Saturday, March 31, 2007

Second Life

So, I am trying out Second Life.

I decided to have a look after a story about a pitched battle at some French campaign headquarters.

So I go to John Edwards' headquarters. Totally deserted.

But what should be on the very next island but the corporate headquaters of The Electric Sheep Company.


Yes, here it is in all its glory.


Here I am in awe of their main lobby. That's a suspended 3d sheep ladies and gentlemen.


So I rush to the main auditorium, but their Quicktime presention didn't load. I was crushed.


I teleported to another place, and complained to Buddha. He was unmoved.

Clovis artifacts do not end debate over first Americans

The antiquity of the peopling of the Americas has been, and continues to be, one of the most controversial issues in American archaeology.

For many years, it was accepted that the Clovis culture represented the earliest appearance of people in this hemisphere.

The hallmark of the Clovis culture is a particular style of grooved spear point that is found from Alaska to northern South America.

Traditionally, the Clovis culture has been said to date from 11,500 to 10,900 years ago, but a comprehensive and critical review of the radiocarbon dates for Clovis in the Feb. 23 issue of the journal Science has narrowed the range to 11,050 to 10,800 years ago.

Michael Waters, director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans, and Thomas Stafford, director of Stafford Research Laboratories, argue that "in as few as 200 calendar years, Clovis technology originated and spread throughout North America."

Read more here.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Yet another fucking condo project

42This time at the corner of Yonge and Bloor.

And they aren't fooling around this time. 80 stories. A block away 2 other condo towers are rising ("to over 2 million!" See more here.)

So another area will be closed off to street life (yes, this corner could use a face lift...but a condo?) and the rich take over.

Fuck 'em.

The councilor Kyle Rae* thinks he's doing us all a favour too:

If the tower does get built at Yonge and Bloor, the building may earn another distinction – by blotting out a few other towering eyesores, according to Rae.

"I sorely would like to hide the Royal Bank building on the northeast corner," he says. "It's brutal. Hiding that building at the northeast corner by this one on the southeast corner would, I think, be a gracious thing to do.

"I'm in favour of masking the unfortunate."

That could be the slogan of condo builders everywhere....

*Thanks to Andrew at for the correction

Sue Teller Mashes It Up

Google goes back to pre-Katrina maps

Google's popular map portal has replaced post-Hurricane Katrina satellite imagery with pictures taken before the storm, leaving locals feeling like they're in a time loop and even fueling suspicions of a conspiracy.

Scroll across the city and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and everything is back to normal: Marinas are filled with boats, bridges are intact and parks are filled with healthy, full-bodied trees.

"Come on," said an incredulous Ruston Henry, president of the economic development association in New Orleans' devastated Lower 9th Ward. "Just put in big bold this: 'Google, don't pull the wool over the world's eyes. Let the truth shine.'"

Read more here.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Man Gets 10 Years in Thai Graffiti Case

Think a little highly of yourself, do we O King of Thailand?

Know what a Raspberry is? Nobody's that important.

A Swiss man was sentenced to 10 years in prison Thursday for spray-painting graffiti over images of Thailand's revered king, the first conviction of a foreigner in at least a decade under strict Thai laws protecting the monarchy.

Oliver Rudolf Jufer, 57, who had pleaded guilty to five counts of lese majeste, or insulting the monarchy, had faced a maximum sentence of 75 years in prison.

Judge Phitsanu Tanbukalee said Jufer was given a reduced sentence since he had admitted his wrongdoing.

Read more here.

Cavemen Preferred Full-Figured Ladies

Thin may be in now, but prehistoric men 15,000 years ago prefered full-figured gals, suggest dozens of flint figurines excavated from a Paleolithic hunting site in Poland.

Since almost identical depictions have been found elsewhere throughout Europe, the figurines indicate a shared artistic tradition existed even then.

Read more here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Lips Mural


I don't live in Montreal anymore, and I wonder if this mural is still there. It seems to have been there in 2006 (see Flickr image below).

All I can find online is an article from 1998:

"Newcomers to Montreal always notice it; to lifetime Montrealers, it's ingrained in memory. At first it jumps out at you: you think it's some nice graffiti art and expect it will be gone next time you go by. But it never goes away, and over time it just blends into the background and you stop paying attention.

