Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Alma Drawings

I watched Jeremiah Munce's award-winning documentary The Alma Drawings on my great big TV tonight. It was very intriguing. Alma Rumball's paintings resembled acid paintings done by hippies in the psychedelic era. She was a devout Christian who lived a sheltered life in Huntsville, Ontario. She started creating her powerful paintings when she was in her 50's. The documentary asks the question, was she psychic or psychotic?

French surrealist André Breton once coined the term “psychic automatism” to describe this kind of phenomenon. The more contemporary interpretation would be that Alma suffered from schizophrenia. But even if it's true, this doesn't explain where, exactly, the extraordinary images in her drawings came from.
Why do some pictures appear to contain symbols from Tibetan Buddhist tradition – something of which Alma knew nothing? Why did she fashion a strange work depicting the fall of Atlantis? And what were the dangerous spiritual secrets she sometimes claimed to have been told?
Alma Rumball died in 1980 – and the answers died with her.
Was Alma connected in some way to the spiritual world? Or caught in the grip of madness?

Just What I Need For the Christmas Season

Next week Christie's will auction the iconic little black dress that Audrey Hepburn wore in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany's.
That simple but instantly recognisable black gown, designed by Hubert de Givenchy, is expected to fetch about £70,000. It is a modest prediction for what is, arguably, the most copied piece of clothing in film history.

For This I Got a 40-inch TV?

Good God, why isn't anyone else commenting on this?
Last night I caught a bit of the "entertainment" featured at the Liberal Convention in Montreal. Guys in suits gyrating to the dis-synchronous beating of drums? It just happened to be the first thing I watched on my brand spanking new 40-inch HD TV and it almost ruined the viewing experience for me. At first I thought the TV was defective but, thankfully, other channels were not afflicted with this unique brand of Liberal awfulness.
I'm guessing someone thought that frenzied flailing would be an appropriate stage setter for the Howard Dean scream. Someone forgot to tell them them that Dean scrapped the scream from his act when it lost him the Democratic nomination.

Whining Over Raw Milk

Doesn't our provincial government have more pressing issues to attend to than the sale of raw milk? Premier McGuinty is agonizing over what he considers to be a major threat to Ontarians' health (forget air pollution, global warming, TB in homeless shelters, etc.) and Finance Minister, Greg Sorbara, has even gotten into the act (he sings Legalize It in the background). He is, as usual, floating around the perimeter of conflict of interest as his wife owns a share of the cow in question - no kidding. The law says one can drink raw milk if one owns the cow that produces it.
While Dalton looks on, looking as anguished as if he had just downed a cup of e-coli contaminated raw milk and needs a bathroom pronto, a farmer who produces the wretched product has been on a hunger strike for more than a week. Too much whining over raw milk, methinks.
I'm sure there are those who, if they could, would commune with nature by sucking the warm, yellow, fat globule laden elixer directly from the crusty udder of Bessie the bovine. I don't ride with that posse.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Hold the ham - and the turkey as well

Canadians are being warned not to eat cooked ham and turkey products from an Ohio-based company that could be contaminated with listeria. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) says products from The Honey Baked Ham Company could be contaminated with listeria bacteria, which can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and nausea.

I've been feeling uncharacteristically ill (fever, headache, neck stiffness, nausea, the whole nine yards) the past couple of days. Today I took my first sick day of the millennium. Could swear I had listeria poisoning only I haven't had any honey baked ham or turkey, or at least none that I know of. However, I do have relatives in Ohio. Hmmm...

Boars Run Amok In Bavaria

...unlike in my town where bores run amok.

They certainly weren't to blame for the damage as they were trying to escape from hunters. I might bite people and knock them off bicycles if I were trying to save my bacon.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Films at Shaw 2007

People are coming to my blog looking for information on the upcoming film series at the Shaw Festival Theatre and have, until now, been getting last year's information. It is hard to find anything online but here is a list of confirmed films that I came across in the Niagara Advance:

There are 5 more yet to be confirmed. Sounds good doesn't it?


Is this cool or what? Think of it as a daily buzz detector:

Newsmap is an application that visually reflects the the constantly changing landscape of the Google News news aggregator. A treemap visualization algorithm helps display the enormous amount of information gathered by the aggregator. Treemaps are traditionally space-constrained visualizations of information. Newsmap's objective takes that goal a step further and provides a tool to divide information into quickly recognizable bands which, when presented together, reveal underlying patterns in news reporting across cultures and within news segments in constant change around the globe.

Via Ursi's Blog

Barbed Wire Hat

I wear this on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The other days I wear my crown of thorns.

Via Neatorama

Monday, November 27, 2006

Off Road Wheelchairs

I think these are cool. I'll bet Schwarzenegger likes this nifty octogenarian sport utility vehicle, too. When I'm even older than I am now I'll get one of these and really put the laws of physics to the test. Yeah!

Via Linkbunnies

Want a lot of hits?

Entitle a post "Meat or Sex Toy". From India to Indiana they seem to be searching for hot animal sex. Sorry folks - my post is about cold animal sex.

Meat or sex toy?

The Smoking Gun brings us this charming story. (I understand that folks who like having sex with the Thanksgiving turkey are keeping a close eye on the case.)

A Wisconsin man who argued that he could not be prosecuted for having sex with a deer because the animal was dead at the time, was dealt a legal setback today when a judge rejected a motion seeking dismissal of a criminal charge against him.

