The long dark nights of the soul and using the dead.

We all have our little things about us. Things we do and things our friends know about and say don’t worry about it; they’re always doing that. Like everyone else, I’ve my own peculiar things I do and by now am reasonably relaxed about. Possibly the most disconcerting of my eccentricities, and I do seem to have a number of them, is to go into freeze mode.

I’m thinking about something and there’s a thought which is just a smidgen, a millimetre, the merest kiss away and just beyond my reach, and which I know I can just nearly put my fingertips on, so I concentrate on it as my hand slowly creeps towards it. It’s like that thing of feeling a sneeze coming on, so you pause everything, just to nurse it out, because somehow you’ll be really be pissed off if you can’t make it happen. Blink you bastard, blink is the usual way they snap me out of it.

I was at my desk, fingers paused over the keyboard and in full Cato in the freezer mode. I came out of it with a start, made a sudden transition from frozen mode to doing something and felt that stab in my lower back. Fuck, fuck and fuckety fuck. I’d done it again. Once every nine or ten years or so, I pull a muscle in my back and I knew straight away I’d done it again. Ahead of me I knew, lay at least a few days of pain with no relief in sight.

It’s a peculiarity of my mutant family that pain killers don’t work too well on us. Get a high enough dosage in and they start to have an effect but by that stage, our mind is fog bound and the autonomic systems are thinking about a nap. A standing joke between my analgesic immune sisters and their husbands is that everyone has to take their rings off during childbirth. I’ll never let you near me again becomes their battle cry. We’re a bit like old charging rhinos you have to decorate with tranq darts to take down. We’re all obliged to take our pain neat.

Having banjaxed myself, I thought don’t stand up, don’t move, just stay seated in front of the computer and keep on writing. It was a good mitigation plan and worked very well for the next five minutes until with a sizzle of static discharge from the screen in front of me, all the power in the house went off. Power cut. Jesus H bloody Christ on a chariot, why me Lord, why’s it always me? Life, as John Lennon remarked, is what happens to plans.

I settle in for the siege. I do the spine straight standing up thing and carefully edge like an arthritic and elderly preying mantis from the study towards the couch in the living room. I sit and pack lots of cushions around me for support and the emergency power outage plans swing into action. I feel useless, like a seventy year old General Blücher issuing orders from the couch, rather than a horse that’s been shot out from under him at Waterloo.

The candles, which don’t require working batteries, are retrieved from the fuse box after the customary breaker check, as are the box of matches of the non safety sort, which you can strike on anything. The big torch, a nicely weighted club, is retrieved from the bedroom, where it forever lives as a pacifier just in case one of those noises my woman sometimes hears in the night does actually turn out to be a burglar.

Neighbours drift in, just to check they’re not the only ones. We cook on gas, so lots of hot drinks are made and flasks filled with hot water for those unfortunate enough to have electric cookers.

The sun starts to go down. I know I can’t make the stairs and tell her and anyway, there’s no way I’d ever be able to find a comfortable position in bed. More packing of cushions on the couch, a kindle and candle placed in front of me, a pile of quilts, a kiss for luck and I’ll be good for the night, and I surely am.

Our gas central heating has an electronic brain, which means it isn’t working. It’s cold and I think of my woman and miss her desperately and deeply and just the simple thing of being able to cuddle up to her. Somewhere in the house there’s a yellowing piece of paper which says we’re officially man and wife but we were always that and never needed any piece of paper to tell us it either.

I try reading by candle light but it’s not working out too well. The cherry on top of the whole disaster is that I broke my reading glasses the previous night and the backup pair are the wrong strength. Giving up, I think of what Willy Shakespeare said – When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions. It’s going to be one of those times you just have to dig in and take it, so laugh it up Kiddo, laugh it up.

My world has shrunk down to nothing but me, a candle on a plate, some pain and my thoughts. You rarely get to spend such quality time alone with yourself, I think ruefully. I recall people and places, catnap sitting upright, leave my mind free to wander and wait patiently for the dawn. The curtains have been left open as I asked and when the sun comes up, I can read again. I smile, people around me are learning how to think ahead.

Through the day neighbours drift in an out, comparing how they’re coping. There are some good stories there, teaching their kids to play cards by candlelight, board games, a lot of new things they’ve never done together. There’s still no sign of a repair crew in the area fixing the lines, so people begin to prepare for another night of darkness. My back’s quite a bit better but I’m won’t be doing any Cossack dancing just yet. A welcome improvement in my preparation for another night on the couch, is the mysterious arrival of a bottle of whiskey. That, a glass and a jug of water placed in easy reach completes my arrangements.

