Richard Lutz is blasted by a storm and blessed with a Google promise.
The wind, the wind. It blasts from the southwest up from the Antrim coast, squeezes between the Mull of Galloway and the Mull of Kintyre, and zooms right up the Clyde estuary heading for Glasgow. It’s vicious.
It roars past like an out of control loco that’s gone loco. Who knows how severe the storm is? Was the wind, that wind, 50, 60, 65 mph as it funnels up from the tumultuous Irish Sea? This Scottish storm is horizontal and horrendous and loud and has my name engraved in its bullets of rain. I watch someone with a roll-on suitcase being dragged as the luggage is lifted off the ground. I see a road sign bent by the wind’s ferocity. The sea rages outside the little harbour near my house. It pounds the quayside.
Fifteen miles across the sea are the Isle of Arran mountains. When the tempestuous weather clears intermittently, you can see the snow line at about 2,000 feet along the long ridge. The sea heaves and rolls with whitecaps and sea-green turns to grey and then dark blue and then in patches of deep stunning turquoise. Only Turner could catch an ocean in movement. And he would have had a field day up here in this storm.
On a lighter note, as this weather howls outside like a demented banshee, I kick off the day with a daily early morning TV surge. I call it Cheers and Piers. Here’s why:
It begins at 6.30am with that comedy that never runs dry. Cheers continually has Ted Danson pulling pints (and the babes) as his two muppet-brained barflies Norm and Cliffy trade brilliant one-liners. It must be 150 years old and the show still shines line by line. But if the shards of a Cheers plot fade or I can’t really shoulder the weight of jollity at 6.30, I’m one channel down to Good Morning Britain with Piers Morgan. And, wow, talk about a joke.
See? Cheers and Piers.
The former delivers effortless comedy. The latter delivers the man who’s perfected an interview technique akin to projectile vomiting (note: I nicked that description because it was funny). Piers is obnoxious fun and sometimes, rarely, but sometimes, his boneheaded style does hit the mark and unmask political pomposity or celebrity vacuity.
So, between Cheers and Piers, I get through a second cup of coffee. Between Cheers and Piers, I rev up another start to a day. Between Cheers and Piers, I’m ready for a roll-out of another rush of news stories.
Today, the tales swirl in the wind: Coronavirus, this flooding twisted weather, the fantastically named Tyson Fury, even the ludicrous attempt to negotiate a truce with the murderous Afghani Taliban.
But the tale that really pulls my chain is Google’s latest trick. It sends out a jolly message that since Blighty is leaving the EU, there’s been an improvement in terms of service. What these meaningless words actually imply is that data will be controlled from its US base “…for complying with applicable privacy laws for UK consumer users”.
I’m not too sure how this hits me yet. Hell, I’m not too sure how EU or UK law up to now protects my digi-life. Everytime I slap my credit card number and its security code onto a site, I twitch with a spasm of unknowingness. Even under the much vaunted Euro law on data protection, I feel unsafe.
Oh wait… a glimmer of hope and reassurance. A cryptic final message from Google adds: “Thank you for using Google’s services”. And then ultimately signs off as Your Google Team.
Gosh, I have an actual Google Team looking after me, providing for me, helping me to comply and, most importantly, delivering something called Improved Readability which is a guarantee that it’s quintessentially unreadable.
I have no idea what all this means. But I feel a little bit queasier especially since a data lobbyist is quoted as saying: “Moving people’s personal information to the US makes it easier for mass surveillance programmes to access it.”
Great. I feel better already.