Friday 30 September 2011

Too hot to blog.

I don't like hot weather. Cold is better - I'll keep longer in the cold.

There used to be summers like this, years ago, before Global Warming. Weeks and weeks of rain followed by heat and sunshine and absolutely still air. It does horrible things to humidity levels. Opening windows doesn't help when there's no breeze at all. It's been years, but it's back for a week or so. Soon the chill will return.

On the plus side, it will help to ripen the tomatoes and chillis and it's ideal tobacco-leaf-drying weather. This year I had some Cheyenne chillis, very productive plants but they're quite mild chillis. When I picked the first ones off the plant I could eat them as if they were miniature sweet peppers. Keep them in the fridge for a week and they develop a decent kick. Not as much as a Cayenne and nothing compared to Scotch Bonnet but a definite kick anyway. I'll grow them again because they'll ripen in a summer that's too cold and crap for the serious chillis.

Tonight I can't sit next to a computer with a 300-watt power supply so I'm off to sit in the garden with some cider.

Back later if it cools down. It's nearly 25C in here!

I'm melting. Meeeelllting!

Way back vend.

I haven't used a cigarette vending machine since the 1980's. They always cost more and they'd had a few fags nicked from every pack.

When I was around 20, there was an old stainless-steel vending machine outside Local Shop. In those days, if you had suggested 24-hour opening to the perpetrators of Local Shop you'd have left with bruises and possibly an unfortunately inserted cucumber. That vending machine, along with one for bubblegum and another for chocolate, was their version of 24-hour sales and it probably averaged about five out-of-hours sales a week. I used it once, late at night. It sold packs of ten, and they actually had ten in them too!

I can't remember what it cost but it used coins, and pounds were notes back then so it was probably cheap enough to drain all the colour out of a Righteous face. When cigs became more expensive the machines were taken in at night because they'd get stolen or broken, and once it dawned on Local Shop that having a vending machine was pointless because it was only in use when the shop was open anyway, it disappeared.

Now they are all going to disappear. The entire cigarette-vending industry is to shut down and everyone in it is to be made unemployed because the Cleggeron Coagulation have the brain of a duck and the spine of a sponge.

This will not stop children getting hold of cigarettes. It will make it easier for children to get hold of cigarettes because the dodgy cigarette dealers have been preparing for this day for some time. They've probably been involved in lobbying for it. A whole new batch of customers is about to head their way. As always, prohibition benefits only the criminals and even though this happens every time, the Righteous don't care. They have their ban and that's all they care about. Fingers in ears, la-la-la, job done. Dick Puddlecote has the measure of these people. They care nothing for anyone as long as they get their twisted way.

The Cleggeron? Oh, they have their smug self-satisfaction and the sad and feeble illusion that at least one member of the public doesn't think they are all utter dicks and they're happy with that. Tory and Lib Dem MPs - you have just lost the vote of everyone who used to work in any capacity in the vending industry as well as every pub drunk who runs out of smokes halfway through the evening, along with the family and friends associated with them all. Well done. Keep it up and you'll get that small-print footnote in history you've been aiming for.

That's one more click of the ratchet. One more twist of the highly-tensioned spring. What's next? Classing smokers as 'offenders'?

Ah no. That's already started.

Wednesday 28 September 2011

A miscellany

Some interesting things today.

Trying to explain to a drone that the 'five-a-day' fruit and veg number was just made up, appears to be a pointless exercise but one that results in some compensatory fun. It was made up by experts so it must be right. Fine, I let her believe that. My days of persuading these idiots of their idiocy are passed.

She now also believes that boiling vegetables for one second longer than 20 minutes turns them carcinogenic and that fruit is more efficacious after it's turned brown. Her husband will punch my lights out if he ever finds out where she got these ideas. Especially after she's thrown out the third pot of veg for Sunday lunch because they boiled for 20.001 minutes and that bit about roast potatoes combining with beef to burn holes in the gut... oh, I'll have to keep out of his way for a long time. Fortunately she'll just say 'experts have said' and 'studies have shown' because that's all the drones understand.

I argued that it was not necessary to eat five portions each and every day, that you could have a load one day and then none for the following days and you'd be fine. Her response - "It doesn't work like that".

Yes. Yes it does. You don't need to eat anything at all for a day or so if you've loaded up the day before. We don't eat every day because we have to. We do it because we like it, and because we can.

Next - Sanatogen. Tesco have this on offer at the moment but I didn't buy any. Does anyone know what it is and what it's like? At £4 a bottle it looks cheap but is it, as I suspect, a sort of geriatric version of Buckfast? What's it for, and do you have to wear a head-bandage while drinking it? Also, can you wave the bottle at passers-by and say 'Graaaah!'?

Finally, a book I wish I'd written. It looks like a history of the Righteous and while I have yet to get my copy, I suspect it's going to say pretty much what I would have said in such a history. Looks like a winner to me. I have two in the review queue at the moment but I'm going to have to take a look at this one too.

Now I think it's time to have a stiff drink and open the Daily Terrible Thing website. I wonder what's banned today?

It'll be a shame if it's Sanatogen. Missed my chance.

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Good salt and evil salt.

I'm battling my rusty HTML skills at the moment, trying to set up a writerly website. It's going to work like this: I set up the site with a rough index page, links to other pages and places etc and then I'll give it all to someone who knows what the hell they're doing and they'll do it properly. Most likely from scratch, using mine as just a guide image.

It's easier than trying to explain where I want things to be. Even so, it takes time.

That's why I haven't been browsing for fury-inducing news stories this evening, but a tip by Giolla in Email gave an interesting article on salt. It's not as bad as it's claimed to be.Well, who would have guessed?

Like everything else in the ban-sights, the Terrible Thing is based on one dodgy study carried out many years ago. Commenters fall into 'See, I told you' and 'No, no, no, salt is evil and will kill you and so your intake must be controlled' groups. As with everything else.

The author is 'in the pay of the salt industry' - hmm, sounds familiar - and anyone who does not agree that salt is the new Satan is 'in denial'. Which also sounds familiar.

The drones don't even realise they are using exactly the same techniques for anything they want banned. They really are that dim.

I say, encourage them to remove all salt from their diets. Entirely. Show them how to soak everything in water overnight to get the salt out before they eat it. They will be delighted with their new low blood pressures and I will join them in being delighted when they reach zero.

Oh, and sea-salt is really, really good for you but salt is evil. Just as nicotine in a Pharma inhaler is perfectly safe but nicotine in Electrofag will kill everyone within a five-mile radius. Those extra elements in sea salt aren't available anywhere else, you see, and the sodium in sea salt is good sodium. This will surprise a few chemists, but there is good sodium and evil sodium, and there is probably even a Satanic periodic table to be found somewhere. In reverse, most likely.

It's just laziness to use the same handbook for everything and it is now no more than utter stupidity to believe that the same handbook applies to everything.

Faced with that level of stupid, how can anyone resist pushing the limits, just to see how ridiculous you can get before they stop believing?

I have not yet found the limit. I don't think there is one.

Monday 26 September 2011

Entertainment: A freebie.

The only way to get anywhere as a writer is to be known, and these days, you don't get known by overcharging. I see, on, many who add huge amounts to their books as if we're all going to fork out ten quid or more for an unknown author's work that isn't even coming through a real publisher. is a printer and that's all they do. Proofreading and editing is up to the author and judging by some of those I've reviewed, there are many who don't bother with all that stuff.

I do. Obsessively and anally. But you won't know that from looking at the Lulu site because all you see are titles.

The same goes for Kindle where anyone can put up anything. Also Smashwords, the Ebook site that distributes all over the place. They check format but spelling and editing is still up to you.

What you need is a freebie or two. A sample. I've put a few up here in the past (search for 'entertainment time') and now I have a new one on Smashwords. A short one, free, in a whole range of formats. I also tried to put it on Kindle but they won't let me make it free. It must be possible, other people do it, but I haven't worked it out yet. No matter. Smashwords does Kindle's .mobi format. For free.

It's not in print because it's about seven pages of A4 paper and that's not going to be worth printing. It'll be in the next collection of shorts, one day, I don't know when. But what the hell, it's free. I'd put it on the blog but 3000+ words is a painful post.

The DRM (Digital Rights management) is turned off so copy at will. There is no point copy-protecting a free story. Send it everywhere - that's the point of it!

I even did a nice, pastoral cover for it -

Doesn't that just conjure up images of peaceful dreams and sweet thoughts? Perhaps even the gentle scent of bullshit. It's fiction. You're not supposed to believe it!

It's also suitable for children. Nobody is smoking.

No Smokers.

The last place I worked as an employee started out with a smoking room. Then smoking in that room at specified times only. Then no smoking in the building.

Fair enough. Their property, their rules. This was all pre-ban when they still had a choice in the matter.

What they never did was to attempt to exert any control over what their employees did outside working hours. We could smoke ourselves into kippers or drink until we were grinning puddles and that was fine, as long as we turned up for work sober and alert.

