The CD Principle

I still marvel at the Interweb.

Today's kids have all grown up with it, and to them it's as commonplace as electricity or indoor toilets, but to me it is new a new and marvelous invention.  I wonder what modern yoof would make of the concept of having to dial up a special number [which had to be paid for] and then sitting for ages listening to a screeching noise while those two emails struggled to download themselves, and the phone bill racked up quite a few notches?  What would they make of web pages that had no images because images were too bulky?  In fact I remember a time before dial-up when the BBC tried an experiment, playing the ZX Spectrum programme screech so we could record it onto tape to load into our Spectrums.  That never worked!

I still wonder at the ability to carry my laptop around the house or garden, and apart from a power cable I can hook into a virtually infinite resource of information.  I wonder at the ability to type out a brainfart here and have people [very strange people] read my outpouring the other side of the world.

But now they are trying to do things which even I find bafflingly strange.  They are connecting cars to the Interweb.  They are connecting wrist watches, kettles, their home heating and just about everything they can.  Why?  Why the fuck would I want to connect my kettle to the Interweb?  It gives me the ability to call my kettle from my mobile phone to tell it to boil?  For fuck's sake, why not just haul your arse out of the chair and switch it on yourself?  Why is it so important to control your central heating from a mobile phone when the damn thing has all sorts of fancy timers?  Now [apparently] I can phone up my car and get it to start the engine.  This is just a thought, but presumably if I want the engine to start it means I am planning on going somewhere and would therefore need to be in the immediate proximity of the car where I can use a fucking key?

I call it the CD Principle.  That stems from the early days of computers where someone produced a top of the range model that had some extra gizmos and features.  One of those features was a little fob, where you pressed a button and it remotely ejected the CD tray.  Why?  What fucking use was that when you still had to physically go over and take out or put in a CD by hand?  They did it because they could, and not for any other reason.

Now they are worried that all these useless connections to the Web are going to cause security problems.  Of course they are.  If it can be hacked, it will be hacked.  And frankly I don't relish the prospect of lashing along the M11 at a hundred miles an hour only to discover that some cunt in Afghanistan has taken over my car from his back bedroom.  I know it's a minor detail but I like to be in control of the car I'm driving.

What worries me is where it's all going to end.  Are they going to try to connect my clothing and furniture?  I suppose you never know when you might get the impulse to re-arrange your sitting room layout, and it would be nice to be able to do it when you're on your holidays?  How about connecting your burglar alarm so any smart kid with a mobile phone can switch it off before cleaning out your house?  Or why not put webcams in all your rooms [supposedly for security] and allow the world watch you go about your daily [and nightly] life?

There are times when I think dial-up had distinct advantages.

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The art of grooming

To me, grooming is something you do to horses.

Or [so I am told] it's what paedophiles do to little girls to gain trust.

I was somewhat taken aback to find a complete instruction list of things men should do to themselves on a daily basis under the title of grooming.  What the fuck is all this about?  I had to investigate further our of sheer curiosity.

1. Treat your scalp well. 

Well I don't think I treat my scalp unkindly.  My scalp and I have a mutual policy of ignoring each other, though I can say that it's always on my mind?

2. Groom that beard.

What the fuck?  I run a comb through it the odd time to remind it who is boss and to remove any stray food that has dried in there.  But apparently I'm supposed to have a wide tooth comb, narrow tooth comb and a bristle brush?  And I'm supposed to oil it?  Fuck off.

3. Don't forget to manscape.

[*pause while I clean puke off my keyboard*] 

Manscape?  What the fuck?  I'm supposed to run a lawnmower over various parts of me to remove unwanted hair?  For aesthetic purposes?  Why?  I have hairy bits and not so hairy bits.  No one has ever complained that I have too much or too little so what the fuck is this all about?  In my book there is only one gender of man who shaves his body, but we won't go down that path for the sake of political correctness.

4. Don't forget to trim off nose and ear hair.

I don't have any.  And if I did, it's presumably there for a reason.

5. Keep those hands clean.

Do I need instructions to tell me this?  Once my hands go beyond a darker shade of grey, I wash 'em.  I don't want to be picking my nose with a dirty finger, do I?

6. Don't go too long without a haircut.

Depends on what they mean by too long.  Oh, hang on – every two to three weeks?  What planet are these people on?  A couple of times a year is fine by me.  If the front gets too long I hack it back with the kitchen scissors and if the back gets too long I tie it back with a rubber band.  Two to three weeks indeed!

7. Shower every day.

Bollox.  That's a Mercan thing and doesn't apply here.  I like to keep my natural oils.  Twice a year is fine, though I may cut back on that to conserve water.

8. Learn how to wash your face.

Jayzus!  Soap and fucking water.  What more is there?

9. Brush your teeth and don't forget to floss.

Haven't got any.

