Sunday, April 30, 2006

Niagara Has Wonderful Magnolias

Here's one in Queenston. Ours is just starting to bloom. I'll post a picture of it within a couple of days. Hope you can wait that long!

Queen Of Mean Does Real Work and Finds It Hard

I'll admit to deriving a certain amount of pleasure from Jan Wong's late, venomous Globe and Mail column about lunching with celebrities. In my view anyone who consented to break bread with Wong was asking for evisceration.
Wong recently wrote a "Maid Like Me" series where she plays at being a cleaner for a month. She reveals the plight of mostly immigrant women who are toiling for minimum wage in Toronto. She also exposes herself as a lazy, self-indulgent woman who has never learned to pick up after herself. She brags about not having cleaned a toilet in 20 years. She is proud of involving other people in her dirt disposal. Jan and her husband work and they have two children. They are undoubtedly busy but, having full use of their limbs (to the best of my knowledge), would be able to clean up after themselves if they wanted to. Anyhow, Jan's now learned that other people work hard, too, and they have to go home and clean up after themselves after cleaning up for others all day. Now she can return to her pampered existence, feeling like a good person and a good investigative reporter because she's revealed the injustices faced by minimum wage workers. The fact is that there are and always have been people who are forced to eat a steady diet of disrespect in order to feed their families. This is wrong. Most of us don't need a patronizing Jan Wong to tell us this.

Quiet revolution for Saudi shops begins in ladies' underwear

It is hailed as a major step forward for women's emancipation in Saudi Arabia: in the coming weeks they will enjoy the right to buy lingerie from female shop assistants.
This may be a far cry from bra-burning feminism but in Saudi Arabia the notion of buying one's brassiere from a woman is nothing short of revolutionary.
A new decree requiring shop owners to hire female staff to sell undergarments illustrates the cautious liberalisation the kingdom is undergoing - and how far it has yet to travel.

John Kenneth Galbraith, 97, dies

Here's another one I thought had been dead for years:
John Kenneth Galbraith, the iconoclastic economist, teacher and diplomat and an unapologetically liberal member of the political and academic establishment that he needled in prolific writings for more than half a century, died yesterday at a hospital in Cambridge, Mass. He was 97.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Identify brontasaurus crockery shabby taunt

I was going through some of my old files today and found this.
Spamusement! Poorly-drawn cartoons inspired by actual spam subject lines!

On this day, April 29

1975 -- South Vietnam: The last US troops flee. Seeing the 'light at the end of the tunnel', there is a mad scramble as the last American troops gracefully fall all over themselves in withdrawing from Vietnam. U. S. Navy evacuates U.S. personnel & a select few South Vietnamese refugees. The last American combat death in Vietnam occurs. South Vietnamese President Duong Van Minh surrenders. Tomorrow, April 30, 1975, at 8:35 am, the last Americans, ten Marines from the embassy, depart Saigon.

One Cool Chat

Location:Paris, France
un chat de rue du 93 ayant gagne les beaux quartiers .

I read about this cat on chez Thompson a while back and was amused. His blog is better than mine.

Folk is the new black

Sadly but truly, I'll probably really like this, I'm such an old folkie.

Despite his stellar reputation as a performer, Bruce Springsteen's career has been defined by his songwriting. It's what he does. And even though 'We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions' is Springsteen's first album of covers, the emphasis remains squarely on the songs. It shouldn't come as a surprise that Springsteen chose to cover folk music, a genre steeped in archetypes and messages that touch on core human values; his own work isn't much different. It is surprising that he chose songs associated with Pete Seeger instead of Woody Guthrie, whom Springsteen long ago acknowledged as a major influence.
Perhaps these songs, which include several famous standards, offered a broader range of interpretation, or maybe Springsteen was struck by how powerful they remain despite their familiarity.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The Nag Behaves Like This After Telling The World That Her Husband Pees In The Backyard

Mr. Rae and the Grits deserve each other

What Ed thinks about Bob. I think I'm less conflicted now:
Bob Rae began his apologia for the Liberal Party by quoting Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Given his subsequent argument, William Lyon Mackenzie King would have been a much better choice. After all, while he pursued power, Laurier also had deep convictions -- King merely wanted the power. Carefully tailoring his policies to shifts in public opinion, King held power for many years, all the time noting the fact that, whether on his left or right, other politicians were guided by principles. Mr. Rae offers us much the same. His variant on an old theme is found in his recent discovery that politics is 'about people,' not 'ideology,' as if these were mutually exclusive categories. Like many Liberals, Bob Rae creates the undefined straw man, labelled 'ideology,' to attack. In part this seems intended to deflect our attention away from his own unexceptional ideology, i.e. mainstream liberal democracy. Consider a short list of the things he tells us he is for: a united federal country; economic growth and environmental sustainability; the rule of law; investing in education; free, fair and open trade; and, markets that are neither despised nor worshipped. No Canadian politician would oppose any of these. Only someone capable of describing himself as being part of the 'progressive centre,' could imply that these are uniquely Liberal ideas. Here in Ottawa, I can hear Stephen Harper laughing half way across town. Pierre Trudeau would have scorned such banalities.


STRANGERS WITH CANDY - Do you love Amy Sedaris? I do - and her brother David and the whole screwed up Sedaris clan. If you don't know them Google immediately.

