Tag Archives: Observations

The case for Snowden

Went and saw Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ last weekend. A thought provoking and engrossing movie. While it didn’t tell me anything I’ve not been aware of for some time, it also scared Mrs S into sticking all her electronics in a desk drawer and shutting the door to her office. At least until the following morning. Now she simply leaves everything, including iPad, in her office.

Now I’ve been in the habit of covering my cell phone and both its cameras for some time, and my laptop always has the camera blocked. Same goes for my Samsung tablet when it’s not in use. My phone spends all its time when not in use in a pocket or out of line of sight. What they don’t see they can’t record, right? Now I’ve been criticised by members of my family for this behaviour to the point of being labelled paranoid, but it’s long been my contention that if something is possible, such as remotely switching on your camera without your knowledge, then some smart geek will probably know how to do it. And if they’re working for officialdom, that probability factor shifts swiftly into the ‘almost certain’ range of the intrusiveness bell curve. Because whilst one emotionally stunted geek might spy on the girl / boy next door, he or she does not have the time or resources to scrutinise more than four or five people. However, give that geek the resources of a state security agency and then no-one becomes safe from their gaze. Worse still, without accountability, such an agency can quickly begin to take on a Frankenstein’s monster-like life of their own. In the post 9/11 panic, this is exactly the monster that was unleashed by the Bush presidency, fed and enlarged during Obama’s tenure, despite assurances to the contrary.

So, what documents did Snowden actually pass on? Well, nothing that damaging, only the extent of the internal surveillance on the US and UK population. He released no secret plans (Apart from there being programs of mass surveillance) betrayed no agents in the field and no US or UK intelligence personnel were killed as a result. Did he give vital defence documents to Russia? No. To China? Iran, North Korea, Al Quaeda, the Taliban, Daesh? No. China and Russia already knew, and everybody else with two brain cells to rub together had an inkling but the only pieces of information they lacked were the names of the programs under which this domestic mass surveillance was carried out.

It has been conclusively proven that mass surveillance does not reduce terrorism. Indeed, there is an excellent case to present that mass suspicion, repression, meddling and abuses of power actually result in increased terrorist threats. The greater and more indiscriminate the mass repression, goes one argument, the less freely people associate and they retreat into their own little echo chambers, the greater the threat of political violence becomes. Why? Because shutting down or suppressing open individual dissent simply creates a climate where a simple disagreement can fester into real life physical threats. Our Police and other authorities do not need powers of mass surveillance because the more policing intrudes into everyday lives, especially those not guilty of any crime, the more likely there is to be pushback generated against the host culture from those who are, at least in their beginnings, merely hotheaded and dissatisfied with their lot. Put simply. The more widespread repression, real or implied, the greater the implied justification for violence against the perceived oppressors. And once the violence begins, well, then it’s seen as the only solution to any dispute and everyone’s day gets ruined.

I’ve often heard it said that if you have “Nothing to hide, nothing to fear.” This is so far in the direction of wrong it’s not true. The total surveillance by the state was practised in the old Soviet Union, in Nazi Germany, the old GDR with the notorious STASI, the notorious ‘prison state’ of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, and under every regime that has ever sought to repress the whole of it’s population with mass surveillance programmes. A great deal of Soviet era Russian humour was based upon this very principle. My all time favourite below;

Prisoner on transport to Gulag: “I’m innocent of any crime. Why am I going to prison? The court wouldn’t tell me. They just sentenced me to twenty five years!”
Kindly Guard on transport; “No idea comrade, but you must have done something. Twenty five years is a pretty stiff sentence. Can’t you think of anything?”
Prisoner (After a thoughtful pause); “After sex the other night I told my wife that I thought the KGB was spying on us.”
Kindly Guard; “Well there you go comrade. Revealing state secrets.”

It seems this is Snowden’s real ‘crime’; revealing, that for a number of years Western ‘intelligence’ agencies have been rifling through innocent people’s private lives without a bye, leave or thank you or even a proper warrant. Yet isn’t that a crime in itself? On those grounds alone, I would strongly argue that Edward Snowden should not only be pardoned but rewarded for his public spirited actions.

