The Caliphate of Canada

Many Americans, especially the rich and famous luvvies of Hollywood, said they would move to Canada if Trump won the election. I neither know nor care if any of them actually did it.

Well, Canada has now made blasphemy a punishable offence. Only blasphemy against Islam, of course. You can make nose jokes about Jews and send Jesus a Screwfix catalogue open at the nails page, no problem. You can poke fun at Kali (probably best not to, just in case, she’s pretty badass) and you can say you have the body of a god – unfortunately it’s Buddha – and nobody minds. You can watch and laugh at those Japanese ‘Monkey’ shows that were a total piss take of the Chinese god Hanuman and your front door will never feel the kick of a single jackboot.

Say one word against Beard Boy and his baby-shagging habits and the police will arrive, stroke their beards and smooth down their one piece white uniforms, then give you a formal warning that will leave you about eight inches shorter.

They were going to run from Trump to a country that just set itself back into the fourteenth century. Blasphemy laws. Really? In 2017 we have new blasphemy laws? And you lot were scared of Trump? You were enraged that he wanted to restrict travel from those countries where such blasphemy laws still exist? And you decided the safest place to be was… an Islamic dictatorship.

Excuse me while I giggle a bit.

I know there are politically correct cretins thinking ‘Oh but if you don’t say anything bad about Islam, you’ll be fine’. You fucking idiots. Read up on the Spanish Inquisition. You don’t have to do anything wrong. It’s a law against spoken words. You don’t have to actually say the words. All it takes is for someone to report that you said it. Then, frankly, you are screwed.

And when an Islamist blows up a train with your mother on it, or sells your daughter to his friends as a sex slave (as happens in the UK) you can’t say anything about it. Tell it to the police and they’ll arrest you for Islamophobia. Hey, you let it happen. Don’t shoot the messenger.

Sharia works in much the same way as the Inquisition. Seriously, read up on it. God can never be wrong so if you are arrested by religious police you must be guilty of something. Pretty much all 14th-century religions had that attitude.

Islam has won Canada. You think it stops with this new law? Hahahaha! Canada is two years from cutting hands off thieves, rape victims needing four witnesses, gay people dropped from skyscrapers and public stonings and beheadings. Unless the Canadians do something about it, starting right now. Time’s up guys. As the old saying goes, shit or burst. Do something now or suffer the consequences.

For all the bad stuff said about Trump, he would never let this happen in the USA.

Canada, have a song from that other bastion of control freakery, Australia. At least you can still speak there.

 

No time for Internet today

Deadlines approach. Getting the guest room ready for my parents’ visit and getting the book out at the end of March. Ideally before next Wednesday, when they visit. Or at least, have it primed and ready to send by then. I can do the last few stages while they sleep, I’ve had plenty of practice now.

There is a very real danger that I will meet two deadlines in the same month. This is not something you should expect to see very often. Halley’s Comet is more frequent an event than this.

There is also gardening. There is a lot of garden and it’s all starting to grow. Since the weather is currently fine, and since the garden was neglected for at least a year or possibly more, I have to keep it under control.

If a small garden goes wild it can take a few days to put it right. If this one goes wild, well, might as well get used to living in a jungle because I’d have no chance!

The landlord took pity on me and sent in professional gardeners for two days of brutal slash-and-burn gardening to get me started. They did a grand job of weed clearance and hacking back trees, but they hacked back some a lot further than I would have.

They absolutely butchered an old holly tree. While out tidying up that part of the garden I noticed something they had uncovered. Embedded in the tree is a large deer antler – it’s been there so long the tree has grown around it and it’s not going to move now. On the antler is a skull.

Now I know nobody is going to believe me but I honestly didn’t do that. It was already here. One of the points of the large antler has been hacked off, I assume the gardeners thought they were pruning a branch because it’s coated with green algae. The horns of the skull have suffered similar chainsaw damage but it’s otherwise intact.

They left it in place. I plan to leave it alone too. Apart from taking a few photos. This is a ready-made anthology cover for a later one, and a garden ornament I would have put up anyway if it wasn’t already there.

It might go some way to explaining the mystery of the room that had gouges in the walls and three locks on the outside of the door but I would probably be best not to delve too deeply into that.

There are other, um, Interesting Things to be seen in the garden. More on those later.

I just hope the holly tree recovers. It was a particularly impressive one.

Anyway. I have to put out author contracts and ‘about the author’ pages (if you haven’t sent me one and you have something specific you want in it, let me know). There is still time for one more story, if you have an Easter idea, but the whole thing must be assembled and finalised by next Wednesday so don’t hang around! I’ll have to be sociable for a week, no matter the toll it takes.

