The Screwing Game Part 1

The gubmint takes great delight in screwing me at every turn.

I consider it fair and just and indeed my civic duty to screw them at every turn.

My screwing campaign consists mainly in avoiding or evading taxes at every opportunity.  Having paid probably many hundreds of thousand in taxes during my working days I consider I have paid my fair dues.

However there is another side to the coin.  I am doing everything in my power to make sure they pay me back as much as I can screw out of them by claiming every benefit I can lay my hands on, no matter how small.

A few months ago I decided to claim a pension for Herself.  Since her little health "episode" last year she has been fuck all use with her heavy duties, and I have had to put her on light work such as scrubbing floors and fixing roof tiles, leaving me to do the heavy stuff.  I consider I am due some kind of recompense?

Anyhows, I downloaded the appropriate forms off the Interweb and filled them in.  There were around 25 pages of the fucking things but I persevered.  I signed her name at the bottom and posted them off.

They came back.

The powers that be wanted to know all my financial dealings and needed bank statements for every account I have.  Now this isn't easy as banks don't send out statements any more so I had to contact mine to ask them to run off a special batch for me.  As it was so much trouble I decided to confine my requests to just two banks, as my other accounts are none of the gubmint's fucking business.

I sent off the statements.

The days and weeks passed, and then one day a letter arrived.  Yes, they were going to pay a pension.  The amount they were going to pay wasn't exactly going to send us on a world cruise, and I calculated that it would nearly pay for one pint of stout per week.  However it was the principle of the thing that mattered, and even if it were only a couple of cents a week it would be worth claiming just to piss them off.

We waited for another while for a letter telling us the details, such as when we could start collecting.

The letter finally arrived but it said that as we hadn't collected the pension, they had taken it back!

Naturally I wrote them a very nice polite letter telling them to stop fucking me about and to stick the fucking pension back where it belongs or else!

In the meantime, they had been sending other letters demanding that Herself go for an interview in order for her to get free travel or something.  As herself has an aversion to buses and trains, we ignored them.

Yesterday I nipped down to the Post Office.  I had a card they had sent at some stage during our transactions and I presented this at the counter.  It worked!  A paltry weekly payment along with a huge chunk of back money.  At last we were getting places.

I got home to find two letters waiting for me.

One was from the pension mob saying that if Herself didn't go to that fucking interview they were going to stop the pension.  Apparently it was more than just a question of free travel but they hadn't mentioned that before.  They gave us a number to phone, but of course it was useless – we couldn't get anyone to answer it.

I'm not that worried about it now.  We have the back money and the pension itself would be no great loss financially, but as I said – it's a matter of principle so I shall persevere.

I said there were two letters.

The other one was for me, say that they noted I was getting on in years and would I like to apply for a pension?

That is a whole different story which I shall leave for another day.



A cure for cancer

Tall people more likely to get cancer, says study.

Jesus wept!

Can anyone tell me what use that snippet of nonsense is going to be to anybody?

Generally these "studies" are designed to provide a basis for some kind of nagging or nannying about our "lifestyles" but this one just made me laugh.  What am I supposed to do about it?  Have my legs amputated?

Cancer is caused by smoking, not smoking, alcohol, not drinking wine, breastfeeding, not breastfeeding, meat, vegetables, not having enough sex, having too much sex, breathing, masturbating, exercise, sunlight, not enough exercise and just about every single item we are likely to come across in the course of our lives.  Those with an exceptionally high level of neurosis will possibly try to follow all the "suggested guidelines" in order to prevent cancer, but I'm baffled as to how they'll cope with their height?

There is only one cause of all cancers, heart diseases, dementia and every other little nasty that the future may hold and that is birth.  Once you are born you are destined to die of something and there is no getting away from the fact.  And because it is as inevitable as sunrise there is absolutely no point in worrying about it.  Those of a neurotic disposition will attempt to thwart fate by wrapping themselves in cotton wool and not venturing out into the Big Bad World, but sooner or later Yer Man with the scythe will come knocking at the door, and all those years spent avoiding the inevitable will be wasted.

There is on course a simple way to thwart death and that is to not give birth.  You may be in for the high jump at some stage, but the kids you didn't have will be spared that end.  I can certainly guarantee they won't get cancer as it is a 100% certainty.

So there is the solution to all these researchers problems.  Castrate every male on the planet at birth and give every female a hysterectomy.  I can promise with absolute certainty that by the next generation there won't be a single death from cancer, Ebola or anything else for that matter.

And there won't be a single researcher trying to grab fame and fortune for some inane piece of research.

It would be worth the experiment for that result alone.


Having my hands full

Ah, October!

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, as Keats would have it.

Season of smoke and mellow drunkenness, as I would have it.

October is not my favourite month.  Clocks go back and the nights grow ever longer.  The central heating is lining up for another hammering.  Advertisements start appearing on the television promising me that if I order NOW I'll have my furniture by Christmas.  The next three months are the shithole of the year and I could well do without them.

Of course now that we have dropped into a new month, we have to cope with all the new "themes" to make us aware of some shit or other.

Last month was apparently Male Cancer Awareness Month, though they failed to make me aware of the fact until it was too late.  Have millions of males died of cancer as a result of my non-awareness?  This month is now dubbed "Breast Cancer Awareness Month" as if this were the only month where women get breast cancer.  I am still baffled as to how my awareness is supposed to make the blindest bit of difference? 

Over in the UK [and possibly here, like I give a shite] they have Stoptober and Go Sober, where the nannies think we are all fucking stupid enough to play their little games and give up smoking and drinking.  I suppose some sheeple will play, but not me.  I'll leave that to the gullible, the brain dead and the insane.

