Water, extermination and a scary monkey.

I have no kitchen. It’s mostly in a pile in the back garden ready for a new one to start being fitted tomorrow. Some parts are in the garage – I’m upgrading the very shabby storage in there. The Greek kitchen-bloke amazed me by pulling the oven out and laying it on the floor. On his own! Last time that thing came out was when I had to replace an element and it took two of us to shift it.

Anyway, I’ll be surviving on microwave meals and plums for a few days (the tree is not as laden as last year but there are at least three carrier bags’ worth on there). Also a decent crop of eating apples this year. Those are very good for your insides, you know.

During kitchen dismantling I had about an hour with no water. It’s much easier to take taps off without that pesky wet stuff spraying everywhere. Even so, it drives home just how important that water supply is. Fancy a cup of tea? Oh wait, there’s no water. Need the toilet? Careful now, there’s only one flush in the tank. Hands dirty? Tough. That was just one hour!

If, when I replaced the sink taps some time ago, I had thought to use little valves instead of straight compression joints, there would have been no need to turn the water off and drain the tanks completely. Oh well, the pipes have valves now.

Imagine a world where your water could be turned off remotely, or automatically when you’ve used your week’s ration. Along with your electricity and gas supplies. That happens a lot in Panoptica and there is no point asking the neighbours for help. Their supplies are rationed too. It does not occur to the drones that the stuff falling from the sky is the same as the stuff coming out of the taps. It hasn’t been processed so it can’t be safe.

Many people are like that already. I have offered around bags of free plums and often come up against ‘Can you eat them just like that? Don’t they have to be processed?’ These are people in their 40s, who must have surely, as children, picked the blackberries and raspberries that grow wild all around here. Very few people do that now (I’m one of them!).

When water becomes scarce, as it will – artificially, of course – I might make a fortune selling small beer made from rain. For the alcohol-scared, I’ll just sell bottled boiled rainwater. I have filters aplenty.

To achieve such control, the establishment will have to install smart meters (already under way for electricity) and similar water meters. That’s also already under way in southern England which has been declared an ‘Area of Serious Water Stress’. That makes meter installation compulsory. For the rest, there are the usual ‘it will save you money’ claims that cannot be true for everyone. Currently the cost is averaged out based on house size. If I use less water than expected for the size of house, someone else in the same sized house must be using more. Most likely the families with small children. So if the meter saves me money it will increase someone else’s bill. It will increase the bills of those who can least afford it, as all these measures always do.

Meanwhile we are being exhorted to waste water by pouring it over our heads in the name of some charity or other. Not just water, but iced water. In a few months, iced water is going to fall from the sky here. It does it every year and I am in no hurry to experience that again. We have a few months of non-ice now, I say we make the best of them.

It came as a shock to hear that supermarkets are running out of ice. People buy ice? In Scotland? I have a thing called a freezer that turns tap water into ice for free. Sometimes I have to turn it off and clear out all the excess ice. I’ve been throwing it away. I had no idea anyone was willing to buy it.

I agree with Longrider on this one. I have not been nominated for the cold and wet game on Farcebok and if I am, the answer will be ‘no’ if I answer at all. Besides, I think that charity’s administrators are paid quite enough already.

It’ll be hard to convince the Scots that there is a water shortage. As far as I know there has never been a hosepipe ban in Scotland. One very dry summer, years ago, the water company did write to everyone asking if we’d mind not using our hoses too often but there was no actual ban. It’ll be the ‘cost saving’ angle here. Start with those who really will save money. Then profits will decline so the non-metered rate will have to rise to compensate. This will push those whose nieghbours are saving money into joining the metered gang. Profits will decline again, non-metered rates will rise… last one in is going to be paying a fortune!

It’s a good thing I have no world-domination ambition, isn’t it?

It’s very easy to control the baying mob. Most of them are too lazy to think and want someone else to think for them. Socialists like to do their thinking for them. Unfortunately, when it comes to thinking, socialists aren’t really very good at it. Well, they have their schemes but they never think them through. That’s why they fall apart.

One scheme that seems to be going quite well so far is population reduction by mass immigration. So it’s probably not the socialists behind this one.

What’s that? A logic lapse? How can you cause population reduction by mass immigration?

Easy. You make it very hard for anyone productive to live here but very easy for anyone who wants to live on benefits and stab passers-by. Keep that up and it won’t be the UN calling for population reduction. It’ll be the baying mob. Again, as with all such measures, those calling for an end to free benefits, free healthcare and so on never imagine it will apply to them. It’s just for the ‘other people’. No. Family size will be restricted, as in China. Wait a while. My bet is it will be two children per couple. It won’t be easy to apply since so many are born with no visible father these days but that’s another step on the way to Panoptica anyway.

The Calais issue could be solved at a stroke. These people are not EU citizens so are not automatically entitled to the benefits system of any EU country. Just tell them ‘Sure, come here if you want but you’ll starve to death in the streets and be eaten by seagulls and crows. We’re not even going to bury your corpse. We’ll just dump it where the rats can find it.’

