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Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Sick of the gay.

Alright, I've had enough...  I'm so sick of this gay rights thing.  It seems like all I hear about lately is gay marriage, and people getting ostracized for using derogatory homosexual terminology.

An opening picture of lesbians guarantees blog hits.
So let's start with gay marriage...  It's just plain wrong.

I am completely opposed to gay marriage, why you ask?  It says right in the Bible....

Men shall not marry men, because...  ummm, wait.  It doesn't say that?  Errr, OK.  Well, what the hell?

My way or the highway!
As I understand it, and I'm not a Bible scholar by any means, but Leviticus condemns men lying down with men.  (It doesn't really talk about marriage.)  It also condemns a whole bunch of other things to, like trimming your beard or the hair on the sides of your head or letting your hair get unkempt, wearing mixed blend fabrics, eating seafood without scales, tearing your clothes, and your not allowed to sell your countrymen as slaves.  (Feel free to sell foreigners.)

Also, it's cool with lesbians...  It talks about men lying down with men, but women can lie with whoever they want to.  Which is why the picture above is totally cool with the Bible.

What's more, as I understand it, many of the rules set forth in the beginning of the Bible, were specifically designed to keep the Israelites healthy and fruitful.  You see back in the days of the Old Testament, they didn't have a lot of medical know how like we have today.  In 3400 years from now when we are growing new skin to replace the cancerous cells, they will wonder why we used sunblock, as such, we have to wonder why 3400 years ago they were told not to eat pigs or shellfish.  They simply didn't have the refrigeration systems to keep food fresh like we do, and the chance of food spoiling, then you getting sick and dying was much higher.

And no delicious cocktail sauce either....
The other part of that was a civilization would be more powerful if they had a greater population.  This is so they could produce more warriors to defend and take resources, and more labour to help tend the land.  (As well as to capture foreigners to help out for rock bottom prices.) So it was crucial for the people to stay healthy and multiply often.  

To that end it kind of makes sense to ensure that every "delivery of DNA fun gravy" was delivered to a waiting woman, so she could do her evil woman magic and make a baby.  There were also rules against spilling your seed, and not sleeping with "unclean" women.  (Unclean is a un-nice way to say on the rag.)  All the rules were designed to ensure a big, happy, population.  This is the reason they didn't want men wasting their seed on other men, and that women could happily do whatever they liked.

Quick reminder:  The rules say 'Totes awesome sauce!'

Hey!  Check out my sombrero!
So if the rules were put in place to keep a specific group of people 3400 years ago healthy and multiplying, one has to wonder why we would still follow the same rules when the population has raised from 7 million to 7 billion!  Currently the earth is quite over populated, and sustainability of resources is a major issue.  Continuing being fruitful right now will probably lead to a huge Malthus population check.  (In essence a famine or disease caused by over population that will kill off enough people so that there's enough resources for everyone.  Like the Black Plague.)  So if the rules are unhealthy for humanity, it does kind of make sense to disregard them until our population is down to 1/10th its current size.

So lets put those rules aside, I still have to say I'm against gay marriage, and I'll tell you why....

A while ago I met someone.  Upon first meeting him, he appeared to be an effeminate man.  I made the assumption that this person was a gay male.  It may very well have been my personal bias and stereotypes taking over, but that was the assumption I made.

And you know what happens when you make an assumption right?  (Everyone recite the cliche now...)

No, you make an ass out of you and mption...
You form an opinion based on observable data and experience, which you can then test out to ensure accuracy.

However, it turns out this person was not a gay male after all.  This person physical female who was on hormone therapy and living the life of a male.  This is considered transgendered because she/he emotionally has a personal sense that they are a male.  

OK, so fine...  So this person is transgendered, I can handle that, I'm a man of the world.  No judgement.  However, I couldn't help but wonder, does that make them gay?  So they are physically female, and act like a stereotypical gay man, so maybe he sleeps with other gay men?  But wait, since he feels like a man, wouldn't that indeed mean that he should want to sleep with women?  But since he's pre-op, and technically physically a female, doesn't that mean that he's a lesbian?

Or I had lice, I'm not sure...
Needless to say, trying to figure it out my head started to spin.  This whole situation didn't fit into any of the normalites of my pre-conceived notions of what straight and gay were.  

After struggling with this in my own mind, I came to a conclusion...  WHO THE HELL CARES!!!!  This person seems happy doing what they are doing, so why do I have this stupid desire to label them and put them into a bucket.  We are all individuals, and we do whatever we do to get by in our lives.  People don't have to be in buckets because buckets separate us.  When we are separated we can exclude those of us who don't fit in our little bucket, but there's no determination that one bucket is right or wrong.  Providing your not harming anyone, I'm good.  Do what you want.  Be gay!  Be straight!  Be mixed!  Just be human, or don't...  It doesn't matter to me.  In fact most people shift on the Kinsey scale throughout their lives.  (A recognized rating system between 0-6 determining complete heterosexuality to complete homosexuality)  So there's not even a black and white answer.  Most people are a little Dusty.

