Sunday, 29 January 2012

Bashing kids about is a good idea!

When I was a wee sapling I told folk I was from Mars. There was a simple reason: I didn't want to "belong" to the human race. But it had another consequence. I could look at humans as an alien race. I could look at them with more compassion in a detached way.
David Lammy, former Labour Education Minister, has said that the law against hitting children should be repealed because it led to the London riots in 2011. See the Daily Mail's "Smacking ban led to riots".

Not only do I find the article funny I find it amazing reading the comments. The Daily Mail, Mr Lammy and most of the comment writers are so Neanderthal. These poor humans don't seem to be able to connect three logical thoughts. So often in these over simplified debates they can only deal with two ideas at a time. The fact is that hitting children should be illegal. It is not right to hit children.

I'll say that again: It is not right to hit children.

So what do you do if your child has grasped an electric fire which was not earthed and you can't grab them because you will get stuck to them? You hit them to knock them away from the fire. Ok so this is not a brilliant example but there are cases where you might hit a child to save them from harm. So hitting children is right! That's what these politicians, law makers, and probably 90% of the commentators don't get. It is not a simple case of "hitting children" being right or wrong. But all other things being equal it is true to say that simply "hitting children" is not a sensible, humane, beneficial, compassionate, productive, practical or even rational thing to do in general.

So if we start from basic principles it seems clear that hitting children is not a good idea. Mr Lammy goes on to say that parents are "no longer sovereign in their own homes" and that they live under constant fear that social workers will take away their children if they chastise them.

UH!? What?

Is it only me that sees the complete lunacy of that? If cuffing a child for stamping on another child's foot justifies the draconian Children Services stealing the child then it seems to me there is something very wrong. But it is because we live in this mind numbing authoritarian blame culture. There is no need to take any offensive action against a parent that smacks a child. But that doesn't equate to establishing in law that it is perfectly fine to smack children.

We are obsessed with trying to make rules that make us perfect. Well - that is not quite it. What is really going on is that some people want power over other people. The way they achieve it is to criticise others and justify their offensive action because the other person is 'to blame'. But what needs to happen is that the authorities start to act under the same rules as the ones they are pretending to try to uphold. They could start by being honest and accountable. But they are not.

If you want to see how the Children Services measure up to their own criticisms of other people check out the Children Services Abuse section on Toxic Drums. They are appallingly self contradictory. They clearly imagine themselves to be above the law. They are incredibly abusive and apparently not accountable.

Another funny thing about this article in the Daily Mail is that Mr Lammy is black (well to be correct he is sort of a dark shade of brown) and he quite reasonably makes the amusing point that the law specifies that any force that causes 'reddening of the skin' is prohibited. He goes on to point out the irrelevance of that to black (or brown) children. I can see South Park making a meal out of that. Black people should be allowed to hit children and middle class white people should not. Simples!

What I wish is that folk would stop this stupid attempt to justify abuse against others. The Children Services should be there to assist in difficult situations. They have all the potential of being a really benign organisation improving the social conditions in this country for children. But instead they are employed to go around terrorising both parents and children in some Gaddafi style attempt to keep order. And we know where that ends up!

Monday, 23 January 2012

Au Contraire!

Q:  What's the connection between Harold Shipman, Mark E Smith, a Practice Nurse, Stephen Mallinder, God, Bob Dylan and an East German Rabbit?
A:  They all appear on this page.

I had a friend phone me about my blog on the Practice Nurse.  She asked why I hadn't mentioned Harold Shipman to the nurse.  Now you may not know this but Harold Shipman is regarded as one of history's worst murderers.  He is the ONLY British doctor ever to be found guilty of murdering his patients and it is conservatively estimated that he killed at least 218 of them.

I was talking to my teenage daughter and mentioned that this friend had called and mentioned Harold Shipman.  My daughter asked who Harold Shipman was and I explained that he had murdered hundreds of his patients.  A gleeful smile spread across her face as she announced with delight "Oh good - I have another hero."

Au Contraire!

The general cultural perception is that: a) Harold Shipman is a bad man and b) that there is something wrong with my daughter that she could be instantly impressed by him.  But there is something going on here of which most people seem blissfully  unaware.  We are NOT living in  a benign culture!

The trouble seems to be that most people are not living up to what might be called a personal morality but rather a collective perceived morality.  They are desperately trying to get the approval of the culture.  Humans are working collectively to define themselves as what they wish they were.  So the culture assumes hitting people is nasty and not desirable whereas being all sentimental about sweet babies is positively admirable.  There is nothing wrong with that on the surface but dig a little deeper and it soon becomes evident that the higher up the hierarchy you ascend the more ruthless people become in defending the collective ego and its self perception that it is "good".  It only takes a cursory glance around to see that the large institutions like the banks, the legal profession, the pharmaceutical industry, the NHS and the Children Services are all psychopathic in their defence of their image.  It only takes a little personal experience to realise that they collectively apply a morality to control the individual whilst not complying with that morality themselves.

