Look At Me: When Selfie’s Kill

This evening I was watching the news, an unusual event for me, and there was a story about people who have been killed taking selfies at beauty spots. It seems to be becoming a serious problem as more and more travellers seek the perfect photo for their social media feed.

Taking photos at Gardens on the Bay.

I have written about this before. I have complained about the bad manners of these people who are so self-absorbed that they don’t care if they get in the way of other people and spoil their view. I understand people wanting to get a photo to share with family and friends but it has gone way past that. Now people want extreme photos and they are taking unacceptable risks to get them. There have been more than 200 deaths involving people taking selfies between 2014-2018. I don’t see that number going down.

They climb guard rails and teeter on the edge of cliffs just for the sake of a stupid photo which may end up being the last one ever taken of them. Don’t they understand that barriers are there for a reason?

It seems that these days the photo opportunity is more important than the actual experience of being in a special place. Do these people really appreciate what they are seeing? Do they even look?

Selfies on the sampan

I recall years ago visiting Uluru (Ayers Rock) in central Australia. At sunrise and sunset, the rock appears to change colour so people would all go to photograph it. Now I imagine that the line of photographers probably all stand with their backs to the beautiful sight so they can photograph themselves “watching” the event. Most of them probably miss it but at least they have a nice photo to Instagram.

Uluru taken on holiday around the early-mid 1980s. I have cleaned the picture up a bit as there were a few dust spots but the colours are what I saw.

Another disturbing trend involving social media is the increasing number of people performing stunts for social media channels who are killed or injured when they go wrong.

Does using a smartphone make people stupid?

 

Related Items:

https://www.timesnownews.com/international/article/indian-student-dies-falls-off-cliff-ireland-selfies-cliffs-of-moher-county-clare-doolin-ireland-selfie-death-news-cliffs-of-moher-deaths-images/342478

https://www.timesnownews.com/mirror-now/society/article/selfie-death-student-slips-into-waterfall-in-odisha/339626

https://www.fastcompany.com/90287323/people-are-falling-off-buildings-in-search-of-the-perfect-instagram-shot

https://www.afr.com/lifestyle/the-social-media-stunts-that-went-fatally-wrong-20181205-h18qy7

Ebenezer Scrooge is Alive and Well

No, I’m not talking about people who are mean with money. I’m talking about the “Bah, Humbug” attitude that seems to be so common these days.

Naomi and I have both noticed this in our daily lives, more and more people complaining about Christmas.

Now don’t get me wrong. I know that it is a difficult time for many people, they might not be religious (we aren’t either), they might be alone, ill or have no money. There are plenty of reasons to dread the time of year when it seems like everyone else is happy but you.

Christmas has become very commercial, I get fed up with the constant advertising too and with the ridiculous amounts of money that people are encouraged to spend on gifts. It also annoys me that the shops start their Christmas advertising almost before Halloween is over. I think that maybe this is part of the problem. It’s not special if it goes on for too long.

I think that people put a lot of pressure on themselves at Christmas because they feel they have to spend a lot on gifts and entertaining and that they have to rush about visiting or have all their relatives to lunch. Perhaps they need to sit down and talk with their families about what parts of Christmas they really enjoy and just do those or spread them throughout the holiday season.

What Naomi and I find upsetting though is that so many people feel that they have to continuously moan about it. It gets quite depressing to listen to people saying “I’m over Christmas.” or “Christmas is just for the children.” and “I’ll be glad when this is over.” or similar negative statements.  We both look forward to this time of year but every year it gets harder to get into the festive spirit with so many Christmas Grinches around.  It seems to have spread even to people who don’t actually have to do any cooking, cleaning or entertaining themselves.

The other day I read an article written by another Christmas hater. I don’t remember everything it said but it basically mocked all the things I love about Christmas right down to questioning why anyone would want to eat a mince pie. I’ve stopped reading negative articles about Christmas now and I avoid bringing the subject up with people I know who don’t enjoy it. I don’t want to force others to be jolly I would just like them to consider our feelings too and stop spreading gloom all over the place.

