Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Bill CBC-10

This is a long one but the topic is pretty important.  Over the last 20 years of being online, here and there I'll let it slip out that I'm anti-censorship.  If you want to ban something/anything, it's a sign your brain hasn't developed fully and you shouldn't sit at the Adult Table on holidays.  Also, committees that censor things usually don't have a collective IQ over 80.  So hearing that there were amendments to the Broadcasting Act (Bill C-10) coming up and that it's to regulate Canadian Content on the Internet while giving powers to the State's mouthpiece, my ears perked up.

I don't have the illusion I live in the democracy I was told I did.  I do know that Canada in the last 5-6 years has just become an embarrassing shit show of incompetence at the top (read Canadian Federal Government), displaying their ineptness on a daily basis.  You'd think a minority government that lost 30 seats last election would be a tad bit humbled.  Even worse, these amendments are being pushed by the Heritage Minister, an activist whose claim to fame was climbing up the CN tower with another activist and unfurled a banner that read “Canada and Bush Climate Killers.”  Remember, all activists are self-centred assholes but apparently, it's enough of a qualification to get you a Ministry seat.  By the way, that khunt's name is Steven Guilbeault and he can't even get a decent haircut.  See?


It is true that the CRTC will be given a blank cheque of power... because it is blank.  Khunt already said that he doesn't know exactly what powers the CRTC has yet because they haven't figured them out yet.  They get to make those up after the Bill passes.  How could that fail?  That on its own should be enough for it not to pass.  The always-losing NDP already said they'll support it, not because they understand where this could go (they don't) but probably because they're broke again.  Tip: don't hire a virtue signaler as your party leader; nobody will vote for you.  At least they'll be the second party to be censored by these amendments.

It's pretty doom and gloom.  Could it stifle Freedom of Expression?  Sure, totally, and also in terms of any competition that goes against the CBC.  It's the same thing in the States where they want all cable news channels competing with CNN/MSNBC off the air because CNN/MSNBC's ratings are so dismal.

The more you read on the Department of Justice's page, it's apparent that most of these amendments are just to keep the bloated carcass, called the CBC, on life support indefinitely by getting rid of the competition and adding in some social justice language to it to try and fool people that it's all about expanding Canadian Content.

Bill C-10: An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

You know, just amendments to other acts while we're here.

Bill C-10 amends the Broadcasting Act (the Act). The Act sets out the broadcasting policy for Canada, the role and powers of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (the Commission) in regulating and supervising the broadcasting system, and the mandate for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The Act plays an important role in supporting Canada’s cultural industries and ensuring Canadian content is available and accessible.

The Commission, an independent administrative tribunal, is responsible for determining the regulatory requirements to be imposed on broadcasting undertakings with a view to implementing the policy established by the Act, and for enforcing those requirements. Regulatory decisions are generally made following processes that allow for input by interested parties and the public.

This thing is poorly worded.  At first The Commission is the CRTC and in the next paragraph, the Commission is a tribunal.  Can’t these people pretend to care about their work?  And don't kid yourself, the Commission will not be independent and there will be no public input from here on in.

The Bill would provide the Commission with new powers to regulate online services, and update the Commission’s regulatory powers as they relate to traditional broadcasters.

Clause 8 would amend the Commission’s power to make regulations, including a new power to make regulations requiring broadcasting undertakings to register with the Commission

Remember the blank cheque of powers, the ones that haven't been thought up yet?  This is where the censorship stems from.  Everyone that's watched the Harry Potter movies should think this looks familiar (for the grownups, it's the Animal Farm Seven Commandments).  They call it regulation. 

The following considerations support the consistency of the proposed regulatory requirements with section 2(b). The provisions aim to establish a fair competitive environment for online and traditional broadcasting services in Canada, in the context of changing market trends that have not been favourable to traditional broadcasters. Traditional broadcasters remain a key source of information and programming for Canadian consumers, including francophones and those living in rural and remote communities. By levelling the regulatory playing field, the provisions will help ensure that traditional broadcasting services remain viable and accessible to Canadians. Traditional broadcasters subject to licences often use radio frequencies that are a limited public resource. Licencing helps to manage this scarce public resource in the public interest. The proposed amendments will also advance the Act’s cultural objectives by helping to ensure that all broadcasting undertakings contribute equitably to the implementation of the objectives of the broadcasting policy for Canada, which may include support for the production of Canadian content. In so doing the Bill would further the values and principles that underlie freedom of expression. These values are promoting the search for truth, the opportunity for individual self-actualization through expression, and participation in social and political decision-making.

