Friday, June 30, 2006

Too bad, no room on my walls for these

Old USSR Posters about Stalin and Soviet people

Via Metafilter

Have any millionaires ever been executed in the United States?

Dear Cecil:
When I'm feeling cynical about well-publicized criminal trials, I sometimes use the timeworn phrase 'they've never hung a millionaire in the U.S.' Certainly I can't think of one. But is it true? --Timothy G. Merker, Chicago
Cecil replies:
If the expression 'You simply cannot hang a millionaire in America,' attributed to politician and orator William Bourke Cockran (1854-1923), is timeworn, Tim, it's not from overuse--Google turns up a big four hits. That tells you something about U.S. attitudes right there, because the fact is, while a few millionaires have gone to the gallows (chair, whatever), we haven't hanged many. Let's count:
Labor racketeer Louis "Lepke" Buchalter made millions in the 1920s and '30s. Under investigation for extortion and murder, Lepke--head of the notorious organized-crime hit squad nicknamed Murder, Inc.--waged a "war of extermination" against potential informants. Dozens died, but the scorched-earth policy backfired, encouraging targets to take their chances with the law; one witness at Buchalter's eventual murder trial in 1941 agreed to testify only after being shot in the head on Buchalter's instructions. Buchalter was convicted despite spending an estimated quarter million on his defense. He appealed as far as the U.S. Supreme Court but was finally electrocuted in 1944. That's one.
Perhaps other executed crime bosses were millionaires. One candidate is drug kingpin Juan Garza, exact worth unknown, executed by the feds in 2001 for murder. Call that two.
After that pickings are slim. Dr. John Webster was a professor at the Massachusetts Medical College. Not a millionaire strictly speaking, Webster inherited $50,000 (today worth about a million) but had squandered it by 1849, when a creditor came to collect a debt and the strapped Webster killed, dismembered, and partially cremated him. Still, he had rich friends who pledged $2,000 for his defense. Disclaiming all knowledge of the body parts found in his laboratory, however, Webster could find no lawyer to defend him, and his appointed attorneys couldn't save him. He confessed before he was hanged.
Philip Spencer, son of the secretary of war, was acting midshipman on the U.S. brig-of-war Somers when accused of fomenting mutiny in 1842. Commander Alexander Mackenzie, fearing more crewmen would turn mutinous and having no place to securely hold them, hanged Spencer, only 18, and two others at sea without a legitimate trial. Though probably not a millionaire in 1842 dollars, Secretary Spencer could have mounted a defense for his son worthy of O.J. Because the hangings were extralegal, Mackenzie was later court-martialed for murder but got off with a verdict of "not proved," possibly because he had influential supporters of his own--his brother had recently been elected to Congress.
In 1780 Americans captured Benedict Arnold's British handler, Major John André. He wasn't a millionaire but his father had been, adjusting for inflation. André, not considering himself a spy, voluntarily testified without counsel before a board of officers. Conclusion: spy. Recommendation: death. The British spurned a proposed André-Arnold exchange, and the major hanged.
So the tally is one or two crime bosses and a few long-ago toffs lacking funds. You say the rich don't commit murders as often? True, but even a partial list of well-off, well-connected defendants who could have hanged but didn't is impressive:
Congressman Dan Sickles, found temporarily insane in the 1859 killing of his wife's lover.
Harry K. Thaw, son of a railroad baron, found insane in the 1906 slaying of architect Stanford White.
Wealthy college students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb; pleaded guilty to the 1924 thrill killing of a boy in Chicago and imprisoned but spared the noose.
Texas oilman T. Cullen Davis, acquitted of the 1976 murder of his estranged wife's daughter.
Real estate heir Thomas Capano, convicted of the 1996 murder of his girlfriend in Delaware; death sentence reduced to life without parole.
Robert Durst, another real estate heir, acquitted of the 2001 murder of an elderly drifter in Texas.
And many more. Prosecutors often don't even pursue the death penalty against the rich--think O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake, Phil Spector, and John du Pont (of the chemical du Ponts). You needn't hire a Johnnie Cochran or a Clarence Darrow to get the treatment. An analysis of Georgia cases showed that prosecutors were almost twice as likely to ask for the death penalty when the defendant couldn't afford a lawyer. Nationwide an estimated 90-plus percent of those arrested for capital crimes are too poor to retain experienced private counsel. In Kentucky, a quarter of death row inmates were defended by lawyers who were later disbarred (or resigned to avoid disbarment); other states are similar. A few states have offices dedicated to providing a proper defense for capital defendants, but a Texas jurist summed up the attitude elsewhere: "The Constitution does not say that the lawyer has to be awake." So is it cynical to oppose the death penalty on such grounds? Nah. Just realistic.

Via Cynical- C

I'm so going to miss Studio 2

When Studio 2 first went on the air on September 26, 1994, the promotional ads promised 'Death to soundbites!' From the beginning, the program was dedicated to in-depth analysis and debate - giving the topics we cover the time they deserve. Fortunately, we've had hosts of the calibre of Mary Hynes, Steve Paikin, Paula Todd, and Allan Gregg, who bring years of journalistic experience and insight to every interview. The most common comment from our guests: 'That's the best (or toughest) interview I've ever done!'

But Studio 2 is much more than its daily interviews. Our field producers have travelled the province to make documentaries that reflect Ontario society, telling Ontario stories in the words of the people themselves. Over the years our crews have become familiar to residents from the Manitoba to the Quebec borders. Studio 2 has
always had a special interest in Ontario's North, featuring this year full editions on the ice roads north of Pickle Lake, the bears of Kenora, and 'The Spirit of the North,' a program about the real but sometimes intangible appeal of life in the North.

Studio 2 has sunk its roots deep into the regions and communities of Ontario over the years with special programs from the Royal Winter Fair, Ottawa's Winterlude, the Nordic Games in Thunder Bay and the
International Ploughing Match in Ayr.

