Well it had to happen sometime. Yet another ‘Downfall’ parody.
Sweetly apposite. ‘Nuff said.
Well it had to happen sometime. Yet another ‘Downfall’ parody.
Sweetly apposite. ‘Nuff said.
As none of the muppets in power seem to have any bright ideas of to get us out of the mess they, and they alone, have gotten us into. May I offer some minor ridiculae to ease my occasional reader’s inner pain.
The European Union. Having a sing of it’s anthem to cheer itself up (and failing) post Brexit.
A screenshot of the World Economic Forums top secret COVID Recovery plan, in it’s entirety.
And a more chilling message, from the Outer Limits.
Hang loose, as it says in the Deisderata;
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
Sunday, Sunday, can’t trust that day. Well, who and what can you trust? No-one, it would seem. Only your own judgement. Expecting others to act in your interests is too often an exercise in futility, unless you have the buggers wrapped up tight in contracts.
Anyway, the weather’s not been bad (It’s not raining at least) so we pootled off to have a scout around the South and East of county Clare. On that topic, we’ve found that the little service station with all the baked goods, is a lot closer than we thought. Close to the end of the lane we live on in fact. So yippee! go my taste buds. Freshly baked Irish cakes and pastries are less than five minutes away.
However Sunday took us East and South towards the Limerick border to look at furniture, as we are in need of a few sticks. In BC all our cupboards were built in, walk in wardrobes, small rooms and alcoves with hanging and drawer spaces. So we have no wardrobes or chests of drawers to put clothes in. Which can be awkward. So we’re looking for hanging and drawer space so our clothes are not all stored in suitcases until we get round to building anew.
In answer to a question I’ve been asked several times by friends and family; “Why Ireland?” I’ll offer this; Easy access because they’re part of the UK/Ireland CTA (Common travel area) ratified in 2016 (I think) by the Irish Government. It’s a more relaxed place with a great literary culture and deep history. Didn’t want to return to the UK because it’s still under the thrall of Blair-era changes which will hold it back for over a generation.
Rural Ireland has an odd feel to it. Almost like a well worn, and occasionally soggy, warm leather glove wrapping itself around you comfortingly, then giving you a pat on the head to say; “There, there now. Stop being such a feckin eejit and we’ll all be grand. Have some tea.” in a friendly but no-nonsense fashion. We’ve been here before on a previous trip, so knew what to expect. The prices looked right, far better than in BC, so with windows of opportunity closing in, we took the decision to up sticks yet again.
I’d also like to say that this side of the pond you’re not looking over your shoulder half the time to see who you’re offending, because outside of Dublin, no one cares. No-one is ‘offended’, or looking to be. Not like in BC, where it seemed that far too many people are wearing a T-shirt that says; “Everything you say is offensive, and we have hate crime laws. Peasant.” Here in Erin there is a refreshing lack of Kevins and Karens, and still fewer people willing to pander to their ill-natured demands. Here Mrs S and I feel we can be our natural selves. There is a refreshingly significant public protest against the ‘hate crime’ laws that certain members of the Dial have proposed. As we say over here, the politicians may well be told to ‘Feck arf’.
Speaking of Karens and Kevins, I see the ‘fact checkers’ are at it as usual over the US Presidential elections, throwing shade on what looks like blatant electoral fraud with the most overt obfuscations imaginable. Things like security video of poll workers pulling boxes of ‘votes’ out from where they were concealed under a table and claiming the votes thus produced were legit because, because well, reasons. Never mind that most were for Biden. Never mind that the challengers and overseers had been sent home to the assurances that all counts had finished, and would resume again in the morning. Despite all the evidence screaming that something is definitely crook. Yes mate, and shit don’t stink either. Furthermore, what would it be like to live with one of these self-important pedants? ‘Awaken with JP’ explores the topic below. (There’s a longish sponsor ad at the end of each video you may want to skip)
There are now so many of these fake fact checkers out there who only support their own side of the aisle that they’re not worth bothering with. As sources of information I would say all the ‘fact checkers’ are not fit for purpose because they too often rely on what I call ‘lawyer tricks’ and technicalities to warp their version of reality. Watching these social media ‘experts’ cover for wrongdoing is like watching a Bashir or Guru-Murthy interview, everything about them touches off my bullshit alert. The passive-aggressiveness, the insincerity and overall lack of integrity, the shifting of focus onto topics a given interview wasn’t supposed to be about. These are people who will gleefully piss in your face and tell you “Chill dude, it’s raining”.
