Tuesday 31 May 2011

Spectacular own goals.

If there was an Olympic sport for being a comical buffoon, the antismokers would be guaranteed gold every time.

First up is their advertising of a product that is not allowed to advertise, so we'd never have known it existed if they hadn't put it (and its picture) in the papers.

Before the link, there's one more thing. The product is described as -

Critics say the design of the pack and cigarette, which has a white filter tip, makes smoking look elegant, sexy and classy.

Smoking looks elegant, sexy and classy? Who is saying that? Tobacco companies? No, they are not allowed to advertise at all. They cannot speak at all. The reason they cannot currently speak is that they are currently rolling about the floor, crying with laughter, because those words have come from the lips of the antismokers.

The ad - I mean, article - shows a promo shot of the pack and shows a teenage girl lighting up. You cannot buy that kind of advertising. If any tobacco company showed those images there would be outrage. If any tobacco company said those words there would be shock.

So the antismokers are advertising smoking for teens as being cool and fashionable, and they think (I use the word advisedly) that this will stop teenage smoking.

They bring to the world's attention a new and trendy cigarette that the producer would never be allowed to advertise anywhere and they think they are stopping people smoking.

The ASH drones are out in force in the comments but it's far too late now. All they are doing is making smokers laugh harder. Honestly, these people have done some astoundingly stupid things in the past but today they have excelled themselves.

Their second own goal comes in the form of an article on a woman who has given birth after smoking 3500 cigarettes during pregnancy. So, was the baby born nicotine-coloured and coughing? There's a picture of the baby in the article. Judge for yourselves.

Looks fine to me.

Her attitude has caused outrage among health professionals.

Outrage! Outrage, I tell you. Ha ha ha! And a little bit of panic, judging by their hysterical reactions.

Midwives testing her carbon monoxide levels during pregnancy discovered they were six times higher than the level considered safe for the baby.
Specialist midwife Lisa Fendall warned her: 'Your baby is struggling for oxygen, and it's saying "help me".'

As we all know, specialist midwives have a telepathic link to the unborn, and antismokers have been infantilised to the point where they actually understand the 'goo-goo' noises babies make. Unfortunately that's as far as their understanding now extends, but you can't have it both ways.

During her pregnancy Miss Wilcox boasted of her habit - a minimum of 20 cigarettes a day: 'It's making the baby use its heart on its own in the first place, so that when it comes out, it's going to be able to do them (sic) things by itself. Where's the proof that it's so bad to smoke?'

She refused to believe the midwives who told her smoking could cause the baby to be born prematurely, smaller than normal, or with a host of other health problems.

Isn't she wonderful? All those antismokers thumping their little fists and beating their feeble chests and here is Charlie Wilcox who simply does not give a shit about any of it. She refuses to 'believe' and she asks for proof. Does she get proof? No, she gets a snide little 'sic' against her manner of speech.

That is all the antismokers have, you know. Snide remarks and bile. There is nothing else to them at all. They have no value.

Oh, but she goes further.

'I'm not saying smoking is good for your baby. But if you do give up suddenly when you're pregnant, you're probably going to put your baby under a lot more stress, which potentially could do a lot more harm.

This, unlike the rabid babblings of the antismokers, is a valid point. A heavily stressed mother is indeed more likely to miscarry. Does she have a case study to back it up?

'My mate gave up smoking and she miscarried at nine weeks, on the same day I gave birth to Lilly. Me and my friends think it's because she gave up smoking.
'I put it down to her boyfriend actually snapping every fag that she had and banning her from smoking.'

Yes she does. All her mates have come to the same conclusion so there you have it. The court of public opinion has spoken against the tyrannical boyfriend who put that mother under such stress that she lost the baby.

Don't like that, antismokers? That's one real-life case to us. How many real-life cases of second hand smoke do you have so far, with all your doctors and researchers and funding and charities and pressure groups? How many? Sorry, didn't catch that.

Well, antismokers, it seems you've killed a baby. No smoker has ever done that, you know. No, never. You must all feel so very proud.

I have become so sick of hearing smokers saying 'I know it's a filthy habit and I cower at the feet of the Holy Righteous and beg forgiveness. I will take my rightful place out in the cold while continuing to support the pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes who state they don't want me on the premises' and all the rest of the subservient claptrap.

No, what we need are more like Charlie Wilcox who are willing to set an example and say 'My life, my body, my choice, fuck off.'

And here she is, in the daily papers, reaching the masses in a way no blog or smoker's forum ever could. Thank you, antismokers, for enhancing my daily reading with two of the most spectacular own goals you have ever achieved. Thank you for the further amusement of your drone-responses in the comments.

Care to try for a hat-trick?

Go on. You still have plenty of stupid left in you.

Update: A hat-trick, found in the closing minutes of the day's play. It might not count because it was scored by the Greens but they're all the same team really.

No, really, don't play soldiers, kids.

It seems this title from last Thursday was a touch premature.

Less than a week later comes the news that school kids are being disciplined for forming the shape of a gun with their fingers.

We used to do that sometimes, but cap-guns that made a loud bang without actually shooting anything were easy to get. Who remembers those rifles with a cork in the end attached with string? You'd bung in the cork and crank it up, pull the trigger and the cork made a 'pop' when it came out. Better than cap-guns, which went through rolls of caps at a pocket-money-depleting rate. I had a double-barrelled cork-popper in the style of a shotgun. Not one person was even slightly disturbed by this.

Now there are machine-guns that fire foam darts. If a child took one of those to school they'd probably be crucified at the school gates as a warning to the others.

Fortunately the parents deem this as going to far (about bloody time too) but I don't expect the school to back down. Many teachers have reached the point where they know less than the children they are teaching, and the head teachers and governors take pains to get rid of any teacher who atually knows anything. They can't have intelligent teachers in their schools because as bosses, they have to be the most intelligent ones around. Therefore they only want staff who come somewhere below sea-squirts on the IQ scale.

It's not the teachers at fault. It's those who control who gets to be on the staff and who gets to stay. As always, the Righteous remain behind the scenes and let their frontline staff take all the blame.

The school has a different tale to tell:

'The issue here was about hand gestures being made in the shape of a gun towards members of staff which is understandably unacceptable, particularly in the classroom.'

If you had tried that on any of the teachers when I was at school, they would have responded with a blast of withering sarcasm that would have made you look a total prat in front of the rest of the class. You wouldn't have done it again.

So is that what the parents were told?

'We were told to reprimand our son for this and to tell him he cannot play "guns" anymore.
'The teacher said the boys should be reprimanded for threatening behaviour which would not be tolerated at the school.'

It appears not. Once more the Righteous try to squirm out of their actions and are caught out. I cannot imagine any teacher feeling threatened by a child pointing at them but then, teachers used to be able and willing to do something about it.

To be honest, I am surprised at the parents' reaction. Oh, don't get me wrong, it's a refreshing change from the usual hand-wringers who believe that a child pointing fingers is a sign of a future serial killer. I am surprised that didn't happen this time. Perhaps, at last, the camel's load is approaching that final straw? It's a very, very big load now.

Nuneaton MP Marcus Jones branded the ruling 'political correctness gone mad'.

That old chestnut. When will these people realise that political correctness has not 'gone mad'? It's doing exactly what it was designed to do.

It was mad from the start.

Monday 30 May 2011

The Terror of Belief.

The book isn't quite right yet but it's 'in shape'. I'm going to leave it alone for a while and work on something else.

Thanks for all the comments on the limping character. It's important to get those things right. I remember the 'biochemist' in the film 'Red Planet' who thought that the DNA code letters were ACGM. One letter ruined that whole film because in that instant, the biochemist became an actor and the credibility vanished.

Anyway, I haven't been completely engrossed in writing. The greenhouse plants still have to be watered even though going out in the rain to water the plants is a little bit surreal. I have far too many tobacco plants so I offered some to a neighbour. A smoking neighbour.

"Oh no," she said. "We couldn't get involved in anything like that."

"Anything like what?" I was genuinely puzzled.

"Well, you know, anything illegal."

"Illegal? Tobacco isn't illegal. You can buy it in Tesco."

"Oh, no, I'm sure growing it is illegal."

I gave up. People, even smokers, are now so convinced that tobacco is evil and criminal that they run in fear at the slightest hint of anything that might bring the dawn raid with jackboots.

Tobacco is not illegal. Nobody is interested if you grow a few plants. If you manage to dry and cure it correctly, then really you should pay duty on the finished product but if all the plants just end up in the compost box, nobody cares. They are just annual flowers. Which reminds me, mine are poking roots through the bottom of their 3-inch pots. They are ready to graduate. It's not safe to leave the greenhouse yet, still cold here, so on to the bigger pots.

The drying and curing part is the hard part. If I get one pipe's worth out of my first attempt I'll be pleased. Even UKBA wouldn't bother chasing the ten pence of duty they might get from that. In fact, with my little garden, I'm unlikely to ever produce enough duty-chargeable tobacco to cover the UKBA's bus fare to come and collect it.

People grow Nicotiana all over the country. They come in a wide range of varieties, not all of which can be made into actual tobacco, but none of them are illegal. If they were, you wouldn't be able to buy the seeds on Amazon.

