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Category Archives: Society

The Price Of Awesome

I just watched a guy jump out of a tiny box at 40km altitude and plummet to Earth to break some kind of record or other. And it was awesome, as are all attempts at pushing human limits and bringing some sense of wonder into this grey and generally shitty world.

And meanwhile, on Facebook, whingers are whinging. In the comments to a status update made by Wil Wheaton, one lady said the following:

RandomIdiot: all of this money…could have been spent here on earth to help the homeless, feed children, house and cloth those in domestic violence……this makes absolutely NO sense to spend all of this money for something like this. ..to what end??????money! money for red bull. makes me sick.

These people piss me the fuck off. These “feed the children” whingers who always pop up when stuff happens they don’t understand or agree with. You know what’s good about this particular event? Maybe a few kids somewhere will see it and think: “wow, that’s awesome, but what did all those big words they used really mean?”

Then maybe these kids will get an education and do something awesome for mankind one day. And not just rabbit on about how we should all be feeding the hungry, while then not doing it themselves.

And even if that doesn’t happen, this is still AWESOME. Just like the LHC, the Mars Curiosity rover, or sending people to the moon. It expands out minds. It makes us proud. It shows us what we as a species can do when we really try.

There are a great many things that money is wasted on in this world. Stupid TV shows. Homeopathy. Religion. Shoes. Fucking magic crystals. Not to mention bailing out banks when they gamble with your money and lose it (which lately cost the US something in the very general region of 700 billion dollars).

Note: I think we should be feeding the hungry. But we can do this and other things too.

Now the person who wrote that comment talks a lot about magic crystals on her Facebook page. She also mentions “our physical, emotional and spiritual bodies”. So money going to Red Bull is bad, but money spent on magic that doesn’t work, and can actually harm people, is good? Lady, you’re a fucking joke. Now go away.

Give us our sense of wonder. Give us the moon and the stars and a world that fascinates and intrigues. Give us all those things that open our eyes and make us share something as humans. And shove your fucking crystals, your magic beans, and your tarot cards in whatever hole most appeals to you.

/ paddy

 
3 Comments

Posted by on October 14, 2012 in Science, Society

 

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Orange Ladies And Beardy Boys

I came back to work last week and two things were immediately apparent.

First, all the orange ladies on the subway. This is a yearly phenomenon – the Swedes returning from their summer-houses, showing off their newly scorched skin. You notice it most on older ladies. Their skin is practically orange, wrinkled and leathery and disturbing. Some of them are so lined they look like fucking Yoda, but, you know, more orange.

While I understand that the Swedes grab whatever sun is going, I fail to see why they would want to damage their skin like this. They lounge around in the parks and beaches, in blazing sunshine and without sunblock, and then wonder why they get skin cancer. Deeply wrinkled, sun-blasted skin isn’t attractive, or healthy, and doesn’t even show status, as summer houses are seen almost as a human right over here.

So why do they do it? Beats me. But if you want to see one, now is the time.

Then there’s the beards. I’m now in the minority at work regarding facial hair. Most men in my office are bearded. It especially noticeable among men in the 25 to 32 age range. Two thirds of them now have beards. It’s like a bloody seventies folk concert.

This thing with huge beards on younger men has taken off to a ridiculous degree in Sweden. It was very noticeable when I went to Herräng dance camp for a week, and saw young men from lots of countries. They were all much less beardy than the young Swedes. It brought home again what a terribly conformist place Sweden can be.

Why is it like this? Because beards on young men is trendy, and Swedes go for trends in the same way that sharks go for icebergs made of spam. They claim to cherish their individuality, which they then express by striving to look exactly the same.

Not the same as each other, mind you. Just the same as whatever subculture they’ve decided they belong to. Be it punks, hipsters, slackers, whatever. You can be unique here as long as you are unique in a very clearly defined way.

Now I’m a big fan of facial hair, but this is all just a bit sad. If you like beards, then have one, regardless of what the rest of the world is doing. Just stop shaving, and presto.

