Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Good to Go, Brazil News & Back to the Future, Again

Since I haven't shamed the Empire in a while.....

Not So Fast Buddy

In case you still believe you are living in the greatest democracy known to man, think about this.
Your life could be seriously complicated by something as innocuous as the no-fly list.
Check this story from We Meant Well, Peter Van Buren's informative blog; helping to shed light in a world where some would prefer none.

Imagine this: All of a sudden and for no apparent reason you are denied boarding your flight. Just think how many situations could be completely and irreparably fucked up!
Your new status can not easily be rectified because no one is allowed to know much or talk directly to DHS about this and all the while, you may not fly.
Funeral? Nope. Wedding? Sorry. Someone quite ill? Forget it, you can't go. Oh, you can drive or walk, but no, you can not fly and we can't say why you can't, you just can't.

Think this is an unlikely or exaggerated tale? Read on.
Here's a direct link to that story:

It's Just a Game

Well deserved congratulations going out to Germany on their World Cup victory.

 It was a great game.

Think of the kids would 'ya?

I wish it was just a game.

Let your conscience be your guide.
My attention has been diverted since learning how the games are opposed by many in Brazil and for a variety of reasons.

The Federation Cup held in Brazil last year was 'marred' by protests and an excellent article I posted here from ESPN gave me a glimpse of how these events just bulldoze (literally) over any interests that don't include said events.

Mafias like FIFA have practically ruined the game adding substantially to the ever escalating salaries, fees and costs of every kind that serve to generate and then channel back revenue to the organizers who then promotes on an even grander scale.

We, the fans pay dearly for this; athletes suffer, but most tragically Brasileros already on a low economic wrung are displaced, attacked and their basic necessities cruelly ignored. 

All for the game yeah?

You may not think a sporting event that nearly everyone wants to be a thing is the appropriate place to protest say, the growing income disparity of people living in a country that has a vast amount of wealth and resources.

I think there's good reason to imagine Brazil having an even larger impact on the world in the future so it makes sense the disenfranchised feel some urgency regarding their message.
The billions that have been spent building stadiums, advertising, playing host and broadcasting the games illuminates the stark contrast between the growing numbers of people in poverty and the organizers and their governments.

The Nation link comes to us via Columbia Dave.

Singularity Blues

Singularity, when machine "intelligence" surpasses that of man is the key term of a documentary about man merging with computers and it will certainly get you thinking about this.

There's a guy, Ray Kurtzweil and his book 'The Singularity is Near' (for sale), a film (for sale), loads of trailers and hype. The documentary linked here is called Transcendent Man (free).

Man and machine as one. Ahhhh, finally.

Certainly many would welcome this kind of progress and considering it merely overcoming an 'obstacle' in our long technological trajectory; overcoming our limited cognitive functions (at last).

I'm not so sure.

As a documentary it sticks mostly to Kurzweil's ideology and the whole thing has an odor of cult and a profitable cottage industry for the not-so-dumb Kurzweil. The dissenting views are sparsely inserted and compelling, but it's easy to feel that RK is on to something. Even if he does come off sounding slightly desperate to connect with his tragic father, not to mention fear of his own mortality.

This is clearly a topic that's a feedbag of thought for people who think too much.

I think a problem here is that our 'now' brains can not imagine what our future brains with future tech help will conceive.
Sure we can guess and his exponential growth theory works for some things. However since each change will change each stage of this growth, making in turn something we can't know, it throws off that neat curve to infinity.
Besides, we can use knowledge of our past to make another logical conclusion.
We are going to fuck this up too.

There's also a film coming with Johnny Depp. So there's that.

Here's the Documentary.

Peace and thanks for reading

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bite Me, Blogfear, Your Diet

Uruguay eliminates Italy

Uruguay stubbornly refuses to give up on the World Cup.
After a well deserved drubbing from Costa Rica things looked bleak. Their definitive win over England caused everyone to rethink the tiny country's chances.
It's looking hopeful again, always a bad sign around here.
But that's the great attraction of this sport: any team at this level can beat the other at any moment. You just can't know. We just may.
If 'El Depredador' can stop biting people.


