Its the end of the world…

as we know it. – REM, Document, 1987

And I feel fine?

Many of us like to imagine the things that will end the world. Or is that just me? Perhaps I shouldn’t broadly speculate about what other people do in the bathtub. In my case its usually that, or playing with my U-boat. No, that is not a euphemism. Its an actual scale model U-boat. I thought a plastic yellow duck cast doubt on my masculinity and general Alpha male… eh, ness.

In any event, when I’m not stalking merchant ships in the North Atlantic my mind is drawn to apocalyptic scenarios… like a moth is drawn to the blue light of a bug zapper. I amuse myself with schema that will most likely cause the end times. Asteroids. Artificial intelligence. Anthrax. Which are all very cute (and alliterated) But the real threat ALREADY lives among us! They are known to us. We interact with them every day. We might even be fond of some of them. But these people are the walking, breathing embodiment of the end times. I’m talking about the greatest danger to continued human existence to ever walk the earth, I’m talking about the Baby Boomers.

And their stubborn refusal to die!

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Apparently seventy is the new fifty. My old man just turned 71. He is the walking embodiment of the problem we face. He is healthy, strong and certainly doesn’t fit the mold of the decrepit elderly person he should be by now! There is literally nothing wrong with him, besides the fact that he’s annoying… his doctor gives him a solid thumbs up once a year when he does his full medical. He’s even learnt how to use an iPhone. Which I find mind boggling. He comes from a generation of telex-machines, chalk board stock exchanges and post cards.

The old man is anomalous in so far as he did the much vaunted retirement thing ten years ago. He contributed dutifully to his retirement fund. Did the whole living annuity thing which pays him out until he’s 99. (Which he might actually reach) That’s 28 years away. His mother reached the venerable age of 99. (she was still driving at 90)

This is problematic for two reasons. Well maybe more. Lets see how we go…

REASON 1

Not all Baby Boomers planned for their retirement. Which means they have to carry on working. Which means they stubbornly occupy higher order positions in a company that should be cycling. Only they’re not. Because they’re not retiring… and they’re not dying. So they’re causing this strange bottle neck which cascades down the chain of command. Suddenly the middle manager is in his position longer than his predecessor… the bottom of the barrel guys can’t move up the chain either… because the middle managers can’t move up.

Imagine starting out at a company… instead of up cycling every couple of years, YOU occupy the bottom tier for double the amount of time. More importantly your salary stays the same. ie. LOW. You dare not quit, because there are twenty five graduates with MBA’s and a mountain of student debt waiting outside for your job.

Your twenties and early thirties are supposed to set you up financially. But now being stuck at the bottom for longer means a whole bunch of things. One, if you have student debt… that’s gonna take longer to pay off. And two… less disposable income. Why less disposable income, because old people aren’t dying, plus normal population urbanization means a lack of affordable housing. Just paying your rent in an area where it won’t take you two hours to get to work in the morning is half your salary.

Old people are also going to start putting tremendous pressure on health care. The fact that cancer is now treatable makes the insurance companies very sad. They used count on cancer culling the population. Now people carry on living. The longer they live, the more expensive they become to maintain. Old people fall… break a hip, spend five weeks in the hospital… AND RECOVER. You know how much that costs? Millions. Suddenly the money pool is getting smaller… and smaller… and either they can cut back on what they cover… Or… they can increase the monthly cost to cover the shortfall because the Baby Boomers, like the dusty vampires they are, suck it dry.

REASON 2

Pensions run on mathematical formulas that hypothesize how many people are going to die and when. Up until now its been super accurate. It helps keep the pool of money at a healthy level. In fact pension funds had so much money they didn’t know what to do with it. So they bought shopping malls. Now that people are living longer… anyways… it creates a lot of headaches. Even worse headaches for developed countries like Japan and Germany, where healthcare is free and people rely on government pensions. Those aging populations are economically not a viable anymore… but they’re going to cost a fortune to maintain. And you can’t just let them fend for themselves… because those people vote… and for the most part are politically more active than younger people.

REASON 3

No legacy. This sound a little cold hearted and mean, but its a real thing. Inheritance. The longer your parents live… the less you’re going to inherit. Legacy is a huge builder of inter-generational wealth. Its big part of privilege. The longer baby boomers live… the less there is at the end of the day to pass down to the next generation. Looks like you won’t be able to count on daddies death to pay off that mortgage anymore. (Obviously this might not apply to you…)

REASON 4

Burden. The other end of inheritance. Your parents never catered for their retirement. Or have run out of funds. You can abandon them on the street, which I hear some people do these days. Alternatively you can take them in. And care for them. They bring nothing with them to this particular party and they additionally burden you by eating your food, using your utilities and are continuously asking you to change the channel on ‘The Netflix’. At the same time you have to buy diapers for your insanely expensive toddler, you have to buy diapers for your insanely expensive father-in-law. Even worse if you eventually have to get a carer… or someone to help bath them…

REASON 5

Your boss is an 80 year old. He remembers the war. Which war you’re not entirely certain… but it sounds like he may have actually fought in one… and not, you know, piloting a drone. They used to do that you know… I saw it on History.