In the USA, a company has decided it will not employ smokers. Not that it will not allow smoking on the premises, but that it will not employ anyone who smokes at all at any time.

It's a health care company. You would think that a health care company would know that the scare stories are all just a scam, but this one doesn't. It's a gullible health care company and therefore one best avoided. Whether you smoke or not. This lot have no idea what they're doing and if you do business with them, well caveat emptor.

It is their choice and I have no issue with that. I think all companies should employ whoever they want with no quotas or equality laws. If they don't want smokers or drinkers or fat people, their choice. If they don't want my 30 years of experience in gut infections, their choice. They won't get it now even if they change their stance but that was always their choice and they made it. There is, in this Italian-ancestry mind, no going back.

So what if a company only wants to employ white Aryan males? I say, let them. Let them pass over the Chinese expert in the field or the best Asian manager on the planet or the most efficient black administrator ever to be seen. Let them limit their potential if they want to. Let them lose.

Also, let them exclude smokers form employment and let them crow about it in public. As a smoker, I will never apply for a job there and nor will I pay them for any services they might offer. Just like the company employing only white Aryan males, they will get no business from those they exclude. They think it's just about who they employ but it's not. Not at all.

Set up a company that publically declares it wants only white blond blue-eyed men to apply for jobs. Then try to do business with a company run by a black woman and see how far you get. How about a company run by a Chinaman or one run by a Jew or one run by Pakistani Muslims? Nope. They don't want your business.

Exclude smokers from your employment pool and you exclude us from your customer pool.

Your choice.

Good thing we don't have any lions.

It seems the change from AD/BC to CE/BCE is taking root. It's been creeping up for a while and now the BBC has it, the proles will eventually change to using it.

They won't know what the letters stand for but they didn't all know what BC and AD stood for either. Yet if explained, it became clear.

BC - Before Christ. The years before the birth of Christ and everyone, even heathens like me, know what that means and can fix a point in time on that information. Whether Christ existed or not is immaterial - we all know what it means in terms of when something happened.

AD- Anno Domini. I always thought it was odd to have the BC meaning in English and the AD one in Latin. I mean, surely the Romans went out of favour with Christianity the moment they nailed the Messiah to a plank? It's not the sort of thing that endears you to a group. Anyway, it means 'In the year of our Lord' and even we heathens use it to fix a point in time.

This new one - Common Epoch and Before Common Epoch - what does that mean? How do you explain that to Bloke in the Pub? What's a common epoch and how does it differ from the rare epoch or the lesser spotted epoch - and what's an epoch anyway? A moustachioed politician who speaks of rivers of blood? No, that's an Enoch, a Biblical prophet and the name of the language of the Angels - Enochian. Hmm, this is going to cause some confusion with the Before Enoch and After Enoch crowd.

Oh sure, I could learn to relate the two. They are the same scale with different names but that, really, is the source of the confusion in my mind.

Talk of Celsius and Farenheit scales and I understand they are two different scales measuring the same thing and that one needs to be converted with a formula to arrive at the other. If we had Farenheit and then another, identical scale called the Wibbly Scale it would be baffling because they would be measuring the same thing in the same way. The two names are not necessary. The way my mind is ordered, that sort of thing can blow a fuse.

This change from BC/AD is likewise not necessary. Nobody has ever claimed to be offended by what we call the calendar and if we go with this, where does it end? The Islamic calendar is somewhere around the year 1400, the Chinese calendar works on a different length of year, the Hindu calendar is different again... it's simply not possible to please them all. Since none have asked, why try?

The only reason for doing something like this is to piss off the Church. I feel the cold, greasy hand of the Dawkinites sliding upwards towards places they have no business going - but back to the article.

I have no interest in the Church. I never visit, they don't call me, we leave each other alone and they have never allowed smoking inside as far as I know. No drinking either except for one measly sip of wine and someone else has hold of the cup and you're not allowed to take a straw. Not my kind of venue at all.

So why would I care? Well, even though I don't have any religion, I don't call myself atheist. I don't, because atheism has become a religion every bit as militant as any of the others and it's in the process of wrecking science. I am an apathist. There might or might not be a God. I don't care.

I might decide to piss off the Church one day, but it will not be because of any great purpose to bring my own version of reality to bear on impressionable minds. No, I will only do it to sell books. The first I heard of Harry Potter was when the Bible Belt fanatics burned a big pile of books. Witchcraft, they said. Ha! I have genuinely-researched demons in my books and they usually win. That should get them going. It's okay if they burn them as long as they paid for them and in fact, it's the best sale you could get. They buy it and burn it so it doesn't end up in any second-hand shop. Excellent. Free box of matches and a bag of kindling with every order for a hundred or more.

But I digress. Christianity is, like lava bread, black pudding and haggis, part of the history of this country. Sure, to me it has less importance than those wonderfully bizarre foods but it's still part of the culture and part of my upbringing. From those school assemblies with their Bible readings, the free Bibles given out at school (I bet that's not allowed now), my grandmother with her blue hair and permanent fury apart from an hour or so on a Sunday, right up to calling the years BC or AD. It's part of my personal history, part of my existence and every bit of that that gets chipped away makes me a little bit less real. I don't care about the existence of God. I'm starting to wonder about the existence of me.

There was a story recently about someone getting police attention for distributing CDs containing Bible Gospels. Why? I have a copy of Bhagavad-Gita here, given to me by a street guy in an orange dress. Offended? How can I be offended by a free book? I love getting free books. I get free CDs in the post, most of which are advertising some land-buying scam. Offended? They make great coasters. They can also be hung on strings in the garden if you want to scare birds off your food crops. How can anyone be offended by something that's free? It costs nothing by definition. If you can't find any use for it,.bin it. If thine CD offend thee, chuck it out. That's in the Bible, I think.

It's easy to offend people now. So easy it's hardly worth bothering most days. Political correctness has taken all the fun out of life. Why put all that effort into getting to the top of a fence so I can lean over Plastic Man's garden and ask his wife if she wants to suck my plums (a huge crop this year) when all you have to do is play Bible DVDs with the sound turned off?

Really. In Blackpool. On private premises. He can't allow smoking in there whether he wants to or not but a silent showing of the best-selling book in the world (I'm on your tail, God) offended some weak-willed revolting little toad and they called the police.

The police threatened this man with arrest. Why? because someone who had to look at the screen to be offended was offended. They didn't even have to go to another cafe. There was no sound. All they had to do was sit with their back to the screen. Or even, simply not look at it. It's not hard. Just point your eyes in a different direction.

I don't agree with everything in the Bible. I don't agree with anything at all in Mein Kampf or Das Kapital but if I was in a cafe where they were showing a silent rendition on a screen, I just wouldn't look. Then I wouldn't be offended. It's really easy and saves a lot of blood pressure and wasted police time.

Anyway, I wouldn't be in the cafe. I'd be at the outside tables, smoking. Play Lolita in there if you like, I won't see it.

It's a good thing we don't have lions or we'd be throwing Christians to them by now. We are extracting the basis of British society in chunks here and whether you personally want those bits thrown out or not, consider what happens when you erase all your personal history. You cease to exist.

Still, I wonder if Lord Longleat had a long-term plan. I wish I'd bought shares.

Saturday 24 September 2011

What minimum wage really does.

The idea behind minimum wage is that nobody earns a real pittance, everyone gets a reasonable chunk of cash.

What really happens is that if your work isn't worth minimum wage, you can't get a job at all. Since it's age-related, every time you pass an age where it goes up, your chances of getting a job go down.

In this story, the employer behaved appallingly. However, the reason she sacked the girl is clear: the employer would have to raise the employee's salary at age 18 whether or not the employee was worth the extra to the business.

It's not an isolated incident, as the comments make clear, although most employers don;t simply pretend their employees have ceased to exist and do provide a warning of what's coming. If you're doing a job an employer is willing to pay the 16-year-old rate to have done, then when you turn 18, that employer might not be willing to pay more to have the same job done. So you're out and the next 16-year-old in line gets your job. Same job done for the same cost - that's business.

If it wasn't for the minimum wage laws, those turning 18 would not face being replaced by 16-year-olds. We used to worry about being replaced by younger staff long ago, but we never expected to see the day when an 18-year-old would have that problem!

So the minimum wage isn't really such a good idea after all. I know there are those who would say 'So you'd work for less than minimum wage?' and my answer is not only 'yes' but that sometimes, even now, I do. If you look at the time spent writing a book and the pittance books bring in, it works out at less than minimum wage by a long way. It's still better than no wage at all. I also gain experience and I have that work out there so maybe, one day, the return will be above minimum wage. That's called 'working your way up'.

You can't do that if you're replaced at 18, can you?

Beware of the Flowers.

I'll miss the tobacco flowers when the season ends. The plants are still pumping out loads for now but October is coming and a frost will finish this growing season. We are supposed to have fine weather next week so I'll get the last of the leaves in. Seeds will most likely come from the greenhouse plants because I can leave those a little longer.