Overpriced junk

In the Mall the other day, waiting for Mrs S to come out of one of the stores, I found myself looking across at one of those vehicles powered by electrickery. A few folks were wandering around, giving it the once over, and the charging cable was plugged in. So I relieved the boredom by doing an ad hoc cost benefit analysis of such a vehicle by asking myself certain pertinent questions.

My basic thought process went like this:
Thought 1. Only 200km maximum range? That wouldn’t get me up to Nanaimo (A bi-monthly trip to the next majorish town see elderly friend) and back.
Thought 2. What happens to that 200km ‘maximum’ range on a cold wet day or evening when you have the heaters full blast and all the lights on?
Thought 3. How long does it take to get maximum charge, and how long do the battery packs last at full efficiency? What are the replacement costs?
Thought 4. Who pays for all those public charge points that don’t seem to have a means of payment for the charge?
Thought 5. How much public subsidy is used to pay for these vehicles? In purchase discounts, infrastructure provision and running costs?
Thought 6. What happens to the running costs of such a vehicle when all the public subsidies dry up?

Which are simple, very reasonable concerns when you come to choose a vehicle to cope with our northern, but relatively mild maritime climes. A neighbour has one, but their commute is only downtown and back. For any more serious travelling, I think they have a 2015 Subaru Crosstrek.

Hmm. I think the old conundrum of battery recharge times is going to mitigate against Thought 1. A basic charge takes around two hours to get any measurable benefit. Unless you are lucky enough to find one of the ‘Superfast’ charging stations which can do the job in around 20 minutes.

Thought 2 is a no-brainer. Heating and Aircon push your fuel usage up significantly in an Internal Combustion Engined vehicle. Put on the stereo, the heated seats and lights on a cold rainy day or evening and your fuel use goes way up. So too with electric vehicles. If for example we were to do what we normally do like run up to Nanaimo, one way point to point distance being a shade over 120 kilometres, plus, let’s say, 15 buzzing around town, running errands for elderly friend and taking her to lunch, that makes a grand total for an average round trip of 255km (Usually around 270 if my odometer is any guide), 55km over the maximum range of the vehicle I found myself looking at. Which doesn’t make sense for anyone living outside of 30km from their destination. Even a 60km round commute on a cold wet day will drain the batteries very quickly and costs will vary depending upon whether you can find a free charging station close to your destination, and even if a ‘Superfast’ charger is available, you’re still hanging around for twenty minutes while your batteries top up. Providing your electric vehicle has the ability to accept a fast charge. So you have to plan your journeys around charging stations, and be very mindful of journey’s taken during the hours of low light or darkness.

Thought 3 is an interesting one. The guaranteed life of a battery pack is five years, with a weighty CAD$7,400 (USD$5,633) non-warranty replacement cost (Parts only. Price quoted is without labour, which is currently around CAD$150 an hour by a main dealer) Budget will probably be around four hours per vehicle, so bang on around CAD$600 before adding around 12% tax and environmental to the total. Which ends up being around CAD$9,000 or more. In one bite? Ouch. That’s without the possible cost of having to replace the entire battery management subsystem as with some of the Nissan Leaf models, if you go for the battery pack upgrade option.

Then there’s consumables like tyres, windscreen (oh if you must, windshield) wipers and regular servicing costs. Just like any other vehicle.

Thoughts 4 and 5. Okay, there are ‘free’ public charging points, the installation costs for which were, up to 2013 mostly (75%) paid for out of Federal, Provincial and property taxpayer revenue. So on the surface you might get a free or low cost charge to get you home, but actually you’re paying for your ‘fuel’ via the general tax fund, and depending upon your municipality for everyone else’s electrickery to run their over-hyped golf carts. Even the ‘rates at the pump’ are heavily subsidised. Because BC Hydro, as we are reminded every time our electricity bill comes in, is not a registered charity.

Thought 6. This is the kicker. What does happen when the taxpayer funded subsidies for electric vehicles cease? Because just like what’s beginning to happen with Wind Turbines in Europe and what will happen under a Trump Presidency in the USA (Which is as decent a reason to vote for him as I can think of), public taxpayer funding will at some stage dry up like spit on a hot stove. See the last sentence in my previous paragraph. This is not a sustainable technology unless the purchaser funds the entire life cycle cost of the vehicle. Electrically driven vehicles, while they still rely on battery technology, will always remain little better than a curiosity, an uneconomic technological dead end, just like they were back in the early 1900’s.

