why is CNN on everywhere?

You get to the airport and CNN is on at the gate. You go hide in the bar and CNN is above the drinks. You check into the hotel and they’ve got CNN on the wall.

All last week I was strapped to four work colleagues for travel. Everywhere we went there’s CNN on some screen. I suppose I normally don’t notice it when I travel. I don’t pay attention. But the four of them were all into this political craziness. I’m seated at some hotel bar with them and CNN is literally on a screen at the table. There was no escape.

I wanted to run and hide under some coats. I don’t get cable news. It’s like some kind of putrid disease. Everything is breaking news. Every station is biased. The talking heads shout at each other even though they’re so dumb they likely forget where their chauffer put their car keys.

But people drink this stuff in to their detriment. I think if you strapped a live human to a chair and forced him/her to watch four hours of CNN and four hours of Fox News a day for a month, they’d come out the back end of the process as a truly demented person.

Why does everybody choose CNN for their airport/hotel/bar? Why can’t they put sports on? Or a channel about cats? I think it’s because CNN was one of the original cable channels and the original news channel. It’s the glory days of 1993 when television was just starting to dominate our lives. One upon a time there wasn’t television at every single darn airport/hotel/bar. And CNN actually used to attempt to be serious and even somewhat classy. Remember Vader’s, “This is CNN”?   No more.

Well, we at TAP are here to help. Instead of harming people’s brains, we want to improve the quality of all our lives. So we propose that CNN be replaced on all travel screens with The Arcturus Channel.

The Arcturus Channel will have content fit for the brain of a five year old for most of the day. It’ll show nature videos of giraffes, and tigers, and whales and all kinds of Earth stuff. We’ll do a whole three hour special about how awesome volcanoes are. It’ll be like all those nature channels were before every cable channel became the same generic stuff with different channel names.

And from 9pm on, we’ll have The Arcturus Channel (After Dark), for us adults, after the kiddies have stopped traveling. So when you’re exhausting waiting for a connection at Houston Bush at 10pm you have something decent to watch. It’ll show monkey’s copulating, gazelles getting ripped apart by predators, and snow bears devouring baby seals.

Overall, The Arcturus Channel shall focus upon nature topics that are meant to calm your brain rather than disturb it. No politics, no controversy, just something to make you happy while you grind through your journey on the way to a hopeful happy destination. What a novel concept.

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we’re all apparently going to die

While driving down the highway carrying on with my joyful day, bound for a cool Christmas party, I was interrupted by the government to remind me that I’m going to die.

For you see, the highway information signs told me “if you see something, say something” and provided me with a number to call.  This was on every single electronic sign.  All of them.

So this is of course the government approved way of telling you to be vigilant for terrorism.  Merry Christmas!  Happy New Year!  But don’t forget to watch out for pipe bombs!  You don’t want to see your Holiday Season ended with some bloody flesh infused shrapnel, do you?  Love, Your Government.

But the sign didn’t tell me any of this.  It just said, “if you see something, say something”.  Well, I see things all the time.  Should I call the number every time I see something?  If I didn’t think it would get me added to the terrorism watch list, I’d call that number and be like, “Hey, I ah, I see a bird.  Just thought I’d say something to you about it.  Talk to you all again soon.”

They also posted these signs all around my work that say the exact same thing.  The government is of course doing this because they want you to know they’re on the case.  They’re here to fight terrorism and keep you safe.  It’s why Obama has given a couple of speeches about it lately.

Let’s leave aside for the moment that folks who actually see something tend not to say something for fear of being accused a racist, which is why the San Bernardino killers’ neighbors said nothing.  This is a worthy concern when you can’t read any online publication nowadays without seeing at least two or three people accused of various kinds of racism each day.  Even your 18 month old cousin is a dirty racist I’m sure.

Let’s also leave aside that probably about 100 Americans have died in domestic terrorism related gunfire since September 12th, 2001.  In that time, over 400,000 Americans have died via gunfire.  You can be pro-gun or anti-gun, but those are the facts.

