As Time Doesn't Go By

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Two things this morn, dear worst-reader.

  1. There are the many who don’t know the Interwebnets.
  2. There are the few who don’t know the Interwebnet.

Let’s begin w/ the first, shall we? As a consume-to-survivor I made a major end of the year purchase on 29.12.14. It took worst-moi a few weeks to finally make the product choice but get there I did. I broke down and w/ a bit of Xmas and birthday funding I bought a new-fangled SSD for my rockin’ home server and all-around do-greater, my MacPro5,1. For those not in the know here on what an SSD is; here for a MacPro5,1.

As is the norm w/ most of today’s irrevocable consumption, choice is relative. That is, under the guise of “choice” we are made to believe that we can buy either A or B or C but in reality we can only buy A1 or A2 or A3. And that’s all fine & dandy. So. Once I made my “choice” there was that other hurdle to overcome in this, our new world order realm of digital delight: delivery time. This is where Amazon must join the ranks of one of those… don’t know the Interwebnets but thinks it does companies. Oh! Go the way of the dinosaur already sweet king-queen of digital shopping. And so.

The product I wanted to buy had a delivery date, due to ambiguous supply issues, of two weeks. And then there was the product Amazon was pushing that could have been delivered overnight. Indeed. According to test reports there was little to differentiate the two products. The only real difference was a $15 price and around 15 GB of storage space. Oddly, the one with more space was also the one that was cheaper. But. Again. It had a delivery time of two weeks. Since these products were already marked down, I didn’t want the one that was just cheaper. I wanted a brand and the extra disk space. But two weeks delivery?! Come on Amazon! Nomatter.

Worst-writer ordered the two week delivery–and in a way I did it both out of spite and stubbornness. Something inside me said that it’s not possible that Amazon requires two weeks delivery for a product like this. So what was up? In short, Amazon was pushing product A1 above A2, which is the one I wanted. How do I know this? Well, w/ in hours of my order I received an email that changed the delivery date of two weeks to two days. Which makes me question: how can it be that a company like Amazon, that is literally at the top of its game, push a product to a savvy customer that it must know knows better? The delivery date meant nothing to me. So why post a product with a delivery date that is obviously untrue and thereby give advantage to another product? Indeed. To a product I didn’t want anywho!

Again. Nomatter. For I am both worst-tickled and worst-excited to get my consumption faster than it was advertised. Yet I can’t help but pity the likes of Amazon. As far as I’m concerned, Amazon joins the rest of companies that can be categorized along side many other companies that… just doesn’t get what the Interwebnets is all about. Amazon is actually not as sophisticated as I once thought it should be. That may or may not be due to its inability to control the shipping process. But that’s neither here nor there. Which brings me (again) to the pic above–a screenshot from a website of a German grocery store chain. While promoting a happy new year the company is also telling its audience that it is incapable of displaying its open & close times on its website (for New Years aka Silvester). You see, dear worst-writer, in centralized, pseudo-socialized Germania, working hours during holiday season is a bitch. Not only do the Teutonic hordes enthrall and engorge themselves w/ consumption but they must do so with reduced (shopping) hours which only adds to the already stretched nervous system of worker-automatons jilted to the point of mind-thought annihilation. Which means, we have a bit of a quagmire regarding how the corporate over-lords should be using the Interwebnets. Obviously.

And so. Let us continue with the banality of everyday life that is a/our/the disease. I have provided these two examples today, dear worst-reader, of the grand digital over-lord Amazon and the not-so grand under-lord, Hit (another krappy German grocery retailer; and trust me, all retail chains in Germania are krappy!) in order that I may share first hand how my beloved Interwebnets is misunderstood. And mis-used! I mean, seriously, I can expect this krapp from Hit but not from Amazon.

Firworks Of The Sense

Unserer Öffnungszeiten an Silvester entnehmen Sie bitte dem Aushang ihrem Hit Markt

To Our Offering

Besides. The pic above wishes customers a Happy New Year and also commands that in order for worker-bees to find out what complicated business hours are available customers should first proceed to the individual stores where said hours will be posted–in analog. Wow! This, dear worst-reader, is how far the Interwebnet has come. They need (this) technology to do this krapp? To tell Das Volk to go to the store’s front door to get informed? Add to that Amazon’s inability to manage not so much the actual delivery process but more importantly the information pertaining to that process… Well. What can I/we say?

With that in mind. Let’s end 2014 with this post. And. Let’s also end it with an idear: there truly is no progress. And. Thanks Amazon. Thanks also to all other companies that will forever remain in the comfort realm of amateur websites. For I am with you’all. As worst-writer is also forever destined to remain in the realm of the/a/our amateur(ism).

