Tag Archives: People

A fall in Autumn

We’ve got snow on the deck! What the hell, this is sunny Victoria, we’re not meant to get snow until January! We’re still in Autumn for heavens sake! Looks a bit strange with the leaves still on the trees. See above picture of deck at 7:30am today. Damn. I may have to call Nanook of the North. And he charges like a bad tempered Rhino on LSD.

No seriously, nothing to see here move along, it’s just weather and part of the normal cycle of things here in the sunny south west tip of Canada. Every so often we get the odd fall of snow. Which is why we have Winter sports locations like Mt Washington in the mid island. Here’s the current state of the Tube run via webcam. Which is getting a huge inflated inner tube, dragging it to the top of a snowy slope and sliding in it all the way to the bottom and then some. Which is fun for non-skiers like me and works out way cheaper than getting all the kit and only using it once a year. According to reports Mt Washington had no snow last night, but I can tell them where it ended up if they’d care to collect. I had an inkling that we were due for a long cold Winter after the long and hot Summer we’ve just had. Simply because one usually follows the other. And no computer models needed consulting. They only get it wrong anyway.

No skin off my nose because our little SUV is kitted out and ready with all wheel drive and all weather tyres, and we’re on a main bus route which gets the snowplough first and regular clearings throughout the day and night. The downside of which means I may have to get out and go dig an exit through the icy berm they always leave in front of our drive. Or I could stay home today and stand in the front room with a nice hot cup of coffee admiring the view. (Pops into front room for a look – returns) No, no berm and the roads are clear. Well that’s saved me a job, and Nanook’s callout charges.

Our propane stove is now lit and pumping out all that healthy CO2 and a good tranche of heat. Which will prove a saving on our electrickery bills. Which can get astronomical because idiot politicians think that wind and solar power can replace even a few fossil fuel power stations. Or that an atmospheric trace gas affects climate in the long term manner they claim. Or that we don’t know that the CO2=climate is bad science being used to support one of the biggest wealth transfer schemes of all time. Fossil fuel stations we don’t use much because most of Canada’s electric power is Hydro based. Compared with other nations our use of fossil fuel and nuclear is tiny. To replace even one large power plant with wind power you’d have to cut down huge tranches of forest, at least in BC because what we do have is trees. Lots of them. Hundreds of thousands of square miles of trees. Just over 20% or the worlds boreal forests in fact. Cut down those to put up inefficient sources of electricity? I console myself thus; at least the trees can be replanted and grow back when this idiotic flirtation with retrograde technology is over.

So what’s going on in the big wide world? It the FT I see Gas (petrol) prices will rise because the Saudi’s are closing the spigot. Which may help the current misery of the Venezuelans, or maybe not. Maduro has big debts to pay before the extra oil money can trickle down into the rest of Venezuelan economy. Me, I think he’s cocked up big time and the country will be bankrupted before he’s finished. Despite their oil reserves. Up here Trudeau is losing popularity because he keeps on hitting working Canadians in their bank accounts and blocking pipelines while wittering on about how unfair it is about girls not being allowed to play in the big wide world. Which isn’t true by the way. Women can do just as well in commerce as men if they’re willing to pay the same price. George Soros is dying (I’ve seen recent pictures – no one looks like that and lives for long), which I think he knows, so has pushed USD$18 billion into his network of politically meddling non-profits. Just so he can go screwing up economies from beyond the grave. That Trump chap is motivating idiots to go and ‘scream at the sky’ on the 4th November because he won an election. One of them screams at me, I’ll simply laugh in their face and walk away. However, he doesn’t seem to let all the hit pieces and political sabotage get to him, he’s just doing what he said he would. And you have to admire someone like that, even if you don’t totally agree with them.

Update: Tesla shares drop over 5% with the potential end of US subsidies for EV’s.  Oh well, that’s that.  More EV’s for museum exhibits.

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Amo amas amat it again

Sorry about the old Latin gag as a headline, but yes, they’re all at it. Now the UK Labour party rediscovers it’s inner sex beast (Post-Prescott) and all the puritans are kicking down the doors just in case anyone should be having any fun whatsoever. Whilst those of us in the crowd behind them are quietly chortling at the hypocrisy. From all sides.

