Sunday, December 28, 2008

A storm chasers photo blog

Better him than me. To paraphrase Seinfeld, the sky was angry that day, my friends. Like an old man trying to send back soup at a deli. He's got some pretty incredible pictures: The Big Storm Picture.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

This is a perfect trip down memory lane for the holidays

Starting in 1974-75, CBC's Hockey Night in Canada added a fresh twist to their telecasts with Showdown. This intermission feature presented innovative competitions featuring current and former NHL superstars. Lanny MacDonald, Johnny Bower, Börje Salming and Chico Resch are just a few of the hockey greats competing in the 1978 series of one-on-one matchups and mini-games featured here. Offence or defence, old-timers or current greats, Showdown had something for all hockey fans.

Check out this archival footage of the great Perrault v. MacLeish battle of Showdown '78.

Can you imagine if they tried to bring Showdown back today? I really can't believe they used to do this segment. By the way, it has to be said, MacLeish had a killer mustache!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Today's Something or Other #7

What's on TV? With Neave Television the answer could be, 'just about anything'.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Its a fine line between stupid and clever

I must say, I'm a little intrigued. And a whole lot frightened. The Ridiculous Food Society of Upstate New York presents the White Castle and Bacon Breakfast Bake.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Haircuts as performance art?

Well, when it is Darren O’Donnell is famous for his show Haircuts by Children, in which prepubescent barbers sculpt adult dos all over the world then you are on to something. Not quite the same as when I go to Top Cuts every couple of months. Okay, every few months.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Another Daily Photo Blog

Continuing the Daily Photo of place X theme... here is Portland, Oregon. I must say, I really enjoyed Portland -- all of Oregon, in fact -- when I went there on vacation back at the turn of the century. Good people out there.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Today's Something or Other #6

Do not click here. No, really, I don't think you can handle it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Be Funky with your digital pictures

Turn your pictures into cartoons at Be Funky!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Want to get involved and help out those less fortunate this holiday season?

One way you can help out is through the Children’s Aid Foundation's Surrogate Santa program.

The purpose of the Surrogate Santa Program is to raise the resources required to assist the children and families served by various child welfare organizations in Toronto during the holidays. For families who struggle to meet daily living expenses, the holiday season brings an added stress of the need for extra funds to provide their children with gifts and food.

Last year the program raised more than $200,000 and helped thousands of families and children in the community.

There are 3 ways to help:
  1. Make a donation to the Surrogate Santa Holiday Fund
  2. Sponsor a family in need this holiday season
  3. Become a Virtual Surrogate Santa and get your friends and family involved.
For those looking to get more directly involved in charitable work this season, has a list of volunteering opportunities for the holidays.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Beer & Popcorn: Together at last

Ontario to allow drinking at the movies! That could rank pretty high in terms of news headlines you never expected to see, especially when talking about Toronto the Good.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I detect a hint of... fluoride?

From The Canadian Press:

LCBO recalls Italian wine found to be tap water

Ontario's Liquor Control Board is recalling an Italian wine, but not for the usual reasons. Some of the 1,500 ml bottles of 2007 D'Aquino Pinot Grigio delle Venezie are nothing but water.

George Soleas, the board's vice-president of quality assurance, said yesterday there is no risk to the public. "Basically, the chemical testing we have done, that was quite extensive, shows it is just tap water."

"The only reason we decided to do the public recall is because we stand behind the quality of our products 100 per cent," Soleas said. "And a lot of these products, because they are Christmas items, they are going to be gifted and I didn't want to have people surprised on Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve opening this product and finding water instead of wine.

"It was a human error basically, it wasn't a tampering issue at all," he added. The problem was at the bottling plant where the bottles are flushed out with water.

"I guess someone was waiting for Jesus to turn it into wine," he joked.

Customers returning bottles to the LCBO will receive a full refund.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Using tech tools for good

Anyone looking for a test case in how Twitter can be used to pull a community together -- apart from little things like the Obama campaign, of course :-) -- might want to consider a recent Toronto phenomenon called HoHoTo. Click here for the rest of the Globe & Mail article, Twitter and "flash crowds" for good.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Googlers are using Google to google Google

Yes, I just said that and it actually is not just gobbledy gook. It is what the results of Google's 2008 Canadian zeigest report are telling us. Canadians use Google to seek what they've already found, study says

An open letter to Mats Sundin

I've tried to avoid hockey talk on this blog, but every now and then a moment so momentous, so stupendous and monumental arrives and transcends time and space*, not to mention sports. That time is now. Well, maybe. Apparently former Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin has said that he will make a decision on his hockey future by December 15th. One hopes that he is using the same calendar as the rest of us, although that is still a bit unclear given all the other deadlines that have passed.

[side note: As the late Douglas Adams used to say, "I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they go flying by." If you say, 'who is Douglas Adams?', I say, 'those are fighting words', but I digress.]

So, with Mats about to make a decision I thought now was the time to act. Mats... Mr. Sundin... o' Captain my Captain... Mattie S... whatever you prefer, have I got an offer for you! How would you like to come and play for my beer league hockey team, Odelay HC? We currently have an opening for a centreman as one of ours is on the IR recovering from a knee injury.

You would be a fine addition to our noble and proud squad and would significantly boost our size, scoring, speed and Swedishness. No, our offer can't touch Vancouver's $10 million dollars per season, or compete with the bright lights of Broadway or the scathing hatred of the Philly fans. But what we can offer is a vaguely Euro sounding team name, an easy travel schedule with games always at the same location, not to mention a rink that is close to Yorkdale Shopping Centre in case you need to do any pre-grame shopping for the wife.

Furthermore, we offer you a chance to compete for a championship, as O-HC is in the thick of it this season. Finally, to sweeten the pot, we are also prepared to offer 1-2 post game beers, free stock tips, a Visa card with a low introductory interest rate and all the Allan Candy you can eat.