The art in question is, of course, the steamy lip mural behind Place des Arts, at the corner of Jeanne-Mance and Ontario. According to Montreal cartographer David Widgington, the mural has been up there for over 20 years. For that reason, Widgington decided to highlight the mural in his book Montreal Up Close: A Pedestrian's Guide to the City, co-authored with Kirk Johnson.

ummmmExplains Widgington: "It's supposed to be symbolic of the hot Montreal summer: red lips, mouth open and steam rising around the hot sun. It's in really good shape, considering how long it's been up there--it's not peeling or cracking at all." Unfortunately, says Widgington, his research failed to turn up some key information: exactly who painted it, for whom and the date it was completed all remain a mystery.

It was there in 1972, but I don't know how it got there either.

As for it being "symbolic of the hot Montreal summer", that is nonsense. As it was painted in c. 1971, the smoke is much more likely symbolic of something else entirely.

Of current works, these 4 seem to come up most often.


Michael Jackson wants Vegas robot

Michael Jackson is in discussions about creating a 50-foot robotic replica of himself to roam the Las Vegas desert, according to reports.

The pop legend is currently understood to be living in the city, as he considers making a comeback after 2004's turbulent child sex case.

It has now been claimed that his plans include an elaborate show in Vegas, which would feature the giant Jacko striding around the desert, firing laser beams.

Read more here. If you dare.

Mysterious hexagon spotted on Saturn

42A strange hexagon shape over the north pole of Saturn was first spotted by the two Voyager spacecraft has been revisited by the Cassini probe. The 26 years between sightings indicate it is likely a permanent feature on Saturn, according to NASA scientists. In fact, Cassini found a second hexagon, significantly darker than the orginal. This is the first time the feature has been captured on one image.

On NASA's Web site, Kevin Baines, atmospheric expert and member of Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said, "Saturn's thick atmosphere where circularly-shaped waves and convective cells dominate is perhaps the last place you'd expect to see such a six-sided geometric figure, yet there it is."

This image was captured at night by Cassini's infrared mapping spectrometer. The red color indicates heat generated from the planet's interior.

Read more here.

'I have never been a bimbo'

PussyI have got further with Pussy Galore than James Bond managed. Did he ever share a narrow bed with her in a dressing room at the Lyric Theatre? Maybe in his sexiest dreams. Honor Blackman - who played the gun-wielding, judo-chopping pilot with the bonkers name in Goldfinger - can still talk incessantly about Sean Connery, even though that was four decades ago. "Nobody will ever be as good as Sean," she tells me. Honor, you have to work on your pillow talk.

Read more here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Why the Greeks could hear plays from the back row

An ancient theatre filters out low-frequency background noise.

The wonderful acoustics for which the ancient Greek theatre of Epidaurus is renowned may come from exploiting complex acoustic physics, new research shows.

The theatre, discovered under a layer of earth on the Peloponnese peninsula in 1881 and excavated, has the classic semicircular shape of a Greek amphitheatre, with 34 rows of stone seats (to which the Romans added a further 21).

Its acoustics are extraordinary: a performer standing on the open-air stage can be heard in the back rows almost 60 metres away. Architects and archaeologists have long speculated about what makes the sound transmit so well.

Read more here.

'Song of the South' may be released

dodaWalt Disney Co.'s 1946 film Song of the South was historic. It was Disney's first big live-action picture and produced one of the company's most famous songs — the Oscar-winning "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah." It also carries the story line of the Splash Mountain rides at its theme parks.

But the movie remains hidden in the Disney archives — never released on video in the United States and criticized as racist for its depiction of Southern plantation blacks. The film's 60th anniversary passed last year without a whisper of official rerelease, which is unusual for Disney, but President and CEO Bob Iger recently said the company was reconsidering.

Click the image for "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah".

Read more here.

Yellow Submarine trailer

Nothing is Real.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Oh no

CBC News is projecting a Liberal minority government in Quebec.

The Liberal party and Action Démocratique du Québec had running neck and neck in several closely-contested ridings, with the PQ trailing behind for most of Monday night.

This is the first minority government in Quebec since 1878

The Golden Compass

Unfinished leaked trailer

Tolkien Jr and The Children of Húrin

TolkienThe first new Tolkien novel for 30 years is to be published next month. In a move eagerly anticipated by millions of fans across the world, The Children of Húrin will be released worldwide on 17 April, 89 years after the author started the work and four years after the final cinematic instalment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, one of biggest box office successes in history.

