I’m sad to see that the pandemic has claimed another victim: the Canada Square Cinema at Yonge and Eglinton. I’ve been going there since it opened in the 80s, and especially so since I moved into the neighborhood in this century.
It’s always been a lovely theatre. One thing I loved about it was how little it changed over the years. Those gray panels on the wall, that red carpet, the cup holders from eye weekly: it was like going into a time machine every time I went there. While it was frozen in time, it was well kept up. It showed good movies. (The last film I saw there was “Parasite”.) It had decent crowds. It was great to see films that had been out for awhile but missed. (It was almost like a rep theatre in that way).
Still, with so many theatres closing over the years, I was expecting it to close too. Instead it was recently upgraded. I thought: great! I will have the luxury of having two big theatre complexes in my area. Then the pandemic hit.
I’m sad to see it go, but happy for all the good movies and good times I had going to it. Go see some movies in theatres as soon as you can. We still need that experience, and we need those theatres. May the theatres that you love last for a long time.
P.S. For more on the theatre, go see BlogTO’s write up, here.
It’s fall and it’s a pandemic, but gyms are opening wide up and no doubt you (and I) want to get some of our fitness back. Here’s eight links I’ve found recently that could help:
(Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash )
If you are thinking of walking away from your job these days, you are not alone. As the WSJ says:
The ‘Great Resignation’ is on. Here’s what to do about your finances before embarking on the slowdown you’ve been craving.
Wait! You haven’t thought of your finances before quitting? Well stop for a second and read this: How to Prepare Your Finances Before Quitting Your Job – WSJ.
Change is good. Well thought out change is better. So get your finances in place and then make your move. Good luck!
(Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash )
As a kid in the 60s I grew up reading Dr. Seuss. You could still get “Dick and Jane” books at the time, and let me tell you, the difference between them was stark. Reading Dick and Jane was drudgery. Reading Dr. Seuss was fun,and I associated reading with fun because of him.
Last year there was a big controversy about him that lead to six of his books being pulled from print. Dr. Seuss Enterprises said they did because these books “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.” Fair enough. Some of the images like those above from “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” are terrible in my opinion. I don’t think there is much lost in that book being pulled from print. I would pause for one of those books though. The imagery from “Scrambled Eggs Super” seems vaguely offensive in my mind but it echoes more offensive imagery from other books depicting Arabs and Eskimos, so I am not surprised it went. I am disappointed: I loved that book. But that’s just me. It’s not hard to see the imagery as stereotypical, if not as negative as some of the others.
Thinking about Dr. Seuss and his imagery is difficult. At times blatantly racist (especially early in his career) and other times strongly progressive (later). Because of the former I can see why many educators and others would like to see him gone. I suspect his influence will wane over time and educators and parents will shift to newer books with representations that better reflect their values. Maybe someday we won’t even see the Grinch any more at Christmas.
That said, I am happy I grew up with Dr. Seuss books and read the ones I did. I am glad I read the ones I did to my kids too. (None of which were among the six.) His books were very helpful in teaching me and others the joy of reading. I hope the books that come to replace his do the same.
For more on this topic, it’s easy to find links to the controversy on the Internet. Here are some of the pieces I’ve collected:
Posted in ideas
Tagged essays, ideas
It’s well known that Mars is going to be difficult for humans to get there. If you are like me, I figured once we got there, then we land just like we land on Earth or the moon. But what if we can’t? This article fom BBC Sky at Night Magazine raises a number of difficulties that arise from dropping things from space onto the Red Planet. Things that seem to be recently considered.
Going to Mars is not going to be a matter of jumping in a big rocket ship and blasting into space. It’s going to take a lot of time to figure everything out, including landing there. Read that piece and see why.
(Photo by Mike Kiev on Unsplash )
Before adding services to your IBM Cloud environment, consider adopting a naming standard for them. By default IBM Cloud services will give them a unique name (e.g.IBM Log Analysis-4g, DB2-r0). While that may be fine, giving them a name that clearly identifies their role and service (e.g. DB2-Development, IBM Log Analysis for Production) helps the support teams do their job easier. It can also help later if you are deciding to pare back services. If you have 10 instances of DB2 or 100 devices, clear naming standards will also help you decide which ones to delete and which ones to keep.
