White Christmas

That phrase is probably banned now, along with the croony, depressing song that goes with it. These days we have to dream of a diverse multicultural pansexual Christmas in which Santa is a slim black sober antismoking transgender redistributor of presents. So if he visits and you have too many presents… well kids, you get a quick lesson in socialism. Oh, and paedophilia is being touted as a good thing now so when Santa says ‘keep quiet’, you keep quiet. For the sake of diversity.

All this crap has accelerated in this last year. As Alan says in ‘All the Strangers’, “What the Hell is coming next year?”

That line is from the new story, the one that’s in the latest book. I’m not putting it up yet. If I think of something new for Christmas day, I might not put it up at all. If I’m going to make a business of this I have to stop, or at least limit, giving stuff away for free

It’s officially rest time for Leg Iron Books. With a catalogue that went from zero to twenty books in the first year, I think I’ve earned a day off for Christmas. Okay, some of those books were my previous publications rebranded, two of which were novels that were out of contract with their previous publisher and are now out again with new covers and lower prices, but even so. It’s still a good start.

The last one for 2017 is ‘The Good, the Bad and Santa’ and I have now received print copies from Amazon. With help from CStM, they are now loaded into packaging and ready to send out to authors.

There was a reason I needed CStM’s help. I placed the order with Amazon – copies for the authors at two books per story, one for me of course, some to send out to family and friends to help get the word around… I ordered 36 copies in all. In one order.

I had 36 emails telling me the books were dispatched and 36 emails telling me they were out for delivery. I thought ‘Surely not?’

They arrived today. 36 books from a single order… in 36 separate packages. The Amazon delivery guy wasn’t even surprised. It’s apparently a common thing.

Well I have a lot of cardboard to burn now. Might as well get some heat out of it as I turn it back into the CO2 it was originally made from.

I wonder about the current hate directed at wood burning stoves. They don’t burn fossil fuels (my oil fired central heating does though), they burn recently-converted-from-CO2-to-wood fuel back into the CO2 it was made out of. Which is then used by other trees to make more wood. That’s about as sustainable as it gets. So why the hate?

Well, the cynic in me wonders whether there’s a bit of the old hatred of independence in there. Out here especially, I have endless wood supplies. The farmer has been renovating some of the very old buildings and has huge tonne bags of wood cut into easy-to-manage small pieces. He doesn’t want to keep it, it’s just in the way so the more of it I burn the less he has to pay to dispose of.

Some of the buildings in question have been unused for many years and are surrounded by trees that are also just in the way. They are also cut into easily managed chunks and stored in the barn. As long as I don’t try to burn the fresh ones (too wet) and use last year’s or older, that supply will go on for a long time too. I don’t, technically, need to split most of the chunks with a huge axe but it’s fun so I do it anyway.

Rather than all that old wood going into landfill, it heats my house for free and leaves ash that I can use (after I sieve out the nails) to add some friction to my driveway. At the moment that is very necessary since the whole place is currently surrounded by a treacherous sheet of ice. Even the dog holds it in until she is so desperate she’s willing to risk a frozen arse.

If wood burning stoves were banned I would be entirely reliant on oil deliveries or electricity for heating, both of which could be stopped at a moment’s notice and would then let this old guy freeze to death. They can’t cull me efficiently as long as I have an independent heat source. That’s why there’s no such thing in ‘For Whom the Bells Jingle’ – also in the Christmas anthology.

Tomorrow I will attempt to get to the post office to post all the author copies. On the main road, well the tarmac one at least, it’s not too bad. It’s just a matter of getting to the road without sliding onto it sideways and tipping over. That would be embarrassing. It would also piss me off enormously if I totalled a car that has just passed an MOT without even an advisory note attached.

Hopefully, the books will be on the way tomorrow and even more hopefully they will arrive in time for Christmas – at least the ones in the UK. Outside the UK, there’s pretty much no chance.

Twenty books. I can hardly believe it myself. I have offered my services to another small press who are struggling to keep up with publication. More on that in the New Year.

Well, I have to get the list of Leg Iron Books updated and get around to developing a website – or paying someone else to do it. Nothing more will happen on the books front in 2017 though. It’s holiday time at last.

Here is the Leg Iron Books current catalogue, in case you’re stuck for a Christmas present. There’s still time.

