Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Degree discrimination.

I know Scottish students at Scottish universities pay no fees, although they do still have student loans. As far as I understand it, Scottish students at English universities pay fees, as do English students at Scottish (and English) universities. Plus loans. I could be wrong there, it's a long time since I was in a position to be affected.

What the Welsh Assembly is proposing is to pay the fees of Welsh students at any university, also to pay the fees of anyone from anywhere in the EU, except students from England.

Well, if they pay the fees for EU students, then since England is in the EU, is it legal to exclude only that EU region from their generosity with other people's money? Either we are all in the EU or we are not, and as far as I can see, England has a strong case to say that they are not. Throw out the Westminster parliament that seems to prefer every other EU region over the one it's situated in, set up your own government and stick two fingers up at the EU. Including the Welsh and Scottish, perhaps also the northern Irish mini-governments.

I was born in Wales to Welsh/Italian ancestry and now live in Scotland. I also went through university in the late seventies and early eighties and so ended up with no massive debts as a result of my education. From that standpoint, I have no axe to grind with either student fees or anti-English discrimination but it puzzles me. How can parts of the UK demand preferential treatment for their occupants, while another part, the part that houses the UK government, cannot? We are not yet separate nations and we are all part of the EU. So how can Wales legally fund students from all over the EU, except England?

If they said 'We'll fund students from all over the EU, except Poland', there would be hell to pay. The EU parliament (how many of these do we need? It seems to me we'll soon have an MP each) would step in at once, President Rumpelstiltskin would take time off from weaving Euros into gold, and the Welsh Assembly would be decried as 'racist' by all the usual suspects.

Yet they can extend their offer of other people's money to all and sundry and say 'Not you' to the English and nobody seems to mind. There has been no EU announcement decrying this action as racist and not in the spirit of the EU at all. The Lefties are content, even the English ones, because they are all barking mad and still playing 'beggar-thy-neighbour' from their kindergarten days.

And what is the big deal with getting a degree anyway? I have two and I'm not rich. In fact, all that time in education means I didn't start paying seriously into a pension until I was past 21. Those contemporaries who left school at 16 and started as apprentices have at least five more years of pension built up than me. Most of them are richer than me too. Plumbers, electricians, plasterers, joiners - skills that are always in demand and command good money. Me? I'm a specialist. When nobody needs what I do, I'm out of work. Sure, I can charge well for it when I am needed but there are spaces between those times when I have no income at all. So I can't splurge the money for that last big contract on a fancy car or leather suite. It has to last a while, and I never know how long it has to last.

Hell, those who left school at 16 and stayed on the dole have their NI contributions covered by the taxpayer. They have more pension than me!

A degree does not guarantee a good job. It does not make you redundancy-proof. You do not walk in to a higher management position, no matter how many degrees you have. Getting on to a degree course and failing it is pretty much the end of your life. Nobody wants to employ a failure. You're better to drop out than drag on to that final failure. Either way, you'll owe huge amounts of money and have no means of paying it back. You also have a three-year gap in your CV with 'fail' stamped in it and that will never, ever, go away.

If you're not suited to higher education and you blag your way in anyway, you're going to mess up your life. It's not 'elitist', it's logic. There's no point saying 'Oh, the university failed me and now I'm unemployable'. No, the university didn't fail. You did.

There are few people as smart as Stephen Hawking. I'm not one of them and I doubt anyone else reading this is either. He's lucky he had brains because a career as a steeplejack just wouldn't have worked out for him. I couldn't be a steeplejack either. Put me somewhere that high and it's not bird crap you'll be dodging. Some people are comfortable with climbing up very tall things. Others are not. Those that are not, don't apply for jobs like slater or chimney pot maintenance operative, or whatever the current PC term is.

Some people are suited to the specialist world of academia, and it is specialist. The first degree is a general one. At that point, many possible jobs are open but far more are now closed. Why? Because you have a degree. Factories won't give you work because they'll think 'oh, he'll clear off as soon as he gets something in line with his degree'. They want staff who will stay after training.

Likewise for any job outside your chosen subject. You have a degree in that subject, therefore you are interested in that subject, therefore you will leave any other job at the drop of a hat. That's how employers think.

Then there's PhD, at which point you are a specialist. My first degree was microbiology. I could have gone into brewing, pharmaceuticals, food testing, medical/technical, environmental, oil industry, all manner of things. The PhD closed all those doors. I am no longer a microbiologist, I am an intestinal microbiologist with expertise in ruminant and nonruminant mammals. I know a little about poultry guts but reptiles? Insects? Fish? Crustaceans? No idea. It really does become that specialised.

In the current world of food panic and fake doctors fainting in jungles, I am in demand. That's just down to luck. If hospitals enforced proper cleaning and hygiene, one of my more lucrative lines would close. If everyone went back to my grandmother's day, cooked everything thoroughly and didn't break down in a panic at an occasional dose of the trots, I'd be right out of business. Good old Gillian McKeith has everyone scared because few people realise that you can't tell anything from just looking at one single poo sample. Bristol score notwithstanding, one sample tells you nothing. Those little-and-large cleaning women have you all in a tizzy because they managed to find some bacteria in your kitchen, using appalling aseptic technique to collect samples. I'd be scared if there were no bacteria in the house, it would mean the whole place was being continuously irradiated or full of something extremely toxic.

So whether that degree is useful to you depends on whether the subject you chose is in demand. It also depends on whether you actually want to learn, and whether you are suited to learning that subject. I am reliably informed that UK forensic science courses produce eight times more graduates than there are jobs available, so if you're on one, you'd better be top of the class.

There is no point demanding that all these kids go to university. Most will come out of there behind on pension payments, in serious debt and actually worse off in the job market. The Tiny Blur's insistence that fifty percent of the population have degrees was and is absurd. Degrees in crochet and the social implications of Red Dwarf are degrees, but what use are they? What is the point of producing many multiples of qualified people for whom no job exists, and for whom non-degree job entry is now closed? And here we have the Welsh Assembly crowing 'Go on, boyos, we'll fund your degree in organic leek knitting or daffodil supremacy or sustainable dragon hunting no matter where you do it, and no matter where you're from, as long as you're not English, isn't it, butty boy?'

Prospective students, consider this. The politicians do not care whether you get a job at the end of your degree. They do not care if you are successful, or if you spend the rest of your days asking us if we want fries with that. You are a tick in a box, a target met, a degree in Utter Uselessness awarded. Once that target is done you can sink into specialist obscurity forever as far as they are concerned. They really don't care about you. You have one life - are you going to live it as directed by someone else, or are you going to do it your way? Look this up - where did Alan Sugar go to university? Yes, he's a git with hair designed by a scouring pad manufacturer and a face that bulldogs consider 'pinched', but he's a very, very rich git. So what degree did he get?

The Welsh Assembly came into being after a referendum that returned a resounding 'don't care' result. It happened anyway because, like those EU pretend referenda, the public consultation was a sham. Now they think they run the country and that they are entitled to take money from people and do whatever they like with it. A sort of mini-Wastemonster, but with druids and terrible gassy beer. They also believe that it's okay to discriminate against one particular EU region and that nobody in the EU will object to that. They seem to be right about that part so far.

I'm not English but if I was, I'd be looking for a Cromwell about now. Never mind these regions claiming independence from England.

England needs independence from them.

Scrawny wench gets a song.

Just for fun.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Lumpy lung.

I have always accepted the idea of smoking causing lung cancer, even as a smoker, because, well, it's logical. Take something unnatural into yourself and there is a risk of harm. It cannot be said that deliberately inhaling smoke is natural, therefore there must be some risk. On the other hand, I have long been certain that the biggest cause of all forms of cancer, heart attacks and many other illnesses is stress. That's also logical. As the 24/7 culture grows, so does the rate of cancer. In my last job, leaving work at the time when they stopped paying me was widely seen as 'lazy' and not working unpaid weekends was seen as 'not a team player'. I smoke and drink far more now than I did then, but the chest pains are all but gone. The work is as hard, or harder, but the pressure is reduced.

Frank Davis
has caused me to question the assumption of the link between smoking and cancer. While I had already ridiculed the smoking beagles as just as likely to be stress-induced cancers as smoking-induced, Frank went into far more detail in his research.

I am further persuaded to Frank's side by this article and its blatant lies.

While preventing smoking is key to reducing lung cancer, most of the work to encourage people to give up cigarettes has been focused on men, the report published by the South West Public Health Observatory indicates.

I recall those ads where women who smoke were likened to 'kissing an ashtray'. Who remembers the beautiful woman spurned by a dweeb because she had a cigarette? I remember thinking 'she can do so much better than that wiry twerp'. The focus has never been on men. It has always been on smokers. To the fundamentalists, we don't have a gender. We are not even human.

So it is a lie and the antismokers will, nonetheless, grasp it in their bony little prematurely aged fingers and cry 'Truth' because it is what they want to believe.

