Welcome to our home page.

Below are the ten most recent postings from our blog. A link to older items is provided at the bottom of the page. You can also mine our archives, which are not extensive, in various other ways using the tools on the left.

The blog, officially named Half Notes, is mainly about our four other websites and their individual concerns: text services, music education, non-violent games and trivia quizzes. Follow the links at left under Our websites to visit the sites themselves.

November 17, 2011

Sensation

Categories: Zzzz... — Tags:

Just when I thought I couldn’t feel anything any more, today I feel numb.

November 16, 2011

The Neapolitan

Categories: Fun — Tags: , , ,

All good things must come to an end. So must all long and arduous ordeals, and it’s a good thing. Today’s question is the one that completes our new music theory quiz for TriviaPark.com and AheadWithMusic.com, and frankly it’s kind of a tough one. But if you don’t know the answer, what better way to hone your intuition than by forging blindly into:

Ice-cream is not the answer

To a classical musician, who or what is ‘The Neapolitan’?

  1. A celebrated composer, Domenico Scarlatti, born in Naples
  2. A concert hall in Vienna where Mozart’s greatest works were introduced
  3. A distinctive-sounding chord, the ‘Neapolitan sixth’
  4. An opera of Gioachino Rossini, his last, tragically incomplete

Answer

November 14, 2011

Broken Globe

Categories: Fun — Tags: ,

There’s already a Shakespeare quiz at TriviaPark.com, so today’s question may have to fit in somewhere else. It concerns an event that to Will Shakespeare would have been both a drama and a tragedy. Find out more, as we play…

Guess the catastrophe

William Shakespeare’s professional home for most of his career was The Globe, a celebrated London theater that unfortunately did not outlast even him. It met its demise in 1613, three years before Shakespeare’s own death. How was The Globe destroyed?

  1. Collapsed: the upper stands gave way when a record crowd rioted during a dull show
  2. Demolished: to build a luxury villa, Rochester Hall, on the same site
  3. Incinerated: when cannon-fire used in Shakespeare’s Henry VIII ignited the straw roof
  4. Torn apart: by a Protestant mob outraged by supposed ‘code-words’ in certain plays

Answer

November 13, 2011

Rhythm fascination

Categories: Fun — Tags: , , ,

Today we come to the second-last question in the music theory quiz we’re putting together for TriviaPark.com and AheadWithMusic.com. Looking at the meter — the rhythmic pulse — of some common musical forms, we ask:

Who’s got the time?

Which of the following musical forms typically uses six-eight rhythm?

  1. A Baroque minuet
  2. A Celtic jig
  3. A Scott Joplin piano rag
  4. A Sousa march

Answer

November 12, 2011

Sound the retweet

Categories: Zzzz... — Tags:

Freer-spirited writers may dash off tracts and verses then throw the papers to the wind, the fireplace, the sea or a mailbox. Me, I like to save everything, back it up, and re-use it if possible. It probably comes of having both a chary Muse and a bad memory. In that spirit, at all events, so mainly for my own benefit, here are the first 10 messages of my short Twitter history, pruned of strictly-work messages like announcements. Further exciting episodes will appear as time permits.

24 May 08: Mulling the proposition that “Using Twitter is going to change the way you think about staying in touch with friends and family”.

[First Tweet; still mulling.]

29 Apr 09: Which is the best social network for misanthropes?

7 May 09: The future PC not dead but shrunk past recognition? Yes, saith “PC for ever”, a fresh ordering of some old words at my Facebook page. http://facebook.com

7 May 09: ahasoft’s headline of the day: “Electrical stimulation produces feelings of free will”. Fascinating article too: http://scienceblogs.com

[The article is by the esteemed science blogger Ed Yong.]

10 May 09: Just got off 1st Skype4 call. A1 audio. (The other station was also in Victoria, though.) Feedback cancellation superb even when stressed.

12 May 09: Enjoyed today an unusual, modestly-priced, and very pleasant smooth single-malt: Armorik, from Brittany in the NW extremity of France.

