[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Thursday, 2022-08-11

MING 2024

Filed under: Humour,Movies,Politics,Television — bblackmoor @ 12:05

[I enjoy doing this sort of thing, and I think I have an eye for it. If I were a bit more ambitious, I would try to do it as a “side hustle”.]

“Psychological warfare has a new meme for your approval, Your Majesty.”

“What is this, Klytus: some new form of torture?”

“Most amusing, Your Majesty. These are a form of propaganda used on the Earth.”

(Ming examines the image)

“Would you like to explain why there is a Frigian labour beast next to the exalted name of MING THE MERCILESS, or should I call for the bore worms now?”

“Of course, Your Majesty may do as he pleases in all things, and I embrace the opportunity to display my undying loyalty. But as it happens, that is the current year according to the reckoning of the people of the planet ‘Earth’. The animal is a symbol of strength, ruthlessness, and nobility. It is known locally as a ‘jumbo’.”

“What primitive creatures these Earthlings are. And the purpose of this image?”

“Why, to grant the Earthlings hope, Your Majesty.”

“Hope?”

“Hope that you will show mercy, Your Majesty.”

(Ming pauses, then slowly claps, exactly three times)

(laughing) “Well done, Klytus. I look forward to reports on the psychological damage.”

(chuckling) “Thank you, Your Majesty. HAIL MING!”

P.S.

Being an actor must be such a strange job. You wear what someone else picked out, stand where they say to stand, and say what they wrote for you to say. And yet, it is so much more difficult to do than that makes it sound (I have only had a couple of amateur performances in my past, but it was enough to learn that much).

Then (if it’s film or whatever), you spend days, weeks, months, traveling from city to city just to sit and repeat the same half-dozen sentences about it for “interview” after “interview”. (Do they even get paid for any of that?)

And then, when the product is complete, you bear the brunt of the blame for the end result, even though you just did what you were told to do.

And whether you even get the job in the first place is dependent on factors so far beyond your control that joining Scientology or Keith Raniere’s bonkers sex cult seem like good alternatives.

Show business, man. It ain’t for sissies. (I think Betty White said that, originally, but I may be mistaken.)

Monday, 2022-06-06

The past is a different country

Filed under: Fine Living,History,Philosophy — bblackmoor @ 18:16

I had a sombre thought today. The world I grew up in doesn’t exist anymore. In some important ways, that’s a good thing. But it’s a bad thing, in a few ways. I feel sad for people who’ll never be able to live in it. Ah, well.

Tuesday, 2022-05-17

Fame is fleeting

Filed under: Humour,Movies,Music,Society — bblackmoor @ 12:39

For no particular reason, the song “Fame”, by Irene Cara, came into my mind today. Google tells me it was released in 1980: 42 years ago. I haven’t heard it in very nearly that long, but I recall it clearly, and I even recall the name of the singer.

That is just how hugely popular that song was… briefly. And then nothing. When’s the last time you thought of it? How strange that is. The fleeting popularity of fame, so to speak.

It’s not really my style of pop song, and I still haven’t seen the eponymous movie, but even I loved the song and sang along to it, at the time. Of course, I was in my early teens then, and a boy, so I could never actually tell anyone I loved that song. It would have been indistinguishable to wearing a “call me a ‘homo’ and push me down” sign. (I’m not gay, and was even less so then, thanks to adolescent hormones, but bullies don’t place a high value on accuracy. Hopefully, my own miserable teen years helped distract the bullies from actual gay kids.)

Anyway, that’s not what compelled me to write this post. I’m writing this post because I asked Google to “play ‘Fame’ by Irene Cara on YouTube, on ‘downstairs group'” (my downstairs speakers). And, obligingly, it did (Google can be… contrary, sometimes).

And then it played “YMCA”, by the Village People.

And THAT made me laugh out loud.

Friday, 2022-05-13

Story hook: the Post Office Saves The World

Filed under: History,Prose,Technology,The Internet,Writing — bblackmoor @ 10:06

Imagine a world where Amazon and Google and Microsoft and Apple had the combined wealth and power of Mailboxes, Etc. …

Proposal: some services must never be operated for profit. As in, if you want the license to operate, you operate as not-for-profit, with all of the oversight and regulation that entails. What kind of services?

  • Hospitals
  • Military
  • Police
  • Post Offices
  • Prisons
  • Roads
  • Schools
  • Trains

Story hook: a team of people from 2080 go back to the 1960s to attempt to prevent the end of Human civilization. How? By lobbying legislators to put civilian use of ARPANET under exclusive control of the US Post Office before Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf develop TCP/IP.

Update: In case this was unclear: if you put “Contracting Company” after any of these services, it should make NO DIFFERENCE. NONE. If you want the license to operate, you operate as not-for-profit, with all of the oversight and regulation that entails. We are at least a generation past the point where the “contractor” loophole should have been legislatively closed. Human beings are not “resources” to be squeezed dry and discarded.

Wednesday, 2022-03-16

Rust and energy consumption

Filed under: Programming,Society — bblackmoor @ 16:41

I find this interesting. Go has been on my short list of “next things to play with” for a little while, but I am adding Rust above it.

A recent post on the AWS Open Source blog announced that AWS “is investing in the sustainability of Rust, a language we believe should be used to build sustainable and secure solutions.”

It was written by the chair of the Rust foundation (and leader of AWS’s Rust team) with a Principal Engineer at AWS, and reminds us that Rust “combines the performance and resource efficiency of systems programming languages like C with the memory safety of languages like Java.”

