Tag Archives: People

Power

There is no such thing as power without responsibility. Well you can try, but it always ends in tears. Even when you don’t there are winners and losers. Let me enlarge…

Over the last three weeks we have been busily involved in exercising our legal powers as powers of attorney on behalf of an old family friend. Emphasis on the ‘old’. We’re talking upper nineties here.

Recently our very good friend became ill. For twelve long hours she lingered at death’s door, or should I say dithered indecisively before deciding to stay with what she knew. Which annoyed some people, but less about them later.

Upon hearing the news, we thundered up the Island highway. Made sure all was under control at the hospital, obtained reports, discussed issues with medical staff and care home manager. Then we thundered back down home getting back late and very tired. Daily phone calls to hospital and relatives ensued while juggling new work issues. A disinterested and cynical reader might think we were being a bit over the top, but we reckon we owe our elderly friend a debt of gratitude for the help that she and her late husband gave us when we first landed. That is a debt I will not consider paid until she is gone and her estate settled.

What didn’t help was Hospital staff and Doctors often giving conflicting information. On one occasion within an hour of each other. On the third day one refused to give us any details over the phone because we “Weren’t on the list” which we bloody well most certainly were. Top of the list of contacts as legally registered powers of attorney if you please.

In the middle of this muddle our friend was blithely and obviously non compos mentis so we held all the aces. A terse conversation with hospital administration was had. Apologies were received. “Oops, sorry, that was on another screen.” Yeah, right. A full report was forthcoming. Necessary people were notified and informed, arrangements made, through which our old friend glided sedately as a Swan, while we and others were doing a lot of desperate paddling underneath. Which made some people, how shall I put this delicately, a little defensive.

Let me explain. A lot of West Coast Canadians hate confrontation to the point where it’s almost comic. They cannot negotiate like a European or our Southern cousins will. They either duck the issue and pass the buck like nobody’s business or get all whiny and passive-aggressive. For our part Mrs S and I handle confrontations without all the circumlocution and squirming West Coasters so often go in for. To us a spade is a spade, you use them to dig holes. Or hit people who won’t give you a straight answer. As people we are often direct, concise and to the point. Which makes us unpopular but what the hell. Did I say West coasters hate confrontation? The passive-aggression we occasionally meet is easily deflected by a flash of legal powers. The opposition might know their ‘rights’ but unfortunately for them, so do we.

Notwithstanding, another trip up and down the highway with a two night stay was booked so we could be there for our friends release from hospital into her residential home at the weekend. Then a phone call from the Care Home Manager. Why not from the Hospital? We’re the powers of Attorney, not him. She’s being sent home when? Today? Hells bells! Thanks for letting us know, you utter tossers. Change of booking. Thunder up Island highway again. Negotiate care instructions and agree with fortunately co-operative Manager of Residential home where elderly friend is resident. At least he appreciated our no-nonsense approach.

I’ll say this for this particular care home, it’s very nice, more like an upmarket hotel for Seniors than a UK pattern care facility. Elderly friend’s apartment is compact but more of a studio apartment plus bedroom. It’s roomier too with a full en-suite bathroom. The facility also has it’s own care unit for the less able, which is where elderly friend stayed until she retrieved all her marbles and got reassessed so she can go back to living more independently.

Additional problems arose when a couple of ‘relatives’ decided to turn up out of the blue and foist themselves on our elderly friend. Eating her food, using her facilities, which we, as her powers of attorney thought was a bit of a nerve. Especially when other family members far closer than we would not put them up. Which I found a little odd. When we asked why, no-one wanted to deal honestly. Mrs S and I found it quite comic listening to someone literally squirming on the other end of a phone line. Obviously no love lost there. It was a pity they couldn’t just be honest with us. “No, they’re an utter pain we don’t want as a house guest.” Would have been quite acceptable as a response, but no, we had to listen to fifteen minutes of ever more elaborate excuses. They had their own lives and wanted someone else to make the hard calls while the vultures descended.

My attitude to the vultures is simple; visit by all means, but pay your own way please. Elderly friend gets charged for having guests in her apartment, which even we as her legal guardians are refused access to. Another set of terse phone conversations were had with the care home. Veiled statements of legal intent were issued. Instructions were reiterated. If elderly friends recovery is threatened by these people, out they bloody well go. Do not pass go, do not dip your hand into her wallet. Elderly friend is supposed to be resting after a very life threatening illness, not in need of ‘cheering up’ or ‘taking out of herself’ by mindlessly well-intentioned freeloaders with their piggy little eyes on our old friends money. Have the common decency to wait until she’s dead, you greedy bastards.

That’s one thing about our part of the Sticker clan is our fierce loyalty to close friends. We look after our own and we like our friends alive thank you very much. Now sod off.

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Oh dear

NAFTA is effectively dead and Canada is in even more trouble over the Saudi-owned Canadian Wheat Board. All the bloviating and focussing on minority issues from Ottawa isn’t doing us much good economically speaking. The Trudeau regime has effectively been asleep at the switch, preferring anti-Trump posturing to actually doing anything positive, saying that the “Economy would sort itself out.” Yeah, right. You can’t say that about supply chain type economies like Canada. The institutions they run on are Government mandated. Like the Liquor control boards, the various other bureaucratic machines which only really serve the big cartels. Not to mention that Trudeau’s government slamming heavy tariffs on things we can’t make from the USA hasn’t helped.

Now they’ve got until Friday to decide whether or not to throw the Canadian Dairy cartels under the bus. After slamming on massive tariffs on unfiltered milk products from the US, which are useful if you want to make cheese in Canada.