Callous? Maybe. But it’s the freebies that call the world’s wasters to these shores. They certainly don’t come for the weather. The freebies aren’t even officially available to these non-EU folk. The opportunity to say ‘no’ is there. Why don’t they just say ‘no’? Could it be that they want the people – the mob – to demand it first? Then they can say ‘Hey, you wanted this, there’s no point complaining about it now’.

Since I decided on Scotland for Panoptica, the story is flying. There are things I wish I could blog or even hint at but they would be major spoilers. I am not at work again until Saturday – my new hours are concentrated into Saturday and Sunday with, very likely, some holiday cover. But that’s okay. Holiday cover is a reciprocal thing. Someone has had to cover my almost-month off. If it starts to get a bit too regular I can always quit again.

This week I will be disturbed by noise in the kitchen which will slow my writing down. Can’t be helped, I’m getting it on the cheap so I can’t complain. Still, the most productive writing comes when I have the peace to be in the imaginary world of the story. Any intrusion of reality can pop me out of that world and it can be hard to get back in.

Then again, reality can be helpful sometimes. A random browse brought me to a short story idea – it’s been a long time since I rattled one out and it would be a nice break from novels. This one involves a very scary monkey.

Here we have an artist with a scary face in her head. It won’t go away until she sculpts it. A few years later it demands she makes hands. Then a body. When it’s finished, the entity that sent the images can take control of it. I considered putting a comment to that effect on the blog but decided that was far too cruel, even for me.

I’ll have to make adjustments though. It would have to be built with mobile limbs at least. I’ve never been a fan of doll-coming-to-life stories where moulded plastic hands become suddenly dextrous.

So maybe an animator rather than an artist. Puts me into ventriloquist-dummy territory and those are ideal. Even the real ones can be scary.

Real life… fiction… it’s hard to know where the real horror lies sometimes.

 

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11 thoughts on “Water, extermination and a scary monkey.

  1. Well, I wouldn’t try to defend $200,000/year salaries (though that would be bug-feed compared to what the big Antis get for their “good work), but if you examine the graph the story reads a bit differently than the headline. Only 7% goes to “Administration” — paying all staff salaries/expenses and whatever office expenses there are. Only 27% goes to research but another 19% goes to patient services — and ALS patients need a LOT of support: I know a young lady here in PA whose body has been deteriorating steadily from ALS for the past five years. She and her partner (who’s one of our best spokespeople actually) were always known for their beautiful “country dancing” (bluegrass dancing? Dunno the proper term, but I saw them in action about 7 years ago and they were incredible!) Today she needs to be fed through a tube and is struggling to still be able to move one thumb so that she can control a computer screen. It’s a very, very sad disease.

    In any event, research and patient support make up 46% of the charity’s expenses, with another 32% going to “public and professional education.” I’m guessing that covers some of the workshops/classes that she and my friend go to for learning how to keep her alive as she steadily loses her bodily functions and also to educate her doctors along the same lines. That covers 78% of the charity’s costs.

    Fundraising is always tricky in charity work: if a charity spends nothing on raising funds it very often ends up without funds and can’t do anything. If the alternative is to spend $9 million to raise $10 million and they then have $1 million to do good stuff with, is that worth it? I dunno… I don’t know what the standards are out there and would agree that in general it’s better to give money/support directly to people you meet and know directly in life who need it: that way 100% of your charity goes to where you want it. Still, if “Ice Bucket” spends 14% of its money on fundraising that doesn’t seem too far out of line: how much does the March of Dimes etc etc spend?

    OK… just wanted to provide a counter-view here: the Ice Bucket thing has been a godsend for ALS: it’s a disease that’s fairly rare and there’s been very, VERY little research done on it and, at this point, not even any firm glimmers of any idea for how to cure it. Basically you get diagnosed and have about a 100% surety that you’ll watch yourself become nothing except a living brain inside of a body that will need machines just to breathe over the course of the following five or ten years. There’s always the hope of an unexpected breakthrough of course — one of the benefits of having an illness that’s so poorly understood is that a “cure” could suddenly arrive from something as weirdly unexpected as some green mold on an orange peel curing syphilis — but “unexpected” is the key word: it could happen tomorrow, or it might not happen until we can transplant our brains into empty bodies grown from our cells in tanks.

    I’d agree with one thing though: DO NOT GO RUNNING AROUND DUMPING ICE WATER on yourself and thinking you’ve “done something.” If you’re going to do something, send them some money, or at least find someone who has ALS and help them out in some way.

    – MJM

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    • Looks like that website is the fraud, Mike. Judging by the ads that appeared, it’s for very immature minds (e..g. “Make Women Want You… This Should Be Banned” and further down, a similar one directed at women).

      Recently, I had a look at the affairs of the British Heart Foundation, one of our most respected charities. Their latest accounts show that to raise £278 million cost them £157 million. ‘Research’ was under £91 million (32.6%).