Here's the dictionary you've been longing for. If you are the longing type.
The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows gives names to the feelings you thought you alone possessed. Melancholy depressives, melodramatic nostalgics, morose introverts, welcome!
Fuel for the fire that's burning in your soul.


be afraid, be very afraid
Something I've always felt would make a great source of food and go along way towards reducing what looks like an overabundance of 'pest' on the planet would be to eat bugs.
Hang on.
Everybody's heard of exotic delicacies in the 'east' (forgive the Anglo-centric viewpoint); baskets of crunchy bugs. I know people already eat them, but why can't we all?
If you think eating almost anything would be better than a bug, take a look at the evidence.
We eat plenty already that is made to taste and feel like something it didn't start out as
These things are high in protean low in fat and easier to handle than say, cows?
I'd be willing to bet many vegetarians will find this a tolerable compromise.

I could be off the mark with reducing our vermin population. In fact we may inadvertently help the bugs take over the planet again. Sci-fi writers take note.
I like this as an idea that treats our exploding population with the contempt it deserves. This idea or something from it could help us to use more of what we've got, slow our roll which seems to roll over everything else oblivious to the consequences.
Vice has a word on the subject.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bigger than You, Internet News, Ejumacation Dept.

Do it lesser

This just in....the problems of scarcity of resource, over-consumption, overpopulation, avarice and contempt for the environment are no longer problems! They don't need to be solved because, all together now, "no one knows, nothing matters, nobody cares".

I recently visited the US and found the economy (at least where I was) to be normal looking, could have been thriving really. I couldn't tell. Perhaps bubbles of economic 'normalcy' in areas that attract folks still holding currency exist, but in stark contrast and near proximity to vast tracks in a land laid waste.

Monster mansions make a comebackA friend and contributor to these pages is currently scanning the country without-a-future and reports that it appears "outwardly normal, but feels hollow".

I can't decide if it's difficult or all too easy to choose whom to blame. Informal surveys tell me that it's most often found to be caused by somebody other than to whom you are talking. Since it's nobody, I figure it must be everybody.

A story out of the LA Times Opinion section ( a curious enough entity to deserve a post of it's own) ran this story about the renewed McMansion building trend and the ethos of bigger-is-better that has been part and parcel of American life for decades. They site Thomas Frank's book “What’s the Matter with Kansas?”. Here's a quote;

“This [McMansion] is [American] civilization’s very center, the only thing that really makes sense in ‘[expletive] nation,’ the tawdry telos at which all our economic policies aim. Everything we do seems designed to make this thing possible. Cities must sprawl to accommodate its bulk, eight-lane roads must be constructed, gasoline must be kept cheap, coal must be hauled in from Wyoming on mile-long trains. Middle-class taxes must be higher to make up for the deductions given to McMansion owners, lending standards must be diluted so more suckers can purchase them, banks must be propped up, bonuses must go out, stock prices must ascend. Every one of us must work ever longer hours so that this millionaire’s folly can remain viable, can be sold successfully to the next one on the list. This stupendous, staring banality is the final outcome for which we have sacrificed everything else.”

Web of Lies

We're hearing a lot about NET NEUTRALITY these days. Let me further confuse you. Since we don't really know how to live without the internet, this may be of interest to just about everyone.
Fortunately the tech blogs and geekesphere has been keeping this story alive. I am not sure how much this affects the web world wide or if hackers will save the day.
On the surface it appears to be about cable companies and such wanting to charge various rates for the 'signal' or the internet. Not a big deal, right?  So Amazone and Shittybank get the fastest and home made web sites and blogs (hrumph) get dial up speed internet.
It looks to me like commercial interests want government cooperation (read: muscle for enforcement) to control (read: manipulate for maximum profitability) OUR continued access to everything. I don't normally want everything, but in this case uh, yeah.
Here's a story about someone fighting back.

Smarter'n you

 "Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education." Bertrand Russell

If you believe the university system in the States could be better. then you'll like this.
A shocking report that state school presidents are increasing their pay, while tuition soars and students are racking up ever greater debts. The report says higher executive pay translates into less funding for scholarships. Duh.
Even Time Inc. can illuminate a grave problem like this to the democratically challenged. Still, what to do?
At a minimum, public schools should be as accessible as possible.
This means cheap or free and yes, subsidized by the people.

