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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in The Jester's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, January 20th, 2015
9:06 pm
No Spam Allowed on this Weblog

To all who happen to find themselves looking at this blog, I currently have a strict no-spam policy which I have implemented indefinitely, as in I am not accepting spam at this or any other time, as in do not send your junk e-mails here, or pollute my blog with your crap about horny singles or frustrated and mischievious housewives or generic Viagra or other meds or any other unauthorised or unsolicited advertising material for dubious products or services under spurious IDs. I AM NOT INTERESTED, so keep your spam to yourself.

Thank you and good day.

Saturday, May 14th, 2016
5:49 am
Answer for question 4608.
Donald Trump as presidential candidate -- what's your opinion? Among your circles of friends and family, is your opinion the norm or does your opinion of him differ from those around you?
If Donald Trump becomes U.S. President, God help us all.
Saturday, January 9th, 2016
10:15 pm
"Do you remember the way it made you feel?" Yes, and I never want to relive it!

or Music Rant Part Twelve

I realise it's been a while since my last music rant, but I guess because it took all of 2015 to actually give me something to work with, and enough of that something to write a post that's a decent length. I guess I wasn't exposed to enough new pop records that were remarkable either way, and in terms of pop music 2015 was generally pretty insipid.

Noel Gallagher was right about pop music taking a nosedive into blandness, but then he turned around and said he loved Coldplay, who are about as bland as you can get. Furthermore he cited Adele as an example of this blandness, accusing her of making "music for grannies" and she's one of the few contemporary pop singers worth listening to in the last decade or two and one of a handful since the '60s - okay then, the '70s. To top it off, he and his band Oasis only made one album that could actually be called great and one or two others anyone other than die-hard fans gave a toss about, and that was about twenty years ago. Nowadays he seems to have done a Boy George, resurfacing long enough to slag off other musicians long after his own star has faded. (To his credit Noel Gallagher looks much the same pushing fifty as he did when he was young - sure, he and Liam were both average looking then and now but better that than Boy George, who was disturbingly pretty when he was young and is still an egotistical wanker even though he's now fat, bald, ugly and old).

Nonetheless, as bland and unremarkable as a lot of pop records were in the past year there were exceptions, and notable ones at that (and no, I'm not doing Justin Bieber or One Direction, as others have already slagged them off in spades, I doubt I'd be contributing anything new to any discussion on either Bieber or 1D and I'm not here to flog old jokes to death. Besides, neither act released anything in the last twelve months that moved me in any way, good or bad). So without further ado...

- Do You Remember by Jarryd James: or "that sensitive New Age fascist song" as I've come to know it - I wouldn't insult the LGBT community by calling it "that gay fascist song" and thereby associating it with them. We have poor little Jarrykins pining for a love gone wrong and wanting to talk about feelings and shit while in the background it sounds like one or many arseholes goose-stepping, immediately evoking mental images of Hitler feeling a bit delicate and being all, "Be gentle with me, I'm a sensitive boy deep down. Sure, I'm a fascist dictator hell-bent on world domination and genocide but I have feelings too you know." Furthermore, the autotuning/multi-tracking/whatever studio trick was used does nothing to disguise what a weak and whiny voice this special little snowflake has. Not to mention the lyrical content - for starters, "Call me when you made up your mind/But you won't" is clumsy at best, an insult to grammar at worst, mixing future tense with present, but in any event coming off pissy and whiny, if not passive-aggressive. Then he has the gall to say "Nobody knows what we know about it/No one needs to know". We don't need to know about this situation? Then shut up about it! Why did you write and record a song about it, and release it to the general public? Snivelling dickhead!

- Bills by LunchMoney Lewis: Sure, bills are a thing for grown-ups to deal with (generally speaking) but this monosyllabic, two-chord ditty could've been composed by a child (or at least one that isn't Wolfgang Mozart). However, it might have still been a half-decent r'n'b song but for that bloody annoying siren thing punctuating the non-vocal parts and thereby ruining the record completely. Yeah, I think I'll stick with the likes of Muddy Waters or John Lee Hooker when it comes to songs about financial matters.

- Cheerleader by OMI: This song glorifying fidelity in the face of women throwing themselves at our subject is fundamentally just like Johnny Cash's I Walk The Line, only without the decisiveness or conviction (comparing and contrasting "I think I found myself a cheerleader" with "I keep a close watch on this heart of mine...Because you're mine, I walk the line. Mmmmmm..."). Or the talent. This track is riddled with autotuning, which is to music what performance-enhancing drugs are to sport, thus making this record the electronic equivalent of one of those Chinese Olympic female swimmers from the '90s who took so many steroids she ended up looking like a man. It's completely wrong and the powers that be need to put a stop to it.

