The Curmudgeon


Friday, March 06, 2015

The Destruction of St Anthony

The American came down like a wolf on the fold
With Tony in tow, for the petrol and gold;
And the shock and the awe were most charming to see,
And the money rolled in, just as smooth as could be.

Then Tony went off to start keeping the peace
And finding new flocks he could lecture and fleece,
While the wails of the widows were lost in the spin
Of his fine godly yap, and his sanctified grin.

"Be not pessimistic, for decency's sake!
Look not at the trouble that came in our wake!
Peace, freedom, democracy, brought here right fast;
Let Clio herself be my judge at the last!"

The pious crusaders found rich pastures new,
And boasted their bombings; indeed, it is true,
It happens at times that a troublesome nation
May find Roman peace in a good devastation.

But those who claim judgement by History's light
Or God's, are most prone to obscure and re-write;
And so from the ruins arose a mad horde
Whose notion of God was a little bit flawed.

Like Tony and chums, they did well at their killing,
Although their exploits were not nearly so thrilling;
And, subject unto most irrational fits,
They came upon Clio, and blew her to bits.

Alas for poor Tony, and all he has wrought!
Where judge has been murdered, the verdict is nought;
And, whether his doings were naughty or nice,
The verdict of Justice may have to suffice.

Nimrod Fitzbyron

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Useful Information

Some close chums of Goldman Sachs have opened the Conservative election campaign in earnest by sending me one of the Chancellor's fraudulent annual tax summaries. It consists of a pie chart showing that a quarter of my taxes went on a big red slice called Welfare, thus stimulating my Daily Mail receptivity centres with the idea that more of my tax money is spent on scroungers than on state pensions, education, health or keeping me safe from Islamic terrorists and the beastly Russians. Unfortunately, the document is a little imprecise. There is, for example, no indication of how much Welfare spending goes to pay for idlers' plasma televisions and how much goes to top up low wages in the face of unrestricted rents. There is no indication of whether the money thrown at private companies to chivvy cancer patients into work counts as Welfare or as Business and Industry. There is no indication to show how much of the health budget goes on actual healthcare, or to show how much more could have gone on actual healthcare if Iain Duncan Smith's mother had been given a free abortion. There is, however, a list of figures, headed How your tax conributed to public spending and linking my tax payments to specific expenditures, with a note at the bottom stating that the figures show no direct link between my tax and any specific expenditures. There is, in addition, a redeemingly useful bit which tells me how to opt out of receiving any more annual tax summaries.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

They Shorten Our Memories, Too

Eighty-seven per cent of people who use smartphones do not become addicted, according to a study by the University of Derby. Most participants in the survey said that their phones caused distraction from other aspects of their lives; much as, in the olden days, people were distracted by television, radio, newspapers, gossip, other human beings and even telephones. Although the authors of the study are not suggesting that addiction to smartphone use is the same as addiction to cigarettes or alcohol (viz. addiction), they do think smartphones can cause narcissism, except possibly in researchers from the University of Derby, because a third of participants in the survey admitted to believing they knew better than the authorities. The researchers believe that certain games should display health warnings to deter excess play, such as Warning! This game is highly addictive! You may end up playing for hours and it may cause you to neglect your other [sic] responsibilities! It is as yet unclear how many people at the University of Derby have nothing better to do.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

A Fuel and its Money

Ethically challenged mental midgets are cock-a-hoop with antipreneurial joy today, having scored another petty yet perilous victory against the American Dream. Greenpeace discovered that a prominent climate change denier was accepting seven-figure sums in research funding from the likes of Exxon Mobil; which of course did not affect his scientific conclusions in the least, any more than funding from Big Government would bias a scientist in favour of high taxes, public healthcare and other forms of socialist collectivism. Nevertheless, donors have been embarrassed into cutting off the funds, and one electric utility has even been subjected to queries about why it is throwing money at bad science when it might be reducing bills. The bad scientist himself had a bit of a squeal via the website of the Heartland Institute, a market-fundamentalist madrasa based in Chicago, and apparently it's all a conspiracy.