Underdog Anthologies:

The Underdog Anthology, volume 1
Tales the Hollow Bunnies Tell
Treeskull Stories
The Good, the Bad, and Santa

Novels:

Cultish (Hugo Stone) Now revised and at a lower price.
The Goddess of Protruding Ears (Justin Sanebridge)
Ransom (Mark Ellott)
The Mark (Margo Jackson)
Es-Tu là, Allah? (Dirk Vleugels: in French)
Jessica’s Trap (H K Hillman)
Samuel’s Girl (H K Hillman)

Short story collections:

Blackjack (Mark Ellott)
Sinistré : The Morning Cloud Chronicles (Mark Ellott)
Feesten onder de Drinkboom (Dirk Vleugels: in Dutch)
Fears of the Old and the New (H. K. Hillman)
Dark Thoughts and Demons (H. K. Hillman)
The Articles of Dume (H K Hillman)

Non-fiction:

Ghost Hunting for the Sensible Investigator (Romulus Crowe) first and second editions.

Biography:

Han Snel (Dirk Vleugels: in Dutch)

 

Twenty books in a year. No wonder I’m knackered. Still, the challenge is clear. Twenty-one next year. I can do this thing. Others may feel satisfaction in moaning at protests while claiming benefits but my satisfaction is in taking on a challenge and beating it. Or if not beating it, knowing I gave it my best shot. Twenty-one books next year.

There will be another anthology around March/April, not specifically Easter themed. an ‘anything goes’ like the first one. One at Halloween and one at Christmas. That’s three.

I have a novel by Lee Bidgood for the new year, that’s four.

At least two of my own are very close to finishing edits. Six.

One more and I’m a third of the way there already. And it’s not even 2018 yet. Random House, watch out. Here comes Leg Iron Books.

But if it does get successful it won’t be based in Scotland. I’m not paying extra tax when I could move back to Wales and pay less.

Scotland is determined to push new businesses south. Fine with me, I don’t have a house to sell and this business can work anywhere. I expect the SNP (Spiteful Nannying Puritans) will work out why Scotland is turning into Venezuela one day, when pet haggises are roasting over fires fed by empty promises, but by then it will be far too late. I can’t find it in me to care any more.

Let it die. The Scots can’t be bothered fixing it so why should anyone else?

I like living here. It’s cold so I keep longer. I like this house I’m renting. But make it hard for me and I can just load up a truck and move out.

I’m not the only small business thinking this way.

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Facing down the Money King

Geroge Soros, it is said, is the real life version of Luke Skywalker’s evil Emperor. From what I’m reading on that link, he’s doing it all for money – although at 87, with tens of billions of dollars amassed, I would be doing no such thing. I’d be drinking the very top shelf whiskies and letting the world go to Hell on its own.

That is not the George Soros way. He is a man on a mission and it really doesn’t matter how many people end up dead or destitute on the way. The world must be united under one world government, whether they like it or not.

He’s been unstoppable so far. Well, with all those billions at his disposal he can buy off any conscience – at least, he has so far. He’s funded people who hate other people in the name of universal love, he’s funded single issue groups in the name of inclusivity and he has sowed war in the name of peace.

I’m sure, in his head, all those deaths, beatings, threats and imprisonments for trivia are just collateral damage in his quest for world peace. He thinks it’s all worth it. So do all those he pays very well to agree with him. He is used to getting everything his own way.

So Sebastian Kurz, the new Prime Minister of Austria, must have come as a shock – and not just to Soros.

I am sure the aged sneering basilisks of the EU saw Kurz as easy prey. Young, inexperienced, he’d soon bend the knee to the EU machine. He has, so far, told them where to shove it.

Soros might well be richer than Austria but Kurz isn’t cowed. He has given Soros 28 days to get his political machinery the hell out of Austria or he’ll be prosecuted.

This is going to make Soros very angry indeed. Much more powerful nations have given in to his demands. Who does this Austrian child think he is dealing with? This is the man who has Hilary Clinton in a panic. She lost, with Soros funding, and Soros does not like to lose. It’s not just what the Trump administration might find in the files that scares her.

It’s what her master, the Emperor, will do to avenge her failure.