      (They gave £382,000 to ‘No Smoking Day’, a 46% increase on the previous year)

      Their big earners are as follows:

      The following numbers of staff have emoluments above £60,000:
      Between £60,001 – £70,000 – 10
      Between £70,001 – £80,000 – 10
      Between £80,001 – £90,000 – 5
      Between £90,001 – £100,000 – 3
      Between £100,001 – £110,000 – 1
      Between £110,001 – £120,000 – 1
      Between £120,001 – £130,000 – 3
      Between £130,001 – £140,000 – 0
      Between £140,001 – £150,000 – 1
      Between £150,001 – £160,000 – 0
      Between £160,001 – £170,000 – 1
      Between £170,001 – £180,000 – 1

      Number of staff included above for whom retirement benefits are accruing: 35
      (i.e. all of them except one).

      They are unusual in that they don’t seem to get vast sums from government departments, the Lottery and the TV fundraising marathons.

      I agree with you about helping people directly instead if possible.

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    • I’d agree with supporting the charity but the whole ice-bucket thing is just madness. Especially since, as you say, there has been next to no research into the causes or cures.

      What if a sudden brain chill is a trigger?

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  2. XX So maybe an animator rather than an artistXX

    I THINK it was one of these films where four people are stuck in a lift, or something, and each tells their own story. There was one whereby a grafik artist/grafik novel artist, was designing/layin out a murder story, and everything he drew started to become real, until at the end, his “cartoon” character came to kill him.

    Anyone remember what that was?

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    • Good to see there is some wisdom still out there. ALS/motor neurone disease charity is something worth supporting but there’s no need to be all twatty about it. I give a little to charity (selectively, and not that much because I don;t have much spare) but I am not going to douse myself in ice cold water and post it online because I fail to see any connection.

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  3. It occurs to me that the reason Socialism (and nannying, prescriptive politics in general) fails is the same reason that a planned economy always eventually fails. It all eventually comes down to information. Central economic planners never have enough information to completely plan anything, so they always get things wrong.

    Socialist politicians, even assuming that they had the huge processing power needed to assimilate the information, never have enough information at their disposal to plan accurately.

    Capitalist or other decentralised systems work better not because they have more information, but because there are vastly more experimental systems in place and there’s a feedback mechanism. Over time, some capitalists will do better than others, and make a profit. The ones best at this will do best; the crap ones will go bust. These people and companies do not have more information than central planners, indeed they usually have less, but there are so many of them that the crap or unlucky ones going bust doesn’t matter.

    This is what we need to be doing with politics: increase the number of small fiefdoms, and implace a mechanism whereby crap regimes can go bust with minimal disruption to everyone else, and be replaced with other regimes. The key thing is this: under a decentralised system, outfits will get things wrong and go bust; this is expected behaviour. Losers must be allowed to lose and must be replaced by other people when they lose; propping up failed regimes is merely prolonging the pain.

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    • Socialism does not plan for change. Nothing must be allowed to change – but it’s going to change anyway no matter who is in charge. So there is no adaptability in socialism. In evolutionary terms, it’s a panda. Nice to look at but really not capable of quickly adapting to a changing environment.

      Socialism is the cause of conservation which demands nothing must ever die out while also insisting on evolution, which states that everything will eventually. Socialism is the cause of the total buggeration of modern science. Real life must fit the agenda and to hell with the actual data.

      I agree, failures must be allowed to fail. I still recall the change in teaching at HND and BSc level when I was told it was no longer acceptable to write ‘fail’ on a failure’s paper. I was instructed to write ‘not achieved’. It turned out that ‘not achieved and not likely to’ was not an acceptable compromise.

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  4. Re. smart meters. I don’t intend allowing one in my home. I have read in a few places that you can legally deny them. I still intend to be completely off-grid within the next couple of years anyway. From http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/

    There are many serious problems presented by web-enabling our electricity, gas and water supplies and turning our homes into wireless, network-attached nodes on the Internet. From documented (and suppressed) health risks, unwarranted privacy violations and safety issues to the loss of sovereignty & control of our property in our own homes and much higher bills, the Smart Grid will cause far more problems than it purports to solve. In reality, Smart Meters are a money-making solution to a very different challenge – namely, how profit-seeking corporations can continue to monetise further aspects of our lives.

    We encourage you to stand on your indefeasible human rights and to say a loud “NO!” to Smart Meters. Smart Meters are not mandatory – you are lawfully entitled to refuse one on whatever grounds you like. And if you would like to help other people do the same, please download and hand-out our leaflets to your neighbours and friends – this will make a huge difference in raising awareness about Smart Meters within your own community.

    There is a quote on the side. I can’t comment on its accuracy, but a Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt MD PhD claims that,

    The ‘Smart’ Meter is #1 in terms of devastation to our nervous system… [the radiation] permanently destroys and alters the manufacture of brain proteins … meaning that it completely changes the human organism – permanently.

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