So what’s really going on here?  To me, it’s quite simple, all you need to do is read between the lines of the placard:

dhs

The Department of Homeland Security needs their logo on this, why?  Why would they need to put their logo on there, why not just leave the statement as is?

Because, of course, the DHS needs to exist.  The first goal of any human organization is to ensure its survival.  DHS wants you to know that they care.  DHS wants you to know that if you see something, you should say something.  Even though you’ll never see anything.

You’ll be struck by lightning before you’ll see one pipe bomb in your life, I assure you.  But thanks DHS, it’s good to know you’re there, because when we’re scared, you have a reason to exist.

on death and social media

The odds of you checking out on camera via violence or accident are infinitesimal. You’re probably sixteen times more likely to get struck by lightning. Your last moments are hopefully to occur peacefully alongside family. And while that event isn’t going to end well for you, at least it’s what we’d consider natural.

I’m of the opinion that despite the exciting pages of history, the vast majority of humans have never seen or experienced brutal violence. Still, when there were no cops around and everybody carried a club, I’m sure we had our fair share of cave related deaths. Or vicious renaissance era coffee house brawls.

The difference between today’s world and say, a Vienna stabbing in 1734, is that everybody’s holding a camera. More than that, everybody’s holding a full-motion-video camera right in their pockets. Even the fixed-site big cameras are different now. It used to be the only time a security camera’s footage was shown is on the news. Now a security video makes its way to the Internets six minutes later.

Whereas we were once a race that traditionally never saw actual violent death with our own eyes, now every single person carries it at their fingertips. And please understand that I consider this light years from movie or video game violence. One is real, the other is not. It’s that simple.

A thought occurred to me a few days back while watching the video of the Tianjin blast in China. Put simply: “Is this wrong?” And then: “What is it doing to us?”

Everybody loves explosions. We’ve been enjoying fireworks for thousands of years. So like countless others, I got a real kick out of watching one of the biggest blasts you’re likely to ever see.

Here’s one of the better examples. Warning, big time profanity in it (even more than you’d usually read on this blog):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q04fV4j7A1w

Cool, right? But if you really took a step back and thought about it, as these major blasts occurred, probably about fifty firefighters were dying, incinerated. While it’s neat for us to watch, it’s also rather horrifying, and deeply disturbing.

You can take it a step further too. Here’s an example of security footage that found its way online quickly because some guy took smartphone video of the camera’s monitor. It’s of a guy having the blast collapse the entire entranceway and wall in front of him. In other words, his last few seconds of life:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=7a3_1439409813

If we’re not careful, our inner-freak-human-self can degenerate to the part of our psyche that used to get a kick out of watching medieval public torture executions. It’s a special form of darkness.

The tale continues with yesterday’s murder of two reporters live on camera by a truly deranged individual. You had the unique ability to watch the killing from the perspective of both the victims and the killer. It doesn’t get any worse than this. Oh, but wait, except it does. For the Islamic State (neither Islamic nor a State) goons have posted some of the more vicious videos in human history, hundreds of them.

Tens-of-millions, perhaps hundreds-of-millions, of humans have watched these videos. I’m sure tens-of-millions worldwide have watched the Virginia murders from both perspectives in the last 24 hours.

I intentionally have never watched an Islamic State (neither Islamic nor a State) video. But I’ll admit it, Virginia I did, both perspectives. And I think it’s broken my brain, and a corner’s been turned.

“Is this wrong?” Yep. You bet.

“What is it doing to us?” Nothing good.

We’re supposed to evolve, right? Thanks to the Internets we now possess the ability to watch somebody die, right before our eyes, at the click of a button, just because we feel like. Or because we’re fascinated by it. Or because we’re just curious. Or because everybody else watched it. Or because maybe in our dark-inner-selves we enjoy it.

Or maybe you think it’s important that we watch, so we truly understand the darkness we’re facing? No, instead you should read any number of United Nations reports on what the Islamic State (neither Islamic nor a State) has done. It’s all there in black-and-white. You get a real good idea of just how truly wicked those dudes are by reading ten pages. We don’t need a snuff video to understand or appreciate evil.

