Farcebok

Some time back, Farcebok decided to drop the auto-link from WordPress that automatically linked blog posts to your Farcebok account. So I put them up manually. A minor inconvenience.

It seems they really, really don’t want to link to WordPress because today, every single one of those blog posts has been marked ‘against community standards’ and nobody can see them. No warning, no explanation and no recourse to appeal as far as I can see. I could contact them but I just don’t care enough about their site to bother.

Well, it’s only Farcebok. I won’t bother putting these posts on there any more. It doesn’t matter if they change their minds, I won’t change mine. I have also put a contingency plan in place in case the entire account vanishes, so I don’t lose access to the Leg Iron Books page.

Just to make it a bit more interesting, an email then arrived from Farcebok asking for money to ‘boost’ a post on the Leg Iron Books page. Very poor business skills there. Their censorship department really should let the marketing department know who they’re currently hitting. There’s no point in boosting a post when that post could be made invisible at the drop of a hat, with no warning nor explanation.

I will persist with the Leg Iron Books page on Farcebok but my own page won’t link to here any more. I will also have to be very careful about what I link to from legironbooks.co.uk since that’s a WordPress-based site too. Farcebok clearly don’t like that.

Or maybe they just don’t like me. Either way, asking me for money at this point is not their smartest move.

UPDATE: I have removed the ‘share on Farcebok’ button from the bottom of posts. This is not some petty revenge. If someone tried to share one of my posts on their Farcebok account now they might get the same swivel-eyed censors swivelling their deranged eyes their way.

I’m not dragging anyone down with me.

Hawaii at 100

Okay, I have finally finished with ‘Norman’s House’ and loaded it up. It has passed all the checks and the eBook version will spread soon. I’ll push it once the Amazon listings combine. Details are here.

The eighth Underdog Anthology is now open for submissions. Since we are not getting visited (parents again) until April 4th, I can set the closing date for submissions to March 25th, and I can be a few-days flexible on that. It’s the Spring (Beltane) anthology, details here.

Right, that’s the work stuff done. Now it’s time to get the popcorn, pour a good sized drink, sit back and marvel at the madness of the world.

I read recently of a man in India who plans to sue his parents for giving birth to him without his consent. I have also noted that several American states now allow abortion up to the point of birth. Soon they will give new parents a one-year cooling off period, during which they can bring the child back for extermination if it keeps them awake or if they just change their minds. Oh I know, it sounds flippant, but I’m really not joking. There will be many counsellors on hand to help change their minds during that first year too.

It sounds horrifying but people will accept it because it’s all part of the plan. As is your child sueing you for bringing them into this world without their consent. Read Orwell’s 1984, if you haven’t already, and see what your children will be able to do to you in future. Heck, they can do it now.

This post isn’t about those things.

If I live to be 100 I am going to Hawaii. I won’t go before then but if I get that old I am definitely going. It’s quite a few years away yet and given that I have lived, and continue to live, a life that should, by all modern medical propaganda, have ended in 1985, it’s a long shot.

Still, as I said, I will not go there before I reach 100 because I won’t be able to buy any cigarettes there until I reach that age. I will definitely go there when I reach 100 because I’ll make a fortune. I’ll buy cigarettes and sell them individually to the 90-year-old senile delinquents on street corners. (tip of the heavy hat to Zaphod on Twitter for this one)

The idiots in charge of Hawaii are concerned about – a potentially strong backlash from tobacco companies.

They are not at all concerned about any kind of effect on existing smokers. Fuck ’em. Nor on any small retailers who rely heavily on the profits from cigarette sales. Fuck ’em too. The tobacco industry could write off the whole of Hawaii and their balance sheets won’t notice the difference. Hawaii’s corner shops will notice the difference very quickly and Hawaii’s smokers will, if they have any sense, be packing their bags right now.

Oh I know, smokers, eh? Who needs ’em? Wouldn’t the world have been so much better without the likes of Churchill or Einstein or Brunel? We could have been so much better off under the virulent-antismoker vegetarian Hitler. So all the smokers leave. You won’t miss them. You’ll have your new Righteous overlords looking after you and if you think it stops with smoking…. you really haven’t been paying attention.

If it goes through, and considering the current lunacy gripping the world I won’t be surprised if it does, I wil visit Hawaii in a little over 40 years. But not before.

