Monday, 31 October 2011

Animals on drugs.

I don't use medicines. I might take an aspirin if I'm in severe pain but it has to be incapacitating. Years ago we were told that a daily aspirin would prevent heart attacks, then we were told ooooh no, aspirin rots your stomach, now it seems it's a cure for cancer. If the people selling it don't know what it does then how can I trust it?

Drugs are tested on animals. Would you rather they were tested on you? Even those that pass animal testing sometimes have awful effects on humans. Animals don't always react the same way as humans to any given chemical. You can stuff down a one-pound slab of chocolate and you might feel full and a bit queasy. That's enough chocolate to kill a Rottweiler. Some birds can eat berries that are toxic to humans. Animal testing isn't a guarantee of safety but other than using criminals (which I'd approve of simply because it would be far more effective than an ASBO as a deterrent) animals are all that's available.

So it's a fact that drugs are tested on animals. There are very strict rules governing animal experiments. Very strict indeed. The UK has not allowed any cosmetic testing on animals for a long time. Animals are not tormented - anyone doing so would face prosecution. Every drug on sale has been tested on animals. Even nicotine patches, which failed to make those beagles quit too.

A celebrity medic, Dr. Robert Winston, wants to have labels on all drug bottles stating that the drugs are safe because they have been tested on animals. Thalidomide was tested on animals, and that turned out... oh.

“Animal research has contributed hugely to physiological medical research in virtually every field. We need to say very clearly it would be unthinkable to take any drug which has not been tested on an intact ­animal. In fact, there is a case for having legislation to make it clear that a particular drug has only been possible for human consumption because of animal testing."
Legislation, Dr. W? Why does it need legislation? If it's a good idea, just do it. You don't need to force companies to do it.

He said every university had an animal ­testing laboratory but their silence made them appear as though they had “something to be ashamed of”.

I suspect their silence has more to do with their strange preference for not being attacked by gibbering maniacs.Of which we have rather more than our share in this country. Folk like the commenter below the story -

What a vile and disgusting thought, Robert Winston if you put this on drugs people will simply not use them . Clearly your a evil man who enjoys inflicting pain on animals that cannot fight back and now you want to brag about it on medicine bottle. I hope i meet you one day so i can replay the compliment.

So, markymarksurrey is quite happy to use pills that don't say they've been tested on animals even though they have been. They all have been. Surely it's the user's right to know this? Then they can decide whether the pills are worth the knowledge of how those pills came to be.

My own avoidance of medication has nothing to do with this. I just don't trust Pharmers.

For everyone else, it seems only fair that they know how their drugs came to market. Animals tried them first. If that knowledge hurts your conscience, don't take the drugs.

You can't decide unless you know, and pretending you don't know just to ease your conscience is dishonest..

Stick those warning labels on medicines. With pictorial representations of the side effects too.

Smokers and drinkers have them, so let's extend this great idea to medicine.

Today's madness in brief...

No links today. It's all in the pages of any paper you care to pick up.

The Crusty Campers outside St.Paul's might disrupt Remembrance Day or they might not. The Mad Mullahs certainly intend to, they have stated that they intend to, and they will have permission for their abusive and disgusting protest. Those soldiers who die in foreign wars didn't ask to be sent there and defacing cenotaphs and disrupting the services should be a crime. As it is, preventing these people disrupting the services is the crime.

Nobody invited the creation of 'Muslim areas' within the UK where MPs and pretty much everyone else is not welcome. Seal those Muslim areas, if that's what they want. Nobody and nothing goes in or out. We'll soon see how much they enjoy exclusivity.

Internet porn has been blamed for psycho killer Vincent Tabak and the Church is considering no longer investing in Internet porn sites. Oh yes, it seems they have been, with large wads of cash just like those councils who employ smoking cessation enforcers whose pensions are funded by tobacco investments. Tabak is nuts, dangerously nuts, and internet porn did not make him nuts. Apparently he was looking up strangulation porn, therefore he must have been nuts to start with.

I can't be bothered with porn any more. Why does it always have to involve anal? That's horrible. Women with rectums you could pitch a tennis ball into without touching the sides. All I can think about is the revolting results when they get older. Plug? You could fit a door in there. And the men come equipped to put out fires, it seems to me. Nobody could fill one of those with blood without passing out, unless they have another pint transfused in before filming. Porn had its heyday in the seventies with normal-sized blokes, no silicone, bad dubbing and 'waka-waka' guitar music. I even remember one that had a storyline. Now it's just silly.

Ban it? Why? I don't need it banned. If you want to avoid it, resist the temptation to type certain combinations of words into Google. Porn doesn't come looking for me so to avoid it, all I need do is not go looking for it. Easy. These banmeisters really need to get a grip.

Next, more government meddling with the cheeeldren. Cameron is incensed that councils aren't getting enough children adopted. There is much muttering about being 'too white and middle class' for the twats in charge to allow adoption. No mention of the ban on smokers but hey, that ban suits me. No overstuffed orphanage will ever force a child into my home because I'll smoke at them. And probably make them live under the floor where they can dig me a wine cellar.

There is disquiet that young girls are skipping meals in order to look like those Halloween creatures in the fashion magazines. The ones that save the NHS money on X-rays because all you need is a sunny day and a window. There is terrible quaking about children getting no exercise and still being excessively thin or maybe morbidly obese, depending which page you're on in today's papers. They are growing fat on junk food while simultaneously wasting away through self-starvation. Quantum physics has a lot to answer for.

They're all getting rickets too. Well, that's no surprise. Watery milk, no meat, so no calcium. Vitamin D is fat-soluble so when you stop all fat intake, you don't get that either. A lack of either Vit D or calcium gives you soft bones that bend when you put weight on them - and the health nuts have removed both from everyone's diet. Okay, not everyone's. Only the gullible, but there are so very many of them.

As for exercise, parents are too scared to let their children outside in case Gary Glitter, who has now acquired the power of flight and can smell an unattended child from half a county away, swoops down and snatches them from the street. Schools don't even allow parents to photograph their own children in school plays because everyone knows that all those parents will take those photos home and masturbate themselves into a coma over the other children in the picture. All parents do this, it must be true because nobody who isn't a parent is likely to want to go to a school play. This is really what head teachers believe now.

In EU-land, Cameron has become noticeably less keen since Sarkozy's 'Le fuck off, Rosbif merde-bouche' speech but Clegg is the same height as Sarkozy and he hates Tories too, so Clegg is now acting as though somebody gives a crap what he's saying. Clegg used to be an MEP and there'll be a pension attached to that. If we leave the EU, pop goes his pension. If we stay in much longer, he might find that pop goes the weasel.

The Euro-users are forming a sub-EU which will tell the non-Euro-users what to do. Obviously enamoured with this notion, Hideous Harman has decided to form a sub-Labour party which does not include Mr. Ed the Talking Arse, nor indeed any men at all. Ladies only in the Harman Harem. Let's just hope they don't get any ideas for internet fund-raisers. Although if you want to turn people off porn, that would do it.

Both Cameron and Moribund now have deputies who are publically taking the piss. Do either of them have the guts to do anything about it? It's not likely, is it?

What's the biggest drain on the NHS today? Smoking? Drinking? Obesity? Salt? Anorexic drunk smoking salty fat children with rickets? Not today. Today it's care in the community that's costing the NHS six billion every year. That's right, all those frothy-mouthed antismokers cost the NHS more than smoking ever did. A tax on madness must surely follow. Meanwhile the NHS is to allow caesarian birthing even if it's not necessary, so women can keep their attractive figure plus a large and rather fetching scar. Dr. Caligula is overjoyed and is ready to rip your child from your bleeding body at a moment's notice. Using his teeth.

In another triumph for quantum science, Cameron vows to continue reducing the deficit left by Labour by making it even bigger. He's not going to change course, that iceberg is a mirage and the ship is unsinkable. Rearrange the deckchairs, that'll fix it. Better yet, do what the EU is doing and sell it all to China.

Today we were also treated to the revelation that posting letters first class on Saturday does not guarantee next day delivery. The trivial detail that there has never been a Sunday delivery is somehow overlooked. Someone, somewhere, worked out how much heavier a Kindle will be when you fill it with electronic books. Yes, really. Once more we have to hear theories on near-death experiences when there is really only one way to know whether there is anything after death - and then it's too late to do anything about it so why worry now?

Moves are afoot to ban laser pointers because dickheads are pointing them at planes and footballers. Meanwhile British scientists plan to build a laser that could tear apart the fabric of spacetime. This will cost 1.5 billion and produce around 100,000 times as much energy as the world's entire electricity production. Since it's science its carbon emissions don't count, just as the Large Hadron Collider produced no carbon during construction and use. Your Dimbulb Specials with added mercury will kill a polar bear if you leave them on but when science uses energy, new polar bears spontaneously generate.

Nothing in the world makes any sense at all any more. Reality plays no part in any aspect of politics, science, health or anything else. Turn the page and reality changes, and all the commenters agree with the new reality while seeing no conflict with the previous reality. You want the globe to warm? Wish it so, and it is so. Anyone arguing with you can be dismissed as a denier. Their reality is wrong.

Sooner or later, something is going to go bang somewhere. There are too many simultaneous realities and the whole lot must eventually collapse.Currently I think the global warming scam will break first and when that first domino goes down the rest will soon follow.