The book, whose contents are being jealously guarded by publisher HarperCollins - is described as "an epic story of adventure, tragedy, fellowship and heroism."

Read more here.

Rome II ep 10


Thaaaat's all folks.

HBO's Rome has wrapped up, is finished, done.

We began tonight with a jump cut to right after the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C., and follow the events up to Octavian's Triumph in Rome.

Though marred by my usual gripe (the Tweedles are right there, central characters at the making of Empire), Rome's handling of "Antony & Cleopatra™" and their dealings with Octavian were almost underplayed (Cleopatra's meeting with Octavian is the best example. Not underplayed was Antony's impression of Joe Pesci), here done with close cropped or close up shots.

As I've said all along, Rome can handle the history, it's the fiction they sucked at.

Given that, I will give the writers one point: they did produce a tear inducing scene of deathbed forgiveness.

"Greeks talk a whole pile of nonsense. Fuck 'em"

So the series is over, though it had enough set ups for a 3rd season (look at the exchange between Livia and Atia for example).

And as before, Tweedle Dumb and another character (I don't want to give away who, but it maybe the writers greatest liberty taking with History) walk into the distance in the last shot of the show. Dumb's actions in Rome were bizarre, but at least he was consistent in his inconsistency, as were the writers of the flawed series.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Canadian Forces Recruting Ads

What do you make of them?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Missoula County

Seems the little tin pot dictators of Missoula County have taken it upon themselves to "amend" an initiative voted in by 55% of the population, because they think the voters didn't understand it.

Holy Fuck.

Missoula County commissioners voted Wednesday to narrow the scope of a ballot initiative that deprioritizes adult marijuana crimes, despite the unwieldy presence of community members who opposed any changes.

The countywide measure, dubbed Initiative 2, was approved by 55 percent of Missoula's electorate in the November election, and calls on authorities to make all adult marijuana crimes a lowest law-enforcement priority, including felony possession, growing and selling.

Until now.

Following Wednesday's public hearing, which drew opposition from almost 30 residents and attracted an overflow audience more than twice that size, the commissioners approved the amendments in a 2-1 majority vote.

The commissioners scheduled the public hearing in response to a contentious proposal by County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg, who urged the commissioners to amend Initiative 2 so it excludes felony amounts of marijuana, arguing that voters didn't realize the full range of the measure when they supported it...

...But perhaps what roiled Wednesday's attendants the most was Van Valkenburg's assertion that “a gut feeling” led him to believe Missoula's electorate misinterpreted the ballot language.

Read more here and here.

Fairy Liquid

A friend recently returned from a trip to Scotland, and again returned with supplies of the legendary Fairy Liquid.

What is Fairy Liquid you may ask? Why a perfectly respectable line of dish washing products, by Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen.

It's true, says so on the package.

Speaking of the package, now Fairy Liquid may have started out not realizing the joke (though it's hard to miss), but now they certainly do.


Fairy Liquid

Or perhaps...

Fairy Liquid

On an unrelated topic, this is the billboard for an exhibition of Peruvian gold at the Royal Ontario Museum.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Genetic studies endow mice with new color vision

miceAlthough mice, like most mammals, typically view the world with a limited color palette – similar to what some people with red-green color blindness see – scientists have now transformed their vision by introducing a single human gene into a mouse chromosome. The human gene codes for a light sensor that mice do not normally possess, and its insertion allowed the mice to distinguish colors as never before.

Read more here.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Larry "Bud" Melman

1983. Won't you please have a hot towel?

The Psychotic Hour presents Star Trek XI

World of Warcraft - Karazhan Musical Chairs

Our guild gets really bored in Karazhan, after over a month of full clears. So this is how we pass the time. Sometimes we place unbelievably hard-to-reach lightwells randomly on top of walls and such for our wall walkers to try to grab, or we play musical chairs in Moroes' room =D

Soul Society - Deathwing (PvP)

Voyager in cyclone Valentina

One of largest and fastest passenger cruisers Voyager, in cyclone Valentina, middle Mediterranean Sea, 14.02.2005

Let's All Hate Toronto Trailer

Only a Torontian would actually think anyone *outside* of Toronto would care. And they wonder why they're hated.

Vandals apparently topple Pompeii column

A huge column in the garden of an ancient Roman villa at Pompeii was toppled in what officials said Wednesday was an act of vandalism.

