It Beggars Belief

Dear All,

There might be quite a lot of errors in this, but I’m going to have to put it up now because tomorrow it’ll be out of date.

You may find that a few changes happen in the next day or two because there’s a lot of crazy punctuation that particularly I will have to correct. Specifically, I started to put full stops after speech quotes, and etc. Brain fade.. Got to post this now. rh 10pm 8/11/22


My son Nick and I sometimes text each other with our fantasy names, Doolittle and Talby. Doolittle and Talby were two characters in the movie ‘Dark Star’, which became a favourite of mine when I first saw it back in the 90’s. It’s a strange little film that I saw by complete chance. It was made in the 70’s.

It was on terrestrial late night tv one night about 25 years ago, maybe more. Suffice to say that as I began watching it, I was about to turn it off for the first fifteen minutes because I thought that it was the biggest pile of crap I’d ever seen. Then it seemed to be so bad that I was watching it compulsively.. then I started to smile, and the rest is part of my history.

In the first text from Nick in this history, which was some years ago, he signed off as ‘Doolittle’, so I adopted ‘Talby’ as my nom de plume.

“The world has changed.”

 “No! What gave you your first clue Talby?”

“Was it the fact that the dumb-flucks on the front benches in parliament have been creating a sound loop for the last 12 years?”

“Which front bench?… Oh yeah.. of course, all of them, and it goes back almost 12,000 years Doolittle, at least.”

“To the beginning of the ice starting to melt”..

“Climate change, Doolittle.. permanent, nonstop.”

“Just think, we could have walked across Doggerland at that stage… or from Greenland into Africa, Talby.”

 “Long before they became concepts.”

“Mmm.. stroll across the Aleutian ice from Asia into North America, tens of thousands of years before Columbus.”

“Lief Ericsson, you mean.”

“Sorry Talby.”

“..Right down to Tierra Del Fuego.”

“Long walk!”

“We had the time, Doolittle, in those days.”

Seemingly the Americans are still isolated. It beggar’s belief that in the modern age the distance between that continent and the rest of the world would often seem to be almost as huge as it always was. Even though messages to and from there can now travel at the speed of satellite, these messages don’t bring that world much closer.

The US Democrats are fighting an election that they are going to lose in a few hours time, partially because, in general, they are not really aware of the rest of the world. The rest of the world itself, in turn, is more than partially myopic, so most of us are navel gazing in any case. 

But areas of North America are in some of the darkest closets on earth.

Millions of Americans are aware of present global conditions, but from the President down, none of those in power are using the example of comparing their economy with what’s happening in ‘the rest of the world’, where conditions are also universally depressed, debt is high, and inflation is roaring. So the President gets the blame for what’s happening in the whole world. A bit harsh. I hear murmurings from some of the wisest voices over there, but 67% of Americans don’t hold passports, and long gone are the days when you could walk there. And the ice is still melting, faster than ever.

Having said that, it’s virtually the same in Europe. Already, people with selective memories have forgotten that the cost of the two year enforced ‘holiday with pay’ during The Pandemic, followed by the Russian War, are largely responsible for current high inflation, and that the subsequent breakdown of supply chains is largely responsible for the ‘cost of living’ sky-rocketing. Everywhere.. China, Africa, Tierra Del Fuego.

That isn’t to say that we don’t need elections. WE DO! Although the difference they might make might turn out to be little more than cosmetic, purely for the sake of morale, General Elections should be held everywhere, ASAP. (Sunak isn’t right, and never will be. He may have humble beginnings, and be a decent human being, but as a Prime Minister, he’s never going to be any sort of a good example. It isn’t good to ban the super rich from high office, but you have to ask yourself about his reality v your own). 

Here in Ireland, Biden’s threatening an invasion with hundreds of what are known as Irish Americans, half of them in MAGA hats, for a high noon shoot-out at a customs hut on the Newry-Dundalk road, where they will be joined by Daniel O’Donnell fans and Wee Twankie’s SNP. 