I will soon be looking for an illustrator. I can’t pay much yet, but I think some illustrations would be a Good Thing To Have in some books. There’s no time to do it for this anthology but it would be fun, in a future one, to have the stories all set up in time for an illustrator to put a picture to each story.

Maybe Halloween. The Tree Skull Anthology could be a working title.

 

Lawnmower man

Today I mowed one of the gardens. Yeah, you read that right 😉

It took several hours for two reasons. One, it was covered with twigs and pine cones, including a lot of twigs with several pine cones attached. The best way to stop a cylinder mower dead in its tracks is to drop a pine cone in front of it. I took a wheelbarrow full of pine cones off that lawn and there were still traps lying in wait.

Two, all I have at the moment is a £30 push mower from Aldi. It’s a good mower, it cuts very well and it will be very useful in the more remote parts of the garden but still… I was exhausted by the time I finished.

I have to get an electric or petrol one for the bulk of the grass and use the push mower for the more remote areas. It avoids the problem of multiple extension cables, it’s light in use and easy to maintain. It’s just very hard to push through even medium-length grass. There is, I think, still an electric mower in the lab. It’s cheap but easy to use and is still in its box.

So I missed out on the Internet today. I heard about the Westminster attack, and read the articles. Nobody wants to admit who was responsible. Well, ISIS are happy to shout about who was responsible but even an attack on Parliament in the heart of London is silenced in the media by political correctness.

I bet the IRA wish we’d had this political correctness in the seventies. Airey Neave and Lord Mountbatten would have been killed by men without accents. They would have thrived, as do our current terrorists, knowing they can do what they like and nobody dares name them. If that doesn’t change, and very soon, we won’t have to worry about smoking related diseases at all. We’ll all be dead before they have a chance to get us. Even now, even with a direct attack on Parliament, the arseholes in government can’t see it.

Speaking of the IRA, it seems Martin McGuinness died a hero in the media’s eyes. He was a violent twat and the world is a better place without him. That’s my standard eulogy for any mass murderer. I see no need to say any more.

Like Lawnmower Man, I have moved from cutting grass to the Internet. I’ve started on the back cover for the Easter anthology.. Longrider’s recommendation was a good one, I’ll use the photo of the trees at the bottom of Garden 3 for the cover. It will look something like this –

I’ll use a text box for the back cover blurb. As I did with ‘The Goddess of Protruding Ears’. It’s the easiest way to make text clear on a multicoloured background.

I just have to work out what to say…

 

King Charles

Oliver Cromwell was a dick. A Righteous, pompous, ‘I am right’ Puritan arsehole. He banned the eating of mince pies on Christmas day to curb gluttony. Nearly four hundred years ago, the fat police were active. They are still evil bastards. Cromwell was convicted of dickery two years after he died. The English dug him up and hung him anyway. You Arabs think you are badasses? Oh you have no idea.

But… Cromwell was up against the first king Charles, son of James I and VI who was also a pompous arsehole. A bigger one. I think kings are allowed to be pompous arseholes but even so. This was one so bad the people supported the puritan arse. At first.

King Charles, the first one, taxed so hard and spent so wastefully that he caused the only civil war in English history so far. His grandson, Charles II, was no better. He didn’t cause a war but his son fucked up royally. The next one, James II of England lost to William of Orange because, well, England hated him and were happy to be taken over by someone who wasn’t quite so much of a dick. Parliament took control of the country at that point and they did a decent job up until now.

This is why Mrs. Queen is so old. She cannot die or we get Charles III and we get all the same shit again. Except this time it’s windmills and solar panels that will put us all in the workhouse. The effect is the same and the end result will be the same. We’ll have pitchforks and not much else because real weapons have all been banned. Hey, it worked last time.

You can make a gun. It might not take many shots, it might be like the Napoleonic brass cannons which were melted down and made into new cannons after a lot of use, but it will do enough. Lack of weapons is an easily remedied situation.The government does not understand this because they listen to arms sellers who tell them it’s really hard and expensive to make weapons.

There are moves afoot to replace the next King Charles with the next King William.

King Charles is synonymous with unrest. King William is synonymous with salvation from dickhead rulers (in England at least). That’s history.

The future is not history but often depends on it. So what’s it gonna be, droogies? A quiet night on the moloka, or a bit of the old ultraviolence?

The way the government is boosting taxes, I think we are heading for another King Charles.

And all that that entails.

I must shop for a pitchfork…

 

Mixed bag

Deforestation. A terrible thing for many reasons. I have a little bit of forest here and I plan to keep it. I like trees. Especially trees that grow things I can eat. I don’t hug them, it makes them self conscious and embarrassed and the brambles laugh at them. Gooseberry bushes don’t like to be hugged. Try it and you’ll soon get the idea.

