Also Sprach Zarathustra

Image via

A letter to the editor of the Irish Independent, published August 16, 2010. Full text reproduced below for posterity.

with regards to the comments made by Senator Liam Twomey regarding Brian Lenihan’s illness, and his ability to manage the finances of the State (‘Lenihan should resign because of ill health, says FG senator, Irish Independent, August 13), I am not a medical professional or a doctor like the senator, so I will not disagree with his diagnosis.

The point that irked me most about the senator’s comments is the increasingly disturbing trend by politicians, journalists and commentators to refer or compare the country we live in as a business, a corporation or a private limited company.

Mr Twomey’s remark that “Brian Lenihan is essentially managing a €50bn enterprise” is becoming typical of the way politicians see how this State runs and how they view the voting, but silent, majority of the public.

I do not live in Mussolini’s Italy.

This attitude of senior politicians is highly offensive to someone who has paid tax all through his career, who has avoided breaking the law and who has always supported the democratic process.

I have done all of the above — not due to fear of imprisonment or threats but because I believe in a State as an institution designed for the betterment of all; and via my taxes, good citizenship and sweat off my back, I am contributing to the country’s advancement.

When I work my eight- plus hours a day and finish for the evening, the moment I leave my office I am a free man. I am not a 24-hour worker in EireCorp. I resent being seen as taxable-income source in the good times and an overvalued asset in the bad.

The taxes I pay, I expect to go to works of public importance or high-priority facilities. I do not think that Mr Lenihan or Brian Cowen is my superior, or employer, for that matter.

I never got a wage packet from the State.

Mr Twomey, we the people are not workers in the great Ireland PLC: we will pay our taxes.

We will even pay more taxes, if required.

But we will not be told we are bottom-of-the-ladder workers in the fantasy corporation you live in.

Do not take your party’s victory in the next election as a sure thing.


Freddy Nietzy




It's a Pretty Good Headline Alright


Monkeys hate flying squirrels, report monkey-annoyance experts

Japanese macaques will completely flip out when presented with flying squirrels, a new study in monkey-antagonism has found. The research could pave the way for advanced methods of enraging monkeys.

There is video here.

This is a great response to the current movement towards making headlines search-engine friendly but rather homogenous

Newspapers still have headlines, of course, but they don’t seem to strive for greatness or to risk flopping anymore, because editors know that when the stories arrive on the Web, even the best headlines will be changed to something dull but utilitarian.

One of my personal favourites below, from the New York Post 

More of this kind of thing please!

(story via Metafilter, image from

Weekend reading

A Review of the Droid X, Wr item Written on the D rod Droid X

“I am an Old and the Droid X makes me uneasy. Somehow I hVe have switched it to another typing mode in which it thrums gently each time I touch thw screen. It offered me a tutorial in this input method. Learn from your Droid. Learn the new ways.”

Warning: Your reality is out of date

“We recognize rapid change, whether it’s as simple as a fast-moving object or living with the knowledge that humans have walked on the moon. But anything short of large-scale rapid change is often ignored. This is the reason we continue to write the wrong year during the first days of January.”

Europeans Cast Critical Eye on Homeopathy

 “Homeopathy is a speculative, refuted concept,” he says — no one has yet proven that it has any medical benefit. “And there isn’t any need for any further research,” he says. “The issue is settled.”

Using Spin To Control Social Media

“to censor effectively has become prohibitively expensive. So governments turned to spin, building what I call the “Spinternet,” as a way of maintaining control over what is being discussed.”

Gene Weingarten column mentions Lady Gaga

“Fortunately, this new system enjoys the services of tens of thousands of fact-checking “citizen journalists” who write “comments.” They will read the Uzbekistan story and instantly alert everyone that BARACK OBAMA IS A LIEING PIECE OF CRAP.”

The Machine

“The good consumer never learns.”

Global Impositioning Systems

“neuroscientists are starting to uncover a two-way street: our brains determine how we navigate, but our navigational efforts also shape our brains. The experts are picking up some worrying signs about the changes that will occur as we grow accustomed to the brain-free navigation of the GPS era.” 

Real Bear Rescues Stuffed Bear From Humans

[Quote] – John Swinton

There is no such thing, at this date of the world’s history, in America as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you (journalists) who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did you know beforehand that it would never appear in print.

“I am paid $150 a week for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for things, and if any of you would be so foolish as to write honest opinions you would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before 24 hours passed my job would be gone.

“The business of journalists is to destroy the truth; to lie outright; to pervert; to vilify; to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an ‘independent press.’

“We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are Jumping-Jacks — they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.

John Swinton, 1914, former Editor New York Times