Death comes to us all. There’s a cheery thought for a Sunday afternoon. The Grim Reaper gives a swing of his sythe and before we know it, that’s that. It’s little use bemoaning or denying the fact, one day — hopefully far into the future — we are all destined to cop it.
So what can we do in the meantime but laugh at the possibility? After all, if you don’t laugh at the ridiculousness of it all, what else is there to do but hope for an afterlife? (And you all know my views on that!)
With this in mind — and in an attempt to lift your spirits after such a depressing opening — I thought I’d share some of my favourite famous last words with you. I’m not sure just how genuine they are and, frankly, I can’t be arsed verifying them (it’s not like they’re going to sue me, now, is it?) So take them with a pinch of salt and bear in mind that I’m sharing them because I believe that if they aren’t true, they bloody well should be!
- “I’ve never felt better.” — Douglas Fairbanks Sr.
- “I’ve had eighteen straight whiskies, I think that’s the record…” — Dylan Thomas.
- “Woe is me. Methinks I’m turning into a god.” — Vespasian, Roman Emperor. (I always find such ambition impressive!)
- “I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.” — Richard Feynman. (I couldn’t leave Richard out now, could I?)
- “Damn it . . . Don’t you dare ask God to help me.” — Joan Crawford. (Once a bitch, always a bitch — good luck, God!)
- “I do not have to forgive my enemies. I have had them all shot.” — Ramon Narvaez, 18th-century Spanish politician and general.
- “Tomorrow, I shall no longer be here.” — Nostradamus. (Now why couldn’t he be as clear and concise with the rest of his sodding prophesies!)
- “Do you know where I can get any shit?” — Lenny Bruce.
© 2008 Gary William Murning
“Ministers have been accused of a “massive failure of duty” after thousands of criminals’ details, stored on a computer memory stick, were lost.”
It shouldn’t really be a surprise, by now. We have been faced with so many similar stories over recent months that it is difficult to know what more can be said on the subject, other than to once again point out that this underscores the argument against the planned Super Database and ID cards.
Our current sorry excuse for a government (and, I’m sad to say, I suspect it would be the same whoever was in power) and the private firms that they employ to do research for them et cetera are quite simply incapable of responsibly handling large amounts of personal data.
“On Tuesday, a BBC analysis found sensitive data potentially affecting more than four million people had been lost by government departments in the year to April.“
If you are also opposed to ID cards/database, you can register your opposition here.
© 2008 Gary William Murning
After top-secret documents were left on a train by a Cabinet Office official last week, we now have another unforgivable security breach — this time in the form of a stolen computer from the constituency office of Hazel Blears.
Naturally, thefts happen. Ms Blears cannot necessarily be held responsible for that. What she is accountable for, however, is the fact that the machine…
“… contained a combination of constituency and government information which should not have been held on it.”
And they expect us to believe that we will be safe and protected when they institute their SuperDatabase!
I always tremble with eye-popping rage when I hear talk of ID cards and databases. You quite possibly already know that. But it is especially true when I read about the subject and see it stated that, apparently, the public is “sleepwalking into a surveillance society”. The semi-conscious horde, it seems, is letting it happen.
Aww, shucks, and there was I, eyes wide open, very much awake, thinking that the government was the bad guy in all this.
While a good number of us shout very loudly that such moves are unacceptable, the zombie-like proles are, if such statements are to be taken at face-vaule, giving it their silent approval.
What a nasty (and highly transparent) piece of obfuscation.
With a writing-free day ahead of me — a day I plan on spending reading Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree and doing little else — I’ve just popped along to the Times Online and I happened to read this piece on the publication of Alexandre Dumas’s final novel.
The Last Cavalier, lost for more than a hundred years, was rediscovered by French academic Claude Schopp — pieced together and edited from a serialised newspaper version. Schopp also wrote the final chapter, Dumas having died before the novel’s completion.
This (as you might guess, if you know me even a little) got my mind a-working. If I die before the novel I’m working on (not Children of the Resolution, some future novel!) is completed, would I want a French academic, or anyone else, for that matter, completing it? My immediate response was, Not bloody likely! Keep your grubby hands off. If it isn’t complete, that’s how it stays!
And then I thought about it some more and made a slight amendment. If have close family surviving me who might benefit from the money made from its completion and publication, then go ahead. Otherwise, the above stands. Keep your grubby hands off!
I’ve been opposed to the introduction of ID cards for a good while, now — valuing my privacy and deeply suspicious of any move by government to impact upon it.
This article and this television drama therefore got my attention. The latter is a near-future thriller taking “an arresting and compelling look at how technology could transform Britain into a surveillance society — threatening human relationships and destroying trust.” It’s frighteningly plausible in its concept, all the more so because it is infinitely recognisable. The Britain of The Last Enemy is our Britain. Some of us just haven’t realised it, yet.
The article in question greeted me this morning when I finished writing. I toodled along to the BBC to catch the headlines, read “Rethink on Identity Card Plans” and thought, “Oh, good.” Needless to say I was suitably disappointed when I read:
2009 – Compulsory for 200,000 UK citizens and EU nationals who work in ‘sensitive’ airport jobs
2011/12 – Biometric passports issued, applicants can choose to get ID card.
2017 – Full roll-out of identity cards.
Private firms will be encouraged to set-up “biometric enrolment centres” where passport and ID card applicants will be fingerprinted. [Sounds positively Orwellian, not to mention a security issue.]
A home office spokesman said the government charged for other forms of ID such as driving licences and passports and it though the planned charge of £30 for an ID card was “fair”. [We have to pay for the privelege!]
So, not much of a rethink. The very notion of an ID database is disturbing. Yes, we are all on any number of databases already, but this is significantly different. I don’t want it.
So I went here and registered my opposition.
As decent, law-abiding citizens, we all have something to hide. Especially when such data is to be held by government agencies.