If the letter pages of the newspapers and overheard snippets of shoppers conversations are any guide, The Trudeau regime is growing ever more unpopular. Food prices are up significantly. One of the things I’m in the habit of is putting our grocery spends on a spreadsheet and even a casual glance tells me the Sticker household is currently paying sixty percent plus more for just groceries than in the last four years. True, this sum is partially down to changing purchasing patterns because we can now afford better stuff, but even the basics are way up. This is the penalty for electing a nice-but-dim Prime Monster who has never held down a real job for long.

The whole Canadian Liberal party narrative appears to be dissolving. Not that they are anything like ‘Classical’ Liberals, more a bought and paid for bunch of vanity project sockpuppets. Not that I think that the NDP or Progressive Conservatives are any better. From what I can see they’re all at the beck and call of various Canadian Cartels, be that Dairy, Telecoms or even Maple Syrup to name but three.

Update:  Looks like the trade talks with the USA will continue next week.  Ottawa isn’t ready to defy the cartels.  One thing is certain, with the current light shower in office bursting into tears for the camera, this will go on right up until the November deadline.

Smoke gets….

Smoke gets everywhere over here. Wildfire smoke that is. We can taste it in the air and today visibility has dropped to below a hundred metres. I was able to just about see the Weather radar tower, but now can’t even see the hill it sits upon. Missed the Perseid meteor shower the other weekend because the sky was too full. Then we had a little rain which cooled things down from an oppressive thirty plus Celsius to a more comfortable mid twenties. Now it’s getting warmer again.

If it’s not from California, the smoke is coming from the many mainland fires and further east. It’s got so bad that some of the smaller airports are closing until the air clears. Not that we’re going anywhere, but there’s a lot of outdoor camping holidays being affected and Canadians do like to go camping.

Work is picking up with being called to a video board meeting to explain how the financial systems our team has developed to handle money, only to see it outright vetoed. Why? Because dwarleengs it might hurt someone’s ‘feelingz’. Which I didn’t get. What we’ve done is streamline the process, iron the bugs out and make life easier for everyone on our side of the business as well as improving the financial reporting. A win-win for most as everyone gets a say and usually exactly what they ask for. The boards objections to our new and improved way of working sounded like they were trying to reinvent the wheel. Oh well, they don’t have to adopt our working practices, but they will once reality bites or their side of the business will implode. The money men will see to that. I can see lots of tearful conversations ahead.

That’s the thing working over here on the Wet coast of BC, this is SJW central. Down here in Victoria it’s all flowers, pink unicorns, fairies and pixie dust because actually working is so passe. And if you object you often face the full flamethrower of irrational fury. Seriously, there’s a lot of crazy over here. It’s why the City of Victoria couldn’t agree on a sewage treatment plant and busies itself removing statures and putting in bike lanes. Until local people stood up for office and forced the issue through in 2016-7.

That’s right. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, like a lot of other major Canadian cities still discharges untreated sewage into waterways like the Juan De Fuca Straits, a body of water two thirds the width of the English Channel. Why? Local politics, thats why. Too caught up in a smog of soft words to focus on really important things, so they fiddle around with bike lanes and rainbow pedestrian crossings while the sea around the provincial capital, as well as that of our southern neighbour, Seattle, remains contaminated by raw sewage. Fortunately a new treatment plant has finally been agreed and is being built but will not be fully effective until 2030.

Think this is just applicable to the West Coast? Even Canada’s major city, Toronto has a serious sewage problem.

Oh yes, just an observation; all this NSAATANA (no smoking at any time anywhere near anybody) doesn’t happen in mainland Europe. In Copenhagen, Amsterdam and the South of France there are outdoor and indoor smoking areas with people puffing away contentedly. The whole ‘No Vaping’ thing is likewise ignored everywhere except the Anglosphere (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, USA etc). Funny that.

A miscarriage of justice?

While Mrs S and I are enjoying the fruits and vines down here in the baking hot Sarf a France, relaxing in temperatures which occasionally top forty Celsius (In the low hundreds Fahrenheit), I see the powers that be in blighty have let a certain ‘far right activist‘ out of the jug. Personally I think the ‘far right’ tag is misleading, even libellous, as the gentleman in question has friends of all skin colours. Just because none of them belong to the religion of being blown to pieces doesn’t make him a Fascist either. If asked, I believe he would support Israels right to exist, so he’s not, to the best of my knowledge, an anti-Semite.

Unlike some mainstream political leaders. Yes Corbyn, we’re looking at you and your mates. Scratch a lefty, find a racist Jew-hater. Funny that, the extreme right and far left share so much. Especially their hatred of Jews. The Nazis hate Jews, Antifa and their far left cohorts hate Jews. You’d think they’d be the best of friends, being two sides of the same grubby political coin. Personally I actually like those of the Judaic faith. Who else could have come up the the gag;
Officious hotel manager: “Did sir take a bath?”
Jewish guest: “Why, is one missing?”
I miss Rabbi Blue and his often hilarious ‘Thought for the day’ on early morning UK radio.

No matter what you think about Tommy Robinson and his antics, two months in what was effectively solitary confinement was pretty rough justice. For contempt of court? Hells bells. Violent criminals often get less for rearranging other people’s faces.

For those who think he had it coming, try sitting alone, in isolation, for even one day. Imagine yourself in a locked room with no contact, little stimulation and constantly being told your family is under direct threat. That sort of thing can break a mind, which is why solitary is double punishment. Two months? Most people, even in University level studies, don’t last seven days without cracking up or exhibiting symptoms of psychological damage. Two months alone can open some very dark gateways in a man’s soul. For so little reason.

