Internet of Shit.

I’m busy laughing, and happy to be a semi-dinosaur on the technological front. The only thing I want wi-fi on is my computer and tablet. That’s it.

The Internet of Shit. Have fun!

One Gigantic Eyeroll.

eyeroll

There’s nothing quite like the self-absorption of hipsters, so constantly desperate to be on the edge of cool, while attempting to appear bored with it. For all the attempts at coolness and self definition, it’s a constant fail. Here’s another one. What good is all that Jesus stuff unless it reflects your self-centered naval gazing and dependence on stereotypes? I’m surprised there isn’t a a stack of Pabst cases somewhere, but perhaps that’s in one of the Amazon boxes. I’d dearly like to think this is a huge poke in the eye of all those who style themselves a “hipster”, handily stripping $130.00 out of their wallets, and perhaps it is, because there’s no gullibility quite like that of hipsters whose eyes are constantly clouded over in their utter concentration on their own egos.

You can see more of this here.

The Red Pill.

Courtesy Jaye Bird Productions.

Courtesy Jaye Bird Productions.

The kickstarter funded documentary (I use that word lightly) The Red Pill, all about those poor, downtrodden yet valiant MRA heroes has been reviewed. Note that in the comments, a few MRAs get a bit, um, bonkers over how a film reviewer could have possibly seen the film before it was released, gasp! Unleash the lawyers! It’s a fine demonstration of the distance between these men and reality.

Here’s a great example of how not to open your documentary. “After releasing my film in 2012 about marriage equality, I was at a loss of what topic to explore next,” says Cassie Jaye in the halting tones of a hostage reading her captors’ statement to the world. That comes at the start of her film The Red Pill, and the high drama of her search for a subject gets illustrated with the results of a web search. “I started to research this ‘rape culture,’ ” she tells us, each syllable so far from the next one that a tumbleweed could breeze through the gap.

We literally see the words rape culture get typed into Google. “A website called A Voice for Men popped up,” she tells us. And then, for two agonizing hours, Jaye tumbles slowly down America’s stupidest rabbit hole, discovering that Men’s Rights Activists are actually just dudes who have been dicked over by a culture that punishes masculinity.

[…]

Here’s something Elam wrote on A Voice for Men in 2010: “Should I be called to sit on a jury for a rape trial, I vow publicly to vote not guilty, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that the charges are true.” What excuse would any serious documentarian have for not asking Elam to explain that?

You don’t even have to put in that tiny bit of online legwork to suspect that something’s hinky with Jaye’s film. (It’s a Kickstarter job, and A Voice for Men and Reddit’s most misogynistic MRA subs were active in the campaigns.) Jaye acknowledges in the opening and closing minutes that MRAs sometimes spew nasty garbage online, but she never presses them on this in her many interviews. Instead, she lets them moan about how hard it is to be a dude in 2016, endorsing their anecdotal complaints about unfair family courts, incidents of men being tricked into being fathers, and — I didn’t quite follow this one — one father’s conviction that the women who had custody of his son were systematically trying to make the boy fat. That story drags on forever, and Jaye cuts from it to footage of herself tooling around in her car, driving past a Supercuts.

Like many amateurish Kickstarter docs, The Red Pill doesn’t always have visuals worth regarding on a screen, but I do cherish one flourish: an animated sequence of falling snowflakes, each with a different MRA complaint printed on it, meant to illustrate the movement’s diversity of grievances. There’s “Misandry”! There’s “Restraining Orders”! Even the metaphor is hilariously white.

[…]

What the film and the movement fail to demonstrate is any kind of systemic cause. Instead, the author of men’s troubles here is always that vague bugaboo feminism, which we’re told is designed to silence its opponents. (Is it even worth pointing out that being criticized for what you say is not the same as being denied your right to say it?) Jaye renounces her own feminist past toward the end of the film, the announcement delivered over video of her typing, then looking at a computer, then driving around some more.