And no worries, I'm sure we can work something out so you get the #13 jersey. We're prepared to wait for you, big guy, but not forever. This offer is valid until December 20th and then we'll have to move on and explore other options - I hear Sean Avery might be looking for a place to skate, as is the great Claude Lemieux.

Hopefully you will consider us along with your other offers. If it doesn't work out for you and Odelay HC, I'd like to wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavours.

* That reminds me of one of my favourite, all-time movie quotes:

Vivian Jaffe: Have you ever transcended space and time?
Albert Markovski: Yes. No. Uh, time, not space... No, I don't know what you're talking about.

Do you know what movie that is from? 20 points for the first five people who guess it correctly starting... now.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Creating the “IT” Spot: The rise of the Crave Club

From the Supastar Collective screenplay archives by popular demand.... If this feels like it is 1,000 years old it could be because it is. As relevant today as the day it first sprung to life (in 2003) from the 'genius' minds of the Collective? You be the judge.

Creating the “IT” Spot: The rise of the Crave Club


Introduce the concept of "Glamour" and "Exclusivity"

(On screen)
Rotating shots of Sammy Davis Jr. / Rat Pack / Ocean's Eleven / Black tie elegance, velvet rope, Roaring 20s, Studio 54, 40/40 club, Carlu

Voice over What is glamour? Why do people crave it so much?


(Voice over continues)
Now, in the 21st century, exclusivity is no longer the sole preserve of the jetset elite, it has moved down the foodchain. Exclusivity and glamour can be achieved by a bar, restaurant or club, by not having a name, being hard to find or being hard to get in. The traditional concept of the velvet rope has pretty much evaporated in modern society. In response to this trend, an "IT" spot has arisen that defines glamour and exclusivity the way it was 80 years ago.


Interview with three partners at a downtown converted loft in West Queen West. Everything is painfully hip (e.g. instead of chairs there are very expensive wood blocks from LA Designs). Overall decorating theme of loft could be described as "all style, no substance". Three 30ish, nattily dressed men are gathered around a coffee table (with holes cut out of its top surface). Two sit on the wood blocks and the third on a barely functional but cool-looking couch.

Its got to be the shit. We want a Pavlovian response from people when its name is mentioned in conversation.

Chadsey Cairns (laughing)
Cutting edge... bleeding edge you could say. Yeah, so cool it hurts.

Think Jack Nicholson sitting courtside, wearing his shades at a Lakers game. Chadsey To cool for school.


(All three share a laugh)

Jenner (continuing)
Listen, sorry to interrupt. (Pause) Are we going way, WAY over the top here, trying to create a (using air quotes) 'supercool', 'restaurant at the end of the universe', uber exclusive loungey hangout, and (pause)... and, at the end of the day, are we even creating the sort of place we'd want to hang out?

What do you want to create then: Cheers?

No! Fuck that shit. Who would want a bunch of deadbeat barfly losers to know your name anyway, much less hang out with them? (Pause) Its like Marx said, "I wouldn't want to belong to any club that would have me." You know?

Karl Marx said he wouldn't want to belong to any club that would have him?

Chadsey That's weird. I thought he'd be all over club membership and that everyone would, you know, be invited.

No, you idiots, GROUCHO MARX. Groucho, not Karl, Marx. Fuck.

Yeah, well fuck Groucho Marx


On screen City shots of famous and fabulous venues (internal and external) and the fabulous people who inhabit them. Words occasionally flash on the screen:
La dolce vita
More Fab than Fab
Hype is good

Voice over
The genesis for the Crave Club, the much hyped, much discussed, extremely exclusive private club where local arts, culture and business leaders rub elbows, collaborate, share amusing anecdotes and otherwise be fabulous, came about as a result of a chance encounter by Clark in search of a party.

Interview with Clark in the loft.
He is sitting in an ultra retro/modern chair sipping a glass of red wine. Interview scene is interspersed with shots of restaurants/bars without visible signs (e.g. Johnny K restaurant on Queen East, alleyway entrance to the Fifth, Communist's Daughter on Dundas West), and a reenactment of someone trying to figure out if they are at the right location.

Yeah, I was headed to some after-party for opening night of a play. I didn't really know where I was heading, but I had a vague sense. I'm not really one for details. I figured I'd find it eventually. (Pause) Anyway, I ended up on some back alley streets and came across what looked like a happening spot. There was no sign or name anywhere, and no real evidence this place was a club... so, I figured, this must be it. I pushed open the door and walked in.

(On screen -- reenactment while Clark is speaking)
Someone looking at an unsigned building (house), pushing open an unmarked door and entering party Clark describes below.

There was a DJ spinning pounding house music. Everyone was all styled-up and dressed in black. It was a scene. I cruised in, grabbed a Stella and made for a group of good-looking ladies on the dance floor. It ended up being quite a night (smiling and rubbing his chin as he finishes)

So you found the party?

No, that's the funny thing. I walked into an entirely different party. Hell, everyone was dressed in black like they would have been at the after-party! Who knew? (Laughing) (Pause) But the thing is, the reason this place didn't have a name was because... it was a HOUSE party. It wasn't a club at all (slapping his forehead).


A couple of days later, while having cocktails at Bymark -- or was it Lobby? Doesn’t matter -- I thought, 'wait a minute, that place would have made a really cool club'. Kind of like in Swingers when Mikey says these places don't have names and that it kind of means something if you know where to find them, or something like that.


Eh voila, the idea was born.


Interview in a different loft with Chadsey and Jenner.
Chadsey is sitting in a Scandinavian chair and Jenner on a day-glo coloured couch-like piece of furniture, which is actually four cubes attached at jagged angles.

Yeah, Clark brought up this idea. We were clubbing pretty hard in those days, and it was always about finding the next hotspot before anybody else.... It was necessary to move on before the wannabes and, god forbid, the 905ers, found out about it.

The trend went from hard to find to unmarked buildings to ironic to unnamed places and now is at a combination of all these things. We feel the true "in" crowd is ready to take things to the next level.

