Spawn of satan

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Left handed people are the devil. In boxing, he added. I feel it’s probably important to add context when demonising people.

The thing about left handed boxers, or south-paws, is that nine out ten people you spar with are the solid, decent sort. Also known as orthodox fighters… built the way god intended. But every once in a while you square off against a lefty.  And because you have less experience fighting these hell-spawn, you have to suddenly un-muscle memory everything and fight in very deliberate, mindful way… which when someone is trying to enter you into the realm of unconsciousness with their fists, is a somewhat challenging circumstance in which to suddenly find yourself in.

Now replace fists with some form of edged weapon and what you get is a recipe for disaster. I can totally appreciate the medieval knights attempt to mandate battlefield etiquette (by drowning all the left handed toddlers) Can’t just have some lefty waltz into a codified conflict and start messing with the feng shui of close quarters combat. It’s also likely the reason the crusaders eventually failed in their quest to hold onto the Holy Land… no experience in fighting left handed people.

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Although the ubiquitous templar that gets used in all those crusader/western imperialist memes has been drawn as a left hander. Hmm. Now that I think about it, maybe it was only jousting where left handedness was forbidden… and that the crusaders lost the holy land because they were motherfuckers, more interested in slaughtering every living thing with the city limits of Jerusalem once they’d breached hers walls. Not exactly the greatest ‘hearts and minds’ campaign ever devised. Interestingly Jews fought side-by-side with Muslims to defend the city against the crusaders. Both were indiscriminatingly massacred by the christians when the city fell.

Sorry.

Resisting Capitalism

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I don’t want to sound mean… but I think you’re going about this be-the-change-you-want-to-see-in-the-world thing all wrong. (Look at me getting my Gandhi on) But this has likely been pointed out many, many times before. Don’t worry, I was also young, dumb and full of… actually, I hope the last part of that axiom doesn’t necessarily apply to you. If I have any life advice (having now sired girl-children) be discerning about the boys that you allow access to your lady bits. We are extra-ordinarily single minded and some of us are very, very cunning.

I’m inclined to believe that people confuse consumerism, greed and excess with capitalism. Off the top of my head isn’t that a lot like blaming modern medicine for the opioid crisis? Which I suppose, some people might do. Oh, modern medicine and the fact that we don’t keel over and die (from pustulant, weeping lesions all over our body)… eh, direct result of capitalism, because while we want to believe that people do altruistic things for the good of humanity with no expectation of remuneration (and some of them do), capitalism blows these achievements out of the water in terms of sheer scale when we compare actual good done for humanity. Seriously its like comparing the sun to the moon and imagining them to be more or less equal… which for those of you who are not cosmologically minded… the difference is mind bendingly massive.

When you resist capitalism what you’re actually doing is denying humanism and obfuscating the only real (and proven) system available for people to pull themselves out of extreme poverty. You are the economic equivalent of an anti-vaxxer. Sure you can donate mosquito nets to poor people living in Africa (one of the effective altruisms goto projects for apparently getting the most ‘goodness’ bang for your buck). But really, in my opinion, poor people need free markets, liberalism, property rights and rule of law so they can pull themselves out of the pit of poverty and help themselves (and then buy their own mosquito nets). But all they (for the most part) get is fucked by their own authoritarian leadership, populist agendas and the vicious bureaucracy of their trade ‘partners’. But… I suppose with mosquito nets they will live long enough to die young from something else.

If you’re going #Resist something. Resist corruption. Or gerrymandering. Or fucken lobbyists. Or a jingoist foreign policy. Or tariffs. Or farming subsidies…  you know, all the things that are actual problems and lead to this perception that capitalism is the villain in the human success story.

Dastardly threats

Parenting achievement award unlocked.

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Telling your three year old if they don’t start behaving themselves RIGHT NOW, the easter bunny isn’t coming!

Immediate compliance and profuse apologizing.

I am such a monster.