Smoking prevalence has been reducing for many years. Asthma, lung cancer and a host of respiratory illnesses are increasing. There is a clear inverse relationship but none dare point it out. It does not mean that smoking protects. It most certainly does suggest that something else is causing the problem. Something nobody is looking for.

On this issue, at least, the science is far from 'settled'.

Waking up cold.

It's colder and nastier than an EU directive out there. I fell asleep in my chair again, a common problem now that I live in a well insulated house and a side-effect of low blood pressure due to not reading the Daily Mail so far today. This time I woke up two hours after the central heating went off and have spent the last hour getting my core temperature back up to safe levels. One thing I will always remember from the bad days - keep warm by whatever means. If you have to suffer the indignity of having cardboard and newspaper stuffed into your clothes, swallow your pride and do it. Otherwise all you achieve is to look smart for your funeral.

These days I don't have to do that. Which is lucky because I haven't bought a newspaper since I discovered I can read most of them for free on the internet. Instead I have the heating on again, and a lot of thick clothes. Remember, this is a modern and well insulated house and I am in a position to turn the heating on with only a relatively small concern for the cost. I am certain this night will kill some pensioners and homeless people, and the Met Office 30-day forecast is this weather all the way. I have a suspicion it'll be snow from here to March.

If I make it to impoverished pensioner status, I will have the heating full-on all winter. When I can't pay for it, they'll send me to prison - where someone else will pay the heating bills and I can smoke indoors. And I'll have a Playstation for the first time in my life, something the pension would never allow me to have. Yep, that sounds like a plan. Loss of social life? Look out of the window. Do you really think I, as an old smoker, am likely to be visiting a pub? I'd have more social life in prison than I get now and to be brutally honest, pretty much the same chance of picking up a wench. The pubs are still bleating about 'prices'. They could have a free beer day tomorrow and I won't be there. It's not about the price. It never was. It's about the exclusion.

Outside is so hideously white I fully expect to see Council employees out applying dye to the snow to reflect ethnic quotas. I am surprised the Daily Mail commenters haven't applauded this weather because Asian gangs can't sneak up on us in the dark now. Perhaps they haven't thought of that yet. Too busy burning crosses, I suppose. I wonder, if I wore blackface paint, they might burn one outside my house. I could do with the extra heat.

I see the Climatologists are starting a slow U-turn with the news that, all of a sudden, global warming has slowed in the last decade. That's not what they were saying right up to last week. The interesting part is that it's pollution from man-driven industry that has caused the slowing in the global warming caused by... pollution from man-driven industry. They'll play the 'climate change' game back to 'The Ice Age Cometh' of the seventies and all their idiot drones will go along with it all and notice no problems at all. That hockey stick graph will be republished but upside down and you just know none of their drones will even remember. All we'll hear is 'Weather is not climate' repeated by descendants of those who once recited Latin mass without understanding what one word of it really meant. The mantra must be true because everyone says it. That's modern science.

There's more of that white fluffy global warming falling outside. What the hell. We have Polish bus drivers here. This won't faze them at all.

It might, however, wreck my circle-and-star of crocuses in the lawn. They aren't designed to grow in swamps.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Office mining.

Since everything outside is a globally-warmed white, I have designated this weekend Office Purge Weekend. I'm down to the 2007 layer and still digging through the paper. It's not a simple job, some things have to be kept for tax purposes, some things are commercially confidential and have to be shredded before disposal and some things I'm turning up are a total mystery to me.

What normally happens is that the piles get re-ordered and re-stacked, very little gets disposed of and the place is just as full but tidier. This time I am determined to reach floor level in at least some of the piles.

Well, apart from a break for a smoky-drinky later this evening.

In the meantime, Frank Davis is opening a discussion on smoking and lung cancer. It sounds as if it could be very interesting, especially since everyone who dies of any smoke inhalation from any source is now claimed as a 'passive smoking victim'. Yes, if you die in a fire from smoke inhalation, that now counts. Even if the cigarettes survive unscathed.

There will be little internet activity from me today because I'm about to put a large paper pile on my desk for sorting so I won't be able to see the screen. This is real world data mining.

There could well be a drunken post later and I'll try to respond to comments and Emails too.

You know, I think the bottom layers of paper have turned into coal.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

How to eradicate a species.

If you go into a post office with a handful of weighty Jiffy bags, all very similar, they give you funny looks. If you do it again the next day, they give you hard looks. On the third day they handle the packets very gingerly indeed. I'm not surprised they were delivered so fast, the post office were probably worried that the timers would run out. I wish now I'd faked an Irish accent or worn a hijab. Or both. There was nothing but paper and card in any of them but these days, everyone is scared.

There are about two inches of snow outside. We were promised four. I demand a refund. The papers are full of pictures of people 'struggling' through a layer of snow barely deeper than white spray paint. Last year it exceeded a foot deep and the roads turned into glaciers. If they are struggling now, what will happen to this country when the full winter hits? It doesn't get properly cold until late December - okay, it's much colder than normal for the time of year and flies in the face of global warming as it is, but this is just a taster.

Cars are sliding around all over the place, not because the weather is terrible but because their drivers are idiots. Get decent tyres and don't drive like it's the middle of summer.

The salt has gone from the supermarkets. I haven't used any of mine yet, because if winter starts this early it's likely to be a lot worse later on. A neighbour is scraping it all into piles - bad idea. A thin layer like this could melt away if the sun comes out. Big piles will take ages to vanish.

If the summer gets a bit warm, everyone panics. If a little bit of snow falls, everyone panics. Sunshine means drought, rain means floods. I recall a holiday in Cornwall when the sun actually blistered my skin. That was in the early Seventies and it's never happened again. I recall a winter at university in the early Eighties when the car I had then was indistinguishable from all the other cars in the street because all you could see was a row of small white hills. Climate changes. Sometimes it's warmer and sometimes it's colder. It can't be legislated for, it just happens.

Smoking Hot has an umbrella that looks like a Samurai sword. The authorities don't seem bothered but some people are scared. I'd be far more interested in a sword that looked like an umbrella. Didn't John Peel have one in 'The Avengers'? We used to be able to buy sword canes but no longer. I recall seeing them in shop windows in Cardiff, around 1979. Back then, you didn't get arrested unless you committed an actual crime. We didn't have 'well, he might have...' in those days. You could have whatever you liked and as long as you didn't use it to commit crime, no problem. Now? Carry a bag of tools around and see what you get.

"Oh, but if you don't have a good reason to have it..." I do not need a 'reason to have it'. Whatever the item, as long as I commit no crime with it, what's the problem? And if I wanted to commit a crime I wouldn't carry a knife. I can buy a pack of 40 sharpened HB pencils for one pound. Cash sale, common item, untraceable and they're sold in a plastic bag so no need to arouse suspicion by wearing gloves when buying them. How much damage could a HB pencil do? Much more than a paintbrush. So don't concern yourself with the knife, only the person holding it.

The problems facing anyone trying to make the people of this country see sense are, as I see it, these:

1. People are scared of their own shadows now. Not a problem for me, I take delight in pointing out the shadow monsters of second hand, third and and as soon as I get the opportunity, fourth hand smoke. I will delight further in telling people they can catch obesity from the cheese counter or from smelling the local chip shop. I am going to torment these weaklings for fun. If, however, you have nobler ambitions and want to bring back the stiff upper lip and the courage of old, best of luck. You'll need a good supply of splints to prop up the jelly spines that so many have developed now.

2. Nobody thinks they have to prepare for anything. As evidenced from the panic-buying of salt as soon as the first snow falls, and that massive queue of cars I saw yesterday at the tyre shop, nobody thinks ahead any more. Nobody considers it their responsibility to look after themselves. Someone else will do it. These are people who will blame the government for the weather. I don't. I blame them for cashing in on it, but not for causing it. I have stocked up with salt all summer when it was easily available for pennies per kilogram, because I learned from the vanishing salt issue last year. I also have a few bags of sand. This year, I am ready and have been, long before the winter set in.

"Oh, but what if the winter had been mild? Then you'd have all that salt and nothing to use it for!" Well, salt does not go off. Keep it dry and it lasts forever. It has also cost, as I said, pennies per kilogram. I doubt I have spent twenty quid on salt in total this year and I have an awful lot of it here. If it never snows again, I'll never run out of salt. Sand is even cheaper and also doesn't go off, and if it doesn't get used this winter it has a dozen uses around the garden next summer. I risk nothing by stocking up. I would risk plenty by not bothering.

Too many people don't bother. They expect Nanny to do it for them. Newsflash: in the context of the State, Nanny does nothing useful at all. Ever.

3. The government believes its laws apply to nature. They do not. Nature is going to warm the planet, cool the planet, erupt volcanoes and throw rocks from the sky whenever nature feels like it. You cannot tax away a natural disaster. No matter how many people vote for you, you do not gain supernatural abilities on taking office. Apparent lobotomy, yes. Supernatural ability, no.

