Size matters

Today is 370 years since the opening paragraph of Jessica’s Trap. That story started on April 30th, 1647, the eve of Beltane. I have to find out what’s going on with that book, the contract with the publisher expired over a year ago and I’m still not sure whether it’s been taken off sale. Sometimes it’s there, sometimes not. It’s going to come back under Leg Iron Books.

But to get to the point, this one is about sugar. Specifically, the sneaky lies around the subject. Also about the bollocks we get now, in general.

Today the Daily Fibber states that some ready meals have more sugar than a doughnut. Do they mean pro-rata? No, they mean in absolute terms. Basically, they are saying that you are better to feed your kids a single doughnut for lunch rather than a pasta bake or a curry with rice.

Among the worst culprits is Kirsty’s Kids’ Kitchen Chicken Korma With Brown Rice. It is promoted as a ‘nutritionally balanced’ meal with ‘no added sugar’.

But the small print reveals it has a total sugar content of 14.8g, almost four teaspoons, more than twice the 6.2g found in a McDonald’s Sugar Donut.

If you were to compare the sugar content as sugar per 100g of product, the doughnut would win hands down. If you were to compare actual nutritional content, the curry would win every time. However, that does not allow you to pretend that all ready meal companies are subsidiaries of Big Sugar, charged with shifting as much of the stuff into kids as possible.

The whole article is utter bollocks, but then it is the Daily Mail so we’re used to that. Even so, this kind of shit is what politicians believe, because they have no minds of their own and have to have signs on their headboards so they can find their way out of bed in the mornings.

Honey, fruit juices and agave syrup are high in sugar but are not labelled as such.

That’s because they are made of sugar. I wouldn’t expect to see ‘high in sugar’ on a bag of Tate and Lyle’s best granulated sucrose. I fully expect that bag to contain 100% sugar.

It is claimed that we eat more sugar than we used to. I don’t think that’s true at all. Sugar sandwiches were a staple of my youth. Pancakes were coated in golden syrup and sugar. Syrup on toast was a favourite. Sugar mice were mouse shaped blocks of sugar with a hint of food colouring and a bit of string for a tail. You can still get them – a sweet shop in a nearby town sells them.

Yes, a sweet shop. It’s called ‘The sweet shop’. They sell sweets. Nothing else. Just sweets – including ice cream in cones that have been dipped in chocolate and sugar sprinkles. It’s the anti-sugar brigade’s equivalent of a tobacconist or an off-licence. I’m sure they get palpitations even knowing it exists. They’ll go into full meltdown if they find out that, just along the road, is another shop called ‘The chocolate bar’ which sells only chocolate. You wouldn’t burn the calories in a single cube of chocolate fudge by walking between those two shops – and there’s a pub in between in case you get peckish on the way.

There were many sweet shops when I was a kid. All within easy reach of school. We didn’t get fat – well some kids did but really, only a few. Like now. Look at the feral little groin-fruit scampering out when school closes. There are a few fat ones, some chubby ones (who will lose it all when they hit the growth spurt of puberty) and a lot of scrawny little urchins.

They are probably, on average, a bit heavier than my generation but we didn’t have computers and Xboxes, we did most of our playing outside. Then again, we did have Scalextric and train sets and toy cars and soldiers and a lot of really good board games so we did a lot of sitting around too. Especially in lousy weather, which we get a lot of in the UK.

People have been getting larger as generations progress. Look at those antique dining chairs. They are far too small to be useful now. So this generation being a tad larger and heavier than my generation is not an anomaly. It’s normal.

If modern kids are getting fatter it has nothing to do with sugar. It has more to do with mollycoddling. They aren’t allowed to climb trees. They can’t wander off in the woods in case Gary’s Gang is lurking. Even the toys are no fun any more.

I had a chemistry set. It included magnesium ribbon among other dangerous things. Of course I burnt the magnesium. Who wouldn’t?

I bought my son a chemistry set when he was young. It was the most boring, God-awful waste of time I have ever seen. It had safety glasses! Mine didn’t have those. Safety glasses in a set that was based entirely on the safest experiments you can imagine. Growing copper sulphate crystals is fun the first time but the novelty soon wears off. Where’s the stuff that burns and/or goes bang? Not in the set? Then what the hell are the safety glasses for? He wasn’t much interested and when I looked it over, I saw no reason to push it.

Plastic test tubes and pipettes. I had glass ones. I bought more in the local chemist. I learned how to draw out a pipette into a flexible capillary long before getting chemistry lessons in school. I think I still have a piece of one in my thumb. It only twinges occasionally as a reminder not to do it again.

That set would never kindle anyone’s interest in science. It makes it look extraordinarily tedious.

All this dumbing down in the name of ‘the cheeldren’ is too easy to laugh at. It’s really very dangerous. Making children super-slim means they have no energy reserves for that massive growth spurt at puberty. A lot of us looked like bean bags at 11 years old and like panel pins at 14. No intervention was necessary. It was nature.

