Tag Archives: People

I can’t win

It must be cabin fever. Mrs S has received one of those Amazon widgets that does sound and voice control. The kids bought it for her for her birthday. Personally I don’t like them. Won’t have them anywhere near me due to the well documented privacy issues. To me, they are junk that has no real facility. I call them junk because they report to outside entities, rather like Windows 10, which is a shit operating service Microsoft won’t let you control and is full of bloatware. Besides, voice control and recognition has many drawbacks. Did play around with a few voice activation programs a few years ago, but when those report outside of my control, well… ’nuff said.

Today Mrs S waved the uninstalled item at me and said that I “Won’t let her use it.”
To which I had to respond; “Use it if you like, but I want nothing to do with it.” Now guess where I ended up. Go on. Guess. All because I like to keep my personal affairs private.

So the sound on her PC is now ‘inadequate’, because she wants to fill the house with Andre Boccelli singing the Easter Mass, which is my fault apparently. Not Boccelli, but the inadequate sound. If Mrs S wants to install the wretched gadget herself, she can do it.

Not that I care much for opera. The only Opera I’ve got any time for is using it as one of the five web browsers I use on a daily basis. When it comes to some opera I’d rather saw my own head off than be exposed to it any longer than necessary. Opera as an art form is an acquired taste I have chosen not to acquire. Not surprisingly there is no opera in my music collection. There’s classical music, a lot of Prog rock and electric folk, but no opera. Okay, I’d go to a performance if the tickets were free, but only if you didn’t mind tracking where I was in the audience by my snoring.

Add to that I’ve got a minor headache and a seasonal sniffle. A sort of light echo of what Mrs S suffered the day before yesterday and shrugged off in forty eight hours. So today we took a drive out. Unlike in Ontario and New Brunswick, the RCMP here in BC have better things to do with their time than randomly stopping people and demanding to know where they’re going, or if they’ve been buying stuff the prodnoses disapprove of. It was just a nice day for a drive, even if there was nowhere to go.

We have officially been in self imposed lockdown since 10th March. When the panicking is all over I am going to have the mother and father of all timeouts.

Deeply sorry to hear about Tim Brooke Taylor, comic actor who made the nation laugh in shows like I’m sorry I’ll read that again, At last the 1948 show, The Goodies and many more. The man was a national treasure, but now we have to bury him. He’d probably have enjoyed that gag.

Bugger.

Looking forward

Well, the champagne (A small bottle of Pol Roger) is on ice, awaiting 3pm Friday 31st, BREXIT day. That’s 3pm Pacific Standard, 11pm UK, midnight in Brussels, or should that be midnight for Brussels? Mrs S just reminded me, but I’d already made preparations.

Rain permitting I will be hanging out the Union flag to rub various noses in it. At least if I see any of the despised circle of stars banners on display in the neighbourhood. I choose to celebrate my countrymen’s decision and success in wresting themselves from the pelagic ooze of Brussels. Good luck chaps. I wish you all well. May the sun always be on your backs and the road rise to meet your feet. I have a seeming that those backing a Bojo led BREXIT have put their money on a winning horse.

My path looks like I shall be taking a different road and despite the current threat of Chinese Coronovirus, Mrs S and I are feeling optimistic. Plans are afoot and so shall we be.

The sad news is that Elderly Friend declines further by the day, her marbles continue to rattle out and down the memory holes of existence. However, that’s dementia for you. Within the next month or two we expect to visit her only to be greeted with a surly “Who the hell are you?” and the door of her sheltered accommodation slammed firmly in our faces. This is a thing we are resigned to facing. It’s part of the downside of being a Power of Attorney, but one you have to expect. All we can do is play along with her continual confabulations and await the long-dreaded phone call from the staff. She might see one more Spring, she might not, but at the current rate of decline I think she’ll be pushing up the daisies before they break bud. We’ll sigh, Mrs S will cry a little and I will do the honours like we did for her husband back in 2011. My goodness, was it that long ago?

Notwithstanding, the future beckons and we must heed its call, stepping up to the challenges we are set.

May our gods go with us.

Happy independence day UK.

I am not your label

Got into a minor comment spat over on YouTube where some so-called ‘intellectual’ type was spouting divisive nonsense about how the ‘Boomers’ have stolen their children’s future. I watched for three minutes before my bullshit detector overloaded and I switched to something more stimulating. I also left a comment to that effect.

It must have struck a nerve because someone responded, accusing me of being a ‘boomer’ with a disparaging ‘okay boomer’ remark, saying the ‘intellectual’ had proven his case with statistics. To which I say; any damned fool can prove any case with statistics. Statistics can be used to prove that the moon is made of blue cheese and are, in the wrong hands, merely numbers tortured to the point where reality starts cracking. As Sam Clemens said; “There are lies, damned lies and statistics.” Which is as neat an axiom as was ever laid in print.

All this talk of the ‘old stealing from the young’ is bollocks on stilts. Garbage reasoning to promote division so that the promoters of divisiveness may profit from asset stripping those they accuse. No-one has ‘stolen’ anything from anyone. My parents were modestly well off and worked hard to raise their boys, as did their parents before them. They are the giants whose shoulders I stand upon, and the next generation stands on mine, as with the next and the next. Overall, I am proud to say, we as a family have become more educated and better off by increments. As for ‘stealing’ from our children by burdening them with debt, well newsflash kiddies; so were we. The taxes paid by people born in my era were still paying off war debts incurred by previous generations right up until the 2010’s. From both the first and the second world wars.

