Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

La Distributrice: Smallest cafe place in North America

La Distributrice, a tiny coffee shop in Montreal, is cute as a button but you'll definitely have to have your coffee to go.

Via The Dieline 

The Golden Age Of Swizzle Sticks

image Via
Some of you may be having a cocktail or two tonight but will you be using nifty swizzle sticks like these to stir things up? I know I'll probably be using my finger.

(image credit: Karen Montgomery)

(a female figure and some glass octopus swizzle sticks;
images credit: Anne, Full Blown Glass)

In the 50s and 60s these items were de rigueur and my parents always had some of the plastic souvenir type ones (like those below) kicking around. We loved to skewer fruit chunks and stir our juice or ginger ale with them just like grownup ladies.

(images credit: Nicole Caulfield, Jimbo Walker)

More gorgeousness at Dark Roasted Blend

Thanks Bruce!

Home Is Where the Art Is

Jessica Rohrer paints realistic portraits of her home’s interiors. Unlike mine, her kitchen shelves are not stained with the residue of leaky foodstuffs.

ROHRER, Jessica Kitchen Cabinet 2010 oil on panel 15 X 11 inches

ROHRER, Jessica Refrigerator 2009 oil on panel 10 X 10 inches

More at The Morning News

Going to Town

Joyce, my tortoiseshell cat

A fine tortoiseshell cat was on Friday morning the 27th ult. seen approaching London Bridge, peaceably seated in a large bowl-dish. As she advanced towards the fall, every one present anticipated that she would be overturned, and precipitated into the stream. She kept her seat, however, with great presence of mind, and amidst loud cheers shot the centre arch with as much dexterity as the most experienced waterman. A boy hearing her voice shortly after she had made the hazardous attempt, and fancying she wanted a pilot, rowed towards her, and took her into his wherry, when he found around her neck a parchment scroll, stating that she had come from Richmond Bridge, and directing, if she should reach London in safety, that she should be conveyed to a Mrs. Clarke, in High-street, in the Borough, who would reward the bringer. The boy, in pursuance of these instructions, conveyed poor puss to Mrs. Clarke, who seemed to be apprised of the circumstance, and rewarded the messenger with half a crown. It turned out that the voyage was undertaken for a wager between two Richmond Gentlemen, and that puss embarked at the turn of the tide in the course of the night, and happily reached her destination without sustaining any injury.
– Caledonian Mercury, Sept. 2, 1813

The Niagara Girl

In 1974, Niagara and Mike Kelley formed Destroy All Monsters. The band, known to fans as DAM, was active until 1985. She is also known for her paintings of dangerous women.
"The Niagara Girl" -- in many guises -- represented feminist swagger with drop-dead-gorgeous looks and a dangerous demeanor. She offered hard-boiled, tough talking women who would rather dispatch a man than put up with rude antics.

Artist's site
More here

Monday, December 30, 2013

Jimi Hendrix's London Apartment To Become A Museum

The Heritage Lottery Fund intend to turn Jimi Hendrix's Mayfair attic flat into a museum, recreating the interior with pieces of his life, work and musical legacy, as well as historically accurate furnishings.
Hendrix and his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham lived there from 1968. Hendrix described the residence as "the only home he ever had". For the past 13 years, the flat has been occupied by the staff of the Handel House Museum, who use it as their offices.
Via  HUH.

A Cocktail Served with Opium Incense and a Mirror

"Forever Young is inspired by Oscar Wilde's famous novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. The Langham opened in 1865 and Wilde was one of its most famous regulars—parts of the novel were actually written here. The drink echoes the story of Dorian Grey, the young gentleman obsessed with eternal youth who signs a contract with devil. The drink is served behind a mirror fitted with a small hole for a straw. The set up allows the patron to look at their own reflection while they enjoy the drink. The ingredients also hint at the idea of eternal youth: vodka (water of life) and vermouth (originally used as a medicine) combined with fresh citrus, maraschino liqueur and eucalyptus syrup. It tastes clean and refreshing, with very long finish, and a heady aroma thanks to opium incense placed behind the mirror.”
 CondeNast Traveler

IKEA Heights

Looks intriguing.

Via This Guy's FB page

Glow-in-the-Dark Piggies

These pigs  were injected with jellyfish DNA when they were tiny embryos to see whether or not the glow factor would take.

