Tap!

​She looked at me with eyes that forty, maybe fifty years ago, writers would have called “rheumy” eyes. Nowadays to be polite I guess, we would call them wet, tired, perhaps aged (never old) or even teary with wisdom beyond years.  This woman however was just a rheumy eyed grump.  She looked as me, as noted.
“You DON’T know how much money is in your account?  Even an rough idea?”
I smiled.  I cocked my head to the side. “Nope!” and threw in a small laugh. “My wife does all the money stuff.”
In fact I knew roughly what was in there.  I knew exactly how much was in our chequing account on Friday at five PM.  I knew how much we spent on Saturday and Sunday (if I troubled myself to add it up) and could probably have given her an answer.  Granted, she already was treating me like I was some sort of inept scam artist so I thought I would make it hard for her, as she was making the simple task of getting a new bank card hard for me.
I had lost it Friday night past sometime after eight in the evening. I distinctly remember dropping it on a concrete floor and being amused that a rectangular ATM card could roll that well to drop flat twenty feet from me.  I picked it up, held it against the side of my book between it and my glasses case and corralled children into my car to go home.  From that point on, it’s a little blurry.  I dumped my groceries, gear and children inside and went out to start a small bonfire.  I sat in my screen gazebo and listened to old timey radio shows for an hour or so.  Toward the end of the evening I experimented with great success in sleeping right beside a fire (“Like a cowboy!” I told my amused spouse). I do not remember having it since and on Sunday pocketed (with permission) my wife’s new fancy “tap” card (no more codes!) when I ran Boy # 3 to a local mineral show.
Monday arrived and I was frantically searching for her now missing card.  I gave up eventually and promised Karen that I would run to the bank, get a new one and give her it to use until hers was located. Round about ten in the morning I rushed out of my office on a mission.  Google Maps told me that the closest bank (unnamed to protect myself from financial repercussions) was five minutes away.  It was one I had never gone to, me being one of those people that rarely speak to a human at such places voluntarily.  I drove quickly in hopes of getting a new card in the usual (this has happened before) few minutes then running Karen’s newly located card to her at her doctor appointment.  I was equally excited that all new cards were the efficient, time saving “Tap” cards!  Yay Me!
I entered the tiny branch and noticed immediately there were only two tellers.  Normally, be it a bank, retail shop or grocery store, I choose the youngest cashier/server because a) they aren’t jaded to life yet, b) they are pleasing to talk to c) they don’t smell of death.  Being a man approaching fifty, this is my prerogative.  Today however, I had no such choice. I had old, and older.  By luck, chance or curse, the older one became available.  She had (I noticed immediately) a sit down work station.  Something throws me off sitting down to talk banky stuff, but I decided to be the better man and head over, smile on my face, not trying at all to seem like I absolutely hated dealing with monetary things in person.
“Good morning how can I help you?”
She ddn’t seem pleased at all.  Her last name, which I will not state, belayed in advance her pale, dusty appearance.  Her twenty year service award on the wall told me immediately that a) nobody else sat at her special bank teller sit down old grumpy person work station and b) that she probably worked somewhere else for twenty plus years until they managed to shove her out the door as part of a “corporate restructuring” (restructuring her rheumy eyed self out the door.)
“I need a new bank card…” She smiled, kind of, as this would be a routine action for her. “..Beause I’ve been using my wife’s for a few days”.
Wrong thing to say.  I swear she pressed a button marked “scam alert” under her desk.
“I’ll need ID.”
“Of course!” I smiled, handing over my drivers licence and corporate ID card.  No I can’t tell you where from but they are unique and not copyable/forgeable.
She glared at them, then at me (I smiled toothily, rather innocently). “Do you have an XYZ Bank Mastercard?”
She looked like she was about to trip me up.  I smiled again, broadly. “Of course, I also have an XYZ corporate card in my name!” and shoved both black cards across.  She looked at them, at me, at the corporate one, then told me to insert mine into the machine.
“Enter your code.”
I did. But seeing the suspicion, I intentionally hesitated.  I wanted control of this situation.  I was no longer in a hurry. I wanted her to call her manager.
“Ah that’s it.  Same code as everything else!”
“You shouldn’t do that.”
“AH, its okay, that’s what deposit insurance is for!”
She looked like I just told her I ran a dog fighting ring on weekends.
This is when she asked me how much I has in my chequing account and I played stupid.  In all honesty, I was expecting a benefit payment for orthodontic claims from my insurer so I wasn’t one hundred percent sure what would be in there, but I played dumb anyways for reasons previously mentioned.
“Where do you work?”
I told her.  Showed her the name of the corporate entity on the other card.
“Do you know how much you get paid?”
“Every payday?”
“Yes.”
I leaned in as if it was a great secret. “Well, my wife knows accurately, I can call her, but I think its around $Z.ZZ”. $Z.ZZ likely being twice her biweekly pay.  She looked at the screen, sneered slightly and relented. Resignation on her face, she started into a spiel about new ATM cards that were “tap” ready.  “Just like the credit cards.  You tap. No codes!” and she actually smiled, kind of, again, her pearly whites being more grey and dingy than pearly.
I smiled again, cocked my head a bit.  End game.  I would suffer for my win. I knew what to say to crush her morning and make mine that much better.
“Oooh. No. that won’t do. I want a non-tap card.  Can you see if you have one left?”
“But. Why?”
“Don’t know really.  Paranoid I guess.  All that scamming going on.”
She stormed back to the filing cabinet, dug out the last one she could find and reluctantly set it up for me.
As I stood she turned on the bank person charm (finally). “I’m sorry Mister Liddle, for all the questions.  I just haven’t met you before.”
“Possibly the last time really, I don’t usually do in person banking.  Thank you!”
I left smiling, holding back from noting that she might be dead or retired by the time I went back to that branch.
 