Another addition of old news editorialized by a know-nothing.
Thanks for reading. Comments welcome.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Bad Old Days, FBI news, Spotlight Uruguay & Movie Picks

Wax this

There will be no more waxing nostalgic about what we did, when and how great or over-the-top it was. No more, done, finito. I will not stand for it. (I'm sitting now)
This will include;

  1. how hard things were back in-the-day
  2. how everything is just a remake (and a poor imitation at that) of something from years ago 
  3. how there's just no quality anything anymore 
  4. you couldn't do THAT in my day
Especially repugnant are tales of how hard you partied back then. No good time goes without someone comparing it to how crazy it was that one time. Woooo! Let's just assume that everyone has done some crazy shit, made some unexpected acquaintances, happened upon the epicenter of happening just by chance and ended up someplace weird.
I'm sure modern psychology has a term for it, but I just call it the bad old days. I'm not even debating weather it's factual or not. For me sirens go off, lights start flashing and it's Red Alert: change the subject or head for the door. Here's why I think it's a bad idea.
  1. If you're going on about the past or imagining how great it'll be when such and such happens in the future, you're not living in the now (see last post). While it's not possible to forget it all and since we do need experience to keep us from touching a hot stove the second time, don't get too extreme. Just stay in the moment and everything past or future will be exactly were it needs to be.
  2. With so many people battling addictions, compulsions and excessive behavior chatting it up about how no one did more than you once upon a time could be a trigger for the speaker or audience. Keep that stuff private or professional please.
  3. Reliving or reviving the past is all about you. Let someone else drive for a while. 

The FBI outdoing themselves, again

Here's a story that skims the surface of what the already jaded know and the all-too-trusting American public is slow to grasp.
All this 'surveillance' of the public is already out of control.
The propensity for error, nefarious uses and the legal and moral objections to being spied upon have been in discussion and print for a long while. From the apologist; you need not worry if you have nothing to hide, to the cowed conformist; tough security for tough times means a little less liberty: deal with it!
I am reminded of a rogue free thinker that warned those willing to trade liberty for security deserve neither.
Oh My, what should we do?
In the mean time, here's the article.


Uruguay takes the vanguard on common sense toward smoke what-you-want thereby capturing the world's attention and gaining the moral if not bureaucratic high ground.
This had led magazines, newsers and artists to weigh in en masse. Sometimes they even come here.
Emil Kusturica was here recently shooting for a feature film that features non other than our President Jose Mujica. Kusturica has won awards for his direction and is a full blown activist, actor and musician as well. He calls Mujica a hero.         We agree.

This month film maker Frances Causey puts her focus on Uruguay's style of democracy.She's making a documentary about the mind poison that is the American way complete with it's forced exportation of free-dumb. Go Team America!
A prior film of hers 'Heist - Who Stole the American Dream ?' was a heaping dose of reality about the corporate masters who arrange the entire social spectrum to maximize their profits. A perverse adversarial relationship that actually pits citizens against each other through control of the media and things like patriotic propaganda and religion. Control of government to wage war? There are absolutely no limits and the rate that this occurs is on the increase, resulting in record wealth transfers (you can guess which way the money is going) every year. It's a lot to digest, but there's value in another attempt to bang this through.

If you haven't already been sent the video of the dude who smokes a joint with the President of Uruguay, Another good one from Vice. I too was turned off at this attention grabbing 'stunt' and fully expected a fluff piece culminating with some stoner-journalisto hamming it up with an embarrassed Head of State.
I liked Krishna Andavolu's boiled down synopsis of the situation so far as well as his choices for interviews. It's just a summary, if you need more detail than that it's available. He got a few things wrong, but did better than I expected.
This clip is also a chance to hear some views from Pepe. I don't know how he comes across, but he's highly regarded in this country as well as these pages. It's hard to root for any politician these days. For me this guy has common sense, moral character and is wise and humble. Yes, sure there may be better, younger candidates who can do even more. Step up fellas, it's time to get to work.

Daily's Movie Picks

Classic- Hud 1963 This one stars my all time favorite actor Paul Newman. Here's a guy that had it all; looks, charm, was a stand up guy, family man, philanthropist, director, race car driver and a pretty decent actor to boot. See this gem and know why he caused such a sensation right from the start. It's straight up black and white, but painted generously with bleak desperation. You will feel this one.  