Never mind the pollution and other issues associated with Lithium production for the batteries. Whilst a Lithium-Ion battery is fine for your cell phone, tablet or laptop, it’s not a brilliant idea as far as vehicular transport is concerned.

Compared to a vehicle which are their equivalent in performance and utility, even with all the most up to date developments, Electric cars just don’t make economic sense for the average North American, or anyone else for that matter.

Hence the title of this post.

Update:
I have been reminded that I forgot to mention depreciation. Silly me. After a quick search through the motoring press, I was astonished to see depreciation rates of between 39-42% on ‘Plug-in’ vehicles. The only versions to buck this trend are the Tesla and Prius, but neither are really a ‘proper’ electric vehicle, and even then there’s the cost of battery replacement every five years of USD$12,000. You heard me, twelve thousand dollars as of today. Which unless there’s a significant reduction in cost via economies of scale, is going to put a lot of people off. That’s without even touching on the reliability issues known to plague models like the Tesla S.

Just found this story from the UK’s Northern Echo, where a man recently lost Fifteen thousand Quid in eighteen months on a Nissan Leaf. Having read the article I’m inclined to observe that if he’d paid the full price of GBP30,000 without the GBP5,000 Government ‘cashback’ incentive, he’d have lost twenty thousand pounds. Double ouch!

A Saturday Post

Apropos of nothing, a quick rework of an old Moody Blues number for the early 21st century.

I’m just a wandering on the face of this ‘net
Reading ’bout so many people
Who are trying to be free
And while I’m surfing I read so many lies
Language barriers broken
I think we’ve found the key

And if you want the winds of change
To blow through and through
And you’re the only other person to know, please tell me
I’m just a blogger in the Scriblerus band.

A thousand pictures can be drawn from one word
Only who are the artists
We don’t have to agree
Ten thousand miles can lead so many ways
Finding out who is driving
What a help it would be

So if you see this world of ours
And the turns of the screw
And you can see exactly what to do, Please tell me
I’m just a blogger in the Scriblerus band.

How can we understand
Lies by the people for the people
Who want us to enslave ourselves
And you can see the frightened
People who are frightened by the
People who are stealing this world, stealing the Earth.

I’m just a wandering on the face of this ‘Net
Reading so many people
Who are trying to be free
And while I’m surfing I read so many words
Language barriers broken
Now we’ve found the key

And if you want the wind of change
To blow through and through
And you’re the only other person to know, please tell me
I’m just a blogger in the Scriblerus band.

How can we understand
Lies by the people for the people
Who want us to enslave ourselves
And you can see the frightened
People who are frightened by the
People who are stealing this earth, stealing the world.

Words are the travellers crossing our world
Reading so many people who are bridging the seas
I’m just a blogger in the Scriblerus band.
We’re just the bloggers in the Scriblerus band.
I’m just a blogger in the Scriblerus band…

I think I got the syllable counts right whilst keeping the spirit of the original alive. Comments, questions, whatever.

Spider season

The first hint of Fall, or Autumn as we expatriates call it, always brings the wolf spiders indoors. A shriek yesterday morning alerted me to the first of these annoying eight legged interlopers when one was found poised perkily on the coverlet. Using the old jar and card trick, which goes like this, to the feminine chorus of “Don’t kill it! Nooo, get rid of it! Bill! Do it now!” Using a piece of card and a sufficiently large jar or glass, put jar over offending creature, slide card underneath affronted arachnid and carry to window or door and eject summarily. I found said dreaded wee beastie’s brother (Or sister, with spiders it’s hard to tell. Is there such a profession as ‘Spider sexer’?) in the tumble drier this morning and decided to deploy the heavy artillery, otherwise known as the vacuum cleaner, which is the nuclear option as far as spiders are concerned. Those that learn to keep out of the way of humans live, those that don’t, die. This is the way of things since Mrs Ug first screamed at Mr Ug to get rid of this horrifying half inch nightmare from their cave. You’d think that after the last couple of hundred thousand years of evolution the spiders would get the hint that humans are bad news, but no. Hi-ho.