So many people now believe the government will save them, and worse, the government believes it can. The government even believes it can define 'happiness' and make it fit everyone in the country with no concern as to whether individuals might have different notions of 'happy'. A smoker is happy relaxing with a cigarette while an antismoker is only happy when they can find someone to bully. Some people are happy being oversized, some are happy being undersized, and for others, their size just doesn't figure in their assessment of happiness at all. We are all different, something that has been forgotten and not just by government. By every level of quango, charity, pressure group and petty officialdom.

The result? 'Nothing to hide, nothing to fear'. 'If you have a knife, you must be intending to stab someone'. 'If you work within a hundred yards of a child and you refuse to be CRB checked, you must be a paedo'. 'If you smoke/drink/exceed the British Standard Human specifications, you will cost the NHS money'.

On that last point, the answer is simple. If so many people object to paying taxes so other people can be cured, then the democratic answer is to disband the NHS. The vocal majority don't want to pay for it, and those barred from using it don't want to pay for it either. Try throwing that one into a few arguments.

The average British mind can now only deal with yes/no answers. They cannot cope with grey areas or scales of effects. Like infants, their world is composed of all-or-nothing decisions. Logical and comparative thinking are things of the past. A trace of tobacco smoke, even outdoors, will kill them but spending an afternoon at a barbecue or an evening at a bonfire does no harm at all. If you buy four cans of lager you are binge drinking. If you buy one doughnut you are going to become obese. Tap someone's shoulder and it's assault. Tap a woman's shoulder and it's sexual assault. Everyone accused must be guilty or they wouldn't have been arrested. That one is straight out of the Inquisition. Cotinine in your urine proves you smoke, whether you do or not. There is only ever one cause of anything and there are no graduations of effect. One molecule of nicotine will kill you (even though it's harmless unless really concentrated, just like caffeine) but the plasticisers in your plastic drink bottles are nothing to worry about.

One man goes mad with a handgun so nobody can have a handgun. One man stabs another so nobody can have a knife. One complaint to the BBC and a grovelling apology is demanded. One man makes a joke about one shorter man and everyone below six feet tall bursts into tears. One man lights a cigarette and half the country drops dead in an instant. One man takes a swig from a beer and everyone else develops bruises. Why?

Because the government has said we are all the same. Equality. If one of us goes mad with a gun today, then obviously the rest of us will do the same tomorrow. If one person is offended then obviously all those in their group are equally offended. If one person drives drunk, every drinker is certain to get into a car while completely tanked (because there is no such thing as a moderate drinker) and mow down Granny. All the same. No variation.

It makes the DNA database ridiculous because in order to even get close to the clone world the politicians believe we live in, we'd all have the same DNA anyway. Even then we'd be different. Identical twins might look the same but have completely different characters.

If there is one thing that anyone interested in ecology should realise, it is that lack of variation is a disaster for any species. A clone species can be wiped out by a single virus or a small change in climate. A species with a lot of variation will include individuals able to cope with a sudden famine, or hotter or colder weather. It will include a few who have a natural immunity to a new disease. The species might be decimated by a natural event but it will not be eradicated. A clone species would be. Hitler's Aryan dream was an ecological nightmare. If that lunatic, and others who still want that, ever make the eugenics programme reality, the human race will one day be wiped out by a single infectious disease. Only the sewer-rat class, like me, will survive.

Forcing us into one mould is a crazy idea. We don't know what the future will bring. Suppose there was a famine? All those who have large reserves of fat will live longer than the skinny ones and will be more likely to still be alive when the famine ends. Suppose there was an explosion - man-made or natural - that filled the air with smoke? Who would thrive, non-smokers with their allegedly perfect lungs, or smokers with their leatherised ones that are used to inhaling smoke? Or maybe survival will come down to another factor - those who are best able to tolerate the new toxins in the smoke, whether they were smokers or non-smokers before. It's not an obvious answer. It's not a simple 'yes or no' but the drones will decide one way or the other and stick with it. No matter the question, the answer is yes or no. There can be no adaptation or variation.

Only extinction.

Look what just happened in the face of what is, really, just a little bit of snow. Travel warnings and mass panic-buying of supplies that any sensible human being would have been accumulating as soon as, if not before, the snow was forecast. No, they expect the world tomorrow to be exactly as it was today and even the normal changing of the seasons is too much to cope with. There should be a law against snow. Ban it, and it will all go away. Why doesn't the government do something? I'd turn that around. Why don't you do something?

Think ahead - winter is on the way, get the gear in ready. Do it in spring and summer when all the winter stuff is cheap. Now is the time to buy garden equipment and solar powered garden lights because they're in the clearance sales. I recently bought a garden fork in Tesco for 75p. Many will scoff 'Why? You can't use it now', but I can in spring. When the shop price will be £20. I also bought an electric lawnmower, identical to the one I bought earlier this year, for eight pounds. I now have an entire set of spare parts for that mower.

This used to happen. It doesn't now. Nobody thinks beyond the day and nobody prepares for what is, after all, inevitable. They let the government or the council deal with it all. This is, biologically speaking, a species doomed to extinction because it is entirely dependent on a single source. The council and the government. When they fail, the species goes under because it cannot cope. Like the panda that relies on bamboo, if the bamboo goes, the panda dies out. The versatile rat will carry on regardless. They'll even eat the pandas.

(Declaration of interest - I was born in the Chinese year of the Rat. I am very fond of rats.)

Putting responsibility for your life in someone else's hands is all well and good when they have the time and inclination to look after you. When they decide they can't any more, you are cast adrift within a day. There is no adaptation period. You're just dumped. When all the charities finally collapse, all their pets will be left to fend for themselves. They don't know how. They have been actively discouraged from learning how, because if the charities really helped people to look after themselves, they'd put themselves out of work. So they perpetuate dependence, not cure it. When the money runs out, which it has, they will simply walk away from what they have done.

Placing control of your life in someone else's hands is stupid. Yet it is what most of this country's population has done. Now they cannot cope on their own, even with seasonal changes in weather.

They could, at least, have picked someone intelligent to trust.

Mr. Huhne, your thermometer is upside down.

An idiot standing against a wall, happy in the knowledge that it is where he truly belongs.
(Picture sectioned from here).

Last year was apparently the worst winter for 30 years. This year we have the earliest sustained snowfall and the coldest November for 17 years. The last three summers have been the coldest and wettest in living memory. Weather is not climate. Weather is what happens day to day. Climate is what happens over a period of years. To anyone not blinkered by a climatology grant or other vested interest, the climate is self-evidently becoming rapidly colder. Don't tell the Greens, they have much work to do. Those elderly won't get onto the ice floes by themselves, you know.

Last winter, the Green Agenda managed to kill off 28,160 pensioners in mainland UK, and did their best to boost their tally by trying to shut down a power station. Keep that in mind while looking at the picture above because this is the man who is going to do something about it. Doesn't he look pleased with himself?

Because you see, that figure simply isn't good enough. This year, the Greens will want to see their suited puppets double it at least. So, the imbecile above, on the day we are told that we can expect to be frozen earlier than usual, announces he is jetting off to Cancun to find ways to stop us turning the heating on because of... global warming. Politician and green campaigner air miles don't produce any carbon. Only the plebs produce carbon. That's why they try to put us off flying by employing perverts at security.

Security will never grope a politician's groin. They already know there's nothing to find there.

Next year, the government will announce a dramatic reduction in the population of the UK and hail it as a victory for their tough stance on immigration. In reality, nobody will have left. They'll all still be here.

In the ground.

The Pet Collectors.

These days, people get mightily upset over name-calling that isn't directed at them. The Squeaker was the butt of several jokes recently, and if you're in public life at all, you have to expect that. I'm not in public life, in fact I have moved as far away from public life as it's possible to get without living in a cave, but I've been called names anyway. I don't care - it causes no pain, unlike being whacked with a stick, and is easily forgotten. Unless I'm called something really imaginative in which case I'll steal it and use it myself. Not that I would ever resort to base name-calling.

Tefal-foreheaded Shiny Dave took some time out from his part-time job as a reflector for an astronomical telescope to repeat a joke made to, not about, the Squeaker. This wasn't some spiteful jibe made behind the little man's back (not that there's room for much back there) but a retort made to his face.

Mr Cameron recounted to his audience how Health Minister Simon Burns had recently backed his ministerial car into the Speaker’s official limousine in Speaker’s Court. An angry Mr Bercow descended from his state apartments, Mr Cameron said, and shouted at Mr Burns: ‘I’m not happy!’

To which Mr Burns replied: “Well, which one [of the Seven Dwarfs] are you?”.’

A car accident. A short guy. What made Mr. Burns (oh, the image this conjures!) think of that retort? It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance to use this joke in its true context. Here's the original, from 2007.

So it wasn't a spiteful remark. No malice. There seems to be no evidence that the Squeaker was offended at all. If he had seen that Jethro clip, the likelihood is he would have recognised the situation and found the humour in there. It is even possible that he delivered the 'feed' line deliberately. The only interesting thing here is that while Jethro's audience, and the 'eeexcellent' Mr. Burns needed no explanation in square brackets, the Telegraph think their readers are too dim to get it without adding in a reference.

