Darkness Falls

One Day. Back to gym. Very sparse. The podcast was an episode of the CBC’s “Best of Ideas” about T. E. Lawrence.  The theme of the ‘cast was that Lawrence was doomed to failure by the Old Guard. And having success evaporated retreated into denial and dejection.

Can’t blame him for that. My efforts have often been spoilt by overbearing organizational superiors.

One of my favorite books  is a novel by Lester Sprague DeCamp entitled “Lest Darkness Fall”. The protagonist is an 1930’s archaeologist transported in time – no rational presented – to early christianist Rome where he struggles to survive and prevent the Dark Ages – the Fall of Darkness.

In the end he is only semi-successful, whelmed by the forces of society that undercut individuality. 

So I turned my cognition to the present day. And I realized that the Darkness has already begun to descend. The current POTUS campaign is symptomatic. Civility and manners are antiquated and deprecated. Rudeness and Anger and Arrogance are the new morality.

We have, in essence, grown our own Barbarians.They didn’t creep in from the hinterland, in the global society that we Amerikans deny – our new National characteristic – Barbarians have to be homegrown and we have been remarkably successful. Almost every pickup truck has one for a driver. 

One of the causes of Roman collapse was the Latifunda, the factory farms, staffed by slaves instead of tenants or small holders. One of the causes of modern Amerikan Darkness is Capitalism and its Corporate manifestation – unbridled economy of scale driven by the unimetric of cash. Gone is any consideration of workers or customers. When you control the jobs and the products you have a tighter rein on society than any Commissar in the Soviet Bloc. And once implemented the only hard stop is when the workers have all starved to death. 

Capitalism had been killing the Golden Goose. 

And the fall is nigh, I fear. There are too many indications, behaviors, conditions, sicknesses. This is not just a reversion to Third World state but a collapse into darkness.

So I’m glad I’m ORF. 

What’s Hallowed?

I am not a fan of Halloween. I have no good memories of it as a child. What memories I have are largely of EXTRO abuse and harassment. Even my parents  – at least my mother – harassed me. I HAD to go out to other people’s houses and collect inedible candy – if you think it’s bad today, it was horrible in the ’50’s – with other kids and parents. Talk about painful territory.

The only good part was my mother wouldn’t let me eat the candy. She rationed it and after a day I was able to avoid the ration and eventually it got to the rubbish can.

Even when I was an adolescent I had to participate in Halloween social activities. I especially recall a skating party where I was mugged by the jocks. I told my parents I fell. 

And as an adult I am expected to perpetuate this terrorism by being a distributor of candy to other people. Who call at my house. More EXTRO abuse.

Happily I am now a grouchy ORF and can ignore the doorbell and leave the lights off and not have to deal with terrorists on my doorstep.

And yesterday was actually a pleasant surprise. I was watching cable – DSL is TOO SLOW for streaming courtesy of living in the hinterland amid EXTRO bandwidth hawgs – and discovered that TCM was airing a series of ’40’s and ’50’s RED MENACE BOMB DENIAL movies. (Who says denial is a new thing? Repulsians have been doing it for decades and that’s just to my observation.)

How the people who schedule movies figure post-bellum SF movies are Halloween material is a matter of extreme puzzlement. Horror and Fantasy, yes; but SF? NEIN. 

But something I could enjoy. 

The series was: The Blob; The Thing; and Earth versus the Flying Saucers. Inserted in this was The Village of the Damned but it is such a boring bit of Quatermass imitation that it’s not really good enough to include. Of course, the rhetoric from the talking head around the showing indicated all they cared about was boxoffice gross and awards. And the VoD did appeal to the BOGs.

None of these are Science Fiction even though they are based on good science fiction writing. But Hollywood prides itself on making stercus out of aurum. Occasionally it is bonus stercus as in these three, but stercus nonetheless. Occasionally they come close to Science Fiction in their SF movies – Forbidden Planet is probably the closest – and the Germans and French do better than the English speaking peoples, and the English make it sound wonderful and good with those accents but it’s still cardboard crap. 

But when they get close it’s good. Not as good as real Science Fiction, but definitely worth the time and attention span. So I sat through all four, but wandered away a lot during VoD.

The Blob is the epitome of the adolescent SF movie. A tour de force of teenager being right and the establishment being WRONG! Made us feel validated when we saw this as endocrine wracked teens. It was movies like this that made us be successful inspite of our parents’ depression/world war mores. And easily the best of Steve McQueen’s movies. I know there is a cult of Bullit, but that was derivative of TB. Established him as the owner of the angry brooding teen as savior of civilization. Happily he never got to play Batman.

