Friday, 29 February 2008

smoke more

"Think you've left it too late to book that Easter ski trip?", asks the Guardian's Chris Madigan.
Easter Ski trip! Oh Christ, noooooooo! I FORGOT! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO? What will the neighbours think?

Poke out my eyes, and chop off my hands for I have sinned and forgotten to book my easter skiing trip.

Still, at least I'm not POINTLESSLY BURNING THE PLANET TO DEATH.

Ok, people deserve holidays, and it's not totally evil to fly, I admit. But there's "I deserve a holiday", and "I deserve a fourth holiday." George Monbiot wrote, in his book "Heat", about "love miles" - the need to travel to see loved ones, and I think that's acceptable too. But everything in moderation. Skiing seems to be an "extra" holiday for most people, except Austrians (etc etc).

Thursday, 28 February 2008

ellos veulven?


... I guess that would be "negative campaigning", although not quite on a Tony Blair "demon eyes" scale (who woulda thought they were right?!). The billboard I see on the street, for the ruling PSC party of Zapatero (the only European politician I'd happily vote for), is actually cut so you only see the shadows of the figures, which is a much more effective image. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, and google's search engine having been manipulated by a million "search engine optimisers"*, I can't easily find the image I wanted; just a big pile of rubbish. But hey, that's progress for you.

Anyway, if this ad was by the right wing PP, obviously it would be disgusting and awful, but it's not, so I quite like it. And, really, what with Spain becoming one of the most progressive countries in the world, what we don't want is Mariano (I know) Rajoy turning the country into a medieval Catholic state. Or do we?

*actually a job; there are actually people who's job it is to manipulate search engine results so their commercial sites come up first, regardless of whether or not you were actually searching for them. That's right, there are people who's job it is to ruin your internet surfing experience. Lovely!

Here's a great Onion article
; they seem to be trying harder again.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

boil

Here's a story about oil companies being poised to enter Iraq and steal, I mean exploit... er, I mean extract legally, the oil there. Perhaps really what they want to do is offer "technological assistance" to the locals who are unable to extract it themselves. Yes, that's it, this is fraternal assistance, at a profit, of course - but that's perfectly just in "today's world".
If anyone thinks it IS just; consider what actually goes on. In Nigeria, oil compounds have their own private, heavily armed armies to protect themselves..... from angry locals. Would "we" be happy with a foreign company "comin' over 'ere, movin' villages, puttin' up fences", then threatening to shoot any of us who complained? Incidentally, such a company would be here legally, as it would have paid millions of *insert currency" worth of bribes to our leaders. Would that be ok? Because that's what our BastardPetroleum does in Africa.

As they say without irony (obviously) in America; "What would Jesus do?". Hahahah. Take the money and run, obviously.

Nice news from Pakistan, whose western backed dictator has suffered a blow after democratic elections failed to result in mass support of radical Islamist parties, but secular, progressive ones. Oops! We were told they needed a dictator or else they'd elect crazy Taliban-a-likes and attack us! Actually, that almost happened last time, but since then the US has shirked it's responsibilities in fanning anti-Americanism in Pakistan by not threatening it enough.
So it's pretty cool that there'll be a secular parliament there now. It'll be interesting to see if it's "anti-American", as not being "Islamist" means there's no excuse for them to be bombed. hmmm.
Ooh, and apparently "Pakistan has banned YouTube", for being offensive to Islam; I see what they mean, but more accurately, it's offensive to humanity in general; Look!

Here's an electronic musical present! Limited to 100 downloads or two weeks....

Saturday, 23 February 2008

What the fuck?

Government wants personal details of every traveller.
Well, er, they can fuck right off, frankly. Cheeky monkeys; who on earth do they think they are? Worse, they justify it in terms of "our own good". Read Vaclav Havel's "The Power of the Powerless", and compare/contrast "anti-terrorist" law justification with that of the Soviet Government.

tapes

The proposed ISP/peer to peer regulation, although it may be technologically impossible, is a horrible idea.
Firstly, there are the privacy issues; for such a system to work, ALL users would have to be theoretically monitored, which goes against a basic principle of British (at least) justice. You know, it's a basic right that people should be left to their own devices by the state unless they are seen to be doing something wrong. The state apparatus should not be observing us all the time to check; that is 1984 or Stasi territory.
Secondly, "the music/film industry"'s complaints are largely misguided, and their problems largely self made.
Complaining about piracy; we've been here before with tapes. Some people used to either listen to the radio, or tape songs off the radio if they could, and they might have bought three or four records a year. These people may now download lots of music, as they can, but there's no "loss", as they wouldn't have bought the music instead.
Other people, like me, used to record and exchange music via tape, which would inform what we bought. Sharing music illegally encouraged me to buy more.
I use p2p etc in exactly the same way. I know other people don't buy records - but they never did.
Record sales in decline; major labels basically don't invest in a broad enough range of music. They generally support a very conservative range of "artists", and it wasn't always so. I would say their own cynicism has damaged their sales, so they can sod off. For the film industry - piracy messages have got so irritating on DVDs, "the studios" can also sod off, I don't care. They still seem to find millions of dollars to make terrible CGI remakes of films I used to love, what's their problem? Piracy hasn't made Will Smith homeless, has it?
"Ooh, but maybe it will", says industry man. Well, it might be fun to try, but somehow I doubt it'll work.