Talk about being into venison! I'll bet that Hathaway's family and significant other (if he has one that isn't a dead ruminant) are being teased mercilessly and smarting bigtime. Disgusting, deviant and repulsive? For sure. Criminal? I'm not certain. Mr. Hathaway couldn't seek the deer's consent and the animal wasn't hurt by the act. Is it worse to have sex with a dead deer or to eat it? The deer's family likely couldn't care less.

I was kind of amused by the section of the document that asks:

At what point of the deterioration of the carcass is it no longer an animal? Does it qualify when it's just skin or bones?

Oh, in case you're wondering, I'm not about to adopt the decriminalization of sex with dead animals as my current cause celebre.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Where's Osama?

YesButNoButYes suggests this nifty Christmas gift. Guaranteed to fill those empty hours between frenzied gift unwrapping and turkey.

Growing up in the shadow of the apocalypse

Ward-o-Matic has a great post on 1962 fallout shelters.

Like most boomers I'm old enough (yes I'm really that old) to remember the Cuban missile crisis and I think it may have warped me for life. I was certain that the commies were going to blow us all to kingdom come. "Duck and cover" drills at school, air raid siren tests and the construction of the Diefenbunker did nothing to dispel the fear of being annihilated by a thermonuclear blast. I was unhappy and insecure because we lived in an apartment and could not excavate a shelter for our own use in the event of a nuclear attack. I think this was when I realized for the first time that mum and dad could not protect me from all the bad stuff out there. I guess I felt the same way Americans felt about FEMAafter Katrina. That said, I wish I had this handbook.
Via Plep

For all you nosey guys

In response to those who wanted to know: yes that masthead photo is my house and my magnolia. I'm still messing with my blog since I went to Beta so you'll see changes. Still can't blog from the toolbar nor can I send YouTube videos to my blog.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Soviet Propaganda Carpets

This is the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Lefties can hang it on the wall and view it reverentially. Right-wingers can place it on the floor and wipe their boots on Lenin's face.

Via Cynical-C

Metro Is Sick

He reports:
I have been felled by a disease called TBCBHHLS, or Too-Bloody-Clever-By-Half Headline Syndrome.I was writing a piece about a drunken ship's captain and found myself titling it:"Rum-Sodden Me and the Lush"

You think that's bad? I have CRAFT Disease (Can't-Remember a Fucking Thing). Symptoms are telling the same stories to the same people more than once, double posting, putting the butter in the microwave instead of the fridge, renting a video and realizing you've already seen it.

And if this doesn't work we'll challenge them to a game of rock,paper,scissors

As the world worried about Saddam Hussein’s quest for nuclear and biological weapons, he took time out to discuss with his top advisers the merits of a decidedly more primitive arsenal: slingshots, Molotov cocktails and crossbows.

The Thrifty Wrapper

Suitable for any wrapping occasion. Crass as it may be, the wrap pictured below adds a little humor—not to mention practicality—to holiday excess.

Via Cool Hunting

Friday, November 24, 2006

Hey Mag!

My dear friend Maggie from Newfoundland paid me a visit last night. She was in Toronto for the premiere of a play her sister, Jillian, is directing in Toronto and made the sidetrip to NOTL for some risotto and wine. I first met Maggie when she came to live with us as a nanny (not at all the sort that sends little ones to the naughty chair, though). She became a friend. She's all grown up now and has two bright and rambunctious boys of her own, the younger one named Jacob Patrick after my two. She's a real dynamo, works in the communications biz, is finishing up her MBA, rows, is an excellent mother (having had my kids to practice on) and still finds time to kick back. Doesn't blog though - pity.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Recipes From Your Favourite Films

Love for cooking takes us into the fantasy world. Many stories and film characters, come alive thanks to the magical atmosphere created by the preparation of certain recipes.

Mangiare Bene brings us food from films. How about creating Quails "Gosford Park" style in tribute to the late great Robert Altman?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Paris police hurt in clash with striking firefighters

Fifteen policemen were injured in Paris Tuesday in clashes during a demonstration of firefighters, who were protesting for a pay bonus and the right to retire at 55. Helmeted firemen fired distress flares at police and pelted them with stones and debris near the Austerlitz bridge during a march through the east of the capital. Eight special riot police and seven other officers of the military police were hurt, including one suffering serious wounds to the head and another to the leg after being hit with a sledge-hammer, according to a police spokesman.
A police vehicle was also set on fire and 35 people taking part in the demonstration were detained, police added.

They want to retire at 55. Some Toronto firefighters went to court to fight for the right to retire at 65 as opposed to 60. Go figure.

RIP Robert Altman

I loved every one of these and I'm sorry that he won't be making any more.

M*A*S*H, 1970
Brewster McCloud, 1970
McCabe and Mrs. Miller, 1971
The Long Goodbye, 1973
Thieves Like Us, 1974
Nashville, 1975
Welcome to L.A., 1977
The Late Show, 1977
Three Women, 1977
A Wedding, 1978
Rich Kids, 1979
Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, 1982
The Player, 1992
Short Cuts, 1993
Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, 1994
Gosford Park, 2001

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Today's Urban Def

The Urban Dictionary brings us this:
CLM: Career-limiting move
i.e. Kissing his boss' wife turned out to be a CLM for Hank.

Perhaps this is a better example: Hurling racist epithets at his audience turned out to be a CLM for Kramer.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Kramer Goes Apeshit

I understand he's working on a book called "If I Were A Racist".

Be honest, does this make me look fat?

