Homo Vicarious

A nasty morning after a sleepful night. It may even has been restful. At least I was less bed tired this morning than is modal. My browser tells me it is 23 degF in Greater Metropolitan Arab; my aft porch wireless thermometer sez 27 degF. Both are too d*** cold for this ORF. So I did my constitution on the stationary bicycle in my study. Not as good, physically nor menally, as a stumble on the path in the park but avoiding heart attack and frostbite and whatever – especially a visit to those modern pest holes we still call hospitals – is a boon.

I ran across this cartoon: [Link]

and was rather taken with the punch line. Is it craziness to dislike sports, at least the vicarious types like one observes on the electromagnetic audio-visual receiver? I think not. If anything, it is the opposite. And a very nasty, depraved, abusive type of opposite.

In fact, I would advance that this is a chief characteristic of bogs except that there are geeks, and a few nerds, who participate in this perversion. Now be mindful that I am not talking about sports one participates in. That may be stupid and foolish and rash but it is not mentally unhealthy, except in a purely physical sense of losing one’s mind due to having one’s brain smashed. No, rather I talk about spectator sport which is even more vicarious than spectator sex.

But, no, this perversion must be a separate infestation of humanity, the primary reason why we have politicians and lawyers and all the other dire threats to the future of humanity. And because it is so widespread, it is the norm and nothing can be done about curing it and it can be survived only by bunkering in.

On a more pleasant note, we observed an article [Link] that McDougal’s signage rots our higher faculties and enjoyments. In effect horrible, unhealthful food and higher thought processes cannot coexist. Presumably this is a commonality of chain businesses and not just the world’s worst food purveyor.[1]

Happily this is an affliction that is curable. We may either force the congress of thieves to outlaw chain retail businesses – a highly unlikely event – or resort to the use of civil disobedience which at least has the virtue of being a participatory sport. Sadly that is also highly unlikely given the nature of Amerika’s food perversion. But we can be happy in the knowledge that the cancer does have a cure; we just most likely won’t avail ourselves of it. One the other hand, the food is so unhealthy that we shan’t have to live a empty, vapid life for very long.

[1]  Actually I have experience with a worse food purveyor but it was a singleton. When I was an adolescent my parents took the family on a motorcar vacation to the Floridas and we overnighted in a small chain motel in a room with broken air conditioning and a restaurant that could actually ruin hotcakes. I managed to contract both pneumonia and food poisoning which made for a truly unique vacation experience.

Outreach Goodness

My opinions on science outreach are fairly obvious to the (few) readers of this blog. I consider it a perverse frenzy of current popularity that is characterized by Sturgeon’s Rule, that 0.9 of everything is crap.

crap n 1: obscene terms for feces [syn: crap, dirt, shit, shite, poop, turd]; 2: obscene words for unacceptable behavior; “I put up with a lot of bullshit from that jerk”; “what he said was mostly bull”

Happily that also implies that 0.1 is not.

I have to advance that I do not find much of the 0.1 that is written by actual academics; they seem unable these days of composing. But I did run across an excellent bit of outreach this weekend in the form of this cartoon, [Link]

And I still contend that the best children’s science book I know of is John Lewellen’s The Boy Scientist, Simon and Schuster, 1955. That date in itself is a condemnation of the current madness.

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I have to admit to being rather a bit disturbed about the recent religionist demonstrations against the Yankee republic. That that I object to the right of the people to conduct peaceful demonstration. The problem however, is that the demonstrations are not peaceful and they are violating civil rights, especially of those killed, injured, or discommoded.

This brings to the question of religionist expression versus civil rights. Which takes precedent? Obviously the superstitious will argue that their religionist exhibitions must take precedence over civil rights because they are superstition, after all. And the advocates of civil rights will argue that civil rights must take precedence because they are not religionist.

I have considered previously that superstition is coded into humans, a part of their nature and genetic code. Independence and individual existence are similar components. As a result, both religionist expression and civil rights may be considered fundamental to humans.

The religionists will argue that their beliefs derive from deity, which is an untestable, unverifiable claim and hence void of mass. Even if there is some accuracy to their claim, the interpretation of such revelation is as mundane as are the civil rights and hence the two are indistinguishable on the basis of origin.