It Still Pisses Me Off

Unlike most of my posts, I had to think about this one first. It's a wee bit personal. I waited awhile and let it percolate because no one would trump me. The shameful fact is that, despite our having all the modern indoor conveniences (our downstairs toilet even has a cunning little French-style flushing device), Mr. Nag insists on relieving himself outdoors (just #1, if that makes it any better). I don't like this. He says all men do it. I threaten to raise the issue at the next dinner party we attend. He says, "Go ahead" and continues to sneak out with Max at night to water my garden.
The other day he approached me triumphantly brandishing a section of The Globe and Mail. "See", he said, "Leonard Cohen does it too. I rest my case"

Take Action: Bring The Troops Home in 2006

Click on the title to listen to this .

Sounds Like Fair Trade To Me

SAN ANTONIO - A group of atheists at the University of Texas at San Antonio is putting a novel twist on the toys-for-guns programs run by many urban police departments. But instead of toys, they are handing out porn in exchange for bibles.

Pope Has Bird Flu

He caught it from a Cardinal.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Like North Americans need an extra meal. That's just gross, Taco Bell. Don't you folks agree with me?

World Cup Posters

The Official Site of FIFA World Cup: "An Edition of the Official Art Poster 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany on the topic of football has been published at the occasion of the FIFA World Cup 2006. Artists from the six FIFA Confederations have contributed their works to the Edition. An open as well as a signed, numbered edition is available.


The East Village Opera Company

I heard these guys on CBC's "Definitely Not The Opera" a long, long time ago and I thought they were great. I still do.

The Designer Dog breed quiz

Can you tell which is which?
I, a dog afficionada, only scored 57%. I feel like a failure. The names alone make these seem like joke breeds. I want to see a chiuane (chihuahua x great dane) or a newfshire (newfoundland x yorkshire terrier). The tiny dog would, for compassionate reasons, be the male.

Jagger makes the jump to TV comedy

It sounds like something Keith Richards might have dreamed up while under the influence of a controlled substance. But this is no hallucination: Mick Jagger, lead singer of the Rolling Stones, really is expected to star in a new sitcom starting on US television in the autumn.

Last stand of our wild polar bears

It will be a sad day when the last of the wild polar bears disappears from
Canada's Arctic. Will we weep?
Scientists say polar bears will be extinct within 25 years as global warming shrinks the ice cover they depend on for feeding and giving birth.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Wiki Wednesday

I thought I'd do the Wiki Wednesday thing:
1. Go to Wikipedia.
2. Click on "Random article" in the left-hand sidebar box.
3. Post it!

Karen complains that hers is boring. Mine's sort of boring, too, but the picture's not. I assure you it is random. I was not surfing for hot lion sex.

This is what I got:
Young Forever - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Album by Aberfeldy
ReleasedAugust 2004
RecordedKinky Studio, Edinburgh, 2003-2004
Genre Indie pop
LabelRough Trade
Producer(s)Jim Sutherland
Professional reviews
All Music Guide (4.5/5) link
NME (9/10) link "

So Long Friend

I last saw Eric a couple of years ago at a reunion of our tight little group that had worked together on the children's unit at Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital well over thirty years ago. Working there was tough and the adverse conditions had drawn us together, much like soldiers in wartime.
I was pleasantly surprised that most of us looked much as we had all those years ago although the hippie apparel was long discarded. Eric, everyone's best friend, came with his guitar and his bottle of rye and we got drunk and we sang and, for that moment, it was like nothing had changed much. He was the last one to hug me and wish me well when I left and he meant it. We had a good time and, somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought we'd do it again. If we do, Eric won't be with us. My buddy, Jorja, just told me that he died. I believed her but still had to Google his obit to make sure it was true. It was.
Old friends are best friends, even when you don't hear from them for years at a time. I'm sorry I won't get to see him again.

William Burroughs Book Covers

Not into buying his house? Maybe you just want to look at some of his book covers:

How to Get a Head Without Hunting

Wearable animal heads via Grow-a-Brain . I like the gray wolf.

The Thing In The Crib

Suddenly a cry erupted from the miniature prison, and I perceived a thrashing and a shuddering within. Swallowing terror as best I could, I peered over the rim of the cage.
There it lay! Approximately two feet long from end to end it was, with a disproportionately large skull and flaccid, powerless limbs. Its pallid flesh was utterly without hair. Its eyes were huge and unfocused, and it appeared plump, as if recently fed to satiation. God in Heaven! Could I truly have caused this creature to emerge from nothingness into full being?

Via Memepool

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

This Is a Good Ad

Wes Anderson American Express Ad

Goodbye, Jane

Jacobs was a writer, intellectual, analyst, ethicist and moral thinker, activist, self-made economist, and a fearless critic of inflexible authority.
Mrs. Jacobs died this morning in Toronto. She was 89.
An American who chose to be Canadian, Mrs. Jacobs was a leader in the fights to preserve neighbourhoods and kill expressways, first in New York City, and then in Toronto.

I felt really sad when I heard this on the news this afternoon. She did a lot for Toronto.

French Manhole Covers

You'll recognize me: I'll be the one looking at the ground rather than at Notre Dame (maybe not such a bad idea in a city with so much merde on the sidewalk). Seriously, some of these are cool. There are 172 of them pictured.
These manhole covers have been prior chosen for their esthetic interest. So, this galerie doesn't pretend to be an exhaustive view of French old patterns. Models slightly similar or without visual attraction are simply not shown yet. The city name mentioned for each, is the name of the place where the picture has been taken Some of these models have been removed since I made these pictures, during the 80's, and can't be seen anymore in situ.

PM accused of $500-a-plate 'hypocrisy'

Mr. Stephen "Says One Thing Does Another" Harper, who criticized the Liberals of selling access to former prime ministers, will attend two $500-a-plate political fundraisers this weekend. The egregiousness of his "do as I say, not as I do" behaviour stuns me.

