Mid-Week Amusements: Food & Comedy!

It’s a nice, relaxing Wednesday, and the delicious aroma of home-made beef stew is wafting through the house. Cooking is such an enjoyable thing to do, especially with fresh ingredients! I figured that I’d show a few of the vegetables which I like to use in stews, much like my previous post about the things I toss in with my chicken soup.

Onions, shallots, and garlic make up the base – I don’t think that any dinner is complete unless it has at least one of those flavourful bulbs included! Carrots may or may not be used, since the variety of root vegetables used more than makes up for their omission. These herbs and vegetables round out the meal:

Thyme

Rosemary

Oregano

Parsnip

Turnip

Rutabaga

Red potatoes

I love using fresh herbs of many different types…the picture below shows a few of my go-tos.

Baseball season is just around the corner – I’m looking forward to it, as always! When spring arrives, the “Boys of Summer” aren’t far behind…also, my comedy shows are back with new episodes, after being pre-empted by the overly long and drawn-out “March Madness.” Don’t get me wrong, I like basketball well enough. I just happen to prefer baseball, football (American, non-arena), and rugby if / when I can catch it on television!

Anyway, since I’m amusing myself with some choice comedy bits, I thought that I’d share them with you. Sometimes, a good laugh does a body good, and these clips had me in a fit of giggles!

Shining the Blacklight on American Democracy

Drumpf’s Agenda: Today, America…Tomorrow, the World!

Conan O’Brien talks about the United Airlines dress code

Conan O’Brien hits Comic-Con(R) Mad Max-Style (2015)

Finally, this post wouldn’t be complete without a couple of nods to yesterday’s post about bots and the role they play in various online scams. Behind every bot, troll, sock-puppet and cat-phish is someone looking to give you the old “Rick-Roll!”

Flown Away~

Springtime calls for migration…even amongst we human beings! Cindy is visiting Greece and points further East – I can’t wait to see photos of her destinations!
😎


Yep, we just did it again. It seems as as normal as staying home.There is so much to miss leaving The Holler.

The year round Holler hummers are brave in an non-conformist way, they choose not to migrate thousands of miles across the Gulf of Mexico, but to stay year round with us at The Holler, despite winter temps that frequently fall well below freezing and could easily kill them.

Other migrating travelers visit us seasonally.


There are four hummers that lived at The Holler year-round this year. These are two of them. They rely on our feeders and bugs to keep them alive year round.

Now we have flown off before the full complement of spring unfolds, missing all The Holler spring has to offer. Don’t worry, family remain at The Holler while we are away, to take care of all our critters including the birds.


I look forward…

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Tuesday Tidbits: Trifling, Troublesome Bots!

Scams: those have been around for as long as humans became “civilized,” it would seem! Various Saturday-morning cartoons have spoofed them from time to time, IIRC; these days, entire television shows are dedicated to them – Catfish: The TV Show being one.

When the Internet was nothing more than a conglomeration of online forums and message-boards, with only a select few knowing about it or even interacting on it regularly, online scams were few and far between. After everybody and their mother, grandmother, and great-grandfather’s dog suddenly had access to the World Wide Web, the scammers followed, and online scams became the new threat. As scams became as obvious as Doctor Stanley’s Snake-Oil Cure-All and his wife’s genuine imitation pearls, they ‘evolved’ to circumvent security programs and firewalls. Now, one has to be aware of the sophisticated means others use to scam people online, and there are many!

For example, how many people are aware of the relatively ancient, but insidious, ‘Nigerian Prince’ email phishing scam? A good number of people have fallen prey to it, even though it is such an obvious contrivance that I question how and why they were susceptible to it. It is certainly the most popular one, in that is still the go-to scam that is blamed for malware and hacking intrusions, but it isn’t the only one! For this post, I am going to be talking specifically about ‘bots’ and the ways that they are able to mimic a genuine, ‘real’ account.

