Sunday, January 31, 2010

Billy Bragg at Speakers' Corner

If you pay tax in the UK, you are a major shareholder in several banks - Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Lloyds and Northern Rock - who were saved from financial ruin by government intervention in 2008.

The Treasury spent £117bn of taxpayers' cash bailing out Britain's failing banks - and last month it was revealed that this figure could rise to £850bn.

Some of those billions will be paid to investment bankers as annual bonuses in February.
Billy Bragg doesn't believe this is right. Who would? He stood up at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park in London (and I made a point of being there to see him) to say he that he would be withholding his taxes because he doesn't believe British taxpayers should pay these bonuses. He faces heavy fines for doing this. Good for you Billy! Below is a photo I took at the event. I tried to upload video but Blogger wouldn't let me.

Just a note

For some reason the hotel server is blocking my site. I can't see my own blog other than in preview and can't respond to comments although I can see and post them.  In case you're wondering, I'm not ignoring you.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Oil Paintings by David Graeme Baker

"Modern oil paintings never looked so sad and solemn as those from David Graeme Baker. Painting domestic scenes filled with heavy emotion, Baker wants you to feel the weight of the world on your shoulders." 
See more at My Modern Metropolis

The European Alcohol Belts

"This map shows Europe dominated by three so-called ‘alcohol belts’, the northernmost one for distilled spirits, a middle one for beer and the southernmost one for wine. Each one’s existence and extension are a mix of culture and agriculture.

The Wine Belt covers the southern parts of Europe, where wine has historically been an important industry and an everyday commodity: the whole of Portugal, Spain, Italy, Montenegro, Greece, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Moldova and Georgia; all but the northwestern zone of France; and significant parts of Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, and Romania."

Read more at Strange Maps

DIY iSandwich

Looks like it needs a slather of something.
Via Dot Dot Dot

I'm nagging from London

Yesterday was jet lag hell but managed to get to a few pubs and Harrod's. Today we headed out early through Kensington Gardens. It snowed last night and the park was lovely with dogs enjoying their morning walk and young ladies riding horses.

We walked through several parks to Buckingham palace and, by chance, caught the changing of the guard. Being a staunch anti-monarchist I complained about staying to watch but Mr. Nag insisted.

We continued on to the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey and on along the river to St. Paul's. St. Bride's Church has an interesting story. Designed by Christopher Wren it was the venue for the marriage of the parents of Virginia Dare, the first child of European parents born in America.Standing 69 meters high, it is the 2nd tallest of all Wren's churches. The tiered spire is said to have been the inspiration for the design of modern tiered wedding cakes.


We crossed the pedestrian bridge to the Tate Modern. It was wonderful. Great art and filled with loads of young people. Admission is free and it is very user friendly. I don't generally like crowds at galleries but it was evident that this organization is doing something right and is managing to draw in a demographic that might otherwise not be able to afford to come. Here is a view from one of the many windows.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

100 Cupcakes - I love them!

Every year, we throw a big, game party to ring in the new year. This year (2010) is our house's 100-year birthday, so we celebrated with cupcakes...

...and the cupcakes were a game. See many more at's a fine line

Vancouver City

Linda Ganzini's beautiful and haunting vocals blend with the unique musical style of Serge Chubinski-Orlov who produced and wrote Vancouver City.



Sweet little video by Luke Snellin

Via It’s Nice That

Pringle of Scotland

Very cute.

Via Miss Cellania

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Evolution of an Internet Meme

Oscillator: At first I LOLed, and then I was like 'huh.' How did we get here? How did this meme evolve from stoic World War II propaganda to hilarious Richard Dawkins jokes?

And thus, the phylogenetic tree of 'KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON' posters was born.

The Secret Lives of Cats

'My jedi mind tricks be workin! I can make Grace and Annie bow down!'
Cat in red: 'What the...'
Cat in black in fur (huh?) on street: 'I'm impervious! Your trickz don't work on me, sucka!'
(4 Pics) - My Modern Metropolis

Titanic Wars

"When Titanic overtook Star Wars as the all time box office champ, George Lucas took out this ad in Variety." Via Popped Culture

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

V&A or ABBAWORLD? Let me think about it.

Mamma Mia! A theme park I'm unlikely to visit, no matter how much Guinness I've imbibed.

The Swedish pop group ABBA is the subject of a theme park that opens Tuesday in London — ABBAWORLD.

A Better Place: Dash Snow's Polaroids

Artist and photographer Dash Snow, who died last year at the age of 27, taunted his audience, daring them to accept sex and drug binges as fine art. Here's a collection of Polaroids, taken from a new book by the young artist and photographer, published posthumously. guardian

Hayek versus Keynes


Monday, January 25, 2010

Billy Bragg takes RBS bonus battle to Speakers' Corner

Billy Bragg takes RBS bonus battle to Speakers' Corner
Billy Bragg will make a speech in Hyde Park in his campaign to stop Royal Bank of Scotland paying “excessive” bonuses.
Bragg, 52, has launched a Facebook campaign urging people to send letters or emails to Alistair Darling over the issue of bonuses at the part-nationalised bank. RBS, which is 84 per cent owned by the taxpayer, is expected to pay up to £1.5 billion in bonuses to its investment bankers.

