Oo dun dat den?

Local Postman is a random sod. The post can arrive any time between 8 am and 5 pm, probably depending on how much he had to drink the night before.

My shift work changed midweek, I am now on a 3 pm start rather than horrible morning starts. The afternoon guy is clearing a load of gravel from his front garden and fair enough, having to do that in the morning and then work a six-hour shift would be a bugger. Since I detest the pre-noon hours with a passion, swapping shifts was a mutually beneficial arrangement. It also lets me at the Caol Ila because I have time for the peat-breath to dissipate before starting work. The good whiskies are supplemented tonight with Glen Orchy – I have to make the good stuff last, you know, and once the taste buds are burned, the good stuff would just be wasted.

This new shift pattern, I thought, would help with a little item I had ordered. The Zenit-EM came without a lens cap and I also like to have a skylight filter on every lens. I don’t believe those filters really do much light-related stuff, but if the camera ever gets bashed, a scratched skylight filter costs an awful lot less than a scratched lens. I had ordered a bundle, 52mm skylight and polarising filters, lens cap and lens hood for less than a tenner. So I was expecting a small box of photographic equipment.

Surely Local Postie would manage to get to the house before I left at about 2:30? Not a chance. There was a little card through the door – fortunately the package was at a neighbours’ house so he really had brought it with him this time. A smoking neighbour, a real person, not the Plastic Man next door or Drunken Loonie the other side.

Off I went, expecting maybe a two-inch cube.

Did you ever see that episode of ‘One Foot in the Grave’ where Victor Meldrew is sent a giant plastic bluebottle and has no idea who sent it or why? I have six years to go until pension day and things already happen to me that are as strange, or stranger, than happened to him.

The box was immense and wasn’t delivered by Local Postie at all. It was at the size where the post office would go ‘Ooo, expensive’ but other carriers would deal with no problem. I briefly wondered if I had mistakenly ordered filters and lens cap for a 5.2-metre astronomer’s telescope until I opened it.

It does contain photographic equipment. A Jessop enlarger and lots of accessories! Aside from the film developing tank, the entire darkroom is in there. I am in the photography business once more.

It’s a better enlarger than my old Zenit. This one looks like it means business. The Zenit looked like something patched together by a Russian peasant out of bits that fell off a satellite. It worked well, I’ll give it that, but it wasn’t really what you might call ‘techno’.

The one thing I have not found in the box is who it’s from. This extremely generous benefactor is so far anonymous. Maybe he, she or it wishes to remain so in which case I will respect that.

Or maybe I have not yet found the note among the mass of gear I’m playing with here.

So if it was you. please let me know. I’d like to make sure you get the first copies of Panoptica and Inside Outside, at least – and signed copies of any of my books you don’t have. I only wish I could offer more but I run a tight ship here and it’s all at sea ;)

The attic is the best place for a darkroom. There are no windows and all residual light is easily blocked. There is power up there, my father put it in before he had his over-70 non-age-related-stroke (smoking causes premature ageing but smokers do not age, according to the NHS, and working in coal mines for most of your adult life has no effect on health). The railway is up there too but that is in transition from N to OO and there is plenty more room. Well, if I reorganise the junk, there will be.

Reveal yourself, Darkroom Banksie, and terrible stories will be on their way to disturb your dreams.

It’s the least I can do. Actually, at this stage of Leg-iron finance, it is probably the most I can do…

 

Thunderstealers – The Salties.

Some time ago (and quite often, actually), VGIF have debunked the myth of the massive decline in heart attacks as a result of the smoking ban. It has never stopped the antismokers claiming great success, and nothing ever will. They just keep on spouting gibberish and ignore facts.

The other Righteous Ban Brigades are using the same template so all do the same thing. Unfortunately for the antismokers, their copycats aren’t bright enough to come up with new success stories of their own. They steal more than just the template.

saltieheartsYes, the Salties claim that the massive reduction in heart attacks – also high blood pressure and strokes, which everyone knows are only caused by smoking, is entirely their doing. To make their claim watertight they are starting with 2003, a few years before the smoking ban. So the antismokers can’t steal it back.

The VGIF article linked at the top was from 2009. Right in the middle of it all. Heart attacks were going out of fashion before the smoking ban – and the Salties are claiming the credit. I note from their imagined figures that half of all heart attack and stroke users die from their habit. There’s really not much creative thought going into any of this, is there?

I don’t recall too much action from the Salties in 2003. There were initial moves around that time and earlier. In one place I worked, around 1990, the staff canteen were told not to add salt to the food when cooking. This was abandoned when it was found that the staff just added even more at the table. There were occasional mutterings from the Salties but nothing they did had any real lasting effect on anyone’s salt use. Well, except the gullible, who ended up as salt (and intelligence) deprivation cases

The bans on salt cellars at restaurant tables have really only recently been pushed upon us – well, upon the unfortunate lab-rat residents of Bloombergland, mostly – and I note that some USA companies now do a very nice line in pocket salt cellars. They are available on Amazon. Very cheap but we in the UK would have to pay postage from the US which is more than the item. Until the salt bans get properly under way here. Then the pocket salt cellars will be hanging up at the checkouts alongside Electrofags, tobacco seeds, leaf shredders and packs of homebrew yeast.

No, they aren’t all hanging there yet. Give it another year or two.

The Salties are now muscling in on antismoker territory. Another claim of a heart attack miracle due to an ‘intervention’ hardly anyone paid the slightest attention to. Like the antismoking interventions.

Official figures show smoking rates as static at just over 20%. If the antis had any brains at all they would be alarmed at this, since those figures come from UK sales. They don’t include homegrown or EU-bought smokes. They don’t include Man with a Van. If smoking prevalence appears static while more and more of us source our baccy from non-UK shops (and one day, from rambling in the woods and picking wild leaves. My best plant managed to seed last year. Not many pods but considering how many seeds each pod holds, one pod is way more than I need) then it can only mean that real smoking figures are on the increase.

I don’t travel around much so my observations are merely local and scientifically irrelevant. I see a lot of young smokers now. This is surprising. The rhetoric of the antis, the indoctrination from all sides, the inconvenience of having to go outside to smoke, the subhuman status, the constant villification… and yet there seem to still be a lot of young smokers.

Why are they starting? If I was 20 now, it would be a far less easy option than when I was really 20 (holy crap, that’s nearly a quarter of a century ago!). The price is extortionate, pubs and cafes and everywhere else shove you out into the cold, the government and the NHS encourage everyone else to hate you and hit you. It’s like strolling through Berlin in 1938 dressed as Fagin and shouting ‘Oy vay, there are too many goyim here, we should be rid of them’ and being surprised at what happened next.

Why are they starting and why are they continuing?

I think they are starting because it’s in the news all the time and they are curious. It’s the same as the reason that, in the 1960s, ‘certain children’ put bangers into bottles because they were forcefully and explicity told not to do that. Waste of time anyway, we – I mean they – never managed to make a single bottle explode. We – uh, they – did make interesting craters in fresh cowpats but kids aren’t allowed to play with those any more either. Not even the dried out ‘free frisbees’.

The price will get to those young smokers. They will buy plants and/or seeds and grow it themselves, they will soon find that a trip to Europe more than pays for itself in the money saved on baccy. They will move on from their shop-bought smokes, the next generation will start on the shop-bought ones for the same reasons (and also because they will be in interestingly gory packs) and they will then move on to cheaper options too. Rinse and repeat.