When it happens, it's going to be very interesting indeed.

Best stock up on popcorn.

Sunday, 30 October 2011


Okay, I have a Halloween story that involves no pumpkins and no demons and no monsters and nothing but an old man, a cat and Death. It is for sale at the best price of all. Free. I am lucky to have family who are good at art and will hopefully get some covers done for future productions.

Is it great and wonderful? Weeeelll... I don't think it's my best but it's pretty good and hey, it's free. If you don't like it a refund is available.

It might even explain something to Christianity, if they want to hear. 

Ouch. My teeth are sharper than they used to be.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Second hand enhancement?

One last quickie and then back to work...

Athletes are to be tested for nicotine.

Why? Are sporting events being ruined by high-jumpers snagging their lumps on the bar? Sprinters stopping mid-race to hack up great gobs of phlegm? Perhaps they've caught another relay runner trying to light the baton?

Ah, no. It's because nicotine is a performance enhancing drug.

Yes, if you chew a Snu it'll boost what you do (ahem, Snus manufacturers, that slogan is for sale). Yet if there is a molecule of nicotine on a smoker's clothing, it will kill every antismoker within fifty yards. At the same time, it boosts athletic performance. It is also deadly to pets and children.

Actually, nicotine is only deadly to the gullible and anything that reduces their number can only be good. The less of them that vote at the next election, the better.

So if you smoke in the pub, you're killing everyone around you. If you smoke (or more lilely, use Snus or Electrofags) before an Olympic event, you are boosting your performance unfairly. If you stand near a smoker in the park, you die. If you stand near a smoker before taking part in a race, you're cheating.

I have stuff to write. You work it out.

A classic deflection technique.

On Sunday morning we go back to GMT from Summer Time. For the next six months the clocks will be right, then in March we'll put them all an hour fast again.

Recently there was talk of keeping the clocks an hour fast all the time, and perhaps making them two hours fast in summer.

Oh, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth at that. "We don't want that garlic-scented foreign time! We want PBT (Proper British Time)." The idea was howled down.

Well, it's back. This time with the old psychology trick - if you want people to demand something, tell them someone else says they can't have it. So the permanent summer time is to come into force next year, except you lot can't have it if the Scots veto it.

Look at the comments now. "Those Scots? What does it have to do with them what time we set our clocks to? They want independence anyway so why can't we have our own time zone? Dammit, if we want to be permanently an hour ahead we will be, and no kilted haggis-muncher is going to tell us otherwise."

And so popular support for the first stage of EU time has begun.

In summer, in Scotland, it really doesn't matter if the sun rises at 3 am or 4 am, or whether it sets at 10 pm or 11 pm. It doesn't affect all that many people. Actually, it used to be really disturbing to leave a pub at 11 pm and find it still daylight.

In winter we hardly see the sun at all anyway. So permanent GMT or permanent summer time makes little difference here. In summer it's never properly dark and in winter it's never properly light and what the little hand points to makes no real difference.

The underlying argument is not about the Scots. It's about EU time standardisation. Only it no longer looks like the EU have anything to do with it.

It's now become an English/Scottish argument. Who will win?

The EU, of course.

The Bins are Watching.

It's always struck me as odd that putting stuff into bins counts as fly-tipping. Anyway, apparently it does.

So Shepway District Council have put up shouting lamposts to tell passers-by not to put stuff in the bins they're guarding. These devices also photograph everyone passing, whether they approach the bins or not, and shout at them in case they were thinking of disposing of a sweet wrapper or other evil litter within the bins.

There is Outrage! of course. How dare the council photograph people in public? Erosion of liberties and invasion of privacy!

Well, it's not illegal to photograph anyone in public. Not even if a lamp-post does it. The photographs are a waste of space unless one of them shows someone putting stuff into the bins, which they never will, and the shouting is just going to annoy everyone. Which it does.

An ordinary CCTV would have done the job cheaper. Councils need not worry about the cost because if they run short of cash they can just squeeze the locals for more. It's strange that so much of the Outrage is directed at the photography aspect  - don't these people realise how many times they are officially filmed in any public space now? - and so little directed at the utter waste of money implicit in using high-tech specialist gear to check whether anyone is putting rubbish in a bin.

It's not an erosion of liberties. It's just one more camera to add to the thousands filming us all everywhere we go. That aspect of liberty was eroded away to nothing a long time ago. It's not an invasion of privacy. Anyone can photograph anything or anyone in a public place. It's not surprising those newspaper readers don't know this when it seems half the police officers in the country don't know it either. Two Home Secretaries have publically announced that there is no restriction on photography in public places but it seems some police officers wear their helmets over their ears.

What I see here is a council with an attitude rather like that of the kid made playground monitor. They are in charge of those bins and anyone getting too close has to be told off. It doesn't strike me as sinister, it strikes me as really rather sad.

What it won't do is catch fly-tippers. Since they announce the presence of the cameras to every passer-by, anyone who fancies a bit of fly-tipping will invest in a mask. If they had just put up a silent camera they might have caught someone. Nobody would even notice one more CCTV these days. Having it announce its presence simply sets a challenge to the determined dumper of dross, and all they need is a Halloween mask and a muddy numberplate.

These cameras are just a total waste of money. and further evidence that the councils employ idiots. No more, no less.

If we get one around here I'll fill it with pictures of me, centre digit extended.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Deadwood Posse.

There are moves afoot to end the protected status of deadwood, in that employers are to be allowed to sack freeloaders without giving any reason.

I agree that letting the lazy buggers claim compensation when they're sacked for not doing what they're paid to do is silly. In a contract, you get paid to do something and if you're not doing it, the employer should be allowed to tell you to get lost.

Those who are self-employed are aware of this already. If someone contracts me to do a job and I don't deliver, they don't actually need to sack me. They can just refuse to give me any more contracts. It is in my interest to deliver within the stated time frame even if the results are not what the employer wanted to see. Those who appreciate my honesty will be keen to employ me again. Those who want me to fudge things to fit their agenda, I don't want to deal with again.

If I wasn't honest, I'd be rich, but then I'd have to do a post here on myself.

So okay, fair enough, employers should be able to sack wasters who aren't doing what they're paid for. This new idea goes too far the other way. Why give no reason? If the reason is that the employee is not fulfilling their contract, surely that's a valid reason to dump them?

If you don't need a reason, then at times of belt-tightening, employees will snipe and squeal that someone isn't working even if they are. It will be 'If I don't get him sacked, then it might be me' time. The Deadwood Posse will hunt down those the workforce don't like whether they are productive or not. If a business has five employees, the boss is likely to know who is the facebook-tapping clockwatcher, but if it has hundreds, the boss will be dependent on reports. Dependent on squealers.

Commenters in the Mail include those who want this applied to smokers first. What gives it away as an ASH astroturf is that everyone believes that every smoker in every business takes ten minutes every hour for a smoke break, like a bunch of clones. Smokers are the lazy ones, while the antismokers spending work time on the Mail website to complain how they have no spare time because the smokers aren't pulling their weight are the productive ones.

Should I ever be in a position to employ people, one of the interview questions will ask about their attitudes towards smoking. If they are antismokers they don't get the job. I am not paying people to spend time online whining about how much they have to do. I'd rather they took a smoke break and came back to do some real work.

If I have 60 samples to deal with, smoke breaks are at 15, 30 and 45. Not timed. When you have to do exactly the same thing 60 times it is essential to take breaks and it is important to know when they'll be. Those samples have to be done on the day they arrive so anything that pushes you into working faster is good. If there were two of us, breaks would be at 30 and at the end. The work would be done. 

If I ever had to sack someone I would consider it good manners to give a reason. Even if that reason was no more than 'The business has no money', there should be a reason. The idea of tapping someone on the shoulder and saying 'You. Out' with no explanation sounds a bit too Victorian for my tastes.

The old way, whereby the useless could claim a wad of cash when sacked for being useless, was no good. This new way, when anyone can be sacked on a whim for no reason, is no good either. The ideal lies somewhere between.

What is really surprising is that, given the events of recent days, Cameron thinks this is a good idea. Has the man no connection with reality at all?

Battling modernity.

Blogging will be a little random until I have a story for Halloween - I have a few days left.

I've also looked into using PayPal for direct sales of EBooks but that's bewildering and complicated. Not just on the PayPal side. Unlike real books, Ebooks attract VAT and if I sell them direct I'll have to deal with that. It's easier to point to the online selling points so I don't have to risk doing a Vince Cable on VAT. I wouldn't want to be seen to be as dim as a Cabinet minister.

I could also sell signed copies of the real books by post - I can match Amazon for price including UK postage. Even then, inserting PayPal into a blog isn't easy. Might be easier on a proper website.

As for a tips jar on here - how? The nearest I can find is a 'donate' button which implies I'm a charity, and I'm not.

There's one good result. I have managed to get money from PayPal into my bank account. Only a little bit so far but the principle is important because it's how the American publisher pays me. In the past, PayPal money mostly accrued from selling old junk on eBay and I used it to buy more junk on eBay. It never reached levels worth taking out as cash. If that book, or one of the later ones, should go all Harry Potter (fingers crossed that the Bible Belt get hold of it), well, eBay just doesn't have enough attractive junk for that sort of money.