Following tips from Rose in the comments, I pick flowers that are just starting to turn from pink to lilac. Once they've gone completely lilac it's too late, but they'll produce seeds so they won't be wasted. Twist out the 'flowery' bits and keep the green end piece (see that - I avoided all technical references there). Again, following Rose's tip, I dry these on a paper towel in a little plastic tray sitting on the router. Once dry, chop them up and smoke them.

A whole cigarette of flowers is an experience but it's a bit much for me. I sprinkle some chopped flowers into a roll-up made of Amber Leaf (my drying/curing experiment wth my own leaves is ongoing) and it completely changes the character of the tobacco. So far I have not tried it in public, I suspect someone is going to mistake it for pot and the average policeman would take some convincing that it's not. It was well received at Smoky-Drinky but they won't get any more from me this year. I won't have this source for much longer. Next year they can grow their own and get the sticky flowers all over their own fingers.

I can see why you can't buy this part of the plant commercially. It's just not economically viable to have someone pick flowers apart and when they dry, the volume is greatly reduced. It's viable when you only have a few plants but a whole field? Nobody is going to bother. If they did, the costs incurred in collection and preparation would mean only Government ministers could afford it.

They are great though. Entirely free of additives too. Unlike readymade cigarettes, which are loaded with something to keep them burning and soon to be loaded with something to make them kill smokers faster. So far that's not proposed for rolling papers but it'll come. I'll stock up with papers and practise with my pipe. It's easier to chop the homegrown stuff into pipe-size slices rather than cigarette-size shreds and let's not forget cigars which involve very little chopping and have no paper at all.

I wonder what they'll do to make cigars more toxic? In fact, I wonder if they've already done it?

As to drying leaves, a steamer can revive overdry ones but if they dry too fast so they're crispy and still green, they're ruined.

Well, I plan to enjoy the flowers while I can. With any luck I'll be completely free of the commercial product soon, although I don't think I'll have enough to last until next year's crop. Especially when those experimental losses are taken into account. Maybe next year, when I've learned from this year's mistakes, will be more productive.

No matter, the whole experiment has cost around the UK price of a two-ounce pack of tobacco and the flowers alone are worth it. Anything else is a bonus.

I wonder if they are the flowers Otway meant?

Friday 23 September 2011

Boozy nights and burning bodies.

Off out to Smoky-Drinky but couldn't help noticing the first recorded case of spontaneous human combustion in Ireland.

The 'wick' effect was demonstrated a long time ago using a dead pig with a similar body-fat level to a human. It was set up in a mocked-up room and produced exactly the same result as observed with 'spontaneous combustion'. The body just needs enough to start burning and then it burns away like a candle. This leaves a greasy residue over everything, doesn't burn the extremities because they tend not to have much fat in them and doesn't necessarily set fire to anything else in the room. It's not quick.

They don't just go 'pop'. No matter how hard we all wish while watching PMQ's, it's not going to happen. But let's keep trying.

Naturally, the article keeps mentioning cigarettes as the ignition source while quickly passing over the open fireplace beside the body. Far more likely is that this man passed out or died in front of the fire, whereupon a burning ember popped from a coal would be enough to start the clothes and then the body burning.

It just needs enough to melt the first bit of fat and light it, and the human candle does the rest.

And on that note, it's whisky time. I'll be back later, filled with flammable liquid.

Oh, and smoking...

Cameron saves the world.

Dai Cameron has declared that unless the Euro is propped up, the whole world will be skint. He has proposals to save the world. I bet the Gorgon is chuckling now.

Impossible. Unless they're shipping money off-planet. All that will happen is that the current monetary system will collapse and we'll use barter until we think of an alternative.

I suggest tobacco leaves. They are already worth more than money.

They're always one step ahead.

In the in-progress dystopia novel there is an old man who is taken away for criminal activity. He was caught re-using plastic in his own home, rather than putting it through the recycling centre and buying new recycled plastic items. What a terrible man.

So he gets taken away and I wondered, what would such a State do with old people when they have an excuse to dispose of them? Recycle them as food?

Nah. Soylent Green already did that. I needed something bizarre, something different, something horrible and cruel and yet slightly credible.

So I thought 'What if they cremate all bodies to save on landfill space and use the heat from cremations as a power source?' Sounds good. A crematorium power station would need a regular supply but that can be arranged and it'll save on pensions too. Yes, that's a useful plot device.

As always, I had to check whether such a thing could be made believable in the modern world because while I want this story to be at the bounds of sanity, I still need it to be credible enough to be scary.

So I checked. I looked around, not really expecting to find much and...

Oh, come on!

Give a writer a break here.

Thursday 22 September 2011

A quick look at today's news.

I've put a post in the queue at Orphans of Liberty tonight because I haven't been active there lately. So here's just a quick news roundup for today.

Drooling imbecile Nick Clegg has declared that' The Human Rights law is here to stay'.
This one, Nick? Oh look, here it is again. You really think it was a good idea to tell the world that you support this? That you are determined to keep it forever? It might well be here to stay but I don't think you are, lad.

I routinely lambast the NHS for waste and incompetence and high level snobbery and pernicious control freakery, but when they refuse to perform surgery on someone who is not even slightly unwell, I have to agree with them. Being fat is not an illness. On the other hand, the NHS have spent a lot of time and money telling us that it is, and a deadly one at that. So perhaps they should look to their own fat-control policies before blaming it all on the woman concerned. Why does she think she's going to die just because she's fat? Because the NHS have told her so. Over and over again.

That old chestnut about drinks advertising on Farcebook is back, fronted by Dr. Nick Sheron who looks like someone who really knows how to have a good time. At a funeral. Dr. Nick insists that by restricting advertising to over 18s, Diageo are targeting the cheeeldren. Dr. Nick is evidently unaware that even if the average five-year-old runs slavering into the nearest pub after a quick look at Farcebook, he won't actually get served. There's a real world out here, Dr. Nick. It has people in it who understand that just because something is advertised, they aren't obliged to buy it. You should visit sometime. It might wipe that smile onto your face.

There was another example of gibbering lunatics dressed up as scientists today, but it's slipped my mind...

Wednesday 21 September 2011

And... Here. We. Go.

If you're outside you might breathe this -

These included pollutant particles (PM10), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and ozone.

Sound familiar, antismokers? They are all deadly, as you are well aware. Any one of them can kill you and out there on the street, they are everywhere,

People who are sensitive to air pollution are advised to spend less time outdoors during high and very high episodes of air pollution, and not to exercise, along with those suffering asthma and heart disease.

That's right. If you are likely to suffer instant death because someone burns a little bit of leaf, you are advised by your medical masters to stay indoors.

Because if you get all that from a little bit of leaf, imagine what you get from a real pollution source.

Be afraid, antismokers. Be very afraid. That pollution source you have railed against, that you have supported massive restrictions against, that you have demonised and despised, has now been dwarfed...

... by the one on your drive.

Your turn, antismoker.

What, you want help from the smokers? The ones you want banned from smoking in their own cars? Well, maybe... but that's really up to you, isn't it? You see, your cars have just been declared worse than tobacco and yet you still rail against tobacco so why would you expect any help from us? We smokers are forced outside to breathe this stuff while you lot sit inside so why would we help you now?

All bans or no bans, antismokers. Time to decide. There is no middle ground.

If only you had the brains to see - there never was.

All or nothing.

I think I have that extra comment gadget working. If you click on the post title, at the bottom but above the comments should appear some faces - that's if anyone famous is mentioned in the post. Try it with the 'who voted for these clowns' post below and three faces should appear. I'll be interested to know if it's working yet.

If you're a Small Faces fan and feel cheated by the title here's a consolation prize.

Anyway, this one is about wrinkly pundit Jonathan Dimbleby and the outrage he has caused by mentioning that perhaps the war on drugs just might be causing more problems than it solves. Because drugs are the sole province of criminals, people in South America find themselves dangling from bridges with their internals external. If criminals didn't make so much money from drugs they wouldn't be so keen to defend their trade - and if drugs were taxed, maybe the smokers and drinkers could get a break. Unlikely, I know. The plonkers in charge would just spend more.

Dimbledore did not call for legalisation of everything, he merely suggested that decriminalisation of these drugs might be an option worth thinking about. That's all he said.

Well, looking at the comments you'd think he was advocating for batches of cocaine to be delivered to kindergartens daily. The Righteous are out in force - or should that be farce - to denounce him as a crackhead and demand he be shot on sight.

One even suggests the death penalty for drug users and that comes as no surprise in a country where smoking kills passers-by in seconds, everyone who takes a sip of sherry can expect to look like radiator girl within five seconds and anyone who puts salt on their chips has instantly pickled their kidneys.

Come on. Legalisation of cannabis? In a country full of people who believe a hamburger will kill them? Can you imagine a government that believes that using a different lightbulb will save the planet ever having the sense to even consider such a thing? It's not going to happen.