I’m still wondering whether the introduction of spectacles when I had blurry distance vision at 11 was a bad idea. I was in that growth spurt time. Things were changing and not all at once. My eyes might have been short-sighted because the eye sockets were growing at a different rate to the eyes in them. It might have corrected itself.

When (if) it did, it adjusted to give me correct vision without realising I had glass lenses in the way. Now I have to wear them – not all the time, only when I have to look at things.

My close-up vision has definitely deteriorated with age though. I could see things clearly less than 10 cm in front of my eyes which is why I could paint the eyes onto 1/72 scale figures. Can’t do that now without a magnifier, but that’s normal. My closest clear focus is now 25 cm without any lenses between.

Yet I wonder, would my long vision have corrected itself if my growing body wasn’t looking through those lenses? I suppose I’ll never know.

I used to laugh at the daft pronouncements and at the anenecephalic politicians who just lapped it all up. That was before I realised how deadly it actually was.

There are people claiming that vaping is as dangerous as smoking. It’s steam! I have seen, recently, claims that there is antifreeze in vape. No, antifreeze is ethylene glycol. Vape contains propylene glycol, a harmless food grade thickening agent found in yogurt and many other things. Including asthma inhalers, in case you want to jump up with ‘Breathing is not the same as eating’.

Smoking has risks. They are vastly overplayed, the risk to others is so comical I could never skip the chance to terrify an antismoker. But yes, there are risks. There were risks in my first chemistry set, my first airgun, my first forays (untrained) into meddling with electricity and explosives and I accepted the risk and did it anyway. That will never change for me. ‘Perfectly safe’ is no fun at all.

Perfectly safe is what the idiots in the pressure groups claim to want. What their aims will achieve is the extinction of the human race and in some cases, of all life on the planet.

Bill (wee fookin’ bawbag) Gates has stated that he wants to reduce atmospheric CO2 to zero. Really. Zero. I have thought up a way that it could be done but I will die before I tell a single soul. If atmospheric CO2 was zero, every single plant and alga on this planet is dead within days.

When they die, nothing is producing oxygen. We breathe oxygen, as do the rest of the animals around us. We exhale CO2. My device mops it all up.

The oxygen will run out. ‘Bye. Well, some anaerobic bacteria will be around so the planet can start again. Makes me wonder if that happened before…

That is Bill Gates, multi-millionaire who thinks money makes him clever. He’s not alone. George Soros thinks money makes him superior. So do the Virgin Beard Guy and the rich tart he’s funding (can’t be bothered looking them up, it’s late) to make us vote for what they want, not what we want. Politicians think they are superior because they have money even though they only have money because they extort it from the rest of us in taxes. They produce fuck all. No wonder they support benefit spongers. Kindred spirits.

They want to tax Electrofag. They have paid shills pretending it’s dangerous. Smoking is nowhere near as dangerous as they claim. By comparison, vaping is harmless. Well, mostly harmless. I mean, come on. If you believe breathing smoke is deadly then surely people breathing steam is a better thing?

All the politicians look for are tax opportunities. They would love to tax food and the fat, sugar and salt Puritans are glad to give them enough lies to let them do it. The general public…

…are mostly gullible idiots. I speak from personal experience. I have convinced people of utterly nonsensical things for fun. Tax the rich? They’ll vote for it without realising that as they have a job, they ARE the rich! The really rich don’t pay taxes, they collect them,

I digress, as usual.

Zero salt will kill you. Zero sugar will kill you faster. Zero smoking will kill ASH, which is why they pretend Big Tobacco controls Electrofag even though Electrofag would be the greatest thing ASH could hope for if they really wanted what they say they want.

Too much of anything will kill you too. Eat and drink and smoke whatever you want, if it starts to hurt, slow down.

Oh, I remember when you only saw doctors when you were ill and they fixed you without judging your life…

…and now you have to fit the standard. Be the right size or be shunned.

 

Bunnies and chocolate

The author copies of ‘Tales the Hollow Bunnies Tell’ are on the way to the contributing authors. They are in the gentle hands of the post office sorting gorillas and should arrive in a day or two.

Meanwhile, it seems a Food Guru has been getting paid by a chocolate company and this is an Evil Thing in antisugar world.

Towards the end of that article we see ‘no industry funding of research should be accepted’ which will bring a smirk to the face of Big Tobacco and Big Booze and others. Mine too.

I work for commercial food companies. Tomorrow I’m driving to Inverness to talk about cheese. I do not do dodgy research like the anti-everything shitheads produce. If I don’t think it will work I will tell them that. If they want to pressure me into getting a particular result, I go home. I’m a research consultant, not a PR consultant. You want lies, go talk to ASH or pretty much any politician. If your stuff turns out to be crap or even dangerous, that’s what my report will say. Up to you to publish or suppress it.

