Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Selfie and Reflections

      Another holiday cannot pass without the usual selfie. It is the holiday season, so brace your selves for it. On the bright side, Christmas is over a month away, so you will enjoy a longer break than you got between Halloween and Thanksgiving.
   My full-fledged thanksgiving dinner was for lunch. It was turkey, ham, macaroni, string beans, a roll, and a slice of pumpkin pie for desert. I politely declined the collards. I dislike collards with a passion, but I was able to use diverticulitis as a nice way of skipping them. I could either eat collards or swallow a lit cherry bomb. The results on my digestive system would be the same. The pie was gone by supper, but everything else came around yet again.
     It was a quiet day. I kept to myself mostly. This translates to being a normal day. But it was dreary and cold outside. Somehow those conditions make solitude seem different. Not in a bad way, but...more poignant and reflective. Thanksgiving is supposed to be the time you reflect on those things for which you are grateful. The question should not be difficult to answer. I hope it was not for all of you.
     Take it away, Alanis...

Happy Thanksgiving!

     Enjoy your day with family, friends, and food!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

I Support Net Neutrality

     The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) presented a proposal to roll back net neutrality rules. I support net neutrality, and there think the FCC's intention to end it is a bad thing. Without net neutrality, internet service providers will have the power to decide what you can and cannot see on the internet. They may also limit your online options to favor their business partners which could limit your internet speed while costing you more.
  I realize supporting net neutrality means being in favor of government regulation in this one instance. Deregulation is a touchy subject within my conservative philosophy. On the one hand, I dislike government meddling in private enterprise. Often, it is the case of the government looking around to see what power it currently lacks and taking it. On the other hand, deregulation often leads to disaster because you simply cannot trust people to conduct business ethically. Witness the savings and loan collapse or the rolling blackouts that resulted from deregulation in the past. The bottom line is a conflict between my support of the free market and my distrust of human nature. In the case of net neutrality, the latter wins.
     It is particularly interesting ending net neutrality is being pushed by Trump's FCC. Maybe this is the case because of lobbying by telecoms. Maybe it is the case because the regulations are from the Obama era. Whichever the case, Trump supporters should consider the value of net neutrality. Considering the censorship, control of information, and prevalence of “fake news” directed towards conservatives while net neutrality exists, imagine how much worse the situation will be when it is gone.   

Monday, November 20, 2017

Charles Manson (1934-2017)

    Charles Manson finally died yesterday after wasting California tax payer dollars pointlessly keeping him alive for decades.
     I only mark his passing as a matter of record. The Manson family murders never held any interest for me. It is only a matter of history. I seem to have missed the boat because of my relatively young age. I did not come along until 1976, All I remember is Manson's craziness being a laugh line. Much like when Watergate's Deep Throat was revealed twelve years ago to be Mark Felt, I said, “Ah. Now we know” will Baby Boomers obsessed for days. My reaction to Manson's death is 'Well, that finally happened” while the Baby Boomers will carry on for a while. Whacker floats your boat, ladies and gentlemen.
     I noted above the most frequent impression of Manson in my lifetime has been one of a laugh line because of the insanity he displayed whenever he came back into the spotlight. But there was also his macabre iconic status among metal and darker rock music fans. Manson was a failed musician himself who once had one of his songs recorded by the Beach boys' Brian Wilson. Guns 'n roses recorded one in the early '90's. One cannot forget where Marilyn Manson got his stage surname. Manson's appeal to broken people is one aspect of him that does both fascinate and repulse me. As a fierce individualist, I have a certain contempt for both the manipulative cult leader and the pack mentality of his followers.
     In the same vein, it is also fascinating how failed artists become charismatic leaders who prompt followers to commit evil acts. Manson could have been a weird, but harmless rock star if he was as talented as he believed himself to be. Branch Davidian leader David Koresh was not much different. If Adolf Hitler had be accepted to art school, history might be radically different. I take assurance in my individuality and strength of will that I cannot understand why anyone fell under their spell.
     For the record, the rumor Manson auditioned for the monkees is an urban legend.. The rumor sprung from the cattle call audition for musicians and Manson floating around the edges of the music scene at the time due to mooching off Wilson. The story Manson could have been a member of the Monkees is an urban legend most likely meant to make the Monkees seem edgy. The band was certainly desperate for such status, but failed miserably to either earn it or have it bestowed upon them.
   I usually end these obituaries with Godspeed, but as with Hugh Hefner's passing in September, the sentiment is inapplicable. But the thought does occur to me both were parodies of their past selves for my entire lifetime. Granted, Manson was more evil, but the insane ramblings from his cage anytime a camera was pointed in his direction were as pathetic as geriatric Hefner strolling around in a yachtsmen hat exploiting young money for money. Now watch the hate mail come rolling in for me comparing the two in death.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Bad Will Hunting

