Sunday, August 31, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Another city with its own Daily Photo blog

Paris, Budapest, London... Cleveland? Yes, it is true. Somebody has their own Cleveland Daily Photo blog. I've been to Cleveland and was not really inspired to take a lot of photos, although their warehouse district is very happening at night; the downtown core, especially on a Saturday, not so much. That being said, this guy proves there are interesting photos to be taken anywhere - it is all in how you look at things. I quite like his photos.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Stupid Human Tricks & Your Next Must-Have Item

Is this the greatest thing ever? Easily in the top 3. Check it out: the Airkick Human Catapult. Who do I have to kill to get one?

A few years ago I read an article in GQ (or Esquire?) about the Dangerous Sports Club. Their heyday was back in the 70s and 80s and they once invented a human trebuchet (see below). They are also responsible for bringing bungee jumping to the masses [side note: The idea for bungy jumping was inspired by the invention of bungy rope and the practice of Land-diving in Pentecost Island]. It is nice to see that their spirit of invention lives on.

Human Trebuchet in action:

Monday, August 25, 2008

I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time

Vigilante ninjas busted by police in New Jersey. You can't make this stuff up.

And in other ninja news, here's a classic from earlier this year, in case you missed it:

Ninja Parade Slips Through Town Unnoticed Once Again

Sunday, August 24, 2008

When the music's over, turn out the lights

So, Beijing 2008 has come and gone. Much has been written and debated about the relative merits of giving the Games to China, but it has to be said that they did a good job.

I wasn't too keen on the Summer Games initially, but I came around and watched more of them than I had anticipated. It was impossible not to get caught up in the Phelps phenomenon and any fears of a second week letdown were obliterated by track's newest sensation, Usain Bolt.

One final nod to my favourite part of the Beijing Games, the Water Cube: What it is like to stand on the Water Cube's high dive platform.

On to London! Here are some London links:

I've previously hooked you up with Paris Daily Photo and a Budapest daily photo site (Disappearing Budapest), so with the Summer Games heading to London for 2012, it seemed like the perfect time to tell you about London Daily Photo. Unsurprisingly, it features a daily photo from around London.

2. I also stumbled across this site about abandoned London Tube Stations. The website has an interesting, and extensive, collection of photos. Owing to security concerns you can no longer tour the abandoned stations, so this is the closest you are likely to get. No invisible car, thank god.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Britpop legends refuse to go away

Oasis have a new album coming out this fall, Dig Out Your Soul, and based on a couple of songs I’ve heard, it might actually be decent!

You can preview some of the new album at the official
Oasis YouTube channel (and/or find unofficial bootleg versions elsewhere on You Tube).

If that isn't enough Britpop for you, or if you find yourself asking, 'what ever happened to Britpop?', here are some key resources: All you ever wanted to know about Britpop but were afraid to ask:

Britpop Bootlegs

2. The Ongoing History of New Music has a big 4-part series on Britpop [and a separate two-parter on Cool Britannia]. You can read part one of the series
here, and the other parts are easily accessible with two clicks of your mouse.

3. And if you want to hear Alan Cross' dulcet tones, you can listen to the podcast

Monday, August 18, 2008

And you thought your wedding was off the hook

Newlyweds are Tasered, arrested at reception melee, and again two days later. This story has to be read to be believed. Hey, Andy Somora and Anna Pastuszwska, look on the bright side: None of your guests will likely ever forget your wedding.

Did Michael Phelps really win the 100m Butterfly final?

Who doesn't love a good conspiracy theory? Did Michael Phelps really win the 100m Butterfly final? This guy says NO, and he makes a very compelling case.

The New York Times weighs in but their findings are somewhat inconclusive.

Alas, the "fix" appears to be because of the angles of the camera and the light.'s photo sequence appears to show Phelps winning by an unfathomably small margin... but doesn't SI have a vested interest in Phelps breaking the record for most golds in an Olympics? [What's that sound? Is that what I think it is??]

Bonus conspiracy coverage: the Moon Hoax revealed by Google Moon!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Are you ready for the Gastrosexual?