[…]

“Why can’t men talk about their problems?” Elam asks Jaye’s camera in earnest, apparently unaware that he gets shouted at and pilloried not for identifying “problems” but for being a dick. Hey, Elam — men can talk about our problems. You’re one of them.

Alan Scherstuhl’s full review is at The Village Voice. I fully appreciate Mr. Scherstuhl’s willingness to watch this documentary, as it’s not something I could bring myself to watch, even it were free and I was promised the proverbial month of Sundays.

“I was picked out to be picked on in the name of Jesus.”

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Florida Highway Patrol wrote Judy Jones a ticket for having vinyl lettering on her truck’s windshield. However, she claims the trooper did it because of her faith.

“First thing he said to me, he said, ‘I want you to know that you are breaking the law.’ And I said, ‘How am I breaking the law, sir?’ He said, ‘With that sign up there, that Jesus thing up there,’” she said.

Jones got a $100 ticket and is fighting her case.

“I’m going to court for Jesus,” said Jones.

Florida law says no one can drive a car that has any signage or material on a windshield that is not transparent. Jones claims her decals are legal.

“It is not obstructing any, my sight at all,” Jones said. “I was picked out to be picked on in the name of Jesus.”

Florida Highway Patrol says that in no way did the officer write Jones the ticket because of its content. They say it was simply in violation of state law.

Okay, I know this is all rather silly, and while driving a Jesus testament truck wouldn’t be my thing, I do question the law here. I’m not in Florida, but I see all manner of vehicles here with sports teams names spelled out, and front and back windows littered with such stuff. I doubt that’s terribly legal here, either, but no one seems to care much. I can’t see how the lettering on Ms. Jones’s truck would obscure her vision any, and I do wonder if the truck was minus the Jesus stuff, and the lettering was sports related, whether she would have been targeted in the first place. A hundred dollars is a hefty ticket, I wouldn’t be happy about having to pay that for not actually doing anything dangerous or wrong. I do wish Ms. Jones good luck in court.

Story and video here.

Fashionista Jesus.

A stained glass window at Rochester Cathedral depicts the resurrection of Jesus Credit: Luke MacGregor/Reuters.

A stained glass window at Rochester Cathedral depicts the resurrection of Jesus Credit: Luke MacGregor/Reuters.

People are not at their best when stretching themselves like a rubber band in order to justify and rationalize, and that’s certainly the case with Fashion Jesus. Unlike many people, I’ve read the bible, cover to cover, more than one version.  Given that reading, I can say that the bible is not overflowing with fashion, hot or otherwise. Well, okay, there’s some interesting bits, clothing-wise in Revelation, but other than that, the bible is a bit skint on the fashion side. That’s not stopping people from claiming they are being inspired by Jesus’s great fashion sense.

…But now Jesus is being put forward as an icon of an entirely different sort – in the world of fashion. The Church of England has given its blessing to London Fashion Week with an official video making the Biblical case for the clothing industry.

Shrugging off the “sackcloth and ashes” image of clergy’s puritan forebears, it argues that – despite criticism of the industry over size zero models and cases of sweatshop factories – fashion and design are ultimately an expression of God-given creativity.

In one extract, the Church’s de-facto catwalk chaplain says fashion designers have told him that they draw inspiration from church interiors, stained glass windows and even Jesus’s cloaks.

The Rev Peterson Feital, the Diocese of London’s “Missioner to the Creative Industries”, said many had been drawn to the “beautiful clothes” Jesus is often depicted wearing.

“Designers ask me about fashion,” said the Brazilian-born Rev Feital, who also runs “Haven+” a charity working with people in the fashion and entertainment industries.

“They are all so interested when they walk into a church building or a cathedral and they see the stained glass windows and what they see there are beautiful figures and Jesus wearing beautiful clothes – a cloak and all that kind of stuff.

“So right there in the centre of our worship there are so many elements in which fashion belongs in that conversation between church and culture.”