Studio 2 has also shown a special interest in the arts, focusing on homegrown Ontario talent. We've brought viewers specials on the Stratford and Shaw Festivals, and our documentary profiles have portrayed not just the accomplished and well-known, but the
up-and-coming young stars of tomorrow in every field of the visual and performing arts.

Our ever-popular Ontario-wide 'Town Contests' have continued with Bancroft winning as the "Most Talented Town" in 2004. Previous
titles have gone to Perth, "Prettiest Town in Ontario" in 2000, Cobalt as "Most Historic Town" in 2001, and in 2002 the Beaches district of Toronto won our "Best Main-street" contest. In 2003, we looked for "The Greenest Town" where Orillia and Caledon tied for first place. Based on viewer feedback and the economies of our production model, Studio 2 has been able to "spin off" other programs from our most popular weekly features. Person 2 Person with Paula Todd,
Diplomatic Immunity with Steve Paikin, On Stage, and Allan Gregg in Conversation with... have joined Fourth Reading (which actually predates Studio 2) as stand-alone programs on the weekends. In 1994, our goal was to create a program that would serve as an electronic archive of Ontario, its people, and the times.
It is a lofty goal that we pursue every day, and we are never satisfied. We have a deep feeling of pride in the people who daily make Studio 2 possible, gratitude to TVOntario for the opportunity to create such a unique program, and an enduring respect for the people who watch and encourage it.

Should Not Be Allowed To Dress Myself

Came home from work today, looked in the mirror and realized that the plastic strip with the size of the garment was still on the (cheap piece of shit) shirt I was wearing. The only thing that saved me from total humiliation was that the strip read S and not XXL.

The Hidden Door Company

Transform any doorway in your home or office into concealed storage.
It's not so much that I want one of these cheap looking contraptions; I need it. We're running out of wall space for our books. There seem to be more of them each week although I've been trying to institute a rigid "one in, one out" rule. I swear that Updike must be breeding with Atwood while we sleep.
Via Neatorama

La belle Madonna?

Madonna's a distant relative of Louis-Joseph Papineau, the nationalist politician and leader of the 'Les Patriotes' rebellion of the late 1830s, and a direct descendant of a Papineau associate.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

BowLingual: The Dog Bark Translator

What's that, Max? Mr. Nag is in the garage trapped under thirty years of trash he's dragged home from garage sales? How about we leave him there for a few days to teach him a lesson ?
This device can translate barks for more than 80 different dog breeds. And, if you have a mixed breed dog, don't worry: based on the dog's size and muzzle shape, the BowLingual Translator can be set to translate for ANY dog.

Via Oh Gizmo

Cat Massage

cat massage

Via Arbroath

For the love of Florrie

You've got to check this out, it's hilarious. Florrie is the model for Jerri Blank (Strangers With Candy). Way back when I was a social worker I worked with many reformed junkies, coke fiends, speed freaks, and drunks who were sort of like this. I came to the conclusion that the only thing worse than a junkie, coke fiend, speed freak or drunk is a reformed junkie, etc. (luckily I wasn't doing addiction counselling). Their incessant prosyletizing made me want to punch them - and it messed with my stone.

A 50-year-old Florrie made a name for herself in the early '70s by traveling to high schools and pretty much assaulting assembled students with her tales of 25 years of hard living on the street as a drug addict and whore. Basically, she ranted and raved (and chain smoked) at them, telling her serpentine and labrynthine hard-luck story using any old thing that popped into her head, with the goal of disuading them from ever trying 'stuff' (or maybe her whole point was to rope teens into the cultish Synanon program she spoke so highly of -- the jury's still out on her true aim). Regardless, all of this was captured in the 1970 PSA/scare film The Trip Back, which nearly shared a title with her memoir The Lonely Trip Back. It was all so manic, nonsensical and hilarious that it formed the basis of Strangers With Candy -- central character Jerri Blank was also a (semi-) reformed drug addict and hooker who found herself back in high
school (though not addressing the students, but as one).

via Metafilter

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Match Point

The man who said "I'd rather be lucky than good" saw deeply into life. People are often afraid to realize how much of an impact luck plays.There are moments in a tennis match where the ball hits the top of the net, and for a split second, remains in mid-air. With a litte luck, the ball goes over, and you win. Or maybe it doesn't, and you lose.

I loved this movie - a different film from the Woody Allen vehicles we're used to: one with a British accent and a Rigoletto background. Chris Wilton is the tennis pro of modest origin who lands on his feet in London. He enters the world of the super rich and makes some heavy compromises to do so. However there are some things he just won't give up even though they threaten his newfound lifestyle. The film turns into a noirish thriller somewhere past the half-way point. Great acting and cinematography and an intelligent story line, what's not to like?

She is One Mean Boss

Who would want to work for her and why can't she find her own jeans?

Naomi Campbell is being accused of less-than-model behavior again, this time by another of her maids who claims the supermodel hit her.

In a terse single-sheet filing in Manhattan's state Supreme Court, Gaby Gibson accused Campbell of 'personal injuries,' 'employment discrimination,' 'civil assault,' 'civil battery' and other complaints.
Gibson, who filed the lawsuit on Monday, the eve of a Manhattan Criminal Court appearance by Campbell on charges of assaulting another maid, asks for 'actual, compensatory and punitive' damages without specifying an amount.

Campbell is due in court Tuesday on a similar charge that stemmed from a similar situation — the supermodel couldn't find a pair of jeans.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Great Photo on Wood s Lot

Until the Kingdom Comes
Simen Johan"

Yikes! I was Hoping He'd Fabricated All Of It

The nation's top climate scientists are giving 'An Inconvenient Truth,' Al Gore's documentary on global warming, five stars for accuracy.

Got Insomnia?

Mr. Nag is a lifelong insomniac (must have a guilty conscience). I'll have him check out these free relaxing music, sleep-aids, relaxation tools. Perhaps he'll stop creeping about all night and waking me up! I almost fell asleep at the keyboard listening to the rain, chimes and drums.

Via J-Walk

France Wins!