It was a coincidental replay of a fictional comic situation in real life. Who could resist that line under those circumstances? I couldn't. The line is not offensive to 'dwarves' or to 'short people', at the most it could offend the one it's aimed at. Those overhearing this, or hearing about it, would either laugh or tut, and then it would be gone. As the wise Rafiki said when Simba asked why he'd whacked him with a stick - 'It doesn't matter. It's in the past.' Not these days. We have equality laws now, anyone can be offended at anything, and get loads of lovely compo too. They don't even have to be present at the event.

Mr Burns had to apologise to dwarfism charities after being heard muttering in the Commons earlier this year that Mr Bercow was ‘a sanctimonious, stupid dwarf’.


Mr Cameron’s joke didn’t go down too well with John Connerty, co-founder of the Walking with Giants Foundation, which represents those with primordial dwarfism.

‘I would like Mr Cameron and his ministers to sit down and listen and speak to people of extreme short stature and hear what they think about these sorts of remarks,’ he said. ‘These people are in a position of influence and it’s very disappointing when they legitimise these jokes for other people.

Ministers of the crown apologising to charities? A group declaring that all short people will be offended by this remark? All? Have they not seen the late David Rappaport's work? Or Verne Troyer's? Actually, probably not, because Rappaport smoked cigars in 'Time Bandits' so it's probably been banned by now. Besides, members of That Group cannot be smokers. It stunts your growth. I don't hear that line any more. Has it gone out of fashion?

Once again, the charity forgets that it is dealing with people. Not dwarves. Not midgets. Not shortasses. People. They are not cloned into one mindset by their smallness. I have met very few such people but I have not met one who is morose and introspective and humourless. Just the opposite, in fact. When you're odd, for whatever reason, you are a target for bullies from the outset. If you're small, fighting back against a bully with his gang is a bad idea because you'll just get minced. So you get out of trouble with fast-talk and humour. That's what I learned to do, it's what most oddities learn to do and it really does work.

Then along comes a charity and declares that you're not a person any more, you are a 'case' and you have to act and think like all the other 'cases' in your group. All charities are guilty of this. Once they have you, you are not an individual. You cannot think or speak, the charity must do that for you and you must agree. Disagree and they will be shocked and disgusted. They don't see you, only your body form/sexuality/disability/whatever. They don't believe you can possibly have thoughts or opinions that are different from the ones in their handbooks.

It's everywhere. Alcohol 'charities' see people as alcoholics or as abstainers. Nothing in between. Antismoking 'charities' see us as chainsmokers or as vehement antismokers. Nothing in between.

These organisations are run and staffed by extraordinarily unimaginative people. Once they have made a pet of you, you will fit the manual's description and that is that. Someone makes a remark they deem offensive to you, and you must be offended. Note that Mr. Burns had to apologise to dwarfism charities, not to dwarves. The charities demanded the apology on behalf of those they try to control. Most of the small folk, I am willing to bet, didn't give a damn. It was the Squeaker he insulted, not them.

I have an uncle, I assume he's still alive, who is one of those who is Not Mentioned at family gatherings. You know the type. Most families have at least one. No, he's not a politician, it's not that bad, he's only a criminal. So if you refer to him as a criminal, using his ethnicity and heritage in the description, should I be offended? He is the same ethnicity and background as me. But you wouldn't be talking about me, you'd be talking about him. I am in the same 'group' but I am not the same person. In fifty years, my criminal record extends to one parking ticket. This uncle is way out of my league. Insults directed at him are not going to trouble me.

It is a strange mindset that puts people into uniform groups based on physical appearance or any other single attribute. To then extrapolate that one similarity into a gross uniformity of thought and reaction is astounding in its insanity. These charity people are in need of help.

Perhaps we should set up a charity for them. It wouldn't be hard because in this one case, like no other, they really are all the same.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Smokers can't have friends.

Fourth hand smoke is here.

If you are not a smoker, but spend time with a smoker, you have picked up the deadly third hand smoke and turned it into the even more deadly fourth hand smoke. It won't hurt you, you are merely the carrier of the Dreadful Thing. It will leap from you into the eyes of the nearest child and blind them instantly. Then it will reach into the nasal cavity of the child's parents and implant the urge to buy a grey box from behind a screen.

Last month, third hand smoke would have killed you for the crime of being with someone who smokes even if they are not actually smoking. The purpose of that was to scare you into not associating with smokers, so they would be isolated. It didn't work well enough, some nonsmokers persisted in being friends with smokers. So your terrible addiction to talking to addicts must be cured by peer pressure.

Now, by the powers infested in the Dreadful Arnott and her drones, third hand smoke will not kill you if you are friends with a smoker. It will still kill you if you aren't, but not if you are. If you are friends with a smoker you are not the victim, you are the Smoker's Evil Henchmen and will spread the smoky deadliness far and wide.

And so the smoker is further isolated because his non-smoking friends cannot associate with him or they face public censure and soon, quite possibly, the loss of their jobs.

Listen up, antismokers. You are failing cotinine tests already. Next time you fail one, watch all your friends disappear too. They can't associate with you any more - even though they've never seen you smoke, the test proves it. You're a secret smoker.

I'm afraid I can't help you. I'm a real smoker, you see, so nothing I could possibly say will have any value.

(Oh, it's late. Look up the Joker laugh on YouTube yourself this time. Nonsmokers are now entitled to one too. Antismokers are not).

The Mancunian Puritans.

It's snowing. Just a light dusting so far. It's not the snow that bothers me so much as the ice, but this year I have been steadily stockpiling salt (supermarket value range - although what exactly they can leave out of salt to make it cheaper is a mystery to me). Tesco last night had loads on the shelves, it seems few are bothering until it's time to panic. Last year there were weeks of no salt available anywhere, which is a real pain if, like me, you like a bit of salt with your dinner.

Anyway, it seems that even though the Scottish government has shelved plans for minimum alcohol pricing, Manchester councils are still going ahead. Via the Pub Curmudgeon, the Manchester Evening News is all for it. Strange, really. If nothing happens in the town centre at the weekend, what will the newspapers have to talk about on Monday morning?

The commenters aren't all for it. Some are, naturally, because alcohol is Evil and anyone who drinks any of it at all is Addicted and Insensible and Costs Them Money. There are some, otherwise sensible, objectors who are failing into the trap laid for them. They are coming out with the predictable "Why should we have to suffer? If it's happening here it should happen all over the country."

They are idiots. If Manchester succeed in this, then the Cameroid (who supports Manchester's actions because it won't affect the price of Bollinger) will use it as a lever. It's unfair to Mancunians that they suffer alone. Wicked smugglers are sneaking cheap booze over the border from Liverpool and Lancashire. It's a travesty, and can only be stopped by extending this minimum price all over the country. Yes, there's the trap and many of the commenters have already taken the bait.

Oh, but there's always one...

Drinking a pint isn't going to harm anyone else. Smoking a cigarette will harm others, not to mention stink my clothes out.

Any excuse, eh? Forget it, antismoker. This is antidrinker time.

People will throng the roads of Manchester to buy their booze - and probably do the rest of their shopping at the same time - 'over the border'. Prospective students will think twice about adding Manchester university to their list of options. Tourists will look elsewhere (although does anyone go to Manchester on holiday?). Conference organisers will reconsider. Shops will close, not just off-licences. Man with a Van will stock up and ride into town, selling at 45p a unit.

Anyone who can get a job in another town is likely to do so, leaving Manchester with only those who can't get a job in another town. I leave the inference there hanging, but businesses looking to set up a new premise are going to look at who's available for employment locally and well, I wouldn't set up there. I'd set up where all the bright people moved to.

Since pub prices are already above the minimum, and since those who tank up before going out will have stocked up elsewhere, the town centre chaos will not change at all. The troublemaking drunks will still be there and the courts will still pat them on the heads and express sympathy for their 'terrible childhoods' while doing nothing at all to dissuade them from being terrible adults.

Since people with large stocks in the house (from weekly booze runs) are actually likely to drink far more than they did when they only bought one bottle or a few cans, the 'cost to the NHS' will rocket. Minimum pricing won't solve anything but it has the potential to make a lot of things very much worse.

When it goes countrywide, Calais will be richer than Las Vegas. Import limits? We're in the EU, remember.

They might try prohibition but the US tried that. Remember Al Capone?

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Bits and pieces

Some light relief from the everyday lunacy with some snippets of exceptional lunacy. Although it's all becoming rapidly normal anyway.


It is, apparently, the opening of Winter Vomiting Season. I didn't know there was a special season for it. I suppose it gives us all something to do while the fishing season is closed, but I hope participation is not compulsory. With the current costs of food and booze, vomiting can be an expensive hobby.


First prize for both loony question and loony answer goes here today. One of the answers claims it's as addictive as smoking. I'm not so sure any such comparison is valid. Smoking is not so strenuous and at least your coffee doesn't go cold while you're smoking. My answer, if I chose to give it, would be 'chop up chillis and don't wash your hands'. That'll put a stop to it. You'd never touch it again.


