I finally “get” it:

It must have been around ten years ago, at this point.  At any rate, it has to be more than 5.

“Back in the day”, I used to (very occasionally) go to a “Bluegrass jam-session” at a rented auditorium-type building.  I haven’t been to this particular “jam-session” for at least 5 years (since my wife and I have lived in Florida since 2010), nor had I attended it since somewhere around 2006/7.

As with everything else which can be convincingly marketed as “folksy” (IE: non-“citified”/non-“worldly”), the local Bluegrass “scene” in that area of PA is more or less saturated with Mennonites.  Arguably, there’s something vaguely unsettling about hearing a guy with the last name “Stolzfus” attempting to sing (in that garbled, pseudo-Germanic accent), about how he’s “Goin’ back to Old Kentucky” — but I digress.) 🙂

Anyway: one evening  I had the misfortune to be trapped into a discussion with a guy named “Dean Martin”.  (Yes: “Martin” is a ridiculously-common name, to the point where I actually encountered a guy named “Martin Martin”, one time.)

Anyway: the guy was Mennonite, and (as usual) began “grilling” me about religion.  The guy was tragically ill-informed even about the history of his own denomination, so I didn’t bother to pursue the discussion very far — especially after he invoked the (supposed) virtues of “simple faith”.

“Simple faith” is that to which individuals resort when someone dares to advocate that they understand the theological positions/metaphysical claims which they purport to “believe”.

Fundamentally, the notion of “believing” something which you can neither articulate nor defend strikes me as dangerous.  After all: the (so-called) “pagans” and “heathens” Christians are always trying to recruit also exhibit “simple faith” in whatever they claim to ‘believe”.  The only difference is: Christians preemptively assume that the “pagans”/”heathens” are wrong.

This boggled my mind — until I realized something which is actually rather damning:

Those who profess “simple faith” don’t actually “believe” the theological/metaphysical claims — often going to so far as to openly admit their own ignorance.

Realistically (to take the example of Christianity): Dean Martin and other advocates of “simple faith” don’t really “believe in” Yahweh/the trinity/Satan/Armageddon/transubstantiation, etc.

No:  to the extent that they “believe in” anything: they “believe” in Mommy and Daddy.

The problem with this is: most likely (unless they happen to have been clergy or “converts”) Mommy and Daddy were as ignorant — if not more so.

Assuming (for the sake of argument) that religion isn’t all delusional bullshit (IE: the equivalent of Wesley Willis’ “hell-ride demons”), it would seem to be exceedingly important to be RIGHT  (especially given the carrot-and-stick “gimmick” most religions use to bribe/terrify their adherents (“An eternity of hellfire!”, etc.)

So: no: uncritical ‘aping and parroting” whatever your “Elders” happen to be babbling about is both abysmally dangerous, and fundamentally dehumanizing.

Especially if Mommy and Daddy attempt to coerce such aping/parroting by means of “emotional blackmail” — or outright physical brutality.

 

 

In most cases, I’m not so much “tolerant”, as completely uninterested:

Over the last several decades, it has become fashionable to at least pay lip-service to the notions of “tolerance” and “diversity”.

In some ways, this is a genuine step forward (given the virtually ubiquitous historical practice of various demographic “groups” oppressing/slaughtering one another).  However, I don’t think it goes far enough — in that both ideas still implicitly or explicitly ascribe “value” to the various (externally-imposed) “identity” categories.

I have a feeling that I approach this topic from a fundamentally different direction:

It’s not that I’m “tolerant”, or that I value “diversity” as an end-in-itself: it’s more like I just don’t give a shit.

The basic “gimmick” of externally-imposed “identities” is: the expectation that the individuals upon whom those “identities” have been perpetrated must attempt to conform to the stereotypes which constitute the essence of such “identities”.

The above holds true for all of the typical “categories” covered by “anti-discrimination” laws (“race”, sex/gender/”Sexual orientation”, religious “belief”).  Externally-imposed “identities” are merely the particular “package-deal” of stereotypes with which one happens to have been victimized.   The central tragedy of the so-called “human condition” consists in the fact that people fail to recognize those imposed “identities” as the victimization they really are.

Thus, many individuals waste years/decades in a (futile) attempting to evade their own individuality (which consists, primarily, of all the ways in which they “fail” to enact their supposed “Demographic” destiny.