Rant on.

-Tommi

Roller Rink of Mind

Heavens GateBack in the day, dear worst-reader. Back in the day. I’m referring mostly to the 80s and 90s when I still had it in me. In fact it was so in-me that I couldn’t get the idears out of me. It was truly all I could do at the time for I knew that the end was near. The career end, that is. Yes, indeed, it ended with the millennium. Yeah, like you, I was working for the man thinking I had a career but reality dictated that it was all just another hire and fire job. Even though these “jobs” had served me well, unlike you, I wouldn’t give up on that other thing in the front (as opposed to the back) of my head, that thing that lead me down every road born of imagination and lingering of a thick pudding-like ether of dreams. And. The only way to express it ALL was through something written, usually dialogue. And so. Sit down, Tommi, worst-write another play. Which I did. But I never did it enough. Because there are those plays that I didn’t right. Oddly, some of them are still with me. Of course, as we all know, being a failed playwright has it’s advantages. But I won’t get into that here. For what I want to get into has to do with a movie that I recently (re)saw but for the life of me can’t remember when I first saw it. Or can I? Certainly I did see it. I know I did. More than twenty-five years ago I saw this movie. Even though it was very controversial–because of its costs and criticism. Is Heaven’s Gate in hind-sight a film before its time? Or. Is this (worst-post) an example of losing one’s mind, as is the case when getting old? Nomatter.

The movie I recently (re)saw is called Heaven’s Gate. This movie is embedded in my mind’s eye because it contained something that I new was a seed. The seed, aka an idear for a play, was supposed to be about Feuds. Feuds in my beloved #americant. I wanted to write something about Hatfield and McCoy, Earp and Clanton, and the grand fight between Mr. Rich and Mr. Poor, etc. For moi, there was always something singular about these feuds, something that bound them all together. Right or wrong. Left and right. Conservative, Liberal. And, yes, Poor and Rich. The film Heaven’s Gate is about all those things, especially the last one. And I know I saw it at a screening at State University of So-n-so sometime between 1984-88. The for-profit-state-institution had a huge auditorium that served, depending on requirements, as a lecture hall, theatre or cinema and it was a grand convenience. One of the things I often attended there were lectures given by the prominent. Various elites would appear at this place. I saw actors (Richard Dryfuss, Graham Chapman, etc.), TV personalities (numerous famous journalist who need not be named) and sometimes politicians (Jessie Jackson, Michael Dukakis, etc.) But one time there was supposed to be a prominent personality there but he didn’t show. It was either Kris Kristofferson or Jeff Bridges. (I think it was Bridges that we were supposed to see because he was less of a star.) The prominent was supposed to give a short speech about… Gee, I don’t know. Being #americant or something like that and then his/her movie would be shown. Well, like I said. The prominent one didn’t show. But the movie did. And I remember it because it was like four or five hours long. I remember enjoying the movie but also taking a lot of breaks. I remember standing in the isle-ways of the seats in order to rest my butt from sitting for so long. And I remember half the audience leaving the hall to never return. And then I remember the seed. The seed this movie planted in my head. This seed would be planted from other films, as well. I’m referring to Dances With Wolves, Dr. Strangelove, etc. These were films that questioned the #americant ideal. The ideal of greed, authority, subjugation, etc. Oh yeah! It was a great movie.

Now, so many years later, while reading a über-winded tech-book on #americant business and technology, the film Heaven’s Gate was mentioned because of the triviality of having brought down a Hollywood studio, United Artists. This in turn distracted my reading and I immediately took advantage of modernity and streamed the film via iTunes. Supposedly this is a new release of the film, hence it was only just over three hours. But enjoy it I did. In fact, it reminded me of a seed that still remains–perhaps waiting for its code to click-on so the germination process that has been so dormant in worst-writer’s mind can give it a go once again. Or maybe not. Nomatter. The thing I wish to worst-convey today is nothing more than elation regarding a wonderful film. A film that depicts the true heart and spirit of #americant–as negative and positive as that heart and spirit can be. And after seeing it again and realising what has become of my home, the place that raised me, I laugh. Indeed. #americant is in ruin because of empire, war-mongering, greed-society and our inability to transcend feud(alism). Heaven’s Gate is a movie that depicts #americant at the turn of the century. Or should I say that Michael Cimino depicts it all? In a way, during that turn of the century, a seed was also planted. A seed that would lead to the #americant century–the 20th century. Heaven’s Gate is a film that every #americant should see and then be required to write a short essay on and turn that essay into shit-for-brains teacher at bat-out-of-hell school for the mind-blind. Perhaps then, after all the worst-writing, enough Volk will realise the ills of our ways. Or maybe they’ll just see the beauty of something that has been misunderstood for so long.

