Contemplating the life of a nomad

I live in exciting times.

In a couple of weeks time I will be celebrating a significant birthday.

No, I'm not 21 or 40 or 50 or any of those insignificant ones.  I'll be celebrating my 66th.

So what is so fucking great about 66 you ask?  Surely the idiot mean 65, you mutter?  The old twat is cracking say the rest?

You see 66 is a significant age in this country.  It is the age when I get my FREE TRAVEL PASS!!  Actually I get a few things, not least a state pension on top of the old pension I hav been getting from my old employer.

The Free Travel thing is the big deal though.  From what I can gather I get free travel on all busses, trains, Luas, Dart and just about anything else that moves.  I have visions of myself doing the week's shopping in Cork one week and Donegal the next.

I can't remember the last time I was on a bus.  I think it was around 1980 when I was going into work knowing I was going to get pissed at a do and had the offer of a lift home after.  Do they still have bus conductors?  I am more familiar with the Dart as on those extremely rare occasions when I absolutely have to do into Dublin, that's how I get there.  Inter-city trains are a foreign land as I haven't been on one since the Sixties.  I have never been on the Luas.  So there is a whole wide world out there waiting to be explored, the only snag being that I have been in every potential destination already so that knocks a bit of the fun out of it.

I have already sorted the pension.  It only involved sending of several multi-question forms several times and God knows how many phone calls, several threats and some arse-licking, but that should be sorted.  Yesterday I rang the people involved in issuing the Travel Pass things and can call in any time to sign up for it.

I will probably do it today seeing as I have to go out for the fucking car test anyway.

I think there is a nice little drop of irony there?


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Bubblegum and old socks

I'm not an expert on cigarettes or electrofags.

I haven't smoked a cigarette in well over forty years as I thoroughly dislike them.  If I run out of pipe tobacco I would far rather go without than bum a fag off Herself.  I have an electrofag but rarely use it as I find it leaves an oily taste in my mouth and is a very poor substitute for a rich bowl full of pipe tobacco.

So whenever I prattle on about cigarettes or electrofags I tend to talk from a logical point of view rather than experience.

Take for example today's latest puff piece from the Tobacco Control Industry.  

Teenagers who use e-cigarettes 'more likely to take up smoking', study finds.

I will lay to one side the fact that other "studies" have proved just the opposite [and the fact that the piece is basically a cry from Tobacco Control for yet more funding] and look at this from a logical standpoint.

We are constantly told by Tobacco Control that electrofags are designed to "trap" the cheeeldren and get them hooked on nicotine.  They cite the use of flavours such as Coca Cola and bubblegum as their proof.  So according to them, the kids experiment because of the flavours they are enticed with?  So my simple question would be why would they switch then to cigarettes?

Electrofag flavours – Banana Toffee Chews, Bubblegum, Rhubarb and Custard, Strawberries and Cream, Menthol to name just a tiny sample of the hundreds available.

Cigarette flavours – tobacco, slightly different tobacco, tobacco, weak tobacco, menthol, tobacco.

So why would any kid decide that somehow the taste of smouldering old socks is suddenly preferable to strawberries and cream?  After all, according to Tobacco Control, it's the flavour they're after?

Aha, they say – they switch to cigarettes because they are now addicted to nicotine!  But this doesn't hold water because apart from the fact that nicotine is about as addictive as coffee, electrofags already contain the nicotine they apparently crave and therefore there is no need to switch.

And then there is the minor matter of cost.  I don't know how much is costs to keep an electrofag running, but I can guarantee it is a mere fraction of the cost for ordinary cigarettes which now run at €10.50 just for a pack of twenty.  Why the fuck would anyone switch to something that lacks flavour and costs an arm and a leg?  It makes no sense whatsoever.  It is completely illogical.

To go back to the "study" that sparked this little brain fart of mine, I noticed something strange about it. 

Just under a third of more than 2,300 students had used e-cigarettes when they were first questioned in 2013 at the age of 14, the study published in the journal Tobacco Control found.

Some 20 per cent of those who used e-cigarettes had smoked real cigarettes by the time of the second survey a year later, compared with just six per cent of those who had never used them.

OK, so a few hundred kids had experimented with electrofags the first time around.  Kids experiment, and that is perfectly normal.  Obviously that third had inquisitive minds.  Then they come back a year later and guess what?  Those experimenters had also experimented with cigarettes!  So what?  When you go to buy a pair of shoes, don't you try several pairs before making your purchase?  What conclusion can you possibly deduce from this other than kids like to experiment, and that some of them had tried cigarettes?  How many of those who had tried cigarettes had gone back to electrofags?  We're not told.  How many had decided that either electrofags or cigarettes were not for them at all?  We're not told.  In fact we are not told anything other than what the "researchers" want us to hear.

Now if they had gone back a year later and discovered that every kid from the first sample who had tried electrofags was now firmly hooked on a forty a day habit I would concede they might have a point.

But then you can't let the facts get in the way of a good scare story?


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Failed by a hair

It's time for the annual car test.

I really hate that car test as it means a lot of back breaking work.  I'm not worried about the mechanics of the thing – Spanner gave it the once over and declared it fitter than myself [cheeky bastard].  It is running smoothly and apart from a slow puncture which means I have to inflate a front wheel every few months [when I say slow I mean slow] it is indeed like a spring lamb.

