Tag Archives: UK

Another day, another hotel

Off onto the land of the rising sun, and I’m not talking Japan here. We’re heading Eastbound and sideways. Scenery is still completely awesome, we raised the tally to nine Black Bears observed in the last four days when we photographed a mother and two cubs studiously ignoring tourists on highway 16 east of Jasper.

Which raises the question; are Ursus Americanus ‘black’ enough? Or will BLM and their cohorts claim that’s one of their sacred ‘ists’, and since I’m not the ‘correct’ skin hue am I on the list of people allowed to refer to these creatures as ‘black’? Having photographed a mother and two cubs; again, can one call the female parent of a bear cub a ‘mother’? I’m told there are people who make the rules in Ontario who have views about that sort of thing. They have a hit list of non-approved words, and ‘mother’ is most definitely on it.

Also a bit gutted because I slept through a magnificent display of the Northern Lights last night. Fortunately I met a like minded geek over breakfast this morning who let me know what tonights peak activity was going to be like. We’re also 100km north and 200km east of our last lodgings, so I’m going to stay up way past my bedtime, camera in hand in ‘movie’ mode to try and capture the sky dancing. Posting of pictures and such may be a bit delayed as I haven’t loaded any photo and video editing software on my new ‘pooter. However, watch this space.

As for the forthcoming UK election; are there people who seriously have a remaining brain cell going to vote for Labour with Corbyn in the driving seat? He’s a wetter re-run of Michael Foot for heavens sake! At least Foot was anti-EU. Corbyn is so keen to play lovable puppy to Juncker and Merkin that he’ll become everyone’s bitch as far as BREXIT is concerned. May is far too authoritarian, but at least she’ll get the UK out of the EU. Corbyn won’t, he’ll fold faster than a black belt in Origami.

Glad to see that Trump fellow is backing out of the Paris accord on Climate Change. He may be bombastic and a little boorish in manner, but isn’t he annoying all the right people? Must buy some more popcorn tomorrow, as I’ve run out and my handy dandy little hot air popcorn maker has remained at home.

That’s all for the present. Having a splendid time and am going up a glacier some time in the next day or so. Play nice now.

The indefatigable Anna

While road trip planning this morning, a process punctuated by the sound of American Robins bouncing off our windows, I was utterly delighted to hear the news that the Scriblerus’ groups doyenne, the redoubtable and worthwhile Anna Raccoon is very much alive and poking nethers. The link to her updated blog is on the sidebar. It just goes to show, you can’t keep a good Raccoon down.

Now Anna and I have corresponded on occasion, and I’ve always found her a delight and a pleasure to deal with. Quite simply because people of her determination and integrity are admirable above all others. And her integrity, let me tell you, is constructed of Chobham armour plate with reactive munitions on the side. Even during the worst mudslinging of the Savile saga, she remained unflinching and resolute in her pursuit of factual accuracy. Standing aside from the media and compensation driven witch hunt asking simple questions that turned out to have far more interesting answers than the denunciations reprinted ad nauseum in the mainstream UK press.

Now Anna, our own Suzanne Cameron-Blackie is standing (or rather lying in bed) in the UK General Election June 8th as an independent candidate in the constituency of Islington North. If you are an Islingtonian who wants to really stick it to all sides of the political spectrum then I would recommend you vote for her. Because in the simplest terms she is a damned sight more worthy than Corbyn, or any of the other mainstream party candidates.

Now some would say “Hey, she’s terminally ill – what good can she do?” Suggesting that a vote for a dying woman is wasted.

My response would be that Suzanne has been told she was going to ‘die in six months’ before, a couple of years ago if memory serves. And another time before that. This alone would indicate an almost indomitable will and blast-your-eyes bloody mindedness powering her cancer ravaged frame. For which other mortal flesh can only stand in awe. Most other people faced with such pain and suffering would have turned their face to the wall by now and slid under quietly, but not her. This old girl is going down fighting all the way. The grim reaper is probably frightened of her anyway. So I have a feeling La Raccoon will be with us for a little while yet. I’ve even had an amusing vision of her delivering her maiden speech from a hospital bed wheeled into the House of Commons. Or even on a Skype screen installed for the occasion.

