You can play my music on your blog

If I understand this correctly, there should be a box of some kind to let you play my songs here on the blog ... and y'know what? You can put it on your blog, too! Just go to my page at onlinemusicnetwork.ca to get the code. I'm gonna see if I can slap this up on the sidebar, too.
















Visit Big **** Superstar on onlinemusicnetwork.ca now!

Word of the day: obdurate

I like to think I have a great big sesquipedalian verbosiage, but the morning news editor called Ruth outwordifies me on a semifornightical basis.

Today, while discussing her cat's resistance to change in its environment -- ie they moved the scratching post -- she tossed out "obdurate" to describe the cat.

I stopped her in mid-sentence and went searching for what the goddamned hell that means.

From Merriam-Webster:

Main Entry:
ob·du·rate
Function:
adjective
Etymology:
Middle English, from Latin
obduratus, past participle of obdurare to harden, from ob- against + durus hard — more at during
Date:
15th century
1 a: stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing
b: hardened in feelings2: resistant to persuasion or softening influences


Okay, so ... like ... go get at yer smart-talkin'.

Ruth's word-thinking was called into play last week, too. I was reading some cold copy about China's reaction to the U-S-and-A's destruction of its dead spy satellite. I came upon this sentence:

The overseas edition of People's Daily excoriated Washington for opposing a recent Russian-Chinese proposal on demilitarizing space.


Excoriated? Okay, I've seen the word before. I know what it means. I've just never said it out loud. And even if I *had* known how to pronounce it, it really has no business in a radio story. Maybe in a newspaper, where people could re-read it and consider it and say "hey, what a perfectly cromulent word to describe the situation. Kudos to the writer for their indefatigable linguistations." Maybe, but not when people are driving home in rush-hour traffic. I substituted "criticized" I think the listener(s) got the point.

New Big Ass Music

Hallo, all! I hope the winter isn't wearing you all down. We've had storm after storm here in Halifax, but from what I see on the news, it's nothing like southern Ontario has been getting this season. Keep warm and safe!

I've put two new songs up on the Big Ass Superstar page at onlinemusicnetwork.ca.

Ticket To Spain is a cover of the opening track from Cub's second album Come Out, Come Out. I really like the way the drums turned out.

Buenas Tardes Amigo is a cover of "the Mexican song" from Ween's Chocolate and Cheese. It's my most ambitious production yet. It's more than seven minutes long and features a dramatically building mix of acoustic and electric guitars, drums, and even a string section! It's one of the few times I haven't piled a ton of effects on my singing.

Check it out and enjoy! (And slug me a good rating or review if you feel like it!)

Halifax Scientology Protests

Several years ago, I started voraciously devouring everything I could find about Scientology. I was disturbed and outraged by what I learned, and told everyone I knew about the dark side of Scientology. Most friends thought I was ... well, perhaps misplaced with my interest and perhaps they were a little dubious of the facts I was presenting.

As it turns out, this was one of the few times in my life I've actually been ahead of the curve in regard to something that'd eventually become a "big thing" in society. The other one that comes to mind is computers and video games ... I was heavy into that stuff way before it became socially okay or even cool to do so. Then, when it was cool, I wasn't so interested, and now I'm a zero-skills gamer and I don't know how to use Excel or Word.

Now, in the case of Scientology, a loosely-gathered group calling itself "Anonymous" has targeted the Church of Scientology after the recent kerfuffle over the Tom Cruise IAS Freedom Medal of Valor video being leaked to the net.

Anonymous organized protests around the world last Sunday. An estimated 150-200 anons demonstrated outside the Toronto org. And about ten showed up for a "raid" (their word) at the Halifax Scientology franchise on Dutch Village Road.

I've seen videos on YouTube of the Halifax Scientology raid, and, frankly, I think they're missing the point.

IMHO, the anons need to decide whether they're targeting the general public, or attempting to reach the people inside the church to awaken them to reality and help get them out. As I understand it -- and let me be clear, I'm not part of Anonymous or any other group -- Anonymous' goal is to destroy the "church" from within by informing its members of the top-down abuses so they can carry out their own uprising.

In the Halifax case, the protestors danced and pranced and generally seemed like they were in it for laughs. The local Scientologist(s) videotaped them from the front steps of the franchise. I doubt that anything the anons did would've done more than convince the locals that they were more than a goofy hate group.