27 Jun - Final score

France 3
Spain 1

I'm not really excited by the World Cup (although I'll use it as an excuse to drink) but Mr. Nag is a soccer fan, knows all the teams and players. He was initially rooting for France, Spain and the Netherlands. Today's victory for Les Bleus over Spain left him a little conflicted. No conflict for me: Cotes du Rhone, not Rioja, tonight.

Some Nice Old Train Posters

H L Scott poster gallery . I like these old train posters. I also like ski posters from the forties and fifties. On my walls, though, are old watercolours, some big etchings of sailing ships, some prints by a friend, Susan Carr, and a couple of oils, including a nice Victorian one of children on the beach. I also seem to be amassing a collection of Campbell Scotts. No room for posters - we'll have to wait until we buy that second property.

Poster link via Information Junk

MTA Subway Store - Germphobic Specials

Some interesting products from Banterist for those who ride the subway but fear the invisible cooties lurking there:

Having to ride the subway is bad enough, but having to touch the filth-covered bars is downright traumatic. MacLure's Disposable Subway Mittens insulate your hands in a biodynamic anti-bacterial gel, putting half an inch of Kevlar-reinforced nylon and microbe-resistant poly-cotton padding between you and some homeless guy's snot. Sold individually as well as in weekly and monthly commuter packs. $2.95 ea.

When you push through a turnstile you're putting your crotch in the same exact place that millions of other crotches have been. No one knows what the long-term effects of that could be... do you want to take any chances? Our Turnstile Tongs ensure you exit the station free from crotch germs, if any. Comes with convenient carry case and 12 oz sterilizer spray. $18.95 ea.


Watch the video of

It's cool but I don't think I'd want it going on in my back yard.

Via Ursi's Blog

Time for a revolution?

A friend once asked me, "Why do you hate money?" to which I replied, "It's not money I hate, it's greed I can't abide." Read this article by Richard Gwyn:

That American CEOs last year earned 262 times the average pay of their own workers is no big deal. It's always possible that some of them actually earned all that money, or at least some of it.
What is, surely, something of a big deal is that according to Corporate Library in Washington, the chief executives of the 11 largest companies in the United States earned a combined $865 million over the past two years at the same time as their shareholders lost $640 million.

What, potentially, is an even bigger deal, is that one of the main
activities of American executives these days is figuring out ways to cut the pay of their workers while at the same time hanging on to all they have.

Monday, June 26, 2006


'These songs are made for drinking and weeping'

I'm still a Sedaris slut, can't help it.

It's been interesting to walk around campus this afternoon, as when I went to Princeton things were completely different. This chapel, for instance-I remember when it was just a clearing, cordoned off with sharp sticks. Prayer was compulsory back then, and you couldn't just fake it by moving your lips; you had
to know the words, and really mean them. I'm dating myself, but this was before Jesus Christ. We worshipped a God named Sashatiba, who had five eyes, including one right here, on the Adam's apple. None of us ever met him, but word had it that he might appear at any moment, so we were always at the ready. Whatever you do, don't look at his neck, I used to tell myself.

When wrinkles meet pimples

One of the best things about bidding farewell to the teen years is being rid of pimples. But some adults are waking up in their 20s, 30s, 40s and even 50s to an unpleasant reminder of high-school embarrassment.

Tell me about it. I've been waking up with enough grease on my face to cook french fries. Unfortunately The Sun charges $10.00 to see the solution. Forget it. I've warned Mr. Nag that I may have to resort to overnight face masks. He won't be concerned - it's not the face he's after.

Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2006: Moscow tops city rankings; Dublin in 18th place

Moscow has replaced Tokyo as the world's most expensive city, according to the latest Cost of Living Survey from Mercer Human Resource Consulting, the global leader for HR and related financial advice. Seoul is in second place, climbing three places since last year. Tokyo moves down two positions in the rankings to take third place, followed by Hong Kong. Asuncion in Paraguay remains the least expensive city in the survey.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


This guy is a real flatterer:
Review of Nag on the Lake
'I just saw . Gorgeous. If only IBM would have a high-quality page like that.
The code is standards-compliant. The page contains 223 links, a perfect amount. It must have taken weeks to finalize the page. There are 76,154 characters in the source for this page, which is a great length for search engines.
What a high-quality page! The URL has 37 characters. This length scores best in usability studies. This explains why put up a link to this page. Seeing Nag on the Lake, I'm simply in awe. Of course, I expected the creator to create something superior. The color scheme is neoclassicist. Very, very good. Congratulations.'
-- Joe Russel, Funky Sites

Via Generator Blog

The Notorious MSG

Straight Out of Canton

Via Neatorama
Nina Gordon's cover of Straight Out Of Compton

I've had this kicking around for awhile so it may be a repost but I love it.

By George, I Think I've Got It!

The "Mock 10" Signs of Blog Addiction

Via Grow a Brain

Trade in hair forces India's children to pay the price

The Western desire for 'temple hair' extensions has led unscrupulous dealers to prey on the young and induce them to shave their heads for money .

Saturday, June 24, 2006

So Long Revue Cinema

It comes with much heartache that we announce that the Festival Cinemas will cease operations of The Revue, Kingsway and Royal theatres at the end of June. It is because of your support we have been able to stay in business for almost 30 years, thank you.

This is sad news. When Mr. Nag and I were in the first throes of our romance, back in the days before VCRs and DVDs, we used to go out several times a week for vegetarian Indian food and then to the Revue to catch whatever was playing and to make out. We spent many happy evenings there. The loss of these neighbourhood theatres is symptomatic of a shift in Toronto - not for the better, I think. It's a shame.

The Suburban Amusement Company Ltd. built the Revue Cinema in 1911. Its original address was 320 Roncesvalles Avenue. At this time, much of the Parkdale/High Park was in its early stages of development. John Wright built (the very oldest house in this neighbourhood, on Wright Avenue, in the 1870s.)
The Revue has never closed in its eighty-some years, making it one of the oldest continuously running cinemas in the country.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Today's Urban Def

ride dirty
1) To roll in your car with drugs, guns, or other shit you don't want the cops to find. Usually drugs.

