Monthly Archives: July 2008

John McCain knows good shoes!

At least according to this article: A Week In John McCain’s Shoes — His $520 Ferragamo Loafers, That Is

And why not? He is rich, after all.


What’s wrong with wine by the glass, and pinot grigio

Beppi Crosariol has a good article in the Globe and Mail arguing against ordering wine by the glass. I know what he means: once, I ordered a glass of red from a good restaurant and it was warm because the bottle was sitting on the bar fridge! Ugh! That went back.

If you want to order by the glass, see and order what was recently opened, and try and stick with fresh whites. (What is true for glasses also goes for 1/2 litres and anything that comes from an opened bottle. Although in some cases, if it’s a recently opened red, you may get the benefit of the wine opening up a bit.)

See for yourself by reading this: Wine by the glass? I’ll pass

P.S. He also had a nice, snarky comment (on this varietal) that I love:

“(Hey, if you’d wanted a white wine with no flavour, you’d have ordered a pinot grigio.)”

There are some pinot grigios that do have flavour, but why chase them around when there are so many other white varietals that do have taste?

(flickr photo from sunnyUK photostream)

More good cheap wine: White Zinfandel (Rose) from Beringer

Not too long ago, in Ontario at least, it was hard to get a good bottle of rose. Nowadays, rose/blush/pink wines are all the rage, and you can get plenty in the LCBO. To me, most of these new wines taste very serious, and one of the things I liked about the old roses were that they were not serious. They were meant to be fun summer drinking wines, the way sangria or vinho verde or even sparkling wine should be.

One rose that manages to be both fun and serious comes from Beringer, makers of many a fine wine. When they made their 2007 White Zinfandel from their California Collection :

“the focus was to highlight the fresh red berry, citrus and melon aromas and flavors and round these out with subtle hints of nutmeg and clove. The wine has a youthful exuberance that is appealing to anyone looking for an uncomplicated wine to accompany a meal”

See? it has all those great flavours, plus it is “youthful”, “uncomplicated”, possessing “exuberance”; that all adds up to “fun”! 🙂

It costs a mere $7 in the US and goes for $10 in the general section of the LCBO. So, skip over all those roses in Vintages section and grab some of this. And pick up so vinho verdes while you are at it.

For more info, go to Beringer Vineyards California Collection

Update: you can find more posts I’ve made on wine here

Who knows colour? Sony does

This youtube video shows why. It’s a commercial, but it’s also amazing.

P.S. If you go to YouTube, you can see the “Making of…” the video.

Why the Beatles are responsible for the invention of the CAT Scan

It seems hard to believe, but read this article and see for yourself:

Epidemix » What Medicine Owes the Beatles

On the long tail,, and the world as open source

BusinessWeek has an interesting article on how Cheap Photo Sites Pit Amateurs vs. Pros.

The article is interesting for alot of reasons, but one reason in particular for me is this: it is a good example of the long tail in action, with thousands of suppliers of photographs, and aggregators (like flickr) bringing it all together. Professional photographers can complain about this, but it will be in vain, at least in the short term.

I see this spreading to other things as well. I see music next. With sites like MySpace, and others, the barriers to entry for musicians will become lower and lower, and over time people will listen to a wider variety of artists as greater socialization of music occurs. Eventually it will even happen for books and other forms of writing, although you could argue it has already happened with the proliferation of blogs. Anyone publishing any media now is going to be overwhelmed by the tidal wave of vast amount of new material being created.

At the blog gapingvoid, the author talks in one posting about “Cheap. Easy. Global. Media.” The combination of digitization of material and social
computing technology will make it dead simple for people to create, publish,
and share their work with others. And soon it won’t be just media. Anything that can be digitized is open for this to happen.

The world is becoming open source. Soon it will be open source hardware. Then chemistry. Then biology.

On Why Infrastructure is Important

After Twitter, Apple joins the growing number of service providers who are less than stellar in their performance: Were Really Sorry, Says Apple, Really We Are – Bits – Technology – New York Times Blog

Infrastructure is hard to do well. Not just physical servers, but the underlying technology that supports your application or service. You’ve got to do the fundamentals really well. I would be willing to bet that the companies that fail haven’t considered or taken the time to think about the fundamentals.

(Flickr photo by Johnnie W@lker)

How to sketch with the Nintendo DS

Simple. Follow Sacha Chua’s great little presentation: How to sketch with the Nintendo DS

Who is Randy Pausch? You should know.

Even if you DO know, this obituary in the will likely tell you things you don’t know. And if you don’t know, you will be glad you read this:

Randy Pausch, 47, Dies; His ‘Last Lecture’ Inspired Many to Live With Wonder – Obituary (Obit) –

I Love Twitpic! and Tumblr! and of course….twitter!

You just snap a photo with your digital camera-phone, email it to twitpic, and voila:

Saturday coffee at Indigo at yonge and Eglinton, Toronto on TwitPic

This is also a feature you can get at tumblr, as you can see here

With blogs, everyone could be a journalist. With sites like twitpic and tumblr, we can be photojournalists, too.

