Grandstanding Athletes – My Take

You’re on the wrong stage if you think that withholding your appearance at a game / match is going to solve racial injustice. Racial injustice must be resolved through democratic and legal channels. Absence from duty on a sports field for reason other than illness, vacation or bereavement is a breach of an employment contract and subject to termination. Under such circumstances, an athlete will then have full time hours to invest in lobbying for reform and racial justice. Prima Donna athletes should translate their passion for a cause into a voice for reform as opposed to conveniently withholding their services. Spineless sports franchise owners should fire those who are in breach of contract rather than crater to team group think.

My interest in the NFL ceased six years ago when on one occasion, a cast of color commentators took an occasion to obsess more about the personal problems of one player and the player’s wife as opposed to focusing on the game. You remember that player – the one who got caught beating his wife in an elevator. Then a sequence of TV ads came on and I made a decision then and there to cancel my cable TV. This was before the Kaepernick charade.

Baseball was filled with a continuum of delays and the game lost my trust when my Montreal Expos were sent to the sidelines with the best record during the 1994 season because of a work stoppage. The team was my childhood dream team and I had followed them every year. There was no World Series in 1994.

Also during my childhood, there was a hockey announcer by the name of Jim Robson who called the games for the Vancouver Canucks. He put sport in a wider context than most. You see, at every Vancouver home game that he was on the air broadcasting, he would give a “shout out” to all the “shut-ins” who couldn’t make it out to a game. Well back in the ‘70’s and ‘80s most everyone could afford a seat unlike today so it was apropos for him to acknowledge those that were prohibited through poor health.  That gesture of his is something that has always stuck with me. That is….an acknowledgment of a contribution athletes make as entertainers to those keen to digest athletic grace defined by finesse, agility, speed and biomechanical prowess yet whose own bodies have failed them.

In the new world order of naive young athletes thinking they are something they are not….they grandstand. Robson will also be scratching his head I’m sure. 

Pandemic Repurcussions

Blog followers have come to learn that I showcase society’s shortcomings here. If I tempt readers into challenging evolving norms, then there’s value.       

In spite of modern civilization undergoing stress tests in 2020, some folks are handling challenges better than others. I’ve always been sociologically curious. Undergraduate option courses were spent investigating the human mind and formations of societies. Course work included psychology, sociology and anthropology. My enthusiasm for the subject matter was never as pronounced as my phenomenal professor of anthropology but my intrigue lingers on. Now, why is it than some folks cope better than others?

The mind requires “malleability”. It needs to be uncompromising at times and compromising at others. It requires resourcefulness based on experience and training in order to know when to exert and when to withdraw. Hyper sensitivity is a problem and can lead to obsessive compulsive behaviour. What better environment to observe obsessive compulsive disorder than in the midst of a pandemic. There is common sense, government dictums, and cooperative execution with a predisposed mind. We should be empathetic while educational helping youth along in the context of social policy in flux because they don’t have experience yet they possess acute self interest.       

As we conduct our daily lives, we do so from the standpoint of expectations and needs. Now we also throw in Covid-19 protocols. There’s something eerily deflating to the ego about wearing a mask which is obviously a triggering variable in some of these anti-masker types. Despite the inconvenience and social estrangement associated with wearing a mask, in a mysterious kind of way, I actually revel in witnessing people expressing inherent vulnerability and thoughtfulness toward others by donning a mask.     

As I go through every day during this pandemic, I think to myself….there’s something larger going on here that nobody can comprehend but identifying with meaning would be repugnant in the context of life loss. So instead while empathizing with others more directly affected, I redirect time toward hobbies while reading excerpts from scholars in the humanities like Allen Liska -“Perspectives on Deviance”.          

Why Does Your Government Make CERB Taxable?

CERB is a social program which has helped Canadians directly affected by the economic impact of COVID-19. Why is it taxable when it is not “earned income”? It’s like taking from Peter to pay Paul, right? Here is my theory.

  1. Bankers want to see income on tax returns for the purpose of substantiating credit worthiness. The personal tax return is their universal tool along with credit bureaus.
  2. The federal government wants to keep everyone in the tax pool despite income levels and the basic personal tax exemption. Imposing a tax liability even on the most vulnerable keeps people in the system.
  3. Feeds the bureaucracy
  4. Calculations of the “Canada Child Benefit” program along with GST / carbon tax rebates are now enshrined with the reporting of “taxable income”. Your government wants to include CERB income as a calculated variable.
  5. It’s consistent with your government’s tax collection agenda given its propensity to overspend.   

Opportunity Cost of Ignoring Instinct

The questions is….how succinctly do you trust your instinct in that you’re willing to make material life decisions based on your gut? Most people can’t do it. Most people are overwhelmed by others’ expectations. For most, the rational mind applies an oversized attribution of past experience, education, and child rearing to their decision making thereby limiting opportunity.

Then there are some who are irrational risk takers and don’t necessarily lack basic risk / reward assessment capacity but seemingly want to put themselves in danger for the simple sake of a hedonist adrenaline rush. 

The profile oriented around life success lies somewhere in the middle but it’s safe to say that the general populous is way too restrictive by not acting on instinct. 

Signs that you have difficulty not acting on instinct:

  1. You still care about what other people think
  2. You think you “can’t afford it”
  3. You have always only failed in acting on what you want
  4. You believe that the past equals the future
  5. You lack consistent / persistent drive
  6. You can’t imagine putting your employer / family second in your drive to succeed
  7. You can’t imagine quitting your job / sacrificing comfort
  8. You’re highly intelligent (counter intuitive I know)
  9. You’re not willing to risk a relationship or be bothered by coaching significant other
  10. You know you lack discipline and feel powerless to change

Technology, the internet, and civil bureaucracies are increasingly imposing themselves on you in such a way that your instinct could be becoming even more repressed. Think very hard about this the next time you sit in the queue of an automated phone attendant or a web based customer service form or a law enforcement agency indifferent to your just concerns. You may be subconsciously affected if you’re not attuned to the artificial influence of society’s tools.

