In The Nation, Adrien Chen skewers Gabriella Coleman’s recent paean to Anonymous (usually referred to as “the hacker collective). She traces it from its roots in 4chan (which is not a nice internet place to be), describes its frat-boy mindset, and derides its “hactivism” as adolescent prankery for the same of prankery. In short, she doesn’t have a very high opinion of Anonymous.

I commend the article to your attention.

Buried within it is this gem, which aptly describes what George Smith commonly refers to “the culture of lickspittle” (emphasis added):

Members of this group (the “drop outs” of the “tune in, turn on, drop out” generation; see the article for more–ed.) endorsed criminal hacking as political resistance. They dropped acid and spoke of online experience in trippy language that echoes Coleman’s. Then they went on to found some of Silicon Valley’s most influential institutions, including Wired, Apple and the Global Business Network. Today, their techno-utopianism is why a tech mogul like Mark Zuckerberg is celebrated as a visionary social engineer. In this context, Anonymous is anything but subversive; it is the most radical advocate of a widespread conflation of technological prowess with political wisdom. Anonymous is Silicon Valley’s unwitting shock troops, a live demo of the Internet’s power to transform our world. When Anons call for revolution, they’re calling for a better world. But the shallowness of their politics and their uncritical embrace of technology means this energy is easily channeled into Silicon Valley’s parody of revolution: a techno-liberation from the doldrums of day jobs with health insurance and steady benefits, in favor of the radical freedom and flexibility to pilot an Uber under contract.

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03 October 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Give Me a Break

Find the cheese.

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29 September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Geek Stuff, Give Me a Break

Steve Ballmer compiled an enviable record while CEO of Microsoft. From Bing! to Windows 8, every major decision he made was wrong. He’s no longer CEO (see the preceding sentence), but he is still Microsoft in the head.

Former Microsoft CEO and new Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is known for his distaste for Apple products. It’s not shocking then that Ballmer, who once grabbed an employee’s iPhone at a Microsoft meeting and pretended to stomp on it, plans to phase out iPhones and iPads from the Clippers locker room.

Words fail me.

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14 September 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Give Me a Break

(That’s a rhetorical question.)

I stopped at a local convenience store and discovered that the great American Marketing Mafia has developed a new way of assaulting us with their cowpies: GSTV.

That is Gas Station TV. The screens are mounted in the gas pumps and the volume comes on when you start the payment process. An unrelenting stream of commercials pours from the pump along with your gasoline.

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12 March 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Give Me a Break

Lee Camp reports (warning: language):

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17 November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Give Me a Break

From MarketWatch:

As the cost of attending weddings increases, so does the volume of RSVPs marked “Declines with regret.” Some 43% of Americans say they’ve declined to attend a wedding for financial reasons, according to a new poll by American Consumer Credit Counseling. The average cost of attending a wedding — including expenses like hotel stays, bachelor and bachelorette parties, child care, and party attire — reached roughly $539 this year, up 60% from 2012, according to an American Express survey. Of course, that pales in comparison to the cost of hosting a wedding: $28,400 on average last year, according to wedding website TheKnot.com.

I’m so old, I remember when weddings were to celebrate a marriage, not to pick the guests (and the bride’s and groom’s) pockets.

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New York regulators will announce on Monday the most comprehensive crackdown to date on deceptive reviews on the Internet. Agreements have been reached with 19 companies to cease their misleading practices and pay a total of $350,000 in penalties.

The yearlong investigation encompassed companies that create fake reviews as well as the clients that buy them. Among those signing the agreements are a charter bus operator, a teeth-whitening service, a laser hair-removal chain and an adult entertainment club. Also signing are several reputation-enhancement firms that place fraudulent reviews on sites like Google, Yelp, Citysearch and Yahoo.

There were also fake reviews of dentists, lawyers, and medical imaging services.

I know that some persons pay attention to online reviews. I rarely do, because I get comment spam almost every day from “SEO” outfits promising to boost ratings. Granting that there are things that you or your web person can do to make your site friendlier to search engines, third party SEO consultancy is by and large a fraud and a scam.

If you must read online reviews, read the ones here.

Via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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09 September 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Give Me a Break

Let Gina Barreca explain:

My father understood retail: I once showed him a yellow knit suit that made me look like one of the killer bees from Saturday Night Live, and explained I got a good deal because it was $100 suit on sale for only $19. My dad shook his head in pity and explained “No, sweetie. You got it backward. Some moron originally paid $100 for a $19 suit.”

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25 August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Give Me a Break

I can’t say I’m fond of what passes for high school kids’ fashion (or lack thereof) these days, or of the commercials in which retailers try to turn the first day of school into America’s Next Top Model, but, really, now.

In addition to polos and button-downs, Lakewood High (Pinellas County, Florida, where bikinis litter the beaches–ed.) is requiring all pants, skirts and dresses to fall below the knee. But like most schools with new dress codes, Lakewood makes an exception for “spirit wear,” or school-related clothing.