But… the ones who wail about deforestation are the same ones who want to reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere. It’s already a fraction of one percent of the atmosphere. Bill ‘I see the world through Windows’ Gates once claimed he wanted to reduce atmospheric CO2 to zero. Which would make current deforestation about as damaging as mowing your lawn.

Okay, cutting down trees is bad but the UK was once all forest. All the way, top to bottom and side to side. It would have been pretty but where do you put, say, Manchester? We have to clear a bit of space to live in. There’s a lot of world for the trees. There are bits we haven’t explored yet.

Also, if you really want the whole world to be vegetarian you need a lot of fields for crops, so goodbye forests. All of them. Goodbye all the wildlife in those forests. Exterminate the cows and sheep and pigs and rabbits and foxes and anything that might interfere with the Pure Veggie World.  Is global vegetarianism green or a mad ideology? Oh, I’ll let you decide. Meanwhile I’ll set out my plan for a vegan restaurant. We keep them out the back, choose the one you want and we’ll spit-roast him for you.

Plants use CO2 and sunlight to make sugars and in the process they throw out oxygen as a waste product. Yes, the stuff we depend on for breathing is actually plant shit. That should really give us our place in the scheme of life. We might think we are the top of the food chain but as far as the trees are concerned, we are shit eaters. Which is why they get so embarrassed if we hug them.

The other side of it is the sugars. Our brains especially, as well as our entire metabolism, runs on sugar. Specifically, glucose. There are many other sugars, but glucose is the one that we mainly use. Plants make it. Ruminants like cows and sheep get none from their diet, the bacteria and protozoa in the rumen make fatty acids that their liver then turns into glucose. Humans and other non-ruminants get the sugar direct from their diet.

No CO2, no plants. No plants, no oxygen and no sugar, Killing the food chain at its source. They really want to do that, you know.

We have two hormones regulating our blood sugar. Insulin and glucagon. When we’ve had enough to eat, the balance of those hormones tells us ‘enough’.

If you replace sugar with something that tastes sweet but isn’t sugar, those hormones ignore it. Stuff yourself with calories sweetened with artificial sweetener and your hormone system is ignoring the fake. It’s waiting for the real sugar. As far as it’s concerned you’re still hungry.

It’s not sugar that’s causing obesity. It’s the replacements. The fake sweetness. It makes us eat more than we would if the food had real sugar in it. Government response? Obviously we have to reduce sugar and use more fake sweeteners because the sweetener companies are paying the politicians to say it. Then shout at fat people. That keeps the anti-sugar mob in easy money for all time.

Just like the anti-smoking mob. They are currently trying to claim that steam is deadly so we don’t all switch to vaping. If we did, all at once, the tax take would go through the floor. Then they’d have to get a real job in which they actually do something. That’s way beyond their abilities.

In the UK, a few months ago I could get a pack of cheap and legal cigarettes for £5.99. Now there is no pack priced below £7.24. However, I have ordered tubing baccy which will make me cigs at a rate of about £3.50 for 20. The tubes are in the pound shops at £1 for 200 and the cig loading machines (Bull Brand) are likewise £1 each. And I have Electrofags too.

If you like the fancy smokes, they have those too.

Well, it could all change soon. Our departure from the EU is set to happen on March 29th. Coincidentally, the date my parents arrive for a week long visit. I will be in enforced sociability for the most significant event in my lifetime. Typical!

Maybe, one day, our government will be real again. Maybe, one day, British common sense will return.

I hope I live to see it.

Underdog Streetview

My house is not on Google Streetview, which is fair since there is no street. All you see on Google is a gate and a little placard with the name of the house. No sign of any house.

Earlier this week, the landlord sent in two heavy duty gardeners with chainsaws and large machines. The garden had been pretty much untended for over a year (as had the greenhouse, which I why I have two large compost bins full of grapevine trimmings). The farm had cut the lawns but that was pretty much it. I was expecting to spend most of the summer cutting back plants.

The gardeners cut back far more fiercely than I would have. It was two days of botanical Armageddon out there, but they did more in two days than I would have done in two months. The garden is in manageable condition now.

Also I don’t have a chainsaw nor any of the enormously vicious tools they brought with them. This is probably, on balance, a good thing.

Since it’s nearly spring, as evidenced by the rising tide of daffodils and the dying snowdrops, I thought I’d go where even Google dare not go. Up this driveway…

Yes, that leads to Underdog Towers which doesn’t have an actual tower but which has some rooms that feel like it. This is far from any kind of streetlight so it’s a real adventure at night.

I usually drive up here a tiny bit faster than I probably should. At walking pace there’s time to look around at what’s growing among the banks waiting to be tidied.

