Disaster Squared

The other day, I was idly wondering what would happen if a Harvey-like storm / hurricane were to hit an area like Houston again — only this time, because Evil Glueball Wormening, all the cars were not powered by gasoline or diesel but by government-mandated electricity.

Fear not; in a fine example of synchronicity, Longtime Reader Mike G. sends me this little study which, if you’re too busy to read the whole thing, can be summed up quite simply: everyone would be fucked. Hard. A sample:

Imagine if the environmentalists had had their way and had managed to force the US into electric cars…something that is underway now in some countries like Norway, the UK and soon France. Germany recently has been discussing in earnest banning by 2030 the internal combustion engine.
And now imagine with Irma approaching if the millions of citizens evacuating populated south Florida had had electric cars instead to make the 400-mile journey to get out of harm’s way. After 100 miles or so these cars would have lost their power, and charging stations quickly would have become overrun with cars waiting to make the one-hour charge-up.
Traffic would have rapidly come to a halt.
These millions of stranded people then would have been sitting ducks waiting to be blown away by nature’s fury.

I await with bated breath to see how the Greens will respond to this hypothesis. (Of course, given that most Greens hate people in principle and espouse a policy of going back to nature, they’ll most likely shrug and say something about staving off over-population by natural means, the amoral assholes.)

This whole unicorn philosophy of the Greens is going to end up killing more people than the internal combustion engine.

Back In The U.S., Back In The U.S., Back In The U.S.A.

I should have been arrested.

Mr. Free Market dropped me off at Heathrow yesterday, after taking me on a long, meandering drive through Hardy Country which just made me glad I’ll be back at the end of October for Part Two of Sabbatical 2017. For the record, I was three hours early for my flight — which was a good thing, as you will see.

For reasons unknown, I hadn’t been able to check in online so I went to the check-in kiosk to do so. The message was “Fuck off, Yank” (not worded quite like that, but that was the gist of it) so I had to go and see an actual person, who checked my luggage (no overweight baggage charge, even though I was coming back with more than what I’d left with — strange) but unusually, she asked me all sorts of questions about where I’d been staying, why I’d been in the country so long, and so on. She was an airline flunky, not a security person, so I said curtly, “I was in Wiltshire to inter the remains of my late wife,” which brought forth an immediate apology and a quick check-in.

So: on to the security line. Remember, this was not my first rodeo, so I knew the drill: laptop into its own bucket, empty pockets, remove belt, boots, etc. — i.e. not a single suspicious thing on my person remained… and yet I still triggered the alarm which got me a full-body search and pat-down by, it should be said, a very polite, even apologetic Brit-style TSA guy who had, interestingly, an Arabic name. All this took ages, and I started to steam slowly; but just when I was about to open my big mouth and start asking pointed questions, the search came to an end, and I was free to wander around the maze of shops and such in Heathrow’s Terminal 3.

I bought a few things: newspaper, road food for the flight (I don’t touch airline food because ugh), and decided to grab a meal before I went to the gate. “The Curator’s” restaurant (quoi?) seemed decent, so I went in and got a (wait for it) fish ‘n chips along with a couple pints of bitter ale — not 6X, but not bad for all that — and had a long, leisurely read of the Telegraph. Eventually, I finished up and strolled down to gate 31 — of course it was a long walk down, did you even have to ask? — but when I got there, things got ugly.

I got flagged and pulled out for another random search — this time of my carry-on bag, which held all the office paraphernalia to do with my laptop. This agent was an Indian guy — complete with singsong accent — and he checked my bag like a ferret sniffing out a rabbit, as well as swabbing down everything with that little explosive residue-detector swab thingy. Then he turned his attention to me: again with the belt, again with the boots off, again with the pat-down, and this time I got swabbed for as well, just for good measure. Of course, I didn’t have any explosive residue on me — which seemed to surprise Mr. Patel — but I was nevertheless still close to one of Kim’s Deluxe #1 Explosions of Rage, but once again, the examination ended suddenly and I was able to board the plane.

I am convinced that I was profiled for close scrutiny long before I even got to the airport — hence the difficulty checking in online, the interrogation from the ticket agent and the two intensive searches by airport security.

Anyway, the airliner wasn’t full to the brim with people — in fact, I had an empty seat next to me so I could sprawl, manspread and lean away from the aisle so I wouldn’t get nailed in the shoulder by the fucking drinks cart every time it passed by (which had been my experience going over to Britishland).

This restored my good humor somewhat, so I flirted with the flight attendant, offered her my assistance should she have any unpleasantness with an unruly passenger, and also offered translation services in French or German should the need arise — all of which resulted in some primo service from her for the duration of the flight. I even managed a couple hours sleep.

Doc Russia picked me up at DFW and brought me back to his house where we adjourned to the Smoking Terrace and proceeded to drink pints of gin & tonic. (Seriously: G&T in pint glasses.) I stayed up to try and get my internal time-clock readjusted by staying awake until midnight (6.00am GMT), had the usual excellent chat with Doc, and went to bed to sleep.

Didn’t work. Four hours later my body said, “What the hell are you doing, still sleeping at 10 o’clock in the morning?” so I woke up and started to unpack my carry-on bag…

…and discovered a six-inch screwdriver which I had forgotten about and which had somehow escaped the notice of two security checks.