It seems like only yesterday that the term 'Metrosexual' was everywhere, but that is sooo 2004.'s Food Media Blog, The Grinder, has introduced a new term, the 'Gastrosexual'. Yes, it doesn't sound particularly appetizing. Actually, upon further inspection (i.e. actually reading the piece I'm citing), the UK's Daily Mail deserves the credit/blame/hate mail for this new term.
Gastrosexuals, according to the UK’s Daily Mail, are a new generation of men who use gourmet cooking to woo their love interests:
Men having the ability to cook is also now a key factor in attracting women along with salary, status, personality and appearance, according to new research.

The report ‘Emergence of the Gastrosexual’ cites the popularity of superstar chefs Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver as a factor in making cooking a macho pursuit.

According to the study by food company PurAsia 48 per cent of people say being able to cook makes a person more attractive to them and 23 per cent of 18-34 year old men say they cook to potentially seduce a partner.

The study also says that 60 percent of male respondents cook regularly for friends and family, and 50 percent of the men consider cooking to be a hobby and not a chore, whereas only 40 percent of women can say the same.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Toaster Museum? Sure, why not?

I thought 'Haha, very funny' when I first saw this link, but that doesn't do justice to this site -- to this art project, more accurately. This is a lovingly, and painstakingly curated museum with more types of toasters than you ever thought possible. I particularly like the really 'out there' designs that are the same in very different parts of the world - how did that happen?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Where will the 'i' iNsanity end?

This gadget is actually pretty cute. You should buy one for your wife, girlfriend, hip mother or any friend named Grant. I give you... the iPig.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tiger who? Glory’s Last Shot lives up to its billing

Padraig Harrington – Wow! Talk about a summer redefining your legacy! Winning the last two majors of 2008 and three of the past six?! 16 months ago Harrington was a nearly man and now he’s one of the greatest golfers of his generation. How the heck did this happen?? Well, making ridiculous putt after ridiculous putt and shooting 32 on the back nines of the 2008 PGA and British Opens explains a lot.

Harrington joins illustrious company in the 3-majors club, including contemporaries Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els and the late Payne Stewart. His win at the PGA pulls him ahead of a noteworthy group of two-time major winners, including Ben Crenshaw, Greg Norman, Jose-Maria Olazabal, Bernhard Langer, Curtis Strange, Johnny Miller and, er, John Daly.

Raise a glass of stout for the man from Dublin.

Sergio Garcia – Another tough loss and everyone will point to the short missed putt on 17. Obviously it was a key miss, but this performance solidified Sergio as a legitimate contender at every major where he tees it up. He reined in his emotions, putted well and was in the hunt until the very end. If not for Harrington’s heroics, Sergio would have had his first major instead of now being 0-for-41 (note: Mickelson was 0-for-42 before winning three in a bunch). I expect Sergio will win at least two majors in the next three years.

Tiger Woods – It has to be said, not as much with the PGA but definitely with the British, that the last two majors were there for the taking and he’s probably at home thinking he should be at 16. The slam next year to tie Jack?

Quote of the Day

This was the Quote of the Day on my iGoogle page today. Given it is an all-time classic from the late, great George Best I felt compelled to share it:

"I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered."

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Lord of the Rings - Beijing blogging

I am watching part of the Olympics this evening, needing a good pick me up after watching 'Shake Hands With The Devil'. What the Chinese team is doing on the Rings is unbelievable! They do a weird high-10 after each routine, but you can forgive that if you look at their pipes?! Two tickets to the Gun Show. Holy sh*t!

The crowd is also totally psyched up for the gymnastics, which helps to hold my attention. I've never really been into the Summer Games. I can't really get into it, although I enjoy the swimming, some of the track and the Velodrome cycling, amongst other events [I fondly remember the arcade game Olympic Decathlon, although I was never very good at it]. I much prefer the Winter Olympics -- smaller, more intimate and you get to see the local scenery while the athletes compete (think: mountains).

In french they still call Beijing, "Pekin" (sorry, accent missing). Interesting.

The Watercube!

How cool a venue is this for the swimming and diving! Awesome.

Note: Synchronized Diving - impressive when done well, but why?

The Beijing Games - Part I

Michael Phelps looks unbeatable and looks built genetically to be a champion swimmer. 8 gold medals is a stretch, but if anyone can do it, he probably can. The relays will be the key.