I'm A Scottie Dog

discover your dog breed @ quiz meme
I've done a little research and discovered that this is a bold, jaunty,self-willed and independent breed. Although affectionate towards family members, it is every bit the game terrier when strangers or other dogs are involved. If allowed, it will take on any dog, regardless of breed or size that invades its territory. Hmmm, there might be some truth to this quiz.

No Worse Than The Title He Came Up With

A new list from McSweeney's:

Alternate Titles For O.J. Simpson's New Book

*Stab This Book
*Stab Your Wife With This Book
*Beat Your Wife to Death With This Book
*Tuesdays With Stabby
*Are You There, God? It's Me, a Multiple Murderer
*To Kill a Mockingbird, Wherein the Mockingbird Is Your
Ex-Wife and Her Friend, the Waiter
*What to Expect When You're Expecting to Stab Someone

In a similar vein, I hear Pete Doherty is working on a book entitled "If I Did Drugs".

My Son, the I-Don't-Know-What

Baby Nag did this charming self-portrait. What's disturbing is that this actually resembles him on some level. Though, if he has fangs, he's been keeping them well-hidden.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Web Rage

An internet user has been found guilty of what police said was Britain's first "web-rage" attack.
Paul Gibbons, 47, tracked down John Jones using details obtained online after the pair exchanged insults in an internet chatroom, a court heard.
He travelled 70 miles to Mr Jones' home in Clacton, Essex, and beat him up with a pickaxe handle in December 2005.

A couple of weeks ago an enraged blogger threatened me because I linked to his blog without his permission. I didn't think permission was necessary as long as one acknowledged the source, for that matter I still don't. He told me that he had zillions of friends in the blogosphere who would spread the word about my larcenous practices (when I checked Technorati he had 8 bloggers linking to him, including me). He was going to get me banned from Google, etc. I thought the goal was to get lots of blogs linking to yours (hey, you don't need permission to link to me, folks). Anyhow, that situation resolved itself without either party resorting to pickaxe handles, possibly because there was an ocean between us. It did, however, unsettle me.

Have A Happy, Trashy Christmas

Little Turleen and Billy Bob Jr. will have hours of fun with this toy! And not a minute too soon. They were gettin kinda tired of playin in the abandoned cars and appliances and other yard decorations around the mobile home. Now they can replicate Daddy's prison tats and Mama's tramp stamp.

Open up your very own pretend play tattoo parlor. This easy-to-use tattoo maker kit includes an electronic tattoo pen and funky stencils. Using soft, safe pulsating action, the tattoo pen creates realistic, washable designs with dramatic effects.

Via Swiss Miss

Craving Something Sweet?

This might suit, if you have a few days and a spare two hundred dollars or so to spend on a cake.

Take 18 eggs, one jar of wild sour cherries in heavy syrup, two pounds of highest-quality chocolate, one domestic vacuum cleaner, a wood-effect painting tool, an industrial spraying machine, one high-pressure, gas-powered whipping canister, a large cardboard box - and mix for 10 hours; Christopher Hirst grapples with Heston Blumenthal's Black Forest gateau.

I'm certainly intrigued by this extreme macho approach to baking and want to read Blumenthal's new cookbook In Search of Perfection. Though, if all the recipes are as complex as this one, I doubt that I'll be attempting to recreate them in my own kitchen stadium.

Stop F***in' Clappin'

Today's Toronto Star published an article on the whole Celebrity as Politician phenomenon wherein busy glamourous folks find time between making movies/music/the scene to rid the world of war/disease/poverty one gala at a time. For the most part the fans put up with their idols' proselytizing but sometimes it wears a little thin, as at this Bono concert:

There's an urban legend about Bono that has him playing a concert in Glasgow, when he asks the audience for total quiet. In the silence, he starts to slowly clap his hands, once every few seconds. Holding the audience in total silence, he says into the microphone, "Every time I clap my hands, a child in Africa dies." A Glaswegian voice rings out from near the front of the crowd, piercing the silence... "Well, f---in' stop clappin' then!"

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Twisted Tale

From the Guardian.
It was a love story that touched the heart of New Yorkers. Two gay penguins at Central Park Zoo who - after trying unsuccessfully to hatch a rock - were given a fertilised egg and raised their own little chick called Tango.
The tale of Roy and Silo was even made into a children's book called And Tango Makes Three. But, while liberal Manhattanites may have sighed at the sweetness of it all, not every American seems quite so pleased. The book has caused controversy in a number of small towns in the American heartland, where teachers and parents have complained that it is not suitable for children. In Shiloh, Illinois, some parents insisted that the village school library restrict access to the
cartoon tome.

People who worry about the sex lives of zoo animals have too much time on their hands. Why don't they take up knitting or windsurfing or blogging (about people who worry about the sex lives of penguins)?

Friday, November 17, 2006

What Classic Movie Are You?

I don't think this is me. Is it? Buddies who read this, let me know.

What Classic Movie Are You?
personality tests by

Thanks Karen , I think...

