I had no idea. I haven’t upgraded since CS2. This is bullshit of the utmost degree. Shame on Adobe. GIMP here I come! Corporations suck. The bigger they get, the worse they suck. It’s a fact of life. They may start out with good intentions and a good product (Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon, Adobe, vBulletin and a slew more), but greed eventually takes over, they all want to be Master of the fucking Universe, sink their venomous teeth into you and suck every last dollar out of you. If you must you can still buy the last few remaining copies of PS CS6 on eBay for a small fortune, but hurry; once they’re gone, they’re gone. Or you can give them a gigantic middle finger and a big “FUCK YOU!”. I know, it’s hard because it’s a good product and you’re hooked. And now they have to go and ruin a good thing for everybody, loyal customers who have been with them for 10-15 years+. Fucking fuckers.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
This is the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution, most noted for guaranteeing us the right of free expression and freedom of religion (separation of church and state). It also gives you the right to petition the government with any grievances you might have.
You can do this in person (actually travel physically to Washington D.C. and knock on your congressman’s door), via snail mail, or, these days, most commonly electronically via email or the representative’s/senator’s website. The most effective way to catch the president’s attention is by starting a petition on whitehouse.gov.
Rest assured that your message will never reach the president’s desk and no matter how many co-signers you can gather it will never change policy. It’s all pretend! Your petition, in a best case scenario, will be filed away on a server and maybe in a distant future studied by presidential historians. Your email address will be saved for future spam campaigns begging for money. Worst case scenario, men in black with dark shades and bulges under their coats driving black SUVs with tinted glass will show up at your house wanting to “ask a few questions”. Be polite.
There is one exception to this rule: if your petition is accompanied by a huge wad of cash you might get through. But it has to be a lot of money. More than you have or will ever earn in your lifetime. It needs to be big corporation-sized contributions (aka “bribes”). Because after SCOTUS’ ruling that corporations are people and money is speech the playing field has been knocked even more out of kilter than it used to be. Mr Smith no longer goes to Washington. Just doesn’t happen. The only time high ranking elected representatives, including the president, are interested in you and your opinion, is in the lead-up to an election when they will lie through their teeth, contradict themselves in the same sentence, and make any kind of bogus promise to court you and your vote in order to keep their jobs. It’s never too late to make statements that are not meant to be taken factually (meaning it’s OK to lie if the intent is to get your support on election day).
I know I’m beating a dead horse here, and that I’ve said this many times before, but it bears repeating: the United States is a two-party dictatorship where we elect (not by the “one-man-one-vote” model as you are lead to believe) a mostly reasonably benevolent, but crooked to the bone, pseudo-dictator and congressional lieutenants (that’s mobster hierarchy terminology), with term limits.
And the only way to win is with money. Lots of it. Billions of dollars per election cycle. You, and I mean this quite seriously, don’t play any significant part in this process. Half of eligible voters are so disillusioned with the process that they don’t even bother to vote. If more of us did, we might be able to change shit. American exceptionalism.
I’ve quoted this a few times before, and I will keep on doing so until it’s fixed, or I die, the latter being the most likely scenario. I just hope it won’t be in prison.
“It must be fun to watch a president run, just ask the man who owns one.”
~ Steppenwolf, from the album/song Monster
Please note that the front man of Steppenwolf, John Kay, was born in, and fled East Germany with his mother as a child. Not saying it carries any significance that a man who escaped a truly, bonafide, brutal and deadly dictatorship later became a rock star who wrote the greatest protest song ever written against the corrupt regime in his new, adopted country. Just think about it, is all I’m asking.
God bless y’all and these United States of America!
Disclaimer: This posting is for entertainment purposes only and in no way should be taken as a a call to overthrow the legally elected government, for which I have only the deepest respect.