Yeah, when we kept seeing the same people at all these new places we knew there was a viable market for something. You'd also see these people at Queen West shops, gallery openings, secret rock concerts by the current big thing or the next big thing.

So we thought why not hook these like-minded people up?

And how do we keep an IT spot from being diluted by so-called undesirables... make it a private club where you can join by invite only.

(On screen)
Shot of Crave Club membership invitation


Interview with Clark, Chadsey and Jenner Later that year after Crave has opened. Interview at an undisclosed location (very hip). Clark, Chadsey and Jenner sip champagne cocktails and are stylishly dressed.

Why the name 'Crave'? How did you come up with that?

Well, our working title was actually 'Exclusif'.

Jenner (interjecting)
But that seemed too obvious

Chadsey (nodding)
We wanted to reflect how desirable membership in this club would be. How much people would want to be a part of it.

Jenner (finishing) How much they would crave to be part of something so cool and exclusive.

The club was pretty much an instant, runaway success. How, why, or to what do you attribute your massive initial success?

The dilemma, of course, was how we could take things up a notch. And I think we stumbled upon a brilliant idea that will keep Crave exclusive and exciting for the foreseeable future. We've taken the cool, urban, New York-ish hotspot concept to, what I like to say, its most innovative incarnation.

With the introduction of our club, Toronto is now, truly, a world-class city.

Can you tell me where the club is located?

Sorry, Crave's location is a members-only secret. In fact, the location is so secret the employees don't even know where it is.

Jenner (laughing)
Sort of like the Bat Cave.

I heard it was west of Bathurst on King Street West?

(On screen)
Shots of stylishly dressed people either looking for the club on King or trying to look inconspicuous as they walk along King Street West

Chadsey (dismissively)
That's just a rumour.

Interviewer (Pulling out a file and flipping through some pages, settling on one)
We did some digging around and couldn't find any property in downtown Toronto under your names, Crave, or under the company's official name, 'The Jackboot Collective'. In fact, Crave's sole asset, outside of its membership, is a Cayman Island's bank account.


(Taking off his glasses and wiping his eyes)
The club doesn't actually, physically exist, does it?

Our members appreciate not having to actually go to the club to enjoy its exclusivity.


Fly on the wall interaction with Crave Club members

A. Scene: 40ish couple at home in trendy/posh surroundings

Wife (From other room, she is only partially visible -- e.g. legs -- but can be heard)
Honey, the Donovans will be here for dinner any minute, are you ready?

Husband (Unfolding newspaper and holding it up, blocking his face as the camera turns to him. He leans back in his chair and puts his feet up on a footstool)
I'm sorry love, I can't make it. I'm at the club.

(A few minutes later, wife invites the Donovans in -- no identifiable faces are shown)

Glad you could make it, but I have some bad news.

(She seats them in the living room. Husband is there with his feet up reading the newspaper.)

Holden (name bleeped out or otherwise obviously edited out) can't make it. He's at the club.

B. Scene: interview with Crave member, his face blurred out like in witness protection court proceedings. The member is seated in a nice leather chair in a fancy home library.

Crave changed my life. I'm regularly challenged and stimulated mentally in a way I haven't been in years. And with the contacts I've made at the club, my career has taken off in new and exciting directions.

(Wife enters; face also blurred out, and sits on arm of chair)

Member (Squeezes wife's leg)
But best of all, I met my wife at Crave.

Fade to black


Interviewer (on camera)
So there you have it, the latest, and self-styled greatest, members-only club in downtown Toronto. Private clubs have proven popular in London and New York, so we'll be keeping a close eye on Crave to see if it has legs or if its just the flavour of the month.


It does seem to be maintaining its exclusiveness. It was recently reported in the Society pages that Chadsey was denied access to the club recently because he wasn't sufficiently accomplished. The club declined to comment on that situation and its resolution.


Requests to film inside the club were politely refused by a club spokesperson, citing Crave's exclusivity and non-disclosure clause in its charter. So, unfortunately, we can't show you what ultra exclusive looks like. Instead, we will leave you with the media running on Crave's website.

Fade to black

Club logo motto up on black screen

Fade into


Fade out and into


Fade out and into

CRAVE (Club logo reappears under word after three seconds)


Monday, December 8, 2008

Today's Something or Other #5

What's in that tall, non-fat latte anyway? Find out here.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The 8 Reasons Why 'They Live' Is Cinema's Greatest Achievement

Strangely enough, I was watching a little bit of the remake of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers the other night after dinner (while on vacation) and I thought about the Rowdy Roddy Piper (or Hot Rod!, if you prefer) movie They Live. And then, I read this blogpost from deep in the interweb: The 8 Reasons Why 'They Live' Is Cinema's Greatest Achievement. They Live is a timeless classic and Topless Robot pays tribute to 8 awesome scenes.

"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum." Awesome!

Friday, December 5, 2008

The return of the 'stache?

First the MoSpace campaign which challenged you to grow a moustache in November to raise funds to help fight prostate cancer (note: you had to get donations, like a skate-a-thon). Now Schick has a new campaign which has gone viral which leads me to ask: Are moustaches on the way back? Are they not just for doofus hipsters, cops and gay men anymore? Are moustaches cool again? We could have a '70s style recession and energy crisis on our hands, so why not grow a 'stache? Incidentally, that could be the grow a moustache slogan.

Click here for the Schick campaign and to test drive your own 'stache today.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Today's Something or Other #4

From the May 2007 Saveur comes this great tidbit: the full name of Cap'n Crunch! His proper name is Captain Horatio Magellan Crunch. The Horatio makes him sound British, which makes sense since his outfit looks like an English Navy get up (or something Naploean would have worn). And the Magellan gives him an air of exploration. The Crunch is straight out of Dickens. He may be Capt. H.M. Crunch aboard ship, but he'll always be Cap'n of breakfast to me.