Although to be honest, I am a little flattered that my daughter thinks I have so much pull with an inter-dimensional* cotton-tail…. when really my only experience with these creatures (and their machinations) is having once read Watership Down… which didn’t really sell me on the whole burrow living arrangement thing it must be said…

*I assume this is how she gets around, although I’m willing to pen a retraction should a competing theory arise which seems more credible. Also I apologize for having just pronoun’d the Easter bunny. I could find any specific reference to gender in the canon and so had to make a quick judgement call. (Eventually I decided since Eostre, the pagan goddess of fertility (on which all this is based) seemed to have mandated her heraldry to be that of a rabbit, it seemed more reasonable to me that the easter bunny is in fact female).

Honor bound

‘Dishonor is like a scar on a tree, which with time, instead of effacing, only helps to enlarge’ – Bushido maxim

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Truth be told I am a fetishist when it comes to scar tissue. I’m inclined to believe that they are indicative of either a life well lived, or challenging circumstances that has been overcome (since you are still here). Both are worthy of respect and admiration and I’m drawn to damaged dermis and cracked people in a very profound and liminal way. The proverbial moth towards the flame. Although, now that I think about it, doesn’t the moth die in this analogy? (explains a lot of my relationships actually) In any event, I often find they are the best sort. Those with the rent skin I mean, not the Lepidoptera. And are (for the most part) pure, unadulterated sex appeal.

Although this particular maxim isn’t about physicality, it’s about the things we do alone (in the dark) when nobody is watching. Which is an entirely different kettle of fish.

I suppose I should say that I find most discussions about honor to be problematic. Isn’t honor one of those concepts that is supposed to be exhibited through action and deed, as opposed to discourse and confabulation? (Trying to remember the Paladin entry in my Dungeons and Dragons Players Handbook) Any person claiming to be honorable, after all, is almost undoubtedly met with, at best skepticism, but more likely, derision. (Unless they’re super scary looking in which case you might be better off rolling your eyes in secret… and then only slandering them once you’ve put some measure of safe distance between you and your overly principled adversary)

If you do think you are the honorable sort, best to keep that sort of thing to yourself, lest you grind up against the benchmark of your fellows. They are unlikely to appreciate your keen sense of… eh… moral and ethical superiority. 

Sometimes, of course,  I like to pretend to be some sort of upright, deciduous broad-leaf… but I am likely one of the more knobbly, gnarled and crooked conifers in the forest.

I tend to think of myself as having lots of non-negotiable statues in my life… which I constantly seem to be breaking. Of course I keep these failings strictly to myself, but moralize and gossip over others failing my own rule set.

‘that mother fucker, driving like a maniac down my quiet suburban street’. Of course when I’m in a foul mood and do it, it’s totally fine. Justifiable even.

-Insert further examples of hypocrisy here-

Maybe honor is a percentile game? Given the choice between an ‘honorable’ and the ‘dishonorable’ action you take the achievement award if you choose correctly 51% of the time? (I basically passed my degree like this).

I feel the spirit of the game is more akin to a single instance of wavering on any of the non-negotiables equals immediate disqualification. No take backs, quick saves or starting over.

That is quite serious.

Fortunately the Japanese have another concept I find potentially more appealing than samurai aphorisms. That of Wabi-sabi.

In traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.

I’m sure it probably only applies to physical objects… but I’m going to pretend that it doesn’t. This makes my barky exterior much more cheerful.

 

Beggars can’t be choosers

I tend to oscillate wildly between waving my wooden pirate sword around and shouting ‘all content should be free’ from the yardarm. A yardarm is a nautical thing right? The rest of the time (when I’m not channeling Edward Teach) I’m thinking some content should be free, with the rest available, should you so desire it, through patronage (where if you enjoy someones content you can donate what you feel the content is worth). My position tends to fluctuate wildly between these two extremes throughout the day before resetting itself at nightfall, ready for tomorrows internal moot and aggressive discourse. Har har har.

