Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I should pay more tax

I should pay more tax, says US billionaire Warren Buffett "Warren Buffett, the famous investor known as the 'Sage of Omaha', has complained that he pays a lower rate of tax than any of his staff - including his receptionist. Mr Buffett, who is worth an estimated $52bn (£25bn), said: 'The taxation system has tilted towards the rich and away from the middle class in the last 10 years. It's dramatic; I don't think it's appreciated and I think it should be addressed.'"

Toilet Restaurant

"Taiwan has taken novelty restaurants to a whole new level. Welcome to Marton, the world's first toilet themed restaurant! Marton means toilet in Chinese and in this restaurant you literally sit on toilet seats and eat out of miniature toilet shaped bowls (both the Asian squat-style and the traditional Western variety toilets)."

I would never be able to bring myself to eat at this restaurant. My grandmother used to say,"Eat in the bathroom, feed the devil." I believed it then and I half believe it now. Supping with Satan is, in my view, something to be avoided.
Seen at Yahoo!7 Travel

Soviet Era Graffiti

In Soviet Russia all wall art had to be approved by the Communist party. English Russia has posted some of the propaganda grafitti from that era.

Monday, October 29, 2007

It all starts with an idea

The Office: Dunder Mifflin Commercial

Edwards was born in South Carolina,learned to walk in South Carolina,learned to talk to in South Carolina,and will kick Stephen Colbert's New York...

Edwards Responds To Colbert "Attack"
'Stephen Colbert claims to represent a new kind of politics, but today we see he's participating in the slash and burn politics that has no place in American discourse. The truthiness is, as the candidate of Doritos, Colbert's hands are stained by corporate corruption and nacho cheese. John Edwards has never taken a dime from salty food lobbyists and America deserves a President who isn't in the pocket of the snack food special interests.'


Posters from the Paris 1968 Uprising:
"The posters of the Paris 1968 uprising comprise some of the most brilliant graphic works ever to have been associated with a social movement. Politics aside, from a design standpoint they are second to none. The artworks were not superfluous decorations meant to beautify office walls -instead they took center stage on the streets in provoking awareness and action. Amazingly enough, the posters were all anonymous creations, the result of collaborations between idealistic students and striking workers. To this day not a single artist has been credited for the provocative artworks."

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Niagara hotel workers have an advocate

Danny Glover and Niagara Hotel Workers Headed to Court

Danny Glover, the son of union organizers, does not forget where he comes from. In September 2006, during a rally, Glover and a couple of union folks entered the Sheraton on the Falls Hotel and asked for a meeting with the owner. The owner called police who refused to arrest the three and they left peacefully. Despite this, the hotel decided to pursue a private prosecution. They will appear in court in St. Catharines on October 30.

I know he's an actor but I thought he gave a pretty good speech.

Via Uncorrected Proofs (he's the head on the far left in front of the purple flag)

16 billion pixels!

A 16 billion pixel image of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper has been posted on the internet, giving art lovers a detailed view of the 15th Century work.

The image is 1,600 times more detailed than those taken with a typical 10 million pixel digital camera.

Child sweatshop shame threatens Gap's ethical image

"Amitosh concentrates as he pulls the loops of thread through tiny plastic beads and sequins on the toddler's blouse he is making. Dripping with sweat, his hair is thinly coated in dust. In Hindi his name means 'happiness'. The hand-embroidered garment on which his tiny needle is working bears the distinctive logo of international fashion chain Gap. Amitosh is 10."More

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Douglas CouplandThe Gum Thief

A different way of marketing literature.

Via Neatorama

H.H. Richardson Complex, Buffalo

First called the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane when opened in 1880, the majestic brown sandstone and red brick buildings are known in architectural history books as the Buffalo State Hospital buildings. More recently they are included as part of the campus of the Buffalo Psychiatric Center. The architect for the buildings was Henry Hobson Richardson (1838-1886). Richardson is generally regarded by architectural historians as the first of the three greatest American architects. The other two are Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright.

I've passed by this complex many times but have never paid it much attention. Read the history and see some great photographs .

Via Metafilter

Friday, October 26, 2007

Do They Know It's Halloween?