What a trooper. God bless her and all who sail with her.

If it was that easy…

This is one of those dull posts about money and politics. Give it the go-by if you’re looking for something scurrilous and more interesting.

I wrote most of this post last Friday, when I was fretting and fuming over not receiving critical mail. Canada Post over here is a joke. Four weeks plus to deliver priority Air mail letters? And here’s me labouring under the delusion that I live in a first world country. Maybe the politically correct love the ‘third world’ so much they’re trying to drag Canada down to the level of Zimbabwe? I don’t know. However, a quick google indicates my postal gripes are not a new problem.

However, I’m heartened by the news of the stronger pound after Madame Tracey’s snap election announcement, as this vindicates my decision to ‘go long’ on Sterling. I’ll also be watching the French Presidential elections closely, as a victory (or even a close run loss) for Marine Le Pen means the Euro is going to take a hammering. Which from my point of view is no bad thing.

There is a saying that if it was that easy, everyone would be doing it. I’m still having issues with shifting money around. Most of these have to do with Canada Post being its usual inefficient self and taking far longer to deliver a simple air mail letter (4 weeks and counting!) from my new offshore bank than a heavily sedated 3-toed Sloth with arthritis. Fortunately there is the Internet and there is the telephone. I know where the money is. It’s going nowhere without my say-so, so nothing really lost apart from opportunity. The exchange rates won’t be doing much until late next week when the fun really starts.

Update: Fun is starting. May is when the SH1T really gets to hit the fan.

Had my previous offshore bank not decided to close because of the new regulatory overhead I would not be having these issues. Monies would be paid, services obtained, and the world of business, at least as far as I’m concerned, would carry on regardless. Nonetheless, when it comes to offshore banking the state has demanded these cumbersome new regulations which have to be facilitated by, guess who? Yet another branch of the state, the postal service. All to stick a finger in the dyke of financial regulation to stop ‘money laundering’ when the metaphorical sea is coming over the top. Because, as any fule know, anyone who needs an offshore account is a tax dodger and a criminal, right? Well, thanks for nothing. Guilty until proven guilty seems to be the way of things nowadays. You’re a criminal if we say so, comrade, eh? Or a ‘thought criminal’ if you hold the wrong opinions.

Anyway, there are provincial elections coming up and there is no way I’m voting NDP or Liberal, as they’re simply two cheeks of the same ‘tax and spend’ arse who both pass laws against free speech and put up taxes. We’ve got a Libertarian candidate running, so that’s where my vote will be going this time around. Not that I’m stupid enough to vote for any NDP or Liberal candidate, that would be like selecting the fattest spoiled toddler to rule the Kindergarten.

Dark thoughts

I have a stepdaughter whose legal work takes her all around the London law courts, and sometimes into the UK Houses of Parliament itself. After todays terror attack there was a concerned flurry of transatlantic telephonic activity to jolly old Londinium from the Sticker household and I am pleased to report that Youngest was not in the area at the time.

As a concerned parent, my first reaction is “Youngest safe. Good.” Although I’m deeply sorry to hear that the attacker took down a Police officer in the process along with another three un-named as well as injuring forty others, some of whom will have to live with the physical consequences for the rest of their lives. However, the attacker is dead, good riddance. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Good riddance also to Martin McGuinness, who died yesterday. We’ll never know how many deaths he ordered or was involved in personally, but it’s well known that his hands were bloody as hell. Which is why the flames will burn a little brighter from now on.

These people who murder for a ’cause’ are key factors in prolonging the suffering of their fellow citizens. Had the civil rights protests in Northern Ireland not been tainted by the terrorists, there would have eventually been peace, work and plenty for all, Catholics and Protestants. Unfortunately many Mk 1 Homo Sapiens masquerading as evolved life forms in Ulster still don’t see it that way. So the killing still goes on, only the initials change. So will it be with Islamic inspired attacks. The killing will go on and on unless those who push the ideology are eliminated from within by the very communities they hide behind. Or have their minds changed. Not that I’m holding my breath you understand. Most people aren’t self aware enough to see the obvious.

Just received

An email just dropped into my inbox containing the following:

HM Government believes the President of the United States should be extended the full courtesy of a State Visit. We look forward to welcoming President Trump once dates and arrangements are finalised.

