Friday, 16 November 2018

Peter Bence: Africa

Published on May 17, 2018 by Peter Bence
YouTube: AFRICA - Toto x Peter Bence (Piano Cover)


Wikipedia: Peter Bence
Peter Bence (b 1991) is a Hungarian pianist, composer and music producer. He has gained considerable popularity with his piano arrangements of Despacito (Fonsi/Yankee/Ender), Michael Jackson, Queen and Sia collecting over 500 million video hits and a popular following on his YouTube channel and Facebook page. His most viewed video of all time is his lively rendition of "Despacito."

Official web site: Peter Bence
Peter Bence is an internationally acclaimed virtuoso pianist, recording artist, composer, and producer who holds the Guinness World Record for being the “Fastest Piano Player”. He has taken the Internet by storm with his piano arrangements of Michael Jackson, Queen, and Sia collecting over 500 million video hits and a huge following on YouTube and Facebook over the past 2 years.

He has achieved sensational success with his edgy, percussive and expressive playing style that has broken down boundaries between classical and popular music. He takes the piano to a whole new level, which inspires both younger and older generations of musicians and music lovers from everywhere around the world. His live performances are attracting thousands around the world. In the recent two years, he has toured in more than 40 countries on 4 continents and opened 2017’s BBC Proms In The Park in Hyde Park, London for 50,000 people.

YouTube channel: Peter Bence
Pianist, Composer, Songwriter, Music Producer "The World's Fastest Piano Player" certified by the Guinness World Records

Facebook: Peter Bence

Twitter: Peter Bence

Instagram: Peter Bence


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Sunday, 16 September 2018

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

"On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog" is an adage and meme about Internet anonymity which began as a cartoon caption by Peter Steiner and published by The New Yorker on July 5, 1993... As of 2011, the panel was the most reproduced cartoon from The New Yorker, and Steiner has earned over US$50,000 from its reprinting.

Wikipedia: On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog
The cartoon symbolizes an understanding of Internet privacy that stresses the ability of users to send and receive messages in general anonymity. Lawrence Lessig suggests "no one knows" because Internet protocols do not force users to identify themselves; although local access points such as a user's university may, this information is privately held by the local access point and is not an intrinsic part of the Internet transaction.

It also shows how Internet communication is liberated from familiar constraints. Sociologist Sherry Turkle elaborates: "You can be whoever you want to be. You can completely redefine yourself if you want. You don't have to worry about the slots other people put you in as much. They don't look at your body and make assumptions. They don't hear your accent and make assumptions. All they see are your words."

A study by Morahan-Martin and Schumacher (2000) on compulsive or problematic Internet use discusses this phenomenon, suggesting the ability to self-represent from behind the computer screen may be part of the compulsion to go online. The phrase can be taken "to mean that cyberspace will be liberatory because gender, race, age, looks, or even 'dogness' are potentially absent or alternatively fabricated or exaggerated with unchecked creative license for a multitude of purposes both legal and illegal", an understanding that echoed statements made in 1996 by John Gilmore, a key figure in the history of Usenet. The phrase also suggests the ability to "computer cross-dress" and represent oneself as a different gender, age, race, etc. On another level, "the freedom which the dog chooses to avail itself of, is the freedom to 'pass' as part of a privileged group; i.e., human computer users with access to the Internet".

A Personal Observation
The Internet gives us anonymity: the freedom to say or do anything we want without any of the normal constraints, without fear of criticism or condemnation. That freedom can be liberating: We can talk about subjects such as sex and sexual preferences that normally, we repress in everyday life out of worry of getting a negative reaction from a culture which is admittedly sexually repressed itself. That freedom can also be destructive as things come out unchecked by the norms of our society, politeness and respect, disparagingly referred to as being politically correct: sexism, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, anti-immigration, anti-science, etc. Trolls and trolling are the Internet at its worst.

Wicked Thoughts
In 2006, AOL released on the Internet a single compressed text file containing twenty million search keywords for over 650,000 of their users. The purpose was to generously contribute to the scientific community for research purposes.
[This] was the opportunity to see unfiltered what people were searching for on the Internet. This was a chance to see, truly see, what people were interested in. Think about it. Anything we say is governed by what we think others may approve of or criticise. Consequently anything we do is very much affected by our environment. But with this data, you had people typing search keywords in the (mistaken) impression no one was watching; that it was totally anonymous. So let's ask the question. If you sit down at a computer to search for anything anonymously - yes, nobody will ever know - just what are you going to look at? This is it; nobody will ever know. Type in anything your little heart desires.