2) To not have taken a shower in awhile or wiped one's ass properly.
'They see me rollin', they hatin', patrollin'
Tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty.'
(Chamillionaire - 'Ridin' Dirty')

Jim: 'Hey, get your ass over here. There's grippa bitches. What's taking so long?'
James: 'Give me 20 minutes. Gotta take a shower.'
Jim: 'Dude, you don't need a shower. The party's not gonna wait.'
James: 'No, you don't was chili con carne night and we're out of T.P. The neighbors came over to complain because they thought someone was playing the trumpet terribly while firing a machine gun.'
Jim: 'OOOOH yeah, good call. You really don't want to ride dirty like that.'

My Mum forced cod liver oil on me

The other day, Andrew posted on a BBC story about UK schools considering using Omega-3 supplements to improve students' behavior and performance. The BBC article cites a year old study, and now The Daily Mail reports on more recent findings that show fish oil to be more effective than Ritalin in treating children with ADHD. Groups of seven- to 12-year-olds were given six capsules of fish oil daily over the course of several months. By the end of a seven month period, researchers found that nearly half of the group showed better concentration and performance in school.

RIP Harriet

After a long and distinguished life, Harriet the tortoise has died at an estimated age of 175.

As the oldest-known living creature in the world, the giant Galapagos tortoise was thought to have been born in 1830. But after what appeared to be a heart attack, she finally passed away at Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland

The giant Galapagos tortoise died of an acute heart attack after suffering from an illness, according to Australian vet John Hangar.
"She had a very fairly acute heart attack, and thankfully, passed away quietly overnight," Hangar told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "She had been sick yesterday with, in effect, heart failure."

The Australian Zoo claims that in 1835 when she was about the size of a dinner plate, Harriet was taken from the Galapagos Islands by Charles Darwin. However, many scientists have suggested that Harriet may not have been one of Darwin's pets, because DNA tests have shown that the giant tortoise belonged to a subspecies found on an island that the British explorer never visited.
Whether or not she was ever in Darwin's presence, Harriet was one of the last living creatures to live through the major moments of modern history.
With her date of birth calculated to 1830, Harriet was born while Andrew Jackson was president of the United States. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated when she was 35. She lived through several of the major wars in recorded history, including the Civil War and both World Wars. She was already 82 years old when the Titanic sank in 1912, and Pearl Harbor was attacked as Harriet reached 111.

Annthrax Coulter

Annthrax Coulter vs. 9-11 Widows

I didn't think it was possible for this woman to sink any lower in my estimation. She is so filled with hate that she probably can't fathom what it's like to lose someone you love.

via Cynical-C

Alternative InSPOT E-Cards to Anonymously Inform Your Partners That They Might Have Been Exposed to an STD.

- - - -
Well, obviously no one wants genital herpes, but look at all those people in the Valtrex ads. They're really hot and seem to be having a blast.
Just something to think about.
- - - -

FYI You might have been exposed to scabies.
I'm not saying it's karma, but maybe next time you'll reach for the check.
- - - -
Knock, knock.
Who's there?
- - - -
It is with great regret that I must inform you that you might have been exposed to syphilis. It is with even greater regret, as it appears that this e-mail should have been sent a few months ago.
But you know how it is. Work's been crazy busy. There was that conference in Phoenix. And the Anderson account. And then with the holidays on top of it all? Forget about it.
Anyway, here you go.
P.S. If this message seems blurry to you at all, you should probably get moving on this.
- - - -
OMG!!! Herpes. =(
- - - -
Just a tip. You might have been exposed to crabs recently.
Most probably from using a public restroom and not from that cute guy in marketing you went out with last week who is very hygienic. And who's really into you.
No, definitely not from him.

This works for me

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I'd resigned from my job. Although working only part-time, my 30 hours were spread out over 5 days and felt more like full-time. I felt I needed more time to get things done at home. My weekends were too taken up with cleaning, gardening and running errands. I worked full-time at difficult jobs when my children were young and was used to having no time to myself. Now I feel that the time has come to kick back a little, especially since Mr. Nag is home a lot more.
A week ago my employer came back with an offer I couldn't refuse (no horse heads in my bed or anything like that) so I'm still employed at Willowbank but working a more manageable three days a week.
I feel a little awkward though because the board had already taken me out to lunch and bought me a gift.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Urban Aid: Shame On You Kit

For those days when you just can't
make it home-you are prepared!

Yard Sale Addict

I have spent nearly every Saturday morning for the past 20 years going to yard sales in intown neighborhoods in Atlanta. I seldom buy anything anymore. Am I wasting my time? I am addicted. But it's no longer the buying that attracts me.
It is observing what other people have done with thier lives and how this is reflected in what they are getting rid of. I am more of a anthropologist than a bargain hunter. But I am an addict.
He's from Atlanta; yeah, that's the ticket. If this isn't Mr. Nag it's his friggin' doppleganger. My husband keeps dragging stuff home. He doesn't care if it makes me crazy; he can't seem to help himself. You think this is a harmless addiction? One day I'll post pictures of our garage, basement and attic. See the thirty years of detritus accumulated therein and you won't think this habit is so cute. You might even pity me.

Via Neatorama

Coulter or Hitler?

Take the quiz

Via Bits and Pieces

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Summer Solstice

June 21 is a very important day for our planet and its relationship with the sun. June 21 is one of two solstices, days when the rays of the sun directly strike one of the two tropical latitude lines. June 21 marks the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere and simultaneously heralds the beginning of winter in the southern hemisphere.

(The longest day of the year will seem even longer as Town workers began running heavy machinery behind my house at 5:45 this morning. The Nag will be nagging someone about this!)

I Have A New Job

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most recognizable and economically vital spans in the nation. So it was not surprising when the U.S. Office of Homeland Security (OHS) discovered the bridge listed on a terrorist memo of potential targets.