I received this email from Midway USA today, one of the country’s largest online dealers of everything related to firearms, and of whom I am a customer:
Connecticut Public Act 13-220
|On April 4, 2013, Connecticut Public Act 13-220 was signed into law by Governor Malloy. Among other things, this law implements licensing requirements for the sale of all magazines and ammunition beginning October 1, 2013. In order to be compliant with the new law on its effective date, we will be restricting the sale of all ammunition and magazines to Connecticut beginning September 17, 2013. This allows for all in transit products to arrive in Connecticut by the law’s effective date.|
|In order for any existing backorders to release and to continue purchasing magazines or ammunition after this date, you must be the holder of one of the following permits/certificates: CT Carry Permit, Eligibility Certificate, Long Gun Eligibility Certificate or Ammunition Certificate. Additionally, one of these must be on file with your MidwayUSA account.|
|The Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) is responsible for the administration of the permits and certificates listed above. Please visit the DESPP website for instructions and many of the necessary forms to apply: http://www.ct.gov/despp/cwp/
|If you have already submitted one of these documents to MidwayUSA, no further action is necessary.|
|If you have not obtained one of these documents, we encourage you to do so. Once obtained, please email (email@example.com
|We are very sorry for the inconvenience and sincerely appreciate your business.|
I’m including this pop song from 1970s Scottish heart-throbs pop band Bay City Rollers as a sarcastic post script. Figure it out if you can. If not, no biggie. And yes, I’m embarrassed to admit that I have this album in original vinyl
Two loaves of bread only $5.00. One loaf $2.50. Who do they think they’re fooling?
So the first and greatest heavy metal band of all time decided to “reunite” (replacing Bill Ward with the drummer from Rage Against The Machine, Brad Wilk, because Bill reportedly couldn’t get a “decent contract”). Too bad.
Words that come to mind: Trite, boring, uninspired, stereotyped, stock, off-the-shelf, copycat, bad forgery. If you told me it was a Black Sabbath tribute band I would have believed you.
Black Sabbath’s first five albums (Black Sabbath, Paranoid, Master Of Reality, Black Sabbath Vol. 4 and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath) is all I need. That’s how I want to remember them. They defined the genre and spawned many other great bands. Sometimes (always, actually) it’s best to quit while you’re ahead. That was decades ago. To make things worse they’ve jumped on the corporate bandwagon and issued a “Deluxe” version that can only be obtained from Best Buy (cursed be their name!) if you want the extra “bonus” track. Thanks, but no thanks.
Of all the possible ways this could have been handled by the cops, I can’t think of a anything worse than what actually happened. At no point was the dog aggressive or the police in danger. And they say regular people (citizens) have no need to be armed. With cops like this, who needs enemies? We’re edging closer to a police state by the day. WARNING: Disturbing content. Read the whole story at The Huffington Post.
Rather than going the traditional route of making a “long story short” (which never turns out to be the case anyway), I will attempt to answer a simple question, or rather, a series of simple questions, detailed and to the point, complete with examples, digressions and stream of consciousness ramblings as I see fit and necessary so as to ensure, to the best of my ability, that what I’m trying to convey comes across clearly. Or to obfuscate it completely.
As a man matures and grows older, he starts to ponder his place in the universe, what function, if any, he has in the greater scheme of things. As the process of coming to terms with the meaning of his life, his position in the cosmos, the restraints placed on him by circumstance and the environment, and whatever effect he can reciprocate on his surroundings etc., develops (I’m reasonably sure that this sentence is grammatically correct), he may find in his heart an urge to express his philosophy to the world, and so it became that I decided I wanted a tattoo.
Having obeyed the rules (mostly) for more than half a century, being a closet rebel, a natural born free thinker trapped in a world of Jante’s Law, and having come to the conclusion along the way that I don’t much like them, it didn’t take me long to come up with a general objective of what I wanted to express with my tattoo. From the rather generic idea that the rules suck and I didn’t want to take it anymore, I put my creative powers to work and reduced the general concept to the concise (or so I thought) phrase “Power To The People, Death To The Machine“, which neatly covered my feelings, and, if not precisely self-evident, I thought the wording would be pretty self-explanatory to the Common Man of average intelligence (I may have been wrong). So as any self-respecting, pseudo-intellectual, radical arm-chair subversive worth his salt, I immediately decided to translate my dictum (which I by the way make no claim to be the originator of (I generally subscribe to the notion that any thought worth thinking has already been thought by someone else and I have little of original value to contribute to the greater discourse of mankind), but I assure you that it is not deliberate plagiarism) to Latin. And this is where the real story begins. But more about that later.
