So it turns out all those places online telling you NOT to order a cheap practice chanter are pretty much right. The one I got was $15.99 CAD, mentions some Pakistani manufacturer in included papers, and is an utter piece of junk. It’s not a musical instrument you can actually, you know, make music on. One of the two included reeds won’t even sound… So I took the plunge and ordered direct from mfg a Dunbar Poly Long – formerly called the Millenium 2000.
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I’ve been using Duolingo for several weeks now to create a base floor of knowledge in German. I’ve decided their percent fluency score is pretty much random…
The length of time I’ve been
26% Fluent in German is ridiculous. Obviously, I understand this is a hard thing to measure, and that people need to incentivize their progress as they work through the steps towards a goal like this, but this is one element I really wish they would revisit.
I also don’t really care at all about their virtual reward currency, “lingots,” which allow me to “buy cool stuff at their virtual store.” It has almost no bearing on my usage of the application.
Lastly, don’t fool yourself into thinking that because you’re receiving good marks on a language via Duolingo that this will automatically translate into a “high score” when you go try to practice speaking that language in the actual country or community. It’s a fun app, and can be a good supplement to other learning, but I wouldn’t trust a 100% fluency score off Duolingo to equal real world fluence by a long shot…
Curiosity has gotten the better of me, and I finally broke down and bought a practice chanter (to learn to play bagpipes) from Amazon. It’s a cheap one, and every bagpipe site I have ever seen likes to write, in all caps, warnings like:
DON'T YOU DARE BUY A CHEAP ONE!!!!
Which is all well and good if you’re sure ahead of time you’re going to make this plunge and commit to it forever. But starting with a $15 trial balloon over a $100 experiment seems like a good idea to me. What do I know!
The more I’ve gotten into researching the types and history of pipes though, the more compelling it actually is. I mean, as far as “windbags” go…
This is one of my favorite piping videos for a lot of reasons:
Oddly, it turns out that goats and bagpipes seem to have been intimately connected for quite some time.
If you delve into piping history (at least the online sources I found), they put the first officially recognized mention of bagpipes to a Roman source sometime in early AD. But there’s an elemental pattern you can see behind the pipes if you look with the “eyes of the goat.”
I’m not going to pretend to be any kind of expert, but I found a bunch of different traditional forms of bagpipes which are not only made of goat skin, but which explicitly seem to reference the form of the animal, with either heads included, or else with drones, chanters and windpipes in place of the limbs of the beast.
Check out, for example, the Zaqq from Malta:
Here’s another one from Eastern Europe:
And this is included ‘just for fun’: via Duda on Wikipedia:
“…there were many legends about bagpipes that could play themselves when hung from the wall on a nail or about pipers summoned to Witches’ Sabbaths to perform for satanic hosts.”
So my hypothesis, for the moment, goes something like this:
Bagpiping is a secondary cultural artifact from raising goats (or sheep, variously–just using goats as a catch-all here). In French, we have this handy word for goat-raising, Capriculture.
Moreover, the evolution of the “windbag” is simply an augmentation of pre-existing reed flutes, like this German dude (assuming he’s German–maybe I’m wrong) makes in the Youtube video below:
Bagpipes are basically this attached to a pipe you do your fingering on – chanter – which sticks out of a bag, and which has anywhere from typically 1-3 drones, which are reeds on pipes each tuned to sound at one continuous note.
So there’s a precursor invention, the reed pipe, which is more or less a “natural” human invention from naturally-occurring material. Which is over time grafted onto this other invention: an animal skin or bladder which can be inflated or deflated with air or liquid.
Taken in this light, the instrument becomes less a strange oddity, and something more elemental, and perhaps very ancient – as ancient as the human relationships with the plants and animals from which the craft originally descended.
That’s the theory anyway. Not sure I’m ready to start keeping goats, but I’m warming up to giving piping a shot. Will keep you posted!
PS. I love how that last video shows the pipes mixed with the sound of sheep’s bells
- Practice chanter
- CR2 batteries for laser pointer
- Hand-held cassette recorder
- Deep cycle solar battery
In case you were wondering…
I’ve never liked Blink 182, so cracking the lead singer, Tom Delonge’s (pronounced
da-long) strange fascination with all things UFO is a bit of a chore since there seem to be a bunch of bad quality Youtube videos on the subject which are gently serenaded by the group’s irritating tunes.
Putting that prejudgement aside, I’ve been vacationing down the 🐇 🕳 which I keep seeing come up on
/r/conspiracy related to Tom Delonge’s quest for UFO disclosure.
Anyway, I watched a bunch of bad videos on the subject so you don’t have to – or maybe so you can two. idk. Either way, I recommend starting here:
This video is often referenced elsewhere. Basically, in the Wikileaks DNC dump, we can find references to emails between John Podesta (then presidential advisor) and Tom Delonge about high-level talks around possible UFO disclosure. Here’s one such email from Wikileaks for reference.
I tried watching Delonge’s appearance on Larry King but found it unbearably boring, so follow that link if you want.
This video of somebody named Grant Cameron interviewed in a hotel room at a UFO conference about mostly Delonge is long and rambling and has a few interesting parts.
So take this for whatever it’s worth. Anyway there is a Reddit thread which basically summarizes the video here.
“In a recent interview UFO researcher Grant Cameron claims to have some info regarding Tom’s upcoming announcement.
- The goal of the operation is to get the story out through Hollywood
- It’s a billion dollar project backed by one of the richest people in the world
- 100-episode series that will run for 5 years, directed by Spielberg amd J.J. Abrams
“It’s not gonna be full disclosure, but it’s going to be massive.”
By ‘disclosure’ we’re talking about public announcement/acknowledgement by the US government that extraterrestrials exist, and we’ve been in contact with them as a species since… whatever date. Roswell? The 1950’s? Not fully sure here and doesn’t really matter, as each researcher seems to have their own ideas.
Anyway, I’ve also found some bizarre mentions of Delonge on Reddit within the last week or so. Something about some predatory behavior (of others) and possibly human trafficking? It’s all pretty suspicious, taken as a whole.
Apparently Delonge’s media company which he wants to pin all the possibly-real/possibly-misinformation disclosure stuff onto as a franchis is To the Stars, and he has a book series with Peter Levenda, called Sekret Machines — the spelling of which “drives me nuts” but oh well.
But yeah, that’s basically that. Now you know probably everything you might ever need to know on the subject — and then some!
I’ve been playing around with Duolingo for German. I wouldn’t say I’m “learning” German from the app, though, as it claims I’m already 25% fluent in the language. Which I’m clearly not.
I’m starting to use Youtube to supplement the Duolingo exercises, and that seems to be helping to make more concrete what I’m drilling in the app. Plus when you hear people speak, you can listen to the music of the expression, which I think is a much easier way to learn than by rote memorization. Though the two can also go together well, I suppose.
In any event, this is a great playlist where the German speaker goes around the city and talks about objects, people, etc and it shows both the German words and a small English translation underneath. It’s by Easy German:
Spotted in the trees, twice. Shifting forms in wind, reveal at turns sacred and grotesque forms. May form faces and bodies.
Water dragon with three heads, depicted on cards (3) rising out of water.