For my last remaining reader’s edification, may I offer JP on a related topic?
I like him, he’s funny. And very telling.
By the way, pop over to Bitchute for a listen to Dr James Lyons-Weiler. Testing stages skipped? Err, that doesn’t sound good.
Anyway, I’m leaving the last word to JP.
I was up early, pacing our empty kitchen this morning, worrying. Word is we may even be restricted to travel within 10km of home for the next four weeks. Bound by an insane web of ever changing rules that make the word ‘byzantine’ look like simplicity personified. Masks, no matter how useless they really are at this stage of the game at preventing viral spread, will be required everywhere, perhaps even in your own home. Although there are those who do that already. The insanity is, like the SARS/COV-2 virus, everywhere. It has gone from pandemic to endemic. There’s no escape.
Uncertainty has become the rule under which we live. At this point I don’t even know if our worldly goods will be allowed to be delivered next week. The situation is that unclear. We’ve put a deposit on a suitable car and it’s in the shop having a pre-sale detail and service. Unfortunately, as the car dealership we are buying from is slightly over 10km from our new home we may not even be allowed to pick it up at the end of this week. We have the money to spend, but we don’t know if we’re going to be allowed to spend it.
Insurance for independent expats like us is likewise an issue. Finding someone who will insure without a usable no-claims is a pain. We have full documented no claims in Canada for the last thirteen years and for at least six documented years UK no claims before that, but does any of it count over here? Nah. Only certain countries no-claims, such as some EU states and the UK (But not always) are allowed here in Ireland. We know we’re going to get stung. The only question that remains is ‘how much by’? When it comes to transport, there’s this constant feeling of; “Sticker, see that brick wall? That’s for your head. Off you go.”
However, our woes pale into insignificance if some of the lockdown stories surfacing are any guide. There’s a nasty rumour floating around the Interweb that people have died screaming in agony because they were prevented from getting prompt treatment by the lockdowns. Don’t know if these tales are true or not, but I’m sure that video’s will surface if they are. If this is the new (ab)normal they can keep it.
The truth is like that. It always leaks out. The harsher the censorship by the tech giants, the more things will pop up. The evidence will surface, one way or another. And we know where the blame will lie, as it has lain over the last two decades or more. On those who push the panic button to keep themselves in a job, the powers that be, and those who carry water for them.
Hear what Sargon has to say. They’re cancelling and censoring the White House’s social media accounts? Along with so many others. That’s going to come back to bite silicon valley and some of the big corporates. Especially if Trump wins his second term.
I don’t use social media anyway, having cancelled twatter and Arsebook years ago.
Fortunately our car hire guys have been absolute heroes. Sixt, when it comes down to it, may not be the cheapest, but their customer service is worth every penny. I’ve used them in four countries on three continents so far (Australia, France, UK and Canada) and unlike all the others, have always walked away without a care. There’s never been that WTF! moment when you check your credit card statement after a hire. Our currency brokers have likewise upped their game, as if it needed upping, and come through with some happy news. If you have a legitimate need to shift money from country to country, may I give the gold star of approval to Currencies Direct. Needless to say, Mr Bezo’s boys continually come up trumps. These guys have been life and sanity savers in very difficult times.
Update: Other people are not as fortunate or determined as we, and even children are cracking up under the strain. Watch the video below, read out from a report first penned in May 2020. God alone knows what that poor kid is like now, and he will be only one of thousands. Perhaps even tens of thousands. We can only guess.
These lockdowns are a crime against humanity and the cracks are showing. But I repeat myself. Again and again and a-bloody-gain.
Useful links; as far back as 15th May, 43% of UK Psychiatrists reported an uptick in cases directly attributable to the lockdowns.
At least half a million more people in UK may experience mental ill health as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, says the first forecast from Centre for Mental Health on 15th May. the figures for 1st October predict ten million.
That’s just the mental health side of the coin. The economic damage and attendant fallout promises to be far worse. Now the Welsh assembly thinks it’s lockdown will make any difference. They’re wrong. The real science says they are, but they are politicians who don’t understand what they’re doing or what they’re really dealing with and what actually works.