Anyway, I'm wary of eBay these days. Apparently the latest scam involves someone buying your stuff and paying with PayPal then claiming it's not what they expected and sending it back. Once you sign for the parcel, PayPal take that as proof you've had the goods back and refund the buyer. However, the parcel just contains a few lumps of wood. So the PayPal/eBay link isn't as good as it sounds.

I'm still battling PayPal's site for something I can understand but when I've grasped the technospeak, I'll be able to sell books direct. Signed by the author with his own nicotine-stained fingers complete with whisky tremors. I won't bother selling eBooks direct because of the VAT nonsense and because I can't add anything to them by signing them.

The good part about modern publishing is that you can buy just a few books at a time. There is no 'print run' where someone with racks of metal letters assembles the book in reverse, page by page, so there's no minimum order to make it cost-effective. Now, someone calls up a file on a computer and presses 'print' and you can buy just one. In the old days, if I had self-published books, I'd have had to buy a few hundred. These days I buy batches of ten and buy the next batch when the previous one is sold.

Okay. Between thinking up a non-cliche Halloween story, which is a lot harder than it sounds, and swearing at the PayPal site, things could be quiet for a few days.

Or I might say 'To hell with it all' and post something anyway.

You never know.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011


Fizzy drinks have been in the Righteous crosshairs for some time, so it's really no surprise to find it promoted to 'addiction'.

Two cans a week? You're an addict and you will soon be out knifing pensioners for your next Fanta fix.

Is this ridiculous enough for the drones to call a halt to the whole circus? Nope. Commenters are already blaming caffeine and demanding something be done. The dopes drone ever onwards, believing all the crap they are fed without question. What will it take to get these people to actually think for a moment? A claim that oak trees are plotting to take over the world? The deadly toxicity of dandelions? Bed-bugs carrying third hand smoke between hotel rooms (wait, I've already used that one and yes, they believed it). There are even those who believe that electrical sockets leak electricity if they are switched on with nothing plugged in.

No wonder the Righteous are doing so well. The general public's gullibility has no floor.

I wonder what the Righteous do for enjoyment? I suspect they derive most pleasure in life from threading wire through kittens' eyes and frying newly-hatched ducklings for breakfast.

That sets them up for a full day of tormenting the rest of us.

Update: A prediction. I expect to see, by the end of the year at the latest, calls to stop the frequent multi-buy offers on cans of pop. I don't think they'll try minimum pricing yet but they're confident enough so maybe.

How to lose friends and alienate people.

The Occupiers are busy turning into a more authortitarian version of that which they claim to despise. No surprise, the Righteous wasted no time moving in on them, and now their brave new world is starting to look exactly like the old one but without a roof. Know your enemy, Occupiers, it's not always who it seems to be.

Next, the protest has the potential to stop the Remembrance Day service at St. Paul's. Well, even Hitler didn't manage to close the cathedral but the crusties have done it, and just in time to disrupt the remembrance of those who died to keep it open. They must be so proud. Wave goodbye to the last vestiges of public support, Occupiers. Don't imagine you'll be allowed to leave. Your Righteous handlers won't let you.

Inside the hollow halls of Wastemonster, the fantasy belief in public support is even more bizarre than outside.

Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, described the vote as “a humiliation” for the Prime Minister. “If he can’t win the argument with his own backbenchers, how can the country have confidence that he can win the arguments that matter for Britain?” he said. 

It appears Moribund hasn't been paying attention here. The very fact that all three leaders ordered their MPs to vote against something most people want is enough to destroy confidence not only in Cameron, but in his own party too.The vote is not the humiliation for Cameron. That lies in his orders to vote against one of the main things he promised in order to get elected. He does not see that.

Mr Cameron’s aides insisted that he would emerge from the rebellion with the respect of voters because he had refused to back down.“The Prime Minister is standing firm on his policy. He doesn’t have any regrets,” said a Downing Street source.

The respect of voters because he refused to back down? He's continually backed down on the very issue he was voted in to deliver, namely a referendum on the EU or at least a halt to handing over more power. From this voter's perspective, he has not 'refused to back down'. He has chickened out and declared, very clearly, that he never intended to deliver on his election promises. And he thinks that earns him respect?

A No10 spokesman said: “The House of Commons has clearly voted against this motion.

Yes, and everyone out here in reality-land knows that's because they were all ordered to, backed with threats. Only those who decided their necks were worth more than their seats voted for the motion. The rest will find out what the public think at the next election.

So the public are fully behind the crusties outside Parliament and also fully behind the demented insular dictators inside.

We are also fully behind controls on smoking, controls on booze, controls on food, green taxes on fuel, and many, many other things. We are fully behind public sector strikes and the death-fest that is the NHS. We are fully behind abortion and fully behind anti-abortion. Fully supportive of the Church and of gay marriage and of diversity and of immigration and... well, all I can say is, that's one hell of a big behind, and we're all behind both cheeks of it.

I suppose that's why so much shit lands on us all. Perhaps it's time we stopped being behind and tried the view from the front for a change.

Protests achieve nothing. There's no point taking to the streets when the windows in Westminster are so covered in drool nobody can see through them any more. Fight? With what? Pitchforks against tasers?

Government, crusties, fake-charities, pressure groups, all of them have one common interest. Money. Actually, that's their only interest. They don't produce anything so the money they depend on comes from us. In taxes.

The most effective way to bring all of this crashing down would be a mass resignation. If everyone in the private sector handed in their notice, every business declared itself bankrupt and closed, and every single one of us went onto benefits,. the country would stop in a week. That's not going to happen. Too many people have huge mortgages and loans, they won't risk being homeless and nobody could blame them.

There are small things we can all do. Tiny changes that, spread over millions, soon add up. Get your tobacco and booze somewhere cheaper for a start. If you're in Scotland, get a few friends together and order a batch from a depot in England. You can then access all those offers Oily Al has just denied you. He cannot stop you, the EU won't let him. Take up brewing. Get your tobacco abroad. Or grow it yourself.

Upgrade your car or phone? Why bother? Everything you buy puts a little more tax into government coffers. You don't need a bigger TV, just sit closer to the one you have. You don't need a faster car, it will only cost you more in speed cameras and insurance and petrol anyway. Posh phones use the same network as cheap ones, first class travel gets you there at the same time as second class travel, and all these things not only save you money, they put less into the tax box too.

Look at things and think 'Do I need that enough to give this government 20% of the price?' When you're talking about high-ticket items, that 20% can be a lot of money and most of the time it's on things you don't need anyway. How many times have you brought an impulse-buy home and thought 'Why did I buy that?' I've done it and I bet most people have too.

You can make bread for less than the price of an additive-rich pre-sliced loaf, you can use beef dripping as lard, frying oil and even as a butter substitute. You can swap things rather than dumping your thing and buying the other thing. Second-hand items can often be just as good as the new item and they can be extremely cheap. Sometimes free.

These are all small things and individually, they are of little consequence. Yet look at the panic when Tesco profits dip a little. People aren't wasting all their money, the economy is doomed! If many people do small things, they have a big effect.

Spend less. Then earn less. Work less hard. Earn enough to stay alive (I'm actually below that at the moment and I don't recommend it). Don't bust a gut for stuff you don't really need. That's what's really killing you, not the smoke or the booze or the fat or the salt. When you add it all up, more than half of what you work for is going to the government and they'll use that money to boss you around. You are literally dying to pay tax.

Pay less tax and they'll die, rather than you. Feel no guilt, these people are not your friends.

It's the only weapon we have left. Use it.

Monday, 24 October 2011

When is religion not religion?

Why, when it's religion of course.

If you don't like foxhunting and are an animal rights activist who will get some of your employers' mates arrested and charged, you are allowed to declare the gross unfairness of your subsequent sacking.

The 43-year-old has been permitted to take his claim to an employment tribunal after a judge’s landmark ruling said his views on fox hunting should be placed on the same legal footing as religious beliefs. 

If you are a Christian whose response to the idea of gay marriage is 'I don't like it', but you take no action and suggest no action to prevent it happening, then you are an evil homophobe who must be expelled from polite people's company.

So if all beliefs are to receive the same consideration as religious beliefs, that must mean that all beliefs
receive... consideration at all.

It doesn't work that way though. Religious beliefs only count as religious beliefs if they are approved beliefs. Non-approved beliefs are no longer counted as religious beliefs even if they stem from religion.

My head hurts. I think I'm going to have a little lie down.

Drinking and thinking.

Things that rhyme go naturally together. We should maybe rename smoking as 'sminking' because it's in there too.  If the tepid drones want to call it 'stinking' that's okay. I don't care any more. They do none of these things.

I've been thinking as well as. This is where most of the odd stories come from - booze dreams and there have been amazing ones - but waking thinking is different.

Today the Cameroid, the Clog and the Moribund will direct their MPs to pretend that nobody wants a referendum on the EU. Some will say, and have said, that with the country skint we should not spend money on a referendum. Instead we should continue to hand over billions to the EU for no benefit. Let the drooling ones speak because every idiot is allowed a say. Even an MP.

What I have pondered on is why. Why do all the main party leaders want to keep the EU? It has demonstrably done nothing to enhance this country and has done much to destroy it. So why keep it?

