Category Archives: News

Prince Philip is dead, apparently

Someone told me that today Prince Philip has died, this morning (Friday 9th April 2021). He was 99 years old.

I’ve still not actively looked at any news this year but I caught bits and pieces accidentally, over the last couple of months. Examples:

  • Kim Kardashian and Kanye West divorcing
  • A woman got raped, murdered, dismembered by a police officer (in London??)
  • A ship got stuck in the Suez canal (?)
  • From yesterday: troubles in Northern Ireland

Last week, I stopped subscribing to a print news magazine, because I’ve not been reading it, and I also deleted Facebook a couple of months ago.

I’ve lately been imagining the world as The Matrix, where all the digital people permanently plugged into information are like the Matrix human pods. I’m like Morpheus – I’ve stopped taking the blue pill, by disconnecting from the constant stream of information. It feels very freeing – I can breathe!

Another useful side-effect of deprogramming myself and reducing noise from irrelevant sources has been clarity of thought. With fewer content to clog up my bandwidth, I see everything crystal clear.

For example:

  • Language and communication is just a tool that you can use to ‘build reality’ (discourse)
  • Politicians and other people who want to manipulate you in some way or other (e.g. your employer / manager etc.) will use it as such
  • Because of this, you can (and should) do it too
  • That doesn’t mean it’s real what you read / hear / see etc.

Another film (alongside The Matrix) that is a good example of what deprogramming feels like is John Carpenter’s (1988) film They Live. It’s about some guy who finds sunglasses and, when putting them on, realises that the ruling class (= rich cunts) are aliens concealing their appearance and manipulating people to consume, breed, and conform to the status quo via subliminal messages in mass media. Basically like what Boris Johnson and his pals have been doing for the last 5 years or so.

The final good thing about unplugging from The Matrix has been that I’ve had a lot of room to do good stuff – for example, I’ve started playing Final Fantasy VII Remake, which was a freebie on the PlayStation Plus in March. I’m really enjoying it!

Life is so rich.

Trump’s coup to stay in the White House – My first 2021 News (by accident)

Today, I talked to someone about how my year without news was going. I said something like,

“It’s not as if I would miss anything important. I’m sure that, if there was a war or something, I’d find out some way or another.”

And the other person said: “Well… you’ve not looked at the news at all, then?”

white house

Me: “No, not at all. My mum said something around Christmas that Boris had finally caved in (re. Brexit), but other than that I’ve no idea.”

donald trump criminalIt turns out there’s been some sort of coup in the USA, where Trump supporters stormed the White House and 4 people died! I asked a few questions about the story as if the Internet didn’t exist and the person was my only source of information, like in the olden days (imagine the early 1990s for example, if you’re old enough!). I didn’t google it (and haven’t since), so that piece is the only information I know. Oh, and apparently it was 2 days ago and there has also been some issue with Twitter where Trump had to delete some Tweets (?).

I think I’m going to do a post throughout 2021 where, whenever I hear or otherwise encounter a news item despite my active avoidance, I’ll post here what it is.

I could also add the source i.e. where I got it from. I won’t further investigate or research it – no googling! That means I’ll probably have to limit my use of Google too, as it often  displays fresh content / news stories.

I mean, is it even possible to completely escape the news, when you’re a professional currently working remotely from home?



The Year without News

clusterfuckI have not checked the news since 18th December 2020.
I had been quite a news junkie throughout 2020 (well you kinda HAD to be, given what a clusterFUCK it’s been), so the moment I stopped work, the moment I stopped following news.

It’s been good and I’ve decided to stay away from it for as long as possible, maybe for the whole year of 2021. When trying to make this into some sort of story or temporary raison d’être for this blog, it occurred to me that I had tried it before (as a New Year’s resolution, to stay away from the news), and failed after a couple of months. More importantly, I remembered an essay by Rolf Dobelli, a Swiss author and businessman that I came across a while ago. It’s called

Vergessen Sie die News! Für eine gesunde Nachrichtendiät.

or in English:

Forget the news! For a healthy (strict) news diet.

I don’t know if / where this essay exists in English, but really you should be trying to read the original (if you can). I’m going to give you one paragraph right here for a flavour and a link to download the full German version at the end of the post.