Were our futures ‘stolen’ by our parents by paying these war debts? Don’t be ridiculous. Mrs S and I have what we have because we’ve spent our lifetimes laying up resources when times were not completely shit. Deferring our gratification. Not paying for the pub managers next holiday. All this talk of redistribution of wealth off the back of this ‘stealing from the young’ crap is just cheap political rhetoric to help asset strip the haves and then not give to the have nots.

Think of this; if authority takes from the haves, there is always a cost of collection. People to employ as collectors, office space, phone bills etcetera. All of which have to be paid for by more taxes. Then there are the costs involved in paying out the resources stripped from the haves, often from different departments with multiple redundant processes employing people who might be better off and happier doing real jobs. For every dollar raised for taxes of this nature, the redistribution tends to happen as follows; From every dollar taken in extra taxation, a good forty cents go into collecting and dispersal, twenty cents plus go into the back pockets of the politicians friends who build their offices and ‘help out’ with the financing of same and less than thirty cents out of the remaining forty end up where the politicians say they’re going to go. Although this is hard to prove. Sometimes the whole dollar just disappears into the black hole of general taxation, the redistributive schemes disappearing after a couple of years, whilst the increased tax remains. This is observation, not a statistic, and being merely anecdotal has no means of proof. Yet the extra tax money is still taken. Where it ends up is anybody’s guess. Don’t even get me started on carbon taxes.

Also; have the people born in my era been ‘wrecking the environment’? More complete hogwash. I was a card carrying environmentalist until I saw the light and understood that there are other ways of working towards less pollution, cleaner air and water. I began my working life in the UK industrial midlands with the stink of used soluble oil ever present in my nostrils. Now you can walk those same streets and not catch a whiff. Similarly diesel fumes. As for the nonsense bloviated about ‘man made climate change’, well, I’ve stated my opinion about that imaginary bugaboo often enough. We, those of us now in our fifties, sixties and seventies, were the people who campaigned for less pollution and the west is now much cleaner. The east is beginning to follow, but all these massive changes take time. All of this in the last forty years.

Did I mention that people of my age raised families with the ever present threat of nuclear Armageddon looming above us? Yes we have minor terror attacks now, but I grew up with IRA bomb threats (and real bombs), so little has changed. The world isn’t ending, despite any Coronavirus, which incidentally is not the fault of people born in the demographic bulge of the fifties and sixties. Nor is anything else, including a minor warming trend as we crawl out of the last of the Little Ice Age, which has already turned into a minor cooling trend, scheduled to last for the next thirty years. We will still have plenty of arctic and antarctic ice, sea levels will not flood major coastal cities like we’ve been told will happen twenty years hence for the last forty years. According to these doomsayers that is due to happen this year (2020). Seriously, it’s like waiting for the Great Prophet Zarquon.

Yes, so I find all this labelling of people in my age group as ‘Boomers’ whatever the labellers think that means, offensive. Also I do not choose to accept their label. It’s nothing but a cheap toss off, a worthless mental squiggle, only to be used by the hard of thinking.

/rantmode

Coronovirus 2019 nCoV

Right. Have been trying to keep up with the news from China etc regarding this new end of the world scenario. This time in the form of a possible lab mutated Flu virus. Among all the fake news and conspiracy theory stuff there is so much conflicting information. We have confirmed cases in Toronto and Vancouver, some have been reported from the US. And almost every seasonal cough and sneeze seems to be attributed to it. This is a happy time for hypochondriacs. For a slightly more downbeat report, see below.

This is not to downplay the situation. This is a nasty bug with a reported 2% mortality rate. Compare that against 80,000 deaths in the USA alone during cold and flu season 2017-18. Not to mention the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, and the fuss over SARS. Again from the far east, the ‘bird flu’ and Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV, another Coronovirus) pandemics were considered serious threats which then burned out.

Out here on the Pacific rim we’ve got a big Chinese community and lots of active links direct into Vancouver from Beijing and environs. Chinese New Year events are being cancelled over here. West Vancouver won’t happen. Distribution of Chinese movies has been affected. So if you’re a fan of far east action flicks, you might have a bit of a wait. Hong Kong Chinese New Year celebrations have been cancelled, partly because of the continuing protests, now with the added impetus of infection. Looks like the year of the rat will be sneaking in very quietly.

For myself I’m not worried. My antibodies should be active enough as Mrs S and I had a nasty Coronovirus flu type infection in November 2019, so are less likely to contract a variant. This not to say we won’t catch it, but our respective immune systems should have enough active antibodies to successfully fight it off.

We also have no plans for transatlantic travel until September this year. So no infection risk from being crammed in an alloy tube for ten hours with another 2-300 people breathing their contagions into a semi closed cycle air conditioning system. However, a prolonged trip to Ireland for September / October is in train and we’re going to book our flights this week. We’re also looking at long term car hire in the Emerald Isle for around two months. So if anyone has any suggestions, we’ll be glad to hear them.

