Are You in Pain?

Somewhere around the world today, tens of millions of people will be in pain. While in such a state, they won’t be thinking about their shopping list, their hydro bill, or their political affiliation. They will be thinking about alleviating pain. They will be vulnerable and may need assistance. The state is one which every living being will encounter at various times in our lives.    

This vulnerable state has a benefit believe it or not. It serves to round off the edges of our ego in order to more easily emote empathy. You see, for good reason youthful ideals sprout early in life with a healthy self-determinism at our core. The journey encounters curves and junctions and potholes which add sustenance to character. However; one day a wheel can literally fall off of what we once thought was a finely tuned machine and we humbly call the mechanic.

Gratitude re-emerges if it had been suppressed from our vigour as we drive away from the shop. Our view points are revisited amidst a broader context having come to re-evaluate the convenience of owning a car.

Having recovered, we count our blessings and wonder about those less fortunate who may not have had the luxury of good health care or a car mechanic. We think about struggles faced by single mothers raising kids alone because they’ve lost their husband to a disease residing in a country void of social programs. We think about diseases overcome and forgotten in the first world but still lingering amongst the poor. We think about who will not get their pain alleviated due to circumstance.

It’s really difficult to know for sure when you haven’t been there and seen it. It’s easy to take a position and become absorbed in it thereby refuting reasonable conflicting data. It’s easy to jump in with the mob which looks smart so that we too can appear smart. Pain has no intellect. It is not going to be appeased by rational minds administering debate on transgressions of “the deep state”.

Benefits of Learning Music Theory

When learning to play an instrument, we occasionally have “ah ha” moments as Ian Stich from Youtube’s Sitch Method likes to call them. Today I’ve had another of them as I run piano scales. If you’ve ever had a child in piano lessons, there’s a good chance they would have balked at the notion of doing scales. The piano teacher would say, there’s a long term benefit to learning scales which you’ll come to understand later. Well, unfortunately…later doesn’t arrive for too many music students because they view the task a just too boring with not enough melody.

Here is the thing: When running scales on the piano, we are hitting every note in a scale consciously and the mind develops awareness visually which aids in recalling chord triads and sevenths instantly. The visualization of roots, thirds, fifths and seventh via the keyboard would be akin to visualizing the notes on a staff. 

Additionally, if students run major and minor scales chronologically around the Circle of Fifths, the circle itself is memorized concurrently with scale tones. Consequently, chords within a key using the context of the circle take shape with repetition. Of course, there is the technical side of developing muscle memory around piano keys and efficient fingerings concurrently.

Imagine then moving the versatility of scale /chord / key mastery over to another instrument having put in the repetitions of running scales. Whole steps and half steps intuitively developed from running piano scales could be subconsciously applied to the new instrument with the Circle of Fifths lurking as an improvisational tool.

Guitarists could potentially take the theory of scale tone distances learned in piano and apply them to the fretboard accounting for the third / second string pitch differential or stick with the standardized three note per string pentatonic patterns taught more traditionally.

If a person can honestly espouse that they lack perfect pitch, lack some sense of relative pitch, and cannot intuitively “play by ear”, then that person might consider concepts of music theory practically to further advance play.

Over at my youtube channel, I hope to deploy more improvisation guitar / piano as I continue to apply concepts.

Cry A River Or Get A Life

  1. If you don’t have the money – don’t buy it
  2. If you self insure – you could experience loss.
  3. If you’re working in the service sector and employment is tenuous – think career upgrade.
  4. If you resist arrest by a police officer, expect injury.
  5. If you don’t like the service – don’t go back.
  6. If your government is incompetent – say something.
  7. If there’s a queue – get in line.
  8. If you don’t vote, don’t complain.
  9. If you unjustly criticize, expect to be told off.
  10. If you are in debt, stop spending and recover
  11. If you miss obligations, expect repercussions
  12. If you relax accountability, expect future laxity.
  13. If you are unhappy, tackle problems.
  14. If you’re over taxed, say something.
  15. If you’re overweight, eat less.
  16. If you can’t control alcohol, don’t drink.
  17. If you don’t know the effect of cannabis on the unborn, don’t consume when pregnant.
  18. If you value life, mitigate risk.
  19. If you are lonely, call somebody up.
  20. If you are bored, start a hobby and stick with it.
  21. If you are angry, expect fewer friends.
  22. If you nominate and elect idiots, expect poor performance.
  23. If you value values, reinforce them.
  24. If you appreciate someone, express it.
  25. If you fail, recover.
  26. If you marry, honour your vows.
  27. If you judge in ignorance, expect spiritual decay.
  28. If you blindly invest, expect loss.
  29. If you think you know it all, you know nothing.
  30. If you follow like a mute, expect tyranny.
  31. If you are a loafer, expect poverty
  32. If you gamble, anticipate loss.
  33. If you ignore your conscience, expect anxiety.
  34. If you stop learning, expect regression.
  35. If you live in fear, you lessen your vigor.

