Friday, March 31, 2006

Nihilist Chewing Gum

We believe in nothing! So stop what you're doing and start chewing! Each of these 3-1/2' x 2' boxes of chewing gum contains fourteen pieces of sweet and chewy goodness with a crunchy candy coating!

Travel photography by Stuart Whatling

Travel photography by Stuart Whatling
Here's one from Budapest.

Annoy This Annoying Fucker

"Bill O'Reilly claims he has sold "tens of thousands" of his Boycott France bumper stickers." Buy one of these babies and annoy the living daylights out of that oozing sore they call O'Reilly.

Can't Help But Love This Guy

"George Clooney's Oscar swag bag has sold at charity auction for $45,100, a spokesman for the United Way announced. "

He never makes a wrong move. For a minute I thought he was going to host the Brangelina wedding but it didn't happen, thank goodness.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Connaissances: French Quiz No. 3

"Have a go at French Quiz No. 3. It's a multi-choice quiz with questions to test your knowledge of France, just for fun."
Hey Mastercowfish and Metro , you guys should be able to ace this after your honeymoon in Paris. Sincere public congrats to you both!

More Books For Absorbent Little Minds

They're letting anyone write a children's book these days

The Man She Forgot to Google

Take a look at this horror movie t-shirt...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Emoticon Pillows

This is how I feel

Bertrand Russell's Photographs

"93 year old Russell tearing up his Labor Party membership card in protest of the Labor party's support for the US policy in Vietnam."
Where are today's Bertrand Russells? Or for that matter Benjamin Spocks?

via Cynical C Blog

Gallery of Children's Literature

Special books for eager young minds.

The iToilet

And with the recent unveiling of the new iMac, Steve Jobs had an idea.
'I have an idea!' he said. 'Since most folks seem to think our new iMac is just a really really expensive desk lamp, maybe we should start manufacturing household appliances!'
Steve then danced around a bit, before adding 'Hey! Since we're in the business of making crap, why not start with a toilet?!' And so the iToilet was born. Apple fanatics the world over applauded the idea. Everyone else paid no attention.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Pass the Alpo, Max

"Research has shown that pet food is better for you than many fast food meals. Measured for fat, salt and sugar levels, brands such as Gourmet Gold cat food and Caeser dog food contained a lot less fat than food from KFC, Pizza Hut and McDonald's."

Sunday, March 26, 2006

15 Best Skylines in the World

"The downtown core of big cities across the Americas, Europe and Asia are the cultural pulse and economic engines of urban regions where millions of people live. All urban 'life' begins and ends, each day and night under the watch of the city's tallest skyscrapers and most grand architectural structures. So kick back and appreciate the view that they have to offer... " Toronto is #7

via Presurfer

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Welcome Home Bailey

Bailey, the daughter of very close friends, is back from Ghana where she was doing valuable work. Here's a photo of her there.

Celebrating the American West: 19th Century Mammoth Plate Photographs

"The 19th century in America was an era of exploration. As the country's boundaries rapidly expanded, so did the dimensions of the photographic print. Using mammoth plate cameras that held glass negatives as large as 18 x 22 in, Watkins, Jackson, and Haynes produced enormous, stunning views of the majestic western American landscape. While these photographers worked in many capacities,as government employees, documentarians, and private entrepreneurs,they were always artists in the truest sense, pushing the limits of their medium to produce exquisite expressions of their subjects. "
via gmtPlus9

Thursday, March 23, 2006

So How Much?

So How Much? Funny Bud Light Commercial - Google Video

My Readers Have Been Asking: What To Do With Confit Du Canard

"You must have seen those rather unpleasant huge jars of hermetically sealed Confit de Canard ?
While not looking that appetising, the contents, one of the great gastronomic delights of France, are usually delicious. But have you wondered what the best way is to cook them? Here is what you have to do -
Prise open the Lid - sealed tightly for long life.
Place the opened jar into a pan of warm water to allow the Duck Fat to melt.
Remove the pieces of Duck from the fat and either oven roast or pan fry until the skin is slightly crispy.
And dont chuck the duck fat away as you can use it for roast potatoes. Almost as delicious as the duck

via Slashfood

How to Make Marshmallow Chicks

Mr. Sun must know how much I love Peeps but hate to eat them. Now I can produce my own palatable Peeps, display them in artful poses and then gobble them up, and you can too.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Mississippi outlaws sex toys - The Abrams Report

