........................................................................................ - a weBlog by Snowy and me.

Monday, 31 December 2018

Somebody Else's Carelessness

Or the story of  'The Irishman and His Donkey'.....

Where I grew up, the English were very English indeed,
they thought they always had the best,
and they were the best at everything.

What they were particularly good at was telling lies
about other countries to comfort themselves
about how much better their lives were
then everyone else's in the world.

Often they were sly about it too,
they talked about it highly indirectly
-through the metaphor of animal husbandry.

They often talked about 'The Irishman and his donkey',
and how when one day the man had no feed for the beast
he made it accept no food that day, as if it was of no matter.
And how often the poor Irishman repeated this pattern
and lived within his means until his beast of burden
could carry no more, in this life at least, it died of starvation.

This was the English way of explaining to themselves
the effects of the potato famine of the 1840's,
where selectively across Europe crops failed,
and explaining why the Irish population who survived
left for America-it was all there was left for them to do.

This was also the English way of explaining to themselves,
without ever appearing to admit it, that if you have an empire
and mismanage it well enough that it's population starves
then you will lose your empire in the end, but by then
the story has to be about somebody else's carelessness.

Sunday, 30 December 2018

'Improving' Capitalism

Everybody knows that Capitalism
is the addiction of a nation state
to infinite economic expansion
where growth is said to come
from the upgrading of a surplus asset
previously unrecognised for it's worth.

Everybody also knows
that Capitalism for The Poor
is The Rich mostly recycling
what they feel they no longer need,
but have to discard whilst it still has value,
without thinking too much
about the shortness
of life there is left in it.

So whether rich or poor
give what you have
to where the need seems real
whilst there is plenty
of life in it for others,
to prove the wealth
of your generosity.  

Saturday, 29 December 2018

A Life Of Cheap Grace

will surely be sinful life.

But when we are error personified
then we should know
that it is all we can look forward to.

Through trust in grace
we should know what we are and will be,
know cheapness by which we live,
rather than get overwhelmed
by the awareness of our nothingness.


Friday, 28 December 2018

Great Turn Off's Of Our Time (17)

When I hear some celebrity talk of the great life change
they have have engineered 'without help from anyone else',
least of all their spouse, manager, or others who support them,
say of their latest confessional book or television programme
'If this helps one person see clearer the errors in their life
it will have been worth it' then please save me the rest of their shtick.

Who would knowingly fall for such a self sufficient sales pitch?
Other than those the already self sufficient,
who hardly need more encouragement
to a solipsism they so readily encourage in themselves?

Thursday, 27 December 2018

The Race For The Bottom Through The Selling Of The Top

Many large scale government innovations
get sold to the public as gleaming new technology
deployed to make citizens lives Utopian
in some new and transformed economy.

But because government are shown to be
bad at innovation by a privately owned press
the new technology that governments use
is nearly always private in origin.

And as Gov't deploy their new hi-tech ideas
it enriches the private few a lot
whilst making the mass of public poorer.

The mismatch between intent and effect
always takes a long time to register,
because Governments will cover up
targets missed by a country mile.

When they admit to missing their target
it becomes their excuse for further failure.

Thus government is spelt h-u-b-r-i-s
and it is natural to not know what we miss,
for not knowing where to look for it. 

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Laying Waste To Nothingness

Having nothing to say
is quite a powerful message,
but having nobody to say it to
because people cease to listen
lays waste to the power of absence
in the message we have to convey.

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

When Reassurance Leaves Us In Doubt

If every company and charity
that said it was 'saving the world'
did as good as their word,
even merely in their own small part,
then where we live would not only
be much safer from us than it is
but we would not need half as many
reminders and reassurances
of how our environment is being saved.  

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Keeping The Distance From Normality Clearer.

I have never been able to explain
how it is that when those who are odd
who are well able to explain their oddness
with some coherence, if not eloquence
they are somehow seen by normal people
as nearer 'normal' than ever they thought they were.