The official figure will hover around 20% while the real figure climbs back to the old 80% without any of the idiots in charge even noticing. Not until election day rolls around. Too late. By the time any of these morons realise what a doorstep response of ‘I like to smoke, your party hates me’ really means, they will be polling below the Stickleback Taxidermy party.

All the claims of the Salties, the Sugabans, the Booze Removers, the Chubby Checkers, all of them, are stolen from the tobacco template and the claims of the antismoker lobby . All of them.

When the antismoker lot collapse, the whole house of cards goes down.

So is it happening? As I said, I have a very limited range of observation here. I am seeing, locally, a lot of young smokers.

Is anyone else seeing the same?

 

Mob justice.

Apparently it is not considered ‘good form’ to refer to the Local Shop customers as ‘blank-eyed harridans’ or ‘the zombie horde’ even though both, especially the latter, are true. It has taken me a long time to realise why I’m the only one who feels like he’s in a zombie film sometimes.

Once an hour, the jannie on duty has to do a floor check. This is hardly an onerous task in little Local Shop. All it involves is checking each aisle for dropped things or spilled things and sorting out any we find. Most times it takes five minutes.

When doing this I am not shopping nor am I stacking shelves or checking expiry dates since I never do any of those things in there. Those jobs are for customers and staff. So the customers and staff are concentrating on one job, the job involving the shelf directly in front of them, while I am idly scanning the whole place for anything out of place. They are tightly focused on a small area, my attention is widened to take in a large area at that point.

That’s why I notice that, often, the shop is full of silent, shuffling people who don’t know each other and are therefore not conversing. It’s also why the staff and other customers don’t notice that we are enacting a scene from ‘Dawn of the Dead’ and I’m the one pretending to be a zombie so as not to be noticed.

There are other things to find. Lazy buggers drop items they’re looking at and instead of picking them up, they kick them under the shelves. I have a grabber-thing to hook those items back out. Occasionally there are coins, usually pennies and fivepences that I suppose aren’t really worth the effort of picking up any more.

When I find coins I put them on the nearest till, on the (rarely manned) customer services desk or just on a shelf so a local child can have a bit of extra pocket money. It is a bad idea to have cash on you when working in a shop. My wallet stays in the locker.

It’s a sensible rule. Suppose I took £20 out of the cash machine on the way to work (it is pure coincidence that that is the price of Ben Bracken) and left it in my pocket. When cashing up, one till is found to be £20 short. There would naturally be a pocket-check on all staff. It’s what I would do if I was manager.

So the till is down £20 and I have £20 cash in my pocket. Looks bad, doesn’t it? I almost never get a receipt from the cash machine and that wouldn’t prove innocence anyway. Possession of the money also would not prove guilt but it would make continued working in Local Shop very difficult. So I get rid of any coins I find at once. The situation therefore cannot arise.

Even if, later, it was found that the missing £20 had slipped under the till drawer, that initial suspicion would linger. Every time something went missing, whispers would start and fingers would point. The only safe way is to follow that rule – never have cash on you when working in a shop.

The mentality that spawned the Inquisition, that drives North Korea’s Gangnam-style leader, is still alive in all of humanity. Especially the stupid ones. If you are accused then you must have done something. Otherwise why would you be suspected of anything at all?

Jimmy Saliva is now being villified as a terrible, terrible man – but we can never hear his side of the story. It is said that he seduced young girls but I was alive at that time. I remember the girls screaming at the Beatles and the Stones and throwing themselves at pop stars and disc jockeys. I really doubt that very much ‘seduction’ was really required.

While I always did, and still do, regard Saliva as a creepy weirdo, I think the allegations are blown way out of proportion. Maybe he did commit rape and he almost certainly had sex with underage girls but there has been nothing to suggest paedophilia. Nothing involving small children, none of the really nasty stuff. Nothing claimed against him has been proven and yet it is all accepted as fact.

Now we have all sorts of sex-pest allegations coming out of the woodwork that are not so much ‘historic’ as ‘antique’. Stuart Hall was the only one convicted and that’s because he confessed. He must be kicking himself now – not one other case has stood up in court.

Lives are ruined anyway. That bloke from the garage on Coronation Street was found not guilty – but the case dragged up his infidelity and drinking and splashed them all over the news. Nobody cared about those non-crimes before but if he wasn’t fiddling with kiddies, he must be guilty of something. The Daily Inquisition had photos of him, after his trial, having one (yes one) pint of beer and crowed about his alcoholism. Really? They should try visiting a smoky-drinky, and none of us are alkies. None of us wake up and want booze before coffee and all of us can leave the drink alone when it has to be left alone.

As now – I have to get up early tomorrow so can eye up the Caol Ila but not drink any. I’d have peat-breath in the morning and the blank-eyed harridans would probably complain. That one gets saved for savouring later, on nights when I’m not working the next day. If I am working in the afternoon I can easily get through at least half a bottle of whisky the night before  and be fine for work. Maybe I can do that with an 8 am wake-up too, but it’ll hurt, so I won’t. Whisky is limited this week but I have six days off next week… the bottle recyclers will get a boost.

I am digressing as usual. The point in the case of the garage bloke is that he has been villified for things that a) he was never charged with and b) aren’t actually crimes.

The confirmed shirt-lifter Nigel Evans was on the radio at work today. He has been accused of gay rape and has been found not guilty. Not good enough for the hounds that now infest Guido Fawkes’ comments. I remember when that place was worth commenting at and visiting often. It was, in fact, Guido and Devil’s Kitchen (along with the smoking ban) that were instrumental in turning this place from a Livejournal absurdist blog into something that beat MPs in the Total Politics listings. Now, any comment left at Guido’s is lost among the mass of trolls and loonies he lets out to play there. That’s not free speech. That’s just a mess.

Guido’s article says that Sarah Woolaston was involved in a smear campaign against Evans. All I see in what he has written there is someone going to Ms Woolaston and saying they’ve been poked in places they’d rather not have been poked in and on hearing this, she advised them to contact the police. Which, based on what she is likely to have heard, is what pretty much anyone would have said. No conspiracy there. If someone came to me and said they’d been raped – in any hole – my response would be the same. Talk to the police, there’s bugger all I can do about it.

So Nigel Evans was charged, lost his job as deputy speaker, had all sorts of private-life stuff dragged into the open and spent all his money paying for his defence. And was found not guilty. So that should be the end of it, right?

Nope. He was accused so he must be guilty of something.

Whether you agree with or approve of his sexual preferences is irrelevant. He was charged with a crime, taken to court, and found not guilty of that crime. Either we have a justice system or we don’t. Okay, it’s a random pile of nonsense most of the time but we either accept the verdict or descend into total anarchy with mobs dispensing Inquisition-style punishments for crimes admitted to under the sort of torture that would get you to admit you rape shrews.

Nigel Evans says his court costs should be paid. Yes they should. If he had been found guilty you can bet he’d be paying the CPS costs. In every case where the defendant is found not guilty, the cost of defence should be paid by the accuser. That should be standard practice.

Here is a snippet from Guido’s article -

That shock, he says, turned to anger when Evans appeared defiant in interviews with several Sunday newspapers. Nigel would not admit a crime, he did admit making an inappropriate drunken pass at me. Surely that is wrong. His audacity in the aftermath of the trial is galling. To see him paint himself as the victim in all this is just awful.” 

If he has been acquitted, why would he admit a crime? The accusations were tested in court and he was not guilty. No crime. An inappropriate drunken pass is not a crime. It used to be, back when being gay was illegal and that’s not all that far back. Do the progressives who infest Guido’s comments want a return to the trial of Oscar Wilde?

