Monday, March 30, 2009

A reason to despair 30/03/09

From time to time, something will come to my attention that causes me to cry out in despair for the human race. This is one of those moments.

In recent 'The World is Fucked' news, YouTube has just suspended the YouTube of the James Randi Educational Foundation, an organisation dedicated to promoting critical thinking and defending the people of the world from dangerous people by exposing charlatans and debunking frauds.

In September 2007, before I knew who James Randi was or what he represented, I was up late watching YouTube videos when I stumbled across one of him exposing Uri Geller and Peter Popoff. Pathetic as it may sound, a soundbite he offerred over the course of the video imparted a very real sense of kinship that I'm not sure I had ever felt before, as I heard my (scarcely expressed) teetotalling motivations coming out of the mouth of a bearded 70 year old. It must have been a rather profound moment, given how vividly I can recall that experience, and how the video found itself embedded on my blog within moments.

So far I'm inclined to believe that YouTube's hand has been forced due to complaints mounting against the JREF from retarded YouTuber users who take offence to hearing about the reality in which they live, and I appreciate that YouTube would rather err on the side of caution when it comes to managing their service, but such draconian measures against this vital educational resource only means that YouTube have further diluted the quality:shit ratio on their site.

Why is it that the videos warning that psychics only want your money get pulled? Why not the videos casting atheism as a dangerous pseudo-religion? I don't see how a kindly old man exhorting the merits of critical thinking can be taken offline when shillers of bullshit happily continue with their psychobabble.

Of course, the key difference is people taking offence. That's the problem with beliefs that are indoctrinated rather than independently investigated, or just not founded in solid logic - people who know jack shit about why they believe can only resort to taking offence when somebody calls that notion into question, so they hit the 'report abuse' button. Intelligent people need a critical mass of people to go to the effort of taking offence, so we can start cutting through the chaff online, but it's not going to happen, because when an intelligent person encounters a babbling retard online, they ignore it (maybe even find it amusing).

My despair is only increased by the knowledge that the same scumbag that Randi dispatched all those years ago is back on the streets, taking advantage of more stupid people, because they won't listen to his advice until after the damage is done.

Seriously, stop being such stupid motherfuckers - there are people out there in the world who take advantage of stupid motherfuckers like the people who take umbrage with James Randi.

In short: stop taking offence, start thinking critically. You're only hurting yourself in the long run.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Lazy narcissist in self-indulgent blog shocker

I'll be honest, I sat down in front of the computer, and decided to blog, which isn't exactly how I normally do things, and since I'm too lazy to gestate anything from the ol' 'Blog Ideas' file that teases me with good ideas that require effort, I've decided to subject you to a great big heaping of narcissistically-fuelled drivel, the kind of banal author-triva that abounds on blogs I generally deride.

Today, friends, I shall bore you with my musical milestones:

First song I ever fell in love with:

Back in Time - Huey Lewis and the News (1985)

I have no idea what age I was when I discovered how to use the home stereo, but I recall going through dozens of my parents' CDs, skimming through tracks until I found this song. My propensity to sing along to this one song for hours led to my mother telling me that using the repeat feature ruined the disks.

First CD purchase:

Boom Boom Boom - Outhere Brothers (1995)

Thanks to the impressive string of clever euphemisms in the lyrics, I never did quite know the specific machinations of what the song was talking about...
Bend you over
Grab your shoulder
Slip my peter inside your folder
Make you sweat-a
Get you wet-a
Pump it faster to make it better
Dim the the lights then lock the room
Cos now it's time for me to hit that boom

... but I thoroughly enjoyed singing along all the same, making sure to skip the remix of 'Fuk U in the Ass', lest my protective mother feel the need to deprive her 8 year old son of a great source of pleasure.

First Tape purchase:

How Bizarre - OMC (1996)

You'll surely forgive the anachronistic order in which I made my purchases, as 9 year olds generally aren't too pushed about the fidelity or convenience of their music mediums. After spending so long in the dining room on the CD player, I appreciated being able to use my brother's walkman and listen without disturbing the peace or being called a stupid fatass retard for singling along and never getting the lyrics right, despite a solid Saturday morning of practice. (Sigh)

First Album:

Spice - Spice Girls (1996)

For Christmas of 1996 I got a CD player and a copy of Spice, like a million other sheep-children in the country. Took about four years before I learnt that "zig-a-zig-ahhh" was pure gibberish, and not, in fact, the grotesque sexual act I assumed it meant.


