likeitcbEven though cities are getting steadily bigger, they are also becoming more chaotic, untrusting and ungovernable. Formation of the stabilizing cultural values upon which societies depend has been passed by default to the smaller centres and rural areas. No longer are these dismissed as backward, ignorant and uncouth. Small communities have become our last line of defence against cultural collapse.

To which all us country-dwellers can only say Amen. We have been aware of Mr. Spengler’s insight for a long time. If urbanites are becoming aware of it too, that’s a step forward.

The most striking thing about city life to us hicks is how anonymous it is. You can live your whole life without anyone knowing or caring who you are or what you do. …

misicaltacaI learned to sing by singing often–that’s all, I sing in the shower all the time, and I sang with my favourite records and stuff. It’s just like your voice is a muscle, there are muscles in there and they just get stronger over time. You can sort of hone it, and perfect the little movements that you have to make so it doesn’t hurt you or you have more stamina. I think it just takes time and singing a lot.

Did you ever take singing lessons?

[A very coy] Nope.

Do you have a particular writing process for your vocal lines, or songs in general? Do you start with lyrics or a piano line?

Sometimes it’s one, sometimes it’s the other. I don’t really pay …

horenddWhen the Alberta government helped build the hazardous waste treatment plant at Swan Hills a decade ago, taxpayers were told the facility would help protect the environment from toxic waste. But a university professor and some residents of Swan Hills, 115 miles northwest of Edmonton, claim the leaky plant is doing the opposite. The owner, Bovar Inc., is defending itself against alarming reports that toxic chemical leaks are endangering wildlife and residents who live near the plant. So far, the province’s $441-million investment in the plant has produced only a nominal financial return, and critics say that if further tests show the plant is a health threat, it could be shut down altogether, leaving taxpayers on the hook to clean up the mess.

To date, there …

globalwAlthough nothing decided at meetings between the 18-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) club is binding, Mr. Goodale’s comments represent hints of the position Ottawa is developing for a key conference at Kyoto, Japan, in December. There, governments which subscribe to the theory that man-made emissions of carbon dioxide are heating the earth’s atmosphere will attempt to force an international treaty requiring steep cuts in CO2emissions by 2010. That would wreak havoc on energy-intensive economies, none moreso than Canada’s.

“The APEC gathering was supposed to be about trade,” objects Roger Soucy, president of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada. “But a bare handful of the 97 people there were from business. Environment became the number-one topic, and our energy minister spent a huge amount of time talking …

metallicpianoThink about how many years it takes to master an acoustic instrument. A synthesizer studio is a group of instruments, each one with a whole new set of freedoms and restrictions. The freedom is that any instrument is capable of hundreds of unique and exciting sounds. The restriction is that the technical and sonic structure of each synthesizer has nothing in common with another one. You’ll have to learn each synthesizer in your studio, one at a time before you can take it into battle on your next project. If this were a live player that you’d never heard of, would you trust him or her with a solo at your next recording date without even an audition? Same thing.

And yes you should read the …