The Walking Braindead

November 27, 2018 2 comments

I wrote last year about what we get in the contents of our spam folder – in Trolled if you want to look it up. I took that one fairly seriously, as I found it offensive, but a couple of more recent ones have amused me, and I thought they might do the same for you. If you don’t check your spam folder regularly I can recommend it, especially if you feel the need to see lots of long posts in Cyrillic writing – I really should learn to read those! Or maybe you want a few dodgy links to click for dubious medical products offering to improve a certain element of your life – “nudge nudge, wink wink.” But amongst all the weird and wonderful dross there is the odd one which raises a smile (without the need for chemical inducements).

This first one dates back a couple of months. I shared it at the time on the Facebook page for my blog (you have ‘liked’ the page, haven’t you?!) but it didn’t seem worthy of a full post on its own. See what you think:

I often get repeats of spam comments, usually just with variations in the name, email address and ‘links that will not be clicked.’ That one is no exception, and I’ve received the same comment many times since then from other people concerned for my health and safety. It’s an interesting idea, but somehow I’m not sure that Mr Plod would accept it as an excuse: “l’m terribly sorry, officer, but I have been advised that wearing a seatbelt could cause me problems if I needed to vacate the car in a hurry, as I suffer from extreme incontinence and can’t swim.” The odd thing about that comment, which I consigned to the virtual waste bin as soon as I’d taken a screenshot, is that it doesn’t contain any links to click. I’d have thought they could have offered some of the porn sites that might have been of interest to Trump while he was waiting for Mueller to ask him about the Pee-Pee Tape. They’ve really missed a trick there.

Yesterday I had some comments in response to Sunday’s post about Christmas. Here’s the screenshot:

My apologies that it is rather large, but it just didn’t seem to be clear if I made it smaller. The second comment is pretty standard, and the product to which it links seems to be some kind of dietary supplement – you’ve no doubt seen them before, offering unproven weight loss methods to the gullible and desperate. I didn’t click on the link, by the way – checking things like that is what Google is for. It was the first comment which struck me: read it and you’ll see why. Interestingly, it also seems to be linking to a dodgy dieting site – the clue is in the name – but I didn’t bother Googling it.

The three people who had at that point replied to the post to which that first comment links will no doubt be thrilled at the description of them as ‘brain dead!’ They are all published authors, to begin with. All of their comments are intelligent and relate to what I said in the post – which is more than can be said of ‘!’ Obviously, I’m thrilled to know that my writing is so passionate that ‘kaile’ was moved to comment – again, apparently, no chemical inducements were required to effect this movement. But please, ‘kaile,’ take a look at what you’re doing before accusing others of suffering from the same ailment as you. Both comments related to the first image in the post, not the post itself – which was titled Dare I Mention The C Word? not ‘Christmas Is Coming.’ That was one of the things which got me thinking that ‘kaile’ might actually be a bot, not a genuine living person. Do you think that’s possible? If so, I’m heartbroken at the thought that my new friend might not be real, and might even be one of those robots that featured in a late night Channel 4 documentary last week – I don’t need to paint a fuller picture, do I? But how could this be? Then again, maybe she (I’ve convinced myself that she is female – don’t judge me) actually was real and enjoyed my writing so much: I was flattered by her suggestion that she would like to read my writing on other sites but, sadly, no one else would want me! And she also wants a complete list of all of my online persona – I’m beginning to think I could be in here. But, hang on, there are clearly visible links on my blog site to my Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and my long-ignored Pinterest sites, and a big link to my new Facebook page for this blog (you have ‘liked’ it, haven’t you – oh, wait, I’ve already done that, sorry!). You’d have to be brain dead not to see them, really.

So, sadly, my dearest ‘kaile’ it appears that any relationship we might have had is doomed before it even begins to achieve liftoff. Truth be told, I really do prefer my friends to have a live brain, and you might not be a bot that I’d be attracted to. So for now I guess it’s back to the junk folder of my email account – at least some of them send me pictures, and sometimes there’s a bot on view 😉

Categories: Thoughts Tags: , ,

Dare I Mention The C Word?