Of course content creators need to eat. And buy MacBooks and Teslas. And fulfil all manner of other consumerist and probably Maslow-vian (I have no idea how to turn that into an adverb) needs. Why then do I begrudge giving them my money so much? I mean, they give me stuff in return. Rage… anxiety… hives. Although some of them also make me smile or give me something cognitive that I appreciate or even end up mulling over and considering for days…

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The above made me laugh. I was in Cape Town the other day and a beggar came up to me as I was getting my laptop out of my car and asked me for money. I almost never have cash on me, but I was driving a rental car and someone had left all their coinage in the center console cup-holder (which leads me to believe their cleaning service was somewhat cursory) In any event I explained that I didn’t have any money… but then I remembered the coins… and said ‘Wait a second’ and scooped the contents of the console into my hand and gave them to him. He looked at me disgusted and tossed the coins down onto the sidewalk and shuffled off, muttering to himself. ‘God, even the beggars are uppity fucks here’, I thought to myself before skipping across the street to order a skinny red chai latte and a vegan croissant.

In any event, apparently beggars can be choosers.

I have been thinking about this lately. Not the beggar so much (that was mostly an aside that suddenly occurred to me), but rather how one gets past this psychological imps arse (Terry Pratchett) of paying for content. I guess the options are free, fan-funded, advertising, product endorsement, data mining or selling your own consumerist claptrap. On the last item, seriously, there is nothing so lame as buying a podcasters coffee mug or ironic t-shirt. I don’t care how much you like them. In fact seeing you parading yourself in public with your virtue signalling attire makes me involuntarily scrunch my face up (which may incline those around me into thinking I’m having a stroke… it’s actually the acute pain of  embarrassment). You are actually hurting me, physically, with your sadness. Is this worse than having to listen to your favorite podcaster prostitute himself by reading advertising for mattresses, underwear or haemorrhoid cream?

z45rc0o0aer21.jpgWeirdly my reticence to part with my currency does not (broadly speaking) occur when someone has written a book or is hosting some sort of live event (like a debate or a comedy evening or… even I guess some sort of Ted-esque type talk). Then I’m totally happy to hand over my credit card details. But ask me to donate as a form of patronage so that instead of having a crappy office job you are free to create content that entertains me and chances are pretty good that I will be mortally offended. ‘You goddamn freeloader’.

I used to think maybe it was the anxiety of managing my inner turmoil that holds me back. If I support this one person I really like with $5 a month… what about this other person that I also kinda like, maybe he’s worth $2 a month. Doesn’t this start to add up? I mean none of us follow just five people anymore. Are we expected to patronage all of them? Some of them? One of them? Maybe ad-hoc donations as we go? Do they accept other forms of payment? Left over festive season fruit cake, Nguni cattle or blowjobs? Having actually never performed a blowjob I wouldn’t necessarily pick the latter as your go-to reward, since you are likely to be left feeling unfulfilled and/or horrified. And maybe even injured now that I think about it.

Why is this so complicated? Why do you even have to go pro? Can’t you just be an amateur? Have a day job and create content (for my pleasure) at night when you should be sleeping or spending time with your kids. Sacrifice yourself on the altar of having to express yourself. Just don’t have any expectation of being rewarded for it, that would make everyone happy… except you of course. But life is hard, and getting to tick those self esteem ticky-boxes is not necessarily a given, despite what you’ve been lead to believe by the self-help/entrepreneurship industrial complex.

I have (at the moment) largely automated my patronage. I budget $50 a month which gets chopped up into ten donations, more or less the equivalent of a grande Cinnamon Dolce Latte, that then get distributed to various creators that I like. I have no idea if thats a good number… it actually brings me incredible consternation when I start thinking about it and breaking down my mental models around this. This also means that once I’ve hit my limit I’m done. These days I often find myself having to step over the prostrated form of a creator asking for support (while I peruse his wares), sorry guy, I don’t have anything on me right now I lie. Maybe next time?

Versatile Blogger Award

How do these things work again?

Thank you so much insert name here for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award.
The Rules
1. If you are nominated, Congratulations you have been awarded the Versatile blogger award.
2. Thank the person who gave you the award and include a link to their blog.
3. Select 10 -15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
4. Nominate those bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.
5. Tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

Okay go it.

Thank you EC for the nomination. Yay me! You are correct I am amazingly versatile and totally deserve this award.

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EC, you are one of the most beautiful people I know (on the inside). On the outside you ain’t bad either I suppose. If you like that sort of thing. Love your blog. And love you too. Long time.

Um. I don’t actually follow that many people since I’m quite self-involved and insular. Let me do two categories though. I would like to nominate the following peeps in the category of,

Scandinavians I follow. They’re not all about Hygge and socialism. 

