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In Memoriam 2015

January 1: Donna Douglas: Played daughter Elly May Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies. (Age 82). 1: Mario Cuomo: Governor of New York (1983 to 1994) (Age 82). 2: James Cecil Dickens: Known as Little Jimmy Dickens, best known for his song May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up ...

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The disappearance of misc.activism.progressive and the emergence of Thought Crime Radio

Almost four years ago, the articles in the USENET newsgroup misc.activism.progressive ground to a halt, and moderator Rich Winkel has all but disappeared from the USENET, whom I learn resided in Harrisburg (up until 2010, at least), a half hour or so drive from his ...

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Sounding off on the end of CanCon and the CRTC

I guess with the recent decision to axe all cancon requirements for daytime programming in Canada, the CRTC is crawling toward its own irrelevance. Let's not be naive, Canadian culture is that much more weakened without the protection it partially enjoyed from American influence. With ...

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Eldred, Saskatchewan on the map … barely

Eldred, Saskatchewan on the map ... barely

I've written about obscure Saskatchewan communities before. Here is another community far to the north of Unity. My ancestors from France settled here. Many of my ancestors were pioneers that broke new farming ground nearest to a community called Eldred, Saskatchewan. Eldred was about 10 km ...

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Zero

Once upon a time, around the year 525 during the reign of Pope John I, a monk named Dionysius invented the idea of Anno Domini by producing a calendar which marked the time since the birth of Christ. The numbering of the years was adopted ...

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Fortune Cookies for Human Rights

Fortune Cookies for Human Rights

You know, I was minding my own business in this classy Chinese restaurant, engorging myself on their copious buffet, had my fill, and was handed the bill with an accompanying fortune cookie. This fortune cookie (the one to the left) really existed, and I never saw ...

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Getting f(x) notation to work in Maple

Getting f(x) notation to work in Maple

Maple is a robust math environment which can graph, solve equations, and solve for the unknown with the aid of its computer algebra solver (CAS), which is capable of computing exact roots of cubic functions, for example. I wanted to demonstrate for myself that Maple could ...

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Kudos to the 1050 CHUM Memorial Blog

Kudos to the 1050 CHUM Memorial Blog

Recently, I've been hit (my website that is) by someone possibly checking his plethora of links from his/her website, and when I back-traced it, I find this cool blog which acts as a convincing historical shrine to the late great 1050 CHUM Radio in Toronto. ...

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The Obfuscation of Electronics: The Behringer Xenyx 502

The Obfuscation of Electronics: The Behringer Xenyx 502

This is more like a meta-review. I have gone to Canada Computes where nearly the entire Behringer line is sold, and was impressed by the specs. But does it do what I want, the way I want it? I face a number of obstacles, being a ...

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In Memoriam, 2016

Tweet What a year. A lot of really well-liked musicians and entertainers have shuffled off this mortal coil. Indeed, it was a depressing year for celebrity deaths, and increased global warming and Trump winning the election didn’t help things. We witness the cosmically interconnected deaths of multiple people within the same sitcom; both Carrie Fisher (Princess […] […]

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Music of the 80s

Tweet The 1980s also had some great stuff, but I admit what I liked mostly was the obscure college radio stuff. Having been a former college radio DJ, I had the chance to sample through literally hundreds of songs in search for that “diamond in the rough”. In its day, finding The Jesus and Mary Chain’s […] […]

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Why it doesn’t suck: Music from the Seventies V

Tweet You Should Be Dancing was the first serious disco hit for the Bee Gees in 1976, a year before Saturday Night Fever. The song later made it on the soundtrack as well, although it was not played on the film. Neither was Jive Talking.  It used the signature falsetto that was found in many of […] […]

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Why it doesn’t suck: Music from the seventies IV

Tweet The blog that has inspired this series said that the late Minnie Riperton (1947-1979) screamed the lyrics to “Loving You”. We need to distinguish between screaming (something the lead singer of a group like Journey would do), and seriously hitting the high notes. God blessed Riperton with divine vocal cords, with a range of five […] […]

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Why it doesn’t suck: Music from the seventies III

Tweet It was 1972, and while commercialism of the music industry was on the rise, there was still enough genuine and original songs to call 1972 a high water mark in popular music. Things got even better in ’73, but then a long, slow decline happened that persists to this day. In my opinion, 1972 was also the […] […]

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[Video Monday] A duet with David Bowie and Marianne Faithfull

Tweet Can you picture Bowie and Faithfull doing “I got you babe”? It would seem to be a union as un-convincing as they come. The bizarre, brazen outfits don’t make up for it either.   […]

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Crappy Album Covers #221 -- Unique Reiligious Concepts