I give it a couple of years. Once the football players start shaving, young Swedish men will shed their facial hair. Beards, after all, can be removed. But I can’t say the same for the swarms of young women with colorful and messy tattoos sleeves on their arms and shoulders. They might have a tad more trouble getting over this particular trend. And let’s see how those things look when they’re pushing 60.

As for the idiots with the discs in their earlobes … well, let’s not even go there.

/ paddy

 
18 Comments

Posted by on August 11, 2012 in Society, Sweden

 

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The Royal We

This week saw the Queen (of the United Kingdom and the blah blah) visit Ireland for the first time in living memory. Or my memory, at least. It all went splendidly. The old girl made a big effort to heal old wounds and even spouted a few words of Irish (known in the newspapers as ‘Gaelic’). She even sat through bloody Riverdance with a straight face. Nice one the Queen. We are not amused, but we are most certainly pleased.

This Segways me nicely (at a slow rolling pace) onto my actual topic, the use of “we” by people in relationships. You know what I mean. You ask a workmate “so what are you doing at the weekend?” And the answer will begin with “Well, we are…”

Hold it there, big boy. I didn’t ask what you plural are doing, I asked what YOU are doing. As in, you yourself. Why do I have to get an answer that includes a person I might not even know? It’s like you asked me what my plans were and I decide to inform you about the weekend plans of a nine-year old boy in Perth.

And tell me this. At what point in a relationship do a great many people stop seeing themselves as individuals? Does it creep up on them, or is it a conscious decision? Is it around the same time they get a shared email address? And start going to the gym in pairs? And start sending out Christmas cards with a photo of them both grinning like morons? Maybe somebody can explain.

I could also go into the practice of using photos of your offspring as your Facebook profile pic, and of informing the world on an hourly basis how much porridge little Glen threw on the floor this morning. I won’t though, because then you’ll all think I’m a baby-hater and a grumpy old bastard. Whereas I’m not. Babies are lovely. Asleep.

Now where’s those fuckin’ slippers and me best pipe.

/ paddy

 
9 Comments

Posted by on May 20, 2011 in Life, Ranting, Society

 

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Debt

I am a very unusual creature in that I have no debts at all. No study loan, no apartment loan, no car loan, no credit cards. And for this I need to be punished. Allow me to explain.

In Sweden if you have a mortgage you get tax relief on the interest payments. It’s around 30% if I’m not mistaken. This can be a reduction in the region of 1500 Euros per year for the average person. However if, like me, you rent your apartment then you get a tax relief of zero.

So, as a buyer, you own the place you live in PLUS you are subsidised by the taxpayer so that you can afford a better place than you otherwise could. You are effectively being rewarded for being in huge debt.

I heard that in the 80s in Sweden the relief rate was much higher than 30%. The banks then would happily give mortgages that exceeded the value of your property and properties with mortgages attached were sought after, as a way to reduce your tax.

I must admit that I don’t understand this at all. Surely I should be getting a bonus for paying my way and not borrowing huge chunks of money? It’s almost as if the state wants me to borrow money. Which, of course, they don’t. Mmm, yeah.

Does this system exists in other countries, that the tax payer subsidises borrowing? Come on readers, tell me, as I have no idea. It’s all too adult for me. The more I find out about the world, the less I get it all.

Oh well, at least I get to gloat when the interest rates go up as then I am richer compared to most other people. And when I pop my clogs I might actually have money to give the family members I leave behind, instead of the huge debt that most of my contemporaries will be leaving after them. Debt, and real ugly houses.

/ paddy (still in the black)

 
17 Comments

Posted by on April 10, 2011 in Ranting, Society

 

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Japan Pearl Harbour Earthquake Fuckwits

It’s pretty hard to miss the news coming in from Japan. If a crushing earthquake wasn’t enough, the country was ploughed by tsunami and now faces nuclear fallout from its aging reactors. Thousands are dead, more are missing and millions are homeless. Watching the news for just five minutes is pretty heart-wrenching.