Rant on.

-Tommi

The Masters of the Switches

master switch cover

Why is it, dear worst-reader, that the older I get the easier it is to distract me? I mean, it happens all the time. When I’m walking Beckett, the killer pug, I lose focus of the little guy whenever any female passes by in a pair of jeans. When I’m putting up a Xmas tree, hanging those obnoxious bells and whistles, I think more about the Mustang I’ll never afford myself. And then there are the moments, while reading what should be a great book, that has been on my reading list for a long time, I’m taken away from it because the author references an old movie that I swear I saw once but according to the distracting research I do regarding that movie, I suddenly can’t remember if I actually did see it. This was so distracting in fact, that I took a break from the book and found the movie on iTunes to watch (again). And while watching this three hour piece of movie making magic I was totally distracted by the thought that, even though, according to Wiki and various other sources, which all claim that the movie was only recently made available to the public on DVD, I thought: but I saw this movie way back in the mid 80s. Didn’t I?

Distraction.

The movie is called Heaven’s Gate. According to Tim Wu, the author of the book The Master Switch, which, after numerous interruptions and distractions I just finished, the movie is the reason for one of Hollywood’s greatest film studio failures. But that’s neither here nor there. I’m just perturbed by the fact that I can’t remember with enough exactitude where and when I saw this movie. For after (re)watching it the other night I’m sure more than ever I saw it before. And allow me to say this distracting thing about that movie: this second viewing left me more in awe than the first. But when did I first see it? Come on. Come on. Think! It was either a screening at my University cinema in 1985 or on VHS in the early nineties while researching a subject for a play that I would never write. So I broke away from the book that couldn’t keep my attention anyway and very much enjoyed watching a movie that everyone should see. A few more worst-thoughts on Heaven’s Gate here.

Back to the book.

Tim Wu uses the United Artist debacle of the 80s as an example of how and why vertically integrated industries fail. And I take issue with that. United Artist didn’t fail because of vertical integration. It failed because #americant hadn’t yet established the standard of credit/debt as the sole means of consuming to survive. Obviously that’s a bold statement and I’m too lazy to provide enough ammunition in this worst-post to battle Mr. Wu on the subject–because I actually do want to say a nice thing or three about his book. But allow me this: There is one very important thing that Wu misses while explaining how some companies die and/or fade away because of whatever strategies they employ to earn more money than god. If United Artist had access to credit in the 80s like film studios do today then the measly sum spent on Heaven’s Gate would have been a drop in the bucket. In other words, at the time the collusion of government and, let’s say the Federal Reserve and Wall Street banking, hadn’t yet been established. It took till the end of the nineties to get to that point–I suppose.

There’s actually a whole Wiki page on the issue of Film Finance. And keep in mind, the word “finance” today is synonymous with debt. Go figure.

mci cardBut I’m off subject. Again. Distracted. And so. Let’s worst-write further on Mr. Wu’s idear of Net Neutrality and the less coined Separation Principle, two nuggets that Wu does a great job addressing but I think fails to ram home. First. Let me say this about Net Neutrality: Bullshit. That’s what Net Neutrality has become in the short time since its coinage. And I’m really sorry for that.That there is a debate regarding how information flows through the Interwebnets is both disgusting and astonishing. I remember vividly the monopolistic abuse of AT&T in the 70s and 80s. I don’t know what I would have done in college without my MCI card that allowed me to use practically any phone anywhere at rates I could afford–all on lines provided by the previous evil Bell monopoly. That #americant allowed a company like MCI to be gobbled up by the very system that it broke up is, well… #AMERICANT. On top of that, it feels like, because of the complexity of technology, politicians and dysfunctional corporates elites have easily confused the debate by turning Net Neutrality into a stump when it could be a majestic tree. Not only that, #americant has murdered people because of the underlying truth that is Net Neutrality as a whole. One only has to look at what happened to Aaron Schwartz. As far as the Separation Principle goes, well, again, sounds great, makes sense, but how do you get stuff like this across to a public that uses the Interwebnets like it used to use girly magazines in teen-age tree houses?

