Tuesday, January 31, 2017

How Scientology ruined my life

It happened again this morning.

I say "again" because it was "again", the second time I've run into this problem - a problem so bizarre that no one I've asked seems to know anything about it.

I was tooling through Facebook as usual, trying in vain to skip the ubiquitous Donald Trump articles, when bung. The thing froze, I mean Facebook. I thought: fine, it happens, I'll just wait it out, it'll unfreeze in a second.


It came up again, a warning so ominous it hit me in the pit of the stomach.

It was a little box at the top of the page, and it went something like:

WARNING. Your files are unresponsive. If you wish to wait until they are responsive again, click WAIT. If not, click KILL and the files will be KILLED.

They listed the three most recent files I had opened. At the top was my Facebook page.

There were two rather large, strange-looking buttons: on the right, a WAIT; on the left, a KILL. Beside the KILL was the most bizarre graphic ever seen: it looked like a cartoon "file" (a paper file, literally) that had been nuked and was now dead. It was lying in a heap, and its eyes were two black x's. Smoke, or something, was coming out of it.

I cannot tell you how ominous and horrible it looked.

What do you do when you see a thing like that? Everything was frozen, I couldn't get out of there. I had no idea if the "kill button" would really work if I clicked on it. I was even tempted to click on it, to find out. But I knew that it could be catastrophic.

So I clicked WAIT, and eventually the box went away and things went back to "normal", or as normal as they could be after a Facebook hijacking.

What gives me the queasies is that nobody, but nobody knows what this is. I couldn't find anything close to the nasty little "killed file" graphic. I did find some information, after some digging, about what it means to "kill" on the internet. It's not quite what I thought, fortunately. To fix it, there's some sort of program you can buy online:

A simple-to-use program that offers support for context menu integration for helping you removes files securely from the computer

File Kill is a lightweight software application that helps you delete data permanently from your computer.

If you opt for a normal deletion process, you should take into account that your sensitive data may be retrieved using recovery tools, so you are still exposed to data leakage issues.

This is why you need dedicated utilities, like File Kill, for making sure the information is wiped out securely from your system.

File Kill offers support for context menu integration, so you can easily select the files to be processed.

The file deletion process can be carried out using of the multiple pass methods (e.g. one, three, thirty-five). What’s more, you are allowed to stop, pause, or resume the wiping task.

File Kill needs up to several minutes to complete a deletion operation with a high number of passes, and it stresses up the CPU and memory, so the overall performance of the computer may be burned.

Since it doesn’t require much computer knowledge to work with this tool, even rookies can set up the dedicated parameters with minimum effort.

However, more experienced users may find it pretty inconvenient to work with a tool that doesn’t offer support for powerful deletion algorithms, such as Gutmann, which is able to securely overwrite the contents of files, and the well-known sanitization algorithm, DoD 5220.22-M, just to name a few suggestions.

To sum things up, File Kill seems to be the right choice in case you are looking for an easy-to-use program that helps you delete data securely in just a few steps. Thanks to its straightforward approach, it can be mastered by beginners and professionals alike.

Secure shredder Shred file Secure deletion Shredder Shred Erase Eraser
File Kill was reviewed by (X)
DOWNLOAD File Kill 0.8 for WindowsCHANGELOG for File Kill 0.8

Windows Installer Clean Up Utility
Autorun Eater
Direct X Eradicator
Nero General Clean Tool
Pocket Killbox


Driver Cleaner.NET
DirectX Happy Uninstall
Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Plus (DISCOUNT: 50% OFF)
Powerful Cookies
Raxso Drive Magix

                                                                 "Short as Shit"

And blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. 

And oh, yes. Give me File Kill any day. It just sounds so friendly! My ass. It's about as friendly as an organized Scientology harassment campaign. The kind where they never let you see your mother again. Such terms: Autorun Eater, Direct X Eradicator! Not to mention the Pocket Killbox (nice and portable, they should do an infomercial on it for KVOS), Direct X Happy Uninstall, and Powerful Cookies. What do they put in those cookies, do you think?

I thought it was called "delete". I really did. If you wanted to get rid of something, you deleted it! Oh, the police could retrieve it if they needed to, but I didn't need to worry about that. I assumed that if it was still around, it was up in the "cloud" somewhere, wherever that is, but it didn't bother me because I had no criminal record. I'm too boring to bother with.

Now this. For the second time. And I did nothing to bring it on.

Or. . . 