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Monkeywrench

Monkeywrench by The Foo fighters.

If ever there was a song you physically CANNOT listen to without having the urge to crank the stereo up to eleven* there has not been one. It is a perfect song for a bar fight. If ever I have the ability to score a bar fight with my mortal enemy** Kevin (not his real name***) this song would play in a loop until he was a whining pulpy faced mass on the floor. I would then chug back a double shot of high-test rum, walk briskly behind the bar and rinse my knuckles off in the bar sink, chewing on a lime garnish as I did, until the cops arrived. It would give me time to concoct my alibi and as a professional liar I am sure I could have one pretty fast.

“Kevin” is/was a jackass. “Kevin” was a skinny, tall bully who surrounded himself with other guys who did his bidding and his bidding was usually picking on the nerdlings including myself. Sure, being a short, small in stature guy who was not very adept at making/keeping/attracting friends and who was one of the more academic sorts who disliked hockey (a crime in my small town) I had at least one guy a year who made my life hell. Two of them are now dead and being a person who is very good at holding grudges way past their expiry date I smiled when I found out. Kevin however is still alive, in a management position with a wife and children. I’d post a photo from his corporate page if only to show you that he still has that smarmy look he had when he was sixteen, the one I’d like to punch while The Foo Fighters played overhead multiple times, but hey, maintaining anonymity for him and all that.

I have in recent years noted my fiery nun-punching angry hatred of Kevin to a few semi-close friends. They expressed “no idea” that he was like that and that he “always seemed nice” to them. “Well of course he did, you were female” I think. Not that he had a chance with any of these people, but in true form he hid his alternate self from them in the hopes they would be nice in return. Nice as in eighties teen comedy girls dating bad boys they had no idea were bad nice. Needy smarmy prick. I am SO glad he never got in any of their pants. I am also glad he had other personal, medical shall we say or more accurately pharmaceutical issues in his past. Sadly he overcame them so he probably feels pretty good about himself.

This frankly sucks.

We had a reunion a few years back that did not occur in the end. I had no desire to attend at first, but was roped into assisting organize it by a cute girl asking me to help and yeah, I’m a sucker for a cute girl asking me to do stuff. The only reason I found to be unlikely to bail on it at the last-minute was that he would be present. He and his wife and hopefully his older kids. In my mind I wrote a speech, as I was asked to, and in said speech I would crack jokes, introduce people, defer to the djay and all the usual jazz. I also had in my mind a separate speech add-on that would involve mentioning aloud how much I hated high school and how a good part of why I did and why I turned out to be as jaded toward humans in general was (dramatically point finger, spotlight goes up on his table) Kevin. To see his dainty wife, who stood by him as he overcame his personal crap and became a local business professional (of sorts, I mean I don’t stalk him but he clears MAYBE 70k/annum) and a father to her children, find out that he was a bully in school and there was at least one person who still could not be happy completely so long as he was still breathing, or at least not under a train bridge doing favours for hobos for beer money and smokes. My apologies, Long sentence. Run on thoughts.