The second night passes and it’s a lot more comfortable. I’d thought of adding a pen and paper to my night-time preparations but on balance preferred to be left to my thoughts. Day two arrives and there are rumours from foreign shores of repair crews in the area. As sundown approaches, the power’s still off and people are by now preparing for a third night of candlelight games; though they don’t look too distraught about the prospect. From one or two smiles exchanged, I begin to think there might be a slight uptick in the local birth-rate nine months hence.

The sun goes down and one hour later, power is restored. I swear I can almost hear a subliminal cheer rising in the village. Life gets back to normal. I turn on my android tablet, get back into WordPress and look at the article I was working on. It’s nearly complete and it’s about COP19, the upcoming annual climate conference that’s about to happen in Warsaw. Reading it, it’s a solid piece but in terms of analysing the drivers and probable outcome, there’s nothing substantially new in it that I haven’t already covered in the previous ones.

Over the years it’s become a pre-christmas ritual to do a piece on it and to be candid with you, I’m bored to death with writing the same generic article every year. Thousands of bureaucrats, regulators and assorted green pressure groups will converge on a city, talk a lot, party a lot, make fine speeches about saving the world and having failed to agree nothing more than the location of the next taxpayer-funded conference, go home feeling self-righteous about themselves. The only interesting thing about Warsaw is the location. With the exception of Moscow, it’d be harder to think of a more ludicrously hostile location, but that’s just Wol at work.

I scrap the piece because I’m ashamed.

I can afford the increase in my power bills, I’m fortunate to live in a community of people who look out for each other but above all, I know the repairs will be made and I will once again have heat and light. Two nights sitting alone in darkness and cold and getting a real feeling of what that must be like for an entire winter, puts any of my troubles into perspective.

I got into the climate wars years ago and that was all about somehow trying to get the green jackboot off the neck of the developing world. Out there, people were dying the real death from the best of environmental intentions and the only sequence in sight was to attack it in the fat and happy developing world and hope by contributing to its demise there, it would eventually trickle down to some relief for the poor bastards at the end of the who gives a real shit anyway pipeline.

We’re going into winter in the northern hemisphere and people are going to die from the cold, and too many of those will be preventable deaths. They’ll die because they can no longer afford to heat their homes or they’ll simply make that fatal misjudgment and self-ration themselves to death. There’s nothing immediate to be done about that waste of our most poor and vulnerable citizen’s lives. They’re dying for nothing more than a green chimera.

That is a development I never saw coming but it’s all too tragically obvious now. The green monster is now killing the poor in our world.

Ernest Hemingway once wrote about the coming of unusually heavy spring rains smashing the budding leaves off the trees and killing the spring. He compared it to the death of a young person for no reason. The end result of so much policy driven by environmental concerns is the early deaths of people both here and in the developing world. We have to make those deaths mean something. I believe it’s only by telling their stories in human terms that people can relate to, that there’ll be if not a reason for them, at least a meaning to them.

They’ll be gone but we must learn to speak well for the dead, so the ones who can be saved don’t share that same fate – a death for no reason.


Related articles by Pointman:

2012 – The real doh! about Doha.

2011 – The Durban debacle awaits …

2010 – Cancun and the Chinese perspective on it.

Click for a list of other articles.

28 Responses to “The long dark nights of the soul and using the dead.”
  1. Petrossa says:

    Having had the C2/C3 spinal disk replaced by a prothesis and still having a busted irreparable C4/C5 i can relate to your situation. Fortunately painkillers work for the opposite way, i stay clear whichever amount i take and they kill pain effectively. Which means i am a legal drugaddict but that’s beats that awful pain anyday.

    As far as the greenbooth goes, i’m now at the point that i wonder that even if the greeniocy wasn’t upon us if those people now dying of cold wouldn’t eventually die of another poverty related cause.

    Proudly statistics say that ‘we’ can easily support 12 billion on this earth, food wise. This may be very well true however there is more to life then procreating on a subsistence level till death in a never ending cycle.

    At least i sure hope so. So if we look around now, where 80% of world population lives on a subsistence level it’s not exactly hard math to see that making all those people live on even minimum wage Western levels is totally out of the question.

    In other words, this is a no win situation. Even we redistribute all our ‘wealth’ it wouldn’t raise world levels by 0.1%. ‘We’ can’t sustain 7 billion people on an humane level, let alone 12 billion. Heck it’s getting hard to keep sustaining present high level society with the still little extra demand China/Asia puts on the world’s reserves.

