Asterisk Explained

GM Food AsteriskSome more wannabe profundity, dear wort-reader, before I get to the asterisk reference. Or maybe not. Let’s talk about farming and music today. For these are two of many more things that, in order to be understood, require a huge amount of asterisks. Or maybe not. Can farming and music be connected? Indeed they can–with an asterisk. But first. When I left #americant for expatriation pseudo-glory it was in the wake of a series of benefit concerts that sold a shitload of music under the vale of helping farmers or the poor. Even though a few people might joke about the 1980s, one thing, for me, is sure. The 80s are without doubt the last decade where music was connected to the past that made it. It was also the last moment in history where the complexity of idealogical politics hadn’t yet collected its toll–that we are paying today. As far as the music goes, a new generation of producers took over in the 90s and subsequent new millennia. Even though bands in the 90s like Nirvana and Pearl Jam did there best to hold on to the simplicity of the past. But the complex, money grubbing producers of the now, obviously, won-out. Hence we now live in a music world devoid of creativity. Which brings me full-circle to farming. The same thing that happened to music happened to the food we must eat. Music from the likes of Beyonce is the shit, right? In #americant you can’t get a good tasting tomato! Regurgitated beats pollute the ear. You can see the shipping scares on fruit picked too early and left to ripen on ships. Decoded and encoded music has no feel. Beef tastes like nothing a bovine eats (when it should be just grass and, maybe, German beer.) And that all in the wake of Farm-Aid and trying to save farmers from the wrath of corporate servitude. Now we live in the wake of bad music (thank goodness I have been able to cultivate a massive digital library of all the music I love from 1980s and earlier) and the gluttony of genetically modified foods. And I’m wondering who is gonna throw a benefit concert for the ramifications of it all? Hence my cynicism toward benefit concerts. All that money raised. And for what? So that farmers can afford GPS driven tractors that harvest genetically enhanced food that tastes worse than ever–unless fortified with the lie of salt and sugar? Which brings me to the asterisk in the pic above. I’m actually not as shocked as I should be with the pic. I guess I’m just getting too old and/or I’m used to this level of (corporate) behaviour. Or I just love Cheerios too much. Anywho. The text in the pic above is the most sincere explanation of our demise that I have ever seen–on the side of a cereal box. We should be thankful that the corpos stick this in our face. They know there is nothing we can do. And I know it too. Oh well.

Not made with genetically modified ingredients.*

*Trace amounts of genetically modified (also known as “genetically engineered”) material may be present due to cross contact during manufacturing and shipping.

For whatever worst-writer reason this makes me think about and feel even more sorry for India Farmers that have been killing themselves en mass. It also makes me think of the arrogance of the corpos. But none of that really matters. Because THEY have already corrupted our music and our food with stuff that we cannot turn back. We can’t reverse the after-effects of genetically modified foods. You can’t un-hear Beyonce. That is, indeed, what the statement on the side of a cereal box says. Once you start messing with this stuff there is no turning back. Even if you wanted to you can’t avoid the cross pollination that will connect the modified gene with the non-modified gene. A corn farmer without, if s/he plants near a corn farmer with, is doomed. Or? Nomatter. Good luck suckers. May your life be ruled by asterisks. Rant on. -Tommi

Space Ether 9th Symphony

blackhole_smallWarning: spoiler alert (I think) regarding the film Interstellar. Good luck.

Surprisingly interesting but weak film. Second thought: Long on the drama, unnecessary drama, weird drama. Obviously I’m confused about what the story of the movie is about. Or should I just say: the visuals are fantastic, the film has incorporated an odd, maybe twisted sci-fi story that doesn’t quite take anyone anywhere, except into space, I think. Or wait. Maybe there’s a love interest in the story? No. There might be a bad guy or even two? Maybe. And then, hidden deep within the event horizon of a blackhole, there is an evil plot to rule the world. No. Not quite. The world, the earth, is ending. So there’s really nothing left there to be evil with. (If that makes any sense.) But there is the mysticism of black-holes. Oh boy. I’m confused. Or maybe not. Let me start again.

