What Do You Call Someone Who Hangs Around Musicians?

The real answer is Mike. The eighties answer to this – (the one that everyone knew) was a drummer.

Everybody knew that drummers were on the way out in the eighties. Drum machines were the oft pointed at pieces of technology that were the beginning of the end.

A guitarist could program a drum machine with super accurate beats. A bassist could put in a bit of randomness to sound like a real drummer by not making the beat super accurate. And keyboardists probably did the most programming because it was so similar to what they do.

Twenty years later there were the White Stripes which only was a two piece. And one of those two instruments was a drum kit.

One of the biggest acts of today is Twenty-One Pilots. A two piece where one member is again a drummer. Sure the singer, who usually plays keyboards, also sometimes plays bass and the ukelele. That helps to expand the sound. But today it seems there is always that incessant need for live drumming.

Drumming didn’t go the way of the dodo. It has become a thriving part of modern music.

Some rap artists have been saying for years that all the sounds possible for a guitar have been done. With keyboard and DJ equipment you can get ever expanding sounds for your basic instrument.

It’s not unexpected to see modern bands without guitarists. Even older veterans like Coldplay and Imagine Dragons, though they have a dedicated guitarist, are more likely to produce synthesized sounds for up front.

The guitarist seems destined to disappear entirely from the music scene.

Technically a guitar is just cords that produce sounds. Much like vocal cords. Does this mean that one day rapping will be passe? Will singing be passe? The instrument keyboards were based on also used cords. Will keyboards become passe? Basses are bass guitars.

It’s more than possible to make guitar synthesizers. The guitar six string format with frets could just be another way to control music. Guitar synthesizers can be updated just as quickly as any synthesizer and DJ equipment in existence.

I think modern music just likes to poke at guitarists who were number one for so long. But I think it is a nervous poke because they must know that music can turn again on them and put another basic instrument on life support.

The basis of a guitar is a neat format for a chord enabled instrument (the keyboard is the other great format). It will rise again. Wind instruments and bowed string instruments need a section to produce chords. With some chords having 6 or more notes, this becomes an expensive option. Even without the synthesizer a lot can happen with guitars. Guitarists have never been adverse to electronic enhancement of their sounds. Drums never went completely away either.

So now is the time to out myself. I am one of those guitarists mentioned often these days as useless. But calling me useless isn’t going to get me to stop. My adolescence was in the eighties. If you want to insult me to the max, call me a drummer.

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Eat $#!+ and Live

No this title is not an example of a sentence that is totally changed with the insertion of commas. It is uncomfortable because it needs to be.

For a very long time scientists have dreamt of resurrecting the woolly mammoths. Their almost perfectly preserved bodies in the arctic, with their sometimes readable DNA, has spurred this dream along. But there is more complication here than meets the eye.

At first brush it might seem that the act of finding one cell, that has a perfect copy of the DNA, that might be cloned. But the closest relative to the the woolly mammoth is the much smaller Indian elephant. To have an Indian elephant carry a woolly mammoth baby is likely to hurt or even kill the surrogate. So we have to deal with artificial wombs.

De-extinction is complicated. Splicing mammoth DNA into elephant cells is the first step. Next the hybrid cells must be turned into specialized tissues. Growing these tissues to see if they are correct is next. Then they could grow these hybrid cells in an artificial womb. Only then would we be close to getting a woolly mammoth.

We’re still not there. Woolly mammoths must make it to reproductive age and have babies of their own to reestablished. For that we might need elephants again.

Currently we are killing elephants faster than they can reproduce. All for their ivory. I don’t know how to solve this problem. Perhaps all ivory must be banned to stop this. Destroying all ivory – even the stuff that was collected centuries or millennia ago might be the way to go. There are petitions to sign here and here and here. If these don’t work, only in a handful of years the elephant might be extinct.

Well we might have gotten the splices we need and artificial wombs just might be good enough in a few years. Then perhaps we can make our woolly mammoths bring back elephants. But there are unknowns or just things that remain unthought of.

Baby elephants eat their mother’s scat. Mother elephant has gut flora that helps break down what she eats. The only way for these animals in the wild to transfer this gut flora is through the mother’s scat. It may sound horrible but this is the only way that baby elephants can live and grow to adulthood.

We may have to get the gut flora for a woolly mammoth from the Indian elephant. There might be other reasons to need elephants in order to bring back woolly mammoths, too.

