Cool, sparkling sense comes dropping slow

Amazing the things you never knew you never knew. This morning, for instance, I found out that if you spell ‘naive’ backwards, you come up with Evian, the cool, sparkling spring water that is full of, er, volcanicity – this apparently being the distinctive flavour of this tipple as it percolates up from caverns measureless to man, emanating, no doubt from a sunless sea of startling purity (with apologies to S. T. Coleridge).

This nugget was texted in to Tom Dunne’s breakfast show on Newstalk, where I was his studio guest for a slot discussing the great bottled water swindle, a topic I had covered in last week’s IT column. That piece led off with a reference to a vintage video clip from Penn Teller’s satirical US documentary series entitled “Bullshit”, where they looked at different areas of pure bull, from the Bible to bottled water, and had a lot of fun along the way. By popular demand, you can view it in its entirety, including the unforgettable Amazon bottled water, complete with dead spider:

This column generated a well-above normal response, mostly supportive, with quite a bit of enthusiasm for the idea of extending the hugely successful plastic bag tax to include the couple of hundred million plastic receptacles needlessly manufactured, used and promptly chucked for ferrying around a ‘product’ that is, at best, no better than plain ol’ tap water, and in fact, is frequently less pure than what come out of you actual tap.

Was out on Friday night last in Dawson Street, Dublin, among a group of eight diners in a restaurant. No sooner had we sat down than the bottled Tipperary Water appeared. They managed to flog us 4 bottles, at €5.95 each (no mention of price when the bottles appeared – they were refilled as well without anyone asking), then whacked on a 12.5% compulsory “service charge” at the end – this brought our bottled water up to €6.70 a bottle, or nearly 27 quid extra on the bill.

And then, to add insult to injury, they tried hassling us to give up the table at 9pm, even though we hadn’t booked for a second sitting. For my money, the icy winds of recession can’t have blown half hard enough when restaurants like that are still actually open and getting away with this.

Meanwhile, essential TV viewing alert for tomorrow evening: the concluding part of David McWilliams’ Addicted To Money goes out on RTÉ 1 at 10.15pm. This time, he steps back from his economist’s chair to ponder the bigger, infinitely more important issue, which can best be summarised as: Peak Everything.

I’ve not been a fan of economists and their “grow, baby grow” mindset to date (after my IT article last December, the feeling is most likely mutual) but that may be about to change tomorrow evening…

ThinkOrSwim is a blog by journalist John Gibbons focusing on the inter-related crises involving climate change, sustainability, resource depletion, energy and biodiversity loss
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