There is a landmark legal battle of constitutional proportions being fought down in Mississippi. It involves fundamental rights protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments, not to mention the rights of certain small business owners to satisfy their customers. This week, another court refused to recognize Mississippians' right to find companionship for 29.99 and so a law outlawing the sale of sex toys will stand.
Well, I am glad to see that the local legislators are focusing on the most pressing issues of the day. I’ve long believed that a three-dimensional, possibly battery-operated device is far more menacing than a handgun. In Mississippi, people can buy guns at a gun show with no background check and certain weapons can be carried almost anywhere. Sure, guns and toys can bring joy and a sense of comfort to the user, but apparently the legislators concluded that a genital replica is a far greater threat to society.
via Bits & Pieces (Congrats on your 100,000 hits, buddy)

Skating Cowboys!

First Tip: Don't Scream Like a Maniac

The U.S. political organizer credited with 'reinventing campaigning' by using the Internet to raise millions for Howard Dean's presidential bid is going to teach Liberals how to do the same for their leadership campaigns.

What Did he Expect, Tasteful Elegance?

Warning for landlords: beware of diminutive tenants wearing purple jumpsuits, you never know what they're going to do to your property.
According to a lawsuit filed with the Los Angeles superior court, Prince painted the outside of the house in purple stripes, had his personalised hieroglyph painted on the house, as well as the number 3121. Far from being a helpful guide to the postman, the number is the title of the resurgent singer's latest album.
Inside, the singer installed a black carpet in a guest room and new plumbing for "beauty salon chairs" and the carpet in the master bedroom was replaced with a purple monogrammed carpet.

Gunned down: the teenager who dared to walk across his neighbour's prized lawn

So this cranky old fart murders a 15 year old boy and thinks it's alright. I'd be scared to death if I knew that 40% of my neighbours (some of whom are extreme curmudgeons) might own guns.
Guns in America
32.6% of adults keep guns in or around their home , according to a 2002 survey. An estimated 40% own a gun
30,136 people were killed by firearms in the US in 2003; 730 of these were accidental
1.3m rifles were manufactured in the US in 2004; as well as an estimated 294,000 revolvers; 728,500 pistols; and 732,000 shotguns. Only 132,50o of these weapons were exported

Some of these end up on our streets and kill Canadians. There seems to be more concern south of the border about the smuggling of Canadian marijuana into the US than about lethal weapons in the hands of lunatics.

This related story reads like science fiction:

The Florida House Judiciary Committee has temporarily tabled HB 129, a Guns in the Workplace bill, that would force businesses in Florida to allow guns on their own privately held, business-owned property, whether they want to or not! This insane legislation is being advanced even though:
77% of workplace homicides are committed with firearms.
Murder is the leading cause of injury-related death for women in the workplace.
60% of major employers said in a 2005 survey that disgruntled employees had threatened to assault or kill senior managers in the last year.
A May 2005 study published in the
American Journal of Public Health found that workplaces where guns were permitted were 5 to 7 times more likely to be the site of a workplace homicide compared to workplaces where guns are prohibited.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Cheetos Lip Balm

I know a woman of a certain age, who will remain nameless, who loves Cheetos. I can always tell when she's been in my office by the orange fingerprints she leaves behind. If I go on the Cheetos diet will I look as great as she does when I'm 80? Perhaps it's the 60 hour work weeks she still puts in that keep her looking and acting 30 years younger. I'd rather believe it's the Cheetos.
I think she'd love this product:
Cheetos Lip Balm is exactly that, lip balm that tastes like Cheetos.
It's made by New York, NY based Lotta Luv LLC.
In fact, Lotta Luv makes all kinds of co-branded lip balm products. Check out their A&W Root Beer lip balm, Hostess Twinkie lip balm, or their Jelly Belly lip balms. They've got a bunch of others.

