Tag Archives: New beginnings

The next apocalypse

If it’s not the heat death of the universe, the Mayans forgetting to carve new calendars or whatever, there’s always good old Earth killing meteorites we can’t do anything about (Mainly because all the money seems to get spent building Wind Farms and other such idiocy). Well chums, (Well one of my two regular visitors anyway) apparently 2013 is where fire rains from the heavens and we all have to face Judgement day. (Oh, noes! Not again!)

Which kind of raises the question; why are some people so all fired keen to have a Judgement Day? Why does the Earth / Humanity have to ‘end’ to make them feel vindicated? Self important little tits. As for mankind ‘threatening’ the Earth – anyone with the least knowledge of this planets processes should be aware of how thin the habitable biosphere is. Also exactly how big it is. So long as humanity keeps its figurative room tidy, the rest will take care of itself. The biosphere was here long before we ever arrived, and it’s our species good fortune (or not) that it will be here even when we’re no more than an interesting layer of fossils.

Meteorites crash land on the Earth, or burn up in the atmosphere, every day of the year. Most of them we never even notice. Remember, approximately two thirds of the Earth’s surface is water (Gleaned from my well thumbed copy of the ‘Bumper Fun book for boys’). Living out here at the Pacific rim as I do, you tend to take a larger perspective on these things, especially when you look at the flight times to Japan, Oz or Kiwiland. Especially when you can look out on a sunny day and literally see the Earth’s curvature. I tell you, it puts all your worldly cares on the back burner. Rather like Douglas Adam’s total perspective vortex. Once you’ve got that sense of scale, everything else pales into insignificance, and there’s nothing to be scared about.

One of the reasons I left the UK

One day in mid 2006, I was off duty and busy writing when the doorbell of our tiny little terraced house buzzed. I went to the front door to be greeted by a clipboard wielding woman from ‘child services’ demanding to see “The baby”, telling me I had to let her in because “It was the law”.

That is the absolute honest truth, those were her exact words, and they have been burned into my brain, leaving me in no doubt as to the wisdom of our leaving the UK. The woman had the wrong address and seemed incapable of reading road signs, but despite this tried to bull past me on my own doorstep. My own fucking doorstep. No warrant, no Police, no evidence, no nothing. Not even the right bloody house. Needless to say, she was refused entry, and the error of her ways pointed out. Although upon reflection I’d have sent her to the other side of town had I been a bit more aware in those days. Right into the heart of Chavland.

No wonder, as Ranty quite reasonably points out, they keep sticking the wrong people in jail. My grandchildren will not grow up over there if I have any say in the matter. Not unless the Augean stables of certain Government departments are given a thorough cleaning with a few hundred gallons of this, and one of these.

This isn’t going to go down well…..

Michael Buerk asks inconvenient questions regarding the wild claims of the pro Man Made Climate Alarmist faction. Whilst he does say that he believes that humanity is altering the climate, he’s also asking where all the doom and disasters are that have been so authoritatively predicted. That’s an excellent question. where are they?

To quote a Monty Python sketch; “Can I just say that’s the last time he’s appearing on Television?”

Glad to see scales falling from eyes. Interesting blog too.

H/t Wattsupwiththat

I think they can go on the blogroll,as Buerk seems to cover some Libertarian subjects.

Moving on

At the risk of coming over all morbid, I’ve elected to post my thoughts about our family friends recent demise over the next couple of days. If you don’t like descriptions of dead people and bereavement, stop reading right now and pick something a little more light hearted off the sidebar.

Todays unpleasant little task was the formal identification of our friend before cremation. Just to make sure we get the right pile of grey granular dust from the crematorium on Saturday.

Mrs S and I arrived at the funeral Directors at three as arranged, and were shown into a very comfortable side room. Our newly widowed friend elected to come with us, even after she’d said she wouldn’t. “Okay, here’s the drill.” I said after we had settled on the sofa. “I’ll go in, do the formal identification as agreed, and if everything’s okay, I’ll call you in.” Mrs S and Widowed friend nodded approval and I was shown into the little side room where our old friend lay.

My first thoughts were how like a manikin he looked; all dressed and tidy in his old Royal Canadian Navy dress uniform. Patent leather shoes polished to a brilliant shine. Hair and beard neatly trimmed to match an old passport photo. Crisp white shirt with uniform tie perfectly knotted. Quite an array of medal ribbons, including (I’m told) a DSO, on his dress blue jacket with Chief Petty Officers badges embroidered on the lapels. All smart and polished, yet lying in a cheap chipboard box. The pallid waxy and mottled complexion with dark pink filmed blue patches under his fingernails. Knobble jointed fingers with fading bruises under the skin where in his penultimate confused delirium, he’d lashed out at everything. Cheekbones standing proud above cheeks collapsed into shallow bowls, mouth and eyelids open just a hairs width, and so terribly, irrevocably still. Looking like all the life had been forcibly vacuumed from his earthly husk. Which is what I was looking at. A very smartly presented shell. Not the sharply humorous and bluff old cove I first met over four years ago. Mrs S of course, has known him since she was very young, when she first came to Canada.