I read a review of the movie Interstellar when it first came out that said it was a new generation’s 2001 Space Odyssey. Wow. That’s a hell-of-a claim–especially since I believe Kubrick’s masterpiece will be shown in a thousand years. So after I read such a pretentious review I decided there was no hurry to see the movie. Please. Why would anyone want to compare it to 2001? Better put, is this the director’s failed attempt at topping Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece? Seriously? I mean, to me, that’s like saying [insert any pop musician here] is going to top Beethoven’s 9th. But I digress.

Since the iTunes price hasn’t fluctuated–from Apple’s greed-pricing–there was still no motivation to see this movie anytime soon. When I saw that this was being shown on my USAir/AA 701 flight from FRA > PHL, I thought: what the hell. And let me get this out of the way since I’m having a hard time keeping it in. Adding Matt Damon’s character’s flip-out served absolutely no purpose whatsoever in this film. In fact, Matt Damon was such a distrubance, I almost wanted to hit the stop button–but instead I hit the pause button and headed to the Airbus A330’s plastic bathroom made for people that are skinny. Wait. All airliners are made for skinny people, right? And I assure, dear worst-reader, I wasn’t even close to being the biggest person on the flight. In fact, I was smaller than most of the ageing, old-bat stewardess that for whatever reason serve travellers plastic meals at the thirty-thousand feet for the rest of their lives. But I’m off subject again. So let me get back on it. Interstellar is a movie that does nothing but feed the arrogance of a director. There. I said it. And I’m starting to seriously like it. There. I got that out, too.

When the price of the DVD comes down earth I want to own this movie. It is truly a fascinating visualisation of interstellar travel–even though the story is borderline ludicrous. For example. What’s the point of only subtlety portraying how Man has ruined the planet and thereby is in need of interstellar travel? I mean the whole global warming discussion has turned silly anyway. Or have you not read Michael Crichton’s State of Fear? Can’t wait for them to make a silly movie out of that one. Which brings me to this question: Why can’t the motivation of Interstellar just be the science? Or maybe just higher knowledge? How ’bout laughing at religious nutbags? Seriously. Each time the lead opened his Tex-ass southern draw mouth I hoped to the scientific high heavens that he wasn’t gonna spew some gospel krapp in which case I had the stop-button ready to push, ready to pee in the skinny bathroom of the A330 once again. And the fact that all there is to eat is sand and corn… What’s that all really about? Sand and corn and interstellar travel? Yeah, that’s the movie. Or is there a message embedded somewhere? No. Probably not. For this is most certainly no one’s 9th symphony. Yet. Those images! The film making. The idears and the science and the… post 1970’s Star Wars animation which told us we need robots to function in the future. What a robot this movie has, too!

And what about the science? Explanations of time travel and blackholes kept me pinned to the screen, especially when Matthew McCaughnehay wasn’t talking. The visuals and camera work of (Nolan’s) space is brilliant (and probably the only valid reason to watch the movie). How other worlds are imagined and then presented, though, is kinda weak. Three planets are visited, one of which is inhabitable, is at best a nice try but I don’t know who to blame for what feels like a cop-out. Seriously. The director could have taken a few hints from the director of Avatar. In fact, I still have dreams of those floating rocks! Anywho. What science is behind these worlds the movie shows? One has waves (Hawaii), the other ice (Greenland) and the last one, which is only shown for a few seconds, could be… (Arizona). Obviously in this sci-fi future it’s still not possible to know whether a planet is accessible only through a warm-hole. I mean, who did the director consult to come up with that mess?

One thing that really stuck with me while watching this movie was the threading of the supernatural. Or was it incorporating a higher being? Whatever it was the weirdest part of the story was also the only way to make the physics of it plausible. The “They” that was referred to through out the story was odd enough. God is now a pronoun. And the fact that “They” are somehow in control of more than three dimensions. Yeah, and? It reminded me of a similar thread in the movie “Contact”. In that movie the “They” are the ones that send the information to earth on how to build the warm-hole machine. The “They” appeared before Jodie Foster’s character when her vehicle lands on the beach after traversing a worm-hole. The difference to Contact though is that it doesn’t require “They” in order to make the physics of the movie plausible. I find this a weakness in Interstellar that is borderline unforgivable. Either Nolan or the writer (who is the writer) felt that something else was needed to justify the physics/science. An odd choice of duplicity, dichotomy, contradiction, etc.

