This blog is a collection of stories, anecdotes, observations, theories, and assorted musings (along with a few old Toastmaster speeches) that illustrate the decidedly unique way in which I view the world.
The Hidden Life Lesson In The Shawshank Redemption: You’ve probably seen the movie The Shawshank Redemption, but you may not have picked up on this liberating life lesson.
A Record Library In The Palm Of Your Hand: I often take time to look around and ponder the advances in technology, because we may not always be aware of the dramatic advances that have occurred since our childhood.
How K-Tel Shaped My Music Listening Habits: My record collection began with a K-Tel LP when I was eight years old, and this shaped the way I listen to music.
We Can Repair Police Relations, If We All Work Together: July 2016 has been a difficult month for police relations, but I see a solution. We just need to work together.
We Are Worshipping The Wrong God: As I was watching the news coverage of the Fort McMurray wildfire, it seemed as though I was staring right into the very bowels of hell itself. At that moment, I had a religious epiphany.
The Royal Leadership Lesson: Occasionally, even over-the-top television programs can offer valuable lessons in leadership, when framed in the proper context.
The Return Of The Scarlet Letter: I think that Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel is absolutely and unexpectedly brilliant. It not only paints a quaint picture of Boston’s Puritans during the 1640s, it also serves as a mirror held up to our own society, 370 years later.
Own Your Actions: When you re-post stories on social media, you probably think that these allegorical tales will help or teach others. However, if you read some of these posts with a critical and discerning eye, you may discover that you’re often doing more harm than good.
Direct Your Anger At The Appropriate Target: It’s OK to feel anger or even contempt at the injustices in the world, or even in response to the way you’ve been treated by others, but we must ensure that our anger is directed at the appropriate target.
The Utility Of Humility: Growing up, our priest was always telling us that “those who are humbled will be exalted”, presumably when they get to heaven. Waiting until you die is ridiculous, because I can show you how to become exalted (or at least looked upon favourably) right now.
The No Drone Zone: Even before a drone flew over the White House in January, plans were in place to install software in all drones that would require them to observe a number of no-fly zones. On the surface, this sounds like an excellent idea, but I foresee many problems with its widespread implementation and adoption.
Self Referencing In Pop Songs: Name a pop song in which the singer mentions his or her own name in the song lyrics. It’s harder than it seems because it forces you to categorize music in a way that you’ve probably never done before. I couldn’t find any answers online, so I resorted to solving this puzzle the old-fashioned way: thinking about it.
Should Facebook Add A Dislike Button?: This rumour has been circulating for years. Is a Dislike button really a good idea?
One Canadian’s View of American Politics: A commentary on the emotion inherent in most political discussions in the United States.
Protein Folding – An Alternative To Armchair Activism: If your really want to “kick cancer’s butt”, don’t simply change your Facebook status update for an hour and think that you’re accomplishing something, because you aren’t. If you genuinely want to make a difference, then do this instead.
Random Thoughts: A regularly-updated collection of observations that are too short to be full-fledged blog posts.
Name That Drumbeat: Do you consider yourself a Name That Tune expert? Do always win free concert tickets because you can correctly identify the brief song clips played by radio stations? If so, then I have something a little more challenging for you: name that drumbeat!
The 1986 Drumbeat Montage: This montage should be ridiculously easy because all of the drum samples are taken from pop and rock songs that were on the charts in 1986.
The Distinctive Drumbeat Montage: Some songs have a drum sequence so distinctive that you can identify them without even hearing the lyrics or instrumentation. Here are ten of them.
Name That Handclap: Another musical experiment. Can you identify a song by hearing only a few seconds of an isolated handclap?
1, 2, 3, 4, Name That Tune Without Hearing More: How sharp is your auditory memory? Are you able to recognize a song without hearing a single note? Here are ten audio samples of singers counting in a song. How many can you identify?
Multiple Music Note Montage: Can you identify a tune after hearing only a single note? What if that note was repeated? Here’s another musical montage to test your auditory memory!
Single Piano Chord: Can you identify a song after listening to only a single piano chord?
Name That Cowbell: This musical montage is pretty good, but it needs just one thing – more cowbell !
