Thursday, October 31, 2019

Another Parent Ruining Halloween for Their Kids


Nothing's worse than a Woke Parent; and a woke father no less.  I came across this article written by a beta male that probably doesn't even know he's a beta male: My Daughter Wore a 1960s-Inspired ‘Indian’ Costume — And Here’s How I Took Care of That.  By Joseph Wilson  (https://www.cbc.ca/parents/learning/view/racist-halloween-costumes-talking-to-kids)

The first couple of paragraphs is Joseph reminiscing about days gone by, going to his Mother-in-law's and going through all the hand-sewn Halloween costumes.  Then the cringe begins: Every now and then, though, a costume will appear that has not aged well. Last year our eldest daughter, Sonia, appeared at the dining room table in a faux-Native costume: a beaded leather vest with feathers plus a leather headband that read, “White Cloud”.

Our usual coos of approval were replaced with raised eyebrows and muted smiles. She was baffled at our reaction.

“That costume is a little different than the rest,” I said.

“Why? I like it,” said Sonia.

“I know, but it’s not really fair. Indigenous people are real people, not costumes.”

We didn’t want to spoil her fun but also didn’t want her to unwittingly participate in a system that treats objects from Indigenous cultures as the spoils of plunder. When meaningful symbols and signs are remixed into Halloween bling, it is at the expense of a people whose culture has been systematically dismantled over time.

Dad's a square and no fun.  And the place that displays objects of plunder would be the Vatican.  If this is how he views the world then it makes sense that he's a namby-pamby and doesn’t realise he's his own worst enemy.

The “costume” was a pastiche of pop culture versions of “Indians” from the ‘60s; a simulacrum far removed from the experiences of an actual Indigenous person, the kind who were driven off their land and penned up in reservations across the continent.

Costume didn't need quotes around it.  Whether he likes it or not, it's just a costume.  And since it's a pop culture native and not a real one, then what's his problem?  If it's a good look, then he should put a positive spin on it, like "those natives sure knew how to dress better than the pilgrims".  Joseph should put the costume on, and instead of calling it White Cloud, call it Rain Cloud.  I wonder if Joseph remembers that the Natives fought along our troops in 1812?  Joseph reminds me of all the other Native virtue signalers these days: the kind of person that took a Native Studies course yet never stepped foot on a reserve.  

Even though we often dress up like other people on Halloween, they should either be fictitious people like Harry Potter or Wonder Woman, or real people who have not experienced a several-hundred-year history of violence and displacement. Dressing up like a firefighter, sailor or a farmer is different because those people are not joining the conversation from a position of weakened power.
Well, I might have said it a bit differently to my daughter.

But you didn’t and now she'll grow up thinking Dad's an over-sensitive Nancy Boy.  Joe, don't suggest what people should wear.  It's not your place and I know you're not the beacon of virtue that you think you are.  If you must know, Joseph, for hundreds of years that people dressed up on Halloween to blend in with the evil spirits so they wouldn't get attacked.  Nobody dressed as fictitious movie characters, Joseph, you milksop.  Pop open the Farmers Almanac and know your own history before you bleat to your daughter about someone else's culture.  You could go out as Hippocrites or maybe your Halloween costume could be Man of the House?  And what makes you think it's been hundreds of years of straight violence?  What the hell's wrong with you and where did you pull that information from?

We let Sonia run around a little while longer with her cousins and then suggested some other costumes she could wear. Everybody loves dinosaurs! Ladybugs never experienced a cultural genocide! There are safer choices.

Ladybugs.  I've never read something written by an adult that has the mentality of a child.  He must be a substitute teacher.  Here's one Joe, have her dress up as a pair of shoes since shoes have never experienced a cultural genocide.  Sure those years were rough when the Sandals arrived but it was never a genocide.  And Ladybugs just eat poison for a living.  Nice message.
She shrugged when I told her it wasn’t appropriate to wear and reluctantly took it off. I reminded her of the work they’ve been doing at school by using First Nations values to structure each month of their school year. Indigenous artists and teachers have been visiting the school to help recast their culture as contemporary and dynamic, and not something confined to history textbooks (or Halloween costumes).

Thanks, Dad.  Bring school into the conversation to bring everyone down.

There is a real paradox here that requires reflection. It’s important for our kids to know that the costume was made with love and care by a compassionate member of the family. When I was a kid, I too ran around and played “Cowboys and Indians” with my friends, including one who was Anishnaabe, although at the time we didn’t make the connection. I don’t think he did either.

Wow, what a paradox.  You should write Sci-Fi.  And who is Anishnaabe, a friend of yours?  I’m not surprised you missed your own point.  The paradox is that you fail to see that when you don't talk about race, it's not a thought.  Funny how that works.  But you planted the race seed in your daughter’s head, you chinless wonder.  You wouldn’t need a costume if you went out as Racist Dad for Halloween.

