I want this keyboard: The PianoArc!


Click the photo to see it at full size.

When Brockett Parsons, Lady Gaga’s keyboard player, looked at the sorts of fancy designs available to his bandmate guitarist, he set out to create a fancy, yet useful and playable keyboard design. He recruited some friends from the keyboard manufacturing industry, and the end result is the PianoArc, a circular MIDI keyboard controller. It previewed at NAMM 2014, and Keyboard Magazine reports that “it’s surprisingly natural and very inspiring to play.” I want one!

It brings us a step closer to the funky instruments from that old Buck Rogers episode with the 25th-century band, Andromeda:


I think I need an accordion helper dog

accordion helper monkey

Whenever I’m out playing the accordion, sometimes people tell me that I should get a monkey as part of my act, and to help get coins from passers-by. Judging from the photos below, what I really need is an accordion helper dog:

accordion helper dog 1

accordion helper dog 4

Photo from The Travel Year. Click to see the source.

accordion helper dog 3

accordion helper dog 5

Photo from Let’s Polka. Click to see the source.

accordion helper dog 2

accordion helper dog 6

Photo from Fields of Cake. Click to see the source.

accordion helper dog 7

Photo by Denis Grzetic, found at Click to see the source.

accordion helper dog 8

Photo found at Click to see the source.

accordion helper dog 9

Photo by Matt Doane and found at Fast Fifty. Click to see the source.


Church sign of the day

whoever is praying for snow - please stop


Saturday night’s all right for nookie…I think (Or: The medieval penitential sex flowchart)

penitential sex flowchart

A handy flowchart that summarizes a penitential’s rules for sex.
Click to (ahem) engorge the image.

According to The History Blog:

Penitentials were handbooks listing many sins a confessor could be expected to encounter during private confession and the appropriate penances he should assign for each act (or the appropriate moneys the penitent should pay to commute a penance).

thats a paddlin

In essence, they were a set of violations and corresponding punishments not unlike the ones that Jasper from The Simpsons gave out when he became a substitute teacher during a strike. The History Blog cites an example from Corpus Christi College’s Corpus 190 of the Canons of Theodore, which I’ve bullet-pointed it for easier reading:

  • Whoever fornicates with an effeminate male or with another man or with an animal must fast for 10 years.
  • Elsewhere it says that whoever fornicates with an animal must fast 15 years and sodomites must fast for 7 years.
  • If the effeminate male (bædling) fornicates with another effeminate male (bædling), (he is to) do penance for 10 years.
  • Whoever does this unintentionally (unwærlice) once must fast for 4 years; if it is habitual, as Basil says, for 15 years if he is not in orders and also one year (less?) so as a woman does. If it is a boy, for the first time, 2 years; if he does it again, 4 years.
  • If he is a boy, for the first time, 2 years; if he does it again, 4 years.
  • If he fornicates interfemorally (between the limbs), he must fast for 1 year or the 3 40-day periods.
  • If he defiles himself (masturbates), he is to abstain from meat for four days.
  • He who desires to fornicate (with) himself (i.e., to masturbate) and is not able to do so, he must fast for 40 days or 20 days.
  • If he is a boy and does it often, either he is to fast 20 days or one is to whip him.
  • If a woman fornicates [with another woman?] she must do penance for 3 years.
  • If she touches herself in the same way, i.e., in emulation of fornication, she must repent for 1 year.
  • One penance applies to a widow and a virgin; more (penance) is earned by her who has a husband if she fornicates.
  • Whoever ejaculates seed into the mouth, that is the worst evil. From someone it was judged that they repent this up to the end of their lives.

Under these rules, I would’ve spent my teenage years as a vegetarian.

The flowchart at the top of this article is one created by University of Kansas history professor emeritus James A. Brundage, and its appears in his book, Law, Sex, and Christian Society in Medieval Europe, and it provides an easy-to-parse summary of all the rules and regulations concerning sex as written by a group of people who “saw marital sex as a concession, not as a right or even a gift from God.”

Being my geeky self, one of my first thoughts was: “This might be fun to code up as an app.”


The middle child

just became the middle child


Some people out there need to have this conversation

your mom is wrong


Sponsor Estelle in the YMCA Megathon and help city kids, teens, and adults get healthy

pink wonder woman and canadian goddess

Pink Wonder Woman (Dianne Mowat) and Canadian Goddess (Estelle Havva). Click the photo to see Estelle’s fundraising page.

The YMCA Megathon taking place in the Greater Toronto Area from February 24th through March 1st dares people to take on a one-of-kind fitness challenge while also raising funds to support the YMCA and give more kids, teens, and adults the chance to exercise, stay healthy, play, find work, and have a community “third place”. My friend Estelle Havva, who can easily do more pushups than most people on demand, is taking on the superhero identity of Canadian Goddess, and will compete against Dianne “Pink Wonder Woman” Mowat for the title of Rowing Machine Champion. They’re also competing to see who will be Fundraising Champion, in memory of Erin McBride, a friend and strong supporter of the YMCA Strong Kids Campaign.

These are good people, and it’s a good cause — sponsor them! Go visit Estelle’s fundraising page.

And hey, if you’re in shape, or better still, would like to get into shape, you might want to take on a YMCA Megathon challenge!