She’s already been linked to the wave of Hollywood sex pest exposures and her sales of Uranium to Russia have come to light. How much more will she be debased as the Emperor unleashes the dark side of the force upon her?

But this is not about her. She’s doomed and she knows it.

Soros is now contemplating how he will deal with this Austrian upstart. Ironic, since Soros spent some time working for another Austrian upstart in the 1940’s…

I hope Sebastian Kurz is a very, very careful man. He has angered the Dark Lord of the One World Order. Soros is not going to just walk away.

The first World War started with an Austrian assassination. Soros finds war a very profitable mechanism.

Mr. Kurz, keep looking over your shoulder.

 

Unreal numbers

Corbyn is a lunatic.

He plans to raise money for extra spending, not save money by stopping all the ridiculous lifestyle-control groups that waste so much on policies that are designed to not work.

Of course they are not intended to work. If antismoking worked and we all stopped, what happens to their cushy jobs? If antifat and antisugar and all the other food Nazi policies worked and we all got thin and type II diabetes didn’t exist, what happens to their cushy jobs? Now we have antivaping, another pressure group we’ll all pay for and they want their own income stream from a vaping tax. Really. A tax on steam!

All these pressure groups depend on not succeeding. If they succeed they are out of a job.

Anyway, Corbyn plans to fund his Utopia by getting all the rich people to give up bothering to work any more or simply move to another country. He plans to raise corporation tax to 26% which will move every big company out of the UK. A lot of small ones too. Good luck finding a cheap alternative to the Royal Mail if Corbyn gets in. They’ll all be based in Lithuania.

He will not get the tax take he projected. He might not get anything at all. He’ll spend it anyway.

I’m certainly not building a business on a 26% corporation tax rate, plus tax on anything I earn from that business personally, plus VAT plus business rates plus council tax etc. I won’t have much left for all that hard work.

If Leg Iron Books gets to be a big success it won’t be in the UK any more.

Okay, scrapping university tuition fees, I’m good with that. But why not get the money by stopping the tax-funded lobby groups? If the lobby groups feel that strongly about their case they can fund themselves. If they have as much popular support as they claim they can survive on donations. Funny, they seem to rely heavily on tax money…

If Corbyn gets in we’ll all be skint again. Next time Labour lose an election there’ll be another note in the Treasury saying there’s no money left. They do it every time.

I don’t want to vote Tory, and I won’t vote SNP or Lib Dem. I’ve never voted Labour and never will. I spent myself into penury once, I’m not voting for a government who will do it for me.

I’d like to vote UKIP but they’ve gone a bit strange. I’m not sure where they stand now.

For me, the biggest issue is the Nannying. Just leave me alone! Okay, I know salt and smoking and whisky isn’t good for me but I like those things. I might die before I get to the adult nappy and thinking it’s 1967 while drooling in a wheelchair years but trust me, I’m okay with that.

I’m not costing the NHS anything. I’m on no medication and the local medical centre doesn’t know who I am. I am not obese and am on no benefits of any kind. I have paid far more into the NHS than I could ever use.

I’ll vote for a party that has one core promise. A promise that they will not try to control what I eat, drink or smoke. A promise that they will not try to run my life for me. In any way at all.

Basically, promise me that once elected, you’ll leave me alone, and you get my vote.

Funny money

I only found out today that the Bank of England paper £5 note becomes valueless at midnight, May 5th. Yes, May 5th. If you’re reading this in the morning, that’s today. Only the new plastic ones will be valid from midnight.

If you’re reading this on Saturday and you have a jar full of paper fivers, then you have a jar of kindling. They have no value at all. Banks are not obliged to change them either. You can use them as toilet paper or Monopoly money, they have no other use.

It wasn’t too well publicised, I think. There’s a good chance of a lot of people being stuck with worthless money… just before an election. Someone wasn’t thinking ahead here, were they?

The Scottish paper notes are to be phased out – as the banks get them, they’ll be burned and new plastic ones issued. The Bank of England will simply declare the English note ‘not money’ from midnight.

Don’t accept paper bank of England £5 notes in change . Alternatively, suddenly think of something else you need to buy and hand them back to the assistant who gave them to you. They then can’t declare them invalid without admitting they knew they were defrauding you with stuff that isn’t money.