The whole ‘sexual assault’ thing is overblown. If some drunk guy fondled my danglies I would be, to put it mildly, unimpressed. But I would shrug it off and avoid that guy in future. It is not a matter for the police. If the same guy set about me with a lump hammer I would definitely call the police. Yet the drunken fondling is sexual assault and that is far more important than the lump hammer assault. Even though the former is an annoyance and the latter is a lot of actual pain.

I don’t care about Nigel Evans’ sexual preferences. It’s not as if he lives next door or is ever likely to. So his home life is none of my concern. In fact, I don’t care about the home lives of the people who really do live next door. This bloke’s private life is of no interest at all.

And it should be of no interest or relevance to anyone else. Did he poke a bloke who preferred to remain unpoked? The court decided that no, he did not. So give him back his job and give him back his money. As for the other charges, unwelcome fondling is an annoyance and not something that causes lasting damage unless you are so dreadfully insecure that I can take your soul and shred it with a few words. I have met such people.

Some of those ‘victims’ didn’t even consider themselves victims. What a farce.

It is not, as Banjo Boy thinks, anything to do with homophobia. It is not even to do with MPs although it is hard to argue against the idea of giving them a little taste of what they inflict on the rest of us now and then.

No, it is all to do with public humiliation of those in the public eye. Killing your heroes. Get the drones to a point where they cannot trust anyone, cannot hear the words of those who are not Of The Left and will rise, mob-like, on command, to bring down the heretic. Even when the prosecution fails to burn them.

Heard any allegations against any Leftie celebs? No, neither have I. Only Cyril Smith, who is accused of poking small boys with something he couldn’t possibly reach and would have needed a complex arrangement of mirrors to even see. But then he was a Lib Dem and the hard left don’t like those either. Noticed that the Cyril Smith stuff came out after the Libbies lumped in with the Tories? Coincidence, surely.

Enough for tonight. I have to sleep.

 

Hat-tip to Roobedoo for those links.

 

Recycling and other tales.

I don’t feel like reading the Daily Hate tonight. I am in a good mood even though I have to be up early tomorrow and the Mail will spoil it. Reading that thing will also makes it harder to sleep – as well as cause me to grind my teeth until they emit sparks.

So tonight it’s just a seriously random ramble.

This evening I have eaten the flesh of an infant, soaked in innocent blood. Yes, it was lamb half-leg roast for tea, cooked just enough to stop it going ‘baa’ and very nice too. Too expensive for a poor janitor? Not really, not when you consider how many meals that lump will produce. Lamb sandwiches, lamb omelettes. The almost-raw centre will become a lamb curry in a few days. Okay, £11.50 up front is a big outlay but I will get at least four meals out of it at just under £3 a time. And I get to suck the marrow out of the bone. I’ve loved that since I was a child. Some things never get old. That lamb, for example. “It left its heart, in Tesco’s chiller”, as the old crooner sang.

The garden is in need of its spring makeover. I have a week of morning shift this week and then six days off. Enforced. We couldn’t take the remaining week of holiday from last year’s alloted holiday because we were short of staff. Now the Secret Ninja Cleaning Company want us to use it up quick, to get the books all straight for this year.

Good timing for a holiday though. The garden looked like crap when winter arrived and of course nothing at all happened out there over winter. The weeds are back in force again. I spent a few hours this afternoon ripping them out by hand (except dandelions, they must be dug out to get the root intact or they just grow back).

The branches I lopped off the plum tree last autumn were still on the patio. It needs more trimming but I’m letting it flower first so I can see where the dead/junk branches are. Last year I found that it was producing a lot of plums I couldn’t reach and the ground is far too soft to risk a stepladder. I have to keep it growing low.

Some time ago I said I’d promised to make little chairs for knitted rats from Thailand. These were not required in a hurry. They are a surprise for her daughter who is in Canada for two years. Plenty of time to source some good wood to make them from. I had in mind buying stripwood but it’s pricey, and I had not planned to ask for any money for doing this.

So anyway, I was cutting that branch up for disposal and realised that it was good plumwood, some parts half an inch thick, it’s been outside seasoning all winter… I cut away any rotten or overdry parts and have stored the rest. The chairs will be plum chairs.

There’s enough for a table too. I could go for rustic or for planed and polished. This will require thought. Rats, even knitted ones in clothes, are not likely to get their chairs from Homebase or Ikea. If there are enough similar sized bits to make consistent chair legs, a lashed and jointed set would look good. I will discuss it with the wench in question before I start.

Also, in Lidl the other day, I found a roll of ‘jute tape’ which looks like a scaled-down roll of those woven chair seats that were once popular. It is ideal and very cheap. Apparently it’s for tying plants to posts or some such thing but I’m going to make chair seats out of it.

Yes, okay, I was really in Lidl to buy Ben Bracken again. It’s Boss’s fault for putting me on morning shift. Lidl is still open when I finish and Ben Bracken means I can keep my self-promise to not have more than one glass of the expensive birthday whiskies per night. The good stuff first, always. Otherwise you can’t taste it properly and that is just a waste.

I have two new fishing rods with reels from Lidl too. A pilk rod – I would refer to it as a two-piece spinning rod – and an ‘all round’ rod that is one of these collapsible ones where each section slides into the one below it. Damn good quality. Especially at £15 each for rod, reel, line, a few extra bits and a case to keep it in. I saw them at £30 each a week or so earlier and was lucky to catch them at ‘reduced to clear’. I could not have afforded both at their original price but at the reduced price… perfect.

Poundland have some fishing gear. No rods – not even they can sell a rod for a pound – but their packs of floats and hooks-to-nylon are good. There are reels for one pound each but I don’t believe they’d be worth it.

It’s too early for fishing. Some time in the 1980s I went fishing in April in Scotland. Ledgering for trout. Total waste of time. The line froze to the rings and the fish were too sluggish to care about the bait. Here, you need warm weather to get the fish active or there’s no point.

I might have said this already, but there is a way to make model smokers without using batteries. Not a cheap or easy way, but I think it will work. It might not so I’m not saying too much yet. In fact there might be more than one way, now I consider it…

These thoughts might prove especially useful in the case of the 1/1200 sub project. I have drilled through the conning tower already but have to work out how to install a battery supply. Maybe I don’t need to. Maybe I don’t need that in 1/72 or 1/24 either. It’s well worth a try. If I can do it in in 1/1200 I can do it in any scale.

When making model smokers I use optical fibres, some bought but most donated. Fibres that once had a real purpose. Recycled, in other words. There are also fibres from those ‘ufo lamps’ that were popular a few decades ago but which are now in bargain shops. Most of the model smokers are made from recycled bits.

Okay, best get a bit of sleep. One more week of early morning Hell and then a week of sanity, where I can catch up with a lot of things. According to the Met OIffice it will simultaneously be a time of record high temperatures and snow because of warble gloaming. Or maybe because the warble gloamers are desperate now.

I will try not to babble tomorrow, but no promises. The current madness is all because I seriously need a haircut and it weighs heavy on my mind.

 

 

Disposing of nothing.

When I was a horrible child, we had proper bins. Big galvanised steel ones with lids that were capable of handling the ashes from the coal fire even if they were too hot to touch. They weren’t as big as the vast black plastic thing on wheels we have now, they had no wheels at all. Just handles.

Bin men used to come around and lift these things without ever once measuring how far they were from the kerb or worrying about what was in them. They had no lifting device, just a truck with sides they opened, then they lifted and poured the contents of the bin into the truck and put the bin back.

Not one hi-vis jacket to be seen. No complaints about bin lids being a quarter of an inch too high.

