60 Minutes interviews alien smuggler Erga Uticus

A few weeks ago we wrote morbidly about how formerly respectable news organizations had sacked their own credibility in order to get one guy at any cost.  So apparently it’s now perfectly normal to have an interview with a porn star posted everywhere like it’s real news.  But man, things got even more out of hand afterwards.

Next they drug out the widely known Psilon smuggler, scoundrel, slave labor proprietor, jai-alai extraordinaire, and amateur bridge player Erga Uticus for the backstory of his past interactions with Trump.  If you missed this segment, not to worry, below’s a snippet.  For the complete transcript, just write to us, and please make sure to include your credit card info, because producing publications isn’t cheap:

The Arcturus Project – Erga Uticus Interview Transcript

C/O Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation

1794 Aguiyi Ironsi Street

Abuja 900001, Nigeria

Untitled

60 Minutes: So what you’re saying it is was difficult to work with him?

Erga Uticus: Oh, you have no idea.  I’ve dealt with some weird creatures before.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to fence goods via a Silicoid arms dealer?  But Trump, he was the worst.

60M: You were burdened?

EU: I was burdened.

60M: Do you regret working with him?

EU: Well, that’s difficult to explain.  I mean, I got paid, man did I get fucking paid, but I just don’t know if it was worth the effort.  The guy bleeds you, he makes you scrape every dollar out of him.  Don’t get me wrong, I respect, gotta respect a man who knows how to gut the guy at the other end of the table, but by The Emperor’s blessing it’s just too much work.

60M: What did you think when you heard he was elected our president?

EU: You gotta understand, where I come from the rules are different.  I figured (in my own mindset) he’d liquidate all his enemies overnight.  He’d have a pile of skulls dumped on the White House lawn by morning.  But, then I remembered you all have different rules out here.

60M: I see.

EU: Then I thought he would rig the game to funnel cash to his own business interests at the expense of the little guy.  But then I realized that every businessman already does that anyway, so it was kind of a mute point.

60M: That’s very true.

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the strange journey of the worst (but just possibly, eventually, the best) Super Bowl viewing ever

The Giant Octopus and Roger Goodell’s Manservant that is the NFL likes to claim the Super Bowl is the biggest game all year.  This is true if you ignore the World Cup final every four years.  It also ignores various one off potential annual events such as a royal wedding, the alien invasion ultimatum beamed from the surface of the Moon, non-existent presidential impeachment proceedings, a cat barking like a dog online, or competitive cheese grating competitions.

So you’d figure the only place the NFL wouldn’t want you to watch the game is on said surface of the Moon.  Otherwise catching your eyeballs is meant to be easy, so that you watch, and they make more money, right?  Nope.  I remain constantly astounded at how traditional media makes it as difficult as possible to watch their product.  If you want to understand why Netflix is eating the souls of traditional television, I give you this tale.

I am abroad for over one year.  I want to watch the Super Bowl.  After extensive research I determine only one local cable television provider is allowed to broadcast the game in this country.  To demonstrate the absurdity of this, I offer you the comparison that say Verizon would be deemed the only cable company in the US allowed to show the game.

I do not possess said cable company.  So my options are to troll a local bar at 4am, which is too much, even for me, or to watch the game online.  Thankfully, NBC Sports is offering and widely promoting that this Super Bowl is special and is going to be streamed online.  Great, done.  I test the NBC link, it works, I go to bed early.

I awake early morning and am ready to watch.  The link doesn’t work, NBC Sports shows a blank screen.  After much frantic research I get to the fine print of the NBC Sports help page where the answer to: “Why doesn’t your fucking player work like you said it would?”  Is answered by: “Oh, by the way, though we don’t say so clearly up front, if you’re not in the US, the player won’t work, thanks, and go fuck yourself.  Signed, NBC.”