Working from home as we do, Mrs S and I are naturally immune from the worst effects of lockdown. We are used to being isolated from direct human contact because of the very nature of our online life. Although normally we get out once a week for a meal or a drink, just to remind ourselves of the general idiocy of the general dyslexic. Which, when we get to do, is oddly reassuring. However there comes a point where even we get stressed. Eight weeks without a timeout is rather extreme, so a much overdue break would be nice.
The golf courses locally have been open for over a week, but nowhere to go afterward, or we’d be cadging invitations to the nineteenth hole, even though both of us detest the silly game.
On the plus side Mrs S is finally discovering the worth of my somewhat eccentric sense of humour and is applying it to herself. She is finding my twisted punsterism somewhat therapeutic, as I do. It’s a useful coping strategy. We have to find our fun where we may. Just to lighten the load.
I’m sure there are many scientific papers written on coping mechanisms in solitary and not so solitary confinement, perhaps even those on the negative social and psychological effects of enforced indolence. And I’m still of the opinion that all the fines issued by the Police should be cancelled / thrown out by the courts.
On the topic of fun. Mr generally annoyingly smug Vietch has an obtuse but highly entertaining sense of it. Plus an excellent prop. See below;
Well it brought a smile to my face.
Mrs S was a little unwell yesterday, which gave me cause for concern. A little photophobia, headache and elevated temperature, which has now passed. Being the worry-guts that I am I sat up for quite a while last night before taking to my bed in the spare room. She’s a little tired this morning, so I shall, like the good family guard dog that I am, remain on alert. However, her symptoms have eased. She is feeling much better and currently on a conference call to her sisters and our girls, which is good news.
I hear Bojo, the UK’s suspiciously unclownish Prime Minister is on the mend. Which is also good news. The Pound is up a couple of points on the news and will grow stronger with him. Not sure whether he’s out of hospital to recuperate at Chequers or not. I think as a whole there will be a large but unheard sigh of relief when he’s well enough to be back at the helm. Bojo is in some ways, whether he likes it or not, a symbol, a symptom even of the UK’s post-Brexit health. He’s pulling through and as he does, so will the UK. This is an unusual phenomenon, but nonetheless a welcome one.
What I find a little hard to fathom is the spite and bile for Bojo’s recovery in the FT’s comments section and elsewhere. People wishing him dead or worse. Banging on about his ‘privilege’ and that he’s been taking up a ventilator that should have been reserved for someone else. Who ‘someone else’ should be these people never specify. But heavens to Murgatroyd me ol’ beauties, he’s the UK’s Prime Minister, with one of the largest parliamentary majorities in living memory. Of course he’s in a ‘privileged position’. Would these people expect their favourite politician to sit in a queue with the rest of us plebs, coughing and choking our way to eternity? Don’t be ridiculous.
If Keir Starmer, Nicola Sturgeon and Sadiq Khan et al (All people who in my view need a personality transplant – only the personality might reject them) were to be so afflicted would I wish them dead or at the back of the queue? No. We should be better than that. Obviously there are those who aren’t. Probably rump remoaners still in denial over Brexit and the inevitable slow motion implosion of the EU.
Like it or not, MP’s have their privileges because they are in a position of responsibility. Their job is to debate and discuss the law under which people live, unless of course local PCC commissioners are making law up on the fly, telling their officers to order people in their own gardens indoors and harassing people who are observing social distancing rules while walking the dog or searching their shopping for ‘non-essentials’.
With the responsibility for the nation as a whole, the job of Prime or government minister comes with a few perks, like getting immediate medical treatment when they need it. So Bojo got rushed into hospital after trying to tough it out. He got oxygen therapy when he needed it. He probably got a secure private room and ICU unit to himself because of all these remoaners wishing him dead. Because it’s not unknown for some crazy to take a dislike to someone over their politics and interfere with their treatment. Why isn’t he in with the general run of patients? Because of the remoaners who are so pissed that they’ve lost the Brexit debate (and their reason) so hard that they would lower themselves to cold blooded murder. As if that would fix anything. Which it wouldn’t.
There are far too many small minds. No wonder most of our little clan left the UK. Personally if I saw someone breaking restrictions, would I rat them out to the cops? Probably not unless they posed a real (Not an imagined or existential) danger to me and mine. If they were having a party I wouldn’t say a dickie bird so long as it shut down by 11pm and allowed everyone else to get some shut eye. If their guests caught the lurgi, that would be a consequence of their actions and nothing to do with me. If they end up on a ventilator, again, not my problem.
