Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Fahrvergnügen

I told H the other day that the overly-abundant and descriptive signage along German roads makes the task of driving a lot more fun. There are a lot of warning icons, like 1UP mushrooms, that make navigating like Super Mario Kart--sometimes you get Frog v. Car or Deer v. Snow Flake or Crumbling Mountain v. Oil Slick or Pedestrian v. Man with a Shovel. American traffic signs are dull, spelling things out without room for interpretation. These are exciting obstacles--"!" is a wildcard, but of course there are Stau warnings and the dreaed Detours. My navigation system even plays along by sounding alerts for speed cameras.

Monday, 27 April 2009

grippa porcina

As if there wasn't enough already to stroke one's worry-stone over, now comes the latest cause for mass-hysteria, neatly packaged and easily digested--swine flu. Apparently the nebulous ecomonic situation has become no longer captivating, and now a scenario, ham-fisted, that only the machinery of big governments comes along, begging intervention and a fresh, contained medical bail-out. Too clumsy to intervene in a supposedly self-regulating system, like world finance, it is as if the masses wanted something bureaucratic to believe in--or else, the government gets the chance to assert its relevance again. Avian influenza seemed much more scary, death rained from the skies, than whatever pig flu is made out to be, killer packs of zombie hogs--disfigurement from symptoms, including a piggy snout? The timing is superb, as is the chorus of panic.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

islam-a-thon

The modern US army and by extension modern war-fare is rather dissatisfying and distasteful--if only for the fact that the desk-jockeys are rarely valiant and merely tremolo-heroic. Too much of what's called battle is relegated to the eschelons of one's level of administrative-rights. Never mind the tardy circumspecion when it comes to applying technologies in a sensible way--the wonder of the modern paperless office, or taking a sensible or a merely timely stance towards vulnerabilities and breaches of security. Instead the army has jumped headlong into integrating dangerous and scary kill-bots, well beyond the kin of any would-be peach-keeper or world police. No one's invisible or private in the face of dragnet wire-tapping or satillite-survelliance. Thank goodness that electonc filters are not yet good enough to monitor everyone and that casual spying is limited by manpower and priorities and prejudices. There is, however, the matter of roving drones--employed liberally by defense contractors in the name of the US army and the CIA. Mind you, it is not soldiers or mercenaries who play these video games, but rather drones themselves. There was formerly a bit of bitter-sweet honour in being a paid assassin, but I doubt that sense is preserved for those who play this long, boring game with little elements of arcade fantasy. It's like out-sourcing another decidedly American institution--like the ventured by the largest fast-food chain, whose drive-thru orders were being attended to by a West Indian call-center. It is a treacherous thing when being off-line is a genuine work-stoppage and conversely when going underground simply is off-the-net.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

NSFW


There was a bit of embarassment and maybe a bone of contention recently when a routine virus scan on the laptop dregged up some old, forgotten malware embedded in chat-room activity, deleted and abandoned a long time ago. That was a lifetime past and antiquated and uninteresting. Even without the juicy details. It got me to thinking the most malicious variety of computer virus would be one that could maximize shame and need for explanation--one that could manage to belch out or selectively reguritate someone's old, retired pornography at the most opportunely wrong moment. Despite what its name implies, pornography, the writing of prostitutes--"Dear Diary, Feceius sure has some strange requests... " porn is and was all about fantasy, regardless of what blushes are engendered.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

What happens when Subversive Bloggers go Underground




Remember the Stygian Witches from the movie Clash of the Titans? The three ancient sisters--really the Graeae, the gray ones, had one eye to share between them, and apparently, one tooth too. Perseus gets the witches to cooperate by taking the eye ransom. Work sometimes begins to feel like that, blind and gummy, for one missing component. Whenever so many things are done just under the RADAR, shoddy but minimally compliant with some arcane and narrow regulation, one absent signator spoils one's busy momentum and be a real show-stopper.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

reenforced optimism

So the quasi-son-in-law of Sarah Palin got his own talk-show spot with Tyra Banks, and Sarah Palin apparent is unhappy about the exposure. Palin takes herself seriously enough to express her displeasure in official-spokeswoman-form. That's like when one's email is answered with a phone call, or, rarely worse-yet, with a fax. I baptize this child Dirty Little Bastard Palin, at least he's not another retard in the brood--grandma owes him a cameo on Jerry Springer. Michelle Obama undid her husband's poor gift-giving record by presenting Carla Sarkosy-Bruni with an electric guitar. Top US naval brass revealed, rather non-chalantly, that their fleet of aircraft-carriers are not intended to engage in battle, virtually defenseless against the crudest volley of cannonballs from any swash-buckler. What sort of children's museum is afloat? How many trillions of dollars have been squandered on this interactive exhibit, death-trap of an armada? It just goes to prove that there is benevolent force of reason, at least temporally, looking out for our better interests. What the defense-industrial complex does is no different than the snake-oil peddlers or investment bankers' promises. Things are not done with reason, towards any goal other than providing for one's ellusive retirement years and legacy. That's a bit of liberation, to know that no one's in it except for the drudgery.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Oh, Bama! or With Strings Attached

Here were the Obamas visitimg the Queen of England. I am sure everything was mutually pleasant and properly cordial, but where was the noblesse oblige? Even after the rumblings brought about by handing off a old bag of used DVDs (and mind you regionally-coded DVDs that he couldn't even watch) as a gift to PM Gordon Brown after his first official visit, Obama seemed to learn no bettter. Michelle, despite how chummy she got with the Queen later, basically threw Prince Phillip under a bus in this photograph. And then Barack presented the Elizbeth II with an Ipod of his speeches, plus footage from her royal visit to America from 2007. He excused himself saying Her Majesty wanted these videos--but I am pretty sure the Queen has the savvy to pirate this herself. She was, after all, the first head of state to send an e-mail, in 1976. It was a moment, harking back to the Bush administration, when I was moved to ask, didn't his advisors say something. Maybe that's not the best idea, or simply shut up. At least when George W. gave Vladimir Putin those shit-kicking cowboy boots, at least that was meanful. I guess we can't have nice things. And now the US administration can't even dole out billions of dollars to rescue private corporations without exacting its executive first-born.