Spider season is a little earlier by my reckoning this year and betokens a cold winter even though locally we’re having a run of sunny days with only a few showers. Normally they don’t start infiltrating households in any numbers until October. At least in these latitudes. A couple of our local species are known to pack a nasty nip, so instead of meandering around the office and apartment in bare feet as I usually do, I’ve elected to put my socks on. Just in case.

And speaking of those human web lie-spinners and purveyors of influence, the Clintons, I see the lamestream is finally owning up to the fact that Hilary Clinton is most definitely ill, no it’s not just a temporary sniffle because you don’t ‘fit’ during a faint or bout of pneumonia unless you’ve got something else pretty serious going on. Now here’s an interesting medical fact; the coughing is a known side effect of certain blood pressure medication, which, knowing that she has a family history of strokes and previous TIA‘s, it’s not a total wild guess to say she may be taking something like Ramipril. Which also might account for some of the fainting and spasms observed. She’s had TIA’s before, so I have a strong suspicion that she’s on quite a high dose to prevent another incidence. It would fit in with the prescription of Coumadin she’s been known to be on. Which would account for more or less all of her observed symptoms. The fainting and fitting, ‘zoning out’ and episodes of imbalance, not to mention the coughing fits. An adverse drug reaction would also account for the fast ‘recoveries’ as the dosages are altered. Well done Bill. Mystery solved.

Anyway, that’s besides the point. Eldest is due in under a week, the freezer is full, and we’re turning the apartment upside down in order to rearrange for her coming royal visit before she heads off to Oz. Brother in law is much better, and currently recuperating in France. Despite the spiders, life could be a lot worse.

Site update

In keeping with this sites general tone of irreverence and total disrespect for authority, apart from my wife (Sorry Dear), I’ve elected to properly codify the various recipes that are in use on a day by day basis in the Sticker household. Accessed from the main menu item labelled ‘Cooking for Conspiracy Theorists‘ I’ll be posting useful food related stuff for those of you concerned about the state of the world and wanting to eat well while the powers that be screw everything up.

Whether it’s being bombarded by news of stuff like the state of Hilary Clinton’s obviously failing health, potential election rigging in the US presidential elections, lamestream media bias, the tardiness of implementing the Brexit vote, or the various petulant ‘We didn’t get our way so we’re going to make life difficult for everyone‘ proposed measures against the UK by the EU, and the lame irrational mutterings of retarded social activists and their fantasies. I think we’d all feel much better with a hot, nourishing feed inside of us. Even if the world is, as some would like us to think, going to hell in the proverbial handbasket.

Well someone’s got to think about the really important stuff like keeping properly fed. Hell, it might even be organic. Vegetarian not so much, but then you can’t have everything.

By the way. First comment moderation is currently on. Any sensible, amusing and on topic comment will be approved within twelve hours or so for you first timers. After that you’ll be free to post all you want. Hate stuff and irritating whining will probably get binned. Comments coming via anonymous proxies may not even get flagged up for moderation, as these are currently being sent straight to cyber-oblivion.

A quick word…

… about the Martin Scriblerus group of bloggers. Can I briefly point out that I am not responsible for the content or conduct of other people’s blogs or associated web sites. Nor is any other member of the group responsible for what I care to write about. Yes, I am aware of their affiliated sites and blogs content, but whether I approve or disapprove of any of them is a matter for my conscience, not anyone else’s.

We are a loose confederation, not some kind of retarded groupthink echo chamber and although we have common approximate areas of belief and opinion, we do not slavishly follow one another like the sheeplike morons with their political hashtags on twatter or arsebook. We all recognise the ultimate stupidity of that, preferring to consider and reflect upon a topic individually than go all Daily Mail on it. Sometimes we co-operate in common cause, more often not. Each blog and it’s audience being as unique as the next. As is each blogger. In the words of Frank Davis;

Scriblerus is maybe akin to a celestial constellation like Orion. It’s a small patch of the sky with links between the stars, some of which might be quite bright, others less, but which form a pattern or shape. Or something along those lines… The constellation actually pre-existed before its name.

For my part I would describe Martin Scriblerus more like cats in a sack than any kind of constellation. Our individuality can thus be seen as both our greatest strength and biggest weakness. If we are conjoined, it is by mutual tolerance and respect for our respective writings, nothing more.