Unless you are so thin that the only thing holding you on the ground is the weight of your shadow, you are obese. This from the Daily Mail that every day describes some skinny bint as 'worryingly thin'. Doesn't worry me unless she's the only food available. Comments are, as always, from the antismokitic standard handbook. 'You are not like me so you are disgusting'. Classic denormalisation by mindless drones. There's a lot of it about.


Fake doctor Gillian McTeeth shows the world the true face of the antismoker and the professionally offended weak-and-worthless with her astonishingly capable jaw muscles (ooer, Matron), after many years of exercise in the cause of Righteousness. That mouth would make a hippo back down. The eyes, the very epitome of piss-holes in the snow, would make Dracula back away. That and the fact she's not worth biting because there is no true red blood in those withered and dusty pipes. All he's going to get out of there is broccoli puree.

Gillian - I smoke. I am one year younger than you. I look ten years younger than you. My doctorate is real. I am not scared of the entire bloody planet and everything in it. I have eaten things Shaun Ryder would think twice about. I would not walk into a food-starved camp and grab the last piece of fruit. Only those with the mentality of an antismoker would do that.

And Shaun, yes you should have used foul language. You should have also used a cricket bat and a chainsaw. Pity they weren't available. Antismokers, look very hard at Gillian the Withered there. That's how the world sees you too, you know. That's you, that is. That's how you look to those who don't share your spiteful and self-important world view. You are not the majority. You are a load of Gilly McTeeths and when you're not there, we all talk about you in unflattering terms. Oh yes, as soon as you leave the room you are the sole topic of conversation. There is much sneering and talk of sterilisation and surgery to make you look almost as hideous outside as you are inside. Count yourselves lucky - we can't afford that much surgery, not even if we won the lottery. To achieve that aim would bankrupt Bill Gates.

Shaun, if she fires up again, show her your willy. When she pretends to faint, say very loudly and clearly. 'Cor, great, pull her pants down and I'll have her while she's out of it'. The medical profession will be astounded at how fast someone can recover from a faint. If you play it right, she'll be the subject of medical experiments for decades.


Phil the Greek is close to celebrating 90 years of two-fingered comments and has told his wife 'Don't you dare die first. That jug-eared twerp will get the throne and I don't want to be alive to see it.' I am in anticipation of this man's last words. They are sure to be words to remember. I hope it'll be some time before we hear them.


Enough merriment. Let's travel back to the dark ages when cavemen wore ties and lived in black and white. Before the invention of colour and Pot Noodle (I know, it's hard to believe we managed to survive those times). Laddies and wenches, I give you the band that knocked the Beatles off the No.1 spot... The Dave Clark Five. {this wasn't the song}.

I know you whippersnappers under 50 think the world was always in colour. You take it for granted. Well here is the proof - there was a time when we lived in monochrome with none of your fancy modern wavelengths. It was those psychedelic hippies in the sixties who, tanked up on LSD, cannabis and Ajax, decided to expand the normal sensible and properly British staid greyscale into seven whole colours. Seven! Nobody can be expected to remember them all, especially when 'indigo' isn't a real colour but a treasure hunter in a wide-brimmed hat.

Well, it got out of hand and now computers tell us there are 64 million colours. Dammit, if you apply that to the population of the UK, that's nearly one colour each! Every one of us could be a minority.

I blame Liberace. Flashy bastard.

If he had worn a sensible grey suit and tie while performing, none of this would have happened.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Ah - hahaha. HAAAAhahahaha!

The antismoker link page still links to me. I heard they took me off there but it's automated, so the robot will keep putting me back. I am Antismoker Ringworm, I just won't go away. A nasty little irritating disease but then, that's how they see me so let's not disappoint them.

The links are full of people scared of nicotine testing. If you're worried, take up cocaine or heroin or angel dust instead. They aren't testing you for those. Only the legal stuff. The test is junk anyway but you antismokers made people believe in it.

My favourites include this nonsmoker who showed up as positive for smoking and nobody believes her. Not even some of those who answered her question. I could answer and tell her where she's getting the cotinine but... no. No compromise and no mercy. Let them feel what it's been like for us all this time.

And another one
. This time all her antismokitic friends pitch in. They know she's not really yellow badge material but hey, they'e not coming over just yet, just in case. The Smoky Stasi might arrive at the same time and assume they're smokers too. Then test them. And, oh dear, what they had for lunch... the furnaces await.

This is how it goes, antismokers. Potato salad, especially if it includes tomatoes, among other things best not revealed to you for some time yet, makes you a smoker according to this test and there is nothing you can do about it. Nothing. You are one of us. You are a witch. You can bleat 'second hand smoke' but your levels are far too high. Want to know why? I expect you do, but then you've tested positive for high cotinine so you must be a smoker. Your rules. There can be no other interpretation. You were very clear on that point.

I would never spoil your propaganda by making public the reasons you fail those tests. That would be most unsporting of me. Your tests must be right, you said so. Therefore you are secret smokers in denial. (pause for hysterical cackling) Go on, confess. Confess your secret sin. It will be less painful in the long run if you only confess now. Confess and seek forgiveness. Renounce the evil tobacco you are addicted to, as the tests prove, and you will be dispatched without pain. Otherwise, you must suffer the eternal torment of the unrepentant smoker. Your face will be surgically enhanced to resemble the Dreadful Arnott and you will endure the pointing and laughing for the rest of your days. The Smoke Inquisition you created has you now. Isn't this a lovely game?

You made this happen, antismokers. Enjoy the outcome. Isn't it funny? Well, I'm laughing my junk off right now. Don't touch it or I'll call you Gary Glitter and then call my gang, and you won't be in it.

I'm not going to put up another Joker laugh. I have a feeling I'm going to need to ration them in the coming days.

I will definitely need face paint and green hair dye. Are you listening, Santa? The ugliness, I already have.

And the maniacal laugh has recently developed. Can't think why.

Square One.

There is a concise history of the Republic of Ireland and how it came into being here.

Centuries of fighting for independence were finally almost over in 1921 when most of Ireland broke away from the UK although it actually became a fully separate country, free of allegiance to the Crown and Commonwealth, in 1949.

Many people died to achieve this. Many, many people. The IRA kept fighting for the remaining part, Northern Ireland, to be part of their Republic and recently they have resumed bombing those they think currently own it.

On that site is a poem. Every member of the Irish government should read it. Everyone who voted 'yes' to the Lisbon treaty should read it.

All those centuries of fighting to reach true independence in 1949. Continued fighting for most of the remaining 61 years over the last part in the north.

All for nothing. Ireland is now fully under EU control. Hard fought independence, sold for a few shiny pennies to keep the bankers happy. As Old Holborn says:

If the English Landowners were bastards, just wait till you see what hell you have bequeathed your children.

I'm not smug. I'm not gloating. I am certainly not laughing, nor even smiling. What just happened in Ireland will just as surely happen here, and all over Europe. Our government, whether Westminster, Holyrood or that little gang running Wales, will not lift a finger to prevent it because they have all been bought too.

Shiny Dave? Two-Face Clegg? 'Special' Ed Moribund? Oily Al? Whatever the Welsh one is called - the High Dai, is it? They are all working to put us in the same position as Ireland, not to save us from it. These much-trumpeted cuts are not a reduction in spending. They are merely a reduction in the rate of increase in spending. Our government is still borrowing whatever it can't print and still wasting it on worthless nonsense and every day the debt continues to rise. Not as fast as when the Brown Gorgon threw it around, but still rising. Oh, we'll all be remortgaged to slavemasters soon enough. We'll all be working ourselves to death just to take home enough for a loaf of bread while the banks cream off the money we thought we'd earned.

Meanwhile the IRA still bomb people to get that last part of their country back. What do they plan to do with it if they get it? What will they reattach it to?

While they were busy blowing people up, their government sold their country.

There's no point bombing the English, nor the Northern Irish. They aren't doing this. It's being done to them too.

Although the English could have told the EU that, in their long experience of the matter, taking control of Ireland is easy enough. Keeping control of it, well now, that's something different.

Interesting times are coming.

Sunday, 21 November 2010


Guess what causes tuberculosis? Go on, have a guess. You'll never guess.

You guessed 'smoking', didn't you? Well done. Have a cigar.

In another triumph of preconceived conclusions over actual data -

A new study on the incidence of tuberculosis in Taiwan compared the likelihood of developing active tuberculosis among former and current smokers and non-smokers. It found that those who had smoked in the past had 2.69 times the risk of developing active tuberculosis compared to those that had never smoked, while current smokers had 2.73 times the risk.

Logically, therefore, if you smoke you are 2.73 times as likely to get tuberculosis than someone who has never smoked, assuming you are in contact with someone who has it. If you used to smoke but have stopped, you are still 2.69 times as likely to get it as a never-smoker. The obvious conclusion is that smoking cessation programmes will have no effect at all on anyone's risk of getting tuberculosis because even if you stop smoking, your relative risk is pretty much the same. Therefore there is no point in a smoking cessation program in this case because it will not affect this problem at all. That's reality. Now let's look at the reported conclusions.