I Was Amused By This Quote

"'Predicting energy prices in recent years has become as dangerous as playing leapfrog with a unicorn.' - Arden Haynes, then-CEO of Imperial Oil Ltd."

Monday, April 24, 2006

Most Popular Words 2006

I've collected the Google page count for over 27,000 words in an English dictionary.
Following are the top gainers in the last 3 years. For example, 10,900 pages in 2003 included the word “furl” – meaning “to be or become rolled up” – whereas the same word returns 67,100,000 pages in 2006 (likely because of the web app appearing with the same name). Many other words in the list of top gainers are of foreign language, hinting perhaps at a faster growth of the foreign web (or a deeper crawl by Google).
Top Gainers
#Word Increase
1.furl x 6155
2.soignee x 1729
3. pus
x 1369
4.finis x 1246
5.motorise x 1214
6.misplace x 1208
7. unmask x 937
8.fur x 928
9.handpick x 927
10. proximo x 899
Pus, darky and fleapit surprised me, I admit.

This from Philipp Lenssen who allows a butt-ugly photo of me to appear on Forty Faces. Mr. Nag refuses to believe it's me; he prefers to remember a kinder, gentler, more beautiful Nag. But why, I ask, would I have this photo represent me to the world if it were not me? Wouldn't it make more sense to choose Angelina Jolie?

Chinese Space Program

The succesful launching of the Shenzhou V, the Divine Vessel, on 15 October 2003, with taikonaut Yang Liwei on board, marked a giant leap forward in the Chinese space program that saw its origins in the 1960s. With this result, China has joined the club of space-travelling nations that previously had been limited to the United States and the Soviet Union/Russian Federation. A previous Chinese launching, in 1970, had already brought a satellite into orbit that endlessly broadcast Dongfang hong (The East is Red), not the national anthem, but probably one of the best known Chinese tunes, eulogizing Mao Zedong. The success of this mission was solely ascribed to the genius of Mao Zedong Thought, which had guided the scientists and workers. In reality, Qian Xuesen, a rocket engineer
formerly attached to the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California, U.S., who had been expelled in the 1950s for suspected Communist sympathies, designed China's first missiles, earning him the accolade of being the father of the space program.

Via Cynical-C Blog

Oh, he also posts a bit on Laika, the poor little canine cosmonaut. I cried like a little girl when she died - I was a little girl. Those murdering communists!

McCarcinogen Me

It's a wonder our young people have not developed extra eyes and a strange green glow if this is what they're drinking. I'll stick with the red wine thanks:

That milkshake probably contains the following:'milkfat and nonfat milk, sugar, sweet whey, high-fructose corn syrup, guar gum, monoglycerides and diglycerides, cellulose gum, sodium phosphate, carrageenan, citric acid, E129 and artificial strawberry flavor.'

That flavoring, on the other hand, has:
'amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate, cinnamyl valerate, cognac essential oil, diacetyl, dipropyl ketone, ethyl butyrate, ethyl cinnamate, ethyl heptanoate, ethyl heptylate, ethyl lactate, ethyl
methylphenylglycidate, ethyl nitrate, ethyl propionate, ethyl valerate, heliotropin, hydroxyphrenyl- 2-butanone (10% solution in alcohol), ionone, isobutyl anthranilate, isobutyl butyrate, lemon essential oil, maltol, 4-methylacetophenone, methyl anthranilate, methyl benzoate, methyl cinnamate, methyl heptine carbonate, methyl naphthyl ketone, methyl salicylate, mint essential oil, neroli essential oil, nerolin, neryl isobutyrate, orris butter, phenethyl alcohol, rose, rum ether, undecalactone, vanillin and solvent.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Let Me Tell You About Hard Work

Pink- Dear Mr President - Live

Schwarzenegger On Fuel Efficiency

I usually don't post anything from J-Walk because I think everyone's read it already. But I hate Ah-nold and Hummers so here you are:
Appearing this morning on ABC's This Week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) lectured the nation on the importance of driving fuel efficient vehicles...
It was a curious argument from the man who literally brought the Humvee, the most fuel inefficient civilian vehicle on earth, to the roadways: The partnership of Schwarzenegger with the Hummer brand is like no other celebrity/manufacturer relationship. The muscle man is a legitimate player in a game that paid off with the actualization of the Hummer product line. While filming 'Kindergarten Cop' about a decade ago, Schwarzenegger saw a fleet of military HMMWV/Humvee vehicles rolling down the street. He had to have one.
Since the Humvee was a military-only vehicle, Schwarzenegger initiated talks with the manufacturer, AM General Corp., and the U.S. Army. Those discussions resulted in the civilian Hummer.

This Makes Me Anxious

Saigon Traffic
I'm used to driving in Niagara on the Lake where a few of the cottonheads might drive in an unpredictable fashion. All those lanes and merges and mopeds in Saigon would make me seize up.

Tea and Books at Willowbank

My friend Cathy Gildiner graciously agreed to come to Willowbank to read in the salon today. It's a big deal for her to take a day to come down from Toronto because she's crazy busy what with being a bestselling author, columnist, clinical psychologist, broadcaster, rower ...
The salon looked lovely and everyone who came was bowled over by Cathy's wit and charm. I got so wrapped up in preparing coffee and goodies that I forgot I had to introduce her. I got totally flustered looking for my notes, ran up the stairs two at a time and could barely speak, I was so breathless. Oh well, after my performance Cathy was magnificent. If you get a chance read her hilarious memoir Too Close To The Falls or her new thriller, Seduction.
Cathy has always talked about how she is a stranger in her own kitchen. She can't cook (in fact I suspect she thinks that the stove is a big cigarette lighter). I saw her at Willowbank today with our president, Laura Dodson, another whirlwind of energy and accomplishment who cares naught for cooking and housework and it finally sunk in that these women are successful because they do not get ensnared in domestic minutiae. I, on the other hand, obsess over whether the kitchen floor is clean, whether books are placed on shelves (not only placed but arranged by topic or author), whether the weeds are taking over the perennial borders or whether there are too many pairs of size 12 clodhoppers cluttering the entryway; grocery shopping and meal preparation - don't even go there. I obsess, I don't necessarily spin through the house like a white tornado, but it eats up a lot of mental energy that I could otherwise be using to develop a cure for cancer (who am I kidding?). I'm caught in a Holly Housewife trap. If I chew off my Swiffer can I escape?