Update: There’s a lot of conflicting information coming out and very little clarity. The updated death rate has gone up to 4% in Wuhan, but from what I gather about the seat of infection, the whole release was a massive cock-up on the part of the lab where the Viral agent was being studied. Now of course it’s in the wild, what happens next is anyone’s guess. Canada doesn’t seem too concerned as screening appears minimal. Hong Kong on the other hand has shut down all train travel between it and the rest of China.

See below for a peculiarly Canadian take on this issue. Amongst others.

New neighbours

Mrs S and I were having a chat about the news that Harry and Meghan Windsor, possibly the soon to be ex-Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have set up shop on the other side of the Island highway in Saanichton.

Saanichton isn’t that bad an address. At least the rural part of it. a little dull perhaps. But there’s reasonable transport links, the Brentwood to Mill Bay ferry. A decent marina for a hundred foot plus boat. I know it well. Then Victoria (cough) International airport (Only if you’re travelling to the States) isn’t far away. There’s also a cute little seaplane place not far from the Spitfire Grill around the back of the airport. It’s pleasant enough in the Summer months. The traffic on the Patricia Bay Highway can get quite congested when the ferries from Vancouver are unloading, but there are ways around. A couple of winding back roads from the airport through Brentwood and into Saanichton. West Saanich road can also get you off the beaten track and down onto Highway One if you know which turns to take. There are wineries producing rather average Canadian wine, hiking trails, a couple of parks, sea fishing, Kayaking and suchlike. A lot of Deer, and the occasional Bear and Cougar.

Regarding the possible loss of titles, from what I hear Meghan is the major fly in the ointment. She’s been backchatting the Queen and behaving in a most unregal way in public. Which may be one reason why she and Harry are over here on Vancouver Island. If they do lose the Duke and Duchess titles over their lèse majesté, they’ll have to go through the whole immigration process to stay in Canada like the rest of us plebs, or at least their lawyers will.

Now I can’t speak for Meghan, but I’m told Harry is a decent enough sort who is allowing his affection for his wife and newborn to cloud his judgement. If I were him I’d quietly upgrade my military training on helicopters and parlay it into a professional civilian rating. Which wouldn’t do any putative immigration application any harm. At least if he and his wife intend to stay. Canadian immigration rules, okay? Do either of them speak passable French? Mais non? Desolee messieurs dames.

Fortunately they’re both set for life as far as money is concerned, although their security bills will eat through their respective fortunes fast enough without the protections afforded to those on the Civil list.

In addition; for the benefit of those who don’t understand the UK’s Royal Family, may I offer a little insight. An insight which Diana, late Princess of Wales and latterly the ex-Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, forgot. They too thought they could do what they wanted, and look what happened there. HM Queen rules, UK? She said frog, they had to jump. Which, after some wandering willies got in the way of their relationships, they declined to do.

The UK’s Royal Family is unique in that it is the last real sacerdotal monarchy left in the world. That means the hereditary head of state, currently Elizabeth II, is both the titular head of state and landlady to most of the UK, she is also the head of the Church of England. Well so what? You might say. Well actually not so much “so what” as what HM Queen does as her job.

From sparrow fart until bedtime Liz II has her whole life mapped out for her, from cradle to grave. She is the head of ‘The Firm’ as Prince Philip once perceptively referred to the Royal family as. Because as Royals their lives are a business, the business of the visible state. All the parades, protocols and flummery that help socially glue the UK together.

Not only that but as head of state Elizabeth II is also the head of the UK’s military. You know when someone makes the rhetorical challenge “You and whose army?” Ahem, well that’s hers, including the tanks. As well as the UK’s Navy and Air Force, which she lets politicians borrow from time to time. Their oath of loyalty is to the Crown (Apart from the Royal Marines, who swear fealty I believe, to the board of Admiralty), which Liz II is the public figurehead of. It’s a strange, symbiotic relationship between the person and her immediate family, and the entity that ensures the continuity of her rule, or rather not rule. The queen is notoriously apolitical. Sometimes, some would say, to her personal detriment.

However as monarch, the Queen’s whole life is bound up in narrow protocols. She has very little say over her daily activities because she is the visible component of the whole machine that is the Royal Family. She can’t publicly disrespect anyone. Not even the nastiest little third world dictator, so long as they’re on a state visit. She has to be on her very best behaviour at all times. No room for even the smallest public slip in decorum.

Unlike Meghan, who seems to think that simply because she married Harry, she can treat anyone any old how. Actually the opposite is true. If she wants to retain her title, she has to apologise to the Queen, promise to do better and then keep her word to the absolute letter. She must now set an example. Follow protocols and precedence. Do the duty of deputising for the sovereign when called upon to do so. Because by marrying into the UK’s Royal Family and taking on the title and privileges, that became her new day job. She is no longer a B-list celebrity actress but a Duchess, which probably requires far better acting ability. Indeed, it could be construed as the role of her lifetime. Unfortunately Meghan doesn’t seem to have the stomach for it and she’s dragging Harry down with her. Which is a shame.

Oh well, there goes the neighbourhood.

Getting kitted

Mrs S got me into a store yesterday. I’ve been half heartedly looking for a new raincoat, but some of the prices for what I wanted were somewhat eye-watering. Almost seventeen hundred dollars for a classic Aquascutum? Wowch. So I’d been dodging the issue.

