Copium Overdose: Was this made by the Walk-owskis?

Another youtube channel I watch regularly is Not Just Bikes by Jason Slaughter, a Canadian from Fake London (Ontario) who lives in the Netherlands.  He is adamantly anti-car, pro-public transport, and pro-environment.  His videos are normally slow paced and well thought out arguments (with humour) designed to make a point and reinforce it with facts.  However, two of his videos don’t follow that template.

Almost a year ago, he published the video, “There’s Something Wrong With Suburbia (The Orange Pill)”, a very Matrix-like, Morpheus-copying intro to the real world outside suburbia.  But your choice isn’t “red or blue pills”, it’s orange and blue pills, like a reference to orange and blue morality.  Watch the three minute video linked above first.

Then this week, he posted before watching the 16 minute film below.  This is absolutely hilarious, and sad at the same time.  He captures all the awfulness of suburban life.  It really makes you wonder why anyone would want to live like that without excess amounts of copium.

Another page I recently encountered is Dave Walker’s Diagram Club.  Not “cartoon”, but diagram he says, because it shows how things are.  And he’s right about that.  The image below comes from his site.

There are multiple incidents of entitled traffic terrorists intentionally driving through running races and bicycle races, threatening and endangering people because of the “injustice” of having to wait, of being forced to cede the road to bikes and runners one day out of the year.  Such hardship.

2018: Woman ‘regrets’ driving into path of runners in Plymouth

Her only regrets are being publicly shamed.  And for not killing anyone.

February 2023: Pickup driver arrested after crash with cyclists killed 2 and injured 17 others

He intentionally drove into them, to threaten and intimidate people who dared to ride bicycles on the road.  I don’t care what his intent was, he should be locked up for life.

November 2022: St. Pete woman stopped from driving into 5K runners, preventing mass casualties, police say

A woman in a deranged rover intentionally drove though the path of runners at a running race, placing her selfishness and impatience over people’s lives.

March 2023: Racers Endangered During Final Stage of Paris-Nice When Random Car Appears on The Course

This was caused by poor organization by those running the race.  But still, why is someone driving anywhere near a bike race?

September 2022: “I’ve killed one of you guys before”: close pass driver who left cyclist fearing for his life gets police caution

Yeah, a warning will stop that behaviour, because a ten year driving ban wouldn’t. 9_9

March 2023: Man on the run after driving car through Fargo-Moorhead bike race

A criminal on the run inadvertantly going through a bike race is not the same as road ragers that threaten cyclists.  But it’s equally awful.



Not two days after I posted, this item from CityNews in Toronto appeared.  It is EXACTLY like the Dave Walker image, car drivers whining incessantly about a ONE DAY cycling event “terrorizing the city”, “threatening motorists”.

This.  Ride.  Was.  On.  A.  Sunday.

And it was ONE DAY out of the year.  One.

The very next day, entitled traffic terrorists were back on the roads, threatening pedestrians and cyclists with impunity.





I Don’t Mind At All: Mind Your Decisions, on youtube

One of my favourite youtube channels is Mind Your Decisions by Presh Talwalker, a Stanford University graduate.  It’s a collection of math and logic puzzles, presenting solutions to problems using common techniques, or in the case of less common, he explains them in clear language so that the average viewer can understand.  His graphics and presentation are highly polished (even his videos from five years ago), and the mathematics is done on screen, making it easy to follow (or rewind and rewatch if you didn’t get  it the first time).  It’s always easy viewing, and often pleasantly surprising how simple the solutions can be to what appear to be complex problems.  He takes on many “viral” math problems and breaks them down, and shows problems from advanced math competitions and olympiads.

One of his most recent videos was on cube roots and their digits.  How many numbers are there where for any integer x, the sum of the digits of x^3 equals x?  The video preview shows one of them: 17 cubed is 4913, and 4+9+1+3 is 17.  Two of the seven are trivial, 0 and 1.  But what are the others?