You would think the world would show its sympathy for Japan in the same way that most of us showed sympathy for the events of September 11 2001. Unfortunately this wasn’t entirely the case as shown by this image doing the rounds over the last day or two. I’ll link to the fucking thing, but I won’t give it any column inches. It’s basically a collection of retarded moronic red-neck comments made by idiot Americans on Facebook. Have a look, if you must, but hold your breath.

These brilliant samples of humanity are pointing out how the Japanese deserve this horrendous situation because of Pearl Harbour. They bombed us, yeah, de sure did, so fuck ‘em. Well pass the shotgun ma there’s a squirrel on my knee and my dick is the sick of an acorn, ha-yuck.

These people. These fucking people. There’s not much to say really, is there? It’s just mind-melting that useless pieces of crap like this can live and breath and share the same planet as the rest of us. Even if their little comments were accurate, it would be a very nasty thing to say right now when the Japanese are suffering like this. However there is very little that can be considered true in their Pearl Harbour comment. Let’s just throw a few facts out there, shall we.

A good many people died at Pearly Harbour. Mostly soldiers though. Soldiers in a war. At Hiroshima and Nagasaki civilians were targeted (which I believe is called terrorism) and vastly more were killed. And there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the atomic attacks were not actually necessary to stop the war at all and were only done to show the world what the American atomic weapons could do, and also to crush Japan quickly so the USA wouldn’t have to share it with the Russians as they did with Germany. “Saving American lives” wasn’t really a consideration. It was about power and posturing, and as for dead civilians… fuck ‘em.

Then of course Pearl Harbour wasn’t really part of the US at all, but annexed by them, which means basically stolen, in 1893. Do our fantastically thick Facebookers know this? No, of course they don’t. By all means, prove me wrong people, please do.

Finally, of course, being Americans, I would guess that the majority of these fine people would describe themselves as Christians. And not at all understand why that’s ironic. Because, as I’ve mentioned, they are as fucking thick as a shit slushy.

I’ve checked a few people on this image, and they do indeed have real Facebook accounts. This is possibly the most scary thing of all, that this is actually for real. If anybody wants to harass them and send them naughty words, you have my blessing. They deserve nothing less, the rancid malevolent little turds.

Ignore those morons, Japan. They don’t represent us. We promise.

/ paddy

 
11 Comments

Posted by on March 14, 2011 in Media, Ranting, Society

 

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No Goths No Glory

Last night I paid a visit (in fine company) to Vampire Lounge in Stockholm. The reason was to get our hands on some of their fine ice-cream cocktails. And to admire the trying-slightly-too-hard interior. As we sat there a thought occurred to us. “This would be a fine bar for goths,” we mused. Looking round we realised that there was not a single person there who wasn’t dead normal.

It occurred to me then that I hadn’t seen an actual goth for ages. So what the hell happened? Did they go extinct in the wild? Did they all move to Berlin? Or did they all, in protest at Andrew Eldritch not stopping while he was ahead, get jobs in banks and bury their long leather coats in shame?

Crusties, indie kids and synthers are still around. The goth’s furrier and cosier cousins the Gothic Lolitas still show up from time to time in their frilly umbrellas and teeny tiny little hats. But good old-fashioned goths just aren’t seen any more. It’s like they were ethnically cleansed, and removed from reality.

As sub-cultures go, I’ve always liked the goths. They look damn fine in their corsets and top hats, and definitely seem to represent the more cerebral side of rock. Also I knew a lot of goths in Dublin in the 90s and they were all very nice people. Unlike some of the rockers who’d nick your pint as soon as look at you.

So what happened to the goths? Is this a Swedish thing, or are they still seen in other cities? Has anybody seen one lately? Have they gone to a much cooler place that the rest of us just don’t know about?

In order to straighten this out I proclaim this goth-spotting week. Keep your eyes open people, and report all sightings to me. And if we can’t find any, perhaps a captive breeding program must be established. And for this I wholeheartedly offer my services.

/ paddy noir

 
21 Comments

Posted by on February 6, 2011 in Culture, Society

 

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The Last Catholic Rant

This blog post may contain traces of religious ranting. You have been warned.

