the debate

If we could run the country the way I’ve run my company, it would be a country you would be so proud of.” -Donald Trump


So, what’s my fascination with the ‘debate’? Why am I drawn to the political posturing of those from another country? Why am I interested in something that I’m not really interested in? Beats me….

I think it partially has to do with the spectacle of it all, and partially the fact that a bonafide long-shot has the potential to become arguably the most powerful person on the planet …that’s fascinating. And then scary at the same time. But on another level I wonder if that’s kinda what the U.S of A is all about; that a character so frighteningly close to the common-joe can become the president of the country? Normally you’d think that anyone able to scale those upper echelons would have to have been vetted of sorts …you know, somewhat cultured and then brought up to speed on those pesky details that occupy the minds of those having to work with and unite different peoples. But with Trump though, it’s almost as if he’s been given a free pass.

And so I wonder if those in the political realms before him have failed to care for and maintain certain standards, and the result of their failings is the remote possibility of Donald making it into the Oval Office? Or that much of the populous has become so disenfranchised that they’ve no recourse but to vote against the status quo? Disenfranchisement can go a long way kids, and when the masses are tired of dealing with the same ol’ gang, or perhaps afraid of change happening too fast, then they’ll kinda shut down a bit; do something they know is silly just to make the ruling-elite aware of who actually is in power.

Personally, I hope the Trump campaign has been successful exactly because people are getting tired, but then when push comes to shove at the polls I expect regular Janes and Joes to do the smart thing and elect the best person for the job; which has to be Mrs. Clinton. If that doesn’t happen *shudder* and Mr. Trump gets his hands on things, I’m afraid there’s going to be a lot of re-building that’ll need to happen when he leaves in four years time.

And my interest in politics will probably take on a whole new level.


It was a recap of the Ronald McDonald fundraiser that we did last year ….the big difference this time around was the snow on the ground. Yuck. Mud too, if you consider the parking lot. Aside from that downer, everything else was pretty nice; lots of dancing dancers, feeding fooders, auctioning auctioneers etc. etc, plus snacks! The singing singers sang too, and I’m enclosing a little bit from the first tune of the show, Masquerade. Why Masquerade you ask ….well, it was a masquerade ball. And masks were worn. By yours truly too, although yours truly found it hard to read his charts so he had to take his 2+ year old contacts out (cause you can’t wear glasses with masks!) which he never wears anymore and will probably chuck in the garbage so he doesn’t have to go through that pain again.

Do they even make progressive contacts?


3:20 pm

sometimes you don’t realize you’ve
been playing. you’re so caught up in
the routine it doesn’t occur to you
there’s more going on.
other lives. other worlds.
and as such you don’t realize the score,
cause like I said, you didn’t have a clue you
were even in the game.
and then, finally, you’ve won.
(according to the judges)
and then it’s over.

and that’s the shocking part.


Andy Shauf

I was driving home from work a few weeks ago and heard a tune on the radio (CJSR ….the local University station) by a fellow called Andy Shauf. It was a great song and caught my attention not only because it was good, but because it was good being somewhat traditional instrumentally. There’s not much new stuff around that’s good without being dependant on some hi-tech, new-fangled type of gadget or sound or something. This was good right out of the plain-jane wrapper (keys, drums, guitar, bass and vocals), catchy enough to draw me in, and distinctive enough vocally to stand out from the rest of the radio road noise I usually have to hear. When I got home I checked out his web stuff, noticed he was playing in town here shortly, and bought a few tickets cause what the heck ….I never really go out.

I’m glad that I did though. Andy not only got in on the Polaris thing, but had already sold out his show in LA and more importantly ….is a Regina boy! So there you go. Great songs and nice playing all around in terms of the band he had too. Some of the tunes get a little close together feel-wise, and ditto for his vocals after a while, but they’re all distinctive enough to keep you listening and I’m sure he’ll branch out after he gets more ‘time’ under his belt …which will be somewhat of a certainty I think.

Check out his stuff if you get the chance :)

Turn The Lights On

Obesity is a very complex problem that results from numerous, deep-rooted problems that relate to socio-economic factors, the environment, our lifestyle and our culture. It’s not simply about the price of soft drinks or any individual category. Applying a soft drinks tax is not an effective way to solve it.

I have to agree with Anita Bean. When I heard the WHO is calling for a sugar tax to fight diabetes and obesity my initial thought was “Sure ….I suppose that’ll help,” but after thinking about it again, I’m not so sure. What it’ll do more I think, is take money from the poorer peasants who drink that crap (like me!) and shuffle it off to the richer Lords and Kings to pad their coffers and of course decree more non-sugary nonsense. The tax won’t really dissuade those who drink pop/soda from not drinking pop/soda ….not the 20% increase as they propose that is.

Perhaps a more robust campaign against Big Sugar as well as some new limits on advertising? Perhaps a blanket removal of ‘cola’ sponsors from schools and young-people events worldwide? I don’t know ….I just can’t see a small tax increase dissuading anyone from consuming the stuff they’ve grown up on, and the tax to me seems more akin to photo-radar cameras raising money rather than increasing driver safety. Diabetes and obesity are certainly health concerns that cost countries enormous amounts in healthcare, but to claim a substantial impact on that by tossing out a paltry sugar-tax on beverages doesn’t seem the smartest course of action.