This year we’re in less murky ethical territory. Our three kids have decided to go dressed as a witch, Pippy Longstocking and a Minion. And the school’s policies have helped clarify costume policy for the kids in a manner way deeper than what we got when we were kids. Those lessons are sinking into how our kids think about Canada.

What do you have against witches, Bigot?  And making fun of Germans?  You think that's cool, Joseph?  The minion is totally going to get eaten by a spirit, so that'll be on your head.  And kids should think of Canada how we did: it's a cool place to live so we don't need snowflakes like you, Joseph, screwing things up for normal people because you can’t see past your over-inflated sense of self.  Shit, you take your life cues from a School Board?  




The other day our whole family was walking through Winchester Park just off Sherbourne Street in Toronto when we stumbled upon a beautiful mosaic, horizontal on the ground, over twelve feet in diameter and painstakingly made with pebbles. There was a turtle depicted in the centre.

“Don’t you know what that is dad?” asked Sonia pointing at the turtle.

“Uh, it’s a sea turtle.” I ventured.

“No, the turtle is the animal that represents the country for the First Nations; he holds us all up on his back. We live on Turtle Island. See how it’s round? That’s what this is.” She schooled me.

Yup, Joseph, you probably get schooled a lot and it doesn't surprise me that it's from someone that's under 10.

She continued to point out that fact that the Turtle was “swimming” in between a row of pebble-made high-rises on its left and a row of old-growth trees on its right, trying to navigate through two worlds. Sonia identified the cardinal directions by extending lines worked into the mural and explained that the Turtle was swimming due North.

From now on I’ll be the one asking my daughter about my Halloween costume before I wear it outside.

Yuk, yuk, yuk.  Joseph, you're hilarious.  You'll probably want to ban Gamera movies next since it's insensitive to radioactive turtles.

Kids, don’t be a gutless wonder like Joseph when you grow up.  I've said it before, people are people and you should treat everyone politely until they give you reason not to.  Also respect is earned, not given.  And lastly, it's Halloween, so wear whatever you want.

Friday, August 2, 2019

The Blues Tone


Sometimes I'll stumble across a blog entry or a thread about how to get a Blues sound.  Some are  diplomatic with the "it's a matter of taste" to "get this-this-and-this".  I've been playing for longer than I'll admit but I find the answer to that question is so painfully obvious that I don't know why there's a discussion about it.  Ready for the secret?

There is no Blues sound.  Blues isn't a timbre.

You can play over a 12-bar with anything you like.  Any guitar, any effects (if you use any) through any amp.  That's what makes playing Blues appealing. 

I cringe when I read or hear something about a Blues Tone/Sound.  That's the reason I didn't buy a BOSS Blues Driver for the longest time, I thought it was a stupid name but actually, it is a really good pedal.  And if ever there was a Blues Tone, it would probably sound a lot like an acoustic guitar since Blues was around a lot longer than the electric guitar.

Anyone who insists on certain guitars/gear gear for a "blues tone" is an idiot and should probably worry more about the notes than the tone.


Side note:  My Favourite Amp

Oddly enough, it's not an amp, it's my SansAmp.  If I play a song off one of my CDs to someone, I do get the odd compliment on my guitar sound.  That sound is basically a BOSS DS-1 into a SansAmp TRI-A.C.  The key to a SansAmp, at least for distortion pedals, is treat it as if it was a clean amp: no gain and master volume all they way up.  And if I want it a little more Fender-y, I use the BOSS Fender Reverb pedal since it changes the tone a bit.

Here's what a Fender Baja Telecaster into a DS-1 and then into a SansAmp sounds like: https://youtu.be/QtnsAumB1y0

Fairly bluesy.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

It's Like Rap, Only Not Funny


I guess that title could apply to Hip Hop these days too but this is about something I just learned about: Slam Poetry.

I was on Twitter yesterday morning, and some math teacher tweeted out that a student made a Slam Poem about the women in STEM and then got accepted into Engineering.  The teacher was proud too.  Teachers.  The teacher's pinned tweet said something like she puts the Fun in Functions.  This is one of the many reasons why I don't talk to teachers.

Anyways, Slam Poetry.  I wanted to find out more about it since I like making humorous, adult-themed rhymes myself, but the more I found out about Slam Poetry, there didn't seem to be too much slamming going on, if you know what I mean.

I ran a search on Google and the first site I ended up going to ended up being a Blog called "I Slam Poems and So Can You: A Beginners Guide" (http://outloudhsv.com/blog/2016/1/25/i-slam-poems-and-so-can-you-a-beginners-guide).  I figured it be a good place to start until I saw the first picture of, I'm guessing, the poster of the Blog entry.  More meaningless artsy-fartsy fluff.  These artsy types have to, one day, admit to themselves that they don't really have any talent aside from being able to binge-watch Netflix.

What I got out of that post was that a slam is a competition, so it's a poetry competition.  According to the post, Poetry slam was invented in 1984 by construction worker Marc Smith as a bar game.  Maybe, if construction worker is code for gay dancer. Remember this because depending on where else you read about poetry slams, its origins are completely different.