So they still get to ogle the cheerleaders in their mini skirts.

Next, they’ll outlaw Beatles haircuts.

Oh, wait.

For you whippersnappers, here’s a link about Carnaby Street. It was a Quant place.

The ability of Americans to get upset over stupid stuff is infinite.

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12 August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Give Me a Break

If you compare the persons you see at a gym with those you see at a bowling alley, this is no surprise (emphasis added):

Machines to restart a heart in cardiac arrest are often required by law in fitness clubs, but a new study found that people’s hearts more commonly stop in places that are home to alternative forms of exercise.

Researchers found the employees of indoor tennis facilities, ice arenas and bowling alleys in and around Seattle were more likely to have to respond to someone in cardiac arrest, compared to those at health clubs and fitness centers.

For a couple of years, I bowled in a league. We weren’t very good, but we had fun. I still have my own ball and shoes.

Nothing I have ever seen at a bowling alley has ever led me to think of bowling as a form of exercise (or bowlers as athletes), alternative or otherwise.

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05 August 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Give Me a Break

Since when did a women’s 10 or 12 become a “larger size”?

Probably since models could get Photoshopped into looking like emaciated aliens.

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10 July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Give Me a Break

Will Bunch, discussing CNN’s stupid coverage of the Zimmerman trial,* drafts the obituary for cable TV. A nugget:

TThat’s the real tragedy of cable TV. Almost every good idea for a channel that anyone has come up with — a channel that shows trials, or a channel that shows music videos, or a “learning” channel, or ( heaven forbid) a history channel — has been ruined by that free-market thing of everyone chasing the Powerball jackpot of ratings, which apparently involves a program about ice road truckers. (Who knew?) Or maybe a poop cruise. But that’s the thing — we used to think that news was above all this. Why were we so naive?

I can remember when I watched CourtTV fairly regularly; I particularly enjoyed “Forensic Files,” which was a relief from the fantasy science fiction world of CSI.

That was before it changed its name to TruTV and became yet another cesspool of “reality shows.”

_________________

*It’s stupid because there’s no story until the verdict is delivered, and that’s not the story that matters.

The story that matters is that George Zimmerman thought it was okay to stalk and kill a kid because he didn’t like the kid’s skin color and that he’s not alone in thinking like that.

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18 June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Give Me a Break

A local police dispatcher is in trouble with the public after a Facebook post related to a recent police action (emphasis added).

Mike McKenna, a former Norfolk police officer and a national representative of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, said Camarillo called him about the post.

She didn’t think anybody would see it,” he said. She said she believed “it was a private communication between her and Busby, or so she thought.”

Private.

Internet.

Facebook.

Yeah.

Right.

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09 June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Give Me a Break

Developer.

Yeah.

Right.

I remember walking past one of his businesses–a second-floor massage parlor above an X-rated theatre* on Market between 21st and 22nd–on my daily commute and seeing a fellow in a wheelchair leaving the place with a big smile on his face (I’ve always wondered how he got down the stairs, which were on the outside of building).

More power to the guy in the wheelchair, but really, developer?

The antics of “developers” too often cause me to develop hives.

_________________

*As I recall, the movie that was playing was The Immoral Majority. For some reason, that name stuck with me.

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06 June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Give Me a Break

Everyone seems to be going gaga over this story–everyone, at least, who hasn’t been paying attention for the past decade.

This is old news.

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25 April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Give Me a Break

How many persons know that the movie, Animal House, was based on Dartmouth College, an institution laden with tradition?

The twits on twitter celebrate the tradition.

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So now it’s an industry already?

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15 February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Give Me a Break

North Carolina Republican state Rep. Tim Moore says that women can protect themselves from a new law that makes baring female breasts illegal by simply applying duct tape to their nipples.

On Wednesday, the (North Carolina–ed.) state House Judiciary Committee C approved House Bill 34, which makes it a Class H felony to purposefully expose “private parts” for the “purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire.”

The bill expands the state’s definition of “private parts” to include a woman’s “nipple, or any portion of the areola.”

Republican state Rep. Rayne Brown told lawmakers that she was co-sponsoring the bill because activists had held a topless women’s rights rally in Asheville last summer, where as many as a dozen women bared their breasts.

It would be a Republican.

They are notoriously afeared of lady parts.

I rather doubt that women at a women’s rights rally are particularly interested in “arousing or gratifiying sexual desire,” but the skeevy Republican preoccupation with sex–oh, never mind, it’s just skeevy.

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28 January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Give Me a Break

Facebook in the agony column.

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When I go to a restaurant, I often eschew the entrees to make a meal from appetizers.

This indicates why:

Chart showing common chain restaurant offerings that almost equal or exceed recommended *daily* caloric intake for 31-year-old adults.

Via PoliticalProf.

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