The Curmudgeon


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Those Excitable Colonials

Given that the empty suit at the Treasury has delivered itself of the considered opinion that keeping the planet habitable would be fiscally imprudent for Global Britain, one would have hoped the rest of the world might have followed Her Majesty's Government in its passage to more significant matters; but not a bit of it. Mere experts have discovered that permafrost which has been frozen for millennia is turning out less permanently frosted than previously thought. Fortunately it's happening in Canada rather than in Westminster, so levels of concern within Her Majesty's Government will remain minimal unless the Queen Gawblesser should happen to toddle over there and risk getting her feet wet.

Monday, June 17, 2019

The Next Best Thing

Since God apparently has better things to do these days than impose vocations on would-be eunuchs, the Church of Rome is considering a slight relaxation of Pope Gregory's rule of celibacy among the clergy. Alas, there is no likelihood that priests will be spared the temptation to fondle their flocks by being permitted to run after one another's wives: the possibility that enforced celibacy may have contributed to the Church's various sex scandals is of course entirely unworthy of consideration, and the rule-change is being contemplated not from a wish to do better, but from the urge to do more of the same. Accordingly, the most the Vatican will countenance is allowing a few old married men to toddle up the Amazon in order to help complete, as far as possible, the pious genocide begun some five centuries ago by the forebears of Pope Bergoglio.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Father of Teeth

Text for today: Premolars xxxi-xlvii

Nine months later, however, the Father of Teeth had infiltrated a paternity ward, where he drifted into the habit of shambling up and down the rows of beds, dispensing useful advice to the swelling expectancies and occasionally fingering the stirrups in a manner which gave rise to much fascination and occasional outbreaks of twitching.

Each day an orderly would tour the ward, pushing before him a gurney with a squeaking wheel; mounted on the gurney was an intravenous feed dangler, and draped over the dangler was a white coat. At the foot of every bed the orderly would pause, stand behind the white coat and tell the inmate of the bed how very well he was doing and why no glucose could be spared just at the moment, while the Father of Teeth stood sniggering a short distance off until the orderly rammed him with an elbow. When the orderly went squeakily on his way, the Father of Teeth would resume shambling up and down, informing the inmates collectively and individually that the whole business was a bad idea and would likely come to nothing in the end. Some of them screeched at him; some of them grinned and clawed for his eyes; most lay back and listened in vacant contentment, complacently fondling their bulges.

Eventually, as usual, war broke out and the hospital was invaded by soldiers in the uniform of the enemy. They raided the medicine cabinets, smashed up the incubators and used the intravenous feed dangler to inflict hideous indignities upon the squeaking orderly; and they carefully recorded on video each one of these deeds of derring-do, and more besides.

"Our children!" shrieked the inmates of the paternity ward.
The Father of Teeth gestured at the soldiers, a couple of whom looked up from their depredations; whereupon the Father of Teeth miraculously transformed the gesture into a salute. "Those were children once," the Father of Teeth said to the inmates of the paternity ward. "There is no shortage, gentlemen; indeed, for some dozens of millennia there has been a positive glut. Your own additions to the flesh-pile, if they survive this unfortunate conflict, will no doubt be driven to relieve the market in their own humble manner."

At this the inmates of the paternity ward grew even more indignant, for none of them wished to see their children in so unprofitable a profession as the infantry, let alone the enemy's infantry. Fortunately, the soldiers were not from the enemy's infantry at all, but from the Ministry of Public Information. They were manufacturing an atrocity video for the motivation of the populace, and they had been ordered to make it convincing. The Father of Teeth sneaked out before the climax: the inmates of the paternity ward had given small thanks for his advice, and he did not suppose they would be much more appreciative if the last words they heard in this life were: "I told you so."