I’d better start saving though. The way cigarette prices are going, that pack will cost me more than the flight to Hawaii by the time I get there.

Killing Babies

First of all, thanks to everyone who gave advice on marketing. I can see it’s not going to be easy, but you guys have probably saved me from spending a fortune in the wrong places. Yes, I did say all book stuff would go to the blog on the new site but, well, catch-22… I needed advice on publicising a site that’s new and unknown. Asking for advice on that site would have been futile, even though that’s where that post properly belonged.

While I’ve been messing with a new site and Farcebok page, a lot more weird stuff has happened. Notably, the laughable demand by the EU that Venezuela have ‘free and fair Presidential elections’. This, from the EU! None of the top brass of the EU are elected, they are appointed. And they have the cheek to criticise another country’s elections? I think they need to cut back a little on swimming in the wine lake.

The big one, for me, was the news that New York, rapidly becoming the New California, has decided to allow abortion up to the day before birth. Vermont, apparently, is about to do the same.

Disclaimer: I have never been involved in an abortion situation and have no close links with anyone who has. I can’t imagine the kind of thoughts going through the heads of those involved but I’m sure it’s pretty damn traumatic.

That might mean I’m not ‘qualified’ to speak on the subject, in the modern smug-bastard put-down language, but I’m going to anyway.

I don’t like abortion as a concept. That does not mean I am ‘against’ it. It does not mean I’m going to camp out outside abortion clinics and wave a banner saying ‘Down with this sort of thing’. It does not mean I am going to demand abortion be made illegal. It means exactly what it says. I, personally, don’t like it. That’s it. No hidden messages.

I would, in fact, be very much opposed to making abortion illegal. It will just drive women to dodgy backstreet abortionists. No, if it’s going to happen at all, let’s at least leave it in the hands of properly trained medics.

These days we have contraception in many forms. Here in Scotland, the contraceptive pill is free and if you go into the doctor’s, you can help yourself to free condoms. Really. There is no excuse for ‘accidental’ pregnancy.

There is, of course, rape. In that instance, abortion is a woman’s only sensible option since our idiot lawmakers have decided that a rapist has parental and visitation rights of any child that results from their violence. A ludicrous decision that only ensures the raped woman will be pushed towards abortion. Otherwise she has to endure regular visits from her rapist. By law. There are divorced dads who don’t get that right.

Still, an unwanted pregnancy should, at the least, be visible three months in. New York’s law means that even after the woman has felt the baby moving, even after the time when a premature baby has a very good chance of making it, she can choose to kill that baby.

And let’s be clear. At that point, it’s not a foetus any more. It’s a baby. Sure, it’s still inside the woman but it’s fully formed and will likely survive a surgical removal. What then? Do they let it starve or put it down like a dog? It’s going to die in a way that these same people would not allow to happen to a violent criminal. In fact, these same people oppose the death penalty with ‘right to life’ slogans.

In the UK there is a continual push to extend the time allowed for abortion. I think it’s currently at 29 weeks, I might not have that figure exactly right. It’s considered that the developing child is not self-aware at that point and I have to admit I have no idea when a developing foetus becomes aware. I would say though that if it is moving, there is brain function – but I don’t claim to be an ‘expert’ any more than I claim to be brainless in any other field.

New York, and now Vermont, has taken it to the extreme. Or have they? Is this the final point in this branch of Righteousness? They have no final point in any other branch, so why here?

In a few years, will you be able to take your noisy toddler for euthanasia? A few decades more and your basement gamer 30-year-old who won’t move out or get a job… can you send him for organ donation? Well, why not? You can, right now in New York and soon in Vermont, terminate a perfectly healthy, fully formed baby on a whim.

If you have followed Righteous behaviour in every other field they have played in, you know there is no end point to any of their demands. Why would there be one here?

Expect ‘Retrospective Abortion’ in the next few years.

The Black Bond

It has been suggested that Idris Elba could be the next James Bond. Cue Outrage! He’s (gasp) black! How can he be James Bond?

James Bond is a fictional character. To me, that is very very different from casting historical figures with actors of a different race than the original. The latter is messing around with history and distorting facts. It puts the wrong image of the past in the heads of people who have never studied history – and that’s most people.

