Hi! I’m Felipe, and I’m an addict

ALL TOGETHER NOW: Hi, Felipe!

Thank you. To cut straight to the chase, I’m an addict of YouTube. This is a relatively new addiction that only began in the last year. Before then, like so many others, I was a casual user, but now it’s affecting my life, a classic sign of addiction.

Before, I just smoked it. Now I inject it.

acastro_180403_1777_youtube_0001.0What makes YouTube so compelling is that it’s visual, and you can find virtually everything on the website. While the internet as a whole is the Library of the World, YouTube is the Library of the Visual World.

Want to watch last night’s Tucker Carlson show? Want to watch everyday people walking the streets of London in 1901? With original sound?

Want to watch Hermann Göring in full Nazi regalia, including a swagger stick, shortly after being captured and strolling a sidewalk on a sunny afternoon in Germany and chatting amiably with a U.S. Army officer?

A young Tom Cruise channeling Bob Seegar in Risky Business? Or the real answer to why there is no Palestinian state? Scientists explaining why there is no cause for climate alarmism? Jesse Pinkman’s first shot of heroin in Breaking Bad? (The best drug depiction I’ve ever seen.) Or Jax Teller’s death ride in Sons of Anarchy?

Concerts, travel, history, it’s all there to see in color or black & white.

I’m glued to my desk, which is why I’m here today. I need help! I suppose the first step is to find a sponsor. Who will hold my hand?

Sadly, YouTube is owned by Google, a thuggish arm of the political left. Dodging anything related to Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc., is an endless goal of mine on general principles. But my addiction has kept me hooked on YouTube. Addictions do that.

Ask Jesse Pinkman.

Let’s look at browsers. Google’s Chrome is the world’s most popular browser, and there is a reason for that. It is very, very good. But the principled among us know it should be avoided. Doing so can be darn difficult.

Over the past few years, I’ve tried scads of alternatives. Firefox (not much better if you want to dodge the thuggish left), Opera, Vivaldi, Edge (meh), Yandex, Maxthon, Comodo Dragon, Comodo IceDragon, SeaMonkey, Avant, Midori, Puffin, Pale Moon, even Dissenter.

They work to varying degrees. Sometimes they work fine, and then they don’t. None work as well as Chrome. However, recently I found this:

Brave: a better mousetrap

Brave was born in 2015, the brainchild of Brandon Eich, one of the founders of Mozilla (Firefox). In 2014, he was the CEO of Mozilla, and then he did something politically incorrect. He let it be known he opposes gay marriage.* Oh, dear!

Adiós, Eich! Don’t let the door smack you on your way out, you Nazi homophobe. And we don’t want to hear any of your mea culpas! Will people never learn apologizing to the left not only does not work, it is counterproductive? It digs your hole deeper.

New ImageFirefox’s loss was our gain. He co-founded Brave. I tried Brave a couple of years ago, and found it lame, not ready for prime time, and it wasn’t. I never returned till a few weeks ago, and what a surprise. It’s Chrome-like, and you can use Chrome extensions. It’s also easy to import Chrome bookmarks, etc.

It’s very much like Chrome, but better. Better than Firefox too.

So, at least in this, I have freed myself from Google. One small step for a Gringo, one giant leap, yada, yada. Brave rightly brags that it’s “safer, faster and ad-free.”

I remain hooked on YouTube, however. I need help! Sad.

* * * *

* So do I, by the way. Let’s stick to civil unions. All the legal rights but without the “marriage” word, which makes many people cringe. Just dodge the word.

Visiting another world

BREAKING BAD was one of the best series ever to appear on television.

This is my favorite scene.

It’s Jesse Pinkman taking his first dose of heroin. I became familiar with drugs during the period 1995 to 2000, the time between the failure of my second marriage and my move to Mexico.

I’ve never taken heroin and never will. I’ve never used a needle and never will. I doubt I will ever use an illegal drug again. The drugs I took during that period are not addictive: psilocybin, LSD, ayahuasca, San Pedro cactus and ecstasy.

I recommend them all to you with some reservations, and I recommend that you never do them alone (exception: ecstasy). Have a sidekick with you who’s got his feet on the ground because things can get weird.

Best at night. Best with music.

What stuck me about the above scene is that it’s extremely realistic. Ecstasy won’t do this to you, but the others can and far more. And whoever directed the scene, or perhaps the actor added it, has first-hand experience. Notice Jesse clutching his heart, something  I have done.

Tears for Dexter

A PALL HAS FALLEN over the Hacienda.

DexterWe have just finished the eight-season run of the stupendous television series Dexter. We saw it on our Mexican Netflix, which costs a bit over seven bucks a month, and is worth far more.

We have a tradition here at night. I make a big salad for each of us and, roundabouts 8 p.m., we kick back with the salads in the two recliners purchased years ago at Costco in the nearby state capital, and we watch television for a couple of hours.

That’s usually two shows of 45 or so minutes, and sometimes we add a dessert program of a 20- to 30-minute show like Two and a Half Men or Friends or Modern Family. Yum! Sofia Vergara.

When I was a working stiff, I almost never saw television at night, which is when most good shows are on, because I worked evenings. For example, I never saw Friends, likely the only person in America who didn’t.

Yeah, yeah, I  know you didn’t either because you’re so high-brow. You spend your evenings with a glass of white wine, reading Shakespeare and Schopenhauer.

We have seen some excellent American series on our Mexican Netflix over the past few years. They are subtitled in Spanish, and my wife follows along well.

Our favorites have been Mad Men (we still lack the last two seasons), Breaking Bad (lack a couple of seasons of that too), The Sons of Anarchy (lack a couple of seasons), Downton Abby (lack later seasons), The Shield (all seasons) and now Dexter (all seasons), which is our favorite so far.

The missing seasons will arrive in time.

The finale of Dexter was incredibly poignant. Sure, he was a homicidal maniac, but does that mean he can’t have love in his life? In spite of his, er, personality defects, he was engaging, charming and handsome. We adored him, and we were hoping things would turn out well for him in the end.

Well, they didn’t, and we’re very, very sad.

Other shows we like are Justified, The Killing and Netflix’s own House of Cards. Almost anything with Kevin Spacey is worth your time. Lots of great material from the BBC is included on Netflix. And there are no commercials.

Remember when cable television started decades ago, and one of its major selling points was no commercials? That promise didn’t last long. “Commercial” TV and cable are now indistinguishable.

We wish Dexter well, wherever he is.

Looks like he’s in the Pacific Northwest chopping trees. Or drowned in a hurricane. It really was not all that clear.