So if you ever wanted to see a woolly mammoth, save the elephant and sign one of the petitions that exist to ban ivory sales. After all how else are we supposed to have Ice Age Park go amok? That is the dream.

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Lauding Economics but Dissing the Hard Sciences is a Recipe for Disaster

Politicians mostly hang on every word of an economist. They give that art its highest praise (as evidenced in practice) while trying to cherry pick the hard sciences of physics, chemistry and biology.

Briefly I had a computer alias as economystic to make fun of economists for being so soft (which means being incorrect more often). Let’s look at that simple relation that appears to make economics hard. That beginning law of supply and demand I actually see as being mostly correct.

But what do companies do to avoid this law? They try to become monopolies or colluding ogilopolies. Most areas of corporate ownership are run by ogilopolies which mean there are only a small handful of companies controlling the entire market. “See, we’re not monopolies,” the companies might say while making sure they don’t have deals that are much better than the competition.

And I’m not going to bother to tell you about all the times they collude. Just the recent admission from Loblaw Companies Ltd. that they and the very small number of other grocers in the Ontario, Canada market colluded for 14 years by keeping the price of bread artificially high. This was an admission. There is no doubt that these companies colluded.

So the law of supply and demand doesn’t work with monopolies or colluding ogilopolies. The rest of economics is even softer.

Look, I am aware that economists use math all the way up to partial differential equations. This just means that economics is a discipline. It is still an art. Thus it is destined to be wrong more times than the hard sciences.

Still the politicians enjoyed cherry picking in economics so they think they are entitled to do it with the hard sciences.

Global warming has been cherry picked to death by politicians. The number of scientists who say global warming isn’t happening or more recently that men aren’t the cause of global warming are very small. This while there are political groups around the world willing to enrich these scientists and flawed studies. The same thing happened with smoking where some researchers and doctors maintained for years that cigarettes didn’t harm your health. There isn’t even close to a fifty/fifty divide. So instead of giving the two sides equal time, give the 99.9% of scientists who believe global warming 99.9% of the space or speeches or however it goes. The current 50/50 divide is a lie.

And global warming is supported by all three of the hard sciences. The greenhouse effect was found by astronomers and physicists. Chemists supported carbon dioxide and methane amongst others as being greenhouse gases. Biology showed the effect of this on the Earth environment. In many ways all three sciences are in agreement. Global warming is happening, it is caused by man, and it is bad.

So when’s the last time that gravity didn’t work? (physics) Or that a chemical reaction didn’t occur that worked the last time under the same conditions? (chemistry) Or that your DNA wasn’t important? (biology) Many politicians are keeping the truth from their constituents and thus are working against the very people they pretend to be a voice for. Save the cherry picking for the arts.

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Notwithstanding the Notwithstanding Clause

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has an odd clause. I know, I know you guessed it because of the title of this post. The notwithstanding clause allows the provincial government to override the Charter. I think it was at least partially put in to appease Quebec. When the charter was drawn up in 1981 Quebec was worried about protecting the French language and culture in that province. I think they wished to limit the rights of other languages and cultures to keep French majority in Quebec preserved forevermore. Quebec was so serious at the time that they had a couple referendums to leave Canada.

Doug Ford, Ontario’s new premier, got the house’s backing to use the notwithstanding clause. To force the city of Toronto to cut back to 25 councilors from the current 47. Of course there is no acrimony about this just because Ford was a long time city of Toronto councilor. Of course.

Anyway the scaredy cat appeal court of Ontario just stayed the ruling that this act goes against the Charter. Still, Ford has said he will keep the notwithstanding clause vote in his back pocket in case he needs it in the future.

This is the first time ever, that an Ontario government has used the notwithstanding clause. It’s weird. It’s almost like all our other premiers didn’t want to overrule the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

But I am no such sissy. When I get elected premier of Ontario, I will immediately invoke the notwithstanding clause to waterboard Doug Ford. The waterboarding will continue until he confesses to smoking crack from as far back as his now deceased brother did.

I know, he might not have actually done it but that is the beauty of torture. It can make you confess things that you never did. Once I have this confession, I will use it to put Doug Ford in jail for possession of crack and all other charges that can be brought against him.

I will say that this all is democracy because the people voted me in. So what if I only had 40% of the vote? It’s still democracy. First past the post democracy.