The Thing is the epitome of great SF. It’s based on a John Campbell short story. That short story illuminates why Campbell was the Dean of the American (covert) College of Science Fiction. A GREAT Science Fiction Author and Editor of ANALOG. The mentor of Asimov and Heinlein and many of the other greats. And got no mention by the talking head other than as author of the short story. But lots of stercus tauri about the praise and profit of the movie. And also Janes Arness’ greatest role. No speaking, which many consider his greatest accomplishment. And the electrocution scene! The epitome of pre-CGI effects. After TT, it was downhill for Arness. Except for THEM! But after the Bomb Denial movies all he had left was Oaters. 

Earth Versus is a bit of a let down after the other two. Except it is so seriously camp that it hurts. Amazing how humorously the military is portrayed in movies when Amerika likes them. Very different post-Vietnam. This movie is a study in mediocre excellence. The effects are superb, better than the CGI stuff in the Star * movies. But what makes it is the robotic mechanicalness of the whole movie. It never really crescendos. It just staggers along without major bumps. And that dullness lulls one into the visuals, which are superb. This was a showpiece for Harryhousen and it is a more fitting memorial than any of the classical soap operas he worked on. If anything, this movie is tinged with a wonderful message about human arrogance, mirrored in the pridefulness of the aliens.

So overall, a worthwhile afternoon of diversion and digression. Good result despite poor planning by TCM. Evidently Ms. Fonda couldn’t rescue them from their own greed. Which is why SF of this era is so wonderful today. It talks to what is wrong with our society. Still. Ever?

Digital Stupidity Confirmed

Starting early cleaning tabs. First, a grievous evil may have been righted. [Link] The Lenovo people are usually pretty good about supporting Linux. It has been fairly easy to take one of their lapboxes, blow away the cancer that is Winders on it, and install the Linux distro of choice. Even though they have gone to UEFI, their implementation works well with uncertified distros.

But not recently. In an apparent subjugation to MegaHard, their YOGA lapboxes have been untouchable. Which has likely hurt their business. The Two-Percentum are not without a certain Linusesque inclination to expression. But supposedly the exclusion was an error (???) and has now been corrected.

I tend not to buy latest and greatest. Mostly because I’m frugal. And the one time in the last year I bought a new, contemporary box, it was as rotten as cardboard shoes in a monsoon. So I crated it back up and saved it for some needy Winders serf.

In the same scan, I noted a rather overdone article on the security of internet appliances. [Link] Too much of this article is about physical burglary angst, which is quickly, less than one sentence in, boring. The sort of boring that makes you wish the author had been mugged in the burglary.

But the point, not well associated with the burglary, that we can’t trust the manufacturers of IOT appliances is valid if untrustworthy in such a sob sister.

ANyway, my natural distrust of things BOGish is being confirmed in the wake of the recent DNS DOS assault. I am – barely – willing to accept microprocessor controlled appliances but not if they’re connected to the internet. Or even to my network.

Especially since I turn my cellular telephone off as soon as I get home since it won’t work under my metal roof.

Arrival Celebration

Fall has officially arrived in Greater Metropolitan Arab.

The Arab Electron Uncooperative just did a hard reset about fifteen minutes ago and I am FINALLY getting my deskboxes back on-line.

Evidently they have unrequited envy of the Water Board for getting smashed to squashed stercus for removing Fluoride. 

So they arbitrarily turned off the electron flow WITHOUT WARNING.

Ferd Schmucks.

Reverse Effect

I have already had a blot about how the Realtor advertisements have the opposite effect of they are intended of, namely that they come across as an advertisement for “The Onion Router” and not prevaricating fraudists misselling crappy houses.

Now the attention is on FaceScroll. I ran across this article [Link] entitled “Facebook’s Targeted Ads Could Be Used To Exclude Certain Races.” The article goes on to rant about the fallacious nonsense that is the idea of racism. That’s all right. It’s basically a almost all BOG site anyway but it does give some useful insight into the minds of contemporary BOGs.

But in this case I had to marvel at the good fortune of those humans who were so excluded. My response to almost all of the advertisements on the FaceScroll is intense nausea. Usually I can control it but sometimes I have to stop and steam clean my keyboard. 

Needless to say that I almost never buy anything advertised by FaceScroll. In fact, in most instances, I avoid that brand completely. So the advertisement has a negative effect.

It alienates me.

Which is hardly the intent of the minions of FaceScroll and its greedy paying customers.

But it is the effect. 

Generally I leave the advertisements alone. I only block them f they are morally or ethically offensive.

But I wonder if I can induce FaceScroll to pay for a new keyboard?