I always thought Horatio Caine was named after Horatio from Hamlet, but this could shed some new light on the situation.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Today's Something or Other #3

How to make a US Customs Agent laugh. Who doesn't love Cookie Monster? That seeming non-sequitur is the genius behind this creative project.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Today's Something or Other #2

Next time someone emails or IMs you with a really obvious question, enter the Google search at Let Me Google That For You and send them back the sarcastic link.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Twitter Comes Alive

Well, not like Peter Frampton in the mid-70s, but it most certainly played a role in getting this Motrin commercial taken down (

My verdict on the commercial: stupid, but not offensive. Don't mess with Mom if she hasn't had her mother's little helper.

Do you Twitter? Apparently it is quite addictive (and perfect for a mobile internet world). If you are interested in finding out what all the fuss is about, here's something that can help you get started: 10 Easy Steps for Twitter Beginners.

Chuck Klosterman reviews Chinese Democracy

Best opening two lines to a CD review ever?

From the Onion AV Club:

Guest reviewer Chuck Klosterman is the author of five books, including Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey In Rural North Dakota and the new novel Downtown Owl. There is no one in the world more qualified to review the exhaustingly anticipated new Guns N' Roses album than he is. [side note: go buy Klosterman's books. They are brilliant.]

Reviewing Chinese Democracy is not like reviewing music. It's more like reviewing a unicorn. Should I primarily be blown away that it exists at all? Am I supposed to compare it to conventional horses? To a rhinoceros? Does its pre-existing mythology impact its actual value, or must it be examined inside a cultural vacuum, as if this creature is no more (or less) special than the remainder of the animal kingdom? I've been thinking about this record for 15 years; during that span, I've thought about this record more than I've thought about China, and maybe as much as I've thought about the principles of democracy. This is a little like when that grizzly bear finally ate Timothy Treadwell: Intellectually, he always knew it was coming. He had to. His very existence was built around that conclusion. But you still can't psychologically prepare for the bear who eats you alive, particularly if the bear wears cornrows.

Click here to read the full review.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This new iPhone application is both cool AND practical

Not all smart phone applications are that useful but here's one for the iPhone that is really useful for Torontonians who take the TTC.

A couple of dedicated Torontonians have done their part to ease the pain. Software developer George Talusan and graphic designer Hilary Street have just released a new iPhone application that is already earning rave reviews from commuters all over the GTA. Meet Red Rocket, the subway rider's new best friend.

The new application has everything you need to plan your trip, and since it's on your iPhone, the information is always readily-available.Red Rocket includes a full map of the TTC lines, bus routes, and departure times, but where it really shines is in its availability. The key to the application is the iPhone's embedded GPS technology. It's able to read your location and direct you to the nearest stop by meters or kilometers. It also includes information on when each TTC vehicle is due at each stop, and includes an automatic RSS feed from the TTC for transit advisories. And at $1.99, it costs less than the amount for a single adult ticket.

Click here for the full article.

I wonder if someone will modify this for Blackberry (please, someone...)?


Monday, November 17, 2008

Amazing kitesurfing photo

I guess this dude must have had quite the "oh no" second!
From the NY Post:
That menacing shape under an Australian kite surfer is a whale- and it's about to swat him in the head with its tail.
David Sheridan, 42, was 100 yards off the coast of New South Wales state when he saw what looked like the shadow of his kite - but it was actually a southern right whale, and it was just underneath him.
"Next thing I felt was its tail come up and hit me on the back of the head," Sheridan told The Daily Telegraph of Sydney.

"I thought I was gone . . . but it was more of a push than a punch, and I sailed away with shaking legs."
Sheridan, a photography teacher, got this shot with a kite-mounted camera set up to automatically take a picture every 10 seconds.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Are you getting enough caffeine?

I'm not sure if this was the intent of this article, but this is how I took it: Click on this link to find out the relative caffeine content of some of your different beverages? Are you getting enough caffeine in your diet? Perhaps you need to ice your coffee and mix it with Red Bull? Feeling sleepy is no way to spend the day.

Wines that make the world a better place: Crushing Addiction

From the Globe & Mail:

Monks make wine, and my neighbour used to make it in his garage. But drug addicts? Recovering drug addicts, that is, at San Patrignano, the largest drug rehabilitation centre in the world, located just outside Rimini in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna.

Although San Patrignano's four reds and two whites are exported internationally, they've just become available in Ontario, exclusively at Toronto's Terroni restaurants.

Unlike the plonk made in that garage, the wines produced at San Patrignano are excellent. Their top crus consistently score tre bicchieri, the top grade from the most authoritative voice in Italian wine, Gambero Rosso, and 90 points in the Wine Spectator.

San Patrignano's working ideology also scores enthusiastic reviews. The idea is simple: Teach young people dealing with addiction how to work hard, be responsible, and take pride in producing something of the highest rank, and you help build their self-esteem. San Patrignano founder Vincenzo Muccioli believed that with that kind of positive work ethic, these ragazzi, as they are known, stand a good chance of integrating into society.

Click here for the full article.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Must have Xmas item for the lover of all things retro

If you are a dedicated retroist (is that a word? If not, can I trademark it??), then this cool little item is this year's must have item:

1960's USB Microphones - For Retro Skype Serenades? (GALLERY)

This 1960s USB microphone uses radio-frequency identification; no wires are used. The microphone… [More]

Runner-up: New TVs that look like
TVs from the '50s.

1950s Style TVs - The Telstar Predicta (GALLERY)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Vacationist

I have vacation on the brain tonight so posting this link seems apropos: The Vacationist.

This is the (primarily) photo blog of Adam Sachs, who is a Magazine writer for various publications including GQ, Conde Nast Traveller, National Geographic Adventure, etc. (more about him here, if you are so inclined). He's got a pretty cool site of his pictures from his various adventures, and also likes highlighting when he's had "Hall of Fame Pork", which you have to respect. Check it out.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Zamboni driver charged with impaired driving

A woman in Kingsville, Ont., has learned you don't have to be navigating a road to be charged with impaired driving.

