Double Dipping?

For Canada Day (July 1) I attended a music festival with a small fireworks show in downtown Kitchener. The show featured Canadian acts, two of which I suspected were not Canadian acts. Those two bands were Treble Charger and Hollerado.

It was because of these two bands biggest hits that I suspected they were American. Those hits are American Psycho by Treble Charger and Americanarama by Hollerado. Besides the titles, Hollerado rhymes with Colorado and Americanarama mentions Philadelphia a bunch of times as well as mentioning New York.

But a quick check today on Wikipedia, revealed that both bands are Canadian. Treble Charger is from the Canadian side of Sault Ste. Marie and Hollerado is from Ottawa. So I have to ask myself what is with the American names?

Then I thought, what if they’re both double dipping, playing shows in Canada on July 1 and then maybe crossing the border and playing American shows on July 4, or Independence Day? What a sinister plan! To double dip while playing on the patriotic emotions of two countries.

Of course they might be using the word America in the Greater America sense. Indeed that reminds me of one of my pet peeves. The United States of America has usurped the use of America and American and uses it solely to represent itself. This is patently unfair to the rest of the Americas.

Treble Charger and Hollerado might be trying to unite the Americas by their choice of titles and lyrics. And Hollerado’s Americanarama includes Philadelphia and New York in its definition of America (really Greater America). What a bridge building definition.

And that pet peeve of mine? Now I have the word tools I’ve craved. I live in Greater America and am a Greater American.

So we Greater Americans, when at an international destination (or anywhere nationality comes up) can wait for the Yankees to identify themselves as American. Then we will identify ourselves as Greater Americans. The Yankee will try to trump this by saying, “Well actually I’m a greatest American.”

“We can say that, too, but actually it’s a biased term. Saying I’m a Greater American is unbiased and dispassionate. Greater America is both more populous and larger than America. These are facts. You are an American and I am a Greater American.”

If enough Yankees continue to lose this fight, perhaps they will willingly come up with a different name for their national identity.

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Number of Musicians and Time

In the 1800s, symphony orchestras were all the rage. Cities prided themselves if they had one of these musical groups and a large hall for them to play in. One of these orchestras could easily contain 80 members.

With so many members, you can treat the audience to the unique sound of violins playing chords. Usually violins are played one note at a time. And the most notes it is possible to play at the same time on a violin is two. Chords are defined as three or more notes played simultaneously. But if you have a group of violinists, say 4, 4 note chords are possible.

These orchestras had few quiet instruments, like an acoustic guitar, because they wanted to fill all of their giant halls with impactful music.

Jazz music had humble beginnings, but soon became a worthy successor in popularity to the symphony orchestra. Jazz was most popular in the first half of the twentieth century.

The halls that jazz played to were just as big and to fill it with sound they could get away with just a big band. The big bands of jazz usually ranged from 12 to 25 musicians. The key to getting by with fewer members was having the brass sections. The brass wind instruments are quite loud and the sound emanates through most of a great hall.

Brass chords were possible. You might have three trombone players and one bass trombone player. Here, again, you could present the public with a combined 4 note chord.

After the 1950s, rock music became the most popular genre. It wouldn’t have happened without the electrification and most importantly amplification of musical instruments. Amplification meant that huge sports arenas could now be filled with fans and all could hear the music.

Guitars and keyboards became the most popular chord instruments. At last you could hear them at loud volumes. The rock band was small, usually ranging between 3 and 5 members.

In the brief time we’ve had in this, the 21st century, performance DJs have come into their own. They may not be the most popular performers, yet, but in pockets they are. They make it their business to know how all manner of music machines works. Any or all of them might be used for a show. The crafty DJ might learn how to make pieces or songs with all their machinery. They don’t have to know how to play a traditional instrument to make a song.

There only needs to be one DJ at a show.

You might think this is the end of the progression of having fewer musicians. But you would be wrong. How do we get less than one musician? We simply use a fraction. Firstly, you could have a part time musician working with even fancier machines so the work is lessened further. Or a person with multiple personality disorder, where one of the personalities is a DJ.

The increasing utilization of machinery will continue unabated until we get to the point where the “talent” grunts. Then her machinery will write a song in a nanosecond, 10 complete shows in a microsecond, a lifetime’s worth of music in a millisecond and in a full second will write music for even our longest lived descendent’s life. And that is where I think music is headed.