Simon Ward, a former chief operating officer of the British Fashion Council, said that despite questions about how aspects of the industry operate and the “image it conveys”, he was convinced fashion itself is divinely inspired.

“He’s a God of creativity, and fashion is just one of those areas that really focuses on creativity,” he said.

“And what did He do first? He created the seasons, so the idea that fashion changes a lot again I think reflects God’s heart.

“All the way through the Bible clothing and fashion imagery jump out of the pages at us. In the New Testament the first Christian in Europe was Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth … The image we get of Jesus in heaven is what he’s wearing, with a gold sash around his chest, and then the New Jerusalem comes down; what are we told about it? – ‘dressed as a bride’.

“So I think God and fashion really are closely linked and if we think that they’re not we’re getting it wrong.”

No. No, no, no, no, no. None of this has the slightest thing to do with Jesus, and it barely has a connection to any bible. What they are copying, and claiming to find inspiration in is the work of artists. As an artist myself, I can say that there was much exaggeration in stained glass art, and other art found in cathedrals. Artists love colour, we love textural things, luxuriant and rich things. It’s doubtful that Jesus, if he existed at all, wore any of the high status clothing depicted in stained glass windows. Rough cloth, rope sandals, and very dirty feet are probably closer to how any itinerant preacher would appear. There wouldn’t be much fun depicting that. The powers that commissioned cathedrals and similar expected artists to portray everything in an overwhelming way, one that would stir emotions along with stimulating the visual sense. For the olfactory, there is always incense burning, and the scent of flowers. For the aural, the echoing silence and wind of whispers. Not one bit of this artistic creation has so much as a single flake of paint in reality.

I don’t think it’s at all wrong to pull inspiration from the work of previous artists and the stained glass of cathedrals. I do take issue with the whole Fashion Jesus lie.

Via Telegraph.

A Biblical Failure.

The film, which courted Christian viewers and abandoned the gay subtext of the 1959 classic, could lose up to $100 million.

The film, which courted Christian viewers and abandoned the gay subtext of the 1959 classic, could lose up to $100 million.

Bye, Ben-Hur.

The film about betrayal in biblical times was an epic fail at the box office. Its opening weekend, it took in $11.2 million in domestic markets and $10.7 million in international ones, reports Variety, a dismal sum given to its production budget of over $100 million.

Ben-Hur ranked sixth at the box office, failing the cinematic chariot race to a top 5 position. It lost to films in their second and third weekend, including Suicide Squad ($20.9 million), Sausage Party ($15.5 million), and Pete’s Dragon ($11.3 million).

Prior to its release, Ben-Hurwas criticized by The Advocate and other outlets for not including the gay subtext present in the 1959 classic, a critical and commercial success that went on to win a slew of Oscars. In the 1995 documentary The Celluloid Closet, out screenwriter Gore Vidal revealed he had convinced the film’s director to incorporate this subtext in order to explain the tension between the film’s leads, a prince and a Roman soldier who betrays him.

Various excuses were offered as to why the gay subtext was not present in the story’s most recent iteration. At Ben-Hur‘s premiere, star Tony Kebbell (Messala, the soldier) said it wasn’t needed in the present day. In a conflicting report, screenwriter Keith Clarke claimed copyright law prevented him from incorporating it, as he could only adapt what was included in Lew Wallace’s 1880 book Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.

As a result, the film placed more emphasis on the novel’s religious themes and fleshed out the character of Christ. It also marketed heavily to Christian audiences, holding special screenings and releasing promotional videos that featured reviews from religious leaders.

But not even Jesus could save Ben-Hur from bad reviews. The film currently has a score of 29 percent on the film aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Critics called it “an amateurish effort,” “something soulless and empty,” “a compete snore-fest,” “gutless,” and a “digitalized eyesore hobbled in every department by staggering incompetence.”

“The filmmakers of this stagnant remake display all the technical tools needed to achieve greatness, but they lack that most basic of functions: a reason why this story needs to be retold,” wrote the Washington City Paper.