I would then drop the mic dramatically, pull out a couple of pairs of boxing gloves and offer him the chance to go out back. He would decline with an embarrassed laugh, a laugh that rattles due to years of smoking etc. I would say “thought so”. Then just like the last reunion, I would get up, down my beer and walk out the door with my wife on my arm, get in my much-more-expensive-than-his car and crank Monkeywrench.
* If you do not get this reference, seriously, stop reading my things until you Google it.


** As opposed to my nemesis, Jason Priestly, who people have on and off thought I was

 

*** Yes it is

Terrible Friend – Moi

(An excerpt from my forthcoming collection of essays)

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I’m a terrible friend.

Seriously, I know I am.  I can be witty and a good conversationalist when interested in the topic at hand or engaging because I’m feeling chatty, but if you have your heart set on my being present in person at something, don’t be.  I probably won’t show.

Because I’m a terrible friend.

I have tried to blame “social anxiety” because it seems to be a thing right now, you know, saying you have SA and that it makes you not want to do things (look up “ghosting”).  I have in the past said it was due to ADHD, something I most likely have and have had all my life.  I have justified my actions in so many ways, some reasonable, some not.

In all truth, I’m just a dick.

The fact is I just don’t like doing social/group/communal things I don’t choose because frankly, I like being alone and am horribly jealous of my free time.  I took a brief informal look back in my mind over events of the past year or so and came up with a list of around nine or ten people I actively made plans to get together with where I ended up bailing at sometimes the very last minute.  My reasons varied between work commitments, family commitments, illness, tiredness or a need to do things I probably could have just re-scheduled.  Sometimes these excuses were valid but honestly, in most all cases, I could have worked around them or rebooked, but instead, I just texted out my excuse and bailed.

Because I’m a terrible person.

This is where in a normal piece of self-reflective writing that a person says “I promise to change” and rambles on about how they are going to affect a modification to their lifestyle to better fit in. Nope.  I’m a dick.  I’m your friend, I care for you, I would chase down someone that stole your wallet or purse if I were around, tackle them to the ground and punch them till they gave it back.  I’d run into a burning building to save your kids.  I’d lend you my last ten dollars for cab fare to get you home if you’d been drinking and walk home myself in the snow.  I probably won’t show up to your birthday party.

Now THIS is where in a normal piece of self-reflective writing that a person says “Don’t get me wrong” then explains how everything is all right because i.e. they “have ethnic friends” and aren’t at all racist*.

Don’t get me wrong.  I usually DO enjoy myself when I take part in social events.  I do have fun playing board games or card games when you invite me over through my wife and she makes me go.  I do want to see you. I do want to hang out in person and not just my usual “Friday night, three beer, YouTube music videos and chatting on Facebook Messenger” way.  I just have a problem in that I have ten million hobbies and interests, limited free time and a pile of things my dear spouse wants me to accomplish at some point.  When faced with the following “play Far Cry 3** or go see a live show of a band I don’t really like just because someone I know will be there” who wins?  The couch wins.  And yes, the next day I feel guilty, horribly, horribly guilty.

I never used to be like this, well not nearly as bad.  I was always the kid who lived far away from everyone else so was always trying to ride my bike to the other end of the city and locate someone I know to hang out with.  I was the guy who invented stupid clubs and tried to thrust membership on school chums who only really likely hung out with me because I kept following them around***.  It developed over time as I became busier in my work and personal life and oddly, now that I am no longer one who travels a lot for work and whose kids are now all old enough to not require a babysitter you would think I’d be embracing new-found freedom to go out and enjoy myself.  We do.  My wife and I can now skip out and go see movies, comedy shows etc.  We both head to the gym (her reminding me every few minutes that she hates the gym with a fiery burring passion) for hours on end. We go for long walks up and back our country road on moonlit nights.  What we don’t do however is randomly go to bars with people as she doesn’t drink hardly at all and we have shows to watch that we have PVR’d or need to get to bed early plus I have horrid hangovers.  Horrid.  “Kill a nun and busload of orphans to get to the drugstore as I am out of Advil ™ “horrid.  We may show up if you invite us.  Likely because she has this guilt chip installed that I don’t have.  Go team android.

