Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Architectural Wonders 2006

The past year's marvels of architecture include innovative green office buildings, Apple's showcase store (left), and the world's longest over-sea bridge.

I Guess That Was Then, This Is Now?

Here are some excerpts from a 2002 letter Stephen Harper sent to members of the Canadian Alliance denouncing the Kyoto accord on greenhouse gas emissions:

"We're gearing up for the biggest struggle our party has faced since you entrusted me with the (Alliance) leadership. I'm talking about the `battle of Kyoto' – our campaign to block the job-killing, economy-destroying Kyoto accord."
"(The accord is) based on tentative and contradictory scientific evidence about climate trends."
"It focuses on carbon dioxide, which is essential to life, rather than upon pollutants."
"Canada is the only country in the world required to make significant cuts in emissions. Third World countries are exempt, the Europeans get credit for shutting down inefficient Soviet-era industries, and no country in the Western hemisphere except Canada is signing."
"Implementing Kyoto will cripple the oil and gas industry, which is essential to the economies of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia."
"As the effects trickle through other industries, workers and consumers everywhere in Canada will lose. There are no Canadian winners under the Kyoto accord. The only winners will be countries such as Russia, India, and China, from which Canada will have to buy `emissions credits.'"
"Kyoto is essentially a socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations."
"On top of all this, Kyoto will not even reduce greenhouse gases. By encouraging transfer of industrial production to Third World countries where emissions standards are more relaxed, it will almost certainly increase emissions on a global scale."

Related: Environment commissioner sacked

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Birthday stats

Enter the day you were born and scroll down to see some interesting statistics. I share a birthdate (May 22) with Naomi Campbell - what a surprise!
Via Grow a Brain

Monday, January 29, 2007

Portraits Of Gun Owners In Their Homes

Jep: The “Gun Culture” is an enormous part of my heritage; it has become part of my wife’s throughout the past 23 years we have been best friends…and it will be a part of our children’s heritage as well, so long as we can protect it.

Conan pulling his Walker Texas Ranger lever

I don't know what's coming through the Walker pipeline. I don't know, I just pull the lever.

I Can Die Now and Go To Heaven

Cynical C has posted a whole whack of videos of Ricky Gervais and Larry David. Life can't get any sweeter.

Did You Notice I Was Gone?

We just returned from Ottawa where my family got together for a surprise 80th birthday party for my Dad. We rarely get the whole family in one place at once any more so it was good to have a reason to bring us all together. We are all grateful to Marie, my dad's wife, for making it happen.

Mr. Nag and I decided to economize and stayed at a chain hotel downtown that offered great rates and included free parking and breakfast as well as being in a good location. We haven't stayed at a place like this in a long, long time. The blood on the staircase leading to our third floor walkup (no elevator) was the first indication that this was not the type of hotel we've become accustomed to. Then there was the heating system with two settings - hellish hot and off (bear in mind that it was -25 outside so off meant bonechillingly cold). There were two towels and they were rather threadbare. The room was Paris tiny (luckily we didn't want to swing any cats!). However, it was cheap, clean and quiet so I won't complain any more.

Day 2 we went to the Museum of Civilization in Hull, just across the river from Ottawa. We had wanted to see the Petra: Lost City of Stone exhibit (left). It was very good but we enjoyed the permanent collection more. There have been a lot of changes since we were last there and they are all good. I've posted some photos on Flickr (click on the badge on the right and on the Museum of Civilization tag if you're interested). The aboriginal collection is almost overwhelming. The early Canadian lifestyle exhibits are cool as well and we ended up spending the whole day there.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Surge Protectors

The Urban Dictionary defines Surge Protectors as those who oppose an increase in troops in Iraq, like most Democrats and a few Republicans.
Democrats who have jumped in to run for President in 2008 want to prevent Bush from sending 20,000 more kids to Iraq. They are the surge protectors.


Some of these images from 70 small magazines circa 1962 - 1979 are really impressive.
Via one of my favourites, gmtPlus9 (-15)

Couldn't Make It To Park City?