Brian Sacks' More Accurate Wikipedia Warnings

Brian Sacks' very funny article about Wikipedia:

The dynamic on-line encyclopedia Wikipedia makes it easy for anyone with an internet connection to create or alter any entry—in effect turning everyone from your lisping mailman to the shady hermit down the street into a potential editor. This powerful feature has contributed in no small part to the enormous size and success of the endeavor which has, in a relatively short time, produced a large and remarkably timely body of knowledge—one that quite often
finds itself as accurate as an old-fashioned, bona-fide encyclopedia written by smart folks.Admittedly, however, the full-on democratic policy of allowing people from all walks of life to weigh in on any given topic with knowledge they may or may not possess has its pitfalls. Fortunately Wikipedia, being dynamic and forward thinking, already has those potential headaches worked out. Behold,
some of the many Wikipedia entry flags at your disposal:

Max Would Like This Place

At the Wag Hotel, which is scheduled to open its doors in San Francisco next month, Fido might begin his weekend stay with a dip in the swimming pool. He can follow with a stress-relieving massage or a "blueberry facial" or even treat himself to a "pawdicure." At the end of the day, he can return to his $85-a-night suite, kick up his paws on the sofa and snooze away the evening to a stream of Disney animation movies, piped in to his room on a high-definition flat-screen TV.

We take Max to an upscale kennel, not some place that treats him like an animal. The enclosures are large and he gets toys and treats and lots of exercise - no tv, facials or pedicures though. All he really wants is to hang out with people so we pay for extra "people time" and hope that he gets it. Mr. Nag and I know that we're neurotic about our pets but there's no helping it and it's obvious that many others feel the same way, judging by the booming luxury pet boarding industry.

Information Junk

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Images of Japanese Labor and Social Movement

The ever eclectic Plep brings us some great images from Post-1945 Japan.

My New Cookbooks Are Here!

7 (count 'em) good cookbooks for just over $50.00 including tax!

Mao! Wow!

NEW YORK — Andy Warhol's iconic image of China's former Communist leader Mao Zedong, considered one of his most sensational pieces of the 1970s, sold Wednesday for $17.4-million (U.S.), a world auction record price for the artist, Christie's auction house said.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I second that emotion

They won’t go up your bum!

Comfy-yet-cute appeals to the Nag.
They won’t go up your bum!" claims the New Zealand comfy-yet-cute underwear
Thunderpants. Started in 1995 by a couple of girls who were—in
their own words—"frustrated by an undie market which either had us squirming all day in wee lace numbers or flopping about in sexless granny bloomers," they designed what they term their "ideal undie." These colorful, well-cut knickers, made from a blend of 92% cotton and 8% lycra, are printed with original wood
block graphics. We love the whimsical patterns featuring rodeo cowboys, workman's tools and artichokes, to name a few.

Via Cool Hunting

Giant Colonel Sanders

He is more visible but to whom? Astronauts and space aliens?

The goateed visage of Colonel Harland Sanders has long been one of North America's best-known corporate icons. Yesterday, however, he became the most visible logo on Earth.
In a publicity stunt to kick off a global marketing campaign, KFC Corp. has painstakingly constructed a one-hectare likeness of the Colonel in Rachel, Nev., making him the first brand that can be seen from outer space.
The 65,000-piece mosaic, situated, appropriately, in a patch of desert known as the UFO capital of the world, introduces an updated look for the fried-chicken chain's deceased founder and former itchman: the southern gentleman's white suit has been scrapped in favour of a chef's red-and-white striped apron.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Do you have adultitis?

Apparently I have Stage 2 Adultitis. I had no idea it had progressed that far. I'm constantly accused of being immature - honest!

You have progessed to a very aggressive form of Adultitis. You are
probably experiencing very high stress levels and may be having difficulty laughing. Seek help now. Please consult the Prescription for treatment options.

Via Presurfer

My Son, the Dolphin

Scientists have taught dolphins to combine both rhythm and vocalisations to produce music, resulting in an extremely high-pitched, short version of the Batman theme song. The findings, outlined in two studies, are the first time that nonhuman mammals have demonstrated they can recognise rhythms and reproduce them vocally. "Humans are sensitive to rhythms embedded in sequences of sounds, but we typically consider this skill to be part of processing for language and music, cognitive domains that we consider to be uniquely human," says Professor Heidi Harley, lead author of both studies.

Baby Nag sang the Batman theme before he could talk. Perhaps he's part dolphin - they are mammals you know.

Carbon Neutral???

The New Oxford American Dictionary’s Word of the Year for 2006 is (drumroll please) Carbon Neutral.

Via Kottke

Monday, November 13, 2006

And they call themselves communists

From The Guardian

Thousands of protesters went on the rampage through a hospital in south-west China after the death of a young boy whose guardians could not afford to pay treatment fees of more than £40, it was reported yesterday .
The riot, which led to clashes with security personnel and the burning of several police cars, highlights public frustrations over a healthcare system that was once free for all but is now a symbol of the growing inequality between rich and poor in an increasingly market-oriented economy.

The Chairman would be rolling over in his grave. This is final proof, if we needed it, that China is no longer communist.

The Nag don't eat this shit

But here's a public service announcement for those of you who do. In addition to being full of sugar and fat and chemicals with unpronounceable names, the following products are likely also contaminated with salmonella:

Hershey Chipits Milk Chocolate Chips (270 gram size);

Hershey's Creamy Milk Chocolate With Almonds (43 gram);

Hershey's Creamy Milk Chocolate (45 gram)

Oh Henry! (62.5, 145 gram)

Oh Henry! (4 bars/62.5 gram)

Oh Henry! Bites (130 gram)

Oh Henry! Peanut Butter (60 gram)

Hershey Chipits Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (350 gram, 2 kg)

Hershey Chipits Mini Chocolate Chips (175, 300, 500 gram, 10 kg)

Hershey Chipits Chocolate Chip Bulk (10 kg)

Hershey Chipits Semi-Sweet Mint Chocolate Chips (300 gram)

Hershey Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (300 gram, 10 kg)

Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate (45 gram)

Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate with Almonds (43 gram)