Montage In The Key Of A: A surprising number of rock and pop songs are written in the key of A. Here are a few of them.
Hey – Can You Name These Songs?: Try to name as many songs as you can, after hearing only a single word: hey!
The Sound Effect Montage: Here’s a music montage that doesn’t contain a single note… it consists only of isolated sound effects that are contained within the songs!
Whoa, What A Montage!: Try to identify as many songs as you can by listening only to the classic filler lyrics “whoa, whoa, whoa”.
This Montage Is All Right: Two words… that’s all you’ll hear in this montage. Try and identify as many of these songs as you can and try to get them… all right!
The Bass Riff Montage: Many songs have great bass lines, but comparatively few of them contain isolated bass riffs. Try to guess these tunes by listening to only a couple of seconds of these bass riffs.
The String Montage: From time to time, musicians will include violins or even entire string sections in their pop and rock songs, and for a few seconds you may feel as though you’re listening to classical music. Here is a montage made up entirely of these isolated string samples.
The CFRE Roadshow Promos: I decided to dredge up these old promos I created when I was working at the campus radio station back in university. They sound a bit dated now, but at the time I thought they were pretty neat.
The Single-Note Beatles Montage: Do you consider yourself an ardent Beatles fan? Do you think you can identify a Beatles tune after hearing only one note? Each sample in this montage contains a single note from well-known Beatles songs.
The 2011 Celebrity Death Calendar: Every December, newspapers and magazines publish a list of the celebrities who have died that year. This article is my attempt to turn this list into a motivational tool.
2012 – The Year Of Awakenings: A look back on the events of 2012, as viewed from The Bob Angle.
The 90% Solution: As children, we’re always told to try our best. However, I’ve discovered that after we become adults, this well-intentioned advice may often work against us.
A Place For Our Stuff: When the universe comes to an end during the Big Crunch, all matter will be destroyed, along with all of humankind’s accumulated knowledge. Is there a way that we can save what we’ve created?
Airline Fees: A More Equitable Proposal: You’re getting really annoyed with the airlines and their efforts to find new ways to nickel-and-dome their customers. Some of you will complain bitterly about this, but here’s an idea that I believe is inherently fair to all passengers.
The Allure of Palindromes: Why are we drawn to palindromes? I’ve given this a lot of thought, and have compiled a list of reasons why palindromes seem to touch us both on a visceral and an intellectual level.
Barbers And Hair Stylists: Please Buy White Capes!: A trip to the barber shop or hair salon should make us feel good about ourselves and our appearance – it shouldn’t be a reminder that we’ve finally reached a certain age…
Be A Critical Consumer: Steve Jobs isn’t the only one with a reality distortion field. A little critical thinking makes it apparent that not all new products are “new and improved”.
Beyond Self-Actualization: Journey with me as I re-work Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and show you how to achieve a level beyond self-actualization.
The Big Crunch – An Argument For Hell: In the article, Living The Reward, I suggest that we are already in heaven. This article presents an opposing, and decidedly less optimistic point of view.
CDs Used To Sound Great – What Happened?: When compact discs were first introduced in the mid-1980s, they lived up to their reputation as a superior audio format. Today, many of them sound worse than vinyl recordings. What happened?
Chick-fil-A – Political Correctness Run Amok: So many people are outraged because the president of Chick-fil-A said that he’s against gay marriage. I’m not taking sides – predictably, I have my own angle.
Cigarette Warning Labels: There is a proposal by the Canadian government to cover a greater area of cigarette packages with warning labels and graphic photographs. Personally, I don’t think this will deter smokers. If they want to make a difference, then they can start with this approach.
Combining Evolution And Creationism: Why do Evolution and Creationism have to be mutually exclusive? I’ve devised a (decidedly tongue-in-cheek) hypothesis that combines these two disparate and seemingly incompatible ideas. In theory, everyone should now be happy.
The Conditions of Forgiveness: While forgiveness is supposedly good for the soul, I believe that it is dispensed far too eagerly. In my opinion, forgiveness is useless unless the transgressor also learns a lesson. From this day forward, if you transgress against me, then you will have to meet these conditions before I will grant you my forgiveness.
