Wednesday, 29 January 2020

The Case for Professionalism

Those who know me well, know that I have been a professional musician for about 35 years.  It hasn't always been smooth sailing, and there were, and still are, more than a good number of bumps that are encountered in the midst of exercising my career.

Nevertheless, one learns and carries on.  And those bumps add up to something that is called "experience."  And presumably, the more experience one attains, the more adept they become at their vocation; this above and beyond the initial pieces of paper one receives after graduating from higher places of learning.

So the combination of these two things creates what may be defined as a professional environment.  Doctors and lawyers have them and so do some musicians, including those who opt to open a studio or music school.

A lot of work has been accomplished behind the scenes.  At times, we may make it look easy, but we didn't get there by accident.  And the lack of acknowledgement to this fact by the lay person can be frustrating.

For example, a parent may want to sign up their child for piano lessons, but they want a "deal."  "Your rate is too high," I might hear or, "This other teacher down the street charges less than you do."  Sigh.  There are reasons some teachers are less expensive, the main one being lack of the aforementioned training and experience.  Another reason is that some folks shouldn't be teaching and do so anyway, muddying the waters for those who are specifically trained to specialize.  (I heard about an extreme case once, where a grade six piano student was hired by a commercial music studio to teach a grade seven piano student.  But at least the rate was cheap!)

During an initial conversation with some parents, I can try to insert my credentials into the conversation stream, but the same question of money comes up again and again.

And the result?  In two out of three conversations, if I don't pony up said lesson rate before said conversation ends, I will not hear from them again, even though I offer to discuss that very thing with them during a complimentary meet and greet.

Isn't experience, education, and success at least as important to discuss as how much I charge?  

Sunday, 5 January 2020

The Stupidity of the Stupid

Well, I'm off to a cranky New Years post for 2020.

So what has me ranting already?

A recent poll shows that 36% of Millenials have a favourable view of....Unicorns?  Mr. Clean?  Decaffeinated coffee?  Noooo....COMMUNISM!

I don't understand these people.  A system that has brutally suppressed or KILLED millions of people has curried favour with the younger folk.  What are they thinking?  Are a third of young people really that stupid?  (Yes, "stupid;" I've said it!)

Squalor, hunger, angst, persecution, spying, fear, knocks on your door in the middle of the night...all hallmarks of an evil system that should have died along with the Berlin Wall in 1989.  Instead, there are hooded young people out there who wreak havoc in marches, sometimes engaging in brutal behaviour on the spot and harming anyone who disagrees with them.

So what caused this?  I think a lot of things.  The breakdown of family, the rejection of God, teachers in the schools and Universities who preach from the socialist pulpit.  Kids who are looking for something to embrace, gravitate towards the loud brashness and carefully-crafted slogans of the extreme left, like they have for almost 100 years.

More than ever, it's time for those who have suffered under Communism to speak out; it's time to hold teachers and their leftist agendas responsible to the young minds they are training; those in the know also need to lend a voice to add rationality to the discussion.  And it's important that the hooligans in these marches who engage in violent activity, be held accountable and exposed for who they are. 

There is enough historical precedent to show how disastrous this philosophy has become.  George Santayana's famous phrase needs to be imparted to these misguided people now, before its too late.

Monday, 16 December 2019

If I Had a Little Money...

...with apologies to ABBA.

We work.  Sometimes very hard.  Many of us go to University or some other school of higher learning just so we can do better for ourselves and our families.

And then we find a job, or if so inclined, so go into business for ourselves, which often is a far more riskier venture.

But the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel arrives when we get our paycheque.  And then the non-fun begins when we notice all the deductions, especially income tax.  The amount on our paycheque goes down, sometimes way down.

But we worked, we payed our taxes (and then some), and finally we get our net pay.  Great!  Money free and clear!

But hold on there...this is Canada.  Income taxes are only Part A.  There's Parts B, C, D where government insists it's not done with our pocketbooks yet.

You want a new car using your net income?  Fine, but now you get to pay the government again in the form of a consumer tax, the mighty GST!  Is that fair?  You already paid taxes on your income?

Oh, you want gas for your car?  Hoo boy! There's excise, provincial, carbon tax PLUS you pay GST ON THOSE taxes as well as on your actual purchase.  All with the net income you received AFTER you already paid the government its mandated share.

Enough said.  You get my drift.

"But the government needs all that extra tax revenue to run programs!" someone bleats.

Assuming for now that that is true, the government does us, the taxpayer, yet another disservice.  Rather than just using what it takes in from all revenue sources, the government du jour goes above and beyond that amount and "borrows" money, creating a deficit in the budget.  Yep.  Taxes aside, the "smartest guys in the room" go even further and pin further financial burden on us lowly folk often leaving it to accumulate to the point where TPers pay more of their income on taxes than they do on food, clothing, and shelter combined.

And they leave the debt to grow and grow.

To their credit, our new UCP provincial government is trying to hack away at their debt, created by our previous socialist administration.  A 2.8% reduction. That's it.  2.8% with a decimal point after the two.  And...their popularity has dropped.  The knives are out.

Should we keep spending so the Left will put those knives away?  I think not.

But that's where we're at now.  Think about it.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Breaking the Champagne Bottle

My inaugural post.

Didn't think I'd ever get this blog going, but miracles apparently do happen.

For this blog, my thoughts are literally just that, my thoughts.  You can agree, disagree, or meet me somewhere in between and it's all good provided all invective is left at home.  Any cursing, taking the Lord's name in vain, or overall intolerable speech will be deleted.  Keep it respectful and we can debate, chat, and have a great old time!

So more about me.  I love coffee...obviously.  Older country music from the 70's to the 90's is on my playlist and as well as anything Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach.  And I'm "anti-stupid" so I can almost guarantee I'll be commenting on politics, locally and abroad.

Enough for now.  Feel free to leave a comment...or not!