However, working with the San Francisco Police Department, the OHS has devised a plan to keep the bridge safe.

'We've hired 25 young, beautiful women willing to remove all their clothing and station themselves at strategic points on and approaching the bridge,' explained San Francisco Police Public Information Officer Bruce Onder. "

The Meeting Syndrome, I Know It Well

You know those people, the ones who 'support' projects by attending meetings. They leave the actual work to someone else--which is probably a good thing. Do you really want important things done by people whose main skill is prolonging meetings with gratuitous questions? Just keep them out of the way of the real workers.

No Grass To Cut!

modern marine homes

Extortr: online blackmail for the masses

The most efficient way to blackmail! Much easier than breaking their legs yourself!

Via Web Junkie

Deep in permafrost - a seed bank to save the world

An ambitious project to safeguard future food supplies began yesterday with the launch of a 'Noah's ark' for the world's most important plants. The new Svalbard International Seed Vault will serve as a repository for crucial seeds in the event of a global catastrophe.


A story in today's Toronto Star came out of this place. I never knew it existed. Did you?

Working poor a 'smouldering crisis'

These are the recipients of the Mike Harris legacy. The minimum wage was frozen for ten years and they got left behind.
He estimates that 900,000 working age Ontarians and their 350,000 children
are poor.
'They're everywhere. They're serving you food today,' he said of the Royal York hotel servers. 'They sold you movie tickets this weekend. They may have been helping with your garden. They took care of your children last week. They answered the phone when your washing machine broke.'

Monday, June 19, 2006

He Can Afford It - Too Bad He Won't Live Long

Pete Doherty was fined $1,900 after police found traces of cocaine in his blood. So if the government is ever hard up for cash they can just make a quick stop by Pete's place and it's almost guaranteed there'll be traces of something illegal in his blood.

Our Flags Are At Half-Mast

"THIERRY Henry scored France's first World Cup finals goal for eight years last night but it wasn't enough to secure victory for the 1998 world champions after Manchester United's Park Ji Sung snatched a dramatic equaliser for South Korea to leave Les Bleus with work to do to avoid a second successive elimination in the group stage to add to the humiliation of four years ago. "

Keep Your Legs Crossed, Mes Filles

Due to a shortage of anesthesiologists, the hospitals of Angouleme (Capital of the Charentes region. Think cognac.) no longer provide epidurals to women in labor on Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays.

Secret Agent A-Hole

David Hasselhoff - Secret Agent Man

This guy has made a career out of being a total asshole. I admire him. Maybe I could be the female version of the Hoff. I've been known to be assholish from time to time.

Via Exploding Aardvark

Louisiana gov. signs law that would ban abortions

Louisiana Democratic Gov. Kathleen Blanco signed into law a ban on most abortions, which would be triggered if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns its 1973 ruling legalizing the procedure, a spokesman said on Saturday.
The ban would apply to all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest, except when the mother's life is threatened. It is similar to a South Dakota law that has become the latest focus of the abortion battle.
Donkey Showdown



On June 19 ('Juneteenth'), 1865, Union general Gordon Grangerqv read the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston, thus belatedly bringing about the freeing of 250,000 slaves in Texas. The tidings of freedom reached slaves gradually as individual plantation owners read the proclamation to their bondsmen over the months following the end of the war. The news elicited an array of personal celebrations, some of which have been described in The Slave Narratives of Texas (1974). The first broader celebrations of Juneteenth were used as political rallies and to teach freed African Americans about their voting rights. Within a short time, however, Juneteenth was marked by festivities throughout the state, some of which were organized by official Juneteenth committees.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Who Is My Baby's Daddy

Via Walk This Way

Modern Toss

I like it. Maybe you won't. That's not my problem.

Via metafilter

Protest In China Closes Cat Meat Restaurant

In the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, a group of approximately 40 demonstrators gathered to protest the sale of cat meat at the Fangji Cat Meatball restaurant. Protestors initially demanded that any live cats on the premises be freed or turned over to them, but the shop owner had already removed them from the premises. Instead, a search of the kitchen revealed cat meat and a whole, skinned cat in the fridge, which reduced some of the protestors to tears. The restaurant was chosen as the site of the protest because workers at the restaurant had been seen killing cats in the street, something which concerned parents said was traumatic for children attending school nearby.

World Cup Fever Chez Nag

Vive La France!

Now he's 64. She doesn't need him, won't feed him either

Sir Paul McCartney is celebrating his 64th birthday - an age he immortalised in song decades ago.

Max scored 5

How to tell if your canine is an intellectual: Keeping in mind that some breeds are generally smarter and more trainable (border collies, for instance) than others (bulldogs), memory is 'a good approximation' of how bright your dog is, writes Stanley Coren.
Here is an example of a quadrupedal IQ test for dogs that are one or older and have been living in the same place for at least 10 weeks:
Place your dog on a leash in the centre of the room. Show her a treat.
Then, 'with a great exaggerated show (but no sound), place the tidbit in a corner.'
Lead her out of the room, walk her in a small circle, and then bring her back to the centre of the room.
Remove the leash and start your stopwatch.
If she goes directly to the treat, score 5.
If she systematically sniffs around the edge of the room and finds the treat, score 4.
If she searches in a random fashion but finds the treat within 45 seconds, score 3.
If she tries but fails after 45 seconds, score 2.
If she makes no effort to find the treat, score 1.
If she trots over to the remote and turns on the World Cup, score 0.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Rappin' Dad Was Da Bomb - Fo Rizzle

This picture via Miss Cellania takes me back to the days when Mr. Nag adopted the alter-ego, Rappin' Dad, solely to irk the younger generation of Nags. Nag Jr. took particular offence to his dad's wacky antics. He'd become apoplectic when my baby daddy, trucker hat askew, would gank the teen lingo. Nag Jr. thought he was hackin on him. I thought it was bangin' . Rappin' Dad jacked all the tunes too (That song's jammin' on the one! Baby!). Nag Jr. would accuse him of perpetratin' but Rappin Dad just wanted to represent and get down with his peeps.