Talwalker uses programming to test all the cases, but I’m working on an alternate solution that doesn’t require code and doesn’t involve exhaustive testing, using proof by elimination.  For example, 3√100000 is ~46.42, and 1+9+9+9+9+9 equals 46.  This means there are no solutions with six or more digits because the cube of any other sum will always be larger than the original number.  3√10 is ~2.15, and the cube of 2 is greater than 2, so there are no two digit solutions. (7 and 8 are the only integers whose cube last digit is less than that number, 3 and 2, all others are equal or greater.)  And 3√1000 is 10, so the only three digit solution is 8 (3√512, 5+1+2), since all others produce sums greater than the original number; 3 is less than 7 (3√343) but the sum is greater.  Thus the other four solutions all have four or five digits, but how do you find them without testing? 

Working on it (I know the answers, I’m looking for rules or methods of elimination).  Noticeably, with the except of 10 and 11, in all cases from 2 to 19 the sums of the cubes’ digits are equal to or greater than the original number.  For all cases 21 to 46, all the sums of the cubes’ digits are less than or equal to the original number. All multiples of ten (10, 20, 30, 40) automatically fail, and are less than the solution.

Spaced Out: This is cart and horse, not chicken and egg

NASA is holding some sort of “public meeting before a UFO report”.  My word, is this what NASA wants to waste its time on?

I may not be the most qualified person to comment on this, but these two things wishful thinking, not science:

“We don’t know what this is, therefore aliens!”

“Aliens exist, we just haven’t found them yet!”

I’m all for the search for life elsewhere, but as I may have said before, setting up unrealistic expectations only leads to a demand for results, impatience for not producing, or worse, some willing to fake results for the sake of their “career”.  There’s nothing wrong with saying life doesn’t exist elsewhere until we prove it.




Cash Crops: May 31st is World No Tobacco Day

As the title says, May 31st is World No Tobacco Day, a day to advocate the end of tobacco usage.  And in 2023, end its farming.

The WHO’s slogan for 2023 is Grow Food, Not Tobacco, which is apt considering the increasing effects of climate change: the reduction in arable land due to desertification, drought, rising sea levels, and tobacco’s toxicity, just to name a few.  Food insecurity is a growing problem, and growing a useless plant like tobacco is a waste of declining resources.  From the WHO’s website:

Tobacco growing harms our health, the health of farmers and the planet’s health. The tobacco industry interferes with attempts to substitute tobacco growing, contributing to the global food crisis.

This campaign encourages governments to end tobacco growing subsidies and use the savings to support farmers to switch to more sustainable crops that improve food security and nutrition. 

Campaign objectives

  1. Mobilize governments to end subsidies on tobacco growing and use of savings for crop substitution programmes that support farmers to switch and improve food security and nutrition.
  2. Raise awareness in tobacco farming communities about the benefits of moving away from tobacco and growing sustainable crops;
  3. Support efforts to combat desertification and environmental degradation by decreasing tobacco farming;
  4. Expose industry efforts to obstruct sustainable livelihoods work.

The key measure of campaign success would be the number of governments that pledge to end subsidies on tobacco growing.

Tobacco farming poisons the land it is grown on. (source: US’s National Cancer Institute)  Land that has had tobacco farming can no longer grow food nor be used for crop rotation.  It requires increasing use of pesticides and fertilizers to prevent desertification.  Unusable land then leads to deforestation and less plant cover (most tobacco farming happens at tropical lattitudes).

Tobacco farming poisons those who grow it.  (source: British Medical Journal)  Farmers are constantly exposed to nicotine, suffering the same effects are heavy smokers.

Cash crops are a short term “solution” that leads to long term problems. (source: Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance)  Just like farmers in Afghanistan are forced to grow poppies instead of food, farmers in tropical areas are “encouraged” to grow tobacco as a cash crop.  They don’t understand or think about the long term effects of land poisoning, their own health, or the fact that growing tobacco means they will have to buy food that they could and should have grown themselves.  Profit from their cash crops may not be sufficient income to live on, and they have destroyed the land for future food cultivation.

Resources (JPGs and PDF format) can be downloaded from the WHO website.

Posters and other campaign material can be downloaded from the WHO and PAHO websites.