We live in a world where you're an evil addict if your waist is over regulation size. Where people who allow smoking in their privately-owned pubs go to jail. Where universities host tobacco control departments and Puritan-driven anti-alcohol groups. A world where governments plan to tax food they have decided is bad for you.

We live in Nannyland and there are people who imagine drugs might be legalised?

The fuinniest of the drug-legalisers are the Paul Flynn types. 'I want heroin legal and I want tobacco banned'. What a comical lot they are. They imagine that those anti-baccy Righteous are going to let them anywhere near heroin? Get real, Flynnites. They don't even want to let you have salt. They are not going to give you crack cocaine. Never.

In this world, there are cretins who want all smoking banned from films. It's been around a while, this one. It means that 101 Dalmatians (Cruella DeVille), Dumbo (the crows), Pinnochio (pleasure island) and The Aristocats (jazz cats - yeah) must all be rated 18 because they all have smoking in them.Oddly, nobody has objected to 101 Dalmatians for making coats out of puppies, to Dumbo for depiction of circus cruelty, for Pinnochio for depiction of child abduction, or to the Aristocats for animal abandonment. All that is just fine and dandy as long as you don't smoke while you do it.

I think all those films depict drinking too and at least two depict drunkenness if my memory serves me well. If you have an old videotape, look after it. It'll soon be worth lots of money on the underground banned film scene.

I don't think anyone smoked in the 'Saw' series so that can be downgraded to PG. Freddy Kruger didn't smoke, nor did Jason Voorhees, so we're fine with the availability of suitable viewing for the under-fives. How about The Exorcist or Straw Dogs? I don't recall much smoking in those. May I also recommend 'Eraserhead'? Just tuck the baby into bed, leave the TV and night light on, it's fine, nobody is smoking.

The Flynnites think that a world where a cartoon of Popeye is banned for smoking a pipe is likely to let them have hard drugs. You can't even buy more than two packs of painkillers at a time here and they think they are going to get cocaine in Tesco.

It is not going to happen.

It is not going to happen because we do indeed live in the kind of blinkered, intolerant, controlling world the Flynnites say we live in. What the dopes will never realise is that the reason we live in it is because they made it. They have been calling for bans on things they don't like and now they want something unbanned because they do like it. Well, too bad. It doesn't work that way. The ban brigade you Flynnites have encouraged have one default setting and that's it. They never un-ban anything and they are never going to release something they've already banned.

If you want hard drugs legalised, you first have to stop and then reverse the encroachment of the ban-everything brigade. It won't be easy, they have already reached salt and burgers and children's TV, but you are not going to get your drugs until the whole circus is rewound to the point where your stuff is next in line to be released. You think you can short-circuit the Righteous or control them? Good luck with that and I'd appreciate a mention in your will.

If you support any ban on anything at all, you will never get drugs legalised. A little thought will make that obvious to all but the most addled of deranged beardie MPs and his insane voters.

If you support the ban on anything at all, you must, de facto, support all bans. They all come from the same people and they are all part of the same progressive agenda. It's what 'progressive' means, didn't you know? Look up gas gangrene. That's what 'progressive' means. Don't worry if you feel a little disturbed by the 'progressives'. They'll grow on you. Like ringworm. Just like ringworm or any other progressive disease, left unchecked it just gets worse and worse. It never goes back.

This is an all or nothing game. That's how the Righteous play it and if you try to play any other way, you lose. Think of it like cancer. Ignore it, let it eat up parts you don't care about until it gets to parts you do care about but it's too late to do anything, or stop it now and reverse it. Those are the only two choices available.

If you are a ban supporter, of any ban, then when they come for you, support it. You won't really have a choice.

There's nobody left to speak for you.

Monday 19 September 2011

Who voted for these clowns?

It is becoming increasingly clear that, having had a taste of what it's like to be in government, the Lib Dems have decided they don't like it at all. They are determined to ensure they are never elected again.

Vince Cable spouts about the 50% tax rate for the rich and then insists that private sector pay is reduced by Government diktat, which means all those extra tax collectors paid for out of taxes will have less tax to collect and will cost more than they could ever retrieve. He made both demands - tax the rich more, pay the rich less, in the same speech. Meanwhile, all those public-owned bank directors can still get their bonuses because tax money, as every Lib Dem knows, is endless. No wonder there's no hair on his head. The roots have nothing to hold on to.

Clegg has spent the entire conference so far saying how terrible Tories are, as though his party won the election and only helped the Tories along out of the goodness of their hearts. Does he know he's currently in a coagulation and is supposed to be running the couintry? He still speaks like the head of a minority opposition group. I suppose he's right to keep in practice.

Tim Farron thinks the Lib Dems will ditch the Tories before the next election and presumably he thinks that will mean a Lib Dem government. Cameron, call that election immediately after this conference and you'll wipe them out completely. With any luck you'll wipe out the Labour and Conservative parties at the same time.

High speed energy monster, Huhne, has both his wife and mistress to contend with. A conference farce Brian Rix would have been proud of. He should get extra points for entertainment value. Meanwhile Clegg insists that the party is too male and too pale. What's he going to do, press-gang people in? How about ignoring the colour and gender and just getting on with the bloody job, Clegg?

Ah, but they can't ignore gender because the Equaliser Featherstone has stated, while standing behind a sign saying 'In government - on your side' that she is not on your side if you are male. Yes, the Equaliser believes that all the world's problems are caused by men and that women are perfect. Hideous Harman would be so proud to see a sexist in charge of equality. Oh, and if that's the case, Equaliser, how about your leftie crew dropping the Thatcher rhetoric?

They're even plugging for votes from those who have both genders. The passport forms are to have the 'male/female' option removed so transgender people don't have to be inconvenienced. I don't really care about the tick-box, the passport has my photo on it and they now have the nudie scanners so you don't need to declare your gender. They can check for themselves.

I agree that nobody should be discriminated against on the basis of what dangles where but look - we have three wars going on, the country is skint, the administration is a shambles and matters such as which bits wobble when applying for a passport are not a high priority right now.

And then there's the flat-out refusal to even consider a referendum on the EU. Why? If it's that great, surely they'll win it? If it's that hated, shouldn't the Lib Dems listen to the people they pretend to represent? No, they refuse to countenance such a thing because it's a Tory idea. Oh, and because they know they won't win it so they can't let the proles have a say.

The papers have made much of George Osborne photographed with a tart and a line of white powder but every single report that comes out of the Lib Dem conference makes me wonder what they're on.

I'm pretty sure it's not Planet Earth.

You are not a free man, you are a number.

We used to be people.

I don't think that ever applies any more.We are sometimes consumers, sometimes taxpayers, sometimes voters, but never people.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Righteous thinking of the filthy-habit-control industry.

If you read this collection of antismoking rhetoric, and this article on the application of that same rhetoric to booze, there's something that stands out.

From the smoking one:

According the US CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), $92 billion are lost each year from lost productivity resulting from smoking-related deaths.

From the drinking one:

Actual spending on alcohol-related problems accounts for €66 billion of this, while potential production lost due to absenteeism, unemployment and premature mortality accounts for a further €59 billion.

Note that carefully. If you smoke or drink, what your masters are most concerned about is the lost productivity if you die before they've squeezed every last bit of work out of you. The same line will be applied to the overweight, if it hasn't already.

Not your health. Not your co-workers' health. Not your happiness, certainly. Not even the smell.

We are to stay healthy so we can be used to make money to pay for those whose jobs produce nothing but harsher controls on our lives with the sole intention of keeping us alive so we can make them more money. That is their sole purpose in life: to keep us all as fit and healthy as possible so they can leech off us for longer.

The anti-smoking/drinking/fat/all the rest is not for the benefit of smokers/drinkers/chubbies. It is not for the benefit of non-smokers, non-drinkers, or thinnies. No, I'm afraid you've all been duped there. Many people now believe they will die if they so much as see a smoker, they will soon believe the same about boozers and they already believe that fat people will sit on them or make planes drop out of the sky. Why do they believe this rubbish?

They are convinced that the Righteous are working for their benefit. They are not. The Righteous work for the benefit of the Righteous and nobody else. Ever.

Consider how all these 'experts' are paid. They are paid from your taxes. If you don't hate smokers/drinkers/fat people, if you don't believe they cost the NHS money, then there is a danger of you noticing something.

You might notice how much you are paying to these 'experts' so they can tell you who to hate. You might even begin to question why you pay them so much, and why you have no choice in paying them, and why you have no means to stop paying them, no means to deselect or fire them and absolutely no control over what you pay them to do.

There is a contagion in this country but it is not smoke. Nor is it drink, salt or fat. It goes by the name of the NHS.

The NHS only exists because we all pay for it. Its constituent departments battle for their share of that money and each tries to push its agenda above those of other departments. The NHS was conceived as universal healthcare but it's not that any more. It used to be, back when we were people.