The woman, 34, was arrested Thursday night after witnesses told police she was driving a Zamboni erratically at a local arena.

They said the ice-resurfacing machine struck the rink boards and missed sections of the ice.

At one point, witnesses reported the driver stopped on the ice and was slumped over the wheel.

The driver, who was described by police as being unco-operative, was arrested after guiding the machine off the ice surface.

The accused is due to appear in court in December on charges of impaired driving and having a blood alcohol level over the legal limit.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Onion weighs in....

Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job

WASHINGTON—African-American man Barack Obama, 47, was given the least-desirable job in the entire country Tuesday when he was elected president of the United States of America. In his new high-stress, low-reward position, Obama will be charged with such tasks as completely overhauling the nation's broken-down economy, repairing the crumbling infrastructure, and generally having to please more than 300 million Americans and cater to their every whim on a daily basis. As part of his duties, the black man will have to spend four to eight years cleaning up the messes other people left behind. The job comes with such intense scrutiny and so certain a guarantee of failure that only one other person even bothered applying for it. Said scholar and activist Mark L. Denton, "It just goes to show you that, in this country, a black man still can't catch a break."

Yes We Can!

Going back eight years to when George W. Bush defeated Al Gore in an extremely controversial election, can anyone honestly say they thought the US would elect a black man as President in the first 10 years of the 21st century? Amazing.

That was a moving and wonderful acceptance speech by Obama last night. McCain's concession speech was also very classy and heartfelt - perhaps he needed more of that during his campaing. Obama inherits a mess, but also, unrivaled hope and optimism (which he'll need for the next couple of years as the financial crisis unwinds itself).

A brand new day.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Movie recommendations for this week

On DVD, go out and rent Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It is funnier and much more charming than it has any right to be. The four leads are all good. Billy Baldwin continues his offbeat, obscure career renaissance that he began with 2005's The Squid and the Whale (also highly recommended... my brother). And, oh yeah, there's full frontal male nudity, if you are into that.

In the theatres, go see the 2006 French film Tell No One. It was just released here for the first time and is a first rate suspense thriller. It is more American than many European films, but definitely feels European, although, strangely, it doesn't feel that French. Perhaps because the story is an adaptation of an American novel? There is a bit of a Hollywood cop-out near the end, but it is probably necessary in order to bring things to a suitable, and understandable, resolution. Anyway, it is well worth your $12.75. Oh yeah, and there is also full frontal male nudity, if you are into that.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Camera Bonanza

'Tis almost the season and cameras and camera-related items are always popular Xmas gifts, so here are some interesting camera related items:

1. Poladroid is a desktop app that lets you convert your digital photographs into amazing old-school polaroids. It over-saturates all the colors for you so all your photos can look like 70s deadstock that you found in the attic. Sadly, it is only for Macs at this point.

2. Save Polaroid. This is a website and a movement designed to preserving the wonderful photo technology that is polaroid instant film. From their website:

Save Polaroid. Save the World.

On February 8, 2008, Polaroid Corporation announced that it will discontinue production of all instant film. This site will document the aftermath of this announcement and will serve as a home-base for the effort to convince another company to begin producing the cherished technology that Polaroid has so carelessly abandoned.

This site is not about saving Polaroid, the company, rather the remarkable invention of Edwin Land, the instant film that made Polaroid a household name.

To learn more about the Save Polaroid gang, what they are up to, what they have done so far, and what you can do to help, click here. Of course, they also have a Facebook group.

3. And your MUST HAVE camera item for Xmas 2008, replacing (or augmenting) your Lomo* obsession, is the Blackbird, Fly camera from Japan's Superheadz. Apparently Japanese youth are all over retro photography in response to the proliferation of digital cameras and can't get enough of the various Lomo brands, old Polaroid resells and antique cameras.

This new camera gives them -- and hopefully us soon -- another option for playful, colour-rich photography. The Blackbird, Fly shoots square pictures on 35mm and costs less than a $100 USD, allowing enthusiasts to take part in this movement without breaking the bank (which was a bit of an issue with the original Lomo cameras, as $200 CAD back in the early 2000s was a bit expensive for a toy when you consider you also needed to buy a scanner in order to share your creations).

Hopefully the Blackbird, Fly will be available in Canada soon.

* Looking back, the Lomography community is one of the first, real social networks on the web and is a pretty astounding success story given its reach.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Launch Pig OR Pigs (not quite) In Space

Click on this link for the story, told in pictures, of an early Russia experiment of firing a pig into the air after first getting it drunk. Yes, you read that correctly. I don't even know what to say?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

They don't make political ads like they used to....

That might be a good thing. Check out this bizarro old Reagan commercial.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The giant Lego men are coming!

An interesting story from the UK came across the internets today and, I feel confident in saying, this isn't the sort of thing that happens every day*: Giant 8ft Lego man washes up on the beach.

* If it does happen regularly I clearly haven't given Brighton its due

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Project Bueller

Check out what Project Bueller (yes, that is really the group's name) has planned for the Greenich Village Halloween Parade.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Flight of the Conchords

The HBO show Flight of the Conchords is coming to the Comedy Network. I've never seen this show but I have it on good authority that it is hilarious. I do have a couple of their songs downloaded and they are well worth checking out. Here are two the videos for two key tracks:

1. Business Time

2. Ladies of the World

Flight of the Conchords with the best anti-war song in years... there you go. [We're talking brunettes not fighter jets!]

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Beer - is there anything it can't do?

A team of researchers at Rice University in Houston is working to create a beer that could fight cancer and heart disease. X are developing a cancer-fighting beer. [sidenote: I thought Guinness already did this?]

Monday, October 27, 2008

AC/DC rocks your office!

