Tag Archives: conspiracies

Six months before last year’s presidential election, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek blog about how to survive a Trump presidency. A week later the blog was subject to an orchestrated ‘no prisoners taken, pile-on Troll attack’ by twenty or so Trump supporters. The attack lasted for a couple of hours, but when no-one responded to their insulting and ‘braindead’ comments they disappeared, never to return. The process was brutal and I discovered a Troll attack is a very disturbing experience indeed!


So why do these small but highly organised ‘follower armies’ of Trolls bother to pile on to random blogs, written in jest on the other side of the world? Because on the fringes of our society there is an internet culture war taking place. Most Trolls are extremists on opposite sides of the political spectrum and their intention is to polarise debate into one of two ‘camps’. In their simple minds, you are either with them or you are the enemy, deserving of their insults and threats. There is no room for reasoned debate or polite acceptance of opposing views.

Their strategy is to claim ‘victory’ based on their imposed majority judgement of the targeted chat forum. On a grander scale, it means that small, well organised, on-line groups can magnify the impact and influence of their extremist viewpoints. They are able turn random social media platforms into propaganda machines that suit their ends. Think anti-vaccinating, Brexit, fossil fuels, abortion, Trump, gun laws or any other controversial social issues of the day.

For those who do not have polarised views, the behaviour of the Trolls is boorish and irritating. Our natural inclination is to push back against those views – an activity known as feeding the Trolls. A sad reflection on our society is that this boorish style of commentary has become so prevalent it now mainstream. I read a serious column in a respectable Australian newspaper where a government ‘spokesman’ suggested that anyone who believed in man-made climate change was a ‘cardigan wearing, Guardian reading, elitist.’ I suspect most of his moderate-leaning readers switched off at that point.

So how best to fight back against a Troll Follower Army that has taken possession of your favourite internet forum?  Trolls are after all, mythical creatures that can be outsmarted by low-IQ Billy Goat Gruffs! Here are six ‘Resistance’ strategies that may not win the war against a full blown Troll pile-on but they are more fun than seething impotently at your computer screen:

  1. Ignore them and they will go away. It’s the ultimate strategy. Trolls thrive on conflict and are the masters of trench warfare. They have incredible stamina and will win any war of insult. But with no ammunition or target, their short attention spans will cause them to quickly leave the field of battle.
  2. The Commando Hit and Run. When a Troll Army has invaded your favourite forum, sneak in and lay a ‘sticky bomb’. This explosive argument should be logical, factual, unemotional, unbiased and hard hitting. Then get the hell out of there fast leaving the Trolls chasing nothing but shadows.
  3. The Sniper Attack. Locate the Troll Army general. He’s the loudest, most obnoxious and most irrational Troll on the chat forum. Take aim and hit him between the eyes with a killer line of reasoning backed up by telling scientific references. Then exit the chat room leaving the troll army stunned and leaderless.
  4. The Kamikazi. Unfortunately, you are going to have to take one for the team by zeroing in on the Troll heavyweight. This involves dropping ‘the big one’ – the latest academic research paper on the lead Troll’s sweeping generalisations. You might inflict irreparable damage on his flawed logic, but you are also likely to be shot down in flames by sheer weight of numbers.
  5. The ‘Johnny Come Lately’. A strategy used to great effect on US websites. This involves supporting the one remaining voice of reason surrounded by a sea of angry Trolls. With the battle almost over and the Trolls on the back foot, you enter the fray with a few hard-hitting facts and well-constructed conclusions. Your support is often enough to send the orchestrated Troll pile-on packing.
  6. The ambush. Draw the trolls out into the open with a few rookie comments while keeping your best logic, your carefully researched facts and your supporting reference sites hidden. Once the troll army has revealed their position let rip with your entire debating arsenal leaving them stunned and bloodied. Then get the hell out.

Freedom of expression demands that the ‘sensible centre’ sticks up for what it believes to be right and does so in a calm logical way. It’s time for normal people to fight back!

It may not be the best way of dealing with the Trolls, but then the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff would have been a complete anti-climax if the little billy goat had not given the Troll a taste of his own medicine.

So you want to live to one hundred in a state of contentment and good health? Then here’s a thriller writer’s lifestyle plan that does not cost you a cent in gym membership fees or dietary supplements. All you have to do to increase your ‘wellbeing index’ is sharpen up your DDRESS code!

So what’s my motivation for assisting humanity to achieve a state of achieve physical, mental and spiritual perfection if it’s not to make a quick buck? Simple. It’s to express my annoyance at the hordes of unqualified lifestyle gurus who are exploiting our vanity and gullibility to dip into our wallets. Their outrageous health benefit claims are usually backed up by junk science that would make an eleven year old schoolboy blush. Any attempt to debunk their nonsense is met with outrage and don’t even bother to try for a refund. My theory is that any person blessed with common sense can design an effective lifestyle plan, and I’m about to put that theory to the test.

For instant internet stardom a plan must have a catchy and marketable brand name. Welcome to the DDRESS Code. (A handy acronym for Determination, Diet, Relationships, Exercise, Sleep and Scruples.) These six pillars of wisdom will guide you through a long life of contentment, achievement and serenity like no other. Simply read on and get ready to cancel that Gym / Diet / Self-help / Funeral appointment.