So, I promised myself a while ago to not do any more rants about religion. Because, let’s face it, listening to somebody rant constantly about religion is about as interesting as watching already dried paint dry some more. And so unless organised religion directly impacts upon my life in some way, or tries to fuck with the rule of law and human rights, I will let it slide by as the troubling and incoherent fairy story that it is.

But now, alas, it has pissed me off again. According to the Irish Times, the Catholic Church has made “changes to the Code of Canon Law” in order to remove all traces of the act of defection. This, you may recall, is the procedure I went through a few months back to divorce myself from the robed loonies who ran my childhood. And now it appears that the same church is trying to kill even this option to staunch the flow of people officially leaving its ranks.

Fig 1: Scary men in dresses

To quote the article: “the Archdiocese of Dublin said following the recent changes to canon law it will no longer be possible for individuals to formally defect from the church. However, it added that the Archdiocese intends to maintain a register to note the expressed desire of those who wish to defect.”

So they put us on a list. Whoop-de-fucking-doo. Slap on the back for you, sir.

This makes me so incensed that I don’t know where to start, or finish, or even middle. So I’ll put it succinctly and let you get back to your tea. The Catholic Church forces parents by guilt and “tradition” to sign their newborn babies up to an organisation without their consent, and then suddenly change the fucking rules so that they can never leave? NEVER? And this is accepted behaviour in the modern world?

I’m glad as fuck I got out before the gates clanged shut, and I hope that somebody, somewhere, takes these self-important sons of bitches to court and fleeces them alive. Because, you know what Mr. Ratzinger, you and your dress-wearing ring-kissing turds suck donkey dick, every last one of you.

So I’ll see you in hell. I hear they have a good library. And hot babes.

/ paddy

 
20 Comments

Posted by on October 12, 2010 in Ranting, Religion, Society

 

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A Short Guide to Swedish Politics

Politics is only interesting when it’s happening somewhere else, like in Africa, or in a Fantasy novel. But when there is a general election raging, it’s just the most atrocious bore imaginable.

There is a general election brewing in Sweden now and you can’t walk through town for ten seconds without some intense idiot in an over-large t-shirt shoving leaflets at you. So this is probably a good time for a quick primer on Swedish Politics for all you foreigners, or for you Swedes who haven’t been paying attention.

There are two blocks in the running for this election, plus a scatter of smaller parties. The “Alliance” block, currently ruling, consists of the four governing parties – The Moderates, Centre Party, People’s Party and Christian Democrats. The “Empire” block – sorry, the “Red-Green” block - consists of the Left Party (socialists), the Social Democrats and the Greens. Damn, it would be fucking sweet if they WERE called the “Empire” and the “Alliance”. Why didn’t anybody think of that earlier?

The Moderate’s leader, and Sweden’s PM, is Fredrik Reinfeldt, a man who looks like a giant baby. Other politicians of note include the woman vying for his title, leader of the Social Democrats Mona Sahlin, a woman with a speaking voice so boring it could curdle milk and whose deepest, darkest secret is paying for candy on her government credit card.

The Greens, meanwhile, claim that they don’t have “leaders” and insist on rolling out two “spokespeople”, one male and one female, any time they appear on TV. The political correctness of that just makes me shiver and is one reason why, although I’d like to, I just can’t vote for the Greens. The other reason is that they are unrealistic new-age wimps in many issues. However, it must be admitted, their spokesperson Maria Wetterstrand is HOT.

Then we have the hated Christian Democrats. Hated by me, at least. These bozos have the nerve to call themselves “democrats” even though they clearly accept the infallibility and universal dominance of an all-powerful dictator who can never be voted out, will never die, and can do whatever the fucking fuck he feels like with no consequences. In what possible way can these people call themselves “democrats”? Loonies more like.

And they, like all the other parties, have the nerve to refuse to be in the same room as the far-right Swedish Democrats, even though their stance on “values” is actually very similar.