As any Victorian-era (Or Greek, Roman, whatever) pleb could tell you, there’s nothing quite like a good political sex scandal or public execution to lighten the working week. Just to know there’s some other poor bugger getting it in the neck for their transgressions and not you. This is a universal constant in all human activity because at the core all humans know they are randy, venal, lazy, self centred little opportunists and xenophobes. On a sliding scale. Which, I might add, are excellent survival traits and nothing to be ashamed of. All else, I would argue, is a cultural veneer. The gilding of humanities base metal. A trick of insight. Gosh is that my cynicism again? Shirley Knott. Wondered where I’d put it.

For example; Someone might think they’re a ‘nice’ person, second only to St Francis of Assisi but really they’re not. The ‘niceness’ always has a few holes through which the corrosive core of their real selves may be glimpsed, and morality is a malleable concept anyway. Wanton nethers know no conscience, no matter who you are. Ergo Gods have feet of clay. Heroes are flawed. Politicians are corrupted. Saints are made of plaster. So why does everyone act so surprised when these scandals come to light?

So where is this moral ambiguity most visible? One could point to many occurrences. Twatter ‘hate mobs’ for example, who in their desperation to prove what ‘good’ people they are (Sorry, can’t help laughing at that) by going after people they disapprove of, or who have the guts to call a spade a wood handled digging implement.  With the result that these mobs try to strip the object of their disapproval of their normal societal protections and ruin lives in the process. Could that be called ‘good’ or ‘moral’? Of course not. Self-righteousness is never good. Except of course to those who indulge in it. I see it as just another form of bloodless Fox Hunt. The hate mobs sharing that vicarious thrill of chasing down and destroying something which is not them. They’re not guilty of course. No matter how many lives they ruin, or how many people they force out of employment just because they disagree with the mob.

In that vein, the Weinstein Hollywood sex scandal (and others), whilst not much of a surprise, continue to unravel as layers of Non disclosure agreements start to crack. People who agreed to keep their mouths shut for a large sum of money over the years are now looking at their Non Disclosure Agreements (NDA’s) and thinking “How can a Non disclosure agreement be legal if it covers up a crime?” Which is an excellent question, and one I and many others would like to see answered. If a murderer got his victims family to sign on the dotted to say nothing after one of their own had been killed, I’m sure that if it ever came to light the courts would not find in favour of the transgressor, or would they? Same for rape, or fraud, or anything else which the law says is wrong. Surely such gagging orders verge on legal malpractice?

As far as I’m aware, NDA’s are business contract clauses meant to protect business information, like recipe’s, processes and patents. Their use as ‘gagging’ orders, particularly to protect wrongdoing, either in commercial or personal affairs, is from what I’ve been able to ascertain, a very grey area of the law. I’ve even gone so far as to put the question to our families legal eagle. She deals with NDA’s all the time and will be able to give me a more informed legal opinion.

All the above notwithstanding, today’s tasks are tidying up the last details of our trip to the fabled land of Oz this Christmas. Yes, and as you can see in the picture, my tomato plants are doing very nicely thank you. After we get back from Oz in mid January I’m thinking of starting an indoor Herb garden to add to my perennials outdoors. Dill, Basil, Oregano, that sort of thing. In the meantime I can be easily located by following the peals of merry laughter as the mighty tumble. Sterling is regaining value too. So for the moment we’re all smiles here at Maison Sticker.

All Hallows Eve

Oh Gawd, it’s Halloween again. A.k.a All souls / all Hallows, Hallowmas / day of the dead (For Mexican Christians). The net effect of which here in the not so frozen north is children and teens begging for candy at the door and more work for your local dental surgeon five years down the line. Not to mention the additional risk of Diabetes in later life. This doorstep begging for candy element is the American gentrification of the ancient Celtic fire festival of Samhain. Which literally means ‘Summers end’ or ‘end of the warm season’. Which is a kind of prehistoric harvest festival. Not the bizarre cultish melange of marketing spinoffs it has become. At least in suburban Canada and North America.