Well, perhaps this isn't as exciting as if they were actually rocking your office, but this marketing idea for their new album is quite clever: The video for their current single, Rock n Roll Train, off their new album, Black Ice, plays as ASCII art within a Microsoft Excel file. This way in can get inside offices that block YouTube or Google Videos. Apparently this is the world's first music video inside an Excel spreadsheet. Who knew AC/DC could be so savvy??

Put on your headphones, work those macros and get on the Rock 'n Roll Train.

Chinese Democracy In Our Time!

Well, just the title track for now. Guns 'n Roses released the eponymous single from Chinese Democracy to radio today and Wired has it streaming on their website. Take a listen to see what Axl has been up to (my take: meh). Hopefully the rest of the album is a step up, as this doesn't feel like 14 years of pent up awesomeness.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Take that, God!

In your face, big man upstairs!!

London buses have God on their side — but not for long, if atheists have their way.
The sides of some of London’s red buses will soon carry ads asserting there is “probably no God,” as non-believers fight what they say is the preferential treatment given to religion in British society. Click here for the full article.

God bless those crazy atheists.

Is it just me, or is the world geting crazier by the day? [Note: not that the atheists are wrong, but being a crazy, militant atheist is not much better than being a crazy, religious wingnut. Not much better, but a little bit because at least you aren't trying to promote your imaginary friend to complete strangers, but I digress.]

My favourite part of this story is that, "The religious think-tank Theos said it had donated $82 to the campaign, on the grounds that the ads were so bad they would probably attract people to religion." I think that comment added a certain charm to the tale. Imagine that, the pro-religion side of the issue injecting wit and humour.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Is nothing safe from downsizing??

Check out this controversial issue brewing in Britain. From the Toronto Star:

Pint faces downsizing at British pubs

October 24, 2008 Elle Moxley - THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

LONDON–Blimey! Britain's beloved pint may be facing a downsizing.

The office that sets measurement standards said Friday that its proposed two-thirds pint measure for draft beer and cider could be on tap as soon as April.

Proponents of the new glass size say they like it because it would give consumers more options at the bar.

The pint is so much a part of British life that it survived the European Union switch to half-litres. And there already is a half-pint glass for those who want a lighter lunch or a clearer head.

Supporters of the new-size glass hope it will appeal to female drinkers, who traditionally eschew a full pint.

"It's hard ordering a drink on a date," said Emma Ross, 28, a postgraduate student having a beer with lunch in a London pub.

"If I order a half-pint, it's ladylike, but where's my sense of adventure?" Ross said.

"If I order a pint, I know how to have a good time, but I don't want to advertise it to every guy standing at the bar."

Ross was drinking a half-pint (284 millilitres) of Stella Artois. For lunch at least, she said she probably wouldn't have ordered a two-thirds pint, which would contain 378.5 millilitres, or slightly more than 12 ounces.

Neil Williams, spokesman for the British Beer and Pub Association, said the two-thirds pint would be similar in size to many Continental bottled beers, encouraging customers to order these brews by the draft.

"It's not for every consumer or every venue," Williams said. ``It just makes sense to add the two-thirds pint because for some customers and styles of beer, it'll just seem like the right size."

Williams said the new measurement would appeal to the lunch crowd and drinkers of specialty beers with higher alcohol contents.

But Jonathan Mail, spokesman for the Campaign for Real Ale, said a two-thirds pint could lead to too much drinking.

"People tend to measure their consumption by the number of pints they've drunk," Mail said. "If they're drinking a mix of pints and two-thirds pints, then that becomes quite a complicated calculation after a few drinks."

The National Weights and Measurements Laboratory is currently consulting bar owners and others on the proposed new glass size.

If the laboratory adds the two-thirds pint as a standard unit of measurement, British pubs will have the option of serving draft beer by the partial pint.

- There are many things to love about this story and here are two of mine:

  1. That this new glass size is aimed at the lunch drinking crowd.
  2. Jonathan Mail's comment that, "People tend to measure their consumption by the number of pints they've drunk. If they're drinking a mix of pints and two-thirds pints, then that becomes quite a complicated calculation after a few drinks." That is just awesome. Lesson: Be careful drinking and doing math.

Today's Something or Other

"I don't want tea. Tea is the past."

- Kathleen to Monroe Stahr in Fitzgerald's The Last Tycoon

Friday, October 24, 2008

Change - that's wassup

You have to watch this. I can't believe AB put this out! This made my day. What a nice way to start the weekend.

Welcome to Crazy Town

Not sure if you've heard about this McCain Campaign Worker from Pittsburgh, but she has been making the news for some crazy behaviour this week. Can you imagine someone doing something like this for a Canadian election?? Now that, would be loco.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I think this could be my new thing

Could this replace the Elvis poses? Who knows, but I do know that it is genius!

Michael Hughes loves to travel and visit the world’s most famous landmarks. He also loves to take creative, quirky pictures in which he replaces these monuments with cheap souvenirs.

You can access the photo gallery directly here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Britain releases batch of UFO files

This is some interesting stuff. I love how some of the incidents are never explained away -- just the initial explanation of what plausibly could have happened. Conspiracy theorists unite! The truth is out there.

From the Associated Press:

Alitalia pilot Achille Zaghetti thought it was a missile.

Zaghetti was at the helm of a jet from Milan to London's Heathrow Airport on the evening of April 21, 1991 when a flying object streaked across his field of vision.

"At once I said, 'look out, look out,' to my co-pilot, who looked out and saw what I had seen," Zaghetti wrote in his report. "As soon as the object crossed us I asked to the ACC (area control center) operator if he saw something on his screen and he answered 'I see an unknown target 10 nautical miles behind you."'

An investigation later ruled out a missile - but never ruled anything in, either.

The close encounter is one of many reported UFO sightings among 19 files that Britain's National Archives posted Monday to the Web. The new material covers UFO sightings between 1986 and 1992.