So I guess my recourse is to what?  Go get wasted in a local bar and get into a cage fight with an intoxicated Eagles fan who’s throwing batteries at the likewise intoxicated Pats fan down the bar?  Or, that I should purchase this other one singular cable company just to watch this one game?

Does anybody actually do that, switch cable providers just to watch one game?  Is that what they’re angling for?  Because if not, I don’t quite see the benefit to NBC, or the NFL, or to any Giant Octopus organization gained by denying my eyeballs the opportunity to easily watch the game and thus their advertisements.  If this happened to me, it likely happened to millions of others when you consider the NFL wants north of 100 million worldwide to watch this game.  That’s not a minor rounding error in eyeballs.

I thought, for a brief moment, to just go back to bed.  I did not, because I’m a sucker, and because I really, really wanted to catch this game.  It was important.  For you see, even though folks were calling for a Pats blowout, I anticipated a good game.  Also, while I’m abroad, some kind folks are watching my precious, precious doggies.  They live in Jersey.  They are Eagles fans.

I can’t stand the Eagles.  I love my team.  So do my dogs, they told me so before I left.  But my team is out of it.  So when my doggy host family says to me, gee, are you okay if we put Eagles bandanas on your dogs like we do with our dogs?  I essentially have no choice.  I have to go along with it.  They’re awesome people, so sure, go ahead.

And so my precious, precious doggies have Eagles bandanas (oh god, please help me) on during the Eagles’ underdog win over the Falcons.   And so my precious, precious doggies have Eagles bandanas (oh god, please help me) on during the Eagles’ underdog win over the Vikings.  And after going 2-0 with a backup quarterback?  Well, by that point they’ve got it in their heads that my dogs are the key.

As long as the bandanas are on my dogs, my precious, precious doggies (oh god, please help me) the Eagles’ have an underdog win over the Pats.  So I have to catch the game.  Because I think it’ll be good, and because I’m texting the host family and me Ma during the game.  It’s expected, I have to be a part of the experience because my precious, precious doggies are apparently more important than Jason Peters’ ACL.

So what do I do?  I get the game via radio.  I hang out in my flat for three darkened early morning hours and listen to the game via internet radio like it’s 1937.  During this time, I’m texting me Ma and the host family via WhatsApp.  I get bombarded by incessant pictures of my precious, precious doggies wearing Eagles bandanas.  My oldest is smiling widely in most of these pictures, my youngest is apathetic and asleep.  It’s all good, I miss them.

And I follow along via the radio while they have the live broadcast back home.  They see it, I hear it, and we’re texting within seconds of one another with our wows and surprise at what ends up being one of the great Super Bowls of all time.

I get Kevin Harlan to call the game, and he’s quite good.  Then I get Boomer Esiason as the color and he’s constantly reminding the audience why HE would have called the play differently, thus reminding said audience why Boomer is relegated to a radio vice television existence.  They also have Mike Holmgren to do analysis, which was news to me as I thought Holmgren was either (a) dead or (b) in the toll booth business.

It was my worst Super Bowl ever, loser that I am.  I’m in some dank, lifeless, stale flat alone with cheap beer in the early hours of the morning listening to a game on the radio and texting home and my precious, precious doggies have Eagles bandanas on.  It was one of those: “You’ve wasted your fucking life” moments.

Except that it wasn’t.  Halfway across the world I could connect with family, my host family, and my dogs.  I followed the game with the same level of emotion as if I’d seen it on a screen.  When poor, poor Tommy got strip sacked I screamed out loud with giddy joy.  I was there, and in it.  I’m not an Eagles fan, I hate them, but man did I ever want to see the Pats go down.

