Monthly Archives: May 2010

Saturday night music with some great guitarists playing in their own unique way

First up is  Django Reinhardt – J’attendrai Swing 1939

Watch how Reinhardt’s plays the chords and compare it to the other guitarists. (You can find out why he has to play that way here). Bonus: Stéphane Grappelli!

And just a reminder of some more brilliant playing from this guitarist from Botswana:


…and when it gets too hot for toile Keds, try these damask flip flops

If you thought the toile Keds were too hot for the upcoming summer weather, don’t fret. You can have your classic pattern (in this case, damask) and your flipflops too. See here for details: Damask flip flops for bathroom baskets.. For $1

Moules marinière: fast food of the gods

Are Moules marinière, mussels in white wine, the “fast food of the gods”, as this blog, Mastering the Art of 10 Minute French Cooking, says? I think so! And even if you don’t, if you like shell fish, you will like this recipe.

The recipe I use, from Lucy Waverman, is slightly different and uses a cup of white wine and a cup of water. Instead of the scallion, it uses four cloves of garlic thinly sliced and two onions chopped. (You could get by with one.) As for herbs, it uses two dried teaspoons of thyme, which I really like.  Finally it uses 2 pounds of mussels.

However you want to make it, really, it’s the combination of white wine, herbs, and onions that create a wonderful broth and the means to steam open the mussels. Feel free to experiment. While the mussels are great all by themselves, if you want something to go with that, frites, or at least a good bagette to soak up all that delicious liquid. Finally drink the same wine you cooked with.


Saturday Night Music…Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers (version 1) and Sting (version 2)

It’s pretty tough to improve on the original version of Biill Withers performing Ain’t No Sunshine, seen here:

However, I came across this version by Sting on the sublime music show from the 80s, Night Music. Sting, combined with David Sanborn and with some other great musicians, perform a great version of it as well.

Enjoy both.

If you are lucky, when you watch the Stanley Cup playoffs, you will see a moment like this

One of the greatest moments in hockey’s history: Bobby Orr scoring the winning goal to given the Boston Bruins the Stanley Cup. Taken from  File:Orr.jpg – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

You too can be a great American politician (or at least go through the motions)

Your first responsibility as a great leader is to stabilize the debt.  And if you click on that link, you will see what choices you have in front of you. Ross Douthat an American right of centre commentator at the, has made his choices. You can go to the stabilize the debt site and make yours. If you are going to be honest, you should make hard choices and reflect that if you are to the left, you will have to support left-wing choices that add to the debt. Likewise, if you are right-wing, you will have to make some right wing choices and that too will add to the debt. Anyone who thinks they can just make choices that reduce the debt regardless of political pressure is not ready to be a great American politician.

Give it a try.

How to stay on Facebook but get a better handle on your privacy while you are there

Alot of people are using, a Facebook Privacy Scanner. I’ve tried it and it’s pretty effective. It will give you a rundown of where you may have potential exposures, and try to take action to correct openings you may want to close. Highly worthwhile to check this out.

How to easily just get the “High/Low” items from The Moment on

Easy: just use my Yahoo! Pipe here: Pipes: NYTimes-The-Moment-High-Low. It combines the RSS feed from the Men’s and Women’s fashion on The Moment blog on the, then it filters out everything but items that contain “high low”.

The benefit of this is that if you are simply interested in great fashion bargains, you don’t have to wade through everything else.

Also, if you use iGoogle or My Yahoo, you can get it on those pages too. Heck, there are lots of ways Yahoo Pipes will deliver it to you. Check them all out! And if you find this useful, please let me know.

The White House moves to Amazon’s cloud

The Obama administration continues to take the lead when it comes to using the latest technology. Not only do they take the lead, but they succeed. Their latest effort is moving the site to Amazon’s cloud (reported on O’Reilly Radar). Anyone looking to move parts or all of their site to a cloud should consider this, as well as read the article, which provides some interesting facts as to why they’ve done this.

Toile Keds

What is by default public on your Facebook profile. May 2010 edition.

can be seen here

If that’s too small, click on this. As you can see: quite alot.

Buick: it’s what old people drive (although GM wants to change that)

I had always suspected that our oldest citizens drive Buicks. It was confirmed in this article by David Olive on the surprising rebound of GM and Chrysler in the Toronto Star.

Recently, it turns out…

“GM’s decision not to renew its Tiger Woods endorsement contract is a key sign of a culture change essential to GM’s long-term prospects.

Tiger Woods and golf were the wrong message for Buick. During Woods’ long association with Buick, the average age of Buick owners rose to 72.

Liberated from appealing to older consumers, GM has outfitted its latest Buick LaCrosses and Regals with satellite navigation systems and DVD players important to the younger couples and family buyers to whom Buick strongly appealed only two decades ago. Thanks to that and sharper design, the average age of Buick owners has quickly dropped to 65.

So, the average age has dropped from 72 to 65. I guess that is progress of a sort. But I also had the morbid thought that maybe the older owners just, well, died. Or the owners in their 70s didn’t like all that stuff GM was putting in their Buicks and switched to something else. (Cadillac?)