In  Dickens “A Christmas Carol ” Scrooge berates his nephew for celebrating Christmas and Fred makes the following reply.

“There are many things from which I might have derived good by which I have not profited, I dare say,” returned the nephew, “Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas-time, when it has come round-apart from… the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that-as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”

– Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.  Speech by Scrooge’s nephew, Fred.

We respect people’s right not to celebrate but we wish they would not spoil it for those of us that do.

So now that I’ve had my little rant I’d like to share a couple of YouTube clips I’ve seen this week, both made in New Zealand. God bless the Kiwis for giving me something to smile about.

 

The 3am Rant: Some Things Are Just Not Funny

Like many pet owners I enjoy funny animal films on YouTube. Who doesn’t like the funny antics of cats and cute kittens? Cole and Marmalade is a great series about the lives of two very spoiled cats and the stuff they get up to. But the other night, while having a cat video watching session, I became quite concerned about the number of films of cats that seemed quite distressed and how little the owners seemed to care.

Yes it is funny when your cat accidentally falls into the bath. It does happen. At least one of mine has fallen in the tub due to being too curious about what I was doing in there. Some cats really hate water and don’t like being bathed but if they need it bathing them is not really cruel. Seeing a pet having an embarrassing fail is funny in the same way it is funny when a human slips on a banana skin.

However, allowing a small child to drag the cat into the bath against its will certainly is cruel, not to mention being a very stupid idea. I saw this last night and could not believe the child’s parents were allowing it let alone filming it. The poor cat was really upset.

So was the cat whose owner thought it would be fun to stand in the middle of her pool nursing her cat who obviously did not want to be there. I hope she got scratched.

Yes cats can swim but that is not an excuse to throw your cat into the pool as I saw one person do. He just tossed it like it was a toy. That was mean!

It seems to me that there are a lot of people out there doing stuff to their pets just to make a funny film for YouTube. The cat is scared and runs away and in the background you hear hearty laughter from the humans. Well they are not funny! If people want to make fools of themselves, hurt themselves for their five minutes of fame fine. I don’t care. But don’t do it to your cat!

Polly centre of frame.

 

Critical: Let’s Get Critical

via Daily Prompt: Critical

As I grow older I find myself critical of many more things than I used  to. I’ve never been a great fan of change unless it is a change that I have chosen to make myself but now there are so many things that I don’t like that people would probably say I’m a grumpy old lady. Well I don’t really care. I think one of the advantages of getting older is that I don’t feel that I have to apologise for my beliefs all the time but I try not to be rude so I often find myself biting my tongue when I want to say something.

So what am I critical of? Here are just a few items on my rant list.

    • Governments  and businesses who put profits ahead of people and punish you just for being poor.
    • Most modern architecture, and I am not shy about sharing my dislike of ugly buildings with anyone.
    • Greedy developers demolishing lovely old homes and building multi storey apartments or filling our waterfront spaces with ugly buildings where there used to be public spaces.
    • Films that are all action and no plot. Especially remakes that don’t get the point of the original film. eg “The Italian Job” .
    • Bad remakes of TV shows I used to like.
    • TV reality shows. You know I hate them, that’s not a secret.
    •  So called fitness shows where the participants are made to do ridiculous things like hauling planes and are humiliated in front of others. See above.

Steve Willis, Michelle Bridges (17599676481)

  • Pop music made after about 1995, but that is probably a generational thing. Mum didn’t like our generation’s music either.
  • People who can’t speak a sentence without a four letter word in it. I’m not saying I never swear but it’s so much more common now and it is ugly.
  • Barbie dolls that are all coloured plastic and no proper clothing. Barbie is a fashion doll! She’s supposed to have clothes.
  • Making Doctor Who a woman. We already know that Time Lords can be women why does The Doctor have to be one?
  •  The idea of making James Bond a woman. I never liked the franchise anyway as I don’t like the character but I don’t want to see a female version of him. That’s just silly and Fleming would be spinning in his  grave.
  • People who let their children run around and pull things of shelves in shops  and then don’t tidy up after them.
  • Restaurants that serve you a gigantic plate with practically no food on it. I like food to look attractive but I want to eat it not exhibit it.
  • People who ignore their companions in favour of their phones. A phone won’t cry over you when you are dead people.

