Sunday, December 31, 2006

Difficult Times For Rational People

What else would one expect from this anti-science administration? Time is of the essence; they have only two years to reach their goal of taking America back to the Dark Ages.

Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees. Despite promising a prompt review of its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood rather than by geologic forces, more than three years later no review has ever been done and the book remains on sale at the park, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
“In order to avoid offending religious fundamentalists, our National Park Service is under orders to suspend its belief in geology,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. “It is disconcerting that the official position of a national park as to the geologic age of the Grand Canyon is ‘no comment.’ More


Via Daily Jive

The Art Of Sabrage

Am I the only one who thinks it's a bad idea to mix sharp weapons and alcohol? Watch out for the flying annulus!
It can seem daunting when you are initially handed a sabre and a chilled bottle of Champagne with the expectation that you will sever the top of the bottle with the sword’s blade. Do not be downhearted! No-one has ever failed and all it needs is a firm wrist with a high elbow and you’ll be back at your table regaling your fellow guests with tales of how easy it really was.

When performed on a suitably chilled bottle of Campagne, the cork and glass annulus fly away, spilling little of the precious wine. The pressure of the Champagne always ensures that no glass falls back into the bottle. Today, the Maître-Sabreur is always there to make sure safety is observed, and the cork flies away from spectators.

30,000 Swans a Swimming

The Independent reports a major threat to the British ecosystem - swans. But there is nothing to be done about it because most swans are owned by the Queen or protected from culling by law. The article offers this potential solution to the problem:



Recipe: A medieval way to roast a swan *
Ingredients: One swan (with giblets); lard; salt; broth; toasted breadcrumbs; ginger; galingale (an aromatic root); red wine vinegar
To prepare a swan (from Middle English): Wash him, & do on a spit & lard him fair & roast him well; & make a fair carving. Sauce: Take the issue [giblets] & wash it well, & scour the guts well with salt, & boil the issue all together, & wash it well & hew it small, & take bread & powder of ginger & of galingale & grind together & temper it with the broth, & colour it with the blood. And when it is boiled & ground & strained, salt it, & boil it & season it with vinegar.




*Note: I would never eat swan meat.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Vintage Ski Photos


A collection of vintage ski photos via Neatorama.
When the kids were small we used to ski at Mad River Glen in Vermont and stay at the Mad River Barn, an old ski lodge established in 1950 or thereabouts. Both were run by a neat old gal named Betsy Pratt, a real New England icon, and were so old fashioned it was as if they'd been preserved in amber. The skiing was challenging and beautiful and we'd return to gourmet meals prepared by students from the nearby Culinary Institute. Unfortunately the Canadian dollar's nosedive made it cheaper to ski the Rockies so we stopped going to Mad River.
These old pictures are from before my time (long before) but they remind me of our times at Mad River.

World Reaction to the Execution of Saddam Hussein

The Guardian gauges reaction of world leaders to Saddam's hanging.

Are You a Boy Or Are You a Girl?

Some researchers say that men can have 'women's brains' and that women can think more like men. Find out more about 'brain sex' differences by taking the Sex ID test, a series of visual challenges and questions used by psychologists in the BBC One television series Secrets of the Sexes.

I think like a woman.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Hypershopper


Check out this stretch shopping cart. Ideal for the Boxing Day sales.
Via Swissmiss

Radium Girls vs The US Radium Corp.


Undark and the Radium Girls is a damn interesting story of corporate injustice brought to us by (who else?) Damn Interesting.
Although all five litigants died as a result of radiation poisoning and their combined settlement amounted to only $10,000, the case established the right of individual workers to sue for damages from corporations due to labor abuse. The case led to passage of a bill in 1949 which made all occupational diseases compensable. Workers still have to fight tooth and nail to get fair compensation for work-related illnesses but their fight would be a lot tougher if not for the Radium Girls.

US Radium employed hundreds of women at their factory in Orange, New Jersey, including Grace Fryer. Few companies at that time were willing to employ women, and the pay was much higher than most alternatives, so the company had little trouble finding employees to occupy the rows and rows of desks. They were required to paint delicate lines with fine-tipped brushes, applying the Undark to the tiny numbers and indicator hands of wristwatches. After a few strokes a brush tended to lose its shape, so the women's managers encouraged them to use their lips and tongues to keep the tips of the camel hair brushes sharp and clean. The glowing paint was completely flavorless, and the supervisors assured them that rosy cheeks would be the only physical side effect to swallowing the radium-laced pigment.