Determination:  Let’s face it, no one is going to hand it to you on a plate. You get out of life what you put in. Determination is the ‘D’ at the start of the DDRESS Code acronym for a reason. It allows you to overcome the inevitable knock downs in life and come back even stronger for a second and third bite at the cherry. It also helps you keep on track with the other five pillars of wisdom.

Diet:  You are not going to live to one hundred if you are packing a few spare tyres around the mid-rift. Moderation and variation is the key to a healthy diet. Giving up whole food groups as a ‘silver bullet’ method of losing weight is an appalling idea and can only harm you in the long run.

A few pointers. Your body is pretty good at detoxing itself and does not need a three-day starvation ‘cleansing’ regime to help it along the way. Sugar is not a poison in any sense of the word. By all means give up refined sugar (soft drinks, lollies, cakes etc.) but do yourself a favour and keep eating fruit in sensible quantities for a long healthy life. Cavemen, pro fat, anti-fat and low carb diets are all pretty useless except that they provide motivation to cut down on excess calories which is the only proven method of shedding kilos. The fad diet industry’s only interest is in selling books and outrageously priced plastic foods.

Likewise, there is no such thing as a superfood except to the profits of the food retail industry. Gorging on blueberries or coconut extract will not make any difference to the average first world diet and neither will the myriad of dietary supplements available from your local chemist unless they have been prescribed by your doctor for a pre-existing condition.

A quick word on alcohol. The one thing that all centenarians have in common is their ability to celebrate with a modest tipple when they receive their telegram from the queen. Real ale and red wine in moderation are pleasurable and healthy. Frequent binge drinking will earn you pole position in the road race to an early grave.

Relationships:  A long, term loving relationship will help you live longer. So will the ability to treat your loved ones with respect and see things from their point of view. In fact, respect and tolerance of others will also help you at work and in your social life too. These attributes are the key to elevated levels of emotional intelligence which in turn will allow you to squeeze more contentment and enjoyment from a single unit of life than your gloomy, low EQ neighbour.

A word for the wise. Respect should be a two-way street so you should never allow yourself or your loved ones to be bullied and do not allow others to take advantage of your good nature.

Exercise:  Exercise will keep your heart pumping years after your mate’s indolent lifestyle has earned him a one way ticket to the morgue.  Exercise assists muscle and bone durability. Use it or lose it is the key message for this pillar of wisdom.

The simple formula for losing weight is that you must burn more calories moving your body than you consume in food and drink. The multi-billion dollar diet industry tells you that you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet, but that misses the point. You must do both. But like all things, don’t get carried away. Over doing it will promote injury and push you back to square one.

It is equally important to exercise your brain as your grey matter is a muscle like any other. Take up a hobby that stimulates the mind, read a good book like the Sleepwalker Legacy and limit yourself to a handful of TV shows per week to keep those neural pathways healthy.

Sleep:  There is a reason why we sleep. It is essential for muscle repair and memory reorganisation. Develop a regular and uninterrupted sleep pattern unless you are planning to audition for a part as a Rolling Stones body double. It will improve the quality of your waking life including your productivity, emotional balance, creativity and vitality. Sleep is life’s free kick so ensure you get your eight hours. No other activity delivers so many benefits for such little effort.

Scruples:  Also known as values or morals, it is important to ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ to quote a particular specialist in this field. A person’s reputation is their most valuable asset and must be cultivated and nurtured. Generosity of spirit, trustworthiness and a sense of perspective will earn you respect.

The single-minded pursuit of cold, hard cash will hinder your journey towards a fulfilled life. While money is of itself neither good nor bad, it should be put in context. Humans need a challenge to reach their potential and should work hard and honestly to appreciate the finer things in life. But there must be a purpose to the acquisition of wealth. Most material possessions end up as worthless clutter destined for the skip. Far better to treat your loved ones to occasional and unexpected acts of selfless generosity than to take it with you to the grave.

So there you have it. You too can now live to one hundred in blissful contentment. But what, you may ask are my qualifications for promoting lifestyle and health advice? I’m treading a well-worn path in the self-help industry when I say ‘absolutely none’, but please feel free to turn me into an internet celebrity in any case!

And if you do not live to celebrate your hundredth birthday despite following the DDRESS Code, you are entitled to a full refund. To qualify, simply turn up in person and show documented proof of your demise. You may also be required to complete a statutory declaration stating that you did not have a sneaky ‘caveman / woman’ flirtation since you sharpened your DDRESS Code.

Your new life starts now!

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Sam Jardine is a negotiator working for the giant pharmaceutical firm Napier & Beckett. When he discovers that its 200 year old drug Berserker could change the nature of humanity forever, he sets out to destroy the drug from within. He becomes entangled in a dangerous battle of wits with the beautiful heiress, Rachael Beckett. As the net closes in, Sam realizes that his lover Cassie has inherited Berserker’s deadly side effect, the Sleepwalker Legacy and is increasingly unstable. Her condition holds the key, but Sam is in a race against time…