Via Coudal

I Vant To Drink Your Blood

We Drink Blood: 14 Songs About Vampires | The A.V. Club

Run Granny Run

Doris 'Granny D' Haddock was happily retired for over twenty years but when her husband died she needed a reason to live. So at the age of 90, she laced up her sneakers and walked across America to rally against the influence of big money in elections. At 94, she waged a quixotic campaign for U.S. Senate against a powerful Republican candidate. I got a real kick out of Run Granny Run the documentary that tells the story of that campaign. Knowing how gruelling campaigning is for folks half Doris's age I am awestruck by her energy and determination. I understand she's still going strong and still giving 'em hell in Washington.

My new perch

I like having many spots around the house to read, blog, do paperwork or just veg and am constantly reinventing my space. I set up a little nook in a postage stamp sized room at the top of the stairs that we used for storing the vacuum cleaner, laundry and miscellaneous junk. I moved in a desk and a chair et voila! I now have a room with a view (see below) where before there was only clutter.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Free Burma

Wooster Collective: Seen On The Streets of Bangkok

A new twist on an old party trick

Turbo charged balloon twisting

I could have used these guys when I was struggling to fashion crude balloon wiener dogs at the little Nags' birthday parties.

My Last Supper

My Last Supper is a slideshow based on Melanie Dunea’s book of the same name. Famous chefs tell us what their final meal would be. Lidia Bastianich's meal appeals to me. She would choose sliced San Dianiele prosciutto with ripe black figs, linguini with white clam sauce, Grama Padano (a hard aged Italian cheese), and juicy peaches. What would you choose?
Via Metafilter

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Time flies

The Boat Lullabies: The Way Of All Flesh:
"Yesterday at the flea market I picked up a small cosmetics case stuffed with photos almost all of which were of the same woman. The bulk of the photos were photobooths and portraits documenting her as she aged over the course of about 50 years or so."

Blort, one of my favourite distractions.

Always Crashing In the Same Car

They’re back for one more bender: Withnail and I get together again
(you can download the short film)

via Coudal

Exactly what I Need

Non-lethal mousetraps by Roger Arquer are the perfect solution to that little problem I've been having.
Designer Roger Arquer has created a series of conceptual mousetraps that are intended “only to catch mice, not to kill them.

Via BoingBoing

30 years ago today

Keith Richards' heroin bust
A Toronto courtroom is filled to the rafters today with Rolling Stones fans eager to observe the fate of Keith Richards. Richards was busted for heroin possession after igniting suspicion by spending a few hours too many in an airplane washroom. But since he's not likely to steal for his habit, which is the court's main concern with heroin charges, his punishment is light. The guitarist is ordered to perform a charity concert for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.

An Interview With Bobo

3 Quarks Daily

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Look at all I've done already today

Via Presurfer

Ask Oxford

What is the longest English word?
Are there any English words containing the same letter three times in a row?
Are there any words that rhyme with orange?
How many words are there in the English language?

What is the longest one-syllable English word?
What is a split infinitive, and why should I avoid using one?
What is the 'Oxford comma'?
Answers to these questions and many more at AskOxford . They're real know-it-alls.

Via Coudal

I don't make the spelling mistakes other bloggers make. Mine are unique.

JustSayHi - Dating

Monday, October 22, 2007









Belated Birthday Wishes

Olive Riley the world's oldest blogger turned 108 yesterday. I wonder if I'll still be blogging if I live that long. Probably not - I suspect drooling and wetting my pants will be enough to keep me occupied.

Joao Machado's Map Art

We need maps to understand each other in this constant exploration.

Multimedia artist, filmmaker Joao Machado creates works on paper that encourage us to take a look at the world we live in.

The ABCs and Ds of Commercial Images of Women

This presentation by NOW Foundation's Love Your Body Campaign illustrates and describes how advertisers and the media enforce unrealistic beauty standards, sexual ideals and gender stereotypes that girls and women are expected to follow. What is the impact of these images on the health and well-being of women and girls, and what can YOU do?
I find the Tom Ford ad above particularly disturbing. It's an obvious attempt to make the model appear to be an inflatable sex doll. What woman aspires to be one of those?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Great Leap Backward?