While the 1,500-page batch of documents debunks a host of UFO sightings, others like Zaghetti's near-miss with a UFO remain unexplained.

UFO sightings, 1986 - 1992

These files contain reported sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) between 1986 and 1992. Highlights include the near collision of a passenger jet and UFO in Kent and the pilots of a US Air Force jet being ordered to shoot down a UFO over East Anglia.

This is the second batch of UFO files released to the National Archives by the Ministry of Defence - the first instalment was released in May 2008. They contain a wealth of information for anyone interested in the subject. UFO expert Dr David Clarke also provides a videocast guide to the information contained in the files.

Go to the UFO files page to view files and supplementary information.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals

In case you missed it in all the Tina Fey/Sarah Palin on SNL hoopla (funny stuff - check it out here), Adam Sandberg did a weirdly funny bit about Mark Wahlberg talking to animals a couple of weeks ago. Wahlberg failed to see the humour in it and told Jimmy Kimmel that he'd like to punch Sandberg in the face. I thought the skit was hilarious in a strange, what am I watching (?) sort of way. Give it a look here.

[Side note: How will SNL survive the departure of Amy Poehler? She is fantastic.]

Bond is back (well, in a couple of weeks)

Here's an advance preview / review of the new Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, and an extended trailer from the BBC. The movie sounds awesome (and is, reportedly, a good half hour shorter than Casino Royale - and, one assumes, without as many false endings).

Oh yeah, and about the title, apparently it was chosen from an unrelated 1960 short story in Ian Fleming's For Your Eyes Only short story collection (other titles in the collection included A View To A Kill and the title story.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bacon! You know you love it. It is like kryptonite even for hardcore vegetarians.

Why bacon? Why not. At the ingenius site Bacon Today (mmm... bacon) they celebrate all things bacon, and there are more than you think - check out their Bacon Shop. As to the question, 'why bacon', they provide some compelling answers:

If you have to ask “why bacon?” then we’re glad you’re here. Bacon Today was founded on the simple principal that a world of bacony goodness exists out there for all to discover and enjoy. Here’s what we believe:

  • The most versatile meat on the planet deserves some respect.
  • Breakfast is not the only meal for bacon.
  • Fashion, Art, Music…all industries seriously devoid of bacon.
  • Bacon is a treat for all the senses.
  • Frozen bacon should not be used as a weapon (although it happens).
  • As some folks have said — it’s the candy of meats!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

L.A. Fires

A couple of hard to believe photos from LA.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Photos of the sun

These are some really amazing pictures.

From the Boston Globe:

The Sun is now in the quietest phase of its 11-year activity cycle, the solar minimum - in fact, it has been unusually quiet this year - with over 200 days so far with no observed sunspots. The solar wind has also dropped to its lowest levels in 50 years. Scientists are unsure of the significance of this unusual calm, but are continually monitoring our closest star with an array of telescopes and satellites. Here are
some recent images of the Sun in more active times.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Another tribute to Paul Newman

REG DUNLOP HONOURED: The No.7 Paul Newman wore as Reg Dunlop in the cult hockey comedy Slap Shot is going to the rafters of the Syracuse War Memorial.

The Syracuse Crunch announced yesterday that the team will pay tribute to the late actor by raising a banner before Saturday's AHL game against the Rochester Americans. The banner will stay there for the entire season.

Crunch president Howard Dolgon says it's appropriate Newman's legacy should be recognized and honoured in the arena where parts of the movie were filmed in 1977.

[Source: The Toronto Star]

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I’m actually starting to feel sorry for Sarah Palin

I never thought I’d say that about a Republican VP candidate. US politics is a mean spirited, rough and tumble business. It is never fun to see someone so alarmingly out of their depth being mocked for it daily in the newspapers and on the talk shows (well, it is fun, but it feels wrong for it to be so funny, doesn't it?).

From BC Business online, here's a collection of Palin "highlights".

Watching Palin

For schadenfreude junkies, it has been a delicious fortnight. Two weeks ago, Sarah Palin, the fresh Republican vice-presidential nominee, was a political star ascending. Huge crowds came out to see her wherever she went, she delivered a caustic Convention speech that energized a listless Republican base, and she made Barack Obama, who was slipping into a pull-away stride, look suddenly vulnerable and very much in reach.

Democrats began to worry: Is it possible that, even in this perfect-storm political season, we could lose again? Well, they might still. But if they do it won't be for a lack of public censure of Sarah Palin. She's on fire, yes. Two weeks ago it was in the good way; now it's in the melting-down dripping-at-the-edges way. And all it took, it seems, was a few media interviews to ignite the flame.

My media cup hath been running over. Here are the last two weeks' finer statements by and about Palin, in no particular order.

"In what respect, Charlie? What, his world view?" —Palin responds to a question by ABC's Charlie Gibson: "Do you agree with the Bush Doctrine?"

"For a seventy-two-year-old cancer survivor to have placed this person directly behind himself in line for the Presidency was an act of almost incomprehensible cynicism and irresponsibility." —New Yorker essayist Hendrik Hertzberg, writing after Palin's wandering, fragmented, occasionally incoherent interview with CBS's Katie Couric.

"Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and, on our other side, the land-boundary that we have with Canada. It’s funny that a comment like that was kinda made to…I don’t know, you know…reporters." —Sarah Palin, expanding on why she believes Alaska's proximity to Russia gives her foreign-policy experience, in that interview with Katie Couric.

"I can see Russia from my house!" —SNL's Tina Fey, impersonating Sarah Palin discussing with Hillary Clinton the progress women have made in this 2008 election, an immediate sketch-comedy classic.

"Frankly, I have had it. The sexist treatment of Sarah Palin has to end." —CNN's Campbell Brown inveighs against the McCain campaign.

"I need to know if she really thinks dinosaurs were here 4000 years ago. I want to know that, I really do. Because she's going to have the nuclear codes." —Actor Matt Damon, in a CBS interview, compares Palin's nomination to a "bad Disney movie."