HM Government supports this petition.

During her visit to the United States on 27 January 2017, the Prime Minister, on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, invited President Trump for a State Visit to the UK later this year. The invitation was accepted. This invitation reflects the importance of the relationship between the United States of America and the United Kingdom. At this stage, final dates have not yet been agreed for the State Visit.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Well, now watch the thwarted toddlers of the fascist left permanent student class and their fellow travellers burst a blood vessel over this petition to allow Donald Trump a state visit to the UK.

In other words the decision is already made. Not that I’m going to watch, but rather enjoy the schadenfreude of watching all those out-takes of fuming rioters have a collective public stroke over the visit of a friendly head of state to the UK. Couldn’t happen to a bunch of nicer (?!?) people. Except they’re not nice at all. Not by any measure of the word. Neither pleasant nor scrupulous. Rather the opposite. That much is obvious.

What I would like to do is address the following remarks to those who think it’s okay to smash places up because they can’t have their way and never voted anyway. Please, please do go off and scream kiddiewinks. That nasty old Trumpy man is coming to the UK whether you like it or not. Go throw Teddy out of the pram. Go have your childish self indulgent petulant fit. Wet yourselves in public. Wail, scream, cry. No one really cares. Your side lost the vote, now build a bridge and get over it. Besides, nobody really likes you. Not even you. And that is your own self-perpetuating tragedy.

To everyone else; Happy Valentines day.

Because it’s Friday.

As a means of an antidote to the current climate, both weather and political, I would like to introduce my last remaining reader to something deliciously food based. Specifically this YouTube channel. Seriously, the man is a carnivore Diva. From steak and kidney pies to fifteen bird roasts, all British style comfort food is here, including a few innovations of his own. Like the Pork Scratching Plait below. I’m drooling already. As he says, this is grade A food porn.

For those of you who like me aren’t moved by all the low-fat, ‘go vegetarian’ bullshit, Scott is your man for everything from butchering and reducing a whole deer or pig to delicious cuts fit to grace any decent dining table, to cooking the end result. Go visit, watch, salivate and be inspired. Don’t tell ’em I sent you.

It’s also lunch date day today, the AWD is ready, the roads clear and I’m going to treat Mrs S to a fine feed at our favourite venue. I shall also be popping over the road to the one place I’ve found on the Island that makes decent steak and kidney pies. What with the recent revelations of ‘be monitored or be fired’ which has left her quite upset and considering resigning, my (much) better half is in dire need of pampering.

There will be red wine and good stuff. Why? Because it’s Friday, and because she’s worth it.

Also delighted to hear via Head Rambles that Anna Raccoon is still alive and fighting. Of course she can’t blog any more due to her condition’s effects on her arms and hands, but we here at the Bill Sticker Institute of Shit Happens salute her and wish her well. Many thanks to the Blocked Dwarf for keeping everyone updated.

Oh yes, and another superb and simple source of recipes that isn’t a ‘big name’ sleb chef; Food Wishes. Ow my straining belt!

World not doomed

Sister in law has been bragging how she’s signed the petition against a state visit to the UK by the new US President. For what? Because of the travel ban for nationals from half a dozen countries? Something Obama did back in 2011? I think Sister in law gets her politics from the dumpster behind her local Supermarket it’s so far past it’s sell-by date. That or CNN. They’re both just as tainted.

What’s not being widely, or sympathetically broadcast is the other side of the story. Trump has been negotiating ‘safe zones’ for refugees in country, allowing many more of those poor sods displaced by war to be helped closer to their own homeland without being transplanted to what is for them, an alien culture. Specifically the West, where they will have great difficulty getting decent jobs, extended families will be split, and the stage set for yet more terrorist attacks by disaffected youth funded by religious zealots with too much money… oh yes, and elements within Western regimes who use such zealotry for their own proxy wars. Oh yes, people can virtue signal about how much they ‘care’ about refugees, but if they really, truly ‘cared’ they would be looking more critically at the core issues and protesting Western middle eastern meddling like Hilary Clinton’s handling of the ‘Arab Spring’.