Here's a taste of what you're missing.

Pictures of Turkey

A series of panoramic landscape photographs by Turkish film director Nuri Bilge Ceylan are going on show in London.

Via Plep

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Worst Sound Ever

I'd have to agree with this:

A professor at Britain’s Salford University, Trevor Cox, claims to have reached a new plateau in the understanding of human hearing and acoustics, based on a year of input from of over a million online test subjects: Vomiting is the worst sound ever.

Via The Daily Jive

I've Joined The Over The Hill Gang

If there was ever any doubt that The Nag is over the hill, it has now been dispelled for good. Yesterday, concerned about my dimming vision, I went for an eye test. Turns out I have that ubiquitous scourge of the elderly, cataracts! In both effing eyes! I'm (slightly) too young for this.

If you're looking for me (although I probably won't be able to see you), I'm the one with the walker and tightly permed blue rinse. On the positive side, from now on Mr. Nag can refer to me as his "old lady" and really mean it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Peru's Hairless Dogs Saved

This is Josh, one of a hairless breed of dogs that faced extinction in Peru. Don't you love his mohawk? His story is very interesting:

Its history is long and rather sad, especially after the Spanish conquest starting in 1532. Native pre-Incan civilisations used the dogs for hunting and as pets for company. They are represented on the ceramic pottery of the Chimu, Moche and Chancay cultures found on the coast.
They were sometimes mummified and buried along with people to help the departed find their way to the world of the dead or to continue serving their owners in the afterlife.
The Spanish brought giant war dogs to fight the natives and would often amuse themselves by setting off one such dog against a small pack of the smaller local breed. For centuries afterwards, it mostly ceased being a pet animal and would roam along the coast feeding on molluscs, often hunted by people simply for fun or for skins, believed to help with arthritis and used sometimes as thermal bags due to a popular myth that they retain heat.
As a result, the breed got to the 21st century on the brink of extinction, and that's when the government decided to safeguard it by ordering all archaeological sites along the coast to have at least a pair – after Huaca Pucllana's 1989 initiative. They are now also Peru's only own world-registered breed.

Via Arbroath

Memory Maps

Memory Maps is a fascinating arts project that encourages the reader to participate.
Memory Maps is a joint venture between the Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Memory Maps is a website designed to inspire and foster work which will continue this approach to writing by providing focal points of interest - catalysts of thought - in the form of paintings and artifacts, alongside databases about people and places. It could also have been called after Proust's madeleine, the subtly flavoured biscuit he dipped in tea which, as if softened, set off a train of memories and meditations. Proust was revisiting a world he knew in the recent past, whereas Memory Maps spreads out in rings beyond the familiar and personal past into more distant time too, and charts, like an old portolan, unexamined coastlines, land masses, and possible harbours. This genre of literature, fusing so many modes of inquiry and imagination, has a political undertow - even a political purpose. A memory map involves individual creativity but it is also an essentially collaborative enterprise; writing and thinking along these lines engages with common issues of great urgency.


An interesting article on Robert and Aline Crumb's life in a French village.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Good Thing About Today Is That It's Almost Over

They say misery loves company and that maxim is never truer than today. I wrote about Blue Monday a year ago.

Researchers in England, citing unpaid holiday bills, rotten weather and people's
realization that they likely won't live up to their New Year's resolutions, say Jan. 22 is the unhappiest day of 2007.
Cliff Arnall, a Cardiff University psychologist, devised the depressing formula.
His equation takes into account six factors: weather, debt, time since Christmas, time since failing our New Year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling a need to take action. Taken together, they calculate to equal "Blue Monday."

It's cold. The days are short. It sucks. Big time.

Drink, Feck, Girls!, Arse!

If you can make sense of the title of this post you probably watched Father Ted, an old British sitcom. It ran for only three seasons before Dermot Morgan, who played Father Ted, died of a massive heart attack. It was juvenile and irreverent and I loved it. It's back in the news.