Shifting From Protesting To Change

Drew Brees should not be the target of race issues when his only deed to apparently offend is to stand tall during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. The race issue must be addressed at the ballot box and with legislative execution. The message has been delivered through protest. Now you must deliver administratively. You must work to effect change.  You have the right to organize. You have the right to raise funds. You have the right to appoint leadership toward the cause.

Additionally, you must vote. Your credibility is lost when you do not vote. Rates of voting in a democracy should be ninety-five per cent and not sixty. Apathy is not a good enough reason not to vote. Voting is most critical when one is most vulnerable.

Stop thinking that the sporting arena is where you think you’re going to affect change. Be bold. Write your legislators. Write your letters to the editor. Start your blog. Fundraise for your candidate. Chronicle the injustice. Challenge bigots for their statements. Showcase politicians whose votes align with oppression. Read the constitution. Examine case law and interpretations of judgments.  Support new protests with supplementary evidence. Request meetings with law makers through your organized association.   

Some Credit To Trudeau

He was asked the inevitable question about Trump’s speech on Monday night and whether not commenting would send a message. Apparently, the time count to respond was 21 seconds and then referenced shortcomings in Canada in addressing the plight of “racialized Canadians”. Is he afraid of Trump? He may be. You know that if he said what he feels, he would be brandished by Trump given Trump’s incessant child minded need to retaliate criticism with insults. You know there would not likely be any good to come from directed remarks. Hence; let’s credit him with the silence. See – this conservative just gave credit to a liberal. If I can do it…you can do it. 

U.S. In Decline

For those who didn’t see this all coming with the election of Donald Trump…..well here you go. If you elect a POTUS void of a moral compass accompanied by corrupt cronies and a propensity for bullying in the spirit of self interest you are going to get problems. If you complement the character of the man with an elected body who feels threatened by his tactics of persecution through retribution, then you’ve actually compromised the ideals of democracy. 

Protecting People From Themselves

Are civil liberties infringed upon when a non-physical discipline of therapy whether sanctioned by a professional body or not is restricted by a government? Is thought being regulated? These are the questions I have with respect to “conversion therapy” for those potentially confused by their sexuality who seek out a third party for consultation / therapy. What is a municipality doing in the minds of its citizens? Has psychological harm been perpetrated on an individual who has voluntarily sought conversion therapy sessions and has evidence of such harm been the motive for implementing a regulated restriction? Or, is it a repulsiveness in the minds of sexual minorities which is the motivating factor in leading authorities to take this matter up as an order of business?

Personally, I believe in peoples’ free will. If someone wants to seek out someone who he or she thinks can help them…then I believe they should be able to conduct their affairs in concert with their conscience so long as they are not hurting anybody. Here is the thing…..with this pending law, a government is telling an individual that the government thinks a person would be hurting oneself upon under-going the “therapy”. This puts the government in a position of thinking that it knows what’s best for an individual as opposed to the individual deciding what’s best for oneself.    

When I drive to work in the morning, I am encountering potholes. Next to my office is a fire station hosting firemen whose trucks travel this same road but fail to take up the pothole matter with their fellow civil servants in order to facilitate repair. This is why I pay taxes. I pay taxes for roads to be fixed and not to have politicians who serve me debate philosophy, witchcraft, sexual orientation, or the merits of conversion therapy. I don’t pay my civil servants to be my moral guide or the moral guide of someone who may be lacking in self esteem. Governmental over reach is going to cost me a trip to my auto repair shop to get my car’s front end fixed from unsuccessfully dodging potholes. Now that concerns me and should concern my city council. 

