Category Archives: people. rant

Feeling OK?

There is apparently much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the world of AIDS research on the news that not only do the hugely expensive vaccines in development not reduce the risk of getting AIDS, they actually increase it, maybe by a factor of two. One US funded study was abandoned after it was realized that the vaccine did no good and was probably harmful. The study was being done on homosexual volunteers in the Americas, the Caribbean and Australia; I have to assume that the only way you can tell the success of the vaccine is by testing these people over a period of time to see how many of them become HIV positive. This begs an interesting question: assuming these volunteers knew about AIDS and the risk of unprotected anal sex with strangers (which would have to be the case under any definition of “informed consent”), and given that they clearly decided to assume the risk anyway, why the fuck is the US spending more than $250 million a year trying to figure out how to save their lives? There are many innocent victims of this disease but promiscuous homosexuals fucking each other in the arse even after all the publicity around the risk do not count among them. Neither do needle-sharing drug abusers, although at least in their case they have the excuse that they’re too fucked up on smack to care.

This raises a bigger issue, and one which you will never hear anyone discuss: who should be saved?

The population of the world is growing exponentially. The 6 billion people infesting the globe today will be 10 billion by the year 2150, and the population growth will not be even. The huge population increase in India and China is well documented, but it is Africa which is projected to see the biggest percentage increase. The population of Africa will swell from some 13% of the total today to around one quarter of the whole world’s population over this period. What the fuck is it going to cost to keep all these people alive? Clearly the twats in charge in Africa today can’t fucking well do it.

It’s tempting to approach the issue of healthcare as though everyone can be saved and should be saved, but think about this rationally. When you save someone’s life you don’t make them immortal – you just postpone their death. If you find a cure for cancer they’ll end up dying of something else eventually. This is why the “settlements” imposed on the cigarette companies to compensate the States for the health costs of treating smokers were such bullshit. Statistics show that providing healthcare to smokers costs less than to non-smokers over their lifetimes – in terms of simple cost, cigarettes saved the States billions.

So what happens if we are successful in finding a cure for cancer? And AIDS? What if we can delay the aging process (which seems to be the goal of half the world’s healthcare research), reduce heart disease or treat obesity? Where are all these people going to live? Sooner or later we’re all going to die wallowing in our own filth, unless a friendly epidemic thins the herd a bit. And what do you get if you knock off all the causes of “premature” death? You get billions of fucking old people, that’s what, and how many greeters can WalMart employ in the year 2150?

Of course anyone who suggests that we should take our finite healthcare spending and prioritize it in providing the maximum quality (not quantity) of life will be shouted down. Anyone who implies that maybe death is nature’s way of keeping the population young and that we should be more concerned about the staggering population growth in Africa than the tiny decline caused by AIDS, is not going to get invited to any UN conferences.

In the end you can’t save everyone. The latest cutting-edge medical procedures are so hideously complex and expensive that healthcare insurance has become unaffordable for millions. Many of them then die from eminently treatable conditions. How stupid is that? We’re working harder so that less people can be protected, not more. The whole pharmaceutical industry is working feverishly to produce a drug that will treat obesity, a condition of choice among lazy overeaters, while millions die untreated from malaria. And the AIDS industry grinds on, consuming ever more dollars that could be used to save and improve lives in well known and simple ways in developing countries, simply because it’s politically impossible to say no to it. Perhaps instead of giving them experimental vaccines someone should just have handed the volunteers a small card, reading “Don’t fuck strangers in the arse or you might die”. That would have got my vote.

Copyright © 2008 Edward Bison

Evenings & Weekends

The most miserable scum crawling across the face of the earth today just have to be mobile phone companies. This might seem like the reaction of someone who just had a really bad experience with one but I can assure you that they haven’t done anything specific to me recently, so this isn’t a “How dare you fuck with me” rant; it’s the result of a calm reasoned analysis which concludes that the people responsible for developing mobile phone plans should be gathered together and executed.

The whole industry is built on the idea that you should estimate how many minutes you will talk each month and then buy that many minutes. If you don’t use them you waste all the money you spent on them but if you use more the phone company will (almost literally) fuck you up the arse with “overage” charges. The whole idea is patently ridiculous – no matter how many minutes you estimate you can be 100% certain that you will NOT talk for that many minutes. It will either be more or less, guaranteed. Heads they win, tails you lose.

Just imagine buying gasoline that way. You have to decide how many miles you will drive each month and pay a gas station to have that many gallons of gas available for you. It costs you $3/gallon (apologies to European readers, for whom $3/gallon would be a sodding miracle) so you write a check for the cost of that many gallons and send it in. If you don’t drive that many miles, tough shit – you can’t get your money back. But should you need to drive more miles for any reason you will pay $10/gallon for any extra gas you use that month. Oh, and you are locked into that many gallons for two years. Sounds fair and reasonable, doesn’t it? Like fuck.

I had to laugh when they started advertising “rollover” minutes, like this was an amazing innovation they’d come up with just to make your life better. The idea that you could keep the minutes you’d bought and use them over a longer period – how kind of them. But rollover minutes are the answer to a problem that they created. The only reason you had the problem in the first place is because of the arse-fuckingly unfair pricing regimes that the mobile phone companies invented and stuffed down everyone’s throats. Those commercials were a bit like someone kicking you in the balls and then telling you that they had some great news – they could sell you some ointment to make them hurt less.

