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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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Blogging about blogging: Block editor in wordpress

WordPress, written in PHP, is the lingua franca of the blogging world.

This is a mini-review about the new block editor in WordPress. The block editor is a new feature with this full-version upgrade in the WordPress blogging environment. Block editing is thought of in such grand terms by the WordPress programmers, that they have called it Gutenberg, after the first printing press. It replaces a more conventional editor, which has not posed me a problem in the past, and thus I see this editor as an attempt to fix things that were never broken.

When I write a blog article, my subject matter takes clear precedence over the tools I use. I do not wish to spend hours learning new ways of creating articles (which were already being created with the “old” tools and posing no problem) when really I ought to be concentrating on my writing. I am sure my audience, and most audiences, don’t care about what tools I used to edit an article; they just want to do a bit of reading and browsing.

My use of the editor caused many things to break from its first use. I had lengthy articles turn into a pea soup of words and images where the structure was broken. This, apparently, is due to a broken plugin I have somewhere, or something like that, I was told by a forum moderator. I disabled some plugins, and tried to get in with the “new mindset” that this new block editor is supposed to encourage. I look on with suspicion things which cause features to break which were not previously a problem.

In this new environment, all articles are thought of in terms of entities called “blocks”. As I understand it, a paragraph, a section of text, an image and a video, can all be separate blocks. Each block can be moved about, and edited separately. This is not well-implemented, as I had encountered toolbars pushing text out of the way, changing the visual quality from the way that it would end up when you read it. Toolbars would also have buttons turn up in strange places, and sometimes, I was not given the option to edit the code to add such formatting as text color, since the button allowing it was missing. In other cases, I would get multiple toolbars (toolbars would not disappear when I left a block), some HTML code would not be properly parsed, and instead bare HTML code would be shown in visual mode. Sometimes it would correct itself after some jiggery-pokery with the mouse and some buttons on the toolbar, but overall I found it tiresome, and symptomatic of a system that has not been well thought-out.

As a result, I have done what many bloggers have done, and disabled Gutenberg and gone back to the conventional editor that was there before. This feature, however, is a plugin, rather than part of the codebase. The plugin has a simple enough name: “Disable Gutenberg”.

I have never considered other blogging platforms, since Worpdress does the job so well, but I have heard more than once that other platforms have arisen that have newfangled ways to put a blog article together, such as Medium and Ghost. This apparently caused the world’s largest blogging platform (WordPress) to fear for its dominanace, and, consequently they needed to cobble together some new tools that would make it relevant to new bloggers deciding on what platform to use. The bug in the old code is not rooted in the code itself, but in the insecurity of the coders who program the platform. To anyone who is already blogging using WordPress, this is irrelevant. We don’t care about Medium or Ghost, we only care about writing our articles. It also on principle, should be irrelevant to most of the coders, who are largely volunteers on a huge open source project, and are mostly unpaid. I believe WordPress makes their money from owners of web servers who act as host to WordPress blogging environments such as GoDaddy, and I would imagine they don’t want to lose those accounts. So the rest of us who chose WordPress are made to suffer for a conflict that does not really involve us.

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In Memoriam, 2018

4 Jan Ray Thomas (vocalist, flautist for The Moody Blues) 76

Thomas Bopp

5 Jan Thomas Bopp (amateur astronomer; co-discovered comet Hale-Bopp) 68

5 Jan John Young (Apollo 16) 87

13 Jan Jeremy Inkel, Canadian musician (Front Line Assembly, Left Spine Down), 34.

Stan Hovdebo

14 Jan Stan Hovdebo (Canadian MP), age 92. Hovdebo served as the MP for Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, and then of Saskatoon between 1979 and 1993. He succeeded John Diefenbaker, and represented the NDP.

