A Musical Mystery

There are a cou­ple of iPhone apps called Shaz­am and Lis­ten that iden­ti­fy music by hold­ing up the phone to take in the sound as it’s being played or repro­duced, but they’re pret­ty much lim­it­ed to songs on the radio. Some ren­di­tions of music don’t lend them­selves to that method of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. For exam­ple, a friend of Pam recent­ly got a music box. It had been in their fam­i­ly for a long time, and it played a tune that she did­n’t rec­og­nize. Her back­ground is Scot­tish, and although we did­n’t rec­og­nize the tune, it has a vague­ly folk-song sound to it, and at one part, I even detect­ed a ‘Scot­tish Snap’, which is the dis­tinc­tive rhyth­mic pat­tern of a short note fol­lowed by a longer one (after sev­er­al of the usu­al long-short, long-short pat­terns). Here’s what the music box sounds like. I let it play the tune twice:


Any idea what this melody is? I’m guess­ing it’s a Scot­tish folk song, but it might pos­si­bly be a pop­u­lar tune from years ago.

Brilliance From Keith Olbermann

Kei­th Olber­mann, the MSNBC pun­dit, and fre­quent spokesman for the US Left, kept me believ­ing that com­mon decen­cy had not com­plete­ly left our for­mer coun­try dur­ing the last admin­is­tra­tion. I still watch his show via an iTunes pod­cast, since we don’t get MSNBC here. I’ve kept watch­ing him, main­ly because I still want to keep in touch with what’s going on down there, and I have to admit that the results of yes­ter­day’s Provin­cial elec­tion here have me a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ed, espe­cial­ly since we can’t vote yet. (I’d say ‘Wait till next year’, but we’ll have to wait anoth­er 4 years to get our chance.)

Despite the fact that Olber­mann does­n’t have George W. Moron to kick around any more (and let’s face it, as James Carville said on Real Time with Bill Maher: “The man was a walk­ing punch-line.”), every once in a while he is able to mix his por­tion of out­rage with equal parts humour, and the result is price­less. Tonight, he was in rare form, and I just had to share:

He’s a geniusGenius, I tells ya’!

End of the Season and Kat Kam MIA?

Like many Van­cou­verites, last night I watched one of the most painful and edge-of-your seat hock­ey games in years. Backs against the wall, the Van­cou­ver Canucks, the last Cana­di­an team left in the NHL Stan­ley Cup play­offs, man­aged to once again snatch defeat from the jaws of vic­to­ry (some­thing I tweet­ed a cou­ple of days ago re. the game that brought them to the brink). To quote Char­lie Smith of the Geor­gia Straight:

The only ques­tion left for the Canucks is who won’t be return­ing to the squad next year. After the sign­ing of Mats Sundin ear­li­er this year, there were high hopes that this would be the year that Van­cou­ver would final­ly win its first Stan­ley Cup. But once again, the fans’ hopes have been crushed.

Some things nev­er change.

This morn­ing, on the radio, I heard many say­ing ‘Wait till next year!’. Well, Hope does spring eter­nal, but the Black­hawks (among oth­er teams the Canucks played against this year) were notable for the num­ber of young play­ers in their 20s just begin­ning to come into their prime. Unless Van­cou­ver can get some ris­ing stars of their own, as Buzz Bish­op point­ed out on Twit­ter, the win­dow is clos­ing or per­haps even closed on it being their year in 2010. I felt par­tic­u­lar­ly bad for Rober­to Luon­go, who after a very strong sea­son, picked last night to have an off game. For some­one with the rep­u­ta­tion of being per­haps the best goalie in the NHL, let­ting 7 goals through is just not a way any goalie wants to end a sea­son. In fact, the game felt more like Bas­ket­ball (a sport I’m not very fond of) because of the see-saw of scor­ing for either side.

I remem­ber these feel­ings, that of every oth­er year or so, the home team get­ting close but ulti­mate­ly los­ing, from the 1980s and 90s in Boston for the Red Sox. Anx­ious to blame it on any­thing but the play­ers, Bosto­ni­ans attrib­uted it to ‘The Curse of the Bam­bi­no’, but in the end, it was just a mat­ter of time. So my advice to Van­cou­ver fans might be: Just hang in there for anoth­er 20 years or so, and your time will come.

The Kat Kam, Stuck?

Speak­ing of win­dows clos­ing, is our vir­tu­al win­dow on False Creek also clos­ing? For about 13 years, there has been a cam­era point­ed West South­west on the Bur­rard Bridge and the view beyond it of Eng­lish Bay from the offices of Tele­mark Sys­tems in the West End of Van­cou­ver,  post­ing the live image on the web­site: The Kat Kam. Before I moved here, I used the Kat Kam as a way of accli­ma­tiz­ing myself to the weath­er and gen­er­al look of this city, like a new aquar­i­um fish look­ing out of it’s plas­tic bag­gie into the new aquar­i­um it was about to enter. It turns out that ‘Kat’, the per­son who ran the web­cam left Tele­mark Sys­tems at the end of last month to pur­sue a career in Culi­nary Arts. While I’m thrilled that she is start­ing out a new chap­ter in her career and life, I won­der if per­haps this might spell the end of the view of False Creek on my desk­top. For­tu­nate­ly, there are now sev­er­al oth­er cam­eras on Van­cou­ver on the web, although this was per­haps the best known and cer­tain­ly the old­est con­tin­u­ous view (not to men­tion, it was a pret­ty one, espe­cial­ly lat­er in the day). I sus­pect that sev­er­al peo­ple planned their com­mute based on the traf­fic on the bridge, and I enjoyed see­ing the Sun Run run­ners as they were caught by the Kat Kam. So, here’s the last view we got, 15 min­utes past 9 PM, May 11, 2009. Let’s hope that’s not the image of False Creek I’ll get from my win­dow­less home office:

The Kat Kam on the evening of May 11, 2009

The Kat Kam on the evening of May 11, 2009

I’m hop­ing the view gets ‘unstuck’ soon, but until then, there are oth­er cams:

Gee, maybe this office real­ly is a room with many win­dows. Too bad I don’t get a breeze from any of them.

Update: Well, after about a 16–20 hour break, the Kat Kam start­ed updat­ing again. Hope­ful­ly it will keep going for a while yet to come.