Friday, November 27, 2009

FreE-Learning Music

Life is an information highway and I want to ride it all night long.

A little twist on Tom Cochrane's hit song Life is a Highway, which can be found in many forms on the net. See Tom or others cover it, find the lyrics, or learn to play it yourself by finding the chords and tablature (tab). You may already have a good ear for figuring out music, but if you need help, tablature and chord charts are everywhere online.

The world is definitely smaller now as people meet at popular web spots, viewing each other, commenting, and learning from each other. At You Tube itself you can find practically any song being covered, and many people make actual lessons, though often amateurish videoing, slowing down their picking or chord pattern to teach you how to play a version of your favorite song. The quality of the instruction varies greatly, but people are still happy to share the way they know how to play a tune, see a sample below.

You can learn individual notes on a guitar fretboard for example, through tab. Depending on the song complexity, each note, chord, and techniques are graphically outlined, showing where to play what note, as in the the image above (tabs are often posted by not necessarily professional musicians, and therefore, there may be an incorrect note or chord, or song credit, as in the graphic above).

Tab has been around for at least a dozen years, and song tablature is easy to find. Many people have a good ear for music, but if there is one song you just cannot quite get, or just missing a key chord or note, check out some tab sites.
Here are a couple to find the song you want to learn:
Ultimate Guitar Tabs
Guitar Tab

If you just prefer to see the video, just do a search for the song, artist or band, and include "lesson", "tab", or "cover" for example. Keep in mind that there are many different interpretations of songs, and they do not all sounds exactly the very same as the original recording. Below is a lesson on how to play the Jimi Hendrix classic Purple Haze. The video includes the person's explaining where he placed his fingers, on what fret, and there is a fret note graphic that sometimes appears to show the tab notes of what he just explained.

For a nice full version of Jimi's tune, check out a version by a great guitar player called Buddy Clontz right here

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Rock and Rolling

Perhaps years of challenging waves
transforms the younger rock into the polished, solid boulders,
that endures, passing from generation to generation,
the knowledge of long term vision under pressure,
standing strong amidst the ebb and flow of pounding currents.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dwindling Family Size Causing Transplant Donor Shortage

Blood cancers like leukemia can be treated and possibly cured through bone marrow or stem cell transplants, but because of smaller family size, the number of sibling donors are declining, and so are the chances of patient survival. If you have leukemia for example, there is a 25% chance that a sibling will be a good enough genetic match to pursue the transplant treatment. The larger the family, the better the odds. However, family size is dwindling, and the chances of a patient getting a family match will be half of what it was only some years ago.

Transplants can save lives, though different hospitals/doctors put the success rate at anywhere between 40-75% or more. The transplant process itself is very risky for the patient, can be an 15% chance of not making it, due to infections on a wiped out immune system. Some transplants are very successful, and return many people back to their normal lives, and others have side effects (graft versus host disease), sometimes life altering follow up problems, while others just do not make it at all.

But the chances of surviving with a transplant is much greater than just from chemo and radiation alone. And, ideally the donor would be a family member, male donors for male recipients preferably too. But with smaller families comes more risks. The other hope is to receive a transplant from an outside donor, and that can save lives too. Sometimes the risks are higher for graft versus host disease complications, but other times, it works well.

So if you are ever inclined to feel like saving a life by being a possible bone marrow or stem cell donor, check out OneMatch to sign up as a donor.
p.s. Many thanks to blood donors for saving thousands of lives each year.

Monday, November 23, 2009

FIFA Handily Raises Ire in Ireland

The Olympics of soccer, the World Cup takes place in South Africa next year. Like the Olympics, only the best in the world will compete, in this case, it comes down to 32 countries. So qualifying to squeeze into the coveted 32 has been taking place this year, and a few days ago, two top European teams battled it out for that spot. Unfortunately, FIFA, the International Federation of Association Football, has been very rigid in playoff competition, so much so that an obvious handball, which is illegal in soccer, was allowed to pass, when it assisted a game winning goal, and one country's loss.

The unfortunate team was Ireland, and the victor was France. The unfortunate player at the centre of Ireland's ire was Henry Thierry. He is seen in the photo. Thierry has not disputed unintentionally touching the ball, which was lobbed to another French player who easily booted it in the Irish net. In fact, Thierry has even called for a rematch, as did Ireland. But FIFA's decision was final. There were no instant video replays, only what the referee had seen, and judged on at the time. This is FIFA's rule. However, incorrect the ref's decision, or however out of his eyesight the play had been, does not matter, only his immediate decision.

This does not seem like a fair call at a game with such high level stakes, and for an obvious goal based on a handball. It certainly left many Thierry-eyed fans on both teams.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Seal of Approval at Parliamentary Restaurant

It's about time. Seal will be to added to the menu along with other harvested animals on the menu at the parliamentary hill restaurant. What was good for the Governor General is good for the rest of the flock of MPs it appears. They'll be getting not just protein but also a supply of healthy omega-3 fats which will help those hearts, which have to fight the stresses of public service. I've had seal flipper once, and it was good, but the delicacy was not an accessible food from my original part of the province, so did not really get into it. Just wondering how it will be prepared to serve. Anyway, bon appétit members of parliament.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ontario's Big Mac Tax Axe

Ontario will be exempting fast food under $4.00 from 8% of it's 13% HST coming up next July.
The exemptions announced Thursday on food or beverages heated for consumption, salads, sandwiches; platters of cheese, cold cuts, fruit and vegetables will cost the province $325 million in revenue, Duncan said, but the plan will more than pay for itself in jobs created and by expanding the tax base overall.
There are a couple of quirky things about this, from two angles. First of all, health care needs less strain on it, rather than having more obesity, heart, stroke and other problems associated with over consumption of garbage food, that cheaper junk may assist in doing. Second, a customer might buy individual products like fries, or a drink, or a burger, separately for under $4.00 but if they buy a combo, then it goes over $4.00, and then all the same products now become taxed.

Food and beverages heated for consumption will presumably cover many junk foods burgers, fries, hot dogs, spam-type meat sandwiches, etc., so is that a step forward for society? Or, healthcare, which is a huge piece of a provincial budget? Making it easier to have future health problems seems to be part of Ontario's HST plan. Perhaps the 591,000 net new jobs over 10 years will include many more health professionals to help deal with a combo of health problems trash food contributes to.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Owed to the Fallen

to come and go as we please
the win without much ease
the odes we owe are eternal
to those who fought overseas

Photo from the NL Heritage web site.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Mother Nature Going through the Change

The United States wins the "World Series" for the 104th time - Amazing!

Wow, a U.S. team has once again been proclaimed World Champions. The best in the whole wide world! Incredible. Even Lance Armstrong, winner of seven straight Tour de France tournaments, which is authentically a "world" series of bike races, is still blown away. What's behind all that winningness that makes them win the World Series pretty well always? Well, ok, Canada has a team since 1977, and they did win it twice, beating all the other nations in the World Series.

One country with many teams, plus Canada's one team makes for the title of "World Series"? Yes, that's so real. Why not "Baseball Night in America" and calling this the "Playoffs". Other baseball playing countries must get a chuckle out of this title. At least the World Cup (of soccer) actually involves many all the worlds best countries, and the best wins. This may be a long shot, but I'm willing to bet the United States will take the World Series again next year, they're that good.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Mousse on the road a big problem

This photo was sent in via blackberry of mousse sightings near Clarenville.