1.News führen zu einer falschen Risikokarte im Kopf

Unser zentrales Nervensystem reagiert unverhältnismässig stark auf sichtbare, skandalöse, aufsehenerregende,schockierende, personenbezogene, laute, plakative, schnell wechselnde, farbige Reize – und unverhältnismässig schwach auf abstrakte, mehrdeutige, komplexe, auf einander aufbauende und deutungsbedürftige Informationen. News-Produzenten nutzen diese Wahrnehmungsverzerrung systematisch aus.


1. News lead to a faulty risk map in your head

Our central nervous system responds disproportionately strong to visible, scandalous, spectacular, shocking, people-focused, loud, eye-catching, fast-paced, colourful stimuli  – and disproportionately weak to abstract, ambiguous, complex, progressive information in need of interpretation. News producers systematically exploit this distorted perception.

Reading it is a bit like reading Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking (if you’re a smoker) for the first time. It sinks in and imprints itself (if you get to the end, that is).

Download the PDF (German version) here:  Dobelli_News

PS: I think I’ve finally figured out how to get WordPress Classic Editor back. The modern default block editor force you to use is honestly very disabling for an old-skool tinkerer like me – I couldn’t get anything done quickly in it.

Covid shopping and mask

Recently, I’ve been putting my Brexit stockpiling experience to good use. I have switched completely to online supermarket shopping as I haven’t left the house in 2 months. Two days ago, I spoke to a neighbour across the back fence, and it was good to know I could still hold a conversation. I had been worried that I would lose all my social skills – but not so! It helps that the sun has been shining.

Covid shopping delivery

Someone sent me a WhatsApp photo of them wearing a Coronavirus mask. We don’t have to wear them here yet but as I’m not going out until the end of the year (that’s the plan), I don’t have to worry about it.

Covid mask

I have been trying to switch off from the news for a bit, and today I finished a novel about a miner’s son growing up in Yorkshire, and becoming a teacher. It was long and solemn, but somehow fitting the current mood (in fact it reminded me a bit of Camus’ L’Etranger – the main character was somewhat inaccessible / seemed cold). It was a very good book.

I even have lost all interest in Brexit. It seems like everything is fucked. Someone said to me today the 20s (that is, the 2020s) would be a complete write-off, and I agree!

What killed Amy Winehouse?

Amy Winehouse performing in Berlin in 2007
Image via Wikipedia

Speculation has been rife as to what killed Amy Winehouse. Was it drugs? Drink? Today, I read that Mitch Winehouse (her dad) claims that  alcohol rather than drugs was responsible for Amy’s death.

Apparently, she had replaced illegal drugs (from which she’d been clean for 3 years) with booze. This is more common than you’d think – I know 4 people that have stopped illegal drugs -specifically cannabis –  and replaced them with the legal (but much more harmful!) drug of alcohol.

One case is someone I used to know quite well. The person was in their early 20s and had developed an addiction to cannabis that they weren’t comfortable with. They were unemployed and an excessive stoner (of the ‘wake and bake’ variety), and cannabis exacerbated existing feelings of high anxiety and paranoia.

So they stopped.

However, because they were an addict they started consuming the legal drug of alcohol, and excessively so. A few years down the line they were very fat and unhealthy and reeking of beer, and totally in the grip of booze. From the health side of things, the addiction to alcohol was much more damaging than the previous one to cannabis. OK, they may not have had the same anxiety and paranoia issues, but the liver was on the way out and braincells were being killed every day. It was obvious.

The worst thing about alcohol is that it’s much more addictive than cannabis. The alcohol addict can’t just ‘stop’. So, with booze you have both a physical and mental addiction, all the while it destroys your body.

I’m very sad that alcohol killed Amy Winehouse. I know the illegal drugs she took were more than cannabis, but had she just stuck with cannabis (the least addictive, most beneficial drug of all legal / illegal drugs), she wouldn’t have needed to start boozing.

What killed Amy Winehouse? What ruined my mate, and will ruin many others? Society’s insistence on glorifying alcohol (= a killer drug) combined with its demonisation of the most natural herb that’s never killed anyone: Cannabis.