Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The public transit zombie is creepy as Hell

Riding the public transit for a contract. Watching people mindlessly line up to reveal their whereabouts is very "1984."

Like most major cities, we have electronic payment systems. So, you can get an ORCA card and conveniently badge it before getting on the bus or train, and then off, and the combo of locations determines the fees billed to you.

Much more convenient than paper cards with magnetic strips, or that totally untraceable cash thing.

So, every time a mob of drones gets off the train, we all automatically queue up to press a plastic card - linked to us - to a little box until we hear the reassuring beep that means our location and time have been logged in the database.  We're all doing out civic duty - paying our fees in appreciation for use of the transit system, making sure we're in compliance with the law; good citizen stuff.

Even more creepy is when the fare enforcement people come thru and require us to show the card, the front of the card, and the hand scanner checks to make sure we are in compliance.  We all just reflexively whip out our cards, and don't even bother to look up as the fare enforcer presses his scanner to our card and moves on.

Failure to have a card means they ask for photo ID. 
Failure to have photo ID - for example the homeless man the other morning - means a second fare enforcement officer shows up to escort you off the train while they assess your identity.

On the one hand, it is very nice and well-organized and helps society run smoothly. We all do our little rituals and get on with our lives. At the end of the day, that's all we really want, isn't it?  Just to get on with our lives.

On the other hand, it's all fucking creepy as Hell.

I grabbed the images off the Web. My apologies for not having proper creator credits for the images.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Musical Monday: GWAR does Carry On Wayward Son

Unless you're still in grade school, you've almost certainly heard the Kansas song "Carry On Wayward Son."  It's like a classic, and it still gets buttloads of air time.

Well, some guys did this whatever, pulling in totally wrong bands to remake these classics.  That's why GWAR was doing "Carry On Wayward Son," and why I'm writing this.

I'd heard of GWAR, but didn't know who they were.  I think their look is hilarious, but that's beside the point.  I mean, okay, they totally own the WoW cosplay thing, right?  I've clicked on a few of their other vids, and they're definitely "art shop" rock.

Anyway, I think they got the musical part of "Wayward Son" down really well. I actually like their reinterpretation.

I suspect the lead vocalist has a good voice, but I can't hear a damn word he sings.  Seriously, guys, if you're going to even bother with having a vocalist, make sure people can hear your singer!  Ugh.

Even if he does have a good voice, or even is funny with intentionally flubbing the lyrics, you can't hear him! So, you know, just watch it for the music ;-)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

President Trump: Victory by default

President Trump. I can see it. I'm going to throw up now.

Clinton vs Sanders.

It doesn't fucking matter what the corporatist infotainment media says - they gin up controversy just for the ratings, even without dirtwags like O'Keefe or O'Reilly or the farce bag "reporting" at Fox.

This isn't an issue of "ideology," it's an issue of "idiot-ology," where stupidity is the most powerful force in the universe (history proves this) and people who should be paying attention, learning to negotiate, and not entrenching into passionate ignorance, because being angry feels good (science has proven this), are bickering like vitriolic sociopaths. And i don't mean the candidates. Too many of the  "liberal, progressive, we're-supposed-to-be-the-fucking-good-guys" are acting in the same petty, child-tantrum ways we've rightly mocked the Trumpettes and rabid GOP-'til-I-die fools for years

Bugger the mass media! All I have to do is read the goddamn  memes - the polarized supporters are already so decisively split that moderates will stay home just to avoid getting caught up in a fist fight among "liberals."

The Trump supporters will sell tickets to the fights and laugh their fucking asses off, because somehow THEY now have the moral high ground?? OMFG.

I'm going to start drinking now, since we don't have off-world colonies yet, and just get it over with.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I like NPR - the last bastion of intelligent journalism

It concerns me when I hear people describe NPR as "too liberal." A number of studies have shown that NPR, by and large, walks a very fine line balancing the various "sides." They have to, since Congress controls their funding, and a perceived bias is a problem, let alone a real bias.

The point I'm getting to: how skewed have our perceptions become of "liberal" or "conservative" media that a properly balanced outlet is perceived as biased? In my worldview, this says that the elitist elements are winning the war on our perceptions and convincing us that "Right is right," or (and I prefer this one) our own natural filters of what we like and dislike are interfering with our ability to actually hear what is being said. By the latter, I mean if I prefer stories with a bias, then exposure to those without my bias will chaff my butt, and I will presume a bias on the broadcaster even when none exists.