The owners and scientists at US Radium, familiar with the real hazards of radioactivity, naturally took extensive precautions to protect themselves. They knew that Undark's key ingredient was approximately one million times more active than uranium, so company chemists often used lead screens, masks, and tongs when working with the paint. US Radium had even distributed literature to the medical community describing the "injurious effects" of radium. But inside the factory, where nearly every surface sparkled with radioluminescence, these dangers were unknown. For a lark, some of the women even painted their
fingernails and teeth with radium paint on occasion, to surprise their boyfriends when the lights went out.

The photographs of Don Hong-Oai




Today Coudal Partners brings us a link to the work of Don Hong-Oai, a photographer who was born in Canton, China. He was apprenticed to a Saigon portrait studio as a seven-year-old child where he learned the basics of photography. He now lives in the U.S.

His images are incredibly beautiful.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Anyone Else Having This Problem?

Technorati doesn't seem to be increasing my link count. I wait a few weeks and then nag them but it seems to be ongoing - not with all links but enough to bug me.

Worse For Wear


We had a couple of people over last night for some wine and nibbles. The bottle count wasn't particularly egregious so why have I felt so lousy all day? I asked Mr. Nag to opine on this conundrum. His response: "No one gave you much help with that last bottle." Thanks, now I know.
( I like the way he shifted the blame for my condition onto others. Very smooth - and wise.)

Hungry For a Month

Hungry For a Month is an interesting blog about living on a food budget of $30.00 for 30 days.

For the month of November, I’m only spending $30 on food. The only exception will be things that are freely available to the average person (salt taken from restaurants, sauce packets from Taco Bell, free coffee from an office). Buying in advance is fine, but at the end of the month, it all has to add up to $30 or less.


This same experiment has been done before. In 1982, Ontario MPP, Richard Johnston publicly highlighted the plight of the poor by going on a one-month "welfare diet," spending only what a typical welfare recipient had available to spend on food. In both instances the participants were forced to eat an unhealthy diet high in carbs, low in vitamins. They both lost weight.


Via Linkbunnies

He's One Cool Chat

I've featured this feline before (the photo on the left is one of many I captured of him). Here's a nice little slideshow someone put together that showcases Monsieur Chat at this best. I love his Cheshire smile.

Web 2.0 - thefirstpost.co.uk

This is cool. If life were like that I'd need my own landfill site to dispose of the giant bins of Spam.

Via the ever entertaining Everlasting Blort

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

He Made The World Funky


A tribute to James Brown from Slate.

"When I saw the speakers jumping, vibrating a certain way, I knew that was it: deliverance," Brown remembered, adding, in the understatement of all-time, "I had discovered that my strength was … in the rhythm." more

A Tribute To Tintin

Blistering barnacles! Ten thousand thundering typhoons! Two decades after his creator's death, a new and glorious episode has been added to the adventures of Tintin. The egg-headed boy journalist, his astute dog, Snowy, and his hirsute and drunken pal, Captain Haddock, have climbed out of their comic books and invaded one of the temples of modern art. A wonderful exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris acclaims Georges Remi, alias Hergé, Tintin's creator, as one of the greatest, and most influential, artists of the 20th century. Hergé, an unassuming man, who dabbled in painting and collected modern art towards the end of his life, would have been delighted. And amused.
The Pompidou exhibition is the first in a series of celebrations of the centenary of Hergé's birth next year. There will also be a large exhibition in Brussels, his birthplace, and a Tintin play in London.


Women, Know Your Limits

Why, of course I'd prefer to be uneducated and cuddly to being educated and hairy. Look. listen and take heed.

Via Cruel

No room for argument, very little for vermouth


Coudal gives a tutorial on making the perfect vodka martini:



Now we begin the sacrament. The motions and steps are all ordered to bring everything together at the holiest moment. There are many ways to describe the final product. Clean, precise and transcendent come to mind. But none of it is possible without cold. Cold in all its meanings. Unfeeling. Stoic. Mathematical. more

photo via Joe

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Some Christmas images

One of Mr. Nag's gifts
Staffordshire dogs enjoying a little warmth

Max enjoying quality time with some of his new toys.

P. Diddy Wants to Wear Your Dog

P.Diddy, the king of bling and a fashion inspiration to millions of hip hop fans, has been heavily criticised for selling designer coats made with fur from dogs. The animals, from China, are killed using barbaric methods.



This guy has a stupid name and he designs cruel clothes. If he has designs on Max he'd better prepare to be annihilated. Mr. Nag will shank his ass! Right, Mr. Nag? Mr. Nag, come back here right now...

The Amazing New Year's Resolution Generator!