I'm against gay marriage, because I'm against putting people in buckets.  Marriage is marriage regardless of who's involved.  If you love someone, and they love you back, and you feel that you want a governmental piece of paper to prove it?  Get one.  Hell, ask me, I'll do the ceremony.  (I'm free on Tuesday nights).  Just take the word gay out of it and start seeing everyone as people, not as a sexual preference.

So what about the words gay and all the other term associated with homosexuality?  I'm tired of them being used as negative words.  I'm taking them back.  Just because society sees the straight white male as normality doesn't mean being gay is bad.  When you use the word gay, use it as a positive thing...

I'm gay for ice cream!
I'm queer for beer!

And I'm a total fag for lesbians!

Friday, 20 December 2013

A Christmas Poem... By Mattie.

Twas the weekend before Christmas,
So all the children shout...
"We want a PS4!!"
But the stores were all sold out...

Poor Mommy had a headache,
And Daddy was losing hair,
They'd checked at every store,
But PlayStations never there.

Employees shrugged their shoulders,
when inquired for a reason.
"We should get some more, but who knows when?
I doubt this Christmas season."

They looked online at Best buy,
They scoured the Walmart store.
Of gifts they found a plenty,
But not a PS4.

So Mommy yelled at Daddy...
"This was your only job,
To make our kids quite happy,
To tame this gaming mob.

You had a couple months,
but procrastination has set in.
This last minute shopping,
this time was not a win.

And so this I charge you daddy,
to brighten Christmas day...
You'd better find a PlayStation
or the lovin' is going away.

But what to his wondering eyes should appear?
For sale on Kijiji, a system, quite dear.

The markups were awful, 
and the grinches were merry.
supply and demand 
made the ransoms all vary.

They were charging much more than they paid in the store.
because they waited on line since a quarter to four.

Their systems they hid, and kept on the seal,
and stored in their closets, to net them a deal.

The visions of dollar signs all danced in their eyes,
but daddy, poor daddy, then had to surmise.

"I'm not going to find one at cost I'm afraid,
I'll have to pay more, if I want to get laid."

So he emailed seller,
and made him an offer
a generous gift 
which would empty his coffer.

The seller replied,
with a laugh and a sneer...
"You've got to be kidding,
'cause Christmas is here.

I sold out 3 days ago, 
because my prices were good...
Just 300 dollars more 
than any store would.

So Daddy kept emailing, 
the prices went up.
This damn gift would break him.
but he wouldn't give up.

His kids, they were worth it,
the smiles on their faces.
He'd be hero of Christmas.
First Daddy of places.

So he went to the top of the prices here listed.
He sent one more email, and prepared to be fisted.

$5000 dollars was asked, absurd!!!
but the price was now set for quelling the herd.

The reply it came back, from the  devil  himself.
"Of course I can help you, I'm a right Christmas elf!

Just meet me with cash, in a back alley, alone...
I promise you, Christmas will be merry in your home."

So Daddy, reluctantly threw on his hat,
he went to a cash machine, and emptied out that.

He drove to the meeting place, and then looked around.
It was empty, and dark, with nary a sound...

Then from behind a dumpster, there stepped a small geek.
He was ugly, and zitty, and no showers for a week.

His voice cracked as he spoke,
his giggles were crazy.
He put out his hand, and his palms were quite hairy.

"5000 dollars, and the PlayStation is yours.
To gift as you wish.  I'm getting some whores."

So Daddy paid the geek,
and daddy took the box.
And the geek disappeared
in the shadows like a fox.

And Christmas morning was merry,
and the children laughed with glee.
It was the greatest Christmas gift,
At least this year, you see...

And in his mother’s basement,
the geek, he had to smile.
"Merry Christmas to all!"  He shouted.
He wasn't very good at rhyming.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

The White Poppy?

Lest We Forget

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

- Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

Let me start off by saying, this blog is going to anger some people.  I'm OK with that, but we do need to remember that whether or not you agree with me, please be respectful to everyone's beliefs, as there is no right answer.  There never is.  Life is a complicated thing, with many shades of right and wrong.  People on the other side of the issue believe what they do with just as much passion as you do.  The only difference is how you look at it, and the experience that shapes your beliefs.  

Recently, there's been quite a bit of controversy lately regarding the white poppy.  The Toronto Sun has been leading the charge against a group of students, primarily from the University of Ottawa, who will be wearing white poppies for Remembrance Day.  

The controversial pin.
They say that the white poppy is a symbol of peace, which is rather obvious according to this picture.  Also this direct quote in the Toronto Sun paints a picture as well.

"Young people don't want to celebrate war," Celyn Dufay of the University of Ottawa said. "We want to work for peace."

The direct implication of this quote seems to tell us that wearing a white poppy means you are for peace, while of course wearing a red poppy means you celebrate war.