Which is only my opinion of course. The other bloggers in our group may think of it differently. That is their privilege. How I see the group is mine.

The weekend calls. It’s siren song is resonating through my bones and I must follow though hell should bar the way. To conclude; I am not my brothers keeper, even if we were actually related, which we’re not. Pass the whiskey.

TTFN

Bill

Folk remedies

Feeling much better today. Sweet repose has returned as the Korean Kitten infestation (Ask Leg-Iron, he started it) has departed. My mind is more settled, with the shadows that conspired to rob me of sleep vanishing with the light of day. To the point where Mrs S noted “Bill, you’re whistling.” Which I was. Just an aimless tune whilst engaged in a mundane task, but it’s a sign I’m feeling much more relaxed.

I put my vastly improved humour down to applying the Sticker family cure for insomnia. Which is one of a collection of remedies for various mild ailments I grew up with. Hot sweetened milk (Honey, sugar, whatever) and 500mg of aspirin or paracetamol at bedtime is the one we applied last night because Mrs S was running a mild malaise and fever and I wasn’t feeling too wonderful either. Like a hot toddy it’s a very nice way of sliding into the arms of Morpheus and makes for a better nights repose, allowing the bodies immune system time to do it’s thing and fight the infection causing the malaise. Which, unless you have a serious illness, is a sensible thing to do rather than immediately run to the quack for the latest thing from the drug companies, which is far too often a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Besides, everything for a purpose.

For most minor health issues I try to avoid bothering our GP, and only make an appointment if I’m feeling really unwell. Then I’ll take my pills without a whimper, because my body won’t have developed any drug resistance through over prescription, so my reasoning is that any medication I’m prescribed will work more effectively and I’ll recover sooner. That and I hate sitting in Doctors waiting rooms, which are always full of depressingly sick people. And the copies of Reader’s Digest and National Geographic are way out of date and just covered in germs. Double-euw.

For example; a recent experiment on the old anti-inflammatory standby Apple cider vinegar showed that regular consumption can reduce ‘harmful’ cholesterol in the blood by up to 13% rather than the 5% generally achieved with regular Statins. Without the risk of liver damage. Hmm. Ma Sticker used to swear by daily doses of Apple Cider Vinegar and Raspberry Cordial to reduce the symptoms of her arthritis, but probably didn’t know (or care) about the whole Cholesterol thing. Some people think it acts as a slimming aid or mild diabetes remedy, go figure. All I know is that it does seem to work as far as mild Arthritis is concerned.

Regarding regular medication, a family anecdote Ma liked to tell from when she had to go to hospital for an eye problem (Cataracts at age 95) where she had the following conversation with the nurse taking her medical history;
Nurse with Clipboard: “Can you tell me what medications you take regularly?”
Ma Sticker: “None.”
Nurse with Clipboard: “I don’t think you understand me dear. I mean’t what pills do you take every day.”
Ma Sticker: “I understood you perfectly the first time. I have no prescription medication. No regular medication.”
Good old Ma. Sharp as a razor right to the last. During most of her long and interesting life I think she rarely took more than the odd antibiotic and generally viewed doctors and hospitals with a healthy scepticism. Until 2012 when her health began to go downhill. The rest of her life she relied on our proven family folk remedies. Apart from a small goitre removal when she was in her eighties, that was it.

YouTube and other matters

There are a great many interesting channels on YouTube. As a resource for information it currently has few peers. Every day people put up informative and enlightening content which is both entertaining and amusing. Some of the content providers have what’s called ‘Patreon‘ accounts that you can contribute to in order to fund their work.

Forgotten Weapons dot comOne of my particular favourites is “Forgotten Weapons” run by the iconic figure of Ian McCollum, or ‘The Gun Jesus’ as he is also known. Now Ian regularly travels to visit private collections, public museums, auction houses and examines their antique firearms in detail. Recently getting into a spat with YouTube over displaying the Nazi flag on the front page of one of his videos, which has resulted in him migrating his better and more up to date content to a specialist video streaming service at Full30.com. Compared to YouTube, the quality is a quantum leap improvement.

