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.