For the sake of brevity, I'm about to jump forward thirteen years or so, but there are two milestones that I feel I should mention - Blink 182 was the first band I was ever truly a 'fan' of, and Broken Social Scene deserve a mention as my current favourite act, despite my initial dislike for the CD I had been given for Christmas. As of 26/03/09, I consider this to be the most beautiful song I've ever heard:

First iTunes Purchase:

Don't Worry About the World - Monster-0

Amazingly enough, my first iTunes purchase was last Monday - and whilst I begrudge the slight hassle I'll eventually have to go through to remove the DRM, I was impressed with the ease and speed of getting hold of an indie album. You heard it here first - this iTunes doohickey is the future!

[Mind the gap - I can't find a more intelligent way to embed the MySpace player]

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Blog-etiquette mandates that I ask you, dear reader, to proffer your insight - do you have any particularly vivid memories of your early experiences with music, and are you as eager to dismiss your past musical-tastes as mere childishness?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hairy "F**king Paki" cries racism

Consider me outraged. Two weeks ago, the Daily Mail reported the deplorable tale of a Bedfordshire based police constable who was suing his former employers for heeding the urges of his allegedly racist coworkers who launched a campaign to oust him.

Mr Javid Iqbal, who “was born and raised in Stevenage, Hertfordshire” claims that he was bullied by other officers because of his beard, his accent, and his religious beliefs. He laments that his desire to join the police was because he “believed in putting something back into society”, and says that his beard “is an important part of my identity which helps other Muslims relate to me”.

My stomach churns as I think about the utter intolerance that is taking place here. How dare this hairy-faced fucker show such utter contempt for the British way of life. Shame on him for brazenly broadcasting his callous cultural insensitivity to the dominant culture of cultural insensitivity, which helps Brits relate to one another by highlighting even the most insignificant of differences with abject derision.

I get it, Iqbal – you’re pissed because you got the shitty religion – the one with the weird beard-shaving and food-eating rules, but just because your celestial dictator delves into more minutiae than the majority’s celestial dictator doesn’t mean that you’re entitled to subject everybody to halal meats.

If I, like you, had just come back after a nine month leave of absence on full pay as reward for getting depressed at being crap at my job and writing ‘harrassment’ instead of ‘rape’ on a report, I’d probably be just as cynical in getting more out of the government too, but crying racism for every instance your coworkers tried to eke some enjoyment out of your presence, and blaming the victim for your incompetence just makes you look like a douche.

A source at Bedfordshire Police claimed Mr Iqbal was sacked because he was 'not cut out to be a police officer'. With that beard, and your reluctance to earn money in an honest fashion, one vocation springs to mind:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Another sceptic succumbs to religious rhetoric

It's going to be a slow blogging week, as my noble MacBook is enjoying some spa treatment in Dublin, and my mostly-imaginary girlfriend has suddenly materialised herself in physical form and demanding my attention (as far as figments of my imagination go, she's pretty convincing).

Anyhow, to give you an idea of the kind of effort that will be going into this blog until these two abberations have been corrected, I present some copy and pasting:

To: Sully
From: Jay-Jigga
Subject: Incoming Spam

I was in my gran aunt's house the other day. The room was covered in religious paraphernalia - Jesus, teh vurgin Mary, Padre Pio, crosses. She says "I have a book you might want to read". With a kind of sagacious, knowing look, she hands me "Gangster's Guide to God" - how some ex-thug / wannabe-gangster found God and now preaches the message of Jesus to youths. (She hates that we're all atheists, cuz we're gonna burn for eternity, plus there'll be noone to pray over her grave.)

I was bored, trapped amongst relatives, so I read the first chapter.

Wow. I'm a fuckin believer now, dawg. Seriously.

The thug was feeling very low, after he had almost killed some guy by punching him in the face with a knuckle duster, so he cried out "what has i dones! I am teh sinner!" and a presence from above permeated him and told him "you is teh sinner. Change ur ways r u will goes to hell" and at that moment he "knew - not believed - knew" there was a god. And then, sitting behind his typewriter, the author of this magnificent book went for the kill, with words of paradigm-exploding subtle wisdom and intricate philosophical profundity: just because you say “God is a fairytale”, it doesn’t mean he is, in the same way that me saying “you, Sully, are a fairytale” doesn’t mean you don’t exist.

Saaavee me Jebus!
I think she wanted to make the point that, anyone - even the most depraved piece of shit (read: me) - can turn around and find god.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

"Despicable Coward"

I was just reading a news article about a despicable coward who entered a church during a service, shot and killed the pastor (a father of two young daughters), then attempted seppuku before being tackled to the ground by two members of the congregation.