The New Year approaches and with it comes the opportunity to turn over a new leaf. It's time to start reflecting on my shortcomings and disgusting excesses and resolving to become a better person. I'm not sure if this generator will help me to achieve that goal - it's got me cursing every day and driving more aggressively. These tendencies of mine do not require exacerbation, believe me. However, belching less often might be a good thing to strive for.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Fresh Fodder

Cool things that cost $10.00 or less. Like this Disappearing Civil Liberties Mug:




The Bill of Rights disappear when you pour hot liquid into the mug, and reappears when it cools down.

Sometimes You Have To Work On Christmas

This is for all of you who are out there slaving for others instead of relaxing in the smothering embrace of your families. Try not to embarrass yourselves.

Via Everlasting Blort

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Maybe Ants and Nags Just Aren't Meant To Be Together

Stood up again by that devious little hymenoptera, Avery! This time he says he took a wrong turn at Albuquerque on his way to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Excuses, excuses; I don't know why I keep getting sucked in. After all he's not even that goodlooking.

I even coloured my hair and dermabraded off 10 years worth of dead skin. I was lookin' mighty fine, if I do say so myself. Hot, in fact. Your loss, ant man.

Is it possible that Avery read my post about Stuart Little and feared that Mr. Nag, in a fit of jealous rage, would put out a couple of these:


I can't help but feel that a more manly ant would have taken the risk.

Eau de Marie Antoinette


What did France's last and most-tragic queen smell like? Now you can know, reports Emma Charlton: the Château de Versailles is selling, in very small and expensive quantities, a recreation of the queen's perfume as blended by one of France's top scent-creators.

The Return of Crumpet the Elf

David Sedaris reads from his Santaland Diaries on NPR. This is a Nag family seasonal favourite.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Max would look so hot in this


Vagablond brings us stylish fashion for man and beast.

The world’s foremost innovator in dog outerwear, K9 Top Coat promises canine apparel that is both durable and fashionable, comfortable yet functional. This is not the sort of dog clothes that comes in a bag at Petco.

Welcome back U.P.

My very dear friend, Uncorrected Proofs, is back after a long hiatus. I like to think that I had a little influence, having nagged him repeatedly to resume his nefarious blogging activities (they don't call me The Nag for nothing).

The Young Nags Will Love These


Avery Ant shares his Christmas shopping ideas for everyone on your list. How about Bump 'Em Hump "Em Robots, Barrel of Junkies or the ever-popular Shiite Pet?

It's a topsy-turvey world

Bears no longer hibernate but people do.

'Father of the Turkmen' dies





I didn't know that Wayne Newton was the President of Turkmenistan.






Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bitter Harvest


The migrants who work on Europe's fruit and olive harvests live on meagre wages, forced to survive in conditions that would fail to meet the UN's basic standards for refugee camps. Photographs by Christian Sinibaldi. Read Felicity Lawrence's report from southern Italy on the dark side of the Christmas orange harvest.

See the slideshow here.

Water Lilies in Paris

Last summer, Christmas came early when one of the greatest of France's treasures
– Claude Monet's wrap-around panels of the Nymphéas (Water Lilies) at the Musée de l'Orangerie – was been given back to the public, following six years in limbo. The reopening of the museum showcasing this unique attraction represents a kind of Second Coming in the art world, 80 years after Monet, near the end of his days, donated his supreme achievement to the people of France.


Seeing the Water Lilies at the Orangerie is on my to do list. On all my trips to France the Orangerie has been closed for one reason or another, most recently this mammoth renovation. I saw some of the paintings at the Marmottan in Paris and others at Monet's home in Giverny but look forward to seeing them in this magnificent setting.

I Remember When $1M Meant Something

What $1 million will buy you around the world. Not as much as it used to.

Via Look at This

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Don't Worry, I'll Keep In Touch

No need to miss any of my scintillating posts over the busy holiday season. I've given the Six Apart folks your phone number.

Bittersweet

Superman and Bizarro

Via Linkbunnies

A Tender Moment Chez Nag

I said, while gently stroking Mr. Nag's forehead, " I'm going to stroke all those wrinkles away."
To which he replied, "Why not? You put them there."
I think he was kidding.

Unseen Goya Revealed


It is the portrait that everyone knew existed but few have been fortunate enough to see in the two centuries or so since it was painted.
Yesterday that painting of a cherubic-looking six-year-old member of the Spanish royal family, the Infante Don Luis Maria, was displayed to the world for the first time since Francisco de Goya put paintbrush to canvas in 1783. But just as intriguing as the painting is the subject himself - an apparently studious little boy who would go on to become a cardinal at the age of 23 and who would put an end to that most infamous institution, the Spanish Inquisition.