Now we are no longer people, we are economic units. The NHS does not exist to keep us alive, we exist to keep it alive. We are not supposed to do anything that might increase our chances of ever needing the healthcare we pay for, because the NHS doesn't like doing that. Instead we are all to lead sterile, monochrome lives, each fitting perfectly into the mould of the BMA's standard human, stay perfectly fit and healthy and work to provide money for an NHS that will no longer be doing anything at all.

Now, the NHS is a controlling machine rather than a repair shop. We must never use it. Antismokers and antidrinkers love to crow about 'cost to the NHS' and how smokers and drinkers should be refused treatment but that's only the beginning. Mountain climbers, sportsmen, drivers - you all chose to put yourselves in those high-risk situations. Do you really imagine you are not in line for the same hate in the future?

Annually, the NHS kills more people than smoking. Everyone pays for it. You can choose not to smoke but you cannot choose not to pay for the NHS. If you ever use it, there's a good chance of it killing you. Yet so many support it, so many demand its funding be protected from cuts and from use by people who live non-approved lives. Look again at what we pay for . Look past the frontline doctors and nurses to where the big money is spent.

Smoking cessation officers. Five-a-day coordinators. Whole departments making up figures on how much we are to be allowed to eat or drink, and deciding what we are to eat or drink. You're paying for that. Yes, you. You think there are research labs behind the scenes? There are offices where men in suits sit around inventing numbers to apply to your life. And you pay for them, but you have no influence at all on their decisions. None. You cannot sack them if you don't like paying them. You cannot ignore them because they come looking for you.

They are the real reason you get refused a bottle of wine in a supermarket because you have your child with you. Not the supermarket. They are just doing what they are told. The cause is deep in the bowels of the NHS where they have decided on the form and lifestyle of the British Standard Human and set about eliminating everyone who does not fit their ideal.

These suited monkeys are the reason the antismokers behave like modern-day Inquisitors, the reason for those videos depicting beaten-up smokers and exploding climate heretics. It's okay to beat them and blow them up because they aren't real people.

Neither are you, antismoker, antidrinker, Climatologist or fat berater. You are a useful unit at the moment but you're on the list too. You think they'll never come for your car? Really?

Don't just cut the NHS. Shut it down. Completely. With the money we save by not paying NI we can pay doctors and nurses ourselves and if we don't like their agenda, we can go elsewhere. No, the unemployed will not all be dropping dead in the streets. The NHS already gets its cut of the benefits bill because the unemployed are not exempted from NI payments. Those payments are made for them.

So all we have to do is supply the unemployed with those payments in the form of medical insurance vouchers and they can all choose for themselves which insurer to use. The choice part is the important part. Cost? Exactly the same as the current benefits system.

Overall it will cost far, far less to run this system because the privately run surgeries will not waste money on control freaks and pushy morons with their own little Puritan agendas. That only happens when income is guaranteed. Not when it has to be competed for. This new health system will not become the pompous behemoth that the NHS has become because any part that tries, dies. If we go to a doctor who starts telling us how to live, then we take our money/vouchers to another doctor.

The NHS has to go. It's the only way we can become people again.


I have been meddling, as you see. Now I have the new Blogger interface and it takes a little getting used to. Next step is to install the comment gadget but I think I'd better find my way around this new layout first.

Sunday 18 September 2011

New gadget.

I am informed of the existence of a new gadget.

It works as an add-on to comments and it costs my favourite price - free. So I'm thinking of giving it a go. The only risk involves meddling with settings on the Internet and that often causes me problems.

The add-on site is here and it's run by people with mad hair and a tree in their office. So what's not to like? You can't argue with someone who has a tree in their office because you are not going to win that argument. The phrase 'Yeah? Well, I have an indoor tree' trumps everything. It's even more powerful than Godwin's law.

I am not meddling tonight. Too late, too much drinking, visitors etc. But tomorrow I will meddle.

So if, tomorrow, the blog goes silent, you'll need no conspiracy theories. It'll be because I broke it.

Saturday 17 September 2011

When idiots are proud to be idiots.

A couple of tipoffs in the Email recently:

Here is an idiot who actually believes that a few hotels having a few smoking rooms is causing deaths. He is too dim to realise that when almost all hotel rooms were smoking, when almost all pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes allowed smoking... nobody died.

Yet now that it's banned, he actually believes that 50,000 Americans die of second hand smoke every year. Before it was banned, the figure was zero. The real figure is, of course, still zero. Even lower than an antismoker IQ, but not by very much.

What this has to do with a hotel being 'green' he does not say. What he does say is that he believes smoking causes deafness in non-smokers and he has 18 years' experience of writing about other people's real jobs to prove it. He has made his idiocy a matter of public record for the whole world to see and he is proud of it! This plumbs depths of stupid you'd get the bends coming up from. Even crustaceans can't get that far down.

I have 30 years' experience of smoking and of actual scientific research and I can hear perfectly well, thank you. Not the cheapskate second hand smoke either, the full-on proper smoking. If a smell can make an antismoker deaf, I'm going to smoke even more because if they turn deaf at least they can't hear any more of ASH's ridiculous indoctrination. I just hope it can make them mute too. And immobile. One thing's for sure, it will have no effect on their brains.

The idiot's best line has to be this one:

It is not surprising that cigarette smoke has been linked to yet another malady.

No, it is not surprising at all. It's been linked to everything from viral infections to climate change. Soon it will be linked to comets crashing into the Sun, the demotion of Pluto from planet status and the extinction of the dinosaurs. One of the best bits of recent lunacy is when some utter cretins masquerading as scientists claimed that one cigarette end in the sea would kill all the fish. Look, if your lab coat has long sleeves that tie together at the back, you are not really a scientist. They're just telling you that so you'll take the pills.

MJ McFadden did a calculation I hadn't thought to do. If every single cigarette end from every single smoker on the planet was dumped into the sea, how long would it be before the water fleas died, based on the playschool research carried out by overpaid and indoctrinated drones? Assuming that all those cigarette ends never decompose (another insane assertion made by morons) and that the effect is cumulative because plant material is, as every barely-evolved chimp clone knows, indestructible.

If every single cigarette ever smoked on the planet was dumped into the sea and none ever decomposed, the water fleas would start to die off in...

...twenty-five million years.

That's just the fleas. You'll still be waiting for the fish to start floating to the surface. Yet the idiots put this out as scientific research for all the world to see and were proud to have done so!

There are so many morons out there believing all this rubbish. There are over six hundred of them in highly paid jobs in Westminster! Another batch in Holyrood and even more in Cardiff. Mindless, every one of them. That's before we even start to look at the anencephalics employed by councils, fake charities, several universities and the BMA. How do these people remember to breathe? Which idiot keeps reminding them?

I will never employ, nor recommend for employment, an antismoker. Never. They are the dimmest people on the planet. They believe every piece of crap they are told and have absolutely no capacity for any analytical thought whatsoever. What use are they to any employer in any capacity?

I smoke, and have smoked for thirty years. I am not dead. I don't have cancer. I am not wheezing. I have nothing wrong with my lungs nor my heart. I have nothing wrong with my hearing. I have no infections and rarely even get a cold. I am not permanently terrified and am not (despite appearances here) permanently angry. I am able to think for myself.

If the antismokers want to believe they will die from a brief contact with a wisp of smoke from a tiny bit of burning leaf, so be it. Let them believe.

Psychosomiasis is a powerful thing. It can be a weapon. All you need to wield it are a few words. Convince them they will get sick and die. They are dim enough to do as you suggest.

It's not as if you'd be damaging a future Einstein, is it? Maybe a future council office seat-warmer or maybe a future politician. We already have far more than we need of both.

Friday 16 September 2011

Now that would solve truancy...

Dangerous paedophile overturns court order banning him from local park after judge rules it 'breaches his human rights'

So screams the Daily Mail. Except the judge didn't overturn the order. He modified it so that the filthy perv can only go to the park at certain times, while children are in school. Not at school break or lunchtimes, not at all outside school hours or in the summer holiday.

Therefore he will only have access to the park when there are no children in it.

This has the makings of a good idea, you know. Thinking of bunking off school? Well, the times when you're in school are the times they let all the paedos out to play.

Still thinking of bunking off school, cheeeldren?

Thursday 15 September 2011

New Baccy Tin

Remember when smoking used to get you free stuff? I remember my father collecting the vouchers from his fag packets and trading them in for things that didn't interest me very much, but they were free.

I have brass petrol lighters embossed with Cutter's Choice and Golden Virginia, I used to have a little rolling mat that was useless but well, it didn't cost anything. There was a brass holder for Rizla papers, I can't remember what happened to that. I have green and red Rizla mugs with the name in gold leaf (not microwave safe but they'll scare the antismokers).