Lord of the Peeps

I would never eat a Peep, those bits of stale marshmallowlike substance molded into chick or bunny shapes that surface each spring just in time for Easter. Even as a child I found them vile tasting. But I do love little tableaux that star Peeps in various costumes and dramatic roles.
Here is a recent one:
Lord of the Peeps:
The peeps embark on a quest to defeat darkness, to save the world from the menace of unsleeping evil.
via Slashfood

Want to see more cool Peepstuff?
Unfortunately the link to my favourite, The Passion of the Peeps, appears to be dead.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Happy St. George's Day

It's a Savage Storm!

I guess Uncorrected Proofs has been too busy wreaking havoc down under to post on his blog.
"NORTH Queensland was slammed yesterday by the most ferocious cyclone to cross the state's coast in 80 years. Cyclone Larry battered the region between Townsville and Cairns for hours. Wind up to 290km/h ripped roofs from houses, demolished an ambulance station, damaged a hospital and police station, and uprooted trees."

Where the Truth Lies and Brokeback Mountain

The first thing that struck me about this film was the set design. I just loved the glass walled mansion cantilevered over the Hollywood Hills, just like something out of a 1960's Architectural Digest. This is a noirish murder mystery starring Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon as a Martin and Lewis type duo (only even less funny) who may have been involved in the murder of a young woman. This murder may also have spelled the end of their professional collaboration. They are two truly nasty dudes who are loved for the polio telethons they do. Alison Lohman is a journalist and former polio victim who wants to write a book about the pair. She's beautiful and innocent but her attempt to uncover what lies beneath leads to the loss of that innocence. I thought her performance was weak and that this was the movie's major flaw. But there were enough twists and turns to keep it interesting and I enjoyed the ironic trashiness of it all.
Also, at long last, I saw Brokeback Mountain. I don't know what I was expecting after all the hype but it seemed a little soap operaish to me. If a male-female story of "forbidden love" had been treated the same way it would be considered too mawkish by half. Great scenery though and convincing performances.

The Measure of War

I get the Village Voice on line but often, mostly because I'm too busy reading junk, I only read the headlines. I did read this article though and thought I'd share it.
"I don't know a single person who has served in Iraq. I suspect that many who are reading this can say the same thing.
So again, where does Operation Iraqi Freedom sit? It sits on the bus to the outer boroughs, the bus you never have and never will take. It sits in the trim house near the Army base in Georgia, or Massachusetts, or Oregon, not one of the soldiers in Iraq was drafted, after all. It also likely sits next to you, on the subway or in the traffic jam, en route to the shiny glass tower where you both work. But unless you and I make a conscious effort to recognize both the historic significance and the human reality of what is happening in Iraq, it will remain anonymous. This war sits at the edge of the room, a stranger we have no reason, except that it is our duty as its hosts, to approach.
One thousand and ninety-six days ago, I was in Oaxaca, in southern Mexico, as far from America as I then felt like being. When news of the war's beginning hit (almost in real time, thanks to the Internet cafes that ring the town square), the voices of the passersby rose, changed pitch, became angry. Then they settled. I came home three months later, spent the summer on a lake in California, slept through the fall on a couch in Boston, moved to New York, got jobs, got an apartment, wrote. More seasons passed. Seven of my friends got married. Two of my friends broke bones. One of my friends died. The clock ticks and life goes on, but today it needs to be said: Three years is a very long time. "

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Paris Pharmacies

David Liebovitz is right: Paris pharmacies rule. A number of years ago Mr. Nag arrived in Paris with a nasty toothache. It was so bad that he rethought his opinion of euthanasia ( was con, now pro).The plane trip had exacerbated a minor problem and our two week trip could have been ruined. We went to the local pharmacy and they gave Mr. Nag some very good drugs ( he wouldn't share them with me so I'll have to accept hearsay evidence). The charming pharmacist then referred him to a local dentist who saw him immediately, did tests using space age equipment and sent him on his way, cured, and at no charge. Gotta love those French!

At the Risk of Boring You

This is "an argument that matters".1.5 million workers and students in France have come out to demonstrate that it matters to them. Don't kid yourself, there can be only one winner in this argument for casualization and that is the employer. In Ontario, where I live and work, the government has embraced contract employment to the extent that many provincial government employees have been working on renewable contracts for more than 10 years. That means few benefits and, of course, no job security.
The position of most of the French left is that the new labour contract, allowing employers to take on youngsters without having to guarantee them a permanent job, is a step along the road which leads to casualisation, greater inequity, and the loss of workers' rights which they fought long and hard to secure.
I'd have to agree.

Friday, March 17, 2006

I Know It's St. Patricks Day

I looked all over for something I'd like to post. I found shamrocks and evil looking leprechauns and jokes about drunks - nothing blogworthy. Well, maybe these, feeble as they are:

Irish Nut Shooter

3/4 shot Frangelico hazelnut Liqueur
3/4 shots Irish Cream Liqueur
Lay in a shooter glass by carefully pouring the Frangelico first.

Green Eyes

1 ½ shots Vodka
½ shot Blue CuraƧao
3 shots orange juice
Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a glass.

Irish Coffee

1 shot Irish Whiskey
top up with hot filter coffee
float lightly whipped cream
The cream floats better if it is heated slightly and poured into the bowl of a spoon onto the top of the coffee.

via Slashfood

Sure It Looks Cute

But, apparently, it's a lean,mean killing machine. My neighbour's cat (not pictured here)manages to maim birds in our yard despite the presence of Mad Max, The Cat Killer. This puts us (us meaning Mr. Nag, I couldnt't kill anything) in the undesirable position of having to kill the poor creatures.
Pet cats that are allowed to roam free account for some 4 MILLION bird deaths EACH DAY in North America, or over 1 BILLION songbirds each year. This figure does not include the losses resulting from feral or wild populations of cats. Cats are efficient predators, and even capture some of the most secretive birds, such as Yellow Rails.

via Information Junk

This Seems Very Wrong

Israel's justice ministry is deciding whether to prosecute a Jerusalem hospital that held a new-born baby for two months as collateral because its mother was unable to pay her bill.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


While Cubans are driving vintage American cars it appears that Americans are driving these:

Hailed by The New York Times as a 'miniature flying saucer with handlebars, the hover scooter provides an unprecedented experience in personal transportation, levitating inches above the ground and speeding a single rider across level land on a cushion of air.

Cuban cars

For old car enthusiasts, Cuba is one large open-air museum. Cars you thought only exist in 40 year old movies still travel the Cuban roads and streets.

Paris In The Spring

Street demonstrations attended by hundreds of thousands eight days ago were followed by strikes and sit-ins at half the country's 85 universities, and more protests were planned for Thursday and Saturday.
Nouvelle bataille range devant la Sorbonne
Every time we visit Paris we see huge demonstrations: teachers or Muslims or transit workers. I guess this time it'll be students who are upset by the government's proposed Youth Jobs Program (CPE) that benefits employers at the expense of job security for workers. Being used to Canadian apathy, I'm always surprised at the number of people who attend these rallies.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Let's Hope They Don't Breed

A rep for Nicollette Sheridan has revealed that she's engaged to Michael Bolton.

Green Feet This Time

Last time I went to Paris I came home looking like an alien: green with black toes. I think the green was the result of drinking too much vino on the flight; I had my fair share and Mr. Nag's as well. The black toes came about after a walk from the Louvre to the flea market at Clingnancourt, a trek of many kilometres. For that hike I wore a pair of Hushpuppies with a very slightly elevated heel (no, not kitten heels; I'm talking a big square rubber heel about 1/2 inch high). This was at the height of the SARS epidemic but no questions were asked at the Toronto airport when Mr. Nag wheedled our way through the short and fast-moving handicapped lineup because his wife was feeling unwell (and presenting symptoms of SARS). My queasiness evaporated after a few hours but my feet were a mess - I lost four toenails and it took them all summer to grow back - no sandals for me that year. No more green skin and black toes! I have bought a pair of cute Sauconys. This year I will have green toes and, if the sun shines as I hope it will, brown (not quite black) skin.