"This isn't a simple act of vandalism, which, while bad enough, could be explained by ignorance," superintendent Giovanni Guzzo said, calling it "an act of intimidation."

Read more here.

Sisely shows Chelsea how to dance

300 - the PG version

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

No News


Ron Jeremy was in Ghostbusters


Read more here.


Btw, did you know Richard Simmons was in Satyricon? I submitted that once to IMDB, and they rejected it.

John Hurt

I am not an animal

John Hurt talks to Harriet Lane about ambition, drinking, life-changing roles - and which of his rivals he'd like to push off a cliff

Read more here.

Beckham does Eminem

haEminem was unavailable for comment.

Yeah I know, it's David Beckham, international superstar.

But really, look at that image. Is he kidding?

Beckham's latest launch is part of publicity campaign aimed at introducing the former England captain to the U.S. market.

The 31-year-old is moving to the Los Angeles Galaxy from Real Madrid at the end of the season after agreeing a five-year, £250 million deal.

I know it's "tailored" for the American market, but he looks really dumb and...

Oooh I see...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Budweiser steals concept?

I'm shocked, shocked that a corporation may have stolen an idea.

Montreal YMCA drops tinted windows after members protest

Members of a Montreal YMCA are celebrating the community centre's decision to remove frosted glass it installed last year to shield young neighbouring Orthodox Jews from seeing women exercising inside.

Read more here.

Some are proud to hate

A piece of hateful propaganda. And they call us bad.

They must be right, no? If you can't pass on your hate to your children, what is the point of having any?

Naked Principal Found With Sex Toys Watching Gay Porn In Office

Yes you read that right. alleged meth-dealing principal

Read more here. You know you want to.

Tiananmen Square

Only marred by the terrible musical choice.

Pastor Al vs. the Easter Bunny

Monday, March 19, 2007

reactable: basic demo #1

Yeah, I know it's been on Youtube for months, but I just bothered to look at it.

The reactable, is a multi-user electronic music instrument with a tabletop tangible user interface. Several simultaneous performers share complete control over the instrument by moving physical objects on a luminous table surface. By moving and relating these objects, representing components of a classic modular synthesizer, users can create complex and dynamic sonic topologies, with generators, filters and modulators, in a kind of tangible modular synthesizer or graspable flow-controlled programming language.

Read more here.


Nothing makes a Québecer happier than someone fucking with "traditional" Québecois culture.

Seems that is happening at les cabanes à sucre (a place, usually in the country where you have a feast, based around maple syrup.

Some are removing ham from pea soup, after complaints from Moslems. Others are stopping music for Moslem prayer time.

There's a time and place for everything, and I'm kinda on this commentor's side:

«Ce n'est pas parce que je suis contre ces gens, mais il faut respecter nos traditions. On est à la cabane à sucre après tout.»

Hill of a fight looming over Bannockburn

vandalsIt played a key role in the greatest ever Scottish victory over the English but - almost 700 years after the fight ended - it now faces annihilation.

Robert the Bruce's camp followers sheltered behind what became Gillies Hill during the 14th-century Battle of Bannockburn until their legendary, and decisive, charge against the enemy towards the end of the conflict.

But the historic mound - renamed after the battle in their honour - is set to be eradicated as a result of quarrying for stone to use in making roads.

Although the site has been scarred by small-scale quarrying for more than a century, the local council admits far more extensive work is about to begin and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it.


Read more here.

Rome II ep 9


In dealing with Antony & Cleopatra, I was willing to cut HBO's Rome some slack as ancient accounts about the famous pair tend towards the sensational as it is.

So do my favorite writers find themselves up to the task?


In the one place where they could have, where they should have gone over the top, what do they give us? Eye makeup. Dark sixties eye makeup.

Dec-A-Dent.'s on the men! Shocking!

Cleopatra is back to her dope smoking punked out ways, and she taking Antony along kids!

But are we given pearl drinking feasts, oared barges suggestively thrusting their way down the Nile?

Nope, just the happy couple, fucking in front of the help...again....shocking.

I get that the writers are trying to make the events of this time understandable by showing it through the eyes of only a handful of characters.

To their credit, their interpretations of historical figures is adequate, sometimes even better than that.

I'm not sure Maecenas was quite such the worm though.

Where the writers fail is their attempts to interweave historical events with their fictionalized characters.