The curve of Covid-19 infections is beginning to flatten. Although the grim reapers scythe is swinging with a terrible rhythm of its own and there often seems no rhyme or reason to it. Two more weeks of high death rates are likely. However, I think for the UK the worst has passed. Here in Canada, because of the dithering from Ottawa, our worst is yet to come.
Anyway, the US markets are picking up and I will be checking my financial reports with a less heavy heart than last month. The shares I bought at bargain basement prices have already netted a 25% gain with another 220% to go before they reach their previous median price. So after a few fretful nights I’m feeling a little easier in my mind. We’re not out of the woods yet, but the worst I feel is over.
Hopefully this temporary downturn should begin to resolve shortly, then heads begin to poke out of foxholes and look around at this new world. One less reliant upon the totalitarianism of China. Maybe wondering loudly how necessary the worst aspects of this lockdown are. Like our four legged friend below.
Was struck with some of the suggestions in the comment section of the video below. The whole idea of the outrage mob harassing a company, just because their product has been seen in use by someone the mob don’t like is ridiculous. Why does this innocent activity, even if it is by a politician, seem to enrage a certain group of Twatterers?
It seems to me that the left wing outrage mob will get their panties in a bunch over the least little thing. They ‘go after’ people online, trashing their reputation and in some places costing the object of their ire careers, livelihoods, relationships and in a few sad cases, lives. The vicious nature of these lefty hate mobs is quite astonishing. As is their hypocrisy. Frankly me deario’s, if it weren’t for double standards, these crazy online haters wouldn’t have any. The cognitive dissonance they display is often so staggering, that after reading their nonsensical outpourings I often need to go and lie down in a darkened room, close the curtains and doors before bursting into hysterical laughter.
Now you know and I know chums, that certain things may be perfectly innocent, like Yorkshire tea. Even if a UK Tory politician professes to like it. It’s just tea, right? Good tea, but just tea no matter who drinks it. Tea is very useful stuff for all sorts of reasons. See below.
However, it’s given me an idea to use against these knee jerk twatter hate mobs. Mildly suggest that anything the twitter hate mob like or admire is “Just a teensy bit right wing.” or “Like enjoyed by religious hate mobs. You know, like those Westboro Baptist nutcases.” One could also point out that all the things they like “Sound a little bit, you know, fascist.” One might even opine, if one comes across an acquaintance you know to hold these views in a queue at a coffee shop, “Oh, hello. Didn’t think I’d find you at one of these places. Not after they were denounced by (Cite famous lefty academic here; If at a loss, say Noam Chomsky)” Which is probably true. Lefty academics denounce so many things that it’s hard to find anything they haven’t come out against. Such sayings will flag up in Google searches, which might well be enough for said unhinged acquaintance to flounce out, to be seen outside later with a placard denouncing said coffee shop as a “Tool of the oppressor.” These knee-jerk haters are not the sharpest tools in the box.
One might also suggest that things like the following list are “A bit right wing” or “Not very working class.”
Smashed Avocados on toast (A bit too, you know metropolitan)
Eggs Benedict (Very posh – Not working class at all)
Vegan / Vegetarian diets (Far too middle class)
Coffee shops (All of them – not just Starbucks)
Pret A Manger (And any other ‘right on’ company who does ‘grab & go’ sandwiches)
Breathing (It’s worth a try)
Then watch the fun begin. Try not to laugh too hard.
This post was updated from the original as the first paragraph made no sense. I think it’s the Alzheimers kicking in. That or the insomnia.
Downtown today, I managed to find a copy of the Sunday Times, which sparked off one of those conversations between Mrs s and I. About a particular kind of laughter.
Now Mrs S and I laugh with each other all the time. She takes the rise out of me unmercifully, which I allow. We find this makes for a healthy relationship. We have the gift of laughter. This not only feels right, but buoys us both up when dealing with the many cerebrally challenged we come across in our day to day lives. Our shared laughter has become an essential mutual inoculation against the many petty evils of this world. We are even able to laugh at ourselves. Which make the “Aw-shee-it!” moments which occasionally punctuate our lives more bearable.
