Friday, 24 February 2012

Moved to new premises.

Okay, no more procrastination. The new place needs some bells and whistles added, some fiddly bits adjusted and links need to be updated but that can be done while it's in use. I pretty much have the hang of it now.

I think I figured out the problem with porting the comments. Wordpress is trying to take the comments from Blogger but Disqus is in the way.  So I'll shut down Disqus on this blog (all comments should still be there in Blogger format), leave this place with moderation on so I don't have to keep coming back to delete Captain Mindless the ASH Troll, and all new posts will be at the new place.

Since the new place allows nested pages, I plan to put most stuff into pages and keep the front page as clutter-free as possible. I don't have one of these phones that reads Internet but I know they only have small screens and I know more and more people use them to access Internet these days. So all the fancy stuff must make it a nightmare to read anything on the little screens.

Font size, I don't think I can do too much about. It depends on which device you use. I've already had comments that the font is too small and too big. If you use Windows, hold 'ctrl' and wiggle the wheel on the mouse to make the font bigger or smaller. If you use something else, there's probably a way to adjust font size but I don't know what it is.

Without further ado, I hereby declare this blog moved.  Disqus will go off shortly and the comments will go to moderation. I thought about turning them off but I'll leave them on mod for a while in case of stray comments.

Spam hit the Wordpress site almost as soon as I put it up. The first-comment-approval system catches all of it, other than the bits the spam-filter takes away. Spam is platform-independent unfortunately, no matter where you go, the spammers follow. I'll keep an eye on the Wordpress spam filter in case it gets over-zealous!

There's a link at the top of the page to the new place, but just in case your browser blocks those images, here it is again. Be sure to check the link to 'the comment thing' on the new site, it's not as intimidating as it looks.

See you over there.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Blog move: Another reason.

Blogger's new Captcha is causing problems for a lot of people. Including me. I have to refresh it a few times on blogs that use it because after a half-century of use, these eyes don't pick out the fine detail they used to. They can still rivet a student to the floor, even if I can't see them so well. The prominent canines probably help a little too.

(I still intend to put that N gauge stuff on Ebay but every time I take it all out, I just put it all away again. I mean, I have a Hymek, possibly the only N gauge one in the country! I would find it easier to sell my brother although I probably wouldn't get as much for him. He is 'used' after all - although, I hasten to add, not by me)

The move to Wordpress means I don't need to sign in to Sitemeter to track troll IPs, I don't need to sign in to Disqus to boot trolls out, and although the troll can comment in Disqus and get deleted, he can't get in to Wordpress in the first place. He has left a snide comment there but it was a waste of keypresses because nobody will ever see it. I'd still let interesting trolls in but not the no-issue loonies.

Wordpress does all those things and it doesn't have, or need, eye-crushing captchas. With one sign-in. The downside is that because it's more powerful it's also more complicated. I've been learning how to use it and I don't think I've even scratched the surface of what it can do yet - and that's just the free version!

Blogger seems determined to make it difficult. I've noticed that they have me as a site sometimes and that's all part of their forthcoming 'hey governments, you can block this bugger if you like' function. The new captcha is getting on my nerves and from what I'm reading, I'm not the only one.

I had planned to complete the move over to Wordpress last weekend but getting prepared for my first job interview in 20 years was more of a challenge than I expected. Tonight I am neither commiserating nor celebrating because I don't know yet. I'm... practising.

With Whyte and MacKay, £11 in Morrison's. Morrison's also still stock flints and petrol lighter fuel and have staff who actually smile at you when you buy those things. I think they are the only supermarket (shop, even) left who will sell you smoking-related materials without acting as though you had requested Halal African infant eyes in aspic. When Man with a Van isn't available, the only place I'll buy duty-paid tobacco is Morrison's. The rest can get stuffed.

Okay. Wordpress. Moving the comments is proving tricky. Frank says it might just be that it takes forever but the last time I tried it duplicated a load of posts and moved no comments. I might just have to leave a link back here until I can get the comments sorted out.

One question. Does anyone care enough for me to put in the effort, or is the existence of comments on a soon-closed but not-deleted blog fine with everyone?

I mean, it would be a right bugger to spend ages making it work only to get a chorus of 'We didn't really give a shit'.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012


Tomorrow I have a job interview, which is why I have been somewhat distracted of late and have put off the blog move until I can devote time to approving first-comments. It won't be tomorrow night because that is reserved for celebration or for drowning sorrows, both of which take much the same form and require exactly the same materials.

It's been over 20 years since I had a job interview but this one is perfect. It's microbiology and it's a one-year contract. Exactly what I need to wait out the recession. Not too highly paid but high enough to allow for some decent malt whiskies and rebuild some reserves too.

That's why I'm putting in some effort, not drinking too much tonight and going to bed early. I even ironed a shirt and looked out my least offensive tie, the one with no LEDs or music - yes, it's that serious.

The age thing shouldn't matter because it's a one-year job. I can understand why companies don't want to invest training in the over-50s who are just going to retire a decade later. Much more cost effective to train a 20-year-old and hope to get at least 40 years out of them. I won't need any training for this job and since it's fixed-term, there is no pension issue either.

My one big worry is that I am massively overqualified for the job. On the plus side - no training. On the downside - I probably have more qualifications and experience than their head of department, and some heads of department aren't happy with that. Not that I have any plans to take over. I have had quite enough of the job following me home. These days I have other things I want to write in the evenings. Clocking off and forgetting about it has a great appeal at the moment. I have no more ambition. There's no point, in this country. Just enough and no more, that's the way of things now. Work harder, earn more and the government will punish you for it. And that's the conservatives!

In the twenty years since my last interview, times have changed. When I went for that lecturing job in 1990, nobody wanted to see any of my qualifications, not even my PhD. This time I have even had to hunt out my O-levels! They want it all. I also have to take along my original birth certificate (written on parchment, in Latin, with a quill pen) and passport and evidence that I have a real National Insurance number so that I can work in this country. Wonder why they want all that, eh?

I'll take my CSE in biology along too. When I did the biology O-level, in 1976, it was part of a new experiment. One exam for all. So if you failed the O-level you went into CSE grades. Naturally, since the government was running this, there was an unintended consequence. If you passed the O-level you also automatically passed the CSE so you got that one too! I have a qualification for which I wasn't even registered to study. As far as biology goes, I almost have the full set now.

I found them, eventually, although the print is a bit faded. One shot with a photocopier should bleach them away. There are also S-level biology and something called 'Use of English' which nobody even recognises any more.

There's the publication list which I have as a separate document because it's 14 pages long, single spaced, pitch 12 and I don't want to scare the interviewer. I might not show them that at all. Nor will I mention the books, articles and stories. Not relevant, and it's another four pages. The list is not stapled. It's fitted with a plastic comb binding.

So I have to appear capable, but not so capable that I'd have the head of department's job by the end of the week.

Anyway, best get some sleep so I don't look like the living dead tomorrow. No smoky whiskies tonight.

There were two stories in the news that I wanted to have a pop at but Dick Puddlecote has already covered one and Frank Davis has fisked the other.

I see the Mail is still repeating the mantra of the brain dead - that supermarkets sell alcohol cheaper than water. Well my local Tesco will sell me two litres of bottled water for less than 20p. If you know where I can get booze at less than 10p a litre, I would be very interested to hear about it.

Purely in the interests of research, of course.

As for those 'social smokers' who feel superior, don't they know that tobacco is  more addictive than heroin? The 'social smoker' cannot exist. Perhaps they.. like those antismoking vapers, or CAMRA, think they will deflect Righteous attention from themselves? Good luck with that.

You'll need it.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The tobacco template reaches your dinner plate.

 Jamie Oliver's secret desire.

In recent years there has been a lot of talk about 'organic' and 'natural' foods, but the truth is, there's not much of that available and hasn't been for quite some time. It starts out natural and organic but by the time you get hold of it, a great deal might have happened to it.

For example, there are legal limits to how much 'added' water can be in any meat product when it goes on sale. Some water is inevitable, due to the processing methods, but once you have a maximum limit, then it becomes legal to add water up to the limit - so everyone does. If the process doesn't add enough, a syringe will finish the job.

Paying bacon prices for water is irritating but harmless. With most fresh meat and vegetables there isn't too much else to worry about other than whatever contamination it might have picked up on the way to the shop. Yes, it's tested for bacterial contamination but not all of it. The test destroys the food so it can't all be tested. Just samples.

Then there's the processed stuff. The mechanically-recovered scraps from the skeleton after it's been stripped of the good stuff, compressed into something roughly meat-shaped and covered with a disguise in the form of breadcrumbs or batter. Other forms of processing result in things like coleslaw and potato salad, sauces and dips. The more handling, the greater the risk of contamination and the greater the amount of added chemicals.