They’ll line up against Steve Baker, The ERG, and a thousand white van men at the wheel. The Right Dishonourable Angela Rayner’s faction will fill the air from the hillside with crude medieval abuse, for effect. Ursula Von Der Leyen will referee the action from a bunker in the Republic, just a few yards away. 

This is the latest holding tactic in a conflict that has so far lasted for about 800 years. A defining result will not expected until viable and uncontested birth rates can be established on both sides. Plus fifty years, whichever is the longer.

Back at the ranch, American commentators, as aforesaid, are generally blind to the fact that their present condition is global. Although perhaps the fact that they rarely mention it on air has more to do with the aforementioned 67% who don’t normally engage with concepts like ‘the rest of the world’. Who still imagine themselves to be separate from it. They may be fully aware of the fact that they are part of the world, but old habits would seem to be dying hard in Phoenix. In effect, it would seem that the shining citadel of freedom is still somewhat isolated.

Am I being too harsh, Doolittle? Am I being too angry because I think that we need a different outcome in the USA? An outcome that might confront Putin. A robust show of democracy that might jam a foot in his door.

There isn’t a doubt in my mind about the kind of things Trump and Putin were talking about when they were alone in Helsinki, Vietnam, Buenos Aires, Germany et al. They would have been feeling each other out for all kinds of illicit agreements at the very least. No officials ever knew what they were mouthing for 90% of the time they were together.

Here are some quotes from the New York Times, and one from The Washington Post.

‘The first time they met was in Germany. President Trump took his interpreter’s notes afterward and ordered him not to disclose what he heard to anyone. Later that night, at a dinner, Mr. Trump pulled up a seat next to President Vladimir V. Putin to talk without any American witnesses at all’.

‘A formal summit meeting followed in Helsinki, Finland, where the two leaders kicked out everyone but the interpreters’.

“What’s disconcerting is the desire to hide information from your own team,” said Andrew S. Weiss, who was a Russia adviser to President Bill Clinton. “The fact that Trump didn’t want the State Department or members of the White House team to know what he was talking with Putin about suggests it was not about advancing our country’s national interest but something more problematic.”

‘…when he arrived in Buenos Aires, Mr. Trump ended up having another informal conversation with Mr. Putin at the leaders’ dinner. Once again, little information emerged about what they discussed, even to many other American government officials’.

We know Trump. We know that almost everything he does has some kind of quasi-criminal intent involved. If they could, Trump and Putin would rule the world, and I believe, along with millions of others, that if Trump had managed to con his way into another term in power, Putin’s attack on Ukraine might be looking very different at this stage in 2022. 

It’s entirely probable that they were both very disappointed with Trump’s defeat by Biden, but I don’t want to step into conspiracy theory here. Suffice to say that had they succeeded, the price of ‘gas’ would have gone down, but Ukraine would now be enslaved: and NATO could.. Etc., Etc.

“I absolutely love Trump, he’s the only one who’s honest!” Overheard the day before yesterday, November 5th 2022, at a giant Trump rally in Pennsylvania.

Our world is suffering. That is, the whole world. This is not particularly Joe Biden’s fault, or anything like. For once, no particular politician can be blamed. Not even Trump. However, we all share the blame for repeatedly encouraging dodgy lawyers and vacuous snake oil salesmen to grab hold of power in the first place. This is ye olde indefatigable can of worms. ‘Follow mi leader’, it says on the tin, and the humans are fatally programmed to do precisely that. 

The lemmings push their pens and rush

In hoards of crashing stupour

Towards the farms of Babylon

To scramble Mother Nature…


Roy Harper, ‘1984’ (Written in 1983)

To no avail. (Not that one would ever be expecting any. You would run away from such embarrassment and arrogance. Although it has to be said that those of us who attempt to put the human condition into words, no matter with what humility, can often open themselves up to severe criticism).

In Britain, I’m of the opinion that they now need a national government, on a war footing, to be able to begin to understand the trouble ahead, (Boko Haram will have the opposite view!) but that’s of no consequence to the point I’m making here.