I guess I could have made the Blog post about this one paragraph.  The CBC can't keep up and adapt with the Internet and other news media that actually shows what's going on, so instead of the CBC upping their game or re-evaluating themselves to figure out why they suck, they close out the competition.  This doesn't fix any problem at all.  Nobody wants to watch the CBC because of its shit programming and "news".  And I know this first-hand living on a border town, Canadian content isn't as good as US content, or as good as other parts of the world.  Canadian Content is like a female stand up comedian: second rate.  That would be my version of Hell: all comedy clubs only have female stand up comedians.  If Canadian Content was so good, it would sell itself.

"These values are promoting the search for truth, the opportunity for individual self-actualization through expression, and participation in social and political decision-making."  Once a state broadcaster starts spouting the word "truth", you can be sure you'll get anything but.  Also, political decision making is hardly a value.  Pretty much all of the political decisions made in Canada over the last 5-6 years absolutely have had no value.

Just in case you forgot what MP Khunt looks like:

The Bill is carefully tailored to achieve these objectives. Users of social media who upload programs for sharing with other users and are not affiliated with the service provider will not be subject to regulation. The Bill maintains the Commission’s role and flexibility in determining what if any regulatory requirements to impose on broadcasting undertakings, taking into account the Act’s policy and regulatory objectives, the variety of broadcasting undertakings and the differences between them, and what is fair and equitable. The Act provides that it must be interpreted and applied in a manner consistent with freedom of expression. In making regulatory decisions, the Commission must proportionately balance the objectives of the Act with the protection of freedom of expression in light of the facts and circumstances. The Commission’s decisions on matters of law or jurisdiction are subject to review by the Federal Court of Appeal.

The Bill isn't carefully tailored at all, that's part of the problem.  Also, a glossary would have been helpful.  What exactly is a "program"?  Software, like a video player, or a program meaning a show?  Or "service provider"?  Is that an ISP or YouTube?  It doesn't help that the Commission is flexible.  Why not make Freedom of Expression paramount, like it should be and not some balancing act?  I know, I keep forgetting the Bill is carefully tailored.  The only thing I got out of that is you'll never, ever get anything honest or worthy out of the CBC.  It's a brand that no one's interested in, from the crummy news to its frumpy looking TV anchors.  I won't even watch hockey on the CBC; I'll watch it through

Information collection and disclosure powers (clauses 7, 17, 23 and 31) is so wishy-washy, that you don't know what information is to be collected and nothing is confidential anymore. 

The prohibition on public disclosure of confidential information submitted to the Commission has the potential to engage section 2(b) of the Charter. Section 2(b) may provide a limited right of access to documents in the possession of government bodies. Such access is constitutionally protected only where, without the desired access, meaningful public discussion and criticism on matters of public interest would be substantially impeded. However, even where a case for public access is established, access may be declined based on countervailing considerations.

I love how they slip a "however" in there.  Countervailing considerations.  I haven't seen censorship worded like that before.

You can't have a Bill without fines: Administrative monetary penalties (clause 23)

Clause 23 of the Bill would create an administrative monetary penalty regime for violations of certain provisions of the Act or of the Accessible Canada Act. Persons designated by the Commission for that purpose would be empowered to issue notices of violation where they have reasonable grounds to believe that a person has committed a violation. A notice of violation would include the act or omission giving rise to the violation, the amount of the penalty, and a summary of the person’s rights and obligations, including the right to make submissions to the Commission with respect to the violation or the penalty. The Commission would then determine, on a balance of probabilities, whether the person committed the violation. Proceeding with a notice of violation would preclude proceeding with criminal charges.

You know, certain provisions, in this carefully tailored Bill.  "A notice of violation would include the act or omission".  You know, one or the other, or whateves, LOL.  The CRTC isn't full of lawyers, but if they probably think you made a violation, whether you did or not, you're busted.  I don't know how that's legitimate.

Add some systemic racism, (or is it institutional racism?  It's hard to keep up) to it: Other provisions (clauses 2, 4 and 7)

The Bill would amend the Act to take greater account of Indigenous cultures and languages and of Canada’s diversity. Clause 2 would update the broadcasting policy for Canada by specifying that the Canadian broadcasting system should provide opportunities for Indigenous persons to produce programming and carry on broadcasting undertakings, and should provide programming that reflects Indigenous cultures and programming that is in Indigenous languages. It would also add that through its programming and employment opportunities, the Canadian broadcasting system should serve the needs and interests of all Canadians including Canadians from racialized communities and of diverse ethnocultural backgrounds. Clause 4 would update the regulatory policy by adding that the broadcasting system should be regulated and supervised in a manner that takes into account Indigenous language broadcasting and programming.

