By rights we should all be long dead, given what we have to put up with these days. Passive smoking, motorists driving while eating apples, cyclists without helmets, overhead power lines, mobile phones frying our brains.
How we ever made it this far without ending up looking like that bloke on the left, God only knows. Fear stalks the land. We’re scared of everything. And if the risk is unquantifiable – who knows – it could be MASSIVE or negligible.
But a popular cocktail of fear, statistical gullibility, homeopathy, astrology and scientific illiteracy provides the perfect opportunity for articles like the following, by one of my favourite commentators, Newton Emerson, of whom more later.
This piece was in the Irish Times newspaper this week. (Your reward, should you reach the bottom, is a strange, delightful and funny video.) You don’t really need to know the background to this story to get the gist of it – which is that water is deadly and probably should be banned.
Why dampness and homeopathy are key dangers in their fields
RESIDENTS OF Rush, Co Dublin, are right to be concerned by Eirgrid’s proposed new high-voltage underground power cable. But are they also aware of the high-pressure water main running directly beneath the town?
Water poses a variety of serious health risks, especially to children, vulnerable adults and unwanted kittens. It is a known carrier of diseases such as cholera and dysentery, while prolonged exposure can lead to chronic conditions such as trench foot and wrinkly finger.
However, it’s the hydromagnetic fields surrounding high-pressure pipes which are the greatest source of alarm. Hydromagnetic fields are made up of two components – dampness and homeopathy. The effects of a dampness field can be seen and even felt, mainly in bathrooms where the extractor fan has broken, although it’s probably just a blown fuse and you really should have a look at it.
Homeopathic fields are a far more insidious affair. Millions of people believe this powerful force carries the memory of certain molecules into the human body, delivering slight improvement for headaches and itching.
The same principle could easily apply to potentially harmful molecules such as cyanide, ricin or witch hazel.
Countless scientific studies on the safety of hydromagnetic fields have been unable to prove a negative, which in turn proves that science is useless.
Meanwhile, several studies have found a statistical link between human health and being hit with a pipe, which proves that pipes are dangerous.
Fingal County Council will only say that water occurs naturally in the Earth’s crust, and the impact of the water main is less than Rush’s general background dampness. This is an insult to the suffering of anyone who has ever taken a tincture of elderflower for dyspepsia of the colon. At the very least, it is clear that water may have unknown properties – and properties are very much on everyone’s mind.
As well as legitimate health fears there is also the threat of an accident to consider. A burst main can send water shooting several feet into the air, spoiling nice shoes and even rusting ungalvanised wheel arches. This prospect is simply too horrible to contemplate. Water can also catch fire and explode if split into hydrogen and oxygen.
So what can be done to protect the residents of Rush from the menace beneath their nice shoes? One solution is to run the water main above ground on overhead pipelines.
This is standard practice in permafrost regions like Alaska and Siberia, where it is notable that few cases of witch hazel poisoning have ever been reported. However, overhead pipes can leak and drip water onto people’s heads, which makes a particularly annoying sound if you are wearing a tin-foil hat.
The only acceptable answer is to run the water main around the edge of town by blasting a trench across the nearby protected estuary, laying a pipe along the bottom and filling it in with the carcasses of fish.
Residents have two options to bring this about. They can take direct action, otherwise known as violence, or alternating action, where they get whipped up into an occasional frenzy.
That just leaves the small matter of how to supply them with water once their campaign has succeeded.
Fortunately, the answer is obvious. The rest of us can carry it to them in shiny silver buckets.
Meanwhile back to Newton Emerson, who used to keep me amused with his spoof newspaper website, The Portadown News. I’ve just delved back into the Portadown News archives covering recent Northern Ireland history to bring you such gems as:
Lurgan still worse than Portadown – official!
by our Lurgan correspondent, Sam ‘Spade’ McGrath
Once again Portadown has beaten Lurgan in the ‘quality of life’ index, published yesterday by the Northern Ireland Social Trends Survey. Lurgan was officially ranked ‘Worst town in Northern Ireland’, while Portadown retained its coveted title of ‘Worst town in Northern Ireland (excluding Lurgan)’.
Following a series of extensive interviews, questionnaires and RUC undercover operations, Lurgan people are revealed to be consistently uglier, nastier, less intelligent and more inbred than their Portadown counterparts, according to the authoritative report.
However, Social Trends Statistician Orla Harrigan warned Portadown people against complacency, as she discussed the results with our reporter yesterday.
“While Portadown continues to score well in important categories like ‘Litter on motorway exit’ and ‘Stabbings in town park’,” said Ms Harrigan, “minor categories such ‘Manky flags’ and ‘Mis-spelt Loyalist graffiti’ need to be urgently addressed.”
Other categories in which Portadown scored convincingly over Lurgan included ‘Closeness of railway station to town centre’, ‘Distance of Brownlow from town centre’, ‘Dirtiness of children’ and ‘Overall smell’.
Here’s one for the Pope and the Queen who’ve been meeting this week. (OK, different Pope, but the same Queen.)
Queen, Pope appeal for violence
by our Drumcree correspondent, Will March
Queen Elizabeth and Pope John Paul have both appealed for violence at this year’s Drumcree parade. “The politics of the 16th century remain close to our heart,” said Queen Elizabeth in a statement yesterday. “We urge all our loyal subjects in Portadown to remember their history by endlessly repeating it as violently as possible.”
And just in case you find photographs like this one poignant…
Windfall for local boy
by our media correspondent, Paige Green
Craigwell Avenue youngster Liam O’Farrell is celebrating a windfall yesterday after Boston Herald reporter Brad Cheeseburger paid him £500 to pose for this incredibly cliched ‘troubles’-type photograph.
“He offered us £1000 if Liam would put a flower in the barrel of the gun,” explained Liam’s father Patrick to our reporter yesterday. “But the soldier couldn’t keep a straight face. Besides, I don’t want people thinking my son’s some kind of poof.”
So that’s that… No! I nearly forgot. We haven’t had any Irish dancing on this blog yet. An appalling omission which is hereby rectified thanks to Up and Over It (Irish Dance for the Post-Pop Generation)