Thought-experiment time:

Four individuals in a house.  Each of them have been isolated in a different room — chained to a structural-fixture from which it is exceedingly difficult to break free.

The notion of taking “pride” in an externally-imposed demographic “identity” strikes me as the equivalent of taking “pride” in the fact that one was chained to the pipes under the kitchen-sink.

I am incapable of being “proud” that I happen to have been born in (so-called) “Pennsylvania Dutch Country”:

  1. I had nothing to do with it.  Nor did (most) of my relatives — except inasmuch as they lacked any sort of ambition to GTFO of that area.
  2. I recognize the fact that “Pennsylvania Dutch Country” was enabled by the (more or less systematic) slaughter of various “Indian” tribes, who are mostly ignored by current (white) “locals” — except to provide “exotic”-sounding names for rivers, creeks, and towns.
  3. I recognize that the Anabaptist groups (Amish and Mennonites) from whom many of my relatives ultimately derive were not genuinely interested in “religious liberty” as such — but merely in the “freedom” to victimize dissenters “in a manner of their own choosing”.

Any religious “group” which flees oppression only to oppress its own members becomes utterly discredited, by the mere fact of having done so.

The only question about any Ethnic/religious/cultural “group” is: what is the penalty for “dissent”?

If you’re really “lucky”, the penalties for dissent (individuality/consciousness) are limited to various sorts of emotional blackmail (IE: others expressing “disappointment” if a Jewish guy is romantically involved with a Black woman, or a dissident Amish individual being subjected to ordnung — “shunning”).

Unfortunately, not all demographic “groups” confine their victimization to this level:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emmett_Till

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eve_teasing

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honor_killing

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Jewish_laws

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inquisition

So, yeah:  I recognize the fact that externally-imposed “identity” is basically a form of victimization, and the penalties for resistance to it are often severe.

It is understandable that many/most are eventually “broken” (simply self-preservation).

 

 

 

My antenna implementation sucks:

My “antenna” (if you can call it that) for short-wave listening, is thrown together using an indeterminate length of “speaker”-wire I scrounged from somewhere-or-other.  It was your typical conductor (stranded) stuff.  I just pulled the two conductors apart, and combined them into what is effectively one length of wire, arranged in a configuration that (vaguely) approximates the number “7” (a straight length, with one end eye-bolted into a nearby tree, with the second length of wire run through a hole, into the house here.

For what it is, it “works” (after a fashion).  At first, I believed that my RFI issues were mostly related to the switching power-supply “wall wart” for the cable-modem, so I got some of those clip-on RFI-suppressor toroids.

Adding those to the power-cord (and the power-cord for the charging unit for the cordless phone, did — something:  it reduced the RFI from the cable-modem enough for me to to notice the fact that my (crappy) antenna was hearing the house-wiring.  (Something at least vaguely approximating 60-cycle hum from approximately 1600 hz. to 6000 or so.

I may have to attempt to build an “unun”, if possible.

 

I will freely admit that I am not a “nice” person:

For instance: I have nothing but contempt for the notion that I should give preferential treatment (enabling/mollycoddling etc.), to my idiot, heroin-addict half-brother — under any circumstances.

Quite frankly, the ‘best” I can hope for is for the stupid fuck-stain to overdose/contract AIDS and die (making the world just that much cleaner).  Barring that, the aforementioned stupid fuck could attempt to “kick” heroin — after which he would still be a foul, degenerate, borderline-illiterate, bigoted, high-school dropout who attempted to assault me in my own mother’s driveway.

I’m not going to play this bullshit, Doublethink game everyone else plays (“I love him, but I don’t ‘like’ him!”).    There is very literally no rational justification for such bullshit.  In fact, that sort of “exception-making” is functionally indistinguishable from the type of “enabling” and cover-ups my (equally idiotic bitch of a) “mother” has been doing, for decades.

If I wanted to invest the time and effort necessary to attempt to ‘rehabilitate” a bigoted, drug-addled scumbag, I’m pretty sure I could just exactly that sort of bipedal vermin easily enough.

So, no: I do not “love” the drug-addled psychopath.  Nor will I ever ‘forgive” it for its antics.  Moreover, if we lived in a civilization which actually gave a shit about justice, I would be in a position to put the delusional sub-animal down permanently, the millisecond it attempted to paw at me.