19 Jan Dorothy Malone (Actress: Peyton Place, Basic Instinct), 93

19 Jan Alison Shearmur (film producer: Hunger Games, Rogue One, Cinderella), 54

20 Jan John Coleman (co-founder of The Weather Channel) 83

25 Jan Tommy Banks (Cdn Jazz musician, Senator) 81

Mort Walker

27 Jan Mort Walker (Beetle Bailey, Hi and Lois) Made a lifetime career in cartoons  94

4 Feb John Mahoney (Frasier) 77 

Arthur Black

21 Feb Arthur Black (CBC Radio’s Basic Black) One of the wittiest radio hosts I have heard from. He was a joy to listen to, and made me look forward to Saturday when he would come on CBC. Age 7

Billy Graham

21 Feb Billy Graham (Teleevangelist) While I did not sense that Billy Graham was speaking to any particular branch of Christianity, his crusades were hard to turn away from when they came on TV, regardless of your religion. When he spoke, you listened, all the way to the end. He was pastor to American presidents and politicians. Age 99

David Ogden Stiers

3 Mar David Ogden Stiers (M*A*S*H). Stiers was the arrogant, abrasive, surgeon which grew on us some time into the MASH series. Age 75

4 Mar Roger Bannister (first to break the 4-minute mile) 88

7 Mar Gary Burden (Album cover designer: After the Gold Rush, Deja Vu) 84

10 Mar Hubert de Givenchy (Givenchy clothing line) 91

Nokie Edwards (front)

12 Mar Nokie Edwards (Lead Guitarist for The Ventures, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2008) 82

14 Mar Adrian Lamo (Computer Hacker, LGBTQ activist, Wikileaks, exposed Chelsea Manning) 37

Stephen Hawking

14 Mar Stephen Hawking (Physicist, writer, lecturer). I don’t know if I need bragging rights to say that, yes, I had actually read all of A Brief History of Time. It was an easy read, a testimony to Hawking’s clarity of thought, but if you never tried to read it, you wouldn’t know, and many who never tried, usually assume that it is a difficult read. I urge anyone who is curious about the universe and had simply assumed that it would be difficult, to go to your library and crack open a copy and read for yourself. Aged 76.

Peter and wife Melanie

28 Mar Peter Munk (Cdn philanthropist, Barrick Gold) Remembered mostly for the Munk Debates on CBC Radio, which regularly happen at the University of Toronto. Aged 90.

Stephen Bochco

2 Apr Stephen Bochco (producer, Hill Street Blues, and NYPD Blue). Bochco had revolutionized the Police Drama serial with these two series. They got into the lives of the police officers, and showed them as conflicted, imperfect, but still doing their jobs. There was a definite change in the kinds of cop shows both before and after Hill Street Blues, produced by anyone.  Aged 74.

4 Apr Ron White (Cdn actor, Republic of Doyle) Played organized crook Vick Saul in several installments of Republic of Doyle. Aged 64.

5 Apr Tim O’Connor (Peyton Place, General Hospital) 90

7 Apr Don Pitts (Talent agent – Orson Welles, Casey Kasem, Mel Blanc) 90

Harry Anderson

16 Apr Harry Anderson (Dave’s World, Night Court). Played the starring role in Night Court as judge Harry Stone. Aged 65.

Barbara Bush

17 Apr Barbara Bush (American First Lady and Second Lady) 92

1 May Robert B. Kennedy (Mass. House of Representatives) 78

10 May Terje Larsen “The Wanderer” (convicted serial burglar) 60

12 May Kevin Tierney (Film producer: Bon Cop/Bad Cop, The Trotsky) 67

13 May Margot Kidder (activist, actor – Superman, Black Christmas, Amityville Horror) 69

15 May Tom Wolfe (Journalist, novelist) 88

16 May Joseph Campanella (actor – Days of Our Lives, Mannix) 92

American Stamp, 1973

19 May Robert Indiana I had always wondered who was responsible for the “LOVE” logo, famous since the 1970s. He also designed sculptures containing lesser-known four-letter words, such as HEAL and HOPE. His Love sculpture is sufficiently famous to have earned itself a commemmorative American stamp in 1973. Aged 89.