Two islands off the Irish coast are at loggerheads, competing for a dubious prize - the right to compare themselves to Craggy Island; a bleak spot which is the TV home to three wayward priests and a sizeable Chinese community, and surrounded by a sea awash with nuclear waste.The feud has broken out between two of the Aran Islands, off County Galway, over who has the better claim to be the setting for the enormously popular Channel 4 comedy.

Mr. Nag Has A New Set of Values

Mr. Nag is attracted to books with titles I wouldn't glance at twice. Some time ago I told you about his refusal to donate The Book of Irish Weirdness to a charity booksale because it was one of his legion of favourites. Currently he keeps The Book of Jewish Values close at hand. He's not Jewish but he informs me that this handy tome has helped him to resolve a number of dilemmas.
"Like what?" I asked.
"Like how to consult with a wife of small stature," he replied. The answer, according to Rabbi Telushkin, is: "If your wife is short, bend down and whisper to her and get her opinion."
This is good advice but it was a dilemma? Who knew?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The BEAST 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2006

The Beast offers up some truly loathsome individuals. Don't you think that this one should have been in the top 5?

26. Ann Coulter

It was a run of the mill year for Ann: openly calling for the murder of a Supreme Court justice and the entire staff of the New York Times, accusing 9/11 widows of "enjoying their husband’s deaths" and Bill Clinton of being a rapist. Coulter’s neck gained an amazing 3 vertical inches in 2006; inside sources attribute this to a strict regimen of deep-throating Satan’s scaly cock. It’s projected that by 2010 Coulter will be able to plagiarize the Illinois Right to Life Committee website more deftly than she did in this year’s ode to mindless intolerance of tolerance, Godless, simply by snaking her grotesque head-ladder through the ventilation ducts of their office and skulking away with their webmaster’s hard drive clenched firmly in her masculine jaw. Ann’s slipping, though; she’s become an unconvincing fascist
parody, increasingly betraying herself in televised interviews, blushing at her own brazen idiocy. She’s faking it, and so are her tits.

Exhibit A: "Hi, I’m Ann Coulter."

Sentence: Most "controversial" statements redacted from "Exhibit A," as they’re a naked ploy for attention–-and Adam’s apple removed with a backhoe.

Bien Sur!

Your Inner European is French!
Smart and sophisticated.You have the best of everything - at least, *you* think so.

Via Metro

A Cocktail Please, Mixilator

The Mixilator Random Cocktail Generator thought I'd like this:

Bryan's San Fran Disco Black Bomber Special
Chill cocktail glass. Prepare as follows:
In pre-chilled cocktail shaker combine
1¾ oz
Bacardi white rum
1¼ oz
Tequila reposado
½ oz
5 drops
Shake your moneymaker with coarsely crushed ice.
Strain into chilled cocktail glass.

I think it sounds disgusting.

Via Information Junk

Oh Canada!

This map got me thinking.
I have a hard time keeping track of Canada's marijuana laws; first it's illegal, then it's legal or decriminalized, then it's not (unless for medicinal purposes) -it's as if our legislators are all stoned. It reminds me of that old Donovan song: First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is. First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is. First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is. First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is. First there is a mountain... Sorry, I got carried away. How much do you wanna bet he was high when he wrote that?
It makes my head spin, or maybe it's just all the pot fumes on our city streets. In any event no one pays much attention to the law because it's seldom enforced; at least that's what the map says. Pot heads in Canada even have their own Political Party unlike other criminals. No one has formed a Shoplifting Party, Drunk Driving Party or a Serial Killer Party- yet. Oh wait a minute - the Netherlands has a Pedophile Party - and they've decriminalized marijuana.
I have not noticed a perceptible increase in open marijuana use among Canadians but I live in a small town where the average resident is really, really old. I don't know how old exactly but I think "one foot in the grave" is an apt description. They're into all manner of drugs: blood thinners, Aricept, Viagara. Could be they're also smoking pot to relieve their glaucoma. Come to think of it, they're so addled to begin with no one would notice.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that if the Canadian Senate isn't going to nag you about your nasty little habit The Nag won't nag you either.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Always Had a Hankering To Be A Sommelier?