Halloween was more of a fun thing when I was in my teens, bonfire jumping, bobbing for apples, drinking too much and letting the local girls laugh at us. The Harvest Festival formed the churchy side of things which some people went to, but mostly under duress from their more religiously minded parents. Yes, we disturbed the peace sometimes, but most of our antics went unnoticed because apart from the odd self inflicted minor burn or bruise we caused no harm. It was just an excuse for the local lads to party. No zombies, skulls, monsters, or pumpkins. In that era only posh kids did pumpkins, we made do with turnips or just a candle stub, if that. No goth makeup, just us. I think the consensus was that all the dressing up was for kids, and those adults who got invited to the better sort of party. Or those adults who got invited to what were then called ‘wife swapping’ parties, where clothing rapidly became optional. Which reminds me of lots of old and very politically incorrect jokes. We weren’t allowed skulls though. No idea why. You only got a skull if your dad was a doctor and didn’t mind bits of his anatomical skeleton going missing once a year. Our local vicar could get a bit shirty about graveyard shenanigans too, but he was very old school and tended to set his Dogs (He bred English Mastiffs) on such late night invasions of consecrated ground.

As for the North American version of the festival of All Souls, I find it rather dull, saccharine and not a little nerdy, like a dressing up party for six year olds. Lots of pretending to enjoy yourself and sugar fuelled hyperactivity, but not much else. Like having the show without the substance. Wot, no human sacrifices? Well that’s no fun.

Anyway, Summer here in BC has fled, the Maples are a glorious riot of colour (at least until the next windstorm), our propane tank is now full and we’ve set the heater on full blast to dry the house out and ensure we don’t get any issues with black mould like we had when we moved in. Black mould being the minor downside of living in a temperate rainforest zone. It’s a problem in poorly heated and ventilated properties where damp has been allowed to seep in, either by condensation or osmosis. Or the heating kept too low with too many sources of moisture (like people) indoors. It’s also a potential health hazard. Nasty stuff. I nuke it with a heavy duty mould killer if ever a trace is detected in our household.

Honestly folks, it’s worse than the local zombies. But spraying them is rather frowned upon in polite society. No matter how tempting it might seem to sanitise the afflicted who arrive on your doorstep demanding sweets. No idea why, but when you get out the anti-undead spray (Kills 99% of all known Witches, Zombies, Ghouls and Phantoms), people, especially their parents, get so easily upset.

 

Update: I’ve just remembered another quaint little rural custom that happens in quiet unregarded backwaters of the UK.  The ‘Wild’ or ‘Woden’s’ hunt or chase which is basically a lot of drunken hoorays out for the weekend running around with lit torches in the dark, shouting and screaming.  Rarely witnessed, it normally happened (happens) on the grounds of large private estates, away from prying eyes.  I’m told clothing is optional and sex is usually involved.  Never heard of it happening on a rainy night though.

Taking a fence

My lady wife has been complaining at me. Not because I did something wrong, but because I did it absolutely right. In discussion about a new part of her job we identified a business need for extra screens. Now setting these up off a desktop is relatively easy, buy an Nvidia multiport video card and install in the right slot. Load drivers and configure display. Plug in Monitors.   Easy peasy. Not so easy off a laptop, which is what we use because we travel for up to four months out of any given year. However, not a problem. Well, not for the tech-enlightened. We saw that particular techno-fence and took it in a single bold leap. Seem to do a lot of that.

For this tech recipe, all you will need, as well as a new monitor, is a multi-port USB hub if you don’t have enough USB spare ports on your slaptop plus one of these handy-dandy little USB to VGA (Or HDVI or DVD) converter widgets for each extra screen. Once the drivers for said widget are installed, plug in extra screen via widget and arrange on desk. As soon as the extra screen is active, go into settings and select the ‘extended’ video option. Alter toolbar views and other options as required. Rinse, repeat for as many screens as you have accessible spare ports. Robert then becomes one’s Father’s brother. This is not dragon magic. Anyone even mildly tech-savvy can do it with ease.

The reason for Mrs S’s complaint is that apparently now I’ve made it “Too easy” for her to surf the web, manage big spreadsheets, write emails and take video calls between watching her favourite Netflix series and delving into the ‘murkier waters’ of the jolly old Interweb, which to those in the know is more of an adventure playground than an ‘unsafe space’ requiring the intervention of some brain dead bureaucratic bungler. Just in case someone’s feelings get hurt, the poor ickle bunnies. So, a more comfy office chair has been provided so she’s able to relax a lot more without so much eyestrain. Yes I’m catching some good-natured flak about her not getting up often enough, but seeing as I’ve just made her job easier by a factor of ten, which she now acknowledges, her stress levels, and therefore mine, have just taken a nosedive. Cool beans. She now has time to pro-actively manage her work and is currently reading up on Byzantium in our kitchens sunny corner. Just waiting for the notifications to go ‘bleep’ at her so she can put in a bookmark and saunter off to her desk for half an hour to deal with the issue.