The 30-Second Bunnies Theatre Library

Keeps them all neat and tidy in one place, and we know how I like that.
Angry Alien Productions, Sase and Topsie


My horoscope says that I'll have strong disagreements with others today. Let's hope they don't stab me in the back.
"Julius Caesar's bloody assassination on March 15, 44 B.C., forever marked March 15, or the Ides of March, as a day of infamy. It has fascinated scholars and writers ever since.
For ancient Romans living before that event, however, an ides was merely one of several common calendar terms used to mark monthly lunar events. The ides simply marked the appearance of the full moon. But the Ides of March assumed a whole new identity after the events of 44 B.C. The phrase came to represent a specific day of abrupt change that set off a ripple of repercussions throughout Roman society and beyond. "

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

PostSecret Always Makes Me Cringe - I Love It


From Harper's Weekly Review

More tongue-in-cheek juxtapositions from Harper's:
" Britain planned to kill one third of its wild badger population--about 100,000 badgers--in order to slow the spread of bovine tuberculosis; critics of the plan argued that slaughtering badgers will speed the spread of bovine tuberculosis. Mad cow disease was found in Alabama,where three college students were arrested for setting nine churches on fire. One of the students, Benjamin Moseley, was planning to appear in a school theater production called 'Young Zombies in Love.'A sociology professor at Suffolk University, Boston, was suspended after being caught browsing Internet porn sites while teaching a class; he was unaware that his computer was connected to a display behind him.In Licking County, Ohio, a man was accused of making 2,623 obscene phone calls over 20 days, and in Arizona a 52-year-old Deputy Fire Chief named Leroy Johnson was seen dragging a lamb into a neighbor's barn. The lamb's owner, Alan Goats, entered the barn to confront Johnson. 'You caught me, Alan,' said Johnson, zipping up his wet pants. 'I tried to fuck your sheep.' Police described the victim as small, gray, three feet tall, and four feet long.Two British preschools were criticized for having children sing 'Baa baa rainbow sheep.' 'There are much better ways,' said a representative of another preschool, 'of addressing these issues.'Details from recently released Guantanamo Bay transcripts continued to emerge. 'We lost our goats,' explained one prisoner. 'That's why we were looking through binoculars.Yanni was arrested for allegedly hitting his girlfriend."

Scientists awed by `human calendar'

Sometimes, after drinking too much, I wake up dehydrated in the middle of the night and remember every embarrassing thing I've ever done and lie there cringing in the dark trying to think of happy things like what I'd do if I won the lottery (I'd use the money for good, not evil, and still manage to have fun). This poor woman's life looks like that wrote large. There are many things better left forgotten.
"California researchers have uncovered a woman with a memory so detailed and unusual they have quite literally never seen anything like it.
Give her a date and she can tell you what took place , whether it was the final episode of the television soap-opera Dallas, the day actor Robert Blake's wife was killed, the day of the Lockerbie plane crash, the Iranian invasion of the U.S. Embassy, the day Proposition 13 passed in California or the day a plane crashed in Chicago. She can tell you what she was doing at the time. She remembers the weather.
Her life is like a movie on an endless loop, full of emotion. She cannot escape any good or bad thing that ever happened to her."

Monday, March 13, 2006

Clever Anti Arms Trade Video From Amnesty

Guns for sale
via Linda

Never Mind the Gap - How the retailer's clothes got so dreadful.

"These days, I never think of walking into a Gap. And neither, it seems, does anyone else. Last year, profits at North American Gap stores fell 10 percent, while the share price of Gap Inc.,which includes Banana Republic and Old Navy,fell 16.5 percent. Once synonymous with the very category of mid- to high-end chain stores it helped to invent, the Gap is now in serious trouble. What changed? Was it the Gap, or was it us?"
Like the author of this article I used to be a dedicated Gap shopper but have been driven away by shoddy quality at high prices. Another thing I've noticed is that Gap sells grownup clothes for men but little girl clothes for women (tummy baring jeans, baby doll dresses, etc.). Whom do they think they're catering to: dads out shopping with their daughters, sugar daddies with their bimbos? Am I the only one who finds this dissonance jarring?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