You have NOTHING in common with your boss. He doesn’t understand you newfangled marketing ideas. In fact every single idea you pitch him is met with a glazed look. Every day you think about how much you hate your boss… you often think about shooting yourself in the head. You imagine going home…. to your sanctuary. But then remember… that your two screaming children and your father in law have used up all your hot water by now. You re-evaluate why you are actually still alive…

 

The good news is. Well… I’m not sure if this is good news or not. But you too will likely live a really long time. Possibly managing to be a burden on society and your children. If the world hasn’t imploded by then I mean.

Yay us!

Subjectively awake

‘I’m awake’. He blurted out to no none in particular. It should be noted that he was not, under normal circumstances, particularly inclined towards bouts of soliloquy. He was also not completely convinced that his opening statement was entirely accurate…. you know, when viewed in absolutes.

Joey is still waiting for that initial cup of coffee to form the first frail earthworks against the circadian rhythm that seems intent on wanting to de-platform him this morning. To the ramparts and fight my little caffeine molecules! Once more into the breach! (I feel they are becoming immune… or at least developing some form of reticence to my rousing speeches)

Although to be fair, perhaps I’m expecting too much. It feels like one of those days where I need to run one of those plastic aquarium hoses from the percolator, across the office, down the stairs and directly into to my abdominal caffeine port… that I’m going to have installed. (in the meantime I’ll just tuck it in behind my eyeball, where it will, hopefully, through osmosis saturate the spongy grey stuff to a point of sufficiency and general well being)

This is the first bit of cyborgery that actually makes sense to me. Given the choice between a Near-field-communication chip in my wrist bone and a direct infusion apparatus… hmm… weirdly cyborgery is not underlined in red. Oh wait… there we go. Bit of lag going on there.

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I am also (still) hungry. Another annoyance of this stupid human form.

I went snuffling around the refrigerator earlier. Like the cupboard of old mother Hubbard… it was bare*. Save for something deeply suspicious wrapped in tinfoil… that… I’m pretty sure… seems to have edged closer since last time I saw it…

*because Jo has already eaten everything else in a previous episode.

I was basically forced to raid the neighbors refrigerator.  And while this may seem like an admission of guilt… They have food. And a very porous border. (This could almost be a metaphor for something else)

Besides, they should know by now that an exceptionally Kunning (which is a lot like cunning, only with a capital K to denote the superior form of the adjective) individual lurks in the (general) vicinity and you need to take steps to safeguard your delicious edibles against pilferage. I’m actually helping them…

I was also kind enough to leave the empty Fruit Loops box on the counter, to remind them to buy more. (I didn’t have any post-its)

Don’t worry about me though. I should be fine. Just need to defrag my metaphorical hard-drive and I’ll be back to normal.

Please stand by.

Metal is dead. It just hasn’t gone to heaven yet.

This album was released 27 years ago. Holy #$@&!

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*Joey takes a moment to lament his youth*

In a bout of nostalgia I laced up these suckers recently.

Lasted for about an hour before that bout of sentimentality abruptly wore off and I re-donned my fluffy slippers. For my sins I could hardly walk the next day and hobbled round the house like I’d recently engaged in some form of violent sodomy.

How did I ever dance until the early hours of the morning in these things?* I use the term ‘dance’ quite loosely. Some of those moves should have likely involved some sort of safety equipment. 10oz gloves at a bare minimum. Are mosh pits still a thing? Or are we smarter now? (and less inclined to take on recreational trampling)

* and perhaps more importantly how did I remove them in under ten minutes when time to de-clothe was of critical importance? (often under added influence of eh… other substances) Clearly I was quite dexterous.

Purveyors of domesticated male bovine excrement

I have a love/hate relationship with twitter. I find it quite alluring in so far as it allows you access to the people you like… but I also find it all very Orwellean. Only George called it Newspeak.

‘Newspeak is a controlled language, of restricted grammar and limited vocabulary, a linguistic design meant to limit the freedom of thought’.

But obviously I have bias, my medium of choice being the more ‘long-form’ rant. Ie The blog. Which in of itself has its flaws (and also likely dates me). But then no medium is ever perfect.

Sometimes when I’m bored I like to search for people that I like. Which is often a mistake. You know that old chestnut; you should never meet your heroes. Well…You should DEFINITELY never follow your heroes on twitter. Their largely mundane, inane thoughts stripped bare, just left there to rot, like some bloated marine mammal… stop taking selfies and roll it back into the sea already. It’s grim. And often, a little sad. The ubermensch you admire is just a mensch. Twitter kicks Nietzsche in the groin. Nietzsche grits his teeth and mumbles something about ‘what doesn’t kill you…’. Twitter kicks him again. Nietzsche goes down. And stays down.