Monday, 18 February 2008

apologies

I've read two stories today about Ninendo Wii injuries in America. Apparently there's been a spate of tendonitis there.
Nintendo has of course responded responsibly, telling gamers not to "over do it". If you've ever used one, you will be aware of the constant safety warnings the machine gives you.
One is tempted to see these messages as a company protecting itself from excessive US litigation. Another, probably truer way to see them is as an honest attempt to get to the unbelievably dim American consumer. They should use aural messages, though, as apparently some percentage of Americans can't read large print on TV screens.
Idiots. And these people have some say over the next American President! It's frightening, really.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Goat

Well, how many years has it been since tuition fees were introduced in Britain for University?
I don't remember, but I do remember balanced people saying at the time, "this will discourage poor people from higher education," against which there was little good arguement, except some other people saying, "no it won't."

We have very complex political discourse in Britain, you see.

Anyway, now a study has found out that fees DO discourage the poor and favour the rich! Showing worrying signs that they're not as stupid as middle class people like to think, poor people apparently worry they'll finish university "with a mountain of debt".
Well done! You will! That's the point! Tony Benn made a good point about debt, some posts below; it keeps people in their place.
If you think that might be a bit extreme; think about it. If a degree is a way to better yourself in life, and you come from a poor background; is £10,000 of debt likely to help you in your quest to become better off?
No, is the answer. £10,000 will be a handicap.

Of course this policy was going to favour the rich. It was facetious of government to say anything else.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

shitbiscuit

over in my links, for another day or so anyway, is a site called "newsbiscuit", a UK equivalent of "the onion". However, some of it's articles have seemed a bit like they were right wing comedy. You can always tell when comedy is right wing; it's unsubtle, sneering, and ultimately not funny.

This piece of shit writing, about the Archbishop of Canterbury converting to Islam is the final straw. It's not funny, it's just crap. Bye-bye newsbiscuit, y'big rubbish!
Not only is it unfunny, but it makes a hilarious stereotyping joke about British Muslims and "glittery tissue-boxes"! HAHAHAHAHA. I almost laughed my dinner up.

Awful, awful, awful.

Is this really the best satirical website in Britain? I hope not.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Chumpatizing

I've just got into "Sally Shapiro". I know that's old news already, but liking a record makes me want to find out more. So I read around a bit, and find the "Pitchforkmedia.com" review. Here's the conclusion:

"The Web's cacophony privileges criticism. You won't find God in scriptural commentaries, or save any children watching Hotel Rwanda, but you can fall in love to "My Love" (in theory). If verbalization is inherently reductive, then writing about music is a way to encode the moment loss-free. The track always endures. In his book Air Guitar, MacArthur Fellowship-winning arts critic Dave Hickey explains: "Even though my writing about art might momentarily intervene between some object and its beholders, the words would wash away, and the writing, if it was written successfully into its historical instant, could never actually replace the work or banish it into the realm of knowledge." All that lasts is music; Shapiro and Agebjörn know."

er? I think this reviewer should get some writing advice from Mr Awesome.

Oh, man, I want to let it lie, but I can't. What does it mean? What does this mean:

"If verbalization is inherently reductive, then writing about music is a way to encode the moment loss-free."

I let it go around and around my head, and I just have no idea what I'm supposed to think. Have I become stupidized? I were thinking about art t'other day, and how if you want to, for example, paint something you feel, that's probably because you can't express the feeling in words. If you could express it in words, well there'd be no point in translating it into a painting, would there? Ergo, Pitchfork reviewers should give up trying to express in words what is expressed in music for a reason - the reason being it can't be expressed in words.
Or maybe they get paid by the word, in which case I sympathise totally.

daily mental

Any further proof that the media, like stockbrokers, are willfully dangerous lunatics who must be stopped is unnecessary after the "Archbishop of Canterbury Proposes Sharia Law for England" nonsense they have been hawking over the past few days.
That, incidentally, was not what he said - he was talking about formalising Islamic divorce/arbitration courts. Such things already exist informally, and such things are actually legally formalised for the Jewish courts.
If you know me you know what I think about religion in general (it's pretty funny), so it would be odd for me to be supportive of something like Islamic grievance courts in Britain.