With that in mind, I have some suggestions for signs the Anons could bring to the next protest, tentatively scheduled for mid-March. They may seem cryptic to uninformed readers and even some of the lulz-happy protestors, but I think they'd be closer to the mark for awakening the ire of the CoS members:
  • COB is the real SP
  • RTC is squirrelling the tech
  • Where's Heber?
  • Where's Mike Rinder?
  • The OT Levels are Free Online!
  • Do the Doubt Formula!
  • RTC is Pulling It In
  • "The work was free. Keep it so." - LRH 1957
  • We Know the Clear Cognition
  • Don't Ignore The Outpoints
  • Miscavige is PTS to the Church
  • Where are all the auditors?

In some cases, I'm proud of how much the members of Anonymous have learned in a short time. But there's more to this effort than getting together, putting on a mask, and taunting the beast.
What are you trying to achieve? If you want to help people break free, they need to reach a tipping point with their cognitive dissonance, and they need a safe place to land. If you show up and appear zany and aggressive, the CoS members will just see you as evil SPs, probably paid by the psychs, and they'll be more sure that they're right.
If you can pick at the parts of the Church the average member honestly suspects are corrupt and evil, and give them permission to think about them and cultivate that doubt, perhaps they'll start to wake up. And if they see the protestors as people concerned with their well-being instead of mocking them, they'll feel safer crossing back over to reality.
That said, the Xenu story is funny and ridiculous. But it's not a tool for rescuing cult members.
I believe that the Anonymous strategy has a chance of making a real difference. One key reason has to do with how Scientology's policies relate to handling criticism and protests. Policy dictates that investigators find out who's leading the dissent, and dig up dirt and crimes on those people. If there is no dirt, make some up. Commence a "noisy investigation." Harrass, intimate, sue, lie, and destroy until the critics are "shuddered into silence." That works pretty well when there's an organized group with a leader.
But with Anonymous, there's no leader. There's no boss. There's no one to ID and investigate. So, for now, Scientology is stumped as to how to handle the protests. There's nothing on the books to deal with it, and if Hubbard didn't write it, they don't know what to do.
Don't waste this opportunity. Stay peaceful. Stay smart. Stay focused. Don't be clowns. Don't be fools. Don't get in trouble. Don't attack the wrong targets. Don't alienate the public. Don't do it just for the laughs. Have fun, sure, but don't jump on the bandwagon just because it looks like a hoot to wear a mask and yell at people who believe that they're infested with space cooties. That won't do anyone any good.
Inform yourself. Inform your friends. Be responsible. Be respectful. And stay Anonymous if you have to.
For more on the Anonymous protests against Scientology, and how you can get involved, visit http://www.enturbulation.org/. (Now closed)

Big Ass On Skis

We took advantage of the nice weather on Saturday by taking a trip to Ski Martock, about 45 minutes away from Halifax outside of Windsor, Nova Scotia.

I haven't been cross-country skiing in ... well ... 25 years? I feel really old to be able to say I haven't done something in 25 years. That just feels so wrong.

I skied (that doesn't look like it's spelled correctly) about as well as someone who hasn't skied in 25 years would, especially if he wasn't a good or even adequate or even passable skier 25 years ago.

As you can see from the "Scott The Explorer" shot above, I had wet spots on my pants from several falls. As you might not be able to see from the shot above, I landed on my poles. I (mostly) straightened them out.

All in all, a good day out.

Additional notes ... yes, my glasses are fogged up there ... skiing is hard work! ... The photos were taken with a Motorla Razr2 phone on loan from Rogers Wireless to be reviewed on an upcoming episode of Maritime Morning. If anyone has any cool tips for using this phone, lemme know, 'cuz for all I know, it's just a really skinny phone with a good camera on it ... And, I lost my mittens. I think I lost them when I was returning the skis or boots ... I almost lost my beloved Boognish (Ween) hat early on the ski trail, but another (athletic, skilled, polite) skier picked it up and returned it. That would've been the second Boognish hat I lost, having had one fall out of a car at the Avalon Mall in St. John's, Newfoundland early in the decade.

Sleeping in on Saturday morning

Amanda captured this shot of Kitty resting her arm on mine while we both slept in this morning.

Anonymous cat is anonymous


If you don't understand why this is funny, read up on Anonymous and its/their recent efforts re: Scientology. If you still don't think it's funny, that's okay. Read some other lolcats stuff instead.

Today was my last day at work, and I'm okay with that

Today marks a weird spot on the calendar for me. It’s one of those landmarks that really doesn’t mean anything, other than to illustrate the...