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Psychological Penetration

One of Brazil's enemies of the people has ruled that the man who stabbed Jair Bolsonaro during his presidential campaign last year should be hospitalised rather than jailed. The attacker's blade pierced Bolsonaro's speech centres and endangered his life; but the judge has returned a verdict of mental illness, presumably because the motive was something other than the candidate's well-documented status as a gay-baiting ecocidal demagogue. Spontaneous justice was served at the scene by the forces of popular opinion, but the would-be assassin survived the beating and, according to the police, confessed to the assault. In a surprisingly hopeful development, Bolsonaro has announced that he will appeal against the judge's ruling for indefinite hospitalisation on psychiatric grounds. It's refreshing to find such breadth of vision in Bolsonaro; one would hardly expect someone like him to agree that you don't have to be mad to stab a fascist.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Lead of Heaven

Less than a tenth of the money pledged for the repair of Notre Dame has so far been paid; which may well be a blessing in disguise if it delays Emmanuel Macron's plans to reboot the unfortunate pile in fluorescent plastic. Meanwhile the first mass since the inferno is to be held in what remains of the cathedral, presumably in order to thank the Lord for all the fine and upright work He is doing in protecting His servants, some of whose children may now suffer poisoning from the lead in the roof and spire. Part of a cathedral's function is to stand as an allegory of the faith, and there is a certain happy symbolism in constructing its more heavenly components with an element that impairs cognition. A further potent demonstration of faith will be made by the priests at the mass, who will be wearing hard hats in case their Father should decide to rain any further blessings upon them.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Gove Does Not Quite Twig

From the days of the Osbornomic miracle until now, the essential policy of Her Majesty's Government has remained the same: grandiose pledges followed by insouciant inaction and the sort of flexible attitude to hitting its own targets that might characterise World War III if Chris Graybeing's forehead were to depress the red button. Possibly not by coincidence, the jabbering homunculus which is Global Britain's excuse for an environment minister has declared himself averse to targets and deadlines in case they should inconvenience his employer, Rupert Murdoch; which doubtless explains how Her Majesty's Government has managed to miss one of its greener targets by the uncharacteristically moderate factor of seventy-one per cent. Against a target of five thousand hectares of trees to be planted in England over the year to last March, the jabbering homunculus managed a quasi-Osbornomic fourteen hundred and twenty and was crushed by the rebellious Scots. Still, it's only the environment, after all; and the relevant ministry extruded a spokesbeing to burble ambitious nothings because the jabbering homunculus himself has more important matters to worry about.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Fuck Business

Aside from those obliging fillies who are hired to keep the members up at snort-and-snigger gatherings, the Conservative Party does not generally approve of prostitution. Everything else may be for sale, from the prime minister's time to the National Health Service; but prostitution implies the double dangers to civilisation of extramarital sex and working women. Any imputation that government policy might be forcing women onto the game must naturally cause insult as well as injury to the sensitive souls at the Department of Whore Promulgation. Hence a recent memorandum to the work and pensions select committee shrugged off the idea that the Government's filleting of the social security budget was forcing women into sex work, and instead blamed drug addiction, the internet and the European Union, in accordance with traditional Conservative Party wisdom. However, a flunkey has now been dispatched with an apology, so perhaps someone in the Cabinet has been briefed about women, even fallen women, getting the vote some little time ago. Similarly, last month's report by the UN rapporteur, which went so far as to imply that taking resources away from poor people tends to make them poorer, has been faintly praised as "factually correct" by the senior civil servant responsible for depriving children and families. The outraged screeching with which Amber Rudd greeted the report was merely the measured and justified response of a sensitive soul to "the political interpretation of what's happened," namely the ludicrous ideological dogma that Her Majesty's Government might somehow or other be responsible for the consequences of its own policies.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Helpless Before the Might of the Consumer

The natural and innate Britishness of the human species has been gloriously documented in BP's annual global energy report, which notes that people are responding to the effects of climate change by helping to increase the effects of climate change. As the corporation's chief economist profundified, "On hot days people turn to their air conditioning and fans, on cold days they turn to their heaters," which is clearly no-one's choice but their own. Not to be outprofounded, BP's chief executive profundified that the present backwards race to mitigate the climate emergency is "not a race to renewables, but a race to reduce carbon emissions across many fronts." Although the report notes that emissions might just possibly have been higher without the growth of renewables, BP and its fellow non-ideologues are wary of drawing any connections between reducing carbon emissions and energy sources that might reduce carbon emissions. Instead, BP recommends that those concerned about the use of fossil fuel should switch to different fossil fuels until the beastly renewables can be put in their place: a process well advanced in the Recrudescent Imperium, where the extent of the Government's commitment to a sustainable economy has long been apparent in its coddling of shale-frackers and kicking of the solar industry. Meanwhile, BP remains so committed to reducing carbon emissions across many fronts that its minions are mounting a legal attack on Greenpeace protesters occupying an oil rig, while the dynamic wealth creators of the private sector squeal for government subsidies as the price for not bringing down civilisation by mid-century.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Low-Grade Personnel