Editorials In Lock Down

Whenever I click an editorial on line and am prompted for a news subscription trial I come away thinking, “fat chance you’re going to get me to pay for this second rate opinion”. I harbour no ill will toward editorials in lock down and news outlets needing to fund their reason for being. I’ve just taken the opinion that since the internet company is taking a material payment from me monthly and I expose myself to the deluge of advertisements, I simply will not subscribe to one news outlet. Have you ever been frustrated by having cancelled a memberships with precise administrative protocol but then see the charge show up the following month? Exactly.

At the same time, it’s important to underscore the contribution which journalists make to society. Journalists ask questions which you don’t have time for because you are at work and tending to kids. Journalists serve you in that they isolate problems with government decision making which impact you. Journalists also expose injustices of humanity which would go otherwise unnoticed by those who can intervene.

There has been a new phrase coined recently – “fake news”. While there are degrees in quality of journalism largely because of the profit motive and stakeholder’s potential for bias, standards in journalism still exist and are being executed. To subjectively paint all journalists as compromised is simply irresponsible.

In fact, there has never been a larger role for journalists during this time in history when democracies are being administered more like “elected dictatorships” with ultra party partisanship and fear of voting ones’ conscience in elected houses as the new norm. Under these conditions in particular, the diligent reporter’s industrious efforts should be emboldened. In this light, I suggest to the journalism industry to lift your lock down of editorials for those of us suspicious of monthly credit card auto charges and appeal to us differently for your funding.   

Music and Dance Reminisce

My piano music book, “Pop Standards” by Hal Leonard has select classic pieces from the ‘70s. It’s sent me back on a childhood revisit this past weekend. As I write this I’m listening to the classic “Love’s Theme” by Barry White and Orchestra. The time was so innocent in many regards which was spawned by the music of the decade. There were so many happy (major keys) melodic songs. There was the one hit wonders. There were the indecipherable lyrics. There was the disco and Abba. There was Le Freak by Chic and Mike Oldfield, and “The Hustle”. There was Saturday Night Fever and Fleetwood Mac. There was Led Zepplin and Pink Floyd. There was the Eagles and Kiss. My sister was into Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and I actually saw the appeal although I was mostly playing baseball instead. The latter part of the decade had me thinking that dancing looked fun. I had no problem with it at all in spite of friends looking at me strange. There was the band “Heart” and the program “Midnight Special”.  I was enthralled.

The years 76 and 77 had me focused on Littlle League ball but I had memorized the lyrics to Hotel California. I had the album and played it all the time along with Kiss, Destroyer. With the move to Kamloops from Cranbrook in grade eight – I didn’t think twice when school dances came around. I went to them all and I danced to Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way”, Bee Gees – “Night Fever” and “Stayin Alive”.  There was Donna Summer, Blondie and Cheap Trick (Surrender), Foreigner, Journey, Asia, Trooper, and ELO. I was remarkably composed in refuting a friend’s insinuation that dancing wasn’t cool. I even overcame nerves and rejection in asking girls to dance.   

Free form dancing apparently is not in right now. It could all change again one day. Culture could go through another period of revitalization having gone through a pandemic and the realization that part of the soul’s earthly journey is one of connection through dance.            

Globe Reporting Of Flynn’s Exoneration

In spite of the bit being brief, it was balance reporting. The Globe however neglects to mention that Michael Flynn was in the business of deploying his experience and contacts and an ex-military officer to consult / lobby foreign diplomats. Trump hired him during Trump’s campaign for the White House. What did Trump want from this man when he was campaigning for President? Kind of nice to know the context from which he confessed to lying to the American people. Of course, while this investigation of election meddling was going on, you had not only Flynn on the radar of investigators but Paul Mannafort, Roger Stone, Rick Gates, and Michael Cohen – all indicted. Here you have Trump claiming some kind of witch hunt when this was the company he was keeping.

The matter of deliberation specific to the lie as described by the Globe and Mail was in my opinion unrelated to the investigation of election meddling but must also be put in the context of Flynn pleading the fifth prior to a deal being struck for his cooperation. 

I suspect that Mr. Flynn was leveraging his experience as a decorated military man and didn’t quite know the character of the man who had retained him during a presidential campaign.  Flynn wasn’t doing himself any favours by apparently flirting with Russian women while on assignment and he apparently was administratively deficient in filing paper work associated with receiving pay from foreigners.    

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