The thing I’m going to talk about tomorrow cannot possibly be dangerous. It sounds like it could be really impressive but we’ll see. It would be a nice change for me to work with something that doesn’t come with the proviso ‘one slip and you die’.

I haven’t ever worked for a salt or sugar producer. I’d love to work for a chocolate company, the freebies would be most welcome. However, working for a company does not temper my comments. I don’t much care about money because I’ve never had very much of it and it’s not interesting in itself. It just lets me buy more train stuff on eBay.

I will, and have, lost research work through honesty. I could have taken the money for projects that were never going to work but I told them at the first meeting – ‘this cannot work because…’

It’s all good. I might not have much but I seem to be able to get what I need. It’s not true that working for a company means you are owned by that company – not unless you want to be. Nobody can offer me enough to keep silent if I see something to rant about. I cannot stop the rants. Okay, I’ve never really tried but I probably couldn’t. Research is different. It’s commercial so no details. Company behaviour is fair game.

I know someone high in the ranks of the Scottish Food Standards Agency. She doesn’t like me much. That’s understandable. We worked together on probiotics for a while and we were at loggerheads most of the time. I wanted it to work, she wanted to please the company sponsors. She got the high paying job, I ended up redundant and self-employed.

I think I got the better deal in the end, although it has been tough at times. Even so, my principles are intact. I win. She has riches, I have integrity. I still say I win.

So okay. This nutritionist does a bit of work for a chocolate company. Does that disqualify her as a nutritionist? Depends what she tells them to a small extent. It depends on whether she lets them tell her what to tell others to a much larger extent, and I doubt that is happening. No chocolate company would ever attempt to say ‘choc is good for you’ at this moment. Even when there is real research that shows it is.

Her Righteous friends have declared her heretic. She touched the enemy! Yes, they are really that insular.

It’s a witch hunt. ‘You took money from a proper company rather than live like a tapeworm on taxes? A Witch! Burn her!’

Silence her in case she refutes the Doctrine of the Drones. This has happened so many times now and still the drones believe it all. How do these people remember to breathe? I have cultures of bacteria that wouldn’t fall for this kind of idiot programming. People fall for it all – smoking, vaping, global warming, salt, sugar, you name it, they will believe it.

The Righteous have learned how to manipulate the drones. It was never hard. Bread and circuses gave them the way to do it. Labour party and television took their drone lives from them and ripped away all the potential they could have had. They won’t see it, don’t bother. They are lost and they love their oblivion. They are parasites and proud of it. They don’t even realise they have a purpose and a master who controls their thoughts, but it will hit them smack in the face someday soon.

Too late to resist. Their domino will fall and they will look for support – but all the supporting dominoes are already down. The ones who produced, who worked, who made money. The ones they toppled. In the name of Fighting Big Companies For No Reason Other Than That They Exist.

The dominoes are going down. Everyone’s turn is coming. Can you stop it? My domino is already down and I see nobody who wants to help re-stand it. Why would I help with yours? I’ll just drop a hint.

If you want to wipe out an ants’ nest, you have to kill the queen. Then you get peace.

 

Do you see your enemy now? I know most of the readers here already have but one day a curious drone might happen by.

They’ll just mind-wipe what they’ve read though.  Maybe, just one, will understand.

For one, it’s all worth the effort.

Dominoes

No, it’s not about pizza.

Today I was blocked again on Twitter. It’s what the indoctrinated and the one-track-minded would love to do in real life: just silence any alternative viewpoint. Except… it doesn’t silence anyone. It just stops the blocker’s involvement in the conversation.

So I guess the one who blocked me won’t see this. Should I start to care, I’ll be sure to post an update. I’ve given up on these people. They cannot bear to consider any other view and I long ago tired of talking to walls.

His argument was that cattle produce methane, methane causes global warming, so if people eat less beef there’ll be less cattle and thereby save the planet.

I pointed out that if he wants less cattle then he must also restrict all milk products. I mentioned falling dominoes. Twitter’s limitations did not allow me to elaborate the difference between beef and dairy herds and I doubt he’d be interested anyway. Nor would he be interested in hearing about all the other ruminant species out there. I’m blocked now but well, I’m not involved in education any more. The wilfully ignorant are not my problem. He’ll see it one day, when his personal domino falls, but I’m not here to save him. I’m here to save me, and anyone else who will listen.

My background is in intestinal microbiology. My PhD was on the metabolism in the gut of ruminant animals. So yes, I know what I’m talking about here.

I saw the bandwagon of methane reduction when it started. I worked in labs that jumped on that bandwagon. Some actually believed it would make a difference but most saw a good way to keep the department funded. Sadly, that part of science is necessary: experiments don’t pay for themselves. So, many labs run high-profile projects for funding and do the interesting stuff behind the scenes. You only get to hear about the interesting stuff when it finally does something impressive.