Salt is a trivial concern here. It will be reduced because the food industry is reacting in exactly the same way as the tobacco and booze industries to Righteous demands. They are attempting to appease the Banmeisters in the hope that they will be satisfied. No, they won't. They will never stop. The only thing the food industry has been vocal about is sugar and since that is now firmly in there with alcohol and tobacco, they stand no chance.

So we have scientists claiming that salt in crisps takes 20 seconds to be released. Who chews a crisp for that long? No matter, they will chemically modify those crisps so that, along with the artificial flavourings, you will now experience the wonders of chemical coatings so they can use less salt and more strange chemicals because strange chemicals are good for you and salt is deadly.

Who gets most of their salt intake from crisps?  It's surely an irrelevance unless you live on the things. Yet the salt reduction techniques applied to these high-salt snacks is likely to spill over into ordinary-salt-level foods. There are already drugs that limit the uptake of fats by the gut, and drugs that limit salt intake must be at the development stage by now. Why else would all those Pharma drones be so vociferous all of a sudden?

There's plenty more. Phosphates added to food (often used as a cheap acidity regulator) will now give you heart attacks and so the scientists want the labels to have red, yellow or green tags to reflect the phosphate content. How many of the general public know what phosphate is? It's going to be a breeze to terrify them with that. It's also going to confuse the hell out of them when there are the same labels for salt and fat and now sugar. You'll have more traffic lights than London on every packet. It'll be a case of 'Which would you like to die from? The salt in this one, the sugar in that one, or the phosphates over there?' There will be endless fun to be had just watching the drones trying to buy food.

Interesting, isn't it, that despite the claimed fantastic fall in heart attack cases since the smoking ban, practically everything you eat and drink will give you a heart attack? How can this be? Never mind, none of the drones will even think to question it.

So how will the food industry fare against the Righteous? Surely they must have a better chance than booze and baccy. Nobody needs to smoke or to drink alcohol but we all have to eat. Food is natural. Isn't it?

Well, here's a formulation for mayonnaise that contains no dairy products at all. It is an entirely artificial construct. Tastes like mayo, but what are you actually eating there? Then there is, at last, the reality of Soylent Green - food made from algae.Yes, it has arrived and even though grazing on algae is about as natural for humans as swimming around filtering krill through our teeth, it is presented as 'good for you' because it doesn't have fat in it.

Well, neither does gravel but I'll pass on that, thanks. There are many more scientifically-produced foods and additives to be found on that site.

The food industry has long treated us as one big experiment. 'Feed them this stuff and see what they make of it. Oh, it makes them fat? Sell them this other stuff and tell them it'll make them thin.' So the food industry can claim no moral high ground against the Righteous. They've been meddling with food for years. Preservatives in, preservatives out, E numbers, flavour enhancers, acidity regulators, things like 'I can't believe anyone thinks axle grease is butter' and value-brand cheese that melts like plastic. Now the Righteous want to play too.

 There is nothing the food industry can do about it. Not that they're likely to try too hard. If they can leave out something and all their competitors have to leave it out too, everyone saves money and they're all happy. The 'level playing field' is all ready for this new game. Once more we see, instead of 'get lost and stop hitting us' it's another case of 'if you hit us, you have to hit them too'. Ah, but when those hits actually boost profits...

Mars are gleefully cutting the size (but not the price) of their chocolate bars in a pretend-health move. Peanuts are noticeably less salty, even the ones that are not advertised as being suitable for gullible morons who believe all this crap.

All these lactose-intolerant, wheat-intolerant, nut-allergic people - where did they come from? All those irritable bowels, all those bloating stomachs. There was none of this forty years ago. I knew nobody, growing up, with any such ailments and now it seems every other person I meet has them. It's still milk, still bread, still peanuts. That hasn't changed. Has it?

Well, there are things in animal feeds now that weren't there forty years ago. Milk was pasteurised or sterilised or condensed or dried. Now there is a whole rack in every supermarket of various grades of processed milk and you sometimes get funny looks if you buy the non-diluted stuff. Bread lasts disturbingly longer than it used to and includes all kids of 'added nutrients'.

Maybe it's not the lactose and the wheat. Maybe it's the meddling that people are reacting to. The answer? More meddling, of course. Soya milk and chemical mayonnaise. Flour made from algae. Replace the sugar with chemicals. Replace the sodium chloride with potassium chloride and don't, whatever you do, find out what vets use to put down dogs.

Now the Righteous are involved with their tobacco control template and what happens next is entirely predictable to every smoker in the land. Just as many of us have already started growing our own before plain packs make the flood of dodgy baccy inevitable, it's time to start finding your own sources of food. Plain packaging on those cat chicken dippers means you'll never know what's really in them because that plain packaging is so easy to fake. Learn to set snares and find out where the nearest rabbits live. Take another look at the rising numbers of roadkill-collectors. Keep a few rabbits or chickens, dig out the geraniums and plant potatoes.

There is no aspect of your life the Righteous will not meddle in. Tobacco was just the start. The end?

There isn't an end.

Monday, 20 February 2012


Real life is keeping me busy at the moment. I tried porting the comments over but it's not working. I might have to leave that part for the moment and just leave a link back to here.

I have a post in the draft pile but I'm too knackered to finish it tonight. So I'll take the lazy way out by pointing at some other bloggers and saying 'Look at them!'

Some very good news at Nothing 2Declare.

Some very sad news at Freedom-2-Choose.

Dick Puddlecote and Velvet Glove, Iron Fist have the latest target - it's food.

As for me, I have to sleep now. Too many projects...

Saturday, 18 February 2012

On the road again.

I am mirroring posts in another place. Ultimately I want a domain of my own where all aspects are in one place and there is no problem if one of the many bits go out of action. That will take time because I have no real idea what I want on that site.

So I am considering a move. The posts are already there. All that's left is to move the comments. So far it's a bit '1970s Spanish hotel - be very nice when fineeshed'.

The new place will have no Disqus and no fiddly stuff and can be drafted into a real site easily. It even has the drop-down menus of proper internet places and it's not Google-run.

So, what do you think

The evolution of childhood.

'N' gauge grain hopper. Once sold as a toy, long ago...

I've never seen a bottle of the Abbot's Choice whisky. Maybe it disappeared before my whisky days began. Never touched the stuff until I moved to Scotland and found out that there was far more variety than just Bell's.

I can just imagine the reaction if they used a slogan like 'Make it a habit' today. It would be as if someone said 'Drink bleach, it'll do you good'. It won't, in case you're thinking of trying it. Unless you consider 'agonising death' to be a good thing. Stick with the whisky, it takes a lot longer to kill you and it's a much more pleasurable way to go. In fact, if you drink enough of it, you might not even realise you've died.

In the Ordovician, when I was young, I had railway wagons with 'Guinness' on them. I have another of these hoppers with 'Haig' on the side. I still have a few Siphon G wagons with adverts for Palethorpes' sausages on the side too (rail geeks will know about Siphon G and nobody else will care). All these things must surely be banned from the modern child's playset because they will immediately become fat and drunk just by looking at them. It didn't happen in the old days but that's Progressive, I suppose.

What's on modern toy wagons, I wonder? Iceberg lettuce and tofu? I'll bet they are discouraged from having coal wagons too, and soon they will only be allowed to play with third-rail or overhead electric engines pulling goods trains full of mangoes, but only when the wind blows at the right speed.

Already those pop-guns and cap-guns we played with have disappeared. Some were very realistic. I had a double-barrelled shotgun with corks in the end, made of steel and realistic enough to get me riddled with police bullets in this ridiculous modern world. A revolver that took a ring of extraordinarily loud caps. One game with that today and you'd be dead for sure. Now, a child with a plastic toy gun with a bright red tip is regarded as a prototype Ronnie Kray and sent for counselling.

I wonder what future generations will grow up with? My youth was defined by black and white TV, the Woodentops, Bill and Ben, Andy Pandy. Programs that must surely have been dreamed up by Sixties hippies who were high on something  illegal. We sixties kids didn't need drugs, the mad stuff was there on the TV. We had little men made of flowerpots who talked like they were plastered and who had conversations with a plant. We had Spotty Dog who spoke by raising his ears and his owners, who were all made of wood, understood him. Why would we take drugs? How much madder could it get?

Then it moved on to something closer to a soap, with Camberwick Green and Trumpton providing the future addicts for Emmerdale and EastEnders. Sometime after that it moved to produce the first inklings of reality TV - Postman Pat, Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam... and those kids are now glued to the adult equivalents of watching someone go about their ordinary day. They are now the sort who would be riveted by a CCTV screen and ideal for the modern government job of keeping an eye on the neighbours.