The basic rules and scoring guidelines are as follows: 1. Poets must perform their own original work – no covers. If a poet breaks this rule, they will be disqualified.  That's why you won't see Amy Schumer at any of these things; 2. No props, musical instruments or costumes. If a poet breaks this rule by using talent, they will be disqualified;  3. Poems are to be timed beginning the moment the poet first speaks. Poems are to last no more than three minutes. For every ten seconds a poet goes over three minutes, .5 will be deducted from their score.  If the poet hits 4 minutes, the timer is to notify the host and the poet will be cut off.

What kept going through my mind was the Beavis and Butthead Buttniks episode where they go to a coffeehouse (Beavis becomes Cornholio) and there's the  one guy on stage who kept saying, "And then my friends, you die". 

I watched the embedded YouTube clip on that page and man, is it ever painful.  It doesn't help that the guy who recorded it keeps saying Wow and Nice anytime the two girls say the same thing at once.  But why even keep score at these things?  Everyone's a winner and there's free ice cream at the end of it.

Apparently, slam poems can be funny too.  LOL.  I was having more fun reading the blog entry replacing the word slam with the word shit.  At the end of that post it said, "there are endless YouTube videos you can use for inspiration. Just start looking!" 

Unfortunately, I did.

I found a charming video called "Who the fuck do you think you are" by de1ayna.  She probably wonders why people avoid her.  Mind you, this came up in the search results (see pic).  Good one, Google.  I went to YouTube and searched for Slam Poems.  Inspired wasn't exactly the word I'd use to describe my mood since I was wasting many minutes watching 20-somethings complaining about non-important issues, like how Brandon didn't ask Britney to the Semi Formal because he's, like, toxic or whatever.  Maia Mayor (first on the YouTube search results) won't be going on too many dates in the near future.  The next one in the list had the same delivery but her hair was white/blue.  After that, there was a teenager dramatically going on about slavery he's never had to go through.  I don't even want to go near the Special Poetry Slam Intro since I have a bit of class.  Then there was another babbling broad talking about dress codes and pay gaps, etc.  I'm sure the patriarchy was mentioned but I shut it off by then.  Harry Baker wasn't any better but his at least rhymed and he was better than all of the other SJW/NPCs I watched.  I stopped there.  I haven't seen that much poop on a stage since GG Allin.

And then I realized Slam Poetry was exactly what I expected it to be.  Kind like when Disney bought Star Wars, you knew the movies were going to be awful but you had to sit through a couple just so you could do a 'I was right, I knew this would happen'.  Slam Poetry is terrible.  It's self-important, spoiled Millennials reciting their Facebook posts in front of people.  After a while, it did inspire me: never to do anything this awful and lazy myself.  They couldn't even take the time to make it rhyme.  See?  I just made a rhyme and did it without trying.  That's almost two in a row.  There's no flow or any kind of elegance to it.  It's just complaining.  At least I won't have to hear anything about getting women into Slam Poetry since it looks like they dominate that field already.

If you noticed on the screenshot, the first result was from digitalpoet.net and I was just getting to that.

I don't think I've ever been to a website where the owner of the site was so self-absorbed and self-impressed over nothing.  The only skill he has is talking about himself.  He even refers to himself as a Spoken Word Artist.  The thing is, he's not even being self deprecating or funny.  He's completely serious about himself and believes he's edgy.  And that's sad.  I went there because he (Digital Poet; formally Friction) had a What is Slam Poetry page.  His definition wasn't any better: "The term slam poetry is used to describe the poetry performed at poetry slams".  Thanks for that.

"Slams are a perpetual mystery, they are the ace up the sleeve of a man with no shirt."  It's so clever it doesn't make any sense.  I just read earlier that slams are competitions so it's not a mystery anymore and I like my just-made-up 'they are the ace in the hole of the vaginaless woman' better.

"When you do end up at a slam, it's fortuitous - there will always be a piece that grabs you by the collar and pulls you closer, breathes hot words in your face that resonate and kick up feelings. It's no accident..."

Great, it's all on purpose.  I love when opinionated strangers get in my face and bleat out social justice messages.  It shows they really care.

In case you didn't get your fill of conceited flatulence, just a couple more: "As a participant, the story is quite different. For 3 minutes, any image maintained on a regular basis must depart from my physical self as a mutually exclusive carbon copy of my soul takes center stage."  I'm starting to see that even sentences don't have meaning when you're a Spoken Word Artist such as Digital Poet.  "I self-proclaim myself as some level of craftsman with a dignified authority."  I forget, what's that clincial term when someone has an IQ under 80?

So wear your stupidity on your sleeve, get a mental illness haircut, yell your problems and opinions at people, use random words in a sentence and hope it makes sense and even you can be the next Slam Poet Champion of the Universe.  But you'll have to run it by Digital Poet first to see if he's OK with it.