For years I have kept my baccy in a plastic-lined leather pouch that once had 'Rizla' embossed on it but which has deteriorated to the point of being embarassing. I've been considering alternatives for some time, but they had to be cheap or free. I do still have an Amber Leaf tin, unfortunately I have long since lost all my Franklin's tins, and the Amber Leaf tin has a 'Yer gonnae die, ya bas' warning on it.

Well, in the last week Tesco have stopped stocking petrol lighter fuel. My favourite lighter is a Zippo with a pig image, which was given to me by a Syrian student who worked with me for eight weeks and produced a very good publication. I even met her parents - her father was Somebody in the Syrian government (in 1992) and he gave me a massive cigar; her mother was a quiet, smiley woman who gave me amazing Syrian food and a hand-stitched tablecloth I dare not use. A family full of successes and skills. But I digress.

The pig image... might have been an insult considering they were Muslim but I really don't mind if it was, it was so much fun to meet them all.

Anyhow, our local Tesco no longer stock petrol lighter fuel. When I ask for it now, I get a look that I'd expect to get if I asked for three sticks of dynamite and a fuse, from the same girl who's been selling me lighter fuel for years. Okay, I thought, it's been my supplier of fuel, flints, papers and filters for a long time even after I switched my baccy supplies to Man with a Van but there are other places.

One of them is the local pound shop. One tin of lighter fuel, one pound. No problem. It's five minutes from Tesco (in this town, most places are five minutes from just about any other place). They also have papers but the ones in the yellow packets, don't bother with those. Bull brand papers are okay and those are eight packs a pound at the moment.

So anyway, I was in there, stocking up on lighter petrol which would save me the bother of prising the lid off Plastic Man's fuel tank and dipping my Zippo in on a string, when I saw the baccy tin above. One British Pound and it was mine. It's actually red but the photo is pretty reasonable considering how much of Grant's Ale Cask Reserve I've imbibed this evening. Yes, those are my blunt-ended typing fingers.

This is sold as a tin with a pack of rolling papers so it's pretty obvious what the tin is for. However, since it contains no tobacco products as sold, it does not have to have a warning label. It is a tobacco container you don't have to die for. Get one before the Righteous spot the loophole. There are many designs, I was quite taken with the old test-card tin but this one was better.

Bull brand is British and has a website. Well worth a look.

And so, the old faithful tatty leather pouch is finally laid to rest. I'm happy, I still don't have dead organs draped across my baccy container.

I wonder if they'd consider making a Leg-iron tin?

UPDATE - I will need to spend another pound on another tin. I've just realised I can get three or four Electrofag batteries, a load of cartridges and even a USB charger into one of these things.

No reason really, other than to horrify the easily frightened. Take out the bits of Electrofag and 'hand-roll' them, and just watch their blood pressure rise. They'll need to suck a diesel exhaust for an hour to get the nicotine out of their lungs. None of them can manage that, I'll bet.

Hmmm... a battery that charges if you roll it in your hands.... now that would be interesting.

Kindle publishing - suffering for your art.

The Kindle website is a nightmare to navigate. I clicked through many screens and used the term 'What the f--' on almost every one. Anyhow, I have now loaded both 'Fears of the Old and the New' and 'Dark Thoughts and Demons' onto there. I think they went in okay but there's no way to know for sure until they appear. The preview offered during loading is pitiful. I couldn't even test the contents-page links.

Pricing is in US Dollars with conversions to Euro and GBP, so the latter prices will fluctuate. This is awkward because Lulu prices are fixed in GBP, so at the moment it'll be cheaper to get the Kindle version, but sometimes it'll be cheaper to get the Lulu PDF, and if you're in another country it might well be vice versa. The difference is only a few pennies but it's still irritating. The print version is only available from Lulu so at least that price will be reasonably stable.

The second collection I priced a little higher than the first on Kindle, because the first was easy. I'd already written and published all but two of the stories, so it was a simple matter of assembling them into a book. The second one took much more work. Even so, I firmly believe electronic books should be cheap because they are so easy to copy. Pricing them high just makes it more worthwhile to copy them.

Smashwords still has 'Fears' in a variety of formats and they've sent it out to a lot of ebookeries but they still haven't ported to Kindle. So I opted out of their Kindle link and did it myself. They still have all the formats on their site and are still selling through a whole range of electro-outlets, some of which I've never heard of and neither has anyone else, but not Kindle. So far I haven't put 'Dark Thoughts' there. I might not bother. If I do I'll still opt out of their Kindle distribution.

Self-publishing is not an easy option. With Jessica's Trap, the publisher took care of the cover art and the editing and all I had to do on those parts was check and approve. It was much easier, although it took a lot longer. More importantly, advertising material was all designed for me by the cover artist, and the publisher is marketing the book (that doesn't mean I can ignore marketing, but it does mean I'm not doing all of it myself). Downside? I don't own the cover art. If, when the contract expires, I put that book with another publisher, I can't take the cover with me. It's not mine and never will be. Which would be a shame because it's a really good image of Foras, the self-appointed chief of the demons who most of them accept as being in charge.

The most important thing to remember if you're publishing is that it shouldn't cost you anything. If you are paying to be published, you are being suckered. A publisher does not need to sell your books if they can make money straight from you.

'Proper' publishers take care of cover art and editing costs and they make money from their cut of whatever you make. You pay nothing up front. You never, at any time, pay money to a publisher. They pay you. If a publisher even suggests doing it the other way, run.

'Self' publishing means you have to do it all yourself but that needn't cost anything either. I'm lucky in that I'm obsessive to the point of infuriating when it comes to the written word, and even so, I'll run it through an online critique group like and pass it around a few folk because I know I'll miss bits. Plus, I'm not too shabby with Paint Shop so I can make a decent cover. So I don't have to recoup costs paid to cover artists etc. - I don't have any costs at all beyond keyboard wear and sleepless nights and whisky (fuel for the deranged-idea machine).

Lulu, Smashwords, Kindle - none of them charge a penny. If I don't sell a single book, all I've lost is time. Even then, I have ready-made personalised Christmas presents in enough of a range of sizes to deal with any wobbly table.

Vanity publishing is a mug's game. That's where you pay to be published - either you have to pay up front for some mysterious 'admin' or you have to buy a certain number of books. The publisher doesn't need to bother advertising your book at all. They already make money from you. Nobody else will read it, even if it's great, because the vanity publisher won't bother telling anyone it exists.

I bought some copies of Jessica's Trap at a very decent author discount (even with the postage, I could sell signed copies at Amazon's price including UK postage and still make a profit) so I'd have some signed copies to hand out/sell. This was not a requirement - I wasn't obliged to buy a single copy myself. A vanity publisher would have had that in the contract. Damnation Books (yes, well, who did you think I'd publish with? Mills and Boon?) charge nothing. How well do they pay? Depends on how well the book sells. I honestly don't expect to retire on one book, or even a dozen, which is why I am currently wearing my fingers down to little stumps and drinking the Water of Madness as if the price is going to soar soon.

The trouble with self-publishing is that anyone can publish any old crap for free. Convincing people that your self-published work isn't some random text-speak babble filled with 'yeah but no but yeah but no but...' gossip about life on the local street corner isn't easy. They have to read it first, and they have to buy it to read it, and there are thousands upon thousands of self-published books in the way. Some really good ones and a lot of really bad ones.

I have no marketing department. If I could get a tobacco company to sponsor this blog, well, they all have marketing departments with nothing to do, don't they? Lots of the characters in my stories smoke. I could easily specify a brand. What say you, Phil Morris? The latest collection does include a vengeful apparition made entirely of ash, you know.

Novels are hard work to self-publish. I think I might do it with this dystopia though. It can take three months for a publisher to respond to a query, then they get the full manuscript, then it can take more months before they say yes or no, and if it's 'no' you have to start all over again. That won't work where the wretched story is going out of date as fast as I write it.

Speaking of which, I suppose I'd better get writing. I am already facing having to delete Chapter Seven - universal medication. The swines are catching up again.

Dark Thoughts and Demons.

Finally I have that short story book out of the way and can get back to writing those novels. It's available in print and PDF and I'm working on a Kindle version which is fiddly but feasible. I hope to get the earlier one onto Kindle also.

This is nastier than the earlier collection. There are a couple of purely-human stories here and humans are far more dangerous than anything Hell can conjure up. Some of the stories appeared here in the past, so here's a list with links to the already-released ones:

The Ship - Possibly the gentlest ghost story I have ever written. Included in this collection just to prove I'm not a total bloody psycho.

Arbuthnot’s Eyes

In Another Life (new title)

The Gate Race - One of my most psychotic stories so far. A psychoanalyst could get a thesis out of this one.

The Life of Water - Every cliche busted for fun. No, the main character does not run out of petrol and no, he's not going the wrong way on the back roads and no, none of the people he meets are hillbilly psychos. But then, you just know something's going to spoil his day...

Fireman - Sometimes the monsters are the good guys.

‘...and to dust we shall return’ - A little black comedy. Well, I laughed when someone came back from Hell to reanimate his corpse, only to find he'd been cremated.