The easiest perhaps, but not the smartest.

locker room banter

There’s a wonderful read on this site by Debbie Cameron discussing the role language plays in the fraternization of men. It kinda takes the role of language one step further by showing how words in the right situation can influence and steer actions themselves. The post uses the recent Trump episode of ‘locker room banter’ to reach beyond the obvious ‘inappropriate language’ assertions and demonstrates how this sort of shared, inclusive communication style becomes a “ritualized social practice which contributes to the maintenance of structural sexual inequality.” This male banter strengthens bonds between those who engage in it, but in the process dehumanizes women ….potentially leading to violence and abuse.

It’s a great insight into a facet of our male lives that’s typically written off as ‘boys just being boys’ which (as is evident from my interests over the last few years) is something I’ve come to understand as being not just a problem, but something needing to be seriously addressed if we’re to expect any sort of true sexual equality in our future. Men have to be the ones to enact this change though, and until that happens women will always be facing an uphill battle. She sums it up nicely…

“Whenever I talk or write about male sexual banter, I always hear from some men who tell me they’re deeply uncomfortable with it. I believe them. But my response is, ‘it’s not me you need to tell’. They risk nothing by expressing their discomfort to me. What would be risky, and potentially costly, would be for them to put their principles above their fraternal loyalties, stop engaging in banter and challenge their peers to do the same.”

trombone tellings

I hate change. I avoid it most of the time, however when it is unavoidable I’ve got no problem getting on board with the new and shiny. I still hate it though, probably because I like to do as little as possible. It’s just my style. When it comes to music though, I like sticking with what works for me ….and so it is with great pain that I have to admit I may have been using the wrong trombone mouthpiece for as long as I have. Eeeek.

When I got that new-to-me horn a while back (click) I decided to keep my old mouthpiece and just get an adapter that allowed me to put the small shanked piece into the larger bored horn. I thought that was pretty simple, and after playing on it for a while I kinda got used to how it felt. It wasn’t the same feeling as playing on a smaller horn, but it still got me through all the notes and whatnot (plus the tone was great on this horn!) I got comfortable with it, and I thought I was doing alright. Then one day I used the same mouthpiece and stuck it on my older, smaller horn and found there was quite a difference ….things were kinda easier. Could it be that I was having a less-easy time on the bigger horn then?

A few days ago I grabbed a tester mouthpiece from the shop that was reminiscent of a Denis Wick but without any markings. It may have been a generic version (which is why it was a tester) but it did have a large shank that fit naturally into my larger horn. So I took the thing home and tried it out for fun. Initially it was horrible; my range sucked, my lips leaked and I may as well have been playing a tuba. Over a few days though with some longish sessions, I found I was able to play better ….which is strange cause I’m already playing my best -ha.

What I noticed was that the notes ‘slotted’ better; that is to say the note responded more quickly and kinda stayed in its place a little longer than what it had before. I know it doesn’t make sense, even to myself, but for some reason the slightly larger shank, the larger cup size, the wider rim and straightness of the inside bowl all conspired to make the initial attack and sustain of the note just that much more clear and precise. After playing for longer periods I noticed an improvement …the notes just seemed to come out more direct and balanced.

It’s only been a week or so but I think it’s helping me all ‘round. My upper range still isn’t there compared to where it was, but it is slowly improving. The interesting thing though is that where it took me a good 30 minutes to warm up on the smaller mouthpiece, I’m finding it takes about half that time with this new one. I know, weird again. But yeah, I suppose this bigger shank on a bigger horn kinda makes it do what it was designed to do in the first place.

Pffft, stupid designers …what do they know ;)




This was somewhat of a grand opening/make-it-awkward event at Stage 104 that I think can be best summed up as ‘good enough.’ The music? Good enough. Crowd? Good enough. Atmosphere? Good enough. The food was great! ….but then I had to pay for it, so part of me thinks I could have been just as happy with some 7-11 or McDonalds at half the price. But that’s just me being my miserly, frugal self. The ambiance was fine, and the place itself kinda cozy in the newly minted arena ICE district that the kids seem to be all ga-ga over.

No ‘The Gambler‘ this time around though, and somewhat fun at times as there was no piano. The nice thing about not having a piano and being beside the guitar player is the fact that as long as the guitar and me are playing the same thing, it all works out. As far as Cornbread-ing goes, this was pretty close to the top. The only thing that kinda plagued the event was the suspect ‘sound’ coming from the guy standing beside the soundboard drinking beer. I’m not sure if he was the sound guy or simply the guy who owned the sound (quite often one and the same) ….but he did have beer though.

And that was good enough.



The Crashers crashed the Banff Springs kids. We played music for the masses and were rewarded accordingly. Aside from that I can’t really remember too much about the whole affair. I do remember some sort of gourmet poutine. And moving things. And then driving. Oh, and then moving more things again at some point. And I remember Mike Tyson’s Punchout ….I think. Or maybe it was that this guy reminded me of it. Hard to say….