Shit, this is all giving me a headache. I hope it’s over soon. Can’t we just do a game-show where the politicos get put on some island and have to eat slugs and crawl through mud and get voted out until we pick the one who runs the country?

Yeah, let’s do it! Politician Island. Right now.

/ paddy

 
4 Comments

Posted by on September 4, 2010 in Society, Sweden

 

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Birth of a Meme

It must be the heat, but I have decided to create a brand new blog meme.

This fantastic new meme will be known as “3 things which make my life easier that everybody else should also do but they just won’t no matter how much I bang on about it.” I think you get the point.

So, without delay, here’s my list.

1) Cupboard-mounted lid remover. Okay, so this is really an “aid” for people who are old or disabled, but I just love it. Basically you attach this toothy thing under a cupboard and use it to remove lids. It only takes a quick push and twist, never any problems, and I just don’t understand why more people don’t have them. I tell people about this and they say “yeah that’s probably handy” but then they do not rush out and purchase one. What gives? Go get one people, your life will never be the same again!

2) Going backwards on escalator with prams and strollers. When H11 was a wee thing, I used to take him around in his stroller a lot. We quite often used the escalator and I quickly discovered that by far the most efficient and safe way to do this was as follows:

Have the front wheels of the pram on the third step up from where you are standing. The back wheels are in the air and you have both arms propped securely under the bar thingy. This means that when you go down, you have to step onto the escalator backwards and draw the buggy after you, but it’s still really easy.

However, I noticed that almost nobody does this. In fact, everybody in Sweden stands two steps behind the buggy and bends down to hold it in place. It’s insane, its uncomfortable and it’s far less safe. WTF, people, are you all thick? Do it MY way, it’s so much better!

3) Single click. A few years ago I changed from double to single click on my PC. It’s so much better. I mean, can anybody explain why we have to click twice on something to access it? It’s insane. We don’t double-click on the web, and people are fine with that. The main reason I hear for double-clicking is “oh I’m used to it”. What kind of reason is that? I went and bought a bloody Mac because people told me how great it was, and in that situation “I’m used to a PC” didn’t hold any water. So why should you be wearing out your fingers by clicking twice as many times as necessary? Come on people, single click!

And that’s my three items. In grand old blog meme tradition I will now tag three people, who are welcome to moan in a similar manner. Remember now, three things that you know would improve everybody’s lives if they would only listen to you, the gits.

1. Seamus, one of that breed rare, the male Irish blogger.
2. Melliferax, probably the best beekeeper I know.
3. James, a man who loves a good rant as much as I do.

(4. One more person, Ben, wants in too. Go for it Ben.)

Moan away, people!

/ paddy

 
11 Comments

Posted by on July 10, 2010 in Ranting, Society

 

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Curd for Cash

So the Greeks are happy to accept piles of EU cash after running their economy into the ground with dodgy fiscal planning, bad turkish mustaches, too many private loans and uncontrolled public spending.

But they don’t want to cut any wages. No sir, that would never do. As long as the EU is on hand to once again bail out people who can’t control their own spending or borrowing, then why does anybody have to make that kind of effort?

I however have dreamed up a possible compromise. Just give us back the feta cheese.

Fig 1: Cheese that you can eat but then I have to kill you

You may have noticed this in your part of the world too, but since 2002 there is no non-Greek feta cheese. The name “feta” has been granted a protected designation of origin, and only the Greeks may use it.

What was previously known as feta is these days known in Sweden as “medelhavsinspirerad ost” or “Mediterranean-inspired cheese”. Yeah, sure it is. Nice one, the EU muppets. And buying sports cars you can’t really afford will hereby be known as “Mediterranean-inspired pension planning”. Clap clap, another fantastic piece of EU legislation which cost a fortune to create and then required another fortune to be translated into every language, even bloody Gaelic.

Well I think it’s pretty simple. If it tastes, looks and smells like feta, then it’s feta. So put a sock in it Greece. Or do you want us to come over there and demand you stop making pizzas and instead make “Italian Circle Pie”?

