Thursday, May 31, 2007

Animals On The Underground

Find animal shapes on the London tube map.

Via Plep

Brian Wilson 1966 doll

Retro To Go
Who needs Action Man when you can have a Brian Wilson 1966 doll - a miniature replica of the man himself before stress, depression and the strains of being a musical genius took its toll.

BrianwilsonNo wonder he retreated to his sandbox. If I thought I looked like that I'd go into hiding too.

Via Grow a Brain

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bye bye Sam the Record Man

Sam's flagship store at the corner of Yonge and Gould Streets.
Sam the Record Man finally signs off:
It was an iconic landmark in Toronto – both culturally and musically. Everybody who was anybody in Toronto went to Sam the Record Man on Yonge St. to get the latest music, hang out and, if you were lucky, maybe catch a glimpse of a burgeoning music star.

I spent many hours and lots of money at Sam's when I was young. It was a destination and it was easy to spend an afternoon checking out the acres of music, much of it unavailable anywhere else. I built up a prodigious collection of rock, blues, folk and country albums. In those days we listened to music with more diligence (I suspect pot may have enhanced the listening experience). Our record collections were important. It was a sign of true commitment when Mr. Nag and I finally got rid of our duplicate records after five years of cohabiting. When we moved to Niagara on the Lake from Toronto we decided we no longer had room for all the albums and sold off 80% of them at a garage sale. That was the end of something. This, too, is the end of something.


Cleanliness is next to deadliness

'Dettol man' killed by cleanliness
"An obsessive nicknamed The Dettol Man died after continually cleaning himself and his home with the disinfectant, an inquest heard.

Recluse Jacques Niemand may have been overcome by fumes from the dozens of bottles of the cleaning fluid he kept in his flat.

The 42-year-old had so much of the chemical in his system his body was starved of oxygen, the inquest was told."

I keep a clean and tidy house and bathe regularly but it's my belief that too much fussing about hygiene is as bad as not enough. This story adds fuel to that theory. I'm impatient with people who use toxic chemicals to "clean" counters or produce or those who are too strict about "best before" dates. People have survived for centuries in conditions we would consider unhygienic. Don't be afraid to expose yourself to a few germs. It'll make you stronger (if it doesn't kill you).

Terrifies on the hour, every hour

The Shining cuckoo clock
"We've seen some pretty frightening things come over to the consumer electronics realm in the past, but Chris Dimino's The Shining cuckoo clock is probably the most apt to leave a very unfriendly image burned in your mind."

via Beancounters

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Mr. Nag Needs This Now!

It beats the hell out of My L'il Reminder!

Today's Quiz

The Big Album Cover-Up :
Here's a quiz to challenge even the most devout music fan. Following are 15 of the biggest-selling albums in music history. In fact, all of these have sold at least 10 million copies in the United States alone.

The trick? We've left some of the covers as they originally were, but altered others by reversing the photos or images on them. Your goal is to identify which ones are 'kosher' and which are 'bogus.'

I know excuses are for losers but I would have done better if my MacBook screen were larger and/or my eyes were 10 years younger. I did quite well considering I couldn't see any detail.

Surreality TV

TV contestants to compete for woman's kidneys
A Dutch reality television show in which a terminally ill woman is to select one of three contestants to receive her kidneys when she dies is to air this week despite criticism that it pushes the boundaries of the format too far.

If Everybody Had an Ocean

Brian Wilson: An Art Exhibition
A new exhibition at Tate St Ives features the work of a host of artists who have been inspired by the life and music of legendary Beach Boys frontman Brian Wilson. Set against the backdrop of sweeping Porthmeor beach, the exhibition includes paintings, installations and sculptures by Bridget Riley, Peter Blake, Liam Gillick and Ed Ruscha among others, reflecting the kaleidoscopic art and pop culture of the 60s, as well as exploring the extraordinary cultural achievement of Wilson himself.