The Guardian

Wow!

According to The Guardian:
Marijuana is now the biggest cash crop grown in the US, exceeding iraditional harvests such as wheat, corn and soy beans, says a new report.
The study shows that 10,000 tonnes of marijuana worth $35.8bn (£18.4bn) is grown each year; the street value would be even higher. This dwarfs the $23bn-worth of corn grown, $17.6bn-worth of soybeans and $12.2bn-worth of hay. Marijuana is the biggest cash crop in 12 states, with the value of pot grown outstripping peanuts in Georgia and tobacco in North and South Carolina. In California, the biggest producer, it is worth $13.8bn.

Apatheism: The Church Of I Don't Give A Damn

Why convert to Apatheism?
1. It's easy! Apatheists don't need to worry about various daily issues such as whether this or that is a sin, what will happen when I die, can I ask God for a Mercedes-Benz, etc. Apatheists enjoy life and find time to come up with their own personal values.
2. It's natural! Apatheism is so basic, even non-human animals and plants practice it. "Observe how the lilies of the field grow, they do not toil nor do they spin." That's because they do not care, either.
3. It's honest! Think about it -- if most people really believed in the god(s) they pretend to worship, they wouldn't act the ways they do. That's because they aren't really that interested. They're lying to themselves about their beliefs, or hedging their bets in the nearest, most popular religion "just in case." Apatheists, on the other hand, are completely aware that their religion won't do a damn thing for them.


Via White Man Stew

Monday, December 18, 2006

Where's Jesus?


He's not too hard to find.

You bet your boots!

What’s the most dangerous weapon you own? According to New Scientist, it’s your feet.That’s the finding of a new study of hospital emergency admissions, anyhow. The study of 25,000 people showing up at a hospital in Cardiff, Wales, between 1999 and 2005, showed that feet were more likely to have caused serious injuries than blunt or sharp objects or fists.The main problem appears to be
that people (usually men) get into a drunken fight, one of the group will then fall, due to alcohol intoxication, and the others will give him a sound kicking.


This brings to mind a situation I found myself in about 26 years ago. I had an old gas oven that exploded in my face, blowing me across the room and burning off my brows, lashes and some of my hair (and, no, I didn't remain hairless for long). I was concerned as I was 4 or 5 months pregnant at the time. A friend, after commenting that I smelled like burnt protein, drove me to the closest hospital which was in a slightly rough area of the city. I was placed on a stretcher and various unguents were applied to my face and hands. On the other side of the curtain a vile smelling denizen of Parkdale was raising quite a ruckus. The doctor asked him over and over again, "What was it: fists or boots? Fists or boots?". After reading this article I think I may finally have an answer to that mindboggler - I'm betting it was boots.

I thought I knew my way around...

After trying this geography quiz I'm amazed I can find my own way to the bathroom. Questions such as "What is the Root Cellar Capital of the World?" threw me for a loop. Who would know that?

Via Information Junk

Word processing for the slightly flawed

Word Perhect is almost as perhect as I am.

Thanks, Lori

Naughty Penguin Graffitti Artists



Scroll sideways to see the tale unfold.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Is This Not Awesome?

It is indeed an awesome lamp but at $400 CDN I guess I'll continue to rely on a dim light bulb hanging from a fraying electrical cord for all my lighting needs.

Via Neatorama

Who Will Don The Karaoke Mantle?

I have finally found an upside of illiteracy:

Millions 'cannot read well enough for karaoke'

I have been drunk enough on many occasions to seriously compromise my dignity but never so inebriated that I would actively participate in a genre whose only prerequisite is idiocy. If anything I am a strong proponent of the karaoke muzzle. It does not disappoint me to learn that our youth lack the necessary skills to keep the karaoke palaces in business.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Border Fence Firm Snared for Hiring Illegal Workers

NPR -A fence-building company in Southern California agrees to pay nearly $5 million in fines for hiring illegal immigrants. Two executives from the company may also serve jail time. The Golden State Fence Company's work includes some of the border fence between San Diego and Mexico.
After an immigration check in 1999 found undocumented workers on its payroll, Golden State promised to clean house. But when followup checks were made in 2004 and 2005, some of those same illegal workers were still on the job. In fact, U-S Attorney Carol Lam says as many as a third of the company's 750 workers may have been in the country illegally.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Crunks ’06: The Year in Media Errors and Corrections

It's worth reading all of these year end "crunks". Here's a few that I deem most chuckleicious:

An editorial in Friday’s paper incorrectly stated that Florida Cresswell, a candidate for state representative in the 28th District, was convicted in 1999 of battery and stealing Tupperware. In fact he was convicted of stealing a battery from a van as well as Tupperware that was inside the van. Link

