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April 27, 2008

Cinnamon Toasted Apple Jacks

A is for acrylamide found in your fries.

B is for benzene from exhaust in the skies.

C is for cadmium from a hazardous waste spill.

D is for dioxin released from paper mills.

E is for Endosulfan, a toxic pesticide

F is for formaldehyde, a carcinogenic fungicide.

G is for gasoline, a polluting morass.

H is for hydrogen sulfide, a poisonous gas.

I  is for the itch that just seems to stay.

J is for jaundice, how'd I get this anyway?

K is for kerosene, do not use it on ticks.

L is for lead used in cheap candle wicks.

M is for mercaptans, that stinky skunk smell.

N is for naphthalene, against moths it repels.

O is for oxalic acid precipitating as your kidney stone.

P is for "PCBs that have polluted me," the earth bemoans.

Q is for Q Fever, a disease spread by ticks.

R is for radiation, too much makes you sick.

S is for Sarin, a deadly nerve gas.

T is for the tapeworm your pet might pass.

U is for ultraviolet rays, pray that sunblock will prevail.

V is for Vancomycin, a drug when all others fail.

W is for Warfarin, both rodenticide and anticoagulant?

X is for xylene, a sickeningly sweet solvent.

Y is for yersina pestis, used in biological warfare.

Z is for Zinfandel -- sigh, anyone want to share?


The Good, The Bad, or is it Ugly?

CRACK!                         CRUD!


Chris Cornell                   Chris Kattan

Polynesia                        Polyuria

Body Surfing                   Balking Surgeons

Tulips                             Two Gits

Capybara                        Catch Malaria

FunTrivia                        Giardia                 

A tiny hand on my face    Briny clams from coastal place

Chaste and Taste             Haste and Waste

Ironed Creases                 Island Leeches

Cool Mist                        Cruel Twist


Musing on Music

Music seems to affect us at some sort of primal level, with its ability to influence our mind, body and soul and whose effects cross every age, race and culture.  What a remarkable thing. 


That being said it only seems natural that what potentially moves me is the melody of a song.  I've been told by a good friend that I'm unusual.  She responds to the lyrics of a song.  That conversation took place a while ago, but at the time what made a song special for her were lyrics she could relate her life to.  That I understand, but there must be something about the melody, mood, or rhythm of the music that first catches a person's attention.


I must admit that I'm a bit a lyric numbskull.  I don't always understand all the lyrics to a song, let alone remember them well enough to sing on my own.  Initially I respond to the melody or the emotion of the vocalist.  If that interests me enough I will listen to the words of the song.  Is that so bizarre?


I grew up playing classical piano.  My talent was limited, but I was fairly diligent about practicing (at least before my mid-teens).  Playing a piece well was a laborious process for me.  I had to read the sheet music first, pick my way through the song, and practice the heck out of it before it embedded itself into my memory.  Even then I wasn't always perfect.  I can't play by ear or improvise very well.  My singing makes Neil Young sound like he has perfect pitch (that one's for leelee).   I learned the odd pop song here and there, but it wasn't my preferred choice to play.  It's not that I didn’t like popular music; I just didn't like the simplified arrangements.  When you take a catchy pop tune and strip it down to a skeleton of a melody so that a grade four student can play it, it loses all its panache.  Classical music always sounded richer, even if it was simple to play.   Toss in some syncopation or play some grace notes and trills, and things begin to sound fancy!


There are some ironic musical favorites that come to my mind.  I didn't care for pop tunes, but I loved playing the song, If by Bread.  It was one of those sparse, but elegant melodies -- easy to play and easy to feel the emotion (even though I was too young at the time to know who Bread was).  Another piece I loved was Gymnopedie no. 3 by the unconventional Erik Satie.   It's a simple melody, but it's so emotionally poignant. Interestingly enough, one of my cousins was serenaded on her wedding day by her husband playing a very ethereal Gymnopedie no. 3 on acoustic guitar.  Because of my familiarity with it, I had to mention to him that it was one of my favorite pieces to play on the piano.  To me those song choices seem ironic only because my usual enjoyment came from playing stuff like Kuhlau, Schumann’s Echoes From the Theatre (love the instructions:  play with agitation) or Schubert’s March Militaire.   Once at a piano recital I played March Militaire with my piano teacher.  It was a lot of fun to hammer those keys as fast as I could, especially during the crescendos.


I seem to have digressed just a tad.  But, no, my piano lessons did not have an affect on music appreciation for me.   I like a wide range of music and artists.  I couldn't possibly list all my favorites, but I will reveal one.   So, to round out this meandering topic, I will add that my favorite song is, coincidentally, an instrumental -- Stevie Ray Vaughan’s studio version of Jimi Hendrix’s Little Wing.  (Stevie, you had me at the opening measure).  It is well over six minutes long, but sometimes I wish it would go on for longer.  It showcases both the tender and tough sides of SRV, and moves me like no other music.  Stevie, you are greatly missed.

The A to Z on Me

Thanks for starting this _Morpheus_


Accent:  Western Canadian... eh!
Beverage of choice:  Green tea

Chore I Hate:  Scrubbing tile in the shower
Dog or Cat:  Aaaaachoooo!

Essential Electronics:  Computer
Favorite Clothing:  A good fitting jacket

Gold or Silver:  Either depending on the design

Hometown:  Calgary

Instruments you play:  Piano

Job Title:  Chemical Technologist/Zoologist
Kids:  Two sons 

Living Arrangements:  Two-storey house in suburbs
Most Admirable Trait:  Reliable
Number of Marriages:  One
Overnight hospital stays:  Three
Phobias:  Spiders

Quote:  Live like you were going to die tomorrow. Learn like you were going to live forever. -- Gandhi

Religion:  Buddhist

Siblings:  One brother
Time I Wake Up Without an Alarm:  8:00 am

Unusual Talent or Skill:  Facial recognition

Vegetarian or Oppressor of animals:  I believe in a balanced diet. 

Worst Habit:  Usually running late. 

X-Rays:  Many -- orthodontal, dental, chest, back, pelvis, knee, foot 

Yummy Foods I Make:  Lasagna, cabbage rolls, teriyaki chicken

Zodiac:  Leo


Move over Rattus Norvegicus, there's a new rodent in town!


It is so fascinating when new species of animals are found in the world.  I just read in the newspaper today about a newly discovered species of rat called, the Mallomys rat.  Scientists found it in a remote region of Indonesia.  This peculiar rat weighs 3 lbs. and has a body that is 2 ft. long, making it about five times larger than a regular sewer rat.  Another interesting fact is that it does not have a fear of humans.


Anyone have a hankering for a new and exotic pet?


Rock on mammologists!