Nino Rota on Radio

Nino Rota was a composer most famous for the soundtracks he did for a group of Fellini movies. Listen to him on Radio

Hours of hypnotic fun

Red Raven Animated Records

These were cardboard children's records with the animation printed right onto the disc itself (later versions like the one above had the animation on the label of regular colored vinyl). The Red Raven included a little mirrored device that you pop onto the turntable's spindle that reflected the animation in such a way that while the record plays you get to see a little cartoon. Teapot01PardThe effect is rather hypnotic (the mirrored device is an ersatz praxinoscope for all of you optics junkies), and a neat addition to the typical children's fare on the record itself.

Via Daily Jive

Monday, May 28, 2007

On this day the Dionne quintuplet circus began

Birth of the Dionne quintuplets
On May 28, 1934, five identical girls are born to Elzire and Oliva Dionne in Callander, Ontario. The five sisters - Annette, Cecile, Yvonne, Marie and Émilie - become known as the Dionne quintuplets, and together they weigh less than 6.5 kilograms. Against all expectations, they survive their first weeks.

On My To-Do List

You can hail a black cab in London, take a horse-drawn carriage through Central Park, or rent a tuk-tuk in Thailand. And now thanks to 4 roues sous 1 parapluie ('four wheels under one umbrella'), you can take a tour of Paris in a convertible Citroën 2CV. It's a great idea - the 2CV is after all the quintessentially French car. Been/Seen

Montreal abandoned buildings

Some years ago Montreal, the city where I grew up, went through some bleak economic times. Businesses failed, people lost jobs and fled to Toronto. Property values plummeted. It seems to be regaining its panache and is once again a great place to visit. These photos of Montreal abandoned buildings give us a view of places we definitely would not go out of our way to see on a visit there. Here is a photo of Dominion Engineering in Lachine where my mother worked before she was married. Some years later, after her divorce, she moved with my sisters and me to a seedy apartment just a block away from this building.

Via Look At This

Girl with A Pearl Earring

Did you like the book and/or movie? I did. Find out more:

Girl with A Pearl Earring : An In-Depth Study

The Girl with a Pearl Earring is universally recognized as one of Johannes Vermeer's absolute masterworks. After more than a century of study, the work still poses significant questions. Who was the sitter and was the painting even intended as a portrait? Why had it remained in complete obscurity until it was rediscovered in 1882 and sold for the price of a reproduction? Was it a part of a pendant? Did Vermeer sell the painting during his lifetime? Why was the original background a deep transparent green rather than the black we see today? Was the pearl a real one? What significance did the turban have? Which painting procedures did Vermeer employ? Which pigments did he use?"

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Miss Sweden Drops Out Of Beauty Contest

She says it's because the contest degrades women. I suspect it's because the Martian contestant has a distinct advantage, having three breasts.

When Miss Manners Just Doesn't Cut It

The A-Z of modern etiquette
A is for ASBO. ASBO????I guess I need to brush up on my etiquette.

Build it, and they will shun

An article on the addition to the ROM:

Next Saturday, when Daniel Libeskind's addition to the Royal Ontario Museum, the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, finally opens, a wave of anger and contempt will wash over Toronto. It has already started.

Shock and outrage will spew from the pages of newspapers, radio talkshows and blogs.

Never will people have beheld a building so ugly, architecture so appalling, design so bad – or such cheap-looking aluminium cladding this side of a post-war Scarborough semi.

You can see it now, the shaking of heads, rolling of eyeballs, wringing of hands, the frothing, spluttering and snorting.

It won't be pretty. - News

Neglected Architecture

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Every picture tells a story but not all of it

Photographic license: "One of the most famous photos in American history–Dorothea Lange’s ‘Migrant Mother’–was taken right here in Nipomo. It captured the heart of the public and moved a nation, but it didn’t tell the whole story."

via Metafilter

Today's Quiz

Management Exam:
1. How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?
The correct answer is: Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe, and close the door. This question tests whether you tend to do simple things in an overly complicated way.

2. How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?
Did you say, Open the refrigerator, put in the elephant, and close the refrigerator?
Wrong Answer.
Correct Answer: Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, put in the elephant and close the door. This tests your ability to think through the repercussions of your previous actions.

3. The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All the animals attend… except one. Which animal does not attend?
Correct Answer: The Elephant. The elephant is in the refrigerator. You just put him in there. This tests your memory. Okay, even if you did not answer the first three questions correctly, you still have one more chance to show your true abilities.

