Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sanity Test

I'm coming to the conclusion that the world is changing badly or I'm just out of step with it.

My mate Chev has been posting some stuff up on his Tumblr account - http://hugonebula.tumblr.com/ - that initially I just ignored. You know how it is, you subscribe to everyone you know and eventually a lot of the stuff you see in your FB news feed or on your Tumblr dashboard just washes over you. Then I noticed that he had posted something which appeared to be US television news coverage of the rehabilitation of a rapist. Fortunately it proved to be a spoof, but the point was that earlier in the week he had posted something to his Tumblr site that was anything but a spoof - http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/03/17/cnn-grieves-that-guilty-verdict-ruined-promising-lives-of-steubenville-rapists/#.UUYZwiNjwvA.twitter about the tragedy of how rapists' lives have been ruined because... they committed a rape.

Apparently, in the USA, rape is still considered a 'dodgy' charge; something that is deemed an unfortunate blip on someone's life or career rather than this heinous crime against women; unless of course you're black. There are 75% more black working class rapists in US jails than white people in general. So, if you are a college student in the USA and there's a girl you really want to 'do', just do it, if you're not black or from Chicago you'll be fine as long as you have a good lawyer.

We watched Beasts of the Southern Wild the other night. We expected it be like a New Orleans version of the superbly bleak Winter's Bone but instead it was just a bit crap - a cheap and badly made film that left the viewer completely bemused and befuddled at the end (and not in an enigmatic good way either). The young girl who starred in it (how she was nominated for best supporting actress when she was on screen for almost the entire movie is confusing - she didn't support anyone) was good, but in general all the film did was prove that the USA really doesn't give a shit about its poor and deprived. That said, if you were an alien just arrived on this planet and you were told that the planet spent over $2,000billion on war in the last 12 months, but $500billion would eradicate WORLD poverty...

The BBC has been celebrating its new News studios; showing us all where a lot of our license fee has gone. I love BBC News, it is way better than any of the other news suppliers and I feel I know the people who work on the Beeb. However, I can't help thinking that even though I'm not even remotely an accountant there are things going on at the BBC that I would frown upon, big time...

I have mentioned in the past that the Beeb must spend enormous amounts of money shipping out their A list reporters to cover stories that their bog standard reporters have been doing an admirable job on. Take the Pope for instance - all through the day, every day, the new Pope's adventures have been covered by the lovely (and probably Italian) Luisa Baldini; that is until the BBC1 News when suddenly Jon Sopel or some other heavyweight reporter is wheeled on to tell us everything Baldini is more than capable of. Do the BBC think that having someone they think we'll recognise better doing the link makes it easier for fuckwits to understand or is it just an excuse to ship the likes of George Alaghia, Fiona Bruce and Sophie Raworth out to these places because they can?

Or how about the fact that the BBC moves to Salford, but the entire news department refuses to move, so what we have is Breakfast from Salford and all the sports reports, but all the news, etc coming from London. Plus, they're shutting Television Centre in Wood Lane and have moved to a place in the city - at a huge cost compared to the previous place. Progress means having to spend lots of our money, doncha know.

It's this kind of comedy use of money designed to make programmes with, which makes me far more angry than some executive's decision to pull a Jimmy Savile story...

And then there's politics. Really, I can understand why UKIP are growing in popularity, because they'll say anything that will make people agree with them; the problem is if they ever got a sniff of power you'd see that they have ideas but no money to do them with - which is a good thing in many ways because a lot of their ideas are so right wing they'd make Mussolini baulk. Can you imagine a UK that is run by the Tories and UKIP as a coalition? You'd have nothing left. You'd walk the streets full of homeless, starving and ill people and the country would be fascist in all but name. Thatcher had this idea when she won a third term and that was to hold a referendum on whether or not she should stay as prime minister in perpetuity, because the people had given her a mandate three times on the trot, so they must want her permanently. Fortunately some people saw that she was quickly becoming a megalomaniac and John Major was drafted in to ground everything again. If we had a Tory/UKIP coalition there wouldn't be anything left for a Labour, Liberal or Green party to repair without completely bankrupting the country - because that's kinda what the Tories are doing now - they're making it very very difficult for whoever gets in at the next election to fix (even if they get in, but even then it doesn't matter because they'll be all right, even if you're not).

I just wish people would think about fairness when they think about voting. We should be trying to make this country a fairer place not allow the rich to get richer and the bigots to set the agenda.

I don't know if I'd want to be in this country any longer if we don't get a government who puts its people first...

