as Stefan ably demonstrates, easily found courtesy of the jolly old Interweb. All you have to do is go to the source data, which is far more easily accessed if you’re prepared to do a little digging on your own account.

Like it or not, I’m tempted to believe my a strong suspicion that we’re at a cultural nexus, the kind that brings down civilisations. Such a collapse probably won’t happen in my lifetime (Despite rumours to the contrary – the people in charge have too far to fall), but if we carry on doing the same old thing, ducking the issues, subsidising, importing, pandering to and protecting a hostile culture, perhaps the western way of life and the prosperity it brings will be a fading memory by the end of the century. Some of the more philosophically short sighted out there might be tempted to think that this might be a good thing. I would disagree. Classical civilisation, for all it’s faults produced great art (A lot of which was defaced by zealous early Christians) and great literature (Which also fell victim to zealous early Christians). The arts and sciences fell into disarray for centuries afterwards. Anyone else see the parallel?

Which may be a comfort to our great grandchildren. Or not. Clinton’s the next US President anyway, she’s Wall Street and the lamestreams preferred candidate. Despite his wealth, I think Trump won’t even get a mention, but I wouldn’t be totally displeased if he won. Just to hear the outraged wailing and gnashing of teeth of sore losers.

Time to ditch Netflix?

Well folks, it’s sledgehammer to crack a nut and cut off ones nose to spite one’s face time for Netflix. News has surfaced that they’re going to block users who use proxies and VPN’s to view content. Which is going to go down like a lead balloon here oop norf of the 49th.

Now I’m not sure about how Netflix are going to go about this, but blocking the IP’s of known VPN servers, or possibly entire ranges of same may just prove business suicide. Canada’s chief beef is that we only gets a fraction of the catalogue available to our cousins less than sixty kilometres distant. Competitors with better content are springing up, to whom the Sticker household has already subscribed, and like cable TV providers, it’s not too big a leap of imagination to see Netflix’ market share (And some of their more shonky content) dwindling into a black hole.

Future of NetflixNow Netflix are not entirely at fault, the people behind this crackdown are the corporate copyright holders who want even more revenue from the same product, not just once, but again and again and again. To them, streaming services like Netflix are just a cash cow. Which won’t actually help when Netflix start to lose subscribers because what their customer base wants is advert-free content and if they as a service provider can’t give their customers what they want, well do I have to paint a picture here?

As an example; at the end of March this year, our household is planning to ditch its Netflix subscription because the Canadian content is becoming too restricted and we’ll have come to the end of our viewing choices. If enough people do the same, then the boys behind the big red banner are going to have to start looking for some other employment.

I think if this problem persists with the big guys pressuring legitimate subscriber services we could go back to doing Torrent downloads, maybe watching DVD’s, or we might even subscribe to CraveTV on top of our existing Shomi subscription (Which is already beginning to look a little restrictive). Depending on how good Crave’s catalogue is. We’ll sign up for the free first month and see if it’s any good, if so, bye bye Netflix.

What the hey, it’s only TV. I can live without it.

On the bright side, the Raccoon Arms is open again.

Squirrel!

squirrel-up-dog-gifFrom a recent news item comes information vital to our civilisations survival.  Via the Igors at the Bill Sticker Institute for Assorted Trivia I bring dire news of a global conspiracy.  A real one.  Not local like most terror threats but one whose breadth truly does affect all humanity.  Friends, we are under assault from the most effective cyber attacks ever imagined by a delusional paranoid schizophrenic completely off their meds, with or without added LSD. Oh yes, it’s that bad.

We’re not talking about Cyber attacks by Anonymous, or China, Daesh, threats to civil liberties by the very people sworn to protect us or even zombie armies looking to snack on what little brains we have left after watching daytime TV.  We’re talking about a real threat, responsible for genuine power outages and all manner of suicide attack as well as nut theft on an industrial scale.  The real enemy is….. Squirrels.

Cybersquirrel with bluetoothInformation is emerging of the sheer magnitude of these assaults on our civilisation. A map of power outages caused by these Decepticon borg-like creatures can be viewed here.  The heinous acts by these creatures include causing multi-vehicle pile ups, single squirrel kamikaze attacks on drivers in open topped vehicles, with invasions of licensed premises and failure to pay for their own drinks tab.  Not to mention the recent California terror rampage and reports of Vampire squirrels targeting deer. Even major sporting events are not immune. The list goes on.

So what can we do, how can we protect ourselves from these random terror attacks? What is the actual depth and scope of the threat we face? Most of the attacks appear to be a ‘suicide’ variant; Squirrels throwing themselves under the wheels of traffic or into sensitive infrastructure thus terrorising entire communities. How do we identify the threat?

CybersquirrelThe problem with threat identification is as demonstrated in this rare picture of a cybersquirrel caught off guard by a courageous camera person, who, although they took this picture using an extremely long lens, was shortly thereafter ambushed and hospitalised by several lightsabre wielding assailants later pictured fighting amongst themselves over credit for the ‘kill’ (See below).

