January 14, 2018

Get out from my nest, will ya?

Source: pixabay
Why should an elder couple, or a widow, give up their family house, other than by their own wish? Nothing more reasonable, I'd say... but no! Absurdly enough, AIB is planning to target the so called "empty nesters" to downsize and so free up badly needed family homes!

Empty nesters are couples/widowers living by themselves in 2 or more bed houses with no children - either because they don't have children, they left, or even died.

Pursuing this route would make more sense if the problem was space, but it's not. We have plenty of space in the country. What we don't have is a government!!!


Oh, ok... I accept I should kept going further the last full stop there and specifically say that we don't have a government who cares about the home crisis... but just because this post is about home crisis. That we don't have a government, we don't!

There are 5 historically prevalent forms of government: aristocracy, timocracy, oligarchy, democracy and tyranny. We are - as far as I know - ruled by democracy. And democracy is referred to be the "rule of the majority"!

Either we are NOT a democracy, as clearly the government does not rule FOR the majority, or we are misunderstanding which majority we are talking about: is it the majority of PEOPLE or is it the majority of MONEY?

Who's to answer???

January 12, 2018

Of tracks, robots and shores...

What’s robotics’ benefits to humankind?

It was on the radio that Denmark is actively working on a project to integrate more robots into the public sector, as a money-saving measure. To illustrate the way they’re thinking, the project claims that while unskilled worker in health sector costs something around €30, a robot costs 80c! Impressive, isn’t it? More impressive would be to know whether there is anyone thinking about the social cost of the project!

It must be all about money only - did someone say greed is good? How could we produce something which we will need to redress later, if not moved by one’s own selfish benefit over other human beings? Is that humankind?

Back on track!

The recession is over, and the economy is growing... Let's get the country back on track!

You probably heard these words a lot lately. That's the Irish government trying to convince you that getting back on track is a good thing, thus must be pursued at any cost! Well... here, humbly standing before my laptop, I will disagree! Merely because the track we were - and still are - doesn't look good at all!

Grow the economy - grow to where? Make the banks “health again” (what does it mean?) so they can lend you more money, and then you can get more debts, and be a slave of consumerism and production of goods!

Is that life?

Shore, Offshore, Re-ashore

"money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons
entitled to constitutional rights" - https://movetoamend.org/
We all know Capital can move freely across the globe, hunting for more profitable shores. There’s nothing new on that. But people cannot. People cannot even pay less taxes in Europe! People cannot order goods across the borders within EU, they have to "move" with the good - carrying it. If ordered by post, extra taxes will be charged.

Why the same is not applied to companies? Off-shoring saves dramatically, but this saving is not socially re-passed! Big companies save billions using semi-slavery workers in desperately sub-developed countries and pocket it all!

Is 1000% profit acceptable before the world we live? What about 500% profit? Capital over humankind, profit before people, while we should rule people before profit. Will the big-bag-money companies soften their stone hearts? You better not expect that! Neither should you expect anything from the government. Still, the big-bag-money companies depend on you! They depend on your consumption, in your belief that the recession is over, that the country is getting back on its tracks, and that those tracks are good! So you will keep consuming, indiscriminately, therefore production can be maintained and the big-bags can be filled with even more money.

The way we live is excessive. We should clearly look into our lives and decide by ourselves what is necessary, without privation. The choice of how citizenry spend their money really matters, and can make the difference.

Consume. But consume wisely!

December 26, 2017

Rising Above It

There is an old song from a Brazilian composer called Walter Franco, which I confess I didn't pay the right attention when I first listened to it. As everything in life, when you give it a second chance, enlightened by the wisdom that a few more years might luckily shone over you, you see things differently.

It happened to me in regard to my grandmother proverbs - mindful, deeply wisdom - which I came to understand after she passed away. With my mother was different, I was lucky to understand her while she was alive. Although it doesn't change how much I miss her, it did change the way I miss her, which I believe is more peaceful.

With father and brother, I think we all are still learning, but it is because we are so deep human beings that it is hard to reach the bottom of things! At least we have already established one principle: true love rules our relationship, thus nothing can go wrong!

