Song challenge

I’m not sure what the rules are for the music challenge that are doing the rounds on WordPress right now? So I’m just going to make up my own thing. And then feign ignorance about the whole endeavor when I get it wrong. (Standard Joey modus operandi)

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Cultural appropriation is a hot topic. Why this should be so, mystifies me…. then again almost every form of nationalism and culture(ism) mystifies me… it all seems to get so dangerously stupid so very quickly. That’s not to say you can’t be proud of the traditions of your ancestors… but that is not the same as being outraged by someone, for example, that is not from your ‘tribe’ wearing a traditional dress that you perceive with some sense of patented ownership and exclusivity.

That’s also not to say the idiots on the other side of the fence are any better. The amount of times I’ve been subjected to the ‘well if you’re so hung up on ‘your culture’ why aren’t you living in a mud hut counter argument. Oh and stop using ‘our’ western medicine, technology etc. God… sometimes it’s tough just get out of bed in the morning with all this tit for tat reasoning being bandied about. You’d think we could have moved on from these playground dynamics by now.

Anyways. I’ve chosen Christopher Tin’s ‘version’ of Baba yetu as my song.

Which… as far as I can tell… is ALL about ‘cultural appropriation. It’s a European orchestra featuring a Black South African Gospel choir singing a Swahili translation of a Christian prayer. All directed by a Chinese American. It was also the theme song for a video game and was the first song from a game to win a Grammy. Its doesn’t get more culturally appropriated than that.

And you know what? It’s awesome. Cultural appropriation fosters tolerance and is one of the greatest forces for good there is. Just roll with it and stop getting all bent out of shape.

Disagree with me? Change my mind in the comments section below.

The Jelly Bean test(tm)

I’ve been thinking about interview questions lately. (having recently had to interview people again)

Joey – ‘So tell me about your weaknesses as you see them?’

Potential job candidate- ‘My only real weakness is that I work too hard’

Insert care too much, am too much of a perfectionist, hardly ever take vacation time

Joey – *smiles* (on the outside) *dying slowly* (on the inside) while scribbling furiously on his note pad…

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Interviews are a rehearsed exercise, a choreographed charade and in my opinion a flagrant waste of time and oxygen. What do the answers really tell you? Besides that someone is just going through the (peristaltic) motions of seeking employment. Which I suppose is… something. Still… I would like to posit an alternative…

Enter the Mighty Jo Jelly Bean test (all rights reserved, all wrongs reserved, all green wobbly things sent back)

Step 1. Empty a big box of Jelly Belly jelly beans into a bowl on the boardroom table.

Step 2. See what happens.

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I think you can learn a lot about a person by watching them eat Jelly beans. (certainly more than asking them where they see themselves in five years time)

  1. If you stare at each other uncomfortably for several minutes with no one making a move… they either lack initiative… or don’t like Jelly Beans. In either case do you really want someone like this working for you? Eliminate!
  2. They smile. And then pick out… and eat all the Blue Berry flavored beans. Clearly this person is a racist. Eliminate!
  3. Picks out all the Sizzling Cinnamon. And eats them!!! *you suck air through your teeth and mumble ‘Jeez’ under your breath* Eliminate!
  4. Picks out all the Buttered Popcorn and Toasted Marshmallow. While you can commend their palate…  those are the Jelly beans you wanted. Eliminate!
  5. Asks what flavor you like… and then doesn’t eat those. We may be able to work together
  6. Stuffs several flavors into his mouth at once. OMG! Eliminate! Eliminate! 
  7. Picks up the bowl and pours the entire contents into his mouth. Ballsy. (I feel comfortable using the determiner here, because a female wouldn’t do this) We may be able to work together
  8. Empties the bowl on the table and then reorganizes the Jelly beans by color/flavor/ranking. We may be able to work together
  9. Is a guy, but seems to favor Strawberry Daiquiri. Eliminate! 
  10. Out themselves as a Potterhead by referencing Bertie Bott’s every flavored beans and then lamenting that there isn’t a booger flavored bean. This could go either way 

And while the Mighty Jo Jelly Bean test is not foolproof and is, eh… on the whole quite subjective, I still feel this is a effective way to root out unsuitable candidates in an efficient and timely manner. Also you get to expense Jelly Beans under recruitment costs. BONUS.

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When someone at Google takes a good, long, hard look at your browsing history…

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Not me of course. *waves his hands dismissively* I’m a Saint.

Saint Joey. Patron Saint of lost causes and hopeless cases. (I’m so good they double barrelled my portfolio)

Mind you, if you are a good person (and deemed worthy of sainthood) would you really want to be canonized by the evil empire slash Catholic church? Not exactly being elevated to a position of eminence by your peers… #justsaying.

Do you think we could potentially mandate someone else to determine our paragons of virtue? Like… I don’t know… Alphabet Inc maybe?