Wow. Those reviews are beyond scathing, those are brutal. I thought the whole hype of “Christian, Christian, Christian Ben Hur with Added Jesus!” was sheer silliness, but it turns out the film was much worse than the standard Christian silly. Ouch.

Via The Advocate.

Extra Crispy Sunscreen.

KFC-Extra-Crispy-Sunscreen-e1471958289356-800x430

Well, here’s my WTF for the day. Someone thought this was a really great idea, and maybe it is for some, but myself, I don’t see the appeal of smelling like fried chicken. I imagine the monster dogs would approve though. That alone is reason enough to keep such a thing a long, long way away. What scares me is the thought of someone like Trump trying to buy a truckload of this stuff to hand out to Black people in an attempt to court their vote.

USA Today reports that KFC has already given away all 3,000 bottles of its experimental KFC Extra Crispy Sunscreen that it offered as a promotional item started on Monday. Apparently it took a mere two hours for KFC to exhaust its entire supply of chicken-scented sunscreen tubes.

“We think it smells amazing,” KFC spokeswoman Kasey Mathes tells USA Today. “The sunscreen seemed like a natural fit.”

KFC first put up an ad for the Extra Crispy Sunscreen on Monday, and it featured what might be the greatest disclaimer in the history of advertising: “Extra Crispy Sunscreen is real sunscreen. Do not eat.”

Although you’ve missed your chance to get a free bottle of the sunscreen, one has already gone up for sale on eBay and is priced at over $60 as of this writing.

Via Raw Story.

Stockpiling Piss.

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

The Intercept directs our attention to Bloomberg report from earlier this year that reveals Robert Mercer — a hedge fund manager who is also a major funder of a pro-Trump Super PAC — has been funding the creation of a massive stockpile of human urine in Oregon.

The urine is being collected by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, a research outfit founded by Arthur Robinson, a chemist who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2010 with financial help from the Mercer family. So far, Robinson and his institute have collected and 14,000 frozen samples of human urine.

What is Robinson’s interest in urine?

It seems that he believes that analyzing urine with an expensive piece of equipment called a mass spectrometer will be able to help him predict patients’ future likelihood of contracting diseases, thus creating a whole new era in the realm of preventative medicine.

“He’ll use the spectrometer to decode the chemical patterns in urine, the red flags that warn of disease before it strikes,” Bloomberg writes. “The human life span will stretch. It’s hard to judge the credibility of his claims; although he earned a Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego in the 1960s, he hasn’t published peer-reviewed research on diagnostic medicine in decades.”

Despite the fact that Robinson hasn’t produced any recent peer-reviewed research, Mercer has spent $1.4 million funding this gigantic urine storage center.

Blood transfusions, miracle pee! Oh all the things the super rich think will magically extend life. Given the intense fright and paranoia all that wealth seems to engender, I’m glad I’m not rolling in money. Not that I wouldn’t mind having a bit more, life’s rough when you’re prone to outbreaks of stone brokeness. That said, I think all around, I’m a whole lot happier, enjoying life moment by moment and day by day, rather than constantly fretting how I can stick around longer, so no one can get my money, power, or privilege. Strikes me as a miserable way to live.

Via Raw Story.

Sunday Facepalm: Jesus, Lady.

Rita Warren sets up her Jesus mannequin on the House side of the U.S. Capitol building on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call).

Rita Warren sets up her Jesus mannequin on the House side of the U.S. Capitol building on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call).

Capitol Hill’s staple religious activist known as “Jesus Lady” returned to her old stomping grounds Thursday, one month after she said she suffered a heart attack.

After hauling her signature life-size statue of the messiah, Rita Warren, a career protester in her late 80s, said she planned to air grievances to Capitol Police because they won’t let her drive onto the Hill’s plaza anymore.

A spokeswoman for Capitol Police said no meeting took place.

The new rule left her having to carry the cast figure from the barricade — a task made more arduous by her health problems.