All in all, look, take this as an apology.  I am very very sorry if I have disappointed you.  It’s what I do. I’m like Tigger™ minus the flouncy and trouncy (I am kinda bouncy). Unless I make the plans, I probably won’t keep them.  It’s not you, it’s me.

I’m a terrible friend, but I remain, your friend (Jim****).

 

*Note: if you ever say “I’m not racist, but…” you are most likely about to say something racist. Seriously.  You just don’t have a pointy hat.  If you say “I’m not homophobic..” you may not be about to say something homophobic, but it probably isn’t very nice at best.

** My newest obsession.  It is April, 2016.  I am sure by the time this gets to actual print I’ll be on something else. Yup.  A man in his late 40s playing a super violent FPS just like he did in his mid-twenties. Shut up.  Go complain that your wife doesn’t love you anymore and watch the hockey game alone.

*** Example: in 1977 I came up with the “SSE”, the “Secret Soldiers of Espionage”.  I even made membership cards by hand you fucks. I gave them to you in the school yard and set up meetings where we could talk about spy stuff and I could share my Hardy Boys Detective Manual training and we could play Manhunt and … oh what the hell, you guys all threw away the cards.  I found them in the waste paper bin in the classroom when sharpening pencils during math class. I will never forgive you.  On your death bed I will remind you, if I show up.

**** If I really need to write a footnote to explain this for you, be assured I will not show up ever to your birthday.  Ever.

Bond Film Theme Reviews (Because that Sam Smith Guy Won An Oscar)

So, Sam Smith won an Oscar for Writing’s on the Wall, theme song for the 2015 Bond Film “SPECTRE”. I read the news telling me this and I think to myself “Really?  The song that instantly made me think that the film was going to be rubbish before I even saw it? The song that had me yearning for a remote so I could skip past it during the opening credits even though I was in a VERY EXPENSIVE Ultra AVX theater seat, pre-booked MONTHS IN ADVANCE?”

Yes, I think it’s crap.  Well, crap as a Bond film theme. As a pop song its drivel but passable drivel.  I’d never purchase it let alone voluntarily listen to it more than a few seconds.  It’s better than Adele’s Elmer Fudd mocking Skyfall but then again so is my kid singing Mary had A Little Lamb.

I know, enough, enough.  Not all Bond themes were spectacular, some being downright horrid.  I prefer the thumping exciting ones that get you in the mood for the film as half naked women in silhouette dodge bullets and writhe on the barrels of automatic pistols, but who am I?  JUST THIS GUY who was born on the same day as Ian Fleming and who was named after Sean Connery that’s who!!

I present you with my following quickie reviews of all Bond film themes.  No apologies offered.

James Bond Theme

Nothing short of excellent.  Instrumental, driving and mood enhancing, any mood, any time.  Seriously, play it at a funeral and people will smile.
*****/***** (the standard thus set)

From Russia With Love

A little slow for my tastes but it suits the overall theme of the film and the book as well.
****/*****

Goldfinger

Slamming.  A spectacular thrash of excitement layered with oozing sexiness thanks to Shirley Bassey’s sultry voice.
*****/*****

Thunderball

Lyrically kind of silly but Tom Jones god damn it all in his god damn heyday. Who doesn’t love this song? SPECTRE that’s who.  It strikes fear into their hearts.
*****/*****

You Only Live Twice

The mood is somber, because you JUST SAW BOND SHOT DEAD (or did you?).  A well written, decent song quoting the novel nicely.  And Nancy Sinatra! In HER heyday.
****/***** (Though I am being generous)

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (theme)

Hrmm.  The suckage begins. Not great.  Not good really.  Just, well, meh.
**/*****

We Have All The Time In The World

A beautiful song.  Really.  Tear inducing.  Lots of tears.  The title from the last line of the novel when Bond’s wife Tracy dies. Armstrong reportedly too ill to play trumpet at the time of recording was hired as only he could give the song life and a sense of mild irony to the lyrics.  Who cannot love this song.  SPECTRE that is who!  Heartless bastards!
*****/*****

Diamonds are Forever

Well, I don’t dislike this song at all but it begins the “not quite a Bond Film” theme from this point further. It doesn’t help that the movie is the second worst Bond film. Mr Connery, my namesake (or am I his) should have bailed on this one as should have Ms Bassey.

