Sunday 26 March 2023

The Sunday Ishmael: 26/03/2023

 Tricky little devils, those Ukrainians.
And stupid. Having done the deed, though, they were clever enough to know that European support for Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion might wane should it become widely known that their actions had forced the cost of fuel sky-high, enabling profiteering through shortage, resulting in cold homes and high food prices as farmers gave up attempting to heat their polytunnels. 
Turns out that secret services, politicians and journalists have known for quite some time that it were them Ukrainies wot dunnit, but they didn't want the public to know, as the people might have turned against America's war, preferring instead to be warm and well-fed. And the loose affiliation of international  millionaires and billionaires wouldn't want to upset America, now, would they?
This is how it went.
On 6 September 2022, the motor yacht Andromeda set sail from the  Baltic port of Rostock, on hire for £2,600 a week by a Ukrainian-owned company. At least six passengers were on board, all carrying fake passports. Little Andromeda was not required to carry an Automatic Identification System – but subsequent scrutiny of marina security camera footage and docking records located the Andromeda at Christianso and Wiek on the island of Rügen on the days before and after the destruction of three of the four Gazprom-owned Nord Stream pipelines on 26 September 2022. Last Wednesday the German public prosecutor’s office confirmed that the Andromeda had been searched between 18 and 20 January over ‘suspicions it could have been used to transport explosive devices that exploded on 26 September 2022’ and, indeed, traces of explosives had been found aboard. 
Within days of the destruction, investigators in Germany, Sweden and Denmark knew that the perpetrators were Ukrainian, but the details of the investigation were kept, not only from the public, but from EU and US parliamentarians and from the United Nations because the news that Ukrainians were involved in an attack on Germany’s critical infrastructure could have a devastating impact on Kyiv’s relations with its major European supporters. A senior UK intelligence official told journalist Owen Matthews, ‘the story will come out sooner or later…but we’re not going to be the ones to leak it.’ 
Apparently, it didn't need much explosive to wreak the devastating damage: the steel in Nord Stream’s final and thinnest section was 26.8 mm thick, encased in 300 mm of concrete. Although Nord Stream 2 was not yet operational and Nord Stream 1 was pumping just a fraction of its full capacity at the time of the explosions, all four pipelines were filled with pressurised gas pumped in at up to 220 times atmospheric pressure. The enormous pressure of the gas inside the pipe would, when ruptured, have propelled debris far further than the explosion itself.  Gazprom's underwater drones have located unexploded charges near the still-intact second pipeline of Nord Stream 2 and reported the suspicious object to Danish authorities. Danish foreign minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen today acknowledged that a ‘device’ had been found, but said that ‘the assessment from our authorities is that there is no immediate security risk and thus no danger to human life or shipping,’ 
That's alright, then. 
Seems life on Earth had a narrow escape on Saturday,  as  an asteroid, 2023 DZ2, large enough to destroy a city,  passed between the orbits of the Earth and the Moon. Scientists predicted that it would pass, variously, between 100,000 and 175,000km of the Earth. It was a big boy, estimated to be between 40 and 90m in diameter, and astronomers described it's proximity to be a once-in-a decade event. Actually that is not at all reassuring, as once in 10 years is really quite frequent, and Bruce Willis, who stunningly saved the planet from destruction by an asteroid in 1998, 
by blowing it up in bits by a nuclear explosion, has dementia and won't be able to pull it off again - won't remember which button to press.... ( no, mrs ishmael, that was a fillum, Armageddon. Ed.)
Damn thing is due to come back in 2026 and Bruce may not be available then, and 2026 is only 3 years away, not once in a decade at all. (Decade - from the Latin word for ten - decem. Not three).

Which leads us into this little piece by mr ishmael, from editor verge's archives:

There was a show repeated on BBC4 the other night featuring the world’s greatest cosmologists, maybe even the cosmos’s greatest cosmologists - for we know of no others, even though there may be billions of the fuckers, all over the universe, being filmed by their own PBC4; even though there is not a shred of evidence of the existence of extra-terrestrial cosmologists, we - or rather Hollywood and NASA - would like there to be, so believe and hope we must continue to do.

They were mainly strange-looking blokes and the odd strange-looking boffinbint; that weird, grinning Jap-American with the white hair, he was on it, Professor Tojo, but he’s on everything, grinning all around the place, metaphysicking orientally, delighted by his own Pearl Harbour cleverness. There were people who were post-Einsteinians averring - as we all know, without having to set-up billion dollar experiments - that as far as the the Laws of Physics go, their writ does not run everywhere, so they’re more like by-laws, or aspirations - as we must now call greedy ambition; in fact, in my view, scientific laws are just nerdy scriptures, boffin-speak for Just Believe In My Brand Of Horseshit And You’ll Be Alright.

I barely did science at school and all I know about cosmology is what I have read in the books and seen in the shows of wotsisname, that bloke who’s name is on Challenger, Carl Sagan. The opposite to our own dreary, oddly hostile and forbidding Sir Patrick Trousers, Sagan was a determinedly charismatic proselytizer for the idea of science-as-liberation, his eloquent entheusiasm part-showbiz, part-divine - en-theus-iasm (archaic) filled with God. But that’s just me, equations mean nothing to me; my educational dinners have to be cut up into little bits for me and blown on, to cool them down.

The point of this show, anyway, was to inform us of the latest revision of Know-It-Allism. Once upon a time, they said, there was this BigBangBollocks in which everything came from nothing and in which everybody who is anybody believed. But I didn’t believe it; how can that happen? How can something - in fact everything - come from nothing? What was there before? 

Ah, before, they mocked, you don’t understand, thinking in terms of before is just stupid, there wasn’t any before. 