On a side note, today is the day they introduce that new law in the UK.  They think they are banning smoking in cars where children are present, but in my book, they are banning children in cars where smokers are present which I think is eminently more sensible.  Let the little fuckers walk, and if they get run over or mugged or lost then blame the Nanny State.

I suppose I have to go around all this month groping every woman I come across.  I shall consider it my civic duty to examine their breasts and make them aware of the awareness campaign even though it's a hard task, but every cloud must have a silver lining?

I can see I'm going to have my hands full.


Who is the bad guy?

We are constantly hearing about the evils of Big Tobacco.

Big Tobacco, we are told, is in the business of selling a product that they know kills, and are desperately advertising to children to rebuild their customer base.

Let's take a look at this.

First of all, Big Tobacco are a business like any other business.  They are there to provide a product and to make a profit as a result.  Millions of people around the world enjoy that product and derive great benefit from it.  There has never been any conclusive proof that the product kills anyone, and there has never been a death where smoking has been proved to be the cause.  Every single death where smoking was claimed to be the cause could have been caused by other factors.

Big Tobacco must be one of the most heavily regulated businesses in the world.  Which ever way they turn, the Anti-Smoker movement snipes at them, introducing harsher regulations to the point of farce.  They are even being accused of making a deliberate attempt to undermine public health and are excluded from any discussions or debates in case they somehow might put up a defense.

Big Tobacco is not unlike Big Auto.  They too provide a product that is used by the millions and occasionally that product kills.  Unlike smoking however there is no doubt or confusion over the cause of death of those victims – they were driving a car at the time and they died as a result.  Cars also produce tons of carcinogenic pollution which in turn causes many deaths [passive driving?].  We never hear of Big Bad Auto however?  I wont even touch on Big Armaments.

But let's look at big Pharma.

Now here is an industry that produces a product that kills on a massive scale.  They claim their produce is for the benefit of health and wellbeing but in practice their primary concern is profiteering to the detriment of those with medical problems.  Their produce is foisted on a public who know little about what is being prescribed, yet that same public runs the risk of side effects which are rarely mentioned and in some cases produce lifetime debilitations.  One only has to look at Thalidomide or Chantix to see the dangers inherent in prescription drugs.  And even the lesser side effects frequently require further medication to alleviate the problem which is a win-win for Big Pharma.

Prescription drugs are now causing more deaths than illegal drugs or car accidents, yet we never hear a murmur as they are portrayed as "the good guys".  What's more, those deaths are documented unambiguous deaths, unlike "deaths from smoking" which are mere statistics produced by mathematical models and dubious questionnairs.

Big Tobacco is now excluded from any discussion or debate which directly affects their business.  They are shunned and even those who might have the remotest connection with them are treated like pariahs.  Yet Big Pharma are welcomed with open arms.  They spend millions lobbying on their own behalf forcing sales of questionable vaccinations and useless smoking cessation products and no one turns a hair.

The Anti-Smokers seems to think their killer argument is to ask "are you being funded by Big Tobacco?".

The response should be "are you being funded by Big Pharma?"!

Liquid numbers

There is a survey that was reported in the Irish Times which has me a little baffled.

According to them "Nearly 80% to pay contentious water charges, poll shows"

Try as I might, I can't work out where they get their 80% from.  I have tried pen and paper, I have tried a calculator and I have tried a computer but nothing comes up with that figure.  I even asked the dog, but no joy there either.

The figure is based on two questions.

The first question is basically "have you paid".  Now this is a very simple question.  You have either paid or you haven't.  Yes or no.  There is no ambiguity.

So we get the result from this as 51% have paid [whether through bullying, threatening, coercion or bribery we aren’t told], 37% haven't and 12% don't have to.  That is a pretty cut and dried result.

The second question is a little different – it is essentially "do you intend to pay".

First of all this is not a straightforward question.  It is a question of intent rather than historical fact and the response is questionable.  It's like asking smokers if they would like to quit, where they would probably say they would like to but in fact have no intention of doing so.  It is also a question to which the respondent will probably give a reply that is expected of them.  If I were asked this question, I would probably answer yes, because it costs me nothing and confuses the figures.

The result from this is that 9% "haven't got around to it yet" [yeah, right!], 32% will pay eventually [when?] and 59% say they will never pay [fair play!].

So where does the 80% headline figure come from?

If they add the 51% [paid] and the two "maybe will pay" figures of 41% they get 92%.  That would be an elementary mistake as they are double-counting a fair chunk as being both "paid" and "will pay".

So we assume they are intelligent enough to confine the second question only to those who haven't paid.  Now according to my calculations, 41% of the 37% who haven't paid is 15%.  So 15% of the total number who haven't paid, but may pay in the future.  Adding that to the "have paid" gives 66%.  Now we have a figure of 66% who either have paid or may pay.  But that's nowhere near 80%?

The only way I can reach that figure [and this is getting more and more like “Countdown”] is to add in the 12% who don't have to pay at all, which would give 78%.

So apparently their 80% is the number of people who have paid, may possibly [or possibly not] pay in the future and those who don't have to pay anything.  The latter group must be getting a bit pissed to learn they'll be paying some time in the future?

So far I have had numerous communications from Irish Water.  It started with their breathlessly exciting booklet explaining what it was all about.  Then I had application forms that I was to fill in so I would have a legally binding contract with them.  Then I had two bills and the latest message I received was a threatening letter with promises of dire consequences.  I have very politely ignored all of these and dumped them in the recycling bin [except for the one where I declined their kind offer of a contract].  I therefore find it hard to believe that people have forgotten to pay or just "haven't got around to it"?

I noticed a widespread rumour in the Interwebs yesterday that Irish Water are to send a team of water meter installers to Mars.  If that were true it would probably be the most sensible suggestion they have come up with since the start of the whole fiasco.