There’s also a new £1 coin. The old ones still work until October, and the new ones are already appearing on eBay as if they were worth something. I’ve seen a lot of listings claiming the new £1 dated 2016 is rare. It was first issued in 2017.

I’ve only seen four of the new coins so far. All of them were dated 2016. I don’t think that constitutes ‘rare’ even if it is a very small sample size.

Better to keep back a few of the old £1 coins. Those will become rare in the future and if you get one in excellent condition, you might interest a coin collector. If you have one of the uncommon ones you’ll interest them now.

The main thing to watch out for at the moment is the Bank of England paper fiver. As of midnight, May 5th, it’s completely worthless.

May 6th could see a lot of people getting really quite angry…

 

O Lucky Man

Great film. If you haven’t seen it, do. It is full of the music of Alan Price and wonderfully strange. It tells the story of a simple coffee salesman…

Any road up, it gets almost as strange as real life sometimes. Apparently the UK is talking itself into a recession that does not need to happen. Isn’t that true of pretty much every recession ever? They don’t need to happen. It’s all about money, and most money is as real as a cartoon monster on your phone.

My daughter put a nice twist on it today. What if you see the monster on your phone, move the phone away and… it’s really there? Wouldn’t that be fun?

But now it seems that if we don’t waste money on shit we don’t need, the economy will collapse. I am not buying a vast TV I can’t afford and won’t watch. I am not getting a loan to buy a car that can’t go any faster than the old blue Ford I have now because it already reaches the speed limit. It might be capable of exceeding it, obviously I would never attempt such a thing.

Does that mean I am putting TV makers and car makers out of a job? Since most of these things are now made in Taiwan anyway, it shouldn’t affect the UK economy at all.

Yet the scare now is internal. Nothing to do with the EU or Brexit. It’s UK people not buying shit made by UK workers who are apparently commuting to Taiwan to make this shit. That’s the scare, and it’s working. The stock market is going ‘Oh no, we’re going to die’. Meanwhile Joe Bloggs is carting home his cinema screen TV from Tesco and sometimes he’s even paid for it.

Brexit is irrelevant to the recession argument here. It’s an argument based on UK people not buying UK made stuff and thereby putting UK workers out of a job. It’s entirely internal. It can happen or not happen with no requirement to invoke the EU at all. Of all the stupid arguments put out there in the Battle of Brexit… well…

soup

As for our coffee salesman, well he really should pay more attention to his background songs because things don’t all turn out as happy as they seem at this point…

Theresa May… or May Not?

So we have a new Prime Monster. The first wench-in-charge since Ol’ Iron Knickers herself. We’ve since had Monochrome Man, the Tiny Blur, the Brown Gorgon and a bad dose of the Cameroids (featuring a walk-on part by Little Clegg). Now we have… well I don’t have a good name for the new one yet so I’ll go with Tessie Maybe until she makes a decision. She’ll earn her true Underdog name in time.

She’s put Boris Johnson in charge of foreign affairs, which shows she has a wicked sense of humour at least.  I suppose Frankie Boyle wasn’t available.

There are lawyers trying to claim the Brexit case was based on lies. Both cases were based on lies. Politicians were involved. What else would anyone expect? If a politician tells the truth, all his teeth fall out and he has to live on nothing but subsidised soup. Everyone knows that.

And yet the people voted and then expected their elected representatives to do as they are instructed. Will they? Well, they don’t have too good a record on that so far. They listen harder to the busybodies who live on tax money than to those who actually pay the taxes. Which reminds me, I have a tax rebate on the way again. Which is nice.

What happened in Nice wasn’t at all nice. A deranged madman killed and injured a hell of a lot of people and the press are claiming it was nothing to do with Islam. He was called Mohammed. They always are. It’s always nothing to do with Islam. If he was called Brian or Malcolm or Quentin there’d be far less scepticism about the ‘nothing to do with Islam’ repetition.

I hear there was a British woman complaining that all this terrorism had ruined her shopping trip. Madam, you are an embarrassment to this nation and to the entire human race. What kind of people are we breeding these days? That one shouldn’t be allowed to.