REESE Peanut Butter Cups (51, 68 gram and 4 bar pkg/51 gram)

LOWNEY Cherry Blossom (45 gram)

GLOSETTE Peanuts (45 gram)

GLOSETTE Almond (42 gram)

GLOSETTE Raisin (50 gram, 145 gram)

Hershey's Chocolate Shell Topping (177 ml)

EAT-MORE Dark Toffee Peanut Chew (56 gram, 4 bars/56 gram)

LOWNEY Bridge Mix (52, 340 gram)

Hershey Assorted (16 count/728 gram)

Hershey Assorted (50 count/2.5 kg)

Nut Roll 5 kg

Oh How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning

These chilly mornings I'm finding it harder and harder to get out of bed. It could be those new 650 thread count sheets (they really do make a difference). Or perhaps I might be feeling a biological need to hibernate. I'm toying with the idea of spending the rest of my life in bed and ran the idea by Mr. Nag this morning. He's in total agreement and has committed to rolling me over periodically so I won't get bedsores. When he's at work he'll enlist the aid of Nag Jr. and Baby Nag.
In the meantime, stories like this almost make it worth getting up in the morning. It takes a big load of schadenfreude to motivate the Nag.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

In The Booth

Here's a site that looks at photo booth pictures. You know - 4 shots for a quarter. I can't imagine what they cost now but I see giggling teenagers hovering around the machine at the Pen Centre so I guess adolescent narcissism hasn't become extinct. I dug up this one of me circa 1967. Do you like the white lipstick?

How Canadian Are You?

You are 96% Canuck!

You rock, you are an almighty Canadian through and through. You have proven your worthiness and have won the elite prize of living in a country as awesome as Canada. Yes I know other countries think they are better, but we let them have that cuz we know better than they do, eh?

How Canadian Are You?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

I lost points because I didn't have Canadian Tire money in my drawer. I had a drawer full of homegrown, dude! How Canadian is that, eh?

Pee in this, Granny

BRONSON - Levy County's public libraries are struggling to get books checked out or reshelved because retirees who usually handle many of those chores have balked at a requirement that they "pee in a cup" as part of a mandatory drug test for all county volunteers."It's not like we are a high-risk group for coming in drunk or high or stoned or whatever," said one volunteer. "This is just a common-sense issue - why are we spending tax money to test 75-year-old grandmothers for marijuana? We should be using that money to buy more books and computers."The situation has gotten to the point where the pool of 55 volunteers has dwindled to two and the number of hours worked by volunteers in the county's five libraries plunged from 330 in September 2005 to 11 this September, according to county library records.

Via Metafilter

I'll have mine to go

Most Expensive Pizza Even Bond Would Not Resist
For the superrich who follow the most-expensive tag religiously and truly believe, stomach is the way to heart, the award-winning restaurateur and chef, Domenico Crolla has created the world’s most expensive pizza that is sprinkled with edible 24-carat gold shavings.

A Day In Paris

Un Jour a Paris has wonderful photos of my favourite city. It's almost like being there but, alas, not quite.

Toulouse-Lautrec: The art of bacchanalia

Today's Independent shows us a different side of Toulouse-Lautrec, complete with recipes:

You probably know that Toulouse-Lautrec was short. You probably know he painted the Moulin Rouge. You may know that he lived for a spell in a brothel. And you will certainly know what his posters look like, because they are so damned familiar. But I wonder if you know what a dab hand he was in the kitchen, and how much he enjoyed cooking?

This is how he cooked a steak (seems a little wasteful):

To make steak à la Toulouse you need a real vine-wood fire and three tranches of sirloin. Smother the steaks in Dijon mustard, then pile them up, one on top of the other, and grill them in unison on the vine-wood fire until their edges begin to blacken. Now take them all out, and throw away the top steak and the bottom steak. Because, according to Lautrec, only the one in the middle will be perfectly cooked.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Poor, poor pitiful Fed-ex

The Smoking Gun published Kevin's list of sad demands. Doritos, smokes, Altoids and aromatherapy candles? Sounds like a real badass. Perhaps he doesn't ask for champagne and caviar because he thinks he isn't worth it? More likely, though, he just prefers to chow down on Red Bull and BBQ chips. In front of the tv. In his underwear.

Communist Party chair nets £20m in painting sale

An interesting story from The Guardian that addresses the issue of ownership of Nazi-confiscated works of art:

It couldn't have been a greater contrast: the comrades of the Communist Party of Britain were meeting on a wet Wednesday night in one of the grottier enclaves of east London, while in an auction room in Manhattan the world's leading art dealers were on a spending spree which broke world records. Few would have guessed the unlikely link between them. But Anita Halpin, the 62-year-old stalwart and chair of the far left group, was about to become a multimillionaire.

Am I a Total Imbecile?

I switched to Blogger Beta and I've been messing with it far more than I should have had to. I couldn't figure out how to get my statcounter and Flickr badge working. Screwed up my stats for the past two days. It appears that I can't put a photo on my blog header. I give up on that. The time I've wasted is criminal - or should be.

Oh, and I've just discovered that I can't blog from my tool bar - Blogger doesn't recognize my password. This is very inconvenient for a shameless link recycler like me.

The Battle For 48 Abell

Compare this article by the Star's CHRISTOPHER HUME with this one I posted a few days ago about a similar situation in Paris.

