Oh, you'll see why I chose this picture later.

Christmas Ghost Stories: A Christmas Story, by Sarban

Oh, you'll see why I chose this picture later.

Oh, you’ll see why I chose this picture later.

This, the last in our series, is THE Christmas Ghost Story. Sure, it’s just called “A Christmas Story” but that’s because, like the Olympic gold medalist who says, “I’m a student” when asked who she is, it’s just being humble. Trust me, this is THE Christmas story.

And there aren’t even any sheep or any “quote unquote” ghosts. There is snow. There is the cold hand of the Lord Frost. There is dashing pilot Igor Palyevsky, whom I would marry in a heartbeat. There are colourful ethnic people from all over Europe, fantastic scenes on the shores of distant Siberia, and there is a remarkable, drunken party in Saudi Arabia featuring esoteric garb, an esoteric liquor, and even more esoteric conversation.

We are indeed a long way from the traditional cosy country house of the hospitable British squire. Pour yourself of some comforting spirits and prepare to commune with some restless ones indeed in this exotic, and all-too-forgotten tale by Sarban, aka British diplomat John William Wall.

A Note: The story is, of course, still under copyright, as I found out previously on this blog. I’ve taken down all instances of it from everywhere I CAN reach, and the only place it exists online still is on this blog, to which I no longer have access, and which will surely go offline at some point. So enjoy this while you can, and if you do enjoy it, consider purchasing his books, available at Amazon.

To read the story, follow this link to my ancient food/booze blog and either skip the preamble or savour it, depending on whether or not it is to your taste. The story begins about three hundred words down, where you’ll see the title. Enjoy!

Oh, and while I have your attention, I’m just going to mention there’s less than a week left for my medical fundraiser, to cover the costs of my physio. We met our original goal within 24 hours, thanks to amazing generosity including one old friend who donated a thousand dollars! But after seeing my surgeon and consulting with the physiologist, the cost of physio has significantly more than doubled, and I do need a few more hundred dollars, at least until I am back at work. Thanks to all who have contributed, and if you’re skint, I feel ya. A FB or Twitter share is worth its weight in gold, so share away!

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#OpFrackOff takes on racist cop, #OpSWN takes on energy conglomerate

Mikmaq stop sign

Frack off First Nations land!

When the RCMP confronted the First Nations fracking protesters at Elsipogtog late last week and things turned violent, Anonymous got involved almost immediately, announcing #OpFrackOff. Now they’ve gone farther, a lot farther.

When an unidentified RCMP officer shouted, “crown land belongs to the government not to fucking natives,” he probably didn’t expect Anonymous to issue a call to action inviting the public to help ID him. He probably should have.

In a pair of documents released on Pastebin today and a video, Anonymous and their allies have announced they intend to carry their investigation much further. In the newly-announced #OpSWN they intend nothing less than laying out all the corporate, political, and social connections for SWN (Southwestern Energy), the American gas company at the heart of the conflict.

“Why is Canada attacking it’s First Nations population with a self-described paramilitary force? To protect the right of a Texas oil company’s fracking ambitions?  And what do Wendy’s french fries have to do with fracking? “

They then answered that question at length and in detail, using the online mapping tool Pearltrees to lay out the links between Cavendish Farms, Wendy’s, and SWN. And the New Brunswick political establishment. And the Irving family, a local corporate and media power clan whose influence extends internationally. And then called on Anonymous and supporters to fill in missing connections as well.

The point of all of this, according to one of the investigators we spoke with via Twitter, is to enable people to protest the RCMP response at Elsipogtog by demonstrating at their local Wendy’s, instead of trucking all the way to the Texas headquarters of SWN. The goal is to show that the events taking place on unceded Mi’kmaq territory are connected in a very real dollars and cents way to consumer choices that everyone makes in their day to day lives, and to show that other choices are possible.

Since SWN and the RCMP are hitting the Mi’kmaq where they live, Anonymous has decided to hit them where they live: right in the bank account.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Homesteading 101

Scott McGillivray needs to call me

Scott McGillivray needs to call me

Well, I’ve found my first project for Panorama Palace. The long-term plan is of course to buy some land and coax Scott McGillivray to come over and help me convert it into an income suite and a honeymoon suite, just in case the project drags on, you know. He’ll need somewhere to stay. With me. I’m just trying to be practical here, ya know?

But it’s best to start small and work your way up to something bigger, so I’ve got my eye on this as a beginner’s handyperson project. It’s practical, as it will assist in taking me off the electrical grid and make me more self-sufficient, power-wise.

That it is also potentially deadly and Frickin’ Awesome entered my mind not at all, oh perish the thought.

Convert a junk TV into a 2000ºF solar cooker. Here’s a technique for hacking a 4 foot mega magnifying lens out of your old TV, and some of the things you can do with it!

Thanks to the safety-conscious Rob Cottingham and his friends on Facebook for the tip. And yes, I’m putting this here in case my lawyer needs this at some point in the future, for what reason I cannot predict.

Mutant Elk caught in the wilds of Britain

Yes, “the wilds of Britain.” See what I did there?

The Guardian captions this "An elk." Time to stop hiring inbred photo interns, no matter how dazzling their connections.

The Guardian captions this “An elk.” Time to stop hiring inbred photo interns, no matter how dazzling their connections.

According to the UK paper of record for Ecologically Sensitive Courtesy Titles, the UK is harbouring a fugitive and desperate band of elk rustlers.

PC Jackie Poole, who is leading the hunt, said: “This is an unusual theft and would have required a vehicle, and probably quite a bit of time, to complete. I would ask people in the area at the time to cast their mind back and see if they remember seeing anything suspicious.

Under “Anything suspicious” we must list the above, a moose impersonating an elk in the Guardian. Could the paper have a vested interest in confusing the issue and preventing innocent Somersettians from recognizing an actual elk when they see one?

Hmmm, one wonders…what are they serving in the executive dining room at the Grauniad this week, eh?

Dear United Kingdom, this is what elks look like:

Real Elks, duh

Real Elks, duh

Quote o’ the Day: Stripping

Yellowknife Commute, Frame Lake Trail 7

“White people came here a long time ago; took all the furs; trapped all the beaver out; and the otter and the mink, things like that; and they gathered all these things up. They went away and they left us with the bush and the rocks. It wasn’t too much later they came back again. They call that logging. Cut down all the trees; white pine, red pine, cut it all down. And they left us on the bare rocks. Then they discovered uranium here. And the old man said, ‘Now the sons-a-bitches are back for the rocks.'”

Gilbert Oskaboose, Serpent River First Nation

Gilbert Oskaboose

Gilbert Oskaboose