The interesting stuff won’t get any funding as speculation, it has to prove itself first. It does that on the back of bandwagon grants.

Methane is trivial as a greenhouse gas. It was long ago shown that water vapour is the major greenhouse effector but you can’t take exhalations and you can’t tax the sun on the ocean. Therefore, carbon dioxide and methane, extraordinarily tiny components of the air, have to be continuously blamed. There’s no money in steam.

If there was that much methane in the air then every time I lit a cigarette, the flare would be visible in Edinburgh. Methane isn’t inert, there are soil bacteria that use if for growth so it does get used up. It isn’t the final end product, it’s part of a cycle. I worked on methane oxidising bacteria as one of those Interesting Things at the back of another project. Didn’t get too far but I did get a paper out of it.

You cannot isolate one single reaction and claim you have the answer to the global ecosystem. It’s a very complex ecosystem. Change one part of it and all the rest will change to adapt to it. Like rabbits or cane toads in Australia – meddle with an ecosystem and all hell can break loose. One change is like toppling that first domino. It’s hard to stop the chain reaction once it starts.

The Green God’s religion does not recognise dominoes. To them, every scientific result is to be taken in isolation and then applied to the entire planet as Gospel. Unquestionable. ‘The science is settled’. Yeah, well, if it’s unquestionable then it’s not science. It’s a cult. They can’t grasp that.

The also can’t grasp that cows are not the only source of methane – in fact they aren’t even the major source. Mud flats, peat bogs, any swamp anywhere is pumping out methane all the time (I spent three years working on bacteria in estuarine mud flats too). And we won’t even start on what happens when a subsea methane clathrate collapses. The ice worms that live in them are cute though.

Cows don’t produce methane. No mammal does, not directly. Bacteria in their guts produce methane and those bacteria are not specific to the gut. They live in swampy ground and anywhere it’s wet and there’s no or very little oxygen. Including deep water. Cows are a small part of the whole ecosystem and yet they are to be wiped out to save the planet? Total extinction will have no measurable effect on methane production at all.

That’s not why they are being wiped out. They are to be removed so we don’t eat meat. There’s a reason for that.

I remember when butter was suddenly deemed a Terrible Thing. Spread butter on your toast and a heart attack was only hours away. It’s been shown to be bollocks now but it persisted for decades. It coincided with the rise of margarine, then the pretend-butter spreads I refer to as plasticine. Butter, it turns out, is healthier than the synthetics but it took a long time to get the truth past the censors.

Doesn’t matter if the cows are to be eradicated. All we’ll have left are the synthetics. Synthetic milk already exists. It’s horrible but it exists.

Sugar is suddenly evil. Well not really suddenly, it’s been sneered at for a long time. That started with the introduction of artificial sweeteners and has become harsher and more desperate recently as people are rejecting the synthetics in favour of actual sugar.

Today’s new product is insect protein. A whole industry is trying to get off the ground. Faced with the choice, would you pick the burger made from beef or the one made from cockroaches? Yeah, it’s not a hard choice.

So it has to be made a hard choice. Push up the price of meat with ‘greenhouse tax’ and ‘fat tax’ and boost the guilt trips and soon the roachburger is all you can afford. The drones fall for it every time.

I have seen Twitter drones insist that Electrofag is designed by the tobacco companies to keep us smoking. I don’t engage in conversation with that level of stupid, it’s so concentrated it might be contagious. There’s no point.

Electrofag is the biggest threat the tobacco companies have ever faced.  I have several and I like them – although I still like the real ones too. Many have switched away from the real ones to Electrofag, and many new ‘smokers’ became new vapers instead. Isn’t that what those who hate tobacco companies wanted? A big dent in their profits?

It’s not what those who live on other people’s earnings want. Tobacco taxes account for an enormous amount of revenue and Electrofag is denting that too. This should give anti-tobacco governments a problem. Their drones will want to cheer on the demise of tobacco but those at the top can’t allow it to happen. What happens to their funding, their very reason for existence, if we all switch to vaping?

Fortunately the drone mind is easy to manipulate. Just tell them it’s another kind of tobacco, tobacco companies sell it, and all vapers turn into smokers. Those are all total lies, none of them ever happened, but the drones need no evidence. They will believe what they are told and block anyone who tries to tell them anything different.

Twitter is perfect for drone control. They’ll block any reasonable voice and end up talking amongst themselves, just reinforcing the indoctrination they’ve been exposed to until the Cult of the Green God is ready to launch its own jihad on we filthy heretics.

It’s not new. Many cults have used the same techniques to produce blindly-believing followers. This one pretends to use science. Its pronouncements come from academics.