I think they're scared.

None of them want to actually do anything. None of them want the real responsibility of running a country. Look at the Cameroid, Prime Monster, dealing personally with the issue of carrier bags in supermarkets. That's his level. That is the extent of his expertise. That's all he has. Running a whole country is beyond him. Far easier to let the wrinkly multi-chinned demons of the EU take control, and leave him to sort out fat tax and salt restrictions.

The Cameroid is not a Prime Monster and was never likely to be one. He is a middle manager in a low-end business and that is all he will ever be.

Thanks to him and to the Blur and the Gorgon before him, the UK is a low-end business now.  As long as he is there, that's all we will ever be.

I'm trying to think of a word beyond 'useless' here. Where Cameron is concerned, we need a whole new dictionary of useless.

New booze name.

Dick Puddlecote has found a new booze name. Drunkorexia is a world coined by a bunch of self-important idiots and allegedly describes the act of saving calories on food in order to use them on booze.

I used to be a student, long ago. In more recent years, I have recoiled at the 9 am Friday lecture when faced with a class full of agricultural students. Thursday night was booze night for those students. The wave of exhaled alcohol could knock you over. They all passed the unit I taught and I do not do political correctness. They passed on merit, every one of them. I spoke to them as agricultural students, I told them they were a bunch of idle fuckers more than once, I described my idea of having failures' heads on poles at the doorways to encourage attention, I used all my old English teacher's tricks including the one where I could make someone twice my size cower, and was in the head of department's office more often than I was in the headmaster's office at school. That's pretty often.

Still, they all left with genuine passes and I don't work there any more.

Some students can booze all night and still be at lectures in the morning. Those that can't should not be boozing all night. It's not complicated. Students can live on food that would make we oldies have heart attacks and can drink to levels we can only remember fondly.

Drunkorexia is a ridiculous term. We did not hold back on food in order to drink for calorie reasons. We ate tripe, we made pig's head brawn (we could get a whole head for 20 pence and make three days of food out of it in rabbit-shaped jelly moulds and stuck the eyes to the outside of the front door and left the skull out for the ants to clean - twenty pence could get a lot of fun in those days), we had trotters and faggots (not the American kind) and crab and pigeon and rabbit and all manner of cheap but nutritious food. Calories? Those only applied in chemistry class.

We held back on the money for food, not the food. We were not anorexic. To compare the saving of money by buying cheap and natural rather than boxed and processed food to real anorexia is beyond insulting to those who suffer from a real anorexic issue.

Frankly,. those who coined this term 'drunkorexia' are disgusting. Students save money, not calories, when opting for cheap food so they'll have enough for a few overpriced drinks. Anorexics have a genuine problem which is life-threatening.

To attempt to conflate the two, as the University of Missouri has done, is simply appalling.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

One for the PC watchers.

Just for you Politically Correct Righteous out there. It has a weird old bloke, cheeeldren, and... well, just have a listen. If you look up this guy on YouTube, make sure you have time to waste.

Random acts of legality.

Smoking Hot's blog details the continued harassment by the UK Border Agency of people carrying perfectly legal products fromonecountry to another. In that case, it's tobacco. Somewhere there must surely be another blog detailing the harrassment of those carrying legal booze.

Soon there's certain to be one in Scotland detailing the new border booze controls at the border with England.

UKBA make up the law as they go among. now they are confiscating anything they want, with no apparent interest in whether that thing is legal or not.

When I was about thirteen, my parents took me to Spain. I came back with a couple of fencing foils which are still at my parents' house. They didn't fit in suitcases so we had them in the overhead lockers, taped together and the ends covered. Nobody minded. Air crew and customs didn't bat an eyelid. Try getting on a plane with a nail file now.

Flick knives have been illegal for as long as I can remember. Butterfly knives and sword canes only became illegal in recent years. I used to have a sword cane, bought in a high street shop in Cardiff, but broke it years ago while using it for weed-whacking. Cheap steel just wasn't up to the job. It's not possible to get another one now.

In about 1976, a friend and I got off the train in Cardiff after a week of camping and went to the shops. We still had sheath knives on our belts. Coupled with ruicksacks and the obvious appearnace of teenagers who had slept in their clothes for a week, nobody so much as raised an eyebrow.

Most of the things pictured with the stern-looking idiot in the article are not illegal. Sure, carrying them around the street would likely get you arrested for having an offensive weapon because a machete doesn't really have a 'tool' application in the average urban setting. It is not illegal to have one in your suitcase but you might be on dodgy ground if it was strapped to your belt.

The knuckleduster might or might not be illegal, I don't know, but it looks highly impractical. The inner edge will snap your fingers if you hit anyone with force. Police batons illegal? But... but... every policeman is in possession of one. Arrest them all at once!

Stun guns are not legal in the UK. Unless you are a State employee. Just as farmers, but not cows, are allowed to have cattle prods.

So what is legal in the UK? Well, have you seen 'The Chronicles of Riddick'? If so, remember those foot-long curved blades he used? Can you buiy them in the UK? Scroll down this page and order to your heart's content. They are legal.

Swords? Knives? Blades-UK is well versed in the legal side of weaponry, what you can and cannot buy, what you can and cannot import, so take a few moments to enjoy seven pages of recently-added items. These range from the ornamental (don't swing it around or the handle might come off) to the fully functional, meaning you can hack your way through a joist with it.

Machetes? Ha ha ha. Mere fruit peelers compared with some of the blades you can have delivered to your home. Perfectly legally.

Yet UKBA will Righteously deprive you of anything sharper than a banana and tell you it's illegal and there will be no appeal.

Of course, don't go outside carrying one. Any day now, I expect to have the police called by a neighbour because I cut back the bamboo with a grass hook (a form of sickle) rather than clipping it stem by stem with piddly little secateurs.

Then they'll come for the secateurs...

"Flash! I love you but...

...we only have fourteen hours to save the universe!"

Possibly the cheesiest and most disjointed line in cinematic history there, but it seems to have caught on in Westminster and in General Pompous Ass circles lately. Remember the Brown Gorgon 'saving the world'? How about the Green men and 'we have a matter of weeks to save the planet'? Their Armageddon prophecies were as reliable as the usual 'The End is Nigh' nutters but they keep trying.

Now Dai Cameroid is wearing the 'Repent' sandwich boards and claims the world will end in less than a week unless we give him all our money.

I wonder, if I put up a Paypal button and promise to make the sun rise in the morning if you all pay me, will it work? It used to work a treat for the druids. Seems to be working for Cameron too.

It's interesting theat the Brown Gorgon disappeared when Cameron appeared. Then Cameron switched to "I Love the EU" mode, "I'm Listening But You're Wrong" mode, and now '"Save the World" mode.

Surely the consipracy theorists have missed a trick here? It's obvious that the Gorgon has kidnapped the Tory Prime Monster and is now in his place with a mask on.

The thing is, who has the courage to see what's beneath that mask? It would take a strong stomach indeed.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

What metal thieves are good for.

In the dystopia I'm desperately trying to keep ahead of, nobody has actual money. It's a socialist paradise. Everyone has an embedded chip which carries, along with personal data and lots of other stuff, their bank balance. Nobody appears to pay income tax - in fact, tax is deducted before you're paid but nobody knows at what rate because all they see is the final amount they get. Nobody knows their pre-tax salary.

So there is absolute control over every transaction and tax on every transaction. How much tax? Nobody knows. An amount is deducted from the buyer's balance and a smaller amount is added to the seller's balance but at no point is the tax amount declared. Neither party knows the actual price, you just buy things, and you are required to explain yourself if you are not buying things because you are hampering the economy. Even if you sell stuff via the fictional equivalent of eBay, the transaction must be electronic and the bid you see on your screen isn't quite what the buyer sees on his. Emails passed between seller and buyer are auto-edited on the way.

How to make this happen? First you ban cash. Then cheques (I know, they started with the wrong one here) so everything is done via a credit card. These already have chips, and already can be integrated into phones. It's only a tiny step to integrate them into your implanted ID chip and just look how convenient it is. You can't lose it, you can't go right round the supermarket and then find you've left your card at home, and it can't be stolen. Perfect. People will fight each other to be the first to get this.

That's the fiction. I wondered how to go about banning cash from this imaginary world. What pretext could I use?

Ah, here it is. Once again, life is ahead of me.

You know, I've been wondering about all those maniacs stealing live cables and why it's so difficult to find scrapyards dealing in large amounts of copper wire.

Louisiana has made excellent use of those metal thieves. How long before we do, I wonder?

Best get back to writing.

Home and laughing.

Considering where I've been tonight, this story had me rolling about with laughter.

Naturally I looked to see how many Puritans were in the worst rated comments, and at the moment there are none. Not one red arrowed comment. Not one saying 'I think this is a good idea'. Then again, they won't be awake at the moment if they're following orders like good little drones.

I wonder, is there anyone left who does not now see this as incremental prohibition? Limits per week, limits per session, three days off, then four, then...

Time to get brewing.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Making stuff up for money.

Apologies to those caught in the Spam filter (except to the ones that really were spam). I must check in there more often.