Once I move a few truckloads of fallen branches, leaves and weeds, the driveway should look pretty good. When you get past the bend in the track, you see this –

Go up to the house and look back and it looks like this –

The wall was covered in ivy until last week. I’d have left it, personally, but I just rent the place so can’t overrule the landlord. Still, the base of the plant is still there. It’ll grow back. Those are not my car’s tyre tracks. They had a tractor. I did say they were heavy duty gardeners.

The opening in the wall leads to one of the gardens. That garden has flower beds that were seriously overgrown. I had made some attempts at cutting back but the wooded bit at the end of the garden needed someone who isn’t afraid to climb a ladder with a chainsaw. Not me. Me, ladder, chainsaw… I know where that would end up!

The other side of the wall looks like this –

They did a sterling job of weeding that part. It would have taken me at least a week just to clear that one bed! The trees at the end are inside the garden. It’s the smaller wooded area.

Panning around…

…to the side of the house…

That’s a grain store behind the garage. Yes, the farm is that close! Every day, usually around 5 pm, the local pheasant walks past the kitchen window on his way home from the grain store. One day he was running – he might have been caught in the act.

Down among those trees is Snowdrop Corner –

So, back to the house. There is no actual end to the driveway, it goes right around and down the farm road. I never have to turn the car, I just go up one drive and down the other.

Standing in the second garden, you get a better view of the house.

The greenhouse is now triffid-free, the vines are still there but heavily trimmed. It leaks, and I think the only way to fix it is to take out all the glass and refit it after cleaning it all. That will have to wait for good weather. The scruffy bit on the right is log storage for the wood burning stove and also a mini garden, as if there wasn’t enough garden already.

The bit I’m standing on is another garden. Mostly grass, leading to another wooded area.

That’s not the wooded area. It’s behind the camera in that shot and looks like this –

Well that’s a bit of it. There are apple trees in that lot and enough fallen wood to fuel the stove all next winter.

Following the drive around, just in time to see the snowdrops outside the kitchen before they die back –

The kitchen window is out of shot to the left. That’s the office/guest room window, and you can just see the extra tiny window at the back of the kitchen.

Well, that’s some of the outside of the house. I’ll get better garden pics as the year progresses and things start to actually grow. The grass has started already but I won’t mow it until the snowdrops die back.

This garden doesn’t have a crocus pentacle… yet. Oh, the possibilities!

The Hollow Bunnies

The second anthology has passed the first hurdle. It’s over 100 pages which is the minimum to make it worth putting out in print. Print On Demand means there’s no back stock to worry about but the unit price depends on the number of pages. That’s why Hugo Stone’s ‘Cultish’ is expensive in print. It’s quite a tome.

There’s a base price too, so go much below 100 pages and the price stops dropping. Basically it means if it’s below 100 pages of 6×9 inches (trade paperback) then it’s not going to be cost effective in print. It can still work as an eBook because, naturally, there are no print costs. Even Hugo’s massive tract of depravity can be reasonably priced as an eBook.

Tales the Hollow Bunnies Tell has passed that hurdle and will be in print and eBook in time for Easter. The stories are edited and formatted (only one author prevents it from coming out right now and I have to hold my hand up to that one). The front cover is ready and looks like this –

Yes, Roobeedoo helped with the editing again. She’s on her way to being a permanent member of staff, even though we’ve never met.

There might be some adjustment to the cover lettering. Otherwise it’s done. The back cover is not done but photos of pastoral scenes are not hard to come by around here. I’ll take a camera out tomorrow if the weather permits. I do have a particularly creepy driveway…

There is still time to send in another Easter-themed story. I plan to finalise this around the 27-28th of March and I’m on target to make it. Easter is later than usual this year so I have a little leeway but for once, I intend to actually meet a deadline.

Author contracts and then payments will go out soon. If I don’t have an ‘About the Author’ bit from you I’ll be asking for one – and if you want to update yours, you can do that too.

As usual, if you want payment in books rather than cash I can do that. Postage is ‘free’ which means I pay it, not you, but it’s a legitimate business expense so it’s tax deductible. If I get to the point where I’m sending a ton of books every month I might ask for postage but it’s small stuff so far.

I won’t have a final unit price on the book until I have it completely assembled and ready for print but I expect it to be roughly the same as the last one. If so you can take £10 per story or two books per story or any combination of those. It might change so don’t hold me to this – I might yet get a novella sent in that makes it a real biggie!

Although I think a story that’s over 100 pages in itself would be a separate book, with a separate contract.

Anyway, I have been looking into the process of marketing using my management manuals featuring someone called Dilbert.. There seems to be a lot of drinking involved.

So far, so good.