A headline on Page One on Saturday should have made clear that Oregon Health & Science University will be studying the effects of meth, not cooking it. Link

St. Louis talk radio host Dave Lenihan was fired after he mistakenly used a racial epithet when praising Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:
"She’s got the patent resume of somebody that has serious skill. She loves football. She’s African-American, which would kind of be a big coon. A big coon. Oh my God. I am totally, totally, totally, totally, totally sorry for that.”
Link

RECENT articles in this column may have given the impression that Mr Sven Goran Eriksson was a greedy, useless, incompetent fool. This was a misunderstanding. Mr Eriksson is in fact a footballing genius. We are happy to make this clear. Link

Last year's were pretty good too.

Empty-Stomach Intelligence

Does this explain why supermodels are not only superbeautiful but superintelligent too???
Hunger makes the best sauce, goes the maxim. According to researchers at Yale Medical School, it may make quadratic equations and Kant’s categorical imperative go down easier too. The stimulation of hunger, the researchers announced in the March issue of Nature Neuroscience, causes mice to take in information more quickly, and to retain it better — basically, it makes them smarter. And that’s very likely to be true for humans as well.


From The New York Times via Reddit.

Your mission should you decide to accept it...

The world's tallest man used his super-long arms to save the lives of two dying dolphins in China by reaching deep into their stomachs to pull out pieces of plastic, official Chinese media reported yesterday.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Cereal Bowl Lamp


Cool Hunting brings us Etsy's cereal bowl light. I don't even like cereal and I think it's cool. Just touch the spoon and it lights up!

Verbotomy

Okay everyone, let's verbotomize!


Create a word to match the definition:

DEFINITION:

To have a favorite article of clothing with which you develop a personal, and even a deeply fulfilling, relationship.



Via Metafilter

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

R.I.P. Leslie Harpold

Leslie Harpold is dead at 41. I eagerly awaited her advent calendar every December and shared it with all and sundry. My 2006 calendar post received a whack of hits today and I wondered why. Now I know. So sad.

Blaming the Victims

TORONTO — Students in Ontario are the first in Canada to run the risk of losing
their driving privileges
if they drop out of school before the age of 18 under new legislation passed Tuesday in the provincial legislature.

This is senseless. When the idea was first floated I wrote a letter to my MPP expressing my disagreement with the proposal. I worked many years for an MPP and know where such correspondence goes so my spending time on such a futile exercise was a barometer of the profundity of my opinion on the issue. Some kids can't continue on in school for whatever reason. Maybe they have a learning disability and can't get the help they need from their teachers or their parents. Perhaps they know a little bit about cars and they're able to line up a job that might make them feel good about themselves after a frustrating school experience. We need to be giving our kids more and better options, not taking them away.
Gerard Kennedy, the Education Minister at the time who was responsible for drafting this useless piece of legislation lost any respect I might have had for him. There are reasons why kids drop out of school and taking away their right to drive doesn't begin to address them

What do you think you're looking at, sugar tits?




Thanks Metro!

Warning: Not For The Squeamish

Mr. Nag actually used that trap !
How could he? He knows how much I love Stuart Little.
I opened the cupboard under the sink and saw 2 little brown eyes staring at me. The fact that the eyes' owner didn't try to escape led me to believe it was trapped. I moved the shredded rolls of paper towels that surrounded it and saw that its tail was caught in an implement of torture. I was like omigod, shriek, shriek! I called Mr. Nag at work, something I almost never do, to express my disappointment in him. I then put Stuart in a bag, trap and all, and put him in the back yard. I decided a knife was best for the grisly task and plunged it into the little blighter. No, of course I didn't. I lifted the metal bar that clamped his tail. Stuart just stood there stunned (see above) so I got him some cheese. When I told Mr. Nag this he said, "Great, now you've turned it into a pet." That's just ridiculous. It's a rodent, after all. I left him to nurse his wounds in private and when I returned a little later, with a couple of cunning Stuart Little costumes to keep him cozy, he was gone.
No doubt he's back under the sink trying to break into the compost bucket.

Where There's Smoke

I was reading a NYT article on smokey-smelling perfumes the other day. I commented to Mr. Nag that one scent, described as "creamy velvet like a glass of Sicilian passito", appealed to me. His reply? "I smell enough smoke at work."
Note to self: Never try to seduce a firefighter with a smokey perfume.

'Tis The Season To Post Lists

Here's another one:
The Top 10 Scams of the Year

Movie Posters 2006

Sam's Myth brings us the year's best movie posters. I love this one:


Via Kottke

Why Travel To France? Here's One Reason...