**/*****

Live and Let (F*cking) Die

(I added the F word).  IGNORING THE MINDLESS LYRICS it is a spectacular song!  Tosses you right from the opening intro into a great film even though it stars Roger Moore who was great as the Saint.  That’s all I will say.
*****/*****

The Man With The Golden Gun

Lulu was HAWT. Hot.  HOT!  And her voice, it could melt the polyester disco suit off a man dancing away to this on a Saturday night! And it is a great song for a mediocre film that really tossed away a good deal of the novel’s plot.
****/***** (close to a 5)

Nobody Does It Better

… Shoot me in the head with a 0.25 Calibre Beretta Automatic.  I have no use for this song.  Wait, I do, if I ever open a toilet paper factory and have a few million dollars for advertising.
**/*****

Moonraker

Worst Bond Film. Terrible song.  Here, watch for yourself. It’s rubbish:
*/*****

Moonraker Intro Theme (it’s terrible)

For Your Eyes Only

Okay, I have a thing for Sheena Easton (circa 1981-86). This taints my ability to properly review this song.  It’s okay as a song, nothing as good as her Sugar Walls (snicker). The film itself is mediocre at best and if I were to think about it, the song matches the aging Moore’s slowness of gait and schmaltzy way of womanizing.  Honestly, its not good. There, I said it and Sheena will never ever talk to me even though she’s only eight years older than me and it IS possible we could be together, widowed / widowered in a nursing home looking for some “What Comes Naturally” after the staff have put us all in our rooms.  We’d Say “We’ve Got Tonight” then “Strut” in to “The Arms of Orion” for “Kisses”.
**/***** (It should be a 1 but I am still holding out hope)

All Time High

Don’t even start. It sucks donkey. And not in the good “We’re drunk in Tijuana! Lets go see an animal show!” way.
**/*****

A View To A Kill

Here we go! Finally another great theme from one of my favorite bands!  Nothing bad to say about this one.
****/*****

The Living Daylights

Again, a great song, by another favorite band of the time, Aha (taaaaake onnnnn meeee). Movie, well, frig, don’t even start. I’ll listen to the song for 90 minutes and you tell me when Dalton is finished trying to ruin the franchise.
****/*****

License To Kill

Again, where is that 0.25 Beretta.  What a garbage song.  Granted, it DID suit the GARBAGE movie. Gladys damn you have you never watched a Bond film? Okay, okay, she didn’t write it but still. Garbage film, garbage Bond theme.  Jesus Christ.
*/*****

Goldeneye

I’m not a Tina Turner fan and I have no use for Bono but this was okay.  Maybe it’s just because it suited the film or maybe because of License to Kill making everything seem better. Just okay. Not great. Okay in a TV Movie of the Week Theme way.
***/*****

Tomorrow Never Dies

Crap crap crap crap crap. I’m getting tired.  Maybe this is becoming binary. Crap, honey, crap, honey.  This one is crap.  I didn’t even remember it till I YouTubed it.  I must have wiped my memory. Moving on…
**/*****

The World is Not Enough

I love Shirley Manson and Garbage is a great band.  This is a decent song.  It suits the film and brings about a Bondian atmosphere. Nothing bad about this.
***/*****

Die Another Day

Madonna. Meh.  Its not a good song, its not a good Bond theme.  It’s Madonna.
**/*****

You Know My Name

I didn’t like it when I first heard it but it grew on me as I watched Casino Royale over and over and over again.  Yes, a great song.  First in a long while. Suits the film and does not insult the franchise LIKE MADONNA did.
****/*****

Another Way to Die

An interesting combination, Jack White and Alicia Keys. A decent song as well with good brass instrument throw ins to hearken back to old themes.  I like it.  Might not suit the franchise as well as some but suits the film itself.
***/***** (3.5 really)

Skyfall

I do not like Adele.  I find her Elmer Fuddyness makes her otherwise decent range un-listenable. I also do not like this song.  Perhaps if it was sung be someone less apt to marry Bugs Bunny in an opera and perhaps if they cut back the use of the word Skyfall by oh say 75%.
*/*****

Writing’s on the Wall

This is a pop ballad, not a Bond theme.  Ugh.  Maybe an end credits song in the last film of the series when Bond dies.  Terrible shite.
-*/*****

Social Fretworking

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It took me nine years. Nine long years filled with life and lifey things to finally realize what it is that is flawed with Facebook. To realize why we should all step back a bit else society is transmogrified and nothing short of a zombie apocalypse can cause a reset. It is, frankly, messing with us.