I say we should just pull the plug on the CBC.  It doesn't offer any value.  Have a look at their Parents section on their website.  There's more useless shit on there than an outhouse on Summer Break.  Local Public Radio has always been better, and I don't mean NPR or PBS, I mean real public radio.  And stop using diversity as a noun; it's not grammatically correct for one thing.  "Canada's diversity"... what does that even mean?

I don't have anything against Indigenous people to make up their own programs; go ahead... but who's going to listen to it?  There's too much product out there already and it such a tiny demographic that even regular viewers/listeners of the CBC will switch it off, especially if it's not in English.  CBC diehards talk the talk but when it actually comes to following through, good luck.  If you tried to implement that policy on a normal radio station that didn't bleed tax payer money, they'd be out of business in a month.

This whole thing seems like a bad joke.  Let's expand Canadian Content by censoring other Canadian Content at the same time deregulating the CRTCTypically rushed without thinking ahead.  "The Canadian broadcasting system should serve the needs and interests of all Canadians including Canadians from racialized communities and of diverse ethnocultural backgrounds."  See, when you use language like that you just make a run-on sentence.  All Canadians covers all Canadians and the CBC should serve the needs and interests of all Canadians but it fell short decades ago. 

Update as of May 3rd: Liberal Members of the Heritage Committee have voted to end the debate on the Conservative motion that would review Bill C-10 under a charter of rights review, so it already goes against the Charter.  But that's what happens when you give a myopic, self-centred, shitty activist a job that has real life consequences for others, and I wasn't referring to the inept PM.  This won't turn out well but it'll be at least 10 years down the road until we all see its ill effects played out.  Maybe I'll luck out and be dead by then. 

In the meantime, get your VPNs ready; Canada is taking a turn for the worst.


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Stake Dinner


My Teen Is Into Witchcraft And Tarot Cards — Should I Be Worried?

I'm not sure who's to blame, the person who wrote the article or the CBC for publishing it.  This is proof that no matter how unqualified you are to write about a topic, the CBC will publish it.  Then again, the CBC's articles are no better than the drivel you'll find in an issue of Salon

This doozy of an article was written (or speech to text) by Paula Schuck, and I was just going to comment on it.  If you’re thinking about writing about a topic that goes back for centuries, make sure you go back more than the current century for your research.

 Witches are having a moment. From the "baby witches" on TikTok, who captured headlines in Rolling Stone for hexing the moon, to the resurgence of love for all things wizardly or the surging interest in tarot card readings — witches have been trending.

First problem: she’s using TikTok.  Sure it's a free country, and you can do what you want but I wouldn’t trust anything that started out as facial recognition software.  After reading the article, I know that research isn't the "author"'s strong suit.  Harry Potter's been around since 2001 and no one with half a brain would read Rolling Stone.  But there's no recent surge; it's always been there. 

 Right around the start of the pandemic, my older daughter started making spell jars, collecting crystals and watching lunar phases with extreme fascination. I watched from afar for a bit. I thought it was simply the natural progression of us watching the Harry Potter movies one million times from start to finish to keep busy and somewhat connected as a family since the lockdown started in March.

 She crafted elaborate wands, and gathered natural materials and sealed them into small bottles. She ordered fake vines and hung them throughout her bedroom, and started talking more about the moon each time we walked. She gave me crystals, often ordered online, and told me about their properties.

 I started to realize there was a bit more to this than I originally thought. Some of my teen daughter’s closest female friends were also completely enthralled. And some of my youngest daughter’s friends started calling themselves witches. At first, I was a bit confused by the appeal and I chalked it up to a developmental phase or interest — but this one hasn’t passed yet. So, I bought my eldest a book about witchcraft and I read a bit of it myself.

Witchcraft and an interest in New Age are two completely different things even though they'll probably lumped together in the same section at the bookstore to save on shelf space.  And the rest of the article has this dumb, naive tone to it, so get ready.

 Recently, I overheard my daughter telling a friend of hers on the phone that someone online had told her she was going to hell for practising witchcraft, and I was a bit alarmed. (Can we all just agree that DMing people on social media to tell them they are going to hell for their beliefs, practices, religion, gender or sexuality is DONE. Both of my teens tell me they receive these comments at least once a week.) But I trust my daughter at her age and stage to handle social media trolls with a report and block kind of strategy, and she did.

Can we all just agree, as long as you're going to accept all DMs while you put up dumb shit on the Internet, strangers will bother you?  Anyways, if she was practicing real witchcraft, she's hoping to go to hell.  Witches do the Devil's handiwork.  Wait until her kids get into Satanism.