This leaves us with a situation where one of two situations, neither likely stable or stationary, offer. That one or the other of these two, the superstition of religion or the superstition of civil rights, must be implicitly be ascendant, or that some tolerance will exist that permits the two to be selectively observed.

The latter is apparently unacceptable to the religionists involved. This is hardly surprising. Perversion tends to be absent of limit. Especially when it is rationalized as an absolute good, itself a perversion. So it is unclear what can be done about the nonsense and perversion other than we need be careful not to degrade ourselves to similar depths.

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I am often surprised by the apparent perversity of humans. No, I am not just speaking of sexual antics here but perversion in a broader sense of destructive behavior. One of my colleagues, Velocity Spin, has been regaling me with the praise of a journalist and in a spirit of testing whether she is not quite as whacked as she often seems, I have added her podcast to my accumulator as replacement for the MakeUseOf Technophilia podcast whose merits I descried in an earlier blot.

The journalist is in  the employ of MSNBC, so I had to go to an MSNBC web site to obtain the podcast URL for its RSS feed. I do not frequent such sites often, having a low level of tolerance for stupidity and vapid coding, so I was a bit bemused by how the links for the podcast feed were handled. There were three hot spots for subscribing for different devices:

  • iTunes;
  • Zune: and
  • everything not an iPod or a Zune.

Of course the Zune thing is there because it is an MSNBC web site. Is Zune even made any more?

Anyway, in my mind, once I subtracted out the MS foible, this reduced to Apple iPod, and everything else. And I proceeded to contemplate this. I should comment that this is not the only place I have seen this sort of differentiation but for some reason this morning, this one stuck.

Back in the bad old days of the Containment Conflict, aka The Cold War, we used to bemoan the fate of the poor Yugoslavians who being under the Communist tyranny instead of our benevolent Capitalist tyranny were cursed with having only one offering of any commodity. And in many case zero offerings of indispensable things like nose wiping papers impregnated with “lotion” or toothpaste with two colors of stripes built in. We bemoaned this as a tyranny of absence of choice. And, of course, it even extended, begrudgingly, to the Russians whose GUM department store (and bakeries) seldom had anything and what they had was one of a kind. This absence of choice was proclaimed as an absence of freedom. And we used to extend our sympathy to the poor deprived wights suffering under the yoke of Communism and renew our commitment to Amerika, Capitalism, the Nice Jewish Carpenter, and the goal of freeing those “poor people”.

And now I am exposed to evidence that we do this to ourselves. At one time MegaHard had a Lanchestrian monopoly on browsers with Internet (User) Exploiter. Now we are doing it with Apple poo. Tablet is a synonym for iPud, at least when it comes to advertising. The iPod is a synonym for MP3 player, at least for bog music and podcasts. Which raises the intriguing question of how do bog podcasts come about? More to the point, what makes us lemmings rushing to generate thing monopolies like this?

I should clarify, at least for any straying bogs who happen on here, that since I am a user of FOSS – Free and Open Software Systems – hence Linux, I do not use iTunes. Simply put it is too slow and too clutzy. So I use an MP3 player that acts like a USB stick rather than a microwave oven of noise. And I have to have a URL to download podcasts, or music, should I ever be inclined that way – different perversion – to go into my accumulator. Such, in my warped Containment Era programmed mind, is the nature of Freedom. Or perhaps, just choice and self-determination. But then I don’t hang around bogs enough to listen to them brag about what they can do with an iPod.

Not that I brag about what I can do with my MP3 player, since any of my nerd/geek colleagues can do the same. It’s a matter of our shared delusion of competency. Competency that bogs don’t have but think they do until they talk to us and run away like they have seen the Atomic Hand Grenade. Screaming. In fear!

But that doesn’t answer the question of why people do this sort of thing. Why do some products become choices – like automobile brands and models – and others become monopolies – like iPods? I don’t understand how we inflict this on ourselves.

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Dislike Denied

This morning started with a teaser. The weather beavers had predicted rain so when I stepped out of Castellum SCP, I heard running water and returned to secure and don my rain coat. But after exiting to sky, I discovered all I was hearing was the roof catch flowing down the drains. 

This put me in mind of yesterday’s  comments about social networking web sites (SNWS?) Then when I got to gym and listened to science podcasts, hearing about a tribe in the Amazonian rain forest that seems to violate the ‘natural language’ postulate, two million year old human tended (if not kindled) fire – which I have blogged upon previously, and Chippilo’s “The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity”, that thought azimuth was intensified.