What's coming? Well, Scalextric is not going to be the same when it's Prius vs. Smart with 30 MPH speed limit signs all over the track except where it's 20 past the little plastic school (if you go lower than 20 you are arrested as a kerb-crawling paedo), and train sets without steam engines are going to be dull. Neither of these things can be used when the sun isn't shining because they'll be solar powered.

No more armies of toy soldiers, no wargames with simple rules such as set them up, get the airguns, last one standing wins. No evenings spent putting together Airfix models of Churchill tanks or Flying Fortresses and especially no Stukas. Crochet and weaving will replace those hobbies, along with such Green pursuits as growing cabbages and smiling at birds.

Transgender Barbie will leave Ken and shack up with the Bratz lesbian collective, while Ken finds solace in the arms of Action Man, who has left the military and is now a peace protestor who lives in a tatty tent on a roundabout. He still has a wide flat willy but Ken doesn't mind because he has no willy at all. That tells you a lot - it tells you who is on top and it explains Ken's permanent grimace. They will adopt those indeterminate creatures from Sylvian Families to prove they don't consider humans to be some kind of elitist species.

Kids TV will have Vince the Taxman (Can he tax it? Yes he can!), Tarquin the Protestor and Puritan Pete. They will build models of yurts and of Cambodian villages full of soldiers whose guns fire sunflowers into the air and whose tanks leave trails of mung beans and brown rice everywhere they go. Their toys will be strap-on sex-changes and strike placards. All those 'Britains' tractor toys will be replaced with hand-drawn ploughs pulled by muscly men and equally muscly women and people in wheelchairs who pull from an adjoining concrete disabled-access ploughing path. No horses. That would be speciesist. I mean, it's not as if the horses get to eat the oats that grow there, is it?

Almost full circle. From the beginnings, which were mad stuff with no agenda, we end up with something from the Beatles' highest (in a drug sense) point but with an absolutely insane agenda.

The thing is, kids will still compete with each other, it'll just be about different things. They will fight over who has drowned the most puppies by pretending to forget to turn their bedroom light off before falling asleep. They will tally their polar bear kill by seeing who can strike a match and keep it alight longest. And you know what?

They will smoke. They will drink. They will eat banned foods. They will do absolutely everything they have been taught not to do.

Just like we all did when we were kids. Remember sugar mice? A mouse-shaped block of lightly flavoured sugar - and I mean solid sugar - with a bit of string for a tail. Even in the 1960s, my mother told me it would rot my teeth. She was right, I have enough mercury in my teeth to act as a human barometer but do I regret sugar mice? Hell no. I'd have one now. They were fantastic. Not least because the adults all regarded them as horrible.

In Future Child World, the sunflowers from the Cambodian guns will be made of lead and will flatten anyone they land on. Ken and Action Man will barbecue a Sylvanian and probably shag it first while swigging from a bottle of moonshine. Disabled ploughmen will veer off their concrete track into the path of the plough with predictable Halloween consequences. The Scalextric game will become 'outrun the auto-police-car'.

All this New World Order shit is adult-think.You can persuade a gullible adult into pretty much anything. The easiest ones are the ones who think they are not gullible.

Children will do exactly what they are told not to do. That will not change. Ever.

If there is hope, it is not in the proles. It is in the children. Oh, we hate them now, none more than me, but when it comes to saying 'Up yours' to the control freaks, nobody does it like a twelve-year-old.

You can indoctrinate children when they are small, but when they get to be teenagers they will rebel against everything they have been taught so far.

Okay, they might be feral now, but don't think of it as the end of an era.

Think of it as a new Stone Age.

Or maybe... 'Human race reboot'.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Pop goes the smoker.

I have used my Zippo to light my pipe. It's not easy. The Zippo isn't safe to use tilted so the pipe is almost on its side for lighting. It can be done without setting fire to yourself, but you do need to be familiar with the Zippo.

Unlike the gas lighters, you don't need to hold down a button to keep the Zippo alight. The only way to put it out is to close the lid. If you drop one of those gas lighters, the flame goes out as soon as you let go of the button. If you drop a Zippo, it doesn't go out. If it's just been filled (or worse, overfilled) you could soon have quite a little conflagration going.

I fully expect a ban on Zippo lighters soon because obviously we can't be trusted with fire. I mean, it's not as if you'd let cavemen have it so you're not going to let modern adults have it, are you?

The ban will go hand in hand with the ban on smoking in cars because of a single incident. Bucko has already covered that aspect of it and he is right - any car accident that can be even tenuously linked to smoking or to a smoker, whether they were smoking at the time or not, will be 'smoking-related' in future.

The comment drones are all present and correct and declaring that 'smoking while driving must be banned'. Several commenters have pointed out that, according to the article, he wasn't driving. He was sitting in his car, in a car park, outside his home. Not driving.

Naturally, the drones come back with protests about being red-arrowed for saying that smoking while driving is dangerous and again they are told that he wasn't driving. Again they come back with the same noises, still doing their best to take advantage of a man's appalling death.

To those people, he wasn't a man. He was a smoker.

Just how low can ASH and its drones go? The man burned to death within sight of his own home and their glee at making a political statement out of it is almost tangible. These are the very dregs of humanity, the most vile and disgusting creatures on the planet, and they think they have the moral high ground because they don't smoke.

None of them wonder why an elderly man might be smoking in his parked car just outside his home. None of them connect this incident with their years of hectoring about the pretend dangers of second hand smoke and the nonsensical insistence that smokers leave their own homes to smoke.

It was October. Not very warm outside. This man, after all the hectoring by those who now claim him for their campaign for more hectoring, was very likely outside his own home for a smoke. It might have been cold, windy, raining, maybe all three. If there was a smoking shelter available it would have been as woefully inadequate as they all are. He had a car. Why shouldn't he sit in his own car, maybe even have the heater on, and smoke in comfort?

Why the hell did he have to leave his home in the first place? Because of the Dreadful Arnott. Because of Nick Clegg and David Cameron and that stupid bastard Blair who let it all start. If not for them he would have been in his house, in the warm, smoking his pipe in comfort, not sparking a Zippo in old and cold fingers.

Why did he drop the lighter? Why didn't he get out before the car burned? The clue (which no commenter, nor even, it appears, the coroner has noticed) is in the article. He had a stroke. After or before dropping the lighter? We'll never know but it would explain why he didn't get out when the seat went up.

They did this with their hectoring and now they want to use it to do more hectoring. The end justifies the means, as all Nazis are fond of saying. At this moment I can think of nothing more disgusting than an antismoker. Stuff Godwin. Hitler had nothing on these people.

Don't think you're going to get away with being an antismoking vaper. I still use my Electrofags because of the weird flavours they can do and because they irritate the hell out of the Righteous. Antismoker is antismoker, and some of the vapers are among the worst. Not all, but the smugness of a few is so immense it just makes you wish their batteries would explode.

It seems there has indeed been one such incident. I remember, a long time back, a claim that an ordinary cigarette had exploded. It didn't sound very likely and neither does this. Lithium batteries can explode if they overheat or are shorted but they get very hot before they do. If you had one in your hand you'd notice and you'd be unlikely to hold on to it, much less put it in your mouth. So something odd happened there.

The commenters show the mindset of ASH and their antismoking drones perfectly:

Sorry to have to say but this has been the best laugh I have had in years reading this. I've had to stop writing I can't stop laughing. Just think how much money he's saved on Dentist Bills, free dentures from cost acquired. My eyes are full of tears from laughter. Sorry I can't help it. - Carl Barron, Christchurch, Dorset, 16/2/2012 13:20 

oh my goodness thats funny!!!!!!! - charlie, margate, 16/2/2012 7:50 

Still did him less harm that smoking a regular cigarette.... - Carl, London, 16/2/2012 13:12 

I don't know why, but the thought of teeth flying everywhere cracks me up. (poor guy)... - rene, virginia, usa, 15/2/2012 21:12 

Moral;-Smoking is bad for your health - Down2Earth, Edgworth Towers, 16/2/2012 9:36 

Now that's FUNNY !!!!!!!!!! - ONSLOW1066, LONDON, ENGLAND, 16/2/2012 14:24 

 These are Duncan Bannatyne's brethren. They are the spawn of Clegg and Cameron. They are the Children of ASH. They are the ones who consider themselves superior. They revel in the death and pain of smokers and vapers alike. Yet we hear all those vapers telling us smokers that we are disgusting.

Read those comments again and then tell me who is disgusting. Still want to set yourselves above the smokers? Still want to be friends with those sort of people? Then go ahead because if you think like them you will never be welcome here. Smoker, ex-smoker, vaper, nonsmoker, all are welcome here but antismokers, fuck right off. You people are vile.

Also stupid.

Electronic cigarettes have propylene glycol in them and are not proven safe. - Deana, London, England, 15/2/2012 19:42 

I'm not even going to bother with any kind of explanation because antismokers are far too dim to grasp it.