I was Going To Say This But Jay Said It Better

"For eight years now, Canadians have enjoyed loudly hating The Canadian Tire Guy (aka Ted Simonette; Bearded Guy; Canadian Tire Dad; Canadian Tire Douche), the Northern department store chain's effete, obnoxious TV spokesman. Even I've taken a few shots at him in the past. He's just too much of a dickhead not to. (Or maybe I'm just too much of one. I leave the semantics to you.)
The fictional know-it-all even won a recent CBC poll that crowned him the most annoying person in the country, beating out Celine Dion, Alanis Morrisette and real-life know-it-all John Ralston Saul for the dubious honor. (How the entire cast of the Royal Canadian Air Farce wasn't nominated, whose show is like a half-hour of nails screeching down a chalkboard, is beyond me; though I'm not above starting a rumor in this very sentence that they all sucked off CBC Chairman Guy Fournier to dodge the bullet.)
Happily . or perhaps sadly, depending on whether you liked having him around as an easy target for your disdain � Canadian Tire's retired Canadian Tire Guy, who's gone to the TV Spokesman Sound Stage in the Sky. No doubt to irritate God about using an inferior brand of brad remover or belt sander while renovating His basement.
God always takes the good ones first. The good ones, and the desexualized social irritants with the immaculately trimmed beards."

The Nag Rules

Plane Banner Generator

Protecting South Dakota's Unborn

onegoodmove: South Dakota

Yellow Fever

I thought this was funny.

via metafilter

We Old Hippies Love This Stuff

Sony BRAVIA - The Advert
via Prodigal

As Seen on TV

Time after time I'd see this generic tupperware caddy on tv and would covet it. If only I could have this gadget I could take pride in my kitchen cupboards, no more unsightly yogurt and margarine containers tumbling out each time I opened the door (yes, I know this makes my life appear truly pathetic). I figured this dream was as elusive as winning the Super 7 but yesterday Mr. Nag visited XS Cargo, saw my heart's desire and purchased it for me. Goodbye untidy cupboards, hello regimented kitchen storage! If all my dreams were so modest I wouldn't have a care in the world. Now all I have to do is convince Mr. Nag and Baby Nag to use the blasted thing.


Madeleine, a Chicago art dealer, travels to North Carolina with her new husband to convince an outsider artist there to sign with her gallery but also to meet her husband's family for the first time. It's a little gem. Sister-in-law Ashley, played by Amy Adams, is cute as a bug's ear (if life were fair she would have won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar). She's nine months pregnant, outgoing, generous, sincere and her favourite animal is the meerkat. Ashley's sullen young husband, Johnny, feels trapped by the pregnancy and inadequate in the face of his brother George's success. There are some wonderful moments in the film: George's hymn singing at a church supper, Johnny struggling to tape a meerkat special , George and Ashley at the hospital. It's a charming film with amazingly talented performances all round.

Friday, March 10, 2006

King Conan

This Friday's edition of 'Late Night with Conan O'Brien' will be devoted entirely to the trip he took to Finland, where he has a huge following due to looking exactly like the country's president.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

What Would Jesus Drive?

"Most people assume WWJD stands for 'What would Jesus do?'
But the initials really stand for 'What would Jesus drive?'"

One theory is that Jesus would tool around in an old Plymouth because the Bible says,"God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden in a Fury."

Get Out of Debt Now

Don't Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford

via Grow a Brain

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

International Women's Day Quiz

Celebrate International Women's Day and test your knowledge of pioneering female writers.
I only got 4 out of 10! I'm shocked at my own ignorance. I read the Mrs. Rochester question incorrectly, otherwise I would have scored correctly on that one.

South Dakota Celebrates International Women's Day


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

RIP Ali Farka Toure

Hawa Dolo is one of my favourite songs - the world has lost one of its best musical voices.
Two-time Grammy recipient and African 'desert blues' pioneer ALI FARKA TOURE passed away Tuesday in his native homeland of Mali, due to complications from bone cancer. Toure, born in 1939 in the Sahara Desert's Timbuktu region, played a traditional Malian stringed instrument called the gurke, which he used to coin the desert blues genre. Although best known for his collaboration with RY COODER on 1994's Talking Timbuktu, which won him his first Grammy, Toure's last release, In the Heart of the Moon, won him the 2005 Grammy in the traditional world music category. He had just finished recording a new solo album.

Why I Enjoy Harper's Weekly

LETTERS TO: Harper's Weekly
FROM: Harper's Weekly
In reply to Bryan Erickson's letter: Do we really need letters to Harper's Weekly in this e-mail? I encounter enough pathetic whining in daily life--I don't need it e-mailed to me as well.
As a recluse who does not get regular exposure to whining, I appreciate the weekly reminder of why I am a recluse, as is supplied by the Letters section of the Weekly. Please remind Bryan that he needn't whine about something he could just as easily scroll past.

