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Welcome!

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on September 23, 2013 in Personal with Comments closed |

Welcome, traveler. Thank you for visiting. Now take a few minutes to browse, to enjoy and show that you were here with a comment!

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Looks Like I’m Rich… Again

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on August 3, 2015 in Immoral Conversations |

The only reason I bother going into the spam folder on my mail account is to delete what’s in there. Well, almost. Sometimes a mail will be directed to spam when it is real and should have come to my Inbox although, to be honest, that is a rarity. So I go in there, delete one item after another, and return to the real world without penile enhancements, insurance cost reductions and small copper tubes carefully crafted in China.

Today, however, I am pleased to announce that I have – once again – come into money. Five hundred thousand US dollars this time which, as I am sure you appreciate, will be enough to tide me over until the next lottery winner contacts me.

NOTE: If you have received this message in your SPAM/BULK folder, which is because of the restrictions implemented by your Internet Service Provider, we (Western Union Inc.) urge you to treat it genuinely. Western Union®

Welcome to Western Union
Send Money Worldwide

Dear Sir/Madam,
There is an issue with the WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER in the amount of $500.000.00 USD  directed in cash credited to file KTU/9023118308/03, at the owner of this email address. The INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND contacted us for your compensation a couple of hours ago due to your allocated security code.

They said that they choose to send it to an email address instead of a name. We are unable to complete a transfer directed at an email address, so we require some more information in order to complete this transfer.

FULL NAME:
FULL CONTACT ADDRESS:
MOBILE PHONE NUMBER:
OCCUPATION:
MARITAL STATUS AND AGE:

In order to resolve this problem, please email via Western Union Solicitors Fund Verification Department:

Contact name: Mr. David Mark
Email: dm834247@gmail.com

As soon as this information is received, and you have complied  with the requirements of payment of the western union, payment will be made to your nominated bank account or at the counter directly from The Western Union Transferring Bank. When emailing, please use reference number 250-153 for our mutual convenience.

THE MANAGEMENT OF WESTERN UNION MONEY TRANSFER.
Sincerely,
MRS. MARY L. MING
Western Union Payments
Western Union®
Welcome to Western Union
Send Money Worldwide

Of course, it is sad that they do not know the name of the owner of this mail address, but that’s probably just Western union. I mean, everyone transfers money to a mail address through Western Union (which clearly used to be called PayPal in a former life) and not to a real person with a real street address at a real bank. And, naturally, it is a well-known fact that the International Monetary Fund gets involved in such transfers, while Interpol, the various financial watchdogs and the customs services are concerned exclusively with propping up failing economies and giving out loans to needy countries where the harvest has failed.

I wonder which name and address I should give when I reply: Scotland Yard again?

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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Welcome To Windows 10: Please Wait While…

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on August 2, 2015 in Immoral Conversations |

Those four little squares – forming a larger square – adorning the task list on my computer screen had been drawing my attention for quite a while. I knew what they were but, until quite recently, I didn’t know exactly what would happen if I clicked through. Would I be taken direct to the Microsoft download page and put through my upgrade paces? Would I be checked out, vetted for suitability, and then either told Yes, you’re in or No, sorry, not this time?

I’ve not read any of the reports about Windows 10, just the headlines: Ten Things You Need To Know About Windows 10, Ten Things That Are Wrong With Windows 10; Ten Reasons To… you get the idea.

Eventually I did click-through, though, simply to see if nothing else. There will come a time when my version of Windows will no longer be supported, when it will be consigned to the history books and commented upon in hushed whispers although, I am pleased to say, not in the same form as certain versions of Windows used for ATMs. At least I have always kept mine up to date. So, I clicked through. I had a look at the pretty pictures and the total lack of information about Windows 10, and then signed up.

Windows 10: Something Happened

Photo Source: RogerCreative Commons

What I got back was a message saying that I would be sent a link to the upgrade site as soon as Windows 10 is released which, according to this message, would be July 29.

Now, I’m not all that sure, but wasn’t Windows 10 out before then? Not that it matters, I have my date for the download and can plan accordingly since, as we all know from past experiences, nothing goes as easily and straightforward as they want us to believe, and everything takes more time than you allot. Actually, that’s one of the bugs I have with WordPress: set-up in five easy steps and you’re done. Well, yes and no: set up, is right, but you’re certainly not ready to go after only those few clicks; there is a lot more to creating a good, working, secure blog than just installing the basic software.