After a few moments checking that all was neat and there was nothing apart from the inertia of flesh, I was moved to remark to the empty room; “My, my old mate. You do spiff up well.”

After a moments considered pause I went to tell the girls it was okay to view. Leading them into the little viewing room, I let the Widow grab hold of my hand for comfort, then let she and Mrs S go and see for themselves. There were subdued tears, and a few sniffs, but the major dam breach of heartbreak had spent itself on Monday night, and this was simply a further closing of the door between past and future. For my own part I felt a smaller tightness in the throat than seeing him ekeing out his last moments on a hospital bed. Yet the last bit of grieving was still palpably there.

My only criticism was perhaps the funeral home might have improved their presentation by draping the naked chipboard cremation shell with a cloth or something. Five dollars for a sheet for him to lie on whilst waiting for his last trip through the crematorium might not have made such a difference to their margins, and made it look like they cared a little more; even if what they do is ‘Just a job’ as one of my workmates commented earlier in the day.

We dropped the widow back at her house, and Mrs S went on a short errand, leaving us to talk about her deceased husband. I recounted my own experiences of bereavement. You know, the little hallucinations the brain creates to take your mind off the pain of loss. Hearing the voice of a departed love, seeing them out of the corner of your eye in quiet unguarded moments. Even holding conversations with them just as you’re drifting off to sleep or daydreaming. The sound of their voice reconstructed from memory and used by your sneaky subconscious to spur you into a specific course of action, and how they fade, but never quite go away.

She seemed comforted, and talked about moving forward into a future of her own. The house will go of course, and she’s been packing stuff to go to the Salvation Army and local Thrift stores. I’ve seen her new apartment, with its view over the nicer end of a lake. It was to have been for two, but her husband of many years did not live long enough. Still, I wish her what joy she can find, and hope we get an invitation to lunch occasionally.

Did I mention the care home sports a very pleasant restaurant. High end Canadian care homes are more like fully serviced apartment blocks, including shops, hairdressers libraries and gyms. I believe the one our widowed friend is about to enter has a physiotherapist and full time nurse on duty.

She is moving on, and that is as it should be.

Busy

Too busy to blog. Even more family are due to descend upon us shortly. Still running errands for terminal friend. Major project finished and have been asked to deliver a talk at a book signing (Write presentation, practice speaking, rehearse, promotional material design, work, work, work). Mrs S has insisted I make time out for fishing as I’m as hyper as a puppy with a new squeaky toy.

All in all, having a nice time. I think.

The more it changes.. the more it stays the same

I can’t think of a topic I haven’t beaten to death, which is why posting has been pretty sporadic of late. That’s because people who simply refuse to use their brains insist they are fit for elected office, and because there are so many people who live in a fluffy pink la-la world, and think everyone else has to, too. I’m just trying to ignore them and hope they’ll go away.

For myself, I’m busy welding words together over a red hot keyboard, and have resurrected the ‘Stepdad’ Manuscript, which is a humorous but hopefully instructive treatise about my experiences as the stepfather of two teenage girls. Which I hope to release shortly in cut down form as an eBook.

Seeing as I have survived the experience with health and sanity relatively unimpaired, and seen them graduate with honours from university, I think that now qualifies me as an expert on the subject. Although if asked, “Have you the right qualifications?” I might respond “There aren’t any, now fuck off.”

Posting will be even lighter than usual because there’s a lot of fruit harvesting and processing to be done. More plums than I know what to do with, and the grape vines and blackberry bushes in our little back yard look like giving up a bumper harvest. Hunting season starts in September.

Citizenship and the EU

You know, I often find myself wondering about this. I’ve said before that as soon as I’m eligible I will apply for Canadian Citizenship, and this remains my intent. The question being; do I wish to remain a citizen of the UK, and thus a citizen of Europe? Will I want to maintain dual citizenship status? While I don’t, and have never really minded the notion of being a citizen of Europe, I don’t like the way a closed circle of unaccountable politicians and bureaucrats are taking it.

When a torrent of micro managing regulation goes onto the statute books without so much as a bye, leave, or thank you. Then I don’t want to be a citizen of the EU. If legislation can be cut and pasted from directives originating from within the undemocratic cancer that is the EU Commission without so much as a sneeze from the elected body. Then I don’t want to be a part of the European Union. When I watch the insane debt bubble looming over the countries that are part of the Euro, then I think I’d be better off not being a citizen of the EU.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Europe. All of it. I love most of the places, and most of the people I’ve met on my travels. Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Netherlands, Luxemburg, and yes, even Belgium. I’m sure a lot of Germans, Italians, French, Spanish, Dutch, Luxemburgers and Belgians feel exactly the same way.