It’s Monday. You are feeling unmotivated, insecure, lacking in confidence to do the things you have to do. One approach to deal with this is this? This: Motivate Yourself by Listing the Stuff You’re Already Doing Right
You may not realize it, but you already have such a list: it’s called your resume. Your resume is a list of stuff you’ve done or are doing right! Go check it out and see how great you are. If that isn’t enough, consider adding to it, even informally.
For fun, you can do a resume for all the other roles and skills you have, from
- good friend, sibling, relative or support person
- good cook, runner, knitter, bartender, painter, coach, joke teller
- expert or teacher on your favorite topics
We are all good at so many things. Instead of fretting on your gaps or deficiencies, focus on your strengths. Try and deploy them this week and get things done.
This is a fascinating story: The Vatican has three jail cells, one prisoner — and suddenly, a surge of people on trial – The Washington Post.
Fans of Dan Brown especially should enjoy it. But it really gives another glimpse in one of the oddest parts of the world. A good Sunday read.
(Photo by David Edkins on Unsplash)
I started this blog on April 2007. After four years, it had reached 500,000 views. A decade later, it has reached a new milestone: a million views!
In the first four years, blogging was hot. I even had my blog featured on one of the blog roles on the New York Times. (It was a fluke, but it meant I got 500 views a day: now I average around 50 views.) In the last decade, blogging has been superseded many times by other online media, from twitter to TikToks. I use some of them, but I keep beavering away here too.
I have been steadily blogging for ten years, never knowing if I would reach this peak. Now that I have, I don’t know what I will do. Will I still blog every weekend and have them distributed throughout the week? Or will I just go with a random schedule? Will I move this off of WordPress and go to another platform and more effectively monetize the few popular posts I have? I don’t know. Something will change.
Meanwhile, I expect I will continue to blog. I like it. Maybe my next goal is 5000 posts. Or 250,000 visitors. We will see!
As always, thanks for reading this. I’ve been lucky to have thousands of people like you reading my posts a million times. That’s great, and greatly appreciated.
P.S. I’ve written a fair bit of blog posts about blogging. You can read them, here.
P.S.S. My favorites are here.
Why is that? Well according to Reddit (fwiw), the fees are making Airbnb unattractive: Why Airbnb Isn’t Worth All Those Fees, According to Reddit
If you are convinced and need a hotel to stay in NYC, I recommend this: Best hotels in New York | Telegraph Travel.
Lots of information on hotels over at The Telegraph. Well worth a look. You can find places at all different price points, at all different parts of the city.
It must be time for dinner parties again, pandemic be damned, because Bon Appétit had a bunch of pieces on the topic recently:
Now if you thinking of throwing a dinner party soon, those are worth reading. That said, lord they do overthink a dinner party. Rules! Playlists! Cultural relevance! I mean….
For what it’s worth, if you haven’t had people over for dinner in some time, the KISS principle applies (Keep It Simple, Stupid). If you need rules, here are some low stress ones:
- invite people you know well and who you are comfortable with. Not too many.
- know what they can and can’t eat.
- pick dishes that they can eat and you can make in your sleep.
- have people help you.
- have as much of it prepared ahead of time as you can.
- have a variety of food so that if someone doesn’t care too much for something, they can still fill their eat enough.
- have a dessert if you can. It leaves people with a nice impression. Plus it is great for people who are still hungry.
- have some appetizers if you can. It lets you buy time with early guests and hungry guests.
Ugh. Too many rules. Remember: it’s just dinner! People need to eat! Give them food! That’s it!
Unlike Bon Appétit, the blog Cup of Jo has the right approach to low key dinner parties. Two pieces of theirs I liked were:
And if you are still stressed by things, then make yourself throw a “crappy dinner party”. It’s zero pressure and 100% enjoyment.
If you want to read more about dinner parties, I wrote a ton of things and you can get them here.
(Photo is of the Canadian Thanksgiving dinner party in 2021 in Charleston, S.C. I broke some of my own rules but hey, rules are made to be broken. 🙂 )
And the New York Times is on it: Can Shopify Stop Sneaker Bots? – The New York Times.
I find that story fascinating on many levels. It starts with the culture of sneakerheads. Then it shows what happens when you mix IT in. Suddenly there is a massive distortion effect that occurs. Combine that with voracious capitalism and a fun hobby morphs into something….well less than pretty.