It occurs that all SNWS are unbalanced and for that reason, aconstructionist. The unbalance is that it is almost impossible to say anything negative on one of these sites. FaceScroll is the epitome. Despite efforts to ‘dislike’ something, one can either ignore something, ‘like’ it, or make a comment. And based on experience, if the comment is the least bit constructionist, a wrath of irateness descends upon one. In effect, one if left with the alternatives of lurking or being Pollyanna. 

Frankly, this is blatantly and implicitly extrovertish. It follows from the extrovert addiction to attention and the natural attempt to maximize attention by attracting and pleasing as many people as possible. And the best way to please the majority, the bogs, is by doing nothing worthwhile or constructive. So in a constructive sense, we may associate SNWS with Extrovertism and all of its ills in our contemporary society with a high level of confidence.

In turn this utter vapidity of artificially enhanced positivism can be seen as a sort of mini-whimper that signals the degeneration of society into slime mold, and stinky slime mold at that.

It also indicates why branding is so successful on SNWS. By its nature it is ubiquitously positive and allergic to any form of constructive assessment, analysis, or criticism. One might even invent conspiracy that branding is what drives SNWS, rather than any actual give and take.

Consumer Toolism

One of the joys of living in Nawth Alibam is that you get to observe how unwisdom-ed and whacked most homo sapiens are. Geographically we have an epidemic of a particular form of mental illness of the religionist sort. This takes two forms: christianism; and footballism; although the combination is not unknown. The condition is sufficient that one wonders if there is some infestation of parasite akin to those that take over the brain of ants except that it does so in humans.

This illness is so extreme that the state guvment is continually trying to deny women status as humans. This normally takes the delusion form of when does humanness occur. The date keeps getting moved back towards conception, which leads us to the thought that some requirement to implant television cameras in women’s plumbing so the moment can be observed. Now that’s a unique form of voyeurism even for politicians.

Of course we keep hoping the chamber of thieves politicians in Muntgum will pass a law making masturbation a felony with mandatory death penalty. But then we’d have to elect new thieves politicians continually. The good news is that eventually a majority of them would be women and some sanity might creep into state guvment.

But what I want to really get to this morning is egregiously whacked commercials. I get to see some of these when I am at gym and it is all I can do not to fall off the seat of my stationary bicycle from laughter.

  1. Electric trimmer for body hair. Evidently it is now unfashionable to have body hair. That’s OK. It was unpopular with the classical Greeks and Romans and the barbarians took care of the aberration. But what is nonsense about this commercial is how the demonstrator tries to clip nose hair with a pair of shears rather than nose hair scissors. Is it just in Alibam that the bogs don’t know of such?
  2. Rotating bit holder for electric screwdriver. Evidently actors are incapable of using bit chucks on drill and screwdriver motors? The intent is not too bad, providing a means of having a drill bit and a screwdriver bit flip flopping on a drill/screwdriver motor so that you can drill a pilot hole and then put in the screw without changing bits. But the demonstration is so blatantly not trying to work the chuck that my ribs are bruised just looking. And how do they get the flip-flop device into the chuck if they can’t put a bit in?
  3. Lint roller. Now lint rollers have been around for a long time. FD SCP cannot live without them. But they use a roll of sticky sided tape that you peel off once it gets clogged and discard. This new one is ‘GREEN’ because you just wash it off, adding to the solids burden of the sewage system. But what is rib wracking about this one is the hyperkinetic adult hawking the product and all the don’t-make-sense uses he puts the thing to in the commercial. He does everything except masturbate and if the thing doesn’t sell that is probably next, so maybe we should work on that law again?

Anyway, it struck me that this is a case where clearly we do not have enough leisure time since we are supposed to buy these whacked tools so we can get misuses into play. Something adds up negative here.

I admit to being more of a klutz than almost everyone, but at least I am a rational klutz. I don’t shave off body hair that helps regulate my body temperature and keeps me healthy (relatively!) I can use a clutch and don’t need a flip-flop that falls apart in a week or so. And I don’t go picking up children, small dogs, and floor dirt with a lint roller. I use the proper tool and not some geegaw that doesn’t work.

Has anyone seen my left handed framasickle?