I said some bad things about David Miscavige, I admit. I said he was short. REALLY short, which he is. Short as shit. Which he is! Tom Cruise is five-foot-six, and look at how he TOWERS over that little dickweed. 

He's a prick, but everybody says so. They wouldn't come after me. Would they? Would they really kill my Facebook page?

But this cannot be from Facebook. The warning even looked weird. Not Facebookian at all. And that cartoon! What a piece of shit THAT was. Is it a prank? A virus? A particularly nasty form of clickbait? Just a way to scare the jeezus out of me on a Monday morning?

I wish I had a screenshot of this thing, it was so evil you wouldn't believe it. Why would this even come up? Why would I want to kill ANYTHING, let alone my (I assume) entire Facebook page? All it did was freeze for half a minute or so. 

Stuff freezes. It doesn't mean you DID anything. 

I rebooted, but felt nervous that this could come up again. It had kept some kind of record of the other two pages I had recently gone on. But so fucking what, Google keeps records on ALL that shit! Come to that, how could you "kill" a webpage that exists, that is still there? It's not possible. 

Sounds like something the CIA might do, or Kirstie Alley or John Travolta, or someone worse. If there is anybody worse. 

ANTICLIMACTIC UPDATE. After working on it literally all day, I did finally find out what the hell this is. It's something to do with Google Chrome, not Facebook, but it's too technical for me to begin to describe.

These things are called Kill Pages, which sounds like Mafia rather than Scientology.  The thing that came up looked something like this:

That's pretty much what I remembered. I don't know why I wasn't able to find this up to now, but I may have used the wrong search terms. "Unresponsive" seemed to be the key word.

Nothing to do with Scientology. Damn! It's Google Chrome. What an anticlimax. I was pretty much right about that poor nuked file, however, the asterisk-like eyes and smoke or steam floating in the air. It's toast.

I found all sorts of instructions as to how to fix this. I'm going to ask my son. I never again want to read the instructions "KILL THEM" while I'm trying to enjoy my morning coffee and a bit of Facebook.

There's a man with a gun over there

By the later 1930s, most U.S. journalists realized their mistake in underestimating Hitler or failing to imagine just how bad things could get. (Though there remained infamous exceptions, like Douglas Chandler, who wrote a loving paean to “Changing Berlin” for National Geographic in 1937.) Dorothy Thompson, who judged Hitler a man of “startling insignificance” in 1928, realized her mistake by mid-decade when she, like Mowrer, began raising the alarm.

“No people ever recognize their dictator in advance,” she reflected in 1935. “He never stands for election on the platform of dictatorship. He always represents himself as the instrument [of] the Incorporated National Will.” Applying the lesson to the U.S., she wrote, “When our dictator turns up you can depend on it that he will be one of the boys, and he will stand for everything traditionally American.” (Smithsonian Magazine)

Monday, January 30, 2017

Tragopan strikes out!

(Note that the satyr tragopan, not the brightest of birds, is extravagantly performing his courtship ritual for a log.)

Satyr tragopan
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Tragopan satyra)

Satyr tragopan

Tragopan satyra from Pangolakha WLS, East Sikkim, India

Conservation status

Near Threatened (IUCN 3.1)[1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Galliformes
Family: Phasianidae
Subfamily: Phasianinae
Genus: Tragopan
Species: T. satyra
Binomial name
Tragopan satyra
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The satyr tragopan (Tragopan satyra) also known as the crimson horned pheasant, is a pheasant found in the Himalayan reaches of India, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. They reside in moist oak and rhododendron forests with dense undergrowth and bamboo clumps. They range from 8,000 to 14,000 feet in summer and 6,000 feet in winter. The male crimson horned pheasant is about 70 cm long.

Captive bird from Osaka, Japan.

When it is mating season, male satyr tragopans grow blue horns and a gular wattle. When ready to display, they will inflate their horns and hide behind a rock, waiting for females to pass by. When one does, they will perform an elaborate and attractive display in front of the females. At the end of the display, the male will stretch to his full height and show off all of his ornaments.

Females are brown. Males are usually red with blue, black, and white spots and freckles.

Oh, bliss! Oh, rapture!


Cheesy gifs: best in show

I didn't make these gifs, by the way. Some of them are fairly sophisticated, like this PicMix. MY PicMixes don't look like this. They look like they were made with mud and a Popsicle stick. Note the rather creepy way the Madonna-like figure blinks. Her hair moves, as does the head of the kitten. These things often have cats looking out the window. It's part of their cheesitude.