The Non-Expert explains how to select wine. If possible avoid these pitfalls:

  • Typos, particularly in the spelling of “wine”
  • Any cartoon likeness of a shark, monkey, Dracula wearing Ray-Ban sunglasses, or a drunk Frenchman urinating into a wooden barrel
  • Endorsements like “From the creators of Robocop”
  • Scratch-and-sniff technology
  • Instructions to “Shake Well” or “Keep Away From Eyes, Skin, and Magnets”
  • Claims such as “No Trans Fats” or “Contains 30% Real Wine”
  • A vintage date that is a year in the future

Additionally, resist any wine with a pull-tab or a cork shaped like Boba Fett’s mask, and anything bottled in a war-torn country or a completely fictional one, such as Atlantis, Lilliput, or Moldova.

Via Coudal

Acronyms For Silver Surfers

A cute article from the LA Times on cyber shorthand for aging boomers. Here are a few examples:

TMYNA: Tell Me Your Name Again
GU2P3XLN: Got Up To Pee 3 Times Last Night
WROMH: Where's the Rest Of My Hair?
SMB/SWU: Stiff Morning Back/Struggling With Underwear


Thanks Karen

Friday, January 19, 2007

Happy Birthday To Me

Nag on the Lake is two years old today!

Psycho killer

Call me immature (I'm used to it). I've loved this live version of Psycho Killer since it first came out. It's the best song to do the housework to. 15 years ago people would ask me, "Do you still listen to that?"
Hell yeah! Still do.

Cherry Blossoms

The passage of 85 years hasn't quite erased the delicate beauty of the flowers from a 2 volume work at Gifu Pefectural Library in Japan that recorded 112 varieties of cherry blossom trees. (2 pages of thumbnails) The plants were collected in 1920 by botany scholar Miyoshi and woodblock prints were produced the following year.

A beautiful collection via the magnificent and eclectic Plep.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Happy Birthday and Thanks For the Support

It's the 100th anniversary of the invention of the brassiere. (I could've sworn I have bras in my dresser that are older than that.)

1907 The first undergarment resembling the brassiere as we know it is born, as its name reflects, in France. An alternative to the rib-crushing, vital-organ-squishing corset, this new invention manages to lift, if not quite separate, without the use of busks or whalebone, according to noted breast historian Marilyn Yalom. Read more

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A cling-to-your-ribs meal: Ant soup, beetle bon-bons

This article from the Niagara Falls Review will likely provide Avery with yet another excuse to avoid Niagara:

I watched Jeff Stewart, a professor at Niagara College's Culinary
Institute, stir a pot of soup made with root vegetables, peanuts and, just to make things more difficult, ants. I carefully, painfully, listened as Stewart casually described the dead and roasted items on his table - mole crickets, ants, scorpion, beetle and bamboo worms - while informing us that almost every culture and continent, except North America, eats insects. Stewart said he takes pride in educating people about dishes that some don't know exist. I was the unfortunate soul who would be his subject. Stewart went on to describe some of the finer details of the soup. However, I was much too focused on staying on my feet to remember exactly what he said. As I took a spoonful, my teeth began to crunch on something. Still chewing, I asked Stewart if what I was chewing on was a peanut, or what I feared most - an ant. "I'm not sure, you tell me." Like many who fear getting a needle, the pain went away in a second. In fact, it tasted pretty good. Like pea soup. Pea soup with a little crunch. I tried the Brazil nut and beetle bon-bons - a water beetle covered by chocolate and caramel.
Tastes just like Snickers, I thought.

Hmmm, I wonder what kind of chocolate bar Avery tastes like.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

See the World Right Now

This should give armchair travellers a thrill. Thanks Ursi!

Lord of the Gummi Bears

Someone made good use of his Christmas downtime.

Am I Strong Enough To Resist This Time?