By laugh I mean what Lyall Watson, in his book ‘Supernature‘, once described as ‘the soul laugh’. Not the appalling “That is so funn-ee” beloved of retarded High school sophomores or the tittering near-sneer of dinner party faux-intellectual dweebs. That is feigned laughter. Made by people who don’t know how to let the humour get deep into their inner being. Made by people who go to comedy clubs and really shouldn’t because they ruin it for everyone else. The people I refer to are often found berating the stage act for breaching some strange moral code or challenging the audience members belief systems. In the clubs I often get irritated by these arrogant little shits and often think that people who don’t really get humour could do with a very large brick over the head to try and knock some sense into them. These are the people who I have nothing but contempt and increasingly rarely, pity for. The walking damned. Those who are forever unable to get it. Those who exclude themselves and because they cannot understand humour, forever try to exclude everyone else and prevent them telling jokes that are even remotely funny.
A soul laugh is by contrast a bucket of ice water over the head, a fresh mountain stream, a cloudburst of emotional catharsis. This kind of laugh washes the spirit clean and destroys all those poisonous little shibboleths the perpetually offended would clutter our lives with. It defuses tense situations and the daftest thing can trigger an attack. And it is predominantly male. A sign of relaxation, of being at ease with your inner core. It cannot be faked and when properly shared, soul laughter bonds and unites. Offence evaporates. One of life’s great sadnesses is that so few females really understand its necessity. I count myself blessed because my wife is one of those who actually does.
The thing is, to the weak, fearful and immature, soul laughter is frightening and therefore to be suppressed at all costs. There is nothing more dangerous in the eyes of a would-be oppressor than a full blown soul laugh. Because the soul laugh is literally spit in their eyes. It’s the only sane response when those wielding power think they have broken all resistance. It can be found even on the final scaffold when death is inevitable, because well, what the hell, what have you got to lose? A soul laugh is also a great defiant middle finger to those who perpetuate lies because it says; “I’m not taking you seriously – motherfucker.”
Stalin, Mao, Castro, Pol Pot and Hitler weren’t big fans of humour, especially when it was directed at them. Which is why Russians used to be so habitually gloomy and Germans only had a very shaky grasp of what was actually funny. All their best comedians ended up in concentration camps or Gulags. Or worse, shot and consigned to mass graves.
My favourite Russian joke goes;
Prisoner: “I don’t understand, the judge gave me twenty years. I’m innocent of any crime!”
Gulag Guard: “Twenty years comrade? You must have done something.”
Prisoner: “I don’t know. All I did was call Stalin an idiot.”
Gulag Guard: “Ah, there you go comrade. Revealing state secrets.”
What we need is more jokes directed at the hate speech laws themselves. To demonstrate how unpopular these things are to left-leaning politicians, who really only want popularity, because that is the path to power, and power is all they really crave. A really good joke would be to wipe out the Tories, the Limp Dems and Labour in the forthcoming EU elections and bury the Canadian Liberal party. Then if they don’t learn the lessons, hand out a really sound electoral kicking at every possible opportunity, directing a humiliating barrage of soul laughter at the totalitarian bar stewards. Just to drive the point home good and hard.
There will be arrests, but this could become the benchmark to every aspiring stand-up comedians career, getting nicked for hurting some humourless buggers feelings. Look at Count Dankula. He went from unknown Communist comedian to overnight celebrity and MEP candidate. Yes, I thought the whole Nazi Pug thing was a great gag, if a bit tasteless. As for Sargon’s sidelong jibe at the awful scarecrow like figure of Labour MP Jess Phillips. Well I wouldn’t want to either. I know it’s not wise to look at the mantelpiece whilst stoking the fire in certain cases, but a blindfold and last cigarette might be more useful at that particular juncture. Double-euw. If given the option I’d rather hump Worzel Gummidge.
Treason May on the other hand increasingly looks like a piece of badly stuffed Victorian taxidermy. I’ve also noticed that Justine Turdeau could pass for a very close relative of a certain Mr Schickelgruber if he were to grow a toothbrush moustache. As for Hildebeast Clinton, yeaah. Shades of a reanimated Eva Braun there. Occasionally Cortex resembles one of puppeteer Jim Hansens worst nightmares as might be animated by Director Tim Burton. She’s certainly got the intellect for it. Only just though.
