Whadda, howda, ohda.

We don’t all look alike, nor do we all see alike.

Some of the soon-to-vanish-for-some-reason work of an artist I’ve known for a very long time:

Snapshots, silliness, and serious art.

There are gems in there that I would love to pick out and present as some sort of Great Exhibition, but as with so many things there is no point or purpose in doing so and thus no impetus either. Jennifer Jems or something. (She’d understand; she’s nearly as nutty as me.)

Anyhow the weird thing is to finish and confirm my diagnosis I’d need a blood test, neurological exam, and muscle biopsy. Such would involve going to one of two ‘nearby’ hospitals, both of which have COVID outbreaks and so … Good thing it doesn’t matter (there’s not even a treatment, never mind a cure). But what I could do with a confirmation is … well that probably wouldn’t help either. I can see the uncertain future before me and can think of contingency plans for dealing with it, but none is easy. It was no help finding out that the noise in my ear is due to the timpanic muscle spasming like any (and all) others do.

I’m looking ahead with uncertainty. So much to do and can’t even count on the weather.

Is that a flying fish?

Addendum; Monday’s COVID-19 update included the information that basically we have no vaccine nor will have any for the next five weeks at least. Meanwhile the outbreak in our area is still active. What happened to the 70 million doses Trudeau bought from the Chinese? Oh yes; they never existed in the first place.

In essence it is almost a certainty now that we will contract the disease and in all likelihood expire from it. I’m literally going to die because of other people’s stupidity. Seriously.

I can’t believe the future I’m seeing at this moment in time.

Why do we accept fraud?

This post is the result of a convergence of four things. The first being the two hours I spent during Friday and Saturday reporting fraudulent Ebay listings. The second being a post by fellow blogger Chuck Miller mentioning how a satirical piece by someone else about a politician ended up getting that person’s post pulled (which sounds a lot like a free speech violation to me). Third was fellow blogger Jim Grey’s mentioning a similar on-line ‘debate’ over the issue of what is free speech or not in respect to a now infamous social media platform. And fourth would be my own recent suspension by Farcebook over their AI’s inability to comprehend context and thus thinking my statement of fact that the punishment for sedition is death is the same as threatening to kill someone. Good ol’ AI: lots of Artificial, not much Intelligence. Considering that people are infinitely smarter than computers and yet still not up to managing these tasks it’s more than a little stupid to put the machines in control, eh? Oh we can toss in fellow blogger Dan James’s accidental foray into the area of vision, perception, and psychology for added spice (although he didn’t mean to do this I’m sure).

Let’s start with the Ebay fraud. It was rather annoying, because the criminal involved dumped dozens of new listings of a certain camera I am interested in onto the site all at once. Having to wade through a sea of schlock to try and find any legitimate offers was not fun. How do I know they were fraudulent? Because no one suddenly has dozens of high-end cameras available which they are willing to offer at very low starting prices on short-term auctions. This is entirely outside the realm of probability. Plus I recognized some of the photos from earlier fraud listings. Oh and the idiot reused images, including between the three fake ‘seller’ names he was using. We’re talking Canon 5D, 6D, and 1D as well as full-frame Nikons and yes the Pentax 645 cameras were back again. So obvious it’s painful. I can’t imagine anyone falling for it, yet they must else why continue to perpetrate the scam? Like being threatened with arrest via pre-recorded telephone message (you must have gotten that call, haven’t you?)

Now how does this fraud work? I’m not sure. One way would be to drag the legitimate bidders up in price using sock-puppet accounts (all-too-common on Ebay) and then once the maximum has been determined and gone beyond simply offer the item “second chance” for the last legitimate bid price to all who participated and see who bites. I was recently subjected to this version and ignored it. But this presupposes the merchandise is real, and I doubt anyone has a hundred top-end digital cameras sitting around waiting to be sold cheaply.

More likely the bid is brought up and up and a sale is made. The seller collects the money, and buggers off. Fake accounts and all just disappear until they decide to risk discovery again and repeat the scam. This is one of the undoings of many scammers; they don’t know when to take the money and run, converting their ill-gotten gains into legitimate investments and living the easy life like any other politician would.