 As her interest grew and spell jars multiplied, I started looking into witchcraft a bit closer, to unravel a bit of the mystery surrounding the topic, at least for my own knowledge and satisfaction.

Oh, good.  Paula's on the case of solving the riddle of witchcraft.  We should be in safe hands now.

Was being a witch in some way offensive? Was it inviting something negative into our home? Was it synonymous with devil worship? Should I be worried? What I found out is quite the opposite, actually. Here’s what I have gathered and why I'm not concerned if my kids use tarot cards or talk about spells.

 In fact, modern witchcraft started to gain steam in England as a new spiritual and nature-focused religion in the 1950s. It was soon deemed "wicca," and its followers "wiccans." Someone who is wiccan follows nature-oriented worship and rituals, and sees it as a religion. And in wicca, they prioritize priestesses and celebrate the Goddess.

OK, Paula, get your time machine out and go back to Salem in the 1600s.  If your knowledge of history can't even go back 100 years, then you don't get to sit at the adult table on holidays.  "Was being a witch in some way offense?"  Why, yes, so much that women were burned at the stake for being accused of being a witch.  How empowering.  If you want to just go back to the 50s, make sure you mention there's more than just white witches, even though the number varies from website to website.  Wiccans are entirely different than someone who practices Black Magick and Traditional Witches don't consider Wiccan Witches to be real witches.  More like a Witch-lite.  Paula would probably faint if she ever got a hold of a copy of Man, Myth and Magic.  Or watched a Hammer movie.

Good thing I have these things called books that don't get updated with strangers' opinions.

 A nature-oriented religion that’s also female-centric? When I think about it like that, there's no wonder why young women gravitate towards this experience in 2021.

It's not female-centric, it's about the feminine.  Also, it's about balance in nature, meaning you'll need the masculine aspects of it too.  I'm not even a witch and I knew that.  Paula probably thinks the yin-yang symbol is a pre-60s paisley design.

 I don’t think I need a PhD in adolescent psychology to recognize that making spell jars and watching the lunar phases with fascination at this particular time in history is, at least in part, a reaction to the lack of control that teens are feeling. With a health threat at the door, political divisiveness and a president south of the border who nurtured hatred for four years inciting violence amongst his followers, plus the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements — there's a lot to worry about daily, and I think teens need something hopeful that also provides a sense of community.

What the hell is she talking about?  Her not having a PhD is pretty clear, but people like esoteric things because they're cool.  But you can attach any meaning you like to a crystal but how they refract light is just cool looking.  I'm not sure why activism got dragged in to this shit article.  Is there something on the other side?  I'd say yes.  As far as moon phases, I don't think anyone watches them with fascination, unless you're really bored and have a 4 weeks to spare.  People have been using moon phases as a guide for centuries, from best times to farm to the best times to fish.  Buy an Almanac for crying out loud.  There's "a lot to worry about daily" if you get your news from Facebook.

 Growing up during a pandemic is chaotic at best and isolating, anxiety-inducing and depressing often. School basically doesn’t exist in any format that makes sense. It’s no longer an option to see friends in person and remote learning can be flat.

"Growing up during the pandemic"?  At the time this was published in January, it hasn't even been a full year of emergency measures yet.  Last year at this time everybody was making Corona beer memes.  People will look back in ten years and say, "Oh yeah; I almost forgot about that except that I got debt from my relief cheques that I still got taxed on it."

 So, who does it harm if the teens study witchcraft or call themselves witches?

 The other night while we were making dinner, my daughter blurted out: “Magic would be so useful right now!” We were chopping a particularly hard batch of sweet potatoes. After a day spent grumbling at all of us, snapping every few hours and a return to remote learning, that comment struck me as exactly why witches and potions and tarot cards are growing in popularity. The belief in something that is a higher spiritual concept can be comforting. Don’t we all wish we could magically blast COVID-19 off the planet?

Her kid was trying to have some fun saying cutting potatoes sucks balls and wished she didn't have to do it.  Her kid wasn't thinking of "a higher spiritual concept", her kid didn't want to cut potatoes.  I wish we could magically blast poor articles like this off the planet.

 A friend of mine who lives in B.C. chimed in last week when I asked if anyone else had a teen who was making spell jars and learning to read tarot cards. She had a unique take. “When we were young, it was Dungeons and Dragons. People could spend hours getting lost in that elaborate fantasy game. I don’t see it as much different than that really,” she told me.

It's not a unique take, it was uninformed opinion.  I need someone to explain to me how a Role Playing game is the same as Witchcraft.  Please, leave a comment and let me know what a Traditional Witch's armor class is.

