“I go from exasperation to a state of collapse, then I recover and go from prostration to Fury, so that my average state is one of being annoyed” ~ Gustave Flaubert

Il Labirinto Villa Pisani Italy*

                   

“The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what’s true.” ~ Carl Sagan

Wednesday evening. Very cold; winter storm predictions.

Maze at Reignac sur Indre, France

A bit of a strange and vexing day. Did you know that if you unplug your keyboard to clean it, and then sit the keyboard back on the desk but fail to plug it back into the CPU, typing with all your might will not produce anything on the screen? See? I can be amusing as well as informative.

I must have failed to make this connection as this afternoon I was reading my e-mail, and I started to reply to someone, but nothing happened. I thought to myself, “Stupid computer. What’s wrong with you now?” I tried typing harder. Nothing. Reopened my mail. Nothing. Rebooted the computer. Still nothing. Completely vexed, I decided to abandon the mail and do a bit of browsing on tumblr.

I swear, completely truthful here, it took me almost three hours of mulling it over in the back of my mind before I realized that the keyboard was unplugged; hence, no typing, no words on the screen. Isn’t that just pathetic? Here I had blamed the computer for obvious operator incompetence, but to be fair, it’s usually the computer. Really. It is.

“I felt like an explorer who had been handed a map written in invisible ink. … The library was a place where most of the things I came to value as an adult had their beginnings.” ~ Pete Hamill, “D”Artaganan on Ninth Street”

The Imprint Maze, Gloucestershire (Footprint of a Colossus)

I also spent an inordinate amount of time today discovering that the new health insurance policy that went into effect January 1 is a great, big, piece of crap. Okay, health insurance is better than no health insurance. However . . . health insurance that does not include any of your current doctors in the list of providers is reprehensible.

I know. GW changed carriers because of cost concerns. That’s the reality. But the reality for me is that I am paying the same amount for a policy that isn’t doing me much good. I now have to decide whether to pay the out-of-network cost to see all of the doctors with whom I have established a relationship or to play craps with a list of providers with whom I am not familiar in the hopes that I can find a new gastroenterologist, a new gynecologist, and a new neurologist.

My pain doctor is also not in-network, but I really cannot even conceive of changing back doctors. The only doctor that is still in network is my PCP.

So aside from cursing at the computer for its inability to put words on the screen after I had typed them on an inoperable keyboard, I also spent a lot of time cursing at the computer screen for showing me a whole lot of nothing good. As it stands, I am six months overdue for my annual humiliation in the stirrups, three years overdue for breast-smashing, and several years overdue for a checkup on my digestive system. I will run out of my cymbalta within the next three weeks, and I don’t have an appointment with an in-network mental health care provider.

Ah, the rich pageantry of life.

“Pointless . . . like giving caviar to an elephant” ~ William Faulkner

Castlewellar Peace Maze, Northern Ireland

So in essence, the entire time that I thought that I was being productive was actually yet another exercise in futility. I should probably have those three words—exercise in futility—tattooed across my forehead, as nothing could possibly be a more fitting description of my life at the moment.

I did manage to make an appointment to get my eyes examined, something that I have really needed to do for months now. My new policy does have a vision rider, which means that my exam is covered at 100 percent, and I get a deduction on my glasses and/or contacts. Of course, the eye doctor that I had wanted to go to is not in network . . . so I settled for someone else. I’m seriously thinking of going back to contacts; I haven’t worn them for over a year now. I’ll probably do both glasses and contacts and then depending on how lazy I am in the morning/afternoon when I get up, I’ll slap on glasses or take the few extra minutes to put in the contacts.

This is what I am left with: six possible names from which to choose a gastroenterologist, and seven possible names from which to choose a neurologist. Well at least they gave me a choice. Hmm . . . choosing someone to mess with my brain and choosing someone to mess with my innards up close and personal. Excuse me if I don’t feel terribly excited by the prospects.

So many decisions. You would think that some of this stuff actually mattered. But I know better.

“I feel as if I were a piece in a game of chess, when my opponent says of it: That piece cannot be moved.” ~ Søren Kierkegaard

Longleat Hedge Maze, UK

Other things that got on my nerves today:

YouTube suddenly turns of the shuffle mode when I am playing a playlist, and I will listen to the same song three times in a row without noticing it.

The tumblr dashboard was acting up, and whenever I tried to reblog something, I got the error page, which means that I either did not get a reblog, or I reblogged twice—and I realize that this means absolutely nothing to you if you don’t use tumblr, but it’s rather vexing, so it needed to be included in today’s list of things that make me crazy.

Oh, and Alexis dropped by this evening to grocery shop in our pantry. She also picked up the laundry that she sent over. It must be nice . . . While she was here, she also scavenged in Eamonn’s room to see if there was anything in here that she might want. Who is this person?

She moves through the house like a cyclone, grabbing things in her wake until she is satisfied, and then she leaves, after gracing us with her presence for less than a half an hour. She always says that the next time she drops by she will stay longer. I don’t know if we have enough stuff that she wants to warrant an extended stay.

Ooh. That last bit was snarky. Wasn’t it?

Honestly, this post was not meant to be one long bitch-fest, but that’s what has happened. Isn’t it? I would apologize, but I’m not really sorry. Sometimes, it’s important to vent. It keeps the stomach-aches away. Or is that yogurt that does that?