The thing about my daughter is she sees this with a clarity that is beyond me.  She already knows what the false charade is about.  She is like the astronauts who saw the earth as a whole majestically delicate perfect living entity floating in space for the first time.  She sees the duality of the collective conscious and unconscious of humanity.  She already knows that the institutionalised judgemental view is perverted for its own benefit, and sees through the facade to the inner workings of society.  She knows that if Harold Shipman was killing his patients that hundreds more are doing it and probably with a more convoluted and perverse deception.  What she is elated about seems to be that he did what hundreds are trying to pretend they would never do.  It is, perhaps, the sanctimonious hypocritical attitude that promotes (or demotes) the likes of Harold Shipman to an extreme as if he were an aberrant exception in order to elevate themselves that she sees instantly and with clarity.  It takes philosophers, psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists and spiritual people years of their lives and generations to understand the world of humanity.  But my daughter sees it with no need for an explanation or any justification or excuses.  She knows what is going on like most of us cannot imagine.

It is possibly the human honesty in Shipman that resonates for her.  For any Christians reading this blog just recall that your elevation of a man to a God in the name of Jesus was the one to make clear to the religious hierarchy that tax collectors and prostitutes were equally God's creation.  It was He who was crucified for loving ALL people.  He understood that externalising "evil" was an offense against humanity and, in your terms, God.

Now on the subject of Harold Shipman it was The Fall who produced the controversial track "What About Us?" which was a interesting angle on the Harold Shipman issue.  The song is about an East German rabbit that emigrates to the UK for better grazing.  It starts of...

Bah ba ba ba ba ba ba ba bah
Well - Oh yeah - Wha wha yeah yeah yabah yaah (or something like that)

I am a rabbit from East Germany
I was very happy

It goes on...
Then I moved to Great Britain
I became an immigrant
I could frolic around all night
Eat all the green grass
I was so happy
Bah ba ba ba ba ba ba ba bah

The rabbit found himself...
By a rubbish receptacle
I saw a newspaper
I was not very happy
There was a man
He was dishing out drugs
He was a doctor
Dishing out Drugs
To all the ladies

I said "What about us?" Shipman
"What about us?" Shipman
"What about us?" Shipman
"What about us?" Shipman
"What about us?" Shipman
"What about us?" Shipman

I couldn't decipher all the lyrics in the time available and couldn't find them on the internet.  But that should give you the gist of it.  I met Mark E Smith once in Cabaret Voltaire's factory studio.  That's not Factory Records where I got viciously assaulted by a bunch of Manchurian thugs but rather Cabaret Voltaire's studio which was housed in an almost derelict old factory in Sheffield.  Mark E Smith is one of a few people I have ever met who have struck me as intensely human.  He is one of those people you just know is how people are meant to be.  Unassuming, inquisitive, kind, thoughtful, creative, friendly and somehow your life is enhanced simply by his existence.  Mal (Stephen Mallinder of CV) and Judd (another Steven) of Clock DVA were of the same mould.  But I digress as I name drop but want to give credit where it is due.

Here's a my favourite renditions of "What About Us?" and a glimpse of Mark E Smith getting an award which shows his eccentric take on life and normality.

This is my favourite recorded version of "What About Us"

The Fall Diesel U Music Awards 2005 (Mark E Smith)

"You can be in my dream if I can be in yours."  Bob Dylan said that.
"We are not who we wish we were but we need to be who we are or there is no real reality available to us." I said that.

Thanks to Wakefield Prison for the fair use mug shot of Harold.

Child Tax Credits: Student Definition

What qualifies a child as a student for Child Tax Credits purposes?
What is the definition of a student for Child Tax Credits?
What is the government definition of Higher Education and Further Education for a child between 16 and 20 so that the parent or carer can claim Child Tax Credits?

Those were the questions I was struggling with and I have heard a number of different definitions.

I did some searching around and I found the HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) web site and eventually found the Tax Credit calculator.  You can use this HMRC Tax Credit calculator to get an idea of what you might be entitled to.  There are two aspects to Tax Credits: yourself and your children.  If your income is low you can qualify for Working Tax Credits and if you have children you can be entitled to Child Tax Credits as well.

There is a slightly difficult area when the child reaches the age of 16 and one major issue for many people is understanding if their child meets the criteria for Child Tax Credits.  I won't go into details here but if you have a child between the age of 16 and 20 who is still in education and your income is low you may be entitled to Child Tax Credits to help in these financially catastrophic times.

The salient point I was looking for was the precise definition of a student.  I used the calculator and on one page it asked the question:

Is this child in full time education or on an approved training course? (You only need to answer this question if this child is aged 16 to 19 or if this child is aged 19 to 20 and was enrolled, accepted for or started full-time education or approved training before they turned 19.)