Why Travel To France introduces us to a whole new shopping concept:

Les Shoppenboys are guys that come in different shapes, sizes and profiles and work for the clothing store chain, Celio. Just find the Shoppenboy the same size and overall look of the person you are shopping for: Your boyfriend, your brother, your husband, your cousin, your nephew, your dad.


To get the full Les Shoppenboys experience you have to see the video.

Workplace Deaths In Canada

In 2005, the number of workplace fatalities totalled 1,097, an average of five every working day, said Andrew Sharpe, executive director of the CSLS.
"The numbers and rates of workplace fatalities are troubling," he said. "Other countries are making progress in this area but we're not."
In fact, only four other countries have higher rates of workplace fatalities than Canada -- South Korea, Mexico, Portugal and Turkey.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Who Needs a Glockenspiel?

My friend, Tom, brings us this unusual rendition of The Nutcracker Suite.

Falling Garden




San Staë church on the Canale Grande50th Biennial of Venice, 2003The Doge (Mocenigo) needed a church so as to be able to have a monumental tomb built for
himself, the church (San Staë) needed a saint so as to be able to be built, the saint (San Eustachio) needed a miracle so as to be pronounced a saint, the miracle needed a stag in order to be seen, and we built the garden for the reindeer.The visitors lie on the bed above the doge’s gravestone, and the garden thinks for them.


Via Coudal

60's Dance Crazes


I shook my skinny little butt to too many of these - and I thought I looked great. I didn't. Now you can look not so great too!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A treat from DoCopenhagen

DoCopenhagen's top 50 music videos of 2006.

Barbie decides to end the farce and does herself in


A gallery of gruesome but entertaining Barbie suicide pics lifted from Grow a Brain.
(I fixed the link)

The Guardian's Graffitti Slideshow

Vandalism or art? You be the judge
Two weeks ago, in response to the announcement in the Queen's speech that the government wants to cut down on "vandalism and graffiti", The Guardian posted an open letter to John Reid on the arts blog, asking why he wanted to stifle some of the most exciting, engaging and interesting art any of us can see in public spaces - and asked readers to send in examples of favourite street art.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Show Me Yours

A couple of friends have sent me their elfified selves. I'll send you mine if you send me yours.

Spymaster - For All Your Christmas Shopping Needs

Spymaster Communications and Surveillance Ltd. has something for everyone on your list.

How about this nifty Hostage Tracking System, perfect for your sister with the ex who keeps threatening to kidnap the kids.



Or this 2 Channel UHF Receiver integrated with 4x5 hour Sony auto reverse recorders with automatic cascade technology to assist in reminding your husband what a jackass he was at the last neighbourhood shindig?

















Your son might want this Telephone Voice Transformer, an entirely new generation of voice changer unlike anything else available. The bitch who dropped him for his best friend will never recognize his voice when he calls her up to threaten and harrass.

Elf Off, Eh

Let the elfamorphosis begin!

Via Everlasting Blort

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Ultimate Rejection Letter

Herbert A. Millington
Chair - Search Committee
412A Clarkson Hall, Whitson University
College Hill, MA 34109
Dear Professor Millington,
Thank you for your letter of March 16. After careful consideration, I regret to inform you that I am unable to accept your refusal to offer me an assistant professor position in your department.
This year I have been particularly fortunate in receiving an unusually large number of rejection letters. With such a varied and promising field of candidates, it is impossible for me to accept all refusals.
Despite Whitson's outstanding qualifications and previous experience in rejecting applicants, I find that your rejection does not meet my needs at this time. Therefore, I will assume the position of assistant professor in your department this August. I look forward to seeing you then.
Best of luck in rejecting future applicants.
Sincerely,
Chris L. Jensen

Via Reddit

The 12 isms of Christmas

The Calamity Carollers of Christmas get us in the festive spirit.

Via LinkBunnies

Tony vs Paul

Tony Vs Paul - a stop motion battle between two friends.

Via J-Walk

The Norwegian Puffin Dog

The Norwegian Lundehund is perfectly adapted for hunting puffins. It is multi-toed and super flexible, traits that allow it to climb cliffs and get into tight spaces. It can also fold over and close its ears to keep dust out. I'd never heard of it before, perhaps because it is so rare.