I could have been arrested.

Placemat

As you read this, I will have reached the end of the first leg of my sabbatical in Britishland, and I’ll be boarding the craft which will wing me back over The Pond to Texas:

…although, to accommodate my somewhat errr enhanced bulk (thank you, Wadworth 6X, steak pies, fish & chips and Full English Breakfasts), the airline should really be using one of these:

Regular blogging (whatever that is) should resume tomorrow.

And lastly: a huge, enormous thank-you is due to Mr. and Mrs. Free Market for their unbelievable hospitality given me during my stay Over Here. When I come back in late October, I’ll be staying elsewhere — details to follow — but, as they say, words cannot express my gratitude to these wonderful people because, quite graciously and with absolutely no fuss, they saved my life. I am not worthy.

Worrying Development

…or maybe I should say reduction instead of development.

Longtime Readers will know of my longtime infatuation with the wondrous Nigella Lawson:

However, of late there appears to be a lot less Nigella than there was before:

…and in fact, she looks positively skeletal nowadays:

I’cw always preferred bigger, full-figured women with hourglass figures, and Nigella probably epitomized that preference. But this disappearing act? I like it not. Maybe it’s time to find another Real Woman, of more-appealing amplitude.

But I’m going to feel guilty about this; I’ve always been a one-woman kinda guy.

Then again:

 

 

Last Shooting Lesson

So as the first leg of my Britishland sabbatical has been drawing to its close, two things happened:

  1. Last night, The Englishman, Reader John M. and Mr. Free Market ganged up on your Humble Scribe, taking me to a strange pub buried deep in Hardy Country, and forced — forced, I tell you — gallons and gallons of 6X down my throat. This, after a couple stiff whiskies taken earlier when Mr. FM returned from doing Capitalist Things in London.
  2. Then Mr. FM dragged me out of bed at some ungodly hour (I believe it was 10am), pushed a shotgun into my shaking hands and announced that we would shortly be leaving for the Barbury School for a session of clays.

Oy. Fortunately, we arrived early enough to have a few cups of miracle coffee and a bacon-and-egg “bap” (big breadroll) before Instructor Dave hauled me off on shaky legs to the first shooting position.

And, Dear Readers, I was total shit. No excuses, I just shot like someone who’d never fired a gun before. I think I hit maybe half a dozen of fifty-odd clays thrown up.

Then, despite my protestations that I should just go back to the Range Rover and finish myself off, so to speak, Dave and Mr. FM (who had shot his normal 95%) hauled me off to a second shooting position — one where instead of standing still, we had to move from place to place, shoot a couple, move, shoot another couple, move, and so on.

And a miracle occurred, because (as Mr. FM explained afterwards), I stopped thinking about all technique and did what I know how to do: just shoot, with over fifty years’ experience behind me and no time to think about the mechanics — and I scored hits (I think) very close to 50% of the time.

I could have pulled the trigger till tea-time, but instead had to be dragged off kicking and screaming because our allotted time had ended or some such nonsense.

Here’s the thing. When I get back, I’m going to go to an outdoor shooting range with my trusty old 16-gauge and two hundred rounds of ammo, and practice and practice and practice until just before I need reconstructive surgery on my shoulder.

Then I’m going to go back as soon as the bruise has disappeared, and do it again and again until all my ammo is gone (don’t ask — it’s a lot). Then I’m going to buy some more ammo and repeat the exercise.

Screw this shooting badly nonsense.

 

Half An Ale

Continuing on the saga of my expanding gut, I was amused by this little thought from James May:

…and ordinarily, his sentiment would be correct. The correct measure is indeed the pint:

However, I have learnt a few things about this pint business. I tend to prefer my beer in said quantities, as evidenced by this pic of my breakfast beer in Edinburgh:

(Explanation: I had arisen from my hoggish slumber too late to be served breakfast, and the pub hadn’t yet started serving their lunch menu. I was in dire need of some sustenance but my knowledge of local brews was scanty, hence my selection of Tennant’s, the Edinburgh lager, which is absolutely dreadful. No wonder the Jocks are always fighting each other if that’s what they have to drink. I didn’t even finish that glass.)

Anyway, my normal choice of ale taken in pint units is somewhat compromised by the stiff DWI/DUI laws they have Over Here. If I’m walking (e.g. in Edinburgh) or being driven (e.g. to Blenheim), I can freely imbibe from pint glasses, and I have. But if I’m driving, then I have to drink in smaller quantities, e.g. this half-pint of local brew Exmoor (ugh) taken in Salisbury’s Haunch of Venison pub:

(I know, a half-pint looks ridiculous in my giant paw. Whatever.)

You might think that this is counter-productive, in that I would just drink more half-pints to achieve the desired state of inebriation, but actually (and this has been scientifically timed by The Englishman), I tend to drink a full pint (especially of 6X) in about the same time it takes me to drink a half-pint — ergo, I end up drinking half the normal quantity, and thus is P.C. Plod kept off my fat, beer-loving Texas ass.

Call me Mr. Responsible.

(And for those who are about to get all scoldy on me, don’t bother. Like so many of my writings on suchlike topics, this post should be taken with a ton of salt.)