I’ve met an awful lot of academics. Some are at genius level, most are merely clever but some make you wonder how they got in there. I can think of two PhD’s I’ve met who made me wonder if the qualification was really worth anything at all.

Yes, there are idiot academics. They make up for their uselessness by fast-talking and sounding convincing. The cunning ones build a following and the really devious get the press on side. It’s hard to sack someone when the press has built them up to hero status.

Personally I avoid any contact with the press. I talked to one once, was totally misrepresented and had phone calls from genuine scientists wondering what the hell I was up to. Now, I have no comment for any reporter anywhere. Read the journal papers, wait for the data to be published. I’m not talking until that’s done. At the moment I work as a consultant for commercial companies so can’t say much of anything anyway.

I’ve never blocked anyone on Twitter and never been blocked for abusive language. I’ve been blocked twice for agreeing with people, once for sympathising, and a few times for trying to tell them the truth. They don’t want the truth, they want their beliefs.

Let them have their beliefs. I work in science. Everything I do can be questioned and sometimes, those questions reveal to me something I’ve missed. I do not silence dissent. I encourage it. It’s a source of new information. I have no time to play with those who believe ‘the science is settled’.

That’s a religion. I do not have time for religion.

The laws that aren’t

Many people regard the saying ‘the customer is always right’ as if it’s a law. It’s not. It’s company policy at Marks and Spencer. It applies to no other business, anywhere, unless the business chooses to implement it.

I wouldn’t recommend it. It attracts the most arrogant, self-righteous, pompous bastards to your shop where they know they can behave like spoiled brats and be pandered to. It also wrecks staff morale because if the customer is always right, then by extension the staff member they are arguing with is always wrong. High staff turnover and eternal training costs are the natural consequence.

It’s not a law, no matter how many people think it is. Any other shop can tell you to piss off and never return and there is not a damn thing you can do about it.

Via @Dick_Puddlecote on Twitter, it seems there is a non-law that says nonsmokers can’t be sold Electrofags. Oh, some bunch of self-important Public Health arseholes spent a lot of time and taxpayer’s money ‘secret shopping’ in vape shops. Will they sell it to us if we don’t smoke?

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It’s a vape shop. The only customers who go inside are ones who want to buy an Electrofag. So the shopkeeper doesn’t ask if they already smoke. Indeed, they are not allowed to sell Electrofag as a stop-smoking aid so asking if the customer smokes could be seen as a violation of that rule. They are only required to check the customer is over 18. Electrofag sellers have always done that. There was never any need to force them to do it.

This ridiculous farce is no different to a vegan group secret shopping in a butcher’s and then getting all uppity because the butcher will sell meat to vegans. The butcher will sell meat to anyone who wants it. It’s a meat shop. If you don’t want meat, don’t go in there.

I’ve never been inside a New Look shop. They sell women’s clothes. I don’t want any. Should I go in and buy something then call the newspapers because they sold a bra to a man? It’s really no different to what Public Health have just done.

In all the years I’ve been smoking, I have never once been asked if I’m a smoker or non-smoker when buying baccy. Can we expect ASH and Public Health to raid Tesco and Morrison’s next, because they went in and asked for a pack of cigarettes and the retailer neglected to ask if they smoked? I think the retail response would be ‘if they don’t want to smoke them, why did they want to buy them?’

Every smoker once bought his or her first pack of cigarettes (in my case it was cigars) and every vaper once bought their first Electrofag. So now some people want to skip the smoking part and go straight to Electrofag. Well why not? Would Public Health really prefer them to start on tobacco and then switch to steam?

Honestly. Politicians listen to what these people say, you know. Unquestioningly. It’s seriously time to apply a minimum IQ to anyone wanting to stand for election because we are being led by utter cretins.

As for the medics, well, I have no faith at all in modern medicine. They used to employ intelligent medics but no longer, it seems. Now all you need to become a medic is the ability to absorb indoctrination and to shut down the analytical part of your mind in order to qualify. Where we once had medics, we now have drones. They just think what they are told to think and they diagnose based on personal prejudice rather than medicine.

If only the medics and politicians could see all the parasites stuck to them. ASH serves no purpose beyond being a new Smoker Inquisition. All the lifestyle dictators in the NHS are the reason it’s always short of medical staff and medicines. Get the parasites out, get proper doctors and nurses in, and we’ll have a damn good health service again.

Physicians, heal thyselves.

Now we are told that crisps are evil. Full of deadly things like fat and salt and… acrylamide.

Oh there’s no law on acrylamide content. There are guidelines but not a law. As for crisps, well, is there anyone out there who thinks crisps are health food? They are a snack. A small snack, a fraction of a potato in a bag. There might be a lot of fat and salt and other crap as a proportion of the weight of crisps in a bag, but the total weight really isn’t very much. Diluted by one human body, even a small one, it amounts to bugger all.