Lightsabre squirrels So what are we to do in the face of a threat more real than global warming, mad bankers, room temperature IQ politicians, rogue asteroids, alien invasions and people who forget to carve new calendars? Fear not. I have a solution, but I would caution my last remaining reader to sit down with a stiff drink before proceeding further because what I am about to propose may seem unpleasant and may even make you nauseous. Are you sitting comfortably? Okay, brace yourself. My proposal is that we have to eat them. All of them. Every last single tree rat has to go. Before these cybersquirrels bring our brave 21st century civilisation and all the comforts we have come to rely on crashing to it’s knees. Because it really is them or us.

It may be the only chance we humans have left……..

About that Science ‘denial’ thing……

I was watching Stefan Molyneux’s Youtube channel last night and was entertained to listen to the following video.

In it, a caller to Stefans show on Freedomain Radio outlines the difficulties of being a scientific researcher in a publicly funded institution. Which makes for intriguing listening. As for the rest of Stefan’s videos, I’ve got my misgivings about “R / K selection theory” applied to humans because it appears to make the assumption that people cannot or will not change their point of view. His impassioned rants can be simultaneously entertaining and enlightening, so I’m happy to listen, even when he’s going off on one. However, his ‘Truth About’ video’s occasionally throw up the odd golden nugget and are worth the ear bashing.

We’re continually told by folks making their customary ‘Appeal to Authority‘ arguments that “Most scientists agree that….” therefore we lay ignoramuses should shut our ugly mouths and do as we’re told, or else it’s off to bed with no supper and no Internet either, you damned cheeky fellows. How dare you question the all-wise and all-knowing, you, you, Heretic, you!. Even if you were one of the people who set the whole bandwagon in motion.

Which is all very well if the authority is actually an authority and not some Zeeb making it up as they go along to keep themselves in academic comfort. Which in certain (If not many) areas of scientific research, is what is actually going on. At least if Stefan’s caller is to be believed. But then if you’ve ever worked in big organisations, you’ll be aware of the toxic ‘go along-get along’ corporate mentality where failing to be part of the ‘team’ can find you looking for a new job, sharpish.

Face it, chums (Either of you), until a theory can be replicated by experimental data by other researchers, it remains just that, a theory. An idea. A dream. Yet a lot of dreams and theories are repeated by modern media sources as though they are real for the sake of a sensational soundbite. “Giant meteor on collision course with Earth!”, “Unstoppable sea level rise to drown New York by next Tuesday!”, “Killer plague will decimate humanity next week! Use our plague postcode checker ap to check your vulnerability!”, “Polar bears are cute, fluffy and dying in millions, and it’s all your fault!” God help anyone who questions such impeccable (Hah!) sources. If you do you’re a filthy ‘Denier’ no more fit to live on God’s clean Earth than a slime worm. A conspiracy theorist whose tinfoil hat is slipping. Your ignorance is a given. Even if you personally have read and understood the research papers in question (Unlike your accusers and the doomsaying media types). Even if the researchers are all using the same ‘adjusted’ source data when reality seems to be in a state of constant contradiction of the claimed results.

Hi ho. Time for a day out methinks.

That’s pathetic

As in meaning 2 in the online Oxford Dictionary. But there’s a few people out there who are threatening to post ‘spoilers’ of the new Star Wars movie unless Disney makes the movie they demand. As George Lucas himself says at the end of this comic clip of ‘Trigger warnings’; “That’s pathetic.”

Not a particular fan of the fluffy* Star Wars space opera end of Sci-fi myself, but seriously? It’s J J Abrams movie, his brainchild, his living, not theirs. The “Spoiler Jihadi’s”, as they have come to be known, come across as a bunch of whiny spoiled brats who deserve a good slap. The result of Mommy and Daddy being too indulgent and not saying ‘No’ at the appropriate juncture, confiscating their techno-toys and switching off their TV for bad behaviour.

Now piracy of the movie is one thing, if of course you want second rate sound and 640 pixel grainy visuals, but out and out blackmail of the movie makers? That is so far from not on it’s not true.

Spoiler Jihadi’s are the despicable little shits who talk during movies, telling their friends and everyone else loudly what’s going to happen next with lots of “Yeah, this is a good bit. It’s where he / she / it…..” Which is fucking annoying, and on one occasion even had mild mannered me turning round to snarl “Shut. The Fuck. Up.” In the cinema. I was wearing my ragged oil and tobacco reeking cut offs over a roadstained leather jacket that day, over ten years before I came across the civilising influence of my dear lady wife, so my personal grooming was rather erm…. unruly. Did I intimidate, or scare him to silence? I’m not entirely sure but the mouth artist in question did clam up, so I suppose he must have felt some form of embarrassment. At the time I felt annoyed enough to think about dragging the importunate little S.O.B. into the bog and indicate my displeasure by re-enacting the toilet murder scene at the start of ‘Casino Royale’ (Although this incident was well over fifteen years before that specific movies release). I’d paid good money to get into the theatre that damp afternoon and some inconsiderate cunt was trying to ruin my entertainment.