Losing someone you love is always painful. Parents losing children brings that feeling to another level: it's just not natural! Nobody says it's easy - nobody says you'll get there. It's a journey, and your toil is to accept and live your life fully, for yourself and for your loved ones.

Ah, I almost forgot about that old song... It goes like this (my translation):
It's all about keeping
The still mind
The upright spine
And the quiet heart!
And once I'm here, another Franco's says:
Open your arms
With a sigh, profound
And drop all the harms
Holding you to the ground
So, this Christmas, give people and things another chance. In this way, you might rekindle that old friendship, and even rescue that old sweater, after all not too outdated, from the bottom of the drawer, and it might turn to be an edifying experience!

Ho... Ho.. Ho.

Have a Merry Christmas!

November 19, 2017

Functional Blindness?

The term "functionally blind" is usually related to a person with some vision, but who functions as someone who is blind. In some situations, it is very difficult to determine whether someone is functionally blind or not. In the case of doubt, it is better to err on the side of caution and apply the functionally blind label.

When we say “functional”, it is implied that it is something affecting the function, but not the structure. In the case of our (Irish) politicians, we better drop the functional all together!

Sinn Féin has been signalling a disposition to join the government in a possible coalition with another party in the next elections. A big step in the broad political scene, which was even reiterated by Gerry Adam’s announcement that he is stepping off from Sinn Féin’s presidency.

It seems that the general media don’t see this flexibility as a positive diversity in our political microcosmos, and insist on comments about Mr. Adam’s past and his time in the IRA. Besides making statements as “the Irish people do not want a Communist government”, which should really be left for the Irish people to decide through democratic vote, the two (of a kind) main parties - Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael - seem to refuse a coalition with Sinn Féin, saying they have fundamentally different economic views!

It continues to baffle me that our leadership so stubbornly refuses to see what is displayed so clearly right in front of its nose! The so called economic view that FF-FG have, a unconditional bent to the rules of Washington Consensus, is not working for people!

Heavily taxing income rather than profit, waving the wealthier, looking to the other side in regarding to big companies tax evasion, free movement of capital but not people - none of this sounds nor look fair, and it’s more than time for a change!

And that change is frightening the current status quo!

October 01, 2017

The Relativity of Time

10 strings Chapman Stick
Chapman Stick is an instrument created by Emmett Chapman back in the 70s. A guitar-like that can have 8, 10 or 12 strings, half bass-like and half guitar-like strings. It is very popular among musicians who like to play bass and melody lines, or chords and textures - all together! You don't see much gigs using it, though.

Designed to act as a fully polyphonic chordal instrument, it looks like a wide version of an electric guitar's fretboard, but longer and wider. Unlike the guitar and the bass, it is played by tapping or fretting the strings, rather than plucking them.

My Chapman Stick is 10 strings. I bought it from the bass player of one of the bands I used to play, back in Brazil, but never had the opportunity nor the time to play it. Or should I say to tap it?

The tapping is not the only challenge

The "Free Hands Two-Handed Tapping" technique, a two-handed tapping with the fingers of both hands perpendicular to the strings, is harder than just tapping the guitar! Another challenge is the tuning. There are several different options, but the original 10-string Classic Stick tuning is still very popular, and it is my preferred.

An awkward tuning based on open fourths and fifths

The first 5 strings are called "Melody" strings, and are tuned as D, A, E, B and F#. Each string downs a 4th from the previous one. The next 5 strings, called "Bass" strings, starts with a deep C (a 2nd down the bass E) then G, D, A and E. They are upped a 5th from the previous one.

All together: D, A, E, B, F#, C, G, D, A, E. It is a pretty awkward tuning for those used to guitar/bass tuning.

Finding the time

All set! Now is just a matter of finding the time to learn it... but differently from that old Stones' song, time is not on my side, and if space and time are really relative and flexible as per Albert Einstein's theory - "the dividing line between past, present, and future is an illusion", said the man himself - I shouldn't need to choose between learning the Chapman Stick or studying to my so long postponed EA Certification exam...