I’ll only have 5 years in which a judicial review will be voided. But a lot can happen in 5 years. I could die. Doug Ford could die. Or maybe, just maybe the notwithstanding clause may disappear. Or the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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The Bird is the Word

“Flipping the bird” means to give someone the finger. Of course the “flipping” part means to put your hand into the proper position and the “bird” means either F—, or F— Y– or F— O–. For the purpose of this crude essay, I am taking it to either mean F— or F— Y— since off isn’t something you mean when you are pointing the bird directly at somebody.

Now there’s this song called Surfin’ Bird (Bird is the Word) from 1963 by the Trashmen. It appears like a nonsense song meant to poke fun at the nonsense fad of surfing or singing about surfing. But is it nonsense?

I believe that the expression “flipping the bird” was already in use by 1963. And “bird is the word” is by far the most repititious line in Surfin’ Bird. So it is my belief that the Trashmen meant to say “f— is the word” over and over again. It is my belief that the writer of this song had found a way to say f— on the radio with no repercussions. And that is the beauty of this song.

Even if the Trashmen did not mean to stealthily swear over the radio, it is my bet that the show Family Guy did when they played this song. They played it over and over again and wrote it off as Peter getting an ear worm. But knowing the show Family Guy, I bet that they did think of this “flipping the bird” definition. Family Guy would definitely try to get swearing past the censors. I used to watch Family Guy when this ear worm was featured. I don’t watch anymore because racism.

There is one other example that started in the 1960s where I think someone tried to use the disguise “bird” to get past the censors.

Jim Henson knew that any swearing or even something slightly unseemly wouldn’t get by the censors when he put his muppets on Sesame Street. But the muppets are all puppets except Big Bird. Maybe there is a reason that Big Bird doesn’t seem to fit. Maybe Big Bird is a Big F— Y– to the censors.

And that, ladies and gents is the bird conspiracy.

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Do Hunters Belong in the Eighties?

If the eighties were about nothing else, they were about big money and the pursuit of such. Hunters will also pursue doe. Well that is when a nice stag isn’t available. And also this is supposed to help cull the deer population in general.

Pop music dominated the eighties airwaves. From Madonna to Michael Jackson to Cindy Lauper. Pop was big in the eighties. And who else in the family hunts seriously? Why Pop of course. This subtle sexism was more obvious in the eighties. Sometimes Pop did this while consuming pop.

Where would the eighties be without fans? And blowing back the hair of all the beautiful people? Hunters also like to have their hair blown back. That means they are heading into the wind and thus their prey cannot smell them easily.

Are hunters as out of date as the eighties? Well their plaids and buckskins might be but camouflage seems to still be in style.

The very act of hunting might very well be out of style. After all it is the teens and we are very obviously in the anthropocene or the era when men are the prime drivers for most of the earth. Really in the anthropocene men are more likely to kill animals and whole species by accident. So I guess you could say that hunting is now out of date. Go back to the eighties, all you trophy hunters, that is if you want to belong.

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Why Canadian Conservatives Aren’t Worried About Justin Trudeau

By now most Canadians have heard about Maxime Bernier’s split from the Conservative Party. Bernier wishes to start a new Conservative Party in his own image.

The rest of the Conservatives are asking why Bernier is trying to hand the Justin Trudeau Liberals the next election.

Bernier says, “No, no, no, why don’t the rest of the Conservatives come join me in my new party? Those that don’t are handing Justin Trudeau the next election.”

Why the worry of the Liberal Party? It’s because the last time the conservative vote was split, Jean Chretien of the Liberals won three easy elections with the right vote being split.

But neither right wing side is backing down. I think this has more to do with Justin Trudeau than the right wing parties.

You see Justin Trudeau might sound like Liberals of the past but there is just one problem. His words mean nothing. He pretty much promised us proportional representation. He still promises redresses to First Nations that he never acts upon. He promises action on climate change while subsidizing big oil and ignoring the renewables businesses. He promoted women into his cabinet at a rate of 50%, but that means nothing as Justin Trudeau still has all the power.

Justin Trudeau may talk like a Liberal but he acts exactly like a conservative.

So I have to point out that there will be three right wing parties in the next federal election. The Conservatives, Maxime Bernier’s party and the Liberal Party. My hope is that the electorate will see the lack of choice on the right and choose the Greens or the NDP

Failing that the “Conservative” parties will not be afraid to have an all out power struggle. Because conservative Justin Trudeau will be the booby prize. And the Conservatives are fine with that.

