Essays link page


Pono tenor, mango wood ukuleleI started playing guitar again last year after a short hiatus of a few years while I tried (unsuccessfully) to learn the shakuhachi and other instruments (I did manage to get along quite well with the Strumstick, however). Early in 2008, I bought a ukulele on eBay (because I couldn't find a suitable one locally) and started to learn it. Originally I intended it as a stepping stone to playing the charango which I also bought but had to wait a month to get. I quickly became enamoured of the ukulele and started learning more, reading, joining online forums and, of course, playing.


I sold the charango almost as soon as I got it and bought more ukuleles. I have seven or eight now.


This is a page of uke reviews and comments aimed at people like myself - not professional musicians, but rather folks who like to make music and enjoy doing so, but would like to learn more about some of the more popular brands and models. It's an ongoing project that changes as I learn more and as I try out new ukuleles. Last update: September, 2008.




Three Hohner harmonicasWhile I was re-acquainting myself with the guitar last year (2007), I started to play harmonica again. I dug out some old and very worn harps I had kept for the past few decades, and began to relearn to play the blues. I realized I needed to new instruments because mine were old and tired.


The local music stores had a limited supply of brands, so I started to do some online research. That led me to purchase a lot of different brands and models, as well as harp mics and accessories. The range of tones and quality I found is large.


These pages are my reviews of those instruments, and my thoughts on harmonicas in general. I'm not a professional musician, but I hope these pages will help other players like myself find what they're looking for in harmonicas and give you some yardsticks to use when you're out looking for the special brand(s) that suit you best. Last update: August 2008.



Here is a small selection of the pieces I've written over the past few years. many are somewhat dated. More pieces and comments have been written in my blog. Click the images or links to load the essay.
Post your comments, opinions, and ask questions on my FORUM.



Why do Americans fear Cuba?Why do Americans hate and fear Cuba so much? Or is it just Castro they fear? Can that fear justify a 45-year embargo in violation of international law, and a concerted campaign of terrorism and assassination against the island and its people? Is it just Manifest Destiny thwarted? Or has American foreign policy been subverted simply to let politicians skim off more campaign funds from the exile community? Why has American normalized relations with China and Vietnam, but not Cuba? An essay on the relations between Cuba and the USA, with a separate history and a list of sources from the Web and in print.


A Canadian perspective, of course... a bit dated since it doesn't take into account Castro's resignation in 2007. More international politics on my blog.




maplelf.gif (4406 bytes)O Canada, eh? What is the glue that binds us together in this rambling collage of a country? Well I had some time to ponder that question while driving 1,000 kilometers across the province on Canada Day. Here's what I think is the central element that defines this great nation. Or at least what powers the common factor that unites my Ontario homeland. A bit of humour.


And here's my comments on sign bylaws and the encroaching shadow of Stalin through increased conformity and uniformity in our community. More Canadiana is on my blog.



ShakespeareWho wrote Shakespeare? I would have said William S. did, but read on. Like the UFO conspirators, there are those who seek secrets in Shakespeare's words, find hidden codes and dual meanings buried deep in his writing. Here's my take on the arguments that surround the works of The Bard - but pursue the links for the arguments to determine their truths for yourself. This is an oldie that deserves to be updated and reqritten.



ianpep1.gif (3572 bytes)What's hotter than the Spice Girls? Hot peppers, of course - habaneros, serranos, chilies, Tabasco, and others. Thanks to Dr. Wilbur Scoville, we have a means to measure the levels of joy these spicy fruits have on our taste buds. He unwittingly created a place for himself in legend by developing his process.  But the technique is secondary to the pleasure-pain of hot foods. If you're an aficionado of peppers and their effects, you might be amused by this item. If you're not - maybe you'll learn to appreciate them from it. For me, it's only hot enough when my eyes begin to bleed.



And more comments:


What about SUVs and the increasing number of bad drivers on the road today?


Are we becoming Stalinistic in our municipal approach to signs? You can read a lot more comments on Collingwood's municipal madness on my blog. You can also find my Election 2006 pages here, if you want to read about why I ran for election and what I stand for (I won re-election to Collingwood Council).



As above, so below. My former business logo.Why did so many foolish people get on the bandwagon to celebrate the 'millennium' on New Year's Eve, 1999? Any one with even the slightest common sense or elementary math skills knows the second millennium didn't end until the year 2000 was over. Year 2001 was the first year of the third millennium. I wrote this piece back before the dreaded millennial madness.


If you're confused by all the misleading hype, click here to read my comments on how calendars work, how the date of the millennium is properly calculated and how unscrupulous marketers, politicians and 'New-Age' entrepreneurs misled the gullible into wasting their money on so-called millennial projects and other scams in 2000 - the wrong year! And how even local communities bought into the stupidity and flocking like sheep to create millennium committees, murals, parties and other nonsense just because they unthinkingly had to do "what everyone else was doing."


So all those "millennial" events and locations - like our own "millennium park" were incorrectly named.

Baaa, baaa....

A boy and his dog...Post your comments, opinions, and ask questions on my FORUM if you want to add your two cents' worth or to just comment. More essays are in the works and others are posted on my blog.


Last update: Sept. 21, 2008.


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