[The book] entitled "A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World's Largest Experiment Reveals about Human Desire" by the authors Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam delves into this AOL data and apparently other similar information to investigate just what we are interested in, truly interested in when it comes to sex.

The Top Five Interests
While the authors found an instance of just about anything and everything, they discovered there are 20 sexual interests which account for 80% of all porn. The top five searches are youth, gay, sexy mothers, breasts and cheating wives.

my blog: Sex: A billion wicked thoughts - June 24, 2011


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Sunday, 26 August 2018

Samina Ali: What does the Quran really say about a Muslim woman's hijab?

Published on Feb 10, 2017 by TEDx Talks
YouTube: What does the Quran really say about a Muslim woman's hijab? | Samina Ali | TEDxUniversityofNevada
In recent times, the resurgence of the hijab along with various countries’ enforcement of it has led many to believe that Muslim women are required by their faith to wear the hijab. In this informative talk, novelist Samina Ali takes us on a journey back to Prophet Muhammad's time to reveal what the term “hijab” really means -- and it's not the Muslim woman's veil! So what does “hijab” actually mean, if not the veil, and how have fundamentalists conflated the term to deny women their rights? This surprising and unprecedented idea will not only challenge your assumptions about hijab but will change the way you see Muslim women.

Samina Ali is an award-winning author, activist and cultural commentator. Her debut novel, Madras on Rainy Days, won France’s prestigious Prix Premier Roman Etranger Award and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award in Fiction. Ali’s work is driven by her belief in personal narrative as a force for achieving women’s individual and political freedom and in harnessing the power of media for social transformation. She is the curator of the groundbreaking, critically acclaimed virtual exhibition, Muslima: Muslim Women’s Art & Voices.


Wikipedia: Samina Ali
Samina Ali is an American author and activist. Samina serves as the curator of Muslima: Muslim Women’s Art and Voices, a global, virtual exhibition for the International Museum of Women (IMOW), now part of Global Fund for Women. She is the co-founder of American Muslim feminist organization Daughters of Hajar. Her debut novel, Madras on Rainy Days, was awarded the Prix du Premier Roman Etranger award from France and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. She is a blogger for The Huffington Post and Daily Beast.

official web site: Samina Ali
Samina Ali is an award-winning author, activist and cultural commentator. Her debut novel, Madras on Rainy Days (Farrar, Straus, Giroux), was the winner of France’s prestigious Prix Premier Roman Etranger Award and a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award in Fiction. The book, about a young woman’s arranged marriage and political awakening, was partly inspired by Samina’s real-life experience growing up bi-culturally in Hyderabad, India and St. Paul, Minnesota.


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Sunday, 19 August 2018

My Author Profile at Spank the Carp

The short story web site, Spank the Carp, asked me to write an author's profile by answering a series of questions.

AUTHOR PROFILE William Quincy Belle
William Quincy Belle is just a guy. Nobody famous; nobody rich; just some guy who likes to periodically add his two cents worth with the hope, accounting for inflation, that $0.02 is not over-evaluating his contribution. He claims that at the heart of the writing process is some sort of (psychotic) urge to put it down on paper and likes to recite the following, which so far he hasn't been able to attribute to anyone: "A writer is an egomaniac with low self-esteem." You will find Mr. Belle's unbridled stream of consciousness floating around in cyberspace.

Why do you write?
I can’t draw. I can’t paint. I can’t sculpt. I can’t play a musical instrument. Why I do something is really based on a longer list of things I can’t do. As opposed to the polymaths, the Renaissance Men like Galileo, Da Vinci, etc., I’m more of an idiot savant, although there are some who would question the use of the word savant. Like many who took to blogging as a form of self-expression, I’m imbued with a high degree of self-importance; what I say matters. I’m a legend in my own mind.

Question: What’s the definition of an egotist?

Answer: Somebody who doesn’t think of me.

In the grand scheme of things, I know that I am merely a single grain of sand on the beach of life and my contribution to the background cacophony of seven billion voices is just a blip meriting an allusion to the posterior of a rodent: Who gives a rat's ass? However, I’m reminded that we’re not here for a long time; we’re here for a good time. I do this to amuse myself and will continue to do so as long as it does amuse me. Hopefully, along the way, what I do amuses one or two other people. It feels good to make somebody smile. A guffaw is a bonus.