I mean if anyone knows your true self… its going to be those guys… albeit buried deep in some underground water-cooled server-room. At least we could base sainthood on some form of analytics… instead of post humorous… I mean posthumous miracles. Which I always thought was a little sketchy (and open to interpretation).

Larry Page versus Pope Francis, now theres a celebrity death-match I could get behind.

Put up your Dukes…

The fine people of Minnesota (to be enunciated clearly in Minnesotian) have again demonstrated their penchant for progressive politics.

Duke, a nine-year-old Great Pyrenees, has won his third term as mayor of Cormorant, Minnesota, in a landslide election victory. He also (apparently) has the highest approval ratings in the United States.

This story pleases me more than it probably should. But I’m happy to just roll (around on the grass) with it.

Yay Duke yay!

Life is cheap.

Arithmetically, this does make sense to me…

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I’d like to say that suspected murderers aren’t really released on bail of $34 in South Africa. But it does happen.

Still… I’d probably caution against murdering tv-license inspectors. The opportunity cost of sitting in a holding cell with several Ne’er-do-wells that will inevitably… eh… test the structural integrity of your sphincter, while your bail hearing is continually postponed for a month seems steep. From what I understand they don’t even buy you dinner first…

Protest statistics…

…that I made up. While supine on the sofa. Watching Gilmore Girls. And eating microwave popcorn.

And while I realise made up statistics aren’t always accurate… I feel, since this is my blog, I am entitled to foist my particular narrative onto whoever deigns to read this far.

In any event I am pretty confident that if you live in the first world, 95% of all outrage should actually be relabelled as ‘at most a mild-annoyance or misunderstanding, that has been whipped up to a foamy consistency and then portrayed as life or death through verbose language’. Potentially typed out all in capitals. Often championed by a demagogue or someone seeking to make their life seem relevant or meaningful (again).

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Leaving 5% for genuine outrage.

Quickly checks that actually adds up to 100%. Okay… we’re good. Wouldn’t want to be derailed by maths.

Rory Gilmore is about to drop out of Yale. My wife annotates for me. I only have this vague sense of whats going on. Apparently this is quite a watershed moment though.

Our Friday nights are super exciting (these days).

Lists…

I have a very good sense of my strengths and weaknesses. Mostly because I have very few strengths and lots of weaknesses (basically everything else). My wife took the day off work yesterday to come help me interview people for a job vacancy at my company.

I am quite bad at interviews.

Jo: ‘So how to you feel about sushi?’

Potential job applicant: ‘Are you kidding? I love sushi!’

Jo: ‘You’re hired!’  *starts dancing*

Whereas my wife is quite scary (I’ve realised). She takes notes and asks these really tough (work related) questions. I’m impressed I remembered to wear shoes.

I try and chime in every now and then to make it seem like I have something valuable to add. But really, I know this is what George W. Bush felt like when he was reading that children’s book and the secret service agent came and whispered in his ear… and he’s sitting there wondering what he should do now… but also thinking about a ham sandwich.

Afterwards we sit at my desk. I color in with my crayons and she tries to help me with some of my nightmarish accounting issues I’ve recently inherited.

She makes me a list of things I need to do. She’s learned by now that if she doesn’t write things down for me… the mission is over before it begins. Thats not a guarantee that I won’t loose the list… or…

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… completely misinterpret whats written on the list. But theres a chance.

Yeah, I have no idea why she married me either.

Not Jason

I was getting coffee and a choc chip muffin this morning. My late week staple when things have largely started going sideways on me. A heavy set, bearded, behemoth gets out of his truck wearing a camouflage bomber jacket and sporting a Glock on his thigh. On the side of the truck is emblazoned ‘Argon security’.

He orders coffee and we stand together.

‘Would you consider yourself an “Argonaut”‘, I venture casually. He gives me a look like I’m mentally challenged. I point at the truck, ‘Argon’… as if to underscore my point.

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He gives me another look that I interpret as ‘are you high?’ God I wish I was…

Maybe they’re named after the inert noble gas? Although that makes no sense to me. I feel that I’m loosing this particular battle however and that he is no mood for chit-chat. I sigh. ‘Nevermind’. I guess were not going to be discussing the modern warriors penchant for tarn-fleck over golden sheep’s wool.

He’s ordered a caramel Macchiato. I judge him… albeit silently.

Gold. Gold. Gold.

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I used to be a commodity trader. True story. My forte* was more aluminium than gold. But I had a soft spot for the much maligned gold bull. (insofar as I feel a bit sorry for them) Gold is literally the realm of the crazies and fringe loonies. Historically always has been, and is likely to remain so.

*I use the word ‘forte’ quite loosely.

In any any event I thought this was hilarious.

Love your anemone

See what I did there.

*sigh*

I have no enemies. Or rather I have no enemies that I know about. Which is just as bad.

