Saturday, January 31, 2009

Super Bowl snack turned up to 11

For all your Super Bowl needs.... the greatest Super Bowl snack of all time. I give this to you a day in advance as you'll need plenty of prep time. The house that clogged arteries and indigestion built. Hmmm... that is sort of like saying 'Ruth' when you think about it.

Enjoy the game.

San Dimas High School football rocks!

It takes a village idiot

Sweet American sports tradition.... Super Bowl, you are officially on notice.

On Saturday (today) the Idiotarod, a take on the famous Alaskan dog-sled race (note that extra ‘o’) hits New York. Brace yourself: instead of dogs and sleds, this one features humans and shopping carts. Expect to see hordes of outlandishly costumed meta-mushers running, drinking and sweating as they make their way to the finish line whatever way they can. The first team to cross wins bragging rights, but points are also awarded for dirty tricks, and cheating — say, liquoring up the judges — is encouraged. To watch the race, check the Web site for details. The after-party can smell like wet dog, but it’s still a really good time.

To read the rest of the article, click here: Olympics for Hipsters.

N.B. - Be sure to check out the videos on the main Idiotarod site (linked above).

Friday, January 30, 2009

Photos so awesome that you will feel inadequate

Obviously, I'm not referring to my own photos. Check out 45 supercool motion blur photos at the always great Smashing Magazine. I think my favourites are the kid be swung, the dog running, and the train rolling off into the distance on the pier. Enjoy.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Best TV Shows of the 2000s

I recently finished watching season 2 of Rome on DVD (the series finished at the end of season 2, although there are some rumblings about a Rome movie) and it got me to thinking about my favourite TV shows of this century. I watched most of these shows on DVD, which is really a great way to watch TV shows. You can get really wrapped up in the show and, essentially, watch an episode (or more) every night until you've seen entire series.

[Note: I'm nearing the end of season 1 of The Wire and it will likely figure highly on this list once I've finished watching it. I think there are five seasons? Anyway, it isn't on the list at this point because it is still in progress. BTW, if you are like me you probably heard the description of The Wire and said, 'why would I ever want to watch that? It sounds unbearably bleak.' Well, if so, get past it and start watching. You will not be disappointed.]

On to my rules / guidelines:
1. The show had to be on since Y2K, and not just in syndication (i.e. Seinfeld is excluded even though you can still watch it every night on one channel or another)
2. A show that started before the year 2000 could be included, but its post-2000 episodes only would be considered. E.g. The Simpsons - arguably the #1 TV of all time, didn't make the cut because while it is still consistently good, it is no longer must-see TV. Some of its episodes this century have been sublime, but it doesn't consistently hit the high notes of the early to mid-90s (think: The Goodfellas episode).
3. Specific seasons of shows could be cited, if warranted (e.g. great season 1; poor subsequent seasons)

Here's my Top 10 Best TV Shows of this Century (so far):
  1. The Sopranos
  2. Arrested Development
  3. The Office (UK)
  4. Dexter
  5. Six Feet Under
  6. Rome
  7. Friday Night Lights (season 1)
  8. The Family Guy
  9. Mad Men (season 1)
  10. Entourage (seasons 1 and 2)

Other notables: Rescue Me, The Office (US), 24 (season 1)

I also asked my resident wine expert to provide a woman's perspective since her 2008 Valentine's Day Wine submission is still overdue, as is her '2008 Spring Wines' and 'Wines of Summer 08' offerings.... Here's her top 5:

  1. Six Feet Under
  2. The Sopranos
  3. Dexter
  4. Sex and the City
  5. Arrested Development

There you go. A similar list for the most part, although we disagreed over a show that certainly appealed much more to women than men.

I recommend you get watching these shows if you have not seen any of them as they are all high quality. Will The Wire make the cut? Will it bump Entourage or will my perspective change and something else will fall out of the top 10? I'll provide an update later this year.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How to beat winter

Well, you probably can't sit in front of the fire all day-every day.... so, beating winter is really more of a case of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em". The key is to embrace and enjoy the winter. Kids love the snow, so be like a kid. Build a snow man (or a snow man army). Or be like a dog. Not as easy in the city, unfortunately. (click on pictures for full size)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Headphone culture meets advertising in head-on collision

Sony attempts to steal some of Apple's cool with this clever (although vaguely familiar) ad: New York by Walkman.

And NSW Australia preaches teen, iPod safety with these ads.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Year of the Ox

Source: AP Photo/Vincent Yu

Happy Chinese New Year! Time for some Dim Sum.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Robbie Burns Day

Today is the 250th anniversary of Scottish poet Robbie Burns' birthday. It is a big deal in Scotland and around the world. For those of you who have never tasted haggis, I suggest you rectify that this weekend. It sounds disgusting but is quite tasty.

Burns is best known for his love songs/poems and, I would imagine, for Auld Lang Syne. His poems take on new life when read aloud. Here are a few links. Take some time to read a few of his poems aloud to a loved one. Add scotch, if necessary or if so desired.