10. Groom those feet.

Bollox.  I cut my toenails occasionally just to stop them ripping holes in my socks.  Anyway, they're always inside my shoes/boots/slippers, so why bother?

11. Hydrate yourself.

I hate that word.  It merely means "add water" but they try and make it sound like a scientific process.  Unless it means more Guinness in which case I'll go along with it.

12. Workout regularly.

Why?  It's just one of these modern fads for people who think they don't get enough exercise.  After a day working around the house and garden and a couple of fights with Herself, I wouldn't have the energy.  Fuck off.

13. Go easy with the cologne.

I once got a present of some Old Spice.  It's the only sniffy stuff I ever had, or will have.  Cologne is just another word for perfume, and men wearing perfume is more than a little strange.  I prefer my natural odour as nature intended.  I call it "Stale Piss" [available at Boots and all good chemists for the great price of €158 a bottle].

14. Avoid unhealthy vices.

Here we go.  Give up the fags.  Yadda yadda yadda.  FUCK OFF!  And when you have fucked off, come back and fuck off yet again.

I really don't know what the world is coming to.  Back when I was a yoof anyone following any of the above [let alone the whole lot] would instantly be labeled a poofter, and rightly shunned by everyone, including the women.  If I turned up at the pub with my beard waxed and oiled, and smelling like a fucking brothel, I'd be turfed out on my ear and quite right too.

Next they'll be suggesting I dye my hair.

I blame all those female hormones in the drinking water.


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Stop exposing in front of the kids

Children are regularly exposed to alcohol ads, study finds


Yes, they probably are.  They are also regularly exposed to advertisements for cars, furniture, perfume and  loads of other shit but does it follow that the kids are going to pine after those as well?

Off the cuff, I can only think of one advertisement that I have seen recently on television and that is for Coors which apparently is brewed up in the cold Rocky Mountains.  Apart from the fact that all Merkan beer is diluted gnat's piss, I can't see why I should be attracted to something that is supposed to be brewed in a mountain range a few thousand miles away.  Are the Rockies any colder or fresher than any other mountain range?  Leastwise I can put my hand on my heart and say I have never even contemplated buying Coors on entering a pub, so that ad is a massive failure.

The only advertisement that really sticks in my mind at the moment is that one for Virgin.  I notice it for two reasons.  Firstly they show a CGI generated lorry that is stupidly long and would be impossible to drive around a bend unless the wheels are on bogies, and secondly I cringe every time I see that Branson fucker leering at me from the cab.  Even if I were in range of their services, there s no fucking way I would switch to Virgin – that ad has put me off for life.

Anyhows, back to the alcohol.

Alcohol Action Ireland [yet another charity qango that has been set up to lobby the gubmint] has done their survey.  I would love to see the questions the kids were asked.  [“Do you think advertising will a) make you want to drink alcohol, b) make you want to binge drink or c) turn you into an alcoholic?”]. 

Like all their fellow qangos they fall into the assumption that somehow advertising forces people into things they don't want to do.  Do they seriously think that some kid is going to see a billboard on his way home from school and immediately rush to the nearest pub to order five large whiskeys?  How many winos in the gutters rue the day they saw that television advertisement back when they were a kid?

Of course Alcohol Action Ireland are going to demand that all alcohol advertising be removed as if that's going to solve anything.  [and why do these fucking lobby groups always have to call themselves Action something?]  They of course are going to declare that more funding research is required.

I have a much simpler solution.

Ban all advertising.  It is fucking ubiquitous and I swear if you stand still for more than a minute someone will plaster a poster on you.  Every mode of transport, building or street furniture has to scream at you about some tacky product.  It was reached the stage where television programmes interrupt the ads and radio is just as bad.

Ban it all.  Then no one can be accused of being swayed by any advertising and we'll all live a quieter life.

If they had taken that simple step I never would have bought that bra I saw on television the other night.

It doesn't suit me at all.

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Where sheeple may safely graze

I have no interest in McDonald's.

I think their buildings are garish and their sign ugly and I do not like what they serve in the guise of food, but all that is a personal thing, and I just don't give them my custom.  By the same token I don't like jazz or opera so I avoid them too.  In all cases though, while I might not like 'em I recognise they have a perfect right to exist for those who do like 'em.

But apparently some people don't share my tolerant view of life.

A while ago I saw a news item where some people were complaining that McDonald's had obtained planning permission for a new store within reach of three schools.  My first reaction was that if McDonald's had already obtained planning permission then it was hard fucking cheese – objections should have been lodged during the planning process. 

Their objections were purely on the grounds that their little darlings were going to stuff themselves with greasy burgers because said burgers were going to all but trot in the school doors.

Now I see they are launching a legal challenge!

I would love to know what their legal argument is.  As far as I am aware, McDonald's can build where the fuck they like provided they have planning permission, which they have.