Now I'm going to come right out and say it.  I don't trust newspapers, or most mainstream news sources.  They are in the business of selling newspapers, not reporting unbiased accounts of what's going on.  If you can print something that makes people angry, then their passions arise, and they talk about it.  The suns account is very one sided, painting Dufay as an insensitive jerk, who throws his symbol in the face of veterans and flips the bird to the people who laid down their lives.

Needless to say, their story has worked.  Google is full of stories of insensitive hippies, and their disrespect of the sacred.  On Facebook and Twitter there are a plethora of thoughts and comments full of rage and indignation that anyone might dare suggest that their time honoured traditions should support war.  There have been threats to punch those who might wear a white poppy.  (How's that for irony.)

What's more after reading the article I felt personally offended.  The red poppy is not a symbol which celebrates war, it is a symbol which reminds us to reflect upon those that gave their lives so that we may live in a free world.  Disrespect of those who made the ultimate sacrifice so people they would never meet could live their lives in peace is such a slap in the face, it hurts.  

Of course it's that freedom that was fought for that gives them the right to choose to wear a white poppy, so while I disagree with their message, I fully support their right to wear it.  In fact I agree with it so much, that I would defend that right should anyone say that they couldn't.  

Give peace a chance
But let's stop for a moment, and take a look at the other side of the issue.  What really is a white poppy.  It certainly wasn't invented by this U of Ottawa student as a way to attack veterans.  The white poppy has been a symbol for those that have wished for peace since 1933.  While there has always been a lot of us or them sentiment between the red and white poppy, the intent was never to be exclusive.  Where the red poppy was meant to honour the fallen hero's, the white poppy was created to symbolize the hope and wish that war wouldn't happen anymore.  

They were a sometimes worn separately, but the were also worn together as well.  Most people understand that war is sometimes a necessary evil, and the desire to be free of war is the goal of citizens and soldiers alike.  No soldier wants to be in a war, they do it because they feel it's their civic duty.  They do it because they want to protect freedom.  They do it because they feel they have to protect society from evil.  (Evil is also not a definite term, but a side of an individual belief.)

I guess the thing to remember is this...  Peace as an ideal that we would all love to achieve, unfortunately, as long as there are people in the world who have different ideals than you, and who are willing to fight to enforce those beliefs, than the need to defend ones self and country are necessary.  Peace can sometimes be negotiated, but sometimes, it needs to be fought for.  Sometimes it has to be sacrificed for.  Sometimes, there is no other choice.  When that time comes, you need people that not only are willing to fight, but willing to die.  These people don't want to die, and they don't want to kill.  They don't celebrate war.  They tolerate it.  They hate it.  They watch it take their friends, and their families, but yet they still give and give.  The ones who survive it will never be the same.  They deserve our respect, regardless if you respect war or not.  That's what the red poppy is all about, to remember those who sacrificed for you.

So if you see someone wearing a white poppy on remembrance day, it's OK.  They may be misguided, or they may not understand why you choose red.  Smile at them and offer them a red poppy, and remind them sometimes it takes tens of thousands of red poppies to achieve a white one.

Thanks grandpas, and all the others who fought to let me express these thoughts.

Monday, 7 October 2013

The Tragedy That is Axl Rose

So when I asked my fans (read Facebook friends) what my next blog should be about, The wussification of Kids or The Tragedy That is Axl Rose, wussification won hands down.  It even seems that poor Axl had a few haters...
This girl hates him so much, she has chosen to wear the shirt ironically.
What a hipster!
I quote...

"Has to be the children, the other doesn't exist."

"The wussification of children causes them to....turn out like Axl Rose! Parents everywhere are looking for a cure!"

"How Axl Rose has contributed to the wussification of children."

Poor Axl doesn't have a lot of fans left...  And while some might argue that he is a spoiled brat that brought a close to rock as we know it.  Let us take a step back, and look at the pure tragedy that is Axl Rose, and while he might not deserve our sympathy, nor certainly very few could empathize with the man, his life is a tragedy that Shakespeare himself might have a hard time envisioning.

The faces and perms of rock n' roll
Let me set the stage for our story...  The year is 1992, the 80's now over, and hair bands are on a steady decline from their hard rocking, makeup wearing heyday.  In the pop world the New Kids on the Block are at their apex, along with Marky Mark and Vanilla Ice.  (That is to say, bands which the average rocker would rather eat a shotgun rather than listen to for more than 3 minutes.)  While there are a few young bands getting their starts in Seattle, they hadn't really made waves to the mainstream.  Their glory days would be still upcoming.  That left very few options for those who enjoyed something a little more powerful on the rock side of the world.  While they certainly weren't the only good band at the time, the genre more or less belonged to the Californian rock band named Guns N' Roses and their eccentric lead singer Axl Rose.