The former is… well, a fictional character. A well written fictional character can look any way you want.

I deliberately don’t specify race in my stories unless it is crucial to the storyline. When I wrote Romulus Crowe in ‘Samuel’s Girl’ I imagined a haughty, arrogant Englishman and I ‘saw’ him as a white man but I deliberately did not specify that.

Why? Because it was not relevant to the story and because I wanted as wide an audience as possible.

Readers like to imagine scenes in their heads and it’s far easier to do that if the story characters are not too rigidly defined. You get to make up your own images based on your own experiences of life and you feel more engaged with the story.

In ‘Jessica’s Trap’ it was different. The story was set in 1647 in England, so a black or Indian or Chinese cast of characters really won’t work. ‘Samuel’s Girl’ is in the present day, again in England, and that means Romulus Crowe can be played by anyone.

I would prefer that he be played by the same person, or at least by actors of the same ethnicity in that and later stories (assuming Hollywood can get its hands out of kiddie’s pants long enough to notice the story exists) precisely because of the fuss over Idris Eba possibly taking the Bond role now.

It’s the same as making the latest incarnation of Dr. Who a woman. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with doing that. It’s a fictional universe. Do what the hell you want. However, having watched the show from the very beginning, it is a sudden and jarring change for me. It’s going to take some getting used to.

I still haven’t seen a Dr. Who to beat William Hartnell’s grouchy, devious old curmudgeon. And the daft casting after Tom Baker left just got sillier until they gave the job to Sylveste McCoy – who most of the fans at that time remembered from ‘Vision On’. He dressed in a suit covered in question marks and looked even more like a clown than the previous incumbent, Colin Baker. So give this woman Dr. a chance, I say. She can’t be worse than those two.

Incidentally, I never understood all this ‘hide behind the sofa when the Daleks come on’ stuff. I thought they were great. It was the Autons that scared the shit out of me.

If the Romulus stories ever made it to film, I’d want the same actor, or at least the same ethnicity of actor, to play him throughout. Making him Chinese in one film, Asian in another, white in another, is going to put people off. He’s just a bloke. He’s not a Time Lord, he can’t regenerate.

So it is with James Bond. A fictional character. Could look like anyone. Might look like Sean Connery. Or Roger Moore. Or Timothy Dalton or David Niven… there have been a lot of different faces in that role. All of them white. They are all playing a fictional character though, not a historic one.

The Bond storyline has Bond often meeting up with his contact in the CIA, Felix. Felix changes in every film and (I can’t recall which film) in at least one of them, Felix was played by a black actor. So if it’s good enough for the CIA, it’s good enough for MI5, right?

I would be very much opposed to recasting James Bond as Jane Bond. Really, just because it’s extremely silly. If you want a story about a female spy with access to all kinds of gadgets and who has dozy males with names like Donkey Dick, Clint Torisrubber, Gee Spotfinder and Hugh Jeballs jumping into bed with her all through the film, fine, go ahead. But don’t pretend it’s a James Bond story because it’s not.

A character like Dr. Who, who rewrites their entire body every time they regenerate, can change gender in the process. Even in that storyline it was a stretch but it’s plausible within that storyline’s universe. It is not plausible in a story where the characters are human. If you try it you lose your regular audience and they are the ones who pay your bills. Appeasing the SJWs is going to put you out of business fast.

I don’t really see any reason why James Bond could not be black. I’m willing to bet that MI5 is not a totally white organisation. It would be very limited in scope if it was. James Bond is set in the present day – in fact, judging by the level of gadgetry available, possibly a bit into the future. That means he could be absolutely anyone.

The major reason there is such resistance to a black actor playing the part is the recent trend by many – especially the BBC – to cast black actors in historic roles when the person they are playing was whiter than a sheet of printer paper. Doing that is bound to get people’s backs up. It is, no matter how the SJW idiots try to justify it, messing with history and when you lose your history, who are you? You cease to exist. You have no roots any more.

Speaking of ‘roots’, how would the SJWs react if we remade that programme using a white actor? A white woman, no less? I think we all know the answer.

Bond is not a historical figure. He’s text on a page. Fiction. Who plays Joan of Arc or Boadicea or Margaret of Anjou – that matters. Who plays a fictional character does not matter.