And there were links to helpful information for full time education and approved training course.  This information gave the definition required as follows:

Full-time Education

A young person aged 16 and under 20 is classed as being in full-time education if they are studying

• at school or college, or a similar recognised establishment
• for a qualification up to and including A level, NVQ level 3 or Scottish national qualifications at higher or advanced higher level or equivalent. This does not include studying for a university degree or similar qualification
• for at least 12 hours a week during normal term time, not including meal breaks or time spent on unsupervised study.

A young person aged 19 must have enrolled, been accepted for or started full-time education before they turned 19.

A young person will still count as being in full-time education in any week where

• as part of the curriculum, they are on holiday or preparing for exams
• they are away from school or college due to sickness or ill-health but are intending to return to that course of education
• they have ended one course of education but have registered for a further course starting in the following term, and the only reason for not currently studying is that they are waiting for that course to start.

Approved Training Course

An approved training course is one of the following and is not provided through a contract of employment.

• England - Entry to Employment, Foundation Learning Programmes or Programme Led Apprenticeships
• Scotland - Get Ready for Work Skillseekers or Modern Apprenticeships
• Wales - Skillbuild, Skillbuild+ or Foundation Modern Apprenticeships
• Northern Ireland - Programme Led Apprenticeships (Apprenticeships NI), Jobskills, or Training for Success: Professional and Technical Training.

If your child is 19 years old, they must have enrolled, been accepted for or started approved training before they turned 19.

So there you have it.

You can find out more from the Child Tax Credit Calculator at:

And thanks to Fredler Brave for the picture of students.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Videos Keep Freezing Browser

If you have a Windows XP computer or Windows 7 you might find YouTube frequently causes the computer to crash or your computer freezes.  Sometimes the video continues playing but the browser freezes.  You might ask yourself "Why does my computer freeze?"  Well I was having this problem and I found out why my computer freezes!

Image by Andreas Tille
Strictly speaking it was only the browser and not the computer that was locking up and not responding.  It was happening more and more as I used YouTube.  I searched the internet for a solution but found endless "problem pages" with hundreds of people asking why their computers locked up or froze when watching videos but no useful answers.  I hate these "forum like" sites that elicit questions from users only to offer no answers but hundreds of adverts.

But I persisted and I came across a useful bit of software provided by Microsoft which analyses the codecs on your cvomputer to inform you of any possible clashes or problems.  Codecs are bits of software that facilitate digital video streaming in Windows and various media players.  The software executable is called MicrosoftFixit.Codec.Run.exe and you can download it from:  The reason I mention this is because you don't always know if you can trust downloads nowadays and I have checked this out extensively and used it on my own computer with complete success.

The software checks all the codecs and informs you of any clashes.  You then get the option to disable ones with a problem.  This is always a bit worrying since you don't usually know enough about what is going on inside your machine to feel confident about disabling or deleting system stuff.  But the information I got from the software was pretty straightforward.  It told me there was a conflict problem with a particular codec installed by RealPlayer.  Given that RealPlayer are getting more pushy I don't use their software if I can help it so I was happy to let this software disable RealPlayer's codec.  I have had no more freezing videos.  Problem solved!  That easy once you have a reliable source.

So if your videos keep freezing your browser causing it to hang up you might want to visit and download the MicrosoftFixit.Codec.Run.exe program.  Running it to see if anything is wrong doesn't change anything on your computer and you always get the option to fix the problem only if you want.

The Notched Stick

I couldn't find a legally available picture of a notch on a stick for this article so I settled for this picture of the Washington Monument by David Iliff (License: CC-BY-SA 3.0)
Human beings regard their knowledge as rather extensive and generally think they are very intelligent.  There is a vast volume of literature on every subject one could think of.  The British Library which is the biggest library in the world in terms of items held has over 14 million books.  The USA's Library of Congress which is the biggest library in terms of shelf space has over 30 million books.  Along with all the other documents, manuscripts, patents, newspaper and so on the total number of words held is stupendous.

Pretty well the sum total of human knowledge is held in written form.

Computers have a way of representing words.  The most common way is to represent each letter by a number and to hold that number as a binary digit.  Which reminds me of a t-shirt a friend has which says:
There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary and those who don't.

But I digress.  Any sequence of words can be represented by a number which is a sequence of digits.  If the decimal point is placed at the beginning of the sequence then that number is a fraction.  So, for example the sequence of digits 521 can be represented with a decimal point at the beginning making it 0.521.  If you take a stick and make a notch in it at exactly 0.521 of its length you can give it to someone else who could carefully measure that position of the notch and decode the number.  So any sequence of letters could be represented by a notch on a stick.  In theory you could take all the literature ever written and create a number.  Admittedly it would be a very big number but a number all the same.  This could then be turned into a fraction and represented by a notch on a stick.

All human knowledge can be represented by a notch on a stick!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Thank you Wikipedia

Wikipedia has taken the unprecedented decision to black out all English language content of its web site for 24 hours to raise awareness of SOPA and PIPA.

If you are reading this during the blackout you can view the site by adding ?banner=none to the url.  Try this for example.  You can also disable your browser from running JavaScript and then you can view the website perfectly fine.