Perplexed as I may be by the hollow rhetoric the church has offered to make sense of this grotesque act ["God did it, so let's not bother our puny human brains second-guessing his motives"], and saddened as I am by this 'Meet the pastor' [Update 10/03/09: The page has been taken down] page on the church website, what I want to draw your attention to in the light of this tragedy is the infinite tact exhibited by Google Adsense underneath the news article:

Friday, March 06, 2009

Saints & Shitters IV: Citizens On Patrol

Every now and again, to avoid being pigeonholed as a callous, rant-happy, multi-purpose contrarian tosspot, I try to use my blog as a platform to give a little something back to society.

Regular readers are already quite aware that there are some sick people out there in the world; vagabond miscreants who never venture without their illicit tools, lest they be granted an opportunity to clandestinely destroy something beautiful in the world...

...Well, there’s at least one such person anyway, and admittedly to date the havoc he has wreaked has been limited to marker scrawls in public toilets, but nevertheless, I have made it my business to document the evils perpetrated in the name of this ‘God’ chap, and provide support to those terrorized by this twisted individual.

In the eight months since the last update, there have been two confirmed sightings.

I was having a pleasant lunch one afternoon some months ago in Bean-A-Tí (Little Catherine St., Limerick) with my friend Dermot (who has previously contributed to this noblest of endeavours), when he excused himself to go to the bathroom. Two minutes later, he was showing me a picture he had just taken on his mobile phone:

The picture made my stomach churn, and I felt like a detective chasing a serial killer who had just found the latest victim dumped in his sitting room. The uneasy feeling has yet to subside, and I haven't been in the place since.

The trail went cold for another few months, when all of a sudden, Vinnie commented on my last appeal for more information:
I'm after seeing this written in a bus shelter just outside the Shannon Industrial Estate, I'll try and get a picture to confirm
True to his word, the e-mail came a few days later:
To: Sully
From: Vinnie
Subject: A Priest Strikes Again

These pictures are taken in two bus stops outside Shannon Industrial Estate....the plot thickens!!

The plot thickens indeed! This is the first documented sighting of the infamous scrawl outside of a public toilet. Our perpetrator is getting bold, but now we can start trying to piece together some information about him. For instance:

  • He spends a lot of time in public toilets (possibly a medical condition?)
  • He uses public transportation (note he has been at that bus stop more than once – given the old faded scrawl in the fourth image)
  • He goes through a lot of permanent markers (note the pattern on the third picture which suggests that the ink had to be coaxed out of the pen)

It’s also entirely possible that he’s affiliated with the church that was putting up the flyers at the bus stop – Vinnie (or anyone for that matter), if you’re there again, find out the name of the church, and see if the text includes the famous phrase! I might even call them up and see if I can get any information out of them (recording it for your amusement of course, dear readers).

If you work in a stationery shop that’s near a bus stop and one of your regular customers is an incontinent priest who seems to dine exclusively on permanent markers, let me know! Your days are numbered, A Priest!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Amazon in false advertising shocker!

I must've missed some checkbox that I was meant to untick last time I bought from Amazon, given the amount of e-mails they've been sending my way.

Not that I'm bothered by it, as I've been mildly interested in everything they've been pimping to me thus far (since I'm still trying to justify buying a Blu-Ray player Playstation 3).

Just now, that mild interest turned to serious intrigue when I saw the subject heading for today's e-mail:

2 for 1? The porn-baiting may have failed, but this is something I'll probably avail of! Or so I thought, but of course, once I clicked into the message, the actual offer wasn't anywhere near as impressive as it initially seemed:

"Buy 2, Get 1 free", meaning that the subject ought to have been "3-for-2 Blu-ray Sale". Fail.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Why I love my girlfriend

From: Cait
To: Sully
Subject: movie for us to go see...

DO NOT go to see Watchmen without me. I'll be there the week after it comes out, so you can wait a week to see it, even if all of your friends are going before you. We can even go see it on the 13th if you're so inclined, if you need to see it right away. (I'm not sure how dedicated you are to seeing the film, so if I've overestimated your enthusiasm level for it, know that I really want to see it, so you'll have to go anyway). It's playing at Storm (yes, I looked it up).

There's nothing more gratifying than a relationship in which there are no pretensions to the male's autonomy.

'Real' posts coming soon! It's been a busy week (but with little stimulation!)