So when she saw the Barbour store on Regents street I was hustled in and forced to act as tailors dummy. They did have a cattlemans full length coat I was a little tempted by, but we decided to postpone a decision for after lunch as they only had it in one rather unpleasant colour. Yes we could have bought online, but that’s not the same experience. So we asked the assistant to put it by and promised to return after a Moroccan style lunch.

The capital streets currently seem calm and busy with tourists, mostly from Europe and South America, at least on the Tube. Piccadilly and environs were their usual self, with little of the outrage and shenanighans we’d been led to expect. As I said to Youngest’s friends over dinner last night, I thought the old place was better than I remembered it from the late 90’s. People politer, air much cleaner but just as rainy. Hence the need for much improved outdoor wear.

After lunch it was back to the store with Youngest as fashion adviser who took one look at proposed purchase and firmly shook her head. “It’s too much” was her judgement. So we cast around for something a little more reasonable and ended up with a slightly more expensive, but equally robust item. Oh, and a heavy felt Trilby. I like hats like Trilby’s or Akubra’s, they give the face a certain framing and keep most of the inclement weather out of your eyes. Also when you’re like me and hairdressers start to charge search fees, they are a comfort. Not to mention having a certain cachet, marking one out as either a gentleman or arrant rascal. Depending upon how it is worn.

Barbour have long held a reputation for being like armour plate. A man’s jacket, for example, takes quite a long time to wear in properly and get that traditional battered look they were famous for, so much so that one impatient fashion victim reputedly got a friend to wrap his brand new Barbour around a Land Rover’s bull bars for a few days heavy off-roading. After which time the garment had gained a little ‘patina’ and the look of a real outdoorsman’s garment (Looking like it had been dragged through blackthorn hedges for years and used as a bed for two incontinent Lurchers and several litters of kittens). Thus adding to the owners street, or should I say field-credibility.

Anyway, the Brexit clock is still ticking because although an extension was requested as required by the Benn act, the EU has yet (At the time of writing) to approve. I think the public mood has been over stimulated with project fear and that the only thing that will mar the air on the day the UK finally leaves is an huge sigh of “About bloody time too.”

Londinium again

Touched down and still a little jet lagged but quite enjoying the environs of Kensington and Chelsea with an afternoon bloggers meetup with Tom Paine of The Last Ditch and Leggy from Underdogs bite upwards. Two gentlemen whose intellects left me a little giddy. Or was that just my jet lag? I don’t know. Very enjoyable afternoons talk.

Liked Tom’s idea about travel books. I reckon he should do a series of them. Such as “Tom Paine’s America” Subtitled; ‘one man and a Ferrari go in search of the real USA’. He could do the same for Europe and Russia, as he has travelled extensively in those regions.

Work however, has me starting with a new accounting package, which means I haven’t quite thrown my laptop across the room in frustration, but the temptation is there. Hell of a time to engage on a steep learning curve, but I hear that one of my organisations other divisions has already refused to use this package as structured, so they’ve given it to me to iron out the data entry bugs. Oh for heavens sake! I’m supposed to be on holiday! Grr.

My sense of frustration has been somewhat alleviated by the entertaining spectacle of several Extinction Rebellion idiots getting a righteous kicking from angry London tube commuters. Good, these XR people need a few hard lessons for giving everyone else a hard time. Especially when the real science is against them.

The problem is that the fashionable science regarding climate change XR derive their panic from is unproven and only derived from incomplete mathematical climate models. I’ve seen several credible sources analyse the IPCC report and associated outpourings and their conclusions are totally different from what the climate modellers and XR claim.

The more empirically correct version of climate science is undecided as to the cause, but does not agree that climatic variation is man made, or even anything to do with carbon dioxide. As I’ve said before, we’ve suffered from all of these prognostications of doom from the climate modellers for over fifty years and not a single one has come true. So I am refusing to curtail my travel simply because some eccentrics have got a bee in their bonnet over matters they palpably do not understand.

Saturday promises to be interesting because I will be around Wastemonster visiting various sights and will give any protesters who attempt to bar my path very short shrift. “Excuse me, thank you -byeee” kind of thing. I’m a tourist. A sights to see, places to go, not interested, TTFN attitude. Might even be fun. Might even see the outcome of the BREXIT vote in real time. Who knows?

Got to dash. Meetings with daughter and a decent curry await.

Anyone else?

Has anyone else noticed a singular trend in Western politics? How comedy and entertainment is intruding from the lowest to the highest? No? The ask yourself about the previous professions of certain leaders.

Prime Minister UK. Boris Johnson; Journalist and one time host of “Have I got news for you”
President of the Ukraine. Volodymyr Zelensky. Playwright and Comedian
President of the USA. Donald Trump; ex-host of “The Apprentice” Property magnate and speculator
Co-founder of the Italian anti-EU Five Star movement. Beppe Grillo comedian and activist.
Ex=President of Czechoslovakia. Vaclav Havel. Playwright.

All have been entertainers and all taken centre stage in times of revolutionary turmoil against entrenched establishment political forces. Anyone else notice the trend? All social liberals but fiscal conservatives. Victor Orban of Hungary is to the right this particular spectrum.

Oh and Farage, the outsiders outsider, who Boris Johnson’s cabinet have half seriously threatened to nominate as the UK’s EU Commissioner should Brexit fail. Oh boy, that could be a real barrel of laughs.