Watch Tommy’s behaviour during the interview. He’s twitchy, de-socialised. He cuts the interview short. Yet what did he do to be so mistreated? Vent his anger at what he sees as an oppressive presence? Protest at the mistreatment of others, which went on for so long as it did when the very institutions people rely upon to guarantee their safety turned a blind eye. For decades.

Then there’s the possibility that he may now have a valid claim for sizeable compensation which will end up costing the UK taxpayer a significant sum. Especially when the quashing of his sentence made it quite clear that precedent and Judges Rules has been at the very least, misapplied. Go on, look up the full judgement and read.

Now here’s where I’ll make a prediction. The Tommy Robinson saga is not over, not by a long chalk. There’s iron in that boys soul which is being forged into a dangerous steel which the UK’s Weimar government and perhaps the rest of the world, will regret. I wish it weren’t likely, but his unjust treatment has recently reduced those odds significantly.

But then, you can safely ignore the half witted prognostications of a tinfoil hatter like me, can’t you?

Update|  Sargons analysis of the judgement below.

Hot and not so bothered..

Walking the markets and streets of Amsterdam in the continuing heat wave, finding shade where we could. Rather reminds me of 2003 and previously 1976. Lots of sunbathers out this Sunday afternoon as we made our way back to Amsterdam Centraal. “Don’t they look like seal haul outs?” I observed to Mrs S at the piles of tumbled human flesh adorning various canal side platforms. Some nice looking, most not. Plenty of bad tattoos, excess bulges, lobster skin and cellulite on show, which was less than entrancing. Although I suppose it is one way of chilling after a long hot day.

There were even people swimming in the canal water. Which might not be such a wonderful idea unless you’ve got your Tetanus and Weils disease vaccinations up to date.

As we went to get a spot of Tiffin, we saw notices about the forthcoming gay ‘Pride’ event in early August which spurred my good lady wife to remark. “Why are they so proud? What about? Their sexual preference? And why do they need to march to show it off?”
“Probably their insecurity. Does sound rather narrow to define your whole identity by a sexual preference.” I replied. We both shrugged. Not our problem. Then we moved on.

A must watch

Tinfoil hat alert. Related to the Tommy Robinson affair. Here’s something that should be watched in full because people get excised about ‘Moslem grooming gangs’, but there is possibly a greater problem as highlighted in the video by ex-Police officer John Wedger. If you believe him, the UK care system has been a tree laden with low hanging fruit for decades. Full of vulnerable children ripe for exploitation. As detailed in this case study article in the Guardian from 2009.

Or previously here;

My own first hand experience of the UK care system does not directly support John Wedger’s allegations, but, and this is a very big but, I do know that UK ‘care homes’ are far from airtight. Kids abscond all the time. It’s been a running joke since the 1970’s and before. That a proportion of these runaways are turned to drug dependency by the unscrupulous should come as no surprise. However the scale of the problem has grown out of all proportion. Add to that the bigger scandal that no one must say anything just in case it ‘offends’ a protected group.

Add to that assertion that care homes have long been known to feed the prison system. To quote the Prison Reform Trusts 2017 report (Bottom of page 12);

Fewer than 1% of all children in England are in care, but they make up nearly two-fifths of children in secure training centres (39%) and young offender institutions (37%).

Not only that but kids in the care system do go missing. They literally ‘fall through the cracks’. In 2016 for example, the figure of children who went missing was quoted as high as 140,000. Per year as recently as 2016. True, most of this number are found, they return home without fanfare or are located and no longer officially listed as missing, but some just vanish. Many of this number from care. Official figures can be found in the official 2015-6 National Crime Office missing persons report. Although the linked report does state that about 68% of people who go missing are never reported (Bottom of page 28).

Now this isn’t a given as some care homes have been better than others and small scale abuse has often been caught and dealt with. However, with the Rotherham and Telford cases now in the public domain, there is a strong growing suspicion of systemic collusion, either through fear of being labelled ‘racist’ or ‘islamaphobe’ or even leaving the now-convicted grooming gang members as a smokescreen for a more long running problem. And perhaps tossing the odd dead or retired celebrity out of the sleigh for the public to get angry about while a small but deeply ensconced network of well-heeled child abusers slips away behind a fog of outrage.

Which gives rise to the suspicion that Tommy Robinson got his punitive additional sentence because by focussing the searchlight of public attention on the grooming gangs, he posed an existential threat to a certain clique and their agents hiding (or with sources) within the very institutions meant to protect the vulnerable. Because perhaps these ‘elite abusers’ use very similar means to the grooming gangs to recruit their victims. If this were not the case, then why have whistleblowers so often come in for such hostility, often (If John is to be believed) from their own superiors?

As a theatrical character called Hamlet is wont to observe “Aye, and there’s the rub.”

Anyway, on the subject of Tommy himself here are his own words in a recent letter from prison.

This ain’t over. Not by a long chalk.

P.S. I now can confirm that twelve of my thirteen Lemon germinated tree seeds have poked their way above the soil and are producing leaves. I’m going to need exceptionally bigger pots.

Evil travel planning

Travel planning today for our July trip over the big eastern water to jolly old Londinium and points east and south. Double checking bookings, passports etcetera and making sure that we have the finances in place for the Copenhagen leg of the trip, which is all Danish Kroner. Then back to Euro’s for Amsterdam and France. Sterling is the least of our worries.

One of the things that has flagged up in our discussions is the increased crime rate in London. So we asked Youngest for a few handy hints, as she is our resident legal eagle in the great metrollops. First piece of advice she came up with is not to stand on a street corner with a map or cell phone in your hands discussing where to go. This marks you out as a ‘tourist’ and is an open invitation to the opportunist bicycle or moped shod thieves to swoop in and nick your stuff. So she suggested we do our map reading and route planning in a handy coffee shop or bar. Much more civilised. Safer too. So that is what we will do.