They won't be made illegal but they will disappear anyway. Just as eBay will no longer allow the sale of tobacco products, Amazon will eventually remove these seeds 'for the cheeldren'. Because as everyone knows, cheeeldren will be tempted to grow the pretty flowers and then spend months drying, fermenting and processing the leaves. They will then use illegal penknives to carve their own pipes out of the bones of social workers and embark on a terrible smoking habit, and all because Amazon had seeds on sale. That is precisely the reasoning you will hear when the seeds vanish.

It goes further. eBay will not allow the sale of replica guns, the ones that cannot possibly be made to fire because they are made of the wrong metal. Put in a live round and it will blow your hand off. I once had a plastic model kit of an old flintlock pistol listed on there. Plastic. They pulled it. It was 'a gun'. Someone had complained, apparently. Someone had been frightened by a non-assembled plastic model of a 16th-century flintlock pistol. Somehow I doubt that waving a sprue of parts at a bank teller would be an effective means of robbery. Comedy, yes, robbery, no. "Put the money in the bag or I'll glue this thing together."

Unbelievable? Not any more.

Airguns are still legal, for now. If you live in the country, you might go rabbit hunting with one. All you need is the landowner's permission and there is no law broken. When I was a kid, a whole bunch of us would head into the woods with an air rifle each and nobody batted an eyelid. Yet the sight of someone with an airgun is enough to initiate a full scale panic now.

Oddly, these same people find the image of an armoured policeman carrying an automatic weapon comforting, whereas as kids, we were scared of a man in a blue suit with a pointy hat and a stick. We really are plumbing new depths of stupid in this country.

I don't have cucumbers in the greenhouse but I'm tempted. They are set to be more scary than tobacco this summer. I bet you won't be allowed to take them on planes soon. "Take this plane to Cuba or it's salad time."

These people believe they are respected, you know. Yes, really. They shriek and cower like preschool children faced with a spider and still they believe their views are important. They think they can threaten the rest of us, when all we need do is light a cigarette or point a cucumber at them and they will literally shit themsleves.

It's like being challenged by a bluebottle. And yet they will posture and whine and threaten, as if they were actually capable of doing anything without nanny holding their hands.

That's the part that's unbelievable.

Sunday 29 May 2011

Medic information please.

This is a plea for help. Has anyone out there had a broken leg?

Not just a snap. I mean a compound fracture below the knee with skin penetration and bleeding.

It's for a bit of fiction. How much does it hurt and how long are you in plaster, or crutches, afterwards?

Basically, I need the guy to snap his leg on January 1st and still be at least on crutches or limping by the end of April, so how bad do I need to hurt him? He has driven his car over a retaining wall into a ring of greenhouses so he can be as badly smashed as necessary because someone else will move him.

That's the thing about fiction. It has to be more real than real life. People complain about wrong details in fiction but they don't seem to mind real life being utter nonsense.

If I was only a news reporter, it would be far easier.

Saturday 28 May 2011

Customer or not customer, that is the question.

Red mist already. Even if I avoid the newspapers, the red mist comes in the inbox.

So if you are a victim of identity theft, you are not allowed to complain because the bank where the fraudster has an account in your name will argue that you are not a customer of theirs. So you cannot complain because customer service obviously does not apply to non-customers.

However, they will pursue you for the money, claiming that the card/account/whatever was not fraudulently obtained.

So you are a customer who owes them money but you are not a customer so you can't complain. Doublethink supreme.

What gets the red mist rising is that a judge has declared that you cannot complain because you are not a customer, yet the bank can still chase you for the fraudster's spending as if you were the customer, and the defence did not pick up on this.

If a court of law declares you are not a customer of the bank, use that to tell the bank to shove their demands where the sun don't shine and if you can't find a lawyer who can blow the whole thing to ribbons, try narrowing your search to those with an IQ above the drool layer.

There must be some.

Right. I'll have to ignore the Emails too. This work must be done.

Working weekend.

I have compiled the follow-up to Jessica's Trap into one big file for editing. Once that's done, I'll pass it around a few folk to look for those errors that are so blatant I just can't see them (they are always there). Ideally, I'll look for some who have read Jessica's Trap and some who haven't. Aside from errors I'll need to know two things. One, does the story stand alone - ie can you read it and make sense of it if you haven't read the earlier book (well, two books, one of which is not available yet)? Two, do the details match with Jessica's Trap?

This is an especially sensitive subject after watching the Phantasm films where the continuity between films is painfully contrived and often ridiculous. Funnily enough, the opening narration of Wishmaster was by Angus Scrimm, the Tall Man, and the pharmacy guy in this film was the ice-cream seller from Phantasm. At least that goggle-eyed kid wasn't in it.

I wrote this second book first. Jessica's Trap started as simply backstory, but it took on a life of its own.

This weekend will be intensive editing because I really want this one finished. I want to work on 'Ghosthunters', the only book with 'ghost' in the title and probably the only one with nothing supernatural in it. That one I think I'll self-publish under a different pseudonym (Perhaps Tony Steel = toe-knee-steel for the slower ones out there) since it's a considerable departure from the 'career' stuff. It won't get as far self-published but it means I can at least make it cheap for the electronic versions. Plus there won't be any publisher saying 'ooo, no, you can't say that'. First though I will need to read this book to make sure I'm not being 'samey'. Oddly, it's cheaper as a paperback than as Kindle on Amazon. I don't think I've ever seen that before.

Ghosthunters will need editing and a few critical eyes too but it's some time away yet.

In the current book, there is a smoker who stops smoking. I wrote the outline before the smoking ban and left him a non-smoker, and also left him pleased about it. That must now change.

There is also someone smoking in what is effectively his place of work, and throwing cigar-butts around. That will not change.

This is a long-winded way of saying I'm taking the weekend off blogging because it's raining here and I can't do anything outside, and I want this manuscript out of my way.

So I should be silent until Monday.

Unless the red mist rises. There are no guarantees.

Tobacco Pharmers.

I've just watched Wes Craven's 'Wishmaster' again, because I've been sorting through the DVD collection. It's funny what you notice now that all enjoyment is banned. In that film even the monster smokes - and he does it on business premises and nobody even questions it!

If any interdimensional creatures bent on recreating Hell on Earth appeared now, there would be terror and mayhem unless the creature lit up in a public place. Then the Council Stasi would come down on him like a ton of bricks.

It just wouldn't be the same if the creature pulled out an Electrofag. It would be funny though. I might write that into a story somewhere.

Speaking of Electrofag, it seems they have been rediscovered by the tobacco companies, but they say it'll take them three years to develop theirs. Talk about reinventing the wheel. Although if anyone did reinvent the wheel, they'd have to go through marketing and safety testing for years before they built their first cart.

Then the cart would have to be safety-assessed before they added a horse. If the Romans had run their world like we do they'd never have had an empire. By the time they'd completed testing and market research on the horse and cart, they wouldn't be allowed to park it anywhere.

The new one isn't a proper Electrofag. It's an 'inhaler' so it's going to look like some kind of humiliating baby-dummy thing and it'll be just as useful as patches and gum. The tobacco companies didn't invent it. They bought it from an antismoker.

The aerosol nicotine-delivery system was developed by Jed Rose, director of the Center for Nicotine and Smoking Cessation Research at Duke University.

This is Doctor Patches, whose previous research led to enormous profits for the Pharmers while having no effect on smoking at all. No wonder the tobacco companies want to buy his work.

He defended his decision to sell to the company, saying: 'By avoiding the burning process altogether, finding a way of giving smokers nicotine to inhale but without those toxic substances that we can reduce the death and disease associated with smoking.

Electrofag is doing exactly that already. But what's this about 'defending his decision'? If it's his invention he can sell to whoever he likes, surely? I see no need to 'defend my decision' to sell my work to a private company rather than donate it to the NHS. I've been penniless. It's not nice. The NHS are more in the way of the research than encouraging it. If I was tied up with them I'd have starved to death by now - or worse, run out of whisky and sobered up. The horror!

Yet he feels the need to 'defend his decision' as if he had made a pact with the red guy himself. No, not Santa. The other fireplace guy. The one who doesn't drink or smoke and who has an ideal BMI. Yes, that's him. The one the Antis worship.

'The other methods of delivering nicotine fall short of providing smokers with the satisfaction that they crave,' Mr Rose said.

You know, having all these antismokers telling me why I smoke is becoming as tiresome as the fake statistics at the end of every article and the outpourings of spite and bile from the vicious little frustrated gas-chamber guards in the comments.

I do not smoke to get an aerosol sprayed down my neck. If I liked that sort of thing I'd be addicted to anti-perspirants. This idiot has no idea what I 'crave' but I'll tell you it's not his silly little spray. Electrofag is a decent substitute even without nicotine because it mimics the action of smoking. Patches do not, gum does not, and this ridiculous little gadget will not. For me at least, it's not about the nicotine. It's about the whole thing and if you don't like smoking, get the hell out of the way because my previous considerate attitude has evaporated under the weight of sneering and nasty antismoker superiority. You think you'll die from second hand smoke? You will one day, and I am happy to help convince you of this. And your children. No compromise.

So why does a tobacco company want this pointless gadget?

