July 4, 2014

Tech-no Thank-you

[Photo: Anthony Foliot]

My brother Anthony is, well, a character (video at 2:32). He’s lived in Yellowknife, NWT for over 30 years now, and he’s fairly famous in those parts.

[Photo: The Snowking][Photo: Old Town Pond Sailors Regatta poster]

He builds a giant snow castle on Great Slave Lake each year, where for 19 years now he’s hosted the SnowKing Winter Festival (he, of course, is the Snow King), he organizes an annual pond regatta (video) each summer, and, despite his rather gruff exterior, he is an extremely gifted, artistic man who has never abandoned the sheer joy of childhood. He is, and remains, a kid at heart.

He’s also something of a fan of Robert W. Service, and during a stint as the morning man at a local Yellowknife aboriginal radio station (a whole other story for another time), he would read a daily Service poem over the air. He loves the challenge of the meter and rhythm of Service’s work, the wry and ironic humor, and he embraces Service’s thoughts on what he wrote: “Verse, not poetry, is what I was after… something the man in the street would take notice of and the sweet old lady would paste in her album; something the schoolboy would spout and the fellow in the pub would quote.”

[Photo: Photo: Anthony Foliot at the National Arts Center in Ottawa, Canada]Subsequently, Anthony has also become known in Yellowknife as something of a “versifier”, and has had numerous pieces published in local media, and was recently invited to come from Yellowknife to Canada’s National Art Center in Ottawa to be part of a Northern Story-tellers Production.

You will never find Anthony without his notebook and pencil, jotting down ideas for future works, or snippets of phrases that catch his fancy. He loves words, and he loves to write. [Collage: multiple examples of his poetry featured in a magazine]He’s working on a book now of his verse – he carries the master work with him on the road: a hard-cover notebook bound with an elastic band, scraps of paper tucked inside the cover. He told me that he would issue challenges to friends to give him a word, and he could write a verse on that.

And so, upon hearing that this summer (at Mom’s 80th birthday gathering), I teased him and said, “OK, when it comes to tech, your such a Luddite – that’s your word: Luddite”. (We then went to Google and wikipedia to get some background on Luddites, and the “founder” Ned Ludd)

The British have an expression – “take the piss out of…” – and… I guess I kind of deserved it, but here you go, my brother Anthony’s verse, written that same day, in about an hour.

Techno – Thank You

Sitting at the Laptop, was my brother and me
I encountered an issue, it was an eye dee ten tee
Well at least that’s what he told me,
he’s en expert you know…
He tippty-tapped the keyboard,
the high-speed was slow.

He’s got the gadgets and the gizmos,
in his “high-tech man-purse”
But every time I moved the mouse
resulted in a curse
‘Cause I’m not too versed in all this stuff
I never get it right,
He’s the techno-wizard
enchanting the Luddite.
Yes, that’s what he called me,
a Luddite through and through;
When it comes to techno gadgets
I don’t know what to do.
I don’t need a gizmo to know that it’s raining,
and APPS are my food at the bar,
I know the time when the big hand strikes,
I can drive a standard car.

Yes, I know how to cursive write,
I’ve cassette tapes for my tunes,
I don’t need a techno gadget
to know it’s a full moon.
But I can work a pencil,
you should see me write…
It doesn’t really bug me
to be called a Luddite.

General Ned Ludd – R.I.P.

Update: 12/04/2015

Anthony has release his first book of verses. Contact me if you are interested in a copy.

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CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Tech-no Thank-you by John Foliot is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Posted by John

I am a 16 year veteran of Web Accessibility, living and working in Austin, Texas. Currently Principal Accessibility Strategist at Deque Systems Inc., I have previously held accessibility related positions at JPMorgan Chase and Stanford University. I am also actively involved with the W3C - the international internet standards body - where I attempt to stir the pot, fight hard for accessibility on the web, and am currently co-chairing a subcommittee on the accessibility of media elements in HTML5.

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