The thing with Windows 10 is, well, it isn’t. I mean, it is August 2 now, early evening, and my promised date of July 29 has been and gone. Other people are writing about their Windows 10 installation and my four squares are still there, on the task list, as if nothing had happened.

At least now I know what the Blue Screen of Death looks like, although it’s not something that I want to see. The only Something Happened that has ever interested me was written by Joseph Heller back in the Seventies. Here, so far, nothing has happened. I’m still using my old software, which is still valid and supported, and waiting, patiently, for Microsoft to get back to me.

Perhaps, since I’ve seen other people claim their upgrade took two or three hours, I can call all this waiting time – from July 29 right through – my upgrade time. The longest upgrade in history? I hope not.

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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Commercial Journalism: Which Lives Matter Most?

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on August 1, 2015 in News & Opinion |

For many in the United States it is almost impossible to accept that the hashtag – a method of highlighting a topic to group all Tweets together and make searches easier – Cecil The Lion (#CecilTheLion) has overtaken the hashtag Black Lives Matter (#BlackLivesMatter). Not for all, though: some see it as a vindication of their belief that the BLM movement will die down or simply sink into the underground and be forgotten. What is even worse for those who have taken, and rightly so, the BLM hashtag and movement to heart, is the fact that news media have concentrated on the killing of Cecil by an American dentist with a bow and arrow, and the fact that it took forty hours before he finally died – through being shot having been hunted down.

There is, however, a major difference some are overlooking: Cecil will be laid to rest in the media when a new, bigger, copy-selling story hits the headlines. The chances of that headline listing yet another person being killed are higher than we should expect or accept.

Baltimore: Black Lives Matter

Photo Source: Ted Van PeltCreative Commons

Newspapers, the media in general and the Internet have a very, very short attention span. Taking into account the number of Tweets published worldwide each minute of the day (roughly three hundred and fifty thousand) it is easy to see that one story, one hashtag is unlikely to remain active for long. The same goes for the news media in general: a story is only good for as long as the public buys copy; as soon as the story hits a trough, it’s out and a new one takes its place.

The surge for Cecil, as lamentable as his death may be for some, is a short-term surge, regardless of how many other hashtags join or link to it – the news that Jericho, ‘brother’ of Cecil, has also been killed is a subsequent surge today, but more of an after-quake, a tremor, than a real earth-shattering headliner. The hashtag BLM, however, will resurface. It will keep on coming back, keep itself in the forefront of the news in much the same way as the Civil Rights Movement has been doing for decades. It is, sadly, a recurring theme, one which is unlikely to disappear any time soon.

There is only one Cecil, but many hundreds of people who fall, and will fall, under the Black Lives Matter hashtag, often through no real fault of their own and, with over four hundred and sixty days until the presidential elections on the United States, no one, it would appear, prepared to address the issue let alone take serious, long-lasting action to remedy it.

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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Cosby: The Empty Chair

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on July 29, 2015 in Immoral Conversations |

You must be living on the dark side of the moon if you haven’t heard, in one way or another, of the accusations leveled against the comedian, the Dad in a Cardigan, Bill Cosby. Just as so many people, over so many years, in all areas of society – but especially in those of law enforcement, politics and show business – have been keeping the story out of public view. Or is it something else that has happened over the decades?

Could it be that, even now, the allegations of at least thirty-five women claiming sexual assault or rape have less weight in our society than the word of one man, even when he admits having used drugs to assist his sexual advances?

How much does it take before we, as a modern, enlightened society get to see just how women – and not just women – are pushed down to a lower ‘equal rights’ level than some men simply because of their position in the public arena.

For me, the most moving part of the image published by New York Magazine on its front cover – although the entire photographic collage is more than moving – is that empty chair: the chances are it could be filled by someone, someone no longer alive who will never gain justice, or someone who cannot, for many reasons, come forward and state their name, their experiences.

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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Gun Control: It’s Never The Right Time

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on July 28, 2015 in News & Opinion |

There’s a good reason why no one wants to talk about gun control: it would be inconsiderate to the families of those people who have just been killed in yet another rampage on American soil. Rather, let’s make the suggestion that even more people should be armed, such as kindergarten teachers, Army recruiters, theater popcorn salespeople. The best way to ensure that fewer people are going to be killed by gunfire, by a man or woman bent of just killing people, is to ensure that even more people get weapons, as if it is a proven fact that the more weapons there are available, the more weapons on the street, the less chance there is of someone drawing, aiming and firing.