Puffins are small sea-birds. They look rather like small, flying penguins with big colorful beaks, and they like to nest in the narrow, twisting caves which honeycomb the local rocky sea-cliffs. The sheer inaccessibility of those cliffs helps to keep the predators away, while the caves add yet another layer of difficulty to anything trying to get at the puffins. Yet in northern Norway, puffins used to be a major source of winter food, and catching them in enough quantity to make it through the long winters was absolutely necessary.
In order to fill this unique niche, the Norwegians bred a
unique dog. The resulting Lundehund was an extraordinary animal with some unparalleled gifts. For all its uniqueness, the Lundehund is vanishingly rare. It has been so close to extinction that at one point there were only five of them in existence.


Fortunately some dedicated breeders have brought the breed back from the brink of extinction.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Same-sex marriage is here to stay.

A Conservative bid to reinstate the traditional meaning of “marriage” was voted down 175 to 123 in the House of Commons on Thursday.
Twelve Tories broke ranks to vote against Prime Minister Stephen Harper's motion, including cabinet ministers Peter MacKay, Lawrence Cannon, Jim Prentice, David Emerson, and Josee Verner.

Dr. Laura Action Figure

Would you go to a doctor who doesn't use his/her last name? I'd start thinking s/he might have a raft of convictions they don't want to come to light. Or perhaps s/he is just a sanctimonious, homophobic bitch.

Dr. Laura is not only one of the most popular radio personalities in America, she is also a best selling author of 14 books, including 4 children's books. Best known for her no-nonsense approach to parenting and her unwavering commitment to children, Dr. Laura always believes everyone should "go do the right thing".

(Maybe I should buy her for Talking George Bush. He's a little down in the dumps lately. Perhaps he needs some female companionship.)

When 2-1/2 pounds of practically raw beef won't do the trick

Yummm! Just like grandma used to make.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Better Mouse Trap

I made the mistake of mentioning to my (deceased) mother's husband that field mice come into our house through the myriad cracks in our century home each fall. I told him that we catch them in humane traps and release them far from here in a field where they will no doubt live long and fulfilling lives, untraumatized by their time in the plastic trap. He seemed quite disturbed by my seeming indifference to living with vermin. He phoned me from Arkansas no less than 4 times to report on the "better" mouse trap that he had found. I expected some high tech sonic energy sort of thing. This is what arrived today:


That's right, a 49-cent trap and a pile of paper bags. I'm not sure why he wrote the measurements on the paper bag (note the metric conversion). Methinks I'll use the bags for my lunch and not for mouse corpses.

Does This Seem Fair?

TWO per cent of adults command more than half of the world's wealth, while the bottom 50 per cent possesses just one per cent, according to a United Nations development institute study. Institute director Anthony Shorrocks said if the world's population was reduced to a group of 10 people, one person would hold $US99 and the remaining nine would share $1.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

6 Sort of Weird Things About Me

Lori tagged me.
The chain lett- I mean "meme" is this: List six things about yourself that are weird (then tag six more people).
First of all let me say that I am "not peculiar, just uninhibited" to coin a Raymond Chandler phrase. That said, here are a few things you may not know about me:

1. I'm an awful crybaby. Funerals, even those of strangers, get the waterworks going. Sad movies reduce me to a quivering, damp, rashy, swollen-eyed mass. This surprises those who see me as an unrelenting cynic.

2. I never miss Coronation Street.

3. I eat the same breakfast every day for approximately six years and then switch. I am currently in a raisin toast mode (only the President's Choice brand will do). Before that it was a toasted bagel. Going back 10 or 12 years I breakfasted each morning on a boiled egg and toast.

4. I wear socks to bed in all but the warmest weeks of summer. Sorry to disappoint all those who thought I was the Queen of Romance. The socks, after all, are the appropriate accessory to the flannelette nightgowns.

5. I am afraid of heights. Perhaps this comes from being on the short side.

6. Once I start reading a book or watching a movie I have to soldier on until the end, whether I want to or not. I am a strict disciplinarian in this regard.
"Let me quit," I beg. "This book/film sucks."
"That's let me quit, SIR, and the answer is NO," I reply. I then order myself to perform 25 pushups.

Six people to tag? With Lori and Metro out of contention, I'm left with only a few blogger buddies. How about youse guys:
Tom
Linda
Matt
Johnnie
Karen
Charles

New wrinkle in cream claims


Seems the cheap wrinkle creams are more effective than the pricey ones. I've been toying with the idea of trying StriVectin, touted as being "better than Botox". I'm glad I resisted the hype as it placed 7th out of 9 products tested. Olay Regenerist came out on top. The final conclusion is that none of them make much of a difference.
I guess I'll have to start the rumour that age is the new black. Youth is highly overrated (pass it on).

Today's Urban Def

hatriotism
Proving your patriotism by hating the people the government tells you to hate.
Well, I guess they've added a new country to the list of our enemies. I better hate them, too, if I'm going to prove my hatriotism.

