Friday, February 17, 2017

Obey the Walrus

      I normally embed these videos, but this time around, the screen cap reveals too much. So I am going to offer up a link to Obey the Walrus.  You should read the rest of the post to decide if you are an intrepid enough soul to click the link. So what is the big deal? Obey the walrus has been around since 2005 when it was posted on eBaum's. The video first migrated to YouTube sometime in 2008. Nine to twelve years ago is ancient history in internet terms, but Obey the Walrus has an alleged back story that still intrigues the uninitiated.
     Obey the Walrus is aid to be created by a Brazilian cult called La Morsa, which is Spanish for walrus. Interesting, since the predominant language of Brazil is Portuguese. There is also said to be a sect of La Morsa in Germany. The video's unsettling imagery and even more unsettling music supposedly hide a subliminal message compelling the user to harm himself or others. But is this the case? Of course not. I could not even resist critiquing the mismatch of language and location of origin of the cult before getting to an analysis of the video itself. There is no proof the cult exists, much less it placed a cure on the video.
      Do not get me wrong. Obey the Walrus is disturbing. It opens with an animation of Andros, a villain from the Starfox video game series, singing a warped version of the “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” the song becomes more distorted and even runs backwards as images of the polio stricken, cross dressing Goddess Bunny performs a creepy dance with a parasol. The mood set by the weird music combines with our natural revulsion to deformities to create a frightening experience. Obey the Walrus remains a favorite for reaction video even today. So watch at your own risk.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Flotsam & Jetsam

      Flotsam & Jetsam is going to be a periodic collection a topics I want to cover, but probably do not merit individual posts. There will probably not be any coherent theme between the topics. They are simply topics that I would normally pass over because what I have to say about them is too much for twitter, but not enough for Blogger. But content is content, folks. I do not want to miss out.
      I watched Donald Trump's press conference today and enjoyed the heck out of it. No one was expecting the conference to be productive, least of all me. It was going to be a battle for dominance. The White House press corps came prepared to launch an ambush. Trump was braced to go on the offensive. The press always had the most to lose. They have been doing such a poor job lately of presenting facts, public opinion of them is at rock bottom. By aggressively dismissing the press as fake news, Trump shored up the support of his base and increased skepticism of what the press reports. It was a wise move on Trump's part.
      There is a new/old development fro a source of journalism far more significant than the White House press corps. Naked women have returned to the pages of Playboy. Slumping sales of the tamer content finally confirmed the lie men read the magazine for the articles. Though in reality, the lie may not be confirmed. Sales were sluggish even when the magazine featured nude women, but it also featured some of the best writers, cartoonists, and photographers in the business. Playboy not only jettisoned the nudity, but the writers and cartoonists a well in an effort to trim the budget. Bringing nudity back will not do much to reverse the general trend of print magazines going extinct in favor of online content.
      The board game Monopoly will retire its first token in 83 years of existence. Fans voted in an online poll to retire the thimble. The token's retirement is fine with me. No one wanted to play as the thimble. Other tokens may be retired as well with plans to add more updated tokens like a computer and different animals. Can you imagine future tokens of a smartphone, a pair of basketball shoes, and a bottle of Xanax?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

An Exercise in Narcissism

     My usual holiday selfie was posted yesterday. I often use holiday selfies as new profile photos. Yesterday's is not particularly suitable since it prominently features a box of Valentine's candy. If I want an updated profile photo, another selfie is necessary. So I took a new selfie. It is y new Facebook profile photo. I am also posting it here because this is my blog and I can be as narcissistic as I want to be on it.
      If anyone is interested, the new photo offers a chance to further chart my hair growth after my recent shearing mishap. In the past few weeks, my appearance has progressed from peach fuzz with a bad dye job to Chia pet. I am at a loss for a humorous comparison this tie around. It is beginning to look decent again.
     I do not recall if I mentioned the recent elevated blood pressure problem that emerged at the beginning of the year. The top number was consistently elevated. Not to hypertension levels. More on the high end of normal. If the numbers remained elevated over an extended period, some light medication might be prescribed. This sort of thing happens when you hit forty, and high blood pressure is present on both sides of my family. Nevertheless, the numbers have returned to the 120's from the 140's as of late. Knock on wood the numbers stay there.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Top Ten Sappiest Love Songs