Aside from our impending trip all potters along steadily Chez Maison Sticker. My potted out Lemon tree seedlings are merrily pushing tiny leaflets up into the light. Out on our little deck garden most of the seeds Mrs S and I have planted have germinated and are in leaf. The rose has put out it’s first blood red blossoms, and the rain it raineth this morning. Which is good. In a small way.

Something else which might turn out well is the denuclearisation deal being done with the North Koreans. See the video below, whose clear persuasive message is quite compelling and is obviously designed to hit Kim Jong thingummy right in the ego. Hey you, young man. Want to be a really great leader? Get the prosperity like your neighbours? Sign here and put those dangerous toys away. We’ve got something better. There’s basketball too! Yes, I know it’s a Farcebook video, but someone who really understands people put it together, so I’m happy to share.

Wonder if the same kind of sales oriented approach would work with the Middle East? Selling the idea of prosperity rather than some wishy-washy idea of compelled ‘niceness’ and the odd handout. Well I like it. Palestine being open for business rather than just being a war zone? A shifted focus. A different zeitgeist. It could well happen. Of course my inner realist says that it won’t all be a bed of roses (Watch for those thorns buddy!), but it’s a way better idea than the current bed of nails.

Planting out

The time has come the Walrus said; to talk of many things
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax — Of cabbages — and kings — And why the sea is boiling hot — And whether pigs have wings
.

Right, the time came today to plant out my germinated lemon seeds. All thirteen (!) of which have germinated and have begun putting out tiny rootlets. So I potted all of them out this morning, watered them in and will keep these precious tiny Lemon seedlings indoors in my office until the warmer weather arrives. Because it still gets very cold at night, even in June here on the Canadian Riviera. As evidenced by our Geranium’s leaves going red with cold stress, so yesterday we brought them inside to recover. Likewise, some of our Sweet Peas and Nasturtiums have the look of being lightly scorched around the edges, a clear sign of unseasonal cold. The hardier plants, like my Indonesian Lime, perennial herbs and the rose bush have been doing okay but the more delicate items, like our Geraniums, have been suffering more than a little. Based on the aforementioned the plan is to keep the Lemon seedlings and similar outdoors during July, August and September where they will be tended by our automatic watering system. But not until then. When the weather cools we’ll bring them in to the sunny part of the kitchen for the Autumn, Winter and early Spring. In the depths of Winter when snow and ice abound we’re planning to transfer our more delicate blossoms to hibernate in the Garage with the Geraniums for occasional watering by our Landlord while we’re away in January / February 2019.

What I’m going to do with a kitchen full of home grown Citrus fruit plants I have no idea, but this is simply an experiment to see if growing such verdancy can be achieved in BC. Note to self; I may need to invest in one of those big fcuk off machetes they stock in all our big outdoor stores if things go well. Especially if the Avocado kicks off like I’m hoping. The little bulge in it’s bottom grows larger by the day, and should break out by the weekend after next. Maybe even within the week. I’ve never grown an Avocado plant from seed before, so all this is new territory.

Mind you, on the topic of machetes, anyone can make one with a power hacksaw blade using an angle grinder. Available from many industrial tool suppliers, even in the UK. I used to have one such fourteen inch double edged blade as a weed whacker many years ago. Great tool to go camping with. Good for cutting down and splitting dead saplings for firewood. Made from High Speed Steel so it never lost it’s edge. Gave it away in the end to a mate who wanted it for clearing the long grass at his favourite riverside haunt. A modern urban SJW would have a screaming fit and call the cops if they so much as saw one. Presumably because they’re so paranoid they think everyone is out to hurt them. Which isn’t true by the way. No one I know really cares enough about ‘social justice campaigners’ to do anything but avoid them like the plague. Or wind them up and watch them run. Whichever happens to be most fun at the time.

All of which is rather academic. Such people cannot make anything grow faster or slower. Or indeed do anything but make life exceptionally tedious for others. Seeds and greenery have their own laws and seasons. Which are a much better type of vegetable matter.

The theory of cock up; part 2

Watching events from this side of the pond, I’ve been inclined to do a little thinking about the path that has taken a certain right wing activist (unjustly) to jail for more time than if he’d committed a far more serious crime. To be fair, he’s skated close to the edge in the past, but by reacting the way they have, the powers that be have exacerbated a situation they created in the first place.

Cock-up and public sector cowardice created the UK’s current dilemma’s over the last two decades. Cock-up in thinking that legislation can enforce ‘fairness’ because one man’s (and woman’s, whatever) fairness can be another’s injustice, cowardice in not enforcing the law equally from the start. If the law had been properly and fairly enforced we would not be at the point of what is in effect a global gagging order being issued by a UK court and the subsequent public backlash.

My first reaction to the Judges decisions, both to jail the activist and to massively increase his sentence for what was a very minor infraction of bail conditions was a loud groan of “No, no, no! You’ll just make things worse!” Maybe said Judge was acting on his own instincts, maybe he’d received ‘guidance’ from the Home Office. Don’t know for sure, but it seems likely. What level that ‘guidance’ might have come from is moot. Certainly the politicians will be shouting at their functionaries things like; “Whatever possessed you to do such a thing! Now you’ve created a martyr!” To which the functionary (more likely functionaries) will point to guidelines established under a previous administration and trot out the old “But Ve vere only following orders.” Defence. Said guidelines were probably of the “For God’s sake don’t stir things up!” Variety. The idea being that by appeasing a certain religious community (Hem-hem, to use a Molesworthism) inter community violence, or the threat of it, due to a large influx of people (invited by the Blair, Brown, Cameron administrations and the EU) who have no intention of assimilating into British mainstream culture, would somehow magically go away. Sorry chaps, appeasement never works as a tool of public policy. I think the 1930’s proved that.