Back to Brexit, where pundits are trying to find a reason for the ‘out’ vote that doesn’t involve people becoming sick to death of being bossed around by a bunch of suited arses who cost a fortune and who just make shit up during booze-fuelled drug orgies. How else can you explain laws about the straightness of cucumbers and bananas? Nobody could think up that stuff sober.

I mean, claiming the medium-rich middle class were the ones who voted out? Wales voted out, as did Newcastle. The medium-rich are hardly a majority in either of those places. Oh sure, they exist in those places but they aren’t 51% of the populations there.

It’s true the less well paid are better off now. As I’m currently one of them I can attest to this. Raising the tax threshold means I get more of it back. Also the really-rich are better off. It’s the ones who just tip over into the higher rate tax bracket who get hammered. In real terms today, an average middle-level job can tap you into that bracket. You need to get well above it to make legal tax avoidance schemes worth bothering with so if you’re only just in it, you just have to bend over and take it.

And while we’re on the subject of parasitic unelected organisations who are unaccountable and believe themselves to be God, the World Health Organisation (WHO?) are whining that we aren’t doing as we’re told when it comes to letting kids see ads for unhealthy foods they can’t buy for themselves.

A bunch of arrogant, self-important striplings called @tobaccofreekids on Twitter are claiming that tax hikes work to stop kids smoking. How? Those kids can’t buy the tobacco so how does a tax hike affect them at all? It only affects adults who are… adults. The ones who buy stuff and pay massive amounts of tax when they do, even though they’ve already paid massive amounts of tax on the money they earned to buy stuff with.

‘Adult’ used to mean something in the old days. You were a child and did as you were told and adults were in charge. Now we have jumped up whippersnappers telling us that old people should not be allowed to vote and only the undeveloped mind is fit to run the country because they know best because they have been told what is best by the hard of thinking who grew older but never grew up.

The same hard of thinking who are funded by adults who pay tax. We should all fuck off out of the country and leave them to their Utopia of bugger all.

For one of his poems, Dylan Thomas invented the fictional Welsh town of Llareggub. He did it because his publisher told him to cut back on the swear words. The easily twisted young and the unthinkers could call their new unfunded country by that name.

Well, let’s see what Tessie Maybe does. Could we at last have an intelligent Prime Monster? It’s about time we did.

My money is on ‘Oh no, not again’.

 

Another year older and deeper in debt

I had the Look of Death from small baker today. It was an innocent and sincere question I asked as she was printing labels instead of finishing off the baking so I could get in there and deal with cleaning it.

“Why aren’t you in the kitchen, woman?”

I mean come on, how could anyone take offence at such a simple question? Yet she did. Perhaps I should not have gone on to explain why women get married in white. It’s so that when you get them home, they match the other kitchen appliances. You even have to carry them in, like a fridge.

Now she thinks I’m some kind of misogynist. I have no idea how these rumours start.

Anyway. I’m old now and yet there are banks out there willing to give me a mortgage. Seriously? Well sure. The bank can’t lose. If I die or fail to pay, they get the house – which will have gone up in value since they loaned me the money so they’re quids in. Plus, they get to keep everything I would have already paid.

There are those who will give me an interest-only mortgage any time between now and the age of 95. Is anyone really likely to be able to pay off the capital by the time they get to 95? It’s unlikely, isn’t it? Unless you’re already rich when you start the mortgage, in which case why not just buy the house outright?

It only makes sense from the bank’s point of view. They convert ‘money’ which isn’t real into ‘house’ which is real and all they have to do is wait for you to die. Targeting the older house buyer means they have a much better chance of winning the game and won’t have to wait long in most cases. Really, not that many make it to 95 and those that do usually end up in a care home somewhere because their body has grown to 95 and their mind has reverted to about 8.

It’s horrible but it happens. No point glossing over it. Your earning potential is going to be affected when you think cassette tape players have just been invented and your son is your brother. You’re going to lose that house. Or have to sell it, in which case the bank gets their money back plus whatever early repayment penalty they wrote into the contract.

Put simply, getting a mortgage in later life is a bad idea. Unless you want your last will and testament full of bills rather than bequests.

I’m not a financial advisor and my past financial record is pretty dismal to say the least, but I wouldn’t touch this kind of mortgage with a bargepole.

I don’t mind dying broke. It’s how I lived most of my life anyway.

I won’t die leaving debts to my children.