Avery's at it again. He emailed me his recent post of a product he knew would win my heart:

I was ready to be his Queen and bear his larvae but he stood me up twice, tossing me aside like passion's plaything. Did he ever apologize? No friggin' way. Instead he got up on his hind legs because I said I didn't think he was all that good looking. He sent me this totally defensive email:

"The devious little hymenoptera might be better looking if he tried wearing something other than a t-shirt reading "Give 'Em Hill" and perhaps had his antennae cleaned and gelled. "

Yeah, right. That was just his way of twisting the knife. He knows I love that punkish t-shirt and the way his limp antennae fall across his compound eyes à la young Johnny Depp.
Oh what the hell, Avery, I'll give you another chance - but this is the last one, I swear. From now on I'll be as unforgiving as a change room mirror.

Where were you this weekend?

I thought my stat counter was broken - 36 measly hits on Sunday! Where were you? At church? I was ready to pack it in. Then I realized that most of you pirates only check me out on the man's clock. Sure enough, my numbers were up again on Monday.

No, I'm Not This Guy's Agent

I just think his stuff is cool. I haven't bought anything yet but I plan to.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Are you colourblind?

Take the test.

Dante, you rock

Do you like off-the-wall music? Do people think your musical tastes are crazy? Do they think you're crazy? My friend Tom turned me on to this site. It provides me with hours of entertainment.

On Martin Luther King Day

Martin Luther King's speech on the war in Viet Nam. Listen to it. Think about Iraq. The similarities are undeniable.
Too cool for that? Watch this.

A winter wonderland -unless you're driving

This was what I woke up to this morning. I shouldn't be surprised. This is Canada, after all. However we have been spoiled lately (note the green leaves on the viburnum - in January!). I cursed as I chipped the ice off my car. I left the driveway to find a huge branch had fallen on Baby Nag's car doing damage to roof, windshield and hood. Welcome to winter!!
Posted by Picasa

I'm blind as a bat

I've resisted going for an eye test for the last few years, partly as a futile protest against provincial user fees for the test, partly because I'm lazy. I have not yet reached the point I was at 12 years ago when I mistook my neighbour for a dog and tried to lure her with little pursed lip sounds (I'm not kidding - ask my kids. They're still smarting from the embarrassment.). Still ,I don't see well. My friends suggest contacts but I just can't bring myself to slap the plastics. My glasses are barely there, light as air titanium marvels. I can hardly wait to see what they charge to replace them. Maybe they'll fix the bent nose piece while they're at it.

Tulip Stairs

The Tulip Stairs and lantern at the Queen's House in Greenwich by Inigo Jones. The first centrally unsupported stairs constructed within the first wholly classical building in England.

Via Grow a Brain

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Now that you've downloaded and folded your cardboard fake iPhone you're probably itching to move on to a new project. Readymechs are the perfect pastime on a Sunday afternoon.

10 ways to make money

If you're looking at ways to supplement your income, here are some options other than working behind a bar or stacking shelves at a supermarket.

No. 9 looks good to me because of the perks:

Mystery shopping
Some men would pay good money not to go shopping, but 'mystery shoppers', on the other hand, get paid instead. It's not just about going to shops but perhaps to restaurants, bars or to stay in a hotel and report on how the customer's being treated. You'll get all the money for your meals, drinks or bills repaid and you may get to keep the shopping, too - unless, of course, it's diamonds.

Via linkbunnies

$1936 (US)

Centrenetworks calculates the true cost of an iPhone:
  • $640 Phone - $599 plus tax (~8%)
  • $60/mo Voice Plan - cheapest plan with unlimited nights and weekends
  • $40/mo MEdia Max 3000 Bundle - includes 3000 texts and unlimited MediaNet which I assume will work as the browse function on the iPhone
  • $8/mo Fees - lovely fees

What else could you buy for this amount?

