Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Leafy Green Stuff

You know what would taste really good right now?  Brussels sprouts!

- Things I Can't Believe I Actually Said

(image from
(they have a recipe, too, that I'm going to try someday)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

"Pull Tab" gambling - sure why not?

So, we have Pull Tabs here in Washington State. I see places, like bars and Roadhouse, advertising them right along with Karaoke and local bands, so I figured it was some kind of entertainment thing, right?

Yeah, maybe. I never quite saw the point of gambling, myself. Except maybe to be amused by the irony of NA tribes getting their -revenge- money back and investing it into things like basic income for tribe members (ha, in 20 years all those educated NA kids are going to "steal jobs" from the white immigrants, haha).

But, it is interesting that there is a strategic value in losing bets, because that means everyone really is closer to the big jackpot. And therefore only a limited number of tickets for each "deal" are produced, and a "deal" might get scrapped early (with actual prize tickets simply being destroyed) if the big prizes get won early and people stop playing that "deal."

That kind of stuff, I do find interesting.
Image from Wikipedia

Monday, March 12, 2018

Musical Monday - Patty Gurdy - What the Hell is a Hurdy Gurdy?

Until recently, I would have sworn that a "Hurdy-Gurdy" was one of those made up noises, like "Razzle Frazzle."

Turns out, the Hurdy-Gurdy is a real thing, and people really play them, and they're kind of cool.  I could totally see my DnD bard picking one up :-)

I really like that Patty explains this weird thing.  It is clear that quite a bit of serious engineering went into designing the Hurdy-Gurdy.  I mean, according to the Wikipedia article, this instrument is over a millennia old!

"The hurdy-gurdy is generally thought to have originated from fiddles in either Europe or the Middle East (e.g., the rebab instrument) some time before the eleventh century A.D.[2] The first recorded reference to fiddles in Europe was in the 9th century by the Persian geographer Ibn Khurradadhbih (d. 911) describing the lira (lūrā) as a typical instrument within the Byzantine Empire."

That is an old design, and very impressive. I mean, I'm sure the design has changed a lot over ten centuries, but the core seems to remain the same - that is, strings, a wheel and keys.

Now, as a historical/political aside for a moment, here in the 21st century, we like to think of Europe and it's descendants (specifically the full-of-itself United States) as the "civilized and industrialized world."  But, go back and read that quote above.  The use of the fiddle in Europe was recorded by the "savages" of the Middle East.  In other words, when the Europeans were still picking their noses and congratulating themselves for being able to shape iron, the Middle East had colleges with scholars who kept records of what the Euro-savages were using to make music.

Speaking of engineering, "The pitches on the organistrum were set according to Pythagorean temperament and the instrument was primarily used in monastic and church settings to accompany choral music."  Who does that?  Especially in the 9th century?

And here is an example of Patty Gurdy actually playing one.  "Sweet Dreams" is a classic song, for a long of reasons, not the least of which is that it has a very recognizable sound.

And, just for comparison, here is the timeless original:

Actually, I find it amusing that the "Who am I to disagree?" line is almost quaint by today's standards where kink is practically vanilla.  Ah, the impact of the Internet in mainstreaming the weird.