Pompeii v2.0

ie. the town in ancient Rome that was covered in ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted… (looks it up) in 79AD. My initial guess was only about 100 years off. What did we do before Google? Make stuff up? *Jo laughs sardonically*

My enduring memory of visiting Pompeii is that of a giant penis.

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Apparently dick jokes were a thing 2000 years ago. We’ve definitely moved on since then… I want to say we’ve taken our dick jokes online… drawing them out in beach sand, corn fields and on frozen lakes and then following it up with some adroit drone-work… but occasionally you will still find a giant schlong hastily illustrated on some suburban concrete canvas.

If a modern day eruption were to cover us in volcanic ash, preserving us for posterity… how would we look like to a future generation two thousand years from now?

Likely I would be caught in my natural state, occupying some weird, unergonomic position that is not quite supine cradling my Macbook and trying to take one last sip of coffee. Hopefully with my pants on. Assuming the latter, quite a dignified way to be preserved I feel.

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Not all of us will be that lucky though. I can only imagine our future progenies mouthing the words, ‘What… the actual… fuck is going on here… is that girl… wearing Crocs?’

To be fair I might be being a bit presumptuous when it comes to assuming a gender here…

The crushing weight of existence

I loved this answer.

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I think people definitely ‘feel’ this weight differently. For some, existence, on the whole, doesn’t seem to bother them much at all. While for others it’s all they feel. I imagine, like with all things, it probably resembles a bell curve… and that most of us are somewhere near the middle, straddling both hemispheres, likely leaning either left or right depending on which way the wind is blowing.

 

The Wisdom of Neil

‘The universe is under no obligation to make sense to you’ – Neil deGrasse Tyson

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I’m lying on the sofa nursing a throbbing headache and feeling a bit sorry for myself. I had my last cup of coffee more than twenty four hours ago… and my body is reacting to the serious dearth of cortisol and epinephrine with a resounding wtf. I’ve decided to go caffeine free for a week. Or die trying. At the moment the latter seems more likely.

Because I broke my Playstation controller and holding a book seems like a lot of effort right now… I’m re-listening to ‘Astrophysics for people in a hurry’, hence the quote… while blogging on my Macbook which, as usual, is perched precariously on my burgeoning midsection.

Neil is one of my favourite people on the planet. Insofar as I feel I know him as a celebrity personality. I have to add that caveat because Louis CK used to be one of my favourite people on the planet. Until he was outed as this weird masturbater who would whip out and polish his one eyed python in polite company with little or no encouragement. His comedic brilliance is now forever tainted by the mental images of an ejaculating ginger.

Which begs the questions. Do we really know anything about anyone?

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This morning I took my daughter for breakfast at Krispy Kreme. It’s important to set nutritional benchmarks early on I feel. I think she feels intimidated by the sheer volume of choice in the display case so she always orders the second most boring thing, (after original glaze, which is my favorite) chocolate with multi-colored sprinkles.

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Afterwards our meandering sojourn took us past the toyshop where I said I’d buy her a Schleich toy of her choosing.

This is what she chose.

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Which is quite a weird choice for a two and half year old girl I thought. Oh I tried to negotiate a different outcome. Pointing out the Panda… Jurassic and Cretaceous herbivores and various felines both African and Asian in origin…  but it seems her heart was set on the giant octopus.

See opening line.

Walking the walk

It is said that, just before the Sino-Soviet split, Nikita Khrushchev had a tense meeting with Zhou Enlai at which he told the latter that he now understood the problem. “I am the son of coal miners,” he said. “You are the descendant of feudal mandarins. We have nothing in common.” “Perhaps we do,” murmured his Chinese antagonist. “What?” blustered Khrushchev. “We are,” responded Zhou, “both traitors to our class.”

Hitchens, Christopher, Arguably, Atlantic Books 2011.

I find this anecdote likely too cute to have played out exactly like this and I am naturally cynical about such things. Besides no black and white footage of this exchange seems to be available on YouTube, furthering my skepticism. (Unlike the Kitchen Debate some years later). Like the biblical Thomas I am, these days, less inclined to accept things on faith and hearsay alone.