Well, the good news is that at least one source of funding for such groups may start drying up because of this little piece of financial news. Which is only of interest to those with a finger in an international pie. I hope it will lead to a reduction in monies flowing to groups subsidising terror attacks. Which will be good for all of those preferring not to be blown to bits because someone thinks their God has been insulted.

Those of you reading the article may go “WTF are you on, Bill? How does imposing tax on expats, tobacco and sugary drinks reduce the risk of terrorism?” To which I would answer, look at the wider picture. Oil revenues are shrinking due to the current glut and will continue to do so, which is leading to a rude awakening in some quarters. So much for ‘peak oil’, eh? Whether certain regimes will wise up and wind their necks in is down to them. I’m hoping the spare change which has been funding terror cells will shrink, because there’s no money in blowing people up for free.

Incidentally, have you seen the cost of ammunition recently? Well, that’s just the USA, but can be considered a reflection of a wider trend. Maybe terrorists will think twice before going on the rampage if they have to shell out more for bullets.

So yes, I’m optimistic. Less money for the radical Wahabi sect stirring up disaffection, which is fuelling the current Islamic terror attacks, should allow more moderate voices to shine through and begin internal reforms, which Islam as a whole seriously needs to address if it is to remain relevant in the 21st century. In fact all the interested parties could begin by considering the following; “It’s impossible to change minds after you’ve blown their brains out.”

As for the USA’s proposed new diplomatic stance with Russia, that’s good too. The cold war ended officially in 1989. So why the hell the West is farting about with military deployments instead of building metaphorical bridges and opening up broader trade links is beyond me. Russia isn’t the old Soviet Union any more.

Then there’s a wonderful sucking sound as the ‘Man Made Climate Change’ nonsense is relegated to a more realistic place in the USA’s threat list. Specifically the bottom. It was never more than a bogeyman to frighten the gullible into line anyway, because the models don’t work, and the real numbers are all wrong. And numbers, unlike people who want to keep riding their gravy train, don’t lie. As it is in international commerce, so it is in science. The real numbers are all that matter. Everything else is a Netflix ‘Documentary’, to be viewed only with a very critical eye.

So I’m not signing any silly ‘anti-Trump’ petition because I think he’s thought long and hard about the issues of this world and wants to try a more businesslike approach.

Taking care of business

Am keeping a very tight reign on my UK business affairs at present, demanding that i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. There have been too many details missed of late by those ‘experts’ my business partners gave the job to, and so I’m going to be on their backs like a monkey with a bad case of Tourettes.

Honestly speaking I’d prefer to trust, but when they’ve repeatedly demonstrated a lack of care, that trust goes out of the window. Like with politicians and BREXIT, you have to be on their case, or you just know it will get screwed by powers that be and all the useful idiots out there. Like with the latest successful Supreme Court challenge, Parliament now needs to give the process the nod before the UK can be freed from the tentacles of the EU’s bureaucratic nightmare. The populace should be watching them very carefully indeed.

If there’s one thing I hate to see going to waste, it’s opportunity, mainly because I know how infrequently it knocks. And BREXIT is a great opportunity. Well it could be. Providing the Remoaners stop whining, get their heads out of their collective arses and instead of fighting a constant rearguard action, take an energetic stroll down the path of enlightened self interest. Or is that me having an over optimistic view of their abilities?

Told you so

Back last year, when the Brexit vote was first mooted all the prophets of doom were running around screaming about the economic damage leaving the EU would do the dear old UK, I cautiously espoused an opposing view here and here and here.

eutanic-rock-and-a-hard-placeNow Mark Carney, Chairman of the Bank of England has seen the light. Seven months late, but that’s why I put not my trust in Princes and watch the truth of real numbers. The City of London, like any other financial market, floats on a sea rich and royally reeking of bullshit, but, and it’s a massive curvaceous booty to boot, the numbers say that the EU is overstretched financially, and with the exit of the UK beginning in March 2017 will likely lurch into a deeper crisis than the one it is in already.

In the UK however, all the future indicators are positive. Countries are queuing up to do deals with one of the major trading hubs of the western world. For too long the UK was trapped as a satellite, bound into a fairly restrictive single market without all the global links it needed to really catch fire, financially speaking. Now those markets look set to burst wide open, and for a few years there should be an expansion as old and new relationships are exploited. More jobs, an expanding economy, and maybe even a loosening of the bondage ties of EU mandated directives. Of course there will be winners and losers, but for the guy who is quick off the mark, the rewards will be out there.