Then again, not much went in those bins. Coal fire ashes, mostly. Newpapers went in there because they were part of the coal fire ashes. Cremated paper. We didn’t throw away much food because we didn’t have supermarkets selling packages of food in amounts nobody could possibly eat in the timescale allowed.

I remember the first nearby Carrefour in a town called Pontllanfraith. There was much excitement but when it opened, nobody really know how to work it. Get the stuff yourself? What’s that about? How do we get half a pound of this stuff that’s all in one-pound bags? What the hell – trolleys? What are those for?

Trolleys are insane. I rarely use them and only ever use the low-volume ones. People arrive at tills with the massive trolleys piled high with enough food to get them through a zombie apocalypse and I wonder at their reasoning. Sure, you can have several well stocked freezers but if the worst happens and the power goes off…

Incidentally, if there is a zombie apocalypse and you insist on me going outside to smoke, you’d stand a better chance with the zombies.

Back to those bins. We threw stuff straight in. No plastic bags or bin liners. Now I have a bin in the kitchen which takes 70-litre bin bags. When that’s full I take out the bag, put in a new one and put the full one in my massive wheeled disposal box outside. It has occurred to me, often, that bin bags are bought simply to be thrown away. Fortunately we have lots of mysterious charities here who seem to think I buy so many clothes that I must throw out a whole bag full every week. They deliver loads of plastic bags which fit my kitchen bin.

When I do clear out old clothes, I put them in the big RNLI clothes box. They are in plastic bags, as requested, they just have the name of the wrong (and likely fake) charity on the bag.

Supermarket plastic bags are a new phenomenon too (if you are old like me). We used to get stuff in paper bags which were good for starting up a coal fire. Plastic ones stink when they burn. I remember buying sodium chlorate in a little brown paper bag. Nails and screws too. None of those hard-plastic bubble boxes in those days, those packs containing ten screws each when you need eleven. If you wanted eleven, you bought eleven. There is actually a local shop that can still do that for common sizes – yes, this is a hick town but I like it that way. I can buy one hinge in there. One. Grasp that, drones. That shop sold me the little block of beeswax I use to seal model boat rigging so it doesn’t get damp and sag.

Now we throw away much of what we buy – and we buy plastic bags for the sole purpose of throwing them away. I must admit that the free supermarket bags have been a blessing. I use them to line my office bin. Still, I can cope without them.

Inevitably, this scenario leads to the throwing away of nothing at all at enormous expense.

And so it came to pass that the Government devised an expensive, insane and ridiculous scheme and the Church of Climatology rejoiced, and nobody with more than half a brain was even remotely surprised. Do political parties select candidates based on their gullibility these days? It certainly looks that way.

Their idea is this. We grow plants of a kind that will suck up carbon dioxide. So that’s any kind of plant at all, if the politicians were capable of the merest hint of understanding of biology. When I was at school we had to learn the biochemical pathways of photosynthesis for A level. I was pleased that bugger didn’t come up in the exam. Now they just learn that ‘some’ plants are good at .taking up CO2.

Then we burn these evil, contaminated witch plants and steal their power. Then we capture the CO2 we have just released by burning the plants that have already captured it. How we do this is not explained. Then we hire lots of minimum-wage-slaves to shovel this stuff into coal mines to hide it, so next year’s crop can’t sneakily absorb it. We will know the world is safe when all the plants die.

I have this image of baffled  guys with shovels being told to shovel the contents of an apparently empty truck into a hole in the ground. You know, I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that MPs don’t know what ‘it’s a fucking gas, you idiots, and it all blew out of the truck on the way here’ really means.

Carbon dioxide dissolved in water produces carbonic acid. Pump enough into the ground and those plants struggling to find enough CO2 in the air to live on will also find that their roots are being wrecked by soil acidification. As ‘sustainable’ ideas go, this one will bring on Armageddon within ten years. What a bunch of dicks.

Leaving aside the nonsense of turning arable land over to growing stuff to burn instead of to eat while simultaneously telling us all to eat more veg and less meat, there is a better idea.

Just ram all the spare vegetable matter into the old coal mines. No need for special crops, use all the waste stems and leaves of current crops. It is exactly the same. Pack it in hard. There goes your CO2, it’s all locked up in buried plant material and there is a bonus.

Give it time. When the  human race actually manages to grow up and see what a teenage dirtbag it has been, that rammed-in vegetable matter might well have turned into new coal, or at least peat. A huge supply of energy for the (hopefully) less idiotic world of the future.

As for now, there is no point trying to help the drone government to understand. They are incapable of it. Let them play their silly little games right up to the point of piano wire and lampposts.

I probably won’t live to see it but for the future people, I recommend the bass strings. The high strings are like cheese wire. Far too quick.

Maybe I will live to see it if I continue to studiously ignore all that Puritan health insistence. Indeed, as I am both well pickled and thoroughly smoked, I might last longer than Tutankhamun.

 

Tonight’s randomness has been brought to you bu Caol Ila, because I am not working tomorrow so it’s safe to stink of peat all day. There are probably typos in there but I don’t care.

The Climatologist Propaganda.

Science isn’t all that complicated most of the time. The basic stuff is, or used to be, taught from the age of eleven and we were expected to pass exams on it by the age of sixteen.

Here is some really basic stuff. Kindergarten level. Even modern kindergarten. It’s too complex for politicians so if you are one, find a five-year-old. Any of them could explain it in terms of bunnies and kittens for you.

Plants make sugar from carbon dioxide using solar power (now that is seriously politically corrrect). They make more than they need and stick the extra sugars together into long lines called ‘starch’ so they can use it when the sun isn’t shining. At night, for example.

Plant seeds have to grow in the dark until they can push a bit above soil and make leaves that then allow them to make their own food. Before that they need a source of energy to make leaves and roots, so plants cram as much starch into seeds as they can.

Give the plant more CO2 and it can make more sugar and hence more starch. Its seeds will have more stored energy this time around.

Plants need nitrogen to make protein. Gaseous nitrogen is so laid back it can’t be arsed reacting with anything so instead, plants take it as nitrate from the soil.

The point here is that is that if you give plants extra CO2 and the same amount of soil nitrates, the starch component of their seeds will increase while the protein content will stay the same.

So proportionately, in amounts per gram of seed, there will appear to be less protein. There really is the same amount of protein but the starch content has increased while the protein content has not.

Nobody eats cereals for protein anyway. That’s what meat is for. Even if plant protein intake reduced by the claimed 3% it would make no difference at all against a sausage or a burger or a lovely. lovely bacon roll.

Increased CO2 is good for plants. They love it. CO2 is plant bacon.

It’s really all very simple. Not as simple as the minds that managed to drag this piece of shite from the open sewer of modern control.

It was published with full newsworthy propaganda rights in ‘Nature Climate Change’. A sub-journal that depends for its very existence on the impending demise of humanity. If the sky is not in immediate danger of falling, they are all out of a job.

And they say tobacco funded research is a conflict of interest…

 

 
Oh damn. I just realised I could have titled this post ‘The seed remains the same’. I’ll save that thought for another time.

Other people’s stuff.

Morning shifts are having an effect on me. Tonight I bring you other blogger’s works because I am just too tired.

Simon Cooke has found the Medical Maniacs’ plans to make us all happy and healthy by making us into a population of bored and useless clones.

While Captain Ranty found a Leftie who almost gets it. The lefty does believe that trhe problem of control by bankers and corporations is to be solved by control by socialism, but he is getting closer. He has seen the problem, or at least one side of it, but has not yet grasped the solution.