No wonder the Eurocrats are refusing to negotiate further. Not to mention the fact that they want what they want and the UK had better play ball or else you horrid little British people. Behind all that bluff and bluster they are scared shitless. When the UK leaves the EU without a deal, like the UN, they will run out of other people’s money faster than a drain. Other countries will follow.

The Benn act can tell Boris Johnson to stand on his head and blow bubbles out of his arse, but in the end it won’t matter. The Speaker may collude with foreign bureaucrats. If Boris can’t get a deal because the Eurocrats won’t budge, that’s that. I hate to be a smug bastard (Well only as bit) but I’ve been saying what other people have for a long time. No deal was always the only deal, because the Parliamentary remain faction don’t understand the Eurocrats for what they are, arrogant little men with all the empathy of a bad tempered scorpion on acid. That arrogance has now bred a form of desperate bravado as almost a seventh of the EU budget is about to go AWOL. Like a bad parent chiding a rebellious grown up son or daughter, all they can threaten is “We’ll cut you off!” when in the end event it is they who will be the losers. Like a child leaving an abusive family to start a new life, Britain’s best option is to walk away.

One note about Boris Johnson. This man has hidden strengths. Anyone who watched the old news parody show ‘Have I got news for you’ when he took over the hot seat will be in no doubt as to how thick his skin can be. Both sides of the fashionably lefty panellists used to rip into him something cruel, yet he maintained an air of self deprecating buffoonery and good nature against the cruellest barbs that could be thrown his way.

I notice these things. I think a few more people do as well.

Amazing stories

The older I get, the more amazed I become at some of the strange stuff that much of humanity calls cognition. Of late I’ve noticed that certain millennial females, in an attempt to appear ‘nicer than thou’ behave in ways that are positively dangerous to other road users. One occasion was when I was waiting to enter a traffic island (Many Canadian drivers here on Vancouver Island understand traffic islands like they understand cornering, lane discipline or changing gear – the answer is that they don’t), when a female driver stopped and waved me in front of her, which I could not at first see because of reflections on her windscreen and side windows. There was no-one behind her and more than enough room to allow me to slot in behind to take my turn. Yet when I opened my side window and waved her to go past, firstly because I like potential road hazards in front of me where I can see them, secondly because the rule with traffic islands is to give way to traffic already on the traffic island. In return she got mad and shouted, then gave me the finger, simply because I did not want her behind me. There was plenty of room, no need to get irate, yet she blew up.

Similarly, I was travelling the back roads a few days ago when I came across a local transit bus (Not a school bus – different rules apply) sitting at a stop with it’s hazards blinking just before a blind right hand bend. The car in front came to a sudden stop which I almost missed because their brake lights weren’t working, forcing me to pull a full on, brake screeching jamming on of anchors, I did something I rarely do, which was hit my horn to warn them of this ill-timed behaviour. This appeared to annoy the driver, who had pulled up to allow two cyclists, who were blocked from my line of sight by the now-stopped car blocking the road in front and the bus itself, to cross a fast country road on foot. The car driver gave me the finger. Then proceeded to drive at under thirty kmh for the next two kilometres, all the time favouring me with rude gestures, until she thankfully turned off. In my book the driver and the bus driver should have moved on to let the cyclists cross safely at their own discretion. Instead the virtue signallers created a problem which need not have existed and thus a deal of raised blood pressure. Not to mention that crossing the road from in front of a large parked vehicle is something I was taught at my mother’s knee was a bloody silly thing to do and likely to be terminally bad for your health.

Now I don’t know about you dear reader, but all this trying to show how ‘nice’ you are on the road is positively dangerous. Having checked my copy of the Canadian Highway code, yes, I had it right. Both drivers, both female, both in their late twenties, were in the wrong. They had also taken it amiss because one road user at least found their behaviour somewhat counter intuitive. For ‘counter intuitive’ read dumb as a bag of rocks. I see a lot of this. People too focused on trying to appear pleasant, but when encountering even the slightest objection, go into complete meltdown. I’ve even come across this standing at the roadside, waiting for Mrs S to catch up before crossing. I’ll be waiting at the roadside for my wife, head turned away, body language indicating that I’m not going to move any time soon, only to have some grinning bozo beeping their horn, waving at me to cross from behind a windscreen that is more or less a mirror, then getting all irate when I wave them on. It’s all so very passive aggressive.

Now I’m a well travelled man. I’ve driven all around Europe, the USA, Britain and Australia, but nowhere else in this big wide world have I come across this “Don’t you dare not let me be what I think of as nice to you” attitude. If you want to annoy a suburban western Canadian or urban Ontarian female, just tell them you don’t think that they’re as nice as they claim. Believe me, there is nothing more likely to enrage the entitled than having this one petty hypocrisy called out. White hot humour failure will be immediate, often followed by disproportionately spiteful and petty acts against you which ultimately benefit no-one. Canadians as a whole may have this reputation for being pleasant and charitable, but in major urban populations this attitude only runs skin deep, if that.

It’s almost a mirror image of what is going on online, where people who disagree with a given viewpoint are subject to disproportionate displays of virulent hatred, even to the point of being hounded out of their job. Which is a bit rich, or rather not, as kicking an able worker out for merely expressing an opinion is a shot in the foot all round. Considering it may be only one actual person really put mildly out of sorts by such an opinion, the rest of the outrage being amplified by a form of cognitively-impaired drone network. The loss of service of a key employee will probably be far greater and impact not only the organisation so targeted, but also the people served by that body of people and those within it. Not to mention the desire for vengeance from the person thus persecuted for so little reason. Hence the saying I was taught as a boy; “If you would seek vengeance – first dig two graves.”