Watch for the sneaky shift in emphasis. Non-smokers pay particular attention.

To our knowledge this is the first cohort study from a general population that provides evidence on the positive association between tobacco smoking and active TB. Based on results from ours and other studies, policy makers and public health personnel should consider addressing tobacco cessation as part of tuberculosis control. From the perspective of prevention, the target of smoking cessation should aim beyond TB patients to reach high-risk populations who are most likely to benefit from cessation," said Dr. Lin.

Did you see it, non-smokers? They don't care about you. If you get tuberculosis they're not interested. They're not actually interested in smokers who get it either. It's one of the flimsiest excuses to demand controls on smoking ever devised. Even though their own data makes clear that it will not work.

1) Tuberculosis is a lung infection. It cannot be caught from smoking. It can only be caught from someone who already has it. Smokers should avoid high risk areas because they are more susceptible. Non-smokers are not immune either - they have less than half the risk, but it's not zero. The reason it's not zero is that the disease is utterly unconnected with smoking. Smoking might increase susceptibility but you still have to be in a room with someone who has the disease in order to catch it.

2) The results show that smoking cessation will not affect a smoker's susceptibility to the infection in any meaningful sense. Giving up smoking will not influence susceptibility so spending wads of money on smoking cessation will do nothing. Well, it will do something. It will make susceptible people less easy to spot and will give those ex-smokers a false sense of security. This hype will also make non-smokers imagine they are immune to tuberculosis and if they get it, it was the little goblins in SHS that caused it.

3) If second hand smoke has such a terrible effect on non-smokers, why are those who have never smoked not suffering as badly as the smokers? They claim we damage their lungs, but this study says otherwise. Match that one to the SHS scare, if you can.

4) While the health nuts are playing around with this, they are not looking for ways to cure the actual infection, nor to prevent it spreading. As usual. They are simply using it as a new thing to blame on smokers. Once this goes through the ASH truth-extraction machine, smoking will be the only cause of tuberculosis and no other research need be done. Eventually, as with all other diseases, only smokers will be treated because non-smokers can't possibly be catching anything. They're all just hypochondriacs.

One last thing -

The study also found that younger smokers were more likely than smokers older than 65 to develop active tuberculosis when compared to those who had never smoked.

This wouldn't have anything to do with those over 65 being less likely to be out late partying in crowded discos, would it? If smokers are at a higher risk of catching it, but don't go to crowded places where someone might be infected, then they won't catch it. Susceptibility is only half the equation. No matter how susceptible you are to an infection, if you are not exposed to it, you won't catch it. Even if you chain smoke. Because the disease does not come from smoking.

I give it a week before 'smoking causes tuberculosis' goes mainstream. A non-smoker will catch it and blame it on SHS, a second non-smoker will catch it and blame it on traces of SHS coughed out by the first non-smoker and before you know it, medicine is back in the Middle Ages. No more bacteria or viruses.

Just 'bad air'.


Automated websites are great, aren't they?

This automated website automatically put this post on its front page.

To which I can only respond -

Seeing wood in the trees.

The whole 'smoking causes this, that and the other thing' mantra is not there to protect the health of you antismokers. It's to persuade you that smokers are modern day Pandoras, and every time we light up we release terrible demons that aim straight for you. It's not true, unfortunately.

Smoking does not, and cannot possibly, cause meningitis or ear infection. It is not possible to get any bacterial or viral infection from anything that's burning, not even tobacco. Absolutely and incontrovertibly not possible. No living thing survives burning because flames consume proteins and fats and DNA. The smoke and ash is sterile. You cannot, not even by the wildest stretch of the imagination, catch any communicable disease from something that has been burned. Trust me on this. My B.Sc. in microbiology is hanging on the wall here, dated 1981, and I have worked in that field since then (apart from nearly a year when I buggered up my life financially). I'm now a self-employed rogue scientist still working in that field. No government funding here. The market keeps me alive because I know what I'm talking about and because I don't have to toe anyone's line. Trust me on this. You cannot catch any of these microbial infections from something that has been burned. Not even ringworm.

We've been told for years that smoking causes lung cancer, whereas trumpet playing doesn't. However, does it really? I know many smokers and the only one who ever came down with lung cancer had given up decades earlier. He survived and is still alive at over 80, despite his fondness for barley wine and the fact that when his son asked him where he kept his angina medicine, he said 'Down the bog'. I have never known a current smoker with lung cancer.

Cancers are often missed by doctors. Look at the Daily Mail, they usually have some story about 'doctors didn't spot my cancer in time' but the reason for that is never made public. Cancers are rare. Many GPs can go their whole careers without seeing a lung cancer case. So when one appears, the fact that they don't instantly recognise it is not because they are stupid, it's because they've never seen one before.

Why would the antismokers care? If it hammers smokers, it's fine with them, right? Well antismokers, you might be interested to learn that the 'smoking causes everything' line will kill you and your children. Why? Because for one thing, if you don't smoke, you can't possibly have lung cancer. Must be just a chest infection. You'll get course after course of antibiotics while your lungs turn lumpy and nobody will even think to look. A smoker, on the other hand, with any kind of chest complaint will go straight into the scanning machines. Caught early, fixed and home in time for port and a cigar. Fair? No it isn't, but you did it, not us.

When you really look at the data, it just doesn't fit the conclusions. Frank Davis has one such report. There's another one on Stand FAST.

The article, by Jill Mahoney, claims that: “So few parents now smoke that there were no statistically significant differences in asthma rates between kids in smoking and non-smoking households between 2006-07 and 2008-09,” before going on to quote from the StatCan article: "This suggests that . . . adult smoking rates have become low enough that parental smoking has ceased to be [a] major cause of asthma in young children." That's quite a leap in logic.

So few parents smoke that... That part is irrelevant. The comparison was between asthma rates in children in smoking and non-smoking homes. How many smokers there are has no bearing on the result. Which was that there was no difference in asthma rates between children whose parents smoked and those whose didn't. The real conclusion is that passive smoking does not cause asthma. Something else does, but nobody is looking for it.

The antismokers love these twisted conclusions. It villifies smokers and that's all they want. If the cause of their child's asthma is never found, that doesn't matter to them as long as smokers get the blame.

Look, the study proved that smoking does not cause asthma in those around the smoker. Asthma happens, so something causes it. Who is looking for that cause? Nobody. Not one red cent is going into research to find the real cause, it's all going into anti-smoker propaganda. You'll die, asthmatics, because it's politically more fun to blame us smokers than to try to cure you. Smokers are not killing you. Antismokers are.

Remember seeing tobacco smoke in the pub? Even indoors, it floats around. Small particles. Look at those bus and truck exhausts. Even outdoors, it clings to the ground. Look at the tailpipes. See the black stuff? That's large particulate material and you're breathing it in whenever you are out on the street.

What is that doing to your lungs? Do you know? Do you even care? No, because the one guy with his paper tube of leaves is an easier target than the bus or the articulated lorry that is producing more per centimetre travelled than the smoker produces in a day. Much larger particles too. Children in pushchairs are not at smoker height. They are at bus and truck exhaust height. Ever heard an antismoker even mention this? Of course not.

Your lungs are lined with mucus and ciliated cells. That means they have little hairs that sweep the mucus upwards. It carries small particulates that you've inhaled up to the throat where they are normally swallowed. If you have an infection that makes mucus production intense, such as a cold or flu, you might have to cough some of it out. Heavier particles are harder to shift and therefore more likely to hang around and cause trouble. Didn't you know? Oh, that's right, it's all down to tobacco so you needn't bother using your brain.

Humans have lived with wood fires and coal fires for a very long time. Central heating, smokeless heating, is a very new thing. Very new. We've been inhaling burnt particulates every day since we invented fire. However, the large heavy particles from burning oils are new too.

Tobacco arrived in this country in the 1500's. Lung cancer took off big time in the 1950s. That's over 350 years of lag time. Was it tobacco or was there something else that happened after the war that might have caused the current surge in lung diseases and many other types of disease? Something so profitable that it could be deemed better to shunt the blame elsewhere?

Who is looking? Who cares?


If all smoking stopped tomorrow, none of those diseases would vanish or even be significantly reduced. You'll be told they did, you'll be lied to, but really there will be no detectable difference.

You'll still die at the same rate. You just won't have bothered working out why.

Look hard at the trees and try to see the wood.


This marketing thing is all new to me. Since I've placed that first novel with a small press, they don't have the marketing machinery of the big publishers so I have to pitch in. The artist who did the cover (for which the publisher pays) generated some useful part-cover graphics for me for a small fee. Really small, about $20.