This is the same game as ‘there are 600 deadly chemicals in a cigarette’. A typical cigarette contains 0.6g of tobacco. Ignore the fact that most of it is cellulose (it’s made of leaves, I feel I have to point that out considering the level of intelligence we have to deal with in government and medicine these days) and let’s pretend it’s 0.6g of just the deadly chemicals.

Let’s also pretend there is no ash residue and nothing at all comes off as smoke.

That gives us 0.006g of each deadly chemical. The reality is far, far smaller than that. Scared? I’m not. I’m more scared of diesel fumes on a busy street – and I’m not that scared of those either. Okay, that’s partly because I live on a farm at least 11 miles from a town of any size, but I don’t feel the need to cover my face when visiting the town.

I don’t often eat crisps but when I do, I don;t worry about the salt and fat content. I’m not going to worry about acrylamide in crisps because I like the crispy bits on the outside of roast meat. I know there will be many daft sods out there who will be scared. Including every single politician and medic.

The crisp story doesn’t scare me at all because when you change the percentages into real quantities eaten, they amount to… bugger all. Just like the deadly stuff in smoke. Just like the evil thickening agent (no, idiots, it’s NOT antifreeze) that’s food grade and found in yogurts and loads of other things.

Yet again, the news is up in arms over the breaking of a law that isn’t. The idea behind it all, of course, is to make it law. The general zombie population won’t even notice because they already thought it was a law.

And, once vape shops have to check if you’re a smoker before they sell you Electrofag, Tesco will have to check if you’re a smoker before they sell you any tobacco. Having watched how these evil bastards work for decades, their next logical step isn’t hard to work out.

Then you won’t be able to buy drink unless you can prove you’re a drinker… and so on. They can’t stop us so they’ll kill us off by attrition. Nonsmokers will never be able to take up smoking or vaping, nondrinkers will never be able to buy booze. I know, I can feel the shrugs now. If you don’t smoke and/or drink now, why would you?

I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about those currently growing up who might be looking forward to turning 18 so they can try these things. In the future the only way they’ll get to try them will be to buy totally unregulated stuff from criminal gangs.

Won’t happen? Public Health and ASH and the rest of the nannies will tell you it won’t happen.

Like it didn’t happen when heroin and cocaine were made illegal…

Basically, in the future, all your kids are fucked. You think the Righteous care?

They’re doing it on purpose.

40% Spite

In Wales, they asked The Question once again. ‘Should pubs be allowed to have separate, well ventilated smoking rooms?’

This has been dealt with already by Simon Clark, Dick Puddlecote and Christopher Snowdon.

So I won’t bother with the raddled harridans and malevolent harpies of Hatred ‘R’ Us, aka the anti-tobacco mob.

What stood out for me was that around 40% of people don’t think pubs should be allowed to have a separate, well ventilated smoking room. Why not? If you don’t like smoking, don’t go in that room.

The rest of the pub is still smoke free. All of it is smoke free apart from one room but no, that’s not enough for the Spiteful 40%. They must have all of it to themselves.
Really? That many people actually want the entire pub – although part of me suspects that the Spiteful 40% never actually go to pubs. They’re happy to see them closed down.

Which is, of course, the greatest achievement of the smoking ban. Closing down pubs.

Did the pubs hate smokers? Some did. I recall one pub landlord delighting in getting rid of the ‘boring’ smokers – but he could have done that himself any time he liked. He could have made his pub smokefree whenever he wanted. He didn’t because over half his customers were smokers. I wonder if he still has his pub?

Most pubs have done their best to keep our business. There is only one pub in the nearby little village and getting to any other pub means driving. Buses are in short supply out here. With the latest drink-hate from the Scottish Government, there’s no point in driving to a pub because you can’t have a single beer if you’re driving home.

So Local Pub has a captive clientele. If you want a beer in the pub, you go to that one. No choice. They don’t have to cater for anyone, they are the only game in town.

They have a heated and covered smoking area at the back of the pub. Not just a woefully inadequate shelter. A nicely warm and dry space for their smoking customers. Why? Because unlike the vicious goblins of Tobacco Control and their dim lackeys in Government, the pub does not hate smokers.

Just to rub it in, the pub has a real fireplace that’s always in use. Nobody seems to mind that. Burning half a gram of dry leaf terrifies the Spiteful 40% but burn a whole tree in stages throughout the day and they can’t get close enough to it.

They will argue ‘the smoke goes up the chimney’. Yes it does, and the draft up that chimney means all smoke goes up it. Including the smoke from that half gram of burning leaf.

So, 40% of the population are utterly selfish bastards. To make it clearer, they also want smoking banned on beaches. Seriously. Beaches. Those big areas made of sand and washed over by the ocean. A dropped cigarette end is really not going to start a fire there.

