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Reflections on our trip to Ireland

This August (2023) we had the opportunity to travel to Ireland for a week-long visit. Judy and I had visited the emerald isle back about 20 years ago when we flew into Belfast and drove a couple hours across to Donegal, the most northerly part of the Irish Republic. The entrance to our airbnb Like

The unmistakable sound of revving motors

Today when I went thru the outside doors to the food court at the mall, I heard this odd whirring sound up ahead. It was clearly an electric motor, but I couldn’t remember hearing it before. Hearing loud noises at the food court is not unusual. Young kids seem to like the echo and hearing

Responsible government and voting in early Canada

Nellie McClung was an activist and “suffragette”, elected to the Alberta legislature in 1921. This article is about the development of “responsible government” and universal suffrage (the right of all adults to vote) in Canada. The granting of responsible government – where citizens rather than autocrats made decisions about governance – was a process that

Developing your “Ear” – Note Recognition

It’s pretty difficult to play the guitar if you can’t tell one note from another. This is what is called developing your “ear”. This skill helps you recognize when you are playing the correct note(s), when notes are higher or lower in pitch than others. And, of course, developing your ear helps you determine when

Practicing while you travel

Travelling can put a dent in your daily practice routine. Too bad, because you almost always have “dead time” between sight-seeing, meal-eating, etc. If you’re going to spend a few days in one location you might consider renting an instrument. On a trip to PEI a couple years ago (BCovid) I rented a trumpet and

Practice Suggestions for (New) Guitar Players

We all know that practicing is one of the most important ways to improve our guitar playing. But you may also know how easy it is to get side-tracked into spending time a lot of time doing unproductive things. Practice Routine 1 is a short series of exercises the beginning guitar player would do well

My Eddie Shack story

A few days ago I heard that Eddie Shack died at the age of 83. I was never a fan of the Leafs, but it was hard not to be a fan of Eddie Shack. About a decade after Shack had retired (in 1975) I was involved up to my wahzoo in minor hockey. I

What happens when your freedom conflicts with mine?

It is not uncommon these days to see people protesting the way authorities are “violating their freedom” by enforcing things like social distancing, encouraging the wearing of masks in public, or not allowing businesses like restaurants to openly conduct business. This type of protest is much more common in the United States than it is

Will online education finally start to take over?

The lockdown brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has meant kids of all ages are unable to attend school classes. This is particularly problematic for older kids – advanced high school and post secondary – because their future careers are being interrupted in a significant way. This is not so much a factor for younger

Check Out these Sample Practice Tracks

Now you can become a member of for just $10/year. PracticeTracks is a project of, a non-profit organization in Waterloo, Ontario, dedicated to encouraging young musicians and making music resources and opportunities available to them. Practice Tracks are play along songs and exercises that give new and aspiring musicians practice resources. These are

SJAM Jazz Band Concert – Dec 6, 2018

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The Evolution of Modern Logo Design

The way corporate logos are designed has evolved a lot, especially since after WWII, the advent of television, the “visualization” of popular culture, and the explosion of consumerism that really took off in the 1950s and 60s. Here is a short video published in The Atlantic in August, 2018 featuring one of the firms involved

The HMCS Ojibwa impressive but needs work

We visited the submarine display in Port Burwell a few years ago, and were impressed enough to take two of our grandsons, Liam and Jack, to visit the display this week. The HMCS Ojibwa served in the Canadian navy during the Cold War from 1965 to 1998. The ship was mothballed for a few years

Nice B&B in Springford with Alpacas

We spent a couple of days this week with Liam and Jack (two of our grandsons) golfing and visiting a few interesting spots down near Tillsonburg, Ontario. The highlight was a personal tour of the Alpacas B&B in Springford. Many thanks to Roelf and Francien owners of the Alpacas B&B for taking the time to

USA needs to fix its political situation

Another day, another series of Trump stories. This has been going on for almost two years now. Trump has infected American politics and there seems to be no antiseptic. He loves to dominate the news, and for almost two years now the media have willingly obliged him. The left-leaning media – CNN, New York Times,

Insider’s View of Medicine – Podcast with Dr. Nina Shapiro

This is an interesting podcast of a conversation Sam Harris recently had with Dr. Nina Shapiro on the state of medicine in the U.S. and more generally. Insider’s View of Medicine Related Posts:No Related Posts

3 Reasons for New Guitar Players to Practice Scales

I’d wager that just about everybody who ever took a music lesson has memories of playing scales. Can you just imagine…? You’re 10 years old – or 40 for that matter – and your teacher says “You should spend at least 10 minutes a day working on scales.” How many new music students have answered

History of the Guitar

The evolution of the modern guitar is a complicated one. Stringed instruments with some of the features of modern guitars have been used for about 4,000 years, as can be attested by archaeological evidence from digs in Egypt, Greece, Mesopotamia, and elsewhere where organized human civilizations have been found. The guitar didn’t really start to

Universal Basic Income podcast

I just listened to Sam Harris interview Andrew Yang about his proposals for a Universal Basic Income in the U.S. They also touched on Yang’s campaign to become President of the U.S. in 2020! If you don’t know, a the Universal Basic Income proposal (UBI) is the idea that every adult citizen would receive an

Why is the Guitar tuned like this?

It may not make sense to you at first, and you might just never think of it. The guitar is tuned the way it is for good physical-mechanical reasons. You have four fingers on your fingering hand, so the guitar strings are tuned 5 frets apart (except for the B string). That means you can