Most of the more scenic gifs I've collected (mostly from Facebook nostalgia pages, not that I ever go on them) aren't included here because they're too nice, I mean too normal, but the sheer busy-ness of this one makes it qualify as officially cheesy. The maker of it probably thought, the more stuff is moving, the better. I don't know what half of it is.  And oh, look - there's a kitten! See it? Its tail is moving and everything.

This one is a masterpiece. A sleigh with two horses just materializes like Aladdin rising out of his lamp, then slides rigidly straight down the hill as if the horses had snowboards attached to their hooves. Which, perhaps, they do. 

This one has very good intentions, and I have to confess I have no idea how it was done. Makes my own efforts look pretty crude. It is, however, extremely brief, maybe 1 1/2 seconds long, and frantic. And note the small ginger cat pawing at the window. Closely resembles the small ginger cat of gif #1.

Maybe I should dispense with my primitive flip-pictures and start doing stuff like this. Trouble is, lots of people are generating these things already. A Saint Bernard rocking a baby's cradle with its paw is some sort of pinnacle of cheesitude. Those things in the air bother me, though. Bugs? Dog dander? Who knows what.

I don't understand this one, at all. The poor fellow must have dropped his briefcase into the ocean. Or something. What's that white thing, why the dead flowers? Too poetical by half. Reminds me of an old commercial for Dristan, where a guy goes to Arizona in his briefcase.

I remember when this sort of thing was all you could make. Sparklies or whatever they were called. Gifs had not been invented yet. Blingee has ceased to work for me, and in any case was extremely limited. PicMix animations often don't move very much - animals look as if they are suffering seizures or death throes. This one is merely oversparkled. Nothing much else is happening in it. It would have been a nice cheesy touch if the hands of the clock moved around.

There's that kitten again, pawing at the window! More of a tabby this time. Birds or something go endlessly surging up. I keep thinking I see someone sitting out on the porch, but it couldn't be. There's simply no one out there (Twilight Zone music).

Similarly, we have these nymphets with things buzzing around them and the air kind of pulsating. At least there are no cats.

Why is it that when I make a PicMix, I can't get a fairy to dance behind my cookies? I am not sure what the fairy is doing there during coffee break, and I don't understand the wild geese very well either, because they never seem to get anywhere, but they look sort of nice. The whole thing is nice, but a little strange.

I've saved the cheesiest (and creepiest) for last. The little girl seems to sort of seethe in the frame, warping oddly. Reminds me of those optical illusion effects I suffered from earlier today from staring at a YouTube video meant to induce hallucinations. (It did.) A dog's tail shimmies back and forth. And lo! we see another kitten, lying on the sofa under a blanket, and seething in time with the little girl. That makes five cats, and only three dogs, so the cats win. 

Why can't I make gifs as cool as these??

The way Bentley drinks is weird!

The way Bentley drinks is weird. He must like the taste of wet paw.

Bentley is the best cat ever.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The horror of Donald Trump

Like Stephen Lewis, I am at a loss for words, and horrified. I have a sick, queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. This man (Trump) is so dehumanized and reptilian that he would blow the fucking planet to kingdom come for the sake of his own sociopathic pride. HE IS INSANE. The people who put him in power are deranged. Who let this happen? Who?? Why are they letting it go on for even a week?

I am tired of having sympathy for the poor neglected "working man". FUCK the working man! We have to save the human race!

Get him out of there, America. Get him out of there NOW, or I will cancel my subscription.

Strut your stuff: it's the Year of the Rooster!

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

This is the full documentary in English (in spite of the Spanish title). Absolutely hair-raising. Scientology is worth more billions than Donald Trump. What made me shiver were the huge Nazi-like emblems at the front of their (massive) rallies), and the lame quasi-military costumes that have nothing to do with the military. Not to mention the demented, babbling, universally-worshipped founder (L. Ron Hubbard) who by his own admission had untreated psychiatric illness. And note the cartoonishly-overblown "medal" Tom Cruise is wearing, mainly for going around blasting everyone who doesn't adhere to his/their beliefs.

I am really surprised this is still up and have a feeling it won't be much longer. And please, guys at YouTube, don't start pounding ME with a hammer because I shared this. Sharing YouTube videos on your blog is one hundred per cent OK, or why would there be a "share" button?

Friday, January 27, 2017