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Killam – A Cartographer’s Dream

Hello from Killam!

Here it is!

I know you’ve heard a lot about Killam, in movies, in Broadway musicals, and especially in 19th Century Russian literature, but prepare to forget everything you THOUGHT you knew about Killam.

It's important to enjoy the little things, like big ice cream cones.

Dubbed the “Ice Cream Capital”, Killam is actually more well-known for sorbets and other flavoured ice products, but in 1865, the original Killam Chamber of Commerce (a guy named Doug) decided (correctly) that dairy desserts looked better on road-side signage, and the decision has stuck.

Killam is now home to the Culinary Institute of Conical Dessert Accessories, specializing in the art and science of edible serving device preparation.  You might not be familiar with the Institute (student population 3), but you might be familiar with the Waffle Cone.  Well, so are they!  It wasn’t invented there, but it represents an entire semester of learning.  Fill your boots, foodies!

The town motto, confusingly, is “Drive safely, avoid accidents, Killam”.  (See town sign in picture, above.)  For over a century, it was, “Drive safely, avoid accidents, kill’em”, and residents loved it a lot.  When vehicular homicide was made illegal in 1946, they changed the name of their town from “Staplertown” to “Killam” so they could continue to use the motto at ceremonies, sporting events, and in singing the civic anthem “Killam Well, Killam All”.  Not just a catchy town motto, this phrase now serves as a reminder to NOT hit people with cars.  According to town’s statistical records, since 1946, there has never been a single vehicular accident in Killam (not counting accidents involving a man named Jeff, Geoff, Jef, Geff, etc…) which would place it easily in the Guiness Book of World Records, if the book included dumb records like that.

Killam was also the first town in the Western world to have the map of their entire town painted on the side of the biggest building in town (see picture, below).  This process is known as “pulling a Killam” and means a short-sighted, ill-advised waste of money on public art, because towns change size, and the sides of buildings don’t, generally.  Killam however, will never face this problem.


TRIVIA TIME: The building that the map was painted on... ISN'T ON THE MAP!

-Sandra Jacobavich, flute player in Augusto Pinochet’s personal traveling woodwind quintet, The Augustinotes (1974-1975).

-Fiona Reading, the first person from Killam to learn what reading is, and how it could be used in today’s society for the betterment of humanity (1983).

-The world’s 9th tallest three-legged cow on record, named Harvey (two-term Mayor of Killam, 1965-1976).

Well, I guess it’s back to the tour bus now, I hope the weather back home is mild.

Best regards imaginable,


How Does it Work? Episode 14: Political Boundaries

Have you ever looked at a map before?  If you’re not a big dummy, you’ll probably say yes.  That’s because without maps, we would never know where we are.  The universe is a super big place, so it’s kind of hard to find your way around it without some sort of (smaller) diagram.  We call these maps.  But if you were looking at a map of the world without any lines on it, how would you know where you REALLY live?  This is why we have Political Boundaries.  See, there are billions of people balanced atop this great planet of ours, and they move around a lot, all the time.

Here’s a metaphor:  It’s like ice.  If you’re trying to organize ice cubes, you need trays and a freezer.  Notice trays aren’t just big bowls that let all the ice mingle around, they have strict, straight (or fancy shaped) lines.  The freezer is a harder metaphor to make sense of, but think of the freezer as a thing that keeps people from melting.  If you didn’t stay with me through that university-level metaphor, the walls in the ice cube tray are like political boundaries, making sure everyone has a spot in the “tray” or “planet.”

Political boundaries are the only way to make sure someone from the east side of Lloydminster is treated differently from someone on the west side of Lloydminster, for example.  Yes, it’s true, we’re all humans, but if we treated everyone equally all over the world, we wouldn’t have JEALOUSY.  And without JEALOUSY, we wouldn’t have a functioning system of CAPITALISM, and without CAPITALISM, we’d all be ANIMALS. Or maybe ice cubes.

The Eh Project Pt. 1

Did you ever wonder how “eh” became associated with the way Canadians talk? You probably don’t say it, your parents probably don’t say it… I blame Canadian comedians.

exhibit 1:

How Does it Work? Episode 13: The Combination Lock

You wouldn’t normally think that mathematics and safety are the two things that go hand in hand, but why not, silly?  So thereby come we to The Combination Lock: Man’s testament to the power of numbers, and the strength of math! Many of us spent our childhoods taking combination locks for granted, and with good reason, they’re amazing. To explain a combination lock, you have to go inside the lock, which means that someone needed to make a real big lock in the past before we could understand them as human people. Each number written on the dial is actually represented by a “number” inside the dial, in a perfect 1:1 ratio, otherwise known as Monogamy’s Law. When a number is “selected”, this resets the real-time value of the base code, and subsequent numbers are calculated (also in real time) to be deemed correct or incorrect also according to the fantastic Monogamy’s Law (invented by Monogamy Trent Sr.).   After the third selection is made via the turning, a microchip inside the combination lock calculates the viability of the given code sequence, and an electronic signal is sent to the horseshoe part of the lock, also known as the “HSHOE” and the lock either opens in a warm, inviting manner, or stays closed, as if none of this plantronic sequence had taken place, fooling many into believing they had just been dreaming ALIVE!  So now that you know how the combination lock works, will you ever look at one in the same stupid way that you used to?  I’d say, it’s a LOCK (that you won’t do that.)

come the mightiest locks.

How Does it Work? Episode 12: The Microphone

The Microphone originally started out as someone’s idea to make a tiny phone. That’s true. Here’s what else: In 2007, the smallest phone (or, CELL PHONE, because they’re small like living skin cells) was actually smaller than the smallest microphone. So that’s interesting, because the language is all backwards now.  The microphone takes in noise, through the meshy end, and makes it small enough to fit through a wire. That part is pretty easy, it’s like a funnel. Think of how a funnel works, and that’s what’s going on in a microphone. Here’s where it gets interesting though. For a microphone to work, there needs to be something at the other end to make the sound big again. This is called a macrophone, although nobody calls it by its scientific name any more, they just call them amplifiers now, because it “amps” up the sound. The first microphone was surprisingly large, as if nobody knew how to use Latin very well. It was invented so people could announce things like wrestling matches, which were the first large gatherings of people in the 17th century of Britain. Microphones come in “condenser” and “dynamic” and “hidden”, each of which have their advantages. A condenser microphone makes things “dense” when they get small, whereas a “dynamic” microphone, or “dynamicrophone” makes things really flamboyant. Hidden microphones are what you’d expect, so that’s a no-brainer.  Some microphones use “phantom power”, but eeesh, that’s scary stuff.