How could there not be any before? Don’t talk shit. 

Ah, time, you see, is a dimension of the BigBangBollocks, so obviously before the BigBangBollocks, there wasn’t any time so there can’t have been any before, before being a point on time’s continuum. 

And space, what about space? 

Space, too is a dimension of the BigBangBollocks. 

And the matter, what about the matter, the stuff, gazillions of megatonnes of it, where’d that come from? No, don’t tell me, it just instanted itself at the same non-moment as time created itself, and it all started whizzing around space which also just popped into existence from non-existence; that’s it, right? That’s the BigBangBollocks. Right, that’s really clever.

Just lemme get this clear. Once upon a time - or non-time - there wasn’t any space and there wasn’t any matter and there definitely wasn’t any time, not ever, so to speak. And what happened was that there was a BigBang and, just like magic, everything was, is and ever shall be. This isn’t science, this is fucking GodBollocks, isn’t it? You fuckers are asking me to believe in the unbelieveable, just like the Pope of Nonces does, but you dress it all up with lengthy strings of numbers and letters which, for all I know, are fucking gibberish, shamanism, and then you tell me that my failure to make sense of this BigBangBollocks is due to my own scientific inadequacy. I need, you tell me, like some smirking, phoney, priapic Buddhist hustler, that I need to be able to imagine nothing; that I need to dig my Krishna Consciousness, turn off my mind, relax and float downstream, as though I was the fuckwit, tax-dodging, chain-smoking BeatleGit, Hari Georgeson; as though I was some gullible, more-money-than-sense hybrid of Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Van Morrison, believing in lizards-from-space or whatever those cunts are into.

These people, cosmologists, were arseholes, are arseholes and ever shall be arseholes; in the beginning was the arsehole. But now cosmo-revisionism spreads if not across the galaxy then across academe; the BigBangBollocks is now discredited, its former, most fervent advocates now denounce its utter bollocksism just as though they were ordinary people, like me, which they will never be. No, they hiss, it is bollocks, how could something come from nothing, the very idea; how could there have been no time, they chant, as though beaten by cosmological Revolutionary Guards. No, we were wrong, and Dyaknowhat? It’s good to be wrong, because then you can be right again. No, it’s true, I saw a geezer at Oxford, formerly a proponent of the BBB theory, say that very thing; his scientific life had been enriched by being wrong all these years. Damascene, it was, his revision.

I often wonder, looking up at the night-sky, why I’m wasting my time looking at something which isn’t there. Well, the Moon is there and the Sun and the space station and the planets of our own wee system, but we have no way of knowing, the speed of light being so slow, whether anything else we see still exists. All those constellations, they could have all blown to fucking bits aeons ago, how would we know? So when NASA and the Hubblers tell me that they are looking back thirteen billion years to the birth of the universe, well, they’re talking shit, aren’t they? They may be looking at light which is billions of light years distant but it is light which is no longer there. And as for observing the BigBang, well how can they do that for there is/was no space from which to observe or retro-observe it. Obviously.

Unknowables, Fucking Big Unknowables.

Talking about Unknowables, the Big Bang and Bruce Willis (God bless him),  let us consider Dementia. Any belief in a kind and concerned God, active in the affairs of the human race, created in His image, kind of runs contrary to lived experience. 
The reality is that the population of the Global North is aging, becoming demented and developing revolting conditions in consequence of self-neglect. We didn’t use to have old men long term in our hospitals and care facilities – because they died early, due to disease, drink, drugs, dangerous working conditions, war and suicide. Now they are being kept alive, in a state of resentment at their lack of potency, needing personal care (changing continence pads, washing faeces from legs and bottoms) from women who really don’t find them remotely desirable – but the ancient, scabby old chaps convince themselves that it is just fine to cop a feel, stare down the front of tops, expose their rancid old penile members and make various dirty remarks to women who are just doing a job of work. And they can’t even do a decent job of offing themselves due to infirmity and irresolution and absence of means. This is where Liam McArthur’s Lets kill all the Horrid Old Men Bill will come in handy. He calls it something a little less controversial: The Assisted Dying Bill and it aims to introduce the right to an assisted death for terminally ill, mentally competent adults. Doesn’t actually help with the mentally incompetent adults – the ones whose dementia renders them hardly able to walk, except to walk purposefully onto the nearest carpet to defecate – a bit like Harris, really, and billions of woman-hours are spent in feeding, clothing, washing, mopping up after, soothing…There, there, there, there. I think we need care and nursing to be a profession for blokes. They would give short shrift to all the sexualised crap, or at least charge the going rate to jerk off the elderly “gentlemen”. Which might speed them on their way to the next awfully big adventure. God – think of it! Turns out there is a heaven and it is full of all these dribbling, babbling, rotting old boys. And MPs.
The Complete Nonsense moment.

