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 🙂

Ain’t that the truth…

This comic should be mandatory reading for every dipshit giving life advice on twitter.

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Survivorship bias is the logical error of concentrating on the people or things that made it past some selection process and overlooking those that did not, typically because of their lack of visibility. This can lead to false conclusions in several different ways. It is a form of selection bias.

 

Batesian Mimicry

Batesian Mimicry, Noun, mimicry in which an edible animal is protected by its resemblance to one avoided by predators. Named after Henry W. Bates (1825–92), the English naturalist who first described it.

The easiest example of Batesian Mimicry is usually the comparison between the Coral snake and the Mexican Milk snake.

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One is completely harmless, the other has venom second in virulence only to that of the black mamba. Which one is which?

The Milk snake knows its a pretender. The Coral snake knows that it is the real deal. The expert knows the difference. But to the layman… it could be either or. So we are more than likely to err on the side of caution.

If Red Touches Yellow it will kill a fellow
If Red touch Black, venom is lacks

Now you know.

Only humans also practice Batesian Mimicry. Every… single… day. For example when we exhibit expertise. Or rather when we pretend to exhibit expertise.

A group of guys are clustered round the barbecue, beers in hand, talking sport, eighties action heroes versus the modern day dearth of these exemplars, the merits of queens pawn openings… you know the usual. Casually the conversation shifts from goodnatured banter into serious murk and ego. Suddenly someone is espousing their foolproof stock picking or real estate scheme. Theres ALWAYS that one guy. The guys who’s side hustle is trading or flipping houses, who talks a big game. Now if there was a real Coral snake in the group that wouldn’t happen… The real stock broker or real estate tycoon would put that person down or more likely just intimidate that person into keeping quiet. But if there isn’t that person… how would we know if this guy was for real?

I used to see a form of Batesian Mimicry almost every day at the MMA gym where I was an instructor. And then later on when I went on to become a CQC instructor*. Guys would come into the gym for the beginners class and talk smack. How many street fights/bar brawls they’d been in, how many opponents, how they’d prevailed (often heroically without a scratch). You’d start to imagine you were in the company of some exceptionally scary individuals.

*in many respects the police guys were even worse than those other blaggards. There I was… six guys behind hard cover with AKs and me with only my 9mm’ I paraphrase… but that was the gist of it

The two hour class was split, forty minutes of stand up and clinch followed by sparring. Usually boxing. Those guys that talked big before class would often do okay against other beginners (milk snakes) but when they went up against a coral snake, they would wilt and fade. Often they didn’t make it to the second part of the class which was grappling… and if they did, they usually didn’t come back. I’m pretty sure this happens in MMA, Muay Thai and boxing gyms around the world. Those that talk, the talk, can rarely, if ever, walk it.

I think this is made even worse these days by social media, and being able to present or project any idea of self you want to. Post some unverifiable claims. Edit some video. Fake it, until you make it.

The problems comes in when you are seeking guidance, advice or mentorship. None of us are experts at everything… and usually the area’s we seek to improve are area’s in which we ourselves are deficient.

For example. I know very little about cars. I am reliant on my mechanic to tell me what the problem is. He’s throwing a lot of jargon at me. Something about having to replace the catalytic convertor. I smile tightly… and nod my head, in a fashion I hope signals some sort of consideration on my part. But really, I have NO idea what he’s been on about for the last five minutes. Is he a milk snake or a coral snake?

In the end I decide to trust him. Mostly because he has a great big red Viking beard and I’ve been using him for years. He sends me videos of Melodic German Death Metal bands. We bumped into each other at a Rammstein concert once… which basically (I think) means we are related now.

In any event. Almost no one is what they appear to be. (I also like Miles Davis and Vivaldi) We have been conditioned that asking for proof is rude and that we should give people the benefit of the doubt.

I call bullshit on all of that.

For example, if I’m going to pay someone to give me financial advice…. I want to see their personal portfolio. Preferably a verified copy of their dashboard. If you are not willing to do that… fucked if I’m giving you a dime buddy. If that were the normal operating procedure… theres one industry that would disappear in an instant. Same goes for stock pickers and real estate guys*. Bring me a list of every trade you’ve ever done. If you’re above average, we can talk… if you’re exceptional then I will listen, but until then why don’t you have a..

nice warm cup of shut the fuck up.

*or any industry really.

I’m just saying be skeptical. Even of this blog and the thoughts and musings contained within. The author has almost no expertise in anything. Except perhaps in creating navel lint. If only we could harness that power for good…

Muppets et al.

A healthy man wants 1000 things. A sick man only wants one thing – Chinese saying 

I type it out verbatim. Even though I hate the phrase ‘Chinese saying’. I am briefly tempted to change it to ‘author unknown’, but decide, after some internal deliberation*…

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*pictorial representation of what this might look like

to leave it as it is…. even if does feel vaguely fortune cookie-ish. I feel since it’s gender specific the answer is probably ‘Blowjob’. I think we are meant to assume its health. But I think we can all agree that this is unlikely when these two things are assayed against each other on the scale of probability.

I’m not the most functional grown up at the best of times. A situation made infinitely more dire by injury or sickness (see previous post). Even worse is that during such times I so fit so snugly into that stereotypical (wretched) male mold. Which is then further exacerbated by the self-loathing that comes with the acquiescence of such typecast character. Fortunately I have a very capable wife, without whom I’d be really quite stuffed.

I propped my odious and contemptible form up with caffeine this morning. A triple espresso meant to form some sort of bulwark against an overdose of codeine. Like Thanos I appreciate balance in all things. (I’m not entirely sure they should make another Avengers movie, I quite liked the way this one ended).

In any event, I only realized when I was almost at work that I had listened to almost an entire Muppets playlist without noticing…

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Which is both worrying (because clearly I’m not copious mentos [sic]) and comforting (insofar as someone took the time to make a Best of the Muppets playlist). Its missing ‘Pachalafaka’. Which is likely my favorite Muppets showtune. Apparently it means transvestite in Turkish.

I’m not sure if that’s true or not. I choose to believe because it makes me grin. I also tend to accept Google as the fifth (albeit apocryphal) gospel.