I love Billy Bragg and (wonder of wonders) will be in London on Sunday and  will be staying very close to Hyde Park. Hopefully I'll be able to post some viddy of this. Stay tuned.

Introduction to Haiti (1942)

The film Introduction to Haiti(1942) (made under the auspices of the U.S. Office of Inter-American Affairs) gives a haunting snapshot of mid-twentieth-century Haiti including vintage footage of the now ruined Presidential Palace and Notre Dame Cathedral in Port-au-Prince.

Traditional Scottish Toasts

Raise a glass (or two) of single malt on the 251st birthday of Scotland's national poet Robbie Burns.
"May the best you've ever seen
Be the worst you'll ever see;
May a moose ne'er leave yer girnal
Wi' a teardrop in his e'e.
May ye aye keep hale and hearty
Till ye're auld enough tae dee,
May ye aye be just as happy
As I wish ye aye tae be."

More Traditional Scottish Toasts

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Laughs And Cries Of Havana

I want to visit Havana but somehow never manage to get there. I was all set to go next week but found a trip to London that was too good to pass up so Havana remains on the back burner. Since I can't post my own pics here is a photo essay from Gaia instead:



Beyond its history, in this reportage, Havana shows her soul, her quotidian soul without spectacle and grandiloquence. She opens herself to the camera and the photographer in her innocuous and unseen details; those moments that happen in time that wait for a smart eye, a trained eye in the art of revealing the secrets hidden beneath that of the initial impression. Aaron Sosa possesses this quality to truly see. GAIA PHOTOS

Slow Down

I read, I garden, I cook. Looks like I'm well on the way to being a slowpoke.

"Besides life-changing decisions, there are countless little changes you can make to slow down your life. Whether cooking, completing a home makeover, or building a backyard swimming pool, creating anything takes time. So what better way to slow down during the winter months than by taking on a project or two?" More at GOOD

French chansons

Welcome to Paris Chanson, the first and only radio dedicated to French classic songs from the last hundred years. Listen to it while you're whipping up a coq au vin for dinner. Visions of the Eiffel Tower will dance in your head!

Via Frogsmoke

Saturday, January 23, 2010

First ever pictures of snow crystals by Wilson A Bentley go on sale

"The year was 1885. By jury-rigging a microscope with a bellows camera, Bentley was able to capture for the first time the exquisite delicacy of a snowflake"


Why don't you pick one up and smoke it sometime?

Mr. Nag and I have many scintillating conversations. Tonight's whiskey fueled discussion focused on Ernie Kovacs, the fifties comedian of Hungarian descent. Yes, you heard that right. All I really remember is the sensational photo of him dead in his wrecked Corvair, blood and all, that was plastered all over the print media of the day. Also that he was married to Edie Adams. Mr. Nag admitted that her suggestive Muriel cigar commercials pressed all his boyhood lust buttons. Ironically it is speculated that Kovacs may have lost control of his car while trying to light a cigar.

Everyday Objects Come Alive

 Terry Border works wonders with a few pieces of bent wire (I like the zombie nuts):

See many more at My Modern Metropolis

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rain Spirit with Gumby and Pokey

When I was a kid I thought Gumby and Pokey were high tech.

The Chawed Rosin

Mother's History of Birds

Mother's History of Birds from Elliott Malkin on Vimeo.


LOL Manuscripts!: Chirologia, or the Naturall Language of the Hand, 1644

Chirologia, or the Naturall Language of the Hand, 1644:
"Many of you may know of the Internet phenomenon that is LOLCats. Slightly less of you may know how crazy/awesome early modern woodcut illustrations and frontispieces can be. But what joins these two disparate worlds? Well, it may surprise you to know how popular LOL-ing was in the Renaissance."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Passport Photos - Famous Artists

This is a great Flickr set. Below are Frank Lloyd Wright, Zelda Fitzgerald, Louise Bryant, ee cummings and Groucho Marx.

Passport Photos gleaned from passport applications files of writers actors, poets, artists, photographers, etc.

Peau d'Ane

Via RaShOmoN

R.I.P. Kate McGarrigle

I was so sad to hear of the death of singer songwriter Kate McGarrigle at the age of 63. For more years than I care to admit I've been listening to and loving the wonderful music she made with her sister Anna. I will miss their beautiful harmonies.

Britain bans drinking contests

Officials will ban drinking contests in bars and force pub owners to offer patrons tap water in a bid to help tackle Britain's boozy culture, the government said Tuesday.
This comes as a disappointment to Mr. Nag and me.Years of training for this event will now be for naught. Whatever shall we find to occupy ourselves when we're in London later this month?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dames, booze, guns and cigarettes

In the end, pulp fiction was mostly dames, booze, guns and cigarettes. This album swings around the bottle, the tinkling of glasses and the unleashed drama that is fueled by strong drink.

All the pulp you can handle at Ebenezer


1. Allow the angel to reach room temperature. Then kill it.
Go here to read the rest of this yummy recipe. Hilarious.

Opera At The Market

La Traviata in Valencia. Professional opera singers posing as shopkeepers take shoppers by surprise.

Opera en el Mercado from esoqueseconocecomolaopera

Via The Presurfer

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Emily Prince

I'll try to catch this show when I'm in London.

American Servicemen and Women Who Have Died in Iraq and Afghanistan (But Not Including the Wounded, Nor the Iraqis nor the Afghanis)

There's a review in The Guardian today.