As for the smoke, there is five miles of atmosphere overhead and flat ocean as far as the eye can see in front of you. You cannot get a better ventilated area.  You’re at sea level. The atmosphere above is thicker than anywhere else. Yet the Spiteful 40% want all that to themselves. They want to hang their faces over barbecues while banning the guy with a cigarette.

Some people are beyond any form of reasoning. Where’s Natural Selection when you need it?

I blame all those warning labels. They encourage stupid people to survive.

 

Why is this news?

Apparently, warning children that snacks are going to make them fat just makes them want the snack more.

Surely every parent already knows this, starting with the very first parents right at the dawn of humanity? Tell a child they can’t have something and their brain immediately defaults to ‘You’re keeping the good stuff for yourself!’

They have to try it, to find out why it’s not allowed. Tell them not to touch fire and they’ll touch it to find out why. In that case only once, but tell them not to eat chocolate and they’ll test that assertion over and over.

The antismoking crusade is what drives children to smoking. It’s bad, it’s evil, you can’t have it… so they have to try it and find out for themselves. Some won’t like it, some will. The same goes for alcohol, sugar, salt… That’s because children are people, and people are all individuals with different likes and dislikes. Something modern medicine can’t seem to grasp.

Children aren’t stupid. Repellent, unhygienic and despicable yes, but not stupid.

Children want to be grown up. They want to try grown up stuff. Okay, when we grow up we realise we were far better off being children, but what child knows this apart from those of us who never really grew up?

So, tell them they can’t have it and it’s grown-up stuff. It exists therefore someone has it. It must be the grown-ups. They want it for themselves. Why can’t we have it?

The concept of ‘one day you’ll be a grown-up’ is entirely lost on children. On most adults too. They cannot envisage the future, only the past – and for children it’s often just the ‘now’. That’s why children don’t see consequences, and why most adults don’t see them either. They cannot think ahead. They don’t know how.

I’ll soon be 57. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. Most people follow a path through life. Not me. I just bumble through and most of it (barring a few utter disasters) seems to work out. I’m alive, and eternally broke, but I can pay the rent and buy food and put petrol in the car so everything is good. I don’t want to be rich. There is nothing I need that much money for.

I remember being a child. I had a Dalek suit made of PVC. It was floppy and didn’t hold the Dalek shape but it was fun. Armed with a sink plunger and a whisk. I had a Scammel tank transporter steel toy and a tank (can’t remember which) to put on the back. I melted many, many toy soldiers on the coal fire.

I had Action Man toys, Batman’s Batmobile with plastic flame from the exhaust, Joe 90’s car, Bond’s Aston Martin, many many more. These would all be worth a fortune now if I had thought ahead. Kept them pristine and in their boxes. All are gone.

But I was a child. Joe 90 died in a mid-air collision with Thunderbird 2. Batman and Bond failed in their missions in spectacular style, involving a screwdriver and deadly curiosity. I took things apart to see how they worked. I was not thinking of the future. There wasn’t one. There was only ‘now’. The future happens after sleep and it’ll be the same as today.

Yeah, I was told not to touch the drinks cabinet. So obviously I had a go at the sherry, the easiest one to open. I was strangely uninterested in my dad’s cigarettes but then he never told me not to try them. Either he assumed I couldn’t light them, or that I wouldn’t be interested, or that it was so obvious he didn’t need to tell me. Whatever the reason, they weren’t on the banned list so weren’t interesting.

I have stuck a knife in the toaster and I have run with scissors. I’m still here. The scissors were closed and held point down and I unplugged the toaster before digging out the stuck crumpet. They don’t tell you that part. Just the overall ‘it’s dangerous’, not the way to make it not dangerous.

Snacks won’t make you fat unless you eat a lot of them and don’t move much. That is not the warning that’s ever given. There is no safe level of biscuits or crisps – that is the warning and it’s patently ridiculous.

Children see it. Medics and pressure groups don’t. Can you?

Mouldy old dough

I loved that song as a kid.

Anyway, this isn’t about singing. It’s about fungi. A group that includes both yeast and moulds.

Basically, yeast grow as single cells and you make bread and booze with them. Moulds grow in thread-like bundles called ‘mycelia’ and you make blue cheese with them. The distinction isn’t absolute, sometimes yeast can grow like mould and mould can grow like yeast.

There are very few infective yeasts. Candida albicans is one. If you’re one of those trendies who have named your daughter ‘Candida’ she’s not going to see a lot of action from anyone educated.

Ringworm, athletes’s foot and a few other fungi will infect you too but mostly fungi like to grow around 20degC. Inside the body is too warm for them. There are exceptions, the anaerobic fungi that grow in ruminant animals… but I’m drifting into lecturer mode and they don’t matter here.