Anyhow, just before I go out, a quick note on the writing side of business, since the science side is currently on hold while the Stuff goes through independent testing. In a nutshell, it's building up slowly but far too slowly. I don't write fast enough to pump out pot-boilers and I'm hampered by scientific training that forces me to check facts even when writing fiction. I actually have to restrain myself from putting a list of references in the back.

Reviews are generally very good, even on the free books on Smashwords, and there's another review out today (after my own babblings as a guest on there) which is also good. So I'm getting something right. That does not translate into sales immediately because there aren't yet enough books with my name on them for people to buy.

The free books help a little. Smashwords allows me to see pageviews as well as sales, and every free book produces a peak in pageviews on the other books I have on there. Not sales, not yet, but more and more people have at least now seen the name and next time they see it, they might think 'I've heard of him'.

I can't say if this affects how Jessica's Trap is doing until I get the next quarterly report. The Amazon price is irritating because it's a few pennies over that £10 psychological barrier - and I can match Amazon's price, including UK postage, for signed copies even though I have to order them from the US. 

In the meantime, income is poor. I have an Email inviting me to take on advertising but I am wary because of Pat Nurse's experiences with such things. I don't want to see antismoker, antidrinker, antifattie ads appearing here. I certainly don't want to see the Cameroid, the Clegg or the Moribund gurning out of my blog with 'Vote for me, peasant' next to them. Yet it is income and all income must be considered. Although some principles are not for sale. I'll have to find out whether there is any control over the ads.

Anyway, no work tonight. Out for Smoky-Drinky. Then, I thnk, I should try to work up a short tale of terror in time for Halloween.

Which has the advantage of being both indoors and cheap. There isn't a public venue of any kind left that can make that claim.

No referendum.

Out for a Smoky-Drinky tonight, hence the early posting.

On Monday, Cameron will demonstrate to the nation exactly how important our opinion is to him, that is, not in the slightest. Fortunately, Ed Moribund and Little Nicky are following suit - all of the MPs of all three main parties are to be whipped into voting against letting the plebs have any say in their own lives.

(Just taking a moment to savour the image of all those MPs being soundly whipped. I know it doesn't really mean that but I can dream).

Why do I say 'fortunately'? Well, if one of those parties defied the EU and were to allow a free vote, or even to whip their members into voting for a referendum, they'd do astoundingly well at the next election. I don't want them to do well. Any of them. That's why I am delighted to see them all demonstrate their contempt for the people of this country so clearly. This might wake up a lot more of their drones.

The referendum on offer is no use. It's a three-way choice with two choices involving staying in the EU so it's biased for an 'in' win from the outset. I see no purpose in that referendum other than to con us into accidentally voting to stay in. It's not even worth the debate. So let's not bother with a referendum at all.

Instead, let's invent our own. It's easy. If you want to stay enslaved to the EU and keep handing over millions every day to people you have never and will never be allowed to vote for, then at the next election, vote for and MP from any of the main parties.

If you want to leave the EU, vote for UKIP.

Easy. A simple, two-way choice and there is no way Cameron can fudge or ignore the results. There's your referendum, right there. Truth be told, it was there at the last election but the LibLabCon Triad conned us all with promises and lies. Those lies are about to be laid bare for all to see.

At the next election, all three of the lying toads will promise more controls over their EU puppet masters but it won't work next time. Not once they have demonstrated, this coming Monday, that they are committed to keeping us all under that thorny EU thumb. Every MP who votes to silence the people will be reminded of that at the hustings. Every one of them.

Those that rebel are threatened with deselection. I wonder, what happens if they simply respond 'Up yours' and leave the party? Does that trigger an immediate by-election or do they continue in Parliament as an independent MP? That would be interesting, because it would tell us whether we vote for representatives or for parties.

And what if enough of them leave the main parties, so that no party has enough left to form a viable government? That must surely trigger a general election and if that happens so soon after this demonstration of contempt for the electorate, the results could be interesting indeed. Especially as UKIP would have a whole raft of potential candidates (assuming at least some of the defectors join UKIP) who will be instantly popular in their constituencies.

So let them vote down this referendum. Let them demonstrate to the people of this country what they really stand for. Let's have a landslide 'no' vote on Monday from all three parties and let every newspaper report it.

What will be really, really interesting is whether the EU can force a second general election if it's won by people they don't like. They do it every time a referendum goes against them. Can they - dare they - do it with a general election?

Let's test them.

Gadfly squished.

Gadfly, the man who oppressed his people and terrorised them with things like dragging them out and executing them without trial has been... dragged out and executed without trial. There's a collection of grisly pictures at Barking Spider's place and, unlike the Omightbe Bin Laden episode, it does look very much like the Gadfly in the pictures.

On the one hand, he did deserve it. It's no more than he did to an awful lot of people.

On the other hand, it makes those who did it no better than him. You can't object to torture and summary execution by using torture and summary execution. So it looks like no change in Libya after all.

It's a particular shame because if he had gone on trial, there'd have been a few self-important people sweating about what he might say, what deals he might reveal. So perhaps it wasn't just a heat-of-the-moment thing.

Anyway, The Cameroid has his 'I am somebody important' hat on to tell us all of this momentous happening. Then he is going to ignore the will of his people, tax them into little icebergs this winter, continue funding all those who want to force us to live their way, continue adding to the petty regulations and trivial offences with huge fines attached, and carry on letting the EU take control.

He might want to look again at those photos. So might Don Shenker, the Dreadful Arnott and the BMA, among others.

They'll scoff and say 'It'll never happen to us'. They'll laugh and declare that the people they torment will never fight back. Because, in their minds, the Gadffly never scoffed or laughed or said those things.

And neither did any of the other dictators.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

All in one!

Finally, the junk science comes together in one article and the only journal that will publish it is the Daily Mail.

In this particular invented scare story, a 42-year-old woman is computer-aged to what she would look like at 52 if any of the rubbish was true. For reference, I am 51, smoke, drink, ignore all guidelines, eat what the hell I like, haven't been inside a gymnasium since school (and rarely even then), and have none of the symptoms described. I am also not obese and don't have cancer or gallstones or kidney stones or anything else wrong with me.

I often have bags under my eyes but that's due to lack of sleep brought on by an excessive attraction to espresso. Yes, I drink caffeine too, and have no idea how much per day so don't ask.

So, two glasses of wine a day will give you the complexion of WC Fields in a mere ten years. Really? Wine isn't even proper drinking. It's what you drink when you're off the booze. If WC Fields had two glasses of wine in a day he'd have died of withdrawal. He was, shall we say, considerably more efficient at ridding the local environment of booze and it took him longer than a decade to get that famous red nose.

Smoking will turn you as grey as John Major and eating sugar will turn you into Mr. Blobby. Oh, the drones lap it up. The idea that almost nobody looks as good at 52 as they did at 42 (without surgical intervention) simply doesn't occur. The concept of a computer model that is designed by prohibitionists to show exactly what the prohibitionists want it to show is way too difficult to grasp. I'd pity the simpletons if I didn't hate them so much.

I think my favourite simpleton so far has to be Very Female Ex-pat.

Ewww. Lisa, England must stink. Smokers are so gross. Filthy from the inside-out. For sure, those who binge drink are also filthy on the inside, and stink, too, but those of us who drink with moderation and to accompany our fine dining, are far from stinky, whereas smokers most certainly are stinky." - Very Female Ex-Pat, Japan, 20/10/2011 2:04 

It's okay when she drinks but everyone else is disgusting. Especially smokers, who can see what's coming for her because we've been through the same template, but poor dopey VFE is happy in her bigotry and convinced it can't happen to her. Much as a lot of vapers are now - they think stopping smoking tobacco counts as stopping smoking, but it was never about the tobacco. It was about the act of smoking. The sights are still on you folks.

Here she is again, doing a CAMRA.

It's not wine, it's the rest of the rubbish people consume. Why pick on wine when people are stuffing their faces with soft drinks, sugar-laden snacks and other stodge. Leave wine out of this equation. - Very Female Ex-Pat, Japan, 20/10/2011 0:25 

'Don't ban me. Ban them instead and I'll support you.' It didn't work for CAMRA and it won't work for you, VFE. You see, these people plan to 'ban them' as well as you, not instead of. You're trying to deflect a cluster bomb five feet to the left. It won't help.

There it is, all in one. Smoking, drinking and eating. Any of those things will make you look like Herman Munster's ugly brother even though it never actually does in real life. But experts have said and studies have shown and like Climatology, computer models are real and real life is just in the imagination of heretics.

It's funny to watch this wino squirm while still, still bashing smokers. She has the mentality of someone looking up and seeing a piano-shaped object and wondering why it's getting bigger.

One day it'll hit her.

Live forever but don't get old.

We're not supposed to be getting old. We're all going to die of smoking or drinking or obesity and if we manage to get through all that a satellite will land on us, or the Earth will rise up and swallow us, or we're all going to melt, or polar bears and PETA-bred sharks will eat us, or something. The bottom line is, we're all going to die and soon.

And yet, all over the blogs today is the beginning of a new application of the anti-tobacco template. This time it's denormalising spare bedrooms. Live in a house the Righteous declare bigger than your needs? You must be made to feel shame and the mob must be turned against you. The Mail Mob has already started in the comments. Casualty departments will soon be full of people with overjerked knees. All that knee-jerking is costing the NHS money!