Their albums in the 80's were HUGE!  "Appetite for Destruction" is still the number one debut album in the U.S. of all time, and holds up well.  At the time, their current offerings, the "Use Your Illusion" albums, were at the top of the charts for months, and pretty much everyone had a copy, or at least knew someone who did.  The upcoming concert tour with Metallica/Guns N' Roses was arguably the biggest thing going at the time.  They rocked hard, partied hard, and so did their fans.  They literally caused riots all over North America.  Axl was an international sex symbol, and infamous for his 'bad boy' temper tantrums.  He played by his own rules, and was loved and hated for it.  They were steamrolling their way through the music industry, top of their game and they showed no signs of stopping.

Now, let's take a break for a second...

I need to define something here...

And God said 'Let there be rock', and it was good.
Rock god(s) - The rare musicians whose music, attitude, showmanship define and transcend their generation.  They are held in the highest esteem by critics, the public, and fellow musicians alike, and inspire those that follow to greater heights.  They are beyond reproach, and can put out decades of mediocre music after their masterpieces have been released, and still maintain their respect and 'coolness'.  Their music will never die.

Now, I'm sure you can all think of a few of these folks.  Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Holly, John Bonhom, Janice Joplin, Bob Marley, Jim Morrison, Freddie Mercury, Tupac Shakur and of course Kurt Cobain  (who reportedly was listening to New Kids on the Block and the time of his death. (citation needed)).

Now you might notice that all these people are dead.  Most of them died in their prime, were mourned by all and declared geniuses by those who grieved their passing, and wept for the potential music that we would never hear.  When you think about it, it's a pretty exclusive list to be included on, the cream of the crop if you will.  (Also I know, I didn't name them all, don't get pissy if I missed your favourite.)

Rarer than current non-ironic Vanilla Ice fans.
But there is one more group in music, which is even more exclusive than this.  One that is so rare that only a handful of people have ever attained it.  It is the holy grail of every musician.  That is to be the living rock god.

Off the top of my head, I can think of very few...  Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Chuck Berry, Angus Young, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, and maybe Ozzy.  We could also include John Lennon and Elvis in this list, although they are gone now, they lived to see they status of rock gods for a time.

Having said that, there are in comparison many rock legends out there, hell we could even say that Axl is amoungst them, but the living rock gods are the rarest of the rare, and practically an unattainable goal.

However, in the summer of 1992 the young band from California was staring the possibility of obtaining the highest plateau of rock in the face, and all signs pointed to that they couldn't miss.  Leading the charge was Axl himself.  This privliged young firecracker, whined and complained, threw temper tantrums, walked off the stage pouting, causing riots, and made his fans love him even more.  His stardom was blowing up faster than anyone could ever imagine, and he rode the wave of rock on a surfboard made from drugs, booze, ego, and loose chicks on his way to rock and roll divination.

Then this happened...

Worst. Album. Ever.
Guns N' Roses put out their follow up to the "Use Your Illusion" albums called "The Spaghetti Incident?" and their seemingly unstoppable momentum stopped.  Just like that it was over.  The album was unimaginably a disc full of covers, which for a band as big as this was inconceivable.  (And yes, it does mean what I think it means.)  What's worse, is that the covers were BAD covers of songs that rock fans loved.  This flop of an album may have been able to be weathered by the band in some circumstances, and possibly even a follow up comeback could have been conceivable, but unfortunately for GN'R, the release coincided with the break-out of a new genre of music which aimed directly at Axl's demographic.  Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Sir-Mix-A-Lot's new grunge sound scooped away all of Axl's fans, and more importantly, what should have been the next generation of Axl fans.

Artist's representation of GN'R in the mid nineties.
The timing of the of this couldn't be worse.  Being on top of the world, and flopping badly is bad enough, but to have never experienced failure as a band, to be told you were the best by everyone, and to have such a huge ego, created what the public could only describe as an epic implosion.  The band publicly ripped each other.  Everyone blamed everyone else.  Temper tantrums were thrown.  The band broke up and what was once a paragon or rock and roll rebellion disintegrated into ongoing joke fuel that was a late night talk show host's wet dream.

It was really that bad.

When all was said and done, Axl took his ball (the rights to the name Guns N' Roses), and went home.  That was the end of one of the biggest bands of the late 80's and early 90's.  Axl of course has tried to recreate it with new band members, as has the rest of the band without Axl; however the results have comeback with a resounding unremarkable.

Images for representation of  tragedy on Google suck.
So back to tragedy...  The resounding opinion about Axl Rose is that he is an whiny ego-maniac asshole, who got exactly what he deserved.  Remember however, I'm not asking you to feel bad for Axl, but to recognize his life as tragic.  To me, one of the worst things that can happen to a person is to come with micrometers of your dreams, and to have them pulled away.  To be able to smell, taste, feel them brush your finger tips as you stretch to grab them, and then to watch them fall away...  That is tragedy.

Think about this, if someone offered you to be able to taste the most amazing flavour in the world once and only once, with the knowledge that you could never taste it again, would you take it?  Consider, after tasting that, you know nothing you taste would ever come close to as good again.  Every flavour you now love would be spoiled by the memory of that one perfect flavour, and it would all pale by comparison.  As the memory of that exquisite taste faded, you would forever be haunted, searching and trying to attain that again and again, knowing that it is impossible.  That is a sad thought indeed, but at least you got to try the flavour....  Now imagine, if you made the agreement and then as you went to taste it, the sensation was pulled away from you as it approached your waiting tongue, and the essence of it's smell touched your taste buds, allowing the knowledge of the flavour without the pleasure of experience.  That, my friend, is tragedy.
Axl Rose then....

