the tyranny of public music

Lots of things are everywhere: oxygen, people, squirrels, cable hate news, oppressive heat, ghosts, and so on. But public music has (for whatever reason inside my twisted brain) been my problem lately.

The easiest example of this is the lightweight, feel good, soft rock or pop rock they play in the grocery store. My contempt for this knows no bounds. I have to bring my own music; I can’t stand to listen to it otherwise.

They just opened this dynamite Yucatan place within walking distance of my apartment. They’re a small chain but are awesome. I walk by them this morning towards the train station and they now have a speaker that blasts music outside their front door, it’s playing soft rock.

If there’s anything I can’t stand more than music I can’t stand, it’s music broadcasted to the public in a manner that assumes the least amount of risk possible. I’m sure a team of corporate suits got together and developed, “Safe Corporate Playlist for Modern Demographic Populace – Version #498b”. This is available to your local chain store for $14.99 a month per store. The suits made billions last year and then blew it all on their third boat and coke.

We here at TAP are here to help. Our wisdom knows no bounds. Our ideas will be adopted everywhere. Please spread the word. Your cooperation, as always, is truly appreciated. We truly, do truly, desire to keep liquidation to an absolute minimum. Here is what we want played in public from now on:

1) generic, faceless, pointless soft rock

2) unhinged death metal to include constant screaming and nonsensical electric guitar riffs lasting seven minutes

3) genuine classical music

4) medieval monk chants with accompanying children’s choir

5) full blown profanity laced gangster rap that makes elderly women exclaim “Oh Dear!” inside the store

6) Michael Jackson, sandwiched before and after with voiceovers regarding the exploitation of children

7) spoken word album read by Christopher Walken on the Book of Ruth

8) genuine classic metal back before all those bands sold out

9) violin or flute playing by a talented high school student

10) we’ll throw in some female pop rock or whatever they call that stuff, the one with the famous women

11) country music, or at least the unimaginative kind not written by a team of Nashville boardroom suits

12) audio playback of YOUR coworkers talking in the next cubicle about the most mundane and eye wateringly foolish things

13) chants from a reborn ancient Aztec death cult which will make even the most hated of modern political views seem tame by comparison

14) classic Sinatra; as in the ones he recorded while completely wasted, with a dame waiting in the next room

15) no Christmas music, ever

16) Vladislav’s greatest hits of 1976, including his famed electrical metal album, “Tashkent or Bust”

17) please, help me

18) no really, please help me

19) I don’t know why I did this

20) 20! 20 line items; blogs are magical

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Monty Python character to be devoured by Brexit monster

I suppose one is meant to congratulate Boris Johnson on becoming prime minister, which seems like a big deal and quite the life goal achievement. After all, every aspiring mommy and daddy would love for their kid to become president or prime minister. Unfortunately for Boris his tenure involves getting mauled by Brexit as if he were a sick, deranged zebra getting hauled down by a pack of rabid lions. Brexit has already devoured two prime ministers, Johnson will surely be the third.

I can’t figure why anybody would actually want this job? I mean other than just to say you had it. Theresa May was a control freak whose strategic planning instincts consisted of a dart board and a bottle of magic elixir, but, she can still tell folks at the pub that for at least a few years she was top dog.

Whatever one thinks of Brexit one way or the other, it’s just about the most impossible task an executive arm of government could be asked to execute. And the British parliamentary system makes it even worse.

To the American eye, there’s something really antidemocratic in changing prime ministers this way. The Australians have had a similar problem for the last decade or so. To my brain, if a prime minister resigns, that should automatically trigger a general election. That way the public can choose their leader instead of back alley party hacks. This is especially a vivid problem right now.

The issue with Brexit as it currently stands is this:

1) Europe holds all the cards and promises they won’t renegotiate

2) Boris does not possess the ability to fold space, time, or the Irish border

3) Parliament has an overwhelming majority who will oppose any effort to conduct a no deal Brexit

This was what derailed May, and it will derail Johnson too. All the Tories have done is shift human beings, they haven’t shifted the problem. An election would have offered the chance for a course correction of some form. Without an election, nothing has changed, the situation remains the same and thus Britain will remain bogged down in political chaos and deadlock.

Nothing about Boris Johnson indicates he’s the kind of visionary leader who can overcome such a huge challenge. If the original Monty Python had made a character of Johnson way back when, it would have been rejected as too farfetched. The guy is a meld of insanity, humor, charisma, liar, opportunistic, lucky, and with the looks of a c-grade stuffed animal made in Bulgaria. His supporters really think this guy has what it takes to get the job done? Trust me, he doesn’t. Maybe nobody does.

The problem with modern democracy is essentially two things: it’s a rigged game, and it’s currently deadlocked. America’s Congress would be challenged to pass a bipartisan bill saying that Abe Lincoln was awesome. Britain is no different. Asking this parliamentary system to solve any problem at the moment is a chore, asking it to solve Brexit is near impossible.

