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What the hell?

A 71 year old Dutch bloke apparently shot and killed an 11 year old girl, shot one of the parents in the head, and injured the other.
What the hell is it with foreigners attacking children? Once is a tragedy, twice in the space of less than a week is incomprehensible.

A bigger question, perhaps, is how did this man get to be in possession of a revolver? As far as I'm aware, France doesn't have much of a gun culture beyond WW2 trinkets that got passed down from father to son. Gun crime in France is generally either acts of terrorism, or overzealous hunters (which, depending upon your thoughts of hunters, may be a Venn Diagram consisting of a single circle).
People do get killed with guns. But it's usually hunting rifles, not handguns. So where did this one come from?

It has been reported that a contributing factor may have been a dispute over a piece of land, or perhaps the children making "too much noise" (a very subjective assessment). Well, the land registry can sort out the land problem - everything is meticulously recorded on the Plan Cadastral. And it does not matter one bit of the little orange boundary markers have been removed (as my neighbour has done to me, primarily by ploughing through the things), it's still on paper and each parcel of land has a number and it's all recorded. As for the noise? Well, that's the sort of thing you talk to the Mayor about. Or call the Rozzers if you aren't on good terms with the Mayor. If you're lucky, you might be able to take a cockerel to court (yes, it happened!) with the judge slapping down the ridiculousness of wanting to silence a cockerel in the countryside... I suspect there are a number of petty little incidents that played on this old git's mind until he decided enough was enough...

...and murdered a young girl, plus attempting to murder her parents and potentially her eight year old sister.
Obviously it's too early to speculate, but what I'm seeing is that no weapon has been recovered as yet. Well, isn't that interesting? Beyond this, we'll have to see if the news reports anything about the police investigation.


The demon goes down kicking

So Johnson... yes, this is the politics bit, has had advance notice of what the report into his behaviour said. Well, we don't need to wait for the report to be published because we all know what it says. We know this, because Johnson's reaction was to brand the enquiry a "kangaroo court" and quit as an MP.

Johnson's former communications director said "People will think, 'Whoa, a committee led by the former Labour leader can hound Boris out of office when police found him guilty of one minor misdemeanour worth a fifty quid fine?'".
Well, the first thing is that this £50 fine is a minor slap on the wrist. Nearly four hundred people were handed the maximum £10,000 fine for hosting gatherings of more than thirty people. To put this into context, the police investigated twelve gatherings at #10, including three known to have been attended by Johnson. They issued 126 fixed penalty notices to 83 individuals. So eighty three people were implicated, and yet they all got a mere £50 fine.
Clearly, there's a law for the rich and powerful and another for everybody else.

Michael Gove apparently wants us to remember all of the great things Johnson has done, such as the rapid roll-out of vaccines. Well, yes. I will say that Britain was quick off the mark in vaccinating people (once it was clear that attempting Herd Immunity would, indeed, lead to bodies piling up). What happened next, well, the two words that come to mind is "criminally" and "negligent".

So, what great things has Johnson done? Well, as a major cheerleader for Brexit he drove around in a bus with complete bullshit written on the side (and was acquited because as an "advisory referendum" the campaign didn't have to be truthful). But it was being campaigned for on bravado and bluster with nothing resembling a coherent plan. Indeed, it was perhaps more a calculated kick in the testes for David Cameron that just happened to wreck a country's economic growth and prospects as collateral damage.
May replaced Cameron and she threw about pointless mantras because she had no clue how to go forward. The soft approach didn't sit well with a cabal known as the European Research Group, a bunch of MPs using their power (and May's weakness) to push for harder and harder interpretations of Brexit, all while claiming it was what the people voted for when actually the only thing people had voted for was to no longer be a part of the EU, mostly because of immigration.
Boris replaced May, and brought Brexit home. The UK left on his watch, with an Oven Ready Deal that is pitiful for the UK (and pretty lousy for British citizens). Remember - it didn't have to have been this painful, but there are those in government who stand to gain by watering down citizen's rights, protections, and privileges. Ask yourself why there's shit in your rivers now. Why? Well, now that the EU's water quality audits no longer apply, there's money to be made (and paid to shareholders) for doing nothing. And when something eventually needs to be done, well, one can always pass on the costs to the consumer, right?

