Weighing up the risks

England's chief medical officer has given me [fat free, non-carcinogenic, unsweetened] food for thought.

The other day she stated [and I quote]

"I would like people to make their choice knowing the issues and do as I do when I reach for my glass of wine and think, 'Do I want my glass of wine or do I want to raise my risk of breast cancer?'. And I take a decision each time I have a glass."

Dammit but she's right.  We do need to weigh up the risks before doing everything.

I made myself a mug of tea a few minutes ago, but with hindsight I realise what terrible risks I took.  First of all I boiled the kettle, and with a few seconds thought I realise just how close I came to a shocking death.  Water and mains electricity in the same device?  I really am lucky to be alive!  And then there was the matter of the sugar?  Am I prepared to knock 120 years off my lifespan and inflate to the size of a blimp because of that teaspoon full of death?

I'm sitting here with the laptop on my [yes – you guessed it] lap.  But I have heard all these terrible stories in the tabloids about laptop batteries exploding so do I really want to run the risk of blowing my bollox off?  I had better stick the laptop on the table.  Can't be too careful?

Now I need a piss.  Fuck but that's a risky business!  Can I make it to the bathroom without tripping over something and whacking my head off the corner of the table?  Would the sudden movement out of my chair cause a surge in blood pressure resulting in a heart attack?  On second thoughts, I had better just let flow where I am in my armchair.  Can't be too careful?

But sitting in my chair poses enormous risks too.  I know all about deep vein thrombosis and the terrible damage it can cause.  I somehow have to balance the risks of DVT with the risks of walking around a house that is full of hidden potential life threatening accidents?  Maybe I should just sit here in a puddle of warm piss and jiggle my legs a bit?

I really need to relax a bit and stop worrying about all these potential dangers.  Time for a peaceful pipe.

But hold on!  They tell me that every puff of tobacco knocks around twenty years off my life and I will die a horrible screaming and painful death!  Do I want to run that risk?  But then if I don't relax I'm back to that heart attack thing, and I don't really fancy having my heart explode.  I think I'll chance a couple of puffs on the pipe though, as according to the medical experts and their calculations, I died around ninety seven years ago, and you can only die once? 

Dame Sally is right.  Life is full of dangers and everything we do must take those dangers into account.

Incidentally, why do they call her a Dame?

Is this all a pantomime?

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Making a quickie last twenty four hours

Imagine the scenario –

A bloke goes into a pub for a couple of pints.  He meets an attractive woman and they get chatting.  They get on well and decide to go back to her place for a nightcap.  Nature takes it's course and before long they are playing naked wrestling.  After a night of unbridled [or bridled if she’s into that sort of thing] passion they say their farewells and everyone is happy [except maybe the bloke’s wife if she finds out].

There's a bloke in the UK who can't do that.

For some reason that completely eludes me, he has to give the police 24 hours notice if he wants to have a drop of nookie.

What the fuck is that about?  [well I suppose it is about fuck, but you know what I mean?].

Our bloke meets his nice and willing stranger in the pub.  She invites him back to her place and he apologises and says he has to phone the Boys in Blue first and can he have a shag tomorrow?  Now I would call that a bit of a passion killer? 

Maybe he phones the Law and tells 'em he plans on going out for a pint the following night, where he might get lucky and is that OK with them?

Or maybe they want to plant hidden cameras?

Or maybe when they get the name of the woman they know they're on to a good thing and pass her name around the station?

Or maybe he says fuck the police and fucks the woman anyway?  What's the crime? 

Suppose he is in a lasting relationship a sex maniac who demands non-stop servicing?  He is going to have one massive phone bill?

So many questions; so few answers.

Once again I have the feeling I have dropped into a parallel universe.

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There will be no such thing as smoking

In surprise announcement that surprised nobody, the WHO last night urged that the word "smoking" be removed from all languages from the 1st March next.

In addition, they want a total ban on the words cigarette, pipe, hookah, tobacco, ashtray, fag [except when referring to homosexuals], butt [see “fag”], ashtray, cigar and inhale.  

Research from the University of California suggests that 100% of smokers were aware of those words before indulging in the deadly addiction and that the use of the words was a pernicious ploy on the part of Big Tobacco to force children to buy their products.

Starting from today, all books will have the blacklisted words removed and replaced with "health" and its grammatical variants in all languages.  For example "He lit his cigarette and blew a stream of smoke to the ceiling" will become "He lit his health and blew a stream of health to the ceiling".  This will remind people that they should be concerned with their health rather than simple pleasures.

The "health substitution" law will also apply to speech, so as and from March customers will be obliged to ask for "20 healths" at their tobacconists [or a packet of health, in the case of pipe smokers].

Similarly, all films and television programmes will have the offensive words bleeped out and residual visual cues will entail an "over 65" rating.

A spokesman from the World Health Organisation said in a press statement that "this was the endgame for Big Tobacco.  They have been recruiting our children by the use of these evil words which are nothing short of blatant and subliminal advertising, and this has to stop".