In any part of the city, the loss of a building like 48 Abell would be sad. But when it's in a neighbourhood that has declared itself open to development, it's doubly so.
The three-storey warehouse across from the Gladstone Hotel may not be an architectural landmark, but it is a local icon, a cultural institution and a centre of art, design, photography and all-round creativity. Its vitality demonstrates the validity of Jane Jacobs's famous observation that new ideas need old buildings — that is, innovation and cheap space are directly linked.
That didn't bother city council last September when it voted to allow the demolition of 48 Abell to make way for — what else? — a condo. It was an all-too-familiar act of self-destruction in a city that seems bent on its own demise.

War Artists from the First World War

This November the Ontario Archives has chosen to highlight the work of

Third Canadian Stationary Hospital, France, 1918 (detail)After Gerald E. Moira

In particular the exhibit highlights those artists who contributed to the Canadian War Memorials Fund and whose artwork was eventually exhibited in 1919 at the first major exhibition to showcase images created during the First World War.
It includes some of the images created by a few of those war artists represented in the Archives collection and more specifically images that are part of the Canadian War Memorials Fund fonds (C 334).

Friday, November 10, 2006

'There Lie Forgotten Men'

For Rebecca Sullivan, it was just a piece of homework. But the 13-year-old's ode to the fallen so moved workers at the Royal British Legion that it has been selected from thousands to lead the Armistice Day commemorations this Saturday.

From 'There Lie Forgotten Men'

She stands there alone
At the edge of the silent place
And she is shocked
New wars brew and these forgotten men
Will play no part in them
The dead silence warn no ears but hers
In great halls, in moments of great decision
What they fought for is forsaken
And by day's end new gravestones
Appear on the blood red ground
She finds what she seeks
'Sgt John Malley Age 27'
His life brutally ended
And she stands by his grave
But he can give no answers
And she weeps for him
For the empty hole he left behind
And for the new emptiness
Soon to join the black chasm.
And her tears join the flood.

By Rebecca Sullivan

Independent Online Edition

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Insufferable Rodent Wine Snobs

The March of the Precari

Italy's temps want permanent solution . Temporary workers, known as precari, are on the march to demand better rights.

Precari is the perfect term for workers on short-term contracts, describing the precariousness of their position. Here in Ontario the government hires workers on open ended contracts, thus weaseling out of paying them benefits or offering job security. Some of these, like meat inspectors, are essential positions that protect the public. Yet they're kept on contract for 10 or 15 years. It's an issue that has received little play in the past couple of years but deserves our attention.

The smell of the proletariat, the roar of the mob

Collective puts Marx's Das Kapital on stage
There is no wedding, no romantic interest and no plot to speak of. Instead the reader of Karl Marx's epic work, Das Kapital, is treated to a lengthy treatise on the division of labour and capitalist modes of production, offered up in long, convoluted sentences.
Yet none of this has deterred a German theatre group from achieving the seemingly impossible: bringing the huge classic on economic theory to the stage.
Not since Proust was serialised has a dramatist faced such a gargantuan task - turning catchy topics such as 'the production of absolute surplus value' into a crowd puller.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported that it is dry and boring. What a surprise! They should have made it a musical with scantily dressed dancers kicking up a storm to The Internationale. They could call it A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Revolution. The bookish yet hunky young Karl would yearn for love as he soulfully croons I May Be Red But I'm Not Dead. In the end he would get the girl and stick it to the man. I'd pay to see that.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Here's the real story on the midterm elections

WASHINGTON, DC—After months of aggressive campaigning and with nearly 99 percent of ballots counted, politicians were the big winners in Tuesday's midterm election, taking all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, retaining a majority with 100 out of 100 seats in the Senate, and pushing political candidates to victory in each of the 36 gubernatorial races up for grabs.
Prominent politicians from across the country celebrate the election results.
While analysts had been predicting a possible sweep for months, and early exit-poll numbers seemed favorable, politicians reportedly exceeded even their own expectations, gaining an impressive 100 percent of the overall national vote

Old Photos of London

Some great photos of London 1900s.

Bra/Shopping Bag

Pink Tentacle brings us this crazy invention:

Lingerie manufacturer Triumph International Japan has unveiled a new type of brassiere that can be converted into a shopping bag. Called the “No! Shopping Bag Bra” (NO! reji-bukuro bra), the environmentally-friendly lingerie is designed to promote the reduction of plastic bag consumption, a key objective of the revised Containers and Packaging Recycling Law hammered out by Japanese lawmakers in June.
When the bra is being worn, the “shopping bag” portions are folded away inside the bra cups, where they serves as extra padding. The bra quickly converts to a shopping bag by removing the bag portions from the cups and connecting the hooks on the bra’s underwire. The lace cups serve as decoration along with the shoulder straps, which are disconnected and tied to the top of the bag as ribbons.

What is the purpose of this contraption? It seems about as useless as Mel Gibson at a Hadassah fundraiser. Sure it provides extra padding for the cleavage challenged (a problem I definitely do not have, in case you're wondering). But wouldn't you defeat the purpose if you whipped your bra off at the supermarket checkout, turning it into a shopping bag for some real melons, and revealing your own tiny you know whats? Or perhaps you wear a bra because age and gravity have created a whole lot of downward mobility. When you convert your undergarment to a shopping bag you're left with your own empty shopping bags hanging off your chest. The bra/shopping bag rivals these for sheer uselessness.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Then and Now

Another neat link from the appropriately named Neatorama.
The idea was to revisit historic photograph locations and take identical
photographs, as if the camera never moved and the world changed around it.