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Father’s Day – the Longest Day of the Year*

This year, Father’s Day is actually the longest day of the year. But that’s not exactly what I meant. Perhaps if “Father’s Day” is said with an eye roll, then some people might get the title. And if “- The Longest Day of the Year” is said with a sigh, then everyone might get it.

It’s almost traditional for husbands to take wives out for dinner on Mother’s Day. After all, it’s her day and traditionally in this society she is often expected to cook. This gives a break for many mothers.

But guess what happens in many homes when it is Father’s Day? Mother, like usual is expected to cook, and because it is Father’s Day, she might have to cook an extra good meal for extra people. Now this is hardly fair.

Which is why those mothers or wives, girlfriends, husbands or boyfriends of the father might roll their eyes this year and say “Father’s Day – the longest day of the year – sigh.”

As for those of us with living fathers? We have little excuse to not do something with, or for, father. It is after all the longest day of the year. Unless we’re devious and plan something at night with dear old Dad. It is after all the shortest night of the year.

*This only applies in the northern hemisphere.

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Things I Would Have Loved to Know About Physics Before Making It My Major

What with the current glamourizing of physics with Cosmos and The Big Bang Theory (although some might say that sitcom deglamourizes physics), more and more people are probably looking into physics as a career choice. Decades ago I started down this same path so I’d like the curious of you to know a few things that your guidance counselor or university rep might never tell you.

1. When discussing freedom with a successful physicist they might liken it to school. Then they’ll have to go back 10 years from their most recent schooling to grade 11. In that wondrous year they had total freedom in selecting one (1) of their courses. So of coursed they panicked and took biology (yet another science).

2. Potential physicists will always cross any picket line to get to their schooling. After all, what else can fill up 16 hours in each and every day during the school year?

3. Physicists wish the slow people in high school made it to university, too. That way they would get everything explained to them at least twice. The main reason so many potential physicists fail in early university is because they never learned to ask questions themselves. This is of course because they never had to because everything in high school was always explained at least twice.

I’m sure many more hurdles remain in the physics career path that I failed to cover. For more information, speak with your friendly neighbourhood physicist. Or if that fails you, speak to your friendly neighbourhood Sheldon.

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Naming Dog Breeds After Location and Job

It’s popular amongst the many breeds of dog to name them after their geographic location they were first bred in or the job they were bred for. The German Shepherd is named after both. And throughout this post I intend to use that template for German Shepherds as well as other dogs.

The German Shepherd emigrated from Germany to the New World. In such a large disruption of a population they even shifted occupations. Ask any American to imagine a police dog. The vast majority will imagine the inaptly named German Shepherd. So I suggest a name change for this breed. They henceforth will be called American Police Dogs.

Those Labrador dogs are behind the times, too. In 1949, Labrador and Newfoundland were annexed by the country of Canada. And I can’t even imagine the roll of seeing eye dog or even helper dog being done by another breed. So I suggest these dogs should be called Canada Seeing Eye Dogs.

Then there is the name hound. What on Earth is that name supposed to represent? No, no, we can’t let this lie. Their job is that of the baying sniffer dog. It borders on silly to have working dogs like these being in the city. I suggest the name Rural Baying Sniffer Dogs for these breeds.

What is the adjective most used to describe a junk yard dog? Why “mean” of course. And what dog automatically pops into your head when you hear the word mean? You may be ashamed of it, but I know you thought of a Pitbull before any other type of mean dog. Of course the purpose of a mean dog at a junkyard is to guard the place. So I hereby dub the Pitbull to be the Junk Yard Guard Dog.

Then there is the Doberman Pinscher. These dogs are many times trained in groups to be attack/guard dogs. Who can afford such security? Why the rich of course. So I say we call these dogs Rich Attack Dogs.

I can hear you saying “Just wait a minute, you are talking big breeds of dogs. Surely you can see the small dogs as having jobs to do like being an early door bell.”

Look. If you want an early doorbell it is just as effective having a motion sensor. And its even better to have a camera for insurance purposes. The main job of small dogs is already much in use in the language. They are called Toy dogs for a reason. And in fact these dogs are ubiquitous thus there is no need to use a geographical marker. These dogs will remain Toy dogs.

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Are ‘Twenty One Pilots’ ‘Green Day’ Fan Boys?