More complete nonsense is  any suggestion that the large-scale resignations at the centre of the Scottish Nationalist Party have anything to do with the missing £663,000 raised by nationalists to fund an independence campaign. Following an 18 month investigation by Police Scotland which had been prompted by the outraged nationalists who had raised the money and were appalled to discover that party funds contained only a few shillings and a couple of trouser buttons, the investigation findings were handed over to the Procurator Fiscal's office (a Scottish thing, a bit like the Crown Prosecution Service, but with wider powers) in January 2023. The Procurator is still having a bit of a think about whether and who to prosecute. The delay has allowed the rats  MSPs and executives  to jump off the sinking ship.
On Monday, the outcome of the vote for a new leader of the SNP will be declared. It looks like it will be Kate Forbes, an intelligent and articulate young woman, who holds Christian beliefs and values. Wee Nicola will leave her post as First Minister, to focus on her driving lessons, because she will no longer have access to the First Ministerial chauffeur-driven car to convey her between Glasgae and Edinburgh; and to spend more time with her disgraced husband, Peter Murrell, former CEO of the SNP, who resigned t'other weekend because he forgot to declare the SNP's membership had dropped by 30,000. If Katie gets the poisoned chalice, it won't be an easy ride. There's the looming prosecution, a shitload of posts to fill, nae money because the SNP has lost the membership fees from the missing 30,000, nae Green support because she has rubbished Green policies - (notably the Gender Reform Recognition Bill, the fucking reverse vending machines and she supports extraction of fossil fuels from the North Sea) and she will be heading up a minority Government. Hmmm - her first First Minister's Questions will be on Thursday - can't wait.
Amongst the litany of anything Sturgeon touches turns to shit were the ferry-building delays. We covered that in these pages on the 10th April 2022. 
You remember - Nicola Sturgeon launched  the ferry, Glen Sannox, in November 2017 with  no windows on its bridge. What appeared to be windows was actually black paint. The painted-on windows were a clever ruse to disguise the fact that the ferry was not finished. It still isn't. The Glen Sannox and her sister ship were expected  to enter service early in 2018. After further delays, handover was expected between March and May 2023—five years late. On March 16, 2023, it was reported that further delays have pushed the ferry's entry into service to Autumn of 2023. Last time I looked, costs were £340 million for two bloody boats. The original budget for the two boats was £97 million.
Controversy surrounding the contract and the lack of transparency in the decision-making process forced the Scottish Government to  announce that key documents relating to the decision-making process had gone missing. Disgraced Derek Mackay, who resigned following a social media courtship of a "cute" 16 year old boy, was held responsible, as former transport minister and former Finance Secretary.  Mrs Fish indicated that the decision to go ahead with the ferry contract without the normal financial guarantees was taken by Disgraced Derek. Despite the failure to complete and hand over the ferries,  £87,000 in bonuses have been paid to six senior managers at the nationalised shipyard, Ferguson Marine, between 2019 and 2022. The ferries are intended to replace rusting and inadequate ships operated by  CalMac Ferries on the Clyde and Hebrides Network. The islands have been very ill-served, pretty much cut off from the mainland; and the Scottish Government, admitting its total failure, has chartered Orkney's boat, the Alfred, for 9 months at a cost of  £9 million. That's right, one million pounds a month.
You remember the Alfred? We covered his disastrous collision with the island of Swona and the near escape of the pet python, thrust down his owner's trousers for safe keeping, on the 7th July 2022.
The Alfred on, or in, Swona

So what will we do without the Alfred, here in Orkney? We're getting the Pentolina back on the Pentland Firth route -  the boat that the Alfred replaced, smells of rancid bacon sandwiches, been tied up and rusting at Hatston for 4 years. That's it - the little red and white one -
Looks like you have to row it across the Firth.

thanks to editor mr. verge, there are now three anthologies of the collected works of ishmael smith:

Honest Not Invent, Vent Stack  and Ishmael’s Blues are all available from Lulu and Amazon. If you buy from Amazon, it would be nice if you could give a review on their website.
Ishmaelites wishing to buy a copy from lulu should follow these steps :

Thanks to editor mr. verge, there are now three anthologies of the collected works of ishmael smith:
Honest Not Invent, Vent Stack  and Ishmael’s Blues are all available from Lulu and Amazon. If you buy from Amazon, it would be nice if you could give a review on their website.
Ishmaelites wishing to buy a copy from lulu should follow these steps :
please register an account first, at This is advisable because otherwise paypal seems to think it's ok to charge in dollars, and they then apply their own conversion rate, which might put the price up slightly for a UK buyer. Once the new account is set up, follow one of the links below (to either paperback or hardback) or type "Ishmael’s Blues" into the Lulu Bookstore search box.  Click on the “show explicit content” tab, give the age verification box a date of birth such as 1 January 1960, and proceed.
Link for Hardcover :
Link for Paperback :
At checkout, try WELCOME15 in the coupon box, which (for the moment) takes 15% off the price before postage.  If this code has expired by the time you reach this point, try a google search for " voucher code" and see what comes up.  
With the 15% voucher, PB (including delivery to a UK address) should be £16.84; HB £27.04.

Friday 24 March 2023

Evensong: I like a good beer buzz in the morning.

 Sheryl Crow: All I wanna do....

Remember shredding the cardboard beer mats into strips, or folding empty crisp packets into intricate origami shapes and floating them on puddles of spilt beer on  sticky thickly mahogany varnished tables?

Sunday 19 March 2023

The Sunday Ishmael: 19/03/2023

Crime rates have been high in Crow City. It is nesting season, and the crows have been busy from first to last light, up in the tree tops  sawing off twigs with their beaks, descending to waddle (they have a lurching gait as their legs are set wide apart, and their bodies sway from step to step) under the trees to snap up offcuts. Their avaricious perfidy, though, is at least equal to humans. Alerted by a crow altercation, I looked up into the tops, where a couple were stealing twigs from a neighbour's half-built nest, teasing out the woven sticks, whilst the dispossessed owners, who had done all the heavy lifting, looked on, complaining bitterly and volubly. No sign of the crow police when you need them - but that's inner Crow City for you. Mind you, it's no better in Crow Suburbs. Harris and I were walking along, foraging for wild garlic, when twigs descended on our heads. Aloft,  a nest was being torn apart, the twigs thrown down with much squawking, whilst the owners tried to prevent the destruction. Get back to the slums, we don't want your sort living round here. 