The Meaning of Life

Dance, Monkeys, Dance

Via Metafilter

The Bad News Is It's Low Alcohol

Anti-hot flash beer - Slashfood:
Gadling reports that some Czech food scientists are developing a beer that will alleviate the symptoms associated with menopause, including hot flashes and difficulty sleeping. The beer contains an unusually high level of phytoestrogen, a form of estrogen that is found in plants and the hops and barley malt use in some types of beer. A gynecologist who ran a small trial of the beer on 20 patients reported that 'volunteers who drank three deciliters nightly for two months reported fewer menopausal symptoms.' Three deciliters is about 10 ounces of beer. The brew is also low-calorie and low alcohol, but there is no word yet
as to when it might be commercially available.

Machiavelli personality test

Are you a cutthroat or a pussycat? Find out, if you dare.
Eek, I scored 66! I think that makes me a bad guy.

Hey Mister DJ ...

Do you think he needs the money?
After decades as music's most enigmatic icon, Bob Dylan has stunned his fans by becoming a DJ for an American station.

Bob's playlist choices
Blow, Wind, Blow - Muddy Waters
You Are My Sunshine - Jimmie Davis
California Sun - Joe Jones
Just Walking in the Rain - The Prisonaires
After the Clouds Roll Away - The Consolers
Let the Four Winds Blow - Fats Domino
Raining in my Heart - Slim Harpo
Summer Wind - Frank Sinatra
The Wind Cries Mary - Jimi Hendrix
Come Rain or Come Shine - Judy Garland
It's Raining - Irma Thomas
Stormy Weather - The Spaniels
Jamaica Hurricane - Lord Beginner
A Place in the Sun - Stevie Wonder (Italian version)
Uncloudy Day - The Staple Singers
I Don't Care if the Sun Don't Shine - Dean Martin
Keep on the Sunny Side - The Carter Family"

Saturday, April 22, 2006

global policy in 30 secs

global policy in 30 secs

Cardinal backs use of condoms

For married couples, only if one has AIDS

That's big. And this guy is part of the "progressive" wing of the Church. The unbelievable part is that the Vatican doesn't support his position. This is just nuts. There should be no debate about this, it's an issue of compassion. Another in a long list of reasons why I'm no longer a Catholic.

The statement is in direct contradiction to the Vatican's position, which holds that condoms should never be used, even to stop AIDS spreading from one married partner to another. Last year, shortly after being named to the position, Pope Benedict XVI also said condoms should not be used to prevent the spread of AIDS in Africa, where most of the world's AIDS deaths occur.

Friday, April 21, 2006

forget-me-not panties : with sensatech technology

Is this a repeat? Aw heck, if I don't know, you probably don't either.

My wife and I got married three years ago. Last winter I started suspecting her of cheating. It was tearing my heart out to think of her with another man.

In an act of desperation I bought these panties, and boy am I glad I did.

It turns out, she was sleeping with her coworker! She was going to a hotel near her office nearly every workday.

I monitored her through the mapping software, pantyMap, for several weeks,and then I confronted her.

forget-me-not-panties saved me from a bad marriage. We are getting a divorce, and I have records for my divorce lawyer proving what a fraud she was.

Words of Wisdom from Dave Barry

It's Friday night and I have nothing to do but drink wine and blog.

14 Things That It Took Me 50 Years To Learn
by Dave Barry
1. Never under any circumstances take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.
2. If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be 'meetings.'
3. There is a very fine line between 'hobby' and 'mental illness.'
4. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.
5. And when God, who created the entire universe with all of its glories, decides to deliver a message to humanity, He WILL NOT use, as His messenger, a person on cable TV with a bad hairstyle.
6. You should not confuse your career with your life.
7. No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously.
8. When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy.
9. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
10. Never lick a steak knife.
11. Take out the fortune before you eat the cookie.
12. The most powerful force in the universe is gossip.
13. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time.
14. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment .

Several Things Suck

  1. No Corrie tonight. Instead there's some sort of game with sticks.
  2. Zoom called to offer a big time discount on first class. When I called them back they only had 2 seats and we need 3.
  3. All that sucky stuff that I can't mention.

Revolutionary Art of Peru

Via Information Junk

The art displayed here was mainly created by imprisoned fighters and supporters of the PCP. The materials to produce these artworks had to be smuggled into the prisons by friends and family. The art has since made its way around the world. Many of the artists were killed in the prison massacres of June 1986 and September 1992.

New Improved Nag

Somehow I got it into my head that I would look glamourous with flowing hair that I could twist into complex chignons and the like. I thought this would be a very good look for a Nag of a certain age. Unfortunately, I realized this was not the look for me after recoiling in terror each time I looked in the mirror. I am just not the chignon type and long hair makes me resemble a fairy tale witch more than Grace Kelly or Audrey Hepburn. I began to fear that neighbourhood children would think I planned to put them in a cage, fatten them up and devour them. So I had it chopped off and it feels good.