On the surface the band Twenty One Pilots are light years different from pop punk Green Day. First of all Twenty One Pilots are a keyboard centric band as opposed to the guitar centred music of Green Day. (This is more an ’80s/’90s thing as Green Day features pianos on some songs and Twenty One Pilots gets as close to a guitar as to have mandolin on some songs.) GreenDay features no rap and has guitar solos. Twenty One Pilots rarely solo, even on keys, and is much more likely to have a rap verse in their songs.

Still the evidence of TOP being Green Day fan boys is of consequence.

Both are small bands. Green Day existed as three piece for the majority of their career. Only on the 2012 albums did they add a second guitarist. As I understand it TOP started out as a three piece but for their only two signed albums they are just a two piece band. Maybe both bands just would rather not get in the way of their fellow band mates.

The name Twenty One Pilots comes from an Arthur Miller play about a man that sold faulty airplane parts in World War II that cause the death of twenty – blah, blah, blah. We all really know that TOP was formed with that name at the end of 2009 a year noted for one of the best Green Day songs ever – Twenty-One Guns.

Of course TOP stole the number from this song and finding a noun to attach the number to was easy as everybody wants to be a pilot.

But the most convincing evidence of all came with the release of their current album, Blurry Face. Green Day has a habit of arranging their songs on the album in a way that leaves a high at the start, a slump in the second act and a high or climax at the end. I proved it with the graphs on this previous post.

So now let me graph Blurry Face with Increasing Pleasure versus Song Placement axes.


The second act slump is rather obvious. I contend that TOP stole this idea from Green Day. And why not? It only seems to work on an album where most of the songs are quite likeable.

So it has been proved that Twenty One Pilots are Green Day fan boys.

Earlier I mentioned that Green Day was a pop punk band. There’s a label that some are trying to attach to TOP , I just don’t agree with it. Some call them schizophrenic pop because they are supposed to bridge genres. I disagree with this moniker. Schizophrenics are “split brained” in that part seems conscious while another part of their brain seems totally different or from the outside. Schizophrenics are unaware that their brains have multiple, thinking parts. Instead they ‘hear voices’. TOP are quite aware of their multi faceted music.

Perhaps they could be called kaleidoscope pop. In that when you spin it, something new pops out. I just want to have this name used before its time is up. Spinning music on CD or record is much rarer now than it used to be and might eventually disappear altogether.

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Stealing From the Rich to Give to the Future

I came across this article about what is purported to be Britain’s oldest living tree. The tree is about 4 000 years old. I was going to read the article and then probably forget it. But I noted that it was a yew tree.

Yew trees are noted as being one of the best woods to make a bow from. From the title I gave, you are probably one step ahead of me and have already figured that this tree would have been around in the time of Robin Hood.

Now Sherwood Forest (Robin Hood’s stomping grounds) and Somerset (where this tree is to be found) are quite far away from each other by British standards. But I’ve heard rumours that the real, historical Robin Hood might have been well traveled enough to have traveled deep into continental Europe. So it is more than possible that Robin Hood or any of his merry men could have crafted a bow from this very tree. Indeed the act may have helped contribute to the tree’s huge age.

I live in southern Ontario and the oldest trees here are hardscrabble ones along the rocky Niagara Escarpment (yes the escarpment is what makes the famous falls). They, too, have lived for thousands of years. Indeed, the harsher living conditions are believed to have contributed to their longevity.

So would it be any surprise to a gardener, that pruning a plant or tree might add to its longevity. Removing one branch for a bow from this old yew tree might have been exactly like gardening and allowed the tree to live until our time. So making a bow from this tree could be like giving to the future.

How would Robin Hood or the merry men have stolen from the rich then?

Well back in Robin’s time many of the forests were protected by being royal forests. Commoners weren’t allowed to hunt in royal forests. Indeed they weren’t allowed to fell trees or carry weapons. So it is likely that making a bow out of part of a tree would be called stealing by the aristocrats.

So Robin Hood and his merry men might have stolen from the rich, via this Somerset tree, and helped it live to our time.

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Now is the Most Favourable Time for a Certain Type of Tourism

You might not have guessed that today’s tourism is greatly favourable. After all a year or two ago may have had better tourism numbers. I’m not talking year over year favourability but the difference between a few decades ago and now. It all started with the pick-your-own-numbers lotteries.

I especially think of a certain Ontario lottery ad that has aired recently. This ad shows groups and crowds of people while a giant arrow points out the millionaires in each grouping. This presents the idea that lottery winners are amongst us and rubbing shoulders with us.