    So in th end, yes the world isn’t overpopulated in cold hard food numbers. But it is severely overpopulated to realistic humane level of existence standards.

    Green or not, there is no way out but reducing the humane load on the world.


    • johanna says:

      80% of the world’s population live at subsistence level? Where did that number come from? It’s just plain wrong. Unless “subsistence” has been redefined from it’s common meaning, which wouldn’t surprise me.

      Same goes for the 12 billion population estimate, which is not even supported by the alarmist-prone UN. Currently, around 10 billion is at the top of the range of estimates – and every time they update the data, the projections get lower, not higher.

      Anyway, if this is what you believe – all I can say is – you and your family and friends first. We optimists are disinclined to sacrifice ourselves and ours on the Malthusian altar.


  2. RonSin says:

    Over the last few years, I have taken to reading Jeremy Grantham’s quarterly reports for GMO on his views on investments and the trends he sees. He is a very astute investor. Not too far back he branched off publicly into his views on environmentalism, which also is a hobby horse he sinks a lot of money into, as those who are in the UK would be well aware. (Bob Ward and all.) In the same issue I read on his views on world population and they are as radical, or more so, in my view as his green views. He feels the world population should drop from the current level to 4 billion, rather than grow to 9 billion, as others forecast. He says that the current demographics around the world meaning declining birth rates will “take care of the problem”. I suspect that the unspoken viewpoint also is that if folks die from fuel poverty it only helps solve the population problem. It’s probably similar with the GMO foods situation where if golden rice is not allowed into Africa where it would help solve the child blindness and death issues, it would reduce population growth there. Sad, sad sad.
    Keep up the good fight Pointman. We need your intellect working on spreading good and helpful information.


  3. Blackswan says:


    For all fellow sufferers of lower back problems, the Cato ‘freeze’ posture is a familiar one. Good to know that you retained your sense of humour and duly recovered.

    A couple of years ago a London newspaper published a story on fuel poverty in the depths of a brutal winter accompanied by the photo of an elderly lady who sat in her chair rugged up in her dressing gown topped by a heavy coat as her anxious daughter packed numerous hot water bottles around her frail mother’s body. The thing about that photo that made the most lasting impression was the haunted look of fear in that old lady’s eyes. They couldn’t afford their escalating heating bills.

    It reminded me of the fear in my own frail mother’s eyes when I told her we’d bought a house on the banks of a tidal estuary. Her eyes welled with tears as she told me we’d all be washed away – her grandchildren would be lost as the seas rose around us and our home destroyed. She knew it was true – she’d seen it on TV, along with pictures of houses collapsing as seashores eroded due to rising sea levels. She said she’d seen an interview with Vice President Al Gore who had told of the coming catastrophe so she knew it was all true – after all, he wouldn’t tell lies … would he?

    There are worse things than dying – living in fear is one of them. That is the most unforgivable aspect of the fraudulent Climate Wars; striking fear in the hearts of our frail aged and indoctrinating our children to feel guilt as well as fear for their future. As physics and chemistry fade on school curricula in favour of the ‘humanities’ and ‘social’ sciences (whatever the hell that is), it’s much easier to convince students in their ignorance of the terrors of “Carbon Pollution”.

    Discrediting the Climate Carpetbaggers remains a monumental task so long as untold trillions of dollars remain in play. When the money finally runs out the ‘settled science’ will be a moot point, and we’ll have far greater battles on our hands.


  4. PaleoSapiens says:

    Sometimes the obvious needs to be stated. It’s part of the human condition that there will be those that are less well-off than others. Nature, or reality, is a cruel bitch. No matter how much gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands are done, people will suffer/die needlessly. Corruption, greed, psychosis, misguided intentions, or any adjectives you care to add, will be a contributing cause.

    Now comes the hard part; living with your actions and/or inaction(s) in the context of reality. Example, if enough (12% – 25% of the population) motivated people were to refuse to pay taxes or buy into government services, many woes would simply disappear (the reasons should be intuitively obvious). The conundrum lies with each individual.
    Rhetorically, how much extra headache (e.g. dealing with bureaucrats and their gorillas with pointy sticks), extra effort, and unintended consequences are you willing to endure? Again rhetorically, what are your limits?


    • Blackswan says:

      You’re right PS – it’s stating the obvious to remind us that poverty is part of the human condition. In all of human history there have been people who have lived hard, and died hard, for want of food and shelter.

