I was driving home from work the other day on the freeway. The radio was tuned to a talk station, but I wasn’t paying attention to it; it was a sort of aural wallpaper burbling away in the background while I was ruminating on a knotty problem I had been trying to solve at work.
Suddenly I noticed something. The radio went: “Blah, blah, blah, blardy blah blah. All the water in Las Vegas has to be imported into the city by road tanker because Las Vegas is in the desert.”
Despite the fact that I wasn’t actually listening consciously to it, this astonishing statement from the radio had been trapped by my subconscious bullshit detector. I thought that what I had just heard could not possibly be true. I have never been to Las Vegas, but I have seen pictures of it, and have flown over it in my X-plane simulator, and I have watched CSI Las Vegas. All those hotels, all those showers and baths, all those fountains, all those strippers’ homes with swimming pools could not possibly be supplied by water brought in by road. Every route into the city would be thoroughly clogged by water tankers to the extent that there would be room for any other traffic, and water would be more expensive than beer.
So I checked, and I’m glad I did. The water in Las Vegas comes in mainly by pipeline and is supplied by the Las Vegas Valley Water District, which is in turn a member of the Southern Nevada Water Authority. These two organizations are responsible for the incredible feats of engineering that ensure Las Vegas wet T-shirt competitions are interesting. You should look them up and be amazed. I also found out that Lake Mead has an RV park, which will come in handy when Scallywag and I get around to making our Great Trans-Continental RV trip at some stage.
I wonder if the bullshit detector works when I’m asleep?
To my regular readers: I hope both of you have a wonderful Christmas and an outrageously prosperous 2012. This will be my last post for the year. Scallywag and I shall be spending time on Sunrise Beach in Muizenberg, where we’ll set up our portable folding armchairs in the umbra of our stripy beach umbrella, and watch Doofus chase other dogs’ tennis balls and roll in dead seagull. The rest of the time we shall be enjoying barbecues at the poolside and catching up on some reading (A Suitable Boy by Vickram Seth, since you ask). If you’re in the Northern hemisphere I’m sure you’ll have just as much fun shovelling the snow off your driveway.
See you next year.
Grumpy Old Man by Mark Widdicombe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License
Thanks Mark, and the same good wishes for an enjoyable holiday to you and yours. Your blog is always a pleasure to read, and never dull or unenlightening. It’s an undiscovered treasure in a vast field of mostly nonsense. I look forward to next year’s entries.
As for your bullshit detector operating while you’re asleep, it’s my understanding that olfaction taps directly into the most primitive parts of the human brain, which parts only slow down upon death. If so, there’s a good chance that one can smell bullshit even while in slumber. The question then becomes whether one enjoys the odour or not…
And to you and yours as well!
Mark- you have no idea how much BS they shovel out over the airways in North America and how easy many people swallow it whole, without questioning it.
Merry Christmas (if one dare say that these days) to you too. I live in Nova Scotia, Canada and you may rest assured I will be shovelling snow this winter-although a snow blower has eliminated much of the hard work.
A prosperous New Year may be more dream than reality for many around the world, especially with so many countries having max’d out their credit cards and unable to pay their bills anymore, more unemployment seems a more likely prediction. Optimism is in tight supply.
There is certainly a great deal to find out about this
subject. I like all of the points you have made.