Some time ago I posted a link to the site of a photographer who revisited the locations in Paris originally photographed by Atget. This is different in that the new photos are overlayed.
Borat infomercial

Selling Jesus

The United Church of Canada is launching the largest advertising campaign ever by a Canadian church in an attempt to spark debate about religious issues and encourage people to come back to the pews.
The series of advertisements poke fun at some traditions and tackle controversial topics such as sex and gay marriage.
One includes statues of two grooms on a wedding cake and asks, 'Does anyone object?' Another features a can of whipped cream with the question, 'How much fun can sex be before it's a sin?' Still another depicts a bobble-head Jesus on a car dashboard and asks, 'Funny. Ticket to hell. What do you think?'


Sunday, November 05, 2006

People mistake me for a Canadian, eh?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: North Central

"North Central" is what professional linguists call the Minnesota accent. If you saw "Fargo" you probably didn't think the characters sounded very out of the ordinary. Outsiders probably mistake you for a Canadian a lot.

The West
The Midland
The South
The Inland North
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Thanks Karen! Actually I'm Canadian and outsiders mistake me for a North Central American. I seem to be asserting my citizenship rather strongly today, don't I?

Judge not lest ye be judged

I received the email below from an anonymous, but no doubt fond, reader:

It's judgment. Can't you spell? (you idiot is implied)
I assume he/she was referring my use of the word in a previous post. My response is: I AM THE NAG AND I AM CANADIAN!

Here is what Jeremy Smith has to say about judgement/judgment in The American·British British·American Dictionary for English Speaking People :

In Great Britain and many of its former colonies, “judgement” is still the correct spelling; but ever since Noah Webster decreed the first E superfluous, Americans have omitted it. If you write “judgement” you should also write “colour".

The last mask-maker of Paris

Be they alive or dead, famous or unknown, Jean-Pierre Maury has taken plaster casts of their faces and produced masks of their features.
Maury, 74, is the last of a dying breed of face mask moulders and his studio in the Montparnasse district of the French capital is living testimony to his craft.
At the end of a courtyard, he works among an impressive of array of artefacts - plaster figures and figurines, esoteric sculptures, masks reminiscent of the medieval Commedia dell'Arte, hanging by the dozen from the rafters and interspersed with strange wood panel sculptures that bring to mind Hieronymous Bosch's 'Garden of Earthly Delights' and a whole gallery of faces of the famous

Saturday, November 04, 2006


I've see this all over the place today.

New York Architecture Images

New York Architecture Images

Indigo's results switch to loss

Indigo Books & Music Inc. reported a second-quarter loss of $1 million, reversing a profit of $1.1 million in the same period last year, on declining sales. The loss amounted to 4 cents per share versus a profit of 4 cents per share last year.

Hmm this all started around the time Heather Reisman decided to switch her support from the Liberals to Harper. Coincidence? Of course, but I prefer to think she's being spanked for her bad judgement.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Couldn't Be Worse

Here's an email from my sister telling me that she did the Celebrity Match quiz and really lucked out:

Think your celebrity match is bad? Mine is Pat Sajak....and on MY list...none other than GEORGE BUSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I wonder if she and Pat would consider a double date with Rutger and me.

Shudda Gon To Skul Longr

Via Neatorama

I Say Lock Her Up and Throw Away the Key

There's a name for people like plagiarist nazi, Ann Coulter, but when dweebs like Spector and MacKay start bandying it about it's become too much of a cliche for the Nag to use. I absolutely believe that she's guilty of vote fraud. In fact I'd believe that she is guilty of the murders of JonBenet Ramsay and Chandra Levy and (although I may be reaching here) the assassination of JFK.

The election supervisor of Palm Beach Florida says that he will refer his allegations of vote fraud by extremist right-wing columnist and author Ann Coulter to the State Attorney General by Friday (November 3) because of her refusal to submit a written response to the charge that she falsified her voter registration by listing her real estate agent's address as her own, thereby allowing her to vote in a precinct other than the one of her actual residence.

Coulter's attorney justifies his client's refusal to respond to no fewer than three requests (or four, according to Tampa Bay's 10 News) for written clarification by claiming the election supervisor, Arthur Anderson, had previously disclosed information to the media. The attorney, Marcos Daniel Jimenez D'Clouet, says that, because of this, he and Coulter will respond only in person or by telephone, offers Anderson has declined in lieu of formal, written response.

Under Florida statute, the crime alleged to have been committed by Coulter is a felony punishable by a maximum penalty of five years in state prison.

The battle for Paris

The central government, under the influence of right-wing Nicolas Sarkozy, is threatening to crack down on art squats that have been tolerated, and even encouraged, by Paris city hall officials. These squats have long been recognized as cauldrons of culture that jump start the local art scene. Above is a photo of 59 rue de Rivoli that I took last time I was in Paris. I can't imagine such a place being tolerated in any large North American city.

The raid on Le Barbizon and the threat of a string of other police evictions of squats artisques has panicked culture officials at Paris's city hall, who believe the capital's long tradition of squats and illegally occupied buildings are crucial to breathe life into its stultified arts scene. So integral are squats to Paris's cultural infrastructure that four years ago the city hall paid 7m euros to buy and renovate the most conspicuous one, 59 rue de Rivoli, a former bank not far from the Louvre, whose studio spaces showed street art, Duchamp-inspired sculpture, and trompe l'oeil paintings. With an estimated 40,000 visitors a year drawn by debris-sculptures hanging out of its windows, it was said by its illegal occupants to be the third most popular contemporary arts centre in Paris after the Pompidou Centre and the Jeu de Paume.
The city also rushed to buy up Les Frigos, empty cold-storage units near the Seine illegally occupied by artists and sculptors for 20 years. Now an established gallery and studio space, it sits near François Mitterrand's last 'grand projet', the National Library. Even the Palais de Tokyo, a new official gallery space that the government hoped would kick-start France's ailing art scene, has hosted festivals of squat art, inviting in installation and video artists from squats for heated debates. The notion of le squat artisque has become so mainstream in Paris that many are tourist attractions.