The research proves that it is possible to manipulate biological development by introducing genes at an embryonic level and could lead to the creation of cheaper and more efficient medicines. It may be some time before this type of practical genetic engineering becomes a reality. Until then I think they would make really cool night lights.

Why We Sing "Auld Lang Syne" on New Year's Eve

On New Year’s Eve in 1929 Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadian Band took the stage at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. At midnight, as a transition between radio broadcasts, the song they chose to play was an old Scottish folk song Lombardo had first heard from Scottish immigrants in Ontario. The song was Auld Lang Syne.
It must have been a hit because  after that the band played the song every December 31 until 1976. Lombardo, who died in 1977, became known as "Mr. New Year's Eve".


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Festive Funk Machine

Christmas day has come and gone but you're entitled to continue the seasonal festivities until January 1 - because I said so. Go wild!

Wounded Knee

On Dec. 29, 1890, a Lakota encampment on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation was attacked by the U.S. Army and close to 300 Native Americans were murdered near Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota.

Beginning on Feb. 27, 1973, Wounded Knee was the site of a 71-day standoff between the American Indian Movement and federal law enforcement officials.

Acoustic Kitty

In 1966 the United States conscripted a kitty cat to bring down the Soviet Union. Because cats are so obedient, intelligent and eager to please. Yeah right.
A battery and a microphone were implanted into a cat and an antenna into its tail. This would allow the cats to record and transmit sound from their surroundings. Surgical and training expenses are thought to have amounted to over $25 million.The first Acoustic Kitty mission was to eavesdrop on two men in a park outside the Soviet compound on Wisconsin Avenue inWashington, D.C. The cat was released nearby, but was hit and killed by a taxi almost immediately. Even after the cat dies and the mission is a total failure, the scientists declare victory in the quest to train a cat to go short distances, even if they can’t control to where, and proclaim it “a remarkable scientific achievement.”

You can:
Read about this spy cat in an actual declassified document.
Listen to the podcast at The Memory Palace
Read the book to your kids.
Find out more at Wikipedia


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Michaelangelo’s Illustrated Grocery List

“Because the servant he was sending to market was illiterate, Michelangelo illustrated the shopping lists — a herring, tortelli, two fennel soups, four anchovies and ‘a small quarter of a rough wine’ — with rushed (and all the more exquisite for it) caricatures in pen and ink.” – Steve Duin, The Oregonian, October 17, 2009

The works of Michaelangelo, including this list, are permanently housed at Casa Buonarroti in Florence, Italy.


Interactive bird song poster

Is this not wonderful?

Click here to hear them sing

Source: Minnesota DNR

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Winnipeg Teen's Drummer Boy Video

Winnipeg musician Sean Quigley's new video features a fierce rendition of the traditional Christmas song Little Drummer Boy.The teen's production is all the more remarkable considering he played all the instruments, sang the vocals, recorded everything and shot, directed and edited the video.

How The Sex Pistols saved Christmas

On Christmas Day, 1977, the Sex Pistols organized a benefit gig for the striking Fire Brigade Union. This was done as surreptitiously as possible, for if the council discovered the Pistols were playing (especially on the Lord’s birthday), the venue would be closed immediately. Two shows were arranged at Ivanhoe’s club: the first was a matinee for the children, at which cake, food, presents were distributed by the band.

More at Dangerous Minds 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Our Cat, Our Christmas Tree & Time-lapse

Joyce is too lazy to do this.

Via Blog on a Toothpick

The 12 Days of Christmas - Science-Style

The British Royal Society is celebrating the 12 days of Christmas with science illustrations from its picture library. You won't find a partridge in a pear tree or maids-a-milking but the cuddling monkey and fighting rhinos more than compensate for their absence. 

One Monkey Cuddling

Nine Firemen Leaping

Twelve Jellies Quaking

See The Entire 12 Days of Christmas Gallery where you will also find a description of each illustration.

A Christmas Ice Storm

My back yard after the storm. It was warm enough that the ice melted
without doing much damage.

An ice storm swept across much of the east a few days ago leaving hundreds of thousands without power. My neighbourhood was fortunate but I'm thinking of those who are still in the dark and cold this Christmas season and all the emergency crews who have been working around the clock to restore power.

The Atlantic has posted some photos of post-storm Toronto:

(Reuters/Chris Helgren)

(CC BY Angus Chan)

(Reuters/Mark Blinch)

Mr. President, Don't Let The Russians Kill Santa!

