December 14, 2010

Revisiting a Classic

Credit: Freeimages / c-unie
Edited 7-19-2017

Buon giorno. I was thinking about neurotic people on the Internet like my pet troll, Norman. (He's the one that claims almost everything I say is a lie, cannot learn from others, is always right and has tantrums when he humiliates himself or is proven wrong.) So, people like that want to mess with me, and I like to use absurdity to illustrate absurdity (to misquote Rush Limbaugh). I am a follower of Jesus. But I do not go for the modern churchianity version of Jesus or their image of Christians being peace, love and grooviness with sappy smiles and letting people constantly kick us around. (Some atheists have that concept of Christians, too.) When people act up in my presence online, they may very well get shown that their attacks, lies, abuse of logic &c. are not fooling anyone. When I call them on it, they get angry. When some called out this loser, he lost last vestiges of his mind.

Here is an internet classic. Some of the material is dated, so just read around it. I removed profanity and made a few tweaks. It's interesting that the author was complaining about neophytes to the Interent, but his own railing was sort of neurotic. (In the author's case, the reality was that non-geeks were getting online and the kingdom of Virgin Geek Males was crumbling to the barbarian invasion.) Note the juvenile complaint about AOL users. AOL and other online services (like Compuserve) made Internet access available and much easier to common people; no need for a Master's Degree in computer science.

Some things are dated, some are still true. If you get whiny online, you are the object of scorn and derision. The more you whine, the more heat you get. It depends on the crowd, of course. Otherwise, you simply (mercifully) get ignored until you have something worthwhile to say, learn how to "play the game" or simply find a playground that shares your interests and personality type. The Internet and Web are much bigger now than when this was written, and there is a place somewhere for just about everyone. Even the Normans of the world.
Welcome to the Internet. No one here likes you.

We're going to offend, insult, abuse, and belittle the living hell out of you. And when you rail against us with "GET LOST YOU YOU GEEK WIMP SKATER GOTH LOSER PUNK!1!!", we smile to ourselves. We laugh at you because you don't get it. Then we turn up the heat, hoping to draw more entertainment from your irrational fuming. We will judge you, and we will find you unworthy. It is a trial by fire, and we won't even think about turning down the flames until you finally understand.

Some of you are smart enough to realize that, when you go online, it's like entering a foreign country ... and you know better than to ignorantly play with the locals. You take the time to listen and think before speaking. You learn, and by learning are gladly welcomed. For some of you, it takes a while, then one day it all dawns on you - you get it, and are welcomed into the fold. Some of you give up, and we breathe a sigh of relief - we didn't want you here anyway.

And some of you just never get it. The offensively clueless have a special place in our hearts - as objects of ridicule. We don't like you, but we do love you. You will get mad. You will tell us to go to hell, and call us "nerds" and "geeks". Don't bother — we already know exactly what we are. And, much like the way rap has co-opted the word "nigger", turning an insult around on itself to become a semi-serious badge of honor, so have we done.

"How dare you! I used to beat the crap out of punks like you in high school/college!"

You may have owned the playing field because you were an athlete. You may have owned the student council because you were more popular. You may have owned the hallways and sidewalks because you were big and intimidating. Well, welcome to our world. Things like athleticism, popularity, and physical prowess mean nothing here. We place no value on them, or what car you drive, the size of your bank account, what you do for a living or where you went to school.

Allow us to introduce you to the concept of a "meritocracy" - the closest thing to a form of self-government we have. In The United Meritocratic nation-states of the Internet, those who can do, rule. Those who wish to rule, learn. Everyone else watches from the stands. You may posses everything in the offline world. We don't care. You come to the Internet penniless, lacking the only thing of real value here: knowledge.

"Who cares? The Internet isn't real anyway!"

This attitude is universally unacceptable. The Internet is real. Real people live behind those handles and screen names. Real machines allow it to exist. It's real enough to change government policy, real enough to feed the world's hungry, and even, for some of us, real enough to earn us a paycheck. Using your own definition, how "real" is your burrito? Your stock portfolio? Your political party? What is the meaning of "real", anyway?

Do I sound arrogant? Sure ... to you. Because you probably don't get it yet.