Grow food, not tobacco – Tobacco crops lead to less food on tables (girl, PDF poster)

Grow food, not tobacco – Tobacco crops lead to less food on tables (boy, PDF poster)

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The Matrix Recalculated: This is beautiful

Anyone who’s ever worked with Dijkstra’s algorithm or complex information systems understands matrices, and knows what a PITA they are.  If they weren’t incredibly useful (from computer games to air traffic control), nobody would use them.

This video sounds like propaganda for google’s AI system.  Putting that aside, the reported increase in efficiency of solving matrics is incredible.  Problems on large matrices were always solvable, but took as long as an Ackerman function.  With these shortcuts, large matrices can be solved in reasonable times.

Now if they could just find a shortcut for inverting matrices (e.g. from 3×2 to 2×3).

Greedflation Exists: Even the corporate raiders now admit it

Axios recently published an item on inflation over the past four years.  Everyone who wasn’t a rightwingnut and either works for a living or worries about putting food on the table knew that inflation was caused by corporate greed.  If the costs of production went up by one cent, corporations would raise prices five cents, then blame “global pressures”, “COVID-19”, “supply chains”, “war in Ukraine”, or the biggest lie of all, “worker wages”.  Four years after the fact, the corporatists, not just the media, are admitting that “inflation” in recent years was almost entirely due to corporate profiteering, not any external factors.

Once a fringe theory, “greedflation” gets its due

Once dismissed as a fringe theory, the idea that corporate thirst for profits drives up inflation, aka “greedflation,” is now being taken more seriously by economists, policymakers and the business press.

Why it matters: Though inflation is starting to come down, it still remains well above the Fed’s target level of 2%, and understanding what’s causing inflation is key to combatting it — now and the next time.

The idea that profits drove our current bout of inflation surfaced in the last few years among progressive economists and lawmakers but was waved away by more mainstream types as a “conspiracy theory.” That changed earlier this year.

  • In a speech in January, then-Fed vice chair Lael Brainard said wages weren’t the main driver of inflation and pointed to a “price-price spiral,” where companies mark up prices far higher than the increases in their input costs.
  • In March, the chief economist at UBS Global Wealth Management, Paul Donovan, published a note on “profit margin-led inflation,” describing how in late 2022 and into this year, companies — particularly retailers and consumer goods makers — convinced consumers that they needed to raise prices. (They didn’t really.)
  • Most of the time, these companies have “weak pricing power,” meaning they depend on repeat customers and can’t just wildly increase prices because consumers will abandon them, he says.

But businesses both large and small had a convincing story to tell: They really didn’t want to raise prices, but there was “this terrible war or the pandemic or labor shortages or whatever,” Donovan tells Axios. “That’s what’s basically been going on.”

  • With so much in flux, people were more accepting of higher costs for everything, and more convinced companies HAD to raise prices.
  • In earnings conference calls last year especially, executives spoke in corporate lingo about consumers accepting such price increases.

Key point: Most folks aren’t sticking with the “greedflation” label — that got a lot of blowback from those who argued that companies have long been “greedy.”

  • That’s not what’s at play — Donovan’s work describes companies taking advantage of a window of opportunity to raise prices more than normal. Like kids in a candy shop.

A few weeks after Donovan’s paper came out, European Central Bank executive board member Fabio Panetta expressed worries that inflation growth was “due to increasing profits.”

I disagree with Axios on one thing: greedflation was never a “fringe theory”, it was accurate and silenced by those who profited.  Disaster Capitalism became Pandemic Capitalism.

It wasn’t “fringe” to say in 2001 that Saddam didn’t have WMDs.  It wasn’t “fringe” to say in 2014 that Putin had further ambitions and the world was appeasing him.  It wasn’t “fringe” to say in 2016 that rightwing extremists planned violence against Trans people and to use government to control women’s bodies.  It wasn’t “fringe” to say in 2019 rightwing extremists intended to overthrow democracy, etc.

These and other views were always valid, but the corporate media and those in power pretended they weren’t.  A “fringe theory” is one that has no facts to back it up, like “tax breaks for the rich help the economy”.

Music Rules: Why I love bands that play

Recently I saw notices for “concerts” coming to Taiwan.

Sam Smith.  Westlife.  Coldplay.