     My criticism is generally aimed at the left. Why would it not be? Liberalism is currently the most absurd it has ever been with concerns about transgender bathroom privileges, old statues, and sneaking illegal immigrants across the border all in the name of self-loathing. The left is what the military refers to as a 'target rich environment.” But I am equal opportunity. When conservatives step out of line, I am willing to break out the rod of rebuke. In this case, I am aiming for Donald Trump.
     I supported Trump for president because I liked the idea of a president like him. A patriotic political outsider who is not afraid to ruffle feathers when deemed necessary. I have overlooked a whole bunch of stuff since January 20th. I am certain there will be plenty of stuff I will overlook as Trump being Trump before it is all said and done. Because shaking up the status quo is necessary every now and then. The status quo has been shaken up by the Trump Administration about as much as anyone could imagine.
     What finally prompts me to speak up is Trump's proposal to life the ban on elephant trophy hunting. Yes, he has “delayed” lifting the ban until he has 'all the facts,” but the nature of his decision to lift the ban does not change. Trump's action is cartoon villain level shenanigans. A real life Cruela DeVille. Or Montgomery Burns, more likely. Trump's motivation is his sons' penchant for big game hunting in Africa. Donald, Jr. and Eric want to bag an elephant with impunity. Enabling your kids' safari adventures is not a good enough reason to change public policy.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Saturday Night Live Spoofs the Democrats as Old and Out of Touch

     Saturday Night Live takes a break from attacking Donald Trump to spoof the Democratic national Committee's current troubles. Specifically, the DNC is old, out of touch, and dysfunctional while over stating its recent victories in already blue states New Jersey and Virginia. Considering SNL's liberal bias, I am impressed with the skit's biting satire.
     The skit is meant for laughs, but there is a lot of truth in it. Working class democrat supported Trump in 2016 because they thought Democrats were more interested in social justice than unemployment. The situation is not likely to be rectified by 2020 because there is no young, rising star in the Democratic party to run for president. They are seriously considering Joe Biden. He will be pushing 80 by that time.
     Note also the meta reference of Larry David as bernie Sanders condemning David's monologue from last week's SNL about dating in a concentration camp as evidence of our toxic culture. Quite an accurate observation, that.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor

     The BBC released a promotional photo of Jodie Whitaker as the Thirteen Doctor in her normal outfit. It is just a little over a month until the Thirteenth Doctor makes her first appearance when the Twelfth Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, hands over the TARDIS keys upon regenerating at the end of the Christmas special.
     We have yet to see the Thirteenth Doctor in action, but the gender switching already turned off many fans. While the change does not bother me in principle, the possibility of Social Justice Warrior overload does. I would not be thrilled to see Doctor Who, which already is awash in European leftism, go full blown Social Justice Warrior. Never go full Social Justice Warrior.
     While I am cautiously optimistic the show will emphasize science fiction over real world commentary, I am not so optimistic fans will accept the new Doctor any more smoothly than after her tumultuous debut this past summer. I hoped the geeks were just unhappy they had to sit through tennis in order to see the announcement. But if the reaction to the Thirteenth Doctor's outfit is any indication, probably not.
     I confess my first impression was a cross between Mork from Ork and the Eleventh Doctor. Other fans noted her shirt design is reminiscent of Wesley Crusher's from the first season of Star Trek: the Next Generation. Not exactly a more flattering comparison than Mork. To be fair, the outfit looks a lot like something someone who has been a man for 2,000 years would wear after suddenly finding himself to be a woman. Awkward, but feminine.
     While I am defending the choice, I do not particularly like it. I was hoping for a similar Victorian look like Missy's. Since Missy already did that, the powers that be were forced to go in a different direction. I must wait patiently with the other Whovians to see how all this pans out. Maybe Thirteen's personality will reflect the bohemian look she is sporting. There is so much up in the air right now, it is difficult to know. Literally everything will be new in the eleventh series, right down to episode number and format.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Twitter Doubled Characters Allowed Per Tweet