When mr ishmael and I moved to Orkney, over 20 years ago, to make better life, I hadn't fully grasped that Orkney is part of Scotland and that Scotland is a foreign country.  Bacon in bread is just one of the cultural differences. In England, you have a bacon sandwich. In Scotland, you have a bacon roll. In the Central Belt, the roll will be Morton's. The bakery went bust on March 7th, putting 230 people out of work. But, jubilato!, an investment company, PVL, has bought the company, re-employed 110 workers (the other 120 are suing through their solicitors, Avid and Eager  Thompsons) and the bakery will resume its production of 2 million breakfast rolls per day. A PVL spokesman said: "The important thing now is that Mortons is back in action, we’ve got the workforce back on the production line, and we’re ready to start producing our famous rolls that the good people of Glasgow have been crying out for. Glasgow doesn’t need to worry about having nae rolls anymore; Mortons is back.”
Thank God for that. I learned the importance of the breakfast roll early on - my secretary, a traditionally built Orcadian woman, one morning at 11:00 am, asked if she could pop down the street tae get a roll as she was feeling faint and would I like one and would I like it plain or with margarine? No thanks, I said, I'm watching my weight. What on earth for? she asked, astonished by the very idea. You'll be putting on the Orkney stone soon enough. It's so ye don't blow away in the gales.

Jamie, our list Conservative MSP for the Highland and Island Region. Used to be a slim lad  before the Orkney stone got him.
That's enough body positivity, ed.

Pity the poor immigrant. We might have wanted to make better life, but the native inhabitants weren't so keen.
When mr ishmael kindly attempted to engage in political discourse through the letters pages of the Herald and the Orcadian, responses and comments tended to be of the "you don't like it here, get back where you came from", variety. Fortunately, he paid them no never mind. Through these pages, he continued to warn of the systemic corruption, scandalous waste and incompetence inherent in the Scottish system. Since I picked up the baton, I've attempted to continue in the tradition of giving the whoreson Rebellious Scot a kicking when deserved (it usually is), confounding their politics and frustrating their knavish tricks, as the National Anthem has it. So you can't say we didn't warn you, when Scottish events unfolded this last week. 
For those who haven't been paying attention - and why should you if you don't stay in Scotland? (another cultural difference - the English live in places, whereas the Scots stay in them. Why? Fuck knows.)
Here's how it went.
1.     Between 2017 and 2019 £600,000 was raised by SNP supporters specifically for the purpose of funding an independence referendum. Party insiders claim the money was spent on legal fees and refurbishing the party’s Edinburgh headquarters. Certainly, by the end of 2019, the SNP's accounts showed that it had about £96,000 in the bank and total net assets of about £272,000. In July 2021, Police Scotland opened a formal investigation into the SNP's finances and the missing £600,000. The investigation is ongoing.
2.     Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister, announced her resignation, because she had become aware she was polarising opinion and was no longer a vote-winning asset, said resignation effective from the next First Minister being elected from the ranks of the SNP membership. The membership was thought to number  around 104,000.
3.    John Swinney, Deputy First Minister, also announced he was off, after 16 years in high office. It had been an honour to serve Scotland, he announced. 
3.    Three SNP MPs announced their candidacy. Humza Useless, a practising Moslem, the MSP for Glasgow Pollock, (at the fashionable heart of the SNP) is the candidate preferred by the SNP leadership and describes himself as the continuity candidate. He will continue the drive to get the Gender Reform Recognition Bill passed. The campaign period has been reduced to 5 weeks to allow Humza to slip the appeal against Westminster's veto in on time. He will also support the Reverse Vending Machines and Circularity Scotland. Both pieces of legislation are deeply controversial and are driven by the SNP's coalition partner, The Greens. Case of tail wagging the dog. Humza is also likely to continue Sturgeon's policy of talking up Independence whilst working to maintain the status quo or Devo Max. Wings Over Scotland (Wings Over Scotland|) , the blog for nationalists, doesn't hold back in its contempt for the SNP.
Kate Forbes, a practising Christian, the MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch (back of beyond), is loved by the general electorate because she doesn't hold with any of that damn wokery and Green policies and actually wants to bring about Scottish Independence.
Ash Regan, MSP for Edinburgh Eastern (also at the heart of things) is a ginger motor mouth who knows very little about anything, but says it loudly and with conviction. Ash is currently contemplating court action to pause the SNP leadership contest because of jiggery-pokery.
During the hustings Kate and Ash have been deeply critical of the SNP's record. They have been saying, effectively, if you keep on doing the same things, you'll get the same result. And they want a different result.
4. Jiggery-Pokery. Turns out the SNP haven't got anywhere near 104,000 members. Nobody seems quite sure how many, exactly (why not?), but it looks like there's around 72,186.
5. For some reason, apparently, and nothing to do with the finances, but because he lied to the press about how many members he had, this has caused Nicola Sturgeon's husband, Peter Murrell, Chief Executive of the SNP, to resign.

There you have it: Sturgeon, Swinney and Murrell all resigned during the course of an eventful three weeks. And the three potential successors fighting like rats in a sack. And the £600,000 still missing. And where did the 30,000 members go? Back into Salmond's cold and fishy arms? Couldn't make it up.

Amongst the sins of incompetence to be laid at the feet of the SNP is the fact that you can't get an NHS dentist in Scotland. The greedy bastards object to being paid less by NHS Scotland than it costs them to fill teeth. 