So much of our current society is captured in that piece. Well worth taking a moment to read and digest.
P.S. I got caught up in that for a moment a few years ago when my son suddenly wanted this particular brand of Jordans. I remember him showing them to me by a guy who was selling them online, and I had to study sneakers to see if they were legitimate or knock offs before handing over hundreds of dollars to some guy who had some weird handle of a name.
Thankfully my son lost interest in becoming a sneakerhead. I couldn’t afford it anyway!
(Photo by Paul Volkmer on Unsplash )
This article on cells – yes, cells! – navigating mazes is fascinating and worth a read: Seeing around corners: Cells solve mazes and respond at a distance using attractant breakdown
After reading I thought: I need to rethink “intelligence”. Navigating mazes is something that was considered an intelligent act. Indeed one of the early experiments in A.I. was in the 1950s, when Marvin Minsky developed a smart “rat” (see above) to make its way through a maze. (That’s worth reading about as well.)
Seeing the cell navigate the maze, I thought: if the qualities we associate with intelligence are found at a cellular level, then I don’t really understand intelligence at all. It’s as if intelligence has an atomic level. As if intelligence is at all levels of life, not just the more complex levels.
Maybe the concept of intelligence is next to meaningless and needs to be replaced by something better. Read those pieces and think for yourself. After all, you are intelligent. 🙂
If you use Chrome as your main browser, you owe it to yourself to read this: 11 of the Best Free Extensions for Google Chrome.
I’ve used a number of them and continue to use Momentum and Grammarly. They make it a better tool.
P.S. And speaking of making tools work better, if you want to have better search results from Google in Chrome, read this: 20 Google Search Tips to Use Google More Efficiently
After reading these two pieces:
I want to pile on and recommend monochrome. As they say, monochrome dressing (i.e. wearing only one colour at a time) is a good way to simplify your dressing. It’s also a good way to travel too: having only one colour to wear means you need to take less and everything goes together.
You don’t have to be as bold as to wear lime or violet: black, blue and gray all work nicely. And if you are wearing summer clothes, all white or all beige is excellent.
If you kind of like the idea but find it too much, mix in some neutral colours: blue and a bit of gray, black and a touch of white, brown and beige combined. Easy!
However you do it, monochrome dressing makes it easy to get dressed and make a statement at the same time. What’s not to like?
Over at Colossal they have the brilliant artistry of Alyssa Ki which combines weaving, macramé, and crochet to create such beautiful bouquets such as the one pictured above. Ki selects
yarn and rovings of raw wool dyed in natural pigments, (and she) crafts fiber-based wall hangings reminiscent of bouquets and overgrown patches of wildflowers. The perpetually blooming pieces blend multiple textile techniques and are teeming with macramé, needle-felted, and crocheted botanicals that sprout from a thick, woven foundation. Hanging from a knotty branch or bound by a ribbon, the floral works are ripe with color and texture.
Fabulous. For more on this, go to Colllosal and read up on it.
(Image via the story and the artist)
The following quote from an Axios piece struck me as odd:
The creator economy was supposed to democratize media, but it turns out that a small portion of creators still reap the most revenue for their work across multiple platforms.
I wonder how they came up with their assumptions. The creator economy has been going on since blogging and other Web 2.0 technologies, and while it has given creators equal access to platforms, it has never spread the wealth. Ever. There is a reason why books like The Long Tail were successful: they accurately described how things worked. Platforms come and go, from Blogger to Twitch, and no doubt more will come in the future. Everyone will have equal access to them. Likewise, a few will reap the lion’s share and the rest will get crumbs. That’s how it works.
For more on it, see: The creator economy is failing to spread the wealth – Axios
I love this Author Clock show above. It…
…uses passages from literature that have mentions of the time in them… so at 9 o’clock, the clock shows a passage from The Great Gatsby that has the phrase “9 o’clock” in it, and at 12, it displays verses from Hamlet when the clock strikes 12. Ultimately, the Author Clock turns something as mechanical as the ticking of hands into something much more whimsical and joyful… especially if you’re a bookworm or a lover of literature.