Notwithstanding, it could be argued that the soul laugh is nature’s greatest gift to humanity because of it’s role in both breaking down aggression and bringing down the tyrannical. It could also be argued that such laughter damages people who are basically not really grown up enough to live in the real world. Then there is the moot point that a bloody good laugh is worth having at the downfall of the unrighteous, unfaithful and divisive. Go on, have a guess at who I’m talking about. There are two right answers. One for the UK, one for Canada. They can pass all the anti-free speech laws they want, but the soul laugh will always find a way to it’s intended target.
January has come and gone and my Lemon tree plants are sprouting new leaves on the windowsill of my office. What else? I’ve also just spent my yearly holiday allowance on a trip to Londinium this Autumn. Mrs S and I want to see all the non-events that will characterise the UK leaving the EU.
Otherwise life at Chez Sticker is plagued by glitches. A whole shedload of the wretched things. Nothing insuperable, just minor bits of grit in life’s ointment. Banks that won’t do what they’re told. Stuff which should happen in forty eight hours takes a week to ten days to set up. Which is a bit tricky when you’re under the gun and on a tight deadline. I’m having to postpone investments because of them. Which is a pain. I was hoping to get a tranche of cash moved to invest before the stock market rose too high. The Canadian tax man (Nice chaps – when you have good accountants) you see has given me a more generous allowance for investments for last year and this and I want to take advantage of the loophole before March 1st when the opportunity disappears. Then there’s the extra payments to HMRC to ensure my UK pension is nicely topped up.
One minor irritation is having to postpone closing an offshore account because of a policy rule change. A complication because the money sent to HMRC from that account has to clear before I can do the necessary. This is mildly annoying. Of course any differential will only be pennies, but nurtured carefully how those pennies mount up.
Turns out I have a knack for shifting money around. Who knew? All those years working my arse off for a living when I should have followed my true calling in international finance. Although my calculus is sometimes questionable, I can usually convert between currencies in my head pretty well and I’m making a more than modest amount each year off my stocks and shares. Better than all the pension funds and other investment vehicles I’ve put money into over the years. Nothing spectacular, just solid, steady tax-sheltered growth over the medium to long term. All nice and legal. Even if it is hard work from time to time. I could retire tomorrow but I’m not going to. Deferring payment means a better hedge against inflation and besides, I’d only get bored.
On the BREXIT front The Financial Times is still very Remoaner and becoming rather irritating to the point where I may well be cancelling my subscription. I want news, information, not opinion dressed up as so-called ‘facts’ to support a pro-EU aganda. My increasing infuriation is driven by the imperative that in investment, good and timely information is everything. Without that information the news media has no real facility.
So what’s going on out in Interwebland? Lots of interesting stuff. As my last remaining reader is probably aware, there’s been a lot of screaming and yelling over ‘Fake news’ over the last three years. Then, more recently there’s been a lot of tearing of hair and sackcloth and ashes over ‘journalists’ being fired from various left of centre media outlets. Now these two phenomena might seem unconnected, but what might have slipped under the radar is the cessation of funding to counter ‘foreign propaganda’ begun during the Obama administration under the Portman-Murphy sponsored ‘Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act’. Like with Trudeau’s extra funding for CBC and other like minded media outlets introduced in 2018. All the money under the respective legislation has been strongly suspected of going to media outlets that toe a specific party line. Or in the case of the USA, did go.
Listen to a more well-informed commentator’s view below explaining the ‘Learn to code‘ meme doing the rounds, where alphabet soup commentators have been paid very well while spreading misinformation to support their ’cause’. All the time insinuating that right of centre and centrist Youtubers and bloggers are little better than pro-Russian propaganda ‘bots. Let me explain; for years, said journo’s have slyly mocked ordinary working people who lost their jobs. Now the boot is on the other foot.
Mass media redundancies? Couldn’t happen to nicer people.
Only a couple more months to Spring. I have the feeling April 1st is going to be really interesting this year. At least for all the prophets of doom.
Update: Speaking of doom, is it finally ‘game over’ for the Maduro regime in Venezuela? If so, what will replace it? All rather academic as the answers to those questions are for the Venezuelan people and no-one else.
There’s a very funny little take on a certain group of people doing the rounds of the jolly old Interweb that 85% of people are effectively what Gamers have taken to calling ‘Non-player characters’. Specifically people who react rather than think, use their limbic brains rather than their pre frontal cortex and often seem to be so self involved in their own little bubbles that any observations of neural activity can be thought of as purely accidental. They never seem to have the self reference to ask “Why am I doing this..?” or perhaps “What good am I doing…?” Followed by an existential “What defines ‘good’ and is attacking other people the right way to attain it..?” The more insightful might think that perhaps these NPC’s are painting themselves into a very small corner by not thinking.