It is not about money. There is no solution to anything in money. Money isn’t even real.

How much money you have has no effect on my life at all. I don’t care if you have billions. It is of no consequence to me. You can try to use your money to tell me how to live but since I don’t care about money, it cannot work. It only works on those who want money.

I just received that Zenit EM I bought on eBay. It’s in good shape too and at a touch under £20, it cost less than I sold my old one for in 1982 or thereabouts. Needs a lens cap (won’t cost much) but the lens is unscratched and this version has features my older version didn’t have.

I could have saved up for a new digital Canon EOS (great camera, I have held one, but comes with a crap lens as standard) but I already have a film version EOS I bought second hand for beans.That one is damn well complicated enough!

Developing black and white, even slide film, is easy. I used to do that myself while still at university. I used to have the Zenit fold-into-a-briefcase enlarger but sold it when desperately skint, many years back. Now I don’t need one. I have a negative-scanner. I just need to develop the film and scan the negatives into the computer. It really takes only a little bit more time than transferring from the digital cameras.

There is no need to spend huge amounts on what you want and from there, it follows that you don’t really need to earn much more than is essential. Why be a millionaire? How much modern crap do you really need? How big a house, how many rooms can you be in, how many entrances can you guard against the thieves who can see the ostentatious nature of your wealth? Why not consider what you actually need and want and not bother about all the stuff that other people are just going to try to steal anyway?

That Zenit camera took wonderfully detailed photos thirty-odd years ago and it still works and still needs no batteries. Next I will look for a Patterson film developing tank and the B&W simple chemicals.

The world has moved on and technology is now the opium of the masses. This is fine with me because the masses are selling all the really useful stuff cheap on eBay.

Consider this.

If the British could ever again be raised fron ‘Tsk’ through ‘Tchoh’ to ‘Fuck you, it’s pitchfork time’, how could the EU and the puppet UK government hide evidence of it? An EM pulse would wipe out every camera and phone over a wie area. Nobody would have any evidence so nobody could complain and anyone who did would get the award of the tinfoil hat.

My Zenit has no electronics. The photos are on film and cannot be changed in Photoshop. Tampering would be easy to spot. In the uprising I will be the one with documented evidence. Your camera phones are all a sham.

There is a lot more to say but sleep does not beckon now, it frogmarches.

Until tomorrow…

 

A literal tax take.

The UK government plan to do what Cyprus did and simply raid everyone’s bank account to pay its bills. Under the guise of ‘chasing tax cheats’, the taxman will be able to take as much as he wants from your bank account, any time he likes. No court order or justification required because the taxman never, ever gets it wrong.

If there is an error and your bank account is emptied by mistake, you can hire an expensive lawyer to start the lengthy process of getting it back. Oh wait, no you can’t. Your bank account is empty. Your mortgage is in default, your are being chased by energy companies for unpaid bills and the council want their pocket money too.

The killer in this scenario is – you didn’t actually owe any tax. Think that will stop them?

Don’t worry about the council going short. As soon as they get this in place for the tax office, the councils will be able to do it too. The first you will know of being fined for smoking in your own home (whether you smoke or not) will be when the money vanishes. Left your bin an inch too far from the kerb? Well, you must have because there is a debit on your account marked ‘bin fine’.

Dammit, this IS Panoptica! I had envisaged all money on implanted chips. Nobody ever knows how much they have, how much they are taxed, how much they are being fined… when the chip stops working that’s it till payday. In Panoptica that’s just a threat. The chip never stops working because there really isn’t any actual money at all. The whole place is bust and run on illusion. Step out of line and your chip is remotely disabled. Show proper contrition and it works again because the officials give you ‘a loan’. You are now in debt – but there never was any money. Nobody loaned you any, you don’t have any, but that debt will be recalled if you don’t toe the line.

The one remaining step in the real life version is to take away your knowledge of what is in your bank account. That’s it. The ‘money isn’t real’ part happened a long time ago. Contactless cards exist, implanting the chip is the next and very easy part.

This is the justification for random (it’s HMRC, everything is random) raids on bank accounts -

Britain is being robbed of around £35billion a year by cheats who fail to pay their taxes and others who find ways of avoiding them, according to HMRC.

No it isn’t. This is like a mugger complaining that he is being robbed every night because some people refuse to hand over their wallets.

The government does not need that money. They use it to pay lobby groups to tell them to do what they wanted to do anyway. They give it away to the EU, loaded into the now-useless fleet of coal trucks hitched to daily trains to Brussels. They give it to countries who don’t need it, don’t want it or who will use it to buy a new gold-plated Bentley for some minor official who will then use it to run down poor people. It benefits nobody except Cameron who can puff out his pigeon-chest and preen his feathers while he meets despots covered in expensive jewellery – and he never connects their roaring wealth with the money he gives to their poor, deprived country. Because he is an idiot. “And the animals looked from Cameron to Blair, and Blair to Cameron, but already it was impossible to tell the difference”.

All the  money they get in tax is wasted and the tax system is one of the biggest wastes of all. It is insanely complex and there is no need for any of it. A simple flat tax would do the job far better. It would be harder to find loopholes and if the system was cheaper, it would not need to steal so much tax in the first place.

If you reduce the tax rate, it becomes pointless for the rich guys to pay armies of accountants to dodge it. As it is, they can save much more tax than the cost of the accountants. If the accountants cost more than the tax the rich folk would just pay the tax. If the system was simpler and easier to understand we would not need to trouble accountants at all.

Take your total income. Subtract ten thousand, your tax-free allowance. Subtract legitimate business expenses. Divide the remaining amount by five to get your 20% tax amount. Send that amount to the tax man.

You could even train a politician to do it, given an infinite number of politicians and an infinite number of calculators. The rich would not bother trying to dodge that simple tax, whether by avoidance or evasion. It just wouldn’t be worth the effort.

The only way it would ever really work is if Cameron had the man-parts to really and truly cut the waste from the system. He never will because he’s a waster too. All those quangos and fake charities and lobby groups he pays are a big part of the reason so many people don’t want to pay tax. Bonfire of the quangos? Vote me in and I’ll give you a bonfire of the quangos all right. You will be able to see and smell it for miles. Vlad the Impaler was just too bloody soft.

If tax was paying for the military, the police, the fire service, the hospitals, fixing and building roads and bridges… fine. But it’s not. All those actually useful things are being cut. Instead we get ‘change4life’ and ‘five-a-day’ and ‘units per week’ and ‘ooo, no, you can’t burn half a gram of leaves next to that idling double-decker bus, it’s bad for the child who lives five streets away’ and the bastards think this is democratic governance and money well spent! They really do! That Miller wench was on the radio today, having finally got her coat, saying the scandal was ‘a distraction from the achievements of this government’.

What? Every government in living memory and beyond has delighted in any form of distraction from what they are ‘achieving’. She was not a distraction. Distractions focus attention elsewhere. She was focusing attention on the government and what a bunch of money-grabbing, self-serving gits they really are. We are not supposed to pay attention to the man behind the curtain.

Cameron said he was sorry to see her go and hoped she could come back when all the fuss had died down. Yes, he really said that, the Tefal-headed twat. Such is his contempt, he sees no need to hide his intention to bring back one of his favourite arrogant harridans when he thinks the drones have forgotten about her. Out of touch? More like on another planet.

I wish he was. I wish they all were. Venus is nice in the summertime, and I’m sure we’d all be happy to pay the tax for that expenses-paid trip. We’d even add in enough for a camera to film the whole thing and – hell, why not – we’ll even give them parachutes. It’ll make the camera last longer than the Venera probes did.