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The Generational Shrinking of the Sitcom Family

I don’t remember when the shrinking between generations started happening in sitcoms. But the most obvious icon of this phenomena was Gary Coleman in Different Strokes. For that show there was the excuse that the parent wasn’t a blood parent to Gary Coleman’s character with the father being white and Gary Coleman being black. But, as per usual, Gary Coleman grew up to be much shorter than his parent as portrayed on that show.

Now some may say this phenomena is just that Hollywood picks short kids so they look younger than they actually are so the older kid can play younger with better acting ability. Blah, blah blah.

But if this were true, that means that Hollywood only employs tall adults and wee kids. Look, here they’ve managed to piss of both the tall and the small. Hollywood couldn’t possibly do this.

But even in a modern family sitcom – like Modern Family, all the kids as they’ve grown up are still considerably smaller than their parents.

No, no, it must simply mean that the average American family is really getting shorter, generation by generation.

It’s not like it hasn’t happened in the past. Suits of armour from the middle ages nowadays only fit the smallest men. It is believed that average height back then was about half a foot shorter.

The accepted reason for this change in height was that the people of the middle ages had poorer nutrition than we do today.

So I think we are shrinking again because of poor nutrition. Today a large apple costs about $1. Bad for you cake things made specifically for kids’ lunches cost about 50 cents. Nutrition is getting worse in many parts of North America than it was a generation ago.

Thanks for alerting us to the problem, Hollywood. Now if we could just go back to healthier, more expensive foods we would gain back that lost height.

If we don’t, our males will once again be able to fit into those middle age suits of armor. Well that is if they make them with bulging stomach plates.

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Tariffs Aren’t Just a Feature of Trump’s Policy

Let’s say you’re a 1 percenter like Trump is. Of course you only want minimum taxation on all of your doings. The best case of all would be if that tax were zero.

Now Trump also got elected because the lower classes of Americans wanted there to be less tax, too. The poor don’t want to pay tax and neither does the middle class. So Trump has decided that he will give everyone what they want.

Now something has to give when you have the biggest, most expensive military in the world and you want low or no taxation on your citizens. Trump has found his solution or so he thinks. Why he can tax people from abroad.

Except that he can’t tax people from abroad without taking over those countries first. So he has done the next best thing in his mind. He has applied tariffs to the goods that those other countries produce.

And that’s right, tariffs aren’t a feature of his economic policy, they are the main plank of Trump’s economic policy. The Tea Party is almost set to rejoice. Except that even they aren’t sure that tariffs are a good thing only. Other countries have retaliated with tariffs of their own.

Trump is trying his best to have things his own way. He has blamed trade negotiations between his government and Canada on the fact that Canada has too many tariffs on the American goods. When in fact Trump slapped Canada with 50 billion dollars in tariffs and all Canada has done is retaliated with, you guessed it, 50 billion dollars worth of tariffs on American goods.

Perhaps this is all a ruse so Canada won’t notice that because Trump acted weeks before Canada that Americans got weeks of tariffs free and clear. Watch for Trump to slap on more tariffs knowing that he is first to act. Watch him make the biggest fuss if he agrees to stop them that Canada and all other trading partners of the US must stop their tariffs at the precise moment Trumps stops his tariffs.

This few weeks thing is Trumps’s plan. Watch as every few weeks he slaps more tariffs on more countries. He will only give up on them if his own conditions are met.

And that’s how Trump intends to tax the world.

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North American Shoulders are Slowly Relaxing

The good news for North American shoulders is that VW Beetle auto sales are decreasing over time. Why should this matter to North American shoulders? Fewer VW Beetles mean the spotting of fewer “Punch Buggies” where the sadist punches the victim on the shoulder as a reward for being first to spot a Beetle. “No punch backs!” is quickly added by the non masochistic sadist.

The victim is left looking around bewilderedly hoping against all hope that a new Beetle will be spotted by himself first so he can take his revenge on the sadist.

So what is a poor sadist to do if VW finally pulls the plug on the Beetle? VW has done this once before and for awhile the Beetle was known as the New Beetle. Will there be a new golden age for shoulders?

I doubt it. All it takes is for one sadist to up his game and say, “Punch Mini! No punch backs!

Remember when driving games were fun? Well maybe they were just always a way to pass the time. But it would be nice if driving games weren’t painful. Sorry shoulders, everywhere. I just don’t see an upcoming golden age.

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