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As an aside. Can you imagine Donald Trump getting all up in Vladimir Putin’s face. And then poking him with the finger. I can’t. I amuse myself by imagining Vladimir grabbing Donald by the lapels and then hip throwing him in a slow motion arc before bouncing his head on the concrete. Ippon! (Based purely on relative CQC skills, not to be read as an endorsement of Vladimir Putin or for that matter, Richard Nixon)

Those espousing ideology (and inflicting this ideology on others) often don’t live the ideology themselves. We all know examples of this sort of hypocrisy. The socialist politician that lives in a mansion. The Neo-marxist professor who goes home to his upper middle class home in a nice leafy green suburb. The Union bosses having lunch at the Ritz-Carlton. The preacher with the Gulfstream(s) in the hanger.

A strange condition of the human condition is that the duality of our ‘leaders’ is not only accepted but also defended (or at least completely ignored) by their adherents (often with insane zealotry). A social throwback perhaps ingrained in our natural proclivity towards tribalism in which all fealty was sworn to the chief.

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The exception to this case is the Capitalist. Which in a world of sanctimonious bullshit seems weirdly refreshing. You will rarely (if ever) find someone espousing Capitalism as the one true path, living in a shack next to an open sewer. I also think you will likely find the capitalist has less disciples willing to rush to his defence.

Although unlikely in my life time, I am hopeful, that one day, humanity will cast off both our appreciation of -isms and the yoke of having to be ‘led’ by someone, either through an autocrat or via ‘democracy’.

One day they will (also) say Joey was a head of his time. I’d like point out that is is untrue and that Joey was, for the most part, just thinking about getting head.

Song challenge

I’m not sure what the rules are for the music challenge that are doing the rounds on WordPress right now? So I’m just going to make up my own thing. And then feign ignorance about the whole endeavor when I get it wrong. (Standard Joey modus operandi)

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Cultural appropriation is a hot topic. Why this should be so, mystifies me…. then again almost every form of nationalism and culture(ism) mystifies me… it all seems to get so dangerously stupid so very quickly. That’s not to say you can’t be proud of the traditions of your ancestors… but that is not the same as being outraged by someone, for example, that is not from your ‘tribe’ wearing a traditional dress that you perceive with some sense of patented ownership and exclusivity.

That’s also not to say the idiots on the other side of the fence are any better. The amount of times I’ve been subjected to the ‘well if you’re so hung up on ‘your culture’ why aren’t you living in a mud hut counter argument. Oh and stop using ‘our’ western medicine, technology etc. God… sometimes it’s tough just get out of bed in the morning with all this tit for tat reasoning being bandied about. You’d think we could have moved on from these playground dynamics by now.

Anyways. I’ve chosen Christopher Tin’s ‘version’ of Baba yetu as my song.

Which… as far as I can tell… is ALL about ‘cultural appropriation. It’s a European orchestra featuring a Black South African Gospel choir singing a Swahili translation of a Christian prayer. All directed by a Chinese American. It was also the theme song for a video game and was the first song from a game to win a Grammy. Its doesn’t get more culturally appropriated than that.

And you know what? It’s awesome. Cultural appropriation fosters tolerance and is one of the greatest forces for good there is. Just roll with it and stop getting all bent out of shape.

Disagree with me? Change my mind in the comments section below.

The Jelly Bean test(tm)

I’ve been thinking about interview questions lately. (having recently had to interview people again)

Joey – ‘So tell me about your weaknesses as you see them?’

Potential job candidate- ‘My only real weakness is that I work too hard’

Insert care too much, am too much of a perfectionist, hardly ever take vacation time

Joey – *smiles* (on the outside) *dying slowly* (on the inside) while scribbling furiously on his note pad…

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Interviews are a rehearsed exercise, a choreographed charade and in my opinion a flagrant waste of time and oxygen. What do the answers really tell you? Besides that someone is just going through the (peristaltic) motions of seeking employment. Which I suppose is… something. Still… I would like to posit an alternative…

Enter the Mighty Jo Jelly Bean test (all rights reserved, all wrongs reserved, all green wobbly things sent back)

Step 1. Empty a big box of Jelly Belly jelly beans into a bowl on the boardroom table.

Step 2. See what happens.