      It is Valentine's Day. What better time to celebrate the ickiest of icky love songs? Even if you are single, you probably love a truly sappy love song. These are the top ten sappiest love songs as far as I m concerned. The list is, as always, just my opinion. You may vehemently disagree with any and all of my choices as you see fit.
*****
10. “There'll be Sad Songs”--Billy Ocean
      I cannot make a list of sappy love songs and not include a sappy love song about sappy love songs. It is too meta not to include. Did the '80's listeners ever ponder Ocean's self-awareness with this song as mine did with Alanis Morrisette and “Ironic?”
09. “Longer”--Dan Fogelberg
      “Longer” is likely the most famous song of the last few decades to compare the singer's love to some poetically immeasurable concept. I am using the concept of poetry generously. At one point, Fogelberg rhymes “mountain cathedral” with “forest primeval.” The song cones across as a declaration of love from an overly sensitive dreamer with a tenuous grip on the reality of relationships. Bonus points awarded for a seventeen year old once crooning the song on American Idol.
08. “(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You”--N'Sync
      Justin Timberlake has got it bad for this chick. Why should he not? Out of all God's creatures great and small, she is the one who surpasses them all. Talk about being blessed by both hands. Or better yet...never speak of it again.
07. “Hello”--Lionel Ritchie
      “Hello" is more famous for its video which manages to turn a schmaltzy love song into the story of Ritchie creepily stalking a blind girl. The theme is supposed to be touching, but it comes across more disturbing than anything else. Even more disturbing than the bust the blind sculptress makes of Ritchie
06. “I'll Be”--Edwin McCain
      McCain performs the impossible and crawls his way back from the dead for love. What more could you ask from a guy?
05. “Truly Madly Deeply'--Savage Garden
      The singer wants to do all sorts of cool stuff with his love. They are going to stand on a mountain, bathe in the sea, and live forever until the sky falls. But is living forever as cool as crawling your way back from the dead? I think not.
04. “You're Beautiful”—James Blunt
      It is probably the most overplayed cheesy love song of the 21st century. The lyrics are a whiny stalker's lament of unrequited love, yet the song resonated among listeners. Whatever that says about the concept of modern romance, it is not complimentary. What is with that false start, by the way?
03. “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You”--Bryan Adams
      You could not escape from this three years too late power ballad that belonged amongst the big hair glam rockers in their heyday. If the song had been released then, we probably would not be forced to associate it with Kevin Costner in tights. Adams declares he would die for his love. Okay, but he will crawl his way back fro the dead? McCain still enjoys a leg up on other devoted lovers with this impressive feat.
02. “My Heart Will Go On”--Celine Dion
      You hate this song. I hate this song. Dion hate this song. It loses all intended meaning as Titanic's rose hates Jack so much, she allows him to freeze to death rather than share her roomy piece of floating debris. Of course her heart will go on. She doe not give a crap! At least the Irish flute intro is long enough to offer time to turn the song off before the misty eyed ballad really gets rolling. I imagine this is the “You're Beautiful” of my generation.
01. “Glory of Love”—Peter Cetera
      Interesting the last three sappiest love songs feature prominently in films. Perhaps it is not entirely fair to not evaluate the songs based solely on their merit, but it is next to impossible to separate many of them. How could you not appreciate a love song from The Karate Kid, Part II? Especially when said love song serves as a reminder chivalry is not dead.

Happy Valentine's Day

    Happy Valentine's Day, folks! 
   Today is a celebration of love in general, not just romance. So enjoy whatever love you have. As you can see from the holiday selfie, I am enjoying y love for chocolate. The chocolate was a gift from my friend, Courtney.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Elon Musk: Humans Must Merge with Technology or We Will Become Irrelevant

     Billionaire Tech guy and futurist Elon Musk insists humans must merge with technology in order to remain relevant as the sophistication of artificial intelligence increase. Musk is describing the singularity—the point at which, in order to compete with artificial intelligence, humans will have to become cyborgs. It becomes more difficult each time musk speaks to decide whether he I a wannabe super villain or simply plain crazy.
      We are no where near the singularity point. We do not even understand our own sentience, relying most often on religious and metaphysical explanations for it. The know how to develop artificial intelligence so advanced, humans need to merge with technology to compete is well beyond us. It may be unreachable period.
      Even alarmists who are afraid of our increased dependency on technology must recognize humans are the maintainers of technology. We are not in competition for control. Nor are we on the verge of losing our humanity. For the foreseeable future, singularity is an issue left for science fiction to discussion. One of the reasons I enjoy science fiction is the opportunity to explore such issues. But here in the real world, we should not fret to much over a future we will not likely live to see...if it ever occurs at all.