Monday, March 02, 2015


Despite the best efforts of the greenest government ever and its eminently impartial chums in the popular press, the British public remains deplorably ignorant about the cost, capacity and efficiency of wind power. Most people believe that costs are fourteen times higher than they are, underestimate the energy that turbines produce and overestimate the energy needed to keep them turning. Nevertheless, public support for wind power remains high; which only goes to show, once more, the inherent illogicality of the British prole. Thank goodness for the Westminster set and their paymasters in the cuddly coal and sustainable uranium industries, who continue to protect us from ourselves in return for such notoriously moderate financial gain.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Raising Standards

Britain's Head Boy's monitor in charge of tuck-box has issued members of the House of Claimants with a stiff talking-to about being more forthcoming with the public. "Precisely because politics has become more elitist, more apparently to the public, an insider’s game, it is all the more important to get the rules right"; therefore the immediate necessity is not (perish the thought) to ensure that MPs actually work as MPs, but to suggest very, very forthrightly that they police themselves with sufficient rigour to declare up-front how many trotters they intend keeping in the trough once elected. This tough new régime will mean giving the voters a choice between corporate sponsors, rather than anything so undemocratic as a perceptible difference in policy; and "if the public feels that they have been brought into a decision on this matter, that can only be helpful". Reassuringly enough, the monitor in charge of tuck-box is "absolutely sure" that Britain's Head Boy is jolly concerned about the whole affair. After all, nobody really knows how many more members of the House of Expenses Claimants, under pretence of spreading murder, mayhem and torture for glorious profit, are in fact mere chiselling little crooks.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Curriculum Veneris

A survey of sex workers has found that most of them got there via society's other despised professions. More than seventy per cent of respondents had previously worked in education, the charitable sector or the NHS; the second most popular area of prior experience was retail, where workfare (or, in Labour terms, "guaranteed employment") is such a profitable option. Sex work is legal in Britain provided that workers make themselves suitably vulnerable to assault and do not indulge in collective bargaining; a model with which the British Neoliberal Party has been working long and hard to penetrate the other caring professions.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Care Bear

Japanese roboticists have developed a rather cumbersome method of lifting and otherwise aiding patients with mobility problems, in the shape of an experimental cyberbear with blue-trimmed Lucascrap™ stormtrooper accessories. “We really hope that this robot will lead to advances in nursing care, relieving the burden on caregivers today,” said the leader of the sensor systems research team. The elderly population in Japan is growing rapidly, as it is here; but apparently it has not yet occurred to the Japanese that elderly people may be less of a burden on caregivers if the caregivers are casual corporate agency workers with no tiresome scruples about health, safety or hygiene.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Just Keeping Order in the Playground

Britain's Head Boy's minister for War, the Colonies and Wog-bombing has had a bit of a blather about the deployment of "military advisers" to Ukraine. He confirmed that, sensibly enough, the Government has no particular interest in starting a war with Russia until after the general election, and that the training of Ukrainian troops by the co-liberator of Afghanistan and Iraq was purely a matter of posturing because the crisis in Ukraine has no military solution. He also admitted that it was not a NATO deployment and apparently didn't know or care whether Britain's fellow conquerors had been consulted. From the back-benches, Adam Werritty barked orders through Liam Fox for a rapid escalation, on the grounds that any lack of interest in mission creep would provide a "bullies' charter" for countries whose sacred right to international aggression was still in doubt.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Perfectly Sane

A perfectly sane member of the House of Claimants, who bears a glamorous facial resemblance to Paddy Ashdown after a night chasing parked steamrollers, has been burbling the praises of a mysterious, arcane discipline which may one day revolutionise the healthcare industry. It will take pressure off doctors, aid in diagnosis and enable us to see strengths and weaknesses clearly and quickly, perhaps even unto aborting potential terrorists in the womb, as once it was foretold by the Reverend Tony. Naturally, the BBC is against it, and anyone who expresses scepticism is an ignoramus, a bully and a racist. However, thanks to some oversight or left-wing mischief, the perfectly sane MP's burble was doctored before he burbled it, so that he has been saying astrology and homeopathy where he meant to say market forces, and now looks saner than ever.