I preferred to trust that their clarity sets the distance
that they need to keep from all potential misdiagnosis. 

Saturday, 22 December 2018

Good Hedges Make Good Neighbours

Cotoneaster; fine for stopping fruitful friendships
when it outgrows the space it is meant to fit in.  
Japanese Knotweed; it will soon prove you 
to be a worthy enemy.
Rubus; will soon take root next door unawares. 
Lelandii Catlewellan Gold; with this growth
you may never see your neighbours ever again. 

Friday, 21 December 2018

The Epitome Of Opacity

-that is the definition of modern politics.

What appears to be our end,
the purpose that one individual chooses to be active for
merely becomes the means for other folks
to undo all sense of shared reason,
and divide and confuse us all forevermore.  

Another Modest Proposal

The government needs to change
their policy with regard to 'the disabled',
the people who employers like to avoid,
and then find that they have to disguise
how they like avoiding employing them,
thus perpetuating an anti-social situation.

To make it more transparent
the disabled should be relabelled
as 'Not Safe For Work by the state,
because that is how employers view them.

With this change in appellation
I don't know what those who go
to dark places, on the internet,
will now call their destination,
to make discreet why they go there.

But I would like to think
that it will make disability
sound more sexy.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Popular Turn Off's (16)

When any public figure talks
of 'being cautiously optimistic'
we know that they don't know
what is actually going to happen
-or how. All the phrase says
is that the speaker expects
that should the worst happen,
it will be much worse
for everybody else
than it will be for them.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

If The Homelessness Were A Nation

How would we characterise it's citizens?
What effective light touch government would it have?
What ideas about spiritual nourishment would seem right there?
What would they have to say about mutuality and nurture?

Whatever the answers to those questions
they would do less damage to the planet
than the competitive self righteousness
of the world state of House Ownership. 

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Laws Are Like Hysterias

Each country and tribe has their own of both
and each one prefers to keep it that way,
however much they decline to say otherwise.

When one tribe find that another lives differently
then logically they have to examine their differences
from other tribes who they once thoughtlessly did not expect to.

Then they find that tribes and nations
are more alike than they want to admit,
and each of them draws on elements
that have a lot in common, that leave
the individual with only themselves to stand on. 

Monday, 17 December 2018

Non-Leadership

Modern Democratic politicians are not leaders;
they are spokespersons for the rich and clever,
who hide the interests of those they represent
though the speeches of these pretend leaders
who we have to assume articulate the wishes
of millions of voters who vote in good faith.

But such faith in wealth is blind,
and easier to manipulate
than the voters want to know about. 

Sunday, 16 December 2018

The Intelligent Outsider

Will always have difficulty accepting 
how they are different to everybody else
they know how much other people dislike
how the outsider is different from them
and how much it causes everyone difficulties.

Sure, they will find friends.
But keeping them is something else.
That is when the strength to live well
on your own is your greatest blessing.


Saturday, 15 December 2018

From 'Gender Fluidity' To (Relative) Freedom From Poverty

I see today's transgender warriors
protesting en masse in the metropolis
and I wonder what their beef is,
though many would claim to be vegan.

Then on face book an image appeared
of a man clenching his fist in a toilet
in triumph at his 'fluidity of gender',
in the lamest surrealist protest I could imagine.

Then I thought of all the word's poor
who for lack of clean running water
and lack of privacy about where they crapped
-they did not merely have no freedom
from the germs that would kill the fragile and ill fed.
but the (lack of) arrangement left the poorest women
exposed to threats of both rape and murder.

I don't know what to do
when what binds us to others 
is what blinds us to how they live.

But taking some action
on seeing that something needs done
should be our starting point.

Friday, 14 December 2018

The Squeaky Toy Solution

With the never ending stream of cold callers
that people respond to on their telephones
the problem comes with how to  remain calm,
be civil, and retain a sense of humour.

On no account give the caller your name
and never confirm that the address
that they suggest they are calling to,
but instead get a squeaky toy
-such as you might buy for a dog.