Doing so, it seems the fate of the Empire will rest with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb (again), which is turning out to be the real love story in Rome.

"Have him kiss my children for me..."

When the writers are creating events solely for their fictionalized characters, they are less than able, giving us Melodrama™ of the highest order.

Example: the last few minutes of this episode. A flawed ending to a otherwise noble attempt.

"Why don't you shut your fucking mouth?"

Fine. Some nice panoramas of Rome and Alexandria btw.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Hawking Paradox

right or wrong

Interesting, even sad documentary about Stephen Hawking, black holes and how he got it wrong.

Or did he?

One gets the feeling that some of the challenging scientists did so mostly because they don't get invited to those sort of parties.

See it here.

Australopithecus kicked ass

Our ape-like predecessors kept their stout figures for 2 million years because having short legs ironically gave them the upper-hand in male-male combat for access to mates, finds a new study.

Read more here.

This Vista is limited, perhaps wider Windows?


That is a new Apple ad.

Well, it wasn't WOW for the first version of OS X, which was sluggish and unstable. But it's been miles ahead of the Windows world.

For Mircosoft to claim Vista has any WOW factor is pushing credulity to the limit.

And we have a new OS coming any minute now. Woohoo.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

'Cave entrances' spotted on Mars

Scientists studying pictures from Nasa's Odyssey spacecraft have spotted what they think may be seven caves on the surface of Mars.

Read more here.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Beowulf & Grendel


Thanks to "300", and its star Gerard Butler, an earlier film of his "Beowulf & Grendel" (2005) has slipped onto cable here. Had this movie made today, he be shirtless, shouting his lines at the top of his lungs: "Tonight we dine in Valhalla!".

At least they play it in widescreen.

This retelling of the Anglosaxon poem is like a rep company from historical epic movies. Besides Mr. Butler from "300", there's Tony Curran (from the classic "The 13th Warrior", itself a variation on Beowulf) and Stellan Skarsgård (from the even more classic "King Arthur", here wearing the same makeup).


Other than the less than stellar acting skills of Sarah Polley, the film is about as good as you can get basing your material on an 8th century poem, if only the first half. There is an attempt to style the dialog so that characters speak as people of that time *might* of. Even Grendel is sympathetic.

Fav line: "Come on Beowulf, he's a fucking troll."

Valerie Plame


Valerie Plame at open hearings, from Crooks and Liars.

It does seem clear Bush & Co. are criminals, at least to me ;)

See more here.

Giant Pool of Water Ice at Mars' South Pole

With a radar technique, astronomers have penetrated for the first time about 2.5 miles (nearly four kilometers) beneath the south pole’s frozen surface. The data showed that nearly pure water ice lies beneath.

Discovered in the early 1970s, layered deposits of ice and dust cap the North and South Poles of Mars. Until now, the deposits have been difficult to study closely with existing telescopes and satellites. The current advance comes from a probe of the deposits using an instrument aboard the Mars Express orbiter.

Read more here.

Making of the Doctor Who theme

OMG, the hair! For the More Modern Sound.

Performance & Anita Pallenberg


At the centre of international counter culture for the last 40 years, Anita Pallenberg co-starred in two of the most stylish and influential films - Barbarella and Performance. She came to the attention of the British public as the girlfriend of the Rolling Stone Brian Jones, whom she left for Keith Richards - the father of her two children, Marlon, now 37 and Angela, now 35.

"But I'd been around a lot before I met any of the Rolling Stones," says Pallenberg, in her beautiful, wood-panelled, apartment overlooking Chelsea Embankment. "I was in Rome in 1960 just as La Dolce Vita was happening and met [Federico] Fellini, Alberto Moravia, [Luchino] Visconti and [Paolo] Pasolini. Then I went to model in New York in 1963 and hung out with Andy Warhol and all the Pop artists, and met the Beat poets. And then I went to Paris." On a modelling assignment in the French capital, Pallenberg secured a part in director Volker Schlöndorff's new film, A Degree of Murder.There she met Donald Cammell, the writer and director of Performance.

The film, which is released this week for the first time in the UK on DVD...

Read more here.

The universe is a string-net liquid

In 1998, just after he won a share of the Nobel prize for physics, Robert Laughlin of Stanford University in California was asked how his discovery of "particles" with fractional charge, now called quasi-particles, would affect the lives of ordinary people. "It probably won't," he said, "unless people are concerned about how the universe works."