Chinese content to re-live Mao era - over a meal
Five decades ago, Mao launched the first communes -- which, of course, featured communal kitchens -- with the Great Leap Forward, an effort to spur the economy that instead caused a famine that killed as many as 30 million people.

Is it nostalgia for this period of starvation that has led to the recent spate of of restaurants that hark back to China's Cultural Revolution? Perhaps Europe can follow their example and open restaurants themed around the bubonic plague, complete with pustule-covered waiters.

I am not Gay!

Via Raincoaster

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Who's a democrat?

Almost all the performers on Saturday Night Live, that's who. A few donated a token amount to the Republican party while making larger donations to the Democrats. But check out Adam Sandler. He's a Republican? He actually gave a $2100 donation to Rudy Giuliani's campaign. Yuck.
dave's Blog Via Grow a Brain

French glamour


Potala Palace in Tibet

Andrew Grimes contributed this article on the magnificent Potala Palace in Tibet to Dark Roasted Blend

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mostly rhetorical

McSweeney's : FAQ for Dogs.
Via Grow a Brain

I don't think this bodes well

I (inadvertently) decided to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Black Monday by rearranging my mutual funds.

Join me in my private hell

This looks very familiar. It's either a re-post or I've lived it; I'm not quite certain.

1968-1974 Alcoholics Anonymous comic strips
Via Blort

We are what we eat

Fridgewatcher is a project where people open their fridges to others. Cause every fridge tells a story.
I'm opening mine to you. You should feel honoured.
Nothing to hide here - I store my vices elsewhere. We have a refrigerator loaded with condiments (I hereby dub myself Queen of the Condiments), leftover manicotti and lentil soup (both homemade). My freezer is filled with quasi-healthy and virtuous President's Choice Blue Menu products, frozen tomatoes from my garden, an apple pie, a trifle, scallops and smoked salmon. The front of my fridge used to be plastered with my kids' art but they grew up and no longer draw for mum so now I have only a couple of photos, reminders of dental appointments, coupons which I shall never use and which will end up in the garbage, receipts for insurance and a small poster I picked up in Paris. What did you expect? Nothing but champagne and caviar? The closest I come to that is the almost empty box of chocolates from Maxim's in Paris that are resting atop last night's manicotti.

This exercise has made me think about how my fridge's innards have reflected my own life cycle. When I was young and single I ate out most of the time and all I'd keep in the refrigerator was some milk for tea, a piece of cheese, some pate and 3 or 4 Heinekens in case a young man popped in. Later my fridge was stuffed with juice boxes, cheese strings and chicken fingers for the kids. What comes next? Digestive biscuits, Metamucil and cat food to smear on a cracker?

Is this cute or what?

Perfectly brewed tea with the Penguin Tea Timer
Via Coudal

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Au courant Halloween costumes

Halloween weekend is only 11 days away. Don't settle for generic, off-the-rack pimp or gorilla gear. Craft a topical costume using easily found items.

Their unique hairdos make Phil Spector and Amy Winehouse obvious choices but there are loads of others here.
I'm thinking Mr. Nag could be Michael Vick. Max, our flat coated retriever, likes nothing better than a nasty altercation with another dog, all bared teeth, gutteral growling and flying saliva. A Vick jersey and an unfortunate canine or two to be Max's victims are all Mr. Nag would require in the way of a costume. Grisly, yes, but isn't that what Halloween's about?

Via BuzzFeed

Women become persons

On this day in 1929, women are finally declared 'persons' under Canadian law. The historic legal victory is due to the persistence of five Alberta women — Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby, Louise McKinney and Henrietta Muir Edwards. More

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Photos of Tibet in the 1940's

Photos of Tibet in the 1940's taken by members of the Tolstoy expedition of 1942-43. I like this one of Tibetan aristocrats playing tennis:

Via Look At This

Japan's Classic Castles

There's a little fairy tale princess inside me that longs to live in one of these.