Having cherrypicked enough, dear worst-reader, I’ll leave it that. Sorry if I’ve spoiled anything with this worst-writing (rant) but at least you can be assured of this: the movie is worth seeing for its visuals alone. The characters and actors that portray them carry no weight whatsoever in the film, anyone could play them. Parts of the story, although silly, get quickly submerged in the ether of something. But I don’t know what the ether is nor do I know what the something is–which I guess is the point of calling it ether. Or? At best this film is someone’s wonderful failed attempt at topping Stanley Kubrick’s 9th Symphony. I guess. So if you haven’t seen it, see it right now.

Rant on. -Tommi

The TPP Miracle

No. Seriously. If you thought you were screwed before,  you know, screwed by the lie of the open market, the economy or corporations wait till the near future lays its greedy paws in your starving lap. Anyone remember NAFTA? Well, if you feel as though you never could get that job or career that you were hoping for (yours truly) or if you know for a fact that you won’t have the comforts you parents have (yours truly again) or if you’re kinda angry that #americant can’t produce anything anymore because it can only assemble stuff (Ha, Ha, Ha), you can thank NAFTA for it. But I’m off subject. ¶Just the other day while walking around some Eurowasteland city with my seventeen year old son, I stopped in the market square to gaze at the TTIP protests. For you see, dear worst-reader, TTIP is the Euro version of TPP. Both are extended and steroid laden versions of NAFTA. The truly astonishing thing about these trade agreements is 1) they are not trade agreements they are instead treaties and 2) there is no better example today of how government and corporations collude in order to undermine the common good (if there even is such a thing). BTW, what’s the difference between a treaty and a trade agreement? That this stuff is being sold to you/us as trade agreements is astonishing enough. These are treaties and treaties are much more serious. Aren’t they? But, again, I’m off subject. ¶That the US President is currently shuffling his jubblies in order to get fast track authority to push through TPP should be the alarm bell heard around the world. But corporations–who own everything–especially the media–have kept the whole shebang under most radars. So when I stood there watching and listening to old Eurowastelanders trying to convince people, i.e. society, of the fate that beholds them/us I thought about my son and whether he too will grow old in an age where disappointment and bitterness are the only trades learned.  But then again, after a double-take of all those old people wasting their time protesting something that should have been protested years ago but wasn’t because they/we were all convinced that consuming krapp had no ramifications, I looked again at my beautiful boy and the glow of hope and innocence that surrounds him like a mystical cocoon. I’ve tried to prepare him for the krappy future that my generation and my parent’s generation have left him. I’ve told him about the frivolity of higher education and how it doesn’t serve higher learning. I’ve told him that what he needs for the future is the will to survive thereby not getting caught up in the transaction-lie that is love and simply finding something he likes doing and keep doing it till the cows come runnin‘. Or something like that. Nomatter. If you’re born of the age of the millennials you might have a chance for a future as the ruining boomer generation comes to an end. Good luck suckers. Rant on. -Tommi

San Francisco Opposes TPP Fast Track in New Resolution | Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Since When Does El Presidenté Need Fast Track Authority For US Corpos? | NYT