Counting Blue Cars: A Blueprint For World Peace: Can a single line from a pop song reduce global conflict and create more harmonious societies around the world? I think so, and all we have to do is listen to it again and apply the following interpretation.
Cutting The Cable: Two years ago, I decided to have my cable television disconnected, both to save money and to see how well I could survive without it. This is my story.
Cutting The Cable – Five Years Later: I decided to have my cable television disconnected – for three months – to see whether I could survive without it. This experiment is now in its fifth year. Here’s now I’ve been coping…
The Death Of The Twinkie… and of My Cushy Retirement Dreams: The demise of Hostess Foods is making me re-evaluate my life. Twinkies were going to be an integral part of my plan for a luxurious and carefree retirement.
Digital vs. Analogue – The Great Debate: As more of our world becomes digitized, there is an increasing number of people who prefer things in their old analogue format – and for good reason.
Discovering A Hidden Third Channel In Stereo Recordings: A while ago, I stumbled upon something that I thought would change the way we listen to music. As it turns out, my discovery wasn’t anything new, but it was still fun to extract these new sounds from old recordings.
The Do Not Call List: If you’re like me, then you probably despise telemarketers with the searing heat of a thousand suns. Here are some not-so-polite suggestions for dealing with them, and for revamping our national Do Not Call list.
Don’t Just Do It – Do It Now!: Have you made a bucket list? Have you started crossing things off yet? Don’t merely live your life with gusto – live it with a sense of urgency!
Don’t Simply Pray For Peace – Do This Instead: Praying for peace sounds nice, but it’s as effective as posting your intentions on your Facebook wall. If you’re serious about making this world a better place, then you’re going to have to do a little work.
Dumbing Down Nutrition: During the past couple of decades, increasingly comprehensive nutritional labeling standards have turned us into astute, informed and conscientious consumers. Now a new labeling system is attempting (presumably for the sake of ease and convenience) to steer us back into a state of ignorance.
Expand And Simplify – The Most Useful Thing I Learned in Math Class: Do you remember your fellow high school students telling you that your math class exercises has no real-life applications? Looks like they were wrong…
Exploring Multilingual Music: In this post, I examine songs that have lyrics in more than one language – specifically, English and French.
A Face (but not Jesus’s) has Appeared on my Bathroom Counter!: Yes, I’ll admit it: I have also seen a face in a household object – my bathroom counter – but unlike everyone else, I’m not making any religious claims.
Facebook Personalities: Over the years, I’ve noticed that almost all of my Facebook friends fall into a number of distinct personality types. Here is my list of these types, along with their associated online behaviour.
Finding Comfort Under A Blanket of Stars: We all know that the lack of sunlight can cause Seasonal Affective Disorder, but how might the lack of visible starlight affect the inhabitants of our increasingly well-lit, urban societies?
Forging Your Own Path: Stand-up comedians are not only funny, but they often stand on the vanguard of religious thought. It takes courage to reject what has been foisted upon you and forge your own path, but that’s exactly what Bill Hicks and George Carlin have done.
From Categories to Attributes – Creating a World Without Prejudice: It’s possible to create a peaceful and harmonious world, entirely free from prejudice. All it takes is a subtle shift in our philosophy. We’ve already started – now let’s complete the journey.
The Generosity Coefficient: In this article I explore the advice in Ecclesiastes 11:1 “Cast your bread upon the waters…”. Does this actually work? I was curious so I decided to look for some real-life examples. Here are my findings.
Google AutoComplete – A Mirror On Society: By combining two of Google’s search features, you can have the illusion of God-like powers, and be able to glimpse into the minds of people all around the world.
The Hidden Danger of Video Games: No, this is not another lecture on video game violence – after all this is The Bob Angle. This is something far more insidious…
How To End The World: You could sit around and wait for December 21st, 2012… or you could be proactive and do it yourself! This article shows you how, step by step.
How To Survive Solitary Confinement In Alcatraz: An extended time in the solitary confinement cell is the most harrowing thing that a prisoner in Alcatraz can endure. However, a single item can make this time not only bearable, but perhaps not entirely unpleasant.