In this Nov. 9, 1960 photo, Caroline Kennedy gets a piggy-back ride from her father,
Sen. John F. Kennedy, in Hyannis Port, Mass. (The Associated Press)

In 1961 at the height of the Cold War, eight-year-old Michelle Rochon of Marine City Michigan overheard her parents talking about the Russians testing bombs at the North Pole. Worried that this would prevent Santa  from visiting her home on Christmas Eve she wrote a letter to the president.
Dear Mr. Kennedy,
Please stop the Russians from bombing the North Pole because they will kill Santa Claus.
I am 8 years old. I am in the third grade at Holy Cross School.
Yours truly,
Michelle Rochon.
When media got wind of it she became a mini celebrity and about a week later she received the following reply from President Kennedy:

Dear Michelle, 
I was glad to get your letter about trying to stop the Russians from bombing the North Pole and risking the life of Santa Claus.
I share your concern about the atmospheric testing of the Soviet Union, not only for the North Pole but for countries throughout the world; not only for Santa Claus but for people throughout the world.
However, you must not worry about Santa Claus. I talked with him yesterday and he is fine. He will be making his rounds again this Christmas.
John Kennedy
More at  CBC News

Monday, December 23, 2013

Black Roses Of Halfeti

These rare roses grow only in the tiny Turkish village of Halfeti. They appear perfectly black but are actually a very deep crimson color.  Their distinct hue is the result of unique soil conditions of the region, and the pH levels of the groundwater that seeps in from the river Euphrates. They bloom dark red during the spring and fade to black during the summer months.

Via Curious History

Reindeer Really Do Have Red Noses, Scientists Say

According to Lund University zoologist, Professor Ronald Kroger, the story of Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer, may be based on scientific fact. Researchers in Sweden have used thermal imaging cameras to capture the heat coming from reindeer as they graze.
"They found that while most of the animals’ bodies are well insulated by their fur, their noses glow bright orange in the images due to the large amounts of heat they release. That’s because reindeer have a high concentration of blood vessels in their nose and lips to help keep them warm and sensitive when rummaging through snow as they search for food."

More at National Post

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Santa’s Privacy Policy.

At Santa’s Workshop, your privacy is important to us. What follows is an explanation of how we collect and safeguard your personal information; the kind of information we collect; and your choices regarding our use and disclosure of this information.
More at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

The Sweetest Christmas Tree Ever

The InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel has a 14 ft tall Christmas tree composed of 8,000 Laduree macarons. The colours are inspired by the Paris Carnival. The tree celebrates the 150th anniversary of the hotel and Laduree, both of which opened in 1862.

More at CondeNast Traveler

Joe Strummer (21 August 1952 – 22 December 2002)

Remembering Joe Strummer today as I do each year. Died eleven years ago today.

The Gavle Goat Has Been Burned - Again!

 Every year, the people of Gavle, Sweden, erect a huge Yule goat made of straw and arsonists manage to burn it down before Christmas. This year is no exception. It's happened again, early Saturday morning despite the fact that it had been coated with a flame retardant liquid.

(Image credit: Flickr user Johan Karlborg

After it was set ablaze the goat took to Twitter to express its sorrow but did keep the Yuletide spirit alive by wishing its thousands of followers a happy Christmas.
My dear friends!Unfortunately, I have to make my last post for this year. I´m now writing to you from goat heaven.I'm so sad my friends that I have to leave you now! Thank you for this year! Take care and have a Merry Christmas and a happy new year! posted the Gävlebocken.
Via Neatorama

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Vintage Jersey Diner Free For The Taking

A vintage diner on Route 1 that has sat unused for more than 25 years will now be offered free for the taking for anyone who is willing to haul it away as the area is prepared for retail development. It is one of only five surviving diners built by the Mountain View Diner Co., the Little Falls company that pledged its wares would “last a lifetime.”

Gingerbread Architecture

Food artists Caitlin Levin and Henry Hargreaves recently recreated some of the worlds most famous museums in gingerbread for Dylan’s Candy Bar, the luxury candy and chocolate shop.