I then went to VistaPrint where I've had business cards made in the past. If you ever use VistaPrint, here's a tip. They will send a URL with your order that gets you 25%-33% off. Don't use it. It's real, you do get discounts on the full list price but you no longer have access to offers like '500 free business cards' and so on. It's considerably cheaper if you don't accept the discount offer. Oh, and never pay for the really fast postage either. Use standard - you'll almost always get an email saying 'it's shipped early'. The machinery is automatic and starts the print job as soon as you confirm the order. After that it's just in their way.

The artist had sized the graphics correctly for the things I wanted. Large cards, business cards and 'rack cards' (bookmarks, although a little wider than standard). Armed with these and the various free offers to get me started and keep my marketing within a £200 budget - because first novels might not recoup all that much, so best not go overboard - I set about trying to be a marketing executive.

The drinking part, easy. I took to that like a boozer to the bottle. I could be a top marketing executive if that's the main part of the job. The suit, no. Suits are not comfortable. The ideas... well, see what you think.

This is the business card. Not the original graphic but a photo of the finished product. The actual card is much better. On the back is a calendar. The large cards and bookmarks carry much more info, these are just the teasers.

When I had my day-job business cards made, I had a few of the magnetic ones made too. This turned out to be a good idea because my business cards get stuck to filing cabinets rather than getting lost in the mess on the average desk. So I have the 'fridge-magnet' version of this image too.

The image tells you nothing. That's the point. It doesn't tell you whether it's a book or a film, who wrote it, who's in it, nothing. It's a teaser. I plan to spread these around up to the New Year, then when the book release date gets close (April 7th for the Ebook, a couple of weeks later for the print version) I'll start sending out the more detailed stuff. The image on these cards and magnets fits exactly over the image on the bookmarks. The website is the publisher, an imprint of Damnation Books (I read the contract very carefully before signing in blood. Not mine, I have bottles of it in the lab) and the book isn't on there until it's published so that won't help.

Next problem - how to distribute them? The cards have calendars because that makes them look useful and therefore less likely to be immediately discarded. The magnets will get stuck to something and normal human indolence will ensure that most of them will stay there. So how to get them out?

Christmas is coming and card traffic in the postal system will be horrific as usual. I don't send very many - about five, if I remember to post them - but I know people who send hundreds. All over the place. My mother has a card list that looks like the Domesday Book. The little cards will slip into a Christmas card easily.

What's the incentive? Well, there are people she exchanges cards with at Christmas but does not hear from for the rest of the year. One of these cards might just result in a phone call to ask 'What the hell is this thing?'

There are others I know who send out huge mailings of cards at Christmas. All over the world. I'll see if I can persuade them.

If anyone out there feels like confusing a Christmas card recipient or two, I have loads of these cards and magnets here. Drop me a line if you'd like a handful. I don't expect help for free, naturally.

There's a signed copy in it, when it comes out.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Oh, Davey...

So, Dave, what say you about this?

No more transfer of powers without a referendum?

We're waiting, Dave....

Still waiting, Dave....

Come on, man. You were quick enough to ditch your personal taxpayer-funded DaveGlam team under cover of a royal wedding.

Wakey wakey, Dave.

If you can.

Friday, 19 November 2010


I have, in Email, interesting information from South Africa where apartheid was banned unless you smoke but it'll take time to build that one. Thanks, CT. I want to look closely at the full paper before rolling up a response.

In the meantime, there is another pub forced into destitution by fifth columnists among their regulars. Once again, now they are homeless and penniless, the State decides to hammer them with fines they cannot possibly pay and will then put them in prison cells while letting muggers, rapists and thieves walk free. All because they supported freedom of choice and refused to act as unpaid enforcers for the NASHI* party.

There is a place to donate to help pay their fines. Actually, looking at it, it looks exactly like the sort of thing Pat Nurse once proposed. A co-operative based on voluntary donations that could brush away the dusty judges and the council Stasi within moments.

I bet this idea gets far more voluntary donation, and much faster, than the dweeb walking across Canada with no support at all in order to raise funds for 'the popular antismoker inquisition'. Even ASH and the Pharmers have ignored him. They don't need you, dweeb. Work it out. Think. Sorry, I have overstepped your humanoid limitations.

Anna Raccoon and Old Holborn raised the funds to free Nick Hogan in a matter of days from the limited reach of the bloglands. It put to shame the national voluntary donations the Dreadful Arnott and her Gestasho managed to raise in a year. There is no popular support for smoking bans. Most non-smokers just don't care. Only antismokers get all worked up about it and only because they are control-freaks and hideous self-important scum. There aren't anywhere near as many of them as they imagine. One of them is, unfortunately, Deputy Prime Monster and he actually believes his opinion matters. Which is quite sad, really. Cue EU Joker laugh.

No, smokers don't like the ban. Surprise! Nonsmokers don't want their pubs closed either. Only antismokers put their delicate sensibilities above their social lives, and way above those of anyone else. They will fold their arms and smile that smug Righteous smile while the pub shuts down. Then they will move to the next one and wait for something to moan about. At no point will they consider moving to a non-smoking pub. What could they bleat about in there?

Over at Dick Puddlecote's I see the NASHI party have been busy generating new propaganda. Well, let them. It is the best smoking-promoting idea they've had yet. No wonder the tobacco companies don't complain about the advertising ban. There's no need, and it's saving them a fortune. You think I'm paid by Big Baccy? Look harder. ASH and their friends are the ones promoting it, not me.

Pension costs will be saved by leaving smoking pensioners to freeze to death while staff costs will be cut by sacking those who even look as if they might be smoking. In Australia, they even have a draft threatening letter (via Pat) which borders on the insane -

As a person who smokes, you may feel that you have the right to use a legally available product, but this does not apply where your smoking affects others.

Does it not apply to your car or your heating system? No? Why not? Arseholes. Oh, wait, it's down under. Mouths. If it is legally available, where did your authority to deny it come from? These people are scared shitless of harmless second hand smoke and I for one will continue to play that for all it is worth. One day, one of these mindless drones will die of a heart attack before my eyes, just from a few words, and I cannot help in case I put third hand smoke on them. I can't even call an ambulance because it would be tainted by smoky fingers pressing buttons. I will try, I will really really try not to laugh, but no promises.

Callous? Look hard at what you propose for me, antismokers, and then quantify 'callous'. I'm not proposing to kill you. I have no violent intentions. All I can fight with are words. If you die from words, that is because of your own beliefs, not mine. You choose the psychosomatic heart attack. All I do is explain how to achieve it. Why would I do that to you?

Well, why would you do this to an ordinary family?

Gloves are off, antismokers. Time to reap what you have sown. You want a compromise?

No. We tried that, remember? Repeatedly. We will not try again.

The time for compromise has passed.

*(NASHI - Nasty Anti Smoking Hypocrites, Innit?)


If you are making one portion of mince and spuds, adding one whole chopped fresh chilli plus a spoonful of fiery chilli pesto is best described as 'overdoing it'.

I now have the feeling back in most of my face, my eyes no longer feel like raisins and I've stopped sweating like a politician on audit day.

Even so, I have a feeling I'm going to regret this in the morning. Toilet paper is on ice.

Hold on now. Dat can't be roight.

It appears that the Irish have noticed something. All that fighting to take Eire out of English control, and all those years of independence have just vanished faster than a pack of cigarettes at an ASH conference. Just as silently and just as completely. While you nipped outside for a smoke, Seamus, while you were at that IRA meeting, Paddy, they stole your country.

There is no point trying to take back Northern Ireland from the English. They don't own it any more. They don't even own England any more, nor do the Scots own Scotland, the Welsh own Wales or you folk own Ireland.

Wondering how this happened? Well, take a look at this press release from the EU concerning that referendum you voted on. It explains everything -


That's why you no longer control your borders or your money. Think it's bad so far?

Wait until the EU police take over from the Garda.

(Updated to include the link. I really shouldn't leave this so late.)

Thursday, 18 November 2010

The truth is out there. Having a smoke.

The most useful thing about Statcounter is the 'referrals' section, which points to where visitors clicked a link to get here. Tracking those back leads to some absolutely fascinating places, including a page of links to real research on smoking and diseases.

ASH don't say much about that sort of research but then, who really believes that ASH have any involvement in any real research at all? Not for them the tedium of formulating theory, collecting data and analysing it. No, they just skip straight to the 'conclusions' part and write the report. The only thing that's amazing is that their approach costs so much.

A favourite of the ASH brigade is second hand smoke, so for any passing zealots, here is a nice little roundup of research that should keep you busy.

I suppose we can take a little cold comfort in the knowledge that the utter lunacy is not confined to smoking. If you take a plane in the US now, you will be legally sexually assaulted by paid perverts. The UK will soon follow suit so watch out for the sparkly uniform on the security guard and the badge that reads 'G. Glitter, child checker'. We used to put people in jail for doing that, soon they'll all have jobs in airports. Are you travelling with a child? Please join the molestation queue at security. If you have no children, join the standard groping queue where our staff will be pleased to grasp your sweaty bits and give you a score out of ten. Don't forget to cough.