      What makes Climate Alarmism so reprehensible is that it is a confection, a chimera, a giant Ponzi scheme maunfactured to exert control and fill the coffers of the few at huge expense to the many. To intentionally (and unnecessarily) strike fear into the hearts of blameless people remains a good reason for plenty of ‘gnashing and wringing’.


  5. Klaus Von Fartzenwerfen says:

    A) Check bunions on feet, esp. near and under your little toe and further up your foot where your weight point is furthest out from your sole. (Pinched sciatic nerve)
    B) Convert to typing standing up
    C) Forget soft chairs. You need either mini-rollerball wicker auto-type “breather” seats on your existing cushioned leather or fabric Steelcase or equal or just plain wooden restaurant chairs. Soft seating disables stress-compensating muscular development in your glutes thereby killing circulation which leads to atrophies aplenty including in your spine.
    D) Ditch coffee for tea and forget artificial creamer (use cream instead) sweetened or non-sugar. It is nothing but powdered lard and worse than drinking Mazola straight. Caffeine of the coffee type eats up the collagen goop protecting your nerves: I am sure you get little spikes like carpet static shock out of nowhere all the time in your hands, forearms and back as well as your legs now if you are not coffee-free and artificial creamer free.


  6. Klaus Von Fartzenwerfen says:

    Mandatory vitamin supplements:

    1. Chromium picolanate/cinnamon pills (sugar neutraliser)
    2. Pantothenic acid (B5) and policosanol (lard disintegrators) NO NIACIN nor statins.
    3. Sea buckthorn oil caps

    Attire mods:

    Leather shoes with hard heels at least 3/4″ thick. Anyone who grew up wearing those but is now wearing trainers needs their heads examined. Your skeleton is going to be the shape and load distribution pattern that was established for it through age 21 until you take the last trip to the other side of the Sun.

    If you set up shop to do all your typing standing up you do not have to worry about watching your weight: your gut will firm up in three weeks and the other weight will re-distribute itself.

    Sugar is a solvent for everything of the flesh as well as a bacterial vector feeder. Stevia or Xylitol are tastier. Forget aspartame and other sugar “substitutes.”


  7. stan stendera says:

    How shall I kill thee, let me count the ways. The simple fact is Greens kill. They kill by building windmills and causing energy poverty. They kill by banning DDT. The kill by converting FOOD into MOTERCAR FUEL. They kill by delaying the use of golden rice and the new strains of vitamin A enriched bananas. Greens kill. Cheerfully kill.


  8. johanna says:

    Thanks for this post.

    The occasional “dark night of the soul” is instructive, if not pleasant. In your case, the double whammy of the back giving out and the blackout brought you one right out of the blue.

    As an aside, as a fellow sufferer of the odd episode where I wake up one morning and can hardly get out of bed because everything is seized up and the pain is excruciating, I have often wondered why modern medicine is so lousy when it comes to very common back problems. As medicine leaps ahead in other areas, backs must be an unsexy, unfunded research field, as nothing much has changed for many, many years.

    Anyway, it is trivial compared to not being able to afford, or even have access to, the energy that is needed for a halfway decent life. And yet, these are problems for which the solutions are well known and comparatively inexpensive to implement. Stopping the unmitigated evil of banning support for coal power in poor countries and forcing it out of rich ones costs nothing. Getting rid of the increasing “green” levies on energy, which are utterly regressive taxes, is another. As well as hitting those who can least afford it the hardest, they are a drag on the economy which divert resources from productive purposes and (on average) make everyone poorer.

    But you need to be kind to yourself. It’s not your fault, and not up to you to strain every nerve (or back muscle) to fix it. How about a holiday in the south of France or wherever appeals to you? Let’s face it, martyrs are for Greenpeace, not sensible people. And if you did go to France, I’m sure that Geoff Chambers would be happy to show you around his bit of it! 🙂


    • Mike Jackson says:

      Happy to show you round my bit as well, Pointman, any time. Though I doubt that Burgundy in the winter is France at her best but we could compare backs! Try Valium if Codydremol doesn’t work.
      Thanks for the article — as ever.


  9. Noblesse Oblige says:

    Jeesh. I also just got over my first real bad back spasm in a decade. Maybe there is some bizarre resonance in the universe that is picking out only climate skeptics to afflict. Or the alarmists have put something in the water that is more selective for skeptics than any chemotherapy is for malignant cells. My inclination to devil theories will lean me toward one of these, rather than accept something like the simplicity of not having learned to walk erect in 3 million years or so.