Philip Roth

22 May Philip Roth (Author: Portnoy’s Complaint, American Pastoral, The Human Stain). Portnoy’s Complaint was a huge success, and was much analyzed in its day. His novels challenged our views on sexuality, and what it means to be American. Aged 85.

28 May Dick Tuck (American political prankster) 94

Paul Boyer

2 Jun Paul Boyer (American biochemist, 1997 Nobel Prize) Elucidated the mechanisms for ATP (adenosine triphosphate) syntheis. He also won the Nobel Prize in 1997. Age 99.

Nick Meglin

2 Jun Nick Meglin (Mad magazine writer/editor). It was said that he provided a lot of the voice and satirical humor that was Mad magazine. Aged 82.

3 Jun Kent McRay (Producer: Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie) 89

5 Jun Kate Spade (New York Fashion Designer) 55

Danny Kirwan

8 Jun Danny Kirwan (Fleetwood Mac guitarist). Guitarist for Fleetwood Mac from 1968-71, and contributor to four of their albums. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Aged 68

8 Jun Anthony Bourdain (Writer, chef, TV Host) 61

15 Jun Nick Knox (Drummer, The Cramps) 60

24 Jun Stanley Anderson (Actor, The Drew Carey Show, Spiderman) 78

26 Jun Daniel Pilon (Actor, Dallas, Ryan’s Hope) 77

Joe Jackson

27 Jun Joe Jackson (Father of the Jackson Family, Manager of The Jacksons) 89

1 Jul Bruce Baker (Geneticist) 72

2 Jul Alan Longmuir (Bassist, Bay City Rollers) 70

5 Jul Jim Malloy (1964 Grammy award winning Recording engineer for Henry Mancini, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley) 87

7 Jul Alan Johnson (3-time Emmy award winning choreographer: The Producers, Young Frankenstein) 81

13 Jul Ray Frenette (Premier of New Brunswick, 1997-1998) 83

20 Jul Marcario Gomez Quibus (Movie poster artist for Some Like it Hot, The Ten Commandments, Psycho) 92

21 Jul Elmarie Wendel (Actress: 3rd Rock From The Sun, The Lorax) 89

24 Jul Archie Marr (Keyboardist, Bay City Rollers) 66

25 Jul Patrick Williams (Composer, Columbo, Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart) 79

Gervase Markham

27 Jul Gervase Markham (British programmer, Mozilla). In his short life, graduated from Oxford, then became “Governator” of the Mozilla project by age 23. Aged 40.

5 Aug Charlotte Rae (Actress, Different Strokes, The Facts of Life, 101 Dalmatians: The Series) 92

7 Aug Stan Mikita (Hockey player, Chicago Black Hawks, Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame) 78

Mary Pratt

14 Aug Mary Pratt (Newfoundland Painter). Still life artist with a keen sense of light and form; survived by husband and artist Christopher Pratt. A googling for her image mostly brought up painting after painting. Aged 83.