In this oppressive, hierarchical, control freak world we live in, there are too many jerks who think they are important and know what's best for everyone else.  Their methods have been proven consistently throughout history to benefit no one but themselves and actually to cause a great deal of harm to the majority of nice folk.

Those sanctimonious dictatorial prats waltzing around the halls of power  in their clean cut suits pontificating to all and sundry about the moral values that need to be maintained are nothing more than vicious little bullies.  They are self-serving opinionated bastards.  They are no better than Colonel Gaddafi and his security forces or the Nazis or Fascists.  The only difference is that they are fooling enough people at the moment to avoid having to use open violence.

But their need for control is insatiable.  They continually erode the hard won acknowledgement of real human values.  They are relentless in their attempts to define and control the world and how it works.  Ironically King Canute sat on the beach to make the point that he was not all powerful.  He has been entirely misrepresented by control freaks.  It is ironic because they (the control freaks) actually think they have more power than they actually have and try to illustrate that they understand the limitations of their power by ridiculing Canute.  It is a little like the ancient Turks who religiously put mistakes in their rugs because only God could make a perfect rug.  The irony is missed on control freaks

These rather intellectually stunted testosterone driven gnomes relentlessly interfere with perfectly good principles in their egocentric attempts to prove themselves "good" by making new laws to protect individuals from harm.  But the only individuals they "protect" are themselves and their cronies from being hoist by their own values.

I have a hard time believing the utter ridiculousness of laws which profess to protect liberty but are clearly quite the opposite.  I have spent too much of my valuable life troubled by, and wondering about, these issues.    The conclusion to date is that people in power are grossly stupid and that they succeed insofar as they manage to dull the minds of so many people that they get away with it.

SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) are the two issues which are currently scheduled for debate in America and which have given rise to Wikipedia's 24 hour blackout.  I have read around the subject and both these proposed laws essentially turn things on their heads.  If you consider the premise that a person is considered innocent until proven guilty these laws do just the reverse.  If, for example, someone leaves a comment on my blog with a link to a site which is linked to a site (presumably ad infinitum) which has content which is simply believed in good faith (woolly phraseology) by some authority to be in breach of any law then I am, by association, assumed to be guilty and my website can simply be shut down until I can prove in a court of law that the final offending material is not in fact illegal.  These proposed laws are simply broad brush legalised censorship.  They are intellectually contradictory (they would make the activities of the White House illegal but - hey - what's new?), pretentiously complicated and basically bullies giving themselves a sense of legitimacy.

I personally object strongly to the American Administration making utterly brainless and bad laws like SOPA and PIPA and I don't even live in the USA.

Freedom is not only freedom to do what the hierarchy demands.  To have a free society one has to accept that sometimes some people will do things you don't like or agree with.  The thing is you have to deal with those occasions when they arise and not make laws to prohibit anything that might be undesirable.  And it is very important to prevent the bullies and the bad guys from making the laws.  It is essential that the control freaks do not alter the laws for their benefit.  It is what happened in Germany prior to the Second World War and precipitated the holocaust and it is currently happening in the USA, the UK, many countries in Europe and God knows where else.

By the way - the holocaust never happened!

Woops!  Don't link to my web site now or you might be taken down.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Three Phone Calls

Today, Tuesday 17 January 2012, I have had a day slightly more interesting than most.  The key feature being three telephone calls.  That is how interesting my life is!

Getting tired between three phone calls!

The first call was from an Indian scamster.  (That's Scamster not Hampster.)  These calls are getting more and more frequent and are funny except they probably cause a lot of harm too.  The second was from a friend of a friend who seems to need telephone support at the moment.  The third and last was from a practice nurse with a hidden agenda.  All three calls left me feeling like the proverbial cat that had been at the cream.  No - more like a lion that had gorged on a fat, freshly killed wildebeest (or was it a gnu?).

Here are the three calls:

1. The Indian enevtvwr phone scam.
2. The  feigned sympathy call.
3. The practice nurse with an agenda.


The Indian enevtvwr phone scam.

The Scam

Many people will have experienced the Indian telephone virus scam.  It starts with a telephone call and an Indian technical expert telling you s/he has information that your computer is infected with a virus.  He then tells you to press the "Windows" key (the one with the flag on it) and the "R" key.  This, of course, opens the "Run" window where you can type commands into the operating system.  There are various different scams that they use but a typical one is to ask you to type "eventvwr" which runs the Micro$oft Windows Event Viewer.  This shows a list of logged events and typically is full of error messages.  The error messages are quite normal and Windows generates a lot of them as it tests all sorts of things.  They are meant to be there and are only interesting if you are very technical and want to know detailed information about what sequences of operations Windows is executing.  (Another use I have discovered is to detect if anyone has switched your computer on whilst you were away.)  But...

To the uninitiated this can look like a lot of frightening error messages and presumably the scammer then goes on to frighten you and to suggest there is something wrong with your computer.  They may suggest you have a virus or a bug or a Trojan or a worm or some other dastardly infection.  They will then get you to hand control of your computer to them and they will download all your data which will likely contain bank accounts, passwords, credit card details and all sorts of very useful information for what is called "identity theft".