What other creative activities are you involved in?
What other “creative” activities? There are those who feel creative is an inaccurate description of my illogical, non sequitur stream of consciousness, who rather see this as the failure of the psychiatric profession to develop the necessary therapeutic methods for dealing with whatever the heck is going on in my head.

Who is your favorite author and why?
William Quincy Belle is an author of startling depth and imagination... Oh, I’m sorry. Is this not where I write my own sales copy?

Tell us about the mechanics of how you write.
I turn on my computer and get a cup of coffee. I open Microsoft Word and take the first sip of the day. I look at the opening default blank page then check my email. I glance at the blank page then check the news feed. I go back and type a few words, then do backspace, backspace, backspace and go to YouTube to see what random videos have been served up. I take another sip of coffee and adjust the cushion I use for lumbar support.

This can go on for another forty-five minutes to an hour before I stand up to pace back and forth in front of my computer desk, shaking my fist at the sky and cursing my existence. I’m convinced the gods of inspiration are toying with me and my literary muse is really an evil siren luring me onto the rocks of distraction. Oh goodie, I haven’t seen this cat video before.

Finally, what do you think about Carp, the fish, not our website?
I firmly believe we should all seize the day. No, wait. You were talking about the fish not the Latin. I should have gone into politics. I like to give an answer before I understand the question.

I’m not sure why you ask about the carp. According to the 2014 pop song by Meghan Trainor, “It’s all about the bass.”

You called this a writing prompt: the literary equivalent of military training. Drop and give me a hundred.

That’s seventy-five. I will now meander on, filling in whatever’s necessary blah, blah, blah, to get my count to an even hun-

My thanks to the editor, Ken S., for putting up with my (literary) shenanigans. I'm reminded of an old saying: You're never too old to be immature.


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Saturday, 14 July 2018

Elle King: America's Sweetheart

Published on Apr 22, 2016 by ElleKingMusic
YouTube: Elle King - America's Sweetheart

No, there ain't nothing that I gotta prove
You think your words will make me black and blue, but I
I think I'm pretty with these old boots on
I think it's funny when I drink too much, hey
You tryna change me, you can go to hell
Cause I don't wanna be nobody else
I like the chip I got in my front teeth
And I got bad tattoos you won't believe

So kick out the jams, kick up the soul
Pour another glass of that rock and roll
Turn up the band, fire in the hole
Gonna lose control tonight

What do you want from me
I'm not America's sweetheart
So beat the drum with me
I'm not America's sweetheart
Well, they say I'm too loud
For this town
So I lit a match
And burned it down
What do you want from me
I'm not America's sweetheart
But you love me anyway

My hands are dirty and my heart is cold
Them boys I've been with say I got no soul, when I
I need another honey at the bar
I'll think it's funny when I break his heart
My kind of medicine is whiskey straight
I got a mouth to put you in your place, and they
They said I'll never be the poster type
But they don't make posters of my kind of life

So kick out the jams, kick up the soul
Pour another glass of that rock and roll
Turn up the band, fire in the hole
Gonna lose control tonight

What do you want from me
I'm not America's sweetheart
So beat the drum with me
I'm not America's sweetheart
Well, they say I'm too loud
For this town
So I lit a match
And burned it down
What do you want from me
I'm not America's sweetheart
But you love me anyway

You love me anyway
You love me anyway

Kick out the jams, kick up the soul
Pour another glass of that rock and roll
Turn up the band, fire in the hole
Holler if you ready, gonna lose control
Kick out the jams, kick up the soul
Pour another glass of that rock and roll
Turn up the band, fire in the hole
Gonna lose control tonight

What do you want from me
I'm not America's sweetheart
So beat the drum with me
I'm not America's sweetheart
Well, they say I'm too loud
For this town
So I lit a match
And burned it down
What do you want from me
I'm not America's sweetheart
But you love me anyway

You love me anyway
You love me anyway

I'm not America's sweetheart


Wikipedia: America's Sweetheart (song)
"America's Sweetheart" is a song recorded by American singer and songwriter Elle King for her debut studio album, Love Stuff (2015). King co-wrote the song with its producer, Martin Johnson. It serves as the album's second mainstream single and the third overall (promoted concurrently with rock single "Under the Influence"), and was serviced to hot adult contemporary radio in the United States through RCA Records on February 8, 2016.