But there’s another reason they’re promoting Rust:

https://developers.slashdot.org/story/22/02/20/0143226/is-it-more-energy-efficient-to-program-in-rust

Saturday, 2022-01-15

Avengers: Endgame

Filed under: Movies,Society — bblackmoor @ 18:17

Avengers: Endgame…

Society dealing with a 50% loss in population is nothing — NOTHING — compared to the mass starvation and tragedy that would result from a sudden 100% increase in population after society has adapted to the previous 50% population loss.

Today you have two children. You have a job, and you can feed them.

Tomorrow you have another unemployed adult in your household, and two more children to feed.

How does that feel?

And that’s if you are lucky. If you aren’t, you (SUDDENLY — to you it seems five years have gone by in a moment) are a single adult with a child, and you have no job and nowhere to live. And there are THREE BILLION people who, like you, weren’t here yesterday. Good luck finding a job or a place to live.

Avengers: Endgame is the beginning of a tragedy the likes of which the world has never seen.

Saturday, 2021-11-20

Shallow and facile and selfish and destructive

Filed under: Society,Television — bblackmoor @ 23:49

So… okay, I interrupt my reports of the previous moment’s heart-rending injustice (which is 87% likely to be something found exclusively in the United States Of America), to talk about a show I like, and to also share an unexpected heart-rending.

I am currently watching “Upstart Crow” on BritBox on Roku, and I am on the “Christmas Lock Down 1603″ episode. Thus far, it has been a humourous coddangle of an episode, to enjoy over an evening’s thrillop and quentish. But what’s this? Will (Mr. Shakespeare, to some) says this…”I haven’t seen my family in months. I missed my father’s funeral. I never even got the chance to say goodbye!”

–record scratch–

Hold on: is Harry Enfield (the actor who plays William Shakespeare’s father) DEAD?

So I paused the episode, typed all of this into futtington Facebook, and then googled “Harry Enfield”…

Mr. Enfield is alive and well (as far as Wikipedia knows). So why would… oooooooh… (google “John Shakespeare” …) ah, John Shakespeare died in September 1601. And this, of course, is “Christmas Lock Down 1603”. Hang on, there: are we to believe that London has been experiencing a plague lockdown for … ah. Never mind.

KATE: After all, while we be locked in our homes, there be no land cleared, no rivers damned, no forests felled. Nature has its moment and all God’s creatures a year without fear that man will destroy its very habitat.

KATE: That has to be a good thing, doesn’t it?

WILL: Yes, Kate, it does. But it brings me no comfort, child. Because even if humanity has by some miracle used this time to take stock of the things that actually matter, and if perhaps nature has been given momentary relief from its brutal servitude to man, it won’t make any difference.

WILL: Because the second this is all over and humanity is free to roam once more, we will be exactly as shallow and facile and selfish and destructive as we ever were. We will have learnt nothing, Kate. Nothing. Because frankly, we never do.

Wednesday, 2021-11-03

The Second Coming

Filed under: Philosophy,Poetry,Politics — bblackmoor @ 08:42

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

The Second Coming“, W. B. Yeats, 1919

Fun fact! Yeats went on to embrace fascism and authoritarianism — the “passionate intensity” of “the worst“. “The Second Coming” is the most compelling proof I know of that an artist is not their art — and if we insist on conflating the two, or on depriving ourselves of great art by less-than-great people, that it is we who suffer for it.

Yeats, after all, is long dead, and quite beyond our reproachment.

What had me thinking about this was, of course, the results of the election yesterday, in which the “the worst” — angry, hateful, and completely detached from realitywon virtually every election.

I am glad that I don’t have children. The United States is a dumpster fire, and it won’t get better in my lifetime.

If it ever does.

Wednesday, 2021-07-14

Indians, transvestites, and gypsies

Filed under: Philosophy,Society,Writing — bblackmoor @ 14:45

Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.

— Rita Mae Brown

On the one hand, it’s my opinion that the specific word someone uses means very little compared to what they mean by that word.

On the other hand, yes, vocabulary changes over time. “Decimate” used to mean “kill one person in ten”; nowadays it means “destroy most of”, almost the opposite of its archaic meaning.

But context matters. Intent matters. Chasing the term-of-the-moment is a distraction from what actually helps or hurts people. This semiotic scavenger hunt is one of the ways in which well-meaning people are kept occupied by trivia, while the Republican death cult burns the United States to the ground.

That being said, if someone from Mexico tells me that they consider “Mexican” to be pejorative because someone, somewhere has used that word as an insult, I will make an effort not to use that word around them. (Note: this is a hypothetical example, but it very easily could be a real-life example tomorrow.)

Monday, 2021-06-28

Correction! It’s not “drag queen”…

Filed under: Civil Rights,History — bblackmoor @ 14:08

From time to time, I will see a story about the Stonewall riots, or about a person like Ruth Coker Burks, and the story will use a phrase like “drag queen”. And some well-meaning but painfully naive person will wag their finger and comment, “Correction! It’s not ‘drag queen’, it’s ‘trans woman’.”

I don’t (usually) argue with them, because I try to follow the admonition of picking big fights with my enemies, not small fights with my friends. But what I want to say is,

You little snot, you have no fucking clue what DRAG QUEENS did for you. DRAG QUEENS hurled bottles at cops. DRAG QUEENS held fund-raisers for AIDS patients. DRAG QUEENS marched to remind the straights that they existed and would not be erased. You want to sneer at your allies and “correct” them for not using the term-of-the-moment? Be my guest. Today, it’s “trans woman”. In two years, it will be something else. Just know that you can keep “correcting” people on your own side from now until the end of time, and you won’t come close to doing what DRAG QUEENS did for human rights in this country in a single day.

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