Spokesman Peter Nixon said it may take three to five years to develop a commercial product that would be considered an alternative to conventional cigarettes.

Rubbish. The mechanism is already on sale. All you need do is tweak it enough to dodge patent law. Others have managed it, that's why there are lots of producers.

I can think of two reasons. Remember those old conspiracy theories about an engine that ran on water? The story goes that the oil companies bought all the patents so they could sit on the information and stop anyone else patenting one. This could be what Philip Morris are up to here. If they think it will work, it'll never be quite ready for sale. They hold the patents so the Pharmers can't have it. Although if it actually worked, the Pharmers wouldn't want it and neither would ASH.

If they think it won't work, it'll be on sale in no time. How could anyone resist a slice of that Big Pharma action? Sell something that won't work, wait until the customer relapses and sell it to them again. Then get the NHS to buy it and hand it out for free. The producer gets paid either way.

Although if you're selling tobacco and the tobacco-cessation gadget that won't work, you are into serious money. You can't lose.

Tobacco companies or Pharmers, the only loser will be the smoker. We can't trust either of them.

Thursday 26 May 2011

Don't play soldiers, kids.

We hear every day how the children of the land are turning into little blobs who can barely lift an Xbox controller and who get out of breath thinking about stairs. We are told they are not exercising enough. They should be out climbing trees and playing kick-ball and having affairs and taking out injunctions... no wait, that comes after the kick-ball games.

They have been prevented from doing this by a population of adults who think Gary Glitter hides in every wheelie bin, who believe that any child outdoors is sure to be sucked into an evil world of hard drugs, stabbings, guns, smoking and jam sandwiches. The health and safety culture ensures that no child must climb any structure taller than six inches and rough sports like chess must be avoided in case they sprain a finger or increase blood flow to the brain, thus causing a stroke or an outbreak of thinking.

So what happens when some kids decide to go out and play a bit of football as directed by the lardasses who dictate the fitness agenda? Well, what always happens. Sooner or later, inexpert footballers (and sometimes expert ones) mis-hit the ball. To those who used to read children's comics in the days before Dennis the Menace turned into Walter the Softie, the football through the window scenario will be very familiar.

It's not so common these days because a) double glazing is better able to resist a ball impact than the old single glazing and b) kids aren't allowed to play football in case Gary Glitter's Gang are about, or in case it rains, or they get dirty. But it can still happen, just the same.

When it does, it is no longer an accident. A football hitting a greenhouse is now deliberate criminal damage and requires a helicopter, riot van and half the country's police force to be scrambled to apprehend the evil terrorist.

You want kids to play football? Aside from their parents' long-instilled paranoia, no child dares kick a ball in case it goes wrong because that will bring the full force of the law down on them and a record that will show up on CRB checks for the rest of their lives.

That's just for cracking a greenhouse.

When the police are all armed, and that day is coming, children should be warned never to play soldiers. One shout of 'Bang!' and it'll be game over.

Permanently. One short, sharp shot and they won't do it again.

Children are safer indulging in modern hobbies like burglary and manslaughter. The law doesn't mind them doing that at all.

Don't worry about losing out on the football, kids. As a Law-approved career criminal, you can still play with the injunctions. You won't even have to pay for them.

Meanwhile, the Prize Mutant dresses like a gardener and plays ping-pong with Barry O'Blimey before the barbecue, while Denmark bans Marmite for having too much vitamin B, a hideous caricature of humanity is allowed to throw billions into the newly-forming Islamic states, and yet another politician is interviewed by police. And that's just a sample of today's news.

No wonder Parliament is so keen to expand the criminal classes and to reduce the general brain-power of the population. They're grooming the next generation of politicians. Stupid and larcenous are the best qualifications for the New World Order.

I would like to say 'You couldn't make it up' but let's get real here. Kafka couldn't have made this world up. Spike Milligan and Graham Chapman are looking down at the world and wishing they'd thought of such absurdity while they were alive. They're also wondering whether they could have gone that far with their sketches and got away with it.

I don't know who is making it up, but they are way beyond the rubber room stage now.

Kids, stick with the Xboxes. Never attempt to play at soldiers. Fat is better than dead.

Wednesday 25 May 2011

You take the sword, I'll take the pen.

(This is a long ramble. Best get a sandwich and a beer.)

In the battle against the Righteous, we use facts. Alcohol units per day, five-a-day vegetables, hockey stick graphs, all long discredited yet still presented as fact, all made-up stuff. We respond with genuine scientific studies or point out their lack of any empirical evidence. Who is winning, as far as the public are concerned?

They are.

The pen of fiction does seem to be mightier than the sword of truth. While the truth can be bizarre, fiction has to be logical and sensible and believable. So when you hear that children are running amok, terrorising neighbourhoods and getting away with no more than a telling-off, when you hear that the victims of crime are arrested, when you hear that those who attempt to stop criminals in the act are jailed, it makes no sense. It is illogical.

The fiction that these are mere isolated incidents or even the invention of the press is much more credible, especially to those who live in areas so far unaffected by the violence. That’s an easy one.

Third hand smoke is a more complex one. It relies on a general ignorance of chemistry. Those who actually look up the chemistry will find that yes, plant-derived nitrosamines can react with gaseous nitrous acid ions to produce a carcinogen. However, few will bother with the quantities. Few will note that if there is enough nitrous acid in the air to produce sufficient carcinogen to be effective, then those who inhale it will never experience cancer. They’ll never experience anything, ever again. Even if there was no third hand smoke present.

Nobody notices. The logic in the chemistry is intact but the dose level requires an already toxic atmosphere in order to possibly produce something that might or might not prove toxic.

The alcohol units per week and the five-a-day fruit and veg numbers were simply plucked out of the air. Global warming is based on computer models, not on actual observations because actual observations don’t fit the models so reality must be wrong. By the time global warming appeared, the techniques used to twist reality to fit the narrative were already firmly in place. Reality is now created by fiction writers, but they don’t tell you it’s fiction.

Most people will believe anything if it’s presented in a credible and logical way. It’s not because they are stupid, but because nobody has time to research every aspect of every subject. Suppose I were to tell you that bacteria communicate with each other using a ‘language’ of chemical signals. Suppose I told you that some pathogens won’t initiate an infection until they know there are enough of them present to beat the host defences, and they communicate to decide when to attack. Would you believe it?

It’s true. It’s called ‘quorum sensing’.

Suppose I told you that the Romans had to build straight roads, no matter what was in the way, because their two-wheeled rigid carts were almost impossible to steer at speed.

That’s total rubbish. I made it up. Try both of them on anyone you meet and unless they are a microbiologist or a historian, I’ll bet most will believe the wrong one. Bacteria ‘talking’ will make most people laugh. The straight road story sounds plausible.

Facts are easily trumped by a plausible story. I have met people with PhD’s who are shocked at the suggestion that a non-smoker could use a no-nicotine Electrofag. They believe it will start them smoking. Why? If you use a device that delivers, say, coffee-flavoured steam (there is a huge range of flavours now) and you try a cigarette, you aren’t likely to enjoy it. It tastes very different and it’s smoke, not steam. And yet, otherwise intelligent people believe that smoking is some kind of demonic possession, triggered by anything that looks like smoking or even by the sight of a shiny box. By that token, if you chew a pen, you’re a smoker.

Frank Davis and Pat Nurse have both posted articles that suggest they are at the end of their tether over the smoking ban. It just goes further and further and there is no compromise at all at any stage. Will they enforce a home ban with CCTV in every home? Every home, antismokers. There is no way to tell who’s having a crafty puff at home so you’ll be watched too.

Well, if they were to propose such a thing for smoking, there would be uproar. However, if they start by proposing it for a serious crime, no matter that it can’t work for that crime, then they'll have a few homes with cameras to start with. Wait until everyone is used to the idea that the cameras are there for their own protection, perhaps from burglars or terrorists or the new breed of lawless youth, and then it’ll be easy. There will be idiots demanding cameras because the idiots next door have them. The cameras can be in place before the home smoking ban, before the controls on drinking and diet. There won’t appear to be any connection at all.

On any subject, be it booze or fat or salt or smoking or weather, the zealots will never compromise. Never. They will never stop pushing for more control. Never. They are indifferent to any argument based on facts, because their beliefs trump the facts.

There aren’t really all that many of these fiction-writing true zealots. They amass armies of drones using persuasive nonsense and they have created a population who will believe any damn thing if it’s properly presented. Frank and Pat despair at this.

I have a different mindset. I have never had so much fun in my life. I’m not an imposing figure, never been athletic or anywhere close to it. Now I am the Grim Reaper made flesh and all I need are a little bit of burning leaf, a few words and a straight face.

I have told people they should wash their dog’s paws after every walk in case they stepped in some ash, and they believe it. I have told them to beware of letting their cats out at night because cigarette ends are like catnip to them, and they believe it. I have described to them in a low and level voice all the symptoms they will experience as a result of being too near the smoking area and I have watched their breath shorten. So far I have not caused a psychosomatic death but one day...

Now I have a big one for the next antismoker who fake-coughs at me. It plays on several of their insane beliefs all at once.