     A few weeks ago, Twitter decided to double the number of characters allowed from 140 to 280 for a select group of beta testers. I was not among the lucky few, but a number of tweeps I follow were. Everyone who took advantage crowed about the change. It was definitely for the better. Not to mention it was a change everyone was going to want for themselves. It looked like Twitter was taking a page from Google in terms of rolling out a new product: invite a select few so as to make everyone on the outside looking in want it.
     Who knows why they bothered with that shtick. I cannot imagine there were any bugs to work out. The original 140 characters was pretty much arbitrary. Every user wanted 280 characters in the first place. But Twitter is not famous for making logical decisions. It is one of the reasons the site is losing cash in spite of its popularity. That and its catering to the Social Justice Warrior definition of offensive speech – translated as anything with which they disagree. But that is a topic for another time.
     I obviously like the increase. But now some critics are coming forward. They are generally old school types who do not like change solely because it is change. They say doubling the character count goes against the original purpose of Twitter. How, though? Twitter is a micro blogging platform. Your average blog post, even those on the small side, clock in at more than 280 characters. Mercy, 280 words is almost unheard of for any of my blogs. Twitter is not now, nor has it ever been, a blogging platform.
     I generally use twitter to post pithy comments on topics I cannot get a full blog entry's worth of content writing about and promote links. These two points rarely require 140 characters. But when they did, I wound up using abbreviations and short hand which made me come across as illiterate. I am thrilled not to run into that problem now. So thank you, Twitter. You are making my online life easier. Now if you could just get your moderating standards in order.

The King is Gone

     A popular question floating around Reddit this morning is if you could have a well known person show up to your funeral, weep openly for a few minutes, and then leave, who would you choose? The answers are generally what you would expect—a hot actress, singer, or model, the Pope, head of a spy agency and the like. I would like to be more creative, but my answer still falls into one of those categories.
     Of course, I am tempted to say Reese Witherspoon. If you have known me for any period of time, you are aware I carry a torch for her. I would need her to cry hysterically,. Maybe even throw herself on the casket. The spectacle would get people talking. Whoa...did the little guy actually hook up with Reese? As cool as that would be, it is not very original.
    I am a Protestant, so I do not have any central religious leader to suggest showing up and weeping at my funeral. Really, would Joel Osteen doing so reflect well on me? I do not think so. Ditto with a spy agency head. I have never wanted to be a spy, and I doubt anyone would recognize the CIA director, anyway. No good choices there.
     My choice would be Elvis. He would come out of hiding to appear at my funeral and weep. I want him to place a single rose on my casket before departing. This would have people talking about my funeral forever. Bonus points awarded if Elvis can slip back into hiding to make the event an urban legend. We are running out of time for the scenario to plausibly occur. If he was still alive, Elvis would be 82 now.
     Feel free to ponder the question yourself. You must come up with something memorable.   

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A Periodic Reminder

     One may insist the spirit of this post runs contrary to the general advice to “let dead leaves fall,” but I did vow months ago to make a periodic reminder of the status of my personal belongings. While it is important to let go of the little things, it is also important to keep your word. I weighed the two concepts and decided keeping a vow is more important under the circumstances. What good is a person who fails to keep his promises?
      You may recall when I intervened in the Darlington County sheriff's race I had been abandoned to a nursing home by Team Chavis while they kept all of my personal belongings, surrogate for the campaign said all of my belongings were actually boxed up. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows this claim is false. No reason exist to keep any of my stuff if Team Chavis has no intention of ever contacting me again. But I called their bluff and will continue to do so. I have friends in Hartsville who are willing to retrieve my stuff. All they need is the go ahead fro Team Chavis. It is a go ahead that will, of course, never come.
     This is the character of your new sheriff, Darlington. He does not care about doing the right thing. He only cares about the sense of self-worth he derives from wearing a uniform. I will continue to serve as a source of truth for this matter.