I have said in the past that vapers and smokers should be fighting the common enemy but too many vapers see themselves as a cut above the smokers. They see themselves as superior and more than one of the Electrofag companies has joined in with the antismoker rhetoric. Feeling good about that? Read over those comments again. They are talking about a vaper, not a smoker. Yes, they hate you too.

Meanwhile, in Honolulu...

Check out the vapers in the comments. All they see is that the smokers they left behind are stinky, filthy things. Now they are to be taxed just like the filthy smokers and that's not fair.

No. It isn't. It's also not fair that the only ones paying extortionate tobacco tax have to go out into some half-built shed while those who pay no tobacco tax can vape away indoors in comfort and I guarantee that is the first time that idea has entered your head.

Fair? You expect 'fair' from the kind of people who will try to make capital out of a man's death and laugh at someone who's had half their face blown off? You really think they give a damn about what is fair?

You vapers are up against sociopaths. So are the drinkers, the salties, the fatties, all of you. The smokers told you and you are still not listening because we are only filthy addicts and not worth your time.

Fine. Find out for yourselves. The hard way. Pretend it was only the smokers they wanted beaten and left at the roadside. When the realisation finally dawns, don't come knocking at the Smoky-Drinky door.

We're not open to the public. Your antismoking law won't allow it. I'm afraid you're on your own.

(Thanks for all the Email and comment tips. I'm slow and inefficient at responding but I do read them all)


I have, as you might have noticed from the sudden appearance of a menu bar, worked out how to add extra pages to the blog. That part was easy. Tracking down every damn link was not. Anyway, there'll be more pages in the future.

Today I was in an extraordinarily good mood for a time because I came across a very complimentary review. It's old, and those stories aren't free any more because I thought a thousand downloads each was quite enough of a giveaway. Still, it's a good review.

Then I looked at the news and at some of the links people have sent by Email lately. Now it's rantin' time.

This one will require whisky.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Nanny's been busy.

Nanny Cameron wants to implement minimum pricing on booze. CAMRA are idiotically in favour of this because they (and much of the pub industry) think it will save the pubs.

It is not being done to save the pubs. It is being done to REDUCE the amount people drink. All of it. Not just the supermarket plonk. Not just the 'bingers'. All of it.

Most of the people who buy supermarket own-brand beer only buy it because they can't afford anything else. Oh, they can afford bottled water which is, and always has been, cheaper than any alcoholic drink or fizzy drink of any kind. They don't want water, they can get that from the tap. They want something that tastes like beer even though you'd have to drink enough to make your bladder explode before you felt any effects.

Minimum pricing will not drive those people to the pubs. They still can't afford pub prices. It will drive them to homebrew and to criminal cut-price fake booze. Unregulated stuff of unknown strength and often dangerous contents.

Most of the people who go out on a Friday are drinking to a budget. That's why they have a few before they go out, to cut down how much they drink at the higher prices. If you make their home-based tipple more expensive, will that make them spend more in the pubs? No, it will mean that their budget is more dented before they leave home, so they have less to spend in the pub.

Eventually they will use their entire budget on their home drinks and not visit the pub at all. Perhaps they'll start coming along to Smoky-Drinky or form something similar themselves.

Well, smoking at home is likely to come under Nanny Cameron's baleful and mindless gaze soon, and that allows the inspectors in to check your booze cupboards too. Oh and while they're there, they'll have a look in your fridge and check your salt stocks in case you are going to 'cost the NHS money'.

Minimum pricing is not going to help the pubs. That is not its intention. It will close them faster. That is its intention. CAMRA and the pub industry don't seem to realise who is calling for this measure. Look up 'Puritan' and you might get a clue. Look up the names involved and compare them to the names involved in the smoker-hatefest. Notice anything yet? What they did to us, they are now doing to you with exactly the same methods, and you simply will not see it.

Oh, what's the point? They don't believe the smoking ban has had any effect, they still revel in their smoker-bashing, they even blame smokers for not supporting the pubs they banned us from. Let the pubs close. Maybe when the last one shuts its doors, the likes of CAMRA will finally see what's been happening.

The Smoke Doors are already appearing on displays even though they are not officially required yet. Plain packaging will be implemented and the tobacco companies are already preparing for it. Smoking will be banned in your own car and as soon as they have implemented a ban on your own property, your home is next. The abuse, the snide remarks, the open bullying will continue and the only respite for smokers is that it will now be diluted by the same attacks on drinkers, fat people, anyone who visits a burger bar and anyone who likes salt.

As Frank says, we've stopped spending. Effectively banned from town centre facilities, we no longer browse the shops. Speaking for myself, I go to the town only when I have to, buy what I went there for and get the hell out. I am not welcome in any pub, cafe or restaurant so there is no point lingering. No point buying a newspaper to read over a coffee and cigarette in a local cafe. No purpose in calling in for a pint and then, with wallet control slightly loosened, take a look at the trinket shops. No, these days I go into town only for specific purposes and when that's done, I'm gone.

I used to take a bus or train ride occasionally, just to go somewhere new for fun. Sometimes I went quite a distance, booked into a B&B for the night, tried out some different pubs and came home next day. I never do it now. I can't remember the last time I used a taxi or visited a cinema. I am not spending like I used to and not trying to earn like I used to either. I need less to spend, so I don't need to earn as much, so I pay less tax. In effect, the smoking ban caused me to start a withdrawal from the economy.

Soon the drinkers will join us in dropping out of the economy. They don't want to, just as we didn't want to, but they will be left with no option. Not when they, like the smokers, are up against people who are happy to lie and cheat to get their way. All with the full support of the people they voted into office. I'd like to think they'd keep that in mind at the next election but I am increasingly convinced that many people have no minds.

Australia is ahead of us with nannying, and I never thought I'd see the day when all those hard-drinking, hard-smoking 'no worries' people would accept that they will no longer be allowed to bring back any duty free tobacco at all. I wonder how well they'll accept its inevitable extension to booze?

I have no idea what percentage of Australia's overseas travel includes those who are just heading out to stock up on smokes, but it looks as if a large part of the cross-channel ferry business in the UK is currently being supported by people like this guy. How many crew will be unemployed when all EU-bought and overseas-bought tobacco is banned, I wonder? Oh, but it won't have anything at all to do with the ban.

Let it all fail, I say. Let every pub close, let every club, cafe, cinema and bingo hall lose money and die. Every loss of business, every lost sale takes a little bit more VAT and income tax away from the government. Let the economy collapse. Let it all fall to the ground and when it's all flat, there will be nowhere left for those who are responsible for it to hide.

Maybe then, just maybe, the drones will look at the Dreadful Arnott, the BMA, and all their revolting friends in government and in the whole nannying industry and finally say 'Look what you did'.

I really don't think that realisation will ever come unless the whole house of cards comes down. So let it fall.

Think of it as an overgrown garden. Get in there with the strimmer and the fork and rip it all up. We can put it back together once we've ripped out the strangling weeds.

Except... this is effortless. It involves working less hard and spending less money. No revolution, no riots, no shouting or placard-waving.  They talk about austerity, let's show it to them. Work as much as you need to and no more. Buy only what you absolutely have to buy. Repair, or use second-hand.When next door buys a new car, don't think jealous thoughts. Think about how much tax the mug has just paid. How much harder he had to work to get that car and how much interest he'll pay on the loan.

There are many who are just about covering their bills as it is and have no room to cut back. The ones who will make a big difference are those who are currently spending on big-screen TVs and 4x4s and the latest pad computer or phone. If they cut back to essentials, the tax man will notice.

It won't be forever. If enough people did this it wouldn't even be for long. So why not give it a try?

If it achieves nothing else, it'll do your blood pressure a world of good.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

You are State property.

I'm not supposed to be online during writing time but I saw this one and it couldn't wait.

The Dreadful Arnott claimed she would never push for a ban on smoking in people's homes, but with the car-ban pretty much in the bag, her evil horde have moved quickly on to the next stage.

The comments, as usual, are full of 'I am a smoker but I agree to be beaten harder...' trolls. Look, I don't care what you do in your house. At all. Smoke or don't smoke, drink or don't drink, spend your evenings in a bath of warm custard or don't, it's your house, your rules.

This is my house. Nobody is going to tell me what I can and cannot do in it. Nobody is going to inspect me, no NHS drone will ever cross this threshold. What? For the cheeeeldren? This is how the medics treat children now. And there are doctors in the comments agreeing with the approach that the patient's body belongs to the NHS so they can do what they like with it.

You think it's a good thing that smokers are to be banned from smoking in their own homes? Happy to have inspectors call at your house whenever it suits them? They won't be just checking the smokers, you see, because we look the same as everyone else. Still, nothing to hide, nothing to fear, right? Except one day, they see your child with a cold and oh dear, you have neglected that child. How dare you let your child get sick? Don't you know that the State now owns your home, your car, your child, and you? You have damaged State property.

