The origin of Newgrange

Of course today is the Winter Solstice.

It's a time for retrospection and hope.  A time for peace and forgiveness.

A time for drunkenness, debauchery and the deflowering of virgins [not that there’s many of them around these days].

It is the day that is celebrated by the meeja here in Ireland by waffling on about Newgrange and the sun shining down the passage to light the chamber at the end.

This year that didn't happen.

It was cloudy so the sun was obscured.

And this got me thinking.  They were obviously very sophisticated in aligning this prehistoric monument to catch the sunrise on the Winter Solstice.  But if they were so sophisticated, why would they build what is in essence a clock that is only right on one day a year?  And how could they rely on that one date being cloud free on sunrise?  Unless they had no clouds back in those days it was a monumental error to rely on a timepiece that might only properly work once every five or six years.  Miss that one day and your whole agricultural year is fucked.

I still maintain that Newgrange is in fact Ireland's first lapdancing club.

It makes more sense.

Following the flock

I may have mentioned before how Twitter keeps sending me recommendations?

Some of the time they tell me about things that "are popular on Twitter" and enclose a list of items that are all about two weeks out of date.  They have yet to send me anything of interest under that banner.

The other thing they keep doing is sending me "people I may know on Twitter".  This one is a little strange as either I know they are on Twitter or I don't.  If I know they are on Twitter and am interested in them then the chances are I am already following them so I can't really see the point in the email.

Their latest suggestion is a case in point.  For the last few days they have been suggesting the same three names.  For once, I have heard of all three which I suppose is something. 

The first is a bit-part actress whose only claim to fame is that she is married to a bloke who plays with odd shaped balls.  With all due respect to the lady, I cannot see why I should be interested in her vague mutterings.  I see she has nearly 200,000 followers, which is testament to the dumbness of people who "follow" so called celebrities just because they know the name.

The second is a grossly over-paid scruff who cant even pronounce his own name.  His all too frequent appearances on television have meant I have developed lightening reactions on the channel-change button on my remote.  I cannot stand the fucker.  He may think he is God's gift to the world, but that is no reason to follow his outpourings on Twitter.  Again, he has over four million followers which just shows how many sad people there are out there.

The third is a screeching queen from Cork who is another that I cannot tolerate for any longer than a picosecond.  He is a pain in the ears, the eyes and the intelligence and I have actually been known to break a remote control in my hurry to switch television channels.  I see he has nearly 900,000 followers which frankly is a sad reflection of the world of Twitter.

I find it very difficult to understand this practice of "following" so called celebrities.  Do they think that by following someone, some of the fame may rub off?  Do they think their idol is going to somehow even notice them?  Or do they just follow the flock?

I confess I once "followed" Barak Obama.

I waited until I got a message saying that he was now following me.

Then I "unfollowed" him.

That's the way to do it.

A message from On High

I am quite overcome with emotion.

Our Glorious Leader has taken time off from his busy holidays schedule to grace us with a Christmas message.

I can see he had difficulty in holding back the emotion as he reads his carefully scripted message off the autoprompt, and I think he succeeds quite well.  In fact, if I think he almost defies the illusion  that he was an emotionless marionette with the strings carefully edited out.  Also I have to congratulate him on his excellent translation of his speech from German.

I am delighted to hear that he thinks face to face is better than facetime[?].  Maybe this means he intends to spend more time with the people instead of swanning off to China or Brussels? Maybe he will be dedicating some time to the Plain People of Ireland, as up until now the only time he made an appearance here was when there was a photo opportunity at the opening of some factory or other?

So the economy is going to pick up after the shortest day?  I honestly didn't realise that the economy was so dependent on the solar cycle.  I must have missed that lesson in my economics classes.

What cheers me most though is the eyes.  I am a great believer in judging a person by their eyes, and in Dame Enda I can see the personality, the intelligence and the humour shining through, that befits the Great Man who is personally leading me in life.

I feel reassured.

Or not.

Forestalling the facts

There has been quite a flurry of activity in the papers recently about e-cigarettes.

Over the space of a couple of days, three articles appeared in the Irish Times and two more in the UK's Daily Mail.

The first out of the traps was the Daily Mail with a piece –

More teens are trying e-cigarettes than normal tobacco cigarettes – which lead them to become addicted, study warns

This is a typically hysterical piece warning of an "epidemic of teen tobacco use", which to put it mildly is Richter scale exaggeration.

Then came two other pieces in the Times –

Some 134,000 e-cigarette users in Ireland, says cancer charity

and

Tobacco addiction ‘completely transferred’ to e-cigarettes

The first of these is basically Big Pharma ASH and the Irish Cancer Society making a desperate plea to the Department of Health to regulate them as medicinal products.  Quote –  “the Ash line would be that they are in an unregulated space, that there isn’t good evidence they work as a cessation product”.

The second piece is a strange one.  Essentially it is how one person switched from cigarettes to electro-fags and became "addicted" to the latter.  I'm not quite sure of the point of this piece as it neither informs nor entertains.

Then came the last two.

From the Times –

E-cigarettes as good as patches for quitting, research shows

and from the Mail –

E-cigarettes DO help people quit smoking: Review finds there are 'no serious adverse effects from short to medium term use'

Suddenly everything falls into place.

The last two are reporting on the same study whose conclusions are summed up in the two headlines. 

My only conclusion is that Big Pharma the Tobacco Control Industry knew this piece of news was about to break and were desperately getting in their little bits of propaganda first before they were discredited.  It also displays the blatant lie from ASH about there being no proof when they knew the proof was about to be published.

Is there any end to the lies?