4. There is a river you must cross but it is used by crocodiles, and you do not have a boat. How do you manage it?
Correct Answer: You jump into the river and swim across. Have you not been paying attention? All the crocodiles are attending the Animal Meeting. This tests whether you learn quickly from your mistakes.

Brought to us by Militant Platypus

Why am I not surprised that this is in Alberta?

Welcome to the Big Valley Creation Science Museum . Grand Opening celebrations July 7, 2007. Just remember 7/7/7. It shure looks impressive; I wonder if Steve Harper will be at the opening...
There are some, shall we say, dogma-challenging exhibits:
The "Dinosaurs and Humans" display shows considerable evidence that not only did dinosaurs exist recently, but that humans existed with them. This evidence is fatal to the evolutionary dogma which has dinosaurs extinct at least 60 million years before humans evolved.

Cool Murals and Painted Buildings

Bleak walls transformed by creativity - an impressive collection of wall art.

John and Yoko's Montreal bed-in May 26, 1969

Montreal wasn't their first choice.In fact it wasn't even their second. When John Lennon and Yoko Ono checked in to Montreal's Queen Elizabeth Hotel at midnight on May 26, 1969, it was, in part, due to heat and marijuana. John and Yoko's Bed-in was originally conceived in Holland two months earlier. The newlyweds hosted a honeymoon "bed-in" for peace at the Amsterdam Hilton, wanting to use their celebrity for good. More

Friday, May 25, 2007

Fillmore Posters

Bill Graham Posters
A nice collection via Coudal.

Holy Perfume Batman

Somehow I doubt that Virtue will become my signature fragrance.

We turned to the Bible to seek inspiration about which items to include and became convinced that a formulation would reveal itself,” explains Rick Larimore, IBI’s chief executive officer. “Creating Virtue® has been a journey and adventure through fragrance and scripture, with remarkable miracles confirming our choices.”

Virtue®’s subtle blend includes top notes of apricot (the real “forbidden fruit”), pomegranate and fig that transition to a gentle heart of iris, warming to a golden base of rich, exotic woods of frankincense, myrrh, aloe, and spikenard. Several ingredients cost up to $4,000 per kilogram, making Virtue® a truly precious mixture of oils.

via ATL Malcontent

Thursday, May 24, 2007

It's two,two,two paintings in one

A tasteful piece of art from
Via J Walk

Summer of Love: 40 Years Later

Just a season but it lives on.....

Articles from the SFGate on the Summer of Love.

via Daily Jive

Twitter too fast paced? Try this.

dawdlr is a global community of friends and strangers answering one simple question: what are you doing, you know, more generally?

Answers on a postcard please to:

dawdlr, 77 beak street, london, W1F 9DB

I'll scan them in and upload and update them every 6 months. Regular as clockwork. I'm curious to see if something that slow can be 'viral' or will it just dwindle to nothing as everyone forgets last time around. Or if it's not an immediate enough call to action to get people to participate, or if actually getting a postcard and writing on it is too much work.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

What Takes The Sting Out Of Being Another Year Older?

Why a new MacBook of course!

Mr. Nag bought this baby for my birthday. Now I can blog in my garden or anywhere I like. Lest you think I'm spoiled, he insists he did it for purely selfish reasons. He's tired of me being off in a far corner of the house blogging away. He wants me closer to him and is willing to pay big bucks for the pleasure of my company. What does that make me? Don't go there!

Get a Mop!

Season 7 of The Sopranos is the darkest yet. We know that Tony is headed for something very bad. A simmering battle with the New York mob is threatening to explode into full-blown war, his son is suicidal and Tony is sinking into depression.
Last night Tony became enraged when he discovered that a small time gangster insulted his daughter, Meadow. He tracked the perpetrator down at a restaurant, kicked the shit out of him, placed his open mouth over the edge of a table, raised his foot and brought it down full force on the guy's head, teeth and blood spraying everywhere. As the scene fades someone says, "Get a mop." I had to laugh even as I was gagging over the egregious violence. That's why I like The Sopranos.