William Burroughs' Cabin For Sale On ebay

Celebrity-Owned Lakefront Cottage:
William Burroughs, famous American writer, was the previous owner of this quaint and well-preserved cabin on Lone Star Lake, just 10 minutes outside of Lawrence, Kansas, and one hour drive from the Kansas City airport. Lawrence is home to the University of Kansas and is surrounded by rolling hills and the most beautiful landscape in the state.

Mr. Burroughs included mentions of Lone Star Lake in at least one of his books and mentions of it were included in "Word Virus" and the introduction to "Last Words," his final journals. I've included the writings I've found about the cabin at the bottom of this entry.

Via Folderol

Protester disrupts Chinese president's appearance in Washington

There was a very public embarrassment for the two leaders when a protester managed to get through tight security and disrupt a formal welcoming ceremony.
A single protester managed to perch on the media scaffolding and shout at the top of her lungs, 'President Bush, stop the persecution of Falun Gong, stop the killing.'

Bush told Hu Jintao that "China can grow even more successful by allowing the Chinese people the freedom to assemble, to speak freely and to worship."
What happened to the woman who spoke freely on the White House lawn? She was forcibly removed and arrested. Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Miro Googled

Joan Miro born on this day in 1893.

Nemester- The New Way To Make Enemies

Nemester is an online community that connects paranoids, egotists, villains, and monomaniacs through networks of competing agendas and incompatable ideologies for bitter conflicts, mutual loathing, or to find their one, true nemesis.

You can use Nemester to:

1.Find out the enemies of your enemies and conspire with them
2.Denounce your enemies
3.Make new enemies
4.Help your enemies meet their demise
5.Publish your manifesto
6.Create your own personal and private Star Chamber, where you can deal out wrathful vengeance to those who oppose you.

It's easy and fun!
Via Web Junkie

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Via Grow A Brain

Sweaters For Penguins

LDS women in New South Wales have undertaken an unusual service project, knitting sweaters for cousins to the loveable stars of the Academy Award-winning documentary narrated by Freeman.
The smallest breed of penguins, often known as 'fairy' penguins, tend to get caught in oil spills off the coast of Australia, which can destroy their natural oils or even kill them. Doll size, tight-fitting wool sweaters can keep the penguins warm during the rehabilitation process, and 'stop them preening and ingesting the poisonous oil,' according to The Sydney Morning Herald,
The sweaters improve penguin survival rate to about 98 percent, the paper reported.

Ben & Jerry's new flavour leaves bad taste

Ben & Jerry's, the socially aware ice-cream maker, has apologised to Irish consumers for launching a new flavour evoking the worst days of British military oppression.
Tubs of Black and Tan ice-cream have gone on sale this month and prompted complaints that the phrase is not just the name for mixing stout with pale ale.

If they don't like it they could always generate their own Ben & Jerry's flavour.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The flip flop squirrel

I had a T-shirt made with that line (not peculiar, just uninhibited) back in the early 70's and I wore it til it was threadbare. It's from a Raymond Chandler novel - I was going through a phase.

Penn Jillette Reads From 'Sock'

In this selection from the first chapter, the reader is introduced to the narrator, Dickie, a sock monkey with a bad attitude.

Peeps Jousting

Must stop Peeps blogging.
I know I promised that I would not post about Peeps again until next Easter but I just can't seem to help myself. This one is irresistible. To my credit I did not post the Peeps cocktails link yesterday although I was sorely tempted. They looked so cute skewered on little cocktail umbrellas...

Leather Bag - Dragon

Need a new knapsack?
Blog On a Toothpick

Anti-gay church hounds military funerals

New laws have been passed in the United States to counter the activities of a bizarre church that has been disrupting military funerals with anti-gay protests on the grounds that the soldiers died fighting for a land that tolerates homosexuality.
Since last year, the Westboro Baptist church, based in Topeka, Kansas, has been picketing funerals of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, waving signs saying, 'Thank God for Dead Soldiers', 'Thank God for IEDs [improvised explosive devices - roadside bombs]', and 'God Hates Cripple Soldiers', while yelling that dead US troops will rot in hell.

What a bunch of weirdos! Check out their website:

Monday, April 17, 2006 - Vintage Chinese Propaganda Posters

Your picture painted as a propoganda poster - cool!

Via Metafilter

Go Neil!

He is country rock's biggest icon, and he is angry. Recorded in secret, his forthcoming album savages the war in Iraq. One track says it all: 'Impeach the President'

Cynical-C Blog: WikiTruth

Wikitruth is a website dedicated to the subject of flaws and issues with the Wikipedia, another website run by Jimbo Wales and a massive, insane army of Wikipedians that he controls with his mind rays. It's very hard to really explain Wikipedia, but if you visit it, it says it wants to be 'the online encylopedia that anyone can edit'. Instead, however, it is often filled with crazy people, experiences some issues with manipulative personalities, and falls prey to abuse and censorship.

seven deadly social sins - mohandas gandhi

The wealth without work appeals to me - I'm such a sinner. Seriously, though, this gives us a lot to ponder.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Teeny Tiny Veggies

These are some of the miniature vegetables I picked up in Toronto yesterday. The eggplants are about 3 inches long, the zucchini and carrots about two inches and the itty bitty squashes are about an inch in circumference. I hesitate to cook them, it's almost like infanticide. Posted by Picasa

Easter Bling

via Bits and Pieces

Easter Poll

How should you eat Chocolate Bunnies? (I didn't think it mattered).

starting with the ears 61%
it doesn't matter 32%
starting with the feet 4%
starting with the tail 4%

Total votes cast: 16222

NPR : Neko Case, Martha Wainwright in Concert

Live concert featuring Neko Case with an opening performance by Martha Wainwright. I feel like the Easter bunny has brought me something much better than chocolate eggs.