  • 387 Starbucks grande drinks
  • 2,129 McDonalds hamburgers
  • 968 rides on the NYC Subway
  • A round-trip ticket to Japan from the USA
  • A new LCD 42" tv with enough money left over to buy all 5 seasons of 24 on DVD
  • A Mac Powerbook
  • 20% of a monthly ad on TechCrunch

It would be a lot cheaper to buy yourself one of these cardboard phone covers. Everyone would be fooled, Yeah, right.

Hey, I have a new iPhone, let me help

Thanks Lori

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Oh no, the double wag

Colbert doesn't like the iPhone. In fact it makes him flaccid with rage.

Via Reddit

Icewine fetches a cool $30,000

It's a whopping sale that's created a buzz in the icewine world. Beamsville winemaker Joseph DeMaria says a Saudi Arabian businessman paid $30,000 for a bottle of his award-winning 2000 Chardonnay icewine.

I don't think I'll be ordering a case of this anytime soon. If climate change produces more non-winters like this one, icewine could become an endangered species and cost a king's ramsom. Right now though the $30,000 price tag says more about DeMaria's marketing skills than the worth of the wine.
His success is the result of a fortuitous accident. DeMaria was a full-time hairdresser and part-time inexperienced winemaker when he made his first icewine from a 5000L surplus of Vidal icewine juice. Midway through the process Joseph made a major error in what he understood to be the process of making icewine. Without letting this error set him back Joseph continued working with the icewine and through his blind correction of the error fell upon a wine making technique. (I suspect he's retired his hairdressing scissors.)

Designer sale brings financial blessing to Vatican shoppers

As Rome's post-Christmas sale season gets under way the Vatican store is offering some of the biggest savings in town on televisions, jewellery, designer handbags and clothing.

I didn't even know they had a department store. And what bargoons! A three-litre bottle of Glen Grant whisky costs £19 and a bottle of Moët & Chandon £15.

Looks like the Vatican powers-that-be may have forgotten about this:

And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves.

They may not be selling doves but methinks Jesus may be just as upset about the sale of high end booze, smokes and Baume & Mercier watches in the Holy City. They'd better be watching their backs. If SuperJesus hears about this he'll be putting a whip to their money grubbing asses.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Abandoned Psych Hospital

A Flickr set of the abandoned Whitby Psychiatric Hospital. I worked as a Child and Youth Worker on the children's unit there many years ago. I was ill suited to the work and soon returned to university (only to return to other work to which I was equally ill suited).
I'm creeped out by these photos though I must admit that I was always just a little bit charmed by the cottage style architecture.

Soviet Roadside Bus Stops

A nifty photo collection from Christopher Herwig

For the most part Soviet architecture and design is remembered for its heavy block buildings and functionally Spartan designs. Its overpowering desire for conformity left little room for individual creative freedom. A notable exceptions to this is in the transportation sector. One can admire this creativity in the Metro stations of cities like Moscow and Tashkent where the coldness and sterility of typical soviet urban architecture is abandoned and costs are not spared as creative freedom is unleashed. While many of us are aware of the elaborate splendor of the Moscow underground, it is easy to overlook the phenomenon of the common roadside bus stop as an example of soviet art and design letting loose and becoming a little weird and crazy.

Bic Pen Chandelier

Made from Bic pens by Madrid-based design studio enPieza, the Volivik chandelier pays homage to "the movement of Charleston fringe and the rhythm of Baroque patterns...the shape of a bulb, [and] the Bic ballpoint pen as an 20th century design." The transluscent version does what chandeliers do best, refracting and casting delicate patterns of light onto the walls and ceiling. Limited to an edition of 30, each lamp costs $1000.

Not For Vegetarians

Stamps released in China to celebrate the Year of the Pig taste of sweet and sour pork.
When you scratch the front of the stamps, it smells of the popular chinese dish and when the back of the stamp is licked it tastes of the dish too.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Banksy Prints For Free!!!