Maybe the aforementioned is a function of their peer group structure? The self awareness of an NPC-level mob being the cube root of of the dumbest member? Yet these ‘activists’ are people who claim to know what is best for everyone and are willing to beat people up who happen to disagree? What they forget is that even if they win once, there will always be someone bigger, tougher, more skilled and more determined right around the corner. Possibly with a warrant. Or a grudge. No-one is immune. Direct action meet reaction. Hope you’ve got good legal and health insurance.
As an apposite aside, long ago (3rd February 2005 Yikes!), on a blog far, far away I wrote;
“Several years ago I worked out that roughly 75% of the human race are either plain stupid or just not paying attention. Mrs Sticker agrees, and helped modify the criteria so that the rule covers 85% of humans. After much spirited debate I was forced to agree. A proper mathematical analysis would bear this figure out. Think about it. In order for a proportion of the human race to be of average intelligence and above, statistically there has to be a corresponding fraction below those levels. Furthermore intelligence manifests itself in a number of ways. For example a Professor of Mathematics may be highly intelligent in a specific way but be a complete klutz in the kitchen. He / she might be great at advanced calculus but like many humans, reduced to the standard of the average moron when in charge of a car.
I’ve even joked that the zombie apocalypse has been with us for some time and left wing NPC’s area prime example, only there are right wing NPC’s too. This means we have two main tribes of zombies out there. Oh no, that can’t be right, the zombies are everywhere because each tribe only watches their own narrow section of the media and here’s the kicker, that’s what is eating their brains. Or should that be past tense? Has eaten their brains?
Make up your own mind. Just look around, observe, draw conclusions. Do not simply accept what you are told without question. Too many are willing to lie to back up their standpoint. NPC’s, Zombies, call them what you like. They all unthinkingly regurgitate what they’re told. Why? Because in the little bit of humanity they still do possess, they realise they really do have nothing to say. Because it’s the line of least resistance.
New job, new software, steep learning curve. New Internet too, if Tim Berners-Lee has anything to do with it. As for me, I’m not quite biting off more than I can chew, but there will be a short pause and a word from our sponsors.
Love this quote: “We are not talking to Facebook and Google about whether or not to introduce a complete change where all their business models are completely upended overnight. We are not asking their permission.” Yeah, go Tim.
World domination doesn’t happen all by itself you know…
The Interweb has been ablaze with rumours about the closure of a Solar Sunspot Observatory, by of all people the FBI. Who turned up out of the blue in a Blackhawk helicopter and shut the whole site down, including the on-site post office. The site is normally open to the public and the local Sheriff was shut out too, which makes the whole affair even more puzzling. All sorts of stuff has been mooted from Aliens crossing the sun, pending massive solar storms, secret weapons tests, Chinese / Russian hacking / spying on the nearby White Sands Missile Range, Uncle Tom Cobley and all. No-one has mentioned the Mayans yet, but it’s only a matter of time.
So what is going on? No idea. Although the spying theory sounds the most likely.
A more studied perspective is available from Linda Moulton Howe, an American investigative journalist and Regional Emmy award-winning documentary film maker.
She has a World Domination Cat. What’s not to like?
Update: As a point of interest, the adjacent Apache Point Observatory, a collection of telescopes about a half-mile away, was operating as normal on Friday, with about a dozen cars parked outside. Nor have other solar observatories been closed down as stated in some quarters. So, no Aliens then. Again.
2nd Update: Aand it’s open again. Phew, so those pesky little green men have given us the go by yet again. Funny how often that happens.
Seen over at Minds.com
Alternative social network Minds has debuted a digital bill of rights amid accusations of bias and political manipulation at Google, Facebook, and other Big Tech companies.
“Minds is officially adopting the Manila Principles On Intermediary Liability, a digital bill of rights, outlined by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other leading digital rights organizations,” the social network announced, Thursday. “The principles have been endorsed by nearly 300 leading press freedom and technology policy organizations and individuals. They act as a guideline for protecting freedom of expression and create an open environment for innovation.”
The bill of rights are as follows:
Content must NOT be required to be removed without an order by a judicial authority.
Requests for restrictions of content must be clear, be unambiguous, and follow due process.