After delaying all conformation
keep them on the line with squeezes
in squeaks of vocal sized lengths.

Let it do the rest of your talking for you.   

A Small Notice

This blog is now more than 3000 entries long,
not that longevity means renewing the messages
here, which frequent readers will know
are often repeats of a small stock of old ideas,
varied only in approach and by how tired
or fresh I was when they were written. 

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Bromides 'R' Us

When other people say 'Don't upset yourself'
they often mean 'Don't you upset me'
and the more we let them say it
the more the tender among us will be upset,
as we unknowingly and forcibly esteem others
more than we are allowed to value ourselves.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

At The Church Of Coca Cola

the worship is as fizzy
as the communion drink,
and the blessing on the fries
brought in from McDonald's
are as toxic as only they could be.

But like many blessings
they take their time to take effect.
They appear later in life,
when illnesses cannot be traced
to how their carrier lived before,
but the body follows the death wish
its owner so spiritually wished for.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

See It And Disbelieve It

How will we know when machines
has developed 'true intelligence'?

Like the gods in the myths of old
they will be detached and self absorbed,
sufficient that men will lose all belief
in the technological future
the way they discredit
the many narratives of the past. 

Monday, 10 December 2018

Popular Ignorance

When ignorance becomes sufficient
to not just mistrust every idea ever known
and every human being that embodies them,
then what hope is there of knowing anything else?

That is when we would be at our most graceful
imitating the natural courtesy of the animals
that we previously affected to despise,
and when such innocence would befit others
and we would least understand or be aware of it.  

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Perverse Grace

Is what happens when do not expect to work for us,
but we have to cheerfully endure,
works out unpredictably in our favour.
And what should go right does not,
and yet we survive,
by means beyond ourselves
and we simply don't know why.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Unbelievable

When popular belief
gets formalised into doctrine
and doctrine hardens into dogma
then our dogma will become our cant.

With our cant
we will build a democracy
on empire values
which is far less rational
than we might imagine,
or vaguely dare to think.    

Friday, 7 December 2018

My Third Christmas Card Of 2018

'Redgreen and Violet Yellow Rhythms' -Paul Klee.
Here is a further brief selection of Mr Klee's work.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Now Wash Your Hands

But a change of shit is still a change
and refusal does seem churlish
when as changes go, it is all that there is. 

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

How To Disagree Successfully

The older I get the less I take seriously
Humanists who criticise all the religions
in the world for being different to each other,
criticise the paths down which they don't go.
Because they disapprove of all hypocrisy.

Everyone who can't be consistent
needs to accept their hypocrisies,
to esteem to others and themselves
when they might not feel like it,
but need to keep the future open.

And if the Humanist line of consistency
in personal development is to be serious
then what are they/we going to do for jokes?
There will be nothing left to laugh at....

On the whole I believe that history
is full of folly, full of religions, and full of life.
If we deny it, and refuse to investigate it
then we will perish, along with our curiosity
and desire to learn-which will include our capacity
for disagreeing constructively and successfully.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Have Faith In Your Disabilities

Sometimes they will be all you have to give.
With the confidence that faith gives you
at the very least you will believe in yourself
when sometimes it seems nobody else does.

And when you are accepted by someone
who makes you feel useful, disabilities and all,
then please accept their generosity with alacrity....


Monday, 3 December 2018

When The Best Security Is Knowing What You Don't Know

Do you ever cover the camera  lens
of your lap top or other electronic device,
as a precaution against it 'accidentally'
taking images of you, that you don't know
that it is it taking-it does not tell you?

I do, and I am not precious about my image
-if I were I would not be writing because
the words themselves create an image of me.

But some think that having mastered the jargon
around the tech they use they understand these machines,
when often when they don't understand themselves,
as very different, very much softer machines
who seem to work well but do something different
to what they tell others that they say they do.