I Am A Tune-Aholic: The more music I consume, the greater my hunger for it becomes. I will never be sated, but I don’t mind at all.
I Mentally Correct The Grammar In Song Lyrics: So, you mentally correct people’s grammar? That’s nothing… allow me to raise the OCD bar just a little…
The Idea Generation Process: Over the years, fellow Toastmasters have approached me and asked me how I come up with my speech ideas. There is no single source for ideas – there needs to be a shift in the way to perceive things around you, and then the ideas will start flowing. This article describes, in detail, exactly what I now do differently since joining Toastmasters.
The Importance of Eye Exams: This isn’t the usual lecture on the importance of ocular health – after all this is The Bob Angle. There is one unexpected and decidedly pleasant benefit…
Into The Eye of the Hurricane: A few months ago, while feeling particularly creative, I decided to invent a new extreme sport – skydiving into the eye of a hurricane! I even had a catchy name for it: Eyediving. However, when I excitedly described my idea to a meteorologist friend, he calmly and rationally pointed out a few things that I might want to consider before attempting it, which brought me right back down to Earth.
Introducing Yewchuk’s Law – A Variation Of Godwin’s Law: If you read the comments section of web site news stories, someone will eventually say this. It’s inevitable – it’s Yewchuk’s Law.
Is The Bible Still Relevant?: The Church’s insistence that we must embrace their faith in its entirety, and their disdain for a “cafeteria-style” approach to religion, is (in my opinion) creating a more polarized, take-it-or-leave-it view of the Bible. I’d like to propose an approach that’s more nuanced and less binary.
It Gets Better – Here’s How: It’s a well-meaning phrase for victims of bullying, but in my opinion, it’s not enough of an incentive. Here is a list of things that young people can look forward to, during the coming years and decades.
It Was Thirty Years Ago Today: A tribute to John Lennon.
Judgment Day Scenarios – Individual: I’m always annoyed with people who wave books in my face and tell me how I’m going to be judged after I die – as if they’ve managed to steal a copy of Life’s Final Exam, and they alone now possess both the questions and the answers. That got me thinking… if I were the creator of the universe, here are a few ways that I would judge Humankind.
Judgment Day Scenarios – Collective: I think we all assume that we will be judged individually, but in the end, it might not be all about you – your ultimate judgment might be based on your ability to function as part of a team.
Keep Looking Up: Growing up, I used to enjoy watching The Star Hustler on PBS, as host Jack Horkheimer encouraged us to “Keep looking up”. Now as an adult, I realize that his piece of advice actually has the power to change our lives.
The Last Cookie Enjoyment: This is a story of a man who is sitting on a couch, watching TV, and eating cookies out of a bag. While focused on the television program, he absentmindedly reached into the bag, and discovered to his horror…
The Levels of Behaviour: What happened to good manners? Why are so many people so self-centred these days? Rather than turn into a grumpy old man, I decided to observe people and create a motivational map.
Life Is A Project: Sometimes a subtle shift in our perception can bring great serenity and peace to our existence. Here’s a view of the world from The Bob Angle.
Living The Reward: Even as a child, I had trouble accepting the teachings of my church, especially the concept of heaven as our ultimate reward. What if they had everything backwards?
Living Without Boundaries: Here’s how to add joy, enchantment and intrigue to your life. It will take a bit of effort, but a more enriching and satisfying existence is within your reach!
The Lost Art of Crowd Navigation: Wandering through a crowded train station used to be effortless… now it’s frustrating, and it’s all due to one thing.
Low-Tech Communication: In this über-connected digital world, we tend to forget about all of the other methods of communicating.
Making Hate Out Of Nothing At All: During this year’s Remembrance Day ceremonies, you may think back to the atrocities of war and feel confident that you will never be influenced negatively by a maniacal dictator, or even a cult leader. Think again. Even today, it doesn’t take much to incite hatred and even thoughts of physical violence innocent strangers.
Misinterpreting Corporate Logos: I am finally secure enough to admit it: as a child I just didn’t see what I was supposed to in many corporate logos.