Take a look at the suggestion that weapons should be allowed in theaters, which came shortly after the shooting in Lafayette on July 23. In a darkened theater, filled with people, the more people who have guns, the higher the likelihood that they will be safe against a deranged shooter. It is highly unlikely that, after the first few shots, everyone will panic and make for the exits. Clearly they will all draw their guns and shoot only the attacker, no one else, because that’s what they’ve been trained to do.

How many people have been killed in shooting incidents, or seriously wounded, since my post Control: Time For More Gun Responsibility on December 19, 2012? How many times has it not been the right time to discuss gun controls, effective training, background checks? How many times have the police, in a press conference at a school, a theater, a poolside, in City Hall, had to say that the weapons used were obtained legally?

My suggestions back were not about breaching Constitutional Rights, not about taking guns away from those who have a right to them, or the ability to use them properly, or an interest in safety and order. They were, and are, about safety. About ensuring that those who do have guns know how to handle them, are mentally capable of using a gun in the right manner and who, above all, adhere to the checks and safeguards society should expect from someone who has the potential to kill dozens of their fellows.

But will it ever be the ‘right time’ to talk about any form of controls? Or will I be writing another similar post in three years time, when nothing has changed, nothing has been done, but thousands more people have been killed or maimed.

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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Social Media: As Popular As Ever?

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on July 26, 2015 in Internet |

This is a question which has been aimed at Facebook and several other social media sites – but mainly Facebook – since social media and social networking became a thing: how many members / users do you have? To date, despite pressing demands, no one has been able to answer this question although, in the past, a few have tried and some – notably Facebook – have changed their membership figures to read ‘Active Members’ without actually reducing the numbers.

This is, of course, a thing as far as advertisers are concerned. If a company is going to spend, it wants to know that the money is being wisely invested, and that their business is going to gain from the expenditure. The more members on a social network, the more money is likely to be given out. The more members, the greater the selection, the higher the chance that the right people will be caught in the campaign.

Social Media Popularity

Screenshot Source: Twitter

The thing is, though, no numbers detailing active users are going to be accurate or even helpful. It makes no difference how refined the system may be, the number of active users is going to change constantly and says nothing about their true activity. Some disappear for a day or two, some for several months, while some simply do not post anything, but are still there. There are some who open an account, and then don’t bother with it ever again while others, hidden through a lack of activity, are reading without responding, without being openly active. And there are those who constantly post status updates, Tweets and all the other things the various sites call their posting facilities, but never take a glance at what else is happening on the site, never take a look at the timelines – or whatever they are called – of those who they are following.

On Twitter, as an example, I have about one thousand two hundred followers. Many of those following me are also following tens of thousands of other people – which is a great ego booster for all of them, I am sure. The number is merely a statistic, not a sign of how popular a person is or how well read. The chances are that they do not bother with their timeline at all, but have their real friends on a separate account, well hidden from public view.

So where exactly does the social part of social networking come in to play with such accounts? And how many of those people targeted for advertising even get to see the advert, let alone anything their ‘friends’ and contacts are posting? Is advertising on social media platforms worthwhile in the long-term, or should sites such as Twitter be used as a means of posting status updates and exchanging comments without having to give out any cash?

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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There’s A Limit To Humor

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on July 25, 2015 in Immoral Conversations |

There are times when a sense of humor is a good thing to have, and there are times when there is nothing humorous in what you see whatsoever. This, for me, is one of those not funny times:

Fugly Humor? Fugly Fail!

Screenshot Source: Fugly

The image is from a site which does, indeed, have a good deal of humor, but this one wipes all the good, all the amusing, all the fun off the map.

For anyone who does not know the story, you can read it here and here and here and probably on many other sites around the Internet.

Sadly, the Report button on the fugly site doesn’t allow the reporting of this sort of failure in taste and intelligence. They do, however, have a Contact page which is also filled with their brand of humor, in case anyone else feels that this article is unacceptable.