The above I know is pure conjecture on my part, but it does seem logically consistent with my own experience within UK local and national government institutions and how these things work. Anyway, Tommy should look on the bright side; his arrest made the front page of Drudge. See last nights screenshot below.

Now I also hear rumours that the UK has the Police literally arresting native British people on their own doorsteps for ‘hate speech’? Otherwise known as pointedly asking why a certain religious group gets preferential treatment? That is so going to end badly.

As a whimsical aside; are the days of thunderstorms England is likely to suffer until Wednesday God’s comment on the matter? Maybe the almighty is really a free speech activist too?

Here comes the… Ah.

Looks like the rumours of possible Tsunamis from Hawaii are more ‘don’t panic’ than panic. According to the geologists it’s not that kind of eruption because Kilauea is a shield volcano, not the more explosive Strato or composite type. Still, I’ve seen a few people locally wandering around with face masks on, just in case of fumes, okay? Even though the winds are blowing any emissions in the opposite direction from our little corner of the Northwest Pacific. So lots of oozing type lava flows and local disruption, but next to no risk of major landslips or subsequent tidal waves. At least according to the Vulcanologists and Geologists on site. However, it can’t be much fun on that side of Oahu (Big Island) as the dramatic civil defence video below shows.

So no big boom. What else is new? Not much.

Oh yes, over on the other side of the world a nice young chap called Harry married a pretty American girl called Meghan on Saturday. Now this event would be unremarkable, because young couples who want to raise families get married all the time. However, Harry’s grandmother (Who likes dogs and horses) owns quite a lot of property in and around a little place called the UK. Not only there, but she’s the Chairman (Chairperson is such a verbally clumsy term) of a big global property conglomerate. Which means people tend to take notice when the next generation want to get hitched. Mainly because they think Grandma shouldn’t own all this stuff and want to give it to an amorphous group they call ‘the people’, who are in reality the preferred in-group that these vocal people claim to support. Just so long as they can say who gets what. Frankly I’m happy for Harry’s Grandma to keep all her stuff because I don’t trust the greasy little sods who want to take it all away. Mainly because what they want is to take her place and have everybody else’s stuff (Yours and mine), not just that owned by Harry’s Grandma.

More pleasantly, out in our little deck garden all things seem to be progressing well. The Parsley. Basil, Sweet Peas and Nasturtiums have germinated nicely, our hybrid tea rose has at least eight flowering buds in various stages of development and the new honeysuckle should be blooming shortly too. That and I fixed the leak in the automatic watering system. So far so good.

Workwise, things have settled into a routine and I’m thinking about doing a gun safety course, just for the hell of it. Doesn’t mean I’m going to spend my hard earned on firearms, it just means I’ll have a gun licence to flash in a gun shop so I get to legally handle the merchandise. Alternatively, it’s a useful extra piece of photo ID.

Don’t give a……

The weather continues colder than usual, and we’re getting out first decent bit of sunshine for a month, which is a relief. Don’t know what’s happening to the weather, but it’s definitely a lot cooler this year. Locally the flowers and tree blossoms are almost a month late. Farmers can’t plant yet and the temperature here in Victoria is decidedly chilly. Which is odd, considering all the prophesies of doom we’ve been fed over the years. I think we’d all welcome a little warming right now.

On the upside I’ve just bought a copy of Mark Manson’s ‘The Subtle art of not giving a fuck’ which should be arriving tomorrow as an antidote to all the emotionally underdeveloped stuff happening online. Not that I actually do give a spit about the twatter hate mobs roaming the Interweb like weaponised teenage girl gangs. Which is really all they are.

Personally I tend to leave twatter to others. It’s too full of bitch fights and pubescent personalities. To be honest it’s outgrown any facility or worth as the hormone-crazed lunatics are well and truly running the asylum. See the little talk between Jordan Peterson and Johnathan Haidt below which rather neatly explains the current state of (anti) social media.

Does this point of view make me a Dinosaur? Maybe. But then I don’t really give a fuck about that. My weaponised apathy acts as an antidote to all the hate mobs online insanity.

Petersonism

Having finished my second re-read of his work ’12 Rules for life – an antidote to chaos’. To bowdlerise Mark Anthony’s funeral speech from Julius Caesar; I write to praise Jordan B Peterson, not to bury him. He has it. In his video lectures lie the answer to the craziness of compelled speech and the ugliness of political correct(less)ness.

Like the one below, he addresses the concepts with a sympathetic interviewer. Although he’s demonstrated an ability to operate in what others would call ‘hostile environments’. Like more than holding his own in hostile interviews, like with that of Cathy Newman.

Incidentally, I found among all the biblical stories, where Jordan draws upon the folk tales ensconced within the Christian bible (And Walt Disney), a lot of principles which I’d always tried (and too often failed) to live up to, much of worth and use. Like the stuff my Dad tried to teach me but failed. So I had to learn for myself, and apply what little wisdom I obtained to my life. Which has been an uneven process. The problem for me was always the religious references. As a teen I saw how organised religion poisoned communications between people, only serving the believers while punishing those for non-belief. So the moment religion crept into the argument, I switched off. I suspect a lot of other people felt this way too.

Maybe it’s just me, but perhaps these folk tales he draws on could do with a little re-framing?

