secondworstcaptchaeverIf you’ve ever left a comment on any blog, store website, fan page, or any other Internet site, you’ve likely screamed in agony at Captcha. It is the program that requires you to enter “the two words” before the website can determine if you are or are not a bot. (For those of you new to the Internet and/or who could not give a pile of horse puckey what is a “bot”, I’ll tell you anyway: it’s any kind of automated script or computer that goes to every site on the Internet looking for Dave.)

(If you weren’t a fan of 2001: A Space Odyssey or just emerged from a cage, I apologize for you missing that last humdinger of a joke.)

HAL9000.svg(I can’t believe I just used the word “humdinger”.)

(Or a reference to “2001: A Space Odyssey”.)

(I’m old.)

Back to Captcha. It’s ridiculous and should be BANNED from all Internet sites. Not because I mind proving I’m not a robot spamming the system but because there are at least two dozen other programs out there that do the job just as well and don’t force you to read Sanskrit (at least I think that’s what language they use for Captcha).

I’ve even had the pleasure of a site asking me to write out the answer for the equation 2 + 8 = ___.

Yet the ninnies at Captcha absolutely REFUSE to alter their stupid program in the least and make BOTH of the “two words” remotely comprehensible. (I have no idea why, but one word is perfectly readable, leading me to believe the other one can be, too, or the first one is useless—it can’t be both.)

Now I have to admit, I did recently try to add some much-needed functionality to my blog (and provide a little security because trust me, it’s what I did/do for a living—securing corporate and government networks, that is—and you DO NOT want to know how vulnerable you are and to whom if your passwords are not at least 10-12+ characters in length, shun or misspell dictionary words—yes, even when substituting an @ for an “a”—and stand for something unguessable, like the an acronym of a saying “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” = 0$54M1GL4m. (Don’t use that one.)

And no, I’m not kidding.

My password for my websites is nineteen characters long, and that’s after my nine character one with upper, lower, and number in it got hacked.

Me and my 100 hits a day. HACKED.

GuthrieHacked

I’m not Chase, or Amazon, or the FBI.

So I get it. The use of authentication. And where I was going with my fairly recent upgrade is that IF it uses Captcha (or any program that uses indecipherable text—i.e. if you cannot read it) please say so in the comments. Or email me (I can create accounts and give you a secure password). I am always signed in and my comments are automatically approved (as should yours be once you’ve made one successfully—tell me if that is not working also).

flag-china-XLNow, on to “Made in China”. Is there anything—and I do mean anything, at least if it’s less than $100—that isn’t? I know some of you are heavy into world affairs and being green and rooting out all evil on the planet, and I salute you, but I’m not one of those. Don’t get me wrong, I care—I care deeply—I am simply one of the (too many) masses that only have the time to write a check.

I hope that doesn’t read as bad as it sounds. If I became a millionaire, unlike Oprah, I would be asking myself how many girls’ schools and vaccinations I could provide and rice and clean water could be purchased by selling my OTHER FOUR mansions. Actually I wouldn’t even live in one; like my friend Harry, I’d probably downsize rather than upsize.

The irony is my current house (which is actually perfect since we have four dogs and a need for two offices) I could not sell to downsize because our government (who I’ll get to in a moment) and the Merry Highway Robbers called “Wall Street Shitbags” made their loot, bilked the honest rest of us, and then got a nice fat government (taxpayer) bailout.

[By the way, the above is the closest I’ll ever get to politics or religion and if you rant at me or comment on the specificity of those comments, it’s unlikely you’ll get a response because I am not picking on any one political party or bank. I’m lumping them altogether and saying they can all bite me. Hard to argue with that one, I’d say.]

MadeInChinaAnyway, I’ve been a tangential wanderer these days, so back to “Made in China”. Again, I fully admit that I write fiction, I’ve not yet dreamed up the book about ten cents per day child labor dungeons (although I think I just heard my muse start typing; she’s WAY old school, so who knows?) but I don’t know a ton about sweat shops, exported labor, and the like, however I bought a six-pack of cloths for my sunglasses (since I never seem to have one when my shades are tougher to look through than a chain-smoker’s lungs) and each individually-wrapped bag (one per cloth) said, wait for it—“Made in China”.