It's aimed at the elderly to start with, because they're easy targets, but it'll progress. It always does. Eating is now firmly into the 'for the cheeeldren' phase. This new denormalisation will follow exactly the same pattern and still the drones won't notice.

And yet, how can this be a problem if we're all going to die? How can there be a problem with an ageing population when we're all dropping in the street while lumps erupt all over us because of the terrible lifestyles we lead, lifestyles that must be corrected so we'll live longer even though that's causing problems? In fact, we're about to be able to live to 150. Imagine that - eighty or ninety years of hearing the whine of 'I'm paying for your pension'. Smoking is a better option, you then spend less time hearing the whine of 'I'm paying for your NHS treatment' from exactly the same people, none of whom realise that they aren't paying for any of it. Their money is paying, but that money was taken from them by force and they have no say in how it's spent..Explaining that to them is futile. Don't bother.

It doesn't matter how healthy you are if you can't afford heat. In fact, the less fat you have on you, the sooner you'll freeze to death. Perhaps that's the real reason behind the Government's insistence we all slim down. Makes us easier to kill off in the winter. That'll soon solve the pensions crisis and the 'costing me money' crowd won't mind at all... well, until they see the bill for Granny's funeral.

Can't complain though. No, seriously, you can't. If you talk too much about money and food, you're now a psychopath, and you'll be locked away and your home and property given away to the drones, to keep them voting the right way. Jamie Oliver had better watch his step. He talks of nothing else. Then again, he's also oblivious to the feelings of others and convinced that his way of life is the only right one, so there might be something in it after all.

Every cloud has a silver lining and when you're looking for ideas for a dystopian tale, the news is a rich seam these days. Knowing the template makes it easy to extrapolate those current reports into the future - although I'll have to write faster than the Righteous can move and they're getting pretty quick these days.

All of the above is not the product of weeks or months of writerly research. Not at all. All of those stories are in the current online issue of the Daily Mail. All of that is just one day's worth. Contradictions abound within the same issue but hardly anyone notices.

I'd better ramp up the writing rate. I already had State allocated housing in the story and they're catching up fast on that one. Next they'll...

No, better not say anything.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


(A quick drive-by blog this evening. I have an article to finish by tomorrow).

There is much consternation over Asda's pricing of a box of Budweiser at less than 50p a bottle. It's going to cause binge drinking! People might have a good time! Something must be done! Theeenk of the cheeeldren!

Well, as far as I am concerned, that's still too high a price for Budweiser. You get 24 bottles in that box and reading the article, you'd be forgiven for thinking that everyone buying such a box plans to drink the whole thing themselves at one sitting. Not everyone does.

I don't buy a lot of beer. Sometimes I can get a box of Boddington's or John Smith's on special offer and a 12-can box will last about a week. Seriously. Too much at one sitting and I'm visiting the wee room at all hours and it's far too cold for nocturnal urination now. Beer and cider are normally early-evening drinks, whisky or brandy are the late-evening drinks because of the low volume involved. Well, relatively low volume anyway.

I have to say, I appreciate those special offers so I can get a beer supply in at low price. It doesn't go off too quickly so you can stock up for weeks in advance if there's a good offer on. 

Bargain drink deals from supermarkets have been criticised by doctors, the  police and the charity Alcohol Concern for fuelling binge drinking among the  young, resulting in violence, disorder and ill-health.

Well, you could argue that the cheap booze fuels the binge, but really, some people are just going to binge and to hell with the cost. Look at heroin: it's illegal and expensive but people get it anyway. How do they afford it? Often by mugging people for the money. Make the binge drinkers' 'hit' expensive and they'll steal the money too.  The drink is not the problem. It's the yobbish drinker that causes problems -and that's because they can get away with it. "He was plastered, Yer Onna," is a common attempt at mitigation these days.

The essence of the article is that Asda are 'irresponsible' for selling bat's piss at that price. I rarely visit Asda, not for any nefarious reason, it's just that Morrison's and Tesco are much closer. If I were to visit, here's what Asda are responsible for in my book.

Making sure the trolleys work and mostly go in roughly the direction you want them to go. Stacking things so that they don't fall on customers. Making sure the food isn't mouldy.and doesn't have rats in it. Making sure the till operators can operate tills and don't bite the customers. That's the sort of thing they are responsible for. They are not responsible for what you do with your purchases once you've left the shop.

If you buy a baseball bat in there and use it to mug pensioners, if you buy a pack of bacon and wave it at a passing Jewish parade, if you buy rat poison and bake it into a cake for the Church fete, are Asda responsible?

No. If I sell you a book and you use it to start a fire, my selling you the book does not make me responsible for your arsonist tendencies (although I might put 'Please read responsibly' on the next one just for fun). Likewise, if I buy two bottles of whisky in a supermarket, it is not the supermarket's responsibility to advise me not to pour both into a bucket, add a splash of mineral water and down the lot in one swallow.

I'm not going to do that. Whisky is far too expensive to waste like that. The point is, if I were to do that, it is not the responsibility of whoever sold me the whisky. The responsibility for such a wasteful act and the horrible stomach-emptying-through-every-orifice consequences would be mine, and mine alone.

If you sell me booze, it becomes my booze the moment I pay for it. Not your booze and not your responsibility. I can drink it at a pace that still allows me to write without too many mistakes, or I can down it until the most coherent vocalisation I can manage is 'Graaaah' and can no longer spell it. My choice, and if I make the wrong one, my problem.

Oh, I know, 'cost to the NHS'. Sod them. I've paid in far more than I could ever use. If you don't want your taxes paying for my treatment, don't worry about it. Mine have more than covered anything I might one day need. Currently I'm one of those paying in and not taking out so take the 'cost to the NHS' and ram it up the nearest Lansley. The only way you'll ever stop paying for it is to close it down, you know. Nothing else will change that. Even if all known diseases were cured tomorrow, the NHS will still spend as much.

Blaming the supermarkets for what they sell is just ignoring the real problem. Drunken louts are drunken louts and as long as the courts accept 'drunk' as an excuse for 'lout' that will not change. The price is irrelevant - these are louts, they will steal to get the money or they will buy dodgy backstreet brews and they will get drunk anyway.

Meanwhile, those of us who are not louts pay the penalty in higher prices.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Work and money (boozed up director's cut).

(Drunken Ramble Alert!)

Those 'Occupy Wall Street' folk have started something that's spread all over the world. The Italians, naturally, used it as an excuse to burn a load of other people's stuff in protest at not having enough stuff, or something.

To be honest, I was never sure what they actually wanted. Did they want 'the rich' to hand over their money so the protestors would be rich and could then buy all that stuff from the closed-down businesses they'd just taken all the money out of?

Most of the rich people's money isn't even real. It's figures on an investment manager's screen and it fluctuates up and down like the tide. When they 'lose' money it doesn't go anywhere and when they 'make' money they really do make it. Out of thin air.

So if those stock exchangers lost all their money, that does not make it available for the rest of us. It just vanishes. It was never real. Once it comes out of the computer it's all just smoke in the wind.

The best idea I can find as to what the protestors want was what I saw here and here. What they want is stuff, or rather the money to buy stuff produced by big corporations but at the same time they want to destroy the big corporations that produce the stuff they want to buy with the money they took while destroying the big corporations. That is, I'm afraid, as coherent as it gets.

It's not just about iPhones and Starbucks and Reeboks. Most things now come from big corporations. Even lentils and tofu. They have to. People live at such high concentrations that small local producers simply could not provide for them all. You need a company big enough to source soya from a big producer somewhere else in the world, transport it and store it in line with food hygeine regulations and provide it as safe food to those protestors who want to, quite literally, bite off the hand that feeds them.

Even so, the money those companies get for their efforts is not real. They don't realise it, for the most part. If they're smart and quick, they'll get shot of the unreal money by paying other companies for real stuff, or swapping it for something real like buildings and vehicles and stock.

The banks know it's not real. That's why they crap themselves at the thought of a run on their banks. All that savings, all that capital - it's not actually there, in the building. If everyone goes to a bank and demands their money, the bank will have to admit that there isn't anywhere near enough money in existence to pay them all. It's just numbers on a screen.

If Greece defaults on its debts, what really happens? Nothing. Not one atom of reality will change. Nothing of any value will disappear. Numbers will change on screens all over the place and there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth in the banks but the rest of us will not notice anything at all. The sun will rise and set, the tides will ebb and flow, the birds will fly into windows and the cats will shit on lawns just the same.

Look at the mad scramble for that latest iPhone, the one that apparently lets you talk to prostitutes and the spirit of Steve Jobs or something. Why the attraction? It's an easily dropped or lost pocket gadget that potentially contains enough information to totally wreck your life if you lose it. To me, that's like putting your soul in a clay pot and trusting the local shaman with it, then finding he lost it at a game of keepy-uppy. People laugh at such old superstitions and then they use technology to do it for real.

I don't have a fancy phone. I buy the cheapest one and when it breaks I go and buy another cheap one on the same network and swap the SIM card so my number is the same. Even so, my cheap phone has a camera and internet access, neither of which I use because I have a computer at home with a decent sized screen and a few good cameras. I don't understand the attraction of a tiny-screened device that does more things than I'll ever need. Many people seem desperate to possess these things, at huge cost, then use them to demand that corporations like the one they've just bought the phone from are destroyed.