What amazed me was Mr. Nag's tenacity and inventiveness - this went on for months. Eventually the act became wack and fizzled out but it was wylin' while it lasted - word up.

Cat's Diary

DAY 752 - My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from ruining the occasional piece of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another houseplant.

DAY 761 - Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around their feet while they were walking almost succeeded, must try this at the top of the stairs. In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair... must try this on their bed.

DAY 762 - Slept all day so that I could annoy my captors with sleep depriving, incessant pleas for food at ungodly hours of the night.

DAY 765 - Decapitated a mouse and brought them the headless body, in attempt to make them aware of what I am capable of, and to try to strike fear into their hearts. They only cooed and condescended about what a good little cat I was... Hmmm. Not working according to plan ...

Via Arbroath

A reading from the Gospel of Left Behind

3 And Ben went up into the land of Manhattan, armed righteously with the word of God, an SKS assault rifle, a British commando knife, and nunchucks he had fashioned out of hard oak whilst the shop teacher was away, partaking of tobacco.

4 At the place called the Square of Time, he came upon a multitude of clubites. Ben saw that they were loathsome in the eyes of the Lord for their women dressed immodestly and chatted in the manner of those who partake of little pills and strong drink.

5 Ben said unto them, 'Do you accept Our Lord Jesus as your own, personal savior?'

6 And the multitude responded, each in his own manner. 'Let's hug,' cried the starry-eyed man with the chartreuse fauxhawk. 'Come clubbing with us,' demanded another. And thus it was so with all of the clubites for Techno had banished their love for our Savior from their hearts.

7 Ben, filled with anger at their words, looked upon the nearby buildings, searching for she-bears, so that he might command them to consume the clubites, just as the prophet Elisha commanded she-bears to devour the children who mocked his baldness.

8 Finding no she-bears to help him, Ben descended upon the multitude, alone, slaying them with automatic gunfire until his rifle was empty, and then smiting their heads with his Terrible Numchucks of Godly Vengeance.

9 And when his work was finished, Ben went among the bodies, and he cut off their ears, both those of the right and of the left, gathering them into a great pile. From this pile, he selected every tenth ear as a tithe and fashioned them into a necklace as an offering to the Lord.

10 And the Lord God looked upon Ben's offering and said, 'It is good.'

Fathers Day Rant

Avery offers some helpfully insolent Fathers Day suggestions

T-shirt rip-off

THE ITEM: Custom Belief T-shirt by Mondonation.

Each shirt features a customized message about the wearer's belief, whether it's an everyday desire such as 'I believe I'll have another drink,' a lifelong mantra along the lines of 'I believe in love,' or a grand aspiration like 'I believe that my daughters will change the world,' to quote a few tees Mondonation has created since launching in April.
The idea is to see how positive beliefs become more powerful when they're shared with others, says Mondonation founder Ward Bingham, who's based in Vancouver. 'I came up with this concept that if people share what they believe on T-shirts ...
we will begin to spread our beliefs and then notice the positive effects. '
What's really cool about the T-shirts is that $10 of each purchase goes to the charity of your choice. When you visit the Mondonation website to create your message, you're also asked to select a charity from a list of non-profits, including, for example, Amnesty International, Habitat for Humanity and Greenpeace.

My advice: buy a cheaper t-shirt and make a larger donation yourself. What idiot needs a t-shirt manufacturer to make a donation for them?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Famous tasting could become film

It looks like the famous 1976 Paris wine tasting could be made into a movie. A Los Angeles production firm bought the movie rights to George Taber's book on the blind tasting, in which the California wines Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 1973 and Ridge Montebello 71 beat the favored First Growths Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 70 and Haut Brion 70. The studio says that they plan to focus on the interaction between Steven Spurrier, the wine mastermind who arranged the tasting, and the Californians, who will be portrayed as the underdogs.

A Gallery of Bloomsday Cards

A selection of original postcards by T.E. Kennelly celebrating Bloomsday (June 16), the day of Leopold Bloom's odyssey through Dublin in James Joyce's Ulysses. That's the Dolphin, Temple Bar above.

Today's Rose

Tons of roses all at once. I wish my pictures would do them justice.


Bloomsday,June 16th, is an annual celebration among Joyce fans throughout the world, from Fort Lauderdale to Melbourne. It is celebrated in at least sixty countries worldwide, but nowhere so imaginatively, of course, as in Dublin. There the events of Leopold Bloom's day are reenacted by anyone who cares to participate, and his itinerary is followed all across Dublin.

At lunchtime it's traditional to stop off for a glass of burgundy and a Gorgonzola sandwich at Davy Byrne's Pub on Duke Street, just as Bloom did. In the afternoon the Ormond Hotel is the spot for an afternoon pint, where Bloom was tempted by the barmaids in the Sirens chapter.

The years since 1904 have made an exact replication of Bloom's route impossible - Bloom's home at 7 Eccles Street no longer exists and the red-light district ('Nighttown'), in which the hallucinatory Circe chapter takes place, has been leveled; only the street pattern remains.

Bloomsday celebrations also feature readings of Ulysses, James Joyce lookalike contests, various other semi-literary activities, and a good excuse for hoisting a few Guinnesses. In the eyes of many, it's easier and a lot more fun than trying to work your way through Ulysses.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

10 Ways to Freak Out Your Date

Dating sucks. It does! Unless you are totally hot, with endless amounts of cash and a decent personality, finding a fun person that you want to be with is hard and sometime laborious work. It's not just meeting people that's hard, it the culling process that's challenging. One of the most stressful aspects of dating when you have seen someone a few times and realized that it's going no where but your clueless date hangs on for dear life like you're Brad Pitt. You really don't want to have the 'It's me' conversation but the stupid thing just won't die. What do you do?

How about Sneaky Shorts liquid holder for pants, a sheep lover apron or the all meat baseball cap? Guaranteed to send her screaming for the door.

Hypothetically, what if he were a white man?