The Most Important Things I Learned From Facebook: It took me several years, but I now understand why Facebook may be the most important piece of software ever written. Here’s what I learned…
Much Ado About Nothing: I am of two minds about Earth Hour. While I think that the idea of turning off our lights for one hour per year is simply inane, I also believe that we should participate in this exercise.
Mutual Artistic Disdain: Art seems to bring out the insufferable, pretentious snob in all of us. Here is a humourous experience I had in which I and another art-lover were simultaneously contemptuous of each other’s taste in paintings.
The Mythical Soul Mate: Stop wasting your time looking for “the one” among the planet’s seven billion people. It’s time to dispense with this romanticized notion and consider a more practical method of mate selection.
Nature Doesn’t Care: We humans seem to be exceptional at blaming others for our own failings and lack of discipline. We may be able to fool others some of the time, but we can’t fool Mother Nature.
Our Lives Aren’t Supposed To Feel Complete! Here’s Why…: In high school, one of my teachers revealed one of the secrets of the universe. Unfortunately, it took me a couple of decades to realize it…
Portfolio Feng Shui: In this article, I create a new industry my merging two disparate and seemingly incompatible things.
The Power Of Pay It Forward: This simple idea gives us all the power to create a kinder, more benevolent society – as long as it’s implemented correctly.
Preparing For December 21, 2012: The end of the Mayan calendar is near! You should start making preparations now – especially if you don’t believe that the world is going to end.
QR Codes – Practical Social Applications: QR Codes certainly look futuristic, but who actually takes the time to scan them when reading newspapers and magazines? Here are some ideas that may prevent the QR Code from becoming yet another CueCat.
Radio Shack, and the Disappearance of the Hobbyist Consumer: Radio Shack may not be around for much longer. I’m going to miss it – not for what it is now, but for what it used to be back in the 1970s and 1980s.
Reading, Writing, Coding and Arithmetic: Computer programming is not just for geeks. Computer code is now so pervasive that an understanding of it should be considered an essential component of literacy.
Recognizing Our Surprising Innate Abilities: We all think that we become more knowledgeable as we age, however, I believe that we may be losing as much as we’re gaining.
Redefining Middle Age: When someone says “middle aged”, what number pops into your head? Here’s my own way of defining middle age, and I should warn you now – you’re probably not going to like it.
Religion – We’re Doing It Wrong: In my neighbourhood, there are two churches standing side by side. As I walked past them one day, I had an epiphany.
Remembering Karen Gibson: Let’s take a moment to remember the quiet girl who sat in the back of my Grade 10 Biology class.
Rolling The Odometer: Some people love to watch their car’s odometer numbers switch from “99999” and back to “00000”. However, if you’re a hard-core programmer or a computer geek, then rolling the odometer can be a disconcerting experience…
The Scream – An Environmental Interpretation: Great works of art affect people in different ways. There are already a multitude of different interpretations of Edvard Munch’s The Scream, and now I’d like to add my own. I think that Munch was our first environmentalist – 80 years before David Suzuki – and used this painting to make us aware of our ecological footprint and the dangers of disrupting the Earth’s equilibrium.
Should Facebook Add A Dislike Button?: This rumour has been circulating for years. Is a Dislike button really a good idea?
Slaves To The Machine: During the 1950s we were excited about new developments in technology, because we thought that these machines would serve us, and give us more leisure time. As we now know, that’s not exactly what happened…
The Social Impact of Electric Cars: In the not-too-distant future, one or more of your electric-car-owning friends will – cavalierly or sheepishly – ask you this question…
Spectacular Sales And Duplicitous Discounts: Do you consider yourself to be a superior shopper and an expert at finding great deals? Here’s something subtle that merchants are doing to make their sales sound better than they really are.
A Speech About Nothing: We’re constantly being told to be thankful for the things we have in our lives. I think that we should be thankful for their absence.
Steve Jobs’ Master Plan: My own speculation on what I believe is the journey that Steve Jobs wanted us to take together.
Sub-Rosa Subway – A Hidden Pop Music Gem: The term “music appreciation” is usually associated with classical music or opera. However, there are a handful of pop songs that are worthy of a deeper study and analysis. This is one of them.