Made To Measure Wine

Adopt your own Italian vineyard - and claim a year's supply
"Wine-lovers are being offered the chance to buy a year's output from 120-square-metre patches in vineyards around the capital where the wines are usually no more than 'impertinent in their presumption'."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Smoking Jacket

The Smoking Jacket by Fiona Carswell, has a built-in pair of lungs on the front that act as an iconographic 'warning system'. The polite smoker can blow the smoke into a 'container' at the collar, in order to avoid blowing it in the faces of people around them. The smoke then filters into a set of see-through lungs at the front of the jacket. Over time the lungs, which have an air-filter back, should darken from cigarette smoke.

Redemption Song

Excerpt from REDEMPTION SONG: The Ballad of Joe Strummer by Chris Salewicz.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Teletubbies React to Falwell's Death

Via Everlasting Blort

Git Along Little Doggies

Lately we've been drinking (rather a lot of) Torres Coronas wine. Is it because we like the taste? Not really. Oh it tastes fine but the real reason we've been buying it is because it comes with a little bull tied around its neck. Wine that comes with a toy! Sort of like a Happy Meal for grownups! What a concept! I have accumulated such a herd of livestock (see above) that I'm beginning to feel like Barbara Stanwyck on The Big Valley. Before your time? Check it out here. Of course my reader(s) already know me as the Baroness of Bull.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Dragon Speakers

These cute little speakers from (via NotCot) would make a perfect gift for Mr. Nag. He recently took over Nag Jr's old room and has turned it into a storage space for all the detritus I won't allow him to keep anywhere else. Baby Nag refers to it as "The Captain's Quarters" because Mr. Nag is a Fire Captain and also because a nautical tone is set by a startlingly large model of the Bluenose that totally dominates the space. It is not quaint, it is not cozy, it is a hellhole. Mr. Nag likes to retire to his quarters when he tires of my shrill reminders of things that need doing around the house and when he has had enough of Baby Nag calling him gay. He sits on a wooden chair (while we were in Sicly Max tore up the sofa he used to stretch out on) and gazes soulfully out at the street while listening to jazz coming through a set of gigantic pre-historic speakers. These speakers serve double duty as platforms over which Mr. Nag artfully drapes his dirty clothes, adding to the general funky ambience of his leisure space.
The dragon speakers are too small to hang clothes from. Do you think that, if I spent our life savings on a pair of these, Mr. Nag might possibly deposit his clothes in the laundry basket? No way in hell. Sigh.

Bacon Quiz. No, Not That Kind Of Bacon.

Quiz Francis Bacon : Results
You scored 8 out of a possible 10
You really sizzle when it comes to Bacon.

I have a weak Bacon connection. One of Mr. Nag's colleagues is married to the niece of Francis Bacon's personal assistant. When Bacon died he left many works of art to said assistant. When she died, she bequeathed them to her niece whom she had never met. There was a record breaking auction and Mr. Nag's colleague and his wife were suddenly very wealthy thanks to Francis Bacon. (I told you it's a weak connection.)

Black Declares War On US

Not that long ago Connie's feelings about the US were rather benign:

"Despite its legal vagaries, the United States remains the indispensable country of Western civilization of the last century, a society of laws in a largely lawless world, and a country overwhelmingly composed of decent people."
Apparently that was then. This is now. All it took was a little personal experience to change his mind:

Nixon was innocent - and so am I, says an unrepentant Black :

"Conrad Black, the deposed newspaper proprietor and media mogul, has smashed the etiquette normally expected of a man in the midst of a fraud trial that could land him in prison for the rest of his life, by publicly lambasting the case against him as 'bullshit' and declaring 'war' on the United States. "

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Disease Mongering Engine

When You Care Enough To Hit Send

Special occasion but can't find the right words? Never fear, a card from will express that sentiment perfectly.

I Doubt That Max Is An Oenophile

For your pet who is an oenophile
The Pet Plus Wine Glasses are available from designer Alice Wang's website. You can buy them if you like but I'm not that into sharing wine with my dog.

Way to go!