Now before anyone clutches their pearls in horror and faints (Noooo! The Nasty flag! Oh my ears and whiskers!), I might point out that Ian’s channel has always been about historical accuracy, and he likes to establish both the provenance and historical associations of every firearm he examines. As part of this process he displays the historically correct flag of the nation each firearm came from on the front page of each video. So for an American Civil war piece he will have the then flag of the Union or Confederacy or even the State of the firearms origin. For a firearm produced in Germany during the late 19th Century to 1918 he will display the flag of Imperial Germany, for Italy, the correct Italian flag for the period, the Red Flag of the Stalinist USSR, and of course the 1933-45 flag of Nazi Germany. Which fits in with his ethos of establishing the correct provenance for each weapon, including in many cases how to field strip most of them. Apart from the real antiques like a 16th Century revolving flintlock pistol.

If you are into antique firearms and the subtle mechanical evolution of a device for spitting out a piece of metal at high velocity, then Ian’s your man. He’s very good indeed and as a researcher takes great pains over his work.

Now YouTube are ‘demonetising’ channels like his that do not have ‘acceptable’ or ‘advertiser friendly’ PC content. Which is a shame. Not that there’s any benefit to being ‘monetised’ unless your channel attracts millions of viewers. However, some people make money at it and good luck to them say I.

It’s ironic really, that the people who campaign for the kind of censorship on display fail to understand that nothing in it’s proper context is that bad. Yes, the Nazi’s were an evil bunch and had to be put down hard, but that was years ago. We should have matured enough as a society to be able to examine their symbols openly and understand the connotations and contradictions of Nazism and how said symbols are now of mere historical interest. And learn the lessons that history can deliver rather than get all hot and bothered like Vampires faced with daylight and a crucifix.

Now what this ultimately means is that if YouTube drives some of their best content away is that the platform itself may wither on the poisoned vine of political correctness, and, this being the Internet, be replaced with other, less censorious video streaming services. Which no doubt the YouTube people will lobby to try and shut down or get blocked. Good luck with that. The cat is out of the bag, the Hydra of public opinion has many heads, and legislators will always lag light years behind the cutting edge because that’s heading away from their petty grasp at warp 9 and accelerating.

Will YouTube go the way some of the old mainstream has already gone? Losing the public trust and thus it’s target market? I think that process has already begun, and YouTube will only have themselves to blame. However; their gaff, their rules. Even if these rules will lose YouTube a great deal of business.

Public opinion is a fickle thing.

Update: The always interesting Sargon of Akkad on the curse of YouTube scepticism and its consequences with “The Curse of the YouTube Socratics”

Oh, BTW ‘Trigger warning’ he’s smoking. Chortle.

Light and shadows

If you’re like me and have effectively ditched Arsebook over privacy issues, you won’t be amazed, astonished or astounded or otherwise stupefied by the news that Whatsapp, it’s subsidiary, may be sharing your cell (mobile) phone number with the kingdom of Zuck. Amongst other personal details. Unless, and possibly even if you decline their generous (Cough, splutter, guffaw) offer to untick the box which gives them blanket permission to do so. Now I do not have a Whattsapp account, and have deleted my Arsebook profile (Twice!). Despite this I am told it is the matter of minutes for Arsebook to compile a ‘shadow’ profile from shared data garnered from other abusers. So if your mates have ever posted any pictures of messages of or to you, the details remain on Arsebooks servers. This is the downside of data mining. Call it the unacceptable face of Social Media. Your demi-monde social life exposed. Even if you don’t have an Arsebook profile. I suppose it gives the Intelligence Services something to laugh at and employers a backhanded reason to decline a promotion. Nothing to fear, hey?

Now I don’t know about you, but I’m a little uncomfortable with this state of affairs, and I’m pretty picky about what personal details I put online. My home phone number is never given to anyone outside of a small circle of friends. My cell number has been omitted from my profiles, well my current cell number has, and the moment random stuff from any social media starts hitting my inbox I go straight to ‘unsubscribe’ and as a precaution add the sender to my spam filter list. About the only daily news digest email I allow is from the Register and my video subscriptions. Still get Arsebook and LinkedIn spam though. It’s like Skype where random pseudonyms you’ve never heard of send faux-cheery little messages saying they want to be added to your contact list without explaining who they are or why the fuck they want to talk to you. Frankly, I’d delete my Skype profile if I didn’t use it to talk to friends and family all over the planet.

