Category Archives: culture

Sure basil and tarragon are great, but what about marjoram?

Marjoram
I was in my local grocery store some time ago, and two of the produce staffers were talking about herbs. One of them commented that while tarragon did well and basil sold out, marjoram did not do so well and they might not stock it anymore.

I thought about this and did some random research. I found that while some of my older recipes had it as an ingredient, I don’t see it featured as much any more. (Same goes for paprika, which used to be used alot it seems, though seldom now, save in Martha Stewart’s recipes). Now it seems there is more focus on newer herbs and spices or “sweeter” herbs like basil.

It’s a shame, since marjoram is a very versatile herb. It’s less ‘sweet’ than basil or tarragon, but that makes it great in such things as an omelet. So now, several times a month, I’ll make an omelet with sauteed shallots, grated emmental cheese and some marjoram sprinkled in. Delicious.

(great photo of marjoram from Jade Craven’s photostream at flickr.com)

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Feast for the eyes! Life photos archive hosted by Google

You can see it here: LIFE photo archive hosted by Google. (Thanks to kottke.org for the notice!)

Robert Lepage Brings His Magic to the Metropolitan Opera in NYC

Robert Lepage is bringing his brilliant stagecraft to the Met in New York with a production of “Faust”. I’ve seen LePage’s “Erwartung” and “Bluebeard’s Castle” and I thought they were exceptional, but he seems to be doing something really incredible with this production, as he intertwines the production with the voice and movement of the performers, so that the entire show interacts. You really want to read the article and see the video, so visit Techno-Alchemy at the Opera – Robert Lepage Brings His ‘Faust’ to the Met – NYTimes.com

I would love to see this show.

Tom Ford and Karl Lagerfeld talk shop

Time has a fascinating interview with Tom Ford and Karl Lagerfeld talking mostly about …Ford and his clothes. Lagerfeld is very generous with his praise of Ford. Ford also praises Lagerfeld, but really, he doesn’t need it: Karl is in a league of his own.

It’s interesting to hear them talk about the thinking that goes into their design. You might think mens wear is simply a matter of adjusting the number of buttons on a suit, but they are evolving the way men dress.

See Behind the Seams: Tom Ford and Karl Lagerfeld Talk Shop – America: Conquerer of the Global Menswear Market – TIME for the interview transcript. I would recommend you scroll down and watch the conversation between them: it’s good.

Martin Luther King and the influence of Star Trek

It is easy to mock the first Star Trek. To do so, however, would be to miss out on the importance and influence it had. Lots of technical people will tell you about how it influenced the way engineers and designers see the future. But it had a much bigger influence than that. How big? Listen to Nichelle Nichols explain:

Thanks to Matthew Yglesias for the link.

Neutron loans, or how the subprime disaster works

Over at bloomberg.com is a very simple explanation of how the subprime problem works it’s destructive effect:

Joe Ripplinger took out a $184,000 mortgage in 2006 and makes his payments every month. Now he owes $192,000. The 66-year-old Minneapolis house painter has a payment- option adjustable-rate mortgage. It allows him to write a check for $565 a month even though he owes $1,300. The difference is added to the mortgage, and when his total debt reaches $212,000, or after five years have passed, he said his monthly minimum could jump to about $2,800, which he can’t afford. “We’re barely making it right now,” Ripplinger said. The estimated 1 million homeowners with $500 billion of option ARMs are beyond the help of interest-rate cuts by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke. While subprime borrowers face an average increase of 8 percent or less when their adjustable- rate mortgages reset, option ARM homeowners may see their monthly payments double after their adjustments kick in. “We call them neutron loans because they’re like a neutron bomb,” said Brock Davis, a broker with U.S. Express Mortgage Corp. in Las Vegas. “Three years later the house is still there and the people are gone.”