That point has long been considered banale.. Wouldn’t it be best for the whole world to come together in concert to deal with the consequences of what we are now facing?

“Naaa! Come on Talby.. you know that communism never works in practice. I mean, you KNOW that!”

“But Guterres has just read us the riot act from COP 27 in Egypt. He said, “We are in the fight of our lives and we are losing … And our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible. We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.”

“You were talking about that fifty two years ago mate. I was a kid, but I grew up with you singing it. I’ll quote you if you like, Talby…

‘Space is just an ashtray

Flesh is my best wheel

The atmosphere’s my highway

And the landscape’s my next meal

I need my own ‘Good Friday’

And I’m trying to fix the deal

Dead on arrival

Right where I stand’

“Oh, and what’s that ‘Flesh is my best wheel’ line all about Talby, always wanted to ask you?”

“It was a silly little innuendo at the time, Doolittle. Your head is full of desire when you’re young, so it was a hark on that, at the same time as without flesh and blood, bone and muscle, there’s no life. I could have said that flesh was my only wheel, the only wheel I spin on, but that’s not true and it’s a bit crass… 

But oh how I wish that that was possible. That humanity devoted the next decade to facing down the problems facing it

“Impossible. We’re corrupt. The old world bible tells us that on every page Talby.”

“It’s a game, Doolittle.. we skate as near corruption as we can before the rules chastise our moral sense.”

“How relevant is conscience when you’ve slaughtered thousands?” 

“There are different shades of conscience. Different grades of sentience. Judgement is a human construct. Death is essential.”

You’re born, you scream, you smile, you mate

You shout, you die within your date

In 1973 I wrote “..whose systems are white sticks tapping walls”. And that’s not changed. Indeed, it’s gone backwards from there. Whole populations are blinded by misinformation and anti-social media. We all know that we’re now living in much more dangerous circumstances, with systems increasingly unfit for purpose. To the point where a majority of us are living under obvious and existential pressure.

In places where the poor are not even considered, largely because the ‘middle class’ is getting smaller, poorer, and really struggling to stay afloat. A shadow of 1929 appears again. Alack we’d all need to be at least 100 years old to have precise recall on that experience. 

“You’re raving again Talby. After a hundred years, most supporters will be in dreamland, unconsciously waiting for the nightly largactyl to kick in.”

“Funny thing Doolittle. I read the ‘instructions’ for largactyl once, and the one in caps just said ‘GET UP SLOWLY’.. made me laugh.”

A fuller account of those indications reveals that largactyl is used for behavioural disturbances. It can also be used to treat unstoppable hiccups. But then there’s the killer last line.. Your doctor may have prescribed Largactil for another reason.

Like,Your politician may have decided to axe services for another reason. 

Thankfully, Vita Brevis is a constant. In theory, we’d learn more if everyone lived for a century, but to paraphrase Mark Twain for a moment, ‘History doesn’t repeat itself, but it very often rhymes’. So there’s no real need to jam up the birth/mutation/expertise rate by looming as a shipwrecked great great grandfather into a present you retreated from 60 years before. Best you fulfil your role on a shelf as an enigmatic latter day daguerreotype that’s handed down with increasing mystery: to one day be tossed into the midstream by the onset of daily tornados; and then frozen for 360,000 years… and eventually burned to a cinder.

‘I love the planet

The great benign she-wolf


Spinning on

Towards the red giant

Four aeons hence 

When all the rose gardens 

Are consumed in the flash fire 

Of flying time.’

‘She’ll leave alone too.’ 

1929 is one year after women got the vote in Britain, and 12 years before I was born. Will 2029 be worse? Well, it’s looking like it. Presently, there’s no magic bullet available to deal with Climate Change, and change is happening quickly. The tipping point has long been passed.

There’s talk of green hydrogen, smoke and mirrors, G5, advancing battery tech, cryogenics, biogenics and using the methane in the permafrost as fuel! Along with dozens of other ‘advances’ and tricks. Way hey, boys and girls, it’s almost playtime. 