Tweeking Twitter

      I am still working on some aesthetics issues with Gods & Monsters. Lately I have been interested in embedding Twiter. While I occasionally embed single tweet in a post and will continue to do so as whims demand, I wanted the most recent time line on the blog. I did featured an embedded time line on my old blog, but never got around to adding one to my new. Many other blogs which once featured their own time lines no longer do. I assumed an issue with twitter widgets must have developed during my blogging hiatus.
      Indeed one has. Two, in fact. One is more wit the philosophy behind Twitter's censorship practice. The other is a technical issue with the embedded time line widget. The purpose of this post is to discuss the latter, but I cannot ignore the former. Twitter in recent times established the Trust and Safety Council to monitor what the Council deems hate speech. As a clue to the council's idea of what might qualify as hate speech, note on of its members is infamous critic of the presentation of women in the video game industry—Gamergate—Anita Sarkeesian. A number of conservatives, such as Milo Yiannopoulos. A planned speech by Yiannopoulos ay UC-Berkeley recently incited a left wing riot. So...yeah. Free speech supporters. So many conservatives are simply dropping Twitter in response. 
     I understand their motivation, but I choose to stay. If and when I get banned for expressing the "incorrect” views, at least I will know I went down fighting the good fight rather than simply quitting before the thought police caught up to me.
      Setting idealism aside. The real problem lately is with Twitter's embedded time line widget. In the past, it was far easier to edit in order to suit your needs. You could alter the size, colors, and just about everything else. Just fill in the blanks and the code was generated for you. This is no longer the case. These days, the widget is one size fits all in either dark or light color. Neither option looks particularly appealing on anything but a white background. As established in the recent past, my bad eyesight requires a black background.
      For a few days now, I had the dark theme widget embedded time line on her, but it was irking me. It needs to be black! So I went searching for solutions. As everyone knows thee days, you can find anything through Google. Twitter allows for developers to lightly manipulate the CSS code of its wiglets, but not with a whole lot of liberties. For one thing, Twitter does not want the background color of its widget changed. Considering this was precisely what I wanted to do, the problem was clear. The solution turned out to be odd. You can, by inserting a small line of code, make the widgets background transparent. The effect would be the background color of the website bleeding through. In my case, the website color is black. So with the addition of the code, my embedded time line widget now appears black even though it is actually transparent.
     Why will twitter simply not allow you to choose the background color of your embedded time line widget? Who knows? Why is the company so intent on alienating conservative users by labeling their tweets as the speech? There is a reason Twitter lost nearly half a billion dollars of investor's money over the last year. The company makes some seriously bad decisions. Fortunately, I successfully navigated a couple of them to my benefit.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Signs and Portents

      Tonight will be a big night for stargazers. We will be treated to a triple teat of a comet, a full moon, and a solar eclipse. As a bonus, the unusual happenings will probably cause many people to act like complete loons, so there will be plenty of strange accidents and weird crimes occurring as the freaks indulge their madness. There are probably sore religious fanatics anticipating the evening's show as a sign of the end of the world.
      Comet 45P will pass by the Earth early Saturday morning at a distance of 7.7 million miles—a close brush in cosmic terms. It should be visible with binoculars or a telescope. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere and re fortunate enough to enjoy a clear night, you may also be able to witness the penumbra eclipse—a light shadow cast upon the moon by Earth.
      Enjoy the show all who are interested. I plan to wait for photos and video tomorrow considering my poor eyesight and fondness for sleep. I am also going to stay locked up tight in the hermit cave to avoid any of the crazies who night be taking the night to prowl and howl. With any luck, it will not prove to signal the end of the world and tomorrow will be a new day.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Explaining the Future

       If you could go back in time ten years for the purpose of explaining what transpired over the last decade, what would be the hardest thing for someone to believe? For the sake of actual discussion, it is reasonable to exclude the development of time travel or the wisdom of utilizing it for as mundane a task as explaining the curiosities of recent history. Shall we just presume stranger things have happened?
      We certainly cannot skip the presidency. Barack Obama was already a rising star with White house buzz surrounding him, but I cannot pinpoint off the top o my head when his ascendancy became a mainstream fact. There was still probably much skepticism about Obama in early 2007. At this point, it would probably surprise more people Donald Trump was elected president than Obama was. I am still puzzled by the turn of vents myself.
       Self-driving cars, maybe? The development of flying cars would be more impressive. People would probably feel safer in a car they could pilot through the skies than one on the road they could not control. Ironic because of the risk and weir because chauffeurs are a luxury Cab drivers are a bigger risk for accidents than self-driving cars.
    How about the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series for the first time in 108 years? The last time the Cubs were world champions, the ottoman Empire still existed. Maybe the Boston Red Sox winning in 2004 would lessen the surprise? I doubt it. The Cubs were still the butt of jokes right until the last inning of the 2015 World Series.
     Movies faithfully reproducing comic book becoming bug business would surprise me on a personal level. As a devout comics fan from the '80's on, I suffered through many terrible adaptations under the assumption the public at large would not “get” comics. Not so. There is a new Star Wars trilogy with the original characters featured prominently. Of course, Disney now owns both Marvel and Star Wars, so the company is raking in all the cash.
    This is mostly what I would be skeptical of hearing back in 2007. Your mileage may vary. Note social changes is not a topic I am inclined to discuss. How do you explain Bruce Jenner earned a Woman of the year award because one can now self-identify as a gender? I cannot imagine anyone would want to make such a thing sound reasonable.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Chrome Needs Polishing