Play Dirty

Regarding the recent spate of shootings in the USA, I was watching the public response to the London terror attacks where some people took to fighting back in the only way left open to them. Thirty years ago things would have been different as British and American men (and women) were far more accustomed to fighting with their fists and feet. Indeed, within some neighbourhoods and social groups this still happens. Especially in parts of London, where the 2018 murder rate recently topped that of New York. Although still nowhere near that of Los Cabos, Mexico, where the murder rate per 100,000 was 111.33 (Total 365). But that’s by the by. London and New York don’t even register in the top 50 of murder capitals.

Thirty plus years ago in the UK, a more usual response to a man with a knife wildly slashing out and stabbing random people, at least in the circles I once moved in, would have been them immediately getting bashed over the head or in the face with the nearest handy object like a chair, pool cue, beer glass, or bottle (Broken or not). Usually after being partially blinded by getting someone’s drink in their face. It’s amazing how quickly that can stop an assailant in their tracks.

Now you can take this at face value for what it’s worth, but in my late teens I was told by a snooker playing boon companion who others described as an ex “rough house barman” who had done this sort of thing and got away unscathed on more than one occasion (But not when four attackers got him down and beat him so hard they burst his left eye, so his story went), the only way for an unarmed combatant to take down any armed assailant is to throw a heavy or blinding object at their eyes, following through immediately with something else heavier and to keep hitting their face, eyes and ears until they drop their weapon and run, or it is safe for the defender to do so, like if their assailant is down and definitively out.

Now I have to stress that this sort of tactic is last ditch, do or die, but if you’ve no other protection, it seems the only immediate way to survive an armed assailant is to attack your assailants eyes and keep on attacking. Literally to blind the bastard. A kick in the unmentionables can also disable, but God help you if you miss. Better to blind, knock them down, then kick them in their tender parts just to make sure they stay down. Then run. Apparently this is a well known special forces tactic. Blind or blindside your attacker(s), close the distance, get inside their swing and keep at their tender parts with whatever comes to hand until they’re hors de combat. Use them as shields against their fellow assailants if need be. Just keep them so busy trying to keep their eyesight that they don’t have time to focus on using any weapon(s). Disarm if you can, kick their weapon well out of reach and don’t muck about.

Personal anecdote here, I was actually forced to fight this way once, in sheer terror I might add, against two other guys, one with a large knife, one with a large adjustable wrench, and blow me down it works. All really that matters is speed, aggression and surprise. The guy with the weapon always expects others to back down. My particular assailants ran from a complete headbanger with an apparent kamikaze complex (L’l old bookish me) swinging a chair and screaming blue murder. Which probably saved me a trip to hospital or worse. All I know is that they ran like hell and never came my way again. Which is lucky for me because I generally abhor violence and will walk ten miles to avoid a possible fight.

Secondary anecdote; I once had nine types of crap beaten out of me when I went into a scrap half-heartedly. Two guys. One baited, the other one drop kicked me in the back from behind. Next thing I know is I’m on my knees taking a kicking to the head and shoulders. All because I thought it was a stupid drunken fight that wouldn’t come to anything. Now I was lucky to get out of it with just a broken nose and without a fractured skull. Which served me right. After that I always asked a mate to ‘watch my back’ when going to places where trouble might lurk. On the proviso that I would do the same for them and never, ever get into a fight unless I was prepared to go all in. Must have worked, because I never caught another beating like that again.

Lets face it, if some nutter is yelling “Allar akbar!” or similar and trying to stick a bloody great knife in you, last resort tactics like spitting in their eyes and at the same time whacking at their faces and eyes with the nearest relatively heavy object or even your fingernails in their eyeballs may just stop them cold. Which sort of dirty tactic may be all that stand between you and bloody oblivion. The idea is that they will be so busy trying to defend their sight that they won’t have time to use their weapon. Then once the attacker is disabled or distracted long enough, get out of there, fast. Leg it. Put as much distance as you can between you and them, and preferably some big, heavy and above all, lockable doors. It may just save your life and the lives of others around you because chummy may still have their weapon but is now easier pickings for the Police, when they eventually arrive. The Police in turn may thank you, but they probably won’t. Indeed, in the UK and Australia they’re likely to arrest the victim and let their assailants off. Why, I have no idea.

Personally, I wouldn’t hang around to find out. Getting clear relatively unscathed should be the only reward you will ever need. You may even get a little hurt in the process, from bruises or a scratch to a wound needing stitches, been there, done that, but it’s way better than getting very dead indeed.

This is also the secret behind why a hundred pound, five foot four woman can take down a six foot four body builder with a black belt in Martial Arts. And I’ve actually seen that happen. Mind you, she was an ex-Greenfinch, a female ex-squaddie who’d actually seen active service in Ulster, and the guy was a Dojo only fighter, so maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised. He certainly was.

Now I know this is purely for one on one situations, because two nasty bastards with knives or guns can ruin anyone’s entire weekend. But the cardinal rule is this; don’t cry, don’t scream, just disable your immediate assailant, put them down hard, kick them hard while they’re down if you can (In the side ribs works nicely -nice big target area – very sensitive), then get the hell out of the way if you can, and for fucks sake don’t hang around to film the fun with your rinky-dinky little smartphone. Terrorism or serious bar fights are not a spectator sport. One of life’s simple truths is that you cannot upload to your playlist of funny cat video’s on YouTube if you are languishing in hospital or worse, seriously dead. Also remember, anything can be turned into a weapon, even the spine of a paperback book or a tightly rolled up newspaper (The notorious ‘Brummie Brick’). I’ve even seen a lightweight folding aluminium table pushed corner first into an attackers face making both an adequate shield and weapon. The trick is not to let them back you into a corner.