Still, Warren vowed to press on in her divine fight to remind lawmakers of God. Warren is known for taking lawmakers to task from the East Front steps. She once challenged former Speaker John A. Boehner, via open letter, demanding the Ohio Republican once and for all address her plan to have actor Robert Powell recite the Sermon on the Mount scene from “Jesus of Nazareth” for lawmakers.

Her requests to meet with current Speaker Paul D. Ryan have so far been unanswered, she said.

Via Roll Call.

No Wands for the Harry Potterfied Muggles.

 Richard Carter of Mystical Moments who sells magic wands in Huddersfield but has banned Harry Potter fans Credit: Ben Lack Photography Ltd.

Richard Carter of Mystical Moments who sells magic wands in Huddersfield but has banned Harry Potter fans Credit: Ben Lack Photography Ltd.

Okay…might want to pad your desk or start some eyeroll protection here.

A shop which makes magic wands for real life witches and wizards has been blasted by Harry Potter fans for refusing to serve them. The business, called Mystical Moments, is making a name for itself in the wizarding world by supplying wands to cast healing spells and charms for good luck.

But wand-maker Richard Carter says he is selling “spiritual tools” – not toys for young Muggles – and he is barring Hogwarts fans. The wands can be used to draw protective circles to ward off dark forces while owners meditate, bring them money, and help them find love. They can also be used to cure aches and pains and stress, speed a sick relative’s recovery or wish for happiness, courage or physical strength.

Local mystic Mr Carter, 57, spends whole days standing at his lathe in a trance lovingly crafting each wand and anointing them with oil. He says he does not know one end of a lathe from another and works while controlled by the spirits in his shop in Slaithwaite village, near Huddersfield.

He says all you need is faith in the product for it to work wonders – literally.

Riiiight. I’ve been around lathes. You definitely need to know one end from another, because if you don’t, that’s a good way to lose bits of your body you just might be fond of, and I doubt any spirit is overly concerned about that particular problem. Lathes aren’t exactly the cheapest tool around, either, but Mr. Carter just happens to have a tool he can’t use at all in his shop.

[…] In the few months the shop has been open, sandwiched between a church charity shop and shabby chic store on the village’s high street, it has attracted sorcerers from all over the country. But Richard says he only wants to attract true believers in magic and can detect Hogwarts fans wanting his wands for their collections of memorabilia by their aura. He said: “JK Rowling has obviously done her research but Harry Potter is for children. It has done nothing for business.

“You wouldn’t believe how many real witches and wizards there are knocking about. You would be amazed. They know they can come here in reveal themselves without people thinking they’re mental. “I don’t have customers who have been Harry Potterfied. If I had someone come in wanting a wand just because they liked Harry Potter I would not sell them one, not matter how much money they were offering.

“I can tell what people are like when they walk in by their aura.” He would also spot dark wizards and witches the same way and will not sell wands to those wanting to hex other people or perform curses.

Oooh, are they Death Eaters, maybe?

Former textile worker Mr Carter, opened the shop in April with partner and fellow spiritualist Jackie Restall, 43. He claims he does not make a penny out the wants, costing £15 to £25, which he uses to spread the spiritual message.

Different types of wood give each wand different magical properties – oak for strength and courage, yew for those seeking immortality and rebirth, sweet chestnut for love and healing, elm for balance and calm, sycamore for boosting feminine intuition, and mahogany for spiritual growth.

He says: “I have no training in woodwork. I use spiritual guidance and don’t know how any of the wands will turn out. All you need for them to work is faith.”

Jackie said: “Personally, I’m a big Harry Potter fan but I’m afraid it is just about escapism so I respect Richard’s views.”

Zak Cohen, 20, President of York University Potter fan club, the HP Muggle Society, said: “I don’t know what our members will make of this. “My personal view is it’s a bit weird to say the least. I can understand they don’t want it treated as a joke. “But I did not think it was allowed for a shop to say they won’t sell things to a specific group of people. “If they sold to Harry Potter fans, rather than just equipping real witches and wizards, they would sell loads more wands and we wouldn’t treat them like toys.”