    I switched from Firefox to Chrome back in 2011 when the former would not allow me to permanently increase font size for easier reading n my lone, legally blind peeper. It was ay to annoying to either adjust to every page or struggle without. I remain skeptical Firefox did not feature such a function for visually impaired users, but I quit looking for it and began using Chrome. Chrome allowed users to adjust font size across the board from the menu bar.
     Chrome only got better for me over the years. I discovered a high contrast extension which converts every web page to a high contrast color pattern. Light text on dark backgrounds works best for me, so pretty much every page is white on black. With few exceptions of places where I must turn it off, the internet looks to me like my blog does to you.
      Those few exceptions usually involve a script not getting along with the extension. I hope I am not getting too technical there. The problem does not arise often. When it does, it is usually because the extension needs an update. Chrome has been good about updating, so problems with web pages generally do not last long. Which brings me to the current problem. It is one definitely testing my patience.
      Blogger dashboard no longer loads for e. I looked to Google for troubleshooting to find out other users are having the same issue. I followed the suggested advice in order of simplest to devastating even if it works, but nothing did. The issue is, of course, the high contrast extension. I deleted every other extension in the hope one of them was the culprit. No such luck. All the other extensions were expendable. The high contrast is not.
      So for however long it takes Chrome to fix the problem, I am resorting to using Firefox exclusively to post blog entries. To be fair, Firefox has come a long way with its aids for the visually impaired. The browser merits a second look. But I am a creature of habit low to adapt to change. I would rather Chrome eliminate its bugs. But we will see what happens.

Personal Growth

       Here is the latest on my recent diabolical follicle debacle. My hair has been upgraded from peach fuzz with a bad dye job to Cha pet. In another week or so, it should reach porcupine status Stay tuned to Gods monsters for further developments.   

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Shadow Creature

      I know this is fake. It is pathetically fake. Like a beginner's CGI project. But the creature reminds me of a spider in the way the creature moves. I am no fan of spiders. Of particular spine chill is the way that move, so the way this critter moves is creepy. Ergo, I am sharing the footage as a creepy video.
      Comments across the internet frequently claim watching this shadow creature crawling along a Russian building reminds people of Slender Man. I never got into the whole Slender Man phenomenon . The spider similarities are enough for me. Your mileage may vary.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Next Battle

    There is certain to be a brutal confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. The Democrat leadership in the Senate already refused even to meet with him. Gorsuch is going to be demonized as a gun-loving, woman-hating fascist because that is just the way conservative nominees have been portrayed by liberals since the 1980's when the tactic successfully derailed.
   Keep in mind throughout it is all for show to appease liberal constituents. There would be no other reason to compel House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who has no say in the confirmation, to express her "serious concerns" over Gorsuch. Barring a scandalous bombshell revelation, Gorsuch will be confirmed even if Democrats filibuster and force Republicans to use the nuclear option. The reason opposition to Gorsuch is for show is because it serves as a dress rehearsal for the next vacancy on the Supreme Court.
       Gorsuch will replace the late Antonin Ssalia Gorsuch shares the originalist judicial philosophy with Scalia. His addition to the Supreme Court will not have significant effect on the Supreme Court's ideological make up. With Scalia, there were four conservative justices, fou liberal and Anthony Kennedy as the swing vote. So Gorsuch--not to sound dismissive-is a status quo candidate.
      But what of the next vacancy? Ruth Bader Ginsburg at 86 is the oldest current justice. She is also a two time cancer survivor. Gins burg has reliably served as the most liberal justice over the last 23 years, but she is barely hanging in there health wise. She is the one who famously fell asleep during the State of the Union a few years ago. Her departure will effect the Supreme Court ideologically for decades. So much so, there is muted grumbling she did not retire while Barack Obama was president so he could nominate a proper liberal. Now the opportunity will probably go to Donald Trump.
  I do not want to sound morbid here. Ginsburg may remain on the supreme Court until she is 106 . Perhaps Kennedy will grow weary of constantly taking on the most controversial role and want to devote his remaining years to origami. If last year proved anything, it is to expect the unexpected. The bottom line is the next battle over a supreme court vacancy will be the brutal, no holds barred fight. Brace yourself for it.    