Have you come across Sorolla? 
I hadn't,  until very recently. Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida 
(27 February 1863 – 10 August 1923) was a Spanish Valencian painter. Sorolla excelled in painting portraitslandscapes and monumental works of social and historical themes. He worked en plein air, and often on the beach, as attested by the grains of sand seen in his paint. His most typical works are characterized by a dexterous representation of the people and landscape under the bright sunlight of Spain and sunlit water. 
Chicos en playa
At first glance and to a modern sensibility, I suppose, this looks like a paedophile's delight - but look at the shine of wet skin, of the liquidity of water, the shadows and reflections. These chicos look like baby seals, waiting to slip back into the water with the tide.


Sad Inheritance
By contrast, these chicos  are the victims of hereditary syphillis, with two little lads crippled by polio, their pale little wasted bodies attesting their condition, being assisted to sea bathe for their health.

  Florence Nightingale, social reformer, statistician and the founder of modern nursing – reduced the death rate in soldiers recovering from their wounds in a filthy foreign hospital in  the Crimea from 1 in every 2 patients to 1 in 50, by means of cleanliness, sunshine, good food and fresh air. She and her team of prostitutes*scrubbed the place down with carbolic soap, opened windows, boil-washed the bedding, socks, nightshirts, caps, bandages, kept people washed and dressings changed. Her recipe for a good hospital was to have lots of windows looking out onto green growing Nature, open those windows, keep the place clean and provide nourishing, easy to digest food prepared in sanitary conditions. All this to create the optimal conditions for the body to heal itself. The High Heejuns who resented the cost of all this,  changed their tune and started supporting her when they saw that fighting men were being returned to the fray. Her first order home was for 50 scrubbing brushes and soap.
*Why recruit prostitutes? Because they had no fear or qualms about the male body and could cope with the language of the rough soldiery. 
Fresh air, good food and cleanliness can only go so far. Antibiotics have been the single most effective alleviator of human misery - well, that, contraception and the death of religion. Antibiotics arrest the progression of bacterial colonies, thus allowing the body to heal itself in the right conditions, which we seem to have forgotten how to achieve.
Hospitals are now built by contractors who put in the lowest bid, with ceilings that are plastic and low, there's little natural light, no green vistas or spaces surrounding these cheap new hospitals and  windows, when not actually sealed, are not openable. Indeed, the NHS orthodoxy, taught to nurses, is that open windows increase infection, by the wind blowing germs from one patient onto another in adjacent beds. Apparently there had been actual studies of how far these germs can travel in the breeze from an open window, to contaminate the next patient and any surfaces they encountered. Honest, not invent. My solution to that would be to not bang patients up together like battery chickens, and keep cleaning the surfaces. That’s another problem with our hospitals, of course – they are filthy, maintained in their filthiness by minimum-wage skivvies, who think pushing a floor duster around, or giving a surface a blast with Spray and Go is all you need.
Dr. Gavin Francis, in his book, Recovery: the lost art of convalescence, is advocating for  the re-introduction of convalescence. Until antibiotics were discovered, everyone knew that patients needed a lengthy period of convalescence to allow the body to build its strength after a mighty battle with disease, that convalescence was a period of rest, gentle exercise gradually increasing, nourishing food and quiet. Antibiotics seem to have convinced the population that if you are not better in 3 to 5 days, then you’ve developed a syndrome, rather than actually needing time to build up strength. The Good Doctor, who admits that most doctors don’t know what they are doing, says that, following the defeat of the disease, the body needs one week of recovery time for every decade of life. 
And the environment needed for healing is still as hard to come by as in a Victorian slum for most people.  
Before, it was poverty that made the population malnourished – now it’s the adulteration of the national diet by capitalist food manufacturer/technicians, maximising their profits – boost the fat, salt and sugar content of food to make it more desirable so that people eat more crap and increase profit, inject meat with water to make it heavy, keep animals in conditions so abysmal that the national flock has endemic salmonella, feed the animals growth hormones and antibiotics – its no wonder that Lizzo and Jamie are the size they are.  Before, the air was polluted with smoke and chemicals from coal fires and manufacturing – now it is polluted with exhaust fumes, trapped in our cities by density of housing and oversized, over-high, flammable buildings. Before, the Victorian poor had no access to a garden to grow food or raise a pig, unless they were quite well-to-do – now, housing is crowded and gardens are tiny, people have forgotten how to grow their food and how to cook it. Cities are so huge that you’d have to get on a train to get out and find some trees to walk under, some bluebell woods to delight your soul. We can’t dispose of our sewage properly, the seas are polluted, the air we breathe is polluted, our food is adulterated, our entertainment consists of sitting still for hours whilst watching television or playing computer games. Doomed, I tell you.

stanislav said: can go in hospital bed with nice cup of tea and Jock nurse, big like elephant, keep check on observations and say There-There, Hen, There-There. 
Scotland, best part of England.

thanks to editor mr. verge, there are now three anthologies of the collected works of ishmael smith:

Honest Not Invent, Vent Stack  and Ishmael’s Blues are all available from Lulu and Amazon. If you buy from Amazon, it would be nice if you could give a review on their website.
Ishmaelites wishing to buy a copy from lulu should follow these steps :

Thanks to editor mr. verge, there are now three anthologies of the collected works of ishmael smith:
Honest Not Invent, Vent Stack  and Ishmael’s Blues are all available from Lulu and Amazon. If you buy from Amazon, it would be nice if you could give a review on their website.
Ishmaelites wishing to buy a copy from lulu should follow these steps :
please register an account first, at This is advisable because otherwise paypal seems to think it's ok to charge in dollars, and they then apply their own conversion rate, which might put the price up slightly for a UK buyer. Once the new account is set up, follow one of the links below (to either paperback or hardback) or type "Ishmael’s Blues" into the Lulu Bookstore search box.  Click on the “show explicit content” tab, give the age verification box a date of birth such as 1 January 1960, and proceed.
Link for Hardcover :
Link for Paperback :
At checkout, try WELCOME15 in the coupon box, which (for the moment) takes 15% off the price before postage.  If this code has expired by the time you reach this point, try a google search for " voucher code" and see what comes up.  
With the 15% voucher, PB (including delivery to a UK address) should be £16.84; HB £27.04.