UKBA confiscate millions of tons of tobacco every year. What do they do with it? They burn it. Don’t worry, they don’t burn it in this country because that would contaminate the air and make everyone a nicotine addict. They ship it abroad.

To Iceland.

Why Iceland? Well, Iceland owe the UK loads of money so they have agreed to repay the debt by disposing of UKBA’s confiscated baccy. You see, another reason we don’t want it burned here is that the Government are trying to reduce emissions and burning all that tobacco would produce lots of CO2 and also require running an incinerator. That would cost energy and boost emissions.

Iceland have volcanoes (can you see what it is yet?) so rather than running an incinerator, they dump all the tobacco into the volcanoes. It costs them nothing, it doesn’t make a difference to a volcano’s emissions and it helps them repay their debt. It’s a win all around.

Until a volcano erupts.

You see all that ash that’s now falling all over the country? Well...


How can anyone resist having fun with this? I don’t have to pretend to be evil. The drone army are already convinced of it. They wouldn’t bat an eyelid if I sprouted horns. You can invent anything bad as long as it relates to their conditioned hate and they will fall for it every time. Truth? Forget it. They have, a long time ago.

Put down the swords and pick up the pens. There can be no compromise with these people and no reasoning with them. They will never stop pushing and they will never listen.

So let’s terrify them to death. Push the absurdity as far as it can go and that’s quite some way yet. Some will come to their senses when it goes too far for them - but those who don’t, well, they’ll just have to get used to high blood pressure and shortness of breath and permanent terror.

When they call for compromise, the only answer is ‘no’. Any compromise position will just let them start all over again. Trying to persuade them of the truth is futile, they won’t hear it. Their world is a fantasy Utopia entirely constructed from their beliefs.

We can turn it into Hell.

Tuesday 24 May 2011

Up the Injunction.

For younger readers (which is most people these days), the reference is here.

The Man Who Shall Not be Named (yes, another Voldemort) will not be named here even though I'm in Scotland so nyah. I don't care about him at all so I won't be giving him the publicity he doesn't deserve.

The House of Commons did, which forced Dave to admit something.

The Prime Minister admitted yesterday morning that even he knew that Bryan Glib was the footballer at the centre of the furore, hours before his name was revealed in Parliament.

Hours before? Oh, do try to keep up, Prize Mutant. The rest of the world has known for days. If you can't manage to be 'down wiv da yoof' on something so blatant, what use are you? Oh never mind, we have seen how much use you are already. Go and do something useful like counting the dust particles on Gordon Brown's Commons seat.

All I can think of on this subject is this: If Footyman had admitted it at the start, it would have been 'Oh yeah, another footballer can't keep his trouser snake on a leash, yawn' and the next day it would have been gone. Forgotten. Orrible bin Liner's death would have consigned the whole thing to less importance than chip wrappings.

It wasn't the knob-twiddling, football boy, it was your attempt to cover it up that blew your name stratospheric. Do you think your kids' friends at school didn't know who you were? Do you think your wifes' friends and your family never use the Internet or Twitter? It could all have been over in hours but now it will never end. You, and your football club, are in the stenchy and scabrous mire, yea verily, up to thine stubbly chins and it is all your doing.

It will never end because Dommie the Grieve still plans to pursue the Twits, all tens of thousands of them, over their breaking of your 'Oooh no missus' injunction. You and your club will now be wishing it would go away but you have granted it immortality as tens of thousands of silly little court cases run over the next few decades. Chances are you'll have died of old age long before this is forgotten.

Footyman, you could have taken the consequences of your actions and the whole thing would be long forgotten by now. Instead you have driven it into the conversation of every pub, club and football supporters group in the land forever. Even the Monsters of Parliament have noticed and wow, that takes some doing.

As the song says, you are really up the junction.

Looks like football's going home, but there might not be anyone in this time.

Sympathy... I have heard legends of such a thing but I fear this is the wrong place to seek it.

Tesco in profit-making shock!

Once upon a time, in a land just down the road, I went into a local shop because I needed a few bits and pieces. While there, I decided to buy some tobacco because this was in the days before Man with a Van and because I couldn't be bothered going all the way to the supermarket just to save a few pennies.

The counter was staffed by a raddled harridan who didn't like smokers and made it plain. She was all sweetness and light bleeping through coffee and butter and the rest, but when I asked for an ounce of baccy the very air froze and the contempt was almost tangible.

I don't know about you, but I don't like being treated like that so I never went in that shop again. For anything. It's still there, the loss of my custom has not closed it. I have no idea whether the raddled harridan still exudes ice at smokers, nor whether they even still sell tobacco, and I am not interested in finding out. The shop continues without me and I continue without it. There are plenty of other local shops to cover my needs and presumably plenty of non-smokers, and masochistic smokers, to cover theirs.

Recently there was a Tesco in Bristol that had the temerity to open its doors and offer goods for sale. There was Outrage. Small shops will close, there will be nothing but Tesco and everyone will have to shop there. We were told that ninety-five percent of residents didn't want this Tesco and about one percent were prepared to smash it to bits to prove that.

If ninety-five percent don't want it, where's the problem? Let it open. When Tesco finds that no more than five percent of locals use it, they'll soon close it again. None of the other shops will close because they will lose, at most, five percent of their customers. The other ninety-five percent don't want to shop at Tesco.

When faced with a shop I don't like, my only protest is to never enter their doors again. I used to be a regular at PDSA but have neither contributed nor bought anything there since they announced they believed in second-hand smoke affecting pets. Fine. Believe that nonsense if you want. This smoker is not giving you any more money or contributions, but you carry on until you have alienated everyone. It's your business. I'm not going to stop anyone else going there because I no longer care whether you thrive or fail. For me, the shop has simply ceased to exist. Forever. I have never, to this day, dropped a grudge.

Those Bristol protestors knew perfectly well that most of their neighbours would have switched to Tesco prices at once. They knew, in their weak and unprincipled hearts, that they would shop there too. They care nothing for those small shops. All they care about is bashing the rich guy, despite the fact that the Tesco workers in that shop are almost as far from 'the rich guy' as you can get. They have to close the shop, or ninety-nine percent of their neighbours will shop there and they would be supporting the Evil Rich.

At this point, I have to say I don't like Tesco very much, apart from the whisky aisle. Oh, I buy stuff in there, they haven't annoyed me personally so they have never invoked a grudge, but I don't like their business practices.

There was a paint shop here, not cheap, but convenient and they had all the colours of paint you could ever want. They even had a thing that would let them mix up a colour if they didn't already have a tin of it.

Tesco stocked paint, but only in the most popular colours. The paint shop could not compete on price. With people buying the most popular colours in Tesco, the shop was left with the few customers who wanted unusual colours, and that's not enough to sustain a business. The shop is gone.

There was a book shop here. Tesco sell the fast-selling bestsellers at prices no small bookshop could possibly match. The bookshop stocked odd and unusual books that no supermarket would ever touch, but denied the high volume sales of things like Harry Potter, they could not compete. The bookshop is gone.

The thing is, Tesco's paint range is now only white and magnolia. The book range is also limited. It almost feels as though they are closing the little shops not for the business but just out of spite. So no, I am no champion of Tesco. Especially since the only thing they could ever sell of mine are the books and they'd discount them so far I'd be lucky to get a bean per book. The phrase 'On sale at Tesco' does not make an author's heart soar.

Having said that, Tesco is a business. Not a charity, not a government organisation, not a social club. Like every other business, including mine, it exists to make money. I produce cures for intestinal diseases but when I'm not making money I stop doing it. I receive no public funds or donations so I don't owe it to the world to hand over everything I've learned. What I know, I worked to know, and that has value. If you don't think it does, don't pay me to produce the stuff. Easy.

Businesses exist to earn money. Do you imagine Glaxo exists purely to find cures for things? No, they exist to make money and finding cures is how they do it. Bus companies exist to make money and running buses is how they do it. The local lentil and soya-bean shop exists to make money and catering to the hippies is how they do it. The council exists to make money and demanding it with menaces is how they do it.

Any business that does not make money does not stay in business very long. That's called 'reality'.

So when Tesco decides to throw the council's recycling bins out of their car parks and install their own instead, that's business. There's money in recycling it seems. The councils have been doing very nicely out of it by placing bins on supermarket property and keeping the money.

I've always thought that recycling would be better and more efficient if private business did it. They would only collect what could genuinely be recycled and they would definitely recycle it. Private business would never collect rubbish and pay for it to be shipped to China for dumping. That does not make sense in either business or ecological terms.

The councils are scrambling for excuses -

'We have various targets we have to hit in recycling rates.
'If we are collecting the material ourselves, we can account for the figures quite easily. But if they [Tesco] are insisting on doing it themselves, these materials will be disappearing from our waste stream and we won't be able to work out how much rubbish is being recycled.'

All they need is a monthly report of weight-per-type from Tesco and they will have those records anyway. Does it really matter who does the recycling as long as the recycling is done?

Ah, but the councils are losing money -

Tesco is going to be making millions from this, and we will be struggling.
'We made around £80,000 a year from the bins, and all this money was pumped into maintaining less-widely used recycling bins in other areas.

So all the money just went into running non-useful bins? Therefore the taxpayers were getting... what? Collection of stuff that was loss-making paid for using all the money from collections that were profitable. Where is the logic in bothering with that business?