If you insist on staying, then, at the very least, follow this advice:
  1. No one, ESPECIALLY YOU, will make any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the delicious exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. 
  2. Use your brain before ever putting fingers to keys. 
  3. Do you want a nude picture of you doing unspeakable perversions getting saved to hundreds of thousands of people's hard drives? No? Then don't put your picture on the Internet. We can, will, and probably already HAVE altered it in awful ways. Expect it to show up on an equally offensive website. 
  4. Realize that you are never, EVER going to get that, or any other, offensive web page taken down. Those of us who run those sites LIVE to irritate people like you. Those of us who don't run those sites sometimes visit them just to read the hatemail from fools like you. 
  5. Oh, you say you're going to a lawyer? Be prepared for us to giggle with girlish delight, and for your lawyer to laugh in your face after he explains current copyright and parody law. 
  6. The Web is not the Internet. Stop referring to it that way. 
  7. We have already received the e-mail you are about to forward to us. Shut up. 
  8. Don't reply to spam. You are not going to be "unsubscribed". 
  9. Don't ever use the term "cyberspace". Likewise, you prove yourself a marketing-hype victim if you ever use the term "surfing". 
  10. With one or two notable exceptions, chat rooms will not get you hooked up with a babe. 
  11. It's usually a hoax, not a virus warning. 
  12. The internet is made up of thousands of computers, all connected but owned by different people. Learn how to use your computer before attempting to connect it to someone else's. 
  13. The first person who offers to help you is really just trying to mess with you for entertainment. So is the second. And the third. And me. 
  14. Never insult someone who's been active in any group longer than you have. You may as well paint a target on your back. 
  15. Never get comfortable and arrogant behind your supposed mask of anonymity. Don't be surprised when your name, address, and home phone number get thrown back in your smug face. Some of us will snail-mail you a printed satellite photograph of your house to drive the point home. Realize that you are powerless if this happens, it's all public information, and information is our stock and trade. 
  16. No one thinks you are as cool as you think you are. 
  17. You aren't going to win any argument that you start. 
  18. If you're on AOL, don't worry about anything I've said here. You're already a brining laughing stock, and there's no hope for you. 
  19. If you can't take a joke, immediately sell your computer to someone who can. RIGHT NOW. Angry? It's the TRUTH, not these words, that hurts your feelings. Don't ever even pretend like I've gone and hurt them. We don't like you. We don't want you here. We never will. Save us all the trouble and go away.  
This page is a mirror of the original, posted at Deeplight.Net. It was written by Robert "redpaw" Jung, Webmaster, managing editor, chief techmonkey of Deeplight.
My point in posting this is to remind people that no matter how much we fuss or neurotically demand that the world change its ways to please us, people are still going to do their own thing. It is much better to deal with what is instead of living in the land of should be. Sure, we change what we can when it's possible and plausible. Otherwise, acknowledge that something is instead of should be. It helps the blood pressure, and you are less likely to be consumed by your online opponents, capice? Plus, some people have no sense of humor. Too bad. It helps, really.

December 11, 2010

Persecution Question

Here is some interesting timing. I did my last article about the persecution of Christians in the US military, which was a sort of follow-up to this one. I received an interesting comment on that earlier post from Whateverman (hope you don't mind your name in lights, so to speak):

By all accounts, Christians outnumber other religious demographics in the US. If you're right, and anti-Christian discrimination gets less coverage than that of other groups, wouldn't you think this is at least part of the reason? It's difficult to cry "discrimination!" (and I'm not accusing you of doing so here) when the discriminated group is in the majority.

My response was to the effect that it's not just people who claim to be Christians that receive discrimination or forms of persecution, but those who actively live like followers of Jesus. An interesting coincidence, later today, Ray Comfort posted an article at Atheist Central that also addressed this topic; it could have been an answer instead of my own. Cool, huh? For that one, click here.

Persecution in the Military?

Yes, I am putting a question mark on the title of this one. I would like to hear from you about what I am about to relate. (If you are going to fire off anti-God or anti-Christian venom, you'll just be deleted.) I am especially interested in the opinions of military personnel, past and present.

There was a story I heard about how "the armed forces confiscated the Bibles of soldiers in Afghanistan and burned them". I hate sensationalism, so I had to check it. There is an element of truth to this, but...

In 2009, a soldier received Bibles that were printed in the two most common Afghan languages and, being evangelistically minded, was going to hand them out. Those are the Bibles that were confiscated and burned, even though the story I heard implied that the personal possessions of soldiers were taken away, and that is not the case. The reason these were taken away is that the US military did not want to give the impression that they were there to convert the Muslims. I can understand that, one soldier in an American uniform is essentially representing the military and, ultimately, the United States. 

This is a tough call for Christians. We are called to spread the Gospel (Matthew 28.18-20), but we also have to obey laws. If solders are issued a "gag order" and told that they can never speak of their faith to the Mulsims, then the verse about "obey God rather than man" could very well come into play.