I'm not saying that Axl didn't have a fun ride up.  I'm not saying that his life wasn't way more fun and reckless than most of us dare imagine.  I'm also not saying that most musicians wouldn't give everything they had just to taste a fraction of Axl's experience.  What I'm saying is that Axl had the possibility of being a living rock god in his reach and he dropped it.  It brushed his fingertips, he smelt it's perfume, it may even of grabbed his ass, but then it disappeared.  It left only it's trace memory that Axl knows he can never attain, and he has to live the rest of his life in that knowledge.

The sad truth is, if Axl had died in 1992, he WOULD be a rock god right now.  It's unquestionable.  He didn't, and that ship has sailed.  Now the only thing Axl is, and can ever be is a tragic figure, destroyed by a life of excess, only ever wondering what could have been.

Now he takes solace in pie...

If you're interested on why Guns N' Roses crashed so hard, have a listen to this take by Jim Breuer...  It's hilarious, and bang on money with what happened.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

The Wussification of Our Children

So the other day, my youngest daughter, who was 4 years old at the time, asked me "Daddy?  Can we watch Star Wars?"

My pride outweighs any witty caption.
My chest swelled with pride, and I lovingly pulled the blu-ray from it's sheathe and slid it into the player.  My daughter giggled with excitement as the icon 20th Century Fox played it's fanfare, and then went deathly quiet for those 2 seconds letting your heart flutter in anticipation.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity, and then....  POW!  The trumpets sounded, John Williams masterpiece over whelmed the room from my speakers, and the Star Wars logo flared upon my screen!  We both cheered at the sheer awesomeness of the moment.  A warm tingly shiver ran down my spine as the yellow words scrolled across the screen, and I explained to my daughter, that the film was actually called Star Wars, not a "A New Hope", but we should enjoy it for what it is.  There would be time for arguments of the validity of Han shooting first at another time.

This was one of those moments in life which should be treasured for all time.

As the Imperial Star Destroyer roared across the screen, I held my daughter tight in an embrace...  Storm Troopers shot rebels, droids ran through lasers, Darth entered, ominously yet grandly and then choked the captain of Leia's cruiser.  The droids jumped into the escape pod, and those stupid imperial officers decided not to shoot it.  (If they had, the whole series would have been solved.  Emperor wins.)  As I pointed this out to my daughter, I noticed she wasn't nearly as excited as she was 5 minutes ago...  In fact she looked downright bored.

She looked at me and said...  "Daddy! I wanted to watch ANGRY BIRDS STAR WARS!  Let's watch 'Finding Nemo' instead."

This is not the Star Wars you are looking for.

I thought unhappily to myself, that marketing wins again as I switched off the 70's epic tale, for Disney's cute fish for the millionth time.  If nothing else, it makes a good story.  I decided to tell my folks the tale of disappointment and shame, but as I launched into my diatribe of how today's children don't appreciate anything that can't be launched as a dollar app, I stopped and looked at their faces.  They were looking at me in complete disbelief and disappointment.

"You let our 4 year old granddaughter watch Star Wars?"

Darth Vader is now the second worst father of all time.

I stopped to consider...  There's a lot of killing, violence, and pure evilness in Star Wars.  Not to mention incest and worst of all Jar Jar Binks...  I was a bad dad.  How could I expose my poor sweet innocent child to this.

Hold on a second though...  When Star Wars came out in 1977, I was 3 maybe 4 at best.  My parents took me to see it 8 times!  (Mind you, I think I slept through it most of the time.)  When I pointed this out to my parents, they were taken aback.  Indeed they had corrupted me with the evil film, and I turned out...  Well, I can't say normal, but my shrink thinks I'm getting better.

You do monitor your kids don't you?!?
It got me to thinking though, why do we shelter our children so much?  Society in general tells us that our kids are precious snowflakes which must be protected at all costs.  We put them in helmets when they ride their bikes, we diligently monitor everything they watch, their friends, their teachers, their very lives!  We as parents know that if you let your child experience life in any non sheltered way, you are subject to arrest.  In fact, this mom was arrested and incarcerated for 18 hours for the crime of letting her kids play outside, while she was supervising them!  Keep your kids inside parents, exposure to fresh air and sun is punishable.  They might get a sunburn.  

But why on earth do we think our kids our so damn fragile?  Why do we believe they will be mentally scarred for life if they are scared by anything worse than their own shadow.  We let our children believe that the universe is rainbows and lollipops, and that bad things only happen to bad people.  Any semblance of freedom will surely lead to their abduction, or worse, to them hurting their feelings and becoming an antisocial member of society!
Yeah Matt, we heard this before.
I'm lazy already.