(Note, I refer to them as "elitists" since, in my considered opinion, these elements are purely opportunistic more than either progressive or conservative, and therefore neither appellation is the proper one to use.) 

NPR logo 

  1. I like NPR as the last bastion of American journalism.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Small actions can make big heroes

Story from a friend of mine, he said I could share it here.

A month ago, at the Puyallup Spring Fair, we were wrapping up the night with one last run down the giant slide. It was late, and time to get my toddler home. I think she'd done that slide with my wife seven times, or so.

They were just coming down and I heard a little girl crying. Paternal autopilot kicked in and I looked around. There was a mom trying to console a wailing child as she kept pointing to a family in line for the slide.

I took a risk and asked if it was because she wanted to go down the slide.  The mom looked a little embarrassed and said "We don't have enough tickets."

I replied "I have lots, and we're done. Would it be okay if I pay?"

A brief embarrassed awkwardness for both of us, and she accepted, and her little one beamed as she jumped in line.

I felt good about that, and collected my family and we went home.

A month later, I'm sitting at the McDonald's play place, and this woman says "It is you!"

It was her, and her kids, and she and the little girl thanked me again. That one ride had made their entire night. The little girl had screamed with joy the entire way down.  I admit, my heart swelled with pride 

Small actions. Being a little attentive to the world around us. Small gifts of time, or money (that was $3.50 worth of tickets for the ride), and what might have been an evening of misery and broken heart for that child and her family turned into a positive memory for years.

Small actions can make big heroes.

Monday, May 16, 2016

30-Thousand Views!  Woot!

You guys love me sooooo much!  

view count days
days (total) views per day
during the period
posts (delta) posts (total) views per post (total average)
1000 94 94 10.6 85 85 11.8
2000 72 166 13.9 52 137 14.6
3000 34 200 29.4 28 165 18.2
4000 21 221 47.6 16 181 22.1
5000 15 236 66.6 12 193 25.9
6000* 30 266 33.3 17 210 28.6
7000 17 283 58.8 18 228 30.7
8000 34 317 29.4 18 246 32.5
9000 14 331 71.4 10 256 35.2
10 000 18 349 55.5 10 266 37.6
15 000 58 407 86.2 31 297 50.4
20 000 76 483 65.7 32 329 60.8
25 000 82 565 61.0 28 357 70.0
30 000 58 623 86.6 27 384 78.2

This is how I chart my world domination - the more views per post, the broader the audience, and the more my ideas can infect people.  Beware, ideas are viral

Ages ago, I remarked that I was a global phenomenon.  Apparently, they love me in Russia. I need to visit Russia.  Just to see what it's like.  Although, I hear Russian guys are all nuts.

Actually, this is one of the effects of the Interwebs.  It is really cool that people from anywhere can connect and find common ground.  Hell, I confess, I'm just glad they speak English!

And, just in case you're curious what my Top 10 most popular posts-to-date are, here you go.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Death of the GOP, the annexation of the DNC

The GOP got annexed by the billionaire neo-feudalists decades ago. Trump's brazen ripping up the boards to show the cockroaches has only accelerated the inevitable, but (ironically) has also exposed the rot in the system before it was irreversible. The GOP slow toxic death began with Nixon's Southern Strategy.

As many, many, many people (including me) have pointed out, the DNC was merely the last bastion for anyone not ruthless enough to be GOP to enter politics. The annexation of the DNC has also been happening (which is why Trump donated to the Clinton campaigns - business investment), although more slowly. When the GOP finally completes the implosion (leaving the Libertarians to those wealthy enough to claim they don't need anyone else, and the newly reformed and renamed "Fascist" party to those Trump dumps after pillaging them), the billionaire class will move aggressively to reshape the DNC using exactly the same methods they did with the GOP.

Thank God for Sanders to expose that problem with the DNC by providing some contrast. Sanders is only a leaning post left of center, but the contrast and mobilization means evolution and a new, truely Progressive movement might emerge from the humiliating ashes of the 2016 election.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Tax the rich to feed the babies - THAT's "pro-life"

Let's smash a couple of offensive statistics together.

First, is the meme - 0.05% of the workforce sucking up 11.3% of the national income. That's offensive.

Now, try this one on for size: "WIC serves 53 percent of all infants born in the United States".  (And no, you can't use WIC to buy alcohol - in fact, there's actually a really limited list of things you are allowed to buy.)

More than half of all infants in the US require taxpayer assistance in order that their families can feed them. That's not "freebies" - that's doing what Jesus required of us: Taking Care of Each Other.  (Oh, plus their parents still pay taxes, either before or after needing assistance, so it's like they're getting their money back.)