Exaggeration? Wait and see.

On a 'lighter' note... I want one of these.

My feelings exactly.

Valentine's day, blah blah blah... drink.

And a lamb's heart for dinner because that's cute and romantic.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Economic consequences of denormalisation.

I still use the Tesco baccy counter for lighter fuel and flints. I have a Zippo that was given to me by a Syrian student years ago, with a picture of a pig on it! Her father gave me a gigantic cigar and her mother gave me a hand-stitched tablecloth that is far too beautiful to use, and that is one of the reasons why I will not tar all Muslims with the terrorist brush. The student was only here for eight weeks and she did enough work for a full paper. I'd take on all the students I can find with that work ethic.

Oh, and if her parents are ever in town again, I'll be angling for another invite to lunch. It's not likely, given the current situation over there. I just hope the student and her family are okay.

Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh yes. Lighter fuel and flints. Neither are frequent purchases. A pack of flints lasts ages, a can of lighter fuel not quite so long. It came as a surprise recently to find that Tesco no longer sell lighter fuel for petrol lighters. They might still have it for gas-powered ones, I don't know.

Well, no problem. The local pound shop is where I buy papers and they sell the lighter fuel too. For, surprisingly enough, a pound.

Just a few days ago I ran out of flints. I buy food in Tesco so I thought, no problem, I'll pick up a pack of flints while I'm there.

I had to say 'flints' five times before the spotty youth worked out what I was asking for. Then he told me they didn't sell those - in a voice that suggested they never had. This is where I bought my last pack of flints. Oh, no, the whole idea of 'lighter flints' has gone right down the memory hole now.

I noticed all the various cigarettes, rolling baccy and cigars are there (and nearly passed out at the prices) and they could sell me overpriced disposable lighters but no flints and no refuelling. Doesn't seem very 'green', does it? I've had this lighter for almost twenty years and they want me to replace it with throwaways? Ah, but smoker-hate trumps global warming even though both are based on junk science and outright lies.

We don't have the doors of oppression here yet. Man Widdicombe has seen them. When they arrive I am going to play with them. It will be easy because there seems to be a policy of only employing those who are totally ignorant of smoking at the tobacco counter.

"I'll have twenty Sarcoma, please."

(sucker opens all the doors and peers at the tiny names on the plain packs) "Sorry, we don't have those."

"Oh. Okay, do you have Oedema Lights?"

(sucker goes through all the doors again) "No."

"How about Infarctions? You must have those."

"I'll check." (opening and closing door ritual again) "Nope."

It'll turn into the Monty Python Cheese Shop Sketch and the best part is, the teenager behind the desk will never have seen it so won't recognise it. I think I'll end with "Okay, two ounces of Satan's Anal Scratchings then" and see how long it takes the penny to drop, if it ever does. Finally I'll leave and visit the Van Man who is cheaper and who is not required to have doors.

The de-stocking of smoking accoutrements seems, so far, to be confined to Tesco. Morrison's aren't doing it yet and the pound shop is boosting stocks.Simple economics based on falling sales? The pound shop is a couple of streets away and they have moved the papers, filters, baccy tins, rolling gadgets etc from the little space by the tills to a larger section in the aisles. Since these shops rely on small profit/fast turnover, they are not going to saddle themselves with stuff that doesn't sell.

There's no law at all around the sale of the non-tobacco components of smoking. There are many shops that haven't bothered with a tobacco licence but sell the papers, lighters etc. There's one here that sometimes has bongs for sale, and those really big rolling papers that everyone knows aren't actually intended for tobacco. All legal, because they don't include any smoking substances at all.

So if there's no law involved and no problem selling these things, why are they being de-stocked?

One possible reason is that the marketing department have realised something. In all the shops selling tobacco from behind the new Cancer Doors, it's likely that the papers etc will be behind those doors too. If they take the cheapest option of simply fitting doors over the display, then all smoking-related materials disappear from view. Nobody can see them.

In the cheap shops that sell no tobacco, the papers etc will be on open display. That's where we'll see them and that's where we'll buy them.

Ever-increasing numbers of smokers now buy everything but tobacco from the tobacco counter. We get the baccy abroad, either ourselves or through contact with someone else. Is the government losing revenue over this? Tough. The government has made their position clear. They hate us, completely and absolutely, and only a masochist willingly pays to be beaten up.

The pub industry still insists their collapsing share prices and closed pubs have nothing to do with the smoking ban. Then they complain that smokers have stopped going to their pubs and they think that's because of the supermarkets. Fine. Let the idiots believe what they want right up to bankruptcy.

Next, the supermarkets will complain that the pound shop is selling papers, flints and lighters and that is the reason their takings are down at the tobacco counter. Nothing to do with the doors or the prices or the plain packs.

Through it all, the government is complaining that we aren't paying for our own punishment.

I think it was 2005 when I first heard the line that 'tobacco bought overseas is far more dangerous than tobacco bought in the UK' even though it all comes from the same companies. This was, of course, to put us off buying tobacco abroad or from the (rather less common in those days) Man with a Van. That was before the really vicious stuff started, and foreign baccy was already costing the Treasury money.

Now the problem is huge and still growing, I can see a day coming where the only UK duty paid tobacco will be the subsidised supply at Westminster and I bet half the smoking MPs won't even buy it there.

So now we have another attempt at scaring us into paying the government to ban us from our cars and then our homes. This time we are to fear the dreaded fake tobacco. Here is their handy guide to spotting the fakes:

An unusual or unexpected taste 

Different tobaccos have different tastes. That's why we all have preferred brands.

Spelling mistakes and altered logos 
Low quality labels and packaging 

Well that's going to be really helpful when they're all in the same packs with no logos at all. What are we supposed to do, check whether the precise shade of grey is exactly as it should be?

Foreign safety warnings or no health warnings at all 

The ones with foreign safety warnings aren't even illegal, much less fake. Yet here they are lumped in with the fakes.

Often sold in street markets, car boot sales and pubs 

Yes, well, you'd hardly expect to find the cheap dodgy-imports in Sainsbury's, would you?

Most copied brands are Super Kings, Benson & Hedges, Lambert & Butler, Camel, Embassy Number 1, Embassy Regal and Golden Virginia tobacco 

These are the most popular brands too. The ones the Men with Vans will bring in. They aren't necessarily fakes - yet.

When the packaging is all plain, all you need do to copy any brand is to change the little typed name on the front.  Plain packaging will be an absolute gift to the crime syndicates and will mean the 'fake' problem will soon overtake the 'smuggling' problem.

Criminals could even set themselves up as legitimate suppliers and fill the shops and supermarkets with fakes. Who'd know? The packs all look the same and no smoker will notice anything amiss in passing because the plain packs are all hidden behind the Filthy Habit Doors.

The only way to be sure of buying the real product will be to buy Man with a Van's supply of non-plain packs from another country. Nothing in the shops will be trusted.

So the government is setting up the tobacco market to collapse, putting it in the hands of criminals who care nothing for quality control or age limits, complaining about lost revenue and yet still pushing their agenda of pure hatred against the same people they insist have to pay more tax in order to fund more hate.

They are so consumed by hate that they will not listen. They will not even hear us when we speak. They are happy to send pensioners into the snow, to see the pubs, clubs, cafes and bingo halls close, to force smokers into spitefully-designed shelters, to deny us the NHS treatment we are still forced to pay for anyway, and now to ban us from our cars and next, render us homeless and jobless. We have only one means to fight back Only one.

Don't buy your tobacco from any UK outlet.

Don't pay for your own denormalisation.

And most of all, vote for someone else next time.

Spark up.

I genuinely thought, at first, that Spark Up was the troll. He denied it, but he's as mad as a bag of badgers and I thought he'd just gone off the deep end. Especially since his blog was all about how he was getting deleted here (actually it was the Blogger spam filter that was catching him, and I let all his ramblings out when I found them).

He's been in touch and has convinced me it's not him. So if he comments here again, don't turn on him - the troll used his name often but the troll is a separate bag full of different, madder and nastier badgers.

If (when) the troll turns up again (he's still around) ignore him. If the legitimate resident loony appears, he won't get deleted. The troll will.

Countdown to the New Blog Order has begun and a non-irritating or at least less-irritating comment system will be in place this week. I almost have the hang of it now...

I expect this will set off the troll, but he only has a few more days to play.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

The great speed camera in the sky.

You can tell a good smoky-drinky by how crap you feel the next day. I had to get through a lot of orange squash, five espressos and half a bottle of Whyte and Mackay to get back to feeling human. Oh, I can still drink like I did when I was twenty. I just take a lot longer to recover from it these days.