The way I see it, the Chinese are making every single product small enough to hold in your hand (and probably myriad millions of others) and we’re shooting at each other or leaving pipe bombs in school buildings.

What happened to AMERICA? Home of the brave, land of the free? Yes, I still believe with all my heart this is the best country in the world and that until we destroy ourselves, we will remain so. But that’s the problem. Remember the old sports cliché “It’s ours to lose.”?

I think, more than ever, it’s ours to lose.

I lived in Los Angeles during the riots that ensued after the cops who (wrongfully) beat up Rodney King were acquitted. As I walked outside one of the forty-two buildings that made up our company’s campus and saw smoke billowing not a few miles away, then raced to get my son from day care, I remember thinking “we are one-click away from anarchy. Always.”

Empty-ShelvesHere, in Colorado, if they predict a snowstorm (not even “storm of the century”, just a snowstorm) people descend on the grocery stores and gas stations like chimpanzees on a grove of banana trees. Talk of new gun legislation (isn’t there always talk of new gun legislation?) and you literally cannot find ammunition anywhere in the country. You have to use an “ammo-bot” (see, bot, you didn’t think I could bring this back together, did you?) that is updated real time with hundreds of gun shops across the country where in the time it takes you to click on their “available” product, you come up with a webpage that says “Sorry, we’re sold out again.”

That scares me more than who owns a gun. I’ve grown up around guns and the people that tote them all my life and I never knew one who used his or her weapon to commit a crime. But you hint to an urban sprawl of weaponless people that there might be a shortage of bread for a few days and it’s Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Thirty-year-old men running over octogenarians for the last loaf of marble rye.

alg-movies-the-road-jpg

You go on thinking that it’s not true. I’ve seen it. The DMV where I tested for my first California driver’s license was burned to the ground. Go read the real stories about what happened in New Orleans in the days and weeks in the aftermath of Katrina. In both of the aforementioned cases you’d have done better to ban pipes, two-by-fours, chunks of concrete, gasoline, and matches.

I look around me every day and you know what I see?

Captcha.

The world, the people in it, the way they act, the things they say, the atrocities they commit, the lives they steal for a few dollars and their next high—it all just looks like a big Captcha puzzle to me. And not the easy words. There’s always one easy word. It’s the tough word—the tough decision—that bothers me.

What then?

Who the hell knows?

star9It’s the who the hell knows that wakes me up in the middle of the night. That and the laughter, across the atmosphere, past the billion dying stars twinkling in the night, all the way from a foreign land.

From China.

While they watch people from the Red states beat down and kick the life out of the Blue-staters, as if they weren’t our own countrymen and women; Sox fans knife Yankees, or bruise and break them near lifeless; “Prolifers” murder innocents; and those knuckleheads who watch all this talking head bullshit on television, decrying the “other side” and how evil they are, decide to murder innocents at marathons or deliver pipe bombs into children’s schools.

Can you smell it? The confused desperation? Like someone trying to get the words correct in a Captcha puzzle they have no hope of ever even understanding?

It smells like panic.

It smells like the end.

James Douglas Morrison, a man with an IQ of 149 and a father who was a Rear Admiral in the Navy, said:

“I want to have my fun before the whole shithouse goes up in flames.”

Jim Morrison would have given Captcha the finger.

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The blank page is dead…long live the blank page.

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Rubber Chicken Arrow Through Headv2Author known to use spontaneous satire, sarcasm, and unannounced injections of pith or witticisms which may not be suitable for humorless or otherwise jest-challenged individuals. (Witticisms not guaranteed to be witty, funny, comical, hilarious, clever, scintillating, whimsical, wise, endearing, keen, savvy, sagacious, penetrating, fanciful, or otherwise enjoyable. The Surgeon General has determined through laboratory testing that sarcasm can be dangerous, even in small amounts, and should not be ingested by those who are serious, somber, pensive, weighty, funereal, unsmiling, poker-faced, sober, or pregnant.)

Made In China Image credit: mipan / 123RF Stock Photo

 

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