Now what most of you are thinking right now is that I'm going to launch on one of my diatribes on how the latest generation are also bunch of wussies like I have on more than a few blogs before. This however goes beyond that. It's not just the latest generation which has been wussified, it is our entire society. The kids, the parents, the grandparents, everyone.  (Please note that I am Canadian, and write ethnocentrically.  If this blog does not apply, feel free to read a different blog, featuring BOOBS!)

A friend of mine recently pointed out to me that back in Roman times they used bring the whole whole family on down to the local arena to enjoy some good man on man slaughter for entertainment. It wasn't all fighting though... there was exotic animals for the kids. You know like lions and tigers eating slaves for snacks. Good old fashioned family entertainment. I'm pretty sure that all of Rome didn't turn out to be serial killers. I'm also pretty sure that they didn't all become nonfunctional members of society unable to maintain meaningful daily routine. As a matter of fact, they became a dominant player in the world, and were able to create, conquer, and make a name for themselves as one of the most important civilizations of all time.

A game of skill and finesse...
But that's not fair, you might argue. You can't compare our society to theirs. They were barbaric butchers, bludgeoning their way through life. Where we live, we wouldn't stand for that. We are civilized people who abhor violence, where they celebrated conquering their neighbours. Canadians exist peacefully with the world, and have a human rights record which is unmatched. Democracy exists to give everyone the right to their say, where they lived under a system of tyranny, in which killing was the only means of survival.  Our entertainment is a of a more civilized ilk.

It is very true that while our societies differ considerably, the fact remains that through out history there are numerous examples of kids being exposed to things that would make toughest of the adults in our society horrified. In Athens, the birth place of democracy, relationships between grown men and young boys were common. Their neighbours in Sparta taught their kids to be able to fight or die at ages where we won't let our kids hold a butter knife. All over the world, killing people was like pay-per-view entertainment.  France and their guillotine, Witch burnings in Salem.  Even right here in Hamilton less than two hundred years ago, taking the kids to see a drawing and quartering was considered a nice picnic atmosphere.  (Read about the Bloody Assize)
Tee hee hee, Ass Size....

The truth is all societies have to adapt their attitudes around their needs. If your civilization in constantly under the threat of being attacked ruthlessly by their enemies, then it behooves it to introduce their youth to violence at an early age. This allows them to more effectively defend themselves and survive, and even dominate other societies.  Our schools teach us how to learn things which are fun, but ultimately useless.  (Except math of course, I still use that, mostly to help my kids with their homework.)

We learned about dinosaurs,
They learned how to kill a man three ways with a paperclip.
We find this barbaric because we haven't grown up having to deal with self-defense. Morals are dictated but societal needs, and not by anything else. That's why kids in history have been treated like the adults we are today.  That's also why adults today act like the youth of history.  Kids, like all humans can adapt to their societies needs, and what's more can do so more pliably than most adults can.

So the answer is this... We treat our kids like precious snowflakes because we don't need to make them grow up. It's not their fault if they turn into wussies who can't fail at anything because they haven't been taught how. It's ours. Competition has become a bad word,  and self esteem seems to be the only thing that matters. We raised our kids this way, because in turn it was the way we were raised. We live in a safe society where we don't fear being attacked daily because the government protects us. As such we don't feel the need to have to defend ourselves.

I'm gonna learn how to virtually kill people
and yell racial and homophobic slurs when I virtually die.
Having said that, we have to remember however, that as sensitive as we think our kids are, (comparatively speaking, they are...)  Kids are also lot stronger than we give them credit for. What's more, they will find ways to express themselves that we don't understand. (Pokeman comes to mind).  Best we take control and give the a little bit of non-child Friendly entertainment before they are old enough to control us, and turn our old age homes into a life like simulation of Grand Theft Auto, wheelchair wars.

Of course, if you can't handle it, you can always use these. 
These ARE the droids you're looking for.

Now if you'll pardon me, I have to go console my daughter...  She's crying because the barracuda killed Nemo's mom and then ate all his baby brother's and sisters.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

A Threat to the Canadian Way of Life

Recently I heard a commercial from one of the major telecom companies telling me all about how the evil government is allowing another major foreign telecom company into the country which, according to the commercial, threatens our Canadian way of life.

(I won't name names, because since apparently I have people that buy advertisement space, alienating corporations could affect my bottom line.  $4.50 this year, thank you!)  Since I can't say anything demeaning about any major corporations, and since I have much venting to do, I will instead vent against things that can't defend themselves, and won't hurt my bottom line...
You stupid fucking kittens, I'm glad your mom got run over.

That's some big talk for a butler, Belvedere!
Corporate political correctness aside, the major Canadian telecom giant (I'm gonna call them Belvedere) lets us know that if the government lets the new guys into the Canada from the States, (like they did for Belvedere back in 1880), then the new telecom giant will buy up all the other telecom non-giants, (like Belvedere has been doing since 1880), and operate jobs outside of Canada, (like Belvedere did in 2010 At least according to this article.)  What's more, they'll mooch off of Belvedere's existing network, give nothing back, and offer very little to Canadians!