Barry Swadron, one of the city's most distinguished barristers, finds himself wondering about something very interesting and very troubling.
'I wonder,' he said, 'whether these police officers would have arrested a white man in his 70s based upon such a flimsy investigation.'

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Art and Life of Gil Elvgren

Gil Elvgren (1914-1980) was the most important pin-up and glamour artist of the twentieth century. During his professional career, which began in the mid 1930s and lasted more than forty years, he established himself as the clear favorite of pin-up collectors and fans worldwide. Although most of his work was created for commercial use, it has been increasingly recognized as 'real' art by many private collectors, dealers, galleries and museums. And indeed, though Elvgren has been considered as mainly a pin-up artist this last half-century, in reality he deserves recognition as a classical American illustrator whose career encompassed many different fields of commercial art. He was always a master in portraying feminine beauty, but his output was by no means confined to the calendar pinup industry.


John Singer Sargent's Gassed

'While at the casualty station he witnessed an orderly leading a group of soldiers that had been blinded by mustard gas. He used this as a subject for a naturalist allegorical frieze depicting a line of young men with their eyes bandaged. Gassed soon became one of the most memorably haunting images of the war.'

Amy Sedaris in The New York Press

Amy Sedaris will never be a movie star in the typical sense. It'd be hard to pull off when you'd rather wear a fat suit and sit in a makeup chair sticking more hair on your upper lip instead of getting it waxed.
Yep, that's right, Amy's bringing her signature overbite to the big screen when Strangers With Candy opens in New York June 28. Despite all of the expectation from fans of the original television series, Amy seems to have retained her usual self-effacing tone about the whole affair.
I'm not sure how well TV shows transfer to the big screen,she admits. But the show has such a cult following. I like to be loyal to those people.

North Korea - Loads of Photos

I'm sorta curious about what North Korea is like (not that I want to go there). Anything I've seen portrays it as a circa 1950's Soviet Block wasteland. This site does little to dispel that image.

The author is Artemii Lebedev, one of the leading web-designers in Russia. He recently went on a trip to DPRK.

Very lavish subway stations though, all the communist countries do that.

Via Cynical-C

Languages beginning with the Letter Z

Today's random Wiki is actually educational. Are these obscure languages or have I been living a sheltered life? I've decided to blog exclusively in Zizilivakan from now on - or maybe Zoinx or Zulgwa.

This list of spoken and sign languages beginning with the letter Z is based on data by Ethnologue, a publication of SIL International.

KISS coffeehouse

The band KISS recently announced that they are opening a coffeehouse in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The shop, described by the band as 'the most outrageous coffee and dessert shop ever constructed' will open its doors to KISS fans and the curious on Tuesday, June 27th - though those going just to take a look might want to be careful, since the shop is said to be 'an official KISS Army recruiting office,' though Gene Simmons said that 'even the non-enlisted will find our treats and java rockin' good!'

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Daily Dancer:

Le gasolina n'est pas le cheapa: "The price of gasoline may not be something for people to dance about these days, but I did a little dance anyway. Check this one out!

Via my good friend Maggie Kieley (no blog yet, boo hoo)

Oink oink

When I used to visit my mother in a nursing home in Arkansas we would look for restaurants where Mr. Nag, a vegetarian, could find something he could eat. He found himself having to choose between pizza at the mall or stretching his culinary boundaries to include catfish. Over the years more chains moved in but early on we had few choices. Mr. Nag checked in at the local fire station to see if the brothers could offer some advice. They told us " if y'all want good food, go where the big hogs go". They suggested a buffet close to our hotel. It was a dingy place with card tables and folding chairs. The denizens all looked like Hindenburgs and had grim, purposeful expressions on their faces. We were in a dry county, it was date night and it appeared that these folks were filling that dark hole deep within themselves with greasy goodness. In another, moister, locale this could have been accomplished to greater effect with alcohol. I bet you're waiting for me to tell you that it was some of the best grub I ever ate. Well, it wasn't. We bellied up to a half mile long counter of deep fried batter the shape and size of tennis balls. There were no signs to tell us what ingredients were contained within. We had to wait until we got back to our table and split them open to figure out what we had before us. It was not tasty. It was gross. The intensity with which the patrons approached their plates (again and again and again) was scarey. And worst of all it was expensive. Since then I distrust all-you-can-eat joints. For those of you who are not yet jaded:

Are you hungry? Are you really, really hungry? If so, read on, for we have chosen ten of America's best places to bring your best appetite: all-you-can-eat restaurants where you pay one price, then pile a plate high and come back for seconds and, if possible, thirds. The late, great Mendenhall Hotel in Mississippi used to serve food this way, and to inspire diners, it offered a lovely, framed handmade sampler on the wall that said, 'Eat 'Til It Ouches.'

Via Information Junk

Hello Kitty Tuning

I'm not a very girly girl so you'd never catch me in one of these. But I do admit that I think it's cute.

Personalising what is dear to you is something that people in Japan like...

and the manga characters are loved too. One of the most famous characters is 'Hello Kitty', a small, pink and very cute cat, both like by kids and adults. Japan is unlike any other country, and whilst out-growing their youth, the Japanese do not leave behind their joys and childhood passions.

A group of Hello Kitty afficionados have attacked their car in pure Hello Kitty style, and the Japanese don't like to leave things half-finished. Everything was restyled, from the dashboard to the celing, passing by the door and even the hood, the Hello Kitty God is everywhere, and Japan is a country filled with little marvellous things.

Via Blog On A Toothpick

Today's Rose

Monday, June 12, 2006

Big Events on June 12

1929: Anne Frank is born
1963: NAACP leader Medgar Evers is fatally shot in Jackson, Mississippi
1964: Nelson Mandela is sentenced to life in prison

What's Wrong With This Picture or I'm Glad I am Canadian

Riley's only three years old and he's a million dollar baby. We also like to amuse ourselves by poring over the 50+ pages of itemized charges. For example, each night in the ICU cost $11,795. Now, I've never stayed in a hotel that cost $12,000 a night, but I guarantee it beats the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit for luxury hands down. At a minimum they definitely have a better wine list.
And here's $390 for a guidewire. Several $44.10 charges for carbon dioxide (carbon dioxide??!). Those crappy little oxygen sensors that wrap around his toe (and last a day, tops) cost $61 each. The VCR-sized chest tube drainage boxes (Pleurevacs) are $617 a pop.

