Category Archives: Culture

Vive le Facebook libre?

As an English speaking resident of Ontario I will admit I chuckled when I read this attempt by the Quebec language police to control what a business owner’s Facebook page says or doesn’t say.  Language laws make no sense to me in any way, it seems to me that they only serve to make it more difficult for Quebec businesses to compete, but this particular attempt could make a bigger news splash.  It probably won’t result in a positive image for the Quebec government, either.

It’s important to note that I am not an educated commenter on this matter, nor does it matter one bit to me either way what happens.

This will be an interesting one to follow, since there are lots of fun things that may come to light.  Somebody, somewhere is going to ask the question:  well where are Facebook’s servers?  And then the fun will begin again….

you have no power here

Rob Ford Pants

Just a quick one before I forget this, I was working on something around the house on the weekend and I was kneeling down.

I felt a draft and realized that I had better pull up my jeans, and I casually mentioned to Nikki that I had my Rob Ford Pants on.

Not the most original joke, but I made myself laugh and that’s really what it’s all about anyway right?

Catnip for the 40-50 year olds

There’s a rapidly diminishing chance you haven’t seen this video yet if you are of a certain age.  For folks that enjoyed Led Zeppelin in their teenage years, this is pretty awesome stuff.  If you are older than that, well turn up your hearing aid and enjoy this.  If you are younger than that, get the hell off my lawn.

The associated story says this performance brought a tear to Robert Plant’s eye, which I can certainly empathize with.  Ann Wilson can still demolish those notes with ease, even if her range isn’t what it used to be.  Fantastic performance.

Saw this all over Facebook, cause I guess all of my friends are in the above-mentioned demographic.


Let’s Mess With the Kids – Part 452

This has probably been covered before in many ways on this here website, but Nikki and I have noticed the completely inconsistent things we do to our poor children.  Let me explain.

First off, to our own delight, we don’t have even the slightest hint of music taste concerns at our house.  Not sure if this is even a thing anymore, but our kids like the same music we do, and boy is it rather an eclectic mix.  At any minute, they could be singing along to Ray Charles on their iPods, or maybe rocking out to the new Daft Punk album.  Quinn finally got over his unrelenting Bron Yr Aur Stomp addiction recently, while Cael couldn’t stop dancing to Thrift Shop, you get the idea.

In this very same vein, this week I realized that we are giving them the STRANGEST childhood as far as culture is concerned.  For starters, we introduced them to Smokey and the Bandit on Monday, which was an enormous hit as you might imagine.  That movie is remarkably kid friendly for something made so long ago.  The only real problem is Jackie Gleason’s rather foul mouth, and thinly veiled racism, but most of the worst ones went right by the boys since he uses a particularly incomprehensible southern accent.  Anyway, we saw that movie, and then on Tuesday for some reason or another I got talking to them about my Grade 5 teacher at Naismith Memorial PS, Mr. Lake and how he loved poetry.  Which led me to find and read some favourites to the boys:

William Wordsworth – I wandered lonely as a cloud
Robert Frost – The Road not Taken
Alfred Noyes – The Highwayman

We even discussed what they might mean, and enjoyed the descriptive language together.

Now, separately these two things are just lovely anecdotes of family time.  But when you realize that these two things happened within 24 hours of each other, you begin to realize that perhaps I’m not really qualified to have children.  I mean really.  What. The. Hell?  I’m not really giving them a solid literary background, as Paula will probably mention in a comment here, these poems are like popcorn, not really all that nutritious or filling.  And the movie clearly isn’t really worth all that much in terms of their development, with the possible exception that I was able to demonstrate where the Dukes of Hazzard CAME from.  It also probably explains why Cael wants a CB radio installed into the Sienna.

So anyway, there you go.  The kids will be weird in that ever so unique way that makes them Vallentyne weird, and not Jones weird or Smith weird or, well you get the idea.  That’s your job as a parent; not only to give your DNA to your kids, but to provide your very own special mix of strange so they can go off and mix it with some poor unsuspecting person and raise their own special kind of weirdos.  The circle of life turns onward.

Music Memory

As any adult of sufficiently advanced age will probably say; the music of your youth makes an indelible mark on you that isn’t easily erased.  Every old geezer like me has at one time or another gone on and on about the stuff they listened to back in the day, boring to tears any youth within earshot.  Music isn’t better or worse today than it used to be (except boy bands, ’cause what the holy hell was everyone thinking?  Even as a kid in the target demographic, that stuff was just shit), it’s just different.

The reason music imprints on the young brain is simple (in my own uneducated, opinionated and unscientific research):  as a teenager you have for the first time: lots of disposable income AND endless amounts of time, hence you listen to a lot of music.  Lots of it over and over again, and it served as the backdrop for all of those memories that old folks like me love to retell over and over.

I can understand this, and since my tastes in music have broadened considerably (a necessity since I have children, but also from my own choosing) since I was a teenager, and I mostly listen to other things now there is no reason for the following fact:

I still can hear the tape artifacts from my own copies in the songs I hear today that are perfect.  It drives me absolutely nuts.  Let me explain:  There was a tape *pop* in my copy of Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits that messed up a line in Only the Good Die Young and when I hear that song today I can tell when it’s coming, and in fact the very moment when it used to happen.  I haven’t had that tape in over 20 years, probably.  WHY DOES MY BRAIN DO THESE THINGS TO ME?  Or, you might ask, why am I listening to Billy Joel now?  Well, good question and it has mostly to do with my Xbox Music Pass that gives me unlimited access to every damn thing for $9 a month, so there’s very little friction to finding these old things and putting them on for a play once in a while.

So that’s how I know it’s still happening, but that doesn’t explain the WHY it’s happening.  There’s no reason for me to remember that imperfection.  I was a Billy Joel fan sure, but no more than any other band from back then, there are other song defects I can recall in a similar vein that have no reason to be in my brain.


Anybody else experience this?  I sometimes expect songs to be played in the same order from my favourite mixed tapes as well.  Unrelated artists, completely random selection of songs, and my dumb brain needs them to be played in the same order as I remember them to be on a tape I haven’t seen for 20 years.  Imagine what I could do if I could clean out the garbage in my head like that stuff?  Well, probably nothing all that new but it might save you from reading stuff like this post.