Pink Floyd Redux…

Posted on February 4, 2006 by

Luther Wright and the Wrongs, a Kingston, ON band (FYI – Kingston is also home of the Tragically Hip, Don Cherry, Doug Gilmour, Kirk Muller, and Dan Akroyd – not to mention me for 5 years!), is the artist behind this loaner album. He said “Don't think about it too much, just listen.”

Well, let me tell you, at first I was taken a little by urprise by the sounds. But, soon the lyrics I have enjoyed so many times over the years started to bring it all together for me and my foot started tapping, fingers started snapping, and oh yeah, I even started singing along (yeah, scary thought)!

The funny part of this whole things is… Luther Wright and the Wrongs remade Pink Floyd's “The Wall” album in a very peculiar way… in BLUEGRASS! What a hoot, and I like it! OK, in all honesty, I have an exceptionally eclectic taste in music anyway…

So, Rob gave me a little history behind this album… Luther Wright apparently, like most people with any taste in the world, is a huge Floyd fan. He always thought he could hear a bluegrass sound “trying to get out” whenever he heard the album, so he wrote away to Roger Watters and asked if he could do the project. Roger replied with two words – Good Luck!

The album is called “Rebuild the Wall” and on it, they covered all 26 of the original songs from the two CD release, but manage to keep it on one disc by cutting out a lot of the special effects and background action. They also play with the whole concept by showing their wall made out of haybales rather than bricks… Oh yeah, and if you are a PC type, they also toned down some of the lyrics for a more PG14 audience…

I stopped off at John E's office after receiving it (John is an even more eclectic music buff than I am, and has spent many million dollars more than I trying to feed his addiction), and he had never heard it. After a few minutes listening, we started talking about the concept. Turns out, he loves it and pointed me in the direction of a release by David Grisman (Bluegrass performer) and Jerry Garcia (yes, the Deadhead himself) called “So What” that covers Miles Davis and John Coltrane songs in bluegrass, complete with mandolin riffs… Unreal! My eyes (and ears) have been opened! And I thought Phish doing Gin and Juice was twangy… -)

Anyway, if you have never heard one of your favourite bands covered in a completely different sound, try it, it is quite an experience!>

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Ontario man on Ralphbucks mailing list

Posted on February 2, 2006 by

An Ontario man received a $400 Ralphbucks cheque despite the fact he has never lived or worked in Alberta.

Hey Ralph, I spent 2 hours at the airport in Edmonton in 1985. At least I was actually there! Can I have a cheque too?

You know, no matter how rich the province is becoming, many people still remember when it was still just poor dirt farms which were the recipient of considerable aid from other provinces, including the maritimes, the area of the country the Alberta government and our new Prime minister seems to think is a depressed welfare cesspool with a “culture of defeat”. It was only a few years ago that maritime farmers were shipping hay out to their farmers during the draught. But apparently memories are short.

They complain about “Western alienation” (well, at least they did until one of their boys finally won an election), yet they snub the rest of the country by simply doling out cash to try and keep the masses happy. I guess it is an Alberta way of thinking (Mr Harper's daycare plan must have been devised from the Ralphbucks idea – it isn't a plan, it is a payout). Personally, I think that $1.4 billion is wasted going out as “payouts” and might have been spent mending a few relationships with other provinces or at least beefing up some of the social programs Alberta has been cutting under King Ralph.>

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Great US article explaining to Americans how Canada has NOT "gone right-wing"

Posted on February 1, 2006 by

Canadian Guardian's Blog

In his article Conservative win not big Canadian lurch to right, John Nichols makes some very valid observations about the state of Canadian politics after the last election.

Very astutely, he advised his readers that although Canada now has a Conservative government, it is a minority and was elected with only 36% of the popular vote, which means that 64% of the country voted for more left-wing parties. If it werent for the flawed “first-past-the-post” system we use

He also points out that of the people who voted Conservative, 54% of them voted strictly for a change, NOT because they support right-wing policies. Only 41% admitted voting for them solely on their policies. So, 41% of 36% = not quite 15% of all the Canadians who voted (really the only ones who count, the rest obviously don't care!) support Conservative social policies…

Glad to see at least one American is taking notice! -) >

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IE 7 Beta 2 isn't half bad… but sure ain't perfect!

Posted on February 1, 2006 by

Internet Explorer 7, BETA 2 … Being a Firefox fan, I am always a bit leery of IE because of the security holes, but I like some of the features.

First, it has a built-in RSS/Atom feed reader, so feed pages are formatted in something other than XML source! -)

Second, our web-based mail from work has lots of IE-only features that make it much simpler to use from away.

Third, it has now incorporated tabbed browsing. Now I know this has been standard on Firefox since forever, but it is a nice feature for IE to have because of the above-mentioned reasons I use IE…

There is a better pop-up blocker, a “phishing filter”, and some other features. It is still pretty new, so I haven't found all the new gadgets yet, but…

One thing that is REALLY sad is the built-in search box… You can choose from all kinds of search engines to use in it, EXCEPT Google… the ONLY real search engine and Microsoft's newst big competitor in the IT world… go figure! I am trying to find a way to insert google as my search tool, but it isn't working. Personally, I think it is a cheap scam by Micro$oft to get more hits to their crappy search engine.>

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Why do people think they have a duty to convince me low-carb is bad for me???