Laws and content restriction orders and practices must comply with the tests of necessity and proportionality.
Laws and content restriction policies and practices must respect due process.
Transparency and accountability must be built into laws and content restriction policies and practices.
Discuss. I’m off to do some gardening. There’s some judicious potting out to do. Lemon tree seedlings again.
Well I declare; Facebook is sniffing around US banks to obtain users transaction data. By proxy, considering that Facebook maintains databases which compile profiles on even non-users like myself, this is dangerous territory. I have already written to the banks of whom I am an account and shareholder for assurances that they will not provide any customer transaction data to Facebook or any other Social Media company whatsoever. Whether these ‘Social Media’ companies are ‘actively’ seeking it or not. Personally I find the denials flimsy and untrustworthy.
The risk here is that Facebook, Twitter, Google et al are actively seeking to extend their tentacles into every aspect of modern life. Given these platforms propensity for shadow banning, account deletion and general censoriousness, there is good reason to suspect that once such access is gained they will use it to further their own corporate agendas, not just sell advertising. Given that these platforms have demonstrated a clear propensity for de-platforming people they disagree with, those who do not conform may find their financial affairs restricted.
Working as I do with money, which has no politics, I find the hinted intrusion of Social Media companies into the financial arena a direct threat to my affairs, even if that threat is so far existential. As far as I am concerned, Facebook (LinkedIn), Alphabet Corporation (Google, YouTube), Twitter etc. just became the bad guys, forming an ‘Axis of evil’. “Don’t be evil.” just lost the “Don’t.” These corporate monsters now represent a more insidious form of soft Fascism than anyone would have previously thought possible, but here we are. All the trust we have given them, they have routinely abused.
Over the next few days I will also be deleting my Facebook-owned professional LinkedIn account, after first informing all my real life friends and professional contacts that I am doing so via email. LinkedIn never brought me any worthwhile work offers anyway.
I’m busy listening to a Livestream with interest when the phone rings. It’s our cable company. Hmm. That’s the third time this month. Oh well. I picked up.
“Hi, is this Bill?” Comes a friendly voice.
“It is.” I already know what this call is about. They’re going to try and sell me Cable TV. It’s Deja vu all over again.
“Hi. Notice you have internet and phone with us and we’re doing a special deal on cable this month.”
“No.” I can’t help but be amused. “We’re not interested. Not at any price.”
“Not even for ten bucks a…. Er, why?”
“The quality of content is terrible.” I’m trying not to burst out laughing. You can’t fault them for persistence but I’ve elected to be amused rather than get mad. “Two hundred channels and nothing worth watching.”
“What about the sports?”
“I don’t watch sport on TV.” Which is a bit of a fib as I will watch England Rugby matches when there’s footage online, but as most cable sport coverage is heavily cut Soccer, Ice hockey, American Football or Baseball I’m not interested. Watching cable sports coverage whenever we’re at a hotel or bar always irritates me as they keep on moving from game to game on the main cable channels as it’s all re-runs and best ofs. So you can’t get a good feel for the game. The decent coverage is all pay per view and I don’t like televised sport enough to go down that route.
“The news? We got news.” Tantalises the Telemarketeer.
“Which I can get online and in depth instead of the rotation half hour of soundbites cable news channels offer.” Oh I am a tease, but there’s no sense getting mad at these people as their Internet service is quite good.
“We’re just not interested.” I affirm, so we close with the usual ‘have a great evening’ pleasantries.
“Was that the cable company again?” Mrs S calls from the sofa as she’s watching Midsummer Murders (Again) via our AppleTV box. “They don’t give up do they?”
“I think it’s rather sweet of them.” I chortle. Had I been busy I might have been less welcoming, but what the hell, I enjoy a little sport with sales callers now and again. Normally we don’t hear from them more than once a year, but they must be getting desperate to keep on trying a refusenik like me. Personally I think they should shut down the TV and free up bandwidth for even faster Interwebbiness.
Honestly, from what I’ve seen, the cable TV providers can’t even match the quality of something like The Rubin Report on YouTube which interviews people like Jordan Peterson or Niall Ferguson, who explains in quite an entertaining fashion how his position over Brexit shifted. And quite an insightfully nuanced view on Donald Trump to boot. Which I found quite interesting. A lot more engaging than any of CNN’s partisan cable TV output.