Wikipedia: Love Stuff
Love Stuff is the debut studio album by American singer and songwriter Elle King. It was released physically and digitally in the United States on February 13, 2015, and on vinyl on March 3, 2015, through RCA Records.

Wikipedia: Elle King
Tanner Elle Schneider, known professionally as Elle King, is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. Her musical style encompasses country, soul, rock and blues. In 2012, King released her debut EP, The Elle King EP, on RCA. The EP track "Playing for Keeps" is the theme song for VH1's Mob Wives Chicago series. She released her debut album, Love Stuff on February 17, 2015. The album produced the US top 10 single "Ex's & Oh's", which earned her two Grammy Award nominations. King has also toured with acts such as Of Monsters and Men, Train and Michael Kiwanuka. She is the daughter of actor and comedian Rob Schneider and former model London King. She currently resides in Los Angeles.


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Saturday, 16 June 2018

Simply Red: Something Got Me Started

Published on Apr 29, 2009 by Simply Red
YouTube: Simply Red - Something Got Me Started

I love you, show me
Something got me started
You know that I will love you
Lately since we parted
I truly know that I need you
I'd give it all up for you I'd give it all up for you
I'd give it all up for you I'd give it all up for you
I'd give it all up for you (yes I would) I'd give it all up for you (yes I would)
I'd give it all up for you (yes I would) I'd give it all up for you (yes I would)
Totally broken hearted
Guilty of what I did to you
Lately since we parted
I truly know that I need you
Yes a little because
I'd give it all up for you I'd give it all up for you
I'd give it all up for you I'd give it all up for you
I'd give it all up for you (yes I would) I'd give it all up for you (yes I would)
I'd give it all up for you (yes I would) I'd give it all up for you (yes I would)
I really love you
C'mon, I'd give it all up for you, I'd give it all up for you
I'd give it all up for you, I'd give it all up for you
I'd give it all up for you (yes I would) I'd give it all up for you (yes I would)
I'd give it all up for you (yes I would) I'd give it all up for you (yes I would)
Yes I would yes I would
Yes I would
Yes I would, yeah
Yes I would
(Something got me started) hey
(Something got me started)
You've got to help me now (something got me started)
You've got to help me now (something got me started)
You've got to help me now (something got me started)
You've got to help me now, help me (something got me started)
I'll take it out


Wikipedia: Something Got Me Started
"Something Got Me Started" is the first single released from British band Simply Red's 1991 album Stars.

Music video
The official music video for the song was directed by Andy Morahan in Seville, Spain.

Wikipedia: Stars (Simply Red album)
Stars is the fourth album by British pop/soul/jazz band Simply Red, released in September 1991. Five singles were released from the album including the UK top ten hits "Stars" and "For Your Babies". Domestically it was a huge hit, becoming the best selling album in the UK for both 1991 and 1992 and according to the BPI certification of 12 times platinum, the joint 6th highest selling album of all time in the UK.

Wikipedia: Simply Red
Simply Red were a British soul band that sold more than 50 million albums over a 25-year career. Their style drew influences from blue-eyed soul, new romantic, rock, reggae and jazz. Since its early days the main driving force behind the band was singer Mick Hucknall, who by the time the band broke up in 2010 was the only original member left.


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Thursday, 31 May 2018

Incel, Insane, Incensed

On Monday, April 23, 2018, I walked out of my apartment in Toronto into a war zone: streets cordoned off, cop cars everywhere along with SWAT teams and soldiers. At a coffee shop, watching a TV, I found out 25-year-old Alek Minassian had driven a van down a sidewalk killing ten people and injuring another sixteen. What? This is the sort of thing I read about in the newspapers. This is not something which happens in my neighbourhood.

Later in the day, in following the news of the incident, I heard the term “incel”.

Wikipedia: Incel
Incels (a portmanteau of "involuntary" and "celibacy") are members of an online subculture who define themselves as being unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one, a state they describe as inceldom. Self-identified incels are almost exclusively male and mostly heterosexual. Discussions in incel forums are often characterized by resentment, misanthropy, misogyny, racism, entitlement to sex, and the endorsement of violence against sexually active women and more sexually successful men. The Southern Poverty Law Center has described the subculture as "part of the online male supremacist ecosystem", and self-described incels have committed at least four mass murders in North America.