Once numbering in the thousands, Japan's castles defended strategic points across the country while acting as nuclei for trading centers and transportation hubs. About 50 remain, and only a few of those have survived unscathed by centuries of war, fire and earthquakes. More

Thanks Steve

What not to give those trick-or-treaters

I'm assuming you won't be shelling out any razor-bladed granny smiths this year. These Top Ten Truly Terrible Halloween Treats are almost as distasteful to kids.
You should turn out your lights and ignore the ringing of the doorbell rather than give them out or risk becoming the victim of some nasty Halloween pranks.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Psychos indeed

Woods Lot


A MAP FOR SATURDAY is the product of a year’s travel through 26 countries on four continents. Emmy winning producer Brook Silva-Braga left his cushy gig with American TV network HBO to travel the world with five pounds of clothes and 30 pounds of video equipment.

This gives me itchy feet. Here's the trailer:

Via Gadling

Cutely Canadian

These charming Wooden Animal Pencils were handcrafted in Canada.
Check out more Canadian design here

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Soko: I'll Kill Her


When in doubt, just busk it
Made on a tiny budget, a love story between an Irish street musician and an immigrant has become the arthouse smash of the season, delighting audiences in America, winning its stars a gig with Bob Dylan - and sparking a real romance.
Looks sweet. Here's the trailer:

I could do that

I mentioned earlier that Mr. Nag longs for an olive tree of his own. Do you reckon his longing could be assuaged if I donned a set of longjohns and contorted myself?

Assuntina donned a suit of long, heavy woolen underwear to make her look more treelike and skipped out to pose in the olive grove. There she twisted wildly about for days imitating the wind-bent olive trees. More (if you can stand it).
Via Coudal

Security Guard Humour


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Virtual Tour Of Chartres Cathedral

I visited this cathedral many years ago. The village of Chartres is absolutely charming with the magnificent cathedral dominating. I met fellow Canuck tourist and now blogger buddy,Lori, on the train ride there. Check out the Chartres Project Homepage.
Via Plep

Teh Holiez Bibul

LOLCat Bible Translation Project
This is a new translation wiki to get the entire Bible translated into kitty pidgin (the language of lolcats). Why does this amuse me so?
Via Optical Poptitude

Itty Bitty Cities

I am partial to large things made small, perhaps this is because I am somewhat miniature myself (just don't call me shrunken).

Check out more photographs at the Ben Thomas cityshrinker site.
Via Wooster

Adopt an Olive Tree!

When we were in Paris Mr. Nag was quite taken with the small olive trees that were for sale everywhere. He wanted to bring one home to nurture but alas that is verboten (although I did bring home a selection of flavoured olive oils). Perhaps adoption is the answer. Read about it at Eternally Cool.

In Moscow firefighters drive Porsches

Mr. Nag is asking for a transfer!
See more photos at English Russia

Friday, October 12, 2007

Leave Stephane Alone!

Hilarious parody video via Uncorrected Proofs

British Airways meets Pam Ann

Via http://www.cruel.com/new-links

Global Peace Index

Development Crossing: Global Peace Index (GPI):
"Working in conjunction with a team of global academics and peace experts, The Economist Intelligence Unit has compiled a new Global Peace Index (GPI), which ranks 121 nations according to their relative peacefulness."
Unsurprisingly we Canucks are very peace loving.
Via Frogsmoke

Being Karl Lagerfeld

So this is what it's like existing in the rarified world of Paris fashion! After three years of work, and over three hundred hours of footage, Rodolphe Marconi discloses the daily life of the star through his personal lens as a filmmaker.
Lagerfeld Confidential
Via Coudal


Blog On A Toothpick

Invasive, yes, but we do it too

DNA test proposal divides France,
In September, an amendment to a sweeping immigration bill proposed the use of genetic testing to verify the bloodlines of would-be immigrants who want to join family members already living in France.
This amendment is vociferously rejected by many in France including the Urban Affairs Minister who is threatening to resign over the issue. A few days ago the new Immigration Museum opened in Paris with Sarkozy and his Immigration Minister glaringly absent from the low-key festivities.