November 25, 2018 24 comments

Christmas is coming

I expect many of us learned that little rhyme when we were children, which harks back to a bygone age in which Christmas was still relatively innocent, and less swamped by today’s rampant commercialism. The ha’penny referred to is in fact the old British pre-decimal halfpenny coin, which ceased to be legal tender in 1969, and the rhyme pre-dates that by centuries. As I picked up my iPad to download my digital newspaper (yes, I move with the times!) I noticed that today is the 25th November, exactly one month till Christmas, and this got me thinking about what the big day means. As I have said before, I veer towards agnosticism rather than any particular religion, but I respect the fact that this is a Christian celebration: Christ Mass, Jesus’ birthday. I also respect the fact that for those of other faiths this is probably not a day on which you celebrate, although I would imagine that it is hard to avoid if you live in a predominantly Christian country! Over the years, many traditions have developed to celebrate Christmas, both in a public sense and within families. I know that the way my parents celebrated Christmas wasn’t exactly the same as others in our village, but at its core was the same thing and there is nothing wrong with bringing a little individuality to it: what works for some may not be right for others, but the important thing is that it has its meaning for us.

The point of today’s post isn’t to look back in a haze of nostalgia, though. I want to look ahead, to what this Christmas will mean, and every succeeding Christmas. Much has been said and written in recent weeks, months and years about religion being at the root of conflicts across the world. This is terribly sad, even more so when you consider that it is nothing new: in the 2000+ years of our calendar system there has been a conflict or war with a religious element to it in around 1500 of those years, somewhere in the world. What I fear is that we are losing the ability to respect each other’s religions, cultures and traditions. I worked for twenty years in one of the most culturally diverse areas in the UK, and have been part of celebrations for other religions, such as Diwali and Eid, to name but two. What always struck me was how people of different faiths welcomed others into their celebrations, and how this engendered mutual understanding, respect and friendship. Yet somehow, the great and the good seem to think that others may be offended by these celebrations, giving rise to such lunacies as Birmingham City Council having rebranded the season some years ago as ‘Winterval,’ or the widespread use of the phrase ‘Happy Holidays’ which I think started in North America. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think so!

Why can’t we all celebrate our cultural and religious diversity, rather than attempt to water it down to avoid offending someone, to the point at which we lose sight of the true meaning? I know that sounds ridiculously naive, given what I have just said about religion as a factor in conflicts, but I don’t really believe that the zealots who kill in the name of a religion are in any way upholding its true spirit. Nor do I accept that the more evangelical approach is necessarily right either: it can also lead to a blinkered view of religion and its place in the world, coupled with a great deal of hypocrisy.

But I digress. Is it too much to hope that those of us for whom it is part of our culture can celebrate Christmas, however we choose to do it, without having to worry what others may think, and to hope that even if it isn’t part of their tradition they feel included and able to take part? Equally, is it too much to hope that all religious and cultural celebrations can be respected and enjoyed by all? It probably is too much, but I’ll continue to live in hope. This will be my celebration for 25th December:


I hope you can share in the spirit of this, as I would hope to share in the spirit of your celebrations, whatever they may be and whenever they take place. And I hope that your preparations will go well: you can’t be any worse off than I am, as the realisation that there is exactly a month to go is coupled with the knowledge that I haven’t even started yet!

Black Friday

November 23, 2018 Leave a comment

As I shared yesterday the post I wrote last year for Thanksgiving Day it seemed only natural to give you the companion piece for today. Whilst we here in the UK have mostly resisted celebrating Thanksgiving – we don’t have a public holiday for it – the ever-increasing onward commercial juggernaut of Black Friday has been gleefully leapt upon by all manner of companies seeking to separate us from our money. The internet makes it all too easy to give in to temptation (Oscar Wilde was right!) but there will still be many braving – if that’s the correct word – real shops for bargains on things they never knew they needed. So, if you are shopping today, and however you are doing it, good luck! I hope to see you surviving to be able to read my next post 😂

Take It Easy

After yesterday’s piece on Thanksgiving Day it seemed natural to follow with a companion article on another US tradition which has made its way to these shores: Black Friday. Being the day after Thanksgiving, this is a public holiday in about half of US states and many private employers give their staff the day off too. It marks the unofficial start to the Christmas shopping season, and has been part of US tradition for well over 50 years: the name was first given to it by the police in Philadelphia (Philly PD, as they’re known in Body Of Proof!) some time around 1960, to describe the pedestrian and traffic chaos that it caused. Judging from some of the scenes we’ve seen on the news in recent years it is an apt name, more for what goes on inside stores than on the roads! Like this

Or this

It must…

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Categories: Thoughts
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