    Speaking of simplicity, when do simple folk wake up to the fact that they are being manipulated, fleeced, lied to, and stripped of dignity by the combined maliciousness of Western governments?


    • Graeme No.3 says:

      Pain can cause muscle spasms. Can be treated with Valium or if you prefer your medicine in liquid form then whiskey can help.

      Get well soon.


  10. Mindert Eiting says:

    Well, Pointman, I am not a physician and cannot give you medical advise, but may suggest something from my own experience. Since I got a number of ear infections at the age of five, I have a noisy ear, a well known problem some people have, and without cure. The high noise is always there, day and night, and right at this moment. Nevertheless, I almost never hear it because it is outside my consciousness. To get it there is almost a paradoxical task, because a concentrated effort makes you more aware of it. We suffer from pain because we are conscious of it, which is understandable because pain is a warning signal. With chronic pain, you should not concentrate on it. Don’t write about it, become a member of a talking group of patients with similar complaints, or read the comments here, but go to France, as Johanna said, and make that an enterprise taking all of your attention. And of course, continue the good work of combating the climate swindle.


  11. cyrus says:

    I wondered why your blog was late. Someone once wrote ‘all the love, determination, courage and sheer guts run out in the end’. Next time just do a weekend unheralded Pointy.


  12. Adam says:


    While I emphathise with your weariness of once again writing about the annual climate tugfest, there is one thing that is different about this year’s event. The new Australian government’s refusual to take it seriously. They even used the term in their official release on the matter that they “will not support any measures which are socialism masquerading as environmentalism”.

    I found that to be hearty news indeed.


  13. Pointman says:

    For all of them.



    • Blackswan says:

      In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
      That mark our place; and in the sky
      The larks, still bravely singing, fly
      Scarce heard amid the guns below.

      We are the Dead. Short days ago
      We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
      Loved and were loved, and now we lie
      In Flanders fields.

      Take up our quarrel with the foe:
      To you from failing hands we throw
      The torch; be yours to hold it high.
      If ye break faith with us who die
      We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
      In Flanders fields.

      by John McCrae, May 1915

      Lest we forget.


  14. WJohn says:

    Re The Back Pain.
    Whenever I, infrequently, get this I find hanging limply by my hands from a convenient high bar or door lintel helps. My theory is that it takes the pressure off the discs or whatever and helps get the vertebrae back in line.
    Good luck and thanks for the wonderful writing.


  15. WJohn says:

    …and if that does not work, or even if it does, hot toddy is good as an anaesthetic, sleeping draught or just a nice drink. Whisky (or whiskey) (not an expensive one), squeeze of lemon juice, hot water to taste and a spoonful of honey. Stir, sip and repeat.


  16. Pointman says:

    I’d like to thank you all for expressions of concern, much appreciated. Three days of immobility did the trick for me, as usual. I’m up and around and looking for a Cossack hat. It’s interesting how diverse people’s back cures are. Thanks again.



  17. meltemian says:

    The trouble with ‘back pain’ is that there are so many different kinds and causes.
    Mine is usually eased by lying on the floor with my knees up and lower legs resting on the seat of a setee, the longer the better but half-an-hour usually sees it improve.
    Himself has to do the ‘lie on the floor with knees raised and back stretched, then move the knees to left and hold, followed by moving them to the right and hold. He managed to trap a nerve years ago while playing golf!! I kept telling him he shouldn’t try to ‘muller’ it….but what do I know?

    If that fails stick with Graeme and WJohn’s whisky cure, it may not work but at least you’ll forget about it for a while.


  18. Manfred says:

    “The green monster is now killing the poor in our world.”
    This is an intended, desirable consequence to reduce the burden on Gaia.
    Other unintended consequences include:
    No city parks or trees – most stolen and burnt for winter fuel.
    No furniture – ditto
    Few floor boards – ditto.
    Cities fragmented into regional ghettos where on the one hand, power is rationed by state funded providers at ‘subsistence’ levels and on the other, areas safely ensconced behind security, light up the night sky with the unfettered light pollution of the sybaritic greens.
    A brave new world indeed.


  19. M Simon says:

    My right shoulder locks up if it gets too cold. Lots of pain. If I feel it coming on I jump right in bed and bundle up leaving what ever article I was writing or circuit I was designing for a different hour. The first time I didn’t do that I had to sleep sitting up with my back propped against a wall for most of a week. It is nice to have a first mate who will bring you hot drinks and food. And help with trips to the loo. I’m glad I don’t feel your pain. I can sympathize.


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