The Long Now and Edward Burtynsky

I am a big fan of The Long Now AND Edward Burtynsky! And here, in this blog post, The Long Now Blog » Blog Archive » Edward Burtynsky, “The 10,000-year Gallery” is news they are working together! This is thrilling! See the post and the web site to see why.

Good & cheap travel advice at

The regularly has great travel advice for cost conscious travellers. The latest article is on one of my favourite cities: Charleston, South Carolina.

The article is worth visiting, and so is the city. See Visiting Charleston, S.C., on a Budget –

(Great photo by Stephen Morton for The New York Times)

Great uses of tumblr: 52 Books

I like creative uses of tumblr. 52 Books is one of those fine examples. What’s it about? Well, books, but a whole lot more. In fact, it’s like a good bookstore: you want to go there, linger, and soak it up.

The cubicle turns 40 this month

And this man is responsible.

If you want to understand WHAT he was thinking at the time, read Metropolis Feature: The Man Behind the Cubicle

Like email, it is easy to criticize the cubicle. What is important to consider is the context.

Comics about IT

Geek And Poke is a great comic blog on IT. This is just one great example of the humour. And of course, there is xkcd. And it goes without saying there is Dilbert. If you work in IT or have to deal with IT — and who doesn’t — it pays to check them out.

Fight Global Warming with a PB&J Sandwich….really!

When I read it at, I was skeptical too. But it makes sense. If you are like me, and you’d rather eat a sandwich over installing plumbing, you now have some rationalizations to do so! (Though I’d recommend you do both).

Even if it doesn’t amount to much, like chicken soup, it can’t hurt. And hey, PB&Js (and other veggie sandwiches) are delicious. What’s not to like? See Your PB&J Impact

Feist sings 1-2-3-4 (kinda) on Sesame Street

A very nice remake of the song and the video here:

My only comment: where’s the Count!?

Stadtler and Waldorf get the Internet

Those grand old men of the Muppet Show get the internet. See here for proof.

There’s lots more good clips of them on YouTube, also.

Think you could become Batman? Consider this

Scientifica American does a rundown on what it would take for a “real” person to be Batman. Even though Batman hasn’t the superpowers of most superheroes, it’s still a big stretch. Read this to see why:

Dark Knight Shift: Why Batman Could Exist–But Not for Long: Scientific American

Why people buy the wrong house: preferring space over commuting

In this blog is an excellent analysis on why people buy the wrong house. In short, they underestimate the drawbacks of commuting and overestimate the value of extra space.

I might like this because based on this analysis, I bought the “right” house. Actually, commuting WAS a major factor in choosing my house, but I had other criteria, and our house met them. I am sure others do the same thing. I am sure people who pick the bigger house also have many more criteria that matter than just size. But it is likely they still underestimate the impact of commuting.

See the blog post and decide for yourself by going here: The Frontal Cortex : Buying the Wrong House

Thx to Andrew Sullivan for the link.

The story of the Fail Whale

I’ve blogged about the Fail Whale before. Even folks who aren’t interested in twitter in the least will find this interesting: The Story of the Fail Whale

Thx to Andy Piper for pointing out the link.

The latest tech savvy approach from Obama ’08…

…can be found here with this web app: Apple – Web apps – Countdown to Change

Jones Soda: Now in Barack Obama flavour! :)

There’s also a flavour for McCain, Clinton, and Ron Paul. Pick up your favourite here:

Campaign Cola 2008 | Election Resources | Voting Vernacular

Documenting the making of Terminator Salvation via a blog

TERMINATOR SALVATION is a blog dedicated to the making of the new Terminator movie. It is interesting to see a blog for a film outlining some of the process. We have seen “the making of” documentaries before, but these tended to be seen after the film was made. With the blog, we get to be ‘armchair producers’, in a way.

Very interesting.

More on the Funny Cat Cartoon

It turnsout there are MORE funny cat cartoons. The first one I posted is still my favourite, but the others are also funny. See here

Tim Gunn talks (intelligently) about fashion to

Tim Gunn is smart: smart about fashion, but smart generally. Time has a great 10 question interview with him here. Anyone who can talk about the semiotics of fashion is worth listening to. Plus, he’s funny and seemingly down to earth. Needless to say, he’s also stylish. See:

The beautifully hypnotic “Sleep” by Azure Ray

You can listen to it here.

It makes me think of John Lennon’s “I’m Only Sleeping”. Enjoy. And sleep well.

Update on the Iran (photoshopped) missile photo

It looks like that famous doctored photo of the Iranian missiles has launched some creative responses, as can be seen in this Wired blog post: Attack of the Photoshopped Missiles (Updated)

This is my favourite:

I mean, if Iran wants to really scare people, why not go all out?

Even BETTER than TinyURL: ZombieURL!

Tinyurl is all fine and good, but get the blood flowing — and the braining munching — send them a link via ZombieURL. They’ll be glad you did! Or not! 🙂 See:

ZombieURL – The #1 zombie-infected URL redirection service on the Web.

