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.