Tweet “I stood at Calvary in a business suit, but no one told me that they were gonna have a toga party” is how I paraphrase one MSN blogger who discussed this album. But this could also be one of the earliest depictions of Supply-Side Jesus in a business suit. No one would crucify Supply-side Jesus, according […] […]

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Crappy Album Covers #220 — Poorly thought-out concepts

Tweet This is an awfully dry album cover for the former members of The New Pornographers and Wolf Parade. I mean, a courtroom? In their 2009 album “Enemy Mine”, it is not clear if there is any connection at all between this cover and the album’s contents. Apart from that, this kind of art might be OK […] […]

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Crappy Album Covers #214 -- Where they learn to dance

Tweet Cuban born Perez Prado (1916-1989) showed himself as the Head Honcho of Mambo University. I guess it was the Latin kind, not the horizontal kind.  During his tenure, Prado was known as the King of Mambo. Living for most of his life in Mexico, he had a long recording and performing career which extended from the […] […]

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Crappy Album Covers #201 -- Even more Monsters!

Tweet Marty Gold and His Orchestra, with an album that more than likely hails from around the mid to late 1950s, called “Hi Fi Fo Fum”. Not sure if that is supposed to be Gold dressed as The Green Giant on the cover. This site reports that this album hails from a period when Gold’s work […] […]

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Crappy Album Covers #196 — Superstition and legend

Tweet The Incans were ahead of their time. Their legends may have given us the first samples of pornography. Voice of the Xtabay is a legend about a woman who has sex with countless men, then died with Xtabentum (fragrant flowers) growing on her grave. It has all the elements of a plotless porn film. All […] […]

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About the Great American Songbook

Tweet I once was listening to my favourite Jazz station in the Toronto area when I heard the announcer say something about The Great American Songbook (GAS). It was one of those phrases which kind of rolls off the tongue and seems to have no real meaning, but is a phrase often used by announcers at […] […]

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Brothers In Arms: A belated review of the versions

Tweet Not really having heard the original Dire Straits version of “Brothers in Arms” when it came out (it was one of these things I was planning on “getting around to”), my first experience with the song was through protest singer Joan Baez in 1988, with a radio-only compilation back when I was a university DJ. […] […]

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Crappy Album Covers #126 — Four Guys on a Cover

Tweet Here is the first of the cliche “Four guys on an album cover”. I first misread the title as “Jack not again”, but saw that the “n” had a tail like the way some people cursively write their lowercase p’s. So, the album set in what is likely the early 70s, is “Jackpot Again”. I have […] […]

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Crappy Album Covers #125 — More Accordions!

Tweet Yes, the accordion is, apart from bagpipes, the instrument everyone loves to hate. Today we have a double bill. First, the duo Doug Setterberg and Stan Sorenson have this album called “Yust Try to Sing Along In Swedish”. Sorenson and Setterberg might be Swedish by ethnicity, but all sources I have place these two in Seattle, […] […]

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Crappy Album Covers #123 — Nature Photos

Tweet The Willy Wall Trio is a group of musicians whose soft brand of jazz seems to have an appeal with many sites on the internet. I have seen titles from this album in compilations and from people reviewing the record. One of the tracks, “Cha Cha 89” does not place this record in 1989 for […] […]

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Crappy Album Covers #122 — Unpopular instruments

Tweet It is unclear to me whether this “Scottish Sing-A-Long” uses the bagpipes, but the album cover makes it clear that the reactions to bagpipes is still felt by many.This drawing was made after someone probably catheterised one of the pipes from the bagpipe to his nether region, so that every time he blew, … well, […] […]

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Crappy Album Covers #121 — Phallic Symbols III

Tweet Whirlwind Heat formed 12 years ago in Grand Rapids, Michgan, and continue to make recordings of their own unique brand of alternative music. For their 2006 offering, their second full-length album, they find that this young lady closes her eyes when she licks her wood. Or maybe she was told to. You never know with these […] […]

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Crappy album Covers #120 — Plastic Surgery Disasters

Tweet Just before work ended, there was this explosion at the Red Rubber Coating factory, and this poor fella couldn’t escape in time.  This is Tripping Daisy’s 1995 offering, called “I Am An Elastic Firecracker.” What seems a little more worrisome is the skin tone of the fellow underneath the read paint. This is the 1991 single from […] […]

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Crappy Album Covers #119 — From Here To Paternity

Tweet Not much is known about Fontanna and His Orchestra. But the guy on the cover of “Music for Expectant Fathers” seems a little presumtive. He seems to be all geared up to have a boy, but how does he know that? I am guessing that this LP came out before the days of ultrasound. Germans Ralf […] […]

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