One Stop after Marchway

The Ignorant Assassin
(new title)

Time-slice - a one-page quickie with a hint of blood. Just a hint.

The Skeleton Closet (new title)

And also, tucked in the back...

Well, that's that one dealt with. Best get some sleep.

Smokers have no property rights.

Bucko found a snippet in a local paper that will have the antismokers wetting themselves with glee. I don't mind them wetting themselves as long as they don't do it near me. They can keep their filthy second-hand pee to themselves.

I would never buy a home from a self-dampening antismoker unless they gave me a serious discount to cover the cost of mops, carpets and disinfectant. Plus the cost of an exorcist to remove the Smugness Demons from the very fabric of the building. Also, since smoking is now the only reason to redecorate a home, it is safe to assume that those filthy antismokers who never like to wash themselves nor their clothes also never do anything to spruce up the paintwork.

It's only fair - after all, they would demand the same from me. Of course, they wouldn't get it. If I were to sell my house and found out that a prospective purchaser was a rabid antismoker, I'd put the price up to cover the inconvenience of having to deal with them. My ambition is to one day make enough money to move out and sell this house to a radical Islamist group for one shiny British pound. I wouldn't move too far away. I'd want to watch...

Smoking is portrayed, by those who don't do it, as a waste of money. Well of course it is - if you don't like doing it. Paying for something you don't like doing is obviously a waste.

If you like to drive, add up all the costs of petrol, tax, insurance, servicing, fixing things that break, replacements for bits that wear out, and as far as I am concerned every penny of that is a waste of money. I don't like driving. So, do I demand you all give up driving because I consider it a waste of money and because you'll crash and cost the NHS money and because I don't like all those fumes?

Of course not. It's your money, spend it how you like. You can spend yours on things I consider a waste and I will spend mine on things you consider a waste. How does that sound?

Not good enough for the antismokers. They want to keep their cars but they don't want me messing up their diesel fumes with a bit of burning leaf. Further, they want smokers banned from everywhere outdoors in case we disrupt the heady scent of traffic fumes, which are of course good for you.

It's true, antismoker. Traffic fumes render you immune to tobacco smoke. Breathe deeply of them and live forever. In fact, if you divert your car exhaust into the main body of your vehicle, no tobacco smoke can ever enter your lungs again. If you tell smokers you've done this, none of them will attempt to enter your vehicle. Traffic fumes react with tobacco smoke to produce severe discomfort in smokers, which is the real reason we don't like being outside.

Traffic fumes have absolutely no effect on the fine, healthy lungs of the antismoker. They don't cause any damage at all unless the lung has a layer of nicotine all over its surface. But you antismokers already knew that, didn't you?

If you pipe exhaust gases from your garage into your living room, it has the effect of keeping smokers out of your house forever. Guaranteed.

Don't believe me? Try it for yourself. Studies have shown, you know, and experts have said.

Let me know how you get on.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Apology from the Dick in the Film.

The Dick in the Film has apologised for regarding certain human women as of less importance than dogs and for laughing at a woman being beaten up by thugs.

You might regard it as sincere, you might not. I regard it as a line drawn under the matter.

I have written before on the way the Righteous regard apology and I will not be Righteous on this. He has apologised and for me, that is the end of it. Whether he meant it or whether he was scared for his BBC prospects, it is done. Over. Finished.

He has publically admitted his dickiness and I consider the matter closed.

The two Bens he says were not involved were very probably really not involved. Leave them alone. There is no evidence to prove either of them were involved so chasing them is just a waste of time and likely to get the chasers prosecuted. Gonnae no' dae that'?

So Dick in the Film will not appear here again on this particular matter.

When he screws up again, he'll be back. Closing the past is not a free pass for the future.

Stirling University - Drone factory.

Stirling University are refusing to admit that their results on the plain-packaging of cigarettes are entirely fabricated Stalinist nonsense. There is only one possible logical conclusion.

Personally, I will never employ or engage in business with anyone who has Stirling University on their CV, and if I ever have to I'll pay them half or charge them double. The organisation pumps out indoctrinated drones and nothing more. It is a Righteous clearing house producing graduates of no value whatsoever in my view and that view will not now change. Ever. Every human-shaped void that emerges from that institution is an utter waste of space.

If you are thinking of paying that university for your education, think again. They do not educate, they indoctrinate. Your degree will be worth less than the paper your Friday night chips arrive in. You will be paying to be worthless forever. I will not employ you, and in every case where I act as consultant to employers, no Stirling university graduate will be considered.

Unfair? Look at those 'Smokers need not apply' ads and then tell me it's unfair. Then fuck off. Your game, Righteous, your rules.

Do not bother telling me 'it's only one department and the rest are okay'. It is not one department. It is the central management of the university. This is the entire university, not a little clique of arseholes (which every university has) hiding in a corner and just making stuff up. The refusal to comply with the law comes from the centre of the university. The pretend Farcebook page with pretend support for those refusing to comply with the law comes from the centre of the university.

This involves the entire university. I don't care which department you are in, I don't care how diligent you are with your science, your university has declared you useless and declared your research worthless. Your university did that. If you are applying to universities, note that Stirling will mark you as a Righteous drone the moment you put them on your application form.

Are you a Stirling astronomer who is perfectly happy to release data on your new-planet discovery via FOI? Your university refuses FOI requests, therefore you are lying. Are you a Stirling mathematician with a perfect solution to Fermat's last theorem and you'd be delighted to release your calculations to an FOI request? Well, your university refuses FOI requests so you are lying.

Or maybe they just refuse the ones that are based on lies? Either way, that university cannot be trusted. If I were you I would never apply for a job there and never apply for any course because the entire university is suspect.

You might be in Stirling's microbial taxonomy department thinking 'Oh, this has nothing to do with me'. Yes it does. Yes. It. Does.

This is not about a department. This is about the university as a whole. Whichever department you are in, this reflects on you. Whichever class you take hoping for a job on graduation, this reflects on you. This is not a department setting up Farcebook fakes and defying the law. This is Stirling University. All of it. Yes, comparative psychology, you too.

Let's not play semantics. Stirling University is the problem here. All of it. ALL.

You work there and you want it to change? Well do something about it.

The only thing I can do is to recommend students go elsewhere and to strike your graduates from employment shortlists. This, I will do. Whichever department they come from. No prejudice and no distinction.

I am an equal opportunities bastard.

You made me, Dr. Antismokenstein. Aren't I doing what you wanted?

Tuesday 13 September 2011

When jokes die.

An elderly man was stopped by the police in the early hours of the morning and is asked where he was going at that time of night.

The man replied "I am going to a lecture about alcohol abuse and the effects it has on the human body."

The police said "Really? Who is giving that lecture at this time of night?"

The man replied "My wife."

That's a joke at the moment. It won't be long before that joke no longer works because the police will be obliged to give that lecture themselves. Or maybe direct the tipsy codger to the nearest Puritan centre.

Next? Plain packaging for cereal packets. All those cartoon characters are making the cheeldren eat too much sugar.

The brain runs exclusively on glucose so you can't let the proles have any. They might work out that the 'experts' are talking utter shite.


A quick thank-you to all those who voted me to either no. 3 or no. 12 in the Total Politics don't-give-a-damn category. Apparently I'm third of fifty or twelfth of fifteen. Which does sound uncomfortably like a Borg designation either way.

So... best go and find some politics to talk about.

But first, a little drinkie.

Hurricane Gordon.

It's nowhere to be seen.

We had weather warnings, we were told to run about screaming 'We're all Dooooomed!' and nothing's happened. Days previously described as just 'windy' knocked over plants but today, barely a leaf rustled.

Which is odd because not very far away, roofs were blown off and trees blown down and power was cut and all sorts of terrible things, but here? Not a peep.

Maybe it's because the hurricane took one look at this place and decided there was no way to make it worse. Maybe it's because of the magic tomato plant in the greenhouse. Maybe it's because I spent ages fighting the damn wasps to get the last two carrier-bags of plums off the tree before they were blown off, and the hurricane thought 'Oh, he's got them, might as well find some other garden to mess up'.

Or maybe it's waiting for tomorrow... the day I have to go out.

Monday 12 September 2011

The Wrong Man.

A Ben Melchiors has left a comment on the Jocko Homo post. Those who were tracking the idiots in the video have apparently found the wrong man. This is certainly possible - my name is so common that if you Google me, you'll find me all over the world, from a trucking office in Nova Scotia to a golf pro in Australia. There's even a famous namesake in the UK. In fact, I seem to be the poorest person in the world with my name which is probably some kind of record.

This Ben Melchiors has been getting threats. Whether he's the wrong man or not, threats aren't a good idea. In the days before Internet they were called 'poison pen letters' and were illegal - and the new electronic version is just as illegal because it's the same thing.