That said, what are Labour doing to make me think they're any better. Nothing at all; but what they are doing is this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/19/labour-rush-benefit-rebates-poundland and Liam Byrne, who I actually thought had some integrity, proves that all politicians are essentially cunts.

The weathermen are tentatively talking about a 'snow event' later this week. The weird thing is that Pete Gibbs sort of suggested as much as long as a week ago, saying that winter was by no means even close to ending. It appears that parts of Scotland are experiencing piss poor weather with inches of snow on the floor and just about everywhere is suffering from well below average temperatures and it's going to get really bad before it gets better. They don't quite know how much snow will fall or where exactly, just that there's an Atlantic low hitting the cold, blocking, air that has sat over us for best part of the last 4 months and every time that has happened so far this winter we've had lots of snow. Apparently it might be the last blow out of a winter that really has lasted best part of 6 months, but if you scour the long range weather forecasts (hey, I've got nothing better to do), you see nothing that makes you want to break out the spring wardrobe.

Accuweather - who have the longest long range forecasts but do seem to be closer, even more accurate, don't have us even experiencing double figures until April 2 at the earliest and even then 13 degrees is the high and it gets colder and wetter as we head towards my 51st. The Weather Channel's 10 day forecast has a maximum of 9 and lots of cloud, rain, sleet and winds from the wrong direction, the BBC just hedge their bets and have ranges of temperatures that can be as wide as 15 degrees, such is the Met Office's complete reluctance to make any kind of forecast beyond 5 days now. The Weather-Forecast page suggests we'll see spring for a few hours on Saturday before it all goes tits up again. In fact, the general consensus appears to be we shouldn't expect anything of note until the end or middle of April, which you could argue is pretty much par for the course, but, you know, in winter and early spring there's always a few nice sunny and mild days that reaffirm your belief that the world isn't just hell...

I'd like to get out in the garden and dig the borders over and prepare my veg patch for the inevitable waterlogging and rot that will be prevalent in July and even though the sun has just peaked out from behind the wall-to-wall cloud, the temperature on the patio - the warmest place in the garden - is still only 6 degrees - that's 5 degrees colder than the average for March 19.

You know I have a Facebook alias? Well, Bill has become very useful recently for me to discover that you're being conned by Mr Zuckerberg's retirement fund again. If you get tagged in a photo or something and you want that tag removing it is a simple click, click and gone. Yes? No. Yes it's removed from your Timeline and you won't be tagged in it as far as you're concerned, but it doesn't take the tag away from everywhere else. I play Bill at Bejewelled Blitz; it's sad, I know, but it helps wile away the hours, plus when I play other people I have no control over what they put up, but with Bill I do. Every time me or Bill wins or achieves something in the game it posts automatically - you have to have this option or you can't have the game - and I'm very quick to delete the post and un-tag myself from it. But if I go to Bill's Facebook page, I see that its only gone from my view and not from 'his'. The thing I hid is still there; so I asked someone else who I play if my posts with Bill appear in her feed and they do, despite me taking untagging my name. Facebook tells me: "Your tag has been removed. Remember: This content still appears in news feed, search and other places on Facebook"; so in other words, it hides this information from you and no one else. So you can't see it, so out of sight should be out of mind. What a crock of really stinky shit. You cannot avoid Facebook or affiliates using you even if you think you can. What appears in your Timeline isn't what appears in others, obviously, but what you think people can see about you isn't what they see at all.

Now, just to add a wrinkle to this almost circular bit of 'net manipulation. I went into Bill's account and did the same thing; it claims that I, Phill Hall, put the tag on the post, even though I didn't and I know that Bill actually was responsible for the post going up because he always goes second. Also, there's this option that says - Contact #### and ask him to remove the tag from this post. So, despite having already removed the tags from anything on my Timeline, Bill needed to message me asking me to take the tags off, which of course I'd already done... This entire set-up reminds me of a Möbius Strip...

I'm going to be intrigued to see if any of these Phill v Bill posts remain on other Bejewelled Blitz players' Facebook pages because if they do, we're just being butt-fucked by these legalised identity thieves.

This might not bother you and if it doesn't that's fine; but, you know, it should. This is a company that is slowly collecting more information on you than Big Brother and will eventually use all of that info to target you with advertising, promotions and all kinds of shit. They will also sell that info to whoever wants to buy it and because of the unique way Facebook works as a social networking platform, you will struggle to even find a way to complain to them that will be seen by human eyes.

In case you forgot, we're all going to die (and then again and again in different horrible realities until we reach the complete depths of Hades...)

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