Photoshopping War

While a number of sites talked about this apparently photoshopped photo of the missile launch in Iran, the site War and Piece has the best write up on it. Take a look at what is outlined first.

I’ve seen and heard of Photoshop being used for lots of different purposes, but this appears to be a first.

It’s July in Toronto: time for Summerlicious!

Two great dining events happen yearly in Toronto: Winterlicious and Summerlicious

As you can see from the graphic, it’s on for most of July. You can get more information here or here

And if you are a customer of American Express, you get an additional benefit. See the links for why.

How to Design a Happy House (the secret ingredient is happy children)

Pamela Bell has a smart idea when it comes to balancing having a well designed interior and having a happy houseful of kids and ultimately a happy house. This article, Renovating When Perfect Is Not the Goal at has the details, but I like this quote:

“It is Ms. Bell’s conviction that the house belongs not so much to her as to her children, and the choices she makes on a daily basis support that.”

Very smart.

(Photo by Phil Mansfield of the New York Times)

Flint cops crack down on sagging pants. Really.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Flint cops crack down on sagging pants | | Detroit Free Press

“Dicks (the new Police Chief) who took over the department last month on an interim basis, announced that his officers would start arresting people wearing saggy pants that expose skivvies, boxer shorts or bare bottoms.”

For those of you who live or visit Flint and are concerned about going to jail, the following chart was prepared:

What I want to know is: what about all those old guys who pull their pants up to their chest? What’s going to happen to them?

I guess Flint must be so quiet, crime-wise, that the Chief of Police needs to give the police something to do.

The first Web Server

There are thousands — millions? — of web servers now, but the first one was this NeXT machine that Tim Berners-Lee possessed. You can find out more about it and this picture here

For some strange reason I am proud it was on a NeXT machine and not some second rate Wintel box….it must be the IT snob in me. 😉

(Found via boing boing).

Farecast: how to treat airline tickets the way you would treat any commodity purchase

If you are booking a flight and you have flexibility as to when you buy your tickets, you MUST go to Farecast.

It “does just what you want when making an airplane ticket
purchase: it predicts if the price is going to go up, down or stay
level and advises when you should buy (now, wait)”

You owe it to yourself to try it. And I would be happy to take 10% of anything you save. Make that 5%! 🙂

(Tip: the always useful Data Mining site)

Ironstone’s Obsession Symphony – great cheap wine at the LCBO

This is a delightful wine, especially for summer. And it’s cool too: made 100% from the Symphony grape, making it rather rare indeed (imho). It has a lovely bouquet — very floral — and wonderful to taste. No oak.

You can have it with spicy food, but it’s a treat to drink it by itself. It’s the kind of wine that, after you have a glass, you think: hmmmm, I think I need another glass of that.

If you are lucky enough to live in the US, it’s only $8/bottle. Here in Ontario, it is $14.95 in the Vintages section, which is pretty good for that part of your local LCBO.

What else? It won the Gold Medal at the San Francisco Chronical Wine Competion, January 2007. And it’s perfect sipping wine on a warm summer night. You owe it to yourself to get some. 🙂

For more on this delicious wine, click here.

Where the Hell is Matt?

That’s easy: wherever there are people who love to dance, you’ll find Matt.

To see what I mean — if you haven’t seen this already — check out this video:

There’s more on the story here. It’s a great story. And kudos to Stride gum! If you have a chance, buy some!

The High Low: fashion advice for…just about anyone

While I am a big fan of The Moment, I would recommend at the very least that people check out the posts titled “The High Low”. For fashionable people, it’s all about:

“Good style mixes high-ticket items with brilliant affordable gets. In this column, T’s fashion team rummage for the cheap and the chic.”

And if you are not so fashionable, well, you have to wear something, so show the world how smart you are by wearing what the good folks at T are recommending. (And if you are really smart, you will get your feedreader to go through the feed and extract JUST these recommendations. 🙂 )

I mean even the fashion adverse would be comfortable in this:

while fashionistas — does anyone say that anymore? — might covet this:

For more on The High Low, go here

USA Obesity Rating for 2008

Calorielab has the numbers, but better still, they have a state by state breakdown of where people are lean (Colorado) and not (Mississippi), as you can see here:

See here for more details: Fattest States 2008: The CalorieLab United States of Obesity Rankings

Beware of Hellboy II: people SMOKE in it!

For the film posters and web site of Hellboy II: The Golden Army there is a warning posted: this film contains depictions of tobacco consumption.

Now, I appreciate why this is done generally. But it strikes me as funny when associated with this film. I can’t imagine parents saying: no, Johnny, you can’t go to see Hellboy II because there are people smoking in it! I mean, if you can’t smoke a cigarette in Hell, where CAN you smoke? 🙂

P.S. Gripe: movie sites are all flash, so I can’t include an image here of Hellboy. I think movie sites should put badges or other links for bloggers to use. Hey, it’s free advertising!