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Still sometimes I do it anyway. Go onto twitter I mean. It usually starts to go sideways for me with their bio. *Joey rolls his eyes* Bio’s are often hilarious. But not because they’re funny. People either take themselves super seriously. Or attempt wit. It rarely works out that way. Personally I attempted wit… which is not really my forte…. but the alternative is egoism… or leave it blank. The latter seems quite anti-establishment.

Then there is the content. If anything social media has taught me that…

Apparently the internet is not all pornography.

But when you subtract the writhing naked humans out, all you have left seems to be the aggrandizement of self, bellicose jingoism, name-calling, carnival barking and hustlers. And… of the social media titans, twitter feels like the most concentrated tincture of all this. At least the pornographers are out there creating actual content.

I, of course, have been party to all of this. I don’t pretend to judge myself any less harshly for my complicity. Despite my all my reservations I have in the past been mean and combative for no reason.  I have gotten into ‘robust’ conversations with people who domicile under bridges, perhaps even venturing under an overpass myself now and then. I have ascribed ‘likes’ to things that would likely make me suck air through my teeth if reviewed now. I wish I could take it all back. But I can’t.

The internet doesn’t change you, rather it likely reveals who you really are. Which is quite frightening sometimes. Despite the veneer we like to portray to the world, underneath its often a rotting substrate barely holding everything together.

Sometimes I find it all very dystopian.

I’ve have however realized that this medium seems to be the ONLY way to communicate with content creators whose work you like. You can send them an email, but chances, they will never get back to you. Some do write back and kudos to them. But for the most part your admiration just gets lumped together in a folder with spam and hate mail and eventually deleted.

This however leads to another problematic area for me; the compliment retweet. Someone says something nice about you and you immediately flaunt it to the world as some sort of achievement. #dopamine. Basically you’re high fiving yourself.  Authors are especially prone to needing this sort of affirmation it seems, especially newly minted authors. Established old hands don’t give a fuck. Whatever happened to graciously accepting a tribute? Or does everything piece of bric-a-brac tossed your way have to be displayed on your mantle-piece? Maybe just the most nauseatingly toadying ones?

I think the biggest issue I have though is the time it takes to manage all this hubris and shift through pages and pages of asinine drivel in search of something to make the economy of effort seem worthwhile. I’m not sure how people justify this?

In any event on my deathbed I will undoubtedly be grateful for all the time I spent languishing on social media. Seems unlikely. But maybe I should just follow better people?

Government gofundme

I’m not sure I feel one way or the other about Steven Crowder. If coerced, I would venture that he’s likely too belligerent for me. But that’s the space he’s chosen to occupy in his ideological war. I find a lot of conservative commentators very intense and combative… and their message (which might be very reasonable) gets lost because they’ve been preaching to the choir for so long they’ve forgotten moderates are sensitive to pitch and super weary of the ‘crazy-eyes’. If you come across as particularly unyielding or rabid, you risk pushing people back the other way or in the very least remaining steadfast in their support for the status-quo, which is a pity because there are some really good ideas in… well everything that opposes socialism and neo-Marxism. Its mainly for this reason, ie because the left seems so utterly unhinged at the moment, that people are looking across the divide for something a little more reasoned and logical. Be the exemplar. Not the crass, boor that trades insults on twitter. (that is not aimed at anyone in particular) Stay on topic, be polite. You’ll do better. I believe in swings and round abouts. Politics is cyclical and I don’t think the left will stay insane forever. Eventually they’ll start sounding more reasonable again and be more inclined to disavow their fanatical fringes… just like the right (eh… now… mostly) disavows its kooky, crazy fringe. Make hay while the sun shines and use this opportunity to market some of the better stuff.

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Anyways, I mention Steven Crowder because I saw this. Which I really love. I’m not sure if this a meme though (it might be). In any event it appeals to my libertarian tendencies. Libertianism occupies a position right of center because of its abhorrence of taxes and big government. In other words everything socialism needs to survive. It also has, unfortunately, very few true adherents, because it is so very different from the current model used by ‘western’ civilization and is argued fiercely as an academic exercise at best. People tend not be able to imagine a world where libraries and roads are not funded by some sort of centralized omnipotent source that controls allocation. Which surely is quite an indictment of humanity? Surely our greatest achievement is our ability to cooperate among ourselves to achieve things greater than any one person could? Maybe I am just insanely naive? We seem content to foist the responsibility of resource management onto a ruling class of politicians and bureaucrats who treat our money as something to be used frivolously and as inefficiently as possible.

In any event this post is not about that (before Joey disappears down the rabbit hole reappears later this afternoon with a slightly frazzled look and a ten thousand word tirade)

Imagine trying to Gofundme a war. Or any foreign policy interventionist stuff really. I wonder how that would work out? It would have to be a very ‘righteous’ war, none of this vague WMD stuff. Maybe initially, with some good PR work you could get it off the ground. But people are fickle, especially when they don’t see results. Six trillion dollars later (WAY more in real terms than the Marshal plan spent to rebuild Europe) there seems to be a serious disconnect between cost and benefit. Maybe that’s just me…

This is what amuses me today. So thank you Steven Crowder. Even if I do find you a little suspicious 🙂