Albert Reynolds is dead.

Well, it's hard to miss the fact as every fucking newspaper has banner headlines, and doubtless they'll be wiffling on about him on radio and television for the rest of the day.

I don't quite grasp this honouring of the deceased.  Fair enough, if someone did great things then by all means mention it, but let's keep a grasp on reality.  As far as I am concerned Reynolds was an employee of mine.  I paid his salary and for many years have been contributing to his very handsome pension.  As an employee he did some good things and he did some bad things, yet doubtless over the coming days we will hear how he was the greatest thing since sliced bread.  There will be calls for stamps to bear his image or for bridges to be named after him, yet these people who will be doing the calling probably haven't given him a single thought in years.

I noticed a "tweet" on Twitter today.  It said something to the effect "Albert Reynolds has died. What are your memories of him?".  What the fuck?  If I stood in the middle of O'Connell Street in Dublin and yelled the same thing I would probably be arrested or whisked away by nice kind men in white coats, yet here is this "tweet" directed at all and sundry presumably hoping to  start up some kind of meme where we all post fond memories of someone we never really knew.

When I fall off my perch I doubt many people will notice.  I presume my immediate family will notice something is amiss and doubtless there will be a few comments down the pub – "I see the old fart has kicked it" or "the fucker still owes me a pint" – but I would squirm in my grave if anyone started praising me from the roof tops as if I were somehow God's gift to society.  I know I have a few good points but I would hate people to forget my bad points as then they wouldn't be remembering the true me.

So Albert Reynolds is dead.

My sympathies go to his family.

That's it.

Getting stoned

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned I was weeding the driveway.

I managed to clear all the weeds and dog-shit off it and raked it into a reasonable semblance of tidiness.

I decided though that the gravel was a bit thin in spots and that it might be a good idea to add a bit of gravel to thicken things up a bit.  I ordered a ton of the stuff.

The lorry arrived yesterday.  It was a fucking huge lorry and the driver barely made it up the lane [and I had been meaning to trim those overhanging branches anyway].  It had one of those hydraulic arms on the back and that's when the fun began.

Many years ago the telephone company erected a pole opposite my gate.  There must be a shortage of them or something because they only put up one, and there is a veritable spiders-web of black wires flying off in all directions to all the houses around.  Naturally the hydraulic arm became tangled in  them.  I was particularly concerned about the one that crosses into the next-door neighbour's house as that's the one I tapped into and I don't want to lose my connection.  So I had to climb into the back of the lorry [which involved two ladders - I said the lorry was big] and found myself in a vast space of steel with one solitary bag of gravel in the middle of it.  Anyhows, I held up the wires with a pole while Yer Man fiddled with his hydraulics.

The is now a huge canvas bag full of gravel in the front garden.  It's bigger than I expected and it's really heavy.  It must weigh a fucking ton.  Now it all has to be dug out with a shovel and spread around the driveway, which is going to take a while and some not inconsiderable effort.

I reckon she'll have it finished by the weekend though, at the rate she's going.

The meat of the matter

I watched Horizon on BBC last night.

According to the blurb -

In the first of two programmes this week investigating the truth about meat, Michael Mosley asks if those summer barbecue favourites – burgers and sausages – are as bad as some people think. He puts the latest scientific findings to the test on a high-meat diet to discover whether eating beef and bacon every day will do him any harm.

I found the programme to be quite fascinating.

What intrigued me the most was the language used.  I have never heard so much repetition – "may cause", "could", "might", "risk factor", "increase chances" – they were all there and many more of the usual suspects too.  Nothing actually caused anything.  Everything might lead to a slight increased risk.  But then that's modern "studies" and epidemiology for you.

Essentially what the programme boiled [grilled?] down to was that red meat might be bad for you and there again it mightn't.  Veganism was very healthy but it might have health risks.  Lean red meat might cause cancer or it may protect against cancer.  They quoted one huge study done by Boston University that proved conclusively that red meat was a significant factor in reducing life expectancy.  They quoted another huge study from Europe [EPIC} that proved conclusively that it wasn't.  I found it rather strange though that those two studies contradicted each other [and thus canceled the hypothesis] yet they kept referring afterwards about the "proof" that meat causes cancer.

Naturally the presenter who had stuffed himself with burgers for the duration had aftereffects.  Surprisingly they weren't that significant but that didn't stop the gasps and the exclamations ["You have gained an extra kilo in weight!!"  gasp!  horror!  "and your cholesterol is up!"  O.M.G.  This is terrible!].

Towards the end they talked about overall "lifestyle" causes of premature death.  Being a man is the big killer.  Four years off my lifespan because I have dangly bits.  They mentioned smoking, drinking, eating processed foods, using salt and a few other things.  As I do all those things, I added up the result and was somewhat unnerved to discover that I died three years ago.

Am I going to change my lifestyle as a result?

Let's just say that I enjoyed a large juicy steak while watching the programme, and washed it down with a couple of large drams [thereby qualifying myself as a binge drinker] and smoked a pleasant pipe-full.

I might gain myself an extra four years of debauchery though if I have a sex change?

Writes and wrongs

Something strange is going on here.

I come up with an idea and scribble it out, but it looks all wrong so I have to scrap it.  The keyboard dyslexia is pretty bad too and instead of the keyboard inserting wrong letters it has started substituting its own words instead of the words I type.

I had a couple of nice little pieces lined up for today but having typed out one of them I realised that I had typed complete and utter garbage, [all right - get it over with - I always type garbage - happy now?].  So I had wasted a good two minutes of my time typing out stuff which I promptly deleted.

Even this little effort isn't exactly coming out like I expected.  I know I call this place "Rambles" but this rambling is all wrong.  What's worse, it's rambling with no end in sight.

Normally when I come up with an idea, I mentally write a rough draft so I know where the beginning, the middle and the end are.  The odd time I'll come up with an idea and will just type and let the meanderings bring me where they will, but this one doesn't seem to be going anywhere.  In fact this is a brand new venture for me – starting without a fucking clue what I'm writing about and still not knowing half way through.

Either Herself has been messing with my tablets again, or I'm having a nervous breakdown.

Ah, fuck it.

This is rubbish.

Where's the delete key…… ?



Too much

Today is what I would call a typical summer's day.

The sun is shining, and there are fairly frequent showers.  There is a bit of a wind blowing which, while not cold isn't exactly conducive to stripping off on a beach [or anywhere else for that matter].  It's the kind of day when you wouldn't have a clue what kind of clothing to bring on a walk.

I had to nip down to the shop earlier.

Mal the Man who owns the place was on duty. 

Now Our Mal is a man of few words.  He is they type you would least expect to find at a party regaling a laughing mob with hilarious tales.  Maybe laconic would be a fair description.  Leastwise the most you can expect from him is a grunt when you ask for a paper of tobacco.  It's not that he is rude or unfriendly or anything like that – it's just that he rarely has anything to say.  

I was somewhat surprised when he actually passed a comment.

"A bit too much weather today".

I couldn't argue with that.