TPP Gutting Laws | Politico

NAFTA | Wiki

Fast Track Authority | Wiki

The Eurowasteland Version Is TTIP | Stop TTIP

How Did They Know

The Germans lost the war but the fascists won. -George Carlin

The book IBM and the Holocaust is probably the first book I haven’t read–but have read the most about. And luckily this worst-post ain’t about it. What it is about though is the feeling I got when I read the other day Apple is teaming up with its one-time nemesis IBM. It is doing so with IBM’s “Watson” program together with Apple’s HealthKit. HealthKit is Apple’s Application Programming Interface that enables computers to interact with iOS devices. If that doesn’t make any sense then give this a go. In the near future, when you go to the doctor for a sore throat, instead of showing proof of insurance, i.e. payment capability, you flash your iPhone across a scanner and your entire health history is (can be) transferred to the doctor’s (or hospital’s) computers. The information that is acquired, accumulated, transferred, etc. about you is the real gem of this alliance. We’re not talking about body temperature, heart-rate, blood pressure, although that is important enough information and worth computerising. No. What we’re dealing with here is something above and beyond medical record keeping or statistics. Which is what reminded me of the above mentioned book when I heard about this alliance. The author of the book is Edwin Black who wrote some unsavoury truths regarding one of America’s legendary corporations. ¶A little side note. Even though this is quite beside the point. When I was very young, around nineteen, I had my first real job interview with IBM. For whatever disturbed reason I thought IBM and the people I saw that worked for that company embodied what I wanted in life. But it turns out all I really wanted was to wear a suit. And even that was quickly nipped in the bud once I started to realise what these corpo-automatons are really all about. Nomatter. ¶The truth about IBM is that the company worked hand-in-hand with Adolf Hitler providing all the computing power necessary to collect enough information about its citizenry that would then further the Nazi cause. IBM partook in information gathering disguised as a census whereby allowing Nazis to identify Jews. Let me put that another way. One of the questions many Jews asked as they were being rounded-up in order to be sent to concentration camps was how the authorities knew who they were. Get it? IBM helped the Nazis sort the German population. (Short pause. Breath.) I mean, that sounds really hardcore, doesn’t it? So let me repeat it again: A US company, International Business Machines, partook in data gathering disguised as a census in order to identify who is and who is not Jewish. Wow. (Let’s pause again. Play elevator music.) Of course today IBM denies this accusation and seems to have proven that it doesn’t have any records of what its German division did during the war. And since the fascists have long since won that war and companies like IBM came out of it with flying colours, it probably doesn’t matter anymore anyway. But then again it did make me do a double take when I read that Thomas Watson’s name–the mould for future American CEO’s, the man who helped the Nazis–is now part of a new information gathering system that does more than gather heart-rate information or how much time a person spends sitting on their ass. You know, dear worst-reader, the more and more I read about the crimes of the second world war the more astonished I am about the truths that have never been told. Wow. Good luck suckers. Rant on. -Tommi

IBM Launches Watson Health Cloud, Partners With Apple to Support HealthKit and ResearchKit Apps | Mac Rumors.

Thomas J. Watson | Wiki

Book To Read, Maybe: IBM and the Holocaust | Wiki

Madness Is Not Born It Is Made

criminals made not born
Last words of America’s record holder. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Kehoe

The subtitle or alternate title to this worst-post is: Madness vs absurdity.

Where will the line be drawn, dear worst-reader? For years now I’ve been saying after every senseless shooting in #americant: what will be next? I suppose asking the question “who” will be next is also appropriate but because of the sheer numbers of deaths, resembling a slowly played-out war-zone, personalising it seems futile. Besides, where is the Arlington National Cemetery for all the Americans lost in this “war”? Nomatter.

This worst-post is motivated by two thoughts.

  1. The recent slayings of black men by white cops.
  2. What came first, the madness or the absurdity?

Why is it that I can’t help but compare all this senseless dying by such extreme violence with things that shouldn’t be compared and thereby conclude that there must be something that connects it all together? Other than the number of people killed, what’s the difference now between a 72 year old reserve weekend-warrior cop–who obviously watches too much faux newz and Dirty Harry movies–and Adam Lanza or Cho Seung-hui? Put another way, what is it that connects these killers? Obviously what motivated these men is not comparable. Reserve deputy Robert Blates (see article link below) is nothing more than another wannabe American male. Bored with his wealth but angry with his conservative rearing he found a way to vent his grievance, belonging and sentiment–i.e. the secret sauce faux newz, Limbaugh & Co. have sold #americants–by joy riding around with cops. As absurd as it sounds, the man was even deputised so that he could prove his manhood by wearing a uniform and carrying a gun AND A TASER. How often do you think a man like that stands naked in front of his bedroom mirror with his gun in hand saying: Go ‘head punk. Do you feel lucky! Wow. What a picture, eh. When I first heard Bates’ voice in the infamous shooting video where he kills Eric Harris saying “Oh, I shot him. I’m sorry,” multi-coloured daffodils and rainbow balloons covered a huge road sign in my mind. Then a fresh breeze came through and blew the confusion away only to reveal the absurdity of the sign.