The House of Morons has a new and innovative security measure. If there is a terrorist attack, they will be instructed to Run Away. Wow, I bet it took at least five committees to come up with that. As long as the MPs manage to get through the 600-page manual entitled 'How shall we fuck off, O Lord?' before the rug-faced ruffians arrive. Oh, and no smoking, it's more dangerous than being blown into something that could be packaged by Shippams.

In fact, the lunacy has reached the point where even Iain Dale has noticed that all might not be well in Coagulation Land. I'd have thought the mere presence of Jimmy, one of his more care-in-the-community commenters, would have clued him in. Still, if even a Tory is noticing, that's something. It's more than Labour or the Lembits will ever manage. Oh wait, they lost him. He's in the jungle with Shaun Ryder, getting tips on diplomacy and honest speaking. I'd vote for Shaun Ryder. He might be a twat, but he's an honest twat. So he's miles better than what we have now, in any constituency. All we have are lying twats.

And he can eat the eyes and penis of a crocodile without flinching. I saw the clip, someone had it recorded. Gets my vote. I can imagine him facing the likes of Don Shenker and saying 'Get lost or I'll suck your eyes out and bite your dick off' - and having the film clip to prove he's not kidding. That's the kind of politician we need. Honest and hard. The kind who would respond to EU demands for even more money with a curt 'Ram it up and swivel on it' and a slammed-down phone. I'd be happy to subsidise his bar tab and second hovel.

I'm still trying to write that dystopia novel but it's a tough call. Our government are coming up with crazy ideas faster than I can. If Kafka were alive now he'd be making documentaries. Orwell would be a mere newspaper columnist. Douglas Adams would look at it all and throw down his pen in resignation. Monty Python would be the News at Ten.

I had thought of making money transactions dependent on an embedded chip which would mean dissenters might find their balance is suddenly zero. But that's nearly here. I mean, come on, give a writer a break here. Slow down just a little. Even I had not considered employing perverts as airport security guards or paying for foreign convicted murderers to launch law suits against our own government. Even if it is Vinnie the Wire.

I think I'll stick to writing about demons for now. They are far more human than most of the rest of the population of this country.

At least their actions make some kind of sense.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Venus: smokers did that.

I'm between projects, and relaxing anyway because I've nearly earned my limit for the year. Hence the protracted babble.

Frank Davis has a piece on the PR disaster that was the 10:10 exploding children film. He includes an analysis of that particular Green brainfart and comparisons to the Smoke Inquisition, and wonders why they haven't fallen into the same PR hole yet.

They have. Many times. The difference is that their supporters are so appallingly gullible that they actually believe in third hand smoke and smoke-induced bacterial infections. There is nothing ASH can say or do that will make their army of the brain dead think 'Hang on...' or even make them think at all. All they have is 'I don't like it so you can't have it, nyah' and any excuse, no matter how bizarre or stupid, will do. As long as it helps them hate smokers, they'll lap it up.

So let's give them something. Here's an off-the-cuff bizarre claim.


The planet Venus was once a beautiful planet, home to a delightful race of intelligent, peaceful beings. Now it is a hot Hell with surface temperatures that would fry any living thing and pressures that would turn a human into pink paste. Any human. No matter what colour you are on the outside, you're pink on the inside and mushed up, we are all truly equal. Don't tell Harriet.

Yes, land on Venus now and you're a pizza. It even rotates in the wrong direction. How did this happen?

Well, one day those intelligent and peaceful beings found a plant with aromatic leaves. Some of them decided to roll up the leaves and burn them. They found the smell so pleasing that they grew more and more and burned more and more until the air filled with the wonderful scent. The smoke blotted out the sun and increased the density of the air until, rather than a greenhouse effect, the planet experienced something far worse. The public bar effect.

In essence, the entire planet turned into one big snug, the air so dense you could cut it with a knife. They even saw visions of Ena Sharples through the haze. The increasing heat and pressure caused the huge fields of that aromatic plant to combust and within days, the air density caused the planet to slow its rotation and pulverised all those lovely, bunny-cuddling beings into little steaming piles of mince. Coriolis forces in the atmosphere tugged on the surface until the planet's rotation was actually reversed.

If only they had had the Dreadful Arnott and her Action on Squishing and Heat group. But no, they were all smokers, and they didn't see the inevitable fate that awaits all smokers, being flattened by air pressure and then fried like a flat thing in a frying pan. Sad to relate, that planet is now barren and devoid of anything but smoke.

If the smoking ban is lifted, the same could so easily happen here.


Okay, most of you know I just made that up in the last ten minutes. It is total and absolute fabrication. There is not a trace, not a hint, not a molecule of truth in there and anyone calling themselves human would laugh at it. It is patently and transparently utter nonsense.

Find an antismoker and tell them the tale. Print it out (without this bit and the bit above it) and pass it round at work.

You are going to be shocked and disgusted at the result. Sure, most will laugh it off and forget it. But you'll find one. You will. You'll find at least one who will take it as the absolute truth.

PR disaster for the antismokers? It can't happen. Their supporters are so absolutely bigoted that they simply cannot resist anything, anything at all, they can use to berate smokers. Yes there are jokes and flippant asides in there but the antismoker is a humourless creature when it comes to smoking.

You won't find many. There aren't many, not really. But I bet you can find at least one.

Don't wonder what these people think. Wonder whether.

Wild West meets WWW.

On the orders of an 'acting detective inspector', the Fitwatch site has been closed.

Like the Moose, I had to think about this one. On the one hand, I cannot support the rioters because rioting only leads to harsher controls. In fact, our leaders welcome such riots because then they can push for those controls and most people will agree. Just as with the RIPA laws and the anti-tourist laws, people will think the new restrictions will be applied only to the few who actually cause trouble. It amazes me how many people can be fooled by the same trick over and over again.

It's not really about the riots this time. It's about the closure of a website on the instruction of a police officer who has no authority to do that. No court order, no evidence, no due process, just a letter and bang - the site is gone.

Snowolf noticed something. The letter contains no orders to shut the site. Merely a request, but worded in that Mafia-style 'offer you can't refuse' manner.

Trooper Thompson
noticed something else. The letter refers to 'offenders'. Not 'suspects'. We used to have an 'innocent until proven guilty' rule in this country, but Labour did away with that and the Coagulation show no signs of bringing it back. As the Trooper says, in the old days, anyone arrested was 'helping police with their enquiries'. Now, anyone the police want to talk to is automatically an offender.

So while I disagree absolutely with any form of violent protest, who in their right mind could support the closure of any website on the basis of a request backed up by veiled threats, issued by an acting DI whose force refers to those they might want to question as offenders, and all in the absence of any due process of law at all?

Well, there is one consolation. As usual, the actions of the imbeciles put in charge of us have backfired in spectacular fashion. I, for one, was not even aware of the alleged 'advice to offenders' on that website, but I am now.

Once, it was on one page of one website. Since the heavy hand of the law came down, it has gone viral.

The sensible thing would have been to leave it alone, but those words are anathema to the oafs who believe themselves important. So, now, that advice is far more available than it ever would have been if it had been left on one website frequented by a few activists.

Having read it, it is no more controversial than the advice Nightjack used to give, or the sort of thing Old Holborn publishes. It does not advocate running from the law, only not making it too easy for the police to pin something on you. Especially if you didn't actually do anything but just happened to be in the vicinity and were photographed.

Fitwatch support the actions of the rioters. I do not. Rioting will bring down ever more draconian laws and regulations on us all and we will be barely able to move without a stop-and-search. This kind of protest is likely to be far more effective.

Those who agree with tighter controls will imagine they will only be applied to 'student types' but then they are the same people who believe that harassing photographers and forcing tourists to delete their holiday snaps is a fair and reasonable application of anti-terror laws. The ones who believe that the correct application of RIPA is to set up Bin Police and spy on parents who might be sending their children to the 'wrong' school. Idiots, in other words. There are a lot of them.

Even though I can have no sympathy for any rioter who is arrested, this approach by the police cannot be justified. This is not the Wild West. The Sheriff's word is not law. In any sane and sensible world, the 'acting DI' would have his status changed to 'acting Jobseeker' and a full and abject apology would be forthcoming. These things will not happen. There will be a mealy-mouthed justification and that site will stay down. The public will take the side of the police because the public, as a collective, are really pretty dim. They will only see police action against offenders (who have not been arrested, never mind convicted of anything) and they will not understand that officers of the law are not above the courts when it comes to the application of law.

So the general public will accept the police stance and will not be surprised when it happens again. And again and again. When the police declare who is an offender and who must be silenced without all that tedious legal nonsense getting in the way. When this new power filters down through the ranks until one day, everyone stopped by a PCSO is automatically categorised as an offender. No, the public will not be surprised.

The first time they will experience surprise is when it happens to them.

Let this one go and the precedent is set. It's a very dangerous precedent indeed.

Lawyers - you folk should really be paying attention here. The police are about to take a step that will allow them to bypass your entire profession. You'll all be out of work. No more money.

I'm finding it difficult to sympathise, but then the alternative on offer is much worse.