But still...burning the Bibles is all right? That does add fuel to the fire (heh!) for claims of persecution. It seems rather heavy-handed as well.

Any thoughts from you in the military? Or others, of course.

December 9, 2010

Persecution Shuffle

Blessed are ye when men hate you, and thrust you out of their company, and rail on you, and abhor your name, as an evil thing, for the son of man's sake.
Rejoice ye then, and be glad: for behold, your reward is great in heaven.
After this manner their fathers entreated the prophets.
(Luke 6:22-23, Tyndale-Coverdale Bible, modern spelling)

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus,
must suffer persecutions.
(2 Timothy 3.12, Tyndale-Coverdale Bible, modern spelling)

Buon giorno. That's right, it's not easy to be a follower of Jesus. You want easy? Be a piece of deadwood and float with the current.

Still waiting for input on text size and colors, gang. Subscribers are stuck, they get what the service sends them. Sorry.

My subscribers, followers and regular readers know that I have been posting articles about the persecution of Christians. The instances to which I refer have been blatant "renounce Jesus" kinds of things, including torture, murder, imprisonment and other harassment. In most of the West, and here in the United States, "persecution" is relative. More often, the persecution is toned down to the level of discrimination.

Unlike what some God-haters may say, I am not one of those people that sees persecution lurking behind every tree or hiding around every corner. Unlike what some God-haters may say, the persecution of Christians does indeed exist. (Note: Other groups experience it as well, but I am doing one of the first rules of writing, and limiting my topic to the persecution of Christians.) In fact, I believe that I am going to give regular reports on this subject in the United States and the West. Just because some people do not like to admit it does not mean it does not exist, capice?

Just a moment.

Now I'm going to switch to a less emotionally-charged word and use "discrimination".

The new FCC Commissioner, Michael Copps, wants to have a test of sorts, or a kind of standard, for the "public value" of every broadcast station.

"Is that discrimination, Cowboy Bob?"

In and of itself, no. However, it is an item of concern because someone's arbitrary and subjective standards of "public value" can be used to heavily influence the airwaves. To me, it sounds like the Fairness Doctrine dug up from its grave, zombified and put into a new suit of clothes. The Fairness Doctrine was targeting Conservative radio, because it was successful and liberal radio was failing because nobody wanted to listen to it. After all, radio is a business and it is market driven.

I am concerned that if the FCC has that power, they can simply decide to shut down stations because they have no "public value", even if the public wants to hear those stations. It is one thing to have community standards (including decency), but it is quite another to have bureaucrats in charge.

Just something to think about.

Something else to think about: Just because I cite Christian sources or use Conservative news sources does not make something untrue. That kind of accusation is outrageously, deliberately stupid. It is also hateful to be slandering good people just because you don't like what is being said. I have come across people who think that if the source is Christian, it's automatically suspect. Do those people listen to themselves? We serve a holy and righteous God who does not tolerate that kind of thing, so it's ridiculous to label Christians as a whole to be habitual liars. (Imagine — we serve a holy and righteous God, so we'll be habitual liars as a group to get you to believe in a holy and righteous God. Like, duh!) If they made the same kind of remarks about an ethnic group, it would be racism. As you can see, that kind of nonsense really grinds my gears; it's an excuse to avoid facts.

Anyway. Here is another item that may or may not be outright discrimination: Touchdown! A high school football player, Ronnie Hastie, in Washington state briefly dropped to one knee and pointed skyward after making a touchdown. The referee gave a fifteen yard penalty. Now, I can understand a penalty for the showboating, gloating, "in your face", time wasting stuff that went on before. But this? Pretty heavy handed. (Want more sources for that one? OK. One, two, three, and this fourth one is from Britain. That outta hold you for a while, Gertrude.) But the player will change "for the team". Does he have the strength of his convictions? Tough call.

I picked two "iffy" examples. The first could easily be used to stifle free speech, affecting Christians and Conservatives most of all. It is not clear-cut discrimination. The second example seems more likely to be discrimination because the penalty call was absurd. Not definite, however.

At any rate, discrimination and persecution of Christians does indeed exist, whether you like it or not. Whether you believe it or not.

December 4, 2010

No Room for Evolutionary Doubters

Buon giorno. I thought I would share an article that I came across that supports my claim that there is no room for doubt when it comes to the religion of evolutionism. I was chasing leads (or "rabbit holes"): An update to a link led me to this article, where a scientist was fired because he did not believe in Papa Darwin's alleged theory. What happened to "follow where the evidence leads", as well as scientists being honest and objective? Ain't got no. Not when it threatens established orthodox evolutionism

After all, evolution is the cornerstone of the atheist religion, and it cannot be questioned. Well, I have to amend that. It's all right to debate or question how it happened, but to have doubts that it happened in the first place. Ha! Pack your bags, Buford.