How Peeps Found Jesus.

Just in case you were wondering what Peeps had to do with the death of Christ: here's one last Peeps blog and then no more until next Easter (unless there is an overwhelming demand).
Candy historians speculate that the Peeps' link to Easter has more to do with the pagan origins of the holiday than its Christian roots. Eggs, and consequently chicks, are a long-standing symbol of fertility and rebirth, an appropriate image for a holiday that celebrates the coming of spring. Originally
part of a pagan fertility ritual symbolizing new life, the egg became incorporated into Easter as pagan rites were absorbed into Christianity with the Christianization of Central Europe.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Deaths in 2006

Can you remember who died? Me neither. Mr. Nag and I are very confused about who's shuffled off this mortal coil and who's still with us. We waste too much time trying to sort out the living from the dead (usually along the lines of "He's dead? I thought he died 20 years ago."). This site might help - it lists everyone, those you know and everyone else, too.

via Fussy


If you go to Slashfood today there is a whole whack of garden party ideas. Boy oh boy, I'm excited even though it's still a wee bit chilly for such events here in the great white north.

Failing Jeffery Baldwin

I watched this documentary last night. It was a strong indictment of the child welfare system and, in particular, the Toronto Catholic Children's Aid Society. I was a social worker at that agency for 11 years. I saw situations like this one and a very similar case that I investigated led to my resignation from the agency. I just couldn't bear seeing the abuse any more and then coming home to my own two little boys. I couldn't turn it off. I am so thankful that a death did not occur on my caseload. I knew many workers who missed signs, who took what clients said at face value, who were naive and trusting. I knew I'd find this show disturbing but didn't realize how strong the effect on me would be. I was flooded with a sea of bad memories and couldn't sleep all night. I'm still distressed ,as I should be, and so should everyone be who watched the show.
When Toronto emergency workers arrived at an east-end Toronto home early on the morning November 30, 2002, the house was dark. They knocked twice before a woman, Elva Bottineau, answered the door and directed them to the kitchen. What they found there was shocking. Lying on the table was the emaciated, lifeless body of Bottineau's five-year-old grandson Jeffrey Baldwin. Firefighters and paramedics tried in vain to resuscitate him.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

50 Recordings Worth Preserving

50 Recordings Worth Preserving
Apparently, every year the Library of Congress picks 50 recordings that it deems worthy of preserving.
The list includes recordings by Roy Acuff, Nat King Cole, Pat Boone, Fats Domino, Buddy Holly, Dave Brubeck, B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, and Gil Scott-Heron."

Notes on Haiti - yeah, I was there

Notes on travel to Haiti via The Daily Kos. Shamefully, Canada has done little to uphold democracy in Haiti and assisted the powerful elite in overthrowing the democratically elected government there.

Yeah, so I know that Haiti is not currently considered a vacation
destination, but I kind of went there by accident. I now truly understand what poverty is. And I will never be able to donate blood again.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A guide to Japanese female exploitation films of the 70's on DVD

One of the more thrilling film experiences I had in the last ten years took
place in my small apartment in Taiwan sometime during 1997. Flipping the
channels, I came across a Japanese film right at the beginning, just as the Toei
studio mark of waves crashing on rocks appeared. However, the sound of waves was replaced by a screeching tone. This segued to a sequence which puts you on a
subway train gazing at a slight, attractive, yet hard-faced young woman with long black hair. Two men in suits make a surreptitious attempt to apprehend her. Without missing a beat she slashes one of them across the face with a knife and flees. Just as she's getting off the train, the other man handcuffs her to himself as the subway doors close, she's on the platform while he remains on the
train. With three slashes of her knife she severs his arm and swings it in the air furiously, then freeze frame: music plays and the credits roll. The maniacal, surreal tone rendered by this outlandish violent act is underlined by the subsequent montage when we see her running through the streets of Tokyo with
the severed arm swinging by her side. The arm almost becomes a dreamlike abstraction, is it indeed a disembodied limb or is it a boneless ham fresh from the market? We have thus been ushered into a realm of hyperbole and rage.

Via Metafilter

The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2006

The World's 50 Best Restaurants, first published in 2002 and now in its fifth year, was announced at the World's 50 Best Restaurants Awards on April 10, held at the Science Museum, London SW7.

Here's the top 10 and I haven't eaten at one of them.

1 El Bulli, Spain World/ Europe

2 The Fat Duck ,UK

3 Pierre Gagnaire, France Chefs' Choice

4 French Laundry, USA

5 Tetsuya, Australia

6Michel Bras, France

7 Alain Ducasse - Le Louis XV Monaco

8 Per Se New York

9 Arzak, Spain

10 Mugaritz, Spain

The Long-Distance Journey of a Fast-Food Order - New York Times

Like many American teenagers, Julissa Vargas, 17, has a minimum-wage job in the fast-food industry , but hers has an unusual geographic reach.
Carmen Sanchez, Julissa Vargas and Elizabeth Gonzalez work at a call center in California that fields orders from as far away as Hawaii. They must be polite
while urging customers to buy more food. 'Would you like your Coke and orange juice medium or large?' Ms. Vargas said into her headset to an unseen woman who
was ordering breakfast from a drive-through line. She did not neglect the small details 'You Must Ask for Condiments,' a sign next to her computer terminal
instructs and wished the woman a wonderful day.
What made the $12.08 transaction remarkable was that the customer was not just outside Ms. Vargas's
workplace here on California's central coast. She was at a McDonald's in Honolulu. And within a two-minute span Ms. Vargas had also taken orders from
drive-through windows in Gulfport, Miss., and Gillette, Wyo.
The only thing that made McDonald's even slightly palatable in my view is that it provided local, albeit shitty, jobs for kids. Well, that and the free ski trip for four I won to Jay Peak Ski Resort 20 years ago at one of my few forays into Mickey D's. I'm probably the only person in the world who got more from McDonald's than I ever spent there.

via Bits and Pieces

Monday, April 10, 2006

Most Expensive Sandwich

I don't think I could differentiate between this and a much cheaper sandwich. I wonder if it's a "the emperor has no clothes sort of thing."