Bangalore Wikipedian on phone 5 closeup

I could  go on but I won’t. There are lots of terrible things happening in the world that I am angry about and critical of the people who let them happen or make them happen. These are some of life’s lesser annoyances compared to those.

The 3 am Rant – A New Definition of Hero?

Windows 10 sometimes distracts me with news headlines which I click on if they sound interesting. I just saw one that said “Hero Kid Dabs While Stuck on Roller Coaster.”

I clicked on this because I had no idea what it meant. I understood hero, kid and rollercoaster but this was obviously not any interpretation of the word dab that I was familiar with. I followed it up and discovered that dabbing is some kind of weird. trendy dance craze. So now I knew that while stuck on a stalled amusement park ride in high winds this kid decided to show off his dance moves.

The Storm Ride photo from internet.
The Storm Coaster Ride
photo from internet.

My question is how is that heroic?  It sounds rather questionable behaviour to me. Should he not be keeping still while waiting to be rescued?

Here is a definition of the word hero from the Oxford dictionary. Most of the main English dictionaries give a similar explanation. Some add that it can also mean a person who has super powers or a character from mythology. Nowhere did I see anything about showing off and behaving like an idiot.

hero – definition of hero in English | Oxford Dictionaries

Main definitions of hero in English. …”A person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.”

This article annoyed me a lot as I felt it cheapened the meaning of the word hero and glorified stupid behaviour.  Here is a link to the article. Make up your own minds.

Mind Your Language

Warning: Ranting to follow

I want to say first up that I do swear on occasion although there are some words I won’t use. A salty word when you are angry and want to make a point, when you hurt yourself or when considering the latest stupidity of politicians is almost inevitable these days. My mum didn’t swear much. She considered “Bloody” and “Damn” were pretty bad words and used them sparingly. I never heard her use the “f” word or the “c” word at all.

When I was young you never heard that kind of language on television or on the radio, songs were banned for language a lot less offensive than that. Times have changed and some of these Anglo-Saxon words are more acceptable these days, after all you hear them in the real world all the time. When I worked for the railways there were only a handful of women in the depot and naturally there was a lot of swearing as you’d expect in a workplace where men were working with stubborn machinery. Nevertheless, in the break room if the language was getting too blue one of the men would nearly always say “Ladies present.” and there would be apologies to us. Actually it didn’t bother me that much because it was not directed at me and as one persistent swearer tried to explain. “I don’t mean it in a bad way. It’s part of me language.” he was a nice guy and I knew what he meant.

The trouble is that it seems to have become part of everyone’s language now and nobody cares any more. Some people can’t talk without swearing in every sentence. I have some young neighbours who spend a lot of their spare time fixing up cars. I expect there will be a bit of language from time to time but when I can’t sit in my own garden and enjoy peace and quiet without being disturbed by loud arguments punctuated by “effs” and “cees” I feel enough is enough. I feel very tempted to pop my head over the fence and say “If you can’t have a conversation without swearing at least do it quietly.” I don’t because I don’t like confrontation and from their point of view they are not doing anything wrong. They are on their own property after all. So instead when I’ve had enough I go back inside.

But there is no escape there either. I turn on the television and everyone is swearing like troopers there too. Recently I turned on to a show, I think it might have been “Deadwood”, something I had never seen before. The dialogue was full of swear words from the moment I turned it on. I don’t know if it is a good show or not. I could not watch it long enough to even find out what it was about. I had a similar experience another time. I saw advertisements for the British police series “Babylon” I thought that it might be worth a look having good memories of other British police dramas I’ve enjoyed. Big mistake. I watched one episode and never wanted to see another. Admittedly this time it was not just about language, I did not find one likeable character in the cast and if I can’t relate to any characters I soon stop watching. However there was a lot of bad language and I suppose it was meant to add realism but I didn’t like it. I am seriously thinking of giving up my pay TV subscription because there are so few new shows that I enjoy.