Along the way, Johnson has had quite the ability to offend in a way that would impress the ghost of Prince Philip (who was, himself, no stranger to controversial comments). From burqas being letter boxes to watermelon smiles.

Let's not even talk about his shutting down Parliament in order to get his Brexit deal pushed through without scrutiny, something the Supreme Court said unanimously was unlawful; declaring the proprogation "unlawful, void, and of no effect". And, yet, he continued as PM.

A general lack of ethics. His first two Ethics Advisors quit. So rather than taking that as a sign, he simply did away with the position.

There's more (like nominating friends for peerages, Nadine Dorries, for farks sake), but it's just depressing. Suffice to say the only reason why he will not go down as the worst PM in recorded history is because they managed to replace him with somebody who blew a massive hole in the economy and was outlived by a lettuce.

All in all, Johnson has done terrible things to the Tory party, and he and those he influenced have done terrible things to the UK.

And, alas, with more resignations and slapping down Sunak, Johnson isn't going to just quietly slip away to the Chiltern Hundreds. He's going to drag the Tories even further into the sewer. I bet you didn't think that was possible...


Is this real or is this a stitch up?

I have no particular feelings regarding Nicola Sturgeon. I thought she was better than the previous bloke, but it seems the government is getting dragged down by the apparent difficulty of deciding what a woman is. Whatever, she resigned, it's now some bloke with the least Scottish name imaginable.
I am broadly in favour of independence, but one that is done in a sensible way. Leave it to Australian movie stars to paint their face blue and yell about "FREEDOM!". I think Scotland needs self-determination, but we all know that the English will make such a thing as utterly painful as possible (witness Brexit).
Anyway, I'm just saying this so you know I'm Scottish, would like it to be a country in it's own right, and am generally a bit "meh" about the SNP.

Sturgeon was arrested over the weekend. Held for about seven hours. Then released without charge "pending further investigation". And, of course, the cries of having her kicked out of Holyrood. Yousaf has rejected those calls, rightly so as she wasn't charged (which is more than one could say about Johnson) so hasn't been found guilty of anything.

You know, I can't help but think this is some sort of smear campaign aimed at discrediting the SNP. Gee, is there an election coming...?



CNN has reported that a recent UN report finds that nine out of ten people are biased against women, decrying a decade of stagnation that has led to a dismantling of women's rights in many parts of the world.

Half of people think men make better political leaders, one in four think men are better business executives, and worryingly a quarter think it is justified for a man to beat his wife.

To understand why this is happening, may I please direct you to your nearest religious nutjob. Whether it's Jesus or Mohammed, religion strongly emphasises men's role (Our Father, for example) while making women be little more than man's possession. Plus, of course, it was Eve who succumbed to the temptation. Delilah accepted a bribe to betray Sampson. Jezebel... let's just say that her legacy led to the noun "jezebel".
Were there good women? Sure, one could say the infamous Mary was good. She gave birth to the son of God after all (if you're Christian, not so much otherwise).
But if you look at the world - from Muslim women having to cover themselves up to Christian men using the Bible as an excuse to weild control over a woman's body and what they can/cannot do with it, it seems that the influence of more fundamentalist forms of religion is increasing, which means that oppression, subjugation, and discrimination of women will also increase.

I can only hope that we will, some day, realise that God isn't some beardy bloke in the clouds, it's a creature of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind.
Then, maybe, we'll be so busy filling up adult-sized nappies we'll all just leave women alone.



Yesterday's task was to clear and rearrange the bookshelves in order to make it more "my" stuff.

On top, three teapots. These are ornamental ones, because what British person isn't showing off a decent teapot or two?

Bookshelf left top
Bookshelf - left top.

The next row down, reference material, some a bit nerdy.

Bookshelf left 2nd
Bookshelf - left 2nd.
I flicked through the Physics/Chemisty textbook and was a bit lost. I used to know all that stuff. But, granted, I've not needed to know about the Frasch Process or the molecular weight of oxygen in thirty three years. I doubt I'll last another 33, but I don't doubt that I'll have no need to remember those sorts of facts at all.