First I want to say a few words about the design I have in mind. I imagine a Soviet-era, propaganda style clenched fist on my upper arm/shoulder with the slogan split in its two halves on separate banners top and bottom. I’m not a big fan of strong coloring and heavyshadows, so I’m leaning towards a distressed, faded look. I’m not much of an artistic type myself, so I’m sure the tattoo artist can give some helpful input. I have a specific guy in mind (he did my wife – twice!), but around here there are almost as many tattoo parlors as churches, and it’s probably a good idea to shop around to make sure the artist understands my vision, and, not unimportant, has the skill. References and portfolios need to be checked out, for sure. Disclaimer: this may never come to fruition (and whether or not I actually end up getting inked is irrelevant to this particular story) at all (I have a hard time committing myself to irreversible body art, ref. my earlier statement about a lifetime of following the rules), but I reckon it’s a reasonable bet that I only have approximately thirty-or-so years left of breath in me, the ten last of which may possibly be spent wearing old-man diapers drooling in front of a TV stuck on the shopping channel at some godforsaken home for the old and unwanted, waiting to die. So if not now, then when? My inner, unfulfilled rebel is getting aroused as I write these words.
So about the Latin translation. I don’t speak Latin. I can make myself understood in the English speaking world (though not fluently), the Scandinavian countries, except Iceland, insomuch as they qualify as a Scandinavian country; I have the scantest knowledge of German (less than conversational) and I know how to tell a guy he’s a cock sucking faggot in Spanish, that’s it. As you can see my linguistic circumstances are a bit foggy, and maybe the subject for another post. I’m almost 100% certain that an online translator would get it wrong and should I choose that route I would run the risk of being permanently embarrassed every time I walked by the Latin departments of any of the Ivy League universities. Luckily I have a friend with a linguistic fetish who dabbles in Latin recreationally (I shit you not!) who helped me figure out a reasonable translation of several possible variations that I believe captures the essence of what I stand for (thanks, bro!). “Power To The People, Death To The Machine”, or as Lucretius would (or not) have said (depending on the validity of “machinae” used figuratively in classical Rome, which is still up for debate), “Potestas Vulgo, Mors Machinae“; it rolls off the tongue mellifluously, but still with gravitas, both in English and Latin. The perfect motto, beautifully raw and simplistic, yet plainly signifying both a moral principle as well as a call to action.
For my own edumecation as well as the elucidation of my reader(s?), I will now break down and analyze my proposed slogan in an exercise to make sure any reasonable reader will understand it close to the way it is intended and as I do:
Death To The Machine – First of all, what do I mean by “the machine“? Obviously not a typewriter (for those of you old enough to know what that is) or any mechanical apparatus. No, it is a figure of speech denoting an organization/institution, or organizations/institutions, that have grown beyond the intention of their makers, and reached a point of singularity, or near-singularity, where they take on a form of self-awareness and certainly don’t obey their masters, become uncontrollable, and instead of serving as a means to an end, becomes its own, self-justified end. The legendary rock group Steppenwolf called it the “Monster” in one of the best rock songs to come out of the 70’s, or any decade for that matter, by one of the most underestimated bands ever. (The Sex Pistols and Madonna are Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, but not Steppenwolf. Really? REALLY?!?)
More often than not such Machines are to the detriment of its original creators and the people they were set in place to serve. Examples might include imperialistic and bellicose governments, such as the US government; organizations within the government such as Dept. of Homeland Security, the FBI, the CIA, the NSA who, originally created to protect society from crime and enemies, foreign and domestic, now spy on society at large, collecting our communications in vast databases without our knowledge and for what nefarious purposes we can only imagine. It could be the military industrial complex that president Eisenhower (R) warned us against in the 50s, that requires, and lobbies for, wars to make a living. Same thing with the private incarceration industrial complex, that requires, and lobbies for, criminals to lock up to make a profit, resulting in America having the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world, mostly due to non-violent drug users falling victim to the The War On Drugs and three-strikes-and-you’re-out (or in, as the case might be) legislation. It could be an increasingly militarized police force edging ever closer to an outright police state, running roughshod over the Bill of Rights with impunity. It could be a President instructing his legal council to whitepaper him authority to torture suspected terrorists and assassinate American citizens with unmanned, flying killer robots without the due process guaranteed in the Constitution. It could be a commercial health care system preying on human misery and suffering, where keeping you sick, medicated and hospitalized is the best business model ever devised and the only losers are you and me. It could be an economic system that rewards excessive risk taking with other people’s money and downright fraud to the obvious detriment of investors. It could be too-big-to-fail, too-big-to-prosecute. It could be the revolving door connecting Congress and K-Street. It could be an election system where money matters more than votes and public office is effectively up for sale to the highest bidder. Obviously all the lobbying required to keep the wheels of The Machine oiled and running smoothly invites widespread bribery and corruption, making the will of the people less relevant than the amount of money paid for services rendered and expected. It could be politicians less interested in serving their constituents than protecting their jobs, i.e. getting reelected at any cost. It could be mayors exercising near-dictatorial powers, banning soda, outdoor smoking and deciding what kind of food you can eat (yes, I’m talking to you Bloomberg). It could be a nine-person politicized Supreme Court with lifetime appointees that can’t be fired (what could possibly go wrong?). It could be you, thrown over a barrel and buttfucked by a huge red, white and blue faux patriotic cock. I could go on and on, but hopefully by now you get the picture.