Wednesday 15 March 2023

Bread and Circuses: The Oscars

 I saw that film, the one that everyone thinks is wonderful and that got all the Oscars. Not only is it preposterous and juvenile, it is also boring. One of those where you say to yourself is it nearly over yet? that clock on the wall by the cinema screen - it just took five minutes to record a full half hour of elapsed time. Please God, is it nearly over yet? I'm not coming to t'pictures again. At least at home I can make a cup of tea or put something else on t'telly. Anything. 

Fresh, zany and bizarre, the critics said. Oh yes? The hot dog fingers. I rest my case. Or my tin of hot dogs. Hamlet, it isn't. Of course, they say loftily, it is all a metaphor. No, its not. There are some that think slam dunk action and a lot of noise is all you need in a film. They generally tend to be in the 14  to 18 age bracket.
All that prize giving and adulation was, of course, political, nowt to do with merit and everything to do with ethnicity. And the Struggle. Which, I would suggest, is racist. Or at least patronising, in the Johnsonian sense - if ever a man needed a quick rubdown with a house brick -
“Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.” ― Samuel Johnson.

As is the fuss about Ruth E Carter, costumier, getting her second Oscar for clothing design for  the film  Black Panther Wakanda Forever, another kiddie's action film with super heroes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I used to read Marvel Comics when I was a teenager. Just saying.
She may be able to make stunning frocks and have invented Afro-Futurism clothing design, but she's a bit shaky when she strays away from her area of excellence. I
n her Oscar acceptance speech, she asked  Chadwick Boseman to look after her mother, Mabel Carter, died age 101 of death, “this past week.” Boseman died in 2020 of cancer at 43.  “This film prepared me for this moment. Chadwick, please take care of mom.” For fuck's sake.

The reason I've selected this particular flake out of the whole circus of flakes is that, for her, everything has to be about being Black.  

 Carter thanked the Academy for “recognizing the superhero that is a Black woman,” she said. “She endures, she loves, she overcomes.” 

Sunday 12 March 2023

The Sunday Ishmael: 12/03/2023

Mr ishmael is delighted to give us his thoughts on Sir Gary Crisps, who has had the temerity to criticise the Government's Illegal Migration Bill - so-called because it is probably illegal.
And I am joined now in the studio by Sir Gary Babyman,
a highly-paid spokesman for the junk food industry
Crisps, children, they're good for you; at least they're good for me.
and the PBC's Mr Football.
Sir Gary is to football what Jamie Oliver is to irritable bowel syndrome.
Sir Gary, you're a complete, irredeemable arsehole; a greedy, stupid, vain, overpaid vulgarian, fucking about with your facial hair all the time, love the snufflers' beard by the way, you could almost be a leitmotif, isn't it, for the age, no, no, no point me explaining it to you, boyo, you'd never understand, not in a million fucking years, look you, a complete fucking ignoramus is what you are, Sir Crisps, isn't it, sitting around pretending to be sagacious, look you, with a whole fucking army of complete ignoramuses as stupid and gobby as yourself, people like this grotesque Scottish mutant,
Hansen, is it,
and this Geordie guttersnipe, wotsisname,
the one always cheating,
but only fer m'country, like, bonny lad,
tryin' a do summin fer m'country, I were, doin' that dive,
it wunna fer me, it were fer m'country only it didna come off.
Thassowitgoes, in this game, sometimes ya gerraway with the foul, like, an' other times ya get caught.
and the whole miserable jumped-up poisonous shower of shit-eating vermin pontificating about the beautiful game as it's played in the Premier Rapists' League, fuck me Jesus, isn't it, look you, boyo, at least Jamie fucking Oliver is only the praise-singer, the herald, if you will, isn't it, of mr ishmael's le posterieur flambee, the fiery hot, explosive diarrhoea, the shit that keeps on coming, whereas you lot endlessly champion bribery, cheating, gang rape and athletic failure, every time there's an international tournament you can bet your arse that within a day or so there's a planeload of weeping, millionaire rapists flying back to Blighty, gutted, vowing to do better with another manager, another captain, another Bentley Continental, another massive snorting of cocaine, a good, healthy spit-roasting of a teenager. The players union, FIFA, the FA, the PBC, skymadeupnewsandfilth, that cuntish newly-wed, Murdoch, all like one great festering anus, the beautiful game, yes, right.
So what's your take, Sir Gary Lineker, on the Illegal Migration Bill? Go on, tell us.
Well, Huw, and thank you.
And may I say what an honour it is to be appearing alongside a great star like yourself.
And if I can just refer you to my twitter account......
To your what...?
Well, Huw, we journalists.......
We what...?
We journalists, Huw, people like you'n'I, as well as dressing and grooming ourselves to the very highest standards, we need to keep in touch with our fanbase, right? The people who buy our crisps, right?
And that's why it's vital that we connect with ordinary people. By Tweeting.
Oh, I know that people say you can't actually convey very much in a hundred and whatever letters-including-spaces but lessface it, most of us don't have much to convey, anyway, do we? I know I don't. Eat crisps and watch rigged football played by deviants, that'll do it 4 me.
Christ, you really are fucking stupid, aren't you?
That was Gary Crisps there, for us. 
And here's our panel to discuss what they are not allowed to discuss under the terms of very lucrative contracts with the Government Broadcasting Company.
The trouble with these Tories, is they shouldn't mix politics with our money, I mean our sport, don't you agree, panel?
Aye, yower not wrong there, Gary, me man. I mean all them lads is tryin' to do is do a good job fer their country, like I were when I kept falling doon, like, in't penalty box and pretendin' some cunt 'ad kicked me over, never worked, like, burawasdoinitfermecountry. An' the lads are doin' it fer their country.  To get out of their country, like- an they're 'avin to contend wi' nig-nogs, like, - cos that's wot they are, lessbefair, no offence to you two lads, yer almost 'onorary Englishmen, after all, Rio and Thierry - disruptin' things and rioting, like, just because they got no 'ouses or jobs or 'ealthcare while their govament is spending billions on footy fer rich folks to watch. I mean, they got no sense a proportion, 'ave they? I mean, I allus say, Gary, that ye canna trust a nation where 'alf the wimmen's got great big shiny cocks between their legs, where there oughter be a Berkshire, can you? Ladymen, cannae abide them, me. 
That Alan Hansen, allus had me doots aboot that one
That's right, Alan, poverty, neglect, exploitation and oppression, they shouldn't be allowed to interfere with the beautiful game. And as for the nig-nog kiddies being hungry, well what's wrong with us sending them all a great big donation of out-of-date potato crisps, hasn't done me any harm.
What, eat 'em? Fuck no, they're really bad for you, fat, starch, salt. Top athletes, like m'self, we don't get where we are by eating shit like this. No, but they're OK for the kids, course they are. It's like anything, moderation's the word, probly no more than three or four bags a day.

