Giving The Reaper the finger

They seem to have an unnatural preoccupation with death.

By "they" I mean those cunts who seem to make a living out of deciding what I should eat and drink, how I should quit smoking and how I should take more exercise in order that I might not die of anything.

They are obsessed with the idea that they can decide how long I should live, and that they can force me to live those extra years whether I like it or not.

They are crowing in the papers now how life expectancy has increased since the 1950s.  This, quite naturally is down to their efforts and their efforts alone.  They reckon that through their efforts I am going to die at 81 instead of 66.  I now have to ponder whether I have to give up my pints, my pipe and my Mars Bars if I want to gain those extra years?  If so then I had better cancel my plans for next year.

They seem to have a strange perception of life.  They seem to think that we are born, we life a life according to their rules and then we die at our allocated time which apparently they have generously increased for us.  The seem to have overlooked the fact that babies die; children die; teenagers die; people in their twenties and thirties die and in general the population seems determined to fuck up their nice neat charts and graphs.  Live [and death] just isn't that simple.

They one thing they never tell us is what they want us to die from.  We are not allowed die of cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, or any of the other lovelies that Nature has in its cupboard, so what the fuck are we supposed to die from?  I think that is a perfectly reasonable question, but I have yet to hear an answer. 

They also overlook the small point that before we die, we live.  I am not particularly concerned by my death but I am concerned how I live.  If living a full life means driving fast cars, then fine.  If living a ful life means tower jumping then that's a good way to go too.  Life is there to be lived to the full.  Life is not a preparation for death as they seem to think.

I want my obituary to say "He lived".

They want my obituary to read "He died of boredom".

All fur coat and no knickers

Last night Dame Enda Kenny dropped into my Twitter box.

I must hasten to add that I don't follow the little shit – someone else [obviously with a sardonic sense of humour] re-tweeted him.

Kenny tweet

I followed the link to see what he was waffling about and ended up in one of those TED talks.

I watched it for a bit – it was just some wonk waffling on about the glories of globalisation and what a wonderful world we live in and all that shit and eventually he came to the bit about Ireland.

Ireland apparently is Number One in the world on the Good Country Index.

I'm delighted that apparently we are good at something.  It used to be the Eurovision Contest but there has been little since.  Not wanting to tolerate any more of the wonk on his stage, I skipped directly to the Good Country Index to see how we merit this great title.

I see we are judged under several headings which is fair enough – a bit like a Tidy Towns contest.  The first thing that struck me is that we are Number One in Prosperity and Equality!  What the fuck?  Prosperity?  Families around the country can't even afford to give their kids breakfast in the morning and we are tops for prosperity?  I wonder what the hundreds of homeless families would think of that?  I'm sure they would agree it's an honour?

So I checked to see how this strange accolade came about.  Are we tested for the number of families living below the poverty line?  Are we tested for the unemployment rate?  No. Apparently we are tested for the number of UN Volunteers abroad and our Fairtrade Market Size and this determines that we are a prosperous and equal nation?  What fucking planet are these people on?

Then I tested Health.  At the time of writing there are nearly six hundred patients lying on hospital trollies waiting for a bed.  If you want an urgent operation you'll have to wait years. Then there is the seemingly weekly lottery where some unfortunate is awarded millions because a hospital fucked them up at birth.  Surely this must be counted into the figures?

But no.  Our health is not measured by how healthy we are.  It's measured buy the amount of fucking pharmaceutical products we export.  It is judged by Voluntary Excess Donations to the WHO?  WHAT. THE. FUCK????

It then struck me why Dame Enda tweeted this rubbish.  This is his Ireland.  This is how he sees this country – as a department store.  In the window you'll see all the fancy goods saying how great we are.  Look at what we do for the world.  See how generous we are.  Aren't we a wonderful country?

Don't step inside the department store though.

That's where you'll find the real Ireland.  That's where you'll find a nation that's being bled dry by tax upon tax.  That's where you'll find the elderly and disabled left to fend for themselves.  That's where you'll find the sick and dying in our overcrowded understaffed hospitals.

Stay outside.  Things look a lot better from there.


Loss of income is not a cost

They are making one of their regular fusses about smuggling again.

"Fuel laundering, tobacco smuggling costing €1bn annually" screams the dramatic headline.

Now on the face of it, that is quite alarming, except for one little factor that they have conveniently overlooked – fuel laundering and tobacco smuggling don't cost us anything.  We have not paid a single cent except for the salaries of those who go chasing the smugglers.

This is the old sleight of hand they love to use.  They reckon they are owed tax, VAT and excise duty on the diesel and fags, and because they are not getting it they are calling it a cost, which it isn't.  It's a loss of potential revenue.  Granted tobacco retailers will be hit as they will lose custom, but that is their loss and not ours.  Again – they will lose an expectation of income but not any income itself.

I don't have much sympathy for the diesel smugglers for the simple reason that they stuff they produce is shit and will fuck up your car within a few miles, so I suppose there is a cost to the unfortunate motorist who has to fork out for a new engine, but hardly to the tune of €1bn.