Hungry shoppers are being offered the chance to eat a gourmet sandwich, but
the £85 price tag might be too much for some to swallow.
The ingredients of the sandwich are: Wagyu beef, fresh lobe foie
gras, black truffle mayonnaise, brie de meaux, rocket, red pepper and mustard
confit and English plum tomatoes.

It's Tax Time

And Avery Ant has this to say about it: - Watch the Rants

via Grow a Brain

Chirac Backs Down

It looks like we won't be facing this particular group of protesters when we go to Paris. Collective action is a very powerful tool and the French wield it well. We could have used more of this in Ontario during the Harris years.
The French government today bowed to pressure from students and unions and announced plans to replace a controversial employment law that has triggered protests across the country.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Even the Rat Killers Are Charming

Paris has that "je ne sais quoi"

This company which has probably been exterminating rats and other vermin since The Great Plague of 1720, proudly displays the fruits of their labor in their window.

The Mother

May and her husband Toots (just out of hospital) pay a visit to their adult son in London. Bobby is frantically busy, trying to earn the money to maintain his selfish wife, their children and lavish lifestyle. Their daughter, Paula, lives close by with her own son. Bobby's carpenter friend, hunky Darren, is adding a conservatory to Bobby's house and is having an affair with Paula.
Toots dies early on and is barely mentioned afterwards. May can't bear to return home and remains with her children in London although they want rid of her. Her grandchildren are indifferent to her and there appears little opportunity to bond with them. May, adrift and alone, embarks on an affair with the much, much younger Darren, despite knowing the depth of her daughter's feelings for him. If I may be judgmental, and I can cause this is my blog, that's just wrong. No wonder Darren's work on the conservatory is falling behind, he's having sex with everything that moves.
Hanif Kureishi's (My Beautiful Laundrette) script is raw and rings all too true; this is a very bleak view of modern urban life. The characters, with the exception of Toots, are selfish and unsympathetic. I liked it but I like dark films with flawed characters and unresolved endings. It's probably not for everyone.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Dash and Violet

I was a little surprised when someone told me that the names of two of the characters in The Incredibles were Dash and Violet because these were the names of my late great Cavaliers. I know nothing about The Incredibles but was I prescient or what?

Dash bores easily when he has nothing exciting to do, can be quite cocky, reckless and mischievous, but when it comes to danger, he cares deeply for his family, despite the fact that he always fights with Violet.

French Rabbit

I had some of this last summer and it went down pretty well. Here's the website (but you have to be of legal drinking age to view it - yeah right).


Haven't read enough to form an opinion of this blog yet but this is a great quote:
I'm definitely the hobo in the boxcar on the gravy train.

Lonely Planet Cities Game

This is a fun little game but I couldn't find two of the clues.
Lonely Planet Cities


Also known as yupster (yuppie + hipster), yindie (yuppie + indie), and alterna-yuppie. Our preferred term, grup, is taken from an episode of Star Trek (keep reading) in which Captain Kirk et al. land on a planet of children who rule the world, with no adults in sight. The kids call Kirk and the crew "grups," which they eventually figure out is a contraction of "grown-ups." It turns out that all the grown-ups had died from a virus that greatly slows the aging process and kills anybody who grows up.

Adulthood may have been reinvented but the generation gap still exists no matter what New York magazine says. You over-40's in the backwards ball caps, ironic t-shirts,tummy-baring jeans, etc. aren't fooling anyone but yourselves. The 20 year olds do not think you are one of them. Nag Jr. and Baby Nag don't think I'm their peer because I listen to Kanye West, Arcade Fire or Nada Surf. They know I'm an old fart who likes young music and they chuckle indulgently.

I'm Taking French Lessons

General chit-chat
'Would you stop spitting on me while you're talking!'
'Voulez-vous cesser de me cracher dessus pendant que vous parlez!'
(voo - lay voo se - say de me cra - shay de - su pen - dan que voo parl - ay)
'Reality and you don't get on, do they?'
'Le realite et toi, vous ne vous entendez pas, n'est-ce pas?'
(le ree - al - ee - tay eh twa voo ne voo zen - ten - day pah nes pah)
'You've got a face that would blow off manhole covers'
'T'as une tete a faire sauter les plaques d'egouts!'
(ta zoon tait a fair saw - teh leh plahk de - goo)
'Are you drunk?'
'Est-ce que vous etes ivre?'
(es - ke voo zet eevr)
'You have a chive on your tooth.'
'Vous avez de la ciboulette sur votre dent'
(voo za - vay de la see - boo - let ser votr den)
'You're a complete moron'
'Tu es completement debile'
(tu eh com - plet - e - men de - beel)
'You get on my nerves
'Tu me peles le jonc'
(tu me pel - e le zhonc)
'As a child, was your cradle rocked too close to the wall?'
'On t'a berce trop pres du mur?'
(on ta ber - say troa pray du mer)
'Idiot', 'Fool', 'Cretin', 'Imbecile'
'Idiot', 'Fou', 'Cretin', 'Imbecile'
(ee - dee - o, foo, cre - tin, Im - be - seel)"

But What Happens Once The Games Are Over?