Oh, but the taxman will have rules while raiding your bank vault. Rules that make it all okay.

Under the proposals, which will be subject to a consultation, HMRC will be able to take all the money that a person owes in tax out of their bank account, subject to two key rules.

It cannot take the full amount unless the person would have at least £5,000 left across all bank accounts after the tax debt has been paid and the money can only be taken if HMRC has contacted the person at least three times about the unpaid tax bill.

They will stick to those rules rigidly. Haaahahaha!

Read that second part again:

It cannot take the full amount unless the person would have at least £5,000 left across all bank accounts …

Clever, eh? If it means you would be left with less than £5000, they cannot take the full amount. They can take a lesser amount, less than what they consider to be the full amount, and if that leaves you with £1 it’s still ‘within the rules’.

I already have less than £5000 total cash anywhere. Lately I only rarely go above £1000. Soon I will fill in a tax form and expect a refund.  Oh, I have loads of stuff but not much in cash. It’s safer that way. Stuff can be sold or, if the drones ever realise money is worthless, traded. Cash though, not very much. I doubt I will bother amassing much more from now until the day I die. Money is no use, it’s less real than Satan anyway.

I also earn very little and have to stay self-employed, even if I never see another microbiology job, because of the books. They make about £100 a year but as long as they are on sale I am self-employed and will have to fill out a tax form every year. Unless Hollywood takes on one of the books or I write a real corker, this will mean a tax refund every year. I like that. Tax, to me, is like storing pennies in a jar and taking them all out once a year.

So really, this new Bankrobbing Law means little to nothing to me. But then it is not designed for me.

Look again -

It cannot take the full amount unless the person would have at least £5,000 left across all bank accounts after the tax debt has been paid and the money can only be taken if HMRC has contacted the person at least three times about the unpaid tax bill.

They assume that they have the right to take the tax and if they send you three letters, they can then rip it out of your account. Even if you rebut the letters. Even if you declare their demands invalid. They don’t need to debate about it any more. They send three letters, you respond with three ‘no’ letters, they raid your savings.

No, this is not aimed at me. This is aimed at Captain Ranty and the Freemen on the Land.

A movement that has been growing, that has been right all along and that is really starting to worry the tax thieves.

The taxman is not going after Stirbacks or Goggle or any of the others it has always given a free pass. This law is to clear up the problem of the Free. No more debate, no more discussion, no more admissions of fraudulent demand for money not really owed.

No, they send three letters and whether you respond or not, they rip it out of your hoard.

If you are following the Freeman ways, turn your money into gold bars and build it into the floor of your kitchen. Any fake cash you have in banks will soon be raided.

Oh, and if you sneer at Freemen and the wealthy, keep in mind that the tax office has a legend on the wall. ‘Our name is Legion of Idiots, because our errors are many.’

Once this gets under way, you will see random sinkholes under bank accounts all over the place. Could be yours. Could be mine.

Mine won’t sink very far.

Science bites back.

The push to scare everyone off Electrofag continues with another exploding battery plugged into the wrong charger. No actual Electrofag, as usual. Just the battery. Because no mobile phones have ever gone pop while charging…

Yawn. Yet another pathetic attempt to justify yet another pointless ban. Electrofag is getting some of those ex-smokers, now vapers, back into pubs. Can’t have that, now can we? Some pubs might actually survive! We threw these wretched people out into the street, why can’t they just stay out there and let the pubs die? It looks like smoking and that is enough. Bar staff can’t tell the difference even when you puff on something that looks like a sonic screwdriver and the end lights up blue. In which case, watch out if you like to write in pubs and have a pencil-chewing habit. You’re next. Expect to hear a revival of the old ‘there is lead in pencils’ silliness.

Oh no! It’s worse than lead! It’s CARBON! Everyone in the pub will die. Chewing pencils causes gobble warming. The bar staff will get second hand scribbles. (makes note to remember to tell the drones that pencils are made of carbon).

Don’t expect any branch of science to weigh in on behalf of the vapers, and especially not the smokers, in the forseeable future. That’s more of a career killer than studying telepathy.

Even the antismokers don’t want vaping to succeed. It eats into their profits from band-aids with liquidised fags in them and gum made from ashtray contents. I’ve tasted it. It does taste like it’s made from ashtray contents. Nobody is going to swap smoking for that.

I wonder if I can convince the drones that all the gum they see on the pavements is in fact nicotine gum? They don’t have to believe all of it contains nicotine, they just have to realise that they don’t know which ones do, so don’t know which ones to avoid touching. Dance, pilgrim, dance.

No, we can expect no revisitation of the fakery behind smoking science other than all the work Professor Junican has done. In other areas though, the Cancerous Controllers are experiencing some resistance. Viewed from Cullingworth, here is an excellent breakdown of why the Church of Climatology is failing at an ever-increasing rate.

Lies and obfuscation are temporary bluffs, just to give you time to get away from someone planning to beat you to a pulp because they realised that what you said was a gross insult, sooner than you expected. Trust me on this one. They are not things that work forever. Sooner or later, everyone sees through them and if you haven’t had the sense to be far away when they do, somebody is going to get hurt.

The biggest push-back so far is against the new mantra of ‘Meat is Bad’. This one comes from all angles – the Green Vegetables, the Dawn of the Zombie Vegans, the Ecofreakos and all those who just want to control us for the sake of it.

Note: As usual, those who don’t eat meat but don’t insist we all live the same way are simply referred to as vegetarians or vegans. Those who don’t eat meat and demand that I can’t have any either are a) Green Vegetables, b) Zombie Vegans and c) on a future menu.

Today’s big scare is that meat will have Living Things crawling around in it when you eat it!

Not if you cook it properly it won’t. There is always a chance of some unpleasant little life form on meat. It does come from animals after all. As for chicken, the roasted ones are lovely but the living ones are the source of a stench stronger than an MP’s expenses claim sheet. Cook them until you can shatter the skin with a fork and carve the meat off with a hard stare (chickens or MPs, I don’t care which but add sugar to the MP to counteract the bitterness).

As long as food is properly cooked there is nothing to worry about. Oh, and cook a whole chicken breast-down. Stops it going dry. You can stop a dismembered chicken breast going dry by wrapping it in bacon before putting it in the oven. It’ll look pink (from the bacon) but it’ll be fine as long as it’s cooked right through. You get non-dry chicken and you also get bacon. Win-win.

Any shop selling meat that you can strap a collar and lead onto and walk out of the shop will not be a meat shop for long. No regulations needed – a shop that routinely gives customers a dose of squirty-bottom soon has no more customers. The good ones stay in business, the rubbish ones go bust. I know communists don’t like that but that’s not even capitalism. That’s just real life.

Naturally, in line with the rest of the monotonous same-story crap spouted by the creatively challenged Cancerous Controllers, meat gives you cancer and is as bad for you as smoking. But… but… I like Parma ham and smoked bacon! I am surely doomed! Eating smoked meat, drinking smoky whisky and actually smoking and yet I just had another of those birthday things. Every year, the scaremongers tell me it will be my last and yet, every year, another one comes around. This has been going on for decades. I feel justified in questioning the accuracy of their predictions. We’d all be better off just reading the newspaper horoscopes. At least they guess right once in a while and they aren’t all bad news.

A group of real scientists tried to shout down that last blast of nonsense. Proper experts in the field of protein nutrition. Actual, proper scientists as opposed to pot-smoking Californian hippies with ragged beards and charity-shop tank-tops who were employed to fill some lab-coats covered in Peruvian embroidery and late night taco stains.