Seriously, that’s it?  Taiwan has better bar bands than that.  The last time a good band came here was 2017, when D.O.A. appeared for one night.  And it was a Tuesday, so I couldn’t get out of work.

My favourite new album of 2023 is Ian Hunter’s “Defiance, Part 1”.  He turns 84 in June, and he probably made the best album of the year.  It’s an all-star collective performance, recorded online during lockdowns with a list of huge names contributing (probably fans and those influenced by Hunter): Mike Campbell, Slash, Robert Trujillo, Ringo Starr, Taylor Hawkins, Billy Gibbons, and many more.  The link below is a playlist from his own account, not just the title track.  It’s all killer material.

This is why bands that play and write their own songs will always be better, just like they were better when “All The Young Dudes” came out in 1972.  Hunter’s voice isn’t what it used to be, but the songs he wrote for this album are as good as any he’s written.

Unverified Claim: Dubious sources suck

Since I recently saw mention of “milbloggers” and Ukraine….

I’ve previously mentioned “China Insights”, a youtube channel that covers events in the PRC, and that I don’t take them at face value.  It’s annoying because some (sometimes a lot) of what they say can be independently verified through reputable news sources, but some of it can’t.  Unverifiable videos and stories makes the channel and its videos useless as a source, it needs to be 100% checked. I would like to use it because they often publish stuff first before the corporate media does.

The same goes with some of the channels posting videos about the war in Ukraine.  Some of them report things hours or days before the “official” media reports the same thing, showing parts are true.  But again, as with China Insights, some of it is never verified nor verifiable. Lack of proof makes them useless as a source.

The two I watch the most are not typical “milbloggers” (i.e. ex-military, vomiting personal ‘analysis’)I’m not recommending them as sources, I’d suggest watching with a harshly critical and questioning eye. But frequently what they report on youtube (and report it first) matches what the corporate news reports later.

The first channel I watch is Reporting From Ukraine.  The channel creator puts the face of Lieutenant General Valerii Zaluzhnyi (reportedly the brains behind Ukraine’s strategy) on the videos, but the speaker is definitely not him and I doubt the channel is in any way official.  There are videos of Zaluzhnyi speaking in his own voice, much deeper and very different (and nothing I’ve seen says he speaks English).  I also don’t like that the channel constantly hawks merchandise.  Who knows where that money is going.  But it covered the Belgorod incursion early, before the media.

The second channel is Warthog Defense.  This one is annoying for too much “gung ho” talk and attitude, solely reporting Ukraine’s successes but not its setbacks.  Don’t be fooled by the narrated voice, it’s computer generated.  You can tell because of the mistakes in the text being read, incomplete or repeated sentences.  Two recent videos on the channel contained clips of Yevgeny Prigozhin being “interviewed”.  The same interview appeared much later on the Wall Street Journal’s channel.  If a milblogger has access to the same stuff, and gets it first, it makes me wonder what sort of access to information the channel has.

Another Movie To See: “Special Bulletin”

I was going to hold off a day or two to avoid mentioning two TV shows close together, but after PZ Myers’s post about today’s “journalism”….

“Special Bulletin” is a made for TV movie that first aired on March 20, 1983.  It was a pretend newscast covering a group of domestic terrorists threatening to detonate a nuclear weapon near Charleston, South Carolina, unless their demands were met (the destruction of the US government’s nuclear weapons detonators).  It retrospect, the movie seems almost prescient and accurate in depicting domestic terrorist attacks (e.g. the Oklahoma City bombing) and high profile confrontations with the US government (e.g. Ruby Ridge; Waco, Texas; Bundy Standoff), though the politics and motivations of the movie terrorists (anti-nuke and environmentalists) were vastly different than the long string of real life US domestic terrorists (rightwing fanatics).

While the movie’s plot is about the threat of a nuclear bomb detonation, the real story is how the news media covers sensationalist stories.  Sometimes they overstep their place and become part of the story, or their presence encourages and empowers the terrorists (e.g. how serial killers feed off of news coverage).  The irony of this is that the pretend newscast in the movie is now more sane, sober and dispassionate than most of what passes for network and cable “news” forty years later.  It’s worth watching for that alone.