Tesco claims it will inject the money back into local projects of its choosing, such as school sports programmes.

So the locals benefit if Tesco recycle but if the council does it, it's a zero-sum business. Yet Tesco are the bad guys here. They are going to choose what to spend their money on! The horror!

'...Tesco, who seem to want to make a profit out of it'.

Um... it's what they do.

But on recycling, none of that is what interests me. Personally I get nothing out of council zero-sum nonsense nor out of any kind of sports programmes. What interests me is this from the same speaker as above, without a hint of irony -

'In terms of aluminium cans, you can make quite a sizeable profit out of them.'

Oh really? So whether it's the council or Tesco, why am I handing them over for free? Worse, why am I paying council tax to have them collected? It sounds as if I am paying to have something valuable taken away.

I'm a business too. This needs investigating.

Monday 23 May 2011

Damage and lies exposed.

I have a post over at Orphans of Liberty, so this is just a short one before I fire up iPlayer for a bit of Dr. Who escapism.

The damage the Righteous have done becomes ever more apparent. Now it appears that 10-year-olds in 2008 have only three-quarters the physical strength of 10-year-olds in 1998. That's a hell of a loss over ten years. By 2018 they'll barely be able to lift their cellphones.

There are some shocking notes in that article. Here's one.

Meanwhile, the number not able to hold their own weight when clinging to a wall doubled to one in 10. A further one in 10 refused to try this exercise, saying they had never tried it before.

Ten years old and they've never tried to climb anything? What? Not just a few, but one in ten of them. Sure, we had kids who were crap at climbing, I wasn't that much use at it myself and I'm still not, but never even tried? Further, they refused to try. How do you get ten percent of children so scared of their own shadows that they won't even try hanging off a wall? Even the geekiest of us tried that long before we reached ten. Even if we fell off, we tried again.

This is what all those years of 'non-contact wrestling' and 'everyone wins the race even the kid with no legs' has brought us to. A whole generation of weaklings. It's not the fault of video games and TV. They spend too much time with those things, maybe, but that's because they cannot play any games that carry the slightest risk of even minor bruising. They cannot play outside in case the Glitterman is around. They cannot even play on a field that's not perfectly level. TV and Xbox is all they have left.

So that's the damage all those years of Righteousness have done to the kids they claim to protect. What about the lie? Well, the lie is the epidemic of childhood obesity.

The findings, published in the child health journal Acta Paediatrica, cannot be explained by burgeoning girths.
The study showed their body mass index was the same as that of children 10 years ago.

The same as a decade ago. No epidemic then.

However, this could mean that although children weigh the same, less is muscle and more is fat.

True. However, if they were not obese ten years ago, they are not obese now. Flabby and weak, yes, but obese requires considerable girth. So the 'protection' of children has turned them into feeble little weeds and the 'obesity' epidemic was a lie. This was obvious anyway from all the stories of perfectly normal-sized children being classed as 'obese' by idiots with clipboards, but now it's right there for parents to see for themselves.

It's all falling apart, Righteous. One mess after another, one lie after another, your made-up world is collapsing around you.

Time is running out on this cycle of Righteousness. I don't expect them to give up quietly. There will be more extreme madness before it's over.

I wonder if there's popcorn in the house?

Sunday 22 May 2011

The Sunday Sport/Science.

Remember the Daily Mail story about the man with the car in his lounge? The headline suggested he had converted his living room into a garage whereas he had actually converted his garage into a luxury living room for his car.

But then this is the Daily Mail where you expect that sort of thing. Take the facts and derive a conclusion that has nothing to do with the facts and publish it. It's tabloid hack-rag standard fayre. It doesn't really matter, it's just entertainment. Nobody expects the Mail to apply the same sort of rigour to the words they publish as, say, a prestigious scientific journal. The Daily Mail, like all newspapers, has no ambition to take a place on the dry and dusty shelves of a scientific library.

Through Dick Puddlecote's link tank, there is a story showing how one of the most prestigious of scientific journals shows every sign of wanting to oust the Daily Mail from its rightful place as a peddler of made-up sensationalist tales. Those dry and sombre shelves in the serious library of science no longer satisfy the editors. They want action, adventure, pictures of celebrities in low-cut dresses taken from every angle until they secure the coveted nipple shot. They want the speed and excitement of booze-fuelled Daily Mail writing. Science and experimental rigour is all very well but the Mail gets by very nicely just by making stuff up.

Now it seems the American Journal of Physiology: Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology wants some of that action. They have published a paper whose conclusions bear no relation to the reported results and which were never possible to reach from the experimental design. It's there, in print, published as a tribute to that journal's desire to be known in the future as a tabloid hack-rag. I expect they'll rename it 'The Sunday Science' any day now.

It's the journal's escape from the dusty shelves and into the wild, wild world of Hello and Cosmopolitan and the Sunday Sport and men's magazines such as 'Brrm' and 'Trousers'. They don't want to be taken seriously any more. They want to publish papers about New York yellow cabs found on the Moon with drivers who have held their breath for a decade, about huge boobs and their effect on the lungs beneath (with pictures on page three), about a race of people descended from Atlanteans who have learned to breathe under water and about women who can breathe with their mouth full for extended periods. All of which would be just as credible and as scientifically valid as the one they have now published.

That ridiculous paper makes every other paper in that journal look suspect by association. Science would now have more credibility if it appeared in the Beano. Publication of such obvious tabloid nonsense is an embarrassment to science as a whole. The editors of that journal should resign and seek new positions with the Sun or the Mirror, although they'd have to learn to be a bit more scrupulous with their editing.

The harm caused by the smokophobes is not limited to smokers. Well, okay, we all knew that. They have closed pubs and cafes, they have wrecked the social lives of non-smokers as well as their smoking friends, they have forced guilt onto parents of children who die of SIDS by pretending that smoking causes it, when there is no evidence of this at all, they have invented second and third hand smoke to terrify and subjugate the masses, and much more. We already knew we were dealing with exceptionally unpleasant people who have no regard for the collateral damage they inflict while chasing their personal agenda.

Now they have reduced scientific journals to the level of the Daily Mail. Those journals were the one place where you would expect to find at least some unbiased truth, where you would expect to find dispassionate discussion of facts with no sensationalism. No longer.

Get your facts from the Sunday Sport in future. They are as reliable as a scientific journal now and considerably cheaper.

I never thought I'd see the day when a reputable journal would descend to the level of the gutter press, but here it is.

Maybe the end is nigh after all.

Saturday 21 May 2011

Apocalypse not now.

You still there? Didn't get taken away in the Rapture? Neither did I, but then I don't ever expect to be.

So the time passed and millions of people spectacularly stayed exactly where they were. There will no doubt be compensation claims flooding in from the idiots who gave up their jobs and spent all their money, also from all those squatters who thought they'd have a load of empty mansions to choose from. As if anyone in those mansions was really likely to be included!

It's a good thing it didn't work as expected. A rolling Armageddon, following 6 pm as it passes around the globe, was a terrible idea. I mean, we're at the end of Europe here. By the time we reached Heaven, the Poles would have finished the vodka, the Italians would have drunk all the wine and there'd be a German towel on every sun-lounger. All the Brits would turn up complaining that the timing clashed with teatime.

I wonder if smoking is banned in Heaven? I suspect not, since it's unlikely to harm the already dead and also because those who make a living by tormenting their fellow man aren't likely to get tickets. Sorry, Dreadful Arnott, it's eternity in the hot smoky place for you. Now that's what I call irony.

It's okay to laugh at doom-mongers. That's what they're for. it becomes even more amusing when doom-mongers laugh at other doom-mongers and then set about planning what they'll do after those troublesome Christians are taken off the planet.

There was a display of Olympic standard point-missing from Stephen Fry on Twitter.

Marvellous news! #rapture doesn't mean end of world. Apparently all the plantet's [sic] imbeciles disappear in one go. #dreamcometrue

No, you imbecile, the imbeciles stay. We wouldn't lose a single politician, human rights lawyer or council official who thinks he's Genghis Khan. We wouldn't lose the Westboro Baptist Church or any of those TV evangelists. If there is a God, and if the Rapture ever really happens, all the best people will go. The good ones, the noble ones, the selfless ones. Not the superinjuncted celebrities and not the chat show hosts. It'll be people nobody has even noticed.

Then there are the Green God's followers working out how they could selectively send American consumers to Heaven and how much better the world would be if they left. Sigh. You no more get to choose who goes than my tomato plants get to choose which ones go in grow-bags and which go in the compost. And when the good ones have been selected out, compost is all the rest can look forward to. They don't get to plan a new tomato paradigm after the good plants have been Raptured into a bag of soil. If a lot of people vanish, those who are still here had best get very, very drunk and stay that way because there would be nothing else left to do.

I'm not religious, but I'm not antireligious either. I don't follow a God but I recognise that I can't prove there isn't one so I go through life not worrying about it. Maybe there is, maybe there's not. I am an apathist.

If the Rapture really happens and God's chosen get swept up to Heaven, and the rest of us have to deal with the winding-down operation before God finally presses 'delete', well, too bad. I'm old, I've had a mostly good time and I wasn't expecting to go anywhere afterwards anyway. So, no loss.