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I think you can learn a lot about a person by watching them eat Jelly beans. (certainly more than asking them where they see themselves in five years time)

  1. If you stare at each other uncomfortably for several minutes with no one making a move… they either lack initiative… or don’t like Jelly Beans. In either case do you really want someone like this working for you? Eliminate!
  2. They smile. And then pick out… and eat all the Blue Berry flavored beans. Clearly this person is a racist. Eliminate!
  3. Picks out all the Sizzling Cinnamon. And eats them!!! *you suck air through your teeth and mumble ‘Jeez’ under your breath* Eliminate!
  4. Picks out all the Buttered Popcorn and Toasted Marshmallow. While you can commend their palate…  those are the Jelly beans you wanted. Eliminate!
  5. Asks what flavor you like… and then doesn’t eat those. We may be able to work together
  6. Stuffs several flavors into his mouth at once. OMG! Eliminate! Eliminate! 
  7. Picks up the bowl and pours the entire contents into his mouth. Ballsy. (I feel comfortable using the determiner here, because a female wouldn’t do this) We may be able to work together
  8. Empties the bowl on the table and then reorganizes the Jelly beans by color/flavor/ranking. We may be able to work together
  9. Is a guy, but seems to favor Strawberry Daiquiri. Eliminate! 
  10. Out themselves as a Potterhead by referencing Bertie Bott’s every flavored beans and then lamenting that there isn’t a booger flavored bean. This could go either way 

And while the Mighty Jo Jelly Bean test is not foolproof and is, eh… on the whole quite subjective, I still feel this is a effective way to root out unsuitable candidates in an efficient and timely manner. Also you get to expense Jelly Beans under recruitment costs. BONUS.

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When someone at Google takes a good, long, hard look at your browsing history…

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Not me of course. *waves his hands dismissively* I’m a Saint.

Saint Joey. Patron Saint of lost causes and hopeless cases. (I’m so good they double barrelled my portfolio)

Mind you, if you are a good person (and deemed worthy of sainthood) would you really want to be canonized by the evil empire slash Catholic church? Not exactly being elevated to a position of eminence by your peers… #justsaying.

Do you think we could potentially mandate someone else to determine our paragons of virtue? Like… I don’t know… Alphabet Inc maybe?

I mean if anyone knows your true self… its going to be those guys… albeit buried deep in some underground water-cooled server-room. At least we could base sainthood on some form of analytics… instead of post humorous… I mean posthumous miracles. Which I always thought was a little sketchy (and open to interpretation).

Larry Page versus Pope Francis, now theres a celebrity death-match I could get behind.

Put up your Dukes…

The fine people of Minnesota (to be enunciated clearly in Minnesotian) have again demonstrated their penchant for progressive politics.

Duke, a nine-year-old Great Pyrenees, has won his third term as mayor of Cormorant, Minnesota, in a landslide election victory. He also (apparently) has the highest approval ratings in the United States.

This story pleases me more than it probably should. But I’m happy to just roll (around on the grass) with it.

Yay Duke yay!

Life is cheap.

Arithmetically, this does make sense to me…

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I’d like to say that suspected murderers aren’t really released on bail of $34 in South Africa. But it does happen.

Still… I’d probably caution against murdering tv-license inspectors. The opportunity cost of sitting in a holding cell with several Ne’er-do-wells that will inevitably… eh… test the structural integrity of your sphincter, while your bail hearing is continually postponed for a month seems steep. From what I understand they don’t even buy you dinner first…

Protest statistics…

…that I made up. While supine on the sofa. Watching Gilmore Girls. And eating microwave popcorn.

And while I realise made up statistics aren’t always accurate… I feel, since this is my blog, I am entitled to foist my particular narrative onto whoever deigns to read this far.

In any event I am pretty confident that if you live in the first world, 95% of all outrage should actually be relabelled as ‘at most a mild-annoyance or misunderstanding, that has been whipped up to a foamy consistency and then portrayed as life or death through verbose language’. Potentially typed out all in capitals. Often championed by a demagogue or someone seeking to make their life seem relevant or meaningful (again).

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Leaving 5% for genuine outrage.

Quickly checks that actually adds up to 100%. Okay… we’re good. Wouldn’t want to be derailed by maths.

Rory Gilmore is about to drop out of Yale. My wife annotates for me. I only have this vague sense of whats going on. Apparently this is quite a watershed moment though.

Our Friday nights are super exciting (these days).