With that bit of worst-non-sense, I digress. The Master Switch is a great read even though I was often taken aback with the amount of text Wu wastes on certain topics. That is not a criticism of his writing, though. He really does a great job of holding together what is essentially a huge and disparate amount of information. I say disparate because I do not believe that the telephone industry in anyway has anything to do with the advent of what the Interwebnets has become (is becoming). The technology behind this stuff is irrelevant because worst-writer believes that content will always be at least one step ahead of context. Put another worst-way, a sculpture or painter already knows her/his great work of art is in that block of rock or bare canvas. And so. I could have done without Wu’s narrative of #americant early 20th century monopolies–although the bit about how Hollywood was founded is a nugget I’ll keep with me forever. That said, I guess I wish Wu would have spent more time ramming more stuff down the throats of the powers-that-be who are re-monopolising everything and who are also currently lavishing in their ability to ruin life for the rest of us in the name of greed-limiting access to what should be free: information.

Rant on.

-Tommi

Amenities

“We are all civilised people, which means that we are all savages at heart but observing a few amenities of civilised behaviour. I am afraid that I observe fewer of these amenities than you do. Reason? My back is to the wall and has been to the wall for so long that the pressure of my back on the wall has started to crumble the plaster that covers the bricks and mortar.” -Forward to Sweet Birth of Youth, NYT, March 8, 1959, Tennessee Williams

Ms. Santa, Baby

ms santaLet us go there, dear worst-reader. Let us go the humbug way. For it is that time of year where gluttonous consumption can take a break from filling guts and oversized clothes via fast food counters. That gluttony can be replaced with children accidentally eating cheaply sewn button eyes of dolls and figurines and thereby helping the planet with over population. Or maybe not. My point in this worst-post and the ridiculous news that I read every day is this: have you ever heard of native-advertising? Well, don’t worry if you haven’t heard of it because here it is first hand. So if you believe that there is a woman in Massachusetts that paid-off Xmas lay-away items amounting to about $20k, then I bet you’ll soon be moving to your new waterfront property in south FL. Just keep in mind, $20k is a drop in the bucket compared to the advertising value this toy store gets from this kind of exposure. Just imagine how many of the gullibles and the suckers out there, hoping and preying, preying and hoping, that Ms. Santa Claus will give them something for nothing. Ah. The #americant way. Yeah, baby. Rant on.

A mystery woman paid off everyone’s layaway accounts at a Toys R Us – The Washington Post.

Hack-chu Gesundheit

“If everyone doesn’t see this movie, the terrorists win.” -from a shameless Hollywood promotional article here.

No. Seriously. This is a joke, right? I mean, this hack on Sony Pictures is a joke. If it’s not a joke, then it must be the weirdest promotion of a film ever. Right? (See link above.) Ok. If none of that is the case, then worst-writer is still gonna laugh his ass off about all this. Hi-larry-us doesn’t get much better, dear worst-reader. But let me move on now that I’ve wiped those laughing tears from my eyes. Sony is and has been a dinosaur corporation for as long as I can remember. What holds this company together is what holds all the world’s dinosaur companies together: the collusion of government and capital. If this company, like so many other companies, was left to compete in a free market, it would be long gone. The simple truth is, going back to the 1980s when Sony did its best to maintain a hold on its business, during a period when the Asian Tigers were on the march, it panicked. And I’ll go as far as to say that it never stopped panicking. Part of that panic was to diversify into things that ran counter to that which made it such a great post war company. Sony’s greatness came out of its unique and quintessentially Japanese culture. Unlike American and some (but not most) European companies, Japanese culture simply doesn’t adapt well to the Western mindset. Say what you will about the militant, stoic persona of the Japanese–and their history says enough about them as well. But when Sony, in its panic, diversified the way it did, it lost something that made it unique. Obviously Japanese ur-culture doesn’t mix well with speculative and manipulative minds that are in real-estate development, Hollywood studios and the insurance business. (Btw, insurance is one of Sony Corporations only profitable units today.) And so. What we are dealing with, dear worst-reader, is nothing more than a silly computer hack of a dysfunctional corporation–that can’t find a way to die. Plus this sort of hacking is starting to be grand trend. A gambling casino mogul was also hacked recently. And to be really, really honest. These hacks–like all hacks–reveal nothing more than what most rational, skeptical people already know–except, of course, without all the gritty details. Let the banality hack-gameshow begin. Now. Time to get back to tear-ridden laughter. Rant on.

Sheldon Adelson Hacked | Bloomberg Businessweek

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Beg For Your Privacy | Gizmodo

Grovelling Weeny Gets Out Threatening Lawyers | Washington Post