Monday, September 26, 2016

My Ducks Lined Up : Finally, things begin to happen

Why is it called procrastination when it's one of the most anti-social things people can do?

After much delay, trips back and forth between cities at my own expense, and schools not hiring for the new year until the middle of August, I finally have both a new job and apartment in Taipei.  (I began my job and apartment search in March.)  I begin moving this week.

Now I just have to deal with my own procrastination, not getting started on packing and cleaning until today.  Joy, joy, joy.

I've been looking forward to this for a year.  I couldn't find a new employer a year ago, which prevented me from moving to Taipei and accessing the transgender clinic.  They only work Monday to Friday, and commutting simply wasn't possible, not even with the High Speed Rail (THSR).  Living in Taipei means the clock now starts on the road to medical transition.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Time Passes: Edward Albee, 1928-2016

Edward Albee: March 12, 1928 to September 16, 2016.
Edward Albee often wrote about regret and things not accomplished, far from the most accurate description of his life.  He had early career as a playwright ("The Zoo Story", "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?", et al) and had a long wait until his later successes (Three Tall Women", "The Goat"), but the breadth of his career made him a literary giant of the 20th century.

Albee's main purpose in writing was to disturb the comfortable, to take people to places and subjects that existed but were taboo in "polite company", to challenge people's unwillingness to talk about dark topics.  Silence doesn't end their existence, it only hides them, and Albee was determined to challenge society into having that conversation, willing or not.

Albee's own life would have made for a play unto itself: adopted but unloved, knew he was gay at a very young age (during the Great Depression) and at a time it was still criminalized in the US.  He grew up witnessing bigotry, racism, hypocrisy in society and made them the subjects of his work.  He tried his hand as novels and poetry, failing at both, then eventually turning his pen to plays.  One of his first attempts, "The Zoo Story", was an instant success allowing him to experiment and challenge audiences with ever more brazen writing and topics.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Youtube Censors: Demonetization is government censorship

Youtube content makers are livid, and rightly so.  They are being censored for making content that does not meet youtube's extremely vague "terms of service" rules for video content. 

What's that you say?  Google and youtube are private companies, not the government?  Private companies cannot censor?

I agree, private companies cannot censor, only governments can.  But if a company silences people at the behest and by the order of a government (as part of the price of doing business with said government), then it IS government censorship.

Google abandoned the Chinese market in 2010 but in 2016 has decided to go back.  One of the conditions set out by the mass murdering Chinese dictatorship in 2010 was the censorship of search results, prevention of certain topics online.  In order to re-enter China's markets, google will have to do the corrupt government's bidding and censor user content.  And judging by the new "terms of service" for youtube, google has already started.

These are their five "rules for unacceptable content":

"Sexually suggestive content, including partial nudity and sexual humor"
What constitutes "sexual content"?  LGBTQIA kissing?  Transgender people's videos?  People at the beach?
"Violence, including display of serious injury and events related to violent extremism"

Does this include video showing police and governments violently assaulting and murdering peaceful human rights protestors (e.g. the corporate and government violence against protesters in North Dakota)?  Does this include video exposing war crimes by corrupt governments?  Very likely, it does.
"Inappropriate language, including harassment, profanity and vulgar language"
So, it's perfectly alright for advertisements to appear in hollywood movies full of profanity and racist language, but a youtube video with a much smaller audience cannot say them?
"Promotion of drugs and regulated substances, including selling, use and abuse of such items"
Meanwhile, advertisements by multinational pharmaceutial industries will still be perfectly legal.  Discussing and advocating the legalization or decriminalization of drugs, or even discussing countries where drugs are legal, will remain a banned topic.

"Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown"
China Uncensored is a youtube channel based in Hong Kong which factually (while humourously) reports on serious events in China such as human rights abuses, the mass murder of falun gong members for "organ harvesting" and transplant tourism, the silencing of the press, arrests without trial and torture, etc.  Would it surprise you to hear that China Uncensored has been "demonetized" (read: demonized) for reporting facts?  All at the behest of Beijing and likely other governments.

Unfortunately, it's not just the corrupt Chinese regime that likes these rules.  Other governments which mass murder and commit war crimes (e.g. the US, Israel, the UK) would be just as happy to see these rules imposed, to silence whistle blowers and help cover up their crimes against humanity.

How many other topics will be deemed "sensitive" and silences by google for the benefit of governments?  Systematic racism in countries like the US and Australia?  Climate change?  The corporatization of the entire world with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)?

"Not censorship."  Yeah, right.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Mind Bends: Mini-Cryptic Crossword #3

Here's the latest cryptic, or is it just the third I've made out of many?  You be the judge.  Send your suggestions to anyone who might be interested.


1 Small mirth for common religious practice (9)
5 Religions' excuse for 1 Across (9)
7 Take up a home (9)


1 Rattling tooth (5)
2 Collection plate's place (5)
3 A thousand imitate christians shocked by Darwin (5)
4 Refined and new prepubescent (5)
5 Without reason (5)

The Uncivil Protest : When gun nuts call for rape and murder

Whenever there is a scheduled murder...I mean, "execution" in a US prison, the dregs of US society crawl out from under their rocks and "protest" outside the prison.  Of course, what they call a "protest", I call sickening behaviour.  They gleefully await the prisoner's murder, then cheer when it happens. 

I have long said that those who cheer for the murder of prisoners are as sociopathic as the murderers themselves.  The only difference is that one killed a person or people, the other wishes they could get away with it.

The same can be said now of the sickening ammosexuals "protesting" outside of Brock Turner's home.  Yes, he is a rapist, yes, he should have gotten at least ten years in prison, if not more.  But standing outside of the house, carrying guns and calling for Turner's murder makes the ammosexuals just as revolting as the rapist himself.  The only difference between them is that Turner committed a violent act, and the sociopathic ammosexuals want to commit a violent act.