I feel a great need for chocolate and caffeine, and I don’t believe that I will restrain myself since I have been on an eating binge for the past two days, which makes sense since I have to get on doctor’s scales next week, and being weighed while bloated and full will only help my general disposition.

I think that I’ll stop now with this wonderful quote by David Suzuki which pretty much sums up the day: “We’re in a giant car heading towards a brick wall and everyone’s arguing over where they’re going to sit.”

Music by Simon Wilcox , “Empty Sky”

*Today’s theme: Mazes (more than one entrance and exit) and labyrinths (only one entrance and exit), for obvious reasons

“It’s crazy when getting us back to square one feels like victory.” ~ Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

 

“The banks didn’t read the fine print . . . we don’t read the fine print on anything. Have you ever seen the length of an i-tunes contract?” ~ Jon Stewart, “The Daily Show”

The following—which was originally posted on Between the Hammer and the Anvil—appeared on my dash in Tumblr, and I think that it’s worth reposting in its entirety, not only for the finely executed argument, but also because it references my favorite imaginary character, Keyzer Soze, from The Usual Suspects

Enjoy.

How The Peasantry Took Up Torches And Burned Their Own Houses Down

Good fun as usual with MattTaibbi, documenting the atrocities as the major US banks’ intergalactic rip-off moves into the mopping-up phase by crushing homeowners with the club of the state.

It’d be difficult to find a finer example of modern democracy’s total inability to control the monster it’s created.  On the micro level, here’s how the scam worked –

– The major US banks buy politicians with campaign contributions, in exchange for rights to expand into more markets and a reduction in regulations;

– Freed from effective oversight, the banks proceeded to aggressively lend to hundreds of thousands of home-buyers, entirely aware that they were lending to people who couldn’t afford repayments;

– The banks then took all those shit mortgages, bundled them up into impenetrable finance packages, and sold them off to pension funds, trade unions etc. as top-notch, ultra-secure investments rather than the near-worthless bags of cowshite they actually were;

– After a few years of making out like bandits, their pockets stuffed with fraudulently-earned cash, the financial crisis finally exposed the scam, causing major financial institutions around the world to explode like staked vampires.  Those that survived did so by robbing taxpayers at gunpoint – give us fifteen bajillion dollars, or we take the entire planet down with us. 

– Engorged with taxpayers’ cash, they then refused to lend it back to citizens – theoretically the reason they were given it in the first place – and awarded themselves another round of massive bonuses instead, before enlisting the aid of the state to repossess the very homes they’d used to cause the disaster in the first place.

Result – giganti-bonuses all round at Goldman Sachs; a lifetime of crushing debt and exploding government programmes for you and your offspring.

It’d be funny, if a peasant uprising in the US hadn’t just sent a flock of angry retards barking and snarling into Congress and the House to protect the banking aristocracy under the hilarious euphemisms of “smaller government” and “resisting socialism”.  It’d be hilarious, if the British government’s response to private sector malfeasance wasn’t an entirely ideological assault on government spending. 

It’s a real laugh riot, in short, that the near-destruction of the western world’s economy by Croesus-rich corporate thieves has been deliberately propagandised as an overabundance of social outreach officers – that the total discrediting of modern capitalism is somehow the fault of a non-existent socialism, an ideology that hasn’t been a force in world politics for more than twenty years.

That’s the micro explanation – on the macro scale, the problem begins in 1979, when a beige cadre of unsmiling Randroid lunatics decided to totally restructure the American and British economies by slicing and dicing the power of labour.

Long story short – the public were sold an appealing picture of personal responsibility and individual freedom.  What they got was an all-out, militarised assault on the working class, on the promise of call centre jobs, wide-screen TVs and a fortnight a year in Greece…  And then the call centre jobs were outsourced to India, and the bailliffs showed up at the door. 

Thus it was that governments that regarded the words “wealth redistribution” as Stalinist oppression proceeded to redistribute wealth to themselves and the class that spawned and sustained them – royalty.  For the great mass of the people, the new restructured economy meant one thing – debt.  Lots of debt.

And here we are in 2010, with a new breed of hairy-palmed Conservative revolutionaries making the world safe for royalty with an entirely ideological crackdown on public spending, pledging to create a bajillion jobs by hurling half a million onto the dole and forcing the unemployed to work for a bowl of rice a day.  Out of the self same wizardry that just hurled all of us into the shitter will be fashioned a brave new world of magical ponies.

Well, I don’t think you have to think be Sherlock Holmes to work out why this story hasn’t been broadcast from the rooftops, and exactly cui is bonofitting from it.  The British public didn’t suddenly decide on its own that the financial crisis was caused by tossing too much government cheese into tower blocks;  the electorate of the United States didn’t suddenly come to the conclusion unassisted that this disaster was caused by their dark-skinned neighbours borrowing too much money.

As Keyzer Soze says in The Usual Suspects, the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.  Our present situation strains satire, and represents the absolute failure of our democracy to analyse and tackle its most life-threatening problems.  It shows that collectively, we’ll swallow anything so long as there’s a lazy civil servant or a black homeowner to pay for our sins; that we’re delighted to have the privilege of selling our birthright for a car boot full of snazzy electronics bought on the never-never

BERNARD MATTHEWS: Anyone for more Christmas?

TURKEYS:  Yes please!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

 More later. Peace.