No more. Not for me. I’m going to try and evolve. Certain things are wrong even if many have accepted them as commonplace. The culture seems to have decided that you can drink your coffee and watch somebody die. No thanks, I’m getting off this train.

Or put in another more practical way, the Islamic State (neither Islamic nor a State) goons and yesterday’s Virginia killer have one thing in common: They did the videos because they want you to watch.

It’s generally considered a bad idea to wake up in the morning, pour your coffee, and do what evil wants.

Like all human inventions, social media and the Internets are going to do a great deal of good and bad for us all. Choose the good. Discard the bad. Evolve. Do good. Live well. And hopefully others do the same.

It’ll never happen, but perhaps think of the positive change to humanity if some day, an evildoer posts their murder video online, and nobody watches.

internet death

No more.

the current sadness of American politics

I’m pretty sure if the Founder Fathers are boozing it up in Valhalla right now, that they’re also shouting, overturning tables, and generally pissed off with what they’re observing.  Everybody seems inclined to pick a side.  I refuse to pick a side when it seems both sides are in the same business of destroying us all.

Obama took to the stage today to say such encouraging things as:

“Many of the same people who made the case for war with Iraq are now opposing the Iran deal…”

“I am not saying this to be provocative,” Obama said. “I am stating a fact . . . the choice we have is some kind of war, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not in three months, but soon.”

I’m pretty sure he said all of these things to be provocative.   And so, a guy who came to Washington to apparently change Washington, has fallen victim at every point to the typical unhelpful Washington tactic, demonize your opponents, at every opportunity.  I tend to, somewhat, give Obama the benefit of the doubt in that he may not have been this way before 2008.  But surely, at this point, he’s as much a part of the problem as anybody else.

On the other side we have a circus which would make a medieval bazaar look tame.  Tonight, 10 people are going to “debate” for the honor of leading the free world.  And by debate I mean they’ll answer canned questions by hack reporters trying to play “gotcha” while they read off sound bites in an attempt to get noticed for that key “one-liner”.  In other words, the very definition of style over substance.

I think Trump’s a fringe goon unfit to lead a lemonade stand.  And I wouldn’t vote for him.  But I truly hope he completely detonates tonight’s debate format.  It’s truly a farce, a disgusting way to pick a presidential candidate.  But there will be 27 more of them run by both parties before the election.  Swell.

But soon, Trump will be gone.  And then the other side will have their own debate using the same format.  And then eventually we’ll have an election to pick the next person who gets the honor to become president, go to Washington, and demonize their opponents without conducting anything reasonable.  Gee, isn’t it all great.  What’s not to be excited about!  [waves American flag; while wearing 11 campaign buttons; singing America the Beautiful; drunk; in an unlit basement]

And nothing will change.  The Founding Fathers will still shout from Valhalla.  And the rest of us not involved in politics will still hope these idiots somehow don’t manage to destroy us all.

debatestage

textbook picture Circa 2345 describing the key reasons for the downfall of the Republic

Obama adds third unplanned stop to African itinerary

The Washington press pool struggled to rearrange schedules as the Obama administration announced without notice that the President will now also visit Libya’s famed Kaf Ajnoun or Mountain of Ghosts. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest explained the move as, “An appropriate means to wrap up our trip in keeping with the President’s theme of meeting with horrible human beings.”

The concluding visit to one of Satan’s known earthly dwellings will follow Obama’s forthcoming sit downs with famed war criminal Uhuru Kenyatta in Kenya and Hailemariam “The Street Sweeper” Desalegn in Ethiopia. In Addis Ababa, Obama is also scheduled to address the African Union.

Although the AU is said to be interested in rescheduling the speech’s start time due to an imminent AU vote to unanimously ratify the title of “Imperial Majesty for Life” to Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza, a move supported by America’s State Department. The AU is also set to reconfirm its annual stipend to Omar al-Bashir’s private aircraft corporation Speedy provided its “no notice use for all” clause remains intact.