Who believes that if the rich give up their money, we'd get any? Who believes that if the rich pay more tax, any of us would pay less? Who believes that taxing the rich would bring down food prices or clothing prices or mega-gadget phone prices or petrol prices or heating prices or any prices at all? Who believes in the Tax Fairy?

The rich are irrelevant. Money has become irrelevant. When it was backed by gold or silver, it was a useful tool to transfer the rewards of effort into the means to buy the product of someone else's effort. You can then translate a little of your work into a simple phone, as I do, or you can translate more of your work into a fancy phone if you want one. Now it's just a computer-generated pretend reality and it's no surprise to find people treating it as such.

Now, people expect to get the product of work without doing any work. And why not? The money isn't real anyway. It's nothing to do with work any more. It's just a computer game now. Want some benefits in your bank account? Here. Let me type in some numbers. Oh, I see you're a Level 5 claimant, very good, get a disability and you can be promoted to Level 6. Keep going at this rate and you'll soon be an MP and live entirely on the backs of other peoples' work while telling them how much they have to hand over to keep you in style.

If I want a car, I don't have to buy a Porsche. I could just buy a Ford. It works just the same, uses less petrol, is cheaper to insure and fix, is equally useless in winter and you can't go faster than 70 anywhere, even in perfect driving conditions. So I'd translate some of my  work into a cheap car. Others might choose to translate a larger portion of their work into a posh car, and that's no problem for me. Someone wants to work like a demon to get a Porsche - fine. I'd prefer to work a little less and look around the used cars. It's a choice.

I don't actually need a car at all, I have easy access to lots of buses and trains and I'd much rather drink than drive. Does that make me envious of the guy up the street who has a shiny new BMW? No. I neither need nor want one. He had to earn a lot of money to get that (or maybe he had a loan and is now working to pay it off, I don't know) and I don't want to work for a BMW because to me it's not worth it. To him, it is.

I don't have the money to buy a great big house in the country with a laboratory in the tower (one day...) but I'll work towards that. I might never get there but it's top of the list. Car? An old Escort van would do. Furniture? Functional and comfy. Garden? Plough that lawn and plant potatoes. Clothing? Man at Oxfam. Yacht? In the bath. Helicopter? No. If God had meant man to fly he wouldn't have punished us with Ryanair.

Yes, we all want something. I really want that house with the lab in the tower and the table that rises to the ceiling in thunderstorms and a hunchbacked assistant called Igor and a handy graveyard nearby but I am nowhere near affording it so I don't have it. If I am to get it, I'll do it. It is nobody else's responsibility to get it for me, it's up to me. Likewise it is not my responsibility to ensure that Burberry Boy has an iPod and a Playstation.

Other people (well, of late, most people including a large part of those on benefits) are richer than me. So, should I demand they are taxed more? How will that help me? It will not mean I am taxed less so I'll still be just as skint. Worse, in fact, since the less disposable income richer people have, the fewer books they'll buy and I sell books now.

Should I demand these richer people hand over their money? We used to hang people for demanding that, you know. Why should they give me money? If they want to give me a contract for work or buy my books, great, but there is no reason to expect them to hand over their money just like that. That would be thievery and I am not a thief.

Besides, as I said, the money isn't really worth anything. It's not even real. Why envy someone who has a bigger number on a banker's screen? It's like envying the porn star with a knob so huge that every time it fills with blood he passes out. Or the guy with hair that actually stays in place for more than ten seconds after combing. It's really not that important.

I recently swapped a couple of books for a bag of Belgian home-grown baccy and enough seeds to plant half of Scotland. (Oh, I'll try) The only money involved was in the padded bags and postage. I've given the guy next door books (not Plastic Man, he wouldn't like scary stories) and he, as a trader in tools and fixings, has supplied me with screws and nails. No money changed hands at all that time. Across the road is someone who can successfully grow onions, I might swap a book, or some of my baccy, for a few onions. There is a joiner and a plumber in the street. Trades could be made if the entire monetary system collapsed and indeed are being made with no involvement of money.  If anyone wants to interfere, there is a particularly scary thug living nearby too. I don't know what he does but I've had several carefully-worded whisky evenings in his presence.

Money is supposed to be a thing to facilitate trade. You work, you get money, you use the money to get things you need. Benefits are supposed to be a safety net. You can't find work, you get money to provide for the essentials until you get working again. Money was supposed to be a tool, not an end in itself. Money, now, can be compared to someone who makes hammers but who has never heard of nails. The money/hammer is what they want and never mind what it's for.

That's not a perfect analogy. It's more like someone making paper hammers and everyone else complaining that they don't have paper hammers of their own. They can't be bothered cutting out their own so they want the paper hammers of the PaperHammerRich.

It's at this point I realise I've drunk most of the cider and don't really know where this is going. It doesn't help that I started by talking about a hell of a lot of people who aren't clear on what they want either.

I don't need much money. I remember, when I started hobby writing, being told 'Oh, you'll never make as much as Stephen King'. The truth is, I wouldn't know what to do with it all if I did. If I can make £15-20K a year writing I will be delighted. Any extra goes into Evil Laboratory Fund. I don't want a yacht or a Lear jet or a helicopter or a Rolls-Royce. I don't want surround-sound or a plasma TV or even a TV at all. I am not interested in Playstations or Xboxes. I'm typing this on a 2007 Dell with a rattly fan I have to thump once in a while to shut it up. I'd probably go for a newer computer but then I use it for typing and spreadsheeting and basic graphics, and it's already way faster than my typing speed anyway.

A bigger screen would be good. Old eyes have trouble with little letters. That can go on my rather short list.

Other people have different ambitions. Some people do want private planes and designer clothes and I have no objection at all. I'm not advocating that everyone become a grumpy old sod like me. If you want a fast car, work for it and buy it. I don't want one so I won't work for it. If you want to wear one-off clothes, work for it and buy it. To me, clothing is not a statement, it is a means to not freeze. If you want huge TVs and sound coming from everywhere and Xboxes and iPods and all the rest, work for it and buy it. I don't want any of it so I will not work to get it for me.

I sure as hell won't work to get it for you.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Healthy eating advice.

Just a flying visit tonight, just time to put up the Anti-Jamie.

Give that man a qango and put him in the Westminster lobby.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Another free tale.

Oops, I did it again...

Another free one on the Smashwords site. They convert into most electronic formats, some more successfully than others.

I think putting out short stories this way is better than putting them into online magazines. They pay a one-off of beer money if they pay at all, so giving the stories away free is no loss.

Plus I have enough control over the format to put ads for the full books in the back.

For those who prefer print, these will be in future collections. I tried putting individual ones in print but the postage and print costs on such little books is just nasty. Think of these as 'singles' put out before the 'album'.

And now, back to proper writing.

Do they get extra points for combo attacks?

There used to be a great computer game involving battling robots. I can't remember the name because it died when computers moved past the old 286 processors. The game was clocked by the processor clock so once it got onto a 386, you'd lost within the first second. The computer's robot moved faster than the scren could update.

In that game, there were extra points for a 'combo' attack (the old 'one-two' in  we old people's language). Now it seems the antis are trying for those extra points in real life.

So we hear of a Romanian two-year-old smoking and drinking coffee. Nicotine and caffeine in one hit, and a two-year-old too. This has to be top of the league for hysteria.

The thing is, we're told it's coffee in the cup but we never see inside. It could be vodka. It could be dog's urine blended with pureed otter pancreas and with croutons cunningly disguised as floating fag-ends.

Or it could be water.

The cigarette glows mysteriously blue. Is it real (dodgy video perhaps?) or is it an Electrofag? I have blue-ended ones. They come with zero-nicotine cartridges included in the kit.

So it is possible that this child is smoking and drinking coffee. It is also possible the child is inhaling steam and drinking water. Why would a mother encourage a child to inhale steam?

My mother used to do that whenever I had bunged up sinuses. She didn't have access to the handy little steam-generating nicotine-free Electrofag so I had to have a towel over my head and sit with my face over a bowl of hot water with some volatile organic chemicals in it. Anyone else remember that?

So what does the video show? A child smoking and drinking coffee, or a child with a cold, using a steam inhaler and drinking water?

I don't speak Romanian so I can't tell. The Mail and its commenters seem very sure but then only one of those scenarios is an actual story.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Jamie Oliver - Food industry shill.

Blubbery, chubby food fanatic Jamie Oliver has decided to lambast the government because they won't bring in the laws he wants. Welcome to the land of disappointment, Jamie, where most people just wish this government would stop making up more petty and spiteful laws and guess what - they aren't listening to us either.

Longrider has already laughed in the face of Jamie's latest little tantrum but it's worth another go because there's another side to it that Jamie himself is far too dim to grasp.

The chef who's fatter than anything he's ever roasted wants more and harder controls on what we eat. To stop 'obesity', even though he fails to explain how taxing my food makes someone else slimmer. In a rare outbreak of common sense, the Government Monster in charge of Eating has told him to stuff his ideas where used food emerges. It's none of the Government's business what, or how much, any of us eat and it's refreshing to see that at least one Monster realises that.