Apropos ‘safe spaces’, they’re fit for nothing but overindulged brats whose EQ is sub-zero. ‘Safe’ is dull. ‘Safe’ is no fun. ‘Safe’ is unchallenging. ‘Safe’ means stunted intellectual and emotional growth. Ditchwater is positively coruscating by comparison. This blog, as my last regular visitor will attest, is not ‘safe’. Toxic thoughts abound. This is my equivalent of the mildly dangerous part of a landfill where all the really icky stuff like mid-to-low level radioactive waste is buried. The ‘biohazard’ marker in the header picture is only partially meant in jest.

Anyway, sorry about the pun title, but it does seem to me there are far too many people in this world setting themselves up as moral arbiters on behalf of others. Aside from remarking on the sheer arrogance of their claim on the right to do so, to whom I would address the age old maxim; “Who rattled your cage, dimwit?” especially whenever someone ‘takes offence’ on behalf of someone else that they’ve never met, and probably didn’t even care existed. Right up until the opportunity arose for some pointless self-aggrandising virtue signalling on social media. Then it’s everyone to the barricades, comrade! While the rest of the world goes WTF are these people on? Don’t they have real lives? Well, the loudest complainers seem to be lefty politicians, students and academics, so perhaps not. If only we could persuade them to stay away from the rest of us.

Frankly I find the whole concept of taking offence on behalf of people I don’t know and have never met somewhat eccentric. Abhorrent even. If this makes me a Dinosaur I am happy to wear that badge because that class of life thrived on the earth for 145 Million years until they were blatted out of existence by a stray space rock. Even so, their relatives are still with us today as birds and various saurians, so fine, ‘Dinosaur’ may mean ancient, but it doesn’t mean rubbish. Mammals have only really had the run of planet Earth for a relatively short period, as bipeds far less. So we’ll have less of the derogatory remarks from you jumped up excuses for primates front bottoms. This Dinosaur says come back when you’ve been around for another million years or so. Or at least twenty. If you last that long. Because Evolution can be a right bi-atch. Rogue asteroids, supervolcanoes like the Siberian and Deccan traps and subsequent crustal shifting notwithstanding.

And there are social factors which can have the same effect on social justice warrior types, like would-be employers researching archived Twatter and Farcebook feeds (Not dragon magic or even rocket science) and going “Nah, too much trouble. – Next.” consigning their CV’s to the eternal darkness of file 13. Destroying careers before they’ve even begun. Which would be justice indeed for all the damage SJW Twatter hate mobs have done to people.

Agree, disagree? Even take a fence if you like. Just so long as it’s not mine or there will be tears before bedtime, and they won’t be mine.

Hi-ho. At least my tomato plants (See below) are doing very nicely ta muchly. I’ve even found that my used coffee grounds make a nice mulch / fertiliser.

Update: I liked my wife’s dual screen setup that I went out and bought myself an extra monitor and VGA converter this afternoon.  Half an hour after opening the box I had two 24″ screens to work off.  Bloody brilliant.

 

 

Confirmation of bias

Well, today I potted out my tomato plants into two larger receptacles for window ledges and made a few more handy little tripod supports for my (hopefully) impending crop of fresh tomatoes, the first tranche of which should be ready in a few months. The winds are picking up, the temperature has dropped over ten degrees since September and we’re getting some rain at long last. It’s been a long hot summer, which generally presages a very sharp cold Winter, so I’m glad Mrs S and I will be visiting family in the fabled land of Oz this festering season.

So, what’s in the ‘olds’* this week? Hollywood Producer falls from grace and is finally denounced by all the women he took sexual advantage of? Well is this news? Not really. Hollywood is a corrupt and gilded sewer, it cannot help be anything else. Showbiz has long been known as a haven for those with ‘diverse’ sexual interests. Actors, Actresses, Producers and Directors make other people happy, so they want to be made happy in return. Sex, drugs, whatever floats their boat. Unless they’re happy to be working in Repertory where the rewards are small.