While at Kaf Ajnoun, Obama will spend time at such key sites as The Road to Hell and The Devil’s Hill. Said Earnest, “Since he came to Washington, the President has learned the diplomatic dark arts like the best of them. He figures it’s time he paid his due respect to those who have enabled the ghoulish powers he now possesses. In fact, I’m told the State Department Bureau of African Affairs insisted on this stopover.”

Earnest also mentioned several other critical American goals during the trip including talks to get more of Angola’s oil than China, additional tank, tear gas, & piano wire sales to Egypt, and the forthcoming pool renovation contract by Halliburton of a mysteriously unknown but supposedly important villa in South Africa.

When asked by reporters if Obama worried about potential human rights protestors during his speech in Addis Ababa, Earnest wryly chuckled, “You ah, you don’t really understand how things work here, do you?”

kaf-ajnoun-ghost-mountain

Arcturus News Muster – 23 July 2015

newsroom baffled how leaders wrote Iran speeches via belligerent time travel

At the conclusion of fifteen straight hours of an overall “baffling ordeal” the entire newsroom of the Daily Planet struggled to write a single coherent article on the recent Iranian nuclear deal. Arguments among staff primarily centered on the similarity of speeches made by the planet’s leadership to words they already said six months ago. “We spent about seven hours investigating the possibility that the space time continuum had ruptured and we were both late for Christmas, and all humanity was doomed to a vicious black hold related death,” stated deputy editor Brace Winslow, “but after consulting the Pluto robot folks at Johns Hopkins we’ve ruled out that possibility. Which was fortunate, because I hadn’t had the chance to buy a damn thing for my future ex-wife.”

After a sleepless night, several pizza runs, and six discarded bottles of various alcoholic beverages the grizzled reporters settled upon the theory that the President, Republicans, Iranians, Israelis, and Euro-trash politicians all wrote their speeches six months ago and simply read them upon the agreement’s approval. “What we’ve yet to figure out is how they could write these speeches and then just read them,” remarked Winslow, “it’s almost like nobody has read the agreement before speaking.”

Yet the undaunted newsroom decided to determine the root cause of this discrepancy. “No responsible leader would just spout their own canned talking points without actually reading a critical document. So our conclusion is all the world’s leaders knew what the exact agreement would be when they wrote their speeches back in December. Because they could see through time. So we’re going back to Hopkins to figure out how this was done. The Iranian deal’s pretty huge; but think of it, our leaders can literally travel through time.  We could go back and shoot Hitler!  What a scoop.”

newsroom

Arcturus News Muster – 15 July 2015

outrage is now apparently the taste of victory

Great news! Your team just won. It’s a moment to celebrate glorious victory on the soccer / football field / pitch. You have many choices available on how you’ll enjoy this wonderful moment:

 

 a) Drink lots of beer with family and friends in an unbridled moment of enjoyable life

 b) Calmly read a book with your mate, pausing repeatedly to contemplate how lucky you were to get to see your team win

 c) Viciously parse random social media comments and shout loudly about how outraged you are that somebody wrote something that bothers you

 

Yeah, I know! I’d choose (a) or (b) too, and, oh, what, [unintelligible muttering] I’ve chosen (c)? When? [unintelligible muttering] But I did (a) and (b) last night. Doesn’t that count? [shakes head] [unintelligible muttering] Oh.

Once upon a time social justice warriors and the news media had pretty awesome causes to get behind. You could go to Alabama and do battle against goons who’d turn fire hoses onto people based upon the color of their skin. Or you could go to Nazi Germany and work against those guys who were too focused on mathematics and spreadsheets to realize what horrible fucking people they were.

You can do these things today too. For instance, you could go to Lebanon and deliberately cover the mass human misery and help millions in desperate need of support. Or you could go to Baltimore and cover the grinding day-to-day (not a single brief week) of how hard it is to live in America’s urban wastelands.

But why do any of this hard stuff when you can spend your time parsing somebody’s tweet and get mad at its content. After all, solving ISIS or urban America is awfully hard. Eh, whatever, let’s do nothing of actual value. Let’s sit behind a desk and trash free speech. It’s much easier that way.