There is a tape I must finish for a writing job commissioned but next door have one of their boozeathons in progress, so I won't finish tonight. The terrible thumping of acid house shakes everything. No, it's not the Plastic family, they will have been in bed early so they can go to church tomorrow and pretend to be Christian. Then they'll come home and be gits again.

Anyway, I was interested to note that the AA (that's the automobile association, not the boozer's club) are going to insist that any car they insure has the Big Brother gadget installed. The comments suggest that the AA aren't the first. This has been in use for a few years already.

I can see advantages to this. Aside from the 'you drive like a flat-capped octogenarian so here's some money off your insurance' or tracing your car if it's stolen, it could be set up so that AA members just have to press a panic button when they break down and the Fix Van will be on the way. They know where you are, they've been tracking you.

There are too many disadvantages though. That bunch of hackers called 'Anonymous' have broken in to the CIA website. They'll have no trouble with the AA. So your movements could be tracked by anyone interested. Including burglars, for whom it would be really useful to know not only when you're out, but also when you're on the way home.

Then there is the council and government angle. They say that if the software says you're speeding, you'll get a stern Email. With that level of evidence, here, take this fine and the points are added to your iLicence electronically. Too far? Pfft, it's a mere heartbeat further.You don't need a speed camera watching one bit of road when you have a satellite watching them all.

If there could be a guarantee that this technology will be used only for what it says it's intended for, I'd be all for it.

It won't be.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Angry old man with a stick.

Smoky-Drinky night once more. A quick rant before I go.

We're all getting older. Can't be helped. I'm still a decade from retirement age but I doubt there'll be any chance of pottering around an allotment. I'll still be working and fighting off Government attempts to move me into some tiny box somewhere so they can give my house away to someone who hasn't worked for it.

There are often comments on age-related articles to the effect of 'Why should we taxpayers pay for the elderly? Why should we pay for their diseases that they've brought on themselves by smoking and drinking? Why should the state pick up the bill?'

A clue for the clueless: the state should pick up the bill when we're old BECAUSE WE HAVE ALREADY PAID IT.

It's not our fault the government has taken that money and pissed it away. We have paid for the NHS, the care homes, all of it and we are not going to get our money's worth. Not even close.

Treatment of the elderly gets worse every year. I have seen them, for some years now, having to go outside the don't-care homes for a smoke in the snow.  The Greens kill them with heating bills they can't pay, the NHS kills them with neglect, and now the Cameroid wants to work them to death.

Oh, you twenty-and thirty-somethings can bleat and whine about your taxes paying for this and paying for that but look at the situation. Really look. Treatment of the elderly gets worse every year. Soon they will be forced out of the homes they've paid for and be denied the treatments they've paid for. They'll be put in the Wrinkle Ghetto where you don't have to see them, they'll be working on minimum wage or perhaps no wage, just to cover the cost of that little box they've been given in exchange for their house. They will not be permitted to smoke or drink or do anything that is not approved.

Then when they die they won't be buried because you bastards have built houses on every square inch of land to house your lovely immigrants. Instead they will be 'sent somewhere warm'. The power station.

Feeling smug, youngster? Thinking 'Good. It'll save money'? Well reflect on this one.

You're getting older too. How bad will the treatment of the elderly be by the time it's your turn? Can you grasp what 'early retirement to a nice warm place' might mean in twenty years' time? All the while, your children will be complaining about they are paying for you. Looking forward to that?

Right, I'm off to smoke and drink to excess and if you young sods think I am going to feel even a twinge of guilt in twenty years or so when I'm utterly wrecked and costing the NHS loads of money, you are welcome to visit my whisky-soaked and tobacco-stained withered shell and watch me not care.

Do not expect a warm welcome.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Education, such as it is.

They say the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was to convince people he doesn't exist. I wonder if the devil is the only one to have used that trick.

All those conspiracy theories, all the David Icke and Alex Jones stuff, always left me a little uneasy. David Icke's lizard people and Alex Jones' frantic delivery makes them look, let's be honest here, a little bit mad. Then again, for a long time I didn't believe Common Purpose existed, and then I saw their head girl on YouTube using deliberately exaggerated body-language and voice techniques that would work a treat on anyone non-sceptical. Once you've seen them and understood their workings it just looks like something from the Vincent Price school of acting but it really does work.

The trouble was, I stuck to the 'follow the money' idea when looking for a reason behind it all. That works with the antismoking and antibooze and anti-every-other-lifestyle games because they all lead back to the sale of treatments (not cures, because cures stop the money flow) for imagined addictions or illusory epidemics. There's always a tax involved, so there are several groups making money out of these things.

When it comes to dumbing down education, which is now clearly deliberate, who gains? Who makes money from a population of illiterate, innumerate, indoctrinated drones? Sure, they'll do what they're told but they won't do it very well. Who can possibly benefit from the generation of feral street gangs? MacDonald's does not need that many burger flippers and in the current economy they can get PhD's on minimum wage. There is no shortage of shelf-stackers and trolley-collectors for the supermarkets, and I'm sure they'd prefer their till operators to be able to spot mispriced items. All businesses need a cash room, banks need frontline staff and the innumerate and illiterate are no use there. 

A properly educated 'elite' will not fill those positions. They'd be looking to run those supermarkets, not add up the takings. So who gains financially from the destruction of the education system? Nobody. Follow the money and you can't believe it's deliberate, because there is no money to follow.

That it is happening, and that it is deliberate, is now certain. There still seems no sense to it. Follow the money and you get nowhere. 

It's not about money at all. It's about ideology.

The answer is in this video at 7 mins 50 seconds.


I hear some people are having problems with Disqus. Please be patient, there is a permanent fix on the way that will clear up all the problems.

Tonight I have been mostly learning new computery jiggery-pokery and have left it too late to become enraged at the world. So I leave the rage to others tonight.

Pat Nurse has a picture of what you'll look like if you don't drink or smoke.All your facial features will drop to the lower half of your face and your brain will atrophy. You will also lose the ability to comb your hair.

VGIF on how the 'costs' of drinking are just like those associated with smoking. Mostly imaginary. Expect CAMRA to kick up a stink while ignoring the precedent that they supported.

Nominedeus has a whole range of 'deeply unpopular' comments. Did you know that the ban on using nerve gas in war does not apply if you use it on your own population? Live and learn, eh?

Snowolf wonders why Argentina is suddenly all excited about a British ship arriving in a British port, and why they think the deployment of a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot is so terrifying. If they're that scared of a non-combatant pilot, it's a good thing we didn't send any angry old men with sticks.

More from me tomorrow, tonight I have to learn stuff.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Panoptica update.

I'm restricting my Internet time in order to accelerate the writing. I can't sell unwritten books. Maybe one day I'll be able to phone a publisher and say 'I'm working on a new book' and they'll say 'Ooo, have some money' but that is far in the future. I'm still at the stage of contacting publishers with 'I have written a book' and they say 'Yeah? So? Put it on the big pile and we'll get around to rejecting it later.'

Anyway, today I concentrated on some of the mechanics of Panoptica, specifically the CCTV which is even more widespread than in the real world. We already have speaking ones in Aberdeen and have had them for years, but they are run by operators. When you hear a voice there is a real person on the other end of it.

That does not quite fit with Panoptica. Nobody is supposed to know when they are actually being watched. There are so many cameras that nobody could possibly watch all the output, so if the proles work out which cameras the watchers pay most attention to, they'll know which ones to avoid.

There was a brief idea of having cameras run by a computer using artificial intelligence - but this is a Government computer system so writing about one that actually worked at that level would be totally unrealistic. Basic record and store functions, chip detection, okay, but a government with a Star Trek computer you can have a conversation with? Not gonna happen. Even if it did, one conversation with an MP and it would self-destruct.

Recorded threats triggered by motion detectors would fit the theme. In fact, I realised I don't even need motion detectors because roadside RFID tracks everyone's embedded chip. Hang around in one place too long and you get a 'Move on' from the cameras.

(Note to those who spotted it - no, Panoptica doesn't really need the cameras because they can track your chip. The cameras have two functions - to catch the few without chips and to intimidate everyone else into compliance).

Cameras with recorded 'get lost' messages have been around for a while but aren't often used yet. I didn't think we had very many in this country and that those few we did have would be on military or private property.

It seems I underestimated Council paranoia.

If you live in a block of flats in Camden, London, and you go outside to smoke, until recently an automatic camera photographed you and shouted at you. It wasn't intended to talk, apparently, its voice function was switched on accidentally when someone changed the batteries. We weren't supposed to know about this particular function yet.

So this camera was installed because of local yobbery, yes?

Home Office crime maps show no crimes were recorded on the estate in 2011.

No. Then again, installing cameras is what councils do these days and nobody would even notice a new one. Not until it starts talking, which it apparently wasn't meant to do.

