The Judge RANTS!
The Snides Of March
Back with another Roundup™ (that is to say, something that kills all it touches and leaves a nasty residue for the enhancement of future generations).
- I came home from work last Tuesday to find this stuck on my bin (which had been emptied a couple of hours before):
Given that - as far as I could tell - none of my neighbours had been similarly upbraided, I could only assume that it was I-an'-I alone who had committed some transgression against contemporary morals.
And yet, there was no indication - either here or by something shoved through my front door - as to what the offending item(s) may have been. So how am I to address the nature of my offence if I don't know what it was? Did a single egg shell make itself manifest as a result of my not being willing to go into the yard to put it in the green bin when it was pissing down? Did a plastic tray from my Sainsbury's vegetable biryani become visible during the emptying process?
The fact that the sticker would have been visible to all passing by in the couple of hours or so between its placement and my dragging the bin back up the yard and around the back of the house caused considerable annoyance.
For here, in addition to all the other ways in which one may be publicly humiliated for a minor peccadillo is a new twist: trash shaming.
The thing is, as much as I approve in general terms of the notion of recycling (although it would be far better if we didn't have so much packaging in the first place; but, then again, that would hit someone's boddom line), it is often not apparent what is recyclable and what isn't.
This is particularly true in the case of plastics, the biggest plague of all. Are we now really expected to have wall-charts in our kitchens to show us what may be reusable and what may not? And, given that local authorities all have different rules under different contracts whereby something recyclable in one village may not be in the next (rather reminiscent of the US, where the very laws of the land themselves can vary wildly between towns), how can we be sure of avoiding the calumny of the Sitcker of Shame showing us up to the neighbours?
I have decided (having ripped the sticker off and put it in the sack also provided by our dear Council; which will no doubt lead to my getting a further warning because the adhesive renders it unrecyclable) to adopt a fail-safe position in future and put all plastics in the requisite receptacle. Then they can sort it out.
If it doesn't all end up in the same landfill site, of course.
- My choice of viewing in recent weeks has consisted of YouTube videos. Firstly in early November, there were old baseball clips. Then, in the run-up to Christmas, I binged on examples of Christopher Hitchens blasting the unheathen with remorseless reason; then - somewhat adjacent to that - old George Carlin routines; followed by a number of videos of his more recent pale imitator Bill Maher (a small hint, Bill; stop laughing at your own jokes. It spoils the effect); but I've now gone back to clips of buildings and other structures being imploded.
These are strangely satisfying, and I don't mean in any psychoanalytical sense; I have a friend who once - not entirely seriously - interpreted a dream I had had which featured an airliner breaking up in mid-air in such terrifyingly Freudian terms that it cured me of ever describing my dreams to anyone else ever again.
No, in addition to admiring the technical expertise which has to be used in order to make a seven-storey building in a city centre collapse completely within its own footprint or the sight of a tall transmitter mast folding up on itself as it falls, there is something aesthetically pleasing about such a sight; an elegance, if you will.
And yet, watching all this, I felt a sense of melancholy as well. I pondered that the office and apartment blocks had taken an awful lot longer to put up than it took to remove them from the contemporary landscape, and that there was a little too much congruence with our own here-today-gone-tomorrow presence in the world not to cause some unease. I thought also of all the lives that had been lived in and around those buildings. People had worked there. People had lived there. People had probably died there. Perhaps people had been born there. Some might also have been conceived there (and this is likely to be as true of the commercial properties as of the residential ones, if the stories about office parties are to be believed). What parts of whose lives was I seeing being eradicated by well-placed chemicals?
And now I find that one or two cross-threaded twits have posted videos of these implosions running backwards, which seems to me to be an exercise in futility comparable to employing Christopher Grayling.
- Speaking of whom, the following statement must now be made:
"In a recent report in The Daily Judge, the Right Honourable Christopher Grayling, MP for Epsom and Ewell and Secretary of State for Transport was described as "an inveterate chancer". This of course should have read "an inveterate chancre". We are glad to set the record straight".
- Back to the world of at least artifical intelligence and technology, I give you the pure truth of Dabbs' Law:
"Power cables for electronic devices are manufactured in one of two lengths:
25.4mm shorter than required
2 metres longer than necessary"
- There used to be, here in Greater Gammonia, something called 'Independent Local Radio'. This constituted a programme of radio stations intended to serve a particular local area and based therein.
All right, the term was always somewhat of a pose: 'independent' was not merely a way of saying that it wasn't the BBC, but also of indicating that these were commercial stations without actually using that particular 'c'-word.
But as time went on from their origins in the mid/late-70s, it became increasingly clear that the 'local' bit was starting to became a euphemism as well. Those local stations which managed to survive the ravages of two or three deliberately-engineered economic recessions in the early- to mid-1980s soon found themselves the targets of takeovers and conglomeration at the hands of two or three rapacious corporations.
Gradually, all credible semblance of the 'local' has been bled out of the individual stations, to become thoroughly genericised and centralised. Genuine, locally-produced programmes - with presenters who were actually a part of the communities they broadcast to - were cut and cut again, in favour of standardised pleb-fodder created in and radiated from two or three studios in London. Until, finally and inevitably, we get this. For, just as the election of Donny J. Tribblehead was not an aberration, merely the culmination of trends which had been going on partly submerged for some years, so the turning of the 'local' into the 'regional' and finally into the 'national' is simply the inevitable consequence of commercial gigantism and all-but-non-existent control.
For all this has happened with not merely the tacit approval but the eager connivance of a so-called 'regulator' which - like other such chimeras of contemporary public services - is there not to protect the citizen-consumer from the unhindered avarice of corporations, but to defend those companies from us and from one another. Now, be the stations themselves situated nominally in one or another of the constituent nations of this so-called 'Union', they will all pump out the same trash based on the same metropolitan assumptions from the same place, twenty-four/seven, and let the proles be joyful with it.
- And we conclude with this month's homily:
No, Jorge darling, that's the Aztecs you're thinking of.
But if it means your employees take no interest in any other part of a child's anatomy, I suppose we must consider it a small step forward.