ARMs are fine for speculators who know what they are doing and can handle the risk. For people like Joe Ripplinger, they are anything but fine. And there are alot of people like him out there. See: Bloomberg.com: Exclusive

Free Wi-Fi at Starbucks


According to the nytimes.com blog, Bits ,

Starbucks announced today it will give most any customer two consecutive hours a day of free Wi-Fi access. Specifically, that offer applies to anyone who uses its prepaid Starbucks Card at least once a month. That represents as many as 60 hours of access for the price of one $2 cup of coffee.

It’s interesting to think of Starbucks as a network service provider. It has the potential to open up lots of other business opportunities for them as well. See Bits for more info.

Lucient Freud at the MoMA

Currently the MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art in NYC) has a exhibit of Lucian Freud Etchings. For those not aware of Freud’s work, this could be a great introduction to it. And to fans of his (like my friend, Bruce!), this is a great opportunity to soak up more of his work. See  Lucian Freud: The Painter’s Etchings for all the details.

(Thanks to Occasional Oasis for the pointer).

Want to get published? nytimes.com has the story

The New York Times has a good summary on the various web sites offering publishing services in their article: Got a Manuscript? Publishing Now a Snap – New York Times. There are references to lulu.com, blurb.com and others.

If you have been always dying to see your work bound in hardcover, check out this article and then the sites they mention.

Masks for every day use / privacy in the 21st century

Over at Razor Apple is a feature on 11 Masked Hoodies to Hide Your Face. With the rise of more and more public cameras, there may be a trend to more fashion that (stylishly) covers the face.

Xing, academics and body language

Look at the pictures at the following URL: XING Corporate Information – Management

There is a relationship between a person’s title and their body language? Can you see what it is?

OLPC ‘Give One Get One’ Program Extended until the end of 2007!

TheCompiler blog from Wired.com has the story. Key information:

The One Laptop Per Child project’s “Give One Get One” offer has been extended through the end of the year, which means there’s still time to pick up an XO laptop for yourself and someone in a developing country.The promotional offer kicked off two weeks ago and was originally scheduled to end yesterday, November 26, but due to the demand it has been extended through the end of the year.

Boots and other luxuries (or how New York Manhole covers are made in India)

The Nytimes.com has a fascinating article: New York Manhole Covers, Forged Barefoot in India

Some sample quotes:

Manhole covers manufactured in India can be anywhere from 20 to 60 percent cheaper than those made in the United States

And why is that. Could it be due partially to this:

“We can’t maintain the luxury of Europe and the United States, with all the boots and all that,” said Sunil Modi, director of Shakti Industries.

It reminds me of photographs of Europe in the 19th century.

A fantastic website dedicated to Gustav Klimt

A great flash presentation on The Life and Work of Gustav Klimt can be found at this site. Lots of his work here, from the famous like “Judith with the Head of Holofernes” to early portraits. A visually stunning site, which is most appropriate for this great painter.

Delud Luxury Blog: where the rich go for shopping ideas

If you are looking for the very best (or at least the most expensive), then you must visit Delud Luxury Blog. For example, the truffle you see in the photo is the Knipschildt’s “La Madeline au Truffe” with a price of $250 for a dark chocolate.

Me, I’ll be happy to eat the wonderful truffles at Simone Marie Belgian Chocolate here in Toronto. :)

Edward Hopper and Winslow Homer at the Art Institute of Chicago

In 2008, The Art Institute of Chicago will be putting on an exhibit of Edward Hopper (with a bonus exhibit of Winslow Homer going on as well). Here’s an idea of what you will see regarding Hopper:

The exhibition will be arranged chronologically and thematically, focusing on the work he executed in Gloucester and Truro, Massachusetts, Maine, and New York. Approximately 50 oils and 30 watercolors, together with literature and history of the artist’s own time, will show Hopper’s place in the tradition of American realism and modernism. Edward Hopper and its companion exhibition, Watercolors by Winslow Homer: The Color of Light, will provide a survey of the American realist tradition and chart the growth of modern subject matter—from Homer, America’s first modernist, to Hopper, the nation’s best known 20th-century realist.