Besides, eternity with me? Even God couldn't stand that.

I'm not even sure I could.

Spite of the Righteous

There is a chap who loves his Ferrari so much it's moved in with him. Ooh, Monseiur Ambassador, with zis Ferrari Frontroom you are spoiling us.

Naturally, as it's the Daily Mail, the headline is utter rubbish. He has not turned his living room into a garage. He has kitted out his garage to look like a living room. And may I say he's done a damn good job of it too. It looks better than my front room. I won't mention my garage because his garden shed probably looks better. As for my shed, well, it would lose a compost heap contest.

My garage isn't that big. I think if I put an average sized car in there I'd be hard pressed to open the doors even if I took all the junk out. There certainly wouldn't be space to have a car and room to move around. However, I am inspired. My garage is plasterboarded now and I've been thinking how much better it would look with tables, chairs, a bar and ashtrays. Getting stuff in is no problem, an entire wall opens. Likewise, ventilation. Getting rid of the accumulated junk is something else. That takes will-power and smokers aren't allowed to have any.

Which reminds me, I still have to fix the arrow-hole in that garage door from when I bought that crossbow. I thought a straw target, palette and board would be enough but no, it's a hell of a beast.

Smoky-drinky has to develop for the future. The smoky part is already denormalised and the drinky part won't be far behind so best start getting ready now. Unfortunately antismoky-drinkies will have to start from scratch but that's their problem. Antismoky-antidrinkies already exist. They are called graveyards. Conversation in those places is... somewhat stilted.

So this guy turns his garage into a shrine to his Ferarri and considering the price tag on those cars, I don't blame him. I couldn't sleep if I had something that valuable parked outside my house. But hey, it's his garage, the work he's done looks great, if I moved into that house after him I'd be delighted to have a garage already kitted out like that, so no problem, right? It affects absolutely nobody so not even the professionally offended could be upset, right?


I bet his house smells just wonderful, being fully saturated with exhaust fumes. - Completely Average, Somewhere, 20/5/2011 15:43

I've never had a car in my garage. Does it fill the house with exhaust fumes? Somehow I had imagined that people who put cars in garages take the precaution of turning off the engine once it's in and closing the door after the engine is off. But maybe 'Completely Average' leaves his running all night so it's ready to go in the morning. Hey, Mr. Average, take heart. It could be worse. He might not have emptied the ashtrays.

I hope he had planning permission for the conversion. (Change of use springs to mind, amongst others.) - Leroy Gibbs, Reading, Berks, 20/5/2011 15:30

Planning permission to decorate an interior room? Really, Leroy? And how exactly does putting your car into a nice looking garage, as opposed to the crap hole that is my garage, constitute a change of use? It's still a garage, you bubbling pustule on the rotting corpse of common sense. He still parks his car in it. It's just that it's now a garage you can go into without thinking 'Oh hell, it's long past time for a clearout'.

The green eyes of envy are clear in those comments. This man worked hard to make his garage into a room worth being in, while still using it as a viable garage. There is no more danger of exhaust fumes than with anyone else's garage. There is no 'change of use'. They just want to take away his achievement for no reason other than pure spite.

Mr. Average wants to do it by denormalisation, which reduces in every case to 'Ooo, it's something I don't approve of so it must be derided'. Leroy wants the council to deal with this deviation from his comfortable life of sheep-like devotion to Blandland. There is a deviant! His garage is not full of shit! Stop him! Spill oil on the floor and strew spanners around and remove the hideous sight of a room that is actually pleasant to be in.

Sod them all. I think his garage looks fantastic and my only envy is that my garage doesn't look like that and I don't have the skill to do it. His car's nice, but really I'm not interested in cars and if it was mine there'd probably be a rusty Lada sitting there. But the garage is fantastic.

Mine is still a shithole. However, I am inspired now by the sight of what it could become.

And it would still be a garage, Leroy, so you can take your petty spite with all its barbs and razors and ram the whole lot into the top of your bishop's hat.

Yes, Leroy. The one in your trousers.

Smoke 'em if you've got 'em.

The End of the World is Nigh. Again.

RealStreet has a more Christian-based view of why today's End of the World is nonsense. Even Jesus didn't know the date, so how could some wrinkly guy with a book collection consisting of one book?

The Rapture (the one from the Bible, not the Rupture, which comes from 'Atlas Shrugged A Bit Too Hard That Time') is where all the good people are taken up to Heaven. The rest of us won't even notice. After that, the world descends into madness and disaster.

Strange and illogical things will happen. People will believe they can die from a smell. We will have scientists telling us that people who eat more calories than they use could end up putting on weight. Oh, and they'll expect to be well paid for telling us that too. Everything will reverse, over and over. Meat gives you cancer, no it doesn't, yes it does, and all studies are true. Butter and cheese will clog your arteries, then they won't. Red wine is good for you but red wine is bad for you. Every day the madness will increase.

It will be a confused and terrible world where every day you will be expected to believe the opposite of what you believed yesterday, you have to accept that it is fine to pay people to tell you the bleeding obvious, there will be lies and debauchery all over the world and the law will turn around on the lawful. Massive earthquakes and floods will blast the planet and war will spread across the world.

But not to worry. That doesn't happen until after the Rapture. And nobody will notice when the Rapture happens.


Somebody give that preacher a nudge. If the Rapture is indeed real, my bet is that it happened some time ago. So those of us who are still here are already doomed. I take some vicious consolation in knowing that Plastic Man is still here too. So are all the politicians.

It's far too late to start making a fuss about it now. Just get a bottle of something good and wait for the fiery hole. I bag the pitchfork with Gordon Brown's name on the sharp end.

See you there.

Friday 20 May 2011

Thinking is tiring stuff.

I am knackered.

The next book, the one that is a follow-up to Jessica's Trap, is now assembled into its final-editing form and now the real hell begins. I'm going to take a few days off and work on Ghosthunters while the microbiology work is quiet. In the horrible future I imagine, the mantra 'nothing to hide, nothing to fear' becomes 'when there is nowhere to hide, there can be nothing to fear'.

It's logical in a twisted, socialist way. Don't worry, it will make sense when your chips are implanted. Where would you like the USB port fitted? They're really really small now.

The 'proper' job is quiet because the Stuff is being tested elsewhere. I cannot be involved in those tests because, as an originator, I can hardly claim an unbiased position. Word is that it's doing even better than predicted but while it's going through testing I have to keep my distance.

Those tests are in farm animals. It's curing all sorts of horrible things in there. It has also cured several hospital acquired infections but that research has stopped.

The doctors are very keen on the Stuff and delighted with results so far. The NHS admin don't seem interested at all. They just want an ethical assessment the size of a PhD thesis and then they want it amended and sent in again. And again. This frustrates both us and the actual medical staff. But then, if your aim was population reduction, you wouldn't tell the frontline medical staff. You'd cut the frontline medical staff and boost the morons in admin. But hey, ignore me, I write fiction, remember? It's probably all just imagination. It's just the seed of a story.

Tonight I put up a post at Orphans of Liberty. They way it works over there is this - we contributors add posts to a queue and it comes up either when it's its turn or at a time when it's topical. I was tickled to note that its URL ends in 1666, the date when London was ravaged by a plague on all their houses, although I only have two large houses in mind (and all their second houses).

Now I have a character in coversation with their child, who is explaining what School taught them today while the father tries to come to terms with a vague and uncertain memory of when School was a place, not a person, and the place taught more subjects than just 'Citizen Obedience'. Then the ambulance arrives, triggered by an apparent malfunction in his mind enhancement chip...

So, I'm off to write about things that could never possibly happen.

Or maybe about things that might happen.

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Interesting business practices.

I have my own business. Part of this involves, naturally, both sending and receiving invoices. A fairly standard format includes a 'payment within 30 days of the date of the invoice' statement. In practice this can be slightly flexible because most businesses deal with payments at the end of the month, so if I sent out an invoice now I wouldn't get tense about payment until the end of June. Most of those I deal with will clear that date easily anyway.

I am, or was, a member of a book club specialising in historical books. It used to matter, in the days before places like Amazon which either stock or can get almost any book you can think of, but now it's just a matter of convenience. They send a little catalogue, I browse it and sometimes impulse-buy a few books I hadn't heard of.

They send the book a week or so later, followed by an invoice, I send a cheque and all is well. That's how it's worked for years.

Their business model has now changed. They no longer bother with the invoice-reminder-threatening letter sequence. Instead they skip straight to the threats, the 'late payment of an invoice we haven't bothered sending' additional charge and a warning that they will progress to bailiffs unless they receive the contents of your wallet by return. So that's three dead flies and a chewing-gum wrapper by recorded delivery.

This makes doing business with them far more trouble than it's worth. Oh, I am sure they scare the average customer into paying up at once but I have to wonder how many of those customers come back. This one won't.

Here is my response to the letter I received today. Keep in mind that the total order value involved here is less than £20.

Dear Sir.

Thank you for your final notice dated 10th May, which arrived today (18th May), a copy of which is enclosed.