Michelle Louring – A Danish writer. Check out her amazing COSPLAY costumes. Really brilliant. She also likes Terry Pratchett (which cements her in my mind as a most excellent person). She also owns a dwarf owl. Her coolness cannot be understated.

Poor Bjorn’s Notes to Self – I really like people who constantly take themselves out of their comfort zone and try to grow and learn new stuff. A man after my own heart. We also read A LOT of the same books, often at the same time.

and

Old people who are probably going to die soon (but because of their advanced age have acquired wisdom that they are not afraid to inflict on other people) …

TheCommonAtheist – I really like Jim and he has become a friend. I’m sure he’s joking about the restraining order and reporting me to the State Department. Have you unblocked me yet?

Archon’s Den –  A recent discovery. Haven’t had a chance to really dig deep yet. But looks interesting, and I think we likely have a lot of common interests (just from my cursory look so far)

 

Anyways EC did her own questions, so here they are…

 

1. How many years must a mountain exist before it is washed to the sea?

Tough one right off the bat. Joey tends to aim to the left (he does this with most things, except when going to the bathroom, where… in all honesty things could go either way). When he isn’t edging things into the bleachers I mean. I was actually trying to turn this into an analogy that could be read as either cricket or baseball, demonstrating some claim to globalism and multiculturalism… but it’s not really working out for me.

As for the mountain, I’m going to go with existence is not a predicate. I like quoting Kant in real life. Because… well… I get to say Kant. (which with my accent and inflection sounds like a worse word that isn’t usually socially acceptable)

 

2. Is there life on Mars?

I’m going to go with yes. And no. Was there life on Mars? I think there probably was at some stage in a microbial sense. Yes… if someone asked me this under duress. Mars has a lot of things going for it, in terms of being able to support life (or indeed having had the ability to support life)… it also has a lot of things going for it in terms of NOT being able to support life. Like, for example, a limited internal dynamo to create a magnetic field without which, solar winds have battered the planet for a couple of billion years.

 

3. Where is my mind?

I usually pretend its sitting between my ears, protected by an above averagely thick cranium, a fortunate, or maybe unfortunate evolutionary circumstance that is derivative of having absorbed A LOT of blunt force trauma in my life. I used to be a boxer. Whether that mind is indeed still completely functional after all that shaking is open to debate. I imagine its probably looking like one of those animal fetuses that got left too long in the formaldehyde jar in the biology lab. Cloudy.

 

4. Have you ever seen the rain?

I have. I also live in Africa and so never ‘miss the rains’ down here. Like everything here even the weather is violent and trying to kill you. Not always, sometimes it tries to lull you in a false sense of security with rainbows and spectacular sunsets, before getting drunk and unruly and unleashing its darker side. Being older and less inclined towards electrocution I go inside now when weather threatens and never test the Modjadji magic by flying kites or standing in open fields with a pike.

As an interesting aside my house has actually got a faraday cage built into it because its been struck by lightning so many times. Clearly Zeus has it in for me.

 

5. Why can’t I be you?

Well… you probably can. Although if you wore me as Joey-suit, assuming it wasn’t damaged beyond the point of repair (I am unlikely to go quietly) you’d probably struggle with all the extra space. I’m six foot three inches and over two hundred pounds, so you might have to do some alterations. Otherwise, when interacting with people just be really difficult and abrasive. Take extreme umbrage whenever anyone tells you what to do. Change your mind about stuff really often, at least several times a day. Hold people to a higher standard than you do yourself and make this pathetic mewling noise when you have to do something, but don’t really want to. I think that’s all the key points covered.

6. Who knows where the time goes?

I have no idea. I really want to know though… so I can crawl in there and drag it back out by its ankles and give it a good talking to. Having recently hit the big four oh (my god) I am suddenly more aware that my time is running out… and as the analogy goes, being over the hill, you are likely to gather speed rolling down towards your terminus point.

 

7. Why can’t we do it in the road?

Eh… well, gravel for one. Also yesterday was leg day, so I’m hobbling around like a sodomite today. It makes Joey a lot less adventurous. Maybe if you do all the work. And I can bring a pillow for my head.