To me, the only way out of this is for the EU to simply lay down the line. Regardless of what parliament says or does, if 01 November comes around and Britain hasn’t taken their deal, they should just kick Britain out. Otherwise they’ll just keep extending the deadline until the end of time, because that’s all that British politics has left. However, will they actually do this when it gives Boris exactly what he says he wants? Who knows?

In the meantime, I would say enjoy the ride, but you won’t. And neither will Boris.

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Mr Prime Minister, eight seconds before a nine year old girl throws a chunk of cinder block into his front wheel spoke

beware the Internets

More and more the Internets can turn into a nightmare.  Granted, it’s like being hit by a car.  For the most part, everybody goes online and it’s just fine, you get to see happy cat videos.  But if you get your identity stolen or your bank accounts drained (while your circumstances are rare) it’s an absolute nightmare that can temporarily ruin your life.

I’ve personally known folks who had their data ripped which resulted in ruined bank accounts, they couldn’t use a credit card, buy a car, do their taxes, etc, etc, etc.  It’s a nightmare folks.  You could see the daily stress on their faces.

When the Washington Post isn’t busy shaming itself and mortgaging its remaining credibility by banging on the incessant defeat Trump at any cost bandwagon (regardless of impartiality or honor) they still do some no kidding real hardcore journalism.

I don’t normally do this here, but you dear blog reader need to read everything that Geoffrey A. Fowler writes for the Post.  He knows the Internets, he knows how to get into the face of questionable Internets companies, and he knows privacy values.  You can find his latest piece on browser extensions here.  I don’t use browser extensions for these very reasons, but apparently millions of people do.  If you personally do, stop, please get away while you can.

Be sure to click on his author name too and read some of his other Post pieces.  You can then indulge in the true mess of the Internets where you (the customer) are basically just a doomed farm animal as bad people make money off of spying on you without your knowledge or consent.

There might be a reckoning, eventually, for all of this.  I say might because asking Congress to accomplish anything useful is like asking a rabid panther to walk your dog safely.  But there might be movement, witness Facebook’s disastrous introduction of its evil Bond villain digital currency recently.

But, until then, it’s truly the Wild West out there folks.  You can’t arm yourself with a revolver, so you’ve got to do it with knowledge.  Learn.  Protect yourself.  Beware the Internets.

break the cycle – revisited

Okay, first off here’s a picture of a happy emu to set the proper discussion mood.

[[original picture removed at the belligerent, touchy request of the original photographer; I have hundreds of my own photos posted to this blog; anybody can use them for any reason, take em, I don’t care; but I guess others do; for whatever reason]]

Of note, never approach an emu, they’re insane.  If you look between the lines, this happy emu smile is also the same form of smile an evil billionaire gets when they mash the “fire 2,384 employees” red button.  But for the purposes of this post, I’m going with the emu is happy and having a good day dammit [shakes fist at sky].

Per our prior post, I essentially checked out of the news for one solid week.  I only read the print edition of the Economist and got their morning Espresso updates.  So if somebody had nuked somebody else I’d have found out eventually.  I also managed to avoid seeing even one frame of television news which was especially awesome, though because the news is on everywhere this took some careful footwork.

Observations:

1) I did not miss reading the news or politics, pretty much at all.

2) I discovered that when online to check e-mail at home or at work, that muscle memory was compelling me to check the news several times a day without even thinking about it.  I had to stop myself in the moment of typing, it was weird and unsettling.  Eventually I got it to stop.

3) Originally, the idea was I needed to read then news every day to stay informed.  This is the idea of my Dad reading the print newspaper cover to cover every single morning.  It was a man’s responsibility to stay informed about the world.

4) This has now crossed over into the Internets world where the quest for knowledge has now been overcome by the emotional side that folks ascribe to politics and the second-to-second melee that is the social media world.  Additionally, even the most professional of news sites also contain a not unsubstantial amount of straight clickbait in order to increase revenues.  I don’t want this, and I don’t need this.

Conclusion:

a) I’m going to transition to the newspaper format in getting my news.  I will read my online news once in the morning and be done with it.  I won’t logon for the rest of the day.  If I giant mutant blue whale starts assaulting a major city, somebody will just have to text me and let me know and then I’ll login.

b) I think this will be a good balance, a return to the traditional balance of news my family had growing up with paper newspapers.  Get your news in the morning, process it, and then get on with your normal day, your life, without the distractions or the noise of the planet.

c) After all, the news and politics is just information.  For the most part I can’t do a damn thing about any of it.  I’ve got my own life with my own problems and my own responsibilities.  That’s where more of my focus belongs.