These are exciting times. At least for an investor with their eyes wide open. With a pro-UK man in the White House for a change, a deal maker at that, and with a possible new and more positive relationship with Russia in the offing I’m feeling quite sanguine. For too long the world has been fighting itself like a dog in a sack, now the sack can be opened, and the dog can go chase all the juicy bones out there. Sure, it won’t be all plain sailing, but this is the beginning of a new era, and with luck the morbidly obese bureaucracy of the EU will be a distant fading memory in a couple of decades time.

Wonder what they’ll do with all those grandiose insults to architecture the Eurocrats were so fond of?

Errm…

Was perusing some data in the early hours, after a pain wracked Mrs S turned me out of my pit. Not her fault, she got hurt badly, and I have to put up with the side effects. It’s only three months until she’s skipping like a spring lamb once more. (Only!)

However, our new bookcases are now up, secured, and being filled with fiction, faction and fact. From Douglas Adams to Emile Zola and many points in between, stopping at (Amongst others) Aristotle, Juvenal, Plautus and Plato, all change at Freakonomics for Terry Pratchett to P J O’Rourke with a minor halt at Bertrand Russell and a shunt into Germaine Greer and Mary Woolstonecraft. I think there’s a Grays Anatomy in there somewhere keeping our two dozen or so dictionaries, grammar textbooks and thesauri company. Not to mention the various trade textbooks (Usual suspects; A+, Windows 7, Linux, HTML, XML etc.) Make of that what you will. Did I say we like reading? My cookbooks live separately in the kitchen.

Notwithstanding I was looking at the available UK Cancer statistics, as you do when you’ve nothing to do at four in the morning and you’re trying to bore yourself to sleep, and came across this interesting chart from the UK’s statistics web site (See screengrab below).
cancer-statistics It’s for cancers of all causes except the one excluded.

Now we’ve been bombarded with government ‘health’ advice about cancer since I was a boy. Surely some of it should have sunk in? Or is the steady increase in Cancer not entirely due to our lifestyle choices? Or are the majority down to genetics and ‘pure bad luck‘. Some say not. Some of them have an agenda. There’s more dross written on diet and health than on any other self help topic. Mostly by people who have only a sketchy understanding of how the human body actually works. Frankly me dears, most of it can best be described as ‘Guff‘. Yet there’s a whole industry based on it. Go figure.

Now I’m intrigued by this steady increase in Cancer diagnoses. As well as the continual, slow but steady increase in diagnoses of other fatal ailments. With ‘healthier’ lifestyles becoming the norm and smoking being but a pale wraith of its previous self, you could be forgiven that perhaps there is another life-claiming villain ready to leap out of the closet and shout “Boo! Har-har, it was me all along!” at everyone. And there is.

When it comes to carcinogens, the love that dare not speak its name or Elephant in the room if you like is Diesel emissions. Diesel fumes are a carcinogen (A ‘Group One’ Carcinogen no less). So says the World Health Organisation, based on reports from the IARC. That stuff coughing out of that bus, train or lorries exhaust? Can you smell Diesel? Yes? Run. Get away from the source as fast as you can but don’t breathe whatever you do. Especially if you live in a major urban conurbation. The particulates are often invisible, and they’re everywhere, along with cited evils like tobacco smoke (both first and secondhand), mustard gas, sunlight, Chinese salted fish, vinyl chloride, soot and wood dust. What sort of wood dust isn’t included in the literature. So maybe going back to nature won’t help either. However, compared to Diesel fumes they’re lightweights.

It’s funny. A few years ago, we were all being encouraged to buy Diesel cars so they could use ‘Bio-Diesel’ or whatever marketing ploy the politicians fell for. Now we find that riding a bus in rush hour traffic may be as deadly as a forty a day habit. Who knew? I’m not even a smoker and this dark little irony has kept a smug smirk on my fizzog all day long.

Oh well, I never really wanted to live forever. Oh dear, the bookcases are full and I’ve still got more books to sort. Another visit to IKEA is called for.