As for certain actresses, some would argue that some are no better than they should be and that using their sexual appeal to bolster their careers is hard wired into their profession. Why? Because theatrical folk have long been known for such excesses. Indeed, fame has long been considered a bulwark against negative outcomes for licentious and what some would call immoral behaviour. Anyone who has read Molière (17th century) in particular Tartuffe or any of his other works would understand this. Molière held up a mirror to the misdeeds of his time and merits careful examination. In England too, theatres for centuries had the reputation of ‘Bawdy houses‘. Not to mention that the history of the theatre is richly laced with the taint of alcoholic and sexual excess. Going all the way back before Marlowe in the 16th Century. In the 20th century there was the Hollywood ‘Rat Pack’ whose alcoholic and sexual exploits are near legendary.

Also the irony of having someone whose main talent lies in portraying exaggerated emotion and parroting the words of others lecture the public on moral issues. Which comes across as, mm, how can I say this? No, there’s no other word for it; nauseating. The posturing of some people at ‘awards’ ceremonies is hard to stomach.

That irony doubles down because a number of the accusers who have only surfaced when it’s safe to do so, are those who have publicly decried sexism and racism and pretended to stand up for the rights of ‘wimmen’. Forgive me if I’m not convinced of their virtue. The very self same people have previously publicly defended Weinstein and the like. No, honestly, nothing to see here. Pass the champagne and let’s go party hearty. Forgive me for thinking that they don’t just hold double, but quintuple standards.

As for anyone pretending to be ‘shocked’ oh come on. Casting couch and similar tales have been filtering out ever since the first movies were made. Sexually abused child ‘stars’. Thespians literally prostituting themselves to those with the money and power over who does what. Young women spreading their legs to anyone who can get them a part in a movie. Sorry folks, but to anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear, this is just not news. So why the hell is anyone even remotely surprised? Just because the biggest turd has now been flushed out doesn’t stop it being a sewer.

*’News’ to some. To the informed, not so much.

Cognitive dissonance

Famous anniversaries post coming up. Some might have noticed, although I’d have missed it completely unless reminded that it’s fifty years since a blood soaked psychopath met his end in front of a South American firing squad.

A mass murderer and torturer executed? Good riddance to bad rubbish one might say, and you’d be right. Yet the very self same blood soaked psycho is lauded in some circles as a hero. Indeed, his likeness is found posted on many a Western Universities student union wall and t-shirt to celebrate left wing revolutionary fervour. Movies have been made of his life before he became a mass murderer. Yet this person is celebrated, even deified, despite the many evils he perpetrated.

So let’s look at his bio; Scion of a wealthy family, Medical School dropout, socialist revolutionary, Gay hater, child murderer, mass executioner. All of these things are absolutely true. Or to put it another way; a homophobic psychotic killer, rapist, racist and wastrel. A child murderer to boot. Not exactly the sort of person one would be inclined to invite to dinner.

Yet his image is deified in all places as the Winnipeg museum of Human Rights. I’ve seen it. Although I can’t be sure if it’s there as an exemplar or a warning. Even though it doesn’t flag up on the museums web site. Like the documentation of the Holocaust (11 million killed in death camps by the National Socialism) the Ukrainian Holodomor (12-20 million starved to death by the forced collectivism of Lenin and Stalin). The killing fields of Cambodia clocked up just shy of 1.4 million by Pol Pots communist regime. Well, that’s the actual number of dead they’ve found to date. Estimates of that era’s Cambodian atrocities head north of 3.4 million. Some simply for the ‘crimes’ of talking to western missionaries or selling produce to feed their families. Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Ba’athist (ostensibly Socialist) regime for mass murder of Kurds and Marsh Arabs in the late 1980’s managed barely 200,000 according to some estimates.

By the by, other 20th and early 21st century genocides by right leaning and religious governments have struggled to reach even Cuban levels. Which by contrast was small potatoes, barely reaching hundreds of thousands in body count. For which the icon of veneration below was partially responsible. We might as well venerate people like ex-Catholic Priest and Nazi collaborator Petar Brzica, an horrific individual who boasted of killing 1360 Serbians, Jews and Roma, as well as Croat and Bosniak dissidents, in a single session. With a knife, no less.

