Category Archives: Culture

Statistically (and actually) Happy

I happened to read an article on the good old CBC about a survey that measures how the average Canadian person has incorrect perceptions about the actual demographics of Canada.  Things like:

We think a third of Canadians believe homosexuality is immoral, but in reality, only a sliver of the population thinks so.

It’s a great read, because it gets into how the media and politicians tend to focus on what people think is happening rather than what is actually happening.  In particular is the “moral panic over Muslims” topic which is really a crazy thing.  People believe (apparently) that 27% of the population of Canada will be Muslim in just over 3 years.  That’s just crazy, and is provably wrong.

Jasmin Zine, a sociology professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, says the perception that Muslims are swamping Canada is part of a “moral panic” driven by media and politicians. To Zine, when a politician makes it a priority to ban the niqab in public service, when few or no people in the federal public service actually wear niqab, it gives people the impression that the Muslim population is both insidious, and rapidly overtaking the non-Muslim population.

This kind of thinking is plainly irresponsible, and probably dangerous.  Amplifying hate, unhappiness and ignorance is not the way forward, and in fact it’s actually not the way things really are.  The article ends with the kicker for me.

“We have to put some of the blame and some of the shame on politicians who drive into these areas because they believe there’s some political advantage based on the public’s ignorance.  And take tonight’s news broadcast. Instead of focusing on racism, instead of focusing on anger, instead of focusing on people who are unhappy, let’s have a news broadcast that’s actually closer to the truth, in which we’ve seen a decline in bigotry. In which we’ve seen an increase in the level of happiness in this country.”

There you go.  Have a read, it’s excellent news.

We Rate Dogs

Just in case you aren’t “with” the Twitters like those darn kids are, I have to say that few accounts are just as awesome as We Rate Dogs.  I would explain what it’s all about, but it kinda does what it says on the label:  they rate dogs.  Witness….

 

 

Yeah, they are all pretty much like that.  The pictures of dogs (and sometimes other things) wouldn’t be enough to be consistently interesting, but the humour is bang on.  Inside jokes abound, and despite being (wait for it) a one-trick pony, they have been at it a year now and there doesn’t seem to be much chance of it all slowing down.   They’re good dogs, Brent.

 

Old timer discovers Podcasts, shakes stick

I am realizing lately that I am auditioning to become a certain variety of old person.  I haven’t got the part yet, but let’s just say I have received a call back.  I’m going to be a geek, certainly, but my particular flavour of old geek is one that enjoys music and radio a lot, as much as or more than I always did as a normal person.

The old geek I will become recently discovered he likes podcasts.  If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically free radio episodes you download over the Internet.  Most people use an app that let’s you discover the latest episodes automatically, you can listen to them off-line, and there are other technical details that appeal to the (eventually old) geek in me just fine.

I never really caught on to podcasts before now, I couldn’t really even tell you why.  I knew they existed, but maybe there were just too many to decide which ones to start with.  There are podcasts for every damn thing under the sun out there, seriously there are so many.  It seems to me that most podcasts follow a talk radio kind of format, so you may have to hunt around before you find one you really like.  Personally I haven’t found any of those that interest me, however there is another kind of podcast that definitely has caught my attention.

The Black Tapes podcast and my second recommendation TANIS are fictional serialized dramas.  These podcasts aren’t just inane chatter about whatever the hosts want to talk about.  This is a story, written with care and following an arc that takes you through it in a satisfying way.  The voice acting is generally good and there is care taken in production values, etc.  The whole experience rewards listening with headphones.  Both of these podcasts are actually from the same media company, which explains a few things, and some of the voices and people are the same in both.  They both also share some similarities in that they are just ever so slightly creepy.  If you want to try one, I would start with The Black Tapes since I find it to be slightly more accessible in nature.  It’s a paranormal-flavoured story line, but the overall arc is really good, the characters are great, and I’m hooked.  Season 2 begins soon, you might have time to get through the first season before it starts.

TANIS is quite a bit different, it’s definitely got a bit more of an X-Files theme to it.  It’s weirder, darker, and cooler.  It’s also newer so it has a little further to go before I can say for sure which one I like better.  I’m actually leaning towards TANIS at this point, we will see.

Also, if you do like what you hear you can support them via Patreon  (The Black Tapes link) as well, which I have done because that is also the kind of old geek I am auditioning for.  Why I am compelled to support and pay for things I enjoy that are generally available on the Internet for free is the topic of another, probably lengthy blog post.

There you go people, grab these things for a listen and tell ’em old Court sent ya.

TANIS-TRAIN-RUNNERS
Get off my RSS feed, you kids.

Don’t ring the bell

I saw this on Facebook today, and watched it and immediately felt all kinds of inspired.  This is old school, highly potent, and hard core motivation right here.  It’s a fascinating insight into Seal training, but mostly makes you feel about 10 feet tall and bulletproof for any of the hard stuff in your life.  I’m TOTALLY going to make the kids watch this because it’s a Dad thing.  I mean, come on, there’s a really sly parenting angle built right into this awesome speech, and you will see what I mean.  And when a four star general tells you to make your bed, well that’s probably good advice.

Joking aside, this is a fantastic speech about what it means to persevere and succeed.  It’s a long one, but it’s well worth it.

University of Texas at Austin 2014 Commencement

Golden Age of commercial cliffhangers

Cael and I have been recently re-watching The Dukes of Hazzard, because there’s just never enough Hazzard in your life.  Anyway, we have it on DVD but the setups for the commercials are of course still there, just like they were aired.  I realize that lots of shows do this, set up a dramatic scene just before they cut to commercial, and then in some cases the post commercial review can be quite long before you get to the action again.  But I must say that few shows in memory did it quite as well as the Dukes.  I mean, come on, look at this one….

Look out Bo and Luke, overly dramatic villain guy is right behind you.....
Look out Bo and Luke, overly dramatic villain guy is right behind you…..

 

This is awesome, and I really think as an art form it’s lost.  You just can’t fake this kind of fakery any more.  It was real back then, and innocent in it’s silliness.  And it wasn’t any less entertaining even though we all knew that there was no way that guy was going cave in Bo’s blond head with that wrench.  But that was TV back then and we LOVED it.  Well, adolescent boys did I guess.

For the record, Cael laughed himself silly at this guy’s expression, and we just had to pause it here to take this pic.  Fortunately Bo and Luke got themselves out of this pickle, just in time for the another pickle to be set up for the next commercial break….