For lay-people, a ‘bot’ is, essentially, a hijacked computer; one that has been programmed and coded to do specific things without the knowledge of the user. Email ‘phishing’ scams are usually the culprit, the aforementioned ‘Nigerian Prince’ being one; others involve dating or porn sites, ‘mail-order’ bride scams, or ad-scams for cheap Viagra, Cialis, or Extense from Canada and other places overseas. Funny to get scams for male ‘enhancement,’ especially when one isn’t a man, or a cruiser of dating or porn-sites. This only goes to show how careful anyone must be when giving out one’s email address, and how much caution should be used when responding to emails. Those which haven’t been expressly solicited are major tells, as are emails with questionable attachments and / or subject lines.

Digressing: the hijacked computer-bot can now do whatever it has been programmed to do. Usually, this involves sending its malware / virus / Trojan-Horse code to as many other computers as possible, generally as an attachment in an email. This attachment gets sent to people on the contact list of the infected computer, even if the user doesn’t have…oh, let’s say, an Outlook account, as an example. The recipient might think that they have a legitimate email from a friend and open it, but find out later on that the email contained malware, because it wasn’t really from a friend.

Bots are quite common in MMOs, and my online game is no different. In the halcyon days of The Elder Scrolls Online, bots were everywhere and incredibly obvious! The in-game bots were of three different types: spam-bots, ‘train’ bots, and ‘collector’ bots. The spam-bots are almost always seen at dolmens or in delves, right on the spot that the boss will spawn at, and they are always using the same ‘ultimate’ move over, and over, and over again.

Spam-bots may or may not be accompanied by the ‘train’ bots. The name is self-explanatory; you might see a ‘train’ of four or five characters running in a circle. The train runs…well, like a train! You have the ‘engine’ doing the main action, then the bots in the train do the exact same motion / action as the ‘engine’ does, only a nanosecond or three later. These types of bots farm bosses for loot, and / or nodes for materials – slower and less efficient than the other types, but still a major nuisance in their own right.

The ‘collector’ bots are the most difficult to see, as they have been programmed to do one thing: collect a certain material from a certain node. In-game, there are materials which are valuable to the crafters who make armour, weapons, and other things for their friends and / or guild-mates. The collectors basically ‘farm’ these nodes unfairly, flying through the air at hyperspeed, or sliding underground out of sight, taking the nodes and everything on them and making it impossible for the regular player to harvest these materials fairly.

During the evolution of TESO, the programmers / code-writers behind the bots have evolved as well. Now, the bots are as big an issue as they were when the game was first launched, but a bit more difficult to spot. It isn’t impossible, but it takes a bit of observation and vigilance on the part of any player who espies them. Once they’ve been identified and reported, the ban-hammer is laid down by the overseeing overlords, and the offending account(s) are terminated – permanently. I will post some in-game screen-shots of the bots that I see, in the near future – both before and after they’ve been caught!

You might be asking yourself, “What the hell does this have to do with ME?!? I don’t play online games; if I do, I’m safe on my little console because people who play games on PCs are morons! Also, I’m far too involved in my Twitter-pated Facebooking and Instagramming, so this doesn’t affect me at all!” Guess what, sunshine – this affects you, too. You know how you have your little ‘newsfeed’ on Facebook? Yep – bots can have their way with it, and you, and you are completely unaware of it. The whole “Fake News” bullshit is directly related to Facebook and Twitter-bots, and the ignorance of those who became willing patsies of same, due to their narcissistic need for a bandwagon to jump on for popularity, stat-padding, and ‘friend’ collecting. Even WordPress isn’t immune to these insidious bots! I can think of more than a few blogs which have red flags waving at me the moment I click on them and view the first page or post. The ones which allow ads are the worst culprits, and they always warn me with this:

This is why some comments get put in my WordPress trash barrel: if I click on your site and get a security warning, then I’m not going to link to it – even via my comment section. If your site is compromised, then I’m not comfortable directing others to it. It’s as simple as that. Trashing a comment isn’t putting it into the Spam folder indefinitely, either; it is simply putting it in the ‘circular file’ until you get your security issues taken care of. If you can’t be bothered with paying to keep insidious, annoying, security-breaching ads off of your site, then I can’t be bothered with reading your site and exposing my computer to potential malware. Nothing personal, I just value my privacy and security more than you value your oodles of readers and followers. Besides, if all you’re doing is collecting followers, then it begs the question: Why? To what end are you collecting the information of thousands of people? What is your objective or your agenda? These are questions which flit across my mind, from time to time, when I surf the web and read various news-sites or blogs, or watch a music video on YouTube. “Believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear.” Those song lyrics perfectly convey the way that I am when I’m online, in pretty much every online activity in which I might engage. Question everything! It isn’t a bad thing to do.