This group of real scientists wrote to the editors of the journal concerned to express their amazement that this freakish twisting of reality could appear in a reputable publication (they put it a little more diplomatically than that). The editors refused to publish their comments as a letter to the editor and directed them instead to an online forum nobody bothers to read.

This wasn’t some backwater comic that routinely publishes papers lifted from 1970s journals that aren’t online, a quick change of author names and hey presto, a publication. That happens. I was one of those who liked to spend time down in the library stacks rather than restrict myself to the 1980s and later. An awful lot of good research has been forgotten and some of it has been nicked and republished.

No, this wasn’t one of those. This was a big journal. A journal you only have to get one paper into and your career is made. They let the Cancerous Controllers and their strange little men of backward science go unchallenged. They refused to listen to the real experts. But it is good to see the real scientists biting back at last and not leaving it at ‘publication refused’ any more. A good sign.

Their message is out there anyway. Just like the rebuttal of Climatology. Even the big journals are going to go down with this ship, it seems. Maybe we can look forward to the revival of ‘Aberdeen Letters in Ecology’, a short-lived little journal I once had a paper in. It never made it to the big time, in fact it faded away once its originator retired. Never even got as far as true publication – it was still at the ‘print and staple’ stage. Pity. The editor was fussy about what he’d accept even at that early stage. The journal had the right ethos.

Maybe, in this modern world of ‘here are the conclusions, find the numbers to fit’ it would be doomed anyway.

Remove all salt from your diet and you die. Eradicate all forms of fat and you die. Refuse to eat anything made of carbohydrate and you die.

Cut your protein intake right back and… sarcopenia

I’m still having fun with trying to revive pellagra. This is a new one to play with. “Eat meat and you will fail your sarcopenia test next time you visit the quack”.

“Doctor, did my sarcopenia tests come back?”

“You have it.”

[Drones punches the air] “Yes! I passed that one! Now, how about a pellagra test? I think I’m ready.”

As for me, I am a sample size of one, irrelevant in any definition of science. Not even the fakes would go so low. So this is all anecdotal and not science at all.

I am mid-fifties, eat loads of protein especially in the form of meat, salt, fat, carbohydrate, anything I can get. I smoke. I drink more than the made-up weekly limits even when, as this week, on early shift. I will eat fruit and vegetables but refuse to count them and rarely get to five a day. I will never achieve ten, I will not even try. Unless the fermented stuff counts.

My medication count is zero. I will take aspirin when in extreme pain. Last time I visited the NHS they tested everything because I said ‘yes’ to the smoking question. I had machines stuck to me I didn’t know existed. They found nothing. At the time I was a bit fat with a slightly shiny liver but fixed that within three months. With no pharmaceuticals.

I am not even overweight and not underweight either. I ignore all medical advice and actively go against it. There is nothing at all wrong with me. Well, physically.

Refusing fats will ruin the structure of every cell in your body. All your body cells are held together with a membrane made of fat. Refusing carbohydrates will mess up your liver and bugger your brain. Refusing salt will wreck your nervous system and your body’s isotonic balance (the drones think they know what that is, and that it is magically fixed by sports drinks even though the only sport they ever do is on an Xbox). By now you are confused and stupid but still dangerous. You can still hit.

Take away your protein and soon you don’t have the muscle power to get out of bed.

Even if you could remember how…

They don’t need a big war to reduce world population. All they need is stupidity and gullibility. There’s a lot of both around.

What they have failed to understand is that the ones who will be left will not be the easily controlled drones. All those will be dead.

They’ll be left with the likes of us.

 

More wild stuff.

I am sober. This is disgusting and just plain wrong. Tomorrow I start a stint of morning shifts again and while I can still drink and get up at 8 am, it’s not as easy as it used to be. Also, there is the consideration that I might have to deal with something at work that is best dealt with in a hangover-free condition.

Tomorrow there will be drink. Tonight I left work at 7 pm, but the rest of the week’s morning shifts end at 3 pm. So I can change, eat, drink and blog and still be done by midnight. The first one is the bad one – I have to shift my time frame from starting at 3 pm to finishing at 3 pm. The hard part is getting to sleep on this first night!

So I am stuck with only beer, looking forward to a quick snifter of something more tasty before bedtime. It won’t be a pub measure.

I was distracted by the long discussion on Dr. Gabb’s review of a book about Aleister Crowley. Not by Crowley, but about him. It’s not a book I plan to buy. I do, however, have several of Crowley’s books here – as a writer of horrible fiction they are a great resource. As are the wild imaginings of von Daniken and stuff like this. I remember reading a book about a hollow moon that was really an alien spaceship in about 1980. That theory is back. There was another about the Earth being hollow, all based on ‘holes at the poles’ as demonstrated by satellite images. Those images were composites made up of lots of photos taken by satellites that didn’t go over the poles. So there were circular blank spaces…

So I have read some of Crowley’s writings and they are a good source of inspiration for stories. As a source of practical magic they are the babblings of a madman.

The poet W.B. Yeats joined the Golden Dawn, a magical club Crowley also belonged to. Crowley wrote poetry that would make a Vogon cringe, and Yeats told him as much (not in those words, Vogons hadn’t been invented). Did Crowley blast him with a magical force? Nope. He just had a rage. There were several people Crowley really, really hated but he didn’t manage to magically dispose of any of them. He also died penniless and alone. So much for his great magical powers.

I’m not going to get into the whole ‘is magic real’ argument – but whether it is or not, I don’t believe Crowley could do it.

The Brown Gorgon could do it. He made enormous amounts of gold and cash vanish just like that, without having a single bought item left to show for it, and destroyed not just one person, but an entire country. Then again, he had a lot of help and his acolytes continue his evil ways even now. Soon they will succeed in opening a portal to Hull and release the Pie Beast once again.

The discussion below Dr. Gabb’s post is interesting although I admit to descending into ‘I don’t care any more’ about halfway down, where the same arguments just go round and round.

Some arguments are best just walked away from. Science doesn’t know everything and facts cannot fight belief. Absence of facts is not proof of absence of the believed-in thing. Science cannot prove something is not there and should not try.

Firstly because science is designed to observe, test, quantify and characterise. Faced with a belief, even if held by millions of people, science falls at the first hurdle. Science cannot ‘believe’, so cannot observe the thing believed in. With no observation there is nothing to test. Nothing for science to do.

(Incidentally, that favourite of the control freaks, ‘scientists believe’, is an oxymoron spouted by moronic oxygen thieves. Just saying.)

Secondly because it is not up to a scientist to prove you wrong. That’s not how it works. You set down the hypothesis, so you test it. You do the observing, produce the data, analyse and report and write it all down in such a way that another scientist can repeat what you did and get the same result. If nobody else can get the same result, you lose.

It still doesn’t mean you are wrong, it might be that you’re just crap at writing papers and missed an important detail but as far as science is concerned, you still lose. On the plus side, you can try again as many times as you like. Science does not care until you hit on something it can’t find holes in. Then you have its full attention.

One big issue in science is ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’ which, if physicists only knew, is what Mandelstein is made of. There is apparently more stuff in ther universe that we can’t see or measure than stuff we can. What I have never understood is that, while we have a whole range of particles for the stuff we can see, we ascribe one particle type for all the stuff we can’t see. But that’s beside the point.

While science derides any belief in the unseen it is furiously trying to track down more unseen stuff than is visible in the night sky. That’s a lot of unseen stuff to find. Science is sure it’s there but can’t measure it or show it to you.