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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Rules Are For Other People

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on July 23, 2015 in Immoral Conversations |

For anyone traveling in to Bremen over the next few days or weeks, things are going to be a little tight. It’s that time of year when the local administrations improve the road surfaces by spreading a thin layer of bitumen across parts of the road surface and then sprinkling tiny, sharp stones on the wet result. In theory this improves the traction for vehicles, in practice it makes the road look like a patchwork and results, thanks to those who do not observe the speed limit, in many cars, trucks and other vehicles having small dents and scratches in their paintwork.

Today I had the pleasure of driving in to Bremen through four such areas. A few are fine, the speed limit dropped from fifty to forty which anyone can handle. There were, though, two longer stretches where the limit dropped from one hundred to forty, and many, many impatient people who decided to press their foot to the metal and spread the good word of scratches and flying stones to either side and behind them.

Roadworks

Photo Source: Shaun DunphyCreative Commons

More amusing, if long delays in traffic can ever be called amusing, is the new set of road works on one of the main routes in to the center of the city. An entire road is having new cables laid, so it has been blocked off and turned into the one-way street. Fine if you happen to be traveling towards the center, but not if you want to get out-of-town again. At the start of the street there is a small barricade with a clear sign attached to it: No Through Way. Not that this has stopped anyone, and the barricade has clearly been hit and crushed by several cars during the few hours it has been in place.

Clearly, though, the authorities in Bremen know their inhabitants and this inner conviction that rules are for other people. Right before the final barrier, where no one can possible drive through in the wrong direction, they have painted a long semi-circle across the road. This is to help all those who have ignored the signs and need to turn and head back in the other direction. Without it I am sure many people would be completely at a loss as to what to do next or, dare I say it, even have the knowledge of how to turn and head back the way they came.

And this road works pleasure, I am told, is planned right through to the middle of August. Perhaps by then a few people will have caught on to the idea that No Through Way signs mean you can’t get through and simply should even try. Perhaps.

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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Guilty As Written: The Missing Word

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on July 20, 2015 in Immoral Conversations |

Sometimes you have to get the news out there as quickly as possible, especially in times when every single item could be picked up by someone else and a Scoop – or whatever they are called these days – gets pulled by someone else. Once upon a time the news came out in print, and there was only the rush to get your work finished before the printers’ deadline. Now, with the Internet, the deadline is gone, but everything has to be brought out, published for an eager readership, as quickly as possible.

Daily Telegraph Typo Fail

Screenshot Source: Daily Telegraph, London

This can cause a few problems, especially for those who – without their name on the byline – simply type something in and hit send. No proof reading, no checks that the facts are all there and, suddenly, the police are to blame again.

The Internet has improved many things for the world, especially international access to information, but the human element is still there and probably always will be. No robots writing news stories, yet.

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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Breaking: Man Expects Baby

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on July 15, 2015 in Internet |

Apparently, according to People Magazine in the United States, Louis Tomlinson is about to do something no other man has managed to do before – unless you count Adam donating a rib or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s film roles – and give birth to a baby. Not only that but he is also the father of this baby, which defies imagination unless … no, I don’t want to go there at all.

Despite what you may believe, this is a common occurrence in the world of celebrities and the media which reports their activities. The well-known man is going to be a father because he is going to have a baby. Somewhere, down in the small print which screaming / crying fans – which I assume even One Direction have – is a little side note which explains, for those of lesser intelligence or a lower standard of education, that the man isn’t really going to have a baby. In truth one of those minor hangers-on, a wife or girlfriend, is doing all the work, but he’s going to be having it because he is the celebrity; he’s the one who sells copy.

One Direction Pregnancy

Screenshot Source: Twitter / People Magazine

Shouldn’t it be the wife or girlfriend who grabs the headline? After all, she is the one who is going to go through the whole process, who probably didn’t get presented with a cigar and a few jolly slaps on the back for a job well done. She is also the one who will be stuck with the child for a few years, or for life, after the birth while famous husband or boyfriend, whoever it may be, can just carry on grabbing the limelight.

it’s sad that media outlets need, or feel that they need, to produce such stories and belittle in the process the true workers in these stories. It’s sad that our society accepts these stories, buys these magazines, feeds their lust for similar tales. It’s sad that such blatant sexism is still rampant in a society which should appreciate the family and, above all, those who do the bulk of the work keeping the family strong through good times and bad.

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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