There's really no point to these threats. Those making them aren't going to do anything and are open to prosecution, so threatening people just gets the threatener into trouble. They are taken seriously by police. People get prosecuted for causing someone to be offended by a doll in a window these days, so causing someone to feel threatened is more serious than that.

I hope none of the senders call themselves Libertarian, since the central creed of that philosophy is 'not to initiate force or fraud against another' - including the threat of force.

The internet makes those poison pen letters faster and easier but they are poison pen letters just the same. Same rules apply. The sender is committing an offence. In theory, putting threats on newspaper articles or any other site such as 'Kill all these people' whether referring to EDL, BNP, UAF, smokers, fat people, anyone, all count as the same poison-pen threats but we'd need a much bigger police force to track them all down so they get away with it. Actually, I recall one newspaper columnist suggesting that the long-ago-leaked BNP membership list might be useful to what he called 'black power' groups. I don't recall him being prosecuted. He certainly should have been.

Sending a specific Email to a specific person is much easier to track than a newspaper comment and those Emails can be every bit as swivel-eyed and vitriolic as the worst of the newspaper loons. I've seen them.

A few years back, one of my Email addresses was used by a spammer as a fake return address. The first I knew of it was when the failed-delivery messages started pouring in at a rate of around three hundred a minute. I had to shut the Email down quickly while I arranged for that account to delete all failed-delivery messages without forwarding them to me.

Once in a while I'd get an Email from some furious spam recipient threatening me with all kinds of violence. The first time, I responded and explained that the spam was nothing to do with me, that spammers use other people's Emails for return addresses, that I had no idea what was happening or who was doing it. Well, I soon learned just how deranged some people can get, because that just set off more threats, then they'd get their friends involved... in the end I deleted the account and let them shout into darkness. The account had been rendered useless anyway because it was being blocked by spam filters.

In real life, face to face, threats are rarely serious. Most are just bluster from someone who hopes you'll back down before they have to put their threats to the test. That's ten times as true on the Internet where the threatener might be on the other side of the planet and isn't going to be anywhere near you, ever. The trouble is, unlike those old poison pen letters there is no postmark on an Email, so you can't be sure if the threat came from a hundred miles away or next door. So it's understandable that those being threatened will often take it seriously - and so will the police.

I can't delete any references to this Ben Melchiors from here because as far as I am aware, there aren't any. Certainly none posted by me, in fact the comment he left is the first time his name's appeared here. The only contact referenced here is the Email he put up himself.

Even if someone does track down the idiots in the video, sending threats is not going to do anything other than get the threatener arrested. Even if you send a threat from five hundred miles away and have no intention of carrying it out, the threat itself is the offence and you can be prosecuted.

Even if the target of the threat is one or both of the two actual idiots in the video, seen and heard laughing about a real, physical attack on a real woman. And no, her having a tattoo, being a member of the 'other side', none of those justify laughing about an attack on a woman by a gang of thugs. Yet even if the target of the threats is one of those two, as soon as you send the threat, you become the bad guy. The threatener is open to prosecution by the threatened, even if what the threatened did was disgusting.

If you threaten the wrong person, you can end up in a lot of trouble for no sensible reason.

So think before you send that threat. Poison pen letters are still illegal, even if they are electronic and even if you don't intend to follow it through. The crime is in the threat.

Looks can be deceiving.

I've been busting a gut on this next short story book because I want it out of the way and because money is running short and I need to get another pot-boiler out while I wait to hear about the next novel. Some of the stories in this next one are far nastier than in the last one. It's not bedtime reading.

Tip: if you're self-publishing something, always let it rest for at least 24 hours and then read over it. Read it as if it was written by someone you hate so you're looking for every trivial little error.

Self-editing on short stories is okay but it's far harder to do on novels. Those need the eyes of someone who hasn't read the whole thing fifteen damn times already. Novels are too big for self-editing. They need proper publishers.

So, while that collection rests, I started looking for ideas for the dystopia novel. This is a random process and usually starts with YouTube comedy clips then gets into the weird stuff once I'm in receptive mood.

I came across some videos by an ex-Mormon girl. If you saw her in the street you'd dismiss her as of that species often described as Bimbonius boobius maximus - the Large-Breasted Bimbo. You'd only have to talk to her for five minutes to find she has a brain to match those frontal accessories.

In this video she describes the technique of the Invisible Watchman and describes it very clearly indeed. She describes it in terms of religion, but I see it in terms of CCTV.

Consider - not all those speed cameras have cameras in them but do you slow down for each one or take a chance? It's not possible for all those CCTV cameras to be continuously monitored unless we were all employed to do it, and most of them produce such crappy images they're no use anyway - but which ones? Are they even real? You can buy dummy ones to fit to your house and all they have is a little red light. Yet the camera you see might be watching you. You don't know.

The Invisible Watchman isn't God any more. It's CCTV. And I owe that girl a signed copy if I ever get this into print.

Tacos and planes.

America has been on red alert because some people on planes spent too long in the toilet.

Well, perhaps they should question a certain taco maker...

It's really just a game, you know...

The missing link between humanity and fungus, Russel Brand, is in trouble again.

Well I don't like him, I have to say. But that's just me. I don't like his low-grade schoolboy humour and his irrelevant use of swearing and the unbelievably stupid things he does. Evidently, lots of people do like him because he makes money at being an infantile git, but I'd never pay to watch him.

This time though, he is unfairly lambasted. The paralympics athletes are Outraged! Outraged I tell you! Apparently he has insulted them.

Here is what he actually said.

He told his audience: 'I don’t give a f*** about the Olympics. It’s boring Blue Peter sport and a waste of taxpayers’ money.
'At least the Paralympics have some kind of novelty value or something.'

Now, he is allegedly a comedian. That joke would not have raised a smile with me. Not because of Outrage!, not because of the 'oo, that's a bit close to the bone' feeling I get with some of Frankie "Specky Ginger Plonker" Boyle's stuff, not because of mild irritation, not because of anything other than it's a pretty weak joke. I mean, I expect jokes at that level from Pissed Angus McWaster late in the evening, but a professional? I'd expect something with a bit of thought behind it.

I don't care about the Olympics either. It's full of people doing stuff I'll never be able to do so watching it is akin to watching a porn film starring Nine-Inch Nigel with a woman who keeps saying she wants even more than that. That's not exciting, it just induces feelings of inadequacy.

Those taking part in the Olympics are the closest to physically perfect specimens the human race can produce. When you have enough muscles to put half of Coventry in the shade, lifting what appears to be a locomotive axle with extra wheels on it isn't such a big deal. If I did it, you would first be utterly stunned, then you'd have to call an ambulance and a crane.

So watching someone with the leg muscles of a gazelle running like, um, a gazelle, isn't interesting. Point to one of them and say 'He won that race' and I'll point to his muscles and say 'Well that's hardly a surprise, is it?'

Point to someone with no legs and say 'He won that race' and I'm going to look twice. Won a race with no legs at all? Now I'm impressed.

So, although I'll have to wash my fingers in bleach after typing it, Urko's stunt double is right. The paralympics are much more interesting than the olympics. Watching people do something they've trained to do for years, with bodies at the peak of fitness and perfection - yawn. I know they can do it simply because they're in the competition. I know I could never hope to come close to the level of fitness of the guy who came in last. There's no need to rub it in.

The paralympics is full of people competing in sports despite missing a few limbs here and there. Now that, to me, is worth seeing. Naturally, I still couldn't beat the guy who came in last but that ceases to be the point here. This is about people who, when I was a kid, would have been told 'You can never do that' and doing it anyway.

The PE teacher ( the gym stuff, for non-UK readers) used to say that to me and I thought 'That means he's not going to force me to try. I'm just going to nod and keep quiet and let the other poor buggers sweat.' The chemistry and physics teachers stopped saying it after a while.

So it is actually embarrassing to hear paralympic athletes bleating about a comment made by the guy who didn't get Animal's job in the Muppet auditions. He made a comment which, when you look at it, wasn't actually derogatory. In fact he rated the paralympics as more entertaining than the olympics and if you want to say it's not about entertainment, what the hell did you think all the tickets were for?

People buy tickets for the olympics and paralympics for the same reason they buy tickets to watch Barnum's scariest freak. To be entertained. That's it.

I won't buy tickets for any sports events because I'm not interested enough so I won't be entertained. I won't buy tickets for the last toilet brush in the shop's shows because I'd just sit there through the entire performance thinking how many bin bags I could have bought and then thrown away instead.

It's entertainment. All of it. That's what it's for. All the olympics, all the paralympics, all the football, the cricket, Wimbledon, all of it. Entertainment. It is all 'novelty value'.

That's what people pay for.

If you imagine it is there for some higher, empowering purpose then I'm afraid you're just nuts. It exists because people pay to watch it. Sponsors hand over cash in return for advertising because people will see the advertising. No other reason. Don't go looking for deep meanings and Righteous missions in the paralympics. It is entertainment, just like any other spectator sport.

If it wasn't entertaining it simply wouldn't exist.