GP Taylor, the former Yorkshire vicar turned fantasy author, said: “Magic wands do work by being a focus for your inner desires and powers. “But I think this is terrible. Harry Potter fans should be served. They are going crazy over the Cursed Child and need their wands. It is discrimination against Potter fans. They should go to court for justice.”

The full story is here.

The Ministry of Silly Walks.

One of the zebra crossing signs in Haparanda. Photo: Stefan Haapaniemi

One of the zebra crossing signs in Haparanda. Photo: Stefan Haapaniemi.

The Ministry of Silly Walks is alive and well in Haparanda, Sweden. I think these signs are very cheerful, fun, and uplifting.

Close to Sweden’s border with Finland, Haparanda has brought a smile to local faces with these new road signs that are shaking up the town centre by urging pedestrians to jump, dance or play the guitar while crossing the street.

The Local got in touch with Terese Östling, who is in charge of “Remake the City”, a project launched in 2012 to revamp the heart of the historic parts of the town, to ask why.

She said the idea for the new signs came from Jytte Rüdiger, the local authority’s chief of culture.

“She (Rüdiger) picked up on the fact that people in Haparanda had lots of ideas for development in the ‘old’ parts of town. Many cities in Sweden struggle with dying inner parts as new, big shopping centres pop up outside of town, attracting visitors and locals out of the town centre. Business, attractiveness and inner city life suffers as a result,” she explained. […] But perhaps unsurprisingly, the signs have sparked the most reaction, with a report by national broadcaster SVT trending on social media on Monday.

How to cross the street while carrying a guitar. Photo: Stefan Haapaniemi.

How to cross the street while carrying a guitar. Photo: Stefan Haapaniemi.

The ideas for the various designs – which include a zebra crossing sign of a man doing a version of Monty Python comedian John Cleese’s famous silly walks – were thought up by local residents.

“The result has been overwhelming! Every day I go into town, I see people taking pictures of the signs and other new attractions, enjoying the new vitality of a once tired and shabby inner city. Haparanda is on its way back,” said Östling.

When asked if she had actually seen anyone give a quick boogie while crossing the street, she said: “I have seen it, but I can’t prove it with a picture sadly.”

Want to dance across the street in Haparanda? Photo: Stefan Haapaniemi.

Want to dance across the street in Haparanda? Photo: Stefan Haapaniemi.

Full story at The Local SE.

Bro Yoga.

Michael DeCorte, centres, adopts an upward dog pose alongside Salmaan Sayeed, left, and Howie Track at Toronto's Moksha Yoga studio. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

Michael DeCorte, centres, adopts an upward dog pose alongside Salmaan Sayeed, left, and Howie Track at Toronto’s Moksha Yoga studio. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

Bro-yoga. Broga. Jock yoga. Jo-yoga. Yep, gotta dress it up all stupid and toxic macho, that way it just does the best for da dudes. And, they won’t be distracted by women in lycra.

“Yoga is more than just women contorting themselves into vegan pretzels,” says Michael DeCorte, the Toronto “man-treprenuer” behind Jock Yoga, an athletic mashup that combines the mindfulness of sun salutations with the muscle burn of pumping iron.

Right, women doing yoga isn’t yoga at all, it’s just women being all frilly and silly. It doesn’t have any benefits at all, no. Well, not until the carnivorous, beer swilling men get into it. Then it’s good. (There’s beer after class.)

“Originally, it was just a gimmick,” says DeCorte. “When I first saw it on a poster, it was almost like an oxymoron … You see yoga and think, ‘spiritual,’ and jock you think, ‘laid-back, swearing, burping.”‘

You know, all my life, ‘jock’ has applied to athletes. I had no idea there was a complete shift to “laid back, swearing, and burping”. I have no idea of how much these people are charging for the special homosocial yoga, but I expect a regular yoga class might be cheaper, and just exercising around women won’t have any deleterious effects. You can go and read the full silliness here.