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There’s No Substitute for Practice When it Comes to Learning the Guitar

The other day I saw a promotion for a new mobile phone app, supposedly created to help you master the guitar. I left a comment in which I said that an app won’t do you any good unless you put in your time, work at it, and practice on a regular basis. That comment immediately

Online Guitar Lessons – Part 1

There are hundreds of free guitar lessons and demonstrations on Youtube. Many of them link to websites where you can find more free lessons, and, more frequently, packages of instructional videos you have to pay to access or download. How effective are free guitar lessons like this? Can they be as good as traditional lessons

Moncton a surfing destination

On our way back from PEI this summer we drove through Moncton, N.B. In Ontario we’re used to thinking of “down east” places like Charlottetown and St. Johns as somewhat quaint backwaters that have tourist potential. New Brunswick? Well, there’s call centres and the Magnetic Hill, but that’s about it. These stereotypes are obviously outdated.

Religion in Ontario schools

In a recent opinion piece in the Waterloo Region Record, Luisa d’Amato suggests petty infighting among separate school board trustees is more evidence we don’t need these trustees at all. Many citizens would take this a big step further, and argue it shows why we don’t need a separate school system in Ontario. I’m well

CBC Kitchener-Waterloo a welcome addition

A few years ago CBC started broadcasting to the K-W area at 89.1 FM because the Toronto frequency (99.1) had problems in this area. Then, several months ago 89.1 was elevated to a full regional station with local K-W news and events coverage and a local staff. I’ve been listening to CBC Toronto since I

Blackberry’s App Problem

Where are all the apps. OK, let’s admit it. Blackberry is in serious trouble. The more bad news we hear about layoffs and bad sales numbers, the more the company’s propsects for recovery are hurt. Even diehard BB lovers like the guys at Crackberry.com are starting to question recent moves the company has made. Unquestionably,

Anti-atheist discrimination in the US Post Office

Shoes from Germany for atheists. Apparently not appreciated by some US Postal workers. I recently read a report of a delivery test done by the company that produces “Atheist” brand shoes. Yes, I know, why exactly anyone would name their shoes “atheist” is an interesting question which I will deal with in another post. But

South Korea’s impressive economy

Samsung makes lots of phones. The news this week that Samsung was unveiling its newest smartphone, got me thinking about Korea. In spite of the instability involved in being in a technical state of war with their cousins to the north, South Korea is doing amazingly well in the world. Korea was divided after WWII.

Bobby Orr turns 65 this week

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Dominican supremacy in World Baseball

The undefeated team from the Dominican Republic The World Baseball Classic finished up this week after what seems like about two months of preliminary games. The coverage was spotty at best, so it was relatively difficult to follow what was happening. For us in North America it was like the divisions that played over seas

Just another day in the RC Church

Is the Roman Catholic church serious? I guess they have to do it somehow: choosing a replacement Pope. But you have to admit, it’s a pretty bizarre exercise. Many non-catholics like me think this just underlines how weird some RC traditions are, and in the minds of religious sceptics this cements numerous negative feelings about

Is Apple serious about its “smart watch”?

Apple is secretive about their watch project, but reportedly have about 100 designers working on it. This buzz about an Apple watch is just slightly puzzling to me. Actually, I am surprised to hear that watches still represent a profitable (and expanding) consumer goods market niche. I stopped wearing mine about 30 years ago because

Indian Chief’s salary demonstrates lack of controls

There is something terribly wrong with a system that allows political “leaders” to manipulate the system of governance to score large salaries, while shortchanging the very people they are elected to serve. I know we’ve become accustomed to this sort of thing, but, really…? This was (humorously?) highlighted in the media story that broke this

BB 10 and the Mobile Computing Future of Blackberry

One of the many (formerly) RIM buildings in Waterloo. BB10 was launched last week, and I noticed that very afternoon that the sign people had two new signs on the buildings down the street. RIM logos were gone, replaced by Blackberry logos. Personally I think this name change thing is pretty unimportant. I guess it

More balanced picture of Indian reservations in the James Bay area

The inside of Fort Albany Chief Edward Metatawabin’s home. For the past months we’ve been fed a steady diet of dismal reports from Attawapiskat in the James Bay area. Combined with Theresa Spence’s fish broth diet and the Idle No More protests, this has been a particularly bad bad news period for Canada/First Nations relations.

The problem with Apple

I recently stumbled on this article callled “Bad Apple: Could the Era of Exploitation Outsourcing Be Near Its End?” in which the author argues that the moral implications of Apple’s use of Chinese labour to cut costs is catching up with them. Apple’s success, he argues, has to some extent been built on the backs

Teachers biting the hand that feeds them

Last week when the Ontario Elementary teachers union called a wildcat strike, inconveniencing millions of Ontarions in the process, it was predictable what our weasle Premier, Dalton McGuinty would do. Rather than confront the union and penalize them for holding an illegal strike, the McGuinty government put the case before the Ontario Labour Relations Board

Gun Control and Government Tyranny

Piers Morgan of CNN has recently raised the hackles of the pro-gun folks in the U.S. by inviting a number of those folks to his show, and essentially setting them up for what seems like a blatant gun control pitch. As many commenters have pointed out, Morgan and CNN have been losing viewers and this

Stroke Update – Jan 14, 2013

A few months ago I created a little video with the help of Judy and my grandkids, called “Cane Golf“. It was in late August, exactly three months after I had my stroke, and a little less than two months after I came home. It’s easy to lose perspective when you’re going through something like

The problems of Attawapiskat are not going away any time soon

I get shivers just thinking about Attawapiskat. Shivers as in cold and damp. The Indians of that community may have a long long history of living out there in the elements near James Bay, but I just can’t believe that makes it any more pleasant. This really is one of the big problems with communities