I, of course, do this too. But the difference between me and somebody who works for the BBC or Washington Post is I don’t get paid for this. Plus, they’re on the nagging side. And I’m on the anti-nagging side. I want people to be free to say whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want. Their ilk literally wants to control human thought.

Two lunatic events to this end:

The Washington Post thinks this tweet is the most offensive thing England has done since the vicious firebombing of Dresden #BomberHarris #toosoon:

 

“Our #Lionesses go back to being mothers, partners and daughters today, but they have taken on another title – heroes: …”

 

Activist, journalist, and stormy-cloud-frowny-face-man Ishaan Tharoor, who used to be a senior editor at Time and a Yale man (must be a coincidence) called this a “sexist tweet”.

But what if I alter this tweet a little and make it say this:

 

“Our #Lions go back to being fathers, partners and sons today, but they have taken on another title – heroes: …”

 

To which my point is: What’s the fucking problem?

Is it illegal for us to refer to these female humans for what they are? I’m pretty sure every female player on the England team is somebody’s daughter. Quite a few of them are mothers too. Maybe we need to sanitize this speech to the point it sounds like a faceless machine wrote it.

After all, isn’t the term “lionesses” sexist too? Doesn’t that imply that female athletes can’t be male lions? Isn’t the fact that we say a female human can’t be a male lion the most offensive English anti-feminist thing since King Arthur beat (alleged) his wife over an (alleged) adulterous act? The BBC doesn’t seem to think so (surprisingly). The term’s plastered all over their website.

Whatever, I got my Guests to write this very, very professional tweet:

 

“Our #humans go back to being humans, workers and oxygen consumers today, but they have taken on another title – winners of the game: …”

 

See how much safer and kinder this tweet is. If only all our speech sounded this way. Then nobody would ever say anything valuable or fun ever again. Think of how awesome that world would be.

Next up is the BBC who (not surprisingly) raises the issue of how many low-class-haters took to the airwaves to use the term Pearl Harbor in conjunction with the Japanese loss.

Apparently, poking fun at history is horribly offensive and juvenile. What kind of insensitive pig would do something like that? Well, me. This is what I posted prior to the game’s start on an unrelated social media platform:

 

On July 5th, 1942 USS Growler torpedoed IJNS Arare and two other destroyers off Kiska or 2,527 miles from today’s stadium. Here’s hoping for an anniversary repeat. ‪#‎theystartedit ‪#‎toosoon”

 

But what if I alter this tweet a little and make it say this:

 

“On August 8th, 1942 Admiral Mikawa’s forces torpedoed and sank four Allied crusiers off Guadalcanal or 6,140 miles from today’s stadium. Here’s hoping for an anniversary repeat. #longlance #youstarteditoilembargo #toosoon”

 

To which my point is: What’s the fucking problem?

If we as a human race cannot laugh and tell jokes (even offensive jokes) about the most horrible war in human history, we’ll rapidly discover that humor no longer exists and we’re just a bunch of boring losers.

Somebody needs to get Tharoor and the BBC a bunch of beers and watch them drink until they calm down. Then they can just simply celebrate victory with the rest of us. They should try it now and again. They’d sleep better at night.

Normally I wouldn’t care, except that Tharoor and the BBC are powerful enough that people who actually matter are going to listen to them and further do what they can to control our speech.

It’s going to get to the point that anybody, anywhere is going to be afraid to tweet or say like, things, or anything at all, because they’ll be too afraid that what they say is offensive to somebody, somewhere, over something.

And what we can / cannot say will be dictated to us by an elite BBC woman and super-elite Yale man; upon pain of outrage and social ostracism. I fear this world. For when it arrives, it’s going to be a freaking miserable nightmare.

As an example, I almost, almost didn’t post my Kiska thing because I thought it’d offend people or folks would think it too juvenile. But I did it anyway. I’m glad I did.

stormy

The Arcturus Project’s Weekly (Not Weekly) Stormy Cloud Award goes to His Ivy League Eminence Ishaan Tharoor. Smart Yale man you might be, but wise you are not. Do you get it? I did a thing there.