Once again, my apologies to the ever game person who had to read 'A Red, Red Rose' at my wedding. You did great and it was wonderful.

A Red, Red, Rose

O my Luve's like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June:
O my Luve's like the melodie,
That's sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve!
And fare-thee-weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho' 'twere ten thousand mile!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Time gentlemen, please

The Dundas Street West day in the sun seems to have passed, save for the area around Ossington (which is really more of an Ossington-thing than Dundas). From Martiniboys:
For a few seconds a couple of years ago, Dundas West had a would-be air. Bars like the Communist Daughter, the Chelsea Room, and Cocktail Molotov sprung up in quick succession, attracting tight t-shirters and vinyl enthusiasts. Well, it didn't quite work out. Cocktail Molotov is closed.

Your next favourite TV show?

One to watch: Fox's Sit Down, Shut Up, set to debut later this month.

Based on a popular Australian concept, the animated series was adapted by the creative team behind Arrested Development and boasts that show's principal cast regulars, including Jason Bateman and Canadian Will Arnett. The storyline follows a handful of terrible teachers at a rundown high school.

“Each character in the show is more or less modeled after the actor doing the voice,” said executive producer Mitch Hurwitz. “These people are known quantities.”
Even in rough-cut form, the version shown to critics here was hilarious.

Source: The Globe and Mail

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thing of the day #10

Sometimes a picture says it all. Added bonus, your daily semi-non-sequiteur that may not be so non after all...: Yes, we have no bananas.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Coffee with legs does not always mean 'coffee to go'

Many years ago I was visiting a friend in Santiago, Chile and he took me for "coffee with legs". I didn't really know what I was in store for but I had an inkling he wasn't just talking about take away. So we end up in this coffee shop just off the main downtown square in the business district where he had his office. And guess what, the coffee was served with a fair helping of legs, and boobs and butt for that matter. It was sort of a Starbucks if Starbucks was a strip joint.

There were mirrors everywhere and the waitresses served you while walking behind a rail where they would set your coffee. I guess this makes it sound a bit like that renowned family restaurant, Hooters, but for coffee, except... some of the customers also disappeared down a mystery stairwell and did not re-emerge while we were there [note: insert own French Press joke].

Coffee with Legs - it certainly would put a different spin on your 15 minute coffee break. But that's South America, right. Could never happen in Canada or the US, right? Well, that is what I thought until very recently.

Apparently CWL (coffee with legs) has infiltrated the Pacific Northwest. How long before it takes over all of Cascadia and then marches east where they'll get us even further hooked on caffeine and we'll be forced to do the bidding of the coffee overlords?? Whoa, where was I? Right, scantily clad babes serving sweet, delicious and sexy coffee. At Cowgirl Espresso, a mini-chain of 6 espresso cafes in Seattle/Tacoma area you get your caffeine fix from scantily clad baristas.

There are also a few other spots and a topless coffee shop is being proposed for Maine of all places. Enough that a term has been coined, "sexpresso" (yes, I know it is actually espresso, not expresso, but it is sex, not ses. Enough).

According to the Randomly Generated blog, there are quite a number of coffee stands in the Seattle area who not only employ young, hot, women but encourage them to dress very scantily. Some wear short skirts, some wear lingerie, others little more than thigh-highs and panties. They act provocatively and succeed in seducing their patrons into tipping generously.

In addition to Cowgirl Espresso, there is also the Natté Latté where baristas sport hot-pink hot pants and tight white tank tops, and other spots with less clever names like Java Girls.

[Side note: For some reason I now have Groove Armada's "I See You Baby" playing in my head. Weird....]

Said one customer quoted in a Seattle Times article, "If I'm going to pay $4 for a cup of coffee" said one male customer, "I'm not going to get served by a guy."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama's Speech

The Chicago Tribune has the full text of the speech given before more than a million on the National Mall.

The Slate verdict: Good, but not great. You can also watch the speech at the bottom of the Slate article (after a message from the sponsor, of course).

He's certainly got his work cut out for him... but that's a topic for another day.

I think this is a perfect way to end this post on this historic day. Here is a nice, heart warming photo essay from Gawker (yes, really) showing people watching the inauguration from the US and various places around the world: Watching Change. Definitely check it out.

At the risk of sounding like Sting, it's a brand new day

Still hard to believe.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Today's Something or Other #10

On my signal, unleash hell.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The atheists are coming!

Well, maybe. I wrote about atheist bus ads in London back in October and they might soon be coming to the Big Smoke. Jeff Gray wrote about it in Friday's Globe and Mail:

The atheist slogan, "There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life," may soon be coming to subways and buses in Canada's largest city.

The Toronto-based Freethought Association of Canada, inspired by a campaign that has plastered British buses with the phrase, has contacted the private firm that handles ads on the Toronto Transit Commission to see if the message would violate any rules. Organizers plan to launch a fundraising page on the website in the next few days.
The British campaign, which has inspired similar moves in Washington, Barcelona and Madrid, has sparked complaints to the country's advertising authority and a backlash from the evangelical group Christian Voice, which has proclaimed that Britain is in "deep sin."