- Alive by Sia: I think she should've left this song to Adele, who has a vocal range broad enough to carry off such a soulful number, hitting the highest notes and making it sound operatic. Nothing wrong with Sia's voice as such, it's just this song is beyond her range, and descends into howling and screeching which is uncomfortable to listen to. On the other hand, hats off to Sia for succeeding where Yoko Ono has failed: releasing a record where she shreiks and not only does it actually sell, it becomes a hit, having already made it on her own with material more palatable. (Yoko, on the other hand, would've never even seen the inside of a recording studio if she wasn't involved with John Lennon, much less achieved the level of fame that she did. And if John was alive today his back would be shot from carrying her).

- The Weeknd: When I first read the name I thought it looked like it was pronounced "weakened". Appropriate, considering he has several songs in his body of work which glorify drug use, either on himself (Can't Feel My Face, a song about getting rat-arsed on cocaine) or on women in order to then have sex with them (High For This, XO/Host and Initiation). Even if these are true to life in the same way as Johnny Cash shooting a man in Reno just to watch him die (Folsom Prison Blues) or Mick Jagger being Satan (The Rolling Stones' Sympathy For The Devil), The Weeknd has still done a bang-up job of being a creepy bastard by treating such behaviour as something to be proud of. Does he think it's a compliment when someone calls him a "piece of shit"?

Such a shame that popular music tended to be so mediocre if not horrible during the centennial year since the births of Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Mae Boren Axton (one of the authors of the Elvis Presley breakthrough hit Heartbreak Hotel), Les Paul (guitarist and inventor of the electric guitar) and David "Honeyboy" Edwards (bluesman whose career in music was longer than most people have been alive, plus he was a friend and colleague of Robert Johnson). (Muddy Waters gave his birthdate as April 4, 1915 but I didn't include him because he was actually born in 1913).

And that's all from me, at least for now. *steps off soap box*

Current Mood: cynical
Saturday, December 19th, 2015
4:10 am
Answer for question 4574.
As most are already aware, Star Wars: The Force Awakens just opened. If you've seen it, what were your thoughts on it? What were your favorite moments, and what could have been done better? If you have no interest in this Star Wars movie, what current movie(s) would you recommend instead?
I love that bit in the new Star Wars movie where Han and Chewie construct a spaceship made out of cannabis, only to have to bail when it catches fire on the exhaust. The Stormtroopers then capture it and take it back to HQ, where they all end up stoned out of their heads. Kylo Ren can't hide his disgust as he approaches them through the clouds of intoxicating smoke. "You're all stoned!" he says. "You're a disgrace to the Sith and everything they stand for, and you are not fit to wear those uniforms!" right before snatching up a great big slice of pizza.
Saturday, October 24th, 2015
6:20 am
Answer for question 4530.
Benjamin Franklin said "Many people die at twenty five and aren't buried until they are seventy five." Do you think this sentiment is true -- that a lot of people are just existing in their life rather than really living it? Has this ever been true for you? What things do you do to try to bring new things, people, and experiences into your life?
There have been many times in my life where I've felt like I'm existing rather than living, especially what with being on the wrong side of thirty, career aspirations I had in my twenties came to nothing. I've been led to believe that a lot of doors close after thirty, the implication being it's too late for me to start at something else, therefore I should be content to work at some dead-end job beneath me for peanuts until I'm seventy. Logically I know it's not necessarily so, but having job applications rejected is a lot more disheartening as a result. And not losing heart is easier said than done. When I am applying for a job I think I could plausibly get I feel more motivated, hopeful, alive.

I also felt alive and invigorated and inspired when doing my Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing, though it definitely wasn't the most lucrative decision. I did make new friends and valuable contacts, however, and finished a novel which is currently in the edit/rewrite stage. I really need to make time to write more, work on this novel of mine, come back here a bit more and generally keep on writing. And in general I welcome opportunities to bring new experiences and things into my life, better myself and live.

There have been times where I have felt depressed, unmotivated, apathetic - actual depression, or existential angst?

Current Mood: blah
Monday, August 24th, 2015
1:32 pm
Answer for question 4491.
Do you have any books that you have been meaning to read, but just haven't gotten around to? What are they? How did you hear about them, and why do they interest you?
I have way too many books on the "to read" list - some have been there for a couple of years or more - and if I have a reason to live to 100 it's all of these books I've got to read.
Saturday, August 22nd, 2015
11:09 am
Answer for question 4476.
Name your top three musical artists of all time (individuals or bands). Why do you love them so much? What song would you pick from each of them that you feel is their best work?
These aren't so much my top three (that would be too hard to choose) as three of my all-time favourites. That preamble made, here they are:

- The Beatles Their music had that certain something. Their later work is their most interesting but their early stuff was good too, catchy, peppy (even if I Want To Hold Your Hand was aimed squarely at the teeny-bopper set), their '50s rock 'n' roll covers were kick-arse and they sure were handy with their ballads. They also embodied the love and optimism everyone likes to associate with the '60s, and they were clever, funny and all-round likeable men too. It's a tough pick as they did so many wonderful songs, but I'm going to go with In My Life.

- Duke Ellington A great composer, musician and band leader, though to be fair he knew how to surround himself with other talented musicians. He also added a touch of class to jazz, gave it an Apollonian side to balance out the bawdy, Dionysian hedonism people had come to associate with this genre. I choose the track Misty Mornin' as his best because it's so beautiful, mellow, classy, tight, and Lonnie Johnson's gentle, delicate, dexterous guitar solo touches it off perfectly.

- Hank Williams There's so much more to the skinny bloke in the cowboy hat than meets the eye or ear. In addition to writing songs that went on to become country music standards, his work was covered by artists from various other genres and he was an influence on rock pioneers such as Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry. His music ran the gamut of the human condition, and particularly in his "Luke the Drifter" guise he was also something of a social commentator. My favourite song of his is Beyond the Sunset; Hank didn't write this song, Virgil P. and Blanche Kerr Brock did, but he did it beautifully and with conviction and made it his own. I have always wanted this recording played at my funeral.
Sunday, July 5th, 2015
10:16 am
Answer for question 4324.
Are you a designated organ donor? Why or why not?
Yes I am a registered organ donor. In the event of my death, if I've got a body full of perfectly functional organs, I won't be needing them anymore but there are people out there who would.
Sunday, May 3rd, 2015
4:34 pm
Thoughts on the Bali Nine

Ten years ago nine young Australians were arrested in Bali smuggling heroin, and nine years ago they were convicted and sentenced. After appeals were lodged the final outcome was only two death sentences, for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran the two ringleaders (their sentences were upheld the whole time), twenty years for Renae Lawrence for her co-operation with authorities and the rest got life imprisonment. Last Thursday Chan and Sukumaran's time on death row drew to a close, to widespread controversy.
  On one side, there were people holding candlelit vigils for the condemned, and appeals to the Prime Minister to appeal to the Indonesian Government to call off the executions. On the other side there are people who not only see Chan and Sukumaran as getting what they deserved but find the very notion of sympathy or clemency for them both ridiculous and offensive, that they would've potentially ruined many, many lives by smuggling heroin so their deaths couldn't come soon enough. A friend asked me what I thought of the events of Thursday night and I more or less indicated that I could see both sides, and I said that if the executions had been carried out a lot quicker than a decade it probably wouldn't have opened up quite the can of worms it has.
  To all appearances at least, Chan and Sukumaran were rehabilitated and said to have been a positive influence on other prisoners. Not only had they found Jesus but Chan had even become an ordained pastor. If released they were likely to do more good for humanity than anything. Further to that, there's the problem of executing a Man of the Cloth.
  Having said all that, even if they were no longer drug dealers or smugglers in practice they had been convicted of that much. Plus, ten years ago they knew the risks if they got caught (I'm sure they would've seen that big red sign saying "Welcome to Indonesia, Death Penalty for Drug Traffickers!") and three or four million dollars' worth of heroin is a lot to get caught with - no way they would've had that much if they didn't intend to sell it. And heroin addiction is a terrible blight on society - it does untold harm not only to the addicts themselves but to their families and other people connected to them also.
  Chan himself is reported to have been resigned to his fate, his Christian faith helping him face it. Sukumaran refused the blindfold, and the two of them sang Amazing Grace as they were about to be executed. These were men who knew what they did, the consequences if caught, and they made peace with God and they were ready to go. May He have mercy on their souls, and may they rest in peace.

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015
12:11 am
Answer for question 4272.
Is there any specific significance behind your given name? If you were named after or in honor of someone, what made that person special? If you could choose any name for yourself, what would it be?
My father got inspired to saddle me with my Christian name after this song "Kevin the Dachshund" from "The Naked Vicar Show", a song I've never even heard and most people my age have never even heard of. I've generally just gone by Kev after hearing "Kevin" called out way too often by obnoxious people with whiny voices, thus giving me a pathological aversion to it.

If it wasn't too late to change my name I'd keep "Kev" as a nickname, but would probably choose Alfred, in honour of my Grandfather (plus a few other good men have been named that) and because I've always liked the name.
Saturday, February 21st, 2015
7:09 am
Answer for question 4248.
What are your thoughts on vaccinations? Do you personally believe they play any role in the development of autism or other chronic diseases? What diseases would you like to see a vaccine manufactured against over your lifetime?
I'm all for vaccinations. As far as I can tell, autism is congenital, if you've got it you were born with it, and you're not going to get it from a vaccination. I'm pretty sure they don't play any role in the development of any chronic diseases, but I know they help prevent quite a few such as measles and polio. When the hell will those anti-vaxxers wake up? Surely that measles outbreak in Disneyland should've been a clear sign that they're wrong (and of all the places on Earth it could've happened too!).

Jenny McCarthy can kiss my arse, and so can Oprah for providing that clueless bimbo with a podium to broadcast her dangerous misinformation.
Thursday, February 12th, 2015
9:13 am
Answer for question 4236.
Have you ever used a pickup line? What was it -- and did it work? What's the worst one you've ever heard?
I've never bothered with pick-up lines, I found it better to just talk to a lady and see where it goes. No guarantee of picking her up, but better to just treat her like a person than like a potential conquest. Besides, the pick-up lines I've heard in my time I felt women were bound to find either risible or offensive (never thought of compliments as pick-up lines; my bad, I guess).

One of the worst pick-up lines I heard was suggested to me when I was about fifteen, and I've never forgotten it: "Have you ever tripped over a twig? How about a root?" ("Root" being an Australian colloquialism referring to sexual intercourse). It's about as subtle as a sledgehammer, and from what female friends say, it's about as sexy.

Question for the ladies: In the movie "The Wog Boy" it turns out that the hero, Steve's magical, guaranteed pick-up line is "They say you are what you eat; in the morning I want to be you". Would this line actually work?
Tuesday, January 20th, 2015
9:08 am
Answer for question 4202.
What is your strongest sense? Which would be the hardest for you to lose?
Hmmmm... good questions, those.
I think my strongest sense is my hearing - I think I may have mild hyperacousis as some sounds at certain volumes actually hurt my ears or else make my body twitch involuntarily. The upside of this is I've blitzed every hearing test I've ever taken. As for my sight, I can see clear as a bell within four feet of my eyes but since I was thirteen I've needed corrective lenses to make out the finer details in the distance (I can tell a person from a power pole from a tree from a rubbish bin, it's just the finer details like faces and writing that blur a bit).

I think the hardest sense for me to lose would be either vision. Blindness would stop me from doing a lot of things - even leading an independent life - though going deaf would also be tough. Hearing aids can help with that but one common complaint I've heard about them is they don't make sounds clearer, just louder. That said, losing sense of taste would take some of the enjoyment out of life, namely being able to taste and enjoy the foods and beverages I do.

On a different note I take this opportunity to thank LiveJournal for bringing back Writer's Block - it's a positive boon for a writer (at least this one).
Saturday, November 22nd, 2014
10:07 pm
Literally I'm capable, but I won't

or Music Rant Part Eleven

Another day, another post, another bunch of bad music. Even as I usually manage to avoid Top 40 radio some of the crap that's on it still comes to my attention, whether people are talking about it or whether I'm unwillingly exposed to it as I go about my day. Then there are the tracks that are so bad that everyone's talking about them and you therefore can't ignore them.

Has the music gotten worse? There is plenty of evidence to say that yes, it has, though it depends on which periods we're comparing and whether it's music in general or popular music in particular. The fact that Taylor Swift's 1989 is the only platinum album this year (2014) as opposed to many more ten years ago is not a good argument for the deterioration of popular music, or that music was better then - platinum albums in 2004 include The Long Road by Nickelback, In This Skin by Jessica Simpson and Under My Skin by Avril Lavigne, evidence that music was crap then too. As those who know me will attest, it is my opinion that the music of the '40s, '50s and '60s was far better, but if albums such as The Beatles' Abbey Road or Frank Sinatra's In The Wee Small Hours or Elvis Presley's Elvis Presley went platinum it would've been years after their release because there was no platinum certification before 1976, only gold (and in the '50s only grown-ups and kids with money could afford albums). I also consider the music of the '20s and '30s superior to today's popular music, but again no platinum albums back then, the long-playing record (LP, or 33rpm) wasn't invented yet (or needless to say, the compact disc) and an album back then - a literal book-like album, with each "page" being a sleeve containing a 78rpm record - would have been a luxury.

By contrast, you can still buy a compact disc for the same amount of dollars you could back in 1996, which means they've actually gotten cheaper, and given that digital files have risen in popularity in the last ten years - what with computers and Internet connection becoming cheaper and more accessible - there would be little sense in raising the price of a CD. The advantages of MP3s and other digital files over the more tangible media include infinite supply with minimal reproduction costs, and you no longer have to buy a whole album just for one or two songs you like. Not to mention that if your local music store doesn't have a certain album you're after, chances are you can find it online, and with so many more options to choose from. This may help to explain why there has only been one platinum album this year - and for most of this year there were none.

And what of this year's sole platinum biggie? 1989's platinum status is a sure sign of its popularity (and Miss Swift's, and it doesn't hurt that she's the pretty girl next door with each foot in the two most popular genres, pop and country, and she has multi-generational appeal), but is it a sign of quality? Taylor Swift's overall body of work I personally could take or leave, and the '80s-style disco/dance-pop that dominates the album is fine if you like that sort of thing - I don't, and I'd rather leave the '80s well and truly behind myself (my wife holds the opposite opinion, and it's because of her I heard a few tracks from the album). Nonetheless, hats off to Taylor, and good luck to her.

And now for what you, dear reader, really came here for: me tearing apart a collection of contemporary chart-hogging turds:

- Literally, I Can't by Play-N-Skillz featuring Redfoo, Lil Jon and Enertia McFly: If bad taste manifested itself in human form, it would be Stefan Kendal Gordy, known to you and I as Redfoo. His wardrobe choices are hideous, those glasses look stupid and I have hair just like his, but not on my head. Forgivable if he wasn't such a colossal douchebag with no class - in fact, it's likely his mother gave birth to him anally - yet he thinks he's God's Gift to Women. And I can't get over the fact that he's a judge on a music talent show here in Australia. Despite the fact that he is the son of legendary songwriter/record producer/Mr. Motown himself Berry Gordy, Redfoo's music is unadulterated shit. His body of work as half of LMFAO was bad enough, but he has now attracted much controversy and ill-will after teaming with fellow douchebags Play-N-Skillz, Lil Jon and Enertia McFly to inflict on the world this piece of sexist crap which sucks on every level. The premise (for those wondering) involves a bunch of girls who seem to have turned up to the wrong party because Redfoo and the other wankers relentlessly try to pressure them into getting wasted, taking their clothes off and lezzing it up for the boys, and their refusal ("Literally, I can't") is answered by Redfoo yelling at them to "shut the fuck up!" And in addition to treating women as subhuman sex objects, the song is an auditory abomination - the cries of agony from some poor bloke shitting napalm couldn't be less melodious. And again, he's a judge on a music talent show (though I undertand his position has been jeopardised by this insult to music). Hey Redfoo, you shut the fuck up! Cockhead!

- Anaconda by Nicki Minaj: And if Redfoo has a female counterpart it would be Nicki Minaj - another obnoxious embodiment of bad taste, and another recording artist-cum-music talent show judge whose own body of work is a load of unlistenable shit. In fact, we should all pray that Nicki Minaj and Redfoo never hook up, lest they spawn the Antichrist. I know I've said it already, but to call what Minaj makes music is to dignify it with a classification it does not deserve, and this latest travesty is no exception. Well, her parts of it suck arse (that was fortuitous, but appropriate) - Sir Mix-A-Lot's Baby Got Back I wasn't crazy about when it first came out but have grown to enjoy it on a humorous, ironic level, but her sampling of this track (a rap song which, ironically, contains no sampling itself) does nothing to enhance her own, it is still bloody terrible. And the message of the song is pretty awful too: the narrator is basically using sex - and her big, disproportionately fat arse which causes a few erections - to get ahead, shagging various guys in return for expensive gifts, and makes time for skinny-shaming ("Fuck you if you skinny bitches, what?"). In addition to being an auditory abomination with a bad message, it is basically the soundtrack to the porno movie which is the video. (Yes, it is pornography - any fool can tell it was made with the intention of making dicks hard, though if I'm honest Nicki Minaj does nothing for me, so my anaconda don't want none, full stop). Anyone who says this track is a triumph for feminism needs to slap themselves hard and repeatedly about the face and head. Oh, and Nicki, the trackie dacks with the whale tail (i.e. the g-string hanging out over the waistband) is so 2003, and it was generally considered a fashion crime back then too.

- Booty by Jennifer Lopez featuring Iggy Azalea: Again with the soundtracks to porn movies. In all fairness J-Lo is looking great for her age, and the video is horny as all get-out - and there's the problem right there. The song/video package - my penis likes it, but my ears and brain don't. J-Lo and Iggy are basically using stiffy bait to sell a crappy song promoting promiscuity. Mind you, fifteen years I've been aware of her musical stylings and Jennifer Lopez still is yet to impress me.

- I'm Ready by AJR: bloody dubstep bullshit, and I'm hard-pressed to think of a more obnoxious hook - apparently it's a sample of SpongeBob SquarePants saying "I'm ready" over and over, but when I first heard it my immediate thought was Eric Cartman from South Park (it must be a generational thing - I was already the upper side of 18 when SpongeBob SquarePants first appeared, and I do have much younger siblings but they never mentioned him). Either way, the narrator details an encounter with a lass he meets at the club, and she tells him she's ready, and he says "I won't forget you, but I may forget your name". You may forget her name? Yeah, stay classy. That aside, I guess a chick who sounds like Cartman or SpongeBob would be tough to forget. Um, yeah, a little creeped out now. Moving on...

- All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor: Okay, to be fair I don't think the song is complete shite - and people of both genders do come in different shapes and sizes, some big-boned, some fine-boned, and no one should be made to feel ashamed of their natural physical make-up - and in terms of sound it's not completely obnoxious, but this "fat girl pride" anthem is a little hard to swallow coming from a young lady who isn't even fat. And even if she was as a kid, that was then and this is now.

- Geronimo by Sheppard: Something, something, waterfall as sexual symbolism, something, something, I'm broken, something, something, let's go do it again, something, something, that STUPID AND REPETITIVE CHORUS! And as for wanting your lover to scream the name of a long-dead Apache cheif during sex, well, if that's your bag then lots of luck to you, but I just don't see the appeal. (The bloke was a champion, but I prefer the missus screaming my name, thank you very much).

- Cool Kids by Echosmith: This song I despise on principle. It could not be less rock 'n' roll if it tried. Between the bland, insipid, monotonous pop sound and the refrain of "I wish that I could be like the cool kids/'Cause all the cool kids, they seem to fit in" and general implication that it's not cool to just be yourself, it's an anthem celebrating conformity and mediocrity - it flies in the face of what the arts in general and rock 'n' roll in particular are all about. Fuck that noise!

In the words of John Mason, you were born an original; don't die a copy.

And until the next instalment, that's it from me. *steps off soapbox*

Current Mood: cynical
Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
8:33 pm
RIP Jack Bruce
Jack Bruce has passed away, aged 71. Jack was one of the pioneers of heavy rock and heavy metal, and was a deservedly well-respected blues musician though his first love was jazz. He was a talented multi-instrumentalist who played a variety of genres but his best-known work will always be as the vocalist and bassist for Cream.

Cream has had a permanent place in my playlist since my youth (and since before the word "playlist" was coined). The album Disraeli Gears helped provide a soundtrack for times when I was feeling particularly down, and it and their other work rock hard when I've been in a good mood too ("Sunshine of Your Love", anybody?). I found it conducive to creativity in my time too - some of Jack's music and lyrics also influenced some poetry I wrote as a younger man (though whether my poetry is anything to boast about is debatable, ha ha).

Vale Jack, and thank you for the music.


Current Mood: melancholy
Saturday, October 11th, 2014
4:15 pm
For Dave
I'll never forget your affable, casual yet courteous disposition, your down-to-Earth attitude and your self-deprecating wit. Good-natured, easy going, polite in your own casual, laconic way, you'd happily go out of your way to help others. Always quick with a joke, even if it was a bit of a jibe at someone else it was never malicious and you were just as quick to have a laugh at your own expense. You were also handy with knowledge and advice, you were well-read and widely so and a lot more clever than you gave yourself credit for. You were also even-tempered, cool-headed and one of the slowest people to anger I ever knew. I very rarely heard you raise your voice, and you never raised your voice to me, though you did let me know when I'd stuffed up - the subtle disappointment in your voice and your choice of words. I mustn't have been that big a screw-up because I didn't hear it often.
You were always more like a mate to me than a paternal figure of any kind; I guess you respected the fact that I already had a Dad and had no interest in trying to replace him, you just did the best you could in the position you were in. Funny though, one or two of the little habits and quirks I picked up; for example, silently bending my ear forward to prompt someone to either speak up or repeat what they just said - I've never seen Dad do that, and I didn't inherit it from either of my grandfathers or any other blood relative, I picked it up off you. Those foldable scissors you gave me as a kid, to this day they're on my keyring and go where I go, and have served me well over the years. It was from you that I learned of Grandfather's fate, and I've never forgotten how compassionate you were about it. Frankly I couldn't have asked for a better stepfather; I only wish I'd been a better stepson, or at least a better friend.
I wish I'd reached out to you, particularly when I'd heard that you and Mommy Dearest had split, even if only to check that you were okay, and let you know that I never had a problem in the world with you, my problems were with her and her other son, never you. I had been meaning to do so, even if it meant getting in touch with you via your parents because I didn't even know where you were or what your mobile number was (or if you even had one, or access to the Internet), but I kept putting it off, quibbling over what I was going to say and how to say it (I've never been much good expressing myself verbally - I'm an engaging and articulate writer but a lousy orator), and one lesson I've learned is that intentions aren't worth much if you don't act on them; also, he who hesitates is lost.
So much I wish I said to you, to let you know I always thought highly of you and always will, and your impact and influence on my life was definitely for the better.

Current Mood: melancholy, rueful
Saturday, May 31st, 2014
5:34 pm
Thoughts on male-female relations, Elliot Rodger and the Forever Alone Boys' Club

About a week ago a 22-year-old college drop-out named Elliot Rodger murdered seven people in Isla Vista, California, U.S.A. before his own life came to a sudden and violent end. Seven people dead, many more survivors traumatised and all of those families suffering, including his own, and why? All because he couldn't get a girlfriend. What the Hell?!?!

Not surprisingly this terrible atrocity has opened up a can of worms.

Rodger had published a video to YouTube the previous day stating his intentions. He said women were at fault for not going out with him, giving him their love, adoration and sex, instead giving it to "obnoxious brutes", describing it as a "crime" that they should withhold love and sex from him. He also called himself the "Supreme Gentleman", though so far evidence of this has yet to surface, and on the contrary he said in his manifesto that he tried to push these girls off a ledge at a party - most definitely not the act of a gentleman! He also posted other videos which alternated between banging on about how "awesome" he was and how hard-done-by he was, and believed that beautiful women should throw themselves at him. "Life isn't fair," he whined in at least one video. Rodger came from a wealthy family and had money on tap, he was good-looking and as evidenced by the videos he drove a very new-looking BMW which was most likely given to him and he probably never worked a day in his life, so I suppose he was right, life isn't fair. Meanwhile, most of us manage to find life partners in between working our arses off to make ends meet and indulging in pleasures much less fancy. Of course, if you see any of his videos it'll be obvious why he couldn't get a girlfriend: girls would have found him utterly creepy, and people in general would have thought him to be an insufferable wanker because he was so full of himself. He obviously only went for certain types - slim, gorgeous blondes with just the right amount of T&A - and seeing them as mere trophies or possessions rather than as people, albeit trophies that owed him sex. In this regard he was typical of the "Pick-Up Artist" set, or as I like to call them and those like them, the Forever Alone Boys' Club.

The "Pick-Up Artist", as I understand him, sees a woman as an object, a trophy, and if he successfully beds her, she's a conquest. I've known guys like this, and the funny thing is that while they see themselves as world-class ladykillers and champion wick-dippers they don't get nearly as much sex as they'd like us to believe. Less so if they also resort to "negging", the idea of which is to have a woman craving your approval by making catty remarks and negative comments and basically make her feel poorly about herself - this summed up in the phrase "treat 'em mean and keep 'em keen". If a woman is attractive and knows she could have pretty much any man she wants, she is not going to give a damn about the approval of some random arsehole who insults her. If such measures do work on a woman then she needs to get away from that jerk, and get some help for those self-esteem issues. If guys like that do get lucky it'll most likely be with a woman generally considered not so attractive, and he'll lie his arse off wherever he sees fit to get his mates' approval as he goes into detail about what he did with her, while some poor woman will be feeling used and discarded. Or maybe she's getting payback by telling her girlfriends about the dud root with the comically small dick that picked her up the other night - or funnier still, he spoofed his dacks just as he got her bra off.

Naturally those Pick-Up Artist and Men's Rights groups have been putting their farthing's worth in too, banging on about male entitlement, women being sluts because they put out to all these other guys but not to them, and this one writer for Return of Kings, "Roosh" (did I spell that right, or does it actually start with a D?) even suggesting that men should be offered "more sexual options" or else there would be more incidents like in Isla Vista. Of course, because it's not up to us men to control ourselves, is it Doosh? It's up to women to pander to our every whim. Then there are similar groups basically accusing nice guys of enabling women to be bitches and any man sympathetic to women is a "mangina" and a traitor, if he's in a healthy relationship he's "henpecked" and other such rot. Basically they're the types of groups Valerie Solanas (founder of the Society for Cutting Up Men, or SCUM) would have joined if she herself was a man. Groups propagating such misogynistic bullshit as this are dangerous (as we've seen with Elliot Rodger), because the people who take it in are blokes and boys who have been unfortunate with the opposite sex in general or certain members in particular and are therefore bitter about it, and breeding and nurturing this bitterness and instilling a sense of entitlement and disregard for women as human beings only makes their problem worse.

Rodger had reportedly been diagnosed with Asperger's as a kid and had been receiving treatment until he was eighteen and he stopped going to sessions and taking his medicine. He also complained of loneliness, though acquaintances say he pushed them away and rejected their attempts at befriending him. It seems like his own worst enemy was ultimately himself. In any event, the videos show a textbook case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Poisoning his mind further with the kind of misogynistic crap mentioned earlier only made him worse.