Real Life Simpsons Intro

Real Life Simpsons Intro
via Kottke

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Hospitals: Is the Price Right?

I saw this tonight and it made me sick. The insurance companies are the big winners. Why do people put up with it? "Basically, hospitals charge uninsured people four or five times more than what they would accept as payment in full from an insurance company. Simply put, it's price-gouging."

There's a Lot You Don't Know About Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman SNL Digital Short
via Metafilter

Broken Flowers

I saw Broken Flowers last night. I like Jim Jarmusch, also Bill Murray and already have the excellent soundtrack so I knew I'd love the film. This is the story of an over the hill Don Juan by the name of Don Johnston (with a "t"). His gorgeous girlfriend, Julie Delpy, has just walked out on him. He receives an anonymous letter (red ink on pink paper) from an old flame informing him that she had his child almost 20 years ago and said son may now be looking to connect with him. Don was involved with five women two decades ago and, at the urging of his next door neighbour, Winston, he goes on a search for the one who is the mother of his son. The women are all big names (Sharon Stone, Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange and Tilda Swinton) and give good performances. Bill Murray is at his poignant best as a "bachelor" who is leading an empty life that seems to consist solely of sitting in front of his tv and sipping wine. This is a quietly funny film, although I laughed out loud. Rent it, you'll be glad you did.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Power of the pen in an e-mail age

I admit I was a little nonplussed when someone suggested having potential students handwrite their letters of application to our school. Turns out that old school is new school:
"I believe the handwritten note has become a status symbol, not unlike a vintage Hermes Birkin bag [they go for thousands, and there's a wait list] in fuchsia,' Weiss says. 'We get 100 e-mails a day, but a handwritten note only if we're special. The handwritten note is elitist and therefore a must for the fashion-conscious set. Of course, it must be written on fabulously heavyweight monogrammed stationery."

Plan59 : 1950s Car Art

Yeah, this is what it was like then. A great collection of old car ads. They look so prehistoric but, believe it or not, they're not pre-Nag.

The $39 Experiment: Asking Random Companies for Free Stuff

Check his updates to see how Tom's experiment is progressing.
Who I Am
My name is Tom Locke. I'm not poor; I'm not rich. I'm just an average guy. In fact, who I am is actually irrelevant to this experiment. I just figured I'd introduce myself for the sake of formality.
How This Started
I was sitting around one day, skimming through a pile of bills that I needed to pay. I looked over at a new, unopened roll of stamps that I had sitting in front of me, and I thought to myself, '$39... for a roll of stamps? Geez... You can't get much for $39 nowadays. Or can you...?'
The Idea
The way I looked at it, if I took $39 and went to buy groceries, I wouldn't be able to get all that much. On the flipside, if I took $39 to a casino and lost it all, I wouldn't be all that upset. With that said, I decided I was going to try something - I was going to take my roll of stamps and send 100 letters to 100 different companies, asking for free stuff. I figured that I couldn't do any worse than blowing the $39 at a casino, and who knows... maybe a few of these places would actually send me something good. "

via J-Walk

Friday, March 03, 2006

Police suspect two women in Bata theft

"Toronto police think two women may hold the key to finding a pair of stolen slippers, once worn by Indian royalty, and have obtained photos of the shoes that they believe are intact and hidden in the city."
The suspects are two single mothers from Thunder Bay who have recently returned from a vacation in Cancun.
(This won't make sense to anyone who hasn't been following Canadian news)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Ruthless Culling