However, 1; much as it pains me, you can't reason people out of religion, so I'd rather it be done out in the open where it can be regulated, I guess.
2; any arbitration system is a good idea, as it keeps pointless crap out of the courts, so we can spend our money and Judges on Diana Inquests, and,
3; I don't live in Britain, so I don't care. If the Daily Mail is any yardstick of British "indigenous" opinion, frankly they deserve a legal system that includes stoning. (ahem)

Stoning, of course, being one of the issues here. The dumb, knee jerk reaction to the Arch-Bishop's speech was that stoning was a part of what he was suggesting. But he wasn't at all. Two things about that: firstly this was an academic and legal speech, not designed for the pig-ignorant raving nutter who is "man on street", and secondly, educated journalists could quite justifiably be stoned to death for such dangerous baiting of anti-Muslim opinion. There was once a thing called responsible journalism, now it's all but disappeared, even on the BBC.

Friday, 8 February 2008

how to pick up girls

Listen to "Mr Awesome". His advice might surprise you.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

life in star trek

... a couple of weeks ago, there was a video going around of Tom Sleaze ranting about Scientology, in a fairly scary manner.
Scientology is clearly a weird and slightly dangerous organisation, but it is also prone to over-stating it's importance, and I'm not convinced it's much to worry about, in the grand scheme of things. Mainly, it's because it's proponents are clearly loopy, that I can't see it going anywhere much.

However, some people disagree with me: Please peruse this presentation!



"We are legion"??

ehheh. ehehehehehehehe. bueheheheheheheh.


Maybe these people have a valid point, but the presentation? Who do they think they are: Daleks? Do they think we're actually living in "The Matrix"?
The "scary" voice and eerie music serve to make this look even sillier than Scientology.

"We do not forgive, we do not forget; expect us". Making veiled threats is not very grown up, and neither is it philosophically moral (or psychologically sensible) to "not forgive".

This is not cool, intelligent or worthwhile. It's adolescent, misjudged and ridiculous.

"Anonymous"? Shmanonymous.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

idiocracy

When you become a member of the Government, you are taken through the doors of power, and given a magic cake, which robs you of all your principles, while offering you eternal life.
At least you'd hope that was what happens, but I guess it's more mundane than that.
In today's Gruaniad, George Monbiot writes about disgraced Labour politician Peter Hain, and the alleged corruption charges against him. It's an interesting piece, but curiously it might reveal something about why people sell themselves out so readily.

George Monbiot seems a nice guy, he tries to live in a good way, and writes about how we might save the planet, and combat the excesses of free market capitalism.

Therefore, in our soundbite age, he can be quickly labelled a "radical" and "leftist", so people need not really consider what he has to say. Similarly for a Labour politician; if they dare to try anything a bit "lefty", the opposition and media will howl "OLD LABOUR!!!" at them, and do so so loud there'll be no time or space for actually considering whether the policy might work.

If you were feeling vengeful, you might howl "COMMIE RED FILTH!!" at the banks and pension funds which live by the free market, but then expect government to bail them out. That stinks of centralised communist market intrusion; so such banks ought to have their Directors thrown in jail.
Interestingly, mainstream media does not howl "COMMIE" at government bail-outs for banks and the like - they only do that for regulations that don't aid big business.

Oops, there I go mentioning big business in a sneering way; therefore I can to be labelled a radical leftist, and be ignored.

After a few years, or even months in politics, maybe people think, "I can't win, so I'll take the money". It doesn't make them good people at all, but perhaps the truth is that bland.

Idiocracy is the title of a half great little satirical film by Mike Judge; half great because the great first half descends into a mediocre second half. You won't have seen or heard of this film, as it was buried by the man as soon as it was released :)

I was going to write about applications that spy on internet users, but I promised not to (for now). However will say that if you know who is looking at your site, you can't complain about stalking; as by 'secretly' logging visitors, you are snooping.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

call the CPL

There's a "scandal" of sorts about a politician named Derek Conway, who's been caught abusing the system by paying his sons to work for him while they were actually at University. It's pretty blah blah blah, and I didn't know much about it, so I caught up with the story from The Daily Mail, which if you're not British, is the newspaper in Britain that's aimed towards ill-educated and paranoid racists.
It's pretty funny - if you can forget for a moment that millions of people actually believe this stuff.

Well, as I said, the corruption story's not exactly fascinating, but there's a crazy fact in it. He says he took a pay-cut when he became an MP again (probably not true, as the expenses an MP claims are incredible), as he had been working as the "chief executive of the Cats Protection League charity", earning £80,000 a year.

WTF? Cats Protection League? £80,000? Charity? If people earn £80,000 a year running a charity, frankly, said charity can fuck right off. That's loads of money. I really like cats, but that's taking the piss. I once wondered whether working in charity was a racket, and this proves it can be a good one. They're as bad as business "fat-cats", but they're taking money given to them in goodwill, which probably makes them worse, when I think about it. If only there was a hell.

Iannucci