Saturday, February 13, 2016

My new knock knock joke

Knock knock.
Who's there?
Joe who?
Joe Clark. Dammit you guys are cruel.

Kijiji comedy

Another example of Big E bull

I spend a decent amount of time researching new music artists to expand my horizons. When I want to find out more about an artist I don't know very well, I usually go to

This site does a great job of describing the artists, indicating what their music is like, who they sound like, artist history, etc. They also list the artist's discography and in many cases, even let you sample 30 seconds of each song on an album. This is very helpful in deciding if I want to get the artist's music.

While looking to get some information on Brooklyn based band Wet, I searched the allmusic site and was greeted by this bullshit (see pic).

And people wonder why I hate the music industry establishment so much. You wanna hold back on the samples, fine. But holding back on information is just plain fascist.

There, I said it.


Things I learned lately - 13 Feb

  • In both Vermont and New Hampshire, the percentage of the population that identify themselves as non-religious is over 50%. Maine is at 50%.
  • In the idiom skeleton in the closet, skeleton originally referred to a disease, as in keeping the fact that you have one hidden from others. 
  • Eat, is a restaurant in New York City, where no one is allowed to talk. The rule is strictly enforced. Diners turn off their cell phones when they come in and step outside if they need to blow their noses. Hand gestures and facial expressions replace speech, but most people are focused on eating.
  • In Canada, there is no caffeine in Mountain Dew. There is a law that prohibits light-coloured soft drinks from containing caffeine.
  • The Burger Family line of hamburgers were originally introduced in American A&Ws in the 1960s, disappeared on both sides of the border in the 1980s, but was revived and expanded in the 1990s in Canada only.
  • The average cup size (bust) in Canada is 'C'. Coincidence? The largest average cup size in the world is D+ in Norway, Sweden, Russia and Finland.

Saturday, February 06, 2016


Here's a 9 letter word that you can remove one letter at a time and still make a new word without re-arranging the letters even.


Batman & Sherlock

When I discovered music as a kid

When I was a kid, my family and I spent most of our summers in Trenton, New Jersey. We stayed at my grandmom's house on Dayton Street.

My grandmom had an old floor model radio set in the dining room. This was my single most memorable source of entertainment. It was after all, the mid-1970s and the music scene was bursting with soul. Elton John was singing Philadelphia Freedom, the Bee Gees were singing Jive Talkin', KC and the Sunshine band were in their element, Stevie Wonder had Boogie On Reggae Woman. It was a great time for music.

My introduction to David Bowie was his smash hit Fame. This song got a lot of airplay in the tri-state area, probably in part because he made a lot of friends recording the album Young Americans in Philadelphia, and likely also because the song featured John Lennon backing him up. Lennon was huge in New York, only in part because he lived there. But this song Fame was amazing. I've heard it so often that I would typically be exhausted of it, but no. It certainly became one of many songs that bring me back to Trenton in the 1970s. I can tell you I was not impressed when Bowie re-worked the song for a 1990s remake. I considered it an abomination and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I've had a love-hate relationship with the Bowie catalogue over the years, as my musical tastes changed. But Fame will always be the definitive Bowie song for me.

As I mentioned, the mid 1970s produced a staggering amount of quality soul music. But powerful ballads were in evidence too, my absolute favourite being Elton John's Someone Saved My Life Tonight. My musical sphere was limited to whatever was playing on the radio. But while I was hanging out at a playground just around the corner, I met a family of kids who seemed to know a lot more about music than I did. I was intrigued, because this was the first time anybody ever wanted to talk to me about music. And these kids knew their music. They invited me to go back to their house, not far from my grandmom's on Dayton. Their parents weren't home, but they had the run of the place. I think the eldest child was an older teen, so it was all good. They had a stereo system! And record albums. Lots of albums. They would ask me if I had heard of this band or that artist. One of the first ones I said 'no' to was the band Chicago.