Actually, I have rented Buicks before and I liked them. But I also thought: I can see why older people like to drive them. Soon enough, I will be older too: perhaps I will buy a Buick then.

Interestingly, according to the wikipedia entry, Buicks are big in China. In fact, the entire wikipedia entry is interesting. Take a look. And also, David Olive’s column is typically good.

On how the hung Parliament/minority government is working in Canada

John Ibbitson makes two mistakes in his otherwise good article, Parliament takes another step toward being a true arm of government inThe Globe and Mail. First up, he says this:

For 24 years, from 1980 to 2004, majority governments ruled at the federal level. Successive prime ministers used those majorities to expand their own powers at the expense of their party caucus and Parliament itself….

Cabinet ministers were turned into ciphers; parliamentary committees became rubber stamps; the opposition was demonized or ignored.

It’s the part in bold that I think was a mistake. While PM have expanded the powers of the PMO, ministers, at least in the Chretien government, were anything but ciphers. As I recall, Chretien was consistent in having his ministers be front and center on the files that they were working on. I saw an awful lot of Allan Rock and Paul Martin in the days that the Liberals held consecutive majorities. In general, good ministers have a way of getting out there. Bad ones, not so much. (Or in a bad way).

Second, he says this:

There have been mistakes. The attempt in 2008 to force a coalition government on the Canadian people was an adolescent effort by the opposition to wield its newfound power. As coalition negotiations in London this week demonstrated, voters expect the party with the most seats to be part of the government.

I don’t think this is true, either. Stating categorically what voters want is a losing game. But in terms of preferences, I think what voters want first is good government. And if good government can come as a result of the smaller parties joining together, most voters would prefer that.

I also find this mistake ironic, since I believe Ibbitson is not a big fan of first past the post. I thought he would have said, voters expect the party with the most votes to be part of the government.

Otherwise, a good article.

This must be the place (naive melody) * 2 / 20 years

2004 live version:

1984ish live version:

Brilliant architecture

From Sunshine+Design. When…

…Architects Martín Fernández de Lema and Nicolás F. Moreno Deutsch weren’t allowed to remove any trees on the grounds of this Buenos Aires spot [they went aboutw with a] design of the house was built around the landscape using poured concrete and slabs of wood.

Here’s one great example of the result:

Sunshine+Design has more great shots of the house.

The Premiere watering hole for geeks and IT people

If you don’t get it, well…then, it’s not likely for you.

From ReflectionOf.Me.

On Facebook’s privacy bamboozlement

Check this out: Facebook Privacy: A Bewildering Tangle of Options – Graphic – It also says that “Facebook says it wants to offer precise controls for sharing on the Internet.”. Frankly, that is nonsense. Facebook no doubt has many highly competent developers on staff. And any good developer would tell you that rather than have to make those settings at a lower level – as depicted in the diagram – you could be provided with the ability to set things at a higher level. For example, you should be able to have a “Friends Only” for each and every setting and have that set all at once. Facebook could then go through and make all those privacy settings to “Friends Only” all at once.

Instead, my belief is that Facebook sets those things to be public, and then makes YOU go through each and every one of those settings. Most people will not bother or give up.

That’s just one example of the bamboozlement. The fact that it’s privacy statement is so long is another.


“Privacy is dead” is dead

Or at least, there is an Oversharing Backlash based on this post on The Daily Dish  By Andrew Sullivan. His post has a rundown on how younger people are reining in the amount of sharing they are doing via the Internet. Some of this could be attributed to sharing fatigue (i.e. maybe people are tired of blogging). Some could also be attributed to younger people growing up and feeling that with more responsibility, the need to act more responsible on the ‘Net is greater. But I also think some of that is a growing awareness that the need to protect one’s privacy is important.

I expect to see more on this meme in the upcoming months. If someone is smart, they will come up with better privacy in the social networks they create. If they do, they could turn Facebook into the next MySpace / Friendster / AOL.

A driving maneuver I see on Toronto highways far too often…

..and a — ahem — appropriate comment to get with it.

Music for the Midweek: Finley Quaye and Melanie Fiona

Wednesday music should not be too up tempo, but it shouldn’t be too quiet. To me, it should be something like…well, these two pieces:

First up is Finley Quaye and Your Love Gets Sweeter Everyday. It reminds me in parts of Sam Cooke, Van Morrison and Fine Young Cannibals. How can you not listen?

Second to no one is Melanie Fiona doing Cupid on’s Mashup Mondays (Melanie is great, but those video overlays are so annoying…look away)

Both songs have good vocals and good acoustic guitar work.

Hey, there’s a few more hours of work until Friday: these tunes will help you get there.

Where are the best Greasy Spoons in Toronto? has a run down of the Best Greasy Spoons in Toronto, and I have to say that, having eaten in many of them, they have a really good list. If anything, it is a bit of a disservice to call them “greasy” spoons, since many of them have tastier food than you will find in alot of fast food joints or pubs. Plus these diners have plenty of charm and are often in great locations. As the article says, these types of establishments are fading fast. Get out a grab a club or an open faced sandwich while you still can.