Minassian published laudatory remarks about Elliot Rodger who killed six people and injured fourteen in California in 2014 because women supposedly rejected him.

Just a second. Let me get this straight: Alek Minassian went nuts because he couldn’t get laid?

On that Monday afternoon, I was about to head out to the gym when I was delayed by a phone call. I would have been walking on the very sidewalk Minassian drove down. A man, whom I had never met, would have killed me. This man would have killed a total stranger, someone who had never done him any harm, someone he had never even met, randomly lashing out at whoever had the misfortune of being in his line of sight.

I have a difficult time wrapping my head around that. I’m stunned. But when I think about it, I’m also outraged. Part of me wants to beat that guy senseless. This is so trivial, so self-centered, so twisted in logic, it defies comprehension. If it was a rabid dog, we would phone animal services and they would put it down.

I’m writing this five weeks after the tragedy. Minassian has appeared in court charged with so many crimes, he’ll never again see the light of day. I’ve read the list of victims with short biographies describing who these people were. They were just everyday people with hopes, dreams, and aspirations. This is unbelievably stupid. It’s heartbreaking.

I won’t get into analysing Incel. Experts, more knowledgeable than me, have delved into toxic masculinity. The #MeToo movement represents a reckoning over the subjugation of women within the traditional patriarchy. (Tell me, Harvey, you had no idea what you were doing was not normal.)

What is a just punishment for this crime? Does any prison time, solitary confinement, or even waterboarding equate to murdering ten complete strangers for no other reason than walking on a sidewalk?

Cave of the Patriarchs in 2009
On February 25, 1994, Baruch Goldstein, an American-born Israeli doctor, radicalized by the now disbanded and outlawed far-right extremist Kach movement, entered the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, West Bank, and opened fire on worshippers. He killed 29 people and wounded 125 before being stopped. This is known as the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre. I’ve never forgotten this line from the Wikipedia article:

Goldstein was overpowered, disarmed and then beaten to death by survivors.
-Wikipedia: Cave of the Patriarchs massacre

People were so incensed, they beat him to death. That’s primal.

I watched the video of the Toronto police officer who arrested Minassian. Ken Lam didn’t shoot even though Minassian antagonised him, seeming to look for death by cop. Kudos to Constable Lam.

Published on Apr 24, 2018 by CBC News: The National
YouTube: Ken Lam: The cop who arrested Alek Minassian peacefully (2:42)

What punishment does Alek Minassian deserve? What’s just? Ten people are dead. Ten lives have been tragically cut short, not for some higher cause, not for fighting for truth, justice, and the American way (nod to the opening of the original Superman TV series), but because this young man, upset at his own life, decided not to deal with his problems, but to take his frustration out on others.

In the 1987 thriller The Berkut, author Joseph Heywood tells a fictionalized account of what happened to Hitler after WWII. In this story, Hitler substitutes a double for himself in the bunker and secretly slips out of Berlin to Italy. Suspecting Hitler would never commit suicide, Stalin sends a team of operatives to capture him and bring him back to Moscow.

Hitler is secretly imprisoned in a hanging cage in a sub-basement of the Kremlin which is too small for Hitler to either stand or lie fully. He is fed scraps through the metal bars of the cage and is not allowed toilet facilities. Over the years, Hitler changes to a filthy, senile beast who has his right leg amputated above the knee and his left leg amputated above the ankle as gangrene sets in. -Wikipedia: The Berkut

It’s a work of fiction. But even then, is that punishment enough?

World War II was the deadliest military conflict in history in absolute terms of total casualties. Over 60 million people were killed, which was about 3% of the 1940 world population (est. 2.3 billion). -Wikipedia: World War II casualties

Alek Minassian killed ten people. Do we arrive at a point where the crime is so horrendous, so monstrous, that no punishment is sufficient?

In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Survivors”, first broadcast on October 9, 1989, the Enterprise meets an alien being of unimaginable power.

Kevin [Uxbridge] reveals that he is a Douwd, an immortal energy being with vast powers. While traveling in human form, he met Rishon, fell in love, and settled with her on Rana IV. When the planet was attacked by an aggressive, destructive species called the Husnock, he refused to join the fight in accordance with his species' pacifism. Rishon actually did take up arms to defend the colony - and was killed in the ensuing battle, lost to Kevin forever as bringing the dead back to life is something beyond even his extraordinary abilities.