 Some have speculated that the rise of witchcraft has evolved from feminism. The word "witchcraft" conjures up a divine female power. A young witch on a news segment I watched referred to the word itself as an acronym: Woman in Total Control of Herself. What a powerful idea!

"Some have speculated that the rise of witchcraft has evolved from feminism".  Who, Paula's friend from BC?  Witchcraft is much more interesting and profound than anything feminism has to offer.  Also, it's been around hundreds of years before feminism was a thought.  After reading this article, I wonder if anyone who writes for the CBC has an IQ above 80.  D&D is the same as witchcraft; witchcraft evolved from feminism: two of the stupidest things I read all year.

 So, if being a witch is something that is in some way empowering to young women right now, then I say embrace being part of a coven.

I'd say knowledge is power to anyone, and Paula is lacking knowledge on a lot of fronts or she’s being willfully ignorant.  The problem with articles like this is that someone might read a garbage article like "My Teen Is Into Witchcraft And Tarot Cards — Should I Be Worried?" and think it's contents are based on at least a few facts.

My advice: if you're interested in a topic that started before the 1990s, then buy books on it to get the real story.

Monday, October 26, 2020

2020 Gibson SG Standard Review

In 2014, I bought a Les Paul Traditional that had some issues and after that, I swore I would never buy another Gibson.  Last year, I heard about the management overhaul and most reviews said QC was up so I tried my luck with an SG Jr.  That was a good day because I was, and still am, very happy with it.

So to push my luck again, I thought I'd buy an SG Standard.  I almost went with the 61 series but then I'd have 3 red ones.  And I couldn't justify paying over $2600 Cdn for an SG.  So I went with the Standard in black.

Out of the Box

Out of the box, I'll say it's a 7.  Then again, I got black so that'll hide a lot of blemishes but the gloss is nice.  Like the Junior, the fretboard was really dry.  The action was a little high and the frets, all of them, needed a polish.  Maybe Gibson's not doing the PLEK thing anymore.  After lemon oiling the fretboard, putting the stop bar flush to the body (I wrap the strings over the bar), polishing the frets and a change of strings, things were better.

The neck is rounded, in case someone was looking at getting one of these.  I like it.  The bevels are getting better, more sculpted than they used to be since the 60s and the guitar is very light, lighter than my buddy's Squire Thinline Telecaster.  The Grovers are a nice thing to have.  Unfortunately, the pickups are those God-awful 490s.  Why does Gibson still make these pickups?  They've been shit for years and nobody likes them.  Even before I bought it, I knew I was going to have to replace the pickups.  

It comes with the better gig bag but it's still a gig bag.

Everything's good, until I got under the hood

This is when everything glowing comes to a halt.  I must have got a Friday Afternoon Special.  I went to switch out the pickups (with Phat Cats) and I got the pickguard off and, well, look at the pictures.  For one thing, the body wasn't completely finished.  Also, that's not reflection from the lamp, that's a weird white/gray spray around the pickup routes.  And look at the spot under the fretboard: why am I seeing bare wood?  If you're going to stock these things with 490s, why would you not paint the inside?  I could see if there were good pickups that came with it then you'd never have to pop the top off but they aren't.  Final inspection would never notice this shit job so I understand why it slipped by.  

I flipped it over and unscrewed the control cover plate.  Two screws were drilled in on an angle.  Took the plate off and my enthusiasm went out the window.  It comes with a Quick Connect system.  That wasn't mentioned on the website, or anywhere else online.  Quick Connects are to make swapping out pickups easier without soldering.  That would be great except they don't make any after-market pickups to replace them with.  Gibson doesn't sell any and hop on Reverb and look up Quick Connect.  Not a lot of replacement pickups, just the guts from an SG like mine with the dreadful pickups.  Why is the Quick Connect still being installed in a new guitar?  

Then I got more confused at the fact that, this guitar was made to have its pickups changed, meaning the pickguard will eventually come off, so why would you have a hack paint and route job?  You'd think you'd want to clean that up so you don't have people like me going back to saying that Gibson's stuff is still kind of crap.

Final Thoughts

So would I recommend one?  Well... not at that price ($1999 Cdn) but if money's no object and you want to dump another $500 into it to make it decent, then sure, why not?  It won't be the best thing you've ever played but it won't be the worst either.  I can salvage this turkey but, unfortunately, Gibson lost another customer.  I probably won't be back in 6 years to try my luck again.  Now I'm just waiting for my replacement pots.

Pros: light weight, Grovers, better bevels, gloss finish, looks nice
Cons: awful pickups, obsolete Quick Connect system, shoddy workmanship under the pickguard