Brilliant! You might think it’s not possible that there would be a quote for each minute of each day, but apparently it is. For more on it, see this piece: This absolutely genius clock uses actual quotes from literature to tell the time! from Yanko Design
At least if you are in Toronto and are thinking of taking an Uber to Toronto, take a limo instead. I have been to the airport twice in the last month or so. And my daughter went as well. In all cases the Ubers were in the $80-100 range. Not only that, but they were unreliable.
If you get a limo, you get the following
- a cheaper rate. Seriously. The same fare for a limo was around $55.
- a reliable pickup. I use Airline limo. If you tell them to pick you up at a given time, they will actually be there and waiting 10-15 minutes before hand. It’s great.
- a much better ride. Seriously! The cars I were in were all high end cars. They were immaculate and very comfortable.
- Also most of the drivers I had were older gentlemen who drive carefully and well.
So skip the Ubers and get a limo instead. You’ll be glad you did.
Likewise, instead of waiting for an Uber at the airport, walk over to the limo line.
Maybe this won’t be the case in a few weeks or months, but right now it is true, regardless of articles like this: Uber wants to make airport trips less messy.
(Photo by Ian Taylor on Unsplash )
Posted in new!
Tagged limo, Toronto, uber
The irony is not lost upon me that yesterday I was blogging about Thanksgiving and now I am blogging about this topic.** But hear me out! This is a good piece on transitioning to being a vegan. I know two things: it’s not easy for some people (like me) to become vegan, but becoming more so is a good thing in many ways. At the very least you become a reducetarian and that’s not bad.
For more on reducetarianism, see this piece.
Good eating and good health to you.
(** In my defense, there was a vegetarian menu in that piece, and there was a wealth of meat and dairy free recipes in there. :))
(Photo by Dose Juice on Unsplash )
First off, Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian readers celebrating. If you are wondering what to make, not only does Chatelaine have a ton of recipes for you, but they have some great menus for you too. All here ==> 8 Easy Thanksgiving Menus, Including An Under-4-Hour Feast | Chatelaine.
They have a menu for everyone:
- A Thanksgiving dinner in under 4 hours
- Their All-Time Favourite Thanksgiving Recipes
- a Vegetarian Thanksgiving
- a Rustic Thanksgiving
- a Modern Thanksgiving
- a 1-hour Thanksgiving for 4
- a Roast chicken Thanksgiving
- and a Classic Thanksgiving
So if you have always wanted to do a full on proper Thanksgiving meal, now you have lots of options to choose from.
This year I’m going to do their turkey recipe with gravy (with a dry brine), their brown butter green beans, their yukon gold mashed potatoes, the fig and radicchio salad, chestnut and sausage stuffing, and the chocolate-bourbon pecan pie. (I’m also sliding Alison Roman’s Harissa and maple roast carrots in there too because why not. And canned cranberries because I just love them! 🙂 Eat what you love.)
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
(Photo is not my meal but close! I took this from Chatelaine).
Posted in art
Tagged art, bacon, Barry, Bowie, collage, Gehry, Hockney, MoMA, murals, richter, Rockwell, Titian, vanGogh
If you are a fan of the Style Council, as I am, I highly recommend this: Long Hot Summers: The Story of The Style Council (2020) | SHOWTIME
It’s an excellent review of the career of the musicians that made up the band, and a fine reminder of how great they were.
While there were many people interviewed for it, Tracey Thorn didn’t appear, sadly. I would have loved to hear more about how she crossed paths and became a Councillor for a time.
Watch the documentary: you’ll be glad you did. Meanwhile, check this out:
Last week I wrote about really great long films. Those are great, Bernie, you say, but what about those times when you don’t have much time? In that case, you need this list of films you can watch in under 90 minutes! Yes, Rashomon is on the list. And so many more great films. Proof that longer isn’t always better.
Fun fact: Spike Lee has a film on this list (“She’s Gotta Have It”) and on the long list (“Malcolm X”). Check out both of them!
Posted in art
Tagged art, film, lifehacker
I’ve always been a fan of Jim Jarmusch’s films. Now I have a new thing to be a fan of: his collages. The New York Times has a series of them here as well as good article talking to him about them. Go check it out. It’s a visual treat! Enjoy! Maybe go and make some of your own.