He dominated the 200m finals today for this third gold so far -- this was the race, dubbed the 'race of the century' in which he won the bronze behind Ian Thorpe and Peter van den Hoogenband [best Olympic name ever] in 2004. Someone needs to come up with a proper nickname for Phelps. 'The Olympian' won't do, even if he ends up being the most decorated Olympian of all time, which seems inevitable.

Friday night thoughts and recollections

The Beijing Olympics are here. On behalf of my dinner companions at Cowbell on Friday night, let me offer my condolences to all the Mom & Pop Shop factories who were affected by Beijing's 200-mile crackdown on heavy industry during the Games.

Speaking of Cowbell, it was my first time there on Friday. I had the duck and it was delicious. From what I was able to glean, everyone enjoyed their meals and we pretty much covered all the appetizers and main courses. They also make a mean whisky sour; the bartender whips it with some egg whites which gives it a most excellent frothiness. I also really love that the menus are the chalkboards on the walls.

However, I must say the service, while friendly and willing, was not very good. For dessert I ordered a glass of dessert wine and twice I was brought a cafe au lait. Finally, I did manage to get my drink. From the time the first person received their dessert until the last person, 45 minutes had passed.

My group drank quite a bit of booze and wine, each of us had appetizers and desserts in addition to our main courses, and the final tally came to about $220 per couple which, while not inexpensive, represented pretty good value in my opinion. Cowbell is undoubtedly worth a try, but there's definitely room for improvement service-wise.

About Cowbell:

Inspired by turn of the century French bistros, Cowbell owners Mark Cutrara and Karin Culliton have created an atmosphere of comfort, originality and fun in their very own neighbourhood of Parkdale.

Chef Cutrara is dedicated to serving fresh, simple food. Cowbell's chalkboard menu changes daily to reflect the availability and freshness of our ingredients. Cutrara and his kitchen are working almost exclusively with naturally-raised, organic meat and produce, sourced from local farmers. Cutrara purchases whole animals, butchers, smokes and cures his meat on the premises. And he churns his own butter!

[Side note: Flesh for Lulu’s “I Go Crazy” is playing on the radio while I type this. Very nice.]

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Adbusters: The Hipster represents the end of Western civilization

The Hipster has been getting beaten up a lot lately in the press, most notably by Time Out New York. Now Adbusters is piling on, arguing that the hipster only consumes the cool without creating any of their own. Seems very 21st century if you ask me, but the articles raises some interesting points and tells a fairly entertaining tale.

[Side note: We had modernism, then post-modernism and, more recently, post post-modernism. At what point do we move on to pre-futurism?]

Hipsterdom is the first “counterculture” to be born under the advertising industry’s microscope, leaving it open to constant manipulation but also forcing its participants to continually shift their interests and affiliations. Less a subculture, the hipster is a consumer group – using their capital to purchase empty authenticity and rebellion. But the moment a trend, band, sound, style or feeling gains too much exposure, it is suddenly looked upon with disdain. Hipsters cannot afford to maintain any cultural loyalties or affiliations for fear they will lose relevance.

An amalgamation of its own history, the youth of the West are left with consuming cool rather that creating it. The cultural zeitgeists of the past have always been sparked by furious indignation and are reactionary movements. But the hipster’s self-involved and isolated maintenance does nothing to feed cultural evolution. Western civilization’s well has run dry. The only way to avoid hitting the colossus of societal failure that looms over the horizon is for the kids to abandon this vain existence and start over.


If you don’t give a damn, we don’t give a fuck!” chants an emcee before his incitements are abruptly cut short when the power plug is pulled and the lights snapped on.

Dawn breaks and the last of the after-after-parties begin to spill into the streets. The hipsters are falling out, rubbing their eyes and scanning the surrounding landscape for the way back from which they came. Some hop on their fixed-gear bikes, some call for cabs, while a few of us hop a fence and cut through the industrial wasteland of a nearby condo development.

The half-built condos tower above us like foreboding monoliths of our yuppie futures. I take a look at one of the girls wearing a bright pink keffiyah and carrying a Polaroid camera and think, “If only we carried rocks instead of cameras, we’d look like revolutionaries.” But instead we ignore the weapons that lie at our feet – oblivious to our own impending demise.

