Give me water boarding any time

Today is Friday the 13th.

I'm not worried [nor even superstitious] as I had all my bad luck last night.

I don't know what came over me but I made a mistake that damn near killed me.

You see, Herself wasn't around [off brewing spells or something] and I had control of the remote control [why can’t they invent a remote control for a remote control so I can control the television when Herself has the main remote control?].  I started flicking through the channels – all thousand of 'em in the remote chance that there might be something interesting on.

I accidentally flicked into the Eurovision circus.

Fuck me but I have never seen anything like it!  It was car-crash television at its very worst.  Words can't describe just how appalling it was.  It started off with two presenters who thought they were hilariously funny.  They weren't.  They were an embarrassment to the human race.  I turned the sound down.

I suppose I watched for about ten minutes [with the sound barely audible] and decided enough was enough – my ears had begun to bleed and I realised I was absent mindedly trying to pluck my eyeballs out. 

I went back to flicking through the channels.  I skipped such intellectual heavyweights as "Sex sent me to ER", "16 and pregnant", "My wife was a murderer" and various other programmes designed to be "shocking" or "horrifying".  I skipped the dozens of repeats [of repeats of repeats] and eventually switched off.  

Herself came back later and switched the box on again.  She found the Eurovision car-crash again.  I said nothing.

They were doing some kind of voting [I think] and playing snatches of all the caterwauling I had fortuitously missed.  Herself started screaming so I switched it off before she had another stroke.

I noticed however that Ireland has apparently failed to make the cut [which is actually something to be very proud of] but Australia is through to the final.

Australia?

I thought they meant Austria, but no, it was in fact Australia.

When the fuck did Australia become part of Europe?

Nobody tells me nothing.

Smoke without fire

I read an item yesterday which will cheer many but leaves me with more questions than answers.

HIQA to achieve ‘world first’ on e-cigarettes.

[HIQA incidentally is Irelands "Health Information and Quality Authority".]

My first reaction is that at last someone is actually using that grey matter between their ears.  For the last ten and more years the policy regarding any nicotine related topic is restrictions and bans [unless of course it’s from Big Pharma].  To see an announcement that is actually positive in tone and doesn't include the words "ban" or "restrict" is not just refreshing – it's quite remarkable.

The article doesn't really say that much though.  It endorses the RCP report which is going to infuriate a lot of people, particularly in America and Australia, probably to the point that international Smoker Haters are going to claim that HIQA is funded by Big Tobacco or some such ludicrous notion.  It will be interesting to see the reaction.

The article states that "it is a big budget area".  What do they mean by that?  Does it mean that they have a big budget to spend or that introducing electrofags will cost a lot?  They mention E-Voke, so I had a peek to see what an E-Voke costs – a mere $399, so if everyone is to get one of those courtesy of our health service, then yes, it will be a big budget area to put it very mildly. 

[Addendum: Alan Beard [thanks, Alan!]has since pointed out that there's another e-Voke yoke on the market which retails at around $8 which seems a little more affordable?  Can't find a website for 'em though…]

In an ideal world Ireland would ignore the EU's Tobacco Directive and let the e-cigarette market have free reign.  An open market would bring down prices and increase innovation.  E-cigarettes would continue to be sold in just about any newsagent or supermarket as they are now.  The Anti-Smokers would advise people on which devices might suit them and send them off to buy their own.  That wouldn't cost the tax payer a red cent and everybody would be happy.

I can't see that happening though.  Probably e-cigarettes will be put on the list of alternatives but will be placed at the very bottom, well below the patches and inhalers.  Big Pharma doesn't like electrofags and we have to keep them happy? 

So is this a progressive step or just another claim to be a "world first"?

It wll be interesting to see how it pans out.

Irish Water – The Farce

I just love Irish Water.

It is the greatest traveling roadshow in the history of the state and just when you think it can't get any more absurd, it sinks to further depths.

The situation at the moment is that half the country have paid their water charges and the other half haven't.  Actually I would guess that over half haven't, but Irish Water won't release the figures which is a sure indicator that they have nothing to brag about.

Anyhows, the gubmint has decided to suspend demands for payment for at least nine months while they examine the situation.  They are now arguing over whether they should refund to those idiots who did pay or continue to pester the rest of us.  The consensus at present seems to be that there will be no refunds, and that those of us who haven't paid should still do so despite the probability that the payments will be abolished.

The latest is that they are maintaining that we should pay "because it is the law".  Whether we like it or not we have to pay because the LAW says so.  I am trembling in fear and dread as I type this.  The LAW says I should do it and no one can defy the LAW.  Bollox.  It's a sham law and a bad one.  It is there to protect the interests of a private company and is little short of legalised extortion, and therefore I consider it my moral duty to ignore it.

Having failed to understand the purpose of law [to protect the individual, not the company] they then go on to make another classic blunder.