There’s far too much random communication online, which is why I tend to filter most of it out. On the other hand, if there’s something to actually talk about, I’m actually quite cool with that and eager to help where I can. It’s just having to listen to people clogging up your time just because they think you’ve nothing better to do than listen to them letting off esteem that irks. In real life I’m generally too polite to tell people to shut the fuck up and stop wasting my time. Although…

On the personal front, sleep has been a bit of a hit and miss proposition recently. Why, I’m not posting, but lack of sleep has been one of the things behind my recent dearth of blogging. No, I don’t want to ‘talk about it’ because the reasons are no-one’s goddamned business but mine. Especially not to people I don’t really know and experience tells me it would be folly to extend that level of trust to. Especially as the information would be shared with their friends, and friends of their friends, some of whom may decide that they don’t like what I’ve said and decide to ‘do something about’ me. Which would give me even more of a reason to lose sleep.

Fortunately the aggravating state of affairs should be coming to an end shortly and blessed repose will be my lot once more. Normal blogging service will be resumed as soon as I’m sure what is normal anyway.

Update: In a broad response to comments rather than as is my usual modus operandi, individually: The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band sum up my attitude to ‘Social Media’.

Give them all my contact details? So they can make money selling them for advertising space and spam? Like hell.

Reading Chesterton

Many of the Scriblerus group writers remember some G K Chesterton from pre-PC English Literature courses. A number of us are fond of quoting from one of his most famous poems ‘The secret people‘, specifically the verse below when talking about the lack of real democracy in the European Union and elsewhere;

They have given us into the hand of new unhappy lords,
Lords without anger or honour, who dare not carry their swords.
They fight by shuffling papers; they have bright dead alien eyes;
They look at our labour and laughter as a tired man looks at flies.
And the load of their loveless pity is worse than the ancient wrongs,
Their doors are shut in the evening; and they know no songs.

For my part, as an antidote to the idiocy of the world and alternative to both Internet and TV, I have elected to rediscover some of his more obscure works like ‘Eugenics and other Evils (1922) and ‘What’s wrong with the world” (1910) Which I am currently reading through in my odd unquiet moments, when family and other matters beyond my power to fix become too distracting. Yet what I’m seeing is the many parallels between what G K was writing about in the early 20th century and more recent events. To quote Mark Twain “History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” Chesterton’s works still resonate. Especially in today’s economic and political climate.

Good grief. Reading Chesterton Bill? You’re not about to embrace Catholicism are you? No, definitely not. I’ve embraced a number of Catholic girls (Cough) before I was married of course, but never been tempted by their religion. Having read about many of the world’s religions my observation is that they are either attempts to influence random events like the weather or roll of dice, or to stop people chopping each other to bits over power or property by hanging an imaginary Sword of Damocles over their head so that everyone else can get on with their lives. Without getting chopped to pieces by the protagonists, that is. My belief is that if you occasionally bang people’s heads together hard enough, sometimes you get an echo of sanity and they will either compromise or fix a given problem without the notion of a God or other authority figure. Because it is in their common interest to do so. Most of the time, unfortunately, this is wishful thinking on my part because it implies that the intelligence required for this kind of thinking is more widespread than it actually is. Which is demonstrably not the case. Other people will have other opinions on this matter, which they are quite entitled to. So long as they tolerate me, I’ll tolerate them.

Talking of tolerance; Hilary Clinton has reportedly stated that if she is elected US President she will shut down ‘All Alternative Media’. Mostly this is thought to be stuff like Breitbart and Infowars put out. However, if a blogger decides to voice similar sentiments, who is to say they may not be arrested under such legislation for ‘thought crime’? Which of course will take the US one more step down the path towards being a dictatorial banana republic. And if you listen to the bigoted outpourings of the SJW crowd, who insist that everything is racist, sexist or homophobic or whatever buzzwords they choose to define their whole existence as being against, and which only they get to define, then people will end up going to jail merely for having a different view of the world, or contradicting their ‘betters’. The word ‘betters’ in this context being so packed with irony that it’s already beginning to rust.

Shutting down dissent is as good a reason as I can think of not to vote for Clinton. But then I’m Canadian now, so who cares what I think? However, I certainly think old G K would have had something to say, especially about laws restricting what opinions you are allowed to have.