Outsourced workers at the Ministry for Wogs, Frogs and Huns, rather than rejoicing in their economic liberty, have gone on strike over their employer's decision to postpone paying their monthly wages for two weeks. Like many low-paid workers, they seem to have been indiscreet enough to pay rent or mortgages rather than inheriting or owning their homes outright, and some of them even pay their bills in Britain rather than the Bahamas. By contrast, the company that employs them is so fiscally responsible that it was forced to restructure as recently as three months ago; which presumably was what led Her Majesty's Government to renew the company's contract, along with such corporate virtues as a disinclination to recognise trade unions and a non-ideological attitude to the London living wage. The relevant minister, Jeremy C Hunt, proclaimed in March that he would take "full responsibility" for failures to pay support staff on time; but as befits a would-be national figurehead under the leadership of Rupert Murdoch and the Trumpster, he has today outsourced the responsibility for proclaiming that he won't be taking responsibility after all.

Sunday, June 09, 2019

The Father of Teeth

Text for today: Cavities lxxiv-lxxxvii

Quite irrelevantly, however, the Father of Teeth had previously encountered a little middle-aged man with a shiny haircut, a slick handshake and a necktie of oculoclastic panchromaticality. This worthy sat under the hot desert sun, obsessively arranging and rearranging patterns of pale stones while the hair-cream bubbled cheerily on his scalp. The various communities on the edge of the desert held him in superstitious reverence, and habitually left offerings of food and small, fluorescent sex toys in his honour.

The little man leapt to his feet and pumped the gnarled claw of the Father of Teeth with sudorific sincerity. An ellipse of pale stones was laid out around him, with narrow flints at each end and progressively larger and blunter stones around the rim. This, the little man proclaimed, represented the secret of perfect social stability, diagrammatically petrified for anyone to understand, and for everyone, from the most exalted plutocrat to the second-lowest traitor in the land, to appreciate and obey or else.

"See," said the little man, standing at the very centre of the ellipse and pointing at the narrow flints with his longest and most polished sex toy: "the incisors at the front, because they're the sharpest, and then," he pointed at the roughly conical stones which were next in line, "the canines, which are the soldiers and spies who support them, and finally," pointing at the largest and roughest stones, "the molars, which grind away humbly in the background and make the world digestible."

In the black leathery eye-bags of the Father of Teeth was a dangerous overabundance of wrinkles that might have warned a more prudent observer, but the little man continued with heedless enthusiasm:

"... The circular structure of the schematic demonstrates the layout of both upper and lower jaws, to emphasise the structural symmetry of the system. In real life, of course, the personnel would mesh with one another in form and function, but only within their own class: incisors with incisors, premolars with premolars and so forth. It would never do for one of these," he rapped his pointer lightly against one of the stone incisors, and then against one of the stone molars, "to grind against one of these, now would it? Violate a system worked out over millennia by the natural forces of evolutionary dentistry? I should think not, indeed!"

But even as he spoke, the grin of the Father of Teeth led with the molars, while his incisors and canines and premolars bowed their way to the back. As the pale stones rose whistling into the air and streaks of black light seared his necktie, the little man's face took on the nicotine hues of shock.

"You fish," said the Father of Teeth; "you presume to consider the arrangement of your bodily calcium an eternal design for the world, and yet you have never considered that rocks have no roots."

And when the various communities at the edge of the desert ventured out to make their offerings once more, they found no elliptical patterns of pale stones, nobody waiting to accept their tributes; and of the necktie which had been visible for miles they could discern not even a glimmer. There was a small rock-pile or cairn, which some said reminded them of a giant's teeth extracted and heaped up at random, especially as the rocks appeared stained and discoloured as if from persistent chewing on something bad; but they were not the kind of communities to stick their heads in a giant's mouth, as the local idiom had it, and they left the cairn well alone until the wind and the weather wore it away, along with the tributes which they left lying about the district just in case.