Now the pick-your-own-numbers lotteries have onerous odds to overcome. Might I just say that the odds of winning the jackpot are so slim that no one ever, at any time should win any of these lotteries. But wait, you say, obviously someone does win these lotteries, they show the winners on television and in the newspaper from time to time.

Yes, yes the winners do exist. But their secret isn’t blind luck. The lottery business is being controlled secretly by big time travel.

In the future, time travel will be big business. And its most successful period to send people back to will be the pick-your-own-numbers lottery era. That means us.

Consider today’s citizens wanting to travel back in time, say to ancient Egypt or Greece. Most of the Egyptians were involved in the back breaking work of building the pyramids. Some holiday. Ancient Greece could place you in Sparta. That city had a majority of the people being slaves. Odds are you, too, would be a slave. Being able to also pick that you would be one of the ruling elite totally changes the picture.

So why would our time be popular? I bet some people from the far future dream about our time. But that is only if they had the status of the top 1%. Winning the lottery provides this for them.

It is unlikely that the far future, possibly 50 000 years or more removed from us, contains any of our paper or metal coin currency. As a result, the first thing that a traveler from this era would do would be to panhandle. They’d only have to raise a few bucks to go to phase two, which would be to buy a winning lottery ticket. Winning numbers would have been saved from our time, all to examine luck to make sure that everything checked out. If for instance the number 9 was popping up more regularly in winning jackpots it would be important to trace it back to a fault in the randomization and failing that, maybe 9 just is more slightly popular for no known reason.

Anyway the future would have saved all our lottery results. They would shift the winners from format to format through the intervening years till finally time travel was developed. And then the numbers could be used.

So it is my belief that time travelers are living like kings on our lottery money. That ad with the arrows that pick people out of groups? I now see that as someone pointing out all the time travelers amongst us. They’re everywhere. Now if I could just get one of them to open up about the future, I would have my path set for me as an insightful writer of the future in the field of science fiction.

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Alberta Tory Strong

albertatorystrongInitially I thought that this cartoon was funny. So I drew it up and inked it. Then reading it again I thought that it wasn’t really funny it was just a retelling of events. And that was my problem throughout the whole sad story of Bill C-51. I would have loved to have waged a campaign of a political cartoon a day against. it. The only problem was I saw nothing funny in the least about it. So I made exactly zero cartoons.

Still I publish this cartoon and list it under humour for the one thing I truly think is funny. I drew Stephen Harper crying about such a minor thing as the NDP winning the Alberta election. Maybe he quickly grimaces too, But we saw that instant of tears.

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Beautiful yet Horrific Lyrics

The song Ebony and Ivory by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder has such a nice sentiment in its lyrics that I’m a bit hesitant in pointing out its flaws. The main lyrical hook of the song goes like this:

Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony,
Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord, why don’t we?

That sentiment is race relations gold. So how could anybody be such a grinch that they could object to these fine lyrics?

Well I am that grinch. While having nothing but respect for the race relations perspective, the problem with this song is the ebony and ivory international trade aspect. If inspired by the song to make all piano keyboards out of only ebony and ivory we would have a big problem.

Ebony is a wood that comes from tropical trees. This wood has been protected in different trade agreements. Indeed, Gibson, a manufacturer of guitars recently got in trouble for illegally importing ebony for use in its guitars. If we don’t protect these trees, the world might be short a species that our thirst for fine wood in musical instruments caused.

For those of you that do not know, ivory comes from the tusks of elephants. For many years the trade in ivory has been controlled. No longer are the white keys of pianos made with this material. If suddenly all pianos and keyboards were to be made out of ivory, we would undoubtedly drive the elephant into extinction.

If for no other reason we must keep the elephant alive to be the surrogate for mammoth clones. Only when we get enough mammoths are we allowed to even think of the extinction of elephants.

Have we examined all the biological processes of the ebony trees in the tropics? I doubt it. Until we have examined all possible chemicals these plants create, we shouldn’t be allowed to let it become extinct.

Using this perspective, the lyrics to Ebony and Ivory could easily be:

Ebony and ivory, driving two species to extinction,
Just so my piano keyboard has a more poetic black and white.

But I can’t help but think of an easy fix for this song. Just substitute black plastic and white plastic for ebony and ivory That way the lyrics would simply be this:

Black plastic and white plastic live together in perfect harmony,
Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord, why don’t we?

The plastic lyrics leave no guilt from possibly causing an extinction. Maybe they are less artful. I’m willing to risk that for the peace of mind they give.

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