Big Brother Watch had this to say -

'Who knew councils had the authority to take your photograph simply because you walked into a communal garden?'

Well... I have the authority to take your photo in a public place. So does everyone else because there are no restrictions on photography in public places. I've seen traffic wardens doing it too. They place a ticket on a car and then take a photo so they can prove they've been doing their jobs. Therefore the council don't need any authority to take photos in public because there is no law stopping anyone doing that.

There is one difference where the council is concerned. Let's say you want to take a photo of me in a public place. I have no right to object. Let's say you want me to buy you the camera first. Then I object. Councils can play at Stasi with their little cameras all they want but when those cameras are paid for by the very people they are spying on, then something, somewhere is wrong.

There is one thing in that story that neither the 'nowhere to hide, nothing to fear' nor the 'Police State' commenters seem to have noticed.

The council also revealed that all flash cameras 'have the capacity to deliver voice messages when activated'.

Panoptica is still fiction, but much of the technical infrastructure is not only available, it's already been installed. All they need to do is turn it on.

You can already be tracked around a shopping centre via the phone in your pocket. Money transfers using phones are already possible, credit cards have chips in them, embedded chips are already in most pets and it is now one, tiny, barely perceptible step to putting those tracking chips in your children and then in you.

How long can you resist? When everyone else has them, when they replace credit cards, when they open your doors and start your car and log you on to the internet, when hardly anywhere takes cash any more, when all those non-chip alternatives start to fade out of use, how long can you resist?

When you have one of the few remaining cars operated with a key, all the car thieves are looking at yours. When your house is the only one with keyholes, where will the burglar strike? When you are the only one carrying your chip on a card rather than having it embedded, when you are the only one carrying cash, who does the mugger seek out?

The ultimate in security. The ultimate in control

But I'm giving away too much of the story here. I'm also risking providing the sales pitch for the chips!

Right. Back to the world of fiction before reality catches up.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

It's enough to drive you potty.

 Gullibility is more addictive than smoking.
Pictured lured with an imaginary fish from here.

Soon you will be told that 'drinkers are at a higher risk of dementia', that fat people are more likely to get dementia and that both salt and sugar cause dementia (so if you like sweet-and-sour, you're done for).

Why? Well, because smokers turn demented when they get very old.

One. Dementia is, aside from rare early-onset cases, an affliction of the very old.

Two. We have been told over and over by the hate-filled smokophobes that smokers don't get old.

Three. The NHS and the Department of Energy are proving very effective at killing off the elderly before they can possibly get to the stage of being demented.

Four. As with asthma and a whole host of allegedly smoking-related diseases, dementia is claimed to be rapidly increasing while the rate of smoking has been falling.

If you want to play the correlation game, all those diseases are quite obviously caused by not smoking. The only alternative interpretation is that smoking cures or prevents all those illnesses. It's fun, the antismoker's correlation game, isn't it?

Naturally, the drones are out in the comments. Here's a good one:

Really, this has been well known for years and smoking affects dementia onset in women as well. - Reubenene, Somewhere In The World, 6/2/2012 22:18 

Somewhere in another world, more like.  Antismokers have long since abandoned any connection to reality and any pretence at bothering with truth or decency, as Man Widdicombe demonstrates. Those people are devoid of any human feeling and consumed entirely by their personal hate. They have no trouble blaming smokers for every conceivable disease, they believe that smoke can pass through solid walls, they believe that even looking at a smoker will kill them, and they have no problem with calling for extreme violence against one-fifth of the population just because they happen to dislike those people's lifestyles. They see a twisted version of reality and call it the world.

These people are calling smokers mad. They want us to be like them.

I feel a new slogan coming on. 'Glad to be Mad'.

Monday, 6 February 2012

The Salt War reaches the cancer stage.

I can't wait to see the reaction when the Daily Howl-at-the-moon and its frothy-lipped commenters get hold of this one.

Salt gives you cancer.

Yes, following the tobacco control template to the letter, salt now gives you lumpy tum. There are so many people falling for the same trick every time that I have to wonder how they manage to find their way out of bed in the mornings. GPS perhaps?

Just as the drink argument now bypasses the most likely effect of excessiveness (pulverised liver) and goes to the iDeath of the Day, the pancreas, then on to cancer, the salt loons make no mention of the kidney damage which is likely to be the first effect of excessive salt intake. No, that's yesterday's disease. It has to be cancer.

Everything gives you cancer now. I remember reading, many years ago, about a study that used these same statistical games to prove that hot showers give you lung cancer. I have one of those every day but there's no need to worry. I clean out my lungs with a smoke afterwards.Shower cancer? Oooh, no, I don't want that.

I don't count units of booze per day because the limits are made-up numbers. I eat fruit and veg as and when I feel like it because the recommended intake is a made-up number.

I have never measured the amount of salt I use and am not interested in doing so. They talk about five grams a day but who's that for? Me? Someone twice my size? Someone half my size? Someone who drinks less than I do and who therefore flushes their system less often? Someone who drinks more? Someone whose kidneys are genetically more efficient than mine or someone whose kidneys are less efficient, someone whose gut absorbs salt more efficiently than mine or... you get the idea. The five grams is for the BMA's British Standard Human because they cannot understand that people are individuals.

Is it another made-up number? Well, why on Earth would I even consider for a moment that there was any research behind it? There has been none at all behind anything else. As Frank says, the medical profession is determined to be seen as a haven of quackery and about as reliable as a man in a grass skirt and wooden mask shaking bits of animal at you. They'll be prescribing it soon, you know. "Cancer? Take these stoat's entrails and wave them over the affected part twice daily." At least the only side effect will be stoat's blood on your shirt and possibly an increased level of interest from your cat.

The article comes from the food industry and smacks of the same appeasement tried by the tobacco and drinks industry. They do attempt to point out that with no salt at all, we'll all die but you just know 'no safe level' is on the way. They also point out that they don't put lots of salt in some foods just to be nasty. It's a preservative.

Roast pork was a staple of the old sailing ships.  They kept in in barrels full of salt. Not just a sprinkling. A barrel filled to the brim with salt. That stopped it going off. Possibly something of an overkill there but there is one important thing about salt that CASH don't know.

It stops the growth of Clostridium, a genus of bacterium which includes the species responsible for gas gangrene and for botulism. The genus includes other nasties too. The bacterium grows without oxygen and forms spores that can withstand boiling for at least ten minutes. They don't even notice pasteurisation. The spores can be dried out for years and still germinate. So tinned food is often in brine because even if one of these gets inside the can, they can't grow in salty solutions.

The extra salt you get when you eat these things is simply flushed out by your kidneys. Salt only becomes a problem if you eat vast amounts of it or if you don't take in enough fluids to keep the kidneys in flush mode.

Botulism is a far bigger problem. We've already seen the rise of rickets because of lunatic control freakery that only lets kids out in the sun if they are painted all over with enough sunblock to make them reflective. Those C. botulinum bacteria are rubbing their little flagella together in anticipation of their soon-to-be-announced comeback tour. Oh, and C. difficile will be on its way to a tin of carrots in your local shop too.

I still have plenty of salt. Hardly used any on the paths this year and I'll be increasing my supply.

There will be one benefit of the CASH lunacy. All the dopes who fall for it will be comatose so we won't have to listen to them. It won't take long. They'll be exercising regularly, not drinking and not eating anything with salt or fat in it so they should only take a couple of weeks to get to this stage.

Maintenance of a low salt diet for many months or excessive sweat loss during a race on a hot day can present a challenge to the body to conserve adequate sodium levels. 

It won't take months on a no-salt diet.

Keep it up, Righteous. Soon you will have killed all of your idiot drones.

I think I'll have a bag of pork scratchings to go with my whisky and tobacco this evening.

The Smoky-Drinky Template.

Pictured staggered over from here, via Amusing Bunni's birthday party.

 I'm sure it was only yesterday I read that one beer a day was officially good for you. The dose has to be absolutely precise because two beers a day and your head goes lumpy. Same newspaper.

If there was any truth in that, I would, by now, have grown at least one extra entire head. Which would have advantages - cigarette in one, drink in the other. I'd just need to grow one more to deal with the salt-saturated chips deep-fried in lard and I'd be happy. Terrifyingly ugly, but happy. I could also hide in alleyways and ask passers-by the time with one head while telling them the time with another.

Actually, that could be a fun new game which might be better than my previous failures - Deathmatch Golf and Anarchist Chess. You need two people and one dark alley. When a poor sap comes along, one of you emerges slightly from the shadows and says 'Excuse me, do you know the time?'

The other remains unseen on the other side of the alley and just calls out the time. Then the first one says 'Thanks' and fades back into the shadows.

Just around the corner, you set up a somewhat overpriced emergency dry-cleaner's.