So by all means guard your privacy with bits of tape,
but no amount of watchfulness or intelligence
or technology can improve on is knowing ourselves
and knowing the consequences of us being us,
from the inside of our minds out.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Engineered False Humour-A Brief Guide

The laughter track is integral to television culture, and an odd part of modern life. Fake laughter sounds are regularly added to comedy television shows, as if such a thing were normal. As if the engineered laughter is the clincher to the viewer that proves the writers wrote a good script. As if the audience merely need signals to know when to laugh. Nowadays the best way to escape the laughter track is to not watch television, though who knows, it might still appear on radio comedies. How did this small part of mass media engineering, others are available, become quite so universal? And why?
The earliest laugh tracks were used when radio was the dominant mass broadcasting medium. Since recording tape was so rare then nearly all radio shows from the 1920’s-1940’s were performed live and in front of an audience. Any limits in the laughter and applause of the audience were natural and accepted as an unavoidable part of the broadcast. But with the advent of tape an occasional laughter track was added live to a radio broadcast to cover when an audience responded differently to a joke than the producer of the show expected. When television became the dominant mass medium, in the 1950’s, like radio had been before television was performed live. And television was performed live for the same reasons radio had been-lack of recording technology. The laughter that was broadcast was as live as the programme was, however cheap it seemed at the time and might seem even more since. 
But broadcasters feared jokes being fluffed or falling flat, leaving an awkward silence with poor visuals. It might scare the shows sponsors-vital for the programme to run. At other times very loud audience laughter could cause the sound of the speaker of the viewers television set to distort. In the very early 1950’s a CBS sound engineer named Charley Douglass developed a solution to the problem with a technique he called “sweetening”. By using pre-recorded laughter sounds Douglass could enhance the applause of an audience when a joke fell flat and mute the laughter of an audience when it threatened the rhythm of the script. In 1953, Douglass invented his “laff box”, a machine which resembled a typewriter and could recreate various pre-recorded applause and laughter sounds at various lengths, volumes, and pitches with the stroke of a key. Douglass kept his technology a close secret. This gave him a near monopoly over “sweetening”. By the end of the decade he was paid by almost every American broadcasting company to sweeten almost every comedy show on the air.
By the start of the 60’s, fewer shows were aired with a live audience. It became easier and cheaper, and sometimes better,  to pre-record shows instead. But nervous TV producers still believed that it was necessary to falsely create the atmosphere of a live show with a pretend live audience. So editors and sound engineers added pre-recorded laughter and applause to recordings post production. Writers and directors eventually joined n the process and wrote words for the creation of false response with a setup, a punch line, and a lengthy pause where the fake response would be added. This method permeated even cartoons and children’s shows. Look up 1960’s episodes of The Flintstones and Top Cat. There the fake audience are, forever.
In 1965 CBS tested how necessary the laugh track was by previewing the pilot episode of the World War II comedy “Hogan’s Heroes” to test multiple audiences. In one version a laugh track was used in the other there was just the actors in the studio. The results were that the version with a laugh track scored highly with viewers, the version without scored low ratings. The test was not scientific, the audience used for the test were familiar with laughter tracks, whether they were aware of the mechanics of them, and the reasons they were used, or not. Finding an audience who were not familiar with laughter tracks would have been difficult for CBS. As a result, in 1965 CBS began airing all of their comedy shows with laugh tracks. In no time at all other broadcasters were doing the same. And Douglass had refined his technology to creating whole diverse laugh tracks for entire shows. he maintained his monopoly over the laugh track business until the 1970’s, when eventually competitors developed their own laugh track technologies. M*A*S*H created in 1970 or so by Larry Gelbart and Gene Reynolds did not want a laugh track due to the cerebral and often serious nature of the show. However CBS required them to. So they used a laugh track but used a subdued “audience” and used it as lightly as possible.  In the 1980’s many shows air episodes without laugh track, led by the M*A*S*H example.
Today television shows that lack laugh tracks can find their place in the schedules, but the fake laugh track humour still dominates the comedy and sitcom output of every American popular television network. 

Saturday, 1 December 2018