Women get half the jobs in Sarkozy's new government
PARIS, May 18, 2007 (AFP) - France's new President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday named a 15-member government that includes almost as many women ministers as men, charged with carrying out a programme of tough reforms.
France joins a small club of countries - along with Chile, Finland, Spain and Sweden -- that have sought to end male domination of politics by embracing gender parity in government.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Flavour Shaker

My sister bought me this Jamie Oliver Flavour Shaker for Christmas along with a Paris calendar. For reasons I won't go into I received these Christmas gifts only a couple of weeks ago when my sister arrived with her new fella and an entourage of attractive young girls that drove Max into a frenzy of air humping and Mr. Nag into the mental equivalent.

That said, I love my Flavour Shaker. I've been making the most delicious salad dressings. There's a ceramic ball in the shaker that crushes and mixes whole spices, herbs, garlic, nuts, citrus rinds, etc. Add vinegar, oil and creme fraiche or mustard and shake up an ultra smooth vinaigrette. Yum!


I used to collect Depression Glass until it got too expensive, also Blue Willow china, old watercolours and Canadian pine furniture. I have also amassed a huge book collection although it has no real value to anyone other than me. I'm so boring! This New York Times tells the story of a collector of far more interesting objects:

THE owner of Napoleon’s penis died last Thursday in Englewood, N.J. John K. Lattimer, who’d been a Columbia University professor and a collector of military (and some macabre) relics, also possessed Lincoln’s blood-stained collar and Hermann Göring’s cyanide ampoule. But the penis, which supposedly had been severed by a priest who administered last rites to Napoleon and overstepped clerical boundaries, stood out (sorry) from the professor’s collection of medieval armor, Civil War rifles and Hitler drawings.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Farewell Falwell

Positive Atheism's Big List of Jerry Falwell Quotations

Via J-Walk

Watch The Seasons Change

I love walking along the Niagara Parkway and watching the trees turn from brown to green in the springtime. Those of you who are more impatient can click on the photo below for a more dramatic change:

Via Grow a Brain

Aieeee!: A Gasmask Becomes the Most Terrifying Showerhead Ever

Most Terrifying Showerhead Ever

Showers are great and all, but sometimes I wish they could be more terrifying. That's why I like this Gasmask Showerhead. It strikes fear deep into my soul, which is what I look for in a bathroom appliance.

Via Exploding Aardvark

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


What impact do your choices have on the environment? Find out at Zerofootprint: Carbon Calculator

Is This Cute Or What?

Remembering the Winnipeg General Strike

"On This Day"
"On May 15, 1919, 24,000 organized and unorganized workers in Winnipeg walked off the job. Another 6,000 would soon join them. It was the start of the largest strike in Canadian history, and political leaders at all levels were quick to act. Parliament amended the Immigration Act so British-born immigrants could be deported, and expanded the definition of sedition. In a 1969 CBC Radio documentary commemorating the strike, lawyer Jim Walker talks about Ottawa's new laws. "

Monday, May 14, 2007

No, one doesn't swig it from the bottle.

Although absinthe was originally used as a digestive to settle the stomach, it is forever linked to artists such as Van Gogh, Picasso, Baudelaire, Oscar Wilde and Toulouse-Lautrec. The most popular drink of the late 19th century, the potent mixture of carefully distilled alcohol steeped herbs has a taste of anise and a hint of an herbal/licorice mix. Both romanticized and maligned, it became a symbol of decadence and soon a scapegoat for the social and political ills of the period, leading to its ultimate prohibition. A modern absinthe revival began about 10 years ago.

French Selections. com offers some very nice absinthe ware (fountain, glass, spoons) for those craving a change from the old two-four of Canadian.

Sally O'Malley's Sopranos Audition

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day Proclamation

Mother's Day Proclamation
Julia Ward Howe
(1819 - 1910)
Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of fears!
Say firmly: 'We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
'Our husbands shall not come to us reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
'Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience.
'We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.'
From the bosom of the devasted earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, 'Disarm, Disarm!'
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice! Blood does not wipe out dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as the means whereby the great human family can live in peace,
And each bearing after her own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

Via wood s lot

Communist Monopoly

Communist Monopoly forcing itself into homes everywhere for the good of the people.

Toronto Design Guide!

Wanna shop, see art, eat/drink in Toronto? The Design*Sponge Toronto Design Guide tells you where to do it all.

Evolution of the T-Shirt

Via Grow a Brain