I would also add Sunset Grill: it does mainly breakfast, but the cooking style is in line with these other places. And if you are ever in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, you have to go to Mike’s, my all time favourite restaurant service just this style of food. Delicious!

Banksy in Toronto?

It certainly looks like it, based on this recent work in T.O.

I’ve seen his work referenced on a few sites, but I wanted to point to Show & Tell Gallery because they are also a site you want to see for more than just Banksy. Check ’em out. They have more Banksy images, as well as more on the work of the artists they represent.

Monday morning Music

Monday morning is coming. You need something to fire you up! Try this: Buraka Som Sistema – Sound of Kuduro

If you are thinking of leaving Facebook, but can’t thinking of alternatives, then consider

This post on,  Why You Should Still Quit Facebook, and in particular, these alternatives:

I am not aware of any good solutions for privacy in social media. Facebook has expressly moved away from providing one. But there are plenty of good opt-out solutions. Twitter works fine for status updates. For photos, we’ve had Flickr for years. For video, YouTube. For link sharing, Digg. I’ve picked these because they are all independent companies, but there are dozens of solutions for sharing social media.

A young woman explains why she wears the niqab, the all-covering veil

This article about a young woman who wears a niqab while in parts of Yemen (Los Angeles Times) is revealing in a way that the niqab is concealing. Reading about the …

“..20-year-old university student Layla Asda decided to wear the face-covering veil niqab, her father went ballistic. A relatively secular artist, he told her that the black cloak made her look like an old woman.

Still she continued to wear it, even though her family opposed it.”

..what I thought was how much wearing the niqab for this person is about protection and the negation of identity. I thought that was interesting. I also thought it was sad. I don’t think anyone should live in any society and be afraid for themselves, or to think that need to hide their identity. I had expected to hear she wears it more to promote an identity, a personal identity or an identification with a group. I had expected to hear more positive reasons to wear it. At least in this interview, those did not come across. I wonder if there are interviews with women who have a more positive outlook when it comes to wearing this.

A quick observation on how different generation use social technology differently

Me "Tweeting" to everyone in my studio. LLAP on Twitpic

This is Leonard Nimoy using Twitter. It’s from twitpic and they force this bad quality if you embed it on your blog. That said, I like this photo, but what I really like is how he and William Shatner and others of older generations tweet. For example, with this photo, he tweeted: Me “Tweeting” to everyone in my studio. LLAP. William Shatner does something similar, where they both make a tweet almost a letter or a note. (LLAP, live long and prosper, is his signoff). Leonard Nimoy has adopted the technology, but he still maintains conventions of communicating that is different than people of younger generations. You can see generation differences in how people communicate using social media, even though there is a degree of overlap forced on them by the constraints of the technology.

(This photo is property of Leonard Nimoy)

Why the news is failing

Frank Rich has a scathing column,  They Don’t Report. You Don’t Have to Decide on the in which he criticizes the mainstream media for it’s poor coverage of the Times Square bomb scare, where they were yucking it up with the President  at the White House Correspondents Dinner instead of breaking to report on the breaking news event. There are a number of indirect criticisms in the column, but the overall impression is that Rich thinks today’s journalists are so busy celebrating themselves that they can’t be bothered to actually do their jobs. At first I thought it was a bit unfair, but then I came across this photo from the blog Sunshine + Design:

Then I thought: Frank Rich, as he always does, has a point. It reminded me of this photo from another great blog, Iconic Photos. It’s of nine European kings, taken in 1910, at the funeral of the English King, Edward VII:

Also at the funeral was an Emperor, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. By the end of the decade, most of these Kings were swept away. The same may be true with the Media Kings above, and the media empires they represent. Especially if they don’t smarten up and deal with the changes that are coming along and threaten to sweep them away as well.

Everyone lies / doesn’t tell the truth

Face it: you have likely told one of these three lies…

Lena Horne – Stormy Weather

This video is decades old, but so what? Lena Horne is amazing.

YouTube – Lena Horne – Stormy Weather (1943)

Where to eat in Toronto?

Anything on this list will do just fine: Joanne Kates’ Top 100 Restaurants in Toronto 2010.

I don’t agree with the ranking, but hey, that’s part of the fun of such a list! Regardless, if Joanne Kates says it is good: it is good.

Late Saturday Night Music – Bombay Dub Orchestra “Mumtaz”

YouTube – Bombay Dub Orchestra “Mumtaz”

The end of the world (8 bit edition)

Superb animation:

Equally enjoyable by those of us who loved those games when they first came out and their children, too.

The pigeons in Toronto are so smart, they take the subway


Why fly when you can commute via the subway? 🙂

This is why MIT is tough

Just look at the Qualifying Exams questions!

History: Describe the history of the papacy from its origins to the present day; concentrate especially but not exclusively on the social, political, economic, religious, and philosophical impact on Europe, Asia, America, and Africa. Be brief, concise, and specific.

Medicine: You have been provided with a razor blade, a piece of gauze, and a bottle of Scotch. Remove your own appendix. Do not suture until your work has been inspected.

The rest of the questions are just as Chuck Norris tough (and funny!).

Thanks to @eric_andersen on twitter for this.