And Rooney, whaddawethink about Rooney, Thierry?

Eef 'e can play, 'e should play. Eet may be on thee left. Or on thee other side. But 'e should play. Mebbe 'e can score, maybe not. That ees thee thing. Eef I was thee manager I would play 'im. Or not play 'im.

An' me, Gary, I would, an' all, I'd play him but I'd play 'im on the left, he's got great wotsaname, 'as Rooney, 'e's a reet bonny lad. Or in the middle, I'd play him there, an' all. He can score goals, can Rooney. It's just that 'e doesn't. That's the only problem wi' the team, like, 'sthat they dinna score any goals, not enough like, anyroad, not as many as the other fuckers. And that's where I think the real problem lies, Gary.

Thanks, Alan Shearer, for that. And while we're waiting for the next match, here's some football.

I saw that neadnerthal fuckpig, Shearer, when he was playing for England, he dived and writhed in the penalty area and the ref just looked at him like he was a piece of shit, which he is. Later, being pundited, he said, all hurt, the big fairy, Aye, Ah were just trying to do something fer me country, Ah done me best, like, but it never come off. As though his country expected him to cheat for it; revolting piece of shit. It was great hearing him berate some Johnny Foreigner, the other night, for doing the same thing. I wonder how much we are paying him for his commentary.
Sir Gary Lineker, football pundit best known for his championing of fat-laden, salty snacks for children. Yes, he must be a complete cunt, mustn't he?
Oh, well played, Sir Gary. A diet of Coke and crisps is the very thing to unleash the potential of our young people.
And don't forget, as we used to say at Eton, it doesn't matter how you play the game, it's whether you win or lose that counts. 
Hope you've got all your crisp money somewhere nice and funny, I mean sunny, British Virgin Isles, is what we swear by in my family. And quite proply, too, in my judgement.