We are a lost generation, desperately clinging to anything that feels real, but too afraid to become it ourselves. We are a defeated generation, resigned to the hypocrisy of those before us, who once sang songs of rebellion and now sell them back to us. We are the last generation, a culmination of all previous things, destroyed by the vapidity that surrounds us. The hipster represents the end of Western civilization – a culture so detached and disconnected that it has stopped giving birth to anything new.

Another reason this recession sucks

Apparently French women are not going topless at the beach this summer due to pessimism about the economy. Damn you American, sub-prime mortgage crisis, look at what you have wrought! Well, that and all the foreclosures and the billions and billions of lost home equity value. But still, the French beaches not being topless is a bitter pill to swallow.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Stick it to the Man

Fight the good fight against rampant consumerism in a clever and snarky way with these stickers from the Anti-Advertising Agency. You say you want a revolution? Yeah!!

Take your iPod or Blackberry into the shower with you

Golden Shellback Waterproof Coating from on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sometimes passive-aggressive is the best approach

This is a pretty funny social network, if you can call it that. Perhaps it is just a forum for people to share funny found notes on a global basis? Whatever, you should check it out for a good laugh. It is updated regularly .

Passive Aggressive Notes gets users from around the world to send in those “painfully polite and hilariously hostile writings from shared spaces the world over” A Dish Draft might help some of these people. [note: way, way ahead of its time…] I personally like the "dearest roommate" note.

If you liked this, you might also like Post Secret. It is certainly more serious in tone and definitely more artsy. PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Death Cab for Cutie's take on The Tragically Hip

From Rolling Stone magazine:

One of the biggest draws of this weekend’s Pemberton festival was Canada’s own the Tragically Hip, who are treated as heroes in their own country but are a mystery in the United States. Luckily, Rock Daily caught up with Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla, who explained their importance. Click here for the explanation and some exclusive footage of the Tragically Hip’s performance.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Big Snit - Would you please stop sawing the table!

This cartoon never fails to bring a small to my face. Here's the National Film Board produced all-time classic, The Big Snit. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Summer Songs of 2008 (so far)

I’ve recently had the opportunity to listen more to the radio than I normally would. In addition to making me want to drive knitting needles into my eyes, it got me to thinking about this year’s Songs of Summer. There hasn’t really been an undisputed champ but ‘I Kissed A Girl’ is certainly making a strong case as THE song you will think of when you reflect back on the events of summer ’08 (Barack Obama winning the Democratic nomination, high gas prices and The Dark Knight). For better or worse it is hard to get away from Katy Perry and her sapphic hijinks.

Of course, there is still plenty of time for this list to change, so consider it an interim one. This long weekend could play a big role in determining the song of the summer. Coldplay could release a new song that dominates the airwaves in a way the first two singles haven’t (the title track isn't very good and 'Violet Hill' isn't really a summer song). Madonna’s new song could suddenly be everywhere. CSS's 'Jager Yoga' could find the audience it deserves. The U2 reissues could ignite a Boy or The Joshua Tree revival – ‘Stories For Boys’ or ‘Red Hill Mining Town’ would both be nice August songs.

Here’s my list so far:

Songs of Summer:

  • Pork & Beans – Weezer [the undisputed Modern Rock Radio Champ this summer]
  • I Kissed A Girl – Katy Perry

Other contenders:

  • 4 Minutes – Madonna f. Justin Timberlake
  • Shut Up and Let Me Go – The Ting Tings
  • American Boy – Estelle f. Kanye West

Honourable Mention, but not quite ready for prime time:

  • Shake It – Metro Station
  • Sleeping Sickness – City & Colour (f. Gord Downie) – enjoying this one
  • Pocketful of Sunshine – Natasha Bedingfield (makes me think of All Saints’ “Pure Shores” during the chorus)
  • Them Kids - Sam Robersts

Friday, August 1, 2008

Steve Nash and Baron Davis as you've never seen them before

This has to be seen to be believed. Nash and Davis spoof 'Stepbrothers'. You can view the video here.