And I wonder, years down the road, if the bizarre nature of my viewing experience, and all those wonderful texts, and what a great game it was, will in the end be the greatest Super Bowl I’ll ever live through.

zdu4j6xla9tf0vlbickc.jpg

Oh man, was this ever sweet.  Must have been the bandanas.

don’t let rich men own your brain

We’re back!  After an unrelated 16 month absence.  Did you miss us?  No?  Oh, well, uh, so that’s too bad, we, we thought folks missed us.  [cricket, cricket, cricket]

And we’re back to talk about what important topic to humanity?  War?  Politics?  Dwarves?  Deep seated cultural problems?  Elves?  Fine culinary tactics?  Nope.  Instead we’re on to the most important topic of the day:  Why I now consistently hear people use the phrase, “Dilly, Dilly”.

I heard people use it on the airplane flying out here.  I’ve heard people use it in the street.  It keeps happening.  Why?  Because rich men own people’s brains.  I guess.

This phrase first appeared during the Bud Light ads folks have seen during football games.  It’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen.  Robbing from the ever-present Game of Thrones theme they basically just have a medieval court / king who worships Bud Light.  And they slam back Bud Light and say “Dilly, Dilly” to each other as affirmation for their divine right to consume booze.

What they don’t show you is Bud Light “Dilly, Dilly” (After Dark) which is where the king is 13 Bud Lights into his evening and he screams at the queen, overturns many chairs, gets grabby with both male and female servants, and sentences numerous people to death by hippopotamus mauling.  The commercial ends with The Usurper stabbing the king to death with a broken Bud Light bottle.  Fade to black.

I suppose people think that “Dilly, Dilly” must have some cultural connotation or history outside the Bud Light ad?  This would thus make it okay to say this phrase in full open view of the public.  It does not.  They literally made it up.  It has no history or meaning outside a Bud Light ad that a bunch of very, very rich people made.

So why do people say it then?  I have no idea.  There’s got to be some facet or working function of the human brain I just can’t comprehend.  Maybe I’m just a jaded contrarian who can’t see fun anywhere?  Perhaps.  But you’d have to slash me up with a broken Bud Light bottle for an extended length of time before I’m saying “Dilly, Dilly” in the course of my daily conversations with a fellow human being.

Don’t let rich men own your brain.

dillydilly

jury duty – CNN, inspiration, and the grand escape

No sane person wants jury duty.  But unless you recently ran into a car, know a judge to bribe, or are willing to give the state another reason to claw you, you’re going.  And so I did.

I got in there bright and early with several hundred of my fellow citizens.  My first impression walking in the door?  They’ve got seven televisions in the room.  All of them have CNN on, fucking CNN.  One of the most solemn and important duties in somebody’s civic life and they’ve got garbage television on the walls.  Man, just put some camels and giraffes on there so people’s blood and mental lunacy isn’t fired up by stupid CNN before they go play with somebody’s life in court.

The jury duty leader gives the introductory speech about how she knows nobody wants to be there, but how important it is to freedom, democracy, and justice that we be there.  She inserts humor and the crowd is eating out of her hand the entire time.

She’s graded on a curve because she gives the same speech every day, but still, it says something about the state of our political leadership that the most inspirational and motivating political speech I’ve heard in years was given by a jury duty director at a random county courthouse.

They call out the names by the dozen assigning to each case.  It’s great to hear the breadth of unique America, name by name.  We’re doing just fine people [gives finger to haters on each political side using both hands].

I get picked with 49 others to sit the panel for a criminal trial.  This didn’t sound fun.  I’d have probably gotten struck anyways because of my day job and second job categories (moving that sweet, sweet Columbian pure across the International Date Line) [sips coffee], but still, even if you know you’ll get struck you wonder.

Lawyers and judges are crazy people.  Who only knows what they’ll do with you once they’ve got you.  But apparently, most criminal trials they said are quick and easy.  It’s the medical malpractice trial you don’t want to get.  Four to six weeks.  Six weeks?  Man, modern medicine is a shithouse apparently.

The 50 of us sit, waiting to be called back to the courtroom.  But after sitting in there for five hours they finally start to dismiss everybody.  I mean everybody who showed up that day.  My case got continued, another one they cut a deal, etc, etc.  They sent everybody home.  Nobody got selected that day.  Everybody was off the hook for three years of jury duty.

Sitting at the bus stop on the way out was like emerging from a hospital delivery room where people got to hold the baby.  Everybody was gleeful and talking.  Such a release for everybody.  Courthouses suck.  They’re necessary for modern society, but almost everything that happens in there destroys somebody’s life.  So nobody wants to be in there, certainly not to sit a jury for days or weeks.

Would we have done it?  Yes, all of us.  And I hope we would have served with honor and wisdom.  But for yesterday, all of us were making our grand escape.  Even the cold rain couldn’t dampen anybody’s spirit.

Ripper Street – a show with potential that ultimately fails because it tries to be Game of Thrones

My Granddad was hugely into detective stories. I’m currently going through his combined anthology of Sherlock Holmes, more on that much later. He also enjoyed television mysteries as well. Perry Mason was perhaps his favorite. Yet as best as I can figure a good chunk of detective and crime fiction changed at the beginning of this century.

Let’s say my Granddad and I sat down to watch a new show Circa 2017. The protagonist is a guy we’ll call Smith. Smith solves crimes as a bitter disgruntled detective. He’s an alcoholic estranged from his wife and doesn’t always play by the book. Good so far, right? And so the usual stereotypes play out for the first few episodes. Then, in episode 5 Smith has a moral crisis based upon some situation. He’s forced to make a choice.

In 1988, Smith would choose the lesser of two evils and make a hard but ultimately moral decision. Then the episode would end with him getting tanked in a bar. In 2017, Smith would shoot somebody in the back of the head and dispose of the body. My Granddad would get up, turn off the television, and walk away never to return.

And thus do we get 2017’s version of television detective fiction in BBC’s Ripper Street. A show with limitless potential that ultimately descends into a nightmare of confusion, awfulness, and moral ambiguity that leaves you wanting to go hide under some coats with a flock of puppies.

This is all the more depressing because all the pieces for a superb piece of detective fiction are in place at the start of this show. Series lead Matthew Macfadyen, who the ladies will best remember as Keira Knightley’s Mr Darcy, is a cloth cut leading man late 19th Century thinking detective even down to the way he holds his lapels. Jerome Flynn, of Game of Thrones fame, is the brutal sergeant with the heart of gold. The unknown Adam Rothenberg is the rogue American doctor with a chip for life.

The three of them are put into a depiction of 19th Century London that’s both gorgeous and hard earned. Victorian Imperial Britain doesn’t look like much fun from the gutters of Whitechapel. Every detail of the set, the costumes, the music transports you to this age of humanity. And for a while this show works as a decent piece of detective fiction, if some of the plots are a bit far-fetched, and is a generally good watchable show. Not coincidently, season one has the highest ratings. Then things go downhill, both for the show and in ratings. Why?

Because this is a show run of 2012-2017, it’s important to remember what a successful television show thinks it must achieve. The legendary crime shows of our era are apparently Breaking Bad, or Narcos, or whatever similar program is out there. In other words, the focus is either on the criminals, or an anti-hero. I think this all began with the success of The Wire, an admittedly spectacular show which was one of the first to take a real long hard look at the reality of policing in the modern world.

But now things are in overdrive. Now it’s simply not good enough to run a standard piece of detective fiction. This is too soft, considered naïve, or not what the audience wants. The audience apparently wants Game of Thrones, a show where no character, no one is worthy of total admiration. Where there is no good or evil, just eternal grey. Where brutality reigns, and nobody’s hands are in any way clean.

Ripper Street avoids all of this in the first season or two, then it dramatically and noticeably turns. And thus we get what instead? Before we’re done Macfadyen’s reputable Inspector Reid commits two cold blooded murders and cheats on his mentally handicapped wife at least twice. Now here’s a protagonist you can root for!

Indeed, at one point or another every single major character in this series commits a murder. Several of them are accomplices to many other murders. It’s hard to tell who has a higher body count by the end of this series, the criminal underworld of London, or our supposed main characters.

If one goes by the theory that the intent of television is not to make you feel depressed or awful and is meant to entertain you or help you escape from the routine of a grinding life, then you generally need to imagine that some of the characters in a show you should root for. You want them to succeed, be happy, or at least find some measure of peace. Every single character in Ripper Street loses. Every single character is worse off at the end then they were at the beginning. There is no redemption, no answers, only chaos and despair.

This is very much in the vein of Game of Thrones. I no longer watch Game of Thrones but generally keep abreast of what happens in the show. And I’m always struck in discussions with friends or coworkers who still watch and who try to self-rationalize what they see on screen. They seem to think somehow that by the end of Game of Thrones it will all somehow all work out. They talk themselves into it. Almost as if they need it.

They typically will focus on Emilia Clarke’s Daenerys Targaryen as an example of the good one, or the one to root for, or the one who by the end of the series will emerge with at least some sense of accomplishment. This is in fact a specific plot point brought up within the show itself, where Danny is there to break the cycle, to stop the chaos, to bring some sense of peace to an absolutely horrific world.

But I always ask my friends and coworkers why this must be so? Why must, or should, Game of Thrones end in such a way? Why can’t the white walkers just kill everybody in the last episode? Why can’t Daenerys end up on the throne atop a pile of murdered corpses? Why must there be any redemption or peace at all, when all that’s occurred thus far is chaos and has no meaning?

Ripper Street ends this way. Inspector Reid himself is reduced in the final episode to admitting to his corrupt boss that there is only chaos. That he believes there is no meaning in his work. That all his efforts are/were pointless. That after decades as a policeman he has nothing to show for it but an empty street consumed by violence, murder, dead friends, and hopelessness. He ends the show alone in his office reviewing menial reports, alone, without purpose, without hope.  How uplifting!

I think my Grandfather would ask of such a show: What’s the point? What in the end is the point of Ripper Street? If you want to feel awful about life, about humanity, you can just read the news each morning. It’s right there in your face. To me, fiction’s purpose is to entertain, to give you an escape from the grind, and to explore some of the deeper themes of life on this floating rock. It’s there to give you some characters you can relate to, get to know, and ultimately to cheer for. You share their journey, learn with them, and learn about their life, and yours too.

But when Game of Thrones is your template, none of these things are evident. Ripper Street just leaves you a blank slate, without emotion, an emptiness. So I must ask: Is this the show’s point? Is this how they wanted the viewer to feel? Perhaps, and if so, the creators and writers achieved their goal. But why is this a valid goal for a detective fiction television series? Why is any of this necessary? What’s the point?

Does detective fiction need to be some kind of bubble wrapped clean shaven fairy tale where the protagonist is a constant paragon of virtue and can do no wrong? Of course not. This is a much more mature world and smarter television audience than 1988. But, I submit that what we have on today’s television has gone so far over the mark as to be just about unwatchable.

I don’t need my detective fiction to go so far over the edge of nihilism that we can’t even get a lead character who doesn’t commit murder. This says something about our culture, or at least about the state of television today. This is, to me, both a very sad state of affairs, and in the end, is just not very entertaining.

ripper

Our heroes?

on Russians, sharks, bears, swimming, and who to trust

You, the average normal human, require a new hammer. You use it to fix up your house, apartment, hovel, or yurt. You have several options to choose from. But recommendations tell you that you can have the hammer made by a partially competent American maker at a reasonable price, or the cheap one made by a former KGB assassin. Which do you choose?

Well, I suppose if you lived in Russia you would pick the KGB guy. Or be made to pick the KGB guy. But if you’re not Russian why would you, or anybody else, choose the KGB guy? This question has always been on my brain as folks and organizations have chosen Kaspersky Labs to handle their internet security to the tune of half-a-billion active users.