Thank you, mr ishmael. 
Since those posts were written, Sir Crisps has gone and got himself benched for criticising Government policy through the medium of his Twitter account, lampooned above by mr ish. And has inadvertently revealed the extent of control of the BBC by Government.
Once upon a time I worked for a company that had a Social Media Policy. It started fine with a preamble that said the company supported freedom of speech and that employees had every right to use social media. It defined social media. It then went on to forbid any revelation of company information, cautioned that any photographs posted should not show the poster wearing logos or uniforms that allowed identification of the poster as an employee of the company, forbad the poster from identifying themselves as working for the company, forbad the expression of any view that might cause  the company reputational damage, bring it into disrepute or contempt, and forbad any denigration of other employees or managers. It didn't mind employees expressing political views, as long as they were legal and the poster made it clear that the views were their own and not those of the company. You takes our dollar, you does as we say. 
Lineker is under contract to the BBC until 2025, for which he is amply remunerated, despite agreeing to accept a 25% pay cut when he signed his existing contract in September 2020. In 2020/21 he earned £1.35 million. It is estimated that his net worth is £30 million.  His contract requires him to adhere to the BBC's impartiality rules. The BBC guidance on the individual use of social media states: "There are also others who are not journalists or involved in factual programming who nevertheless have an additional responsibility to the BBC because of their profile on the BBC. We expect these individuals to avoid taking sides on party political issues or political controversies and to take care when addressing public policy matters."
And that people who are "clearly identified with the BBC" should behave "in ways that are consistent with the BBC's editorial values and policies". So that's pretty straight forward. Bang to rights, gov. Except the man's got history for tweeting his political opinions - anti-Brexit, anti-Conservative, criticising the Tory party trousering of  donations from Russian benefactors - and he's got away with it. So what's different this time that has had him sent to the benches? The Illegal Bill is on very dodgy legal ground, and, although there's a high approval rate for the Government taking action to secure the UK's borders from illegal migrants - we don't need any more Albanian criminals, we've got lots of our own - if enacted, it will put the UK at odds with the ECHR and sending illegal migrants anywhere but here leaves a sour taste when the anywhere in question is Rwanda. So the opposition of a very popular, charismatic chap, even if his brains are in his feet, (Julie Birchell's coinage), has stung Conservative Parliamentarians into action. The BBC has been leant on. Best watch Channel 4 News instead. 
A great deal of opprobrium has been heaped upon Linekar for his Tweet in which he referenced Germany in the 30s. Here's what he said: "There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries. This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s, and I'm out of order?'
Following the Brexit vote, in which 51.89% voted for the UK to Leave Europe whereas 48.11% voted to Remain Ros Taylor wrote in the LSE blog in September, 2016:
(there are) powerful forces that, left unchecked, will plunge us into the same economic hole that Europe and the US fell into in the 1930s, which in turn led inextricably to the horrors of WWII. These forces are not uniquely British, but are worryingly international. Brexit, the rise of Trumpism in the US, and nationalism elsewhere are part of the same trend. Artuç et al. (2010) have shown that across a wide range of countries and time periods, the adjustment costs from trade liberalisation are borne most prevalently by the same group as those that voted to leave the EU: less-skilled and older workers. Brexit was not an irrational vote of the ignorant, but a highly rational vote by the same losers from trade as everywhere else. Of course, the issue of whether you lose from trade is more nuanced than whether you have a degree or not. It is about whether trade liberalisation increases the relative supply of people with your skills. The consequence for those for which it does is that their wages and conditions worsen. In the US, average hourly wages have not risen versus inflation since the 1970s, and within that average, 70% have seen a fall. In low-skill sectors, British firms have been able to introduce ‘zero-hour’ contracts in which they are not obligated to offer any hours of paid work but employees must be always available.
Trade boosts a country’s net welfare..... the net benefits from trade justify the winners setting aside part of their winnings to compensate the losers. But the trade liberalisation agenda fatally attached itself to a neoliberal agenda which said that it was the losers’ fault. The advance of trade liberalisation coincided with the withdrawal of unemployment benefits, tertiary education, retraining, and social housing. The winnings from trade have been increasingly concentrated, not distributed. Trade liberalisation has led to a convergence between countries and a divergence within countries. Brexit and Trump’s Republican nomination tell us that the inevitable reckoning has arrived. The solution de jour is easy monetary policy, but this merely lifts the prices of the homes and financial assets of the skilled elites and pushes them further out of the reach of others, resulting in little boost to consumption. The lasting solution is to use fiscal policy to compensate the losers through aggressive efforts to up-skill displaced workers and build them affordable homes to rent in places where the new jobs are. This costs money, the neoliberals exclaim – but the cost of not doing so is many times greater. If the rise of trade nationalism leads to 1930s-style trade and currency wars, trade and GDP will shrink, creating mass unemployment, despair, and worse."
Artuç, E, S Chaudhuri and J McLaren (2010), “Trade Shocks and Labor Adjustment: A Structural Empirical Approach”, American Economic Review 100(3): 1008-45.

Jeremy Cunt will deliver his Spring Budget on Wednesday. We'll see how he goes about squaring the circle and placating the powerful forces.
Anyway, the luvvies are at it again - giving each other prizes, and, hopefully, punches, facial blows, kicks and curses - Will Smith really upped the game for all future Oscar ceremonies. 
Here's mr ishmael having the last word on a certain Oscar ceremony:

March, 2009, 
stanislav’s blues…


Popular young actors, Gerry and Cilla McCann, have issued this statement through their spokesman, Mr Clarence Foghorn :

“We find it unhelpful that the Academy has again failed to recognise the high standard of our acting and it is most unhelpful that they have not given us an Oscar and deeply disappointing that they have given us no money. We are accustomed to people being so moved by our acting that they send us shitloads of money and pay off our mortgage for us, enabling us to pursue our acting careers.

I am currently appearing as a young doctor in that well-known comedy playhouse, the Leicester Royal Infirmary, although patients do seem to be in short supply, with few volunteering to be placed in my care, for fear that they disappear without trace while in it, resulting in war with Portugal; Cilla is reprising her role as a Child Welfare Expert, on Breakfast TV and on Channel Dave.

People may have forgotten that we are the victims here and in view of our Oscar disappointment we remind them that they can send us money, as much and for as long as they like.
Cash preferred. No unhelpful questions asked.

Please, help us find our Oscar.”



thanks to editor mr. verge, there are now three anthologies of the collected works of ishmael smith:

Honest Not Invent, Vent Stack  and Ishmael’s Blues are all available from Lulu and Amazon. If you buy from Amazon, it would be nice if you could give a review on their website.
Ishmaelites wishing to buy a copy from lulu should follow these steps :

Thanks to editor mr. verge, there are now three anthologies of the collected works of ishmael smith:
Honest Not Invent, Vent Stack  and Ishmael’s Blues are all available from Lulu and Amazon. If you buy from Amazon, it would be nice if you could give a review on their website.
Ishmaelites wishing to buy a copy from lulu should follow these steps :
please register an account first, at This is advisable because otherwise paypal seems to think it's ok to charge in dollars, and they then apply their own conversion rate, which might put the price up slightly for a UK buyer. Once the new account is set up, follow one of the links below (to either paperback or hardback) or type "Ishmael’s Blues" into the Lulu Bookstore search box.  Click on the “show explicit content” tab, give the age verification box a date of birth such as 1 January 1960, and proceed.
Link for Hardcover :
Link for Paperback :
At checkout, try WELCOME15 in the coupon box, which (for the moment) takes 15% off the price before postage.  If this code has expired by the time you reach this point, try a google search for " voucher code" and see what comes up.  
With the 15% voucher, PB (including delivery to a UK address) should be £16.84; HB £27.04.