“There’s talk of god.”

“Ha ha, touché Doolittle.”

Meanwhile, back in the ‘democracies’, good people talk about erstwhile goals for humanity, while clowns on ego trips still run the show.

There are slots showing just how ‘green’ and rich Saudi is becoming, with mega square kilometres of wind farms and solar panelling, pumping out twice the heat that’s growing outside. No harm done there then. Eating hard boiled eggs and crispy bacon from the pavement.

‘Whose reality is hunger’, I said, back in ’73. I was being kind. The other word I could have used was ‘greed’, but it hadn’t got the gravity of ‘hunger’.. While ‘Who am I’?.. I pondered, at the same moment, on behalf of the entire human race. Ponder, ponder, humble ponder.

And still I do

As Biden, Trump and Cousin Xi

Sunak, Orban and Puteen

Modi Berlusconi me

Come sliding into view

That the USA is unwilling to address women’s health rights by plebiscite, while voting for deeper pockets of delusion.. truly beggars belief; but then again, the world will not be joined before it’s torn apart. And that’s for sure. 

The far-right leaning Supreme Court Of The United States took a gamble with Roe v Wade, and it looks like the gamble has paid off. So the world turns to the right. Disappointing. Was it really necessary to slam the brakes on liberal progress? 

Possibly, but the message that sends to the allies of the US is that we could pull the plug on Ukraine at any time, and if Trump regains power, negotiations with Russia sure will frustrate Ukraine and all its allies. And likely stall their independence. Just as Ukraine was about to put Putin in his place.

My old mate Roger is currently supporting the people who support Trump. He’s buying more future tickets/bums on seats and clawing in the moolah by controversy. Riding the Trump tide. My view of Rodge hasn’t changed that much over the last 40 years, but that’s for another day.

That there is even a hint of an imbalance between men’s and women’s health rights in a modern democracy tells us all we need to know about justice, power, gender equality and well, moral ineptitude; in any such state.

“Get down off that soap box Talby.. before anyone sees you up there. You’ll give us a bad name at the forum.

“What ARE you talking about Doolittle? Piss off!! Everything’s going to be just fine and dandy. We’ll be rid of inflation in a couple of years… The Ukrainian War Of Independence – (WW3), will be over in a few months.. Global supply chains will be up and running again.. The price of fuel will be down to pre 2020 levels before you know it.” 


“Actually, I have to apologise to you Doolittle.. There is something half way decent that might occur. Putin has inadvertently kick-started a rush to renewable energy. Nations can’t afford to be literally powerless.. any longer, under the great Russian thumb.

“Oh, and another thing that I see happening is that the US voters might just be able to limit the change happening to them by voting for a virtual ‘hung’ government. One that can’t tax too heavily, or spend too much. That might just be the name of the game.”

Fix the president on one side, but don’t give him/her The House, or the Senate; or either. Stop all bad surprises. Be the effing silent majority. If enough people split their vote…!?

Coming to vista near you.. Soon enough..

Young women in the US are being ignored.

Until Further Notice.

PS. Notes and reminders.

At present, the whole human world is broke. There are three main reasons for this. 

1. Economic systems are struggling to recover from having to finance their populations during the biggest pandemic that humans have ever suffered, worldwide. 

2. Russian dictator Putin has started a war that has, in effect, become The Third World War. I say this because although it is still a proxy war, confined to Ukraine, it’s very difficult to name a major economy that isn’t in some way involved on one side or the other. 

And 3. Because of the above two considerations, supply chains on earth have broken down to the extent of putting us back in time to an era before supply was anything like as established as it had become in 2019. 

And how’s your conscience when you know you’re sending thousands of tons of your plastic waste off to be burned in a poorer country, every day?

Postscript and Conclusion.

It’s now Friday, and I think that the punctuation above has been sorted. Also, the votes in the US election are almost counted, and it would seem that the American public are at last wrenching themselves away from Trump.