I would like to get some sort of qualification in Geology. It's a topic that interests me. When I looked into doing an OU course (back in the UK), I was rather nonplussed at the requirement to do a foundation course in mathematics (a subject I detest) in order to even start on anything interesting.
Does anybody have any recommendations for distance learning courses that can add up to something useful (akin to the OU)? I keep coming across a plethora of "here's a free course online if you buy my vastly overpriced book" scheme that some American lecturers are doing as a sort of side hustle.

The next row down, I kept most of mom's cookbooks and added a couple of mine. You... uh... might be able to spot a bit of a bias.
The yellow labels, if they're too small to read, say "British" (left), "French/Other" (middle), "American" (right).

Bookshelf left 3rd
Bookshelf - left 3rd.

I feel like I ought to create a "You made this" cookbook, showing photos of what a half-arsed unqualified cook actually turns out when attempting a recipe. There's nothing less motivating than looking at a lovely glossy picture and instructions that seem simple enough, but knowing full well that the final result on the plate will look more like bits of poop floating in vomit (beef stew!) than those lovely carefully arranged photos. So I think the world needs a cookbook with "real photos" in it. So if it looks like a disaster created by a hyperactive tweeny that was let loose in the kitchen, well, hey, it's just like in the book so progress!.

The next shelf down. On the left my LPs (I've not found where I put my 45s - or for that matter, the record's big, how can I misplace that!?). That's Bridge Over Troubled Water. On top, some information sheets about dyspraxia and dyscalculia (to save me trying to explain what's wrong with me), and the big 'B' book is a study guide for the rules of the road for a driving licence (Permis B in French), which... one day, maybe.
Then some other stuff (including a Livebox!) and ancient copies of The Borrowers Afield, Mennyms in the Wilderness, Charlotte's Web, The Wind In The Willows, and The Castle Of Adventure. These were my childhood books. Guess which one was my favourite.

Bookshelf left 4th
Bookshelf - left 4th.

Below that, magazines, some manga, various papers and such. And the final shelf, not so much. At ground level and in the corner of the fireplace. it is a bit damp.

Over on the right, my electronics "bits", all neatly arranged. A laminator, and that brown thing is a recorder.

Bookshelf right top
Bookshelf - right top.

There are only two rows underneath, it's a smaller bookshelf. It's disorganised random stuff. I'm leaving this until I clean off the table as I reckon some things from there will go here, like that big binder with all my payslips in it.

Doing the bookshelf took all day. I wasn't expecting that. It also produced five large heavy boxes (now in the cow barn, atop some tins of paint to keep off the dampness of the floor). I wasn't expecting that, either. So I think I'll have to start on the table and other stuff during the week. You know, like now, instead of writing this rubbish...

The reason I'm not is, firstly I wanted to write this. I felt like writing something today.
Secondly, had to go into work earlier today because one of the woman is absent (ill) and the other was let go for having too many unjustified absences. So they had a newbie start at the end of last week, and it wasn't fair to leave her on her own for so long. So she started at half four and I started at seven.
I set my alarm for half five (I leave here at six twenty), and due to a fat fingered moment due to being half-zonked from a weekend of not relaxing at all, my alarm actually went off at half four.
So I can see a lot of random junk on the table. It should go into yet another big black bag, but I don't trust myself to want to drop-kick it through the window, which would injure me, injure the window more, and leave broken stuff all across the "out front". So, better idea, drink tea and chill.
So this is me, chilling. If I sleep better tonight, I won't be such a zombie so I can make a start on the last major bit of tidying up.

And, I swear to god (any or all of them), if there are more towels down there...............


PS: Found the record player, it's under the table.