I genuinely regret that I was not in a position to do so, and that the worthless junkie fuck-stain has continued to draw breath/consume resources as a result.

 

 

I used to own a banjo. I sold it. I should proably have burned it

The banjo in question was a Gibson which originally belonged to Ray.

Ray (for the benefit of anyone who hasn’t read the “personal chronology” page) was a guy who used to lurk around the RV park where my parents were members, back in the ’80s.  We “hung out” a few times, mostly because I was “into” Bluegrass music at the time, and he played mandolin.  He claimed to have been a member of several mid-level Bluegrass groups around the Southeastern U.S. during the late ’60s/early ’70s, but there weren’t any recordings or memorabilia that I ever knew about, so that probably should have been a red-flag.

Eventually, Ray dropped a bombshell:  he wouldn’t be able to “hang out” anymore, because he had been awaiting sentencing on “deviant sexual intercourse involving a child” (official PA legal code designation for his charges – I never wanted to know the specific details).

Anyway (because Pennsylvania is a shit-hole) he only got sentenced to 5 years.   After that 5 years, he started coming around to the local Bluegrass “jam sessions” and such — and I proceeded to (as he put it) “rat him out” — for lurking around a 12 year old boy.

Ray eventually ended up getting his parole revoked (for yet more disgusting pedo-bullshit), and has been in prison this time for just under 20 years, as far as I know.

The subhuman piece of shit used to mail letters to my Mom (since she still lived at the same house were I was raised).

I honestly have no idea why the evil fuck hasn’t been castrated by his fellow inmates, shanked, and/or simply raped to death (any — or all — of which would be richly deserved).

Anyway: before he went “away” the first time (around 1986), he decided that it would be a great idea to give me a bunch of his stuff.  The “best” item was a Gibson 5-string banjo of some kind.  A few weeks later, I proceeded to methodically destroy everything else he had given me, and then sold the banjo (for what I later learned was a drastically low price).

I honestly didn’t give a shit, because the mere fact that it had been owned by a guy who had most likely been attempting to “groom” me was so cringe-worthy that it was all I could do not to smash the thing, and then burn the fragments.

Ray came around after he was paroled, and off-handedly inquired whether I still had any of his stuff.  I told him “no” (which was true).  Unfortunately, I *also* implied that my idiot, heroin-addict half-brother had destroyed the stuff, when in fact, I had destroyed/sold it.

In retrospect, more than 20 years later, I really wish I would have told the stupid, child-raping scumbag the truth — if only for the hurt and betrayal it would have caused him.

There’s something intensely horrifying about the fact that I have no good memories from that time-period.   Think about it: I was so utterly friendless and weird that my closest “friend” was a guy who was most likely planning to eventually rape me.

That is actually extremely sad, thinking about it, now.

 

Organizing is difficult

So: in addition to “backing up” the various analog/digital media, I am confronted with how best to organize the end-product:

  1. Alphabetization does not yield coherent results.
  2.  Basing the albums around “Genre” seemed sensible until I was confronted with “borderiline cases” (IE: albums with content which is not exactly “Bluegrass”, but not exactly “Country”, either — for example).

Sensible solution:

The following hierarchy:

GEOGRAPHICAL REGION

NATION

GENRE

ARTISTS/COLLECTIONS

In categorizing a given work within a given region, I am considering where the artist/group originate.  This makes sense, because there are different regional “scenes” — different approaches to how a given genre is approached.

The “Bluegrass” section is oddly difficult for such a circumscribed genre.  The two “main” sub-genres are “Traditional” and “Progressive”/”Newgrass”.

“Traditional” artists/groups are either those who originate from the “classic” era (1940s/50s), or “modern” artists/groups who attempt to be similar to groups from that era.

“Progressive” artists/groups are (quite frankly) all over the map: ’60s/’70s hippie-sounding stuff, more “jazz”-influenced stuff, albums which eschew the “acoustic instrumentation only” thing, in favor of…..all sorts of stuff. 🙂

That’s why I have decided to consider an artist/group as “traditional”, until/unless after listening to them, I determine otherwise.

Short-cut?  Definitely.

Then again, given the sheer amount of “stuff” I have to dig through, failure to resort to such “short-cuts” neccesarily means that I don’t get the project done in anything resembling a reasonable amount of time.