Now the political pendulum is swinging ponderously rightwards, certain people should be quaking in their little pink booties in fear of the wrecking ball they used without provocation upon others has begun the long ponderous sweep in their direction. Yea in the words of my head librarian, Igor the badly stitched; “What cometh around, goeth around. Oh yeth.”

Raindrops on roses etc

Not much going on chez maison Sticker at present. A series of rainy days mean I haven’t been out riding as much as I’d like. Frankly I’m wondering where summer has gone.

I’ve learned that I’m gainfully employed for another year but to tell you the truth I’m considering jacking it in. That and Mrs S wants to move countries again. If I may be totally candid with you, migration is a tough business and I’m not looking forward to repeating the experience. All the faffing around with paperwork drove me nuts last time around. All the anxiety. The money we spent. All the time and exam passing. Keeping Mrs S on an even keel, not an easy job at the best of times. Chums, It almost broke me.

There’s a point in a man’s life when he just wants to do what he wants to do. Nothing more, nothing less. This isn’t a mid-life crisis, because my whole freaking life has been a crisis on one form or another. Usually caused by other people. Stuff I had no part in breaking, but which have suddenly become my responsibility to fix. So I’ve been doing my own thing.

I see Boris Johnson is now more or less acknowledged heir apparent for the UK Plc’s Prime Monstership. May sounds like she’s trying to sabotage him on her way out by putting avid remainers in key positions before she leaves. Talk about bad faith, but that’s what we’ve come to expect from the remain camp.

Had the 2016 referendum gone the other way by a similar margin, all us peasants would be expected to jolly well shut up and watch our home country strangled to death. However, the remainers don’t really believe in democracy unless the results suit them.

All us thickies who can see the damage the EU is doing get labelled as too stupid to vote. We don’t want to be ruled cradle to grave, having our every waking thought and word dictated by some ivory tower academic. We understand that life is messy and fundamentally organic. There are no clear cut answers and sometimes you just have to wing it. A deal has no clear rules because it’s a negotiation. So there.

Oh and something just dropped into my YouTube subscriptions. “How Norway dealt with Antifa.” Enjoy.

Let the cops off the leash. Let them arrest all the violent. Allow self-defence. Make the courts deal with the violent offenders. Jail time. Short 30 day sentences ramping up like for contempt of court seems to work.

Hey, I’ve just seen the weather forecast and the open road is singing a siren song. Now where did I put the Mutts keys? See ya.

This is cool

While the UK lamestream are doing hit pieces on free speech activists and someone who was once a comedian (Briefly, sometime around 14th November 1983 I believe) used their bully pulpit to make foul insult and then claimed that such crudity constituted a ‘joke’ (Not even close – jokes have to be funny), I thought I’d offer up this little bit of techno-fun as a form of mind bleach.

First saw this item on Rt.com under the headline “Humanoid robot gets tired of merciless bullying & pulls gun on meatbags” It’s actually by turns disturbing and hilarious.

How the parody was put together.

Now the current state of the art. April 2018 but still interesting and fun.

Now I’m off to check my inbox and get all my paying work related tasks out of the way. My Lemon tree plants, Carnations and Roses are doing well but I’m going to have to re-seed the Sweet William after their foul strangling by the now-executed pansies. Such is life.

As for the ‘apology’ for the “Throw battery acid over people you disagree with” meme. Not acceptable. It was bandwagon jumping of the most mean and petty kind. When a free speech activist does get battery acid thrown in their face, we’ll know who to blame, won’t we?

Gestures

When travelling the roads of the world, some of you will notice that many motorcyclists wave to each other as they pass. There are several forms of gesture, from the nod, to the upright hand wave, drop-v and left boot wiggle. What is the significance of these gestures and who does them? Well I don’t think there’s an official version, but the style of gesture, and who uses them varies greatly depending upon who you are and where you’re from.

Mostly these gestures are about recognition of status between bikers. Whenever I’m out and about on the Mutt, I’ve noticed that the gestures are most widespread amongst those riding European style. The observant among you will also register that North American Harley riders for example very rarely acknowledge anyone unless they’re riding another Massey Ferguson Harley Davidson. Even so, the habit is not widespread among them. Some people think there’s a certain cachet to owning a Harley, personally I disagree. Yes, those big old v-twins have lots of low down grunt, but back in the day, some of the guys I knew who bought them said the electrics were worse than Ducatis, Anyway, that’s by the by. Generally speaking, Harley riders rarely salute anyone but other Harley or Indian riders.

To be honest, there’s often a bit of snobbery here. There is a partisan faction that believes Harleys are the only machine worth having and that ‘rice burners’ (Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki etc, even BMW’s) are not fit to share the same roads. So, fellas, you’re not Marlon Brando fans then? He rode a 1950 Triumph Thunderbird 6T (Not a Speed Twin – cheers Ripper) in the iconic bike flick ‘The Wild one‘. To which I would also add; screw you, I’ve ridden in every weather condition short of a Tornado for over three freaking decades and I’ll ride what I do because it works for me. Don’t need your permission. Go way son, you’re bothering me.