The director was Edward Zwick, who went on to make films such as “Glory”, “The Siege”, “Blood Diamond” and many other well known films.  Zwick cowrote the story with Marshall Herskovitz, the two working together on many other movies.  Herskovitz worked alone on films like “Jack The Bear”, “I Am Sam” and many others.

The casting choices were an interesting choices cross section of 1970s and 1980s hollywood. The actors playing newscasters were known but not household names, making them more convincing, and several actors playing the nuclear terrorists would surprise you, knowing their other roles. Ed Flanders was less than a year into “St. Elsewhere” when “Special Bulletin” aired. Roxanne Hart had many small roles but had not yet become famous for “Highlander” and “Chicago Hope”. David Rasche was a few years away from his most famous role, “Sledge Hammer!” Kathryn Walker (one of the co-anchors) and Rosalind Cash were the most well known; Walker for “Slap Shot” (1977), and Cash in “The Omega Man” (1971).

As of now, the full movie can still be seen on youtube (not posted by me).


Math Rules: The solution is the sum of the square of two teens

Calcea Johnson and Ne’Kiya Jackson are two high school students at St Mary’s Academy in New Orleans, Louisiana. They have managed to do what mathematicians have been unable since the theorem of right angled triangles was written in Shuba Sutra of Baudhayan, 2800 years ago in India: they have proven the “pythagorean” theorem of right triangles with trigonometry, something that was thought impossible.  It was considered circular reasoning (defining something in terms of itself) because trigonometry is predicated on right triangles.

(I will only call it the “pythagorean” theorem because that’s what most people know it as.  Also, I’m wrongly calling it a proof even though it hasn’t been peer reviewed yet.)

New Orleans teens’ Pythagorean proof gains compelling evidence

Compelling evidence supports the claims of two New Orleans high school seniors who say they have found a new way to prove Pythagoras’s theorem by using trigonometry, a respected mathematics professor said, even if the students’ “really important and fantastic” achievement is not the first time trigonometry has been used to prove the theory, as their school apparently touted.

Álvaro Lozano-Robledo, of the University of Connecticut, spoke this week in a series of TikTok videos, addressing international reports about Calcea Rujean Johnson and Ne’Kiya Jackson.

Johnson and Jackson, students at St Mary’s Academy, recently gave a presentation at a regional meeting of the American Mathematical Society outlining their discovery.

The 2,000-year-old Pythagorean theorem states that the sum of the squares of a right triangle’s two shorter sides is the same as the square of the hypotenuse, the third side opposite the right angle. The notation associated with the theorem – a2+b2=c2 – is something encountered in many a geometry class.

For generations, mathematicians maintained that any alleged proof of the Pythagorean theorem based in trigonometry would constitute a logical fallacy known as circular reasoning: seeking to validate an idea with the idea itself.

In the abstract for their 18 March talk in Atlanta, at an event that drew presenters from prominent universities, Johnson and Jackson noted that the book thought to hold the largest known collection of proofs for the theorem, The Pythagorean Proposition by Elisha Loomis, “flatly states that ‘there are no trigonometric proofs because all the fundamental formulae of trigonometry are themselves based upon the truth of the Pythagorean theorem’”.

But Johnson and Jackson said they found a way to use the trigonometry law of sines to prove Pythagoras’s theory in a way “independent of the Pythagorean trig identity sin2x+cos2x=1” – without resorting to circular reasoning.

Scientific American published an article called 2 High School Students Prove Pythagorean Theorem. Here’s What That Means, explaining more detail than “news” sources could.

This video below explains how Johnson and Jackson proved their theorem, by scaling identical triangles and turning this into the sum of an infinite series.  It’s one of those obvious proofs that make you wonder why nobody thought of it before.


Never Forget: The anniversary where it all began

Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld founded the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (Institute of Sexology) in 1919, in Berlin, Germany. Its purpose was to study sexuality and gender variation. They offered medical care such as contraception and STI treatment, but also care for LGBTQIA people in a respectful and professional setting. Hirschfeld and his staff studied people in a humane manner, sometimes offering free care. He is reported to have said, “A sexual impulse based on science is the only sound system of ethics.”