But I digress. Back to the Demon Drink.

The headline:

Two glasses of wine or beer a day 'doubles the risk' of mouth cancer

The first paragraph:

Drinking two large glasses of wine or two strong pints of beer a day triples the risk of developing mouth cancer, according to a new Government campaign.

Boosting the scare within seconds. If anyone believes any of this crap, then they will never be subcontracted on any of my projects. I have closed off  subcontract options on entire institutes for less.

So what is the real risk of mouth cancer? Simon Cooke has already looked it up and it's just above 2 in 100,000 and it has been the same since 1971. I was eleven in 1971 and drinking no booze at all. My efforts since (and they have been strenuous) have made no difference at all to the figures. Nothing has tripled or doubled, nothing has changed at all.

SC notes that the highest of this small risk is among Pakistani men. Oh listen, is that the sound of a thousand Righteous anuses (ani?) in a display of Olympic standard simultaneous puckering? They will call it racist. I will call it biology. Ignore biology in the name of equality and you have rickets and skin cancer and all sorts to deal with. Equality costs the NHS billions.

If I go out into the sunshine with a black friend here, it won't affect him at all but I can turn into Lobster Man even this far north. Equality is a fine idea but it must not override biology.

Pakistan is mostly - not entirely - Muslim. No alcohol. Their bodies developed not experiencing it and not knowing how to deal with it. This is not harmful in itself. When they come here, a place where we love anything fermented, a few will adopt our ways and culturally that's good. Biologically, it's a disaster. Their children will grow up here and (if allowed) will develop a tolerance for the booze but it's too late for the adults.

So let's double that risk from 2 in 100,000 to 4 in 100,000. Scared yet?

Let's triple it from 2 in 100, 000 to 6 in 100, 000. Surely you're scared now? I mean, what are your chances of being in the 99,994 per 100, 000 who do not get throat cancer? Oh, you must be petrified. Let me clean out your dunks cupboard, for safety's sake. You'll thank me one day but I'll be a long way away just in case you work out the scam.

Under the deal, drink producers and retailers, including Diageo, Carlsberg and Majestic Wine, have pledged to provide clear unit labelling, support awareness campaigns and develop a new sponsorship code on responsible drinking.

Ah. As with the tobacco industry, the drinks industry is trying the appeasement approach. So there will shortly be horrible pictures on booze and the price will be out of everyone's reach (except MPs because we subsidise theirs) and the borders will be as sealed against booze as against tobacco (but not illegal immigrants, guns or drugs) and the pub closures will accelerate and the pubs will blame anything but the drinking ban. It's the price of tea and biscuits, the supermarkets sell them cheaper. They have cheesy biscuits on sale cheaper than water!

Meanwhile their ex-customers will make their own arrangements. Just as the anti-tobacco template has rolled out, the resistance template will follow. Fight them? Why? These idiots are easily circumvented. The established businesses don't want your custom so set up your own places. Forget them. They threw you out, remember?

Non-smokers will soon be forming their own Drinky-Drinkies and when they ban those kebabs and chips, there will spring up Drinky-Eaties too. Hopefully with proper onion bhajis and not those damn supermarket dumpling things. Bhajis are not meant to be oven cooked. Real ones are deep fried and are actually less fattening because they are not full of stodge and are actually mostly onion. Whoops - personal prejudice digression.

Yes, there will be Smoky-Drinkies and Drinky-Drinkies and Drinky-Eaties all over the place soon. New ones, and new combinations, as each successive pleasure is banned. Eventually they will merge and we'll need a shorter name for them because Smoky-Drinky-Eaty-Coffee-Salty-etc is going to get a bit unwieldy.

Perhaps we could just call them 'pubs'. By then, nobody else will be using the name anyway.

Sunday, 5 February 2012


It was cold on the way home from Smoky-drinky.. No, it didn't last two days, I've been busy today sorting out pots and propagators ready for planting. I'm a little behind Junican because frost-safe time comes later here, and a long way behind Pat who's been growing indoors over winter. I have a bag of compost but that has to be indoors for a few days to warm up. It's been in the greenhouse and it hasn't been above freezing here for almost a week.

On the other hand, it hasn't been too far below either. Not a patch on last winter. The coldest my external thermometer has shown is -7C which is perfectly normal for the time of year. There's no snow on the ground. It falls, melts and then freezes into a perfectly clear glaze all across the streets. I'd rather have the snow. At least I can see where it is.

The Daily Heartattack thinks that four inches of snow is a disaster. They have a photo of a police car with a layer of snow you'd have to spend almost a minute brushing off before driving away, with the caption 'going nowhere'. Really? Last year we had three feet of snow here and -20C and the buses ran as normal most days, cars drove around (not always as carefully as they should), and everything seemed to be working okay. There was a period last year where I put the heating on continuously for two weeks and to hell with the cost because whenever it went off, I had flashbacks to childhood, outside toilets in winter (nobody bothered to read the news in there) and the tin bath in front of the fire. This year the heating goes off at night and there's no problem. It's off now, it went off at midnight. The insulation in the house can cope easily.

This year the serious cold is over Europe rather than here, although some parts of the UK aren't looking good. Sea ice in Poole! Still, looking at the real temperatures and the 'oooo, three inches of snow' scare stuff and comparing it with the photos, I have to wonder how many of those photos are from last year? The icicles labelled '-7C' look bigger than last years' -20C ones.

When did snow in winter become news? It's been called news for a few years now. I recall some hysterical floozy on the Scottish news about five years or so back, telling us that the terrible snow was coming to kill us all. She was on location, wasn't even wearing gloves and behind her, the ground looked as if someone had spilled a little talcum powder. She's telling this to people who had, in previous years, dug through snowdrifts taller than themselves in order to reach the pub. But then we didn't have to stand outside it in those days so it was worth the effort.

This winter, in Scotland, has been luxury. Yes, it's below freezing for days at a time but that's normal and it's been much further below freezing in the past. There's been very little snow and never anything that could be considered to be in the way.

Compared to last year and the year before, it's hardly winter at all. There was one winter in the mid-1990s where I opened the door to go to work, found a wall of snow halfway up it, closed the door and called work to say I wasn't going to be able to dig my way there for a day or so. Work was much further away than the pub and much less vital.

There have been winters milder than this one in the past too. I had carnations in bloom on Christmas day roughly ten years ago. Unfortunately a subsequent cold snap wiped them out so it was their last Christmas on this Earth. They enjoyed it, so it was worthwhile.

I'd quite like a little snow. Crocus leaves are up and their pattern would be easy to see if there was about an inch of snow around them. I couldn't get a good photo last year.

It's not news. It's winter. Why are the papers full of images of snowless roads with gritters merrily spreading grit without hindrance, and so-called 'Antarctic' views with grass poking through and trees with not a flake on them? That's not the Antarctic. Two-miles-thick ice with a lake under it - that's the Antarctic. The grass would have to be seriously in need of mowing to poke through that.

I blame Global Warming and babbling fools like Georgie Monoblot. They harp on about the weather as if they can control it. King Cnut proved that even a monarch with an anagrammatically filthy name could not control even the local tide. (You won't believe what Firefox's spell checker wants to replace Cnut with!)

Yet our latest Windy Miller, Chris (douze-point) Huhne thinks we can save the planet by having neodymium mines that create entire lakes of poison and putting huge steel structures on enormous blocks of concrete to generate no electricity at all when the wind isn't at exactly the right speed and then charge us more for electricity because the bloody things can't possibly pay for themselves. You listening, Salmond? No matter how many Glaswegians you stuff with Buckfast, beans and sprouts, those things are a waste of time and money.

Well, Chris (zippy) Huhne has been replaced with a similar idiot who is just as mesmerised by the roundy-roundy movement of ecologically devastating garden ornaments. There'll be no change in government idiocy even as we all freeze to death because they are all so incredibly stupid that nobody can possibly be convinced of it.  Nobody could believe that a creature with absolutely no brain and a barely functioning nervous system, a creature that biology would classify as a fungus or at most, a nematode, could have achieved a position in charge of sorting paint colours in a factory that only produced white paint, much less a position in charge of overseeing the energy requirements of an entire country.

Yet here we are. Twice. Huhne is replaced by Ed 'I'm so green you'd think I was made of slime' Davey so the country is buggered still. There'll be bird mince for all and you'd better save the feathers to burn for heat because you'll get sod all out of the grid when he's finished with it. More Chinese death-lakes for future scientists to burrow through two miles of ice to reach.

Now wouldn't that be funny? What if those Russian scientists in Antarctica found that Lake Vostok was a two million year old toxic waste lake from neodymium mining that was used by early reptile people to produce the windmills that caused an ice age? What would they do?

Nothing. They'd be silenced by the Ninjas in Green.

Perhaps they already have been.