There are things that are done far better in Europe than the English do. The TGV’s (Ironically, many engine and coach units built by British Manufacturers) that zip across France and Spain. Much more comfortable than flying. European Motorways, and I have many fond memories of French N and D routes. Airports.

My head is crammed with delightful European memories like the almost overpowering liquorice tinged smell of Basil on the road from Florence to Genoa. The dusty glory of a Tuscan summer. Champagne chilly cellar tours in Rheims, the dazzling brilliance of the Mont Blanc glacier on a sunny day. The dusty expanse of the Saarland and Rhine Valley in midsummer. Little family roadside restaurants off the beaten track. People who readily forgave my poor language skills, but didn’t mind so long as I made some effort (However awkward) to speak their language.

The sheer weight of european history and culture is tremendous and never less than impressive. Yet all that is good in Europe is slowly dying of bureaucratic poisoning. A stolid, boneheaded, ignorant top down political delusion that assumes one code of law will do for all. If it were general law, like don’t steal or don’t cheat, I’d be all for it, but what bugs me is the increasing micro management foisted upon the majority by vocal lobby groups. Chair polishing time wasters passing law after law without any real thought for the consequences. A system of governance that reduces the rights of the individual to whatever largesse an overweening state can be bothered to hand out. With every new piece of legislation the system becomes ever more inflexible.

To compare; in general terms of materials science, the stiffer a substance becomes, which mostly mean becoming more tightly grained, the more fragile and prone to shattering it becomes. So it is with law. The more constricting and inflexible law becomes, an increasing number of people keep will slamming into it until a social critical mass is reached, and something has to give. At that point either the edifice collapses under it’s own internal pressure, or enough people get together to form a hammer. As is happening right now throughout the Middle East at present where tired, inflexible regimes are cracking under the strain. The EU are interfering because that’s where most of their oil comes from. Yet their interference is actually making things worse.

For example; outside intervention is giving Gaddaffi’s main power base, his alliance of tribes something to rally against. Where he might have slunk off to Venezuela with a couple of billion in unmarked bills in times past, that door has been shut to him. With no exit strategy he has to fight. More Libyans will die because of it. All because of short sighted, posturing EU intervention. I do not support this, nor do I agree with what is happening within the EU. Not too chuffed about Canada being dragged in, but that’s NATO for you.

There is no course of remedial democratic action open to me. My UK MP is a buffoonish rubber stamp who does not care about his constituents views. My UK MEP is so remote and unaccountable that they might as well be located out in Lunar Orbit. Therefore I do not want to be a citizen of an enlarged EU.

At some time in the next three years I’m going to have to make a decision about citizenship. If, once a full citizen of Canada I renounce my citizenship of the UK, and thus Europe, if I get stuck in Europe for any legal reason I will always have the option of deportation back to my new home. Yet if I have dual citizenship, that choice might not be so readily open to me, and any protections I might have as a Canadian citizen might be somewhat diluted.

The Canadians look after their citizens, you see. The tacit constitutional contract between state and individual is largely intact over here. You have to really want citizenship, and therefore it’s not an easy road to travel. That is where its value lies.

Upon sober reflection I think I’ll have to plot this one through carefully. It has been said that those who wish to give up citizenship of the UK should undergo a psychiatric evaluation. But what is insane about wanting to renounce a country that has changed the terms and conditions of citizenship without consultation, leaves sizeable tranches of its populace effectively disenfranchised, where people can be imprisoned without trial, their families dismantled, yet has the effrontery to describe itself as ‘democratic?’

From where I stand at present, with no other door open to me, the renunciation of everything I was brought up to believe in may be the most potent protest I can lodge.

Yo! Canada!

First seen here on Wattsupwiththat. This is going to piss off a lot of pseudo-environmentalists, but there will be no Federally mandated Carbon tax in Canada. Yes! (Punches air in delight) There is hope.

“It’s off the table,” he (Environment Minister Peter Kent) told reporters Thursday after accepting an award from World Wildlife Fund International on behalf of Parks Canada.
“There’s no expectation of cap-and-trade continentally in the near or medium future.”

Now all we have to do is pressure the BC Provincial government into dropping their Carbon levy on gas and it’ll be a summer to really celebrate.

Oh, and the ban on incandescent light bulbs has been set back.  (Walks of whistling happy tune).

Blogroll

I’m currently updating my blogroll. Would those of you who aren’t on the list already and who wish to be linked to, please leave a note in the comments.

It goes without saying that commercial organisations, porn, or spam site owners need not bother.

Back to wordpress

I’ve been with blogger for so long I think I’ve been getting a bit complacent. The free tools that made it such a cute little platform are beginning to pall. Haloscan is no longer available as a free service, which is a pain, but there you go.

Did try to make a WordPress blog once, but it never went anywhere. Will migrate and see what I can do with this new blog.