So now Verizon is offering yet another “innovation”; unlimited minutes for a flat fee. Here’s what a Verizon lackey said about this new idea:

“The new flat rate voice plans truly free customers from the worry of counting minutes,”

So they’re all concerned about us and want to help us over our worries? Bollocks. Big, pink, hairy, dangly bollocks. Complete wall-to-wall, all-in-one, oven-roasted, crispy fried bollocks. They are the bastards who invented “having to worry about your minutes” becuase they are the people who invented the “stick it right up your arse” overage charges that hit you when you use too many. If they charged you the same price for every minute then you wouldn’t worry about using more, would you? Not surprisingly, peace of mind doesn’t come cheap – it will cost you $100 a month, so better get lubed up for another mobile phone arse-reaming.

Leaving aside the pricing issue, does anyone actually have the time and patience to wade through all the myriad phone plan combinations? And all the hardware options that go along with them? Do you really know the difference between a MOTORAZR2 and a MOTORAZR2 Luxury, or an LG KG800 Chocolate and a VX8550 Chocolate? By the time you’ve figured that out you don’t have any time left to call anyone.

So in special recognition of all the phone company marketing wankers and their contribution to society, here’s how they should be punished. They should be assigned a number of lashes between 200 and 1000 but they have to guess how many. (They’ll either guess high or low.) After receiving the full number of lashes they will also receive one kick in the private parts for every lash by which they underestimated their assigned number, or one fork up the arsehole for every lash by which they overestimated the number. Plus one hundred “Anytime” slaps in the face, and a thousand “Evenings and Weekends” nipple tweaks. Sounds fair to me…

Copyright © 2008 Edward Bison

Today’s Pet Hates

I was in the gym this morning and managed to encounter two of my pet hates in the space of five minutes. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not suggesting that I only have a few, and that this was therefore a rare event. I probably have thousands. Life could easily be a constant parade of irritation if I paid attention to them all. However I don’t have much else to talk about today so here goes…

Sunday is leg day, which means squats. For anyone who isn’t in the know, squats is an exercise that involves putting a weight bar on your shoulders and then squatting down until your thighs are parallel to the floor (or all the way down until your arse is close to the floor if you are flexible enough) and then standing up again. Gravity normally ensures that the first part is the easy part; standing up is where the fun usually happens. This should be repeated 2-10 times depending on your training routine, and for 4-6 sets. Weight should be progressively heavier so you’re always working hard, and squats are always painful if you do them right – it’s about the least pleasant exercise you can do but unfortunately it’s also one of the best.

One of the things that pisses me off immensely is when guys get in the squat rack and load up the bar with weight plates. Then they do this pansy little half-squat where they barely bend their knees, repeat it a few times and then ponce around like they’re Mr.Big because of all the weights they used. If they went all the way down, even with half the weight, they’d collapse in a heap. This might seem like a stupid thing to notice but I’m not alone; today there were four of us in a row, including one female, fighting the temptation to go over and tell these two guys, who were not beginners and therefore should have known better, that they were utterly wasting their time.

After these weenies had moved on, just when I thought it was safe to go back to exercising, this other guy walks up and he’s wearing Crocs. You know – those fucking retarded plastic shoes that always look about five sizes too big, come in multiple ridiculous colors and make the wearer look like an oversize toy plastic golf club. I see kids wearing them all the time and let me tell you that even kids look stupid in them. What’s wrong with kids anyway? If I think about all the running, kicking of footballs, fighting, climbing, exploring and other stuff we did as kids it’s hard to imagine a less useful footwear than these crap slip-on plastic things. Of course, if your whole life involves being driven about by mommy, fed hamburgers and sat in front of the TV to play video games then no problem…

I suppose some kids have no choice, and for others it may save them having to wrestle with difficult issues like tying laces that might damage their self-esteem. But for adults there is absolutely no excuse. All adults in Crocs look like complete wankers. End of story. Period. Finito. No arguments please. The only time I ever heard anyone come up with a valid reason for buying some was when my brother, the anaesthetist (anasthesiologist to all you Americans), bought some to wear in the operating theater on the grounds that its’ easy to clean the blood off them. So, unless your chosen occupation is surgeon, vet, slaughterhouse worker or serial killer it’s hard to see what excuse you could possibly have for wearing Crocs.

I heard someone describe Crocs as “totally gay” which is obviously ridiculous; I don’t know enough gay people to count as a representative sample of the community at large but I’m willing to bet that gays are not big among the purchasers of Crocs. Gay people are supposed to be more sartorially gifted than the rest of us; the stereotype is that they coordinate clothing, use more skin products, take more trouble over their hair and generally pay more attention to how they look. I actually think this is bollocks too – not everyone who’s gay is some fucking “Queer Eye” wannabe. Nevertheless, Crocs would completely undercut any attempt at being taken seriously; not much chance of getting your salad tossed if you show up in those abominations, I’d have thought.

Fortunately it’s time to head off on another trip (India this time); if I’d shown up at the gym next weekend and found someone wearing Crocs doing pansy squats I’m not sure even I could maintain my usual calm demeanor…

Copyright 2007 Edward Bison