Stricken with grief and wanting revenge, Kevin lashed out with his vast powers and wiped out the entire Husnock species—over 50 billion. Horrified by his crime, he chose self-exile to the planet, creating the replicas of Rishon and their house with which to spend the rest of eternity and using a recreation of the Husnock ship as intimidation to keep their privacy. Picard states that they are not qualified to be his judge and they have no laws to fit the magnitude of this crime. The Enterprise leaves Kevin and his illusion in peace, and Picard confirms he will issue a warning not to visit the planet.
-Wikipedia: The Survivors (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

Published on Sep 13, 2017 by biene
YouTube: Star Trek TNG - The Survivors (4:42)

Kevin: “Are eleven thousand people worth fifty billion? Is the love of a woman worth the destruction of an entire species?”

Picard: “We’re not qualified to be your judges. We have no law to fit your crime.”

Final Word
Alek Minassian, Adolf Hitler, or Kevin Uxbridge: What punishment fits the crime or is the crime greater than anything society currently has? Somehow, The Berkut did present an idea beyond the easy way out: suicide for Hitler and death by cop for Minassian. But even then, does The Berkut match the death of 60 million people?

Like all human beings, I’m going to die. It may be from old age, but more than likely, it will be a health issue: heart attack or cancer. And I could die in an accident, statistically a car crash. However, by a stroke of luck, I didn’t die on a Toronto sidewalk mowed down by a crazy person. Minassian will spend the rest of his life in jail. He’ll get room and board. He’ll get counseling, treatment, and may someday be considered a normal. Ten people are dead.

#Torontostrong memorial
Olive Square, North York, April 27, 2018.

Wikipedia: Toronto van attack
The Toronto van attack was a vehicle-ramming attack that occurred on April 23, 2018, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. A man, alleged to be Alek Minassian, drove a rented van at speed through the North York City Centre business district, deliberately trying to hit pedestrians, killing 10 and injuring 16, some critically. The attack started at the intersection of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue, and proceeded south along the sidewalks of Yonge Street to near Sheppard Avenue. The 25-year-old Minassian was arrested uninjured just south of the crime scene, after attempting to provoke a police officer to kill him. The arrest was made at 1:32 p.m., seven minutes after the first 9-1-1 call reporting the incident was made. The incident is the deadliest vehicle-ramming attack in Canadian history.

Wikipedia: 2014 Isla Vista killings
On May 23, 2014, in Isla Vista, California, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger killed six people and injured fourteen others near the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara, before killing himself inside his vehicle.

Before driving to the sorority house, Rodger uploaded to YouTube a video titled "Elliot Rodger's Retribution", in which he outlined details of his upcoming attack and his motives. He explained that he wanted to punish women for rejecting him and that he envied sexually active men and wanted to punish them for being sexually active.

After uploading the video, Rodger e-mailed a lengthy autobiographical manuscript to some of his acquaintances, his therapist and several family members. The document, titled "My Twisted World: The Story of Elliot Rodger", was made available on the Internet and became widely known as his manifesto. In it, he described his childhood, family conflicts, frustration over not being able to find a girlfriend, his hatred of women, his contempt for couples, his disgust for interracial couples, and his plans for what he described as "retribution".

Wikipedia: École Polytechnique massacre
The École Polytechnique massacre, also known as the Montreal massacre, was a mass shooting at the École Polytechnique in Montreal, Quebec, Canada that occurred on December 6, 1989. Twenty-five-year-old Marc Lépine, armed with a rifle and a hunting knife, shot 28 people, killing 14 women, before committing suicide. He began his attack by entering a classroom at the university, where he separated the male and female students. After claiming that he was "fighting feminism" and calling the women "a bunch of feminists," he shot all nine women in the room, killing six. He then moved through corridors, the cafeteria, and another classroom, specifically targeting women to shoot. Overall, he killed fourteen women and injured ten other women and four men in just under 20 minutes before turning the gun on himself. His suicide note claimed political motives and blamed feminists for ruining his life. The note included a list of 19 Quebec women whom Lépine considered to be feminists and apparently wished to kill. It is the deadliest mass shooting in modern Canadian history.