Radio has changed too, not only do they now play songs that would previously not have made the air but some DJ’s talk that way themselves. This is particularly so on the stations that play the more alternative music.

Now I probably sound like a grumpy old lady which is fair enough because that’s how I feel some of the time. My point is not that nobody should swear ever but that there is too much of it these days.  Does it have to be in situations that don’t require four letter words? If we must swear  could we please find milder alternatives and leave the X-rated stuff out of our every day conversations? Can we not make films and TV shows and write books where people try to behave like professionals if not well-mannered people?  It’s not  necessary. I don’t think Bogart, Cagney, John Wayne or any of the movie tough guys of the past needed to swear all the time to prove they were real men.

Apart from the fact that swearing is offensive to many people. It is a bad example to set for children who learn words without understanding what they mean or why they are not appropriate. Most swear words just sound ugly anyway. In a language as diverse as English there ought to be other words that express our feelings just as well.

After writing this post which is my personal opinion I decided to see whether anyone had written a list of TV shows that had the most swearing. Of course someone had, there are lists for everything on the internet. I also came across this article which reflects what I feel rather well. I swear I had not read it before writing this.

http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2014/04/statistical-analysis-how-much-fing-swearing-there-tv

http://www.ew.com/article/2012/01/19/tv-cursing

Is 99 swear words too many in one hour-long TV show? Love Island fans think so

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_that_most_frequently_use_the_word_%22fuck%22

Jay & Trey Cartoon Swearing.jpg
By Threeboy from Richmond, Canada – Jay & Trey Cartoon Swearing, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48844951

Rant Alert- Don’t treat me like I’m stupid WordPress

Laptop onboard
I’m feeling the need to rant today. I’ve been blogging here on WordPress for about a year and a half now and during that time I’ve noticed quite a lot of changes. I know I’m not alone in saying that most of them I have not liked. Many of the bloggers I read have complained about them.

I gather that a lot of these changes are being made to accommodate those people who use phones and tablets to blog but it seems that the rest of us have become second class citizens as far as WordPress is concerned.

What really annoys me the most is how WordPress is trying to persuade us that the new features are better than the old ones. I didn’t like the new editor, not because of the beep, bop, boop that fellow bloggers have complained of, I’ve seen that elsewhere. I don’t like it because  I find it awkward to use compared to the old one. I generally ignore it and go straight to the old dashboard. I’m finding though that although the older features are still available it is taking longer to click through to get to them. This is a waste of my time. If I’ve got an idea that I want to write about I don’t want to jump through hoops to get to where I want to go.

The  new stats page is especially annoying . I’m a new enough blogger that I like to check in once a day to see who has been reading my blogs and while at first the link to the old stats page was placed near the top of the page it has now been hidden at the bottom of the page. Did you think I would not notice that WordPress or that I would not be bothered to go to it? Every time I log in to the stats page I’m greeted with either “Have you tried the new stats page” or “Why do you prefer this one?” I keep giving the same answer but I’m sure that it will make no difference and eventually they will just take the old page away.

I hate these “Salami tactics” changing things bit by bit and I hate being taken for stupid which is how I feel WordPress is treating me. I admit that I don’t always care for change. I am a Taurus after all. I particularly don’t like change for the sake of change which is what I feel this is. I don’t know if anyone asked for any of these features to be improved. I certainly haven’t come across anyone who has said “Good job WordPress.”

At this point I’m not planning to go elsewhere. I’d rather persevere with WordPress than find a new blogging platform and have to start learning all over again. I feel as if I’ve made friends here too. There are people whose blogs I enjoy reading and some who seem to like mine. I would like to think that if enough bloggers complain WordPress will at least keep the old features that we preferred accessible. I know the new ones are probably here to stay. But please WordPress don’t treat me like I’m an idiot who needs to be persuaded to use something new. I’m stubborn that way. The more you try to make me the more I will refuse.