There is little more that needs explaining here except to say they can do a lot of damage and get away with a degree of serious profit.

The Conversation

I just received one such phone call and was very entertained to keep the guy going for a while.  I kept asking him to spell things again and again and then declared, with feigned horror, that the box had disappeared and we had to go through the process again.  I did enquire as to how much he was paid and suggested he told his boss to put his finger up his rear orifice.  He queried the word "office" and so I spelt it very slowly with the phonetic alphabet (which I learnt during my time as a seaman (not a sperm); O for Oscar, R for Romeo, I for India, at which point he asked me if I liked India... F for Foxtrot, I for India (the same silly joke), C for Charlie and E for Echo.  A moment later another voice, speaking much better English, announced "Hello this is Peter."  He went on to say "Do you see in the top right hand corner of your screen that I am fu<*ing your mother and your daughter."  Well I had to laugh.  I said if he could see my mother he wouldn't be so proud of his claim.  The abuse got more and more basic and obscene and I laughed more and more.  I had clearly got under his skin.  This went on for a while with comments going back and forth until I said to him that I understood he was only trying to make a living and I wished him well in the future and hoped he could find a better way to do it.  The torrent of abuse that was flowing quite rapidly evaporated and he said that he had not sworn at me but that he had done it because I had been rude to [whoever] and in no time at all we were having a civilised conversation.  It was brief, to the point, he apologised and we both wished each other well and said goodbye.

The Philosophical Point

It is all well and good for us civilised people to satisfy our egos that we are really nice and morally good people.  It is a sad fact that a lot of that is precisely collective Freudian projection.  I have discovered that this civilised world of ours is not so civilised after all.  The Joker's quote from The Dark Night: "When the chips are down, these uh, these 'civilized people', they'll eat each other." comes to mind.  We are living in an aggressive, competitive, oppressive, controlling hierarchy akin to the ancient Egyptian slave culture.  We are wage slaves (well those of you who are lucky enough to have a wage).  The financially well off are controlling the environment and like a game of musical chairs it doesn't work if you supply enough chairs.  They require poor people and they manipulate the situation to achieve that.  And poor doesn't just mean hard up it means at the bottom of the pile life is as bad as it gets and death is the only reprieve.  They need that threat to force others to comply with their wishes.  So we pretend we live in a democracy and we pretend we care about other people, we pretend we have a National Health System and a Social Security system, we pretend we have a just and reasonable legal system and we pretend to offer an education to our children, but all these things still require compliance for their own financial survival and very well being.  Notice the salaries of the people who are at the top of these systems and check up the actual facts behind the production and distribution of health or the facts behind the education system or the legal system and you will soon discover that if they don't get their way they are ruthless in the extreme.  So we here in the "West" are some of the richest humans on the planet and we need poor countries to be under our control and doing our biding.  The poor folk in India are in an unacceptable state of human deprivation but they have the internet.  Humans have the potential to be intelligent and the message is spreading far and wide even more so than when the printing press was invented.  Some people get the idea that the people who are squeezing them to death have no right to do that and eventually, combined with their instinct to survive, they resort to the same tactics they feel are used against them.  Deception and trickery to obtain income to survive seem the only option short of suffering in silence and losing their life.  It is perfectly understandable that they would resort to "ripping people off" just as the hierarchy are doing to them.  And when you think about it, if you are going to succeed, you have to pick on people who are weaker than you, just as the hierarchy do.  So I get it.  (Unlike the Prime Minister Baboon Cameroon who makes the same claim.)  If you want to see how sincere these kind and helpful organisations like the Children Services really are, then check out their behaviour and how they "handle" a complaint at the Toxic Drums "Children Services Abuse" section.

We live in an abusive controlling culture that strips people of self responsibility and infects them with a charade of a "moral framework" that perpetuates the power mongers control.  Think about our education system for example.  It is an inhumane mechanism of brainwashing.  Kids are not really provided with useful information for themselves but rather they are taught lessons that are useful for the controllers.  Studies amply illustrate that what kids really learn at school is how to kowtow to the bosses.  Of course if you do this better than the next chap you will be rewarded better and so the hierarchy supports itself.  Until people start taking personal responsibility for their lives the human race is destined to failure.  People in this culture regard themselves as good because they do what they are told and they regard what the politicians do in their name abroad as not their personal responsibility but it is.

Untill you are willing to do something about stopping the disgusting deception and abhorrent behaviour of the politicians you can't complain when the little guys in another country simply want to steel some of your dosh.  Let me correct that: You can complain but with no moral legitimacy.

For lots more information on this scam and many others see Zyra's Phone Virus Scam page.


The title of this post is a bit misleading but then so is feigning despair.  This is the second interesting phone call I had today.  I have a friend of a friend who has taken to phoning me a lot.  She is very distressed.  Her life is in ruins and she is alcoholic.  She doesn't know me or my name and I don't know who she is so I am talking about this in confidence because it is the behaviour of humans that I am interested in.

Initially she is very distressed and wants someone to talk to.  I am perfectly happy to be that person whilst I have the spare time.  But it doesn't take her long to start trying to get me to support her views so that she feels stronger in asserting them over others.  That description is brief and seemingly heartless but it is what is going on.

She does have some very significant damage as a result of events in her life.  The problem is that in order to "comply" with the cultural framework that she conformed to as a child in order to survive she cannot allow herself to "feel" the pain.  I think this can be said of most people to some degree.

So she perceives events around her now as being devastating and unjust.  She doesn't understand why people are so cruel.  She feels ashamed and disgusted with herself for her laziness, her alcoholism, her inability to ever wash or clean her teeth and generally is so harsh in her judgement of herself that she is destroying her life.

She phones me up saying she has had her benefits stopped and she is beside herself with fear and distress.  I make the mistake of suggesting that they don't have the right to stop her benefits and she should write to them to that effect.  At this point she coldly announces that she has to go to bed and puts the phone down... but it didn't go down.  I was left hanging on to the phone listening to her shouting and screaming at her husband.

But I know what is going on and it is extraordinarily difficult.  Many of us (probably most) are brought up in a judgemental controlling environment.  We are assured that if we comply we will be alright.  The more intelligent of us begin to realise that there is something self-contradictory about the moral structure.  It doesn't take a lot of "intelligence" to realise that beating a child with a stick to teach them that beating people is "bad" is fundamentally and inescapably contradictory.

However, if we were fool enough to "play the game" in order to survive then we are necessarily treating ourselves the same way.  Some people simply take on board the compliance mantle and become authoritarian gits, some simply accept the mistake of landing in a pile of shit and some are mortally offended at the shit that we have been placed in for someone else's benefit.

At this point it becomes war.  An internal war.  To do anything about the injustice one must survive and to survive one must "play the game". so we begin to hate ourselves.  It is brinkmanship in the extreme.  Can we comply enough to survive whilst retaining our internal self respect.  Can we be compassionate enough to ourselves to forgive us for "playing the game" to survive.  Are we risking becoming like "them" and once we can survive we will continue to "play" the same game.  It is hell in here.

My friend of a friend is currently trying to get me to support her view that "they" are bad and should be condemned in the same way she feels they have unjustly condemned her.  So all I can do is listen and sympathise but it won't be long now before she threatens me with her own suicide.  I have no problem with that because I respect her right to make her own decisions about her own life.  Unsympathetic though that would seem to the more "sentimental" amongst us it is because at the moment she is trying to solicit me to be on her oppressors side.  She is trying to get me to agree with her judgemental attitude.  She is feigning her distress to achieve a goal.  She is externalising her feelings and can see no other way because she has to behave this way to survive.  The lessons were learnt at a very impressionably age and there is only one way out: to feel the pain.  But she won't do that for a while yet.

What a convoluted bunch of psycho-biological-blobs we are.


My third interesting phone call on 17 January was from the practice nurse.  It was a very interesting conversation that dipped into the depths of the screwed up psychology of our tragic culture.

The phone rang and I answered it.  I was playing Go at the time and my brain was not capable of making decisions outside of the game.  It was the nurse from the doctor's practice and she wanted to speak with my daughter.  I said she was not available exactly now but would be in a few minutes.  The nurse said she would call back.  I got to finish my game (and won).  I knew what the call was about because the doctor said that my daughter's vaccinations didn't seem up to date and a nurse would call to make an appointment to discuss what was required.  The doctor, a nice guy, made it clear to my daughter that they could offer the vaccinations and it was entirely her decision as to what she wanted to do about them.  I spoke with said daughter and she didn't want to talk to the nurse because (it's a long history but she can't cope with oppressive, controlling, officious, authoritarian control freaks) she was nervous on the phone.  I said I would deal with it.

The phone rang and I said that unfortunately daughter was not available after all.  The nurse pointed out that she really needed to talk to her and suggested making an appointment for her to go into the surgery.  I thought this was a good idea and said so.  She tried to ascertain a good time and when I said any time she moved on to asking me why daughter had not had all her vaccinations?  I asked which vaccinations she had not had.  She told me that she needed them all.  I asked her what she meant by all and asked which one's she had had.  She said that she couldn't tell me because their records were not complete.  So I asked her what she meant by that.  She pointed out that she had only had x and y according to the records.  I then asked her again which vaccinations she was suggesting and she started by saying that according to the Health Protection Agency she was required to have MMR which was necessary and I interrupted saying "Excuse me.  We all know that is not necessary but do carry on."  At this point she started quoting stuff and telling me that she was a qualified nurse and that my daughter's health was her primary concern etcetera.  I listened and that was fine and when she had finished I suggested we could start with the list of vaccinations that she was suggesting were required given what are on the (incomplete) record.  She told me that she couldn't carry on with this phone call because she couldn't deal with people like me.  I asked her what she meant by "people like me" and she started angrily explaining that she was the practice nurse and fully qualified and that the doctor had told her to give said daughter her vaccinations and she was going to terminate the call.  I said it seemed as if she was upset and she "agreed" (?) that I had upset her.  I pointed out that I had not intended to upset her and I had only asked reasonable questions but I understood if she felt she could not deal with this phone call at this time.  I went on to suggest that I contact the surgery at another time to deal with the issue of vaccinations.

That felt positively satisfactory to me.  The lady was clearly distressed.  Her intention was to lure the young girl into the surgery under the pretext of "discussing" vaccinations while in fact holding three bulging hypodermic needles behind her back and ready to pounce on her victim.  She did not get an easy ride and in fact her subconscious motives were in danger of being revealed by the rational questions so she felt threatened.  She was clearly perturbed, obviously angry, evidently distressed and simply couldn't cope.  She will have nightmares about it and I am delighted.

What a funny convoluted world we live in.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Google Analytics Content Overview problem

Google are a dangerous force to reckon with nowadays.  They started out as a good company but I think ideas, institutions, corporations and all manner of virtual objects or systems develop along the same lines of survival as Darwinian evolution.  Google seem to think they do everything so "right" that there is no real need to actually communicate with their "users".  (Telling phrase that: "users".  Sounds like drug addiction.)  The Christians thought they were so good they even embarked on an Inquisition to do good in the world and look what that turned into.  People and institutions that think they are so good are maintaining a Freudian "ego" that suits them for the purposes of survival.  That is a primary problem with bringing children up with a judgemental controlling moral framework.  They need to get their parents approval and "being good" achieves just that.  So they have to "be good" to survive and it becomes a compulsion.  A compulsion so strong they will kill to maintain their constructed or conditioned self image.  Have you ever heard any government justifying slaughtering loads of foreigners on moral grounds?  And guess what?  In the end the cannon fodder go along with it believing they are fighting for justice and peace.

So what has this got to do with Google?  Well Google are isolated from their victims with the idea that they service so many billions of individuals that it is impractical to deal with them individually.  So they are perceiving people as their commodity.  Of course they will do things that "appear" to be good and the worst of it is that they will believe it themselves;  That is the purpose of it.  So they are now defining the morality of the communication network that is the internet.  Like any "thing" they need to survive so they will "do good" when it keeps them alive and they will do harm when they interpret a situation as being bad.  A simple example being that they cancelled my account because I mistakenly typed a voucher code in and it was meant for "new users" and I had used them before.  It seems they have analysed this behaviour as malicious so they stop the account and keep the outstanding money.  It is annoying but I don't care much because I found another way around it.  The important thing is that they define what is good and bad with no investigation or trial just their own broad-brush analysis.

Now they have changed the Google Analytics interface.  Of course everyone is going to have to change to it.  At the moment they allow you to use the old version but it will be terminated like a euthanasia subject one day.  The trouble is that although they do their market research they still design it for their own advantage.  It is on such a large scale and affects so many people that it actually defines the way certain business is conducted.  And can you communicate with them over this?  No!  You can tell them what you think but it is a one way conversation.  They get the info for their use and you get nothing.

Anyway - what brought me to this blog was that I just sent them another "comment" from the Google Analytics Content Overview page:

Are you going to fix this problem with long URLs causing the page to fit the screen width instead of the browser width?

Google had a saying once: "Do no evil."  Methinks your lack of contactability is the beginnings of a very evil force in the world.  You might think you are a nice chap working for a nice company but bear in mind they (Google) are running the show now, and like any nice evolved life form it will survive at any cost.

But it would be nice if you could fix this problem on my way to your corporate digestive system.

Hikikomori (or school refusal)

Hikikomori - that is a nice word.  What the hell does it mean?  Well if you look it up on Wikipedia you will find it is about the same thing as "School Refusal".

I read an article by Jenn Ashworth (a British Author) yesterday.  It was titled "Why I refused to go to school" and began with the sentence: "Who wants to be locked into a room with 30 people dressed just like them, to be startled by a bell every 35 minutes, to queue for lunch for 40 minutes and be made to stand outside in the cold twice a day?' Jenn Ashworth most definitely did not…"

It is worth a read and basically it is Jenn explaining her childhood and how she simply refused to go to school.  Jenn makes a perfectly understandable case for a child not wanting to go to school.  She compares schools with prisons (which she has worked in) and suggests no adult would volunteer for that.  She also revisited Larches House which was a place she was sent to try to "help" her get back into school.  The head teacher at Larches said "Phobics and refusers aren't lumped in with the naughty kids any more." and there lies the problem for me.

Although Jenn explains her reasons and understands why she didn't want to attend school she doesn't address the burning issue that when she was young she was regarded as "naughty".  This appalling culture, which professes to abhor bullying, repeatedly threatened her mother with prison if she didn't "make" her child go to school.  Bullying by proxy; The sophisticated way to do it.

Unfortunately the corollary of Jenn's missive is that when you finally understand what it is like to be another person their actions make sense and you drop the negative judgemental interpretation.  They used to shoot "cowards" who ran away from a battle in this country until they realised people were shell shocked.

Schools are state controlled indoctrination machines.  They are primarily inhuman and separate the child from the already dysfunctional nuclear family at an age that is shameful.  And they do it by law.  Any child who is acting as a healthy human being will resist school like a pig would an abattoir if it knew what it was.  Why do we criticise children for their creative perception and their deeply human understanding?  Why do we persist in perceiving children as somehow "wrong" when they show traits that we know in our hearts, we agree with?  Why do we have to "invent" mental conditions or illnesses (like ODD) to excuse the fundamentally "human" behaviour of children?  The sooner we stop complying with the cultural oppression by proxy the sooner the human race can get on with living in happy harmony with its environment.

A cautionary note to any parents reading this; Don't bully your children because you are afraid of what the state will do to you.  That makes you part of the hierarchy of oppression.  We rate people like Albert Einstein as super human and yet he hated school and explains why with good reason.  At the age of 7 he threw a chair at a teacher.  He said that schools are designed to stop people thinking, that conformity is the worst enemy of creativeness.  Why don't we actually listen to the people we regard as great.  But that goes for Christianity as well so what the hell;  Maybe we are a lost cause anyway so we might as well continue to rape the planet and abuse our children.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

A New Year's Resolution

I don't know how I am going to do this but I have decided I will have a New Year's Resolution after all.  It is actually the 14 January 2012 but what the hell.  If you give up after the first failure what hope is there?  I'm a destitute man in an attic whose life has been destroyed by cultural prejudice, abuse and oppression.  Sometimes I write what is on my mind and sometimes I write stuff that I have thought out.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  But I get despondent and don't write for days.  I did keep a diary once and, on rereading it, even I can see how tedious and boring it can get reading it.  So I decided I will write a blog entry, no matter what, each day.

I will try to be kind to myself and forgive me if I fail but I will try to catch up.  I will try to make at least one interesting entry per day.  I will even "think" about it sometimes.  Maybe it will evolve into a really interesting blog.  Maybe I will find my true purpose in life.  But a lot of it will be straight from the heart.

Fundamentally we live in an "inside out" world.  That will take a lot of explaining but Freud began to understand it.  We are, to some extent, living in a subconscious world.  We think we "understand" what is going on but at every turn we find "the universe" or "reality" is not behaving quite as we expect.  In Jungian terms this is possibly the subconscious conflicts revealing themselves.

I have a little pet theory (I have many of those) which is about "Inside Out People".  That could be my second blog.  Inside Out People are those contradictory, controlling, authoritarian, self opinionated gits that many of us encounter every day.  They are stunningly un-empathetic.  They even seem to have no genuine feelings.  They certainly suffer a lack of rational logical analytical thought.  They seem to work on the principle of saying stuff to get results regardless of its relationship to truth or reality.  So why are they "Inside Out"?

Take two people, say P1  and P2, and P1 says to P2 "There were these three people in a room..."  What happens in side P2's head?  Half way through the statement P2 has formed an idea of three abstract objects that have human qualities.  A bit like an artist's manikin - sexless, size-less,  colourless - mere blobs representing these "three people".  During the second part of the phrase they are suddenly encased in four walls.  The room has no defining features except that it is "a room".  Now P1 says "...and the mother says to her daughter..." and suddenly two of the manikins become female and one is adult and the other is, provisionally, smaller.  The last figure takes on the possibility that it is male and maybe the husband, but it might be another child or someone else altogether.

So we form models of reality inside our heads.  Inside Out People think the model IS reality and non-inside out people think the stuff outside, that is adjusting their world view, IS reality.  I am of the opinion that the stuff out there is reality.  I regard my experience to date to suggest that I am an object experiencing effects from "out there".

To keep this to a few simple examples Inside Out People will typically say things like "It doesn't hurt." when sticking a needle into a child's arm and they cry.  They will say things like "Don't be clever!" when a child questions them with some valid point.  They have opinions about people which have no real substantial meaning like laziness, rudeness, obstinacy, or that they are "spoilt".  Inside Out People are working on the basis that the model inside their head is reality and when a signal is received that conflicts with their current model they criticise the world out there claiming IT is wrong.  Non-Inside Out People have a different response to the same situations.  They will say sorry to the child or something factual like "I know it does but it won't take long."  They will think about the question the child puts to them if it is a valid point.  All those "bad" attributes like laziness are thought about.  They wonder "why" this particular person doesn't actually want to do the thing in question.  People who are the right way out readjust their inner model according to the new information coming in.

This idea of Inside Out People is simplified here.  Of course we all use both methods to varying degrees.  But in the normal hubbub of daily life some people are acting more Inside Out than others.  They are not terribly helpful when it comes to adapting to a changing world and generally the worst cases float to the top of the hierarchy and generally make it very difficult for a lot of other people beneath them.

There!  That's the first blog of my New year's Resolution.