So here’s the money. Enjoy. Buy all the ugly houses you want. Now hand over the fucking cheese.

/ paddy

 
24 Comments

Posted by on April 29, 2010 in Idiots, Society

 

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Earth Hour Suspended

I skipped out on “Earth Hour” last night. And I’ll tell you why.

The problem is that it doesn’t do anything. It’s like most knee-jerk guilty “green” things – GMO hysteria, recycling, non-shopping day, organic food – in that it is a way for guilt-makers to show us how morally superior they are but, on close scientific inspection, does little if nothing of any use.

Turning off the lights for one hour? And using candles instead? Wonderful – replace our highly efficient modern lighting with combustion, a real plus in terms of CO2 and particle emissions, not to mention that the majority of modern candles are made from paraffin, a product of the oil industry. So you will be replacing electricity that may have come from sustainable source with a fossil fuel. Brilliant. Slow clap for you.

Can’t the vocal green preachers get one simple fact into their heads—you cannot bring about real change by making people feel bad and guilty about their behaviour. That only works for a while, and there will always be a backlash. A change will only work if it roughly follows human nature. And humans, by and large, don’t like the dark. Humans DO however like to consume and save money, so why the fuck can’t we just have “Buy LED lights” day instead? That would make a much bigger difference, and on EVERY day.

And to say that this “send a message to our leaders”? No it doesn’t – does anybody really believe that? Like our “leaders” care about pointless actions like this. Big laugh.

And if we’re turning off anything, I would start with TVs. Fucking irritating noise-box full of morons and their jolly japes, or block-headed “sporting events” of no consequence whatsoever, or news programmes telling us how worried and nervous we should be. Get rid of the fucker—just throw it out!

We already, in fact, have a TV-turn-off day (okay, so it’s a week) but does the media pay attention to it? Of course they fucking don’t. The media only like things that show how caring and important they are. Like this global backslapping of Earth Hour. I’m sure the Co2, if any, saved by this was more than made up for by news teams farting around the planet to film it all and feeling smug about their efforts.

But then again a billion people turning off their TVs would not make good TV. Would it?

Don’t get me wrong, I love darkness. I love it when the incessant noise of electronic crap is stilled, and we can see the stars and each other. A few months back we had a power cut in my area for about 4 hours, and I was never happier. Life is simply too bright, too loud, too garish, too fucking WAAAAH! for my tastes.

So turn it off please, by all means—your TV, your computer, your stereo. Even your fridge, which most of us barely use at all. But not light! Keep your lights on and use them to read a fucking book or build something from Lego or play a real game that isn’t made of pixels or draw up plans to destroy our global moronic media infestation.

Here’s to Brain Turn-on Day, hopefully coming your way soon.

/ paddy

 
40 Comments

Posted by on March 28, 2010 in Ranting, Science, Society

 

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Girls Using iPhones

So I was at a concert yesterday. And as soon as the band came on stage I had a desire to photograph them. I took out my shitty little phone and spent a few seconds fiddling with it before I realised a few key points: my phone was shit; the room was too dark;  and I was missing the actual IRL event I was paying to see.

I watched the concert instead, but quickly noticed that many other people were busy snapping away on their iPhones. So I tried instead to take photos of them. And I got a few nice photos of attractive girls taking pictures of the band, which was much more entertaining that watching the band itself.

There was, I realised, probably a porn site for that kind of thing. Of course there is – there is a porn site for everything, and I won’t even try and list the most bizarre options here; just go out and find them for yourselves. Tea-towel and cake-baking porn? Oh I bet you’ll find it. Men doing it with one-legged librarians? Five dollars says it’s out there somewhere.

And there IS naturally already a site specialising in photos of girls using iPhones. Typical. Which means that I can’t do it myself. Although this site is more of a “girls taking photos of their own barely covered breasts with a camera that just happens to be an iPhone” but yeah, you get the point.

And the concert was fine, but her hair was far too large.

/ paddy

 
24 Comments

Posted by on March 5, 2010 in Life, Society

 

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