It’s 2021 and I still see people managing projects using Excel spreadsheets. Sure you CAN do it, but you can do better. I am a fan of OpenProj and I use it often. If that is not for you, consider this online version: Build Gantt Charts Online.
What I like about these tools is you can tie tasks together which have dependencies (as shown in the image). This is very helpful and something not easy to do with spreadsheets.
Speadsheets are great for many things: for managing projects, use a better tool.
If you are thinking: Bernie, I could really use some good recipes to cook this fall, can you help me? Why yes, I think I can. (I even have some grilling recipes because hey, keep BBQing if it makes you happy.) Here’s my fall list of food links (mostly recipes) I’ve found interesting and that I think you will find interesting too!
Fish: first up, here’s a feast of fish recipes. I love clams, and I want to make this: Clams with chili and limes. Speaking of fish with citrus, try this: Citrus Shrimp Rice Bowls. If you are still grilling: This Fish Is Sustainable Cheap and Delicious on the Grill. Or maybe you want to roast: Roast Fish with Cannellini Beans and Green Olives. Do you like cod? If so, here are two for you: Rice Bowls with Flaky Cod and Green Seasoning Baked Cod. Back to shellfish with Quick Calamari With Garlic Mayonnaise and Spicy Garlic Lemon Butter Shrimp with Parmesan Corn Polenta. Finally, this sounds fun if you want something sushi-like: DIY Hand Rolls Are My Last-Minute Dinner Party Savior. And this is worth a look: The Best Fish Cakes.
Vegetables: when you want carbs and veg: Greens and Beans with Fried Bread. This sound delicious: Vietnamese Tomato Salad. How about some dishes with emulsions? Here’s Carrot and Beet Salad with Scallion Emulsion or Roasted Red Pepper Emulsion. Or how about soups? This sounds amazing: This Lentil Soup Is So Good One Nurse Has Eaten It for Lunch Every Workday for 17 Years and this sounds classic: make Any Vegetable Soup. If you need dips: Make a Ton of Impressive Dips With This Simple Formula. Or chickpeas: Warm Chickpea Bowls with Lemony Yogurt. Feeling like beans? Here’s 12 Easy Ways to Cook a Can of Cannellini Beans. If you are still grilling: Grilled Mushrooms and Carrots with Sesame. Maybe you are using the oven again…then make Sheet-Pan Ratatouille. Or bake a pie: Golden Root Vegetable Potpie close. Put your kimchi to work with Kimchi-Fried Grains. Or your last summer tomatoes: rice-stuffed tomatoes.
Chicken: sticking with the lighter items, let’s move to chicken. Here’s a fantastic and varied list of chicken dishes: Chicken Braised in Lime and Peanut Sauce, Chicken Schnitzel with Crunchy Salad (read this too: The BA Sandwich Primer: Saltie), Stir-Fried Noodles With Chicken, Coq au Riesling, Curry-Poached Chicken with Rice and Scallions and finally Peperoncini Chicken.
Pasta/Noodles/Grains: are an excellent trio. Let’s start with gnocchi…I highly recommend this: Five Delicious Reasons to Always Have Gnocchi in Your Pantry. I also keep wanting to make these noodles, so I want to try one of these: Dan Dan Noodles, or this (it’s different) Dan Dan Noodles. Pasta Aglio e Olio Gets a Plus One is good for fans of it. Here’s a simple pasta dish: Macaroni and Peas Is the Desperation Meal That Always Satisfies. As is this: Pasta with Sausage and Arugula. Maybe you want to make your own pasta: Make Pasta From Scratch with Two Ingredients. Kudos to you!
What else? If none of those catch your fancy, what about you try this: Make This Pork Roast on Sunday Eat Well All Week Long. Or make this and have them on standby: 4 Homemade Spice Blends That’ll Level-Up Your Meals. This sounds amazing: Burnt Orange and Coriander Roast Pork. Same with this: Maple Chicken ‘N’ Ribs. Finally there’s Lamb Meatballs With Pecan Romesco and .the Absolute Best Way to Cook French Fries According to So Many Tests.
Lists: I always come across lists of food more and more each month. These are some good ones:
- 45 Healthy Dinner Recipes for Low-Stress Weeknights.
- 9 Martha Stewart Recipes We Can’t Stop Making from One-Pan Pasta to Slab Pie.