“Serving suggestion:Prints look best when done on gloss paper using the company printer ink when everyone else is at lunch.” —Banksy

My favourite pirate via Supertouch

Rachel Ray Is Trying To Kill You

The inexplicably controversial Rachel Ray had a guest who demonstrated how to make omelets in a Ziploc bag. It seems this could cause cancer. Perhaps Rachel is trying to wreak revenge on her critics?

Via Reddit


The first age-relevant search engine. What are us old folks looking for (besides Viagra and Metamucil)?

Via Presurfer

Pitch 'n' Putt with Joyce 'n' Beckett

Exploding Aardvark brings us this highbrow diversion.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

You Don't Say, Eh?

They say money talks, and a new report suggests Canadian currency is indeed chatting, at least electronically, on behalf of shadowy spies.
Canadian coins containing tiny transmitters have mysteriously turned up in the pockets of at least three American contractors who visited Canada, says a branch of the U.S. Department of Defence. More

Elvis Has Left The Building

In paleontology, an Elvis taxon (plural taxa) is a taxon which has been misidentified as having re-emerged in the fossil record after a period of extinction, but is not actually a descendant of the original taxon, instead having developed a similar morphology through convergent evolution. This implies the extinction of the original taxon is real, and the two taxa are polyphyletic.

Via Kottke

A Piece of Toronto's History

For Sale
The Revue Cinema
400 Roncesvalles

To acquire a landmark commercial
property within the "Roncesvalles Village" area of Toronto. The property is ideal for users, investors, and in-fill developers looking to take advantage of the property’s prominence in this vibrant neighbourhood.

My buddy, Barry (so far blogless but that could change), sent me this real estate ad for the Revue Cinema, romantic haunt of the young Nag and Mr. Nag (I pray those walls can't talk!). It would be so cool to own the place although I know how hard it is to make a go of it with a small independent theatre.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Got the Broken Down Jalopy Blues?

Your Hyundai or Chevy Cavalier has finally given up the ghost. The driver's door is rusted shut and you have to enter through the passenger side, the heater has two settings that work: full blast and off, you've already lost a shoe through the hole in the floor and it's getting harder to see through the everspreading cracks in the windshield. What to do? Might I suggest buying one of these babies:
Just in case the standard Rolls-Royce Phantom saloon isn't quite
expensive or exclusive enough
(£220,000 a pop, and a mere 800 sold per annum), you can now order one where less is more. Less because they've taken the roof off, and more because it commands a considerable premium over the saloon: your new Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé will set you back £260,000. Then again, as they always used to say, if you need to ask the price.... Read more

Can't Afford a New Rolls? This Might Fit the Bill

After World War II, there was little money for defense spending while the nations of Europe rebuilt their industry and society. When there was some cash to spend, one had to be creative to stretch it as far as possible. The French probably accomplished the most astounding example of that with the ACMA Troupes Aeról Portées Mle. 56. Deployed with their airborne forces, this was essentially a militarized Vespa scooter outfitted with a 75mm recoilless rifle. Five parachutes would carry the two-man gun crew, weapon, ammunition, and two scooters safely to earth, and the men would load the weapon on one scooter and the ammo on the other, then ride away. More impressively, the recoilless rifle could be fired effectively on the move by the best of the gun crews. Total cost? About $500 for the scooter and the recoilless rifle was war surplus. Were they successful military machines? Well, the French Army deployed about 800 armed scooters in wars conducted in both Algeria and Indochina.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Jack Layton, King of the Hip Flip

When it comes to the hip flip Jack Layton, leader of the third party, rules. He warms up as it goes along so watch the whole thing.

Via Uncorrected Proofs

Happy 60th David

He seemed to be able to change his very being just by changing his clothes and hairstyle, which suggests to anyone that they can do the same thing to the same effect. I can't say I developed immortal powers by having my hair styled in the same way as his character Thomas Jerome Newton in his one good film, The Man Who Fell To Earth, but it gave the experience of selling doughnuts in a Birmingham branch of Greggs in the early 1990s a subversive frisson. The customers would peer at the bright-red strands poking out of my hygienic hair-cap and wonder what sort of weirdy was serving them a steak bake. I felt as though I'd been touched by the hand of Bowie, which gave every second of my life a special significance. Read More

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Think Before You Shop

Beware of gold, candy bars, teak furniture, shower curtains and cell phones.
Think purchasing a diamond is an ethical dilemma? You don’t know the half of it. A host of common consumer items helps fuel conflict, ruins the environment, and relies on child labor. In this week’s List, FP spotlights a few products to think twice about this shopping season.