Death (to the machine) – What do I mean by “death” in this context? Obviously (I hope!) not that we should go out and physically kill all the collaborators that constitute the machine (many of us are unwitting participants). While they are biological entities, the individual matters little, since The Machine is more like a hive mind acting in unison, but not giving a second thought to why, perhaps not even aware that there is a why. By death I mean fixing the system, reigning it back to its original intent and a proportional size. Ideally this would be accomplished by the democratic provisions built into the original Machine (poorly devised as many of them were from the beginning and broken further since), but the keen observer will see that we are now dealing with a catch 22 situation. The Machine dictates the agenda as well as methods and ritual, while the populous that put it in place becomes ever more catatonic and ignorant, an instrument for The Machine, dazed and confused as they are by a steadily increasing diet of reality TV shows, Toddlers and Tiaras, Octomom and Honey Boo-Boo. I certainly am not about to incite violence and insurrection; my explicit recommendation is to fix, and if we’re beyond that point, replace, in a peaceful manner. I am not agitating for mutiny and overthrow of the government. That would be illegal, and I am nothing if not the reincarnation of Gandhi. We are encouraged to petition our elected leaders; President, Senators and Congressmen alike. Feel free to do so if you please, but have no illusions that contacting your rep will make an iota of difference (unless your petition is wrapped in a really big check). Your vote counts for nothing unless you live in a few select voting districts in a few select battleground states (due, of course, to a badly flawed Constitution). However, I am not optimistic about the future. If the current trend continues unabated, I do not see the United States surviving in its current configuration (a corporate oligarchy in the form of a two-party dictatorship in the guise of a democracy) one or two centuries from now. Make of it what you will. This article has already been flagged by the NSA. Remind me to get some sunblock for my upcoming trip to Guantanamo.
Power To The People can be split into (or so I’ve been told) three different questions:
- What is “the Power””
- What is “the People”?
- And why on Earth should the Power be given to them?
- Power is what the people for the most part don’t have. Power is what, ideally, should result from a government by the people, for the people and of the people. Power can be an illusion given to us in order to placate us by the corporate oligarchy, the two-party dictatorship, and every corrupt little politician more interested in lining his own pockets rather than doing the People’s work. Power is the ability to determine one’s own future without having to apply for permission. Real power, benign power, is to do unto others what you would like others to do unto you. If religion is opium for the people, than the illusion of power is benzos for the people. So far it looks like Big Brother is winning at this time.
- The People (as of the time of writing this) are the mindless, comatose chattel drugged and dazed by the aforementioned corporate overlords and their puppets, the government. The lowest voter participation in the civilized world bears testament to the fallacy that America is the greatest democracy in the world. The people are those who confuse happiness and greatness with Wal-Mart, Disney, a military greater and stronger than the next 15 nations combined, and all-you-can-eat buffets. The people are those who think freedom is the Second Amendment, all the while Big Bad Leroy Brown is molesting the nine other Amendments in the Bill Of Rights behind their backs. The People are in dire need of a wake-up call.
- The Power shouldn’t be “given to them” (the People). For one thing those currently in control of the Power won’t give it away without a fight. The power has to be taken back. Preferably by peaceful means if possible using the laws and courts. I’m not suggesting assassinating the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelsons of this world. But we do have dynasties in America that differ from the old European aristocracies in little but name. Think the Kennedys, the Romneys, the Bushes, industrial barons who throughout most of the 19th and 20th centuries built their empires and vast fortunes on the backs of the destitute worker who bought into the idea of “The American Dream” that was fed to them by their Masters. Power that is “given” is nothing but a privilege on loan. Power must be taken.