Welcome To Your Madness

The company that owns the road sign, which was printed in small letters at the base of the sign, said: Absurdity Inc. Yeah, that’s about where we are at, dear worst-reader. Or have we been here all along? Again. Nomatter. I know that run-amok mass shootings are different than the killings of weekend-warrior wannabe American males. Yet there is something that connects these acts. And. No. It’s not the guns and the lust for violence that connects them. The thing that connects all this is a sickness. A society sickness of such mass proportions that there is nothing with which to measure it. There is no scientist out there that has even begun to analyse it. In fact, the sickness is so profound, deep-seeded, embedded in #americant life itself, that only history will be able to recognise it.

The 73-year-old reserve cop who mistook his gun for a Taser has been charged | The Washington Post.

Good luck. Rant on. -Tommi

Uber Mittelstand

german mittelstand in the way.png

Two things today. One. I hate taxis. Two. As I said here and much worst here, the Germanian concept of Mittelstand is a misnomer. That is, it doesn’t mean what you think it means. The Germanians and those that preach it think the word Mittelstand refers to the small and medium enterprises that supply big industry with both parts and labor. This is inherently untrue. What Mittelstand really means is that there is something that blocks the way. Seriously. It means something like a wall or an impassable object or a guard-rail, a fence, a fat man stuffing his face with sauerkraut standing in the middle of an open Autobahn all because he feels ripped-off that his nation-state doesn’t give him more welfare or government subsidy, etc. In other words, Mittelstand is a barrier. It is a barrier that protects one side of the (life) equation from the other side. It protects the future form the present. It protects the past from the future. It stands in the middle and stops everything that it can’t or doesn’t want to understand. In fact, Mittelstand can be a person or a group of people. It can even be a part of a society. Hence, in Germania, probably the world’s best producer of mass high-end products and technical services, there is no innovation there is only a capitalist version of a Big Brother-like being–standing in the middle making sure that… You shall not pass! Indeed. Mittelstand… middle-man (or the like). Good thing it doesn’t really matter what it’s called. ¶Which brings me to taxis. Did I mention I hate them? In fact, whenever I travel, like most recently to Paris, I will avoid as though they carry the plague, taxis. But sometimes, to my regret–and this I blame on the convenience factor of life that one expects in middle-age because of monetary liquidity–I have no choice but to take a taxi. Or. Let me put that another way. My better half didn’t want to take my preferred form of transport upon arrival at Gare Du Nord, public transport. Seriously. I love public transportation, especially in cities like Paris, London, Berlin, NYC. If I could, if the circumstances warranted it, I would give up not only owning a car but I’d give up my friggin’ automobile driver’s licenses–which I have for two countries. The mess that is modern day traffic astonishes me because it represents the best of inhumanity and the behaviour that will be all we leave history. ¶Enter Uber and my worst-thought of the day, dear worst-reader. When I first heard of Uber I thought: Ok, why didn’t I think of that. Then I got the app, started fiddling around with it and, well, as of most recent travel, I still haven’t used it. All I’ve done is heard/read about it. And I’ve concluded: I still hate taxis and Uber is a taxis service. Of course, I don’t hate Uber in the way I hate Parisian taxis. Just recently, when we were in hurry because of some last minute shopping or something, we spontaneously grabbed a taxi to take us to the train station. The typical taxi bullshit ensued. “Oh that’s too short a trip.” “Let me call you another taxi.” “Sir (taxi driver), you’re going the wrong way and I’m not paying you for this detour.” “Sir (taxi driver), would you please take the fastest route to our destination.” Etc., etc. ¶So here’s what Uber does that potentially could make me not hate taxis anymore. It literally gets rid of the Mittelstand bullshit that is a/the sickness of (a) society. And that’s ok. But here’s what makes me angry at worst, skeptical at best about Uber. The taxi industry is probably one of the best examples out there of how government regulation could actually be a positive part of capitalism. Simply put, the taxi industry is heavily regulated in most western countries. It is not heavily regulated because capitalist-pigs got their hoofs in it and want to turn it into a yacht financing arm of whatever else said pigs do. No. It is regulated because (1) it has long since been proven to be a legitimate form of public transportation. (2) Prior to being recognised as a public utility people were being randomly killed by shear negligence. Hence, the day is coming when Uber is going to be called out for its negligence. But with that last statement I make no predictions. ¶Which brings me to the following question: Obviously Uber is something that people want but what is it that they are getting? To worst-moi, Uber is for the first time the best example out there of how technology can also be part of regress and not progress. Uber is employing wild-west tactics disguised as a modern technology service. And people are falling for it. And don’t get me wrong here. That doesn’t mean, I’m against Uber and I’m most certainly not against technology. I’m sure, eventually, I’ll try Uber but I won’t try it because I’m against old school taxis services. I just hate old school drivers and the bullshit they bring to their jobs. But I digress. Rant on. -Tommi