However, the thought does occur that the feet out high handlebar ‘Easy rider’ style adopted by many big V-Twin riders is not exactly conducive to making hand gestures. Perhaps they don’t gesture because it is too difficult to take one hand off the handlebars while in motion, unlike the European style of machine that is increasingly common over here in BC, which is more stable and allows the rider a free left hand.

The etiquette, if such a word can be applied to rough, tough motorbikey types is that only those who ‘live to ride’ or are serious about their riding tend to give these gestures. Never in town, too many hazards. Generally these gestures are only made while on the open road and in motion. Of course if you’re purely a weekend warrior or the rider of a smaller machine like a Honda cub or similar, no one expects it. Nor is there any acknowledged requirement to do so. It’s just the done thing. A salute, a tip of the hat, the acknowledgement of a kindness, a recognition. That’s mostly all it is. We are simply acknowledging our difference from the common herd.

Because let’s face it, riding a motorcycle and surviving for any length of time, in itself is the mark of an individual cut from less common cloth. More switched on. Motorcyclists have to be vastly more alert than most car drivers because we have to do their observing for them. Don’t argue this point, a rider who is inattentive or careless soon pays the penalty because all those idiots in tin boxes are mostly that, idiots. They fiddle with radios, take cell phone calls without hands free, drink coffee, argue with passengers, don’t bother to look or indicate when turning or changing lanes and all other manner of inattentiveness which is the biggest killer on the road. Forget drunk driving or speeding, the biggest cause of all road casualties is the air between the ears, which motorcycle riders, at a deeply visceral level, understand all too well. Which is why so many of us often acknowledge each other. It’s a badge of pride. Of commonality. A kind of “Well done, you’re still breathing. Keep it up.”

As for the type of gesture, this varies from place to place. I’ve seen everything from a sidelong nod to the very French left boot wiggle, but let’s deal with the main ones;


The standard wave; raised left hand upright, palm forward, fingers closed. This is very old school and the most primitive of gestures in the riders lexicon. It just means “Hi.” between riders. Nothing more.


The low wave; fingers loosely spread, thumb out. A general low energy greeting. Meaning; all is cool from whence I have come.


The drop vee; A very continental European variant. Originally from France and Italy (I think). Sort of an upside down V for Victory with the thumb held wide. A more exuberant version of the low wave. General greeting of coolness. Even Bike cops have been observed making this gesture.

The low thumbs up; No image as this is self explanatory. Thumb up, wrist rotated back. Bit of a Fonzie “Heeeyyy!” gesture. Sort of a “Nice day for riding” gesture.
The low wave repeated as though patting; This does have a specific meaning, it means “Slow down” it warns of a hazard ahead. Might be a speed trap, might be a crack up. Take care.
The left boot wiggle; as is suggested. Left boot off footpeg, leg angled out, foot briefly wiggled. Very Francais this. Tres continental. Means ‘thank you’ or ‘murky buckets’ depending on your native tongue. This gesture is almost universal in France and is given to both other riders and car drivers for giving way or any other courtesy.

Well folks, it’s another nice BC day and I will be taking Mrs S out for a spin later after I’ve watered the plants and had breakfast. If anyone can add to the above, the rest of us await enlightenment.

Straight pride; a modest proposal

Ah, the outrage fest. Oh the drama! All over a plan to for a few people to take a walk down certain city streets to celebrate what they are. See the Tim Pool video below by way of a briefing on the matter.

Just like all the other serried ‘pride’ events like joggers pride or cyclists pride or whatever. Frankly me dears I give them all a miss, you couldn’t pay me to look. I’ve got better things to do with my time. What other people do with their free time is none of my concern, so long as they do no harm to others and don’t hold up the traffic. Or at least allow alternative routes I don’t really care. The world is a big place. Especially on a nice day.

However, if I might be permitted to comment on the volume of anger generated by the mere suggestion for a ‘Straight Pride’ march, I think if all those who are so opposed to the idea were to completely boycott the event and indeed go on strike in protest, this would adequately express their mute contempt for such an event to the entire world. What I’m saying is that the only moral way to deal with the matter is to not turn up for work in protest. Go on. Show righteous anger by withdrawing your labour. No time limit, just don’t clock in as a protest.

In addition, if such an event makes you that angry, go silent. Express your contempt in dignified tranquility. Do not give the people you so despise the oxygen of publicity. Do not draw attention to their cause by deed, speech or omission and go silent to express your objection to these awful people on your social media feeds. Indeed, not posting anything at all might not be such a bad idea. Just in case you inadvertently tweet or post anything that so much as alludes to their horrid cause.

It’s the only moral way.





Now wait…






Keep waiting…





Patience now, they’ll crack…





Who cares if they give your job to someone else, not everyone can be as great a Barista as you…





You’re just marking time to your big break, right?





Feed the cat while you’re at it…





Any year now…





Accept that it may be some time before anyone notices that you’re gone, but be patient, you can ignore those final demands, right?





In the terminal phase of your in absentia protest it might be politic to take comfort in the following statement;

“There is more than one way of being a bigot.”

See definition below.

Bigot

NOUN
A person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions.

‘don’t let a few small-minded bigots destroy the good image of the city’
‘he was a fanatical bigot’

Have a nice day.