There is a strange cognitive dissonance native to those with extreme left or right wing political views, which says that killing people is the way to effect change for the better for a very strange value of ‘better’. In this way these extremists can be seen to be very stupid, because they don’t seem to understand that you can’t change the mind of a corpse, or kill an idea simply by first dehumanising, then murdering people. Because then they aren’t really people any more are they? And ideas can exist independently of individuals. The same can be said of various religious nutters from the Catholics of the medieval period to the modern resurrection of extreme Islam. In spite of the many religious wars and mass killings that flared throughout Medieval Europe, Judaism, Protestantism and Islam are still with us. There are still witches despite all those witch burnings and Cathars are still known in Southern France despite centuries of repression.

By way of contrast, it might be noted that one of the most, and rightly reviled political figures of the 20th century, also responsible for tens of millions of human extinctions, was a Europhile child and dog-loving vegan anti-smoking athiest(?) with strong environmentalist views. No prizes for guessing who that was.

All that the above have in common is that they wanted to force their chosen way of life on others and were more than happy to kill to do so. Yet leftist killers are applauded, venerated and even worshipped within some modern day seats of learning. Interesting, eh?

A little rogue English

Sometimes things just pop out. Especially if you haven’t done your zip up properly, but that’s another matter. Yesterday’s little turn of phrase turned up when I was out in the car, signaling left for the next set of lights when some dimwit in a grey Dodge Caravan carved across my path at speed then back into the lane to my right. I think there was less than six inches between us for a brief heart in mouth experience moment. Mrs S, in the passenger seat braced for an impact I was able to avoid by some pretty lively braking (Good reflexes there Bill) and shrieked loudly, it was that close. To the lack of road etiquette I responded loudly “What the fuck are you on, blue eyes?” and indicated my displeasure to the offending driver, if you could call what she was doing driving, with a single upraised digit. Not that the zombiform item supposedly in control of the offending vehicle paid any attention, she seemed to think that smiling and waving made it all better. Goddamn stoner chick posing as a soccer mum.

Had I possessed a little more presence of mind I’d have logged her registration number and reported her as a possible Driving under the influence. But it’s easy to say that in hindsight. When you’re trying to avoid a large insurance claim, your attention tends to be a little more tightly focussed on your driving.

From the passenger seat came sudden peals of laughter. Which rather puzzled me despite briefly enjoying a little vented road rage at the offending driver. “Oh I must remember that one!” Exclaimed my lady wife.
“One what?”
“That saying.”
“Pardon?” I pulled up at the red stop light in the left hand filter, furrowing my brow.
“What the fuck are you on, blue eyes?” She repeated.
“Oh that. Didn’t you see that crazy bitch?” I responded, still a trifle miffed at almost being run off the road into oncoming traffic.
“You do come up with them.”
“Up with what?” The filter light went green and we pulled out and turned left, watching for morons turning right into my lane instead of taking their turn like they’re supposed to.
“These rogue English sayings of yours.”
“Sorry.” I don’t swear that often. Not in real life anyway.
“No Bill. You make me laugh.”
“That bad, huh?” We turned into the car park and a parking space, watching all the time for more charm school dropouts.
“Not bad, just funny.”
“Sorry love, I just get fed up with the blind deaf and dumb sometimes. I have to vent.”
“You keep on venting like that. It keeps me amused.”
“Well I’m glad about that. Rogue English, eh? I like it.” I replied. Then I stalked off to the grocery store, still vibrating a bit from the anger, while she went to the pharmacy.

She was still grinning about it when I came back from my own errands.

Oh well. Whatever makes you happy…

Another day

….another bomb on the London Tube. Woke up early to the news. First response is to try and raise Youngest on the blower, but she’s at work and not answering. I saw pictures of one woman with extensive burns to her legs being carted off to hospital, but I don’t think it was our girl. No deaths, so that’s a mercy. Doesn’t make you not worry though. You never really stop being a parent.

This is just five am me anyway. That part is and always has been an old worry guts. Although I’ve heard it said that pessimists get fewer nasty surprises, I’m not so much of a pessimist any more. More to lose.