From 1926 until 1933, Hirschfeld and his institute were regular targets of the Nazi party, including an assassination attempt on him in Austria. The campaign of violence culminated in the attack by the Nazi controlled Deutsche Studentenschaft on his clinic on May 6, 1933, ninety years ago. They broke in, raided the building for books and materials.  Those books were a major part of the first mass Nazi book burning on May 10, 1933, a fact that rarely gets mentioned when the topic of book burnings come up.

Hirschfeld escaped to France, attempting to restart the clinic in Paris in 1934, but lacked material and financial support.  He died in Nice, France on his 67th birthday, May 14, 1935.  If there’s one relief (what’s a non-religious term for “saving grace”?) about that, it’s that he died before the worst atrocities of the nazis truly began, and that he didn’t see the “allies” keep concentration camp victims in prisons for decades after the war.  “Paragraph 175” laws were enforced until 1969, only fully repealed in Germany after reunification in 1994.

This excerpt comes from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust:

6 May 1933: Looting of the Institute of Sexology

On 6 May 1933, the Institute of Sexology, an academic foundation devoted to sexological research and the advocacy of homosexual rights, was broken into and occupied by Nazi-supporting youth. Several days later the entire contents of the library were removed and burned.

The institute was initially occupied by The German Student Union, who were a collective of Nazi-supporting youth. Several days later, on 10 May, the entire contents of the library were removed to Berlin’s Bebelplatz Square. That night, along with 20,000 other books across Germany, they were publicly burned in a symbolic attack by Nazi officials on their enemies.

Founded in 1919, the institute had been set up by Magnus Hirschfeld, a world-renowned expert in the emerging discipline of sexology. During its existence, thousands of patients were seen and treated, often for free. The Institute also achieved a global reputation for its pioneering work on transsexual understanding and calls for equality for homosexuals, transgender people and women. Hirschfield himself was a passionate advocate for homosexual rights and had long appealed for the repeal of Paragraph 175, the law that criminalised homosexuality in Germany.

Jewish, gay and outspokenly liberal, Hirschfeld was an obvious target for the Nazis, and the seizure and destruction of the institute on 6 May took place only three months after Hitler was made Chancellor of Germany. During the attack and subsequent book burning, Hirschfeld was working in Paris. He saw the burning of his own library in a news report at the cinema. Among the texts thrown onto the bonfire at the Bebelplatz was Heinrich Heine’s Almansor, in which the author noted:

‘Where they burn books, in the end they will burn humans too’.

The article goes on from there.

I see no difference in the words and actions today by rightwing extremists, both in their violence towards Transgender and Non-Binary people and towards the medical profession trying to offer life saving care as they were in 1933.  The attempts to legalize kidnapping and abuse of children, of criminally charging and imprisoning doctors, of inciting extremists to commit violence and murder.  How long before terrorists do to Trans care clinics what “operation rescue” did to women’s health clinics in the 1990s (vis-a-vis bombings and assassinations of doctors)?

What is different now is how many people know of accept, and both see and treat gender non-conforming people as human beings.  The ideology of hate may catch on with rabid extremists, but it has not and will not in the general populace, especially the educated people under age 40.  We are closer to 1965 US public attitudes towards the Civil Rights movement and Black people than we are to 1933 German attitudes toward LGBTQIA people.

Several other items talking about the Dr. Hirschfeld and the anniversary are below the fold.

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Music To Hear: The Fixx’s “Reach The Beach”

The Fixx’s second album “Reach The Beach” was released on May 15, 1983, forty years ago.

It contained several hit singles: “One Thing Leads To Another” (a condemnation of dishonest politicians), “The Sign Of Fire”, and “Saved By Zero”.  Most people only know SBZ from an annoying TV ad, but the song takes its meaning from buddhism.

Even for those who aren’t buddhists (I’m not, and I suspect near all readers aren’t), I like the concept of “saved by zero”, that when things go wrong and life falls apart, you can always start over (from zero; while you’re still alive, you’re never below that point).  I’ve been feeling it recently.