Beijing plans to make full use of its authoritarian powers during the Olympics in 2008 by banning more than 2m cars to ensure that one of the world's most polluted cities will have clear skies for at least the two weeks of the games.
The measures, which also include seeding clouds to induce rain and the temporary closure of building sites and factories, were made public yesterday amid concerns that the festivities could be ruined by the filthy haze that chokes the city for much of the year.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Nihilist Job Resume.

We're hiring at work and I've been reading a lot of resumes this week - none as engaging as this, though:
David, Candice, whatever
This Abject World
(555) 555-5555

I have no objective. What's the point when cold death is the final destination for us all? Can you explain that to me? I know I'm supposed to put something here, though, so here goes: Your objective is to hire me into a challenging position in a computer-applications-based field within which you feel I can 'make a difference' and 'contribute' in a team environment.

Communist Par-tay!

The Lost Gospel of Judas

I thought this was interesting. Mr. Nag, of course, has known about it for years. Where does he hear about these things and why doesn't he tell me so I can blog about them sooner?

The National Geographic Society has been part of an international effort, in collaboration with the Maecenas Foundation for Ancient Art and the Waitt
Institute for Historical Discovery, to authenticate, conserve, and translate a 66-page codex, which contains a text called James (also known as First Apocalypse of James), the Letter of Peter to Philip, a fragment of a text that scholars are provisionally calling Book of Allogenes, and the only known surviving copy of the Gospel of Judas.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

..:Things My Boyfriend Says:..

This is a funny little blog. He's a clever boyfriend and she adores him cause he says things like this:
On learning that we were out of toilet paper:
'How long until we start using
the placemats and pillowcases and crawling along the carpet like dogs with worms?'

Tell Us What You Really Think, Silvio

Silvio Berlusconi was accused yesterday of dragging Italy's already raucous general election campaign into the gutter when he declared that those who voted against him would be 'dickheads'.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Weight Watchers recipe cards, circa 1974

These cards mystify me. None of them have calorie or nutrition information of any kind, and in some instances it's hard to tell what's dietetic about the recipes at all, except that they're unspeakably grim. And yet also, completely insane. They appear to be from a much kookier era of Weight Watchers. There's a certain serve-it-at- your-next-key-party freakiness to a lot of these dishes.
Dehydrated onion flakes are in almost everything here. Apparently Weight Watchers dieticians depended heavily on dried onion flakes, and pimientos, too.
They also had a prop department that was clearly out of control. Oh, you'll see.
As far as I know, I was never served any of these dishes as a child. I probably would have repressed the memory, anyway.

The Fifth Annual Media That Matters Film Festival

16 innovative shorts on the burning topics of today: Civic Engagement, Justice, Sustainability and more.

How I Work: Bill Gates

If you look at this office, there isn't much paper in it. On my desk I have three screens, synchronized to form a single desktop. I can drag items from one screen to the next. Once you have that large display area, you'll never go back, because it has a direct impact on productivity.

What surprises me is that he only gets 100 emails per day - I guess he has the best blocking software (or whatever they call it) money can buy.

The Naomi Campbell Cell Phone

Even if you manage to avoid developing brain cancer from using your mobile phone, you still have to worry about the possibility of an angry Naomi Campbell hurling one at your head. One of the largest mobile device makers has teamed up with the aging supermodel to introduce the most fashionable phone to ever hit the runway. Studded with sparkling pink Swarovski crystals and featuring an exclusive 3 carat diamond, no one would guess that with a push of a button, this innocent little phone becomes a dangerous Ninja shuriken. The antenna doubles as a grenade pin...just pull and toss at your enemy! A set of Swiss army knives are also included, along with a high quality nail file and secret lipstick compartment.

Go Figure...

It hasn't snowed all winter. The Great White North has been sort of beige-y grey and our snow shovel has become redundant.Yesterday Mr. Nag, drunk on the fumes of spring, undertook to move our 7-foot oleander from the basement to the patio ( I wasn't home but I imagine some salty language was used cause it's a heavy sucker). I admit to mildly chastising him when I returned from work, "We could still be in for some cold weather, blah, blah, blah." Now, lo and behold, we have big hunks of white stuff falling from the sky. It's an excellent evening to curl up with a bottle of something and a good book (or someone who's read one). Unfortunately I will be unable to relax because I'll be too busy fretting about the poor chilly oleander. Posted by Picasa

Please believe, Madame, in the assurance of my distinguished sentiments

Americans use 'Sincerely' for almost all non-personal letters.
The British use 'Yours sincerely.'
The Germans say, 'With friendly greetings.' The French say: 'Thanking you for your confidence, I pray you to believe, Monsieur, in the assurance of my best sentiments.'
Or, 'I pray you to receive, Madame, the expression of my distinguished consideration.'
Or, 'Receive, Monsieur le President du tribunal correctionnel, my distinguished salutation.'
Or, 'Please accept, Madame l'Inspectrice d'Academie, the expression of my high consideration.'
Or, 'In hoping very strongly for a favorable response, be assured, Monsieur, of my perfect consideration.'
Or, 'Please accept, Madame, my respectful homage.'

A woman must not, however, send her 'sentiments'or 'homage' to a man (oh-la-la!) but should use 'expression of my respect' instead.
These are not a joke. The French really write this way.
Via Rue Rude


via Verbatim (thanks Karen)