Wikipedia: Cave of the Patriarchs massacre
The Cave of the Patriarchs massacre, also known as the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre or Hebron massacre, was a shooting massacre carried out by American-Israeli Baruch Goldstein, also a member of the far-right Israeli Kach movement. On February 25, 1994, Goldstein opened fire on a large number of Palestinian Muslims who had gathered to pray inside the Ibrahimi Mosque at the Cave of the Patriarchs compound in Hebron, West Bank. It took place on February 25, 1994, during the overlapping religious holidays of both Jewish Purim and Muslim Ramadan. The attack left 29 people dead, several as young as twelve, and 125 wounded. Goldstein was overpowered, disarmed and then beaten to death by survivors.

Wikipedia: The Berkut
The Berkut is a 1987 secret history novel by Joseph Heywood in which Adolf Hitler survives World War II. It is set in the period immediately after the fall of The Third Reich. This book pits a German colonel and a Russian soldier from a secret organization against each other. The German, Günter Brumm, has been given orders to safely get the Führer out of Germany with the remaining resources of the Reich at his disposal, while Vasily Petrov, the Russian, has been given orders by Joseph Stalin to capture Hitler with the full resources of the Soviet Union at his disposal. In essence, Hitler says "Get me out of Germany, alive", while Stalin says, "Get me Hitler, alive." The book explores Brumm and Petrov pursuing their goals.

Wikipedia: World War II casualties
World War II was the deadliest military conflict in history in absolute terms of total casualties. Over 60 million people were killed, which was about 3% of the 1940 world population (est. 2.3 billion)... World War II fatality statistics vary, with estimates of total deaths ranging from 50 million to more than 80 million. The higher figure of over 80 million includes deaths from war-related disease and famine. Civilians killed totalled 50 to 55 million, including 19 to 28 million from war-related disease and famine. Military deaths from all causes totalled 21 to 25 million, including deaths in captivity of about 5 million prisoners of war.

Wikipedia: The Survivors (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
"The Survivors" is the third episode of the third season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, the 51st episode overall, first broadcast on October 9, 1989.


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Friday, 4 May 2018

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Erotic Love

"Erotic love is one of the highest forms of contemplation."
Kenneth Rexroth (1905–1982), American poet, translator and critical essayist

True or false?
"Many women have a deep inner longing to be dominated by a man who’s absolutely obsessed with them." -Unknown

"I long to surrender to my desire for you."
Kneeling Man Embracing a Standing Woman by Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943), Norwegian sculptor

Who we are as men and women: What's the science behind our motivations?

Psychology Today - Aug 22/2013
"What Do Women Really Want?" by Noam Shpancer Ph.D.
"Marta Meana, a researcher at the University of Nevada, has argued provocatively that the organizing principle of female sexuality is the desire to be desired."
"Female desire, according to Meana, is activated when a woman feels overwhelmingly desired, not rationally considered. Female erotic literature, including all those shades of gray, is built on this fantasy. Sexual desire in this view does not work according to our expectations and social values. Desire seeks the path of desire, not the path of righteousness. It thrives not on social order but on its negation. This is one reason all religions and societies try to control, contain, limit and re-direct it."
"Despite what is commonly believed, then, Meana argues that female sexuality is more self-centered than male’s. Mick Jagger’s lamentations aside, male fantasies focus on giving satisfaction, not on receiving it. Men see themselves in their fantasies bringing the woman to orgasm, not themselves. Women see the man, set aflame by uncontrollable lust for them, bringing them to ecstasy. Men want to excite women. Women want men to excite them. Being desired is the real female orgasm, Meena says."

my blog: Desirability: Don't we all just want to be wanted? Sep 30/2013
Doesn't having somebody want us feel good? Somebody likes our work; somebody admires our clothes. All of these things stroke the ego to a certain extent, however I'm talking more about the primordial: somebody desires us. Yes, relationships consist of many things like commitment, sharing, love, etc., but there is something fundamental to being sexually desired by another human being. This seems to be a basic building block of our character, a part which craves to be longed for. We want to be loved. Our family love us. We want to be admired. Our friends admire us. But we do so want to be the object of somebody's desire.


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Tuesday, 30 January 2018

2018: Where I am and where I’m going

Last year, I wrote the blog posting "2017: Where I am and where I’m going". Time for an update.

It's over
At the age of 65 years, 3 months, and 9 days, I retired. My last day was Friday, January 26, 2018. I signed the final agreement letter, turned in my security card, and walked out the door for the last time. I am now officially unemployed.