"We need to address the water issues, but whether or not the state pays for the equivalent of domestic water charges or whether people in their homes make a contribution towards the cost of delivering water, as I believe they should, that’s an important issue […]"

Er, hold on…  whether the state pays or we pay?  What is this State of which they speak?  Is it some remote entity with a separate bank account?  No.  The State is the People, but the fucking morons keep [conveniently] forgetting that fact.  For years I have been paying for my water via my Road Tax and a portion of my VAT, both of which are “ring fenced” for water costs, so they can rightly claim that the State [i.e. me] has been bearing the cost up 'til now, but they can't claim that I haven't been paying.

They are also claiming that they have spent a fortune installing water meters and "it's a shame not to use them".  What the fuck?  No one asked them to install meters and if they want to bury a load of useless junk under our roads and pavements then that's their problem.  Maybe I should drive a tank onto the forecourt of the Dáil and when I'm told to leave I reply that it's "a shame not to use it"?

Incidentally, I still have that length of hose going nowhere into my brambles, but the meter has long since been tarred over and buried.

I am waiting now for the next thrilling installment of "Irish Water – The Farce".

Coming to a newspaper near you soon.

In defence of Danny

For those of you who aren't familiar with Danny Healy Rae, he's an elected representative in our illustrious parliament and hails from Kerry.

There are those who would brand him a redneck or a culchie, but I would prefer the term "cute hoor" which roughly translates as he'd live in your ear and let the other ear out in flats.

He has come in for some shtick lately over a speech he made in the Dáil on the subject of climate change.  Since then he has been the subject of much mirth, ridicule and sneering, and I haven't seen one word in support of his ideas.

OK, so his accent is as thick as pig-shit and he sounds as if he's just repeating something that someone down the pub egged him into saying but I happen to agree with him.  Well, actually I don't agree with him, but I do agree with what he is trying to say.

Una Mullally joins the queue of Danny Bashers in the Irish Times.  I respect her writing but not this time – she just attacks using the tired old Green Party rhetoric – the sky is falling and we must all invest in tin hats and windmills to stop it.

By denying climate change, Healy-Rae is abandoning the interests of the very people he claims to be representing. Denying climate change is anti-farming, anti-agriculture, anti-rural life, anti-reality.

But the whole point is that Healy Rae isn't denying climate change and nor am I.  What he is saying [or trying to say] is that climate change is real simply because it is always changing and has been doing so from its very origins.

Global TemperaturesGlobal temperature over 400,000 years

What Healy Rae is trying to say [I think] is that we humans have fuck all to do with any changes.  To change the climate of a planet requires mechanisms on a planetary scale.  The Sun goes through phases, as does the Earth's orbit and indeed its very core.  None of these factors are fully understood, but they all contribute to the formula.  In comparison, Mankind's contributions are so miniscule as be be totally insignificant.

So Eamon Ryan and his Green Party can jump up and down screaming that we're killing the planet, but he might as well jump up and down in the hope of creating an earthquake. 

I think that's what he was trying to explain?

Our Danny is right about one other thing though.

Look at the graph and note the huge changes over the millennia.

They all occurred before the invention of the combustible engine.

Fair play, Danny!

Changing days

It was a sad weekend.

It all started over a week ago when Herself decided she was tired of the Sunday Times and preferred Saturday's Irish Times.  I can't blame her as it was a mountain of newspaper, half of which she never read.  The only good thing about it as far as I was concerned was the Sudoku.

So that Sunday, I called into the Local Shop for the Sunday Times and told Yer Man that I wanted to cancel it and order Saturday's Irish Times instead.  Naturally confusion reigned.

Did I want the paper I just called in to collect as it was a Sunday Times?

I said I did and that I wanted to cancel it from next week and get the Irish Times on Saturday instead.

He said he didn't have the Irish Times as they had all been sold the day before.

I explained as patiently as I could.  That day I wanted the Sunday Times and it was to be the last one.  Starting from the following Saturday I wanted the Irish Times.

Did I want the Sunday Times as well?

I gave myself a metaphorical clap on the back for not hitting him.

Eventually I got through to him.

Did I want to collect the Irish Times next week on the Sunday?

I told him that if he didn't throw out my Saturday's Irish Times that I could potentially collect it the following day.  He looked as pleased as Punch.

I left the shop with my head spinning and was about to drive off when he came barreling out the shop door.  With all the confusion he had forgotten to give me my present.  I got a neat set of paint brushes [for decorating, not art], a paint roller and a 500 piece jig-saw.

I called down this weekend for the Irish Times.  My friend wasn't there.  It was his brother, and I have never seen two brothers less alike [except maybe for me and my brother].  My friend is short and jumpy and full of chatter, a bit like a Jack Russell. The Brother on the other hand is big and lumbering and rarely has a word to say, a bit like a Great Dane.  He handed my my paper without a word, and that was that.

When I left the shop I felt oddly flat.  A little bit of excitement has gone out of my life.

I think I might just leave the Irish Times next Saturday.

I can always collect it on Sunday?