What many people don't know is that Canada has been asking many immigrant parents wanting to reunite with children left behind in their home country to submit to DNA testing. This has been going on under the radar for 16 years. Refugee-rights groups here say the costs are prohibitive, and it disproportionately targets people from war torn countries, where documents are often untraceable. I first heard of this practice a few years ago when I worked for a politician and met with a Rwandan family who were being forced to submit to this procedure or forget about bringing their two children to Canada from Rwanda where they were living with elderly grandparents. About 1000 of these tests are conducted in Canada each year. Read more.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bite Me

I can now cross Max off my Christmas gift list. I just have to figure out which of these canine celebs he considers must chewable:
* Biteme Spears * Brad Pitbull * Angelina Growlie * Bruce Woofless * Clint Eastwoof * Bark Nicholson * Sarah Jessica Barker * Pup Doggy * Doggy Depp * Rosie O'Doggell * Bone Rivers
Celebrity Dog Toys Via Optical Poptitude

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

My first celebrity sighting in Paris!

Some of you may remember a post of mine about Pollock the cat with his own blog. The highlight of my day today was passing a window on Blvd. Montparnasse where I saw Pollock lounging. I was all like omg it's really him! Mr. Nag wouldn't believe it was the real Pollock until he read the little sign taped to the window. Pollock behaved very nonchalantly when I snapped his photo; he's obviously adjusted to his fame.

Death of Che Guevara

On October 9th, 1967, Ernesto "Che" Guevara was put to death by Bolivian soldiers, trained, equipped and guided by U.S. Green Beret and CIA operatives. His execution remains a historic and controversial event; and thirty years later, the circumstances of his guerrilla foray into Bolivia, his capture, killing, and burial are still the subject of intense public interest and discussion around the world.

As part of the thirtieth anniversary of the death of Che Guevara, the National Security Archive's Cuba Documentation Project is posting a selection of key CIA, State Department, and Pentagon documentation relating to Guevara and his death. This electronic documents book is compiled from declassified records obtained by the National Security Archive, and by authors of two new books on Guevara: Jorge CastaƱeda's CompaƱero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara (Knopf), and Henry Butterfield Ryan's The Fall of Che Guevara (Oxford University Press). The selected documents, presented in order of the events they depict, provide only a partial picture of U.S. intelligence and military assessments, reports and extensive operations to track and "destroy" Che Guevara's guerrillas in Bolivia; thousands of CIA and military records on Guevara remain classified. But they do offer significant and valuable information on the high-level U.S. interest in tracking his revolutionary activities, and U.S. and Bolivian actions leading up to his death. More

I Swear I'm Innocent

I'm so innocent I plan to write a book called "If I Did It Here's How It Happened."
Monet painting 'severely damaged' by intruders, French News

Monday, October 08, 2007

David Sedaris goes to the doctor

Via Why Travel To France

A few years ago Mr. Nag developed a toothache on the flight to Paris. He'd had a tooth filled the day before and pressure built up under the filling. He was in agony, so much so that he became an instant convert to the benefits of euthanasia (after a night of his moaning I was also converted). A pharmacist gave him a mittfull of painkillers and referred him to a dentist as we were going to be in Paris for two weeks. The dentist saw him immediately, did a whole lot of work, fixed the problem and refused to accept payment. My faith in human kindness was bolstered by this incident.

Think it looks good? Think again.

Fast Food: Ads vs. Reality:
Each item was purchased, taken home, and photographed immediately. Nothing was tampered with, run over by a car, or anything of the sort. It is an accurate representation in every case. Shiny, neon-orange, liquefied pump-cheese, and all.
Via Daily Jive

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Stranger Wine

Sorry about not blogging, I've been drinking way too much alcool and stranger wine now that I've finally discovered where to buy it. Regular blogging will resume when I've run out.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

More on Paris

Yesterday we checked out the big Monet water lilies at l'Orangerie. I'd seen them before at the Marmottan and at Giverny but was hoping to see some imaginative use of light and space in this venue that was so long under restoration. I didn't think that there was much difference between the old venue and the new. It's awfully stark. The Walter-Guillaume collection of impressionist art is awesome but the space is constricted. There are lineups but it's worth seeing once if you like the Impressionists. I'm not tempted to return.

Today we wandered over to le Marais and saw an old friend:

We had lunch at Camille, a favourite.

Afterwards we went to the Picasso Museum - a great exhibit on the evolution of Cubism and another that shows links between Picasso's Guernica and photography of modern wars. These exhibits are very worth a look. The curation at this museum is impeccable. Mr. Nag was so affected by it all he had to take a nap in the jardin.