Redneck Palm Pilot.


Thanks Neatorama!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Photos of Expo 67


Call it Expo summer, the summer of love, whatever. I was 16 and Montreal was the place to be. It was groovey, man. Here are a few pictures.

Big Oil and Big Ass

OTTAWA — NDP leader Jack Layton tried to take the Tories to task in the House of Commons, but instead his question became the “butt” of a joke.
Mr. Layton rose in the Commons on Monday to attack the government over subsidies to big oil companies.
But he tripped over his tongue and instead asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper if he would finally cancel subsidies to “big oil and big ass.” Mr. Layton meant to say “big gas.”
Mr. Harper jokingly answered that he would “get to the bottom of it.”
He went on to joke that he wasn't sure if he should take Mr. Layton's miscue personally.

We all know Jack was thinking of this.

The Sit-In at the Altar: No ‘I Do’ Till Gays Can Do It, Too

Whether it makes sense or not, some heterosexual couples, mostly in their in
20s and 30s, are protesting the inability of gay and lesbian couples to marry by
putting off their own marriage. Unless wedded bliss is available to everyone, in
every state, they say, they want no part of it.

So says the NY Times.
I say, if you really want to wed, move to Canada where wedded bliss (or its opposite) is available to both gays and straights. You can get married and still be politically correct! Of course Steve Harper is trying to quash gay marriage but we all know his heart's not in it and he won't succeed. So come on up!

Shades of Black

Jennifer Wells on Shades of Black, airing tonight at 8 on CTV. It appears to capture Black's full-blown preposterousness and might be good for a laugh if nothing else is on.
The scene: Black is speaking to his secretary, Shirley, attempting to ask after her well-being, or possibly ask her out on a date.
Says Black: "I just didn't want you to think that I was insensate to your gallant ministrations here."
Poor Shirley. She is gifted a lesson on Napoleon's maxim — "force equals mass times velocity" — and corrected in her pronunciation of "tenebrous," which, says Black, should be "ten-E-brous." (Really? Not in my dictionary.)
Shirley marries Conrad but later falls for a priest, which I guess explains why she takes to reading a book entitled Liturgy Now at the breakfast table.
Shirley divorces Conrad, who turns to Barbara Amiel, offering this come-on: "I've been looking for a suitable companion in the wake of my own domestic disturbance and I can't help noting how very well the two of us get on."
One can only hope that March — and thereby the Black trial — gets here soon. In the interim the fallen titan has been reduced to a cartoon.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Bhopal Disaster Dec. 3, 1984

The numbers of deaths resulting from the world's worst industrial accident are staggering. While survivorss continue to suffer from the effects of contamination Dow Chemical thrives.
More than 7,000 people died within a matter of days when toxic gases leaked from a chemical plant in Bhopal, India on the night of 2/3 December 1984. Over the last 21 years exposure to the toxins has resulted in the deaths of a further 15,000 people as well as chronic and debilitating illnesses for thousands of others for which treatment is largely ineffective.The disaster shocked the world and raised fundamental questions about government and corporate responsibility for industrial accidents that devastate human life and local environments. Yet 21 years later, the survivors still await just compensation, adequate medical assistance and treatment, and comprehensive economic and social rehabilitation.
The plant site, has still not been cleaned up. As a result, toxic wastes
continue to pollute the environment and contaminate water that surrounding communities rely on.
- From Amnesty International's report Clouds Of Injustice: Bhopal 20 years on
Sign the petition

Mistletoe, mulled cider and...Santarchy



Santarchy is comin' to town:
So, Badass, you think you've been good this year, eh? Right. Come sit on Santa's lap and prove that you really need a good spanking!
Santa will be showing the Queen West-West hipsters, underground dive bar-goers, and the ever-elusive Trinity Bellwoods Albino Squirrel just why getting a firm dark mass stuck in your stocking really ain't all that bad.
So don your creative yuletide thinking Santa hat and dream up a Santa (or Santa-related) costume of your own to illuminate the way. Supa Secret Santa Steppin' route will be announced sometime closer to the night of the Rampage.
Click
HERE for additional information, links to "Scarrols" (scarry Santarchy carols) and photos from years gone by.

Leslie Harpold's Advent Calendar


I look forward to this every December because it provides loads of entertainment over the festive season. A couple of weeks ago Leslie sent out an email asking for contributions of Christmas memories for this year's calendar. I couldn't come up with a single vignette that would warm the hearts of her readers and I feel a little guilty for not helping. That said, I hope you enjoy the fruits of her labour.