Action- Miller's Crossing Since that sweaty young Paul Newman is a treat for the ladies, I'm throwing in a guy flick. It's not the race cars and explosions type guy film, but well, you'll see what I mean. A bunch of tough guys take what they want; crooks vs. crooks vs. cops with a tricky plot. Gabriel Byrne, Albert Finney are outstanding. A gut wrenchingly pathetic John Turturro will worm his way into your consciousness.

FEELINGS- Dallas Buyers Club. What happens when a homophobic redneck gets AIDS? It seems like this devastating epidemic has been pushed off the cultural radar after it's unchecked growth was brought somewhat under control for people who can pay for care. This film is trashy flashback to the days of too much is not enough that's quite sobering. Matthew McConaughey takes a seat with the heavy weights on this one. Check it.

Thanks for reading, more to come.



Saturday, March 29, 2014

Give it time, Movies & UY news

Why envisioning the Apocalypse is good for humanity.

It's so hard to imagine ourselves dead that we make things up about how it will be.
This includes what happened before, who will end up where and why. Sometimes with incredible detail on this supposed afterlife.
We are making up 'facts' about what was before and what comes after. Hmmm.
Hard for some to admit, but since obviously no one knows, I think this time could be better used to enjoy some or all of what you have now. Simply put.
Sure, it's the age old question of living to the fullest and all that.
Let us also keep firmly in mind the fact that for millions the now completely sucks.

With no further comment on which theory one favors, I advocate for the alarmingly simple yet profound "living in the now". It's easier than you think

Living in the now is allowing yourself to realize that you are not really conscious of any "before" and won't be aware of anything "after". That means your now is all you'll ever know and for you, from your perspective it's all the time. Always has been and from our perspective always will be.

That's it. Like Terence Stamp's character in 'Yes Man' explains about his philosophy; "it's that simple at first, to get you started. You can integrate the subtleties you go"

Annalee Newitz has written a book that appears to have some good science and good practical directions preparing us for our eventual extinction. So, we got that goin' for us.
Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction attempts to 'learn us' about what we're likely to do based on how we are.  So let's assume that's how it's gonna go down and relax a bit. No sky-is-falling doomsday predictions, no hoarding, there will be no ships waiting to ferry us away to a better world. 

Daily's Movie Picks: 

  • Action     -  I'm going with 'Layer Cake'. An English Crime and Punishment flick that's quite the ride. You may need the subtitles.
  • Feelings  -  Mike Leigh's heavy from 2002 'All or Nothing'. Not feeling so great? Now you're worse. You're welcome.
  • Classic    -  Almost everything I recommend is a classic (to me), but I'll try to keep this pick 'old-ish', black and white if possible so everyone knows it's a classic. I'm going with 'Groundhog Day'.  Yes you've seen it, but have you seen it recently? 20 years young (so technically a classic in any book). Watch Bill Murray earning the praise that's inspired what's now a cult of admirers. Lots of great small moments that mask the seriousness of the message; you only get one chance to do good, so do good.

Under Construction

The long awaited details for the implementation of the newly passed Marijuana Laws here are still pending. The law and what it proposes are available on line, but I don't think anything much has been agreed upon, still. There are tons of issues to work out; from other products made from the plants fibrous parts to distribution/availability issues.
This thing is far from settled. Plenty of politicians agreed to this because of the financial rewards others because it was the right thing to do. And many were against it. I posted that the International Narcotics Control Board had urged UY not to pass a law at odds with their long standing (and I mean long) position against such harmful substances. Now their urging for a 180. Turn back now and all is forgiven, or something like that.

Add to the mix pressure from the outside (read: US) and agencies like the UN or the international organization of pharmacies telling member pharmacies they may not participate, a problem exasperated by the fact that more and more pharmacies are being consolidated into multinational franchises. Political Capitalism against Sovereign Rights of self-determination.

Publications I have been able to understand show little local attention to the international hysteria, our El Pais a notable exception. Things will take their usual meandering route and end up within the limits of common sense and in sync with the country's prevailing attitude.

This will certainly not sit well with some.

Thanks for Reading.

Your comments are welcome. 

My apologies for the cumbersome process required by Blogger to leave a comment. When I learn to subvert that or change publishers, I will pass it on the tip. Until then, thanks for the effort.