Posted on February 1, 2006 by

I get really tired of defending the image of Atkins/low-carb lifestyles from people who seem to think it is nothing but steak and chicken wings. That really is annoying and was spread by people who really don't know the lifestyle at all. These same people quote studies that show cholesterol shooting through the roof, kidneys failing, brains exploding, and big toes suddenly getting up and marching off on their own are so false it scares me to think people believe them.

The lifestyle is very healthy when done correctly, and it works!!! I went from a size 40 to size 34 waist in 5 months. I had more energy, slept better, and felt better than I had in many years. Add to that the increase in self-esteem and you have quite a winning combination!

Before starting the diet, my doctor asked me to get blood tests to use as a baseline to ensure I was healthy. I did it, and then again after 6 months of low-carb lifestyle. My second set of blood test results are on file at my doctor's office that show my triglycerides were cut in half, bad cholesterol dropped and good cholesterol went up in that 5 month period while I was completely low-carb. So much for all this evidence of “unhealthy” low-carb lifestyes. My doctor's words: “Keep up the good work!” and “There is nothing wrong with your kidneys and this diet will do nothing to cause any problems in a kidney that were not already present.”

Naysayers can think what they want, even preach what they want to other people, but please don't waste my time trying to convince me low-carb is unhealthy. I have heard it all before and proven too many people wrong to listen.>

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Low-Carb again!

Posted on January 31, 2006 by

I have gone back to old faithful – Atkins. I know, there are all kinds of you out there who are experts and say it doesn't work, it is unhealthy, blah, blah, blah, I say listen to my story before you make your judgement.

I am a sedentary creature. I like eating crappy foods, playing on my computer, reading, and watching TV… pretty much in that order! Since I am not going to suddenly change my entire lifestyle and start running marathons every second weekend, changing my diet is a much more realistic goal. Again, before you start flying off the handle with all those sensationalist news reports, read on!

My previous success story begins like this…

January 1 2003 – Aidan is born. My weight – 238 lbs (I am an unimpressive 5'8″ tall).

EEK!

January 2, 2003 – Decide to do something about my weight so that I can actually see my kid graduate from high school

January 15, 2003 (or so), meet with my doctor. To quote my doctor:

“There is nothing in the Atkins diet that will hurt you more than being overweight”

January 16, 2003 – Start Atkins.

For the first few weeks, I undergo “Induction”, a process that converts your body's functions to burn fat instead of carbs. Works like a charm!

January 31, 2003 – Have lost 17 lbs already! I become obsessed with that purple colour on the keto sticks and the continued downsizing of my clothing…

For the next few months…

Following the Atkins approved diet regimine (as opposed to the incorrectly reported one where we eat only meats…), I eat real, relatively unprocessed foods like meats, eggs, cheese, salads, vegetables, nuts and berries). No evil carbs like bread, rice, pasta, and especially NO SUGAR!

To quote my wife:

“You eat healthier when you are on Atkins than when you start to slide away from it”

May 13, 2003 (My Birthday) – 183 lbs – that's a loss of 55 lbs in 5 months!

Over the next few years, I maintain my weight by avoiding the worst carbs, although the odd popcorn binge creeps in.

Spring, 2005 – Nadine is pregnant again. Appears the only physical activity I actually enjoy enbough to want to engage in regularly has consequences…

During the pregnancy, I start gaining weight again. I like to pretend it isn't happening, but those waist sizes don't lie. An entire rack of really nice work pants are all but unusable right now…

December 23, 2006 – Natalie is born. I notice a “growing” trend -> new child = weight gain…

January 29, 2006 – Back to the grind. Induction starts today!

January 30, 2006 – I love purple! Ketosis is your friend!

I'll keep this updated during my highs and lows through the winter!>

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NASA Climate Expert says White House stifling global warming facts

Posted on January 29, 2006 by

Canadian Guardian's Blog

A NASA climate scientist said Tuesday that the Bush administration is trying to hush up scientific evidence of global warming and keep the public uninformed.

It just frightens me to think of this happening. Even though I am sure that there are likely some facts on each side of this argument, the truth still lies somewhere I don't think a supposedly free society should go. Watch out Dr Hansen, with what has been happening lately, President Bush may be wiretapping your home phone now…>

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Right Wing US strategist thinks Canadians are liberal and hedonistic, but Harper can straighten us out…

Posted on January 28, 2006 by

Canadian Guardian's Blog…

Paul Weyrich says Canadians are “so liberal and hedonistic” that Stephen Harper can't hope to change their philosophy of “cultural Marxism” right away.

In his warped mind, Mr. Weyrich links same sex marriage, and abortion on demand to “Marxist” views… of course, he has no idea (or evidence) how these things have anything to do with Marxism. But then again, neither did Senator McCarthy, and look where he took the United States!

Mr. Weyrich admits that there was a form of US right-wing gag order, for them not to speak to Canadian reporters during the election. I assume this is because they know the average Canadian does not want to be like them, and did not want to have people convinced of the Liberal claims Mr. Harper was too right-wing. For some reason he thinks it is in our best interests to change and become like them…

Maybe we should thank people like Paul Weyrich for having such close-minded views, spewing off such rhetoric for the rest of the world to hear. That way, we will always have a great example of what Canada does NOT want to be like!

Personally, I think this is the best compliment an American right-wing person could ever give Canadians. I guess he sees it as immoral to care about human rights, the poor, the sick, the elderly, and the unfortunate. For me, I am proud to live in a country where compassion trumps capitalism every time.>

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