Smuggling cigarettes on the other hand harms no one except the greedy tentacles of the gubmint money grabbing machine.

I know there are those who will scream about smuggling benefiting organised crime and in particular the IRA but that is a side issue.  If the gubmint wants to stop these people making a fortune, there is a blindingly simple solution – cut the tax on fuel and fags.  That way smuggling ceases to be so profitable and will not be such an attractive proposition for the smugglers.

The gubmint should get it into its think fucking head that loss of revenue is NOT a cost.  If my employer refuses to give me overtime, that is not a cost to me – it is a loss of potential revenue.  I am not out of pocket at all.  It is a very simple principle.  The gubmint though seems to think it is entitled to all these tax streams, and when that stream gets diverted they start hollering.

Now if you want to see a real cost to the state – and I mean something that we will actually have to pay for in real hard cash, I suggest you look here.

That is not just an imaginary loss of income.

That is a cost.


Seven minutes of insanity

Last week Christopher Snowdon posed the question "James Reilly: liar or simpleton?"

I would suggest that there is a third alternative – the man is insane.

In the following clip he quite deliberately and calculatedly presents a lie as a fact to the committee on plain packaging.

I must assume that Reilly is a reasonably intelligent person, seeing as he somehow managed to qualify as a doctor, so the explanation for this lie must either be that he failed to do any research and just went along with Tobacco Control's propaganda or else he sincerely believes that lying to his own parliament is perfectly acceptable as a weapon against the tobacco industry.

Reilly's obsessional hatred for the tobacco industry is patently obvious.  He all but says that those poor Swedes are slashing their gums because the industry forces them to.  They are hapless puppets in the face of the Evil Industry who will try anything to force people to consume tobacco. 

Reilly was interviewed on the radio yesterday.  I would urge you to have a listen.

He really does seem to believe that the tobacco industry is the epitome of all that is evil.  Apparently their sole aim is to corrupt "our cheeeldren" and the health of our nation?  If you are not 100% against them then you must be on their side.  If you have any dealings with them whatsoever then you are as evil as them.  He can barely bring himself to mention them by name and spits the words out as if to prevent himself from becoming contaminated.

One of his criticisms of the industry is "their inability to come out and tell the truth" which is somewhat bizarre after seeing the video above?

"We are fighting for the right for people to live their lives to their full potential here in Ireland, in Europe and across the World"?  Does this man seriously believe that he is on a crusade to save the world?

Note that the tobacco industry does not have customers – they are "addicted people"!

The part that worries me the most is his assertion that "we" will fight Big Tobacco to the very end in the courts regardless of cost.  Big Tobacco has "billions and billions and billions" but we have the Irish People and The Truth.  Somehow the latter is a winning combination and is going to defeat the finest legal minds?

The man is clearly out of touch with reality.  He is letting his obsessional hatred for an industry cloud his judgment and is going to cost this country billions to defend the "plain packs" idea that has proven to have little or no effect.

The man is not only insane but is dangerous.

Suffering from a plague of tics

I try hard not to be a Grammar Nazi.

While I do wince at the sight of "there" instead of "they're" and other such abominations, I do my best to refrain from passing comment.

There are times though when I reach my limit.  Once such time was yesterday when I quoted a comment that appeared under an item on another site – "If u care abt ur dog I can’t understand why u wudn’t want to have ur dog microchipped."  It was followed by another comment which made me laugh as it summed up my feeling precisely – "Is there no way to shorten “understand” to a barely intelligible grouping of letters?"  Why do people do this?  Why do people insist on writing in this abomination of a shorthand?  Nearly all devices now have predictive text, or is it just too much trouble to spell properly?  I find it intensely irritating and just want to smash the writer's face in.

That apart, there is a tendency these days to thrown a load of verbal tics into the spoken word.  The phenomenon is not new – we [nearly] all throw in the odd “err”, “ah” or “em” into the spoken sentence while we take a mental break from speaking but the fashion now is to pepper sentences with “you know” or the ubiquitous “like”.  Like every sentence has like several “likes” thrown in to like somehow like add some kind of like substance [like].  I saw a vox pop interview the other day where some yang wan was asked her opinion on something and she actually managed to use "like" as every third word which to me invalidated her opinion as I just dismissed her a a dumb-fuck.

I saw a thing on Farcebook the other day.  It was one of those images that contained only text [why do they bother?  Text is easier to create than an image?].  The joke was –

"Always love a woman for her personality.
They have like 10 so you can choose.

Mildly amusing, but what struck me was the "like" that crept in there.  This was a conscious effort on the part of the image creator and I would dearly love to know what they were thinking.  It makes no sense whatsoever and they might as well have written "they have appreciate 10 so you can choose" or even "they have similarly 10 so you can choose" which to my understanding would impart the same message, but make equally little sense?

The reverse seems to be happening too where text-speak is infecting the spoken word.  I have actually heard people say "OMG" as an expression of something though I have yet to hear "LOL" [and the first time I do hear it they are going to meet my fist].

I find it all extremely irritating.