New Moon on Monday Music!

There is a rare, Monday new moon today…well, it is here on the U.S. West Coast! According to my Llewellyn’s Astrological Calendar, the new moon (in Aries, no less!) is at 1957 PDT; another calendar says that it is at 0257 UT. Time is a fascinating thing, isn’t it?

Anyway, you know this means that I have to play some moon-related music – but, I tossed in a couple of songs that aren’t, just to keep things interesting! I hope these songs get your week off to a good start. Later, ‘gators!

😎

Sunday Screen-Shots: Jester’s Festival!

Beginning last year, seasonal festivities began in my favourite MMO, the Elder Scrolls Online. The first one, appropriately titled the Witches’ Festival, was in October. The second one, held in December, was called the New Life Festival.

With the advent of Spring, the Jester’s Festival is in full swing – perfect timing as April Fool’s Day / All Fool’s Day draws near! Here are a few screen-shots of my various characters making merry, playing pranks, and having all sorts of fun with other players. Sometimes, one has to stop and smell the sakura ( / )!

I’ll have live footage of my festival antics broadcasting shortly. I think that people know where to find the link by now, so tune in and watch the show!

Savage Smilodon

A happy merry-maker

Marketplace merriment

Dancing at dawn

Playing with fire

Kicking back

Flashy fireworks

Dazzling the crowds

A sprightly dance – see the staff?

I found the Lord of Misrule: Drumpf the Jester-King!

Jay Z and Weinstein Co. to Make Trayvon Martin Film and Documentary Series

This is excellent – shining a spotlight on this is necessary, especially with Beauregard Jefferson Sessions in the position that he holds. Trayvon Martin didn’t get due justice, and there needs to be deep examination of why.

GOOD BLACK NEWS

Trayvon Martin (photo via variety.com)

article by Justin Kroll and Brent Lang via variety.com

Shawn “Jay Z” Carter and the Weinstein Company are partnering on an ambitious series of film and television projects about Trayvon Martin.  The indie label and the rap icon won a heated bidding war for the rights to two books — “Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It” and “Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin.” The 2012 shooting of the 17 year-old Martin sparked a national debate about racial profiling and inequities of the criminal justice system that brought about the Black Lives Matter movement.

The African-American high school student was killed by George Zimmerman, 28, who was a member of the neighborhood watch in his Florida community. He claimed he shot Martin, who was unarmed, in self defense after the two…

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Some Pointed Saturday Memes…25 March 2017

I’ve been chuckling to myself off and on since yesterday before going to bed, and find myself doing so this morning as I sip my first cup of coffee. I banned a person yesterday, bringing the grand total to: * insert epic drumroll * five. That’s it…only five people have made themselves persona non grata, permanently! I’ve been blogging here on WordPress for a little over six years now, but have only seen the need to ban five people. Overall, I’d have to say that’s a pretty good average! The list consists of two men, two women, and one individual of unknown gender; two were banned on the same day, about three years ago – but that’s been it.

In recognition of this milestone, here are a few silly memes for those ignorant trolls who couldn’t follow the simple, basic rules set out in my Open Thread & Comment Policy page. I venture that they couldn’t even be bothered to read it, just as they willfully ignored my ‘About’ page and what I say about trolling antics. Perhaps they suffer from some severe mental deficiency which renders them incapable of comprehension. No matter to me; it’s their issue, not mine. So, they are free and clear to keep their issues on their own blog!

Me? I’m enjoying the Jester’s Festival events that are taking place in my online game, and am broadcasting the live, real-time game-play off and on throughout the weekend. Feel free to click the link which will take you directly to my Twitch channel, sit back with some hot tea and sunflower seeds, and enjoy the show!