I.M. Pei’s addition to the Louvre, as imagined in gingerbread by Caitlin Levin and Henry Hargreaves
(image: caitlinstyle.com)

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum in gingerbread by Caitlin Levin and Henry Hargreaves
 (image: caitlinstlye.com)


Holidays at the White House - Building the 2013 Gingerbread White House

As part of White House holiday tradition, the State Dining Room is home to the famous gingerbread house. Over the course of several weeks, Pastry Chef Bill Yosses and his talented team created a 300-pound, edible White House replica. This year's creation features a mini Bo and Sunny sitting on the front steps of the house lit from within, and a functioning replica of the North Lawn fountain.

Meet The Goulash Cannon

Every kitchen needs one!

The "goulash cannon" was designed at the turn of the 20th century to feed WW1 soldiers on the battlefield. It functioned as a large pressure cooker ideal for quick cooking and stewing using limited amounts of energy and could operate on fire wood, coal, oil or whatever combustible material available. It was durable, flexible and multi-functional so was also used to prepare hot beverages such as tea, coffee, Gluhwein (hot wine with spices) or to roast edible chestnuts, bake bread or even cook Knodel.

More at Honest Cooking

Abandoned Architectural Beauty Saved

The Hotel del Salto, also known as the Tequendama Falls Hotel, overlooked the Tequendama Falls on the Bogota River in Colombia. The house, named “The Mansion of Tequendama Falls”, was built in 1923 as a mansion by the architect Carlos Arturo Tapias. It was abandoned in the 1990s, for more than two decades, due to river contamination.  After 20 years, the abandoned building was finally put to good use. It is now the Museum of Biodiversity and Culture, restoring the old building’s beauty and purpose.

More at Curious History

Radio Freedom: A History of South African Underground Radio

Radio Freedom was the underground radio arm of the African National Congress during the anti-Apartheid struggle in South Africa from the 1970s through the 1990s.

href="http://vimeo.com/36148856">ANC Radio Freedom - Kea Rona (It Is Ours) from jonneke k on Vimeo.

At seven p.m. sharp, seven nights a week, during the darkest days of apartheid, an incendiary radio broadcast beamed out from Lusaka, Zambia. It began with the clack of machine-gun fire, followed by a familiar call-and-response:
Amandla Ngawethu!
“Power to the People!”
Three hundred and fifty miles to the south, people gathered  in Johannesburg’s industrial townships and community centers in the Cape Flats and thatched-roof huts in black homelands to hear the transmission. They had to use extreme caution as listening to Radio Freedom in Apartheid-era South Africa was a crime carrying a penalty of up to eight years in prison.

Read more at The Appendix

Are You Ready?

Christmas snuck up on me again this year. Luckily davewalker has provided some helpful hints for preparing for the big day.

Now I'm ready!

Midwinter Light At Christ Church

At the winter solstice the sun shines at its most southern point and December 21 is the shortest day of the year. Christ Church Spitalfields in London becomes an intricate light box with powerful rays of light entering almost horizontally from the south and illuminating Nicholas Hawksmoor’s baroque architecture. Yesterday the Gentle Author of Spitalfields Life captured the Solstice light beautifully.

More at Spitalfields Life

Friday, December 20, 2013

Ouch! Gingerbread Men Take It Too Far

I always thought gingerbread men were good guys and thought it was cruel to bite their heads off. I don't feel that way anymore.

Toronto-based advertisement agency Zulu Alpha Kilo created a “Holiday Horror” ad campaign for Fangoria to help promote their magazine subscriptions this Christmas season. Fangoria’s campaign is made up of “four posters featuring cute gingerbread men doing horrible things to one another.”
More at Laughing Squid

Instant French by Andre Leduc

The NFB's 1979 take on the "As Seen on TV" commercials, or the K-Tel ads of yesteryear. In this parody version, the ad attempts to sell an electronic device that allows one to speak fluent, effortless French.

The RATP Who Stole Christmas

Sisa, a production company that wanted to "put a smile on workers in the morning" decorated the interior of a Paris subway train with bright pink wrapping paper. To the disappointment of delighted users RATP, in a grinch-like move, removed the train from service.


How your province/territory stacks up in Lego

Nova Scotia photographer, Jeff Friesen, has built and photographed a Lego scene for every province and territory and American state. Friesen calls his work "The Brick Fantastic project." The photographs are available for sale online.

Below are Ontario,where I now live, and Quebec,where I grew up.

Boardrooms of Canada echo with the call of the Great White North.

It really is a distinct society.

More at CBC News