When asked about penalties for the use of the soon-to-be-banned words the spokesman smirked.  "We have been saying for years that smoking kills and we mean to make this a literal fact.  The use of those words will of course incur the death penalty.

When asked for a comment, the Tobacco Industry replied that they weren't worried.  "The WHO has just run out of ideas and is getting desperate.

They're only a shower of unelected fucking cunts anyway."

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Let the great auction begin

They haven't called an election yet, but it is already in full swing.

Every day we get bigger and better promises from each of the political parties.  By all accounts, no matter who wins every family in the country is going to be awash with money and we shall all live happily ever after.

Sadly, there are sad fuckers out there who actually believe all those promises.  They will wait to see who promises the most and then vote for them and will then be surprised when they end up being fleeced once again with more taxes.

Irish politics is very simple.  There is just one party which has three or more names.  No matter which gate you go through you will end up in the same field.  This one party has core principles which must be adhered to at all costs – Europe is supreme, look after big business and fuck the poor sod at the bottom of the ladder.  It is that simple.  The system cannot be changed because they control the system.  Last time around they made big promises to reform the system and what did we get?  A referendum on the minimum age of a presidential candidate and something about abolishing the Seanad.  Having done that they simply carried on screwing the little fella, stuffing their pockets and appointing their pals into highly paid jobs.

The country is in a stinking rotten mess.  The health service is beyond a joke.  We have the worst record of waiting times in Europe.  Every week or so we hear of yet another massive payout of millions in damages to some unfortunate who was a victim of their system.  We had a doctor who couldn't tell an ankle from an elbowA woman was left for seven years believing she had caused the death of her baby because she had smoked during pregnancy when it was the hospitals fault all along.

We also have  massive homeless crisis.  Those who were sucked into the property bubble now find themselves evicted from their homes by the banks.  They move into rented accommodation only to be evicted again because of massive hikes in rents.  And the gubmint wants to introduce a moxy load of refugees into this mess?

They talk about our miraculous recovery from the bailout days, but those of us living ordinary lives have seen precious little of it.  The only thing that has changed is a series of new taxes reefing us at every turn.

I nearly forgot to mention one little change they did make to the "system".

There is now a mechanism whereby each constituency has to put forward a certain percentage of women candidates.

That's right.  No matter how poorly qualified, a woman can get on the ticket to fill the quota [not that any of them are qualified anyway].  A pair of tits and you're up for election.  Just look at the fine specimens of womanhood we have had in the past – Mary "Mad Cow" Harney, Mary "The Bully" Hannafin, Lucinda "Bimbo" Creighton, Joan "The Screech" Burton to name but a few.

If they are representative of the women we have to look forward to then we are well and truly fucked.

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In praise of the local

I came across a piece of "research" a while ago, and then lost it.

I searched for it again which was damned difficult as the mainstream meeja seem to have missed it entirely I suspect intentionally.  I eventually found it.

Study reveals that living near a pub makes you happier.

Now normally I have some pretty nasty things to say about "research" and frankly this one is no exception.  Why, you ask, isn't it something you'd approve of?  Yes it is, but it annoyed me simply because it is just stating the bleeding obvious.

First and foremost, what is a pub?  What makes it different from any other area where people might meet?

To the lonely person it is one place where he can wander in, sit down in the warmth with no excuses given or expected.  He can order a pint and sit there all night.  The [excellent] chances are that someone will strike up a conversation, and even if they don't he is surrounded by human contact and can enjoy the banter and laughter among others.  It is a warm convivial place where he no longer feels alone.

But, you say, couldn't he meet people in the shops or the local coffee shop?  Well, shops are OK if you want your conversation to last about ten seconds which is about as much time as the bored teenager behind the counter is going to give you.  And coffee shops are more usually populated with strangers who [if you are lucky] might strike up a five minute conversation.  And who wants to sit drinking coffee all evening?

Pubs are the social heart of the community.  Everyone is welcome.  You don't need an invitation or an appointment.  You can walk in any time in the surety that your friends and others will be there for a bit of a discussion, a laugh and a bit of craic.

One of the greatest fears in life is isolation.  There are reasons they use solitary confinement as a punishment.  And isolation need not reside up the side of a mountain.  You can live within a community and still be isolated as your neighbours have lives of their own and the best you can hope for is a brief greeting as you lean on your gate watching others go about their business.  I have lived in the suburbs and even they can be extremely lonely places.  Fear of isolation vies only with the fear of death, and when the fear of isolation becomes greater then suicide is the better option.

The village pub is a lifeline for the lonely.  It is a pint and companionship on tap.  It is a place of welcome any evening of the year.  The very existence of the pub removes the fear of isolation.

But they put a stop to that.

Their ban on smoking was a clear sign that a lot of the lonely weren't welcome any more.  They put the squeeze on the driving laws so the pub became inaccessible to many anyway.  They are talking of raising prices so the lonely now can't access their local, can't afford it, and even if they could they are not wanted and have to stand out in the street.

Puritanism always was about taking the pleasures out of life

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