Via Mental Floss

Oink! More On CEOs At The Trough

CEOs as a rule have to really trash the place before getting the sack. Replacing them before the damage is done requires a board to acknowledge it failed in its most important job, finding the right person to lead the business.
There has been no popular outrage over Nardelli's $210 million kiss-off. Rep. Barney Frank, incoming chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, recognizes the absurdity of it. "Mr. Nardelli's contribution to raising Home Depot's stock value consists of quitting and receiving hundreds of millions of dollars to do so." But in the land of Powerball payoffs, such strokes of good fortune as Nardelli's, even at others' expense, are no match for the state of Britney Spears' undergarments in capturing the public imagination. That disasters like Enron and WorldCom spring from delusional leadership borne of greed, that they demoralize the rank and file and undermine America's competitiveness. This appears to be of little concern today, a century after the Robber Barons were properly demonized.
And even they were playing with their own money, not that of pensioners.

But it's not only pensioners who pay the price when boards make wrong decisions. Workers at these companies face wage cuts, layoffs and job insecurity, all to pay for outrageous salaries and severance packages for CEOs. These workers are no longer in a position to buy cars, homes and appliances. This hurts the economy as a whole and we all feel the pinch.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Mensa Fun Test

Sure it's fun- until you find out you're a total numerotard.

Via Look At This

First Remove Several Flagstones...

Today's Independent brings us the story of Willy Fowler a fellow who loved his Cumbrian fare and published a cookbook detailing his own culinary exploits. He died in 1977 but his cookbook, recently republished, has gained him new followers, including Jamie Oliver (of Naked Chef fame).

His recipes are down-to-earth. I like this one for lobster:

Cover the kitchen table with newspaper, go into the garden and remove several flagstones. Scrub them and have one for each place at dinner, along with a hammer. Cut the lobster down the centre and invite those dining to hammer their pieces. After dinner, roll up the newspaper and replace the flagstones.

What's For Dinner?

We'll be having fried calamari tonight, tomorrow and probably all month.

This massive creature was found in Antarctic waters, and it is only two-thirds its estimated adult length. Its scientific name is Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, but the scientists who have been examining it are calling it "colossal squid"

Via Neatorama

Banished Words List

A list of words that should be run out of town on a rail. Among their pet peeves (and mine):

WE'RE PREGNANT -- Grounded for nine months.

UNDOCUMENTED ALIEN -- "If they haven't followed the law to get here, they are by definition 'illegal.' It's like saying a drug dealer is an 'undocumented pharmacist.'"

BOASTS -- See classified advertisements for houses, as in "master bedroom boasts his-and-her fireplaces -- never 'bathroom apologizes for cracked linoleum,' or 'kitchen laments pathetic placement of electrical outlets.'"

Friday, January 05, 2007


I was pleased to see one of my favourite Paris bistros featured in Parisist today. The food is decent and reasonable. The terrace is on a pedestrian laneway near the Village St. Paul antiques area and it's a pleasant place to grab lunch. One caveat: Don't mess with your assigned seating! A couple moved their table and two chairs a foot over to take advantage of the sunlight and were immediately loudly and severely chastised by their server. Play by the (unwritten) rules and you'll enjoy it.

If We Only Had Snow - Damn That Global Warming!

The Canadian Design Resource (a very cool site) shows us how to build an igloo the easy way. Reminds me of the good old days of snow forts and snowball fights (sigh).

The Most Expensive Paintings

This is the list of the top 10 most expensive paintings ever bought on auction. Number 1 on the list is Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt (on the left).

Via Presurfer