It’s going to be a bit jarring for Bond fans but only because they are used to a succession of white actors in the role. They got over the idea of that white face changing many times though, so Idris Elba is really just another different face of Bond. Just so happens this face is a little darker than the previous ones.

As I said with the Romulus character – and I doubt I’ll ever have to really face the idea of it being a film – I would prefer to stick with the one they start with. If they start with him as Korean, stick with it. The reaction to a black James Bond shows how fans react to change. They don’t like it.

It’s not because they are racist. If a remake of Roots had Johnny Depp cast as Kunta Kinte then black people would be up in arms and I’d agree with them. That show is based on history. But what if you remade Black Panther as ‘Somewhat Pale Panther’ with a load of white actors? There’d be outrage again and I’d shrug and turn away. That story is fiction. I don’t care how you interpret it, none of it is real and none of it really happened.

Fans of a franchise don’t like big changes. Every new incarnation of Dr. Who had to work hard to recover the support of the fans of the previous one. The latest incarnation is going to have to work harder than ever.

Idris Elba would have to work a lot harder to regain James Bond fans than Roger Moore had to when he took over from Sean Connery. It would be a bigger change. I think he can do it though.

In the end, it’s fiction. It doesn’t matter. There’s no point getting all high-blood-pressure over people who don’t exist and never have.

Save your rage for the rewriting of real history. That’s the part that matters.

 

Wales, the next target of the New Puritans

The Welsh Assemblage of Useless Authoritarian Wasters has introduced minimum pricing for alcohol. What a total and utter waste of time, as much of a waste of time as the Assemblage itself.

You know, when the Blair Witch decided to go ahead with devolution, Scotland’s vote was pretty decisive. They wanted their own parliament who are now hitting them hard for smoking and drinking and eating – and taxing them more to pay for more control over them. Still, that’s what they wanted. They voted for it.

The vote in Wales returned a resounding ‘don’t care’ because that is the Welsh way. The Welsh have never cared who is in charge, for the most part, because they aren’t going to pay any attention to who is in charge anyway. Plaid Cymru do well not because of their policies but because they have a Welsh party name. They can get into positions of power but have never grasped that the bulk of Wales doesn’t give a shit.

There is a place called Treherbert. I went there once. I spent most of my early life living mere miles from it and went there only once. It was enough  A tiny place at the end of the railway line, it is nestled in a deep valley between high mountains and sees very little of that strange yellow circle in the sky, even in summer. If you are ever looking for the legendary Caer Colur (the gloomy enclosure) I’d recommend starting there.

Some years ago there was a news story about Treherbert. The name got my attention at once. Something newsworthy happened in Treherbert? What could it be? Dalek invasion? Secret lair of Blofeld? Someone dropped a spoon?

A guy in a council house was making his own vodka when his still exploded in a most spectacular fashion. Apparently – and this came as a surprise – he wasn’t breaking any laws because it was all for his own use. He did not intend to sell any.

Hmm. I live on a farm that grows barley specifically intended for the whisky industry. I could probably buy a tonne at cost price. But let’s not get distracted by my hobbies.

The point is, even years ago there were home stills when cheap supermarket booze was available. In the 1979-1982 years of my first degree there were dedicated homebrew shops everywhere. They started reappearing in Scotland (not dedicated shops but homebrew sections in other small shops) even before the minimum pricing nonsense started here.

In my early teens you could buy homebrew kits in supermarkets and since they had no alcohol in them as sold, they were not subject to age restrictions. It was just syrupy malt and a packet of yeast. I see those making a big comeback soon.

I have a friend in Wales who will care nothing for this minimum pricing nonsense. He has a large garden full of fruit trees and they all get turned into wine. His blackcurrant wine is particularly good. So he doesn’t actually buy much commercial booze.

Look at other countries. Iran has a total booze ban for religious reasons. You are not even allowed an alcohol based mouthwash. So what happens? Stories of weddings ruined because of dodgy black market booze poisoning everyone.

Norway has horrific alcohol pricing and you can only get a limited amount from State booze stores. The result? Alcohol purchases in Norway have plummeted. Success? Sales of raw sugar have soared. What do you imagine is happening there?