I was unlucky in love myself when I was younger - I guess a combination of lacking self-confidence (was I really depressed or was I just surrounded by arseholes?), not being aware of certain girls fancying me until too late if ever, and not wanting to deceive or lead on any girl who fancied me and I didn't feel the same way, whereas the ones that set me on fire, well, there was always a reason why not. And that's another major social ill right there - that whole line about how if someone makes you feel butterflies in the stomach and all ga-ga in general they're the one, and experience has taught me that that's total bullshit. They really need to stop feeding kids - and adults - lies like that! That's not to say I ever blamed any of the girls themselves - it wasn't their fault, they couldn't help what they felt and they didn't owe me anything, and I never forgot that they're human beings, not prizes or trophies, and they're not the enemy. I do regret ever making them feel uncomfortable or embarrassed, or anything else unpleasant befalling them on my account, and  I would never have done anything to hurt them - if anything I'd want to atone, to make it up to them, whatever would make them happy I would do it. Doosh and the rest of the Forever Alone Boys' Club might call me a mangina or a pussy, and consider me a source of derision at best, a traitor and enabler at worst. They can all kiss my arse.

Saturday, May 24th, 2014
3:47 pm
Dustin' off the blog...
It's been so long since I last posted here. Over the last few months I've been meaning to post, only to get distracted or else feel too drained with the accent on "can't be stuffed" by the time I finally sit at my desk to post. I guess another factor would be Facebook, the dominant social media platform. About the time I started posting here LJ was a veritable hive of activity - it was a site for hosting weblogs but at the same time it proved an effective medium for meeting people. Then in about 2009 a lot of people on my friends list here either closed their accounts or simply ceased posting. I still think LJ took a massive leap backwards by getting rid of the Writer's Block feature - it was very handy for getting the creativity on. Not that I expect to get much traffic now anyway, especially as this isn't one of those stupid celebrity gossip blogs.

I have read one or two of those celebrity gossip blogs in my time, before slapping myself and engaging the brain. One was a regular feature of the Yahoo homepage, and my word, the vacuous shit the writer/s carried on with. I came to the conclusion that gossip blogs are written by idiots for idiots - or sad-acts who really need to get a life - appealing to the lowest common denominator. Truth be told, I'm glad to not have people like that reading this.

So if no one's reading it, why continue with it? To remedy writer's block, and to keep on writing, for what is a writer who isn't writing?
Sunday, December 29th, 2013
8:49 pm
2013 Meme

Q&A for 2013, an updated version of the 2007 Meme as taken from many:

Read more...Collapse )

Current Mood: relaxed
Tuesday, December 10th, 2013
1:22 am
Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela: South Africa's first black President, campaigner for equal rights and racial harmony, icon for peace.

This much we know about him. However, as one whose earliest actual memories of Mr. Mandela are of him being released from prison after 27 years as a political prisoner, it did come as a bit of a surprise to learn he actually had engaged in some terrorist activities (I knew he had been charged and that was why he was in prison in the first place) and furthermore, that he had been a member of the Communist Party (though this, remarkably enough, was brought to light after his death). However, to his credit (even though I don't condone terrorism of any kind) he was adamant that no one should die or be injured, so sabotage was the favoured method. As for communism, he loved the egalitarianism of it - members were equal regardless of race or gender - but he initially rejected it because its atheism conflicted with his Christian faith and because he saw the issue as one concerning race, not class. Of course, this was in the days before apartheid came in in 1948, and he changed his mind soon after about communism. (Typical of the Communist Party to leave him in the lurch, by the way - they had no qualms about leaving their members to their fate if they were killed or imprisoned as long as they stayed loyal to the Party, because only the Party mattered. No wonder he didn't visit the USSR when he got out).

And I find it remarkable that a lot of the violence and turmoil in South Africa continued after apartheid, if not getting worse. There had been tribal warfare in the past, and there was tension and rivalry amongst the various tribes, including the Boers/Afrikaners (Dutch/German/French) and the Rooineks (British). What I have trouble with is the implementation of a racist regime, especially when a war had not long been fought to not only stop the spread of but to completely overthrow a regime which was inherently racist and xenophobic. (Not to mention the legally sanctioned segregation, which had been in place in America for decades but would begin to be eroded there less than eight years after apartheid was introduced in South Africa).

What with it being so skewed against black people - between them not getting the vote, and other measures put in place to keep them down - it's not that hard to see how apartheid could have turned a man of peace into a terrorist, especially as the system also made a mockery of his peaceful protests. Whatever other compromises he made, he stayed true to his ideals of racial harmony, equality and justice for all.

In any event, the man served his time, and whatever sins he committed I feel he atoned for. I hope and pray that someday soon his dream will be realised and that there will be peace between people of all races, creeds, colours, sexes and groups in South Africa, and may he rest in peace.

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