But the parents have been sucked in by the hype.  They have been suckered by all the hysteria over obesity and they reckon that little Seán is going to turn into Billy Bunter overnight just because there is a burger joint beside his school.  They overlook the fact that little Seán will have to walk to the place which is probably the most exercise he gets in a day.  I would dearly love to know how many of those yummy-mummys drive their little precious to school thereby saving him a healthy dose of exercise?

Somehow they reckon that the granting of planning permission contravenes the gumbint strategy on obesity.  I wasn't aware that this strategy had somehow crept into planning legislation, but if it has, then someone in the planning department would surely have noticed? 

I notice that part of the proposed development is a health & fitness studio.  Maybe the kids' parents should sign their precious sprogs in for a grand course of weight lifting?  

Maybe there isn't a problem?

Maybe if you place a plus-obesity facility and a minus-obesity facility side by side they will react like matter and anti-matter and will mutually annihilate in a glorious multi-megaton explosion?

I like that idea.

In fact, I'm lovin' it.

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A Billion Lives

There has been a bit of a commotion over this Billion Lives thing over the weekend.

Simon Clarke wrote about it and that was followed up by Dick Puddlecote who threw in his hape worth.

I had little to add to the debate, but then under an article on Facts Do Matter I came across a response by Aaron Biebert, the director of the film.  To say my gob was smacked was a slight understatement.

It seems that many pro-smoking advocates would like to hurt our film because they are delusional veterans of a lost war. Lost.

It's laughable to me that they are still fighting. It reminds me when they found Japanese soldiers on an island many years after WWII was done. They were still on alert, waiting for orders. They were still at war.

Let me set out my stall.

First of all, I am a reasonably intelligent person of mature years and I consider myself quite capable of making my own decisions about my own life and therefore resent in the strongest possible terms any attempt to force me down a path according to someone else's ideology.  This applies to smoking, eating, drinking and any other aspect of my life that others may think unsuitable.  I am not pro-smoking.  I am not anti-smoking.  I am not pro-vaping.  I am not anti-vaping.  I am pro free choice to make my own decisions about my health and my life.  The Antis have declared war on me and I will fight them and their allies to the last man.

Secondly, I believe in science, and with regard to smoking or vaping there is no science.  It is all surveys, statistics and epidemiology, none of which are science – they are mathematics and are wide open to bias and error.

The entire anti-smoking/anti-vaping movement is based on figures which are highly questionable to say the least.  No one has ever actually proved that smoking causes cancer, and the so called "facts" around second hand smoke are more than questionable to say the least.  As far as I am concerned smoking may, or may not be harmful.  So are a lot of things in life.  Second hand smoke is an outright fabrication designed specifically to turn non-smokers against smokers.  Just read Frank Davis or Velvet Glove Iron Fist for some mathematical trickery!

The whole anti smoking movement has relied on tried and trusted propaganda methods, mainly the old adage "repeat a lie often enough and it will become the truth".  So they trot out trite figures such as one in every two smokers will die, or 165,000 kids die of secondhand smoke every year, and these little headline-makers get trotted out on a regular basis without question.  They are all bollox.  They are figures that are plucked out of the air and are purely the result of fevered imaginations, wishful thinking and dubious statistics.  Even the Billion Lives figure is a nonsensical piece of rubbish designed exclusively to grab headlines.  It is absolute bullshit.  It implies that if smoking were eradicated entirely that somehow, miraculously a billion people wouldn't die this century which is laughable.  I can guarantee that every single person who reads this along with 99% of the world's population of seven billion will never see the year 2100, so where is the one billion lives now?

I have been very disappointed at the stuff I have read from vapers over the last few years. In the main, their rhetoric has been playing right into the hands of the Tobacco Control Industry.  They scream about how much safer vaping is and how it is saving lives.  Maybe vaping is safer and maybe it isn't – I don't care one way or another as it is irrelevant.  My point is that smoking or vaping should be a free choice where no one has any right whatsoever to dictate terms.  Maybe vapers have been trying to cozy up to Tobacco Control hoping for an easier ride, and maybe some are now realising that Tobacco Control doesn't give a damn about Tobacco – they care about Control.

I don't know what was going through Aaron Biebert's mind when he wrote the comment above.  Does he really hold smokers in such contempt?  Is he trying to score brownie points with Tobacco Control?  He has certainly not convinced me that he is in any way an ally.

I haven't seen the film A Billion Lives but going by the trailer it is a massive disappointment.  It should set out to debunk the lies and propaganda but by the looks of things it may debunk some but just repeat others.  The title alone is enough to put me off at it is just another of the over dramatised myths. 

I know the title comes from the WHO and The Lancet but that says nothing [neither is exactly famous for impartiality].  It is a wet dream headline designed to scare and dramatise, but it is still the result of very dodgy statistics and extrapolation and is ultimately a nonsense.

Aaron Biebert should be really careful.  He should be fighting for the freedom of the individual, instead of which he is just fighting his own little vaping corner and it looks to me like he is losing.

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