- 30 Refreshing Slaw Recipes for Summer.
- 29 Healthyish Chickpea Recipes Here for Your Weeknight Dinners.
- These 81 Easy Pasta Recipes Are Your Weeknight-Dinner Saviors.
- Our 11 Best Summer Sangrias Including One With Rose.
- 30 Juicy Pork Chop Recipes for Easy Weeknight Dinners.
- 18 Classic French Appetizers.
- 9 Ways To Use Up Overripe Fruit.
- Arugula Salad With Shaved Parmesan Three Ways
Not recipes, but interesting:
For steak lovers, here’s: Cuts Of Steak Ranked From Worst To Best. For fans of budget cooking like me: The Healthyish Guide to Low-Waste Cooking. You might ask: Why Do American Grocery Stores Still Have an Ethnic Aisle? Why indeed. Is American BBQ ethnic. I dunno, but here are two good pieces on American barbeque: The Evolution of American Barbecue and The media has erased the long history of Black barbecue skewing our understanding. As you know, fermented food is hot: How Fermented Foods May Alter Your Microbiome and Improve Your Health. Finally, this was excellent: Chez Panisse reimagined the way we eat. After 50 years is that enough?.
It’s easy to find articles condemning the act of eating lunch at your desk (for example, this one ). I get it. That said, I believe there are three times when eating at your desk is ok:
- You have too much to do and even a 15 minute lunch break seems too much.
- You want to downplay lunch.
- Your work is not good but your lunch is.
Now #1 is not a good situation, but sometimes that just the way it is.
#2 makes sense if you are trying to decenter or downplay food. If you are in a place where you find it tempting to overeat and are trying to avoid temptation, this strategy can work. (I can vouch for it.)
#3 is often overlooked and is often tied to #1. Sometimes your work is just awful but you have to get it done. At least eating something you like while you do it makes it bearable and even a bit enjoyable.
These three reasons to eat lunch while you work are not ideal, for sure. But not unreasonable either.
(Written while eating my lunch :))
(Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash )
I was reading this analysis of a recent speech by George W. Bush (‘The Nation I Know,’ by George W. Bush – by James Fallows – Breaking the News) and it got me thinking about him again.
It’s easy to forget about Bush. Most Republicans act like they have. Many Democrats too. While reviled towards the end of his presidency — so much so that he was shunned by his party at their conventions — there are people who still think positively of him (For example, Michelle Obama Explains Her and George W. Bush’s Candy Exchange and Friendship).
But no one should forget about Bush and all the terrible things done during his presidency, from torture to war. To see what I mean, read this: The Legacy of America’s Post-9/11 Turn to Torture – The New York Times. While some in America would like to forget all that and think better of him, much of the world likely thinks like this: George W Bush should shut up and go away | US & Canada | Al Jazeera. Even there, the idea is to dismiss him and forget about him.
Perhaps Bush is a genial and charming man. But he will also be the man that brought the United States and the World to a worse place. That should not be forgotten.
(Image above: Official White House photo by Pete Souza – https://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/4291602492/ (direct link))
If you are like me and somewhat dread cleaning on the weekend, perhaps you need an alternative approach. One approach to consider is to spread it throughout the week so when the weekend comes it’s not so bad. The problem with that approach I have found is that the week speeds by and you are left with all the cleaning piling up into Saturday and Sunday.
One way to deal with that is having a cleaning schedule. If that sounds good tto you, read this: How to Create a Cleaning Schedule You Can Stick to | Apartment Therapy. Lots of good tips there, such as “throw things out as you go”. After all, why keep moving things around you don’t want or dust things you no longer like. Trash them, or better still, give them to someone who could use them.
May your (laundry) loads feel lighter after you put that article into practice!
While short movies are fun, sometimes one wants to settle in and watch a good long movie. The problem with that, though, is many of them draggggggggg. No one wants that. We want to settle, not fidget. We need help.
Help is here in the form of this: 20 of the Best Long Movies That Are Actually Worth Their Runtime. “Lawrence of Arabia” is an obvious choice, but there are many others on the list that are great too, such as “Hamlet” and “Malcolm X”. Check out the list, then block of some time this weekend or next and get some quality screen time in. Snacks are optional, but recommended. 🙂