Final Birthday Friday Festivities!

It isn’t the final Friday of March; that falls next week – but, today IS the final Friday celebration of my week-long birthday celebration! It’s been loads of fun: phone calls and cards from family, breakfast in bed, and a surprise sushi platter rounded things up. All food was washed down with plenty of potables, both potent and non! All in all, it has been fantastic…life is good!

Here are my five musical selections for this Friday, along with some selected gaming screen-shots of fun and frivolity. My “Five for Friday” fun facts will return next week, but I’ll give you one, here: every song that I post here on my humble blog are ones that I know by heart, and sing loudly and proudly. The key to great singing isn’t something that can be taught, at that’s all I can say. Either you feel it, or you don’t!

😄

Happy Friday, everyone…enjoy your respective weekends, whenever and wherever you are!

😎

Documentary “The Duce’s Boxer” Details How Leone Jacovacci, an African Italian Boxer, Humiliated Mussolini

This will be worth seeing, if it makes the way stateside…I’m looking forward to it!
😀

GOOD BLACK NEWS

1928 European Middleweight Champion Leone Jacovacci (photo via eurweb.com)

article via eurweb.com

A documentary about Leone Jacovacci, a black Italian boxer who discredited 20th century Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s racist ideology by winning a European boxing title is making waves in Italy and abroad, reports Variety. “The Duce’s Boxer” tells the story of Jacovacci, an African Italian born in the Congo who won the 1928 European middleweight title by beating Mario Bosisio, a white Italian boxer supported by the country’s Fascist leaders, in front of 40,000 fans in Rome’s National Stadium.

Mussolini, outraged, then ordered Jacovacci and his achievement erased from Italy’s history books. But 89 years later, Jacovacci’s story has been resurrected. “The Duce’s Boxer” premieres today (March 21) in 25 Italian cities to mark the U.N. International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Based on the book “Black Roman” by Italian sociologist Mauro Valeri

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Timothy Caughman: Victim of Domestic Terrorism

This is Timothy Caughman, the 66-year-old Black man who was brutally murdered in New York City on 20 March. His killer, James Harris Jackson, is a self-described “white supremacist” who harbored intense hatred for Black people in general, but Black men in particular. He turned himself in to the local authorities in the wee hours of 22 March, after stabbing Mr. Caughman multiple times with a 24-inch, double-edged sword:

On his Twitter page, 66-year-old Timothy Caughman described himself as a “can and bottle recycler” as well as an “autograph collector.” He hoped to visit California one day and expressed his deep love for this country on Election Day by standing in line and taking part in the democratic process. However, Caughman lived in a country where everyone did not love him back. Since the election of Donald Trump as president, the nation has seen a rise in hate crimes and bigotry. On Monday, Caughman became a victim of one of those hate crimes.

On March 17, Army veteran James Harris Jackson, 28, took the Bolt Bus from Baltimore to New York City with an extremely disgusting plan in mind: to kill Black men. Days later, Jackson crossed paths with Caughman as he collected bottles close to the Midtown homeless shelter where he lived. The altercation turned deadly when Jackson pulled out a sword and stabbed Caughman multiple times in the torso.

After the brutal attack, Caughman stumbled into a nearby police precinct with wounds to his back and chest, said Assistant Chief William Aubry, the commander of Manhattan South detectives, as reported by the New York Times. Caughman was then transported to Bellevue Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.”

A quiet man who was minding his own business became a victim of domestic terrorism, yet no buildings will dim their lights for him. Only the people who knew and cared about Mr. Caughman will be holding a candlelight vigil, or placing flowers near the place where his life was taken. The standard, ridiculous excuses of “insanity” are already being bandied about by heartless lawyers. They offer up that lame defense as if it were a valid excuse, but there is no defense or excuse for the inbred cretin who murdered Mr. Caughman in a most up-close-and-personal way.

I lit a candle for Mr. Caughman – it’s the least I can do. Doing a little bit, sometimes, is better than doing nothing at all. Many people don’t seem to understand or respect that. It’s a shame.

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