I opened my Facebook in the late winter of 2007. A person I worked with stormed into my office all excited telling me about it and how I “had to get on it right away!” As someone who was about a year into my blogging “thing” (replacing my previous emailing of my inane ramblings to unsuspecting friends), the concept of FB was sound. I could collect friends like wrinkly, aged Pokemon (with no powers whatsoever and who sadly said more words than just their name). I could force them to read statuses like “Sean Liddle has just eaten a #21 Black Bean Tofu, extra spicy!” I could send photos. I could write diatribes. It was good.

Years wore on. I posted, I retracted, I reposted, I shared and shared and over time I began to develop this feeling. An odd, inexplicable feeling that something was wrong with FB. I closed (temporarily) my account more than a few times. I took “Facebookations*” (my word, you can use it). I kept returning and grumbling about it. I couldn’t put my finger on it, why exactly I wanted to leave but couldn’t hold up my part of the bargain I made with myself (yes I discuss things with myself, it’s a sign of efficiency in problem solving. I posted about it last week didn’t you read it?)

But now I know.

Facebook is too social.

You read that right and yes, I know, someone right now is crafting a comment down below that says something along the lines of “it IS called a social network for a reason dumb dumb”. This is an example of the kind of person we like to call a “jerk”. Feel free to skip over their rant, they probably have no real world friends. Read on.

Fifteen years ago, if I broke my arm playing soccer (true story) I would email my closer friends (not every person I know, have ever known or folks I met online because we have a mutual love of Winona Ryder circa 1987) and say “Jebus. I broke my arm!” If I was having a party, I’d email or (ye gods) telephone people I wanted to show up and say “I’m having a party Friday night. B.Y.O.B. and a cute friend.” If it was pre-1996 when I met my wife and I was feeling down because my girlfriend dumped me (never happened, I’m a serial dumper) I would maybe, maybe, tell a couple of close friends. Maybe. They would of course in turn tell me that a) I needed to stop being a girl and b) needed to go out and get completely wrote off on rum and 7-Up. If I took a photo of my kids, my wife playing dead on the kitchen floor or myself looking freaking swole at the gym I would just keep it on my computer. Maybe I’d print out a few of the kid ones and give them to my Mom at Xmas. I’d save the gym one for future use if my wife ever dumped me (never happen, I’m awesome) and I needed to set up a dating profile on an online site (again, never happen, this is really dipping deep into the pool of fantasy).

In NONE of the above situations would I call all of my friends, acquaintances, work colleagues, Winona Ryder fetishists or members of the local Chuck Palahnuik fan club (shh, we don’t talk about it) into a room and tell them about all these things. I would be selective. I would have some sense of shame. I would have a bit of reason about my sharing every aspect of my life.

Facebook goes against this. Facebook gives people a false sense of community where one naturally would not exist. It coerces you into the belief that you really DO have three hundred plus close friends. In the real world you have just as many contacts but they are not all your friends, pre-Facebook you wouldn’t call them such and you certainly wouldn’t share the things FB convinces you to share with all of them.

All of this is disconcerting to someone like me who likes to believe has always been an introvert (and happy as such) but somehow became an online extrovert. No ma’am, I don’t like it. I don’t like how I have been tricked and how this trickery has to bring up another issue, been monetized. The things I post, link to, share, “like” and discuss are tracked, analyzed and assessed by FB and its business partners to focus ads toward me and mine. For the record, as much as I am interested in ads and mass communication psychology, I despise the world of advertising, marketing and selling of things to people who don’t need them. Yeah, I’m the Anti-Snoopy in the Charlie Brown Christmas Special (the first one, not the other ridiculous ones).

It also dovetails nicely into another problem that plagues modern, western society. A massive false sense of entitlement. Dare not tell people they shouldn’t do something that is questionable. Combine the above with an ever growing, more global economy and society and disaster is looming. Okay, maybe not a real disaster, but a social disaster.