Every charge is grossed up to include overhead and labor. One medication cost $27.88 a dose (Riley takes it three times a day). That $27.88 is meant to include the cost of the nurse administering it, but still. In the outside world a 100-day supply costs $15 (our copay is $5). That's a 557% markup.
And here's a real doozy:

$8.51 for a Chapstick??! Current price on $1.99. At 4 grams a stick, that's $2.13 a gram. That's a full-service tube of lip balm.
Of course, our HMO won't pay the full amount. Given that they're one of the biggest HMOs in America, they probably won't even pay half. But our experience makes us feel extremely grateful that we're amused by this bill rather than wondering if we should declare bankruptcy now or wait for the bank to foreclose on the house. The sad reality is that 15% of Americans would be in just such a bind. I'm also lucky that by law, group health plans can't deny my family coverage for pre-existing conditions. That means any employer that offers its employees health care must offer Riley health care. We'll never be able to get individual coverage - insurance companies would laugh in my face. It ties my son's health care irrevocably to the state of my employment.

Tired of Lame Dad's Day Gifts?

No joke, my dad would probably like some of these. I hope that doesn't reflect on me.
10 Father's Day Gifts That Actually Make Sense

Via Bits and Pieces

Man 'forced 10 abortions on wife in quest for son'

A man wanting a son reportedly forced his wife into 10 abortions in 23 years. Dhanvanti More, of Mumbai, who has four daughters, told the Hindustan Times that each time she became pregnant her husband arranged an ultrasound test to see if it was a boy.
A court ordered the man detained on charges of harassment and forcing abortions. Ms More filed a complaint after her husband married a second woman and had a son.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Guantanamo suicides 'acts of war'

These are the first suicides at the base, despite dozens of attempts. The suicides of three detainees at the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, amount to acts of war, the US military says. The camp commander said the two Saudis and a Yemeni were 'committed' and had killed themselves in 'an act of asymmetric warfare waged against us'.
Lawyers said the men who hanged themselves had been driven by despair.
Seth MacFarlane's Harvard Class Day Speech STEWIE (3 of 4)

Extreme Diet Coke and Mentos Experiments

Via Davezilla

The Edukators

Finally saw this last night. Jan and Peter live together in Berlin and are best friends. They want to change the world. By night they break into rich men’s villas and move everything around and pile the furniture up in unexpected formations. They do not steal anything, but leave a message for the bourgeois owners such as ‘You have too much money’ or ‘Your days of plenty are over’. They sign their messages ‘The edukators’. They want to make the rich feel insecure in their wealth and to think about the unfair distribution of the world's riches. It starts off very well but somewhere past the middle it gets a bit bogged down and looks like it will have a Hollywood ending. Thankfully there is a twist at the end that provides a more realistic resolution. I liked it but I'm an old hippie leftist.

//// The Edukators ////

Tell Me It Isn't True!

They are as French as demonstrations, croissants and good railways; an essential part of any British tourist's holiday and of the social and cultural life of the nation - and they are rapidly disappearing.
France's bistros are shutting so quickly, according to new statistics, that within 10 years they will all either have closed down, become 'theme bars' or been swallowed up by large chains.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Today's Garden Pic

Buddha peering through the roses.

Today's Urban Def

brain glue
When it feels as though bits of your brain have been disconnected, (ie when you're feeling stupid), this substance helps to stick them back together again. Sadly, has not yet been invented :-(
I went out partying all night, and was in serious need of some brain glue the next morning!

Chemical used in water bottles linked to prostate cancer

I've long supected this. I also believe that the process used to manufacture the bottles and the burning of fuel to transport them are worse for our bodies than ingesting most tap water (of course there are exceptions). In many cases the bottled water actually comes from the tap to begin with.
Researchers in the U.S. have linked exposures to trace amounts of bisphenol A, a widely used chemical that leaks from many plastics products, to prostate cancer in animal experiments. The discovery is considered the first direct scientific evidence connecting prostate cancer to bisphenol A, or BPA, a
chemical used to make the polycarbonate for hard plastic water bottles and baby bottles, and the dental sealants used on children's teeth, among its many consumer uses. The dose causing the adverse effect, given to newborn rats, was set by the researchers to be similar to the amounts commonly found in the blood of people in Western countries exposed to polycarbonate plastic and other BPA-containing consumer items. This dose was 60 per cent below levels Health Canada considers safe, and suggests that current regulatory standards may be too lax.

Friday, June 09, 2006

A Party With Fresh New Ideas

Check out their platform.

Philandering long necked SOBs

Swans have long been viewed as a symbol of fidelity and everlasting love. But they are in fact cheating philanderers that regularly flee the nest for extramarital sex, Australian researchers reveal.

Thanks Neatorama

Time and Again

One sweltering summer day in 1984 my friend Peter Feldstein walked up and down the streets of Oxford, Iowa, posting fliers announcing he would take anyone's picture, free. At the time, 676 people lived in Oxford, and he wanted to make a photograph of every single one of them.
He set up a makeshift studio in an empty storefront across the street from where he lived. The first day, nobody showed up. Then some elementary-school students came by, then a retired couple, then a few more folks. After Peter photographed Al Sheets, a member of the local American Legion chapter, Sheets returned with 75 legionnaires and their families, and Peter's project took off.

Via Kottke Reviews for Godless: The Church of Liberalism:

Read the reviews, they're hilarious (but don't buy the book or I'll track you down and kill you).

ParisDailyPhoto: A dress to diet for...

If you can't take it off, eat your way through this dress because it's made entirely of chocolate!