I mean I have the stock standard villains that come with your default life settings. But these are boring and trivial; people that cut me off in traffic or meander slowly through shopping malls with no agenda or sense of urgency. Even the vague political enemies that exist in the broad sphere I occupy don’t count. My life is lacking a quality nemesis on a personal level.

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I blame Matthew. Author of the synoptic Gospel to be precise, although I can think of several other Matthews who have displeased me during my lifetime. Matthew while cribbing from Mark added ‘But I tell you, love your enemies’ in chapter five, verse forty four.

I was always led to believe this was meant to underscore a sense of pacifism that’s loaded into the new testament. Turn the other cheek as opposed to the previous an eye for an eye policy.  Kill them with kindness, instead of shanking them with a sharp piece of metal or introducing them viscerally to blunt force trauma.

I tried a bible study group once. But I was deemed too adversarial and was quietly asked not to come back. Potentially Matthew knew something about the motivating power of a good adversary. Be grateful for your good fortune to have a decent enemy. Love them, for they make you stronger.

George Patton had Erwin Rommel. Ulysses S. Grant had Robert E. Lee. Mao had Chiang Kai-Skek. Batman had the Joker. The 47 Ronin had Kira Yoshinaka. Undoubtedly these enemies motivated them to become stronger and better. There is no better energizer than a good enemy. (I’ve been reading a lot of Robert Greene and Alan Watts lately)

But how does one even get a good enemy? I imagine the quality of an enemy ranges from poor through to excellent. Its a pity you can’t interview or test-drive potential candidates.

I think first you need to know your own strengths and weaknesses. That way you can set your sights on an enemy of slightly superior means and skill. You don’t want anyone beneath you, but nor do you want someone who can crush you like an eggshell. Slightly better than you motivates you to exceed and better them.

Friends are ideally suited to making good enemies. But converting a friend to a decent enemy is easier said than done. This person needs to want to be your enemy, which puts the onus squarely on you to create an environment where this is possible. That seems like A LOT of work for potentially no payoff. You can loose your friend and not gain an enemy.

Joining a tribe is always an option. Preferably one with pre-established enemies. The tribe can direct my feelings, their cause becomes my cause, their enemies can become my enemies. Although I’m not convinced that this is as good a motivator as someone who has wronged me on a deep and personal level. Still you get the social benefits and the  sense of belonging that comes with tribalism.

I am however, not a joiner. Which I think scuppers that possibility.

Then there is my own personal psychology. While initially exceptionally aggrieved by any slight… after a day or two I generally lose interest and wander off to go and make myself a sandwich. I think I will struggle to keep myself on a constant simmer for any length of time, what the Klingon’s conceptualize as, bortaS bIr jablu’DI’ reH QaQqu’ nay. Or loosely translated into the vernacular, ‘revenge is a dish best served cold’.

This begs the question what sort of event (and subsequent enemy) could motivate me for long enough that it would propel me to self improvement. All the things I can think of are pretty horrible experiences, none of which I would want to barter for.

To some people enemies seem to come easy. I’m not sure if that is a natural proclivity towards creating enmity or just low standards. Perhaps a potential candidate just needs to tick one or two requirements before being welcomed aboard. Then there’s always the spurious or imagined enemy which unfortunately smacks more of mental illness than a real solution.

Perhaps I should be careful what I wish for. For now I shall continue enemy-less. I don’t think these things can be contrived or manufactured. I think they need to develop naturally… which means, they may possibly never develop. Still, I remain hopeful that my nemesis is out there…

Housekeeping

I’ve realized something about my browsing and how I read other peoples blogs. I almost always click on their about page. I find that quite deterministic in whether I will start reading the rest of their posts. I want to know something about the person whose blog I’m reading.

In any event this made me consider my own ‘About’ page. Which is… not very revealing. I was initially quite cagey about engaging people, wasn’t even into comments until quite recently. But I’ve had a change of heart.

Anyways, today I saw a cool ‘About’ page which listed 49 things about the blogger in point format. I decided I wanted to something similar. But in pictures. Its a work in progress. And will eventually be added to the bottom of my ‘About’ page.

Joey in pictures

 

Introverts unite. Preferably by group-chat.

I am most likely an introvert. Which means I’m usually mistaken for a misanthrope, curmudgeon or largely misunderstood as having some sort of psychological or learning disorder (especially by extroverts). I find social engagements incredibly taxing. Small talk and being touched by people I don’t necessarily know or like is pure anathema. Like superman getting a kryptonite enema. A family reunion where that weird aunt or cousin (you haven’t seen in years) wants to hug and kiss you is literally  hell for me.

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But even phone calls are sometimes… a serious undertaking… that I would rather avoid (if at all possible). I found this comic perfectly encapsulates that. Ha ha. Maybe you can empathise. If you’re thinking, ‘Jesus, its just a phone call, get over it’, this post is not for you. I envy you a little bit.