Friday, February 3, 2017

Does Morality Exist?

    Does morality exist separate of humanity or is it a social construct that changes based on the circumstances in which humanity lives at any given time? On the one hand, thoughts on what is moral seem to change with the times. It is not moral to sacrifice virgins to Aztec gods. It is not moral to enslave a race of people to pick cotton. It is not moral to conduct a Holocaust of Jews. Yet at times, there were people who morally justified such actions. On the other hand, our conscious lets us know through a 'gut feeling' whether our actions are moral. So what is the status of morality?
    It is true humanity is a social species and has adopted moral instincts to fit within the society in which we live. These instincts do not necessarily define what is moral. Human sacrifice, slavery, and genocide may have been morally acceptable within the societies in which they were practiced, but it does not make those practices moral. Few would let the practitioners off the hook morally even though the actions were morally acceptable at the time. Humans are elevated above the animals as separate, rationale beings and out treat each other as such. People are not let off the hook because there is an objective way we should act, and going against that objective way has bad consequences. With this in mind, the immorality of human sacrifice, slavery, and genocide, though extreme examples, becomes clear.
     Just because we make subjective judgments on moral issues on a smaller scale, it does not follow there is no objective moral truth. Our thoughts on a particular matter can be influenced by the time period and society in which we live, but that does not mean there is not an objective truth on the matter. We simply may not know what it is. Or are even capable of knowing, for that matter.
      If objective morality exists, we are all experiencing it subjectively The matter comes down to the question of whether it is moral because people believe it is moral or do people believe it is moral because it truly is moral?    

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Life is a Game with Snakes on Every Level

       It is a fair statement to say life is a game with snakes on every level. I am confident if there is a grand plan, we are not privy to it. I did not get the memo, at any rate. Any posts have demonstrated y thoughts to that effect. Many more will. So there is plenty of time to look into the former idea. Now...how about the latter?
     As mentioned yesterday, I a in a better place mentally and emotionally than I have been in year. It is largely due to being cut loose from environments I allowed to control me rather than conquer them. These days, I cast a solitary figure even more than at any time when my INTJ personality ran on a generous leash. It is highly satisfying to do your own thing for a while after a long ordeal.
     In a day to day “real” life, one often fantasizes of not being forced to deal with 95% of the people they encounter. I know I certainly did. My problem was and still I an impatience with social norms. I a obviously not including the numerous pains in the behind you normally must deal with, either. Or at least I used to, before now retiring to the Hermit Cave.
       It will not last forever. Nothing ever does. Some snakes already tried to sneak in here and there in recent times before being bludgeoned into submission by yours truly. But I am going to enjoy the peace while it lasts. How many snakes will I encounter during the next level? Probably a bunch.

Wednesday, February 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 y 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.

Searching for Dragons to Slay

     January 2017 was my best month yet in both post output and number of visitors. Thanks to everyone who made the latter possible. While I started the blog nearly three years ago, it has only grown in recent times as I have begun to get y old groove back. It would appear blogging in general has faded as a popular pastime. At least it seems that way among the group of bloggers with whom I once associated. Oh, well. Things change.
      Do they ever. It is only because life settled down in recent months I have been able to concentrate on making a blog worth reading. At this point, I have slayed enough dragons in getting the story o myself in recent years out there for writing to be fun rather than the emotionally draining, but therapeutic exercise it was originally intended to be.
   What I never intended was for the blog to become a political blog again. I really hoped to broaden my horizons while occasionally donning my political scientist hat when events warranted. Naturally, as son as I declare I will not write about day to day politic, day to day politics becomes a fascinating subject to write about. So it gos in the Trump Era. How could I resist covering a former reality TV star president who keeps his campaign promises to conservatives while sending liberals into hysterical fits the likes of which I have never seen? Trump's effects on political culture is the only reason I retain any real interest in politics these days.
      Since my political coverage is fueling my logging surge, it is tough to stray too far away from it with other content, but that is what I want to do. More waxing poetic on various bric a bra. One of the luxuries of blogging with a small audience is the ability to experiment without the fear of losing large numbers of readers. Back on my old blog when I was getting thousands of visitors a day—still not a lot, mind you—I often felt trapped by my success. I feel a lot more independent these days. It will be interesting to see where the feeling of freedom takes us.