Germany bans Uber once again over permit issues | Engadget

A Historical Argument Against Uber | Time

Mittelstand | Wiki

Revealing The Revealed

Still waiting, dear worst-reader. Waiting for that moment when it’s revealed that the Snowden leaks have revealed something. Wait–wait. I know–I know. You/Most think the leaks were worth it–even though those leaks are under lock & key by a few money grubbing opportunists. And the reason most people think the leaks were worth it is simple. Everyone needs a boogyman where it can lay blame. And the perfect boogyman is the behemoth, bloated US government. Eh? And that’s ok. If that’s what you want to do–it’s not as though I would defend the behemoth, bloated US government. But this is the (insert # here) time I’ve seen an interview with Edward Snowden and it still hasn’t been revealed (to me) if what he’s revealed contains any significant revealings regarding what exactly the evil behemoth, bloated US government does with its vast spying apparatus. I suppose in the vid above, at about 6:20, something is revealed by the Snowden leaks but that was more like a redacting error and ultimately just embarrassing for the newspaper that printed it. So I ask again, almost like I do here and here, other than us now knowing how the US government spies on countries, national leaders and–thanks to the ingenuity of satirical television–Americans and their #dicpics, what has come from the rigamarole-circus of Edward Snowden? I mean. Seriously! The US spies. Other countries spy. Wives spy on husbands. Neighbours spy. School kids spy. Ok. And now what? Oh. Yeah. There’s television. ¶So I guess John Oliver’s little skit was worth it. For a few moments in the vid I felt pretty uncomfortable watching Snowden’s reactions–which seemed pretty normal for any prude, young, sexually repressed American. But Oliver didn’t take the interview far enough, he didn’t grill this young opportunist enough–because Oliver knows what sells in America ain’t truth and reality. No. What sells in America are penis jokes. And so. The questions that I need answered in order to make the Snowden leaks worthwhile are simple: Who are the people responsible for any illegal, unconstitutional spying? Where is all the illegally acquired data and who controls it? Where is the proof that Google & Co. have cooperated with or were coerced into illegal information gathering of US citizens and who exactly made them do it? Is there any substantial evidence–I mean other than poorly written powerpoint presentations that summarise spying techniques–that shows the US government has broken any laws? ¶Again. I’m not defending the behemoth, bloated US government here. I’m also avidly against the passing of the Patriot Act and think it was even worse than the illegal invasion of Iraq. In fact, repealing the Patriot Act is one thing that would partly restore my faith in the US government. Yet I can’t help but feel that the Snowden leaks will go down in history as the leaks that told us nothing–because I already knew that the US government spies. Didn’t you? But I digress. Rant on. -Tommi

Links:

Dicpics | Huffpost