I mean I somewhat get it, Norton, McAfee, and the many other generic Western firms are only above average at best. But what do you expect when the Internets sandbox is an inherently flawed security nightmare. That doesn’t mean you go running for help with Ivan, aka the guys who are directly responsible for much of the security nightmare. Unless you desire to make the counterargument that because Kaspersky is KGB, that it’s good business to ask the devil to guard your church because he knows how to mix it up, barstool style. But I don’t buy that argument. Eventually the devil will rob you and use your pilfered cash to buy cinnamon whiskey, his drink of choice.

Kaspersky is somehow considered respectable, which further proves the marketing goons of the planet can put a shine on anything and twist people’s brains with glorious abandon. Kaspersky advertises on NPR! So he must be legit, right? And since the beginning Kaspersky has tried to always prove they have an independent hand. Their claim is that Russian they are, doesn’t mean you can’t trust them. They’re separate and distinct from the functioning arms of the Russian state, honest. Eh, if they say so.

As far as my take, I think this Washington Post article sums it up pretty nicely. In particular:

“James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said ‘it’s difficult, if not impossible’ for a company like Kaspersky to be headquartered in Moscow ‘if you don’t cooperate with the government and the intelligence services.’”

Yeah, no kidding. So if you or your business has put your trust in Kaspersky, well, you deserve what you get.

Hey speaking of failed trust, apparently a whole bunch of people actually thought Discovery Channel was going to get Michael Phelps to race a shark. Instead they just computer simulated it and Phelps lost. Because Phelps is a human, as in, a creature not meant to inherently swim in the water. Kind of like how a shark is. But I digress.

Did folks actually think they’d put Phelps in the water alongside a shark and race them in lanes? Do folks understand that humans can’t order sharks around like that? Gee I sure hope so. How did people logistically think this would occur? Why are they angry with Discovery Channel? How did they trust that this would actually happen?

The only thing I can think of is they’d capture the shark and chain it up like some kind of angry Star Wars arena beast. They’d have him in a lane in the ocean contained by two sheets of transparent aluminum. And Phelps would be on the other side. Then they’d fire the gun and release the shark. Only, but what if the shark didn’t swim forward and instead tried to turn around and attack the folks behind him? As in, the folks who’d just chained him up. Or what if the shark swam for a bit and then stopped? Or what if the shark busted through the transparent aluminum and swallowed Michael Phelps whole in an orgy of chum related violence? Or what if we get Kaspersky to race a 700 pound grizzly bear? Maybe his KGB training, Russian bear familiarity, and Vlad inspired judo can save him? But I doubt it.

Who not to trust? Well for starters Russians who say they’re here to help. And folks who claim a human can race a shark. Along with all other kinds of lunacy that just don’t seem to make sense. Kind of like most of the nonsense written on this degenerate blog.

You could adopt the tact of: trust no one. But instead, just use your common sense. We’ve all got it. It’s pretty neat. Go with that.

fun time

four creatures enter; one creature leaves

contemplating Sean Bean’s imminent demise

Sean Bean partially narrates this game I’m playing and it got me chuckling.  Once upon a time folks got to see Sean Bean brutally decapitated in Game of Thrones (that show I no longer watch).  This was the first of many main character deaths in that horror fetish of a series.  But at the time folks tried to rationalize what had just occurred.  I specifically remember saying to my brother, “It’s that much more dramatic because it’s Sean Bean.”

Wait, what?  That’s probably one of the dumber things I’ve ever said.  And man, do I spout some dumb shit.

For you see, Sean Bean does in fact die in everything he’s in.

And here’s even a Funny Or Die skit where Sean expresses his desire for a piranha based doom.

Sean Bean is only 58 years old, but perchance before he hits 60, he’ll be attacked by aliens.  They won’t come to conquer Earth, they’ll just come for Sean Bean.  And he’ll probably be smiling.

“Oh, hay there lads, got a ray gun I see?  Well, make it slow, if ya can.”