My one hope is that they catch the amateur who made the device before they get better at it, and that said amateur learns the hard lesson of why they shouldn’t bend down to pick up the soap in the prison showers. Maybe we should be rethinking the prison system for terrorist offences. A secure basement somewhere soundproof where the guilty can be kept in solitary for up to thirty days at a time. No entertainments, no books, no conversation, just pictures of the casualties on a screen showing them the reality of what they did and who they hurt. If the injured or dead include those of their own belief system, so much the better. Shine a searchlight on their own petty hypocrisies and thus undermine them from within. Then before going back out to the general prison population for the rest of their sentence they get psychiatric treatment to ‘recover’ from the solitary. Prison on it’s own isn’t the answer.

As for the device, from what I’ve seen in the news it was a poorly made thing, as all the current bomb attacks seem to be, that blew off in a fireball rather than exploded. More incendiary than a proper bomb like the IRA used to salt around the place back in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

Update: Youngest is fine. She was on an different train. A small part of me just came back to life.

Apples and Rosemary

Yesterday Mrs S and I went to see Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’. A very powerful film. One for the video collection. Also today our landlord, a man with an accent more English than my own, gave us half a dozen apples and some sprigs of fresh Rosemary. For which I have duly thanked him. Both the gift and Mr Nolan’s rendition of the story of Dunkirk have touched something at my core; tweaked a nerve of a collective subconscious I’d only been hazily aware of, but has roots wrapped deep around my heart.

As an archer, and an English one at that, I grew up with a particular mythology, a semi conscious stream of stories that plugged deep into my own self image. From the medieval fictions of Arthur and Robin Hood through their semi-legendary counterparts of Adam Bell, William of Cloudesley and Clym of the Clough to the half starved and dysentery-stricken remnants of Henry V’s army at Agincourt who defeated a better equipped and numerically superior force.

Dunkirk is part of that mythology. Of the outnumbered underdog being soundly whipped but refusing to be beaten by a tactically, technologically and numerically superior enemy. Of costly retreats and last stands now only thought legend by those who live today. This is the tradition of my youth and part of that which makes me, and I suspect a good number of my fellow expatriates and Scriblerus contemporaries, tick. That never-say-die bone headed refusal to lay down and surrender to the forces of darkness and conformity. It is with pride that I account myself one of that mongrel breed, of Irish, Welsh and various other northern European parentages that dares to flout the so-called ‘moral authority’ of rule by an unaccountable elite.

No matter that we Northern Europeans have fought with each other like cats in a sack for centuries, one thing has always characterised us. A sense of identity steeped in our legends, forged on the anvil of wars by the repeated hammer blows of injustice. An identity so strong that it might as well be made of Titanium Steel. This is what lies at the core of everyone whose genetic heritage marks them out with pale skin. The biggest, most Machiavellian sons of bitches out there have tried to make us knuckle under since before the Romans invaded and we’re still around. Maybe not the same, but stronger, tougher and despite outward appearances, indomitable to the core. Although I appreciate that there are exceptions. For every half dozen or so unconquerable heroes, there are four times that number of cowards, many of them the same individuals. Each with a need for their own space, their own independence which brooks no interference and detests officialdom. This is also the drive behind what brought the USA into existence and keeps memories of the confederacy alive.

The places and names are not important as such, only to the people that claim to call them home. I dare say the native tribes of Afghanistan feel the same way about their own homeland. It is theirs, and they will fight to the last to hold it close. No matter how many of them are killed. They have their own legends and mythologies, with bloody memories and heroes fresher than our own.

Such are the forces that drove the need for BREXIT and those that voted Trump into the White House. Nothing to do with racism, sexism or anything else but a dogged snarling refusal to give in against the awful blandness and subsumation of corporatist and collectivist dogma’s native to the bureaucrats of the EU and Washington DC. When push comes to shove, those born on the sceptic isle of my birth have been famous for their refusal to lie down and go quietly. Like many French, Germans, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Danes et al with whom we share similar cultural heritage.

Yet this is the attitude that has fought off totalitarianism time after time and obtained and destroyed empires in the process. The English and more generally the British are a people you can say what the hell you like to and not get much of a rise out of, yet just try to take their home from them, no matter how small, and you will have the fight of your life on your hands. You’ll find the same attitude common in many Dutch, French, Germans, Czechs, Austrians and just about any other nation that can stand on their own two hind legs.