I ordered three books from you on the 8th April, just over a month ago. Two arrived followed by an invoice for those two. This invoice was dated 26th April and arrived on the 6th May. I posted a cheque to cover the amount the same day.

The third book subsequently arrived. I have received neither invoice nor reminder for this book, instead I now have a final notice demanding the cost of the third book plus the cost of the books I have already paid for, plus a £2.50 late payment charge and a threat to involve a collection agency. All this in, you will note, just over a month from the date of ordering - not the date of receiving - the books.

I enclose a cheque to cover the cost of the third book and your late payment charge. You have already received payment for the first two books.

Your rapid transition from book supplier to litiginous creditor makes it evident that my custom is an inconvenience to you, so now that my account is clear you may close it permanently. I will not trouble you with further orders.

Yours sincerely,


I suppose they want to force doddery old cheque-writers like me to use their 'tell us your credit card details on the phone' payment method but I'm not going to do that. Instead I will take the alternative option of buying books elsewhere in future. Independent booksellers like this are rapidly going out of business and they blame the likes of Amazon and the big chain bookstores while driving more and more customers to them.

If they used the 'pay when you order' model, that would be fine. Most places use that now. Instead they like to make a big thing of letting you see your purchases before they invoice for them, which sounds like a good method. However, following that up with extra charges and threats without bothering with the intervening invoice at all is not a good business model if you want to encourage repeat custom.

I also wonder why it takes over a week for any letter they send to arrive. Nothing else seems subject to such delays. It means that any 'pay within' period is a week shorter than it should be.

In my own business we agree a price, I do the work and send an invoice along with the report. If I were to then send a threatening letter straight away, those customers would soon tire of me and look elsewhere for the next job. Like that book club, you see the finished article before you pay. There is an element of trust involved. If I were to make clear that I didn't trust the customer to pay, then they're not going to commission me for more work.

Yes, there has been one who didn't pay. The trust element works both ways, in that I have turned down further offers from that customer. Claims of 'We'll add it to the next one' don't wash. Since it would have cost more to chase it than I'd have recovered, I put it down to beginner's naievety and moved on.

Times are hard, people are cutting back, and things like books, especially books of interest to a narrow audience, are hard to sell now. The electronic book gadgetry means people can get the same book for half the price and with instant delivery, and this club deals only in print. It's a tough time to be selling narrow-interest non-fiction historical books. So I can see they'd be keen to keep the cashflow going, we are all in that particular boat, but I don't think threatening their customers is the best way to stay in business.

It's not a business model I'll be adopting.

Of ants and men.

There are many fungi, and some worms, that infect insects and take over their brains. It's not just insects. There is a parasite that can force a snail to expose itself to danger and make it flash its eyestalks so a bird will easily find and eat it. The parasite needs to move into a bird for the next stage of its life cycle and rather than leave it to chance, it actually takes control of the snail's physiology. Pretty impressive for something that has no brain of its own.

I wonder if there is one that makes people become politicians. But then that would assume a politician has a brain, of which there is scant evidence anywhere in the world.

Here's an interesting story. It's in a UK newspaper (well, more of a hack-rag but they do have some interesting things sometimes) and includes a video that could have come straight from the set of an alien-style movie, but it's real. I hope the article is available outside the UK or this whole post is going to look pretty silly.

Once you've been horrified at what a lowly fungus can do to a much more complex organism, consider something else. Consider the narrator. He's not just some reporter reading a script, he's a well-known nature expert and he didn't get to know as much as he does by having the attention span of a caffeine-laden fruit fly. In-depth study of anything needs concentration and application. That's how you make progress.

How confident would you be crossing a bridge built by Insanity Prawn Boy? How happy would you be in a skyscraper designed by Cornholio? 'Not very' is the answer I'd expect there. (You can find them on YouTube if you haven't met them before. Insanity Prawn Boy is in a series called 'On the Moon' and Cornholio is from 'Beavis and Butthead').

So you would think, faced with a class full of children who struggle to read something engrossing like Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' and can't hold interest in any book for more than a hundred pages, you'd want to do something about it. These are future bridge-builders and architects and doctors and okay, a lot of them are future supermarket-trolley-collectors and some won't even be much good at that but even so. Some will progress into life-critical jobs and we really need those people to be paying attention.

The solution proposed is to take away the hard stuff and put the whole class back on 'Janet and John' books. What is the point? As an ex-lecturer, I despair. I used to teach people who had reached physical, if not always mental adulthood and I would not compromise. I was teaching B.Sc. and if you were not able to keep up, then you weren't B.Sc. material. Try HND. A perfectly respectable qualification which I also taught, but biased more towards practical application rather than head-filling theory.

In those days, the B.Sc students were expected to go on to be scientists and the HND students would be technicians. Now it's seen as some kind of failure to become a technician. I don't see why. Scientists cannot function without technicians. The scientist comes up with the idea but the technician knows how to work the machinery and knows how to fix it when it (inevitably) goes wrong. They are two parts of the same thing and one part struggles when the other is missing.

You can take it to any level. Sure, the big architect can design a town but someone has to sweep those streets or it'll be a pigsty within weeks. A world full of architects and no street-sweepers is going to be a very unpleasant place to live. Just close your eyes for a moment and imagine what it would be like if nobody wanted to work on sewage disposal.

The current rubbish about 'no child left behind' ensures we will one day see buildings created by people who have learned the first hundred pages of a five-thousand-page series on safe building design. Old houses will soar in value. New ones won't be worth the number on the door.

It's simple. Some people are attuned to literature and some are not. Some people rave about Homer's Iliad and I found it the dullest block of print I have ever seen. Some dismiss the Gormenghast trilogy as the product of a swivel-eyed lunatic (which is fair enough) and I thought it was great. People are different and that applies right from birth.

This is not eugenics. Eugenics is a ridiculous concept that seeks to only breed the brightest and best of humanity and to cull the rest. Yeah. Great. So who sweeps the streets? Who deals with sewage? Who collects the trolleys in the supermarket - in fact, who works in the supermarket at all? Who works in the farms and factories that supply the supermarkets? Eugenics does not lead to Utopia, it can only lead to a Hell in which everyone has great ideas and nobody ever does anything about them.

That is not what the current system is creating. We are creating a generation of trolley-collectors because anyone who looks as if they might be better than Dim Jim in the corner is branded 'elitist' and denied the deep education they could cope with.

It is not wrong to teach the able to the best of their ability. It is neither wrong nor shameful to take a career as a sewer operative or a bin collector or a bus driver or a street sweeper. Civilisation needs all of them. It might be fashionable to tell children that growing up to be a grave digger is beneath them but someone has to do it. It is an essential job and one which, sooner or later, we would all like to have done by a professional. Not by some blundering idiot with five degrees and a professorship but who doesn't know one end of a shovel from the other.

The real solution is competition. I used this to great effect on a PhD student who was not working to her obvious potential. I told her I didn't expect too much because she was only a woman. Now I would be hauled before a disciplinary committee for saying it but you know what? She sailed through her thesis and produced a boatload of publications on the way just to prove me wrong. I have never told her I knew I was wrong all along. There is stuff in that thesis that is not yet published and there is a journal's worth of work that isn't even in the thesis. She was far better than she ever knew and although I have lost touch, I expect her to still be doing brilliant things.

If she's not, and if she happens across this, it's because you're only a woman, Shortly (she'll know what it means). If she is sitting at home doing nothing I will find out where she lives and come around and insult her in person. She already knows what that means.

Competition does not only bring out the best in the brilliant. It moves everyone up a notch. That future trolley collector might put some effort in and become a till operator. You may sneer but if you've experienced a North Scotland winter, indoors is far better than outdoors and the pay is better too. You have to deal with idiots, sure, but we all do. There are a lot of them around.

Civilisation needs people who can think up new stuff but it also needs people who can make the new stuff work. The brain is a wonderful thing but with no hands it is absolutely useless. It's all very well to design a sewage system that means nobody has to have a pile of poo in their garden but someone has to run it.

The future technicians, sewage workers, trolley collectors, till operators and street sweepers are now children. So are the future surgeons, scientists and architects. They are all essential and they have all been born.

Forcing sameness on children does not mean equality

It means Hell.

Tuesday 17 May 2011

A rant on the offended. Not drink-safe.

This is an old poem of Spike Milligan's. I can't remember the title but I think it was in the book 'The Little Pot Boiler'.

"The human face is something that
Hangs downwards from a thing called hat
And when the hat is raised, it's said
It shows a hairy thing called head
Now I would rather cover face
And strike it full on with a mace."

An incitement to violence? Of course not, it's just a joke. At the time, everyone knew it because in those days there was a thing called a 'sense of humour'. Nobody at all would have been shocked, nobody would have considered that Spike ever intended to actually smash someone's face in with a mace (he never met Russel Brand), nobody would have seen it as anything other than a humorous little rhyme.

He's lucky he's dead. So are all the other great comedians of the past because now, there is no sense of humour any more. People can't tell the difference between "Kill all of ze Jews mit gas und bullets!" and "Yeah, gingers should all be killed except Prince Harry, also people with bad toenails, and people who pay with tons of change at the checkouts..." To many people who have replaced 'sense of humour' with 'stupid' those two statements are identical. One is a joke, the other is deadly. Nobody can tell them apart now.