Now, let's go back to the 11.3% of national income soaked up by a handful of people. Imagine if those 0.05% stopped taking tax deductions and actually paid their fair share of taxes (you know, like 39%).

Would they suffer? Oh, fuck no. At some point, as a friend of mine says, it stops being about money and just being about showing off who has the bigger penis.

So, if they paid their taxes, then 100% of all US newborns could have health insurance and nutritious food, and a good education.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Trump - the cockroaches have found their leader

Quote me on this that 2016 will go down as the year "American racism experienced a massive resurgence. The last gasp of a dying anachronism, in a world where the human race is finally starting to grow out of childhood."

Excerpts from this excellent piece by Joan Walsh

     In a post widely shared on social media Tuesday, Red State editor and staunch #NeverTrump promoter Ben Howe took partial blame for ignoring the strain of paranoia and racism that had infected his party.

     This will be a race so ugly that those of us covering it will have to shower twice a day, and ultimately, anything can happen.

In a nutshell, racism is alive, well, and totally out of control.  Stupidity is alive, well, and totally out of control.  There is no healthy reason that Donald Trump is this close to be President of the United States of America.  NO GOOD REASON.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The correct way to punctuate an Internet Troll

We all know Internet Trolls. They irritate us by saying dumb things, and often do so using bad spelling, foul language, poor grammar, and too many CAPITAL LETTERS.

Now, I'm going to swipe from a post from the delightful Julie Ritt -

That being the case, I favor Heinlein's advice on dealing with the people who spout such idiocy as disingenuous qualifiers:

"The correct way to punctuate a sentence that starts: "Of course it's none of my business, but..." is to place a period after the word "but". Don't use excessive force in supplying such a moron with a period. Cutting his throat is only a momentary pleasure and is bound to get you talked about."

Heinlein was awesome.

Bigots wasting my time corroding my brain

So, of course there's a lot of antisemitism here on social media, just as there is petty bigotry about everything. I know it's all bullshit, so I ignore it.

But, I discovered recently that mere exposure is corrosive. I was having a lovely conversation with a person who turned out to be from Israel.

*BAM* turns out all that corrosive exposure I'd been ignoring left potholes all over my fucking brain, and suddenly I'm finding myself loaded with negative feelings toward this person for no reason at all.

So, now, like potholes in the road, I'm having to consciously review my head and consciously repair the damage, so I can get back to be a normal human being capable of judging individuals on their personal merits.

And really this applies toward any petty bigotry.

Frankly, if I were "the Jews," I'd have invented the Zionists to keep the conspiracy theorists running down rabbit holes. And if I were the Zionists, I'd invent the Rosicruxians, and if I were the Rosicruxians, I'd invent the Knights Templar, and if I were the Knights Templar, I'd invent the Illuminati, and if I were the Illuminati, I'd invent the Teletubbies, Harry Potter, and Barney the Purple Dinosaur. And pretty soon we're left with "Help us Obi-Wan Mulder. You're our only hope!"

"But, but, but how does any of that explain the Chinese and the Indians who are poised to displace all the Euro-trash superpowers within the next 30 years??" I hear you spluttering.

And kablooey goes the whole fucking bubble.

Frankly, if you're so far down rabbit hole that you can't fit the Chinese into it, then chances are the "evil villain" you're heroically chasing  at the bottom of the hole isn't a wolf spider or nest if vipers, but just a rabbit laughing at you.

Fucking asswipe time-wasting moron bigots.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Own a gun. I don't care. Just don't be an asshole about it.

I'm not opposed to firearms. I'm opposed to people being careless, reckless, foolish or stupid about firearms.

Now, keep in mind that those terms also apply to the attitude about how one treats other people.

I read a thread by a guy who said "We had this guy in our gaming group, and we'd host the game at our house. One day his shirt falls aside and he's Open Carrying a handgun. We explained we don't want guns in our home, and would he please take it to his car and leave it there in the future. We never saw him again."

Now, said gun owner had every legal right to carry his gun (outside their private property), and every privilege to leave and not return, but it emphasizes my point about his selfishness in not ever having bothered to ask the family if they would mind if he wore a gun INTO THEIR HOME.

Similarly, many gun owners say "open carry is my right and fuck anyone afraid of me, let them run!"

Those gun owners may be reasonably nice people, but it's very rude and inconsiderate to walk around passively threatening people and get off on it.

Own a gun. I don't care. Just don't be an asshole about it.