13 May 09: No journey is complete that does not end at its starting point. In tweeting one’s followers, does not one also tweet oneself?

14 May 09: From A Word A Day, a curious fact: the past participle of “go”, “went”, belonged first to “wend”, as in “to wend your way”. http://wordsmith.org

15 May 09: Via Slashdot, a scary backup practices reminder: 13 years of irreplaceable data, AND backup, wiped out at a stroke. http://it.slashdot.org

15 May 09: Most email address validators skip the hard stuff, but this PHP code by Dominic Sayers seems thorough and sound. http://isemail.info

[Click the Download tab at the site to access the code]

The taste of revenge

Categories: Zzzz... — Tags:

Since revenge is on the one hand sweet, and on the other hand a dish best served cold, it is possibly a variety of cheesecake, or else some kind of ice-cream confection. This reflection encourages us to enjoy revenge in moderation only, to share with others, and not to go swimming right afterwards.

November 10, 2011

One memorable quatrain

Categories: Zzzz... — Tags: ,

The American Naturalist poet Sarah Norcliffe Cleghorn (1876-1959) wrote and published verse throughout her life, but only one snippet of hers, a solitary gem of a stanza from a satirical poem about child labor, is widely known and quoted. It is indeed a zinger:

The golf links lie so near the mill,
That almost every day,
The laboring children can look out
And see the men at play.

Omar Khayyam (1048-1131) is supposed to have written some 10,000 stanzas of about that size — 30 years’ worth if he was putting a quatrain a day on his blog. It was a splendid feat in itself, and one he buttressed with notable accomplishments in astronomy, mathematics, medicine, diplomacy, and so on. He was, in short, a very tiresome man, considering that he had to work without the benefit of Wikipedia, probably with sand in his eyes much of the time, and still accomplished more of note than we would regard as medically advisable today. Even discounting the rest — the parts he probably viewed as important — an oeuvre of 10,000 verses goes far beyond normal limits of prudence, taste and safety.

For the modern immortality-seeking wordsmith, Sarah Cleghorn is a much more inspiring example. You never know when you’re going to strike it lucky and come out with that one memorable quatrain.

November 9, 2011

Guido

Categories: Fun — Tags: , , ,

Today’s question is the eighth of the 10-question music theory quiz that’s currently under construction for TriviaPark.com and AheadWithMusic.com. We cast our minds back to the Italian city-state of Arezzo just about a millennium ago, and ask:

What did Guido do?

Guido d’Arezzo was an 11th-century Benedictine monk who is celebrated for an important contribution to the history of music. What did he do?

  1. Invented the clarinet
  2. Revolutionized musical notation
  3. Was the first to combine voice and instruments in the same work
  4. Wrote the melody that became the song Greensleeves

Answer

Press Release Writer

Categories: Fun — Tags: ,

You probably missed the announcement whose first paragraph is quoted below, but that’s OK, you can get one — or dozens, all different — of your own by visiting our old friend Press Release Writer, who has lately taken up residence as a Roland Read visiting fellow at our emerging AHA! Text Services website. For similar entertainments, check out Romance Writer and Haiku Generator at TriviaPark.com.

For Immediate Release

Hi-Tech Robot Takes PR Business By Storm

Victoria, B.C.: Press Release Writer, a self-described “publicity machine” with no other purpose than generating press releases about itself, is at last officially open for business. Speaking this morning on national television, Press Release Writer discussed its unique approach to publicity and media relations in the years ahead.

[Lots more...]

Incidentally, Roland Read is our software tool for generating randomized text. He’ll probably be popping up again in the future.

The microtone

Categories: Fun — Tags: , , ,

Today’s question is the seventh in a 10-question music theory quiz for TriviaPark.com and AheadWithMusic.com. If you have a taste for slightly out-of-the-way musical jargon, you may already know the answer to:

What is a microtone?

Which of the following definitions most accurately captures the meaning of the word ‘microtone’?

  1. A separation of pitch smaller than a semitone
  2. A short musical work stating a single melodic idea
  3. A sound too brief or too quiet to register fully with an audience
  4. A special microphone for recording tones

Answer

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