No, if a mould is going to get you it’ll mostly be Farmer’s Lung or poisoning. Farmer’s Lung is a massive inhalation of fungal spores. Aspergillus gets the blame usually because it grows on hay. Really though, it doesn’t matter which one too much, it’s the mass that matters. Turn the hay, shift bales around, farmers do this in immense quantities and if it’s mouldy at all then disturbing it will throw a huge amount of spores into the air. Breathe them in and the irritation causes fluid buildup and before you know it, your doctor insists you must be a smoker even if you’ve never heard of tobacco.

Poisoning, well, picking your own mushrooms can do that. Destroying Angel is an innocent looking mushroom but very very deadly. Unless you know exactly what you are doing, get your mushrooms at the supermarket. Those are grown by mushroom growers who know what they are doing. Amateur mycologists are rare because most of them are dead now.

Shaggy Inkcap is a nice one. Get it before it turns to ink and fry it lightly. I know where a patch grows. But don’t have alcohol with it – it reacts very badly with alcohol. You won’t die but you might wish you had  😉

So, who just did a double take? Who thought I changed subjects between mould and mushrooms? I didn’t. Mushrooms, toadstools, they are all moulds.

More accurately they are the fruiting bodies of moulds. The spore producing parts. The seed pods, if you like. The frilly bit under the mushroom is where the spores are formed and released. Millions of them. Button mushrooms are the artichokes of the microbial world. The unopened flower.

Quorn is made of mould. Stilton is nothing without its surface mould and neither is Brie nor Camembert. The blue lines in many cheeses are a live mould. I like to keep Danish Blue until it’s turned very blue indeed. In fact, when the other cheeses start to turn blue, that one is ready.

I know, there is a terror of mould these days. The black stuff growing on your damp walls is nasty. Kill it immediately. And yet other moulds are good to eat. The cheese moulds are no different to eating mushrooms. It’s all mould.

It’s all killed in your stomach, you know. It’s hot and acidic in there.

If your fridge has no detectable levels of mushroom spores I can conclude that you never eat mushrooms. The same goes for spores of the white moulds around Brie or Camembert or the blue moulds through other tasty cheeses. They are all producing spores all the time.

You know what? It doesn’t matter. In a reasonably clean fridge the mould are the Biblical seeds that fell on stony ground. They can’t grow in there. It’s too cold and there’s no food.

And you are supposed to clean the fridge once in a while…

I’m not going into the whole range of different spore formations, it’s tempting but I’m not a lecturer any more. The basis is, mould spores are everywhere all the time. Always have been. Don’t worry about it.

Food that goes mouldy had those spores on it from the start. When you bought it or grew it, the spores were on it. If it’s mouldy it means only one thing. You kept it too long. Bin it.

As long as you’re not a total idiot, moulds are not scary. The red one with white spots, Amanita, is one to avoid. Yes you can get high on a small dose, but get the dose wrong and you get so high that Saint Peter says the last hello. As I said, if you don’t know what you’re doing leave them alone and stick to shop ones.

I seem to be alternating between terrifying and harmless. Well, it’s just common sense. Would you eat of the fruit of a tree you don’t know? Especially one you’ve been told is a bad idea to eat from?

Actually the Bible starts with the first humans doing just that. Might not be just a story. Could be a description of human nature.

‘Don’t do that, it’ll kill you’

‘Oh you think so? Watch this’.

Yeah… Not much has changed.

CStM told me about the last general strike in Denmark. People were stocking up on things in case they ran out and one of the things was yeast. Bread making yeast. In Denmark it’s sold as live active yeast, not the dry spores we get in the UK, so it has a very limited shelf life. Buying loads of it is silly. As she said, everyone could have gone for a sourdough approach starting with one pack. Nobody thinks of that unless they’ve studied at least a bit of microbiology and/or breadmaking.

Fungi make your bread and your beer and wine and whisky. They give you all those fancy and plain mushrooms and exotic cheeses. And yet you are terrified of them. I suppose it’s not a surprise. You’re all scared of bacteria and yet enjoy yogurt and salami and sauerkraut…

The modern obsession with ‘clean’ is killing you. You think you’re being healthy. No. You’re becoming weak.

The Daily Scare tells us that there are mould spores all over the place and we should be terrified. Sigh. If there weren’t spores all over the place we’d be on a different planet. A dead one.

I mean, look at it. They want us scared that a mould might grow in our carpet – a mould that is either only dangerous to grass or that is actually edible. Your carpet has to be continuously damp to get any growth at all and only then, if it’s a mould that can grow on carpet

So, a wool or cotton degrading mould then. It has to be able to eat the food it’s growing on. Moulds do tend to grow on dead organic matter so wool or cotton would do. Polyester carpet? Don’t spill any food on it…

The Mail have taken a basic-interest science study and turned it into a scare story.

I think tomorrow I’ll maybe get shares in the company that sells spray bleach.

Antibiotic shares? Nah, the idiots will eventually find out where they came from…

 

 

 

Oh I almost forgot…