When they heard that I didn't know about Chicago, they went into full on demo mode. Now, it's one thing to listen to charting hits on a 1950s vintage, floor model, tube amplified, monophonic AM radio. It's quite another to be introduced to music on a good quality stereo system. Let's face it, Chicago isn't just guitars and drums either. It's horns and vocal harmonies and power chords. It's bombastic. On a proper stereo, it's a revelation. I was in awe. Why had I never heard this before? This was incredible music. The kids played one album after another in their entirety. We'd be playing some games, with Chicago blaring in the background, and every once in a while, they'd stop and say "OH! Listen to this song!", and we'd stop what we were doing and listen.

I tried to talk about this newly discovered band with my family, but they don't really talk about music. Unless you're talking to my dad about the old big bands and artists like Herb Alpert. I wish I could thank those kids, wherever they are, for opening my consciousness to the possibility that there was a lot more great music out there than what I had been hearing on the radio. It certainly had an impact when I was expanding my musical horizons in the 1980s.


Things I learned lately - 6 Feb

  • The cornea is the only part of a human body that has no blood supply; it gets oxygen directly through the air. The cornea is the fastest healing tissue in the human body, thus, most corneal abrasions will heal within 24-36 hours.
  • In Sweden, everyday office employees — unless they're high-ranking professionals — don't wear dress clothes. For the most part, jeans will get you by.
  • Almonds - seeds, not nuts.
  • Pistachios - seeds, not nuts.
  • Walnuts - seeds, not nuts.
  • Cashews - seeds of the cashew apple, not nuts.
  • Peanuts - legumes, not nuts.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Cat toes

How casual photography has changed

There was a time when before you took a photograph, you considered how many frames were left on your roll of film in the camera. The closer you were to the end of the roll, the more you chose carefully whether to take the picture. That's because once the roll was full, you had to get it developed and prints made. That cost a bloody fortune.

Now, we take pictures at a whim. Even before a whim. Taking pictures is now second nature.

Imagine someone from the 70s looking at all your pictures. This is me. This too. Also me. My cat. Cat again. Food. More food. Still food......


Things I learned lately - 30 Jan

  • On average, teens get their first smart phone when they're 11.
  • Listening to music while you work makes you less productive, especially if the task requires thought processing. It is fine for monotonous tasks. The best bet is listening to some music before doing intensive work.
  • 100 years ago, if you wanted to get to Perth, Australia from London, that would take you 30 days. The interior of Australia was 40 days' travel, due to the lack of railroads back then.
  • A 2014 Audi SQ5, powered with technology from Delphi, made it 3400 miles from San Francisco to New York City, driving itself 99% of the time. That is the first coast to coast autonomous drive.
  • In post civil war America, tipping was considered offensively un-American.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Greenhouse gas detectors?

We have annoying, loud and attention grabbing carbon monoxide detectors in our homes to alert us to the presence of CO.

Imagine if we had annoying, loud and attention grabbing carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide detectors in nature to alert us to the presence of high concentrations of greenhouse gases and pollutants.

For worst results...

Free Summer Day Camps

One of my experiences spending summers in Trenton, New Jersey as a kid that will always stay with me was the summer camp system they had set up for neighbourhood kids. I don't know if this was a national thing, state-wide, or just something that happened in Trenton.

Every summer in the early to mid 1970s, select playgrounds at schools throughout Trenton hosted free, all-day summer camps during the work week. The school closest to me was the Grace A. Dunn Middle School (pictured). Any kid from the neighbourhood was welcome. I went too, even though I was just a foreign visitor. They didn't care. The camp was run by (I'm guessing) paid local teenagers. There were lots of crafts, games and of course all of the usual things you'd have in a playground of that era. Every day, at noon, a refrigerated truck would arrive and drop off more than enough boxed lunches for all the kids to enjoy. No cost. Needless to say, my parents loved that this was available, as I'm sure all local parents did.

Even better, several times per month, a bus would show up at the playground, and take us to a new destination each time. I got to visit the Benjamin Franklin Institute, the Philadelphia Zoo, Fort Dix, the Philadelphia Naval Yards, where I boarded both a mothballed battleship and a submarine. The boxed lunches even came along on these trips. The cost for these trips? Lunches? The camps themselves? Nothing. All paid for by the government. Until the program was cancelled by the Reagan administration.

Who knew?

Things I learned lately - 23 Jan

  • Researchers in Brazil have developed a new anaesthetic technique that could do away with the needle at the dentist's. A small, painless electric current augments a local painkiller (hydrogel, ointment, or spray), and the results is fast-acting and long-lasting.
  • I recently found out that my granddaughter's school is using Chromebooks in the classroom. Looks like Google is getting a foothold in education.
  • Holding your breath when someone sneezes or coughs near you accomplishes nothing.
  • There's a petition trying to stop Kanye West from recording a David Bowie cover album.
  • Oil is now cheaper than bottled water, by volume.
  • Tesla has a semi-autonomous (SA) car on the road now. Volvo plans to have fully autonomous (FA) by 2017. Tesla plans to have FA cars by 2020, as do Google, Ford, Nissan and Toyota. Mercedes is expecting SA by 2016. Audi anticipates FA by 2019.  BMW plans for SA by 2020 and FA by 2025. Honda is planning for SA by 2020 as is Kia.
  • Cinnamon Bun Oreos are a thing. I'm guessing US only.

Saturday, January 16, 2016


If you find yourself in NYC and see this symbol, it's trying to tell you that the item on the menu exceeds the recommended daily intake for sodium.

This could be a fun book

Berlin July 1945

Incredible colour footage showing the situation and utter destruction in Berlin, in summer 1945, just after the end of the Second World War.

For Watt!

Things I learned lately - 16 Jan

  • If an atom were the size of an NFL football stadium, the nucleus would be the size of a pea at the 50 yard line.
  • If the Milky Way were the size of the US, the solar system would be the size of a quarter.
  • Daredevil Gregg Godfrey jumped his semi-truck 166 feet to set a new world record and beat the previous record by more than 100 feet during the festivities at Evel Knievel Days in Butte, Montana.
  • Dutch company VolkerWessels aims to build roads entirely from recycled plastic that has been salvaged from oceans and incineration plants. They are so durable, they should last 50 years or more and are still recyclable after that.
  • You imagine objects via a view from above and tilted. Don't believe me? Ask someone to draw a coffee cup.

Saturday, January 09, 2016


Canadian: I'm going for a 3 hour drive to visit a friend.
Brit: 3 hour drive?! That requires packing. And vacation time off!
Australian: What I would give to only have to drive 3 hours somewhere.

They made me a store!

Earth is really old

This timeline as the distance across the US gives a really good sense of just how late we are in the grand scheme of the earth's total age.

Blew my mind.

In an alternate reality......

Things I learned lately - 9 Jan

  • The 'compare at' price on a price tag at Winners / Home Sense is completely made up.
  • The most popular NHL team in Washington and Oregon is the Vancouver Canucks.
  • YallQaeda and VanillaISIS. That's what mockers are calling the militants in Oregon who took over a federal building.
  • Ayyoub Momen, a staff scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, has invented an ultrasonic clothes drying technology that will dry an article of clothing in less than 30 seconds, using very little electricity.
  • Urinals at the airport in Schipol feature an image of a fly, to encourage men to aim better.
  • 15% of people admit to dropping their phone into the toilet at one time or another.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Words that we need to get rid of

  • Literally
  • Freemium
  • Ping
  • Synergy
  • Actualize
  • Bucketize
  • Spitball
  • Whatevs
  • Deliverables
  • Incentivize
  • Coopetition
  • Rightshoring
  • Hyperlocal
  • Antifragile