The problem lies with the dog and the cunts up at the test centre.

Now dogs moult.  I moult.  Everyone moults.  But in a dog's case moulting involves vast quantities of hairs gently wafting in the breeze and blowing around in little eddies.  Even our Penny who is relatively short haired can turn an entire sitting-room carpet into a layer of dog hair within a day, so you can imagine what the inside of the car is like?  And the test centre cunts seem to have an aversion to dog hair.

It started a few years ago when they tightened their daft rules to include the necessity that the car be "clean".  What this has to do with road worthiness I don't know but the cunts in the centre interpret that to mean that the car must have no dog hairs in it, which is beyond ridiculous.  In their book, if there is a dog hair on the back seat, the vehicle is deemed unroadworthy.

Cleaning an ordinary car is no bother – a quick lash with a vacuum and a wipe with a damp cloth will do the trick in ten minutes.  Cleaning a dog-car means back breaking scraping of seats with combs, brushes, vacuum cleaner, more brushes, more combs and still there is a thick layer of hair everywhere.  Fortunately our Penny has a strange aversion to the front seat of the car which cuts the work down a bit from the days of our Sandy, when the entire car was fur lined.

From previous visits, I think I have sussed the limits of their tolerance.  By turning up with varying levels of fur I have discovered how much I can get away with before they threaten to fail the car.  Even then I invariably have to threaten them either with exposure on Joe Duffy or a tyre-iron.   

So now I have to gird myself with dry sponges, combs and brushes, not to mention the vacuum cleaner in order to clean the greater part of Penny out of the car before the next shower of rain.

I really fucking hate that car test.

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Magnetic heart disease

I was going through some of the stuff on this here site last night.

I came across a brain-fart what I wrote last month that mentioned that air makes you fat.

Now this intrigued me even though I had written it and presumably had read the source of this fascinating piece ot tripe, but the memory being what it is, I had forgotten all about it.  The item that caught my eye last night was a paragraph –

Laboratory mice offered some of the earliest concrete clues that the effects of air pollution may penetrate far beyond the lungs. Their breeder at the Ohio State University, Qinghua Sun, had been interested in studying why city-dwellers seem to be at a particularly high risk of heart disease compared to country folk. Lifestyle, of course, could be one reason: in most major cities a fast food chain is rarely more than a block away, for instance, which might encourage unhealthy eating. Nevertheless, he wondered if another answer may be hanging, invisibly, in the air we breathe.

Now here we have a comparison of heart disease between urban and rural dwellers, and surprisingly [*cough*] urbanites are more prone to heart disease than their rural cousins.  Quelle surprise?  Surely it most be a case of stating the bleeding obvious that cities aren't good for the heart?  They are full of noise and stress.  You have to be constantly on the look out for pedestrians and traffic.  If you're not walking you're probably stuck in an office [not noted for their relaxation qualities].  Everywhere you go there are distractions, noise, traffic, fumes and advertisements flashing at you, whereas in the country the only thing likely to flash at you is the local pervert, and the only noise is the odd cow lowing.  In the city your brain is constantly in top gear and you are at a very high level of stress.  Stress = heart disease.

But for some reason that he must have plucked from the orbit of Pluto, all that good "researcher" can think of is that there are more fast food chains in the city.  What the fuck?  His logic apparently is that the very presence of fast food chains leads to heart disease?  Is this the first actual recorded incidence of second hand obesity?

Our "expert" [he must be an expert if he is quoted by the BBC?] must think that somehow a fast food outlet emanates some kind of strange magnetic field that draws everyone kicking and screaming into their local McDonalds where they feel compelled to stuff themselves with grease? 

We used to have a chipper in the village but they obviously hadn't installed that force field as I think I was in there only once and that was out of curiosity.  The place has long gone now.  And if we did happen to have a McDonalds or some other burger chain in the village [God forbid] I wouldn't go in there.  And if I were to be forced in against my will I wouldn't have a burger because I don't much like the things.  So where does our "expert" get his idea that the mere presence of a fast food outlet leads to heart disease?

This is modern "research" folks.  You completely ignore all the obvious factors, throw in a few strange and ridiculous ideas and come up with a conclusion that "the air makes you fat".

Ain't science wonderful?


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Feeling restless

There is one aspect of ageing that drives me to the brink.

Maybe it's not the ageing thing [I’m no expert] but the older I get, the worse the restless legs become. 

For those of you fortunate enough not to suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome – or RLS as they like to call it – it is an insufferable thing where your legs feel like they have walked through a bed of nettles and are full of crawly little things that squirm and twitch until you feel like ripping your legs off.  Sometimes it's one one leg but more often it's both.  The only relief is to move the legs and for some really fucking obscure reason it only really hits when you try to relax.

For the last three mornings I woke at the crack of dawn [not Dawn, smart arses!] and this morning was the worst in that I woke before dawn at some hour that really should be illegal.  I don't know why.  I just did.

So now I am bollixed.  I am sleepy and craving a nap.  But as soon as I close my eyes the fucking RLS kicks in.  Literally. 

I am sitting here.  My top half is screaming for a nap and my bottom half is craving for a ten mile run.  Unfortunately by brain is in my top half so that's feeling kind of sleepy too, to put it mildly.

I really fucking hate RLS.


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