"Well, Alaska and Russia are only separated by a narrow maritime border. You've got Alaska right here, and this right here's water, and up there is Russia." —SNL's Tina Fey, again impersonating Sarah Palin, this time – ouch – using the Governor's actual words.

"I know that many times, in my life, while living it, someone would come up and, because of I had good readiness, in terms of how I was wired, when they asked that—whatever they asked—I would just not blink, because, knowing that, if I did blink, or even wink, that is weakness, therefore you can’t, you just don’t. You could, but no—you aren’t." —New Yorker humourist George Saunders poking imitative fun at Palin's answer (from the Gibson interview) about her willingness to be John McCain's running mate.

"Ideologically, she is their hardcore pornographic centerfold spread, revealing the ugliest underside of Republican ambitions – their insanely zealous and cynical drive to win power by any means necessary, even at the cost of actual leadership." —Salon's Cintra Wilson delivers a blistering diatribe on the "political Viagra" that is Sarah Palin.

"Palin appeals to the white trash vote with her toned-down version of the porn actress look." —Heather Mallick, lobbing at a similar criticism at Palin in a September 5th column that was ultimately removed from and apologized for.

And now two days remain before Palin's vice-presidential debate showdown with Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden. Will the meltdown continue? What's your call?

John Bucher is digital editor of BCBusiness Online.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Marketing campaign for the new season of Dexter is pretty cool

I've talked here before about how much I like the TV show Dexter. Season 3 just kicked off and they have been running a very clever marketing campaign for the new season. I just finished watching season 2 on DVD, and while I slightly enjoyed season 1 more, the second season is also excellent. I'm bummed I don't have Showcase and am missing season 3....

Monday, September 29, 2008

"Killer" sauce takes on a whole new meaning

News of the weird (and, sadly, tragic) from the UK's Daily Mail: Aspiring chef dies hours after making ultra-hot sauce for chilli-eating contest. Perhaps he used a few Guatemalan Insanity Peppers? [also known as the Merciless Pepper of Quetzaltenango]

I'm not sure if the Darwin Awards are still around [side note: Wasn't there going to be a Darwin Awards movie coming out ages ago starring Winona Ryder? What happened to it?]

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Rest in peace, Reg Dunlop

Sad news in the entertainment world, as I'm sure you've heard, as legendary actor Paul Newman passed away this weekend after a long bout with cancer. Newman was 83.

Newman had many famous roles, including Butch Cassidy in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which was my favourite Newman movie. With hockey season just around the corner it seems fitting to remember him in a role he was absolutely perfect for, Reggie Dunlop in Slapshot (from James Mirtle's blog).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Indecent Hello Kitty Products

This is wrong on so many levels.... Check them out at Hello Kitty Universe.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Roenick talks about 'Swingers'

You probably know him for his big goals, big hits, big excitement ("that's JR hockey!"), but you likely also know him for his legendary video game role in Swingers. With NHL 09 coming out shortly, Jeremy Roenick talks about the NHL video game with Das Gamer.

Almost 39, Jeremy Roenick is entering his 21rst year in the NHL. And yet the best American-born player in NHL history (510 goals) is probably better known for his feats as a video game character than a hall of fame hockey player. After all, it was a virtual JR in Swingers that Vince Vaughn used to take out Gretzky during a game of NHL 94. Not a lot of hockey fans can rattle off Roenick’s career stats but just about every gamer who ever played as the Blackhawks in NHL 94 has used Vaughn’s quote from the movie, “It’s not so much me as it is Roenick. He’s that good,” after scoring a goal with Roenick.
And you've probably used it in other circumstances too, even if you aren't a gamer. For the full article click here. Make sure you scroll down to the end of the second page for a special treat.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Most Poisonous Creatures in the World

Tread carefully around these beasties!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Much ado about political yard signs (US edition)

Apparently Barack Obama's position on yard signs is proving to be quite controversial....

In a controversial move sure to upset millions of people, Barack Obama’s campaign has decided to forgo the traditional time-wasting distribution of chum (yard signs, bumper stickers, etc.) to try and win the election.

Settling on what they call a “get voters to register by approaching them on the phone and at the door with an army of volunteers” strategy, Obama’s senior staff has directed state, regional, and local field organizers to use their finite time to make tangible progress toward winning.It’s an approach that has ruffled some Democratic feathers.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

So many magazines, so little time

Are you a fan of magazines? Well if so, you have to check out Mygazines.

Mygazines is a free place to browse, share, archive and customize unlimited magazine articles uploaded by the Mygazines community. I'm not sure about the legality of this as it sort of gets into the whole Napster area of who owns a product once it has been purchased and how do you go about limiting free usage of it.

As of writing there were 1,645 magazines archived on the site. Now you just need Apple to finally release their iTablet so you can read your Mygazines in your favourite spot. [no need to share where that might be]

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tomorrow is International Talk Like A Pirate Day

Attention Boz - if you are out there - this is most definitely for you!

Founded by two friends on June 6, 1995, the holiday was conceived during a game of racquetball when one friend, after being injured, shouted “Arrrgh!” Because the day fell on the anniversary of D-Day, one of the friends later decided to move it to his ex-wife’s birthday - September 19th. After that, the day took on a life of its own.

The site also contains such key information for this festive occasion such as 'Top Ten Pirate Pickup Lines" and how to talk like a German pirate.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Palin and Hilary on SNL

In case you haven't seen it yet, here's the video:

If the video doesn't load, click here.

Do we really need more 'More Cowbell'?

Probably not, but this is pretty awesome.* This guy has created a website where you can add additional percussion (i.e. more cowbell) to your favourite MP3s. Here's a sample with a few voice samples thrown in for good measure:

Make your own at

* Awesomeness not guaranteed

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Slovakia outscores Kobe Bryant!

When did Bill Belichek start coaching the Slovakian women's hockey team? I'm having a very hard time wrapping my head around this scoreline.