One thing is for certain. If you play it safe and continue to repress your instinct….you can still live a good life but the chance of being enthusiastic and excited by your work every day is less probable.      

Gutless Law Enforcement In Canada

If you want to create some legislation, then you’d best be prepared to enforce it. Otherwise, you have no credibility. This seems to be the case in Canada right now. New pandemic regulations are exemplary of a society wanting to “do good” and then balking when it comes to following through. Doug Ford wants to “throw the book” at the “yahoos” in Brampton, Ontario who flouted regulations by convening a party with two hundred some guests in the face of our pandemic. I’ll be interested to know the fine for the property owner and guests.

Why is there this complacency in heeding new regulation? Is it because our politicians have lost their credibility through morally bankrupt behaviour in the context of managing the public purse and immunizing themselves from conflicts of interest? I suspect this plays a role. There is also simple immaturity at work unfortunately. Factor in an erosion of values in recent years due to a segment of society being raised in single family homes stationed behind computer games apt to be influenced by aberrant opinion online ….and we see minds being led astray. You know it. I know it. 

Finally, apply liberal policies of correction whereby any deviant is exempted of fault due to their sob story and society learns that the coast is clear when it comes to personal conduct in Canada, almost.

A Place Still For Satire

I muse about what witty comedians of yesteryear would make of our “new world order”. I’m thinking that they’d be stupefied by the abundance of new material right at their fingertips. Without question, there’s an introversion going on with the internet playing a role which is restricting folks from escaping their rational mind. Twitter is the platform right now which most readily exemplifies the overblown pragmatism facing mankind. My new coined phrase is “intangible tolerance” when comparing today to pre-internet. There used to be something healthy about not knowing and not having google at our fingertips. We could just let it all be and since we didn’t know…we could count on our friends and family not knowing either. Therefore we need not have judged or be judged – so much. Of course this is an oversimplification but I digress further.

Mind space pre-internet had more plasticity because neural receptors weren’t so fatigued with stimuli. Cognitive freshness was easier to access and within such a state would be acute to satirists stirring the social landscape for fun. You’ve all seen your good jokes fly overhead more because of the receiver distracted by reactionary thoughts compounded through a bombardment of stimuli. Receivers have simply not been in the ready position and you witness it every day. 

A whole industry has evolved around assisting those stuck in the reactive mind. Ekhart Tolle comes to mind as an author who eloquently portrayed the phenomenon is his book “The Power of Now”. There are others more attuned at helping those transfixed by thought obsession. However; I might suggest diagnostic tests you can perform on yourself. Do you feel “heavy” or “light” in reacting to stimuli? Another test is whether you believe your level of concentration meets a standard set by yourself. Thirdly, you want to know how readily you can enter a place of creativity in absorbing and expressing.          

Musicians Without Gigs Hit The Basement

I literally had a tear welling up after watching Rhett Schull’s video referencing the work he and his crew put  into setting up a basement studio  in anticipation of his first Youtube Livestream to happen this Saturday July 11th at 5pm Eastern.

Rhett has his wife, his dad, and a sound engineer friend along with band mates pitching in to make this thing go off. Apparently, it hasn’t been easy to set up the acoustics for a whole band in a basement. Thankfully, music vendors stepped forward to help with equipment sponsorships.

This is a fellow who has identified an obvious problem with playing live in the context of the new world order and has simply rolled up his sleeves to adapt. Although, it’s taken some time to get up and running, he wanted to do it right and there would have been many sound recording learning episodes along the way. It’s evident as he gives us the run down that he has encountered hurdles in troubleshooting the sound he wants to deliver to you. 

I’ve watched Rhett’s backstage pass series which has showcased the good times of touring as a lead / rhythm guitarist. He certainly is a talent on the guitar but now will be incorporating home audio technology with effects that will hit your home computer speakers with live video. Imagine that!

Should you decide to tune in live, do consider making a donation to the performance. Keep in mind that the “Superchat” (through youtube) method of donating will appropriate a material percentage to youtube. Hence; consider an alternate donation option available during the live stream which the band will make available. 

Here is Rhett’s Shull’s youtube channel in order to access the stream. 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCJ56k8nBeqWLoxNa6DToAQ

So Smart Yet So Wrong

Throughout social media we’ve had these colourful dialogue boxes espousing COVID-19 denial. The President of the United States with his manhood expressed so succinctly to Marco Rubio during the GOP nomination process wouldn’t be seen wearing a mask in contrast to the official recommendation of government officials’ position on them being an effective tool. Then there was this reference to “mind control”. Oh ya. The mask would be seen by some self esteem lacking individuals as a symbol of repression during a pandemic. Try squaring that logic.

Now we have these Republican governors out of Texas and Florida back tracking on their perverted sense of referencing civil liberties in the context of extinguishing a virus. Now in the face of overbearing case statistics, these chest beating Trump bimbos have needed to reverse course on their misplaced usage of libertarian ideology and actually implement recommended protocols. It’s really something to behold how political hay is being made out of a pandemic. The radical right needed even a pandemic to push its agenda of civil liberties.

Unless people return to an era of common sense and objectivity in tackling problems in real time proactively instead of reactively consequentially, I’m afraid that the quality of life for masses of people is going to continue to decline. Yes, I said “continue” because 2020 has materially impacted life quality negatively and either politicians learn from errors or continue to drive unproductive narratives based on ego rather than logic.      

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.  https://www.youtube.com/c/BlairSveinson

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