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Anon, 13th June 2023, 00:14
Rick - serious question. Have you ever had a diagnosis of Asperger's or high-functioning autism? Just curious.
Rob, 13th June 2023, 01:41
Don't also forget that the Conservative majority commons voted to refer the matter to the Conservative majority privilege committee for investigation. That even with all that bias in his favour, they have come up with a report damning enough that Boris resigned in the spot.. Well, one wonders how bad it would have been if they hadn't been on his side..
Rick, 13th June 2023, 06:26
Anon -
David Pilling, 13th June 2023, 19:21
I am surprised Nicola Sturgeon did not put up more of a fight. We don't know the outcome yet, perhaps she will come storming back. But for now as an outsider it looks like Sexit has been put back 20 years. 
Perhaps it is a better look for him to blame the Labour party for Johnson's fall, but a year back it was the Tories who launched a coup against him. 
Geology is something you can do yourself - wander around pick up rocks. Famous history of amateurs contributing to it. It is a practical subject - field work is involved. In the current era I'd be inclined to skip the magic of Uni and watch (I presume) the free coursework videos from the finest experts on YouTube. 
Local geology societies... All sounds a bit like the situation with astronomy. 
My best friend from school did geology at Uni, went on to be a lecturer. 
The mark of the pandemic, people have appeared on TV in front of their books - sit there ignoring what they're chuntering on about, read the book titles. 
VinceH, 14th June 2023, 00:26
"what British person isn't showing off a decent teapot or two?" 
Me. I do not own any teapots, functional or ornamental. 😁 
Rick, 14th June 2023, 06:19
Oh, are you one of those <spit>coffee</spit> people?
VinceH, 15th June 2023, 05:47
No, I'm one of those <bliss>coffee</bliss> people! 😝
Rick, 15th June 2023, 06:25
Anon, 15th June 2023, 13:08
Rick - followed that link, realised I'd already read the post... and already commented on it. 
My excuse is the standard one. "I've slept since then." 
Now, on to coffee. In my experience, the majority of people who say "I don't like coffee" have usually never had a decent cup of properly made coffee. Once they've tried it when it's done properly then they're converted. 
Of course there are still a small number of (weird if you ask me!) people who genuinely don't like coffee. And fair enough. 
I do drink tea, but I'm very fussy. Needs to be made with loose tea, in a pot, left to brew for at least 7 minutes, then made milky with two large sugars. 
And to answer the old argument: If you're making tea in a pot, the milk (and optionally sugar) goes in first. If you're making tea in the cup with a teabag, the boiling water goes in first (onto the teabag of course), leave for 5 mins, remove teabag, add sugar, add milk, stir. 
The next step is always the same whether it's loose tea in a pot or a teabag. Once the tea is made, dunk Rich Tea biscuit, eat, repeat until biscuits gone. Then drink tea. Optionally then spoon out biscuit sludge at the bottom. 
When I'm out and about I normally drink coffee, for one simple reason. I'm very fussy with tea, and it takes effort to make a decent cuppa. An average cuppa isn't that nice. Whereas an average (rather than decent) coffee is still drinkable - and it takes some real effort to make a bad cup of coffee.
VinceH, 15th June 2023, 18:50
What you've written there is a particularly good summary of my position. I used to be a tea drinker (and can/will drink it if there isn't a better choice) because it's what I grew up drinking. However, I found myself having to grin and bear it a lot of time because the tea wasn't how I liked it, and when drinking it anywhere other than home meant it varied, sometimes quite wildly. 
Coffee, OTOH, I can pretty much drink how it comes - so I started drinking tea at home and coffee when out. 
Then it eventually clicked - I quite simply prefer coffee, so I stopped bothering with tea even when at home. 
I wouldn't agree with your comment about people who don't like coffee just never having had a decent cup, though. That said, as a generalisation it's probably not too bad, but I get that sort of comment aimed at me in more directly other contexts (beer and curry to name the most frequent two) and it's usually the latest person who thinks *they* are the one who can 'convert' me. As such, I find it quite annoying. 🤷‍♂️
Pieter, 16th June 2023, 06:17
To brush up mathematics, Khan Academy has friendly courses in mathematics and related topics. Warmly recommended. 
As for geology online, Coursera and Udemy have some geology-related contents. Coursera tends to be academic but often much more condensed than a classroom experience. Udemy courses are of varying quality, sometimes surprisingly good and sometimes a bit disappointing. If a certificate or so is important, not sure what their certificates of completion are worth in practice.
J.G.Harston, 18th June 2023, 12:53
Now I've got my Mum sorted, I've packed all her paperwork up and stored it in a cupboard. Only to do so I had to tidy up the cupboard. Hmmm. carpet offcuts from ten years ago "just in case", spare kitchen cupboard doors that don't fit the cupboards, a broken suitcase, offcuts from the shelves in the cupboard... No wonder I have no space. 

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