A side note, in regard to Tina Turner’s death: remember the video for the song, “Better Be Good to Me”?  Cy Curnin (vocalist of The Fixx) is the man on stage with her, whom she sings to.  The guitarist in Turner’s band is Jamie West-Oram, also of The Fixx.  He played on several tracks of Turner’s “Break Every Rule”, which were produced by Rupert Hine, regular producer for The Fixx.


For me, the standout track of the album is “Liner”, a song about the Falkland Islands war.  “With colonial attitude, they took the chance for repossession…crossing swords before the dawn”.  Doesn’t that say it all about colonial and imperialist attitudes that “the west” still inflict on the world?

Liner, it was a fantasy sea cruise
It was a bet destined to lose
Across the waves, what was he thinking?

Sea shore, he had a wet foot in the sand
He was holding U.N. plans,
Across the waves. what was he thinking?

All aboard before the storm
They've never seer a place like this before

Island in a forgotten latitude
And with colonial attitude
They took the chance for repossession

Grey skies there were no palm trees in the wind
And when a saint starts hiding sins
It's all aboard whilst peace is sinking

     All aboard before the storm
     Crossing swords before the dawn
     Seen before, back in an infant's dream
     Like a rubber duck, floating in the bath

     So I sailed away on their time, Liner!
     Taking young lives in their prime, Liner!

Harbor, I saw a flag waving goodbye
I saw a soldier's baby cry
"What's it all for?", that's what I'm thinking

Inside, I must be lacking true insight
Because I always sleep at night
Across the waves whilst men are

     All aboard before the storm
     Crossing swords before the dawn
     Seen before back in an infant's dream
     Like a rubber duck, floating in the bath

     So I sailed away on their time, Liner!
     Taking young lives in their prime, Liner!
     Liner! To a distant shore

All Aboard before the storm

TV To See: “V” at forty

Anyone over age 45 will likely remember the miniseries “V”, first broadcast on May 1-2, 1983, forty years ago.

It was a landmark show for multiple reasons, least important of which was the US$13 million budget for a miniseries.  But the quality of the story and special effects paid off in TV audience and ratings, and its social impact.  It was written and directed by Kenneth Johnson, who had several TV scifi credits to his name: “The Bionic Woman”, “The Increddible Hulk”, “Alien Nation”.

The allusions to Nazi Germany were a little heavy handed, and some (then) didn’t buy into the idea of scientists as allegory for jews, but in retrospect, it fit.  The anti-authoritarian message of the show still rings true.

From SciFi Pulse, 2016:

Retro Review: V The Mini Series (1983)

Synopsis: When an alien fleet comes to Earth to ask for our help, a few suspicious humans discover their horrific true intentions and prepare to resist.

Review: Back in 1983 we lived in a different world where pretty much everyone lived in fear of nuclear war or the warring superpowers hitting the big red button. We didn’t have cable or Sky TV in the UK at this time. In fact at that point in the UK we only had four TV channels. One of which Channel 4 only launched in 1982.

With all that in mind. A mini series was a pretty big deal when it hit. And the 70’s and 80’s was a time when they were pretty much all sure fire hits because of their rarity in the schedules. But to have a mini series about an alien invasion back then was rarer still because science fiction on television was considered a big risk.

In ‘V The Mini Series’ you get a science fiction allegory, which tells a story of human resistance to an alien force, which starts off as friendly, but soon is revealed to have a cruel and fiendish agenda.

Calling themselves The Visitors the alien’s ingratiate themselves on the public offering cures for cancer and cultural exchange and educational programs for the youth.

But as we all know. When something is to good to be true. It usually is.

About halfway through the first episode Nobel Prize winning scientists start to go missing and some scientists begin to suspect that the Alien Visitor’s are not as humanoid as they appear to be, but actually reptilian.

It makes you wonder how much this show played into rightwing conspiracy theories about “lizard people”, or if this is where it started.

A Quick Word To Say

Apologies for my nine month absence, a result of personal issues (none legal) and depression due to them.  You never expect your life and everything to fall apart, it just does.

To paraphrase ex-NFL handegg player John Riggins (after his holdout in 1980), I’m better, I’m brighter, I’m back.