Having said all this I have no illusions that things will get better, at least not in my lifetime, before they get worse. Much worse. I don’t rule out a second American Revolution or Civil War; a complete balkanization of the North-American continent. One could argue that a citizenry that dies with a smile on its face from obesity related diseases induced by pizza with cheese-filled crusts delivered conveniently to their doors, complete with a side of Cinna-Bons and a two-liter of Pepsi, and thinking they’ve made it in life, deserves no better. But that would be mean and snobbish.
I am reasonably certain that the People will lose in the fight for power/freedom (greed and the lust for personal power and enrichment always trumps idealism and a sense of fairness and justice), but I am nothing if not an idealist; it has been my curse since I developed a mind of my own at around the age of six.
Finally, I would like to point out that to the degree I am a philosopher (we all are, it does NOT require a college degree), I am more of a big picture kind of guy, leaving it to others to figure out the minutia. Don’t take everything I say too seriously, but on the other hand it ain’t meant to be a joke either.
It’s International Workers’ Day again. It’s an official holiday in more than 80 countries, but goes largely unnoticed in America (even though its origins are in commemoration of an event that took place in America). That may be why we are the only nation in the civilized world without universal health care, why we have the lowest rate of unionization, the lowest wages for unskilled labor, absolutely no mandated paid vacation, no security against being fired on the employers’ whim, no mandated paid maternity leave, and oddly (or not) enough, the lowest voter participation in elections. I could go on and on and on.
America may be one of the greatest nations on Earth, depending on your definition of greatness, but we are near the bottom in workers’ rights. Don’t forget that whatever meager rights you have, you have because somebody was willing to stand up and fight for them. Also, don’t forget that while you’re snoozing in front of your big-screen TV, the Koch brothers and Big Everything is hard at work trying to take them away from you.
As a gentle reminder of what’s at stake, here is an English translation of the original French L’Internationale – The Internationale – written in 1871, a left-wing anthem for workers’ rights all over the world. Call me a Marxist, leftist, commie, pinko, socialist; I’ll wear it as a badge of honor.
Arise ye pris’ners of starvation
Arise ye wretched of the earth
For justice thunders condemnation
A better world’s in birth!
No more tradition’s chains shall bind us
Arise, ye slaves, no more in thrall;
The earth shall rise on new foundations
We have been naught we shall be all.
‘Tis the final conflict
Let each stand in his place
The International Union
Shall be the human race.
We want no condescending saviors
To rule us from their judgement hall
We workers ask not for their favors
Let us consult for all.
To make the theif disgorge his booty
To free the spirit from its cell
We must ourselves decide our duty
We must decide and do it well.
The law oppresses us and tricks us,
The wage slave system drains our blood;
The rich are free from obligation,
The laws the poor delude.
Too long we’ve languished in subjection,
Equality has other laws;
“No rights”, says she “without their duties,
No claims on equals without cause.”
Behold them seated in their glory
The kings of mine and rail and soil!
What have you read in all their story,
But how they plundered toil?
Fruits of the workers’ toil are buried
In strongholds of the idle few
In working for their restitution
The men will only claim their due.
We toilers from all fields united
Join hand in hand with all who work;
The earth belongs to us, the workers,
No room here for the shirk.
How many on our flesh have fattened!
But if the norsome birds of prey
Shall vanish from the sky some morning
The blessed sunlight then will stay.
There’s something sinister going on in Hartford, CT, literally, as I write this. The politicians are using a provision called E-Cert (Emergency Certification) to ram through a bill bypassing the normal committee hearings, thereby also bypassing the democratic process. The emergency provision was certainly not meant for situations like the current issue at hand. Both Democrats and Republicans are in on this scheme.
I don’t know how I will vote in future elections, locally, state, or nationally, but I do know I don’t want my name associated with a bad crowd – and I consider the Connecticut legislature to be just that – and I don’t want a D or an R after my name. The minor parties have mostly single-issue platforms and are irrelevant. Voting in America has become an exercise in choosing the lesser of all the repugnant evils put forth.
So today I went to the registrar of voters in Newtown, CT, and changed my party affiliation from Democrat to unaffiliated, in effect Independent. Fun fact: As a registered Independent in Connecticut I don’t get to vote in primaries. As if the general election system in America wasn’t poorly designed to begin with and broken further as it was, this is no less than an undemocratic slap in the face. Still better than being associated with people with no backbone and poor ethics at best, and downright criminals at worst.
Just a reminder that it’s May 1st and you shouldn’t take anything for granted. You have what you have today because others fought for it, and if you don’t stand up for those rights they will be taken away from you.