What bothers me the most though, is not that Belvedere is telling us misleading stories to try and get our patriotic sympathies, but that they are blaming it on the government!

That's right, the government are the bad guys, letting in the big evil American company, who will likely join Belvedere's oligopoly, and if we're lucky actually offer consumers competitive pricing for services which, in Canada, are the most expensive in the world!  (At least according to this article.)
The Government, your best interests at heart since 1492.

While it is true that I don't much trust the government to have my best interests at heart at all time, neither do I trust any corporations.  Like all things in society, they push their own agenda to their own interests.  (And it seems that for the most part, their interests are made up of dollar signs.  (Or whatever monetary values you use, I'm not hear to judge you, crazy Europeans.))  That's not to say, they never do the right thing by the general populace, it just that when they do, it seems to benefit them somehow monetarily.  I have no problem with this, as I am dyed in the wool capitalist.

As such, it is up to me to be informed about what is going on, and make decisions based on what is best for myself, family, and those I care about.  In this case I know that the government is probably doing the right thing for my interests.  I am a fan of having more choice in my financial decisions.  That's not to say that I will run straight to the new telecom service, I probably won't, but I like to know that I have the option.

Save these orphans...
From overpriced phone plans!
Belvedere is telling me that I need to have the government protect me from the evil corporations that want to take my money.  While I do believe the government does have a role in ensuring the general population is protected from corporations with poor business ethics like swindling retirees of their savings, and providing unsafe work conditions; I also believe that it's up to consumers to only support businesses which best support their own, and their communities best interests.  It's as simple as this...  If you don't like what the new telecom giant offers, don't buy their phone plan.  If you prefer the Canadian alternatives, give them your business.  The government should have nothing to do with it.  If the government says that the new guys can't come in, then Belevedere can go right one charging whatever they want.  If Belevedere doesn't want me to go to the new guy, then he'd better offer me something worth my money, because I vote with my dollars.

It of course is through voicing your opinions as a consumer by only giving money to those companies you feel are worth it, that you can really affect change in our society.  Corporations aren't evil per-say, they just are created specifically to make money.  They make money by offering a service or product for sale.  They have the right to offer that service at whatever cost the wish, and you have the right to decide if you want to pay or not.  In this case, the government should have nothing to do with it.  (Well, aside from clearing the paper work, and ensuring that fair business practices are observed.)

After that, it's up to you...

Yes, I will buy whatever you are selling.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

What is a Hipster?

So the other day I was in a meeting discussing business stuff, and something happened.  I made a purposely bad joke to a colleague.  (I really enjoy telling jokes that are bad because I find awkwardness hilarious, and I have some horrible ones.)  After a few blank stares, I explained that I enjoy being ironic.  My colleague's ear perked up, and asked if I was a hipster.  I thought about it for a second, and asked why he thought that, to which he explained that irony is a hipster thing. 

This gave me pause for thought, and I told him that this is an interesting concept, and I told him he has inspired a blog.  He said he would read it, so Chris, this is for you.

So the question in the title, will be the theme today, as we look at what a hipster really is.

Did you notice she didn't have any glass in those glasses?
If you want to be boring feel free to read the Urban Dictionary's definition of Hipster,  I assure you however, that my definition will be much more... well probably close to the same, but I will include pictures with funny captions, so screw you Urban Dictionary.

First off, there are some traits which seem to encompass hipster culture.  The first is big glasses.  Whether they are needed or not.  In fact if they aren't needed, then it's better, because then you can remove the glass, and look even more anvant garde.  Go on, do a Google search for images of hipsters.  They all have glasses.  (For the hipsters reading this, you can use Ask Jeeves.  Google is way too mainstream for you.)  I myself have a pair of thickly framed glasses without glass in them because one year for Halloween, I dressed up as Clark Kent, so I needed them for that day. I have hung on to them so if I wanted to ironically be a hipster I could. However I'd much rather wear my Elvis sunglasses, because Hipster's haven't figured out yet how awesome Elvis sunglasses are.  I have no doubt they will eventually.  Hipsters for some reason tend to copy me.

Best. T-shirt. ever.
It's actually kind of annoying to me that this happens, but unfortunately it is not an uncommon occurrence.  In fact, it happens all the time.  The truth of the matter is I'm more of a geek than I am a hipster, but hipsters tend to follow the geek culture.  For instance...  I am fond of wearing t-shirts with cartoon characters, and video games stuff on them  (Extremely geeky stuff).  I have for years. I wore them because I thought they were funny, a throw back to my childhood, and kind of gave me a look at me type of style.  Shortly thereafter the ironic t-shirt became the uniform of the Hipster.  Other t-shirts styles stolen from me...  wolf shirts, corporate logo shirts, and a shirt with my own face on it giving the double guns. 
Moose t-shirts are a million times better than wolf shirts.