Oh, but Little Jamie isn't happy. So he's lying on the floor screaming and banging his fists again. It's not hard to see why. They let his pals in Tobacco Control have what they wanted. They're letting his pals in Alcohol Control and Salt Control and all the other controls have what they want. All Jamie wants to do is hurt fat people, and thin ones too while he's at it. Jamie isn't getting to play Dictator like all his pals and now he's all weepy and upset. He thinks it's his turn to tell the Government what to do and why shouldn't he get a turn? Every other pointless, opinionated, self-important little prick has had a go and the Government have been even more accommodating than a whore with rickets to all of them.

The story fisks itself. Jamie insists that not demanding to control every morsel we eat is patronising, but if the Government does as they're told and forces us to eat as if we were all still in high chairs, that would not be patronising. Irony is not Jamie's strong point.

Quite what he thinks a chef will do in a world where nobody eats pre-prepared food is another mystery. Best not tax his intellect with that one, it's already at breaking point.

Comments on the Grauniad article include -

EllisWyatt - How about good old fashioned bullying until people shed a few stone - more laughing at and not with James Corden could be a start.....

Not enough smokers around for you these days, Ellis? A Mr. Hitler called - he wants to know if you're still interested in that job as shower supervisor. Here's an idea, Ellis - How about you engage in a bit of good old fashioned dropping dead?

JonMichael - It is in everyone's interest that the country eats right and eats less. Tax what is bad more and pass the credits to fresh food. Fast food is bad and fast. Acting against cigarettes will have a postive impact on health and reduce the effective tax that we all pay for treating the ill-health of smokers. Fast Food is the same.

It is in nobody's interest that the country becomes a place where everyone wears grey overalls and queues for gruel at the local Government feeding station. Fast food is like smoking only in that if you don't want it, you aren't forced to buy it. If you think the NHS is costing you too much, campaign to shut it down. Then you can't be paying for other people's health care, can you? Oh, and if you think tax will reduce as a result of this, ask yourself how much tax has been reduced since the smoking ban. Which, despite its use as a comparison here, has only made health worse.

It's even more depressing over at the Daily Shriek:

Brace yourselves people when the Tories tend to wipe their hands over the responsiblities we have elected them to be in charge of, it means things will only get worse. I have a feeling the Tories will allow the fast food companies become more aggressives like they are in America for profit, and it will be down to us if we can hack it or not. They say man were once apes, now it is the case of man used to be men, now we are just a lump of lard with a load of health issues, and the Tories don't care!

What none of the commenters realise, and what the Man with the Infant Head doesn't realise, is where such banstrubation leads. As with the increasing control on alcohol leading to more and more dodgy distillations, the clampdown on tobacco leading to a boom in business for Man with a Van, soon there'll be Sugar Gangs hanging around school gates, competing with the drug pushers.

It also leads naturally into more controls in your home, Fridge Inspectors, Waistline Co-Ordinators and Jam Sandwich Extermination Squads. Actually, many schools already have those. Councils are already loading up with Walk-More Officers complete with their own Council transport and luncheon vouchers.

Next it will be illegal to make your own jam or chutney and there'll be a mandatory five-year sentence for possession of a frying pan. Ten for a chip pan or deep-fat fryer. If they find lard in your fridge, they'll execute you on the spot. For the cheeeeldren.

Then it will be illegal to grow any fruit that contains sugar (that's all of it) because that prevents the Fat Police controlling your sugar intake.

Therefore, the only place you will be able to get food is the supermarket. No making your own, no growing your own, just buy your ration every week and that's it.

Explain why supermarkets would put up any resistance at all to that scenario?

Jamie Oliver is leading us into a world where we have to pay for all our food and anyone trying to not pay by growing their own will be punished.

The only logical conclusion is that Jamie is in the pay of Big Food. He is doing his best to boost their profits and force everyone into captive customers.

Logic is fun, isn't it?

Friday, 14 October 2011

Saving the NHS money.

Melanoma is not (yet) related to smoking, drinking or being overweight.

If you have it, you might be one of the thirty per cent who wouldn't die at once if you had access to a certain drug.

"On the basis of the evidence provided so far, ipilimumab could not be considered a cost effective use of NHS resources."

So if you have non-smoking, non-drinking, non-burger based melanoma, you are going to die because you're too expensive for the NHS to bother with.

But hey, you're saving the NHS money. All that money you paid in will go to treat other people.

Get the idea yet? Somehow I doubt it.

Late at write...

I've been wandering other people's blogs and sometimes leaving babbles in the comments tonight because a) I'm knackered and b) I am wilfully obstructing the latest attempts to force me to live as a dull and lifeless Puritan. Therefore I am now full of cider and red wine and have a plentiful supply of gas for any EU under-eights who need balloons blown up. Just be careful not to pop them. That's probably illegal based on both noise and toxic fumes legislations.

Seriously. I'm hovering above my chair on a cushion of warm air here. Well, I say 'air' but you wouldn't want to breathe it. Lamb and mushroom pasta with added chilli, combined with cider and red wine could solve the energy crisis at a stroke, if it wasn't for the 'ooooh, I don't like the smell' girlie-men this country is full of now.

Anyhow, on an entirely different tack, I see W H Smith is to sell the Kobo Ebook reader in shops. Tesco have had the Kindle on sale for months here but the Kobo one is cheaper if you don't want the touch screen.

Why would you want the touch screen? You're supposed to be reading the screen so the last thing you want is grubby fingermarks all over it. Get the non-touchscreen one, it works just the same and it's cheaper.

I'm pleased because I'm already selling books on Kobo (even though I had no idea who they were) so getting more people onto it is fine with me. It takes longer to get books onto Kobo and it takes longer to get paid by them but what the hell, another outlet is a good thing.

What is likely to happen now is that the bookshops will get WiFi installed, you'll download the first few pages free and if you like it, you can buy it. No need for a home computer at all. If they can do this in a city centre pub on Friday and Saturday nights, we authors are laughing.

Imagine waking up and thinking 'Oh crap, what books did I buy last night?'

How wonderfully surreal is that?

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Drink, smoke, cakes and impulse buys.

Busy at the moment. I've had a request (at last) for a full manuscript of 'Samuel's Girl', the next novel, and it's just as nerve-wracking as last time. They can still turn it down so nothing is guaranteed yet. This arrived last night just as I was most of the way through a brandy bottle. It's sent now so fingers crossed!

Drink is in the news today. MPs are wasting their time and the money they take from us on deciding whether to have special 'unit limits' for binge drinkers. Rather like declaring bag limits for bank robbers, it's all a total waste of time and money.

[Professor Heather] said: ‘In no circumstances should the committee recommend that the guidelines should be increased. ‘That would be inimical to the health of the nation and wrong on the scientific evidence.’ He is also in favour of advising two alcohol-free days a week. 

He can recommend and advise to his Righteous little heart's content. I will ignore him because I will not spend my one and only life living it the way he wants me to. I do not go fighting or spewing and yet my 'unit intake' is enough to make his liver turn purple and crinkle at the edges. I am not the property of this government nor am I the property of any medical Nazi so he can take his recommendations, wrap them in barbed wire and a broken Glenmorangie bottle and ram them sideways into that place the sun does not illuminate. Ideally he should do this while using a rectal camera and post the results on YouTube as a warning to the rest of them.

All this rubbish is based on doublethink and lies and control freakery. Just as with smoking and fat and salt and all the rest of it. Science is dead. All we have now is a vicious, controlling Puritan religion using science as a front.

As Frank has pointed out in his recent posts, the effects of the smoking ban go far beyond the obvious. Like many of his commenters, it's not just that I no longer call in at a cafe or pub for lunch if I go to the town, I no longer bother browsing the shops either. If I have to go to the post office, I go there and go home. No idling in the cafe with a bacon sandwich and a coffee, and no casually looking in shop windows afterwards. It's not only the pubs and cafes and restaurants that feel unwelcoming now. It's the whole town.

Non-smokers probably haven't noticed yet but as alcohol becomes more denormalised, they'll find that the lack of a lunchtime pint means there's no point wandering the shops at lunchtime either.

Then the non-drinkers, once coffee denormalisation gets properly under way, won't bother with their cafes - nor with the shops around those cafes.

Naturally, the anti-smoke, anti-drink, anti-caffeine and anti-fat (bye bye bakeries) groups will insist there is no effect on any business and there can't possibly be an effect on the newsagent, the ornament/model shop, the electronics shop or the charity shop because none of those customers will be missed.

(PDSA- You drove me away with your 'second hand smoke harms pets' crap. I have not been back and won't be. Apple - I own none of your products and never will because you declared the warranty invalid for smokers. I don't care if you backtrack now. Too late).

I used to browse the garden centre and the camera shop. The camera shop is (was?) next to a cafe that did the best bacon rolls around and the garden centre has (had?) its own coffee shop. I haven't been to any of them in well over a year now and haven't even bothered to see if they're still there. I can get camera gear and plants/pots on the Internet.

Books too. The local bookshop closed a couple of years after the ban even though nobody had ever smoked in there and nobody was ever likely to. No connection? Maybe, but it was near a pub, a chip shop and two cafes.

It's not a conscious boycott, it's just that the entire town is so unwelcoming now.

As far as I can see, under Vladimir Cameron's Red Tory Party, it's only going to get a lot worse.