And you don’t need a gun. Just looking at my desk I can see at least four items within arms reach that can be used to stop and possibly kill an assailant. A 30oz glass paperweight (Heavy enough to crack a skull), pens (One pushed into the eye socket can ruin anyone’s day), a paperknife (Likewise or into any soft tissue; eyes, neck, belly or groin), a small tray (Swung hard edge-first into the larynx or across the bridge of the nose). A hardback book likewise. Even the spine of a heavy paperback systems manual, providing it’s held and swung right, can fracture a skull. My kitchen by contrast is full of lethally sharp bladed and heavy objects that can ruin any home invaders day. From my expensive German and French bladed cooking knives to either of my heavy cast iron skillets. Not that I want either my knives or skillets damaged – they’re too valuable.

The simple truth is that anything that can be thrown or made solid enough to be held and swung hard enough to blind. Dirt in the face, pepper (Cayenne especially), even squirted ketchup (Chilli sauce or tabasco works best) will do and you don’t even need to be a black belt in Asemi-detached, Deja-foo-jong with fried rice or any other martial art to do it. If your attacker is bigger and stronger than you, anything in the soft parts should be considered fair game. Survival is all that counts.

Now I know as a society in the West we have generally become more peaceful, less prone to settle our differences with fists than in the days of my youth. Indeed, civil society nowadays runs on this principle. Overall this is a good thing. But if we are being attacked by people with bloody murder in their hearts and hands and the Police are minutes (and longer) away, what else are ordinary members of the public to do? We are not important, well apart from to ourselves. We the public have no armed bodyguards like politicians or the elites.

And like it or not, the everyday forces of law and order are no more superhuman than anyone else. In the UK, all they have are batons and maybe pepper sprays if they’re bloody lucky, and we expect them to cope with fanatics bent on mass murder? Seriously?

Indeed, if some crazy pulls a big knife or a gun then gets a drink thrown in their face, or spit in their eyes followed by a swung chair over the head and a few more people join in, kicking and punching. How do you think the would-be killers are going to react?

Answer; they will go down.

Remember John Smeaton, a Glasgow Airport baggage handler? Or Newsagent Mohammed Afzah? Chef Florin Morariu? Other ordinary, nameless people who bombarded the London Bridge attackers last year with bottles, tables and glasses. They saved the lives of others. No-one can calculate how many. Five? Ten? Fifty? All we know is that without their intervention, the body count would have been higher. Like with those guys who took down a gun toting crazy on that train to Amsterdam.

The examples are all out there. Given the attitude of the certain powers that be to favour a certain religious group in case the officers in question are seen as ‘racist’ or ‘phobic’ or they’ve been given orders to ‘wait for backup’ to tackle a weaponised, off his meds nutcase. Meaning you may have to fight for your life alone. Why? Because you may be the only one who can. As an observation I’d say that in general, people have forgotten how to fight hand to hand. Perhaps these are skills that the populace at large may have to relearn. Or at least turn their own desperation around and use their fear to fight back when occasion demands.

On the other hand you could rely on this one simple rule, which I’ve found is an absolute life saver; whatever you do, don’t get into a fracas unless there is absolutely no other alternative. Keep your eyes open and don’t escalate, because as I have found to my own cost; you have to watch your back because no-one else will.

I’m not talking they’re-all-out-to-get-you paranoia here, just a little everyday situational awareness. Like looking left and right before you cross a road. Being aware of your surroundings and actions. Staying clear of trouble. Maybe taking a martial arts class or three to learn a little close up and personal self defence. Doesn’t take much. I prefer Judo and Atemi-Jitsu myself. Far more relaxed. And they work. They also teach confidence and self discipline which is a plus. Not like all those flashy jumps, punches and kicks some places teach. A block, hip throw or wrist-lock will still work, even if you mis-time it. Not so a punch or kick. Besides, punching and kicking, if you don’t know what you’re doing (or in the heat of battle, do it wrong) can actually hurt you more than the object of your attention. As I know to my own cost. Floating bone splinter in left hand still not healed right after three decades.

One last thing; if forced to fight this way in self defence, accept you will get hurt when you go all in, but getting hurt on your feet fighting for survival is far preferable (At least to me) to the shame of cowering and dying on your knees like some animal in a slaughterhouse. When there is no other alternative. Especially if you’re terrified. Fear is useful. The adrenaline boost it brings will give you speed and strength in an emergency. Which may just be enough. Don’t think, just do. Like they tell you in this handy little book. If you’re too  cheap to buy a copy, there’s a good online version here or a copy of the hand to hand fighting manual ‘Get Tough’ here. Dated or not, these are the only manuals on self defence you will ever need.

Authors note; if you’ve seen it in the movies, it probably won’t work. Screen fighting is not real fighting. Even Jet Li fakes it.

This is where the line between survivor or victim lies. Choosing to play dirty for your life. Because when push comes to shove, yours is the only one that matters. May you, gentle reader, never have to make that choice for real.

Update:
Have a listen to Geoff Thompson (Thanks Bucko) on violence.

Catching up

Right, I’m back. sort of. At the moment. We’ve been booking flights for a trip to Europe this Summer. London, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and the Sarf ‘a France. Current booking progress is flights to Amsterdam, London and Copenhagen sorted. We have places to rest our travelworn heads of a night and I’m looking at an apartment to rent somewhere in the Narbonne / Beziers area, away from the overpriced areas of Nice and Monaco to ride the French back roads in a small hire car this July. Although we might shoehorn in a day trip to cruise past Juan-le-Pins and join the holiday traffic jams along the coast road through Cannes. Or maybe not. My thoughts are for the majestic fortress of Carcasonne and perhaps the rose granite of Toulouse. I’ve never been a one to lie on a beach all day, then dance the night away despite severe sunburn. My pleasures nowadays are more cerebral.