selective morality, reality, and values are the best morality, reality, and values

all corporations that lose our data to hackers are evil and greedy vs. giving the audio data in your own home free of charge of a corporation via a live bug is hip

your dog demands the most pristine of kibble vs. will eat garbage wood off the grass and pout when you don’t allow this

cigarettes are so awful they need to be banned from Netflix vs. marijuana is perfectly cool to smoke and is beneficial to your health

magic mushrooms are also beneficial and will soon be legal in multiple jurisdictions vs. soda with sugar is horrible for you and requires severe regulation

plastic straws are wasteful and worthy of a ban vs. drinking an extra tall latte out of a one use disposal and non-recyclable coffee cup is trendy

squirrels hoard all the nuts and acorns because they need them to live vs. squirrels hoard guns and explosives because they need them for the forthcoming purge

Weinstein is a depraved sexual deviant who should be erased from the planet vs. Jackson’s music is still awesome and regularly played at festivals

your boss is angry that you’re late with your assigned task vs. your boss is never own time with any assistance you’ve ever required from them

the detention centers used by Trump’s goons are abhorrent vs. the exact same detention centers used by Obama’s goons were not abhorrent

labeling the opposite side as racist instead of thinking things through vs. labeling the opposite side as racist instead of thinking things through

alcohol is the cause and solution to all of life’s problem vs. alcohol is so tasty

gasoline powered cars crush the planet’s health and are on their way out vs. charging electric cars from coal fired power plants

gasoline pumps want your money vs. gasoline pumps require the selection of 11 different options before allowing you to pay them money for gas

animal kept in captivity is immoral and the zoo will soon be banned vs. dressing up your dog/cat in a furry X-Mas costume is a sign of sophistication

everybody in the workforce requires $15 an hour vs. advocating for such issues at rallies arrived courtesy of Uber driver making half that amount

manufacturing jobs needs to come back to America vs. establishing tariffs and trade policies so abstract as to require the bailout of soybean farmers

our future alien masters promise us bliss and saving ourselves from each other vs. will blanket 1/3 of the planet in fusion fire to introduce their benevolent, wise rule

chronic obesity problem that will bankrupt the health system by 2049 vs. electric bikes and scooters are so much fun and avoid the need to walk or pedal anywhere

wave of the punk future where virtual coin will set the human free vs. coin mill farm corporations with enough size and electricity to power a medium sized nation

religion is the source of all evil mind control and should be banned from any public sphere vs. 1.3 billion likes on Instagram for the latest celebrity selfie

machines will be our masters, artificial intelligence is so error free cars will drive themselves vs. have you ever tried using [insert any software program here] without errors

innocent until proven guilty vs. they publish a mug shot online before anybody’s been found guilty and the federal justice system convicts at a stasi-like 99% rate

the magical meth elf promised you happy times if you burned down a shopping mall vs. all you got instead was a felony arrest warrant and the elf never showed up again

natural gluten is evil is requires expungement from the diet vs. generating artificial fake meat in a lab is wholesome

blogging is a healthy experience that allows the author to get things of their chest in a safe environment that informs others vs. blogging is a narcissistic act that only informs the reader that the author is somebody who needs help, and maybe a puppy/kitty or two

 

 

REAL ID = real stupid

A few weeks ago me Ma hands me this partially threatening letter from the Giant Octopus (in government form) instructing her to update her driver’s license to REAL ID standards or they’d unleash three wild rabid crocodiles into her basement. I had no idea what this thing was. But whatever, I made her an appointment and we worked out all the documentation requirements. But now people from my office are taking off from work to get this ID update done. I guess eventually I have to do this too? I guess? So we did some research to get the backstory of this dumbest of ideas.

In 2005, Congress (that institution that never works) passed a law mandating enhanced requirements for government issued identification. This was done in response to the September 11th attacks. I guess the idea was to prevent the use of fraudulent identifications. The federal government was really after the States who issued poor quality or easy to forge driver’s licenses. For example, in Alabama they use old crop husks and in Oregon they use congealed kombucha base. Both of these are now unacceptable.

So what do you need a REAL ID to do? Well, according to the Department of Homeland Security (that institution that never works) it’s required for: “The purposes covered by the Act are: accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.”

If you need to get on a federal facility they’ll give you their own specific ID for it. So unless you’re Homer Simpson the only real reason you need the REAL ID is to get on an airplane. That’s it.

Oh my! Where do we start?

1) Act passed in 2005 but not required to complete before 2020; 15 year introduction cycle (or three times longer than World War II).

2) In 14 years since Act has passed not one commercial airliner has been brought down or nuclear power plant infiltrated due to a forged identification thus bringing into question the entire relevance of the Act.

3) REAL ID is required to board a plane, but not required to board a train, bus, autogyro, get into a sports stadium, library, school, Valhalla, or any other place with 743% less security than airplanes and airports.

4) Assumption that technology developed and implemented by government will somehow produce 300 million REAL IDs that cannot be (at least easily) forged. Because surely an evil bad guy who really means it will find it baffling to forge an ID also produced by the genius wizards of your local MVA.

5) Despite bullets (1) through (4) above, the wheels of the bureaucracy have continued to turn for 14 years without nary a thought of perhaps: “maybe we don’t/shouldn’t really need to do this”.

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behold! the definition of futility