This is why the forces of collectivism take issue with our myths and legends. In order to install their own utopias they must first destroy and discredit the pride of nations and the sense of belonging that being part of a nation bestows. Which means that they who would rule these utopias need to say, “Silly little people – what you believe in is not real, they are only stories for children. These things are not relevant and they are wrong. Now do what we tell you and we’ll have no more of this foolishness. Hand over the fruits of your labour so that we might live in the luxury we deserve.”

But Dunkirk is not a myth or legend, it was real. Nolan’s film only focused on small parts of the story, which are inaccurate in detail, but generally representative of what happened. What I do know for certain is that about 198,000 British, 140,000 French and Belgian troops were evacuated from that awful place. Many by the ‘Miracle of the little ships’, small seagoing cabin cruisers, trawlers and barges who ran the gauntlet of blitzkrieg to help their fellow countrymen. It was a tale well told.

The home grown apples we received were bred in English orchards. The heady scent of Rosemary tripping off a whole series of pleasant memories and associations somehow reconnecting with a certain sense of self and belonging. Including those tales I grew up with of Agincourt, Dunkirk and my fathers own stories about D-Day and the liberation of Europe. My mother never really spoke of her evacuation from France after being kicked out of Italy when Mussolini declared war, but from all accounts she was evacuated in the early stages of operation Aerial, the sister operation to Dynamo at Dunkirk. These are things I am certain of. The collectivists cannot take that from me. They might as well try to stop the world turning.

To conclude this ramble I’d say each person within a nation, or as Desmond Morris described it in The Human Zoo a ‘Super Tribe’ has it’s own mythology, threads that bind all members as a group. Decry that set of ideas and you become no longer part of that grouping. Cast out. Alone. Subject to the attractions of dangerous iconoclastic totalitarian cults like Fascism, Marxism or Socialism. Which were ironically the very political forces that brought Dunkirk about.

Anyone else see the irony?

Moon shadow

Spent my Monday morning watching the ‘Great American’ Solar eclipse from my deck. The last time I saw an solar eclipse was on an overcast day, 1999 in Cornwall, UK. I was down at the waterfront, watching the wildlife when the untimely darkness came and the fish began to jump. Then there was a moment of absolute stillness, no breeze, and the sea was millpond still before the Sea birds began heading for their roosts and a thin band of sunset red appeared below the clouds. Of course there were dickheads trying to take pictures of the eclipse with flash cameras, still others leaping up and down, setting off fireworks, yelling and screaming to ‘frighten away the Dragon’. Then totality passed, and the light faded back up, like someone was playing with a massive solar dimmer switch. The fish started and stopped jumping again and the seabirds returned, squawking angrily as they did a 180 at the wrong time of day.

Today we were just a little too far north of the line of totality that passed through Oregon to see much more than a softening of the light. Great for eclipse spotting, but just a hundred miles too far north to see much but a bite out of the sun at eclipse maximum. So I elected to observe what happened to the wildlife, and what effect the eclipse had on the quality of light. How do I describe it? Well, on this bright BC morning, at totality the sunlight softened like it was a bright Winters morning and all the birds suddenly went quiet for around five or six minutes. A quick glance at the sun through three sets of dark glasses and a filter confirmed that just under half of the sun was missing, like someone had taken a big bite out of it, but that was all. Bit of an anticlimax really. Still, a good enough excuse to sit outside and drink coffee on a Monday morning.

No doubt the doomsayers and religious nuts will see significance in what is a wholly predictable astronomical event, but I do not subscribe to these rather eccentric notions. There are better things to do with my time. If you listen to the crazies, everything from Donald Trump growing horns and torturing kittens in the Oval office to the end of the world as we know it will come to pass, and as usual these whacked-out prophesies will ring as hollow as the crazies heads. As usual. So I don’t go for that kind of clickbait trash. From the many, many failures of Nostradamus, who was a clever enough man to make his predictions just obscure enough to be taken seriously by the gullible, to the rantings of every common or garden evangelist tub thumper preying on weak minded old ladies; none of them are worth spit.

So that’s it. The eclipse has come and gone, the moons shadow now speeding across the globe until it’s track disappears over the Atlantic Ocean. The next one is due in South America, 2nd July 2019. Indeed, here is the schedule for the next ten.

Well wasn’t that interesting? Would I like another cup of coffee? Yes, I think I would.