Alcohol is really easy to make. Making it safe to drink is not quite so easy. Promoting an unregulated black market is never a good idea. But then, when was the last time any politician had a good idea?

Scotland’s minimum pricing might have worked maybe 20 years ago. It’s a long way from Aberdeen to the border and I’m north of Aberdeen. Driving down for a case of whisky is not cost-effective and would be a tough one to do in one day. Scotland is narrow but pretty damn long. But hey, we have internet now so I can order booze from English suppliers and it’s not subject to minimum pricing.

Today I was at the dentist for my half-year teeth count. Nothing wrong with me, she even took X-rays in a desperate attempt to find something wrong with this smoky-drinking curmudgeon. Little side observation – are all dentists small women now? I’m not objecting, I don’t mind at all, it’s just that there seem to be no male members of staff at all in that place.

Afterwards I passed the whisky shop, so I called in and treated myself to a bottle of Shackleton. I hadn’t seen it before. A malt blend based on the whisky taken on the 1907 Antarctic expedition. The whisky shop is never cheap, the more common ones are much cheaper in the supermarket but this place is where you find the unusual ones. It’s a great shop. When I win the lottery I’m going to try the high shelves with the ‘Oh fucking hell’ prices.

Wales is, frankly, tiny. It’s also vertically narrow with the English border on the east side so none of it is very far from a day-trip over the border. Get a few friends together, hire a minibus and stock up. Easy. It’s going to happen. So who will this new law damage? Well, corner shops mostly, small businesses, a small effect on the likes of Aldi and Lidl but alkies? Nah. It will be of great benefit to the English economy to the detriment of both Wales and Scotland. You know, guys, you voted in some utter fuckheads to run your devolved administrations – but then, who but an utter fuckhead wants a job that’s all about controlling their own countrymen and making their lives harder and more miserable?

What will also happen is homebrew and also criminal gangs filling the gap for those who can’t afford van hire or homebrew equipment. All of it totally unregulated and all of it free of any care about age limits. What a great idea, eh? No wonder government buildings have so many big windows.They need room for everyone to get a lick.

You know, more and more often these days, I’m thinking November 5th should be a day of national rejoicing in the UK. We should not be burning Guy Fawkes in effigy. We should be hailing him. He had the right idea.

At least he tried.

 

Ban the Banned

Suzi Quatro could have done something brilliant with this title.

Our Ruddy Home Secretary has decided to ban ‘zombie knives’. Take a look at what she wants to ban.

Three throwing knives, useless in unpracticed hands. They are fixed blade so are already illegal to cary. Already banned.

Some stupidly thin wobbly-edged blade that you could probaby bend in half with your hands. Still, it’s long and half-sharp and illegal to carry in public. Already banned.

An axe shaped so as to be pretty much useless and again, too thin to be practical. Also illegal to carry in public anyway, as are all axes unless you’re off to chop some wood. Already banned.

A lurid green version of a liner-lock knife. Used to be common but it’s now illegal to have a lock knife in public. Already banned.

Finally, at the bottom, some kind of fishing implement I think. It has no purpose other than slashing and is the most non-excusable offensive weapon of the lot. Even before all the other things were banned, I’d bet you’d have been arrested for having that. Anyway, it’s definitely already banned.

Look again at those ‘weapons’. The throwing knives are dangerous if you can use them. The liner-lock is dangerous in the wrong hands. The fishing thing is an obvious weapon. It has no other use. Except maybe for clearing weeds from between patio slabs but it doesn’t look like it would be very good at that. A crack hoe would do a better job.

The axe is a useless toy. It’s far too thin and light for any practical application and even as a weapon it’s not going to do what a cheap splitting or garden cutting axe would do. As for the ‘sword’, come at me with that and I’ll beat you with a broom. It’s pressed steel sheet. That’s why you can buy these things for under £10. They are crap. Sharpened at the front half only and it won’t hold an edge. It’s cheap soft steel. The sharpened bit has non-sharp notches cut into it for no reason at all. It is all just for show. I wouldn’t accept one as a gift, never mind buy it. If gang members are really bragging they have these, they are a laughing stock.

These ‘zombie weapons’ are ornamental toys. I have some ornamental swords that look really impressive but if you try to use them in a real fight, the blade is likely to come off the handle. You grab one of those. I’ll grab the kitchen chopping knives. I will win.