Side Story
I originally wrote a letter to the president in 2016 stating my intention to retire on July 14, 2017. Subsequently, the president retired and a new guy took over. In fact, in the past few years, all upper management has retired and the entire leadership of the company is new. As my retirement date got closer, I realised finding my replacement was a lower, overlooked priority. Consequently, I wrote to the new president and gave my commitment to stay to the end of the year, 2017, to give everybody enough time to find the right candidate.

After four groups of candidates and a dozen people interviewed (The joke goes that I'm irreplaceable.), the president felt he had found the right choice. That person started on December 4, 2017: hardly enough time to train them and pass on my 23 years of experience. I was asked to stay until the end of January 2018. It became a bit of a joke with the staff about my retirement: Was I staying or leaving? When other people got close to their date of retirement, I'd pass them in the hall and say, "What? Are you still here?" As I got closer to my date, I'd pass people in the hall and say, "What? Am I still here?"

In case you haven't guessed, I have a reputation for being a bit of a comedian. Before leaving on Friday, my last act was to tape a printed message on the lunchroom door that everyone would see on the following Monday morning. It read:

Elvis has left the building.

The Plan
For the past seven years, I've lived in an apartment that was a ten-minute walk from work. I would ofttimes drop home for lunch.

With retirement and the next stage of my life coming up, a business acquaintance suggested that if I'm changing my life figuratively by retiring, why not change my life literally by moving? Obviously, the need to live close to work no longer exists.

I plan on moving to another part of the city at the beginning of April 2018: a new apartment, a new neighbourhood, a new life. What can I do to facilitate this?

Downsizing: paper to electronic
I've converted all paper documents into electronic documents. I had nine bins full of papers about my entire life: tax filings, marriage and divorce papers, university diploma, print pictures, job related stuff, last will and testament, and on and on. I scanned each one, filed the resulting PDF into an organised folder system on my computer, then shredded the paper. Yes, I shredded my university diploma, representing four years of my life and tens of thousands of dollars.

This is what I started with.

This is my life now.

Being leery about losing anything (Heck, everything!), I now have five portable hard drives, two USB keys, and storage in the cloud with Google Drive. Whenever I leave my apartment, I hide my computer equipment and carry a portable drive with me. I store a portable drive in my storage locker in the basement of my apartment building, and I've just gotten a safety deposit box at the bank as another off-site back-up. When I was working, I used a drawer in my desk at the office as my off-site back-up storage. Now that I'm retired, I must do it on my own.

Moving forward, everything I'll do will be electronic. I'm switching all services (bank statements, benefits, pension, etc.) to electronic and will not keep any paper. Anything I do get on paper, I will scan, file, then shred.

These are modern times. This needs a modern lifestyle.

The above downsizing exercise was in preparation for the big move. I now have a lot less to move and store. If I can figure out how to scan and file my clothes and other personal belongings on a USB stick, I'm all set! (BTW, that last statement sounds absurd, but I've seen reports of clothes made with 3D printing. Keeping my clothes and personal belongings on a USB stick may not be so farfetched.)

The rest of the year
On September 22, 2016, I published a novel. Since then, I've published five small collections of short stories. Last November, I wrote "The End" and completed novel number two. Now for the hard part: editing it. For the first novel, unsure of what I was doing and wanting to put out something better than a piece of crap, I enlisted the help of several editors, thirty-one beta readers, two professional copy editors and a professional proofreader before clicking on the Publish button. I'm not saying it's a New York Times best seller, but I hope it's a competent book. If you read it and don't say, "I want four hours of my life back!", but that you were entertained, I succeeded.

My goal is to click on Publish by the fall of 2018.

What else? I've noted over the years that we all spend a great deal of our time working. History has portrayed our ancestors as spending all their time looking for food and shelter. Is today much different? Work takes up the biggest chunk of our lives. Remove that from the equation and how much time do we have?

Now what? Anything and everything is up for consideration.

Six months ago, a former colleague, retired for three years, dropped by the office, touring the halls and saying hello to everyone. As he shook my hand, he made note of my up-coming retirement then leaned in and whispered with a chuckle, "You're going to love it."


Wikipedia: Elvis has left the building
"Elvis has left the building" is a phrase that was often used by public address announcers at the conclusion of Elvis Presley concerts in order to disperse audiences who lingered in hopes of an encore. It has since become a catchphrase and punchline.

Amazon: William Quincy Belle


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