Tuesday, January 15, 2019

WTF Primer

For the sake of my friends and family in the US who might be wondering WTF is going on over here (I mean, what are we voting on, and why, and what’s at stake?), I thought I’d post a primer on WTF is happening, and how we got here.

In case you haven’t been paying attention over the past two years:

David Cameron wanted to prove he had a bigger dick than Boris Johnson (he doesn’t) so he called a Referendum, in which the people of Great Britain were asked if they wanted to stay in the EU or leave. The Referendum leaned toward the Leave side by 2%. Then David, who had promisedif the Referendum results were Leavethat he would immediately trigger Article 50, which is the codicil that would initiate our withdrawal from the European Union. Instead of doing that, however, he picked up his dolls and dishes and went home, leaving the country leaderless and showing just how stalwart, honest, and exemplary our politicians are.

David Cameron
Lost his vote; ran away.
Theresa May
Cleaning up the mess.
Boris Johnson
Has the bigger dick.

Also, it proved he had the smaller dick.

This was how we ended up with Theresa May as Prime Minister. As usual, it came down to a woman to clean up a mess made by a man. Terri had been a Remainer during the vote, but when the top job came into her orbit she swapped sides and decided she would lead the UK out of the EU and into the Promised Land, because it was the “Will of the People” and nothing must stand in the way of the Will of the People and the Democratic process.

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Just a random, rabid Brexiteer because I wanted you
people in the US to see what a poncy, smug
politician should look like.
ASIDE: I am really trying to be unbiased here, and I am doing my best to refrain from saying which side I think is right or wrong, or if leaving the EU is a good or a bad thing, BUT, I think it is a bit of an exaggeration to represent a 2% win as an overwhelming mandate from the people, especially when a large number of those people came out after the election and said they voted Leave just because they hated David Cameron. No sour grapes, just saying’. END of ASIDE

Anyway, the first thing Terri did was say she was going to negotiate a deal with the EU, and then it would be implemented without a vote in Parliament, because what could be more undemocratic than allowing the people’s elected representatives to weigh in on something as important as the direction the country would be heading in for the foreseeable future? That would be a terrible betrayal of the people. Well, the people, and Parliament, didn’t see it that way, so today they are voting on The Deal that Terri and her minions spent nearly two years hammering out with the EU.

A bit of why everyone’s knickers are in a twist over this:

Terri came back with The Deal, as mentioned, after nearly two years of negotiations, the details of which she held close to her vest while the negotiations were going on. That’s as it should be, but when The Deal was presented to Parliament, not all of the details were made available, because what could be more undemocratic than allowing the elected representatives of the people to be fully aware of what they were voting on? The people, and Parliament, didn’t see it that way. Terri did, however, and it took a Contempt of Parliament ruling to force her to reveal the full details of The Deal.

Now, when you have a country split essentially down the middle over an issue as important as this, when you work out a deal on how you are going to implement it, you are bound to piss off at least half of the population. Terri, however, managed—after nearly two years of negotiations—to return with a deal that pissed off everyone. The people who wanted to remain hated it, and the people who wanted to leave hated it. And the fine print, that she tried unsuccessfully to hide from Parliament, essentially gave the EU the power to hold the UK in the EU for as long as it wanted, and the UK had no say over it. This was the dreaded “backstop” which, both the EU and T. May assured everyone, was simply a last-resort option that no one was expected to invoke, except it was in the contract and, if it was there, that meant someone was planning on using it.

(When all this came to light, I began to wonder if this wasn’t Terri’s plan all along. She was, recall, a Remainer at first, so perhaps this was her way of keeping the UK in the EU, while pretending to take it out. You never know; this could be true.)

And so, the vote that the Prime Minister didn’t want Parliament to have, and which is happening today, is certain to end in a defeat for her. She’s not happy about this, because it is a dreadful blow to Democracy that she isn’t allowed to implement something that no one wants without a pesky, undemocratic vote getting in the way.

Furthermore, this may result in a vote of No Confidence in her and her government, which could mean a new Prime Minister, and perhaps a General Election. It also might cause a Second Referendum, to ask the people what they want to do now, and the Government is adamantly opposed to that because it would be a hideous blow to democracy to ask the people what they want, especially when the government is pretty certain the people don’t want what the government wants, and that would be a lethal blow to the Democratic process of dragging the people in a direction the government knows the people do not want to go in.