Nobody, as far as I can see in the news, has ever used one of these toys in a real attack. Nevertheless, carrying any of them in public is already illegal and frankly, why would you? Aside from the lock knife, none of them have any practical use and none of them are any use in self defence either. The whole ‘zombie knife’ shit is just an excuse to disarm us more.

On June 1, 2018, footage emerged of a cyclist using a zombie knife to try and smash the window of a car in an apparent road rage row.

That was not a ‘zombie knife’. That was a real and very dangerous big knife. What they propose to ban has nothing to do with that already fucking illegal massive knife. It’s just an excuse.

A long list of dangerous weapons that glamorise violence will also be included in the total ban, putting them on the same legal footing as unlicensed firearms.
They include sword sticks, butterfly knives and blowpipes, as well as a range of martial arts weapons such as deathstars and handclaws.

Sword sticks and butterfly knives have been banned in the UK for many years. I used to use a site called Blades-UK which dropped those from its listings 20 or more years ago. Because they were no longer legal to sell. Yeah. Already banned. Pity I missed out, I’d have liked a butterfly knife.

Deathstars and handclaws come under ‘fixed blade knives’ and are already illegal. I know nothing of blowpipes but I bet they aren’t hard to make.

Our Ruddy Home Secretary wants to make it illegal to have anything sharp at home, whether you take it on the street or not.

I mean, come on. I have a scythe. In this garden, in summer, I need it. It has a grass blade and a ditch blade for the wooded parts. I have oilstones and whetstones and a peening kit. Grinding wheels and files. I have the means to make a tyre iron sharp. And we are to be scared of lurid green toys?

What this country needs is not more bans.

What this country needs is a government that is not entirely populated by idiots.

Yeah. Not happening, is it?

Tobacco, the wonder plant

As suggested by Smoking Scot in comments, here is Nisakiman’s elegant idea for a ‘smokers welcome here’ image:

It comes from an idea a long time ago which I seem to recall was started by either Frank Davis or Junican. I’d like to be more specific but I’m afraid I was very, very drunk at the time. I’d actually written two of the stories in the latest Underdog Anthology around that time and entirely forgotten about them… yeah, pretty drunk.

Tobacco is currently villified by the Righteous and their indoctinated dancing clowns of hate but the original inhabitants of America (is that the latest PC term? Please forgive me for not caring) knew a lot more about this plant. They used it for more than just a sly puff at the back of the wigwam sheds.

Modern science has been gradually catching up. Well, the discovery of vitamin B3, Niacin, aka nicotinic acid, and its derivation from nicotine happened a long time ago. There is much more though.

Tipped by Sam in email – Tobacco flowers have a yeast-killer in them.

I had seen this go by on Twitter along with another claim that tobacco may have anti-cancer properties (now there’s a twist, eh?) but no antismoker worth their bile would accept a cancer treatment that came from the tobacco plant, naturally.

This yeast-killing antibiotic (the term is usually used to mean an antibacterial in my world but we’ll let that slide) is vey interesting. It works on Candida albicans, a ‘mostly harmless’ yeast that can still cause thrush and other, not necessarily fatal but really annoying infections. I wonder if it works on other yeast/fungi? Athlete’s foot is really hard to permanently dispose of. Ringworm is an evil fucker and there is speculation (not proof) that seborrhaic dermatitis has a yeast as a causative agent. They are all hard or impossible to cure at  the moment. Should we rub some tobacco flowers on it and see?

The article talks about the ornamental versions of Nicotiana but you know they have to be so, so careful these days. Ornamental tobacco is no use for smoking but as with all these domesticated things it’s a toned down, weaker version of the wild one that has to survive with no watering or plant food or weeding or pest control.

I’m betting real tobacco flowers are way more effective than the domesticated, pampered ones. These plants are quite capable of looking after themselves. In many ways.

Tobacco has multiple medicinal properties. Who knew? Pretty much everyone before the white man’s Puritan horde decided they didn’t like it. Hating tobacco is racist now. There’s one to have fun with.

I look forward to the first tales of antismokers refusing niacin, the new anttfungals and the new anticancer drugs because they come from tobacco. You can watch them suffer and die while watching me not care.

They have no sympathy for me. Expect none in return.