The World’s Most Beautiful Libraries

The blog Your Daily Awesome often has some great posting. A recent one is The World’s Most Beautiful Libraries

The libraries are stunning. You have to go see.

If by Kipling

You can find it here

How to be creative and other super ideas at gapingvoid

There are lots of great ideas and fantastic drawings over at gapingvoid. I really liked this section: how to be creative

The world’s ugliest cars


Some of them don’t seem so bad now, while others are STILL ugly. Actually, the comments make you realize that the cars weren’t just ugly, but dangerous and deficient. Perhaps the article should be titled: The World’s Worst Cars.

It’s a fun read, and if you had one of these cars, you might cringe a little. :)

See The World’s Ugliest Cars over at BusinessWeek.com

Read more books using LazyLibrary

If you are like me, you like your books lean and concise (and good, of course). But if you are also like me and you find it hard to get such books, then consider: LazyLibrary. They have the goods.

Making fun on beauty queens, the importance of context and the new propaganda

I have seen this clip on a number of sites recently:

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj3iNxZ8Dww]

While I agree her answer is poor, I think everything has to do with context. Anyone asked such a question might have a tough time answering it without saying something obvious (and negative) like: the US education system is lacking. Or the people who can the survey did a poor job. Plus you are on stage, you have a set period of time to answer it, and some of the questions you may have been preparing to answer don’t come up.

So why the popularity of the clip? I think it is because of the context. I think it allows people to vent such things as envy or disgust or anger at the Miss USA pageant, and to do so in a simple way: displaying the clip.

One of the dark sides of Web 2.0 is the ability for anyone to create propaganda. Now this clip is a fairly benign example, but it is part of a recent trend of people trying to shape political messages and spread them via YouTube and other means. Just recently it was about using YouTube to expose the truth. Now it will be about using YouTube to shape the truth.

Andy Warhol, Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Ritchie all speed up time

Andy Warhol said that in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.

If LL or NR were clever enough, they might say that in the future, everyone will go to jail for 15 minutes, too. See: Nicole Richie freed from jail after 82 minutes or Lohan to serve one day in jail

From the Globeandmail.com (it’s like People.com, but they also have financial stats and stuff.)

Homer Simpson quotes enter new Oxford dictionary. D’oh!

The latest edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations has seen in their wisdom to include quotes from the OTHER famous Homer, including:

“Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is never try.”

“Kids are the best, Apu. You can teach them to hate the things you hate. And they practically raise themselves, what with the internet and all.”

And to make it even better, there is a quote from Willie who once said to the French: “Bonjour, you cheese-eating surrender monkeys” .

First Faith Hill, and now Sarkozy’s getting Photoshopped!


From globeandmail.com: Magazine Retouches Sarkozy’s ‘Love Handles’

We see Paris-Match retouched the French president’s body to look more buff! And they have the proof!

Sheesh!

Manga Shakespeare

When I was a kid, we had the Classics comics. Now there’s Manga Shakespeare. I think these are better.

Smartly, they started with Hamlet and Romeo & Juliet. Get some for the teens and preteens you know at:

.: SELFMADEHERO :.

Yes, you know you want to read them

The Paris Hilton prison diaries in the Los Angeles Times.

Really.

Cape Breton or Good dear good!

I was listening to Le Lys Vert tonight from the the great album, Fire in the Kitchenand I had a desire to search out some Cape Breton music. Here’s a selection, from the more traditional Mairi’s Wedding by the Rankins to Sleepy Maggie by Ashley MacIsaac:

Finally, here is the great Bette MacDonald doing Mary Morrison

Ella or the wonders of YouTube

Now that American Idol is over ;) perhaps I can interest you in Ella singing “Stomping at the Savoy”, in the UK in 1961. (With Oscar Peterson on piano!!) My favourite version is her singing it with Louis, but this version is a scorcher.

See: