September 22, 2022

Check For Bumper Stickers

Go out to your car now and scrape off any bumper stickers that might indicate non-alignment with the latest Twitter encyclical. Do not wear any clothing that might indicate a opinion on the matters of the day. 


Watch what you say, and keep your conversations as anodyne as possible. 

Sit back, relax, and watch The Lives of Others to gain some insights into our new reality. 

Because THIS sort of thing is getting more frequent.

Above all else, do not lower yourself to their level. From a moral standpoint it is wrong to behave as they do. From a practical standpoint it would play into their hands. From a political standpoint it denies the populace the option of voting against monsters if both sides become monsters.

Manage your anger, and save it for the ballot box.

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September 21, 2022

Streamery Update

From 21:30 Friday Evening to 09:30 Saturday (EDT; 01:30 AM to 13:00 Saturday UTC) My internet alter-ego will be doing a 12 hour endurance stream!  Stop by for Final Fantasy 14 and in between our adventures in Eorzea we'll watch some Silent Scifi Movies! Like Metropolis (1926) Dr. Jekyl and Mister Hyde (1912) Georges Méliès (1907) version of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea Which we'll compare to the 1916 American version of the same story.  We'll show some others as well before we resume trying to save the Scions of the Seventh Dawn  from whatever gun toting loons just abducted them.  Stop by for the award winning MMO and some retro cinematography this Friday at 9:30 PM EDT! @ https://www.twitch.tv/brickmuppet ! 



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September 13, 2022

The World is Stupid

I couldn't get the car to start this morning.


After about 20 minutes, I realized that the issue was that the keyfob battery was dead.



I was late to work because my car key ran out of power.

The world is stupid. 

I have to be to work in 4 hours. "thud"

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September 11, 2022

21 Years


21 years after this debacle, we sit in utter defeat.
Afghanistan is back under the control of the Taliban, with millions of dollars in military kit to boot. 

 One nightmare scenario posited in the uncertain days after this debacle has indeed come to pass. Other cities have been razed by terrorists and even more of our countrymen killed, but those who burned those cities, were not from, or inspired by, the religious zealots who did this. Because, far from coming together, we have turned on each other. 

The security apparatus set up, ostensibly to deal with the threat these terrorists posed, has been turned on our own people, quite selectively as it happens, based on political affiliation. 

The public health apparatus which mobilized to deal with a bio-warfare attack, likewise descended upon our freedoms like wolves when a disease WAS unleashed, in part be research funded by those same health officials, ostensibly to prevent such a thing. 

These awful developments were the result of some long term trends, but the opportunists that made them happen were able to use these attacks to disable the institutional and civic safeguards that otherwise would have kept those tendencies in check. 

It was the day that everything changed.

The day the country went off the rails. 

A person born on that dark day would be old enough to drink today.

This event is, today, like Pearl Harbor was to a kid in the '60s, something old farts talked about, one of those past things from back before things got normal like they are now....because this "normal" is all they've ever known. 

However, if we learned anything on that day (and it appears we didn't learn much other than how not to do things), stability is ephemeral. 

Prepare accordingly. 

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Picture is Unrelated


Art by TokyoGenso
more...

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August 24, 2022

Streamery Alert! (Updated)

My internet alter ego will be doing a unscheduled stream in about 25 minutes To check out the updates to Final Fantasy 14 Online that caused the server downtime that precluded Monday's stream. 


This weekend, we'll be doing a long stream Saturday night, beginning at  20:00 EDT/ 00:00 UTC with another silent film watch party, The 1920 German thriller "The Golem"!



After that we will continue pursuing the main quest in Final Fantasy 14 until we drop. Stop by and join us for the thrills and the fun at twitch.tv/brickmuppet.

UPDATE: A power failure caused by a nearby lightning strike delayed the stream, and when we started internet connectivity would not allow streaming more than 20 minutes at a time before the stream dropped. We'll try to do this next week once we are sure everything works. 

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Dead Internet Theory Gets Another Data Point

The Dead Internet Theory posits that the internet is now mostly 'bots generating anodyne content and pretending to be human. 


I'm skeptical because I'm human and as readers are aware I'm fully capable of producing anodyne content.

However, it now comes out that a Whistleblower at Twitter, one very high up in the companies hierarchy, is claiming  that Twitter may be as much as 50% bots and ...
...that Twitter violated the terms of an 11-year-old settlement with the Federal Trade Commission by falsely claiming that it had a solid security plan. Zatko’s complaint alleges he had warned colleagues that half the company’s servers were running out-of-date and vulnerable software and that executives withheld dire facts about the number of breaches and lack of protection for user data, instead presenting directors with rosy charts measuring unimportant changes.
 

If true it means that Elon Musks complaints, based on his own analysis were valid.

It also means that at least in the case of Twitter, "Dead Internet Theory" has some merit. 

I have an anecdote related to this. When I stream on Twitch I rarely get more than a few viewers in the course of even a long stream, yet when I look at chat at the very beginning of a stream, even when I'm doing an unscheduled stream, I can have as many as thirty "viewers" at least some of whom are known Twitchbots (like 'ComanderRoot'). This implies that Twitch is at least aware of the bots (as they don't count towards my stream viewership requirements for monetization). I'm one data point and my internet expertise can be summed up as "potato" but in light of these revelations about Twitter, it's food for thought.

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Notes On Spam

I note that a percentage of spam comments are for a dating site in Sydney. 


No doubt they are aimed at the blogs IT  administrator.

This leaves me to wonder if all the comments pushing crypto, solar panels, wooden decks, Bangalore whores, or bulk quantities of frozen chicken feet are also misdirected attempts to assist Pixy. 

Dang....I deleted them.

Sorry Pixy. 

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August 16, 2022

Hiatus

Mom is under the weather. So much under the weather that she is undergoing radiation therapy. 

She's had cancer twice so I'm going down there for a few days. 

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At a Loss For Words





I've tried for several days to put  together my thoughts on how bad the Mara Lago raid was and why. I find myself deleting half-written posts in frustration or sitting and staring at the keyboard. 

Then I read up on the Spanish Civil War which does not improve my mood.

Two recent op-eds, do sum up the gravity of the situation, though I think both are too sanguine about where we go from here, particularly this one. The other article, I note, while more tempered in its analysis is, like the first essay linked, a call to arms. This is not comforting.

We are on dangerous ground. Half the country, when it acknowledges them at all, looks at the other half with contempt. The other half views them in turn with a mixture of fear and disgust.

This is a state of affairs that cannot stand. 

It's not just ignorance and misunderstanding either, both sides have fundamental and irreconcilable differences in their view of the role and function of government, the status and responsibilities of the individual, and the very concept of what is personal space.

I must say that the trend of the last few years is....worrisome.



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August 15, 2022

In Which I get to Point Out Unironicaly That Tik-Tok Kills

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August 07, 2022

The Return of the Good Old Days


Polio Virus Photo Via

Polio, a disease that once was a seasonal horror, that killed or paralyzed millions and was only eliminated in North America in 1979 through the genius of Jonas Salk has returned to the U.S. 


Inflation, gas shortages domestic terrorism, riots, foreign policy disasters, Weimar-like degeneracy, paranoia and polio.  The '70s are here again baby. 

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August 06, 2022

The Forbidden Hololive Video


This video, by HoloLive V-Tuber Nanashi Mumei was pulled from You-Tube (actually set to "private").

Hololive issued a statement



I am ASSUMING that something in this video activated a Twittermob, but I cannot for the life of me figure out what was concerning enough to pull it.

If any of you know, please, in the comments, let me know exactly what special group of snowflakes this cute little video is theoretically disrespecting.

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August 05, 2022

Wonderduck

Wonderduck suffered a blood clot 18 months ago and has been bedridden since. He was dealt a terrible hand when his hospitalization, but not his physical therapy was covered by insurance. 


He has been struggling to literally get back on his feet since that time.

Today, for the first time in 18 months he got up and walked unassisted aside from touching one of a set of parrallel bars for balance. 

He's in for a rough few weeks but he's made the big step. Please go to his comments and give him congratulations and encouragement


Actual video footage of the incident.

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Isaac Arthur Isn't Supposed to be Topical

I'll just leave this here. 


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Achievement Unlocked

Today marks one year since I flopped around on the floor like a dying fish to reach under the bed to get my phone to call the ambulance to take me to the hospital where I was diagnosed with a stroke. 


I woke up this morning. 

A small act of defiance to be sure, but one that pleases me quite a bit. 

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August 02, 2022

On Vacation

In celebration of having written a long post that did not evaporate when I hit publish, I'm going south for a few days to visit my 80 year old parents who have no computer and no internet beyond the potential for dial-up offered by their land line. 

Blogging will resume this weekend and the next stream on the Twitch channel will be Friday night. 



We'll begin by watching some silent DINOSAUR movies! The short surviving clip from The Ghost of Slumber Mountain ( 1918 )...(the very first live-action film featuring dinosaurs!) will be followed by the classic 1925 adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's novel The Lost World




Since those films together are less than 2 hours long, and our Friday streams are scheduled to be at least 4 hours, we will follow the  thunder lizards with a few hours of adventuring in Eorzea with the superbly entertaining MMORPG Final Fantasy 14 Online




Come by and join us for the fun this Friday, August 5th, at 9:00PM EDT / 1:00AM UTC at twitch.tv/brickmuppet !


************

Next Monday at 6:00pm EDT / 10:00pm UTC we will continue last night's fighting and grilling with the quirky Metroidvania cooking game Dungeon Munchies 



There are other games in prospect, pending the arrival of some equipment so stay tuned!

While the channel still isn't monetized and thus we can't use our emotes in the channel just yet, we are prepared for that eventual contingency as the channel has just acquired a fully operational...wiggly!


Art by Anime Gum. Support him on Patreon!

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Some Damn Fool Thing About an Old Property Lease

The Diplomat reports on a strange international legal situation that could add yet another complication to the Balkans-in-1914-like conglomeration of conflicting interests, unclear jurisdictions, centuries old grievances, ethic hatreds, overlapping/contradictory treaties and great power intrigue that is Southeast Asia. 


The issue has its origins in a 1658 agreement by the  ">Sultanate of Brunei to cede the province of Sabah to the Sultanate of Sulu as compensation for Sulu's assistance in putting down a Bruneian revolt. 

This was somewhat complicated by an 1878 agreement with the British Empire to lease the province... a contract which was continued by the Malaysian government who continued to pay the modest stipend to the heirs of the long defunct Sultanate of Sulu after the country gained independence from the Brits. 

The Sultanate of Sulu covered northern Borneo, islands in the Sulu Sea and the southern end of Mindanao, today the southernmost big island of the Philippines. 



The Sultanate of Sulu was the focus of considerable ire from the Spanish who, having claimed the Philippines, did not recognize their territorial claim over  those islands. Sulu never actually signed a treaty of surrender however and when the U.S. acquired the Philippines in 1898 the centuries old conflict was still going on in the region known as Morro. The U.S. DID get a treaty from the last Sultan of Sulu in 1915, ending the bloody 'Morro Rebellion' and the last reigning Sultan retreated to Northern Borneo where his remaining lands were subsequently incorporated into British possessions there. 

The area became part of Malaysia when that country gained independence but the lease continued to be paid to the heirs of the Sultanate....

Well...until 2013 when the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu started an insurgency that killed at least 60 people in the province of Sabah. Given that this was an attempt by terrorists to re-establish a defunct Sultanate the Malaysian government put a stop to the payments to the family. 

From here it gets....complicated. 

Because the Sultanate of Sulu had a large par of their historical territories in the Philippines, the Philippines, for most of their existence as an independent country laid claim to Sulu's historical territories in what is now Malaysia including Malaysian islands in the Sulu Sea and northern Borneo. (Note that the U.S. never made this claim)  

The Sultanate of Sulu was somewhat at odds with the other Islamic Kingdoms in the area because their interpretation of the Koran was....less nuanced... than the other, comparatively moderate Sultanates in the Southeast Asian archipelago. Their beliefs seem to be somewhat similar to the Whahabists of the middle east.  Note that at least one of the Morro factions in the Philippines (which even today are waging a nasty insurgency there) aligned themselves with ISIS a few years ago. The Morro themselves, as mentioned earlier are a Sulu remnant who never accepted the peace treaty. 

The heirs to the Sultanate of Sulu consider the Government of Malaysia, to be too moderate to be a legitimate ruler of Muslims. 

Thus, when the heirs to the old Sultanate made their putch in Malaysia in 2013 the Malaysian government naturally cut off payments to them. 

Which is where Luxembourg gets involved. 

The Petronas corporation, Malaysia's big oil conglomerate (you may have heard about a couple of their buildings) holds the actual lease at the crux of all this. Well, the company was just taken to court by the remnants of the Sultanate of Sulu...in, uh, France. There it was found that was found that, Petronas Corporation, by complying with Malaysian government, had unjustly denied the heirs to the Sultanate of Sulu the approximately $5,300 annual stipend that had been promised them by the British in 1878 and grandfathered in upon Malaysian Independence. Thus they were awarded 14.9 B...B...Billion and their subsidiaries (which were registered in Luxembourg) have been seized.

So:

Let us review:

A group of heirs to a defunct kingdom with territorial claims that overlap two countries and known ties to Islamic extremists as been awarded almost 15 billion dollars because a company stopped paying a $5,300/yr lease the company inherited from the British after the government asked the company to please not fund terrorists.  

15 billion will buy a lot of suicide vests and other kit, but there are more troubling implications. It appears that the remnants of the Sultanate of Sulu, in addition to insurgents and suicide bombers, possess a weapon that is singularly formidable and heretofore not thought of as a large part of their arsenal. 

Lawyers.  

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August 01, 2022

WE MADE IT!

Brickmuppet Blog has uncovered PROOF that we have made it to the future and are living in it!




No, that's not proof. That's just foreshadowing.


This is the proof. 


Move along citizen, this is not happening, there is no Weimar here. 

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July 31, 2022

Meanwhile: In the Taiwan Straits

The People's Republic of China is holding live fire drills with naval and costal artillery assets as the U.S. Navy sends a carrier strike group into the contested waters around the Republic of China on Taiwan. 


All this is because the U.S. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, offhandedly mentioned that she was going to visit Taiwan as part of her visit to several east Asian countries.  The Chicoms reacted with the grace and dignity one has come to expect from them over the last few years, threatening President Biden in the course of an angry two hour phone call between him and Party Chairman Xi Xinping and publicly threatening to blow the U.S. congressional delegation's plane out of the sky if they actually look like they are going to land on Taiwan.  

My dislike of the current Speaker of the House is nothing short of Brobdingnagian, but I laud her for standing by an ally. I also think that she and the congressional delegation now HAVE to visit Taiwan as not doing so will send a message of weakness and acquiescence that will almost certainly come back to haunt us most calamitously in the near future. 

China, internally, is currently in far greater turmoil than is generally appreciated, (but that even commies are noting) and its leadership cadre are looking for a distraction that can shore up support amongst the people and assure the populace that the regime still has the "Mandate of Heaven", which, while not recognized by the politburo, is a deeply ingrained cultural tradition in China.

Things are sufficiently messed up in the Middle Kingdom right now that it is quite possible that Xi might roll the dice in hopes of a 'short victorious war'. 

Taiwan is where the vast majority of our semi-conductors are made, at least the ones not made with Chinese spyware. Taiwan is actually of such strategic importance that it's a place that most Democrats, Republicans, and even some Libertarians are willing to fight for for both moral, economic and strategic reasons. 

This could get very hot, very quick. 

Fill your tanks with gas tonight. 

Maybe buy some canned food. 



And save some bottle caps. 

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