Really to police this Ebay would need three moderators per user to stay on top of the scams. That’s sort of how it is on the Internet, no? And not just with sales sites either. Facebook and Twitter are loaded with fake accounts and the scams aren’t always about business. Let’s face it, we’ve just come off four years of having a two-bit con artist masquerading as president of the United States (if you believe Donald Trump you seriously need psychiatric help, I’m not joking). And when the lies are proven they deny it even harder. Well he’s gone now and it’s time to get rid of the rest of them.

“Don’t lie” we tell our children. Then we give them stories about fictional beings and make up elaborate ruses to pretend they are real. Maybe if we explained what Santa Claus truly represents instead of insisting he’s an actual entity our kids would not be grounded in the idea that lies are not only acceptable, but preferable to the truth. Why else do we have so many people insisting on “alternative facts”? As a scientist it absolutely boggles my mind that reality has become optional and fantasy is an acceptable alternative. That’s the definition of insanity, people; refusing to accept demonstrable facts, holding on to delusions, and becoming violent when challenged. It’s bad enough seeing this in the drug addicts on the street (at least they have a chemically-induced excuse for their madness), it’s quite another kind of horror to see it in the people who are running your country. What’s their excuse? Perhaps we should remove the “win at any cost” attitude from our sports programs as well.

Finally about that bit that got me in trouble with Farcebook. How dare I suggest traitors should be executed in accordance with the law, eh? Isn’t that what they’d want, though? As they pretend to be about law and order; give them what they demand. In reality you’d be doing society a big favour. You can not educate crazy people, and these people are crazy. It’s a type of zealousness found in many cults and it leads to social destruction. We’ve just seen it try.

We know there are people out there who will grab a hold of any cause, no matter how noble, and corrupt it for their own purposes. Often this is no more than the thrill of the power they feel when they destroy something knowing they’ll get away with it because the blame will fall on everyone. They are anarchists, which is the worst (arguably the only) threat to society. The disbelievers of reality set themselves apart and proudly wear their anti-societal banner, proclaiming themselves to be the problem and being proud of it. What the hell kind of way is that to behave? Your mother taught you that, did she?

It’s amusing the number of them who think being asked to wear a mask to protect against spreading germs to others is some kind of infringement on their rights. They think this is a totalitarian society? Brother, if it were they would have just disappeared in the dark night never to be heard from again. Rather a lot different than a mere fine for being an idiot.

Not just the ones who violate the law in the extreme, but the ones who aver no law applies to them if they don’t happen to like it. They go on about “god-given” rights or “fundamental” freedoms. There’s no such thing. The only rights and freedoms anyone has are those granted by the society they live in, and they are always subject to change. If you don’t like the way the society is structured, there are legal means to change it. Attacking the legislature by force is not one of them. Nor is making up lies and insisting you won “by a landslide” an election you lost – sixty times over.

There are too many people in this world, there is no need to accommodate those who don’t want to be a part of it. There is no place in this world for popular-opinion based reality, nor the people who advocate such nonsense. So this old protester hippy leftover from a generation soon to be gone will take up his own mantle of anarchy profess that these are the very people that need to be permanently removed from among us. We need to execute them (Farcebook be damned).

And we need to teach our children better.

A cold and cruel world.

Plus ça change …

Continuing …

“… plus c’est la même chose.” – Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

I begin this post with that quote because at the start of a “new” year it seems most appropriate. Our artificial designation of the calendar change (New Year used to be in March, never mind the change between Julian and Gregorian, adjustments thereto, or the other types of calendars still in use) and our societies’ assumptions of imposing further changes, or at least the hopes and illusions of them, on us … well it’s all really quite ridiculous.

For example; I have now lived in eight different decades.

Yeah, I’ve been around a while.

If I were to write an autobiography it might be called “From Warsaw to 100 Mile House” or something. I wouldn’t because I can’t remember not only fine details of but indeed great huge segments of my life. When I try to make sense of it, it just doesn’t. It’s been weird and at the same time not very interesting, even to me.