A Swastika? OMG, I’m So Offended!: These days, it’s almost fashionable to become offended by something and then start a Facebook petition to publicize your outrage. However, not all of our outrage is justified, and sometimes our histrionics reveal more about ourselves.
This New Course Should Be In Every High School’s Curriculum: High schools used to prepare us adequately for the real world. Now with the advent and ubiquity of the Internet, there is a gaping hole in our educational foundation. Here is my proposal for a new course that will develop an essential skill set for all adolescents.
Tom’s Restaurant: It’s easy to miss this inconspicuous eatery, tucked away near the north-west corner of Central Park. However, this unassuming place has had a greater impact on popular culture than you realize. Unless you’re a Luddite, your life has likely been affected by an event that took place here.
Uncovering Hidden Music & Lyrics: There are often interesting musical tidbits hidden in songs that can be discovered using audio software. Here are some things that I’ve uncovered.
Unexpected Benefits of Toastmasters: When I was in my twenties, my father recommended that I join Toastmasters, but he wouldn’t tell me why. Now that I’ve joined, I understand. Join Toastmasters.
The Unsung Heroes of Toronto’s Occupy Movement: During the Occupy Toronto movement, there were some people who really impressed me… and they weren’t the protesters.
Using Street Signs As A Teaching Tool: Orangeville, Ontario has the most amazing street signs. A neighbourhood walk is now an opportunity to learn a little about the town’s history.
The Walk / Talk Ratio: I’ve devised a new method of judging people (including myself). I call it The Walk/Talk ratio, and just like the classic board game Othello, it takes “a minute to learn, and a lifetime to master”.
Wanted: Role Models: Wherever you go, you are being watched – by young people who look at you as a good behavioural example. Young people want role models, and we – not celebrities – need to fill that vacancy.
We Are All Custodians: Despite what you’ve heard, we’re not really the masters of our domain. In fact, we’re engaged in a continual tug-of-war with Nature, and it’s all we can do to stop losing ground.
We Are Humans! We Are Afraid Of Nothing!: As you write down your New Year’s resolutions, I’d like you to add one more: recognize and embrace one of our society’s greatest fears.
What God Said To Stephen Fry: (Short Version) In a recent television interview, the host asked Stephen Fry, an outspoken atheist, “Suppose it’s all true, and you walk up to the Pearly Gates and you are confronted by God. What would Stephen Fry say to Him, Her or It?”. Fry’s shocking response went viral. In this creative writing exercise, Stephen Fry has arrived at The Pearly Gates, and God responds to the questions and comments that Fry made during that interview.
What God Said To Stephen Fry: (Long Version) In a recent television interview, the host asked Stephen Fry, an outspoken atheist, “Suppose it’s all true, and you walk up to the Pearly Gates and you are confronted by God. What would Stephen Fry say to Him, Her or It?”. Fry’s shocking response went viral. In this creative writing exercise, Stephen Fry has arrived at The Pearly Gates, and God responds to the questions and comments that Fry made during that interview.
What Happened to the Technical Stereo Consumer?: Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, stereo manufacturers produced ads for consumers who were intelligent and technically-savvy. Today, they seem to be written for a bunch of harebrained ignoramuses who are more concerned with aesthetics than fidelity. We used to be erudite and educated consumers – what happened?
What If The Rapture Happened… And Nobody Knew?: Suppose that Rapture had just occurred, and not only was the entire human race left behind, but we were too dimwitted and inward-looking to even realize that it happened!
What Will Really Happen on December 21, 2012: Forget everything you’ve heard about the end of the world. I’ve finally decoded the Mayan secret and will now share it with you!
Why I No Longer Enjoy How The Grinch Stole Christmas: As a child, I used to enjoy reading and watching How The Grinch Stole Christmas – until I viewed the story from The Bob Angle and realized that there wasn’t anything even remotely redeeming or heartwarming about it!
Why Sesame Street Is So Awesome: I thought I enjoyed it thoroughly as a child, but looking back, I’m now starting to appreciate how truly awesome Sesame Street really was.