It’s bad enough when someone enters the room when you’re chilling, enjoying a TV movie and demands “What are you watching?” without any consideration whatsoever, talking over an important piece of dialogue or enjoyable action sequence. Instead of simply joining you on the couch to watch and enjoy. Or even being considerate to make some tea and bring a cookie with them to share the experience. I have taken Mrs S to task for such interruptions on more than one occasion and the ‘pause’ button on our Apple TV Box remote is beginning to look a little worn.

So, don’t like what the movie makers have produced little spoilt-jihadi? Go make your own version, writing your own storylines to watch on your home system, but let the Star Wars team do their thing, which most people will actually think worthy of paying to go and see.

* 'Fluffy': A TV show or movie watched for entertainment value alone, no matter if the plot resembles a Gruyère cheese and some of the dialogue is so groanworthy it's actually hilarious.

Absolutely average

Just for a lark, I took a quick time out and completed this fun Quiz on ‘How evil are you‘? Turns out that I am moderately Nefarious. Which is absolutely average as far as most people are concerned……Moderately nefarious As my reader will attest, this is hardly news. If I wasn’t, then I’m sure I wouldn’t have a full crew of Igors slaving over a hot dictionary upon my behalf. They don’t work for anyone who is less than at least modestly evil.

Me? I’ll settle for moderately nefarious. Sounds about right.

ne·far·i·ous
nəˈferēəs/
adjective
(typically of an action or activity) wicked or criminal.
“the nefarious activities of the organized-crime syndicates”
synonyms: wicked, evil, sinful, iniquitous, egregious, heinous, atrocious, vile, foul, abominable, odious, depraved, monstrous, fiendish, diabolical, unspeakable, despicable; villainous, criminal, corrupt, illegal, unlawful; dastardly
“the nefarious long-lost brother returned to steal Iris’s family jewels”

Proof? You want proof? Why should I give out any? No-one who is at the very least mildly wicked would even dream of confessing their evil deeds in public. Half the fun is watching others tie their petty moralities in knots trying to figure you out.

Favourite TV character; Raymond Reddington. So charmingly wicked.

The Case Against Facebook

Gweetingth onth again from the ladth in the lab here at the Bill Thticker Inthtitute of Thtating the bleeding Obviouth. Note that young Igor, who is in charge of blog potht titleth ith very modern in hith outlook and declineth to uth our traditional lithp. We’re very worried about him, ath some of uth think hith thtitching ith jutht a little too neat.

There are lotth of thtorieth in the mainthtream preth about thome poor thoul who hath had to thoot a family pet becauth it wath dangerouth to hith children or wath in too much pain, or thomeone who voithed an opinion that thomeone elth did not agree with on Fathebook. People who make thilly pronouncementth on twitter and end up being villified and thubject to one of thothe moronic Change.org campaignth.

We have wordth for people who bully otherth uthing change.org. Motht of thethe wordth are thort, pithy and Anglo-thaxon, otherth are Tranthylvanian in origin and do not tranthlate well from the original Magdyar dialect thyrillic. People who cry out for more government intervention on change.org are, ath far ath we can tell, not the tharpetht toolth in the vărtha. Tho emothional, tho completely free of logic. Not that thothe occathioning thuch outrageth are much better. If they had any thenth, they’d keep thuch thingth to themthelveth inthtead of pothting them for every hipthter and thimilar dunderhead to get all aereated about. Itth one thing to potht private methageth to family and fiendth, quite another to let every eathily outraged thlaphead into oneth private affairth. Ethpethially ath motht them to want to be offended. How bored they mutht be with their liveth.

Out in the real world thethe people are eathy to thpot. Totally fixated on their thmartphoneth (‘Thmart’ – hah!), even when crothing a buthy road. Hardly theeming aware of where they are going or what they are doing outthide of their tiny little screen-world. Thome even drive like that. Thome of uth think the Polithe thould have a thoot on thight polithy towardth texting driverth.

We Igorth do not uthe Fathebook, Twitter, Inthtagram or other thuch abominationth becauthe much of what we do ithn’t exactly thocial. Popping out to fetch a freth brain from a handy dithpenthary, for example, ithn’t exactly the thort of thing you potht in a public forum, ith it? Ethpethially after hourth. Not that we are prethently involved in any thuch projecth. It’th jutht a hypothetical thenario. Bethideth, there’th no call for that thort of research any more. Tho no, we will not be putting “Giving monthter life now – Amathing!” or tharing ‘thelfieth’ of ourthelveth and the marthter with frethly reanimated fleth, no matter how neat the thtitching. If we went in for that thort of thing, which we of courthe don’t. Well, apart from the odd nethethary tranthplant or three, but thatth another thtory.

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.