The point is, if we may get back on track here (it’s not called Wandering Words for nothing), that things don’t magically change on a particular date because of that date. You are not born on your birthday; rather you are born and that day becomes your birthday. But people are born, they live, and they die. We are acutely aware of the fact and have a psychological need to define the rest of reality in the same terms. That matter and energy can neither be created or destroyed we know, but we can’t come to terms with this because it is contrary to our own personal existence. So we fool ourselves into thinking time is a thing with a beginning and an end that can be quantified and measured and perhaps even traveled through in a direction other than always forward.

We may as well play the game. The consensus of opinion is that 2020 was pretty bad. Some argue from personal experience that it wasn’t, and the media has gone so far as to dredge up some experts to explain that there have been worse years. This is true: there have been worse years, and I’ve lived through several of them so I ought to know. I don’t expect anyone to listen to me (they generally don’t), but gee kids; I am a walking history book. There’s got to be some advantage to being this old, hasn’t there?

Perhaps not.

On a personal level 2020 wasn’t so bad for me. I am perhaps unique in my adaptability to endure a pandemic lock-down situation. I am by nature non-social (as opposed to anti-social, which is quite different) and the one good part of living off retirement income is you don’t get fired from it. In fact I got a lot of work done on the cabin. The worst bits were endless arguments (usually on-line) about the disease and how it was being handled with the hopelessly stupid people who made the situation worse and the empathetic feeling for all those who really did suffer. Very much like the wildfire disaster of 2017. In truth, for me 2019, 2018, and 2017 were all personally much worse than 2020. But if I look at it objectively and holistically with professional detachment as it were, 2020 was indeed a terrible year in general. A true nadir of existence.

It was made worse by a world-wide assortment of inept leaders whose utter lack of useful knowledge of any sort only served to amplify the raving ignorance and wanton stupidity of a population full of morons. Some demonstrations:

Metaphorical; Australian sees wastebasket on fire, grabs extinguisher, puts it out. Canadian waits until house is burning then starts checking the ads to see if there are any extinguishers on sale. American goes out and buys some gasoline to drown the fire with ’cause it’s wet so it ought to work like water, right?

Timing is everything; Virus first rears its ugly head in December 2019. Prime Minister flies planeloads of “trapped”, and potentially infected, citizens home as soon as possible. One year later he thinks about stopping people from getting on planes unless they test negative for the virus which has already become an uncontrolled pandemic.

When you don’t know, lie; Great Orange Leader says it will all be over by Easter, because admitting there is a problem would make him “look bad”. Eight months later his country has the highest infection rate in the world by a factor of 6 as well as 20% of the deaths from the disease despite having only 5% of the world population. His supporters claim he “warned everyone about how dangerous it is” when in fact he did exactly the opposite. The same supporters deny it exists at all, or say that it is no worse than flu. Until they contract it, that is.

Be prepared; Hey, we bought twice as many vaccine doses as needed for the entire population of the country! Uh, they won’t send them to us though. Seems they don’t really exist. Um, anybody got any vaccine for sale?

Financial forecasting; The Economy will be destroyed if we shut things down! Oh never mind: the rich people managed to get even richer after all, and no one else counts.

Progress in millimeters; Canada is pleased to announce they’ve almost vaccinated less than 0.02% of the population. Somewhat shy of the 12 million inoculations needed to break the transmission spread. Maybe some more lock-downs will help?

I did in fact predict quite a lot of this, as well as suggesting plans to re-order society to make things better and prevent future such occurrences. I won’t reiterate or even link to the relevant posts because no one listens anyway.

I guess the one good thing about being old is knowing you won’t be around long enough to see the final collapse of civilization.

In the short form

How bad can it get?

Let’s just say I finished off the week by slipping on the ice Friday.

That bad.