This is really terrifying

What Celeb matches you best?
Disappointingly, Rutger Hauer is my ideal match and it goes downhill from there. I think they're dead wrong - I know that if I were put in a room with Jason Alexander for more than 20 seconds I'd emerge with blood on my chin and an armful of severed limbs (maybe a few internal organs, too).

Via Presurfer

Thursday, November 02, 2006

So long Avery

I received this sad email the other day from Avery Ant:

Well, this is it. The last rant! 101 rants and two and a half years later and my community service is done.
Thanks to everyone for their support and all the kind emails I received over the past couple of years. Since none of you were willing to throw any sex my way, your letters were the next best thing.

I don't mind telling you that I'm really going to miss that little Hymenoptera, so much so that I offered to throw a little pity sex his way and sent him an email to that effect. He immediately replied that he was on his way over from his ant colony. That was two days ago. I think I've been stood up. Screw you, Avery. We're through.

Louis Riel Comic Book - The Canadian Design Resource

This is more than 272 pages of stunning Chester Brown drawings portraying one of the most fascinating stories of revolution in North American history has to offer. It’s a groundbreaking piece of art, seriously. This book is as thorough and obsessive as Henry Darger, but without the mental illness. It’s as consistent as Hérge but a lot more honest and heartfelt.

Pay and sex bias rows hit Pope's TV station

An unholy row has broken out at the Pope's television station, with accusations flying that it paid derisory salaries, imposed demeaning conditions, victimised women employees - and even tried to hold a staff meeting to find out if some were virgins.

Tate's new slide show

I'd like to check this out but I understand that London makes one age quite quickly . This might interfere with my ongoing red wine study (below) so I think I'll have to pass.

Screaming in art galleries is not often encouraged but at Tate Modern for the next six months it will be de rigueur. The oft solemn gallery unveiled its newest acquisition yesterday – a coup de theatre in the form of five fairground slides.

The five giant slides in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern in London
Are they art? Maybe. Are they fun? Incontrovertibly yes.
Though imitating a rat shooting down a drainpipe at 30mph for 20 seconds is a bit more Chessington World of Adventures than supercool Tate Modern, it is a fair bet that most visitors will go away glowing at the thrill rather than ruminating about where it all lies in the chronology of art history.
The five fully-enclosed steel and plastic tubes are the brainchild of German artist Carsten Höller, who has called his installation Test Site.

Wine stops obesity's ills in mice

No surprises here. I've been doing my own private research on this for a long time, courageously using myself as a subject, and have not had a sick day in years!

A substance found in red wine protected mice from the ill effects of obesity, raising the tantalizing prospect the compound could do the same for humans and may also help people live longer, healthier lives, researchers reported yesterday.
This is a great gig for a lab rat. These rodents have had it pretty good compared to some of their compadres who are starved or shocked or fed noxious substances.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


The new Woody Allen/Scarlett Johansson flick. I loved the movie he did years ago with Diane Keaton (Manahattan Murder Mystery). This looks like it's in the same vein.

Scoop - Trailer

They Call Me Naughty Lola

World's wittiest lonely hearts ads
I posted some of these ads from the London Review of Books on my other blog quite a while ago. Now they've been compiled into a book, They Call Me Naughty Lola. Here are some of the better ones:

'I've divorced better men than you. And worn more expensive shoes than these. So don't think placing this ad is the biggest comedown I've ever had to make. Sensitive F, 34.'

'List your ten favourite albums... I just want to know if there's anything worth keeping when we finally break up. Practical, forward thinking man, 35.'

'Employed in publishing? Me too. Stay the hell away. Man on the inside seeks woman on the outside who likes milling around hospitals guessing the illnesses of out-patients. 30-35. Leeds.'
'I like my women the way I like my kebab. Found by surprise after a drunken night out and covered in too much tahini. Before long I'll have discarded you on the pavement of life, but until then you're the perfect complement to a perfect evening. Man, 32, rarely produces winning metaphors.'

'Your buying me dinner doesn't mean I'll have sex with you. I probably will have sex with you, though. Honesty not an issue with opportunistic male, 38.'

'Not everyone appearing in this column is a deranged cross-dressing sociopath. Let me know if you find one and I'll strangle him with my bra. Man, 56.'

'Are you Kate Bush? Write to obsessive man (36). Note, people who aren't Kate Bush need not respond.'

'Stroganoff. Boysenberry. Frangipani. Words with their origins in people's names. If your name has produced its own entry in the OED then I'll make love to you. If it hasn't, I probably will anyway, but I'll only want you for your body. Man of too few distractions, 32.'

'Ploughing the loneliest furrow. Nineteen personal ads and counting. Only one reply. It was my mother telling me not to forget the bread on my way home from B&Q. Man, 51.'

'Mature gentleman, 62, aged well, noble grey looks, fit and active, sound mind and unfazed by the fickle demands of modern society seeks...damn it, I have to pee again.'

Wednesday morning diversion

Dressup Mel Via Everlasting Blort