December 2, 2010

Double Sneakiness

Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it.
— Gilbert K. Chesterton

Buon giorno. No, my title is not talking about sneaky Basement Cat. Instead, I'm talking about a telephone call I received from an almost-victim. Fortunately, she made the right choices and did not get burned. She related her story to me so that I can sound yet another scam warning.

And you know that I like exposing the scammers.

This one reminds me of the XP Antivirus (and similar names) scams. That one gives you a fake pop-up, telling you that you have many viruses while it is scanning your computer. (The last time I saw this, they were using animated gif files to simulate scanning.) Often, the victim downloads the malware because they were tricked into it.

In this case, the target receives a telephone call from someone claiming to represent Microsoft. The scammer (often reported to have an Indian accent) says that Microsoft has detected that the target's computer has many viruses. In this case, she was told to go to the Start button, click on "Run", and type "INF", which accesses the "INF" file. She was then told that all of those files were infected. Sneaky, huh? Nice way to display a number of files, but those belong there. In one of own secure computers, that process shows over 1,500 files. (If I had that many infected files, I would be fortunate to have my computer working at all!) In addition, she was told that their technician was looking at her files while they talked, even though access was not granted. That last trick exploits (but probably inadvertently, I don't want to give the scammers too much credit) the fear of Microsoft and it's amazing power.

From there, she was directed to a couple of sites, one was Log Me In Rescue as well as "Dot Com Slash US?" Now, I have no idea if the actual companies are into doing dishonest sales efforts, but invoking the mighty name of Microsoft would give you a red flag, because rich and powerful MS would not be using an outside site and solicitation. In fact, MS has their own denial of this trick. Here is another discussion on the scam. 

Apparently, they want to gain access to your computer. Then you know what comes next, right, class? Say it all together:

"Personal information!"

Great! Right the first time! My regular readers know that I keep on preaching about almost never giving personal information to strangers, especially when they call you unexpectedly. In this case, the double-whammy is that they called and said there are viruses (reminding me of the "XP Antivirus" trick online), and then have you "see for yourself" that you have said viruses.

It's worth repeating: Do not give out information (or access to your computer). If the call comes from your credit card company, for instance, you call them back and ask if there is a problem; do not give your credit card number to a cold caller, even if it's to a supposed charity like the Secret Policeman's Ball. Capice?

Yes, I do like writing these kinds of articles. Because they get many hits, I'm pretty certain that I'm doing some good.

Here is something ironic: I still sing the praises of the free product, Microsoft Security Essentials. Very highly rated anti-virus and spyware tool. Funny that the scammers were pretending to be from Microsoft, who gives away an excellent product that does what they were selling.

So, class, stay safe and don't be bullied. Stay out of shadows.

December 1, 2010

Picking on the Cat

OK, so the last one is a little off-color. Big deal, it's a cat. A cat that is on my bed! (Ironically, the book you can see at the top right of the picture is by Ray Comfort.) Basement Cat (also called "Pay Pay", but that is not my idea) likes to lay on her back, and is showing off after getting a haircut. Someone told me that laying on the back is a sign of trust, or contentment. I have lived with cats off and on for most of my life and never seen that behavior before this one came along.

So many of my articles come from springboards in my daily experience. Several times, I have marveled at the responsibility that pet owners are accepting. This is a living thing, and it's life is in your hands. (If you drop a domesticated creature off in the wild, so help me...) I had some rats for a while. Their lives were literally in my hands, and they were trusting me not to squeeze too hard or do some other unthinkable thing. "Gentleness" has been defined as "strength under control".

Kids do not know that having a pet is both responsibility and work; Mom and Dad should not be doing the chores that Johnny or Suzie promised to attend. Instead, the kids should be strongly encouraged to learn this responsibility and live up to their promises to "take care of it".

Wow, I went away for a while, huh?

Aside from being struck by their dependence and the responsibility of pet ownership, there is another little thing: Contentment. Sometimes, it all hits me at once when I see that trusting look or get some affection from a creature that is depending on me to meet its needs and keep it safe. It's a nice feeling. God gave us dominion (Gen. 1.26, 28) over the animals, as well as stewardship (Psalm 8.6-9). We are being held responsible to him as well as our own consciences for the care we give them.

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