Aretha Franklin

16 Aug Aretha Franklin (Vocalist, called The Queen of Soul, 18x Grammy Award winner) Aged 76.

19 Aug Kofi Anan (Secretary-General of the UN) 80

22 Aug Ed King (Guitarist, Lynyrd Skynyrd) 64

John McCain

25 Aug John McCain (American Navy Officer, Senator, Congressman, Presidential Candidate) Aged 81.

Neil Simon

26 Aug Neil Simon (Playwright, The Odd Couple, Screenwriter, The Goodbye Girl). Aged 91.

4 Sep Bill Daily (Supporting actor, I Dream of JeannieBob Newhart) 91

5 Sep Gilles Pelletier (played Father Leclerc in the film Jesus of Montreal) 93

6 Sep Richard DeVos (Co-founder of Amway) 92

6 Sep Thad Mumford (Producer and writer, Electric Company, MASH, The Cosby Show) 67

6 Sep Burt Reynolds (Smokie and the Bandit, Deliverance) 82

12 Sep Diane Leather (first woman to break the 5-minute mile) 85

23 Sep Gary Kurtz (Collaborated with George Lucas in Star Wars) 78

Marty Balin

29 Sep Marty Balin (a founding member of Jefferson Airplane). Age 76.

Peggy Sue Gerron

1 Oct Peggy Sue Gerron (Namesake of Buddy Holly hit Peggy Sue). Aged 78.

12 Oct Pik Botha (former South African president) 86

14 Oct Donald MacDonald (Canadian politician) 86

15 Oct Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft) 65

16 Oct Dennis Hof (Brothel owner, Restaurant owner, won Nevada’s election for 36th district after death on 7 Nov 2018) 72

23 Oct Louis O’Neill (Quebec politician and academic) 93

Hugh Mcdowell

6 Nov Hugh Mcdowell (cellist, Electric Light Orchestra). Aged 65

6 Nov Bernard Landry (former Quebec Premier, 2001-2003) 81

Stan Lee

12 Nov Stan Lee (Marvel Comics: Creator of: The Hulk, Thor, Spider Man) Aged 95

24 Nov Ray Hill (LGBT activist) 78

25 Nov Gloria Katz (screenwriter, Indiana Jones, American Graffiti) 76

26 Nov Bernardo Bertolucci (director, Last Tango in Paris, The Last Emperor) 77

George H W Bush

30 Nov George Herbert Walker Bush (former U. S. President, former CIA director). Aged 91.

7 Dec Victor “The Mascara Snake” Hayden (Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band) 70

7 Dec Paul Henderson (Pulitzer Prize (1982)) 79

9 Dec Lyudmila Alexeyeva (“grandmother” of the Russian human rights movement) 91

13 Dec Nancy Wilson (Jazz singer, Grammies in 1965, 2005, and 2007) 81

Penny Marshall

18 Dec Penny Marshall (“Laverne” of Laverne and Shirley, directed Big) 75

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Scientific Linux

Tweet Scientific Linux is the Linux distribution used by CERN and Fermilabs, which I had the experience of installing on to a USB stick to see how it ran. The choice of a USB stick was for many reasons. For one, all my computers are running an installed OS I am happy with, and this was […] […]

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More political articles on the Silent Majority

Tweet I believe the third time anyone writes an article on the same creepy topic, it is time either to cease and desist, or to make this into an ongoing series, embracing the concept whole. Twice before, I have written with a straight face about how the dead participate in all parts of the electoral process, being […] […]

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Truth and Action

Tweet Pontius Pilate answered a life-and-death question with a question: “What is truth?” We recognize his response as a indecisiveness masking avoidance behaviour, since truth is well-defined, requiring evidence. Generally, even the answer to the question “What is truth?” needs argument and evidence. But truth without evidence is undefinable. It can be anything we want it to […] […]

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Why are they still coming?

Tweet I noticed that the United States government has grown a lot more intolerant of newcomers to the country. The latest wave has to do with the perceived threat of the migrant caravan of people trying to leave Central America, and enter the United States as refugees through Mexico. I am pretty sure they already know […] […]

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Dennis Hof Joins Silent Majority, Takes Nevada by Landslide

Tweet Dennis Hof (1946-2018) has been part of the Silent Majority for the past two weeks, and is now Republican Representative-elect of the 36th District of the State of Nevada House of Assembly. Readers of my website will know that this is not the first time a dead man has won an election. Indeed, dead people […] […]

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BOSE Sleep Buds, and a note about fraudulent websites

Tweet Bose Sleepbuds have helped me sleep this past week, so they appear to live up to the claim of using white noise and nature sounds to mask outside noises. The question is, was it really worth the $325 price tag? Other reviewers have complained about the earbuds not fitting properly, despite the three sizes of earbud […] […]

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Rape accusations are a distraction

Tweet It is just in the character of politics that accusations of sex crime become more important than actual corruption and bias on the job. I do not wish to downplay Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford’s narrative. I was moved, as would anyone be who listened to even part of it. But it is still a distraction in […] […]

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August in a Hamilton Airport Lounge

Tweet After I was compelled to go all the way to Hamilton to catch a plane to Edmonton to visit my parents, I had an earworm in my head – a song that wouldn’t leave my head: Bruce Cockburn’s January in a Halifax Airport Lounge, which appeared many decades ago. It had its imagery: the jets flying […] […]

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Political Correctness

Tweet Today, I am going to possibly offend both sides of a sensitive discussion about political correctness, and that’s because my opinion here is neither on the “left” nor “right”. I think that means I will piss just about everyone off with this article. If discussions on political correctness make you angry, then feel free to […] […]

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Todd Taliaferro’s Trump Limerick series Part XIV

Tweet This is the last entry. I would like this to go on forever, but all things must end. Trump just can’t be bothered with laws He scoffs the Emoluments Clause Though most folks suspect him The brain dead protect him At most we’ve got probable cause Kim Jong Un and Trump should be friends Upon them our […] […]

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Todd Taliaferro’s Trump Limerick series Part XIII

Tweet The closer we get to the facts The more freakin’ guilty Trump acts He thinks we’re all dumb And under his thumb I hope that I’m there when he cracks Trump tries to pretend he’s not nuts His clan plays along for tax cuts And Putin’s web trolls Still act like assholes From far off (cuz […] […]

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Young Trump staffers and their dating troubles

Tweet I think we can agree that Business Insider is not exactly a Leftist online publication. The news item has been echoed on MSNBC, GQ, The Cut, Vice – and possibly many other media (Politico apparently broke the story), and it lays bare a rather painful on-the-job hazard of a Trump Employee or supporter working in […] […]

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Todd Taliaferro’s Trump Limerick series Part XII

Tweet Trump’s doc says he’s fit as a fiddle But I think he’s fudging a little No doc talks like that Plus Trump’s crazy fat Too fat for a framework that brittle All of the president’s men Run out of mean tricks now and then Trump chides them, “You jerks, Just go with what works: Investigate Clinton […] […]

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Todd Taliaferro’s Trump Limerick series Part XI

Tweet Republican voters must wonder What sort of a spell are they under? Fox News says Trump’s cool But he’s Putin’s tool Should we have to pay for their blunder? We can’t keep on going this way Our plight seems more desperate each day I think we all know That Trump’s got to go There’s just no […] […]

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Todd Taliaferro’s Trump Limerick series Part XI

Tweet Stress made Devin Nunes get sick Trump told him, “This should do the trick” “Hey wait,” Devin cried “That’s pure cyanide!” “Don’t worry,” Trump said, “It works quick.” “Those bastards have me in a fix,” Trump whined, “Democrats are all dicks I’m useless, they say ‘Cause I sleep all day Please move your hand faster, Ms […] […]

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Todd Taliaferro’s Trump Limerick series Part X

Tweet Stress made Devin Nunes get sick Trump told him, “This should do the trick” “Hey wait,” Devin cried “That’s pure cyanide!” “Don’t worry,” Trump said, “It works quick.” “Those bastards have me in a fix,” Trump whined, “Democrats are all dicks I’m useless, they say ‘Cause I sleep all day Please move your hand faster, Ms […] […]

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Todd Taliaferro’s Trump Limerick series Part IX

Tweet There once was a VP named Pence Whose passion for God was intense He called his wife “Mother” Had eyes for no other And lacked but one thing: common sense A filthy rich fat guy named Trump Saw his pageant beginning to slump His beauty queen cried Trump took it in stride And canned her when […] […]

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Todd Taliaferro’s Trump Limerick series Part VIII

Tweet Our president promised a wall The neighbors would pay for it all But when it came time To show us the dime All Trump could do was just stall A well-to-do nitwit named Trump Was a liar, a thief and a chump He said “Yes I’m rich, The son of a bitch, My real name’s actually […] […]

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