I remember once going to Canadian Tire and being delighted to find shirts with animals on them, and ALL the shirts with wolves on them were sold out.  Damn hipsters anyhow!  I decided at that point, wolf shirts were done, and got a moose t-shirt instead.  So far that has still stayed original.

It's not only t-shirts though...  I started wearing plaid shirts that I had from the 90's in my 'grunge' days.  They were hanging in the back of my closet, because I never update my wardrobe.  (See geek reference.)  It's a fine art trying to put your style on the downside of trends.  Things are 'cool', then everyone does them, causing them to lose their cool.  At that point, only uncool people wear them and get made fun of for it, because it's uncool.  (Note: my wearing of acid wash jeans incident, late 1989.  To this day, I still weep at the mercilessness teasing of those kindergarten kids.  I was 15 at the time.) Now, if you can time it to wait about 3 years after the uncool people stop wearing the fashion, and break it out then...  That's when it is HILARIOUS!  At least I think it is.  Other people probably think I'm a loser, but really...  That's kind of the point of being ironic.

So hipsters love irony.  More importantly, they love to NOT be mainstream.  That's probably the reason they choose not to wear the latest fashion trends, listen to the popular music, frequent the places the masses frequent (Walmart and Starbucks are great examples.), or do anything that the majority of people do.  They pride themselves on being different.  They feel that major corporations don't represent them, and by buying into the mainstream they are supporting the very thing that they are rebelling against.  True hipsters are authentically counter culture, hipster wanna-bes are counter cultural because they are following the counter culture trend. 

Now for the irony...

Hate the beer, kinda love the car.
The accepted beer of choice for the Hipster is Pabst Blue Ribbon.  Now PBR was never a popular beer when you put it up next to the mainstream.  In the States this would be considered Budwiser and Miller, as they dominated the beer market.  Poor PBR was a constant cheap beer that was there, not great, but managed a hold in the discount beer market.  Then hipster culture took over.  Being counter culture, they were looking for a non-mainstream beer, (something that no-one else drank), and they ironically settled on what would be considered the poor mans beer, PBR and other discount brands.  The executives noticed this, and then started an alternative marketing campaign, pushing indie bands, ironic commercials, and every other marketing technique that they use for mainstream beers to promote.  However, they targeted people who wanted to be hipsters and counter culture.  (Also, you should know that PBR is owned by Miller, who in the beer world is considered very mainstream and very predatory.  Very un-hipster.)  The hipster's ate up the marketing ploys, and just like in the mainstream markets, the hipster's started to get corporate brands.

Literally, awesome sauce.
(As a side note, if you truly want to be different in your beer choices, support your local micro-brewery.  Try things you've never tried before and expand your horizons.  It is my rule when I go to a pub and ask what they have on tap, I like to try the one I've never heard of before.  This can be disastrous, or it can be brilliant.  Either way it's an adventure.  Also, if you haven't tried it...  Beau's beer for those in my local area, is frick'n awesome sauce!  I have no idea what their marketing strategy, but if it's making delicious beer, then they succeeded.  In fact, I'm going to crack one open right now.  Are you jealous?)

As PBR started making tonnes of cash by marketing to the counter culture, other corporations took notes.  Now hipsters are a major target for huge corporations.  If you see a commercial or branding that encourages you to be different from the rest of the crowd they are trying to get the hipster market.

Brilliant Marketing
 Of course, it goes with out saying that if your marketing campaign is successful, you've made a crap load of money, but you are now considered mainstream.  But like I said, hipster's love irony.  Which brings me to my last point...

Thinking Different

Before it was cool....

My point exactly...
That could almost be a tagline of the hipster...  Example:  "I used to like listening to The Black Keys before it was cool."  I guess I could say I've been kind of implying that about myself in this blog as I re-read this.  I'm not sure if that was intentional or not, but the original question was if I was a hipster...  The thing is though, and what makes hipsters considered insufferable by society is their better than you, holier than thou attitude.  In fact, this attitude is what has made the 'tag' hipster the laughing stock of the main stream, and why no one, even hipsters don't want to be considered hipsters. In fact, there are very few hard facts about hipsters as a culture accepting this.  A hipster will always deny they are a hipster.  This is because it's not cool to be part of a group.  A hipster wants to be known as different and unique.  Putting them into a societal bucket is what they are trying to avoid, and as such, it is a great insult.  That's why they've done everything before it's cool, or know about things that you've never heard of because it's pre-cool.  Hipster's don't want to be cool, they want to seem cool by not being cool. Of course, if you're not cool, then you're a geek.  Since I was a geek well before hipsters were hipsters, that makes me a hipster before hipsters were cool.  I'm starting to get a headache thinking about this.

So here it is then. Am I a hipster?  If I'm not a hipster, the answer is no, and if I am, the answer is no.  Therefore to maintain my status of wanting to be different, and not follow the mainstream I have to say yes I am a hipster.  And I was, after it was cool.

Enjoys Friday by Rebecca Black which was never cool.