Talking of which, I’ve just bought a copy of Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules for life” that I’m working my way through in small doses. He’s a little biblical for my tastes, but his recounting of 1970’s Alberta rural Teenage life is interesting. I see parallels with my own mis-spent youth, but more from the perspective of one of his stoner ex-friends. The alienation and nihilism he describes are all familiar territory. Because we were repeatedly told that nuclear annihilation were just minutes away we fell in love with the idea of a short licentious life. Or perhaps we grew to love the glamour of death. I cannot say. All I know is that I am one of four from our little peer group still breathing, that I know of. Actuarial tables, eh? Who knew how prophetic they were.

It’s easy, reading Peterson’s work, to dream of a life that could have been. Had we not swallowed the lie of the ‘live fast, die young’ era. So many of us did. Die young that is. We saw the writing on the air and took the singers at their word, believing we had no better choices when we did.

We were told we would be free. Free of what? Free of constraint, of fear? Or perhaps of a life we felt ill-equipped to succeed in. We said we did not fear the reaper, but that did not stop him coming for so many of us. And despite our affected worldliness we knew so little of it. Most of my contemporaries got to see so little of this big wide planet before they were laid beneath the sod. Daisy pushing seemed to be looking like a competitive sport among us during the late 70’s and early 80’s.

Am I saying I regret those years, my foolish days, the wild times? Yes and no. Without them I would not appreciate what I now have. Family, a few friends, a relatively good life. A few things ticked off the old bucket list. It hasn’t been so bad so far. However, Peterson’s book raises the age old question; what would I have done differently? Quite a few things. Not all of them moral or ‘nice’. Most of them to settle scores. Others for my own gratification. And others which might have made me a happier, wealthier man. Others not, but we can all be wise in hindsight.

On the whole I’d say Peterson’s book is for those just starting out in life, unsure of where to go. Because it gives you a bloody useful walkaround all those difficult questions such as “Who do I want to be?” or “Does anything I want to do with my life matter?” The questions we all instinctively know the answers to, but can’t bring ourselves to believe the answers are that simple. Be born, live, love, breed, mentor, guide and die.

An old bit of folk wisdom

Not much happening chez Maison Sticker at present. No real dramas apart from mild anxiety upon shifting six figure sums around our pension investment funds. I’ve never trusted state pension funds and have elected to store up resources for my frail dotage using all the legal means at my disposal. Mainly because Mrs S and I will be far better off both medically and comfort-wise if we have our own money set aside with something for the kids when we finally die. To this end taxes have to be carefully calculated and paid, figures collated from various modest (Some extremely modest, but they all count) income streams and expenses claimed. Then sent off to our accountants for submission to the revenue. De nada. Just the dull, day-to-day of keeping our fiscal heads above water. Which leads to the occasional domestic argument.

Mrs S and I are not a perfect couple and we do argue. Mainly because as a man and woman, our brains are wired slightly differently and we perceive, react to and communicate things in a different manner. She gets mad about some matters, I make sure we get even and occasionally vice versa. She tends to react more emotionally and I’m generally more practical and cold blooded in my initial approach. So we talk. Then for the most part we accept our not infrequent misunderstandings brought on by our differences, often laughingly brushing them off with a carefully timed; “Yes dear.”
To which the good humoured response is a mocking; “I’ve been ‘yes deared’ – how could you?”. Well, it works for us.

Apropos the dissimilarities between men and women, I say they should be celebrated as in “vive la difference” To which I often apply an old ditty the original version of which dates back to before 1891, updated variants of which can be seen below All have been tested to a value of six sigma, or 99.899% inverse partial variance ‘true’ value on the Bill Sticker institute Massive Contextual Axiometer and Adage tester. Please note that the remaining 0.011 is necessary to allow for Quantum EMO effects while testing took place, which is an experimental constant allowed for freak events outside the constraints of Einstinian space / time.

Therefore;

Feminists have many faults,
Men have only two,
Everything they say, and everything they do.

or

BlActivists have many faults,
But white males only two,
Everything they say and everything they do.

Because, as any fule kno, there is no pleasing these people. They beclown themselves and anyone else who takes them seriously.

So when some ‘Gender Studies’ type Academic trots out their latest insanity, the best thing anyone can do is say; “Yes, dear.” or “Whatever.” in as patronising a tone as possible and watch their heads explode. Then give them the finger when it comes to funding. Of course the faux-outrage this will generate may make the powers that be try to outlaw words like China has done with certain terms; and the letter ‘N’ for some reason known only to Beijing. Or create new ‘genders’ out of thin air who must have their own compulsory pronouns, on pain of prosecution as proposed (Or have the silly buggers in Ottawa actually passed M-103 c-16?  Oh yes they did – the bone brains) in Canada. Which can leave embarrassing gaps in a language and play havoc with translating business documentation.

So, having accepted that I, as a northern European complexioned male am ‘wrong’ about everything, I can just go my own sweet way and quietly get on with investing while everyone else pointlessly argues over what colour or sexual variant they might be. And who offended or oppressed whose great great great grandfather back in the early 1800’s or wherever. Why should that be my problem? Do tell.

Fortunately, my money bears no such grudges. It’s probably why I mostly prefer it to humans. Money can be trusted. It has no prejudices. Money is completely colour blind and non-sexist. Money doesn’t have a brain fart half way down to the shops and come back with a shopping cart full of chocolate and junk food (Unless you tell it to). Money does what I tell it to without four hours of pointless, round the bushes bickering. And it goes where it’s bloody well told. When it’s told. And does what I tell it to do. Which is why money occupies such a large place in my affections. See video below.

I’m moved to consider that while diversity may be a noble goal, it should be diversity based upon personally earned merit and effort, not because some grievance-monger wants a handout.