I didn’t break any bones, despite carrying an armload of wood at the time, but I’ve got the bruises and sore muscles from trying to defy gravity. Yes I’m too old for this. Every time something like this occurs it’s a reminder that lifestyle changes are inevitable. And possibly may be forced upon us at any time.

No photos this week. There hasn’t been a day worth considering a single frame in.

In other photo news I see the Ebay scammers are at it again. Same camera listings, same pricing trickery. In fact some repeats appeared yesterday (with ‘different’ sellers) and were gone today – taken down by the web site, I assume, as they were obvious cons.

COVID rages through our country still, with the numbers climbing. This is largely due to stupid people who fail to accept reality. Some of them are in charge. At least we’re not the USA, which has managed to exceed the world’s infection rate by a factor of 5 now.

Anyway I’m working on another dull, picture-less entry that’s a lot of words and probably not of much interest. I think it only fair to warn readers in advance of something like that. It goes somewhere eventually, but requires patience to see through to the end.

I see Chuck the Writer linked to my last dull entry, bless him. There weren’t even any good images in it. What the hell; he’s a good lad for more reasons than that.

This endless calendar of “just get through today” days has become tedious. I doubt 2021 will be better despite much promise, but at least it won’t be 2020. Ah, be careful what you wish for; you might get it.

Once again they said it would be sunny today. Once again it is not.

C’est la vie. C’est la guerre.

So this is Christmas

The day is here, and here is the day: I’m unwrapping no presents and eating leftovers.

No, I’m not some poverty-stricken derelict who’s poorer than Bob Cratchit. We don’t really “do” Christmas in our family, because it’s a holiday for Christians. Or at least it should be. The way it’s been commercialized is absolutely sickening, and if Jesus were here today he’d be going into the malls with the bullwhip. What sort of society have we built where everything is about money? Even the charities get in on the game, with most of the donations going to “expenses” rather than actual needy people.

Strangely enough I’m a charitable guy. Not just the hundreds of cameras I gave away (that story is getting old, I know). This year there were a couple of local tragedies, and we ponied up because it was real need ‘right next door’ so to speak. Today I’ve heard our Prime Moron tell us it’s the season for giving, and I’m forced to wonder why there is a season for that. If you’re going to call yourself Christian, or even human, then the “season for giving” is whenever the need exists and that is all year. Anything less is just balm for your own ego.

And what about my own desires? Surely they exist? Yes, they do. But the things I want are impossible. For example I’d like at least some of the idiocy in this world to go away. No, seriously. “Peace on Earth” is not just ‘the thing to say’ because it’s expected of us: I really get frustrated and aggravated living in a world run by morons who think wind turbines emit fumes or the world is flat or climate change isn’t real or vaccines cause Autism. I’ve got a head full of education and it turns out to have been a complete waste of time, effort, and money. I could have skipped it and been stupid like everyone else and not be so upset over their idiocy.

Then there are the tangible things I’d like, which also don’t exist. Like a reasonably priced 32mm lens for the Canon. Okay, you knew that was going to get worked in here somewhere.

I look at a lot of things that do exist, and tend to dismiss them. Would it really bring me pleasure? For how long? Enough to justify the expense? Usually they don’t meet the criteria, and often because they come with extra ‘features’ which add to the price but not the product – or even detract from the product.

The truth is I’m too old and too worn out to fight battles anymore. I’m not sure the younger generations will be any better at it either. After all, my lot made huge strides in improving the human condition – only to see much of it reversed under the guise of making things better. We even get blamed for it, even though there aren’t so many of us these days. Okay boomer? Stuff that. We were the greatest generation; do not judge us by a handful of bitter old morons who somehow have been allowed into power and are working hard to undo all the progress we made.

After today things will not be much different. That is true of every day. Maybe I’ll check the post-Christmas sales and treat myself to something inexpensive and largely useless but mildly amusing. Or maybe I won’t. For me there is both no future and a future, and the future is largely the same as the present – but not at all as good as the past.

Someone wrote about leaving your mark on the world. Well if I haven’t by now I never will. I suspect in my case it’s more of a smudge than a mark, but at least it’s not a stain.