To be fair, it's more difficult to draw the distinction these days when 'kill smokers, drinkers, fat people, anyone eating meat or wearing fur, anyone who leaves the light on when they're out, anyone using salt or eating crisps' is pretty much Government policy. So when someone extends it into gingers and long toenails and old people, there are many, many people who simply assume the list has been officially extended. These days it is nearly impossible to not be in a hated group unless you are a perfect fit for the Aryan mould. And we all know the elderly are on the list anyway so it's not too surprising that the drones are confused.

One person who saw it said: “I haven’t a clue if it was meant or not.

They could have stopped at 'clue' and the sentence would be both grammatically and factually accurate.

“If it was a bit of a laugh, it should have been kept between whoever it was meant to be shared with rather than a public ­website.”

Because the rest of the population have forgotten how to laugh. Everything is deadly serious now.

Spike Milligan once did a skit on Pakistani Daleks which would have the Righteous anus puckered to the point of healing over if it were to be screened today. It was still on YouTube last time I looked. Monty Python's liver-donor sketch from 'The Meaning of Life' must surely be a blasphemy on the Church of NHS. Harpo Marx (who could talk) would now be lambasted for deriding the disabled and Les Dawson and Roy Barraclough's gossiping old ladies would definitely be branded sexist. As for the likes of Bernard Manning, well, all he's remembered for are the racist jokes, which were often bad, but he had an awful lot of other material too.

Whole countries now take offence at words. Sacha Baron Cohen managed to enrage all of Khazakhstan, a cartoonist in Denmark managed to send half a continent into a murderous frenzy and the Cameroid had to apologise to Pakistan for pointing out that we'd really prefer it if they'd stop training people to kill us. Russel Brand - oh, okay. There are people who can irritate the entire planet just by existing but they are few, and they are mostly called Russel Brand.

Make a joke and lose your job. On Twitter or Facebook or anywhere. I've never seen any of these people's pages because I am not trawling for things to be offended at. There's no need, just open the paper or turn on the news and you'll be offended within seconds. Look again at that comment:

“If it was a bit of a laugh, it should have been kept between whoever it was meant to be shared with rather than a public ­website.”

Yes, it's a public website but it has, oh, I don't know, probably dozens of people on it. At least. Nobody is obliged to read every entry on every page. It doesn't get broadcast into your home. You have to actively seek it out. That's no different from riding around on the bus all day trying to listen to other people's conversations. Yes, they are talking in public but you don't have to listen. You don't have to be offended by someone you don't know talking about someone else you don't know. You don't have to act like the thought police and actively seek out strangers to complain about.

It is, however, perfectly legal to do exactly that, thanks to the legacy of the Brown Gorgon and his nosegoblin cabal. The Great Repeal Swindle has done nothing about it so the busybody's charter remains in force. Along with all the rest of it.

The Cleggeron Coagulation won't change it because they love to apologise for the actions of the dead and for telling the truth, and they think we're all as soft and simpering as they are. Apologise for slavery? I've never enslaved anyone, so no. Apologise for offending anyone, anywhere, on any subject whatsoever? No. Well, unless I lost my temper and said things I didn't mean but that's rare. Not the losing the temper part, the other bit.

A refusal to apologise used to mean that you'd meant what you said and you were sticking to your guns. Not any more. Now it's a crime to not be a grovelling two-faced little toad. You can be arrested, lose your job, face a court, get fined, just for saying what you mean. Unless you beg forgiveness from those who like to imagine themselves your masters. The irony of these people ordering others to apologise for slavery on pain of punishment has totally escaped them.

That's what the hand-wringers really hated about Bernard Manning. He would not apologise for his racism. When asked directly 'Are you a racist?' he responded 'Yes.' So he was a racist but at least he was honest about it. You knew where you stood if you talked to him. He would have celled me 'Eyetie' and told me to go home on the spaghetti boat. So I would have avoided him but at least I didn't have to wonder what he was thinking.

It doesn't sound pleasant, but to me it's better than the patronising, sneering attitudes of the Righteous who claim to want to 'help' while despising your very existence. I'd rather have honest enemies than false friends. The sort who can say 'I am racist' and get away with it because they are the allowable sort of racist ie not as bad as they think you are.

Frankie Boyle can be funny. Sometimes he goes too far even for a sick and twisted bugger like me, but when I see his smug, leering arse (or face, it's hard to tell) on my screen, I know what to expect. I can watch or not watch because I have an off-switch on the TV, which I make extensive use of. I am not going to watch him just to find some feeble reason to write to the BBC as 'Enraged of Tonbridge Wells' and then get my photo in the Daily Mail with a suitably grim expression on my face and a caption saying "I was so upset I didn't even notice I'd deep-fried the budgie until his little beak floated to the top and then a bubble popped and the words 'Who's a pretty boy' floated out. No amount of compensation can bring little Joey back but I'll take what I can get".

The same people who are so upset at the nurse's suggestion to euthanase gingers would happily lynch Frankie Boyle. Yet all I have to do is press 'off' and he's gone. Likewise with anything on anyone's Facebook page, all I have to do is not go there. Even if it has CCTV of me sitting on the toilet, I'll never be troubled by it because I won't know it's there.

Jo Brand, poster girl for anti-botox, was once offended because Thatch Minor said something about 'golliwog hair'. So offended was she that her face straightened out for a second but not long enough to be sure whether it was Lord Lucan or not. 'Golliwog hair' refers to a once-popular doll with a ring of wool for hair in a sort of sideways Mohican. I doubt anyone really has hair like that, I guess the Thatch was referring to the 'afro' style (which is brilliant on a thin white ginger bloke because he looks like a match) and was trying for a similar image. Was she being racist, or was she, as the story suggested, trying to describe someone whose name she had forgotten?

It didn't matter. She said 'golliwog' and that was enough to offend the most offensive woman on the planet. There was Outrage! Outrage, I tell you. The spawn of that Thatcher woman said it so she can only have had evil intent. It was, incidentally, fine for Jo Brand to repeat it over and over to show how shocked she was. Really, you'd think she'd have better things to do, such as shopping for a skin that fits or pegging back the flaps over her eyes. She hurls insults everywhere in her act with the smug self-satisfaction that only a rich Socialist can muster but when it comes to Tories, well they aren't allowed to say anything because everything they say is racist.

When that Christian couple decided they didn't want gay sex in their boarding house, they were dragged through the courts and subsequently received a barrage of phone calls from the pinkly enraged who were trying for a dose of the compo too. If they'd thrown me out for smoking or drinking they would have been hailed as heros but free choice on private premises only applies when you make the approved choices. Once more there was Outrage! How dare they have a rule that says no botty-prodding in their house. No, they did not have a 'no poofters' sign. They had a rule, based on their religion, that people of the same sex should not share a room.

Then there was the pub that preferred not to have a gay couple kissing in the bar. They also did not have a 'no poofters' sign, but they had a 'show a bit of decorum if you don't mind' rule. Again, there was Outrage! The publican must eject a smoker at once but he cannot choose whether to allow public displays of face-sucking unless it's heterosexual. Stonewall reacted as if this had happened in Saudi Arabia, where the couple would have been dangling from cranes the next day. Funny, they don't seem too perturbed about that. Must be a Lefty thing. They planned a protest snog-in at the pub. I don't know if it happened but if I was that publican I would have been glad of the extra business. Just warn the regulars to take the day off and make sure the till is well oiled.

You can be offended if you're gay and told to vacate the premises but not if you're straight. You can be offended at perceived racism whether it's racist or not and whether it's aimed at you or not and even if you're white and the racism - if it was intended as such - is directed at another race. You cannot be offended by racism against whites because if you could, Lenny Henry would be joining Jim Davidson on tour.

If you insult a woman you are sexist. Jo Brand's entire act is based on insulting men and that's not sexist. If you insult another culture you are racist unless it's a non-approved culture. If you are Muslim you are allowed to be offended at anything, any time, which is just as well because that's pretty much the default position for any Muslim other than the ones with actual lives to lead. Christians are not allowed to be offended and have done an overall pretty good job of turning the other cheek and look where that's got them.

There are equalisers in the Big Society. If you smoke, it no longer matters what colour, gender, sexual or politicial preference or religion you define yourself as. You are scum. Likewise if you are seen buying booze or salt or fat-laden foods, none of the other stuff matters. You are scum. Welcome to Scum Club where we float around being scummy and generally having a good time while the rest of the planet goes 'tut' at us and revels in their imagined superiority. I like being scummy. It's fun. I like being regarded as filthy. It keeps people like this out.

Note to the Cameroid: The main reason your Big Society is failing is that you have deliberately excluded most people from it. You idiot. I hope Orrible Bin Liner's followers fly planes into your towering head. Might knock a bit of sense into you.

The whole 'I am offended' issue is childish. It's the primary school 'Sir, he said a bad word' game extended into what used to be adulthood but we don't seem to be allowed that any more. Now people drink from coffee cups that look like toddler training cups and from water bottles that appear to have dummies on the top and they all go 'Waaa!' when someone calls them names.

If there is a message to the nation from this incoherent and whisky-fuelled rant, it could be summed up in very few words.

Grow the hell up.