Saturday, March 3, 2007


A Diary by John McCaughey

Blather [magazine] is here. As we advance to make our bow, you will look in vain for signs of servility or for any evidence of a slavish desire to please. We are an arrogant and depraved body of men. Blather doesn't care. A sardonic laugh escapes us as we bow, cruel and cynical hounds that we are. It is a terrible laugh, the laugh of lost men. Do you get the smell of porter?

---Flann O'Brien, Dublin, 1934

None of us can really be sure that we exist. My whole life, as this Diary shows, is a lie. All the characters in it are invented, none bears any resemblance to anyone living or dead. People who claim to find themselves here must know that the only real existence we can any of us claim is in the imagination of God.

---Auberon Waugh, Diaries 1972-1985

Beer Alert!!!

As if all this ethanol and biofuels fever was not bad enough in what we taxpayers are giving away to Archer Daniels Midland in subsidies, someone pointed out over dinner the other evening a more present and immediate danger: the one to us beer drinkers of the world.

Apparently, strong biofuel demand for feedstocks such as corn, soyabeans and rapeseed is encouraging farmers to plant these crops rather than the traditional grains like barley.

The result? A structural change in agriculture in Europe and the United States that will bring about a permanent upswing in the price of beer, where barley and hops account for nearly 10 percent the cost of production. Barley feed futures are already up by 85 percent a tonne in the last ten months.

The unfortunate Mexicans, who exist largely on tortillas, are already halfway starving. Soon they won't even be able to afford a beer neither, never mind the slice of lemon on the neck of the bottle.

Al Gore and Dubya Bush will have much to answer for when they meet their Maker.

How the Irish Invented Technology

After having dug to a depth of 1,000 feet last year, Scottish scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 1,000 years and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 1,000 years ago.

Not to be outdone by the Scots, English scientists dug to a depth of 2,000 feet and found traces of fiber-optic cable. They concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech digital communications network a thousand years earlier than the Scots.

One week later, Irish newspapers reported that after digging as deep as 5,000 feet in a Mayo bog, Irish scientists had found absolutely nothing.

They therefore concluded that 5,000 years ago the Irish were already using wireless technology.

Politics as Usual

From New York State, of course, emerges the first-ever entirely bipartisan bumper sticker:


Democrats put it on the rear bumper. Republicans on the front bumper...


Obese bore Al Gore, who is always lecturing us about our 'carbon footprint', turns out to be rather a humbug (indeed, a hypocrite) himself on the topic.

The Tennessee Center for Policy Research, a free market think tank in Nashville where Gore maintains a large suburban home, has discovered that the home and swimming pool devoured nearly 221,000 kilowatt-hours last year at a cost of $30,000. That lavish total is more than 20 times the national residential average consumption.

Gore has been powerless to dispute the numbers as they were taken from public records. The best riposte he could come up with to reporters was the ineffably feeble one that he and his wife Tipper "work out of our home."

And this is the guy who scolds and hectors us on energy use? Let him eat cake.

Enough Brains to Fill an Eggcup?

Still on climate change (it really is the flavor du jour), NASA scientist James Hansen (he who set the whole global warming canard quacking many years ago, if Blather's memory serves) now tells the National Press Club in Washington D.C. that all existing coal plants without CO2 scrubbing should be closed: the loss of electric power to be made up by energy efficiency measures.

This truly is asinine, as Hansen must realise if he has enough brains to fill an eggcup.

Coal produces about half of the electricity consumed in America and about 160 new coal plants are in the pipeline to meet inevitably-growing demand in the next decade. Shutting down a large number of coal plants would likely bring the U.S. economy to its knees.

Luckily for NASA, Hansen said he was speaking as a private citizen which presumably encouraged him to hyperbole.


"Conventional wisdom notwithstanding, there is no reason either in football or in poetry why the two should not meet in a man's life if he has the weight and cares about the words."

---Archibald Macleish

{Blather thought that he had a reasonable understanding of the English language but what the #!**#%!%@hell does this gibberish mean? Try again, Archibald.}

"Bureaucratic time, which is slower than geologic time but more expensive than time spent with Madame Claude's girls in Paris."

---P.J. O'Rourke

"If you're going to sin, sin against God, not the bureaucracy. God will forgive you but the bureaucracy won't."

----Admiral Hyman Rickover

"Sustainability is like God, a good thing but, like God, something that is beyond comprehension."

----------Bob Hirsch


"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years....."

Alexander Tyler, a history professor at the University of Edinburgh, was speaking (circa 1787) about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years earlier. But today his words leave one wondering: how long do we have?


"The Puritans nobly fled from a land of despotism [England] to a land of freedom [America] where they could not only enjoy their own religion, but prevent everybody else from enjoying his..."

------American humorist Charles Browne in 1866.

"We have been subjected to a lot of nonsense about climate disasters, as some zealots have been painting extreme scenarios to frighten us. They claim ocean levels are about to rise spectacularly, that there could be an occasional tsunami as high as an eight-story building, the Amazon Basin could be destroyed as the ice cap in the Arctic melts.

"An overseas magazine called for Nuremberg-style trials for global warming skeptics while an American television correspondent compared skeptics to 'Holocaust Deniers'. What we are seeing from the doomsdayers is an induced dose of mild hysteria, semi-religious if you like, but dangerously close to superstition."

------George Cardinal Pell, archbishop of the Roman Catholic diocese of Sydney {Who said that all Cardinals have bird brains?}


"Iniquia numquam regnan perpetui manent"

Unjust rules never endure forever {an optimistic---indeed somewhat questionable--aphorism from the Ancient Romans}.

"Insanus omnis furere credit ceteros"---Syrus

Every madman thinks that everyone else is mad {or a Guide to Daily Life on Capitol Hill}.


A thing much desired or needed {a phrase much employed in Singles Bars of a Friday evening, although 'Go Ugly Early' is the policy followed by the more cynical}.

"Inter spem et metum"

Between hope and fear {the congenital condition of Washington politicians around election time}.

"Homo doctus in se semper divitias habet"

A learned man always has wealth within himself.

----from Blather's "Bluffer's Guide to Latin"



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