Now… is that really all that different from someone believing in a God or gods or ghosts or elves or anything else they cannot prove or show you?

Scientists will respond with ‘But we know it must be there because we can see its effects on the surrounding matter’.

The religious will respond with ‘We have been telling you about the supernatural’s effects on surrounding matter for donkey’s years. You guys won’t even look’.

The science-minded will not accept that argument. Which is a pity.

I have no religion. I am sure there is a lot going on in the world beyond human comprehension but I see no reason to believe anyone is in charge of it. Maybe what we experience as spirits is the result of dark matter and dark energy occasionally interacting with our physical forms. Maybe, somewhere in that dark energy and matter, a form of life has taken shape and maybe their scientists are looking for the matter we are made of. It is entertaining to think that their scientists might be in the same lab at the same time as ours, each looking for the other while occupying the same space!

It’s not unreasonable to consider that dark matter, of which there is more than the matter we can see, could have developed life. It would be more reasonable for that dark-matter life to consider that our matter could not contain life because there isn’t enough of it. Since the distribution of dark matter cannot be definitely determined (we can’t see it, remember) we can postulate, for now, that its distribution is similar to that of our matter. Assuming, of course, that it is affected by gravity in the same way.

So there will be more dark matter Earth here than real Earth. Hell is bigger than Heaven. Which, considering the numbers likely to go to each place, it would need to be.

I don’t think science can, or should, dismiss the experiences and beliefs of so many people out of hand. At the same time I don’t think science can put much effort into studying them. As I said, it is up to the claimant to provide the proof. More, how can science even begin to study them? What are ghosts made of, what equipment can reliably detect them?

Forget all those EMF meters and other stuff, they make money out of the gullible who don’t realise that the EMF spike they just saw was the fridge switching on. Those meters have no means to record anything and EMF should be measured at each point on x, y and z axes. And bloody well written down! Not one ghost-chaser ever does that and there’s no point anyway since we have no reason to think those meters are measuring anything useful in that context.

Infrared cameras are another thing that bugs me. Reported ghost sightings do not happen in total darkness because nobody can see anything. Many reports are in daytime. The only reason for those TV ghost hunts in total darkness is so they can use their fancy cameras. I had a rant about this as an alter ego some time ago. That book had a duff review from someone who missed the point – it wasn’t the resolution of digital cameras I was having a go at. It was the ease of manipulation of the images compared to film. But I digress.

There’s no money in ghosts… or is there? There are two basic types. The actual spirit that moves things on the heebie-jeebie board then hides your keys, and the recording that does exactly the same thing at the same time every time it’s triggered. The second one is not a ghost at all. It’s a sort of hologrammatic replay.

That second one interests me. If it’s real, and there are too many reports to just ignore it, then how does it happen? How does an event get recorded on the local environment and how is it triggered? Figure that out and it’s a goldmine. You could protect your property with phantom dogs recorded on your rockery. Annoy your neighbours by having a toothless banjo player pop up every time they pass your house. Project holograms of full ashtrays everywhere the Dreadful Arnott goes. More seriously, you could have images of an armed response police unit appear if someone tries to break into your house.

Oh yes, that one is worth a bit of looking into. There is one conveniently nearby, in the haunted river. Yes, this town is so old even the river is haunted. There are still 11th-century fortifications visible and bits of the Picts lying about everywhere. They never clear anything away around here. In the river, on Christmas eve, an hour after sunset, the Jacobites are said to cross at the point where the ford used to be, before the bridge was built upstream. Took me a while to find the right place but I have. It still works too. It’s just a recording.

I think it’s well worth looking into because if I figure out how to do that, well, scaring people with pairs of miniature red glowsticks is going to be absolutely trivial. So far I have the conditions – has to be a layer of snow but not too much. The river can’t be running too deep (the ford is long gone but the river can get pretty damn deep there at times). They appear chest deep, when I suppose they would only have been kilt-deep when it was a proper ford. What are they recorded on? Can’t be vegetation, there can’t possibly be any original vegetation left. The river must have moved pretty much all the original soil and sediment and replaced it by now. Has to be rock.

There’s a sewage outlet in the riverbank now but no other building work to mess things up. I am looking for magnetic rocks simply because I know things can be recorded on magnetic tape or disc. That might be wrong but it’s a starting point.

I have, as I said, no religious beliefs but I am sure there is something we can’t see. So many people have experienced things and they can’t all be making up the same thing spontaneously. Real ghosts, well, I have no starting point for those. I have no idea what they could be made of so cannot buy or build a detector. Maybe when science has a dark matter detector we can start trying that one.

The recordings, though, I can start on now. How are they made, how are they triggered? No idea. I start with the premise of magnetic rock because it’s a place to start, nothing more. The local one triggers an hour after sunset on Christmas Eve so its trigger might link to sunset or star positions or something else entirely. It is not visible every year so maybe local temperatures, precipitation and river flow also matters.

I do not dismiss the supernatural out of hand. Crowley was an idiot who thought he was ‘The Beast 666′ even though he’s now dead and the apocalypse didn’t happen. He did a lot of research but does not appear to have understood any of it, mostly because he was obsessed with anal sex and generally quite mad. Incidentally, you know how the New Age lot insist on spelling it ‘magick’? That was Crowley’s idea. The ‘k’ is utterly irrelevant. If they were real Pagans they’d spell it ‘gramarye’. Gerald Gardner is being continually beaten by the old witches in his personal Hell forever, because he just made it all up. So is Crowley.

I suppose Gardner is next door in Hell to Crowley. He’ll be 668 – the neighbour of the Beast.

I simultaneously believe and don’t believe. I have seen and experienced enough to convince me that something interesting is happening but like dark matter, I cannot produce any to show you. It’s hard to study something that mostly appears at random. You cannot plan your experiments and that, to a scientist, is pain incarnate. The recordings are at least predictable but once a year for a few minutes? It is going to take a long time to collect data. I will also need more sites to look at, to find some common denominators for both recording and trigger. Some stories are rubbish. There is a local hotel that claims a haunting on October 31st each year and we are supposed to believe it’s not just a puerile attempt to drum up business in the slack months. Not falling for that one, not at their prices.

As for spirits and gods, I see no reason to believe that the Supernatural/Dark Matter World is any more controlled than this one. From what I have read and seen, it’s all a bloody mess. I do not know if human consciouness survives after physical death. There is only one way to know for sure and I’m in no hurry. I hope so though. I have a long list of people to haunt.

Still, if dark matter pervades all, that means we are likely to be at least partly made of it. Maybe that is what souls are made out of. Maybe… be honest here. Science loves ‘maybe’. It gives us a place to start looking. It is the basis of many a grant-money request. There will never be a grant for my slow and ponderous attempts to look at recordings but the upside is, if I win, nobody gets a share.

Those who regard themselves as pure-logic scientists will laugh at me for wasting my time even thinking about this stuff. That’s okay. It’s my time, it’s running out, I’ll waste it any way I want. My pension kicks in in six years and I plan to use it, and the lump sum, to drink and smoke myself to death. It’s the best way to die. Oblivious. I won’t be taking all the money out, I’ll be getting an annuity because I know what I’m like with money. If I have it all, I’ll spend it all. The lump sum will probably kill me anyway.

 

Admission time. I have been at the Talisker and the Glenmorangie. I still have enough sense to leave Caol Ila alone since even one glass will be smoky on my breath in the morning but I have to sleep before temptation wins this round.

Oh, I hate mornings. Why is nobody calling for a ban? The buggers want to ban everything else.