The heritage estate I work at is having a booksale. Great news! I can now start clearing out the piles of books that are driving me nuts. Buying books, lots of them, is an addiction I share with Mr. Nag. It's relatively benign compared to our other addictions but is becoming problematic nonetheless. My goal is to have every one of our books nestled neatly on a bookshelf, not piled behind chairs or on tables. On bookshelves they provide excellent insulation in our otherwise uninsulated and frigid century home. As is they're a fire hazard. Mr. Nag agreed that this is a reasonable goal and that he would ruthlessly cull our motley collection. When I return from work each night he has made little progress. He picks up a book and becomes mesmerized by it, compelled to read just a few pages before relegating it to the discard box. The latest object of his undivided attention is The Book Of Irish Weirdness. This is not working. Mr. Nag insists that he only wants to keep the good art books. Great, I say, I'll only get rid of novels. Let me see them first, he says. Yesterday he arrived at Willowbank with a couple of boxes. When I looked closely they were filled with books that I had put in the attic a year ago, mostly chicklit or outdated travel books.
Mr. Nag is a bit of a hoarder. When we moved to Niagara on the Lake from Toronto many years ago I tossed the boys' outgrown sleepers (all well-worn, some with the feet cut out to accommodate rapid growth spurts). They were garbage and that's where I put them. Several years later I came upon them in the garage. Mr. Nag had rescued the poor little sleepers and was obviously saving them for something; I hate to think what.
There are many areas chez Nag where I do not venture: the attic, several closets, the garage and the two storey addition behind it, to name a few.
I avoid these areas because I am afraid. Afraid that I will kill my husband (although I love him dearly) when I discover a lifetime of detritus lingering there. It's not all bad though. Whenever a friend mentions that they need something (i.e. a statue of Romulus and Remus sucking on their wolf-mother's teats, a yard-sized tent or an Ulu knife) Mr. Nag runs to the garage and ferrets out whatever they desire. The spring on the projection screen at work broke. He was able to provide a replacement pronto from his cache.
When we first met I used to tease Mr. Nag and compare him to a bower bird filling his nest with colourful objects to attract a mate. It's been almost thirty years, I'm attracted, it's time to stop already.
None of this bodes well for the cull.

Radio DavidByrne Does Cuba

"This month begins part 1 of an ambitious 3-month series. Beginning with Afro-Cuban classics mostly from the 40s and 50s, then in the second part Salsa and Merengue favorites from the 60s, 70s and 80s, and then in the third part Latin Rock from the 80s, 90s and 00s. More than 9 hours of music in total - more than you'd get from most box sets. And it's free.
The early Afro-Cuban music in the 1st part is, to me, sometimes at least, what I imagine Robert Johnson's blues recordings are to Eric Clapton and Keith Richards. The lilting melodies of Trio Matamoros, Orquesta Aragon and the compositions of the great composer Lecuona are some kind of holy grail of the heart in the same way that the legendary bluesman's few recordings are to many rockers.
In a nutshell, Cuba was like New Orleans, Salvador Bahia, Detroit or many other places where African culture hybridized with the harmonies and lyricism of the Europeans to produce music that changed the world. Havana was one of many nodes where this creative energy radiated out, and this music was some of the result."

Tex's French Grammar

Just what I need before I go to Paris in May: verb conjugation reference, interrogative constructions, possessive determiners, etc. I guess the cartoon characters are meant to make it less tedious but it's not my coupe de champagne.

This web site is about much more than just French grammar. It is also about the epic love story of Tex and Tammy, two star-struck armadillos, and Bette, the sex kitten bent on destroying their love. In addition to this menage a trois, the cast of characters include Edouard, a pretentious French snail, Joe-Bob, a dim-witted squirrel from College Station, and Corey, a cockroach who prefers getting high and watching the X-Files on TV to doing his French homework.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

It Is Ash Wednesday

I Can't Get Enough

Andrew at gmtPlus9 has it going on. Always something a tiny bit twisted there.

442nd Regimental Combat Team

"The 442nd Regimental Combat Team of the United States Army, was a unit composed of Japanese Americans that fought in Europe during the Second World War. The families of many of its soldiers were subject to internment. The 442nd was designed as a self-sufficient fighting formation, and fought with distinction in Italy, south France and Germany, becoming one of the most highly decorated units in the history of the U.S. Army."

Came across this link via Cynical-C Blog . I found it interesting because my stepfather joined the US Army in 1945. He is a Nisei, a Japanese-American born in Hawaii. He remained with the State Department until he retired and was posted to Japan, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Burma among other places. He acted as an interpreter and Mr. Nag and I suspect that he was a spy. To this day he remains troubled by the horrors he witnessed during those years.

Low Cal Apples? Modify This!

Isn't this a little like gilding the lily? Why don't genetic engineers concentrate on producing something useful, like a low-cal cheeseburger?
"Through the magic of genetic modification, scientists have managed to halve the calories of what is already a healthful snack: apples."