Click here to continue reading the article


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Today's Something or Other #9

Sharks! Um, yeah, this kind of has to be seen to be believed.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Today's Something or Other #8

Check out this fun photo in snowy Paris. (source: AP Photo/Yoan Valat):

Mixwit shuts its virtual doors

You may recall I wrote about Mixwit back in April in a post called, 'Bringing back the mixtape'. It was a pretty fun and cool site where you could compile an old cassette style mixtape for other people to listen to online. I'm not sure about the legality of it all, but it was a neat idea. I was sad to receive an email from them over the holidays advising me that they were shutting down (see below).

We regret to announce that Mixwit will cease to exist at the end of theyear.The website and profiles will be turned off around Dec 27th andall embedded widgets will stop playing before the end of December.

We’ve put a year of work into Mixwit so this choice wasn’t taken lightly. Iwon’t go into the details of our situation but state simply that weboldly marched into in a position best described as “between a rock and ahard place.” We’re very grateful to be have been part of the mixtaperevival of ‘08 and are satisfied to be able to to bow out while thingsare still good.

You guys are all amazing. It’s clear that all of you put a ton of time andeffort into your mixes. For me personally, I was looking forward to all ofthe designs people created for their tapes. There was a lot of basic tapesand many lovely photos, but the designs and artwork - WOW!

We’re very sorry that this has to end. We’re going to try to figure outsome way to archive the artwork and playlists, if for nothing at leasthistoric value. As for now, everything needs to be shut down by the endof the year just to make sure we’ve got a clean start for 2009.

We’ll return early next year with a new company and new toys. Untilthen, enjoy the holidays and please take good care of yourselves,your families, and your friends =)

- Radley & Mike

The World Series of Beer Pong

"Beer Pong Misunderstood"

Vegas beer pong competition gets (almost) serious
By Kathleen Hennessey, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

LAS VEGAS - Don't let the smell of beer and the rock music fool you: Beer pong is a serious game. Some dare say a sport.

Granted, they tend to be grinning and drinking when they say it. There was plenty of both going on this weekend at the World Series of Beer Pong IV, a loud and sloshy annual tournament that elevates a college fraternity house staple that includes ping pong balls and beer to an (almost) serious competition.

With a $50,000 prize on the line, more than 400 teams flocked to the Flamingo hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip for a chance to bring their skills out of the bar and into the big time. They wore matching uniforms and talked about focus and strategy.

Some also wore matching hot pants and talked about drinking more Pabst Blue Ribbon, the official beer of the tournament.

But the winner, Ron Hamilton, 25, of Brentwood, N.Y., preferred liquor to beer, and said he got ready for Sunday's play by drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels.

"The key today was me getting real drunk and my partner not missing, and us coming out and proving we're the best," Hamilton said shortly after winning the top prize with Michael Popielarski, 25, of Massapequa, N.Y.

Hamilton said he and his partner - who form the team Smashing Time - met three years ago at a bar in Long Island.

"We've been unstoppable ever since," he said. Hamilton said he planned to eliminate his personal debt and pay part of his mother's mortgage with the winnings.

The game is played with cups of beer lined up like bowling pins on two ends of a 4.2 metre table. Team members alternate trying to toss a ping pong ball into the cups. The team that lands all the cups wins, the losers drink.

While one team is tossing, the other is free to create any sort of distraction, hence the skimpy hot pants. "The skill is the psyche out," said competitor 23-year-old Ryan Young.

Beer pong came to prominence largely in East Coast college campuses in the late 1990s. It has recently left the campus for the mainstream.

More bars are setting up tables and weekly tournaments. A new documentary, "Last Cup: Road to the World Series of Beer Pong," captures the growing pong culture. "Beer Pong" the video game was designed for Nintendo Co.'s popular Wii game system, but JV Games Inc. changed the name to "Pong Toss" amid complaints about appropriateness for teenagers. The World Series of Beer Pong has seen its ranks swell five fold since its first tournament in 2006.

Devotees say the game is a hit because it requires just enough skill and concentration that you can improve with practice, but not so much that you can't also have a few while playing.

This World Series of Beer Pong is the brainchild of entrepreneurs Billy Gaines, Duncan Carroll and Ben "Skinny" Solnik. The trio met as students and beer pong aficionados at Carnegie Mellon University.

After graduation, they set out in their spare time to turn the game they loved into a moneymaker. Their site,, sells tables, T-shirts, balls and other gear. The company organizes satellite tournaments and is a clearinghouse for detailed and occasionally heated conversation about the game's rules. This one made it into the world series official rule book: "No player may take offence to anything said or done during a game, even if it involves their mother."

But the world series' rules don't require the losers to drink, a deviation from original game, and a concession, perhaps, to critics. Beer pong and other drinking games have been targeted by those trying to curb binge drinking. Some college campuses have banned the game.

Gaines said beer pong is misunderstood.

"I know the media will say this is a chugging contest," he said. "This is about a sport, it's about a competition. They aren't here to drink. Yeah, they're drinking, but that's not why they're here."