Back in the saddle

While the weather is nice I’ve been spending far less time at my desk and more time out on the road. Nothing much, just a gentle scootle around on the big blue mutt. No more than fifty kilometres a time, taking it easy and enjoying the wind in my face, the extra air that riding allows. Even got Mrs S on the back today for a short trundle out to get some coffee and buns for breakfast. As a pillion passenger she needs to re-learn a few things, but I’ll make sure she gets the practice.

How the old habits come back. Watching at least five cars ahead, upper middle gears through town with the revs around three thousand, ready to pull a quick stop or give it a fistful and speed my way out of trouble. Giving the odd drop V or acknowledgement to the other Sunday riders. Slipping easily into the bends and gently accelerating out. My internal soundtrack playing the Runaways “Cherry Bomb” as we gently tootled our way back to the barn.

If this is ‘toxic masculinity’ I’m all for it. Screw the angsty soyboys and lemon sucking feminista’s. They might think they’ll live longer but they won’t. In prisons of their own making their politically correct lives will be joyless greyness, punctuated by saccharine faux-laughter and massive student debt before the final hammer falls. All they will know is empty noise devoid of real emotion. My experience is that the lottery of life deals out the good and bad completely at random and the best you can do is have decent insurance for when things go wrong. As they will. As for the rest, well, I’ll leave you with this bit of Irish folk wisdom adapted from an old song called “The Moonshiner”.

I’m a rambler I’m a gambler I’m a long way from home
and if you don’t like me then leave me alone
I’ll eat when I’m hungry and I’ll drink when I’m dry
and if this one don’t kill me I’ll live till I die

That’s enough for now, our deck garden needs a little water and the essays of Montaigne await. The carnations are flowering like they’re on steroids and my two sunflowers are growing at something around two inches as day. I won’t tell you what the pansies are up to, but I’m sure you can guess.

Playing the game

Had a little run in with a lefty the other day and something occurred to me. They were couching their arguments to make me look like a bad person just because of the skin I’m in, and afterwards I heard the term “Anglophobe” in a discussion of Orwell’s ‘Notes on Nationalism’, which perfectly described my opponents arguments.

They were behaving and speaking in a manner that was openly racist against people of my skin colour. So by their own twisted logic they were being exactly what they claimed I was, simply because of my age and racial characteristics, which as any fule kno are simply successful adaptations to colder climes. If those from other climes stick around in northern Europe for a few thousand years their descendants will all become paler because that’s how natural selection goes.

The find of Cheddar man points in this direction. The DNA says he had darker skin than current North European and a lot of people in the area share similar genetic alleles, well, that proves evolution works on fairly small timescales, comparatively speaking. This also fits in with my observation that a few old county families reputed to have “A lick of the tar brush” (some distant non-European ancestry) as it was once known, look almost exactly the same as all the other inhabitants of rural Britain. This is probably more common that most acknowledge. My own DNA ancestry contains a mix of Celt, Pict, North and Southern European and even a few outliers that are common across Persia. So my ancestors didn’t hang around the old place watching the inbreeding stack up, they got out there and mingled. Yet to look at me you would think I was solid North European through and through.

But to listen to my verbal assailant, you would think I was some kind of white supremacist monster. Which is not true. In real life I’m as amiable a chap as any other, willing to take as I find and deal accordingly. Yes, I can use rough language, but that’s my shop floor upbringing, there’s no harm in it. My grudges are rarely nursed unless the opposition is so hostile I must never trust them again. But the sheer Anglophobia exhibited by my assailant was a little hard to stomach because they were actively trying to push my buttons, make me angry with their constant Anglophobic assertions. In the end I shut up, gave them a hard look, which they ignored (A bad move) then asked “Is that all?” in a rather tart tone of voice before turning away from their racist tirade and got on with the rest of my day.

The thing is, my verbal assailant was just recycling ‘intellectual’ talking points, which are Anglophobic arguments Orwell would have been familiar with. There are some very well ‘educated’ people who cling to these assertions and are even English by birth. I don’t get it. Why hate your homeland so much? I don’t. It’s not perfect, but it’s where I’m from. As was the person who was giving me grief over my accent. Which I found rather ironic. They were probably ‘Whiter’ than I am. And I ask myself, is this naked hate against those who are of British / English heritage some kind of transposed anger against distant / oppressive parenting? By hating the English / British these Anglophobes are actually railing against their parents? Their Mum and Dad fucked them up so they just have to spread the shit around? Because feelz? As a by-blow I’ve noticed that people advancing this kind of argument have to break down all resistance before they even advance one single cogent thought. Which makes turning their own tactics against them all the more delicious. Anglophobia is naked racism and I like to remind people of this now and again. A kind of trolling of trolls.

Frankly, as I get older I tend to have less and less patience with this kind of person and will cut them off as soon as possible with all the irony and sarcasm at my disposal. Sometimes the word “Really? That’s rather Anglophobic isn’t it?” Delivered in a sharp or world weary tone is enough to chop them off at the knees. Or to use the more modern vernacular “Seriously?” It’s often no use arguing point by point, there’s rarely anything coherent in their arguments. It’s just puppy like emotion spilling all over the place which should thus be treated with the rolled up newspaper of contempt and an hour or two of being pointedly ignored.

So yes, I too can play the victimhood game, although I’d rather not because I’m not a victim. I’m just me.