The Great Snowfall of 2017

Well I must say I am very lucky to be alive.

I survived the Great Blizzard of 2017!  What a story to tell the Great Grandkids.

The first sign of the impending disaster happened just over a week ago when the weather forecasters put on very serious faces and warned us that blizzards would sweep the country on Thursday.  Warnings went out that schools would probably have to close, and we were reassured that snowploughs were on standby and that gigantic stocks of sand and salt were ready to spread on the mayhem that our road system was to become.  The gubmint’s National Disaster Committee were manning the phones and we were reassured that there was a good chance we would survive.

As the days passed the warnings got even more dire.  The wind was going to switch to the North and they produced all sorts of fancy maps showing the Snow Line and how it was to cross the country on Thursday afternoon.  Snow was going to be heavy and was to fall on lowlands as well as on those of us at altitude.

People made preparations.  Food was stocked up.  Meetings were cancelled.  The country was already at a virtual standstill despite the mild weather – the forecasters had predicted Armageddon and we knew they had to be right because of the alerts and warnings that were by than a constant stream.  Thursday was definitely D-Day.  Or maybe S-Day.

The entire country held its breath.

Well, the forecasters were right!  Thursday evening, well after dark I put the dog out for her piss.  She came back in, and I swear that was a snowflake or two on her back.  Things weren’t looking good.

Friday morning I woke up and opened the blinds.

My God but the snow had fallen all right!  It was an impressive sight.  There must have been at the very least half a millimetre of the stuff at the northern corner of the lawn.  Just to be sure, I put on my clothes and boots and for safety;’s sake clipped a pair of those springy non-slip things on my boots.  I strode across the green lawn to the patch of white in the corner.  Yes – sure enough, it was snow.

On Thursday evening I checked the patch of snow on the grass and it had frozen.  I thanked my lucky stars that I didn’t have to drive on that patch as it would have been treacherous.

By Friday afternoon it had all gone.  I had made it through!

In years to come they will talk about the Great Snow of 2017.  I can hold my head up with pride and say I was there.

And I survived.

Thinking outside the box

I decided on an Interweb-free day yesterday.

The old bug was doing its worst [feeling very queasy, aching all over and a load of shit like that] so I decided to cheer myself up with my new toy – the satellite box.

In this age of “plug-and-play” we get used to just plugging and playing but this box ain’t like that.  It’s got to be customised to an extent that would drive any hard bitten geek to drugs.  It’s like being given a PC but no screen and then being expected to programme it using a remote control instead of a keyboard.  Great fun.  Even more fun – it has no hard disk.

So after some tears and not a few tantrums I finally got it to use an external drive to store recorded or paused stuff.  It’s connected to the network so I can play all my films and sounds.  Then came the problem of loading up the satellite stuff and all the channels Herself wants to watch, and a few radio stations as well [Classic FM and Gold!].  All is fine and dandy until I discovered I had a selection of a moxy load of satellites to choose from.  I chose Astra.  Then I have a moxy load of providers to choose from.  Even worse, I have to decide which areas those channels were supposed to cover.  I took the simple route – Freesat [from Norn Iron] and Sky [Norn Iron].  The only problem here was that I somehow managed to download around 1440 channels. Shit! Fuck! Bugger!

I discovered I could set it to only download channels that were freely available and not subscription or test stuff.  I was down to a few hundred channels.

I then discovered the best way to edit channels was to use a programme on a laptop.  No problem.  Found the programme.  Only runs on Windoze!  Shit! Fuck! Bugger!

It is working pretty well now.  I have even discovered I have almost total control over the box from my laptop.  I can change channels, browse channels and even switch the television on and off.  Cool!

All I have to do is stick up a little aerial for the local digital channels [a simple job], get used to using a highly complex remote control [still haven’t used half the buttons as I’m not sure what they do] and get used to pausing or recording programmes.

All of this was done with a manual that refers to a different setup to mine and fuck all in the way of help on the Interweb.  I’m kinda proud of myself.

I now have forty television channels and all free.

And all showing shite.

 

Made round to go around

Don’t they just love telling us how much things cost?

Here they spout about smoking costing Ireland several billion a year.  Obesity is up there as well, probably with another few billion.  The WHO of course have to be king of the castle so they reckon smoking costs the world economy a trillion dollars a year.  This is their latest tactic to try to shock us to the core and give up living altogether in despair.

But what do they mean by “costs”?

I suppose they are trying to give the impression that that money just disappears into a black hole somewhere, and if smoking / obesity / alcoholism didn’t suck it all up that somehow there would be a few trillion dollars doing all sorts of wonderful things like feeding the world and sending people to Mars.  But it doesn’t work that way, does it?

So where does this money actually go?

They are somewhat vague about this and presumably hope we all think it goes into the back pockets of Big Tobacco or Big Sugar or even Big Drink.  Let’s have a look at an imaginary situation:

Joe Blogs is a worker in a factory and enjoys the odd cigarette and a few spoons of sugar and a dollop of Vodka on his cereal.  One day he is hit by a bicycle and his leg is broken.  Naturally he is carted off to hospital.  On admission he is marked down as a smoker [or sugar eater or alcoholic] and the injury is therefore smoking related [or sugar / alcohol related].

A doctor examines the leg and adds a whopping fee onto the hospital bill.  The hospital is in the meantime charging several hundred a night to keep poor Joe in Third World conditions.  All this is of course racked up to “smoking related costs”.  But where does this money go?  Presumably the doctor is going to spend it on food, clothing and a mansion in Marbella.  Now if he spends it on food and clothing [and a few bob for the missus] then the money is still in the economy.  It is now being used to employ food retailers, clothing manufacturers and plastic surgeons for the wife’s boob job.  If however he spends it in Marbella then technically it has left this economy and into the Spanish one.  We make up for that by overcharging Spanish tourists so there is no net loss.  Similarly the hospital is employing nurses and tons of foreigners and they also are spending their money on food clothing and possibly drugs [who knows, these days?] all of which keeps others in employment [even drug dealers have to live, don’tcha know?].

So none of the money is ultimately leaving the economy: it just circulates around the place.  The only time it stops circulating is when some cunt sticks it under his mattress for a rainy day.

So when you look at things in this light, smoking, drinking and eating contribute massive amounts to the economy [probably somewhere in the region of a trillion a year?] and should therefore be thanked for their valliant efforts to keep trade and industry alive and running.  Apart from pubs and shops, look at the factories pumping out cigarettes, sugar, confectionery and booze.  Look at the people who service those enterprises.  Look at the farmers growing tobacco, sugar cane or hops.  Even look at the number of doctors, nurses and surgeons who’d be out of a job if there were no “smoking related” illnesses.  The list is endless.

I definitely think smokers, drinkers and fatties are the heroes of society.

Without them, the economy would be fucked.