So this is the clusterfuck we find ourselves in at the moment. But do you know what? I’d still take Brexit over Trump any day.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Lurching Forward

Well, at least we don’t have to wait to see if 2019 turns out to be the shit-storm that 2018 was because the shit-storm has followed us into the new year.

Yeah, I'm looking at you, shit-storm makers!
Enjoy the ride!

For me, personally, it's not so bad.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but last year I did propose to make 2018 the year I learned to play the piano. How did I do? Well, I won’t be playing Carnegie Hall any time soon, but I do know my way around a keyboard, and if I have a music score with only a few notes (as opposed to some classical piece that requires you to hit 15 keys at once) I can puzzle it out fairly well. So, I would say I can, indeed, play the piano, with much room for improvement.

At this point, I'm pretty sure this dog plays better than I do.
On the other hand, I must be learning something, as I was able to
figure out what this tune was just by looking at it.
(Stole this off of FaceBonk)
As for 2019, I don’t have any goals aside from finishing book 7 of my 8-book fantasy-adventure series, and starting book 8 before this year is out. That will allow me to start finalizing the series in 2020 and, hopefully, have a book or two up on Amazon in 2021.

That’s the plan, anyway.

Our kitchen still looks like a construction zone, and since it’s down to the landlord to make the next move, I expect it will be like that for some time. On the other hand, Curry’s delivered a dryer a few weeks back that filled up our dryer-shaped hole, so life is good, and today they are bringing (they promised) a dryer that actually works, so life is about to get even better.

Someday, this will be a nice, clean, newly-tiled wall.
Some day.
My flirtation with vegetarianism is taking hold, with only a few niggles, the main one being that vegetarianism is suddenly becoming the In Thing, and I don’t like looking as if I just jumped on the bandwagon. Accordingly, I’ve half a mind to jump off, but that would be self-defeating.

The other niggle is, all those meat-substitutes that lured me into the world of vegetarianism do me little good because my vegetarian wife avoids meat solely because she doesn’t like it. Therefore, a non-meat product that looks and tastes just like meat isn’t something she would eat, so we still have to prepare separate meals, which was one of the main reasons I chose to go meat-free.

Vegetarian friendly, unless, of course, you simply don't like meat.
To her credit, she’s researching some tasty vegetarian (and even vegan) meals that suit me just fine, and there’s no reason I can’t have a faux hamburger or a fake sausage roll from time to time.

My wife and I took up Tai Chi some time ago, and we will continue this activity in the New Year, despite that, too, having turned into The Next Big Thing as soon as we took it up. Accordingly, probably half of you reading this will be doing Tai Chi. If you’re not, don’t fret; you will be by the time this year is out. Don’t fight it, it’s pretty cool, even though you feel like a tit when you first start doing Parting the Horse’s mane, and Cow Looking at the Moon. Just remind yourself that you are doing a real Martial Art and that, once mastered, you will be able to kill someone, albeit very slowly.

Grab the Chi!
The benefits of Tai Chi are numerous. Do a Google search; you’ll find more information than you can take in. Also, you’ll find there are several classes near by to where you live. They’re like AA meetings. Come join the cult.

Despite the benefits of Tai Chi, I thought something more high-impact, to balance it out, would be a good idea, so my wife suggested we take up swimming again.

We used to go for a weekly swim at the local leisure center when we first moved to Horsham sixteen years ago. Due to the inconvenience of jobs, we had to go in the evenings and we soon tired of that. The leisure center was brand new back then, but the the lockers and changing booths were already vandalized and, after a day’s use, the pool area was a proper mess, so we stopped going. Fast forward to now and we are able to go in the morning, which is more agreeable. The vandalism we witnesses all those years ago has still not been fixed—the same changing booth locks are broken and the same lockers have their doors ripped off—but at least the place is cleaner in the morning than it is at the end of the day.

The disadvantage I have now is, with all the activities we are taking up, I am finally getting to know some of the locals, which means I am more likely to run into someone I am acquainted with. There is nothing like exchanging awkward, morning greetings with someone you vaguely know while you are nearly naked. I like to think I’m in fairly good shape but let me assure you, a bathing suit does me no favors. Most of the exercise I get at the pool is from walking around with my stomach sucked in.

And so, 2019 starts with better eating, more exercise and the hope of finishing my epic, seven-years-and-counting writing project. Now, if the politicians would just sort themselves out, it might be a good year.

Happy 2019!