Facebook may not be “the devil” but it certainly is the Grima Wormtongue of modern life. It convinces you to share everything, to hold nothing back, to publicly display all that goes on in your head without filter, all for the sake of ad revenue. Facebook does not love you. Facebook needs you. It needs you to modify realistic social behavior so it can make moolah. It’s the annoying kid in high school that convinces us all to skip school on a Friday and head to the beach on their party bus and all the while knowing you’ll buy the t-shirts that they printed and the watered down rum punch for the ride.

It’s time to be less social on social networks and focus on reality.

 

*”Facebook Vacations” for those who have trouble with portmanteau

I’d Like To Ignore the Academy

I don’t care about the Oscars. Rarely, very rarely, a movie I enjoyed or I thought was deserving of an award is nominated.  To me it is fatuous back patting to the extreme and I’d rather watch a South Park marathon, or listen to music or sleep.

Now. Some person of colour and their supporters are unhappy that they have been unfairly represented in Oscar wins if not nominations. Well,  I understand their unhappiness.  Racism,  real or perceived is not a good thing. But looking back I don’t see very many black actors in lead or supporting roles in the movies I thought should have been nominated

The problem is my friends, casting. Get in those lead roles in the kinds of movies that win and if nominations do not  come about,  raise hell. Until then, quota awarding or creating new awards to support black acting is almost worse than how it stands now.

And while I am at it, Blackpool 2016!

That is all.

Xmas Charity Humbug Where is my Scotch…

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I grew up in a fairly conservative family. Well, not exactly “conservative” in the modern American definition of the word (i.e. Anti-Pinko-Liberal-Grr-Hate-Terrorists Everywhere!!!) but the traditional Canadian definition. We generally didn’t talk about money or religion or bodily functions in public. One other thing we and most other people didn’t bring up, wave about, highlight in yellow or keep yapping on about was our charitable doings.

My mother was a bit of a Sheep of a Different Tone when it came to politics etcetera in our family. Leftist, hippie, feminist (the bra-burning variety), animal and downtrodden rights activist. She would tend to discuss a little louder (as lefty folks are wont to do) things like sealing (anti of course) and eating of veal (again, anti) around the elderly but didn’t go around telling everyone around her that she donated to a cause.

Fast forward to 2015. A person I have to be around on a frequent basis slides past my spot of reading repose over lunch hour and (loudly) exclaims how happy she is that her church has raised a certain amount of money for a refugee charity. I certainly don’t think this is a bad thing and the charity itself is not the issue. What is bothersome is that she is one of a growing number of people that feel the need to tell you every single day about some “good” they have taken part in. I ignore her and go about my business holding back from my (well prepared) speech about how I “don’t donate to any charity if that charity is related to an organization (primarily religious) that uses said charitable doings to promote themselves”. i.e. If it was the Red Cross, yes, if it was your church, no, do not ask me for my precious moolah.

I have wondered about this as time has passed. To use salty language, why the fuck do people want to tell you every time they recycle a cup or give a hobo a quarter? My wife listens to my rantings (she usually does, Cthulhu bless her heart) and responds that maybe some people do this to help promote the cause, to help it do better by coercing you to take part. I see her point. I do believe that some people, primarily the exceedingly wealthy, want to show you they are doing good in hopes you join them. Most however, are attention whores.

There are literally billions of people on earth. A lot of them are white. Hell, I’m white (really really stereotypically white too…). White people love attention. The more they feel like teenie tiny cogs in a great big every growing self replicating machine, the more they crave someone patting them on the back. They yearn for praise. They clamor for “well aren’t you just awesome!”s. They feel worthless and pointless until something gives them a sense of purpose.

Telling everyone that they did something un-reprehensible gives them that.

And a hit of dopamine the silly ape, chemical junkies.

So all in all, I get it, I do see why so many people brag (and yes it IS bragging if you tell people you did something to get a positive reaction) that they took part in a charity. This is wrong. Look, you should do good in your life. There is no biological reason to do so, but if you live in society, you should help out society, in some way, shape or form. If you find a charity or a cause that you truly believe in, absolutely jump in head first. BUT. If you ramble on about your doings, you need to stop. You need to think “am I telling this to people because I want recognition?”. If the answer is yes, then you are doing it for the wrong reason. If you live your life as a “good” person because you are wanting a reward (be it thank you’s or a afterlife boinking mystical virgins) you are being selfish. Do good for the sake of good, not for you.

And stay the fuck out of my office with your “voluntary” payroll charity deduction forms.