Well, people were. Xiao-Gang Wen at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Michael Levin at Harvard University ran with Laughlin's ideas and have come up with a prediction for a new state of matter, and even a tantalising picture of the nature of space-time itself. Levin presented their work at the Topological Quantum Computing conference at the University of California, Los Angeles, early this month.

Read more here.

Study: Clovis-era humans not first to settle America

For decades, the Blackwater Draw archaeological site near Clovis, N.M., stood out as perhaps the earliest documented evidence of human habitation in North America.

It was here that a band of Clovis-era humans hunted, killed and butchered at least one woolly mammoth. They also left behind distinctive Clovis spear points, lodged inside ancient bones.

Most archaeologists have believed for years that small bands of humans skirted ice sheets across the Bering Straits, made their way to North America and scattered to places like Blackwater Draw.

But a new archeological study suggests the Clovis-era peoples weren't the first in the Americas. The study, "Redefining the Age of Clovis: Implications for the Peopling of the Americas," was published in the Feb. 23 issue of Science.

Read more here. (free reg. req'd - use

Colchester's Roman Circus

THE final piece in the archaeological jigsaw that is Colchester's Roman Circus has been found by excavators, the EADT can reveal.

The location of the 12 gates that released the competitors into frenetic and often violent chariot races was discovered near the sergeants' mess building in the former Colchester Garrison at Abbey Field.

Read more here.

HP sauce moves production to Holland

In another case of a corporation saying a big "fuck you" to local workers, HP sauce is moving out of England:

The last bottle of HP sauce to be made in Britain has rolled off the company's production line.

Production of the iconic brown condiment, which carries an image of Britain's Houses of Parliament, ended at the company's factory in Aston, Birmingham, on Friday morning, marking the end of 108 years of sauce-making at the site.

Parent company Heinz will now move production to the Netherlands, with the loss of 120 jobs.

Joe Clarke, spokesman for the Transport and General Workers' Union (TGWU) in the West Midlands, said the closure was a blow for the workforce and for Birmingham as a city.

Read more here.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Controversial New Idea: Nerves Transmit Sound, Not Electricity

Nerves transmit sound waves through your body, not electrical pulses, according to a controversial new study that tries to explain the longstanding mystery of how anesthetics work.

Textbooks say nerves use electrical impulses to transmit signals from the brain to the point of action, be it to wag a finger or blink an eye.

"But for us as physicists, this cannot be the explanation," says Thomas Heimburg, a Copenhagen University researcher whose expertise is in the intersection of biology and physics. "The physical laws of thermodynamics tell us that electrical impulses must produce heat as they travel along the nerve, but experiments find that no such heat is produced."

The textbooks are not likely to be rewritten anytime soon, however.

Read more here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Fuck Garrison Keillor

and no, I can't take credit for that title.

There's an awful lot of very stupid statements coming out the good old U.S. of A. lately.

Today brings Garrison Keillor and....

Read more here, by Dan Savage, which gives you a more complete image.

But the only sane response to such epic idiocy is Fuck You. End of Argument.


it's so...big

Nasa's Cassini probe has found evidence for seas, probably filled with liquid hydrocarbons, at the high northern latitudes of Saturn's moon Titan.

The dark features, detected by Cassini's radar, are much bigger than any lakes already detected on Titan.

The largest is some 100,000 sq km (39,000 sq miles) - greater in extent than North America's Lake Superior.

Read more here.

Hitchens on Free Speech


Like him or not, Christopher Hitchens is a powerful speaker and makes a good argument.

See it here, thanks to One Good Move.

St. Isidore of Seville

holy bolyProposed Patron Saint of Internet Users.

Oratio ante colligationem in Interrete factam
Omnípotens aetérne Deus, qui nos secúndum imáginem Tuam plasmásti, et omnia bona, vera, pulchra, praesértim in divína persóna Unigéniti Fílii Tui Dómini nostri Iesu Chrísti, quaérere iussísti, praesta quaésumus ut, per intercessiónem Sancti Isidóri, Epíscopi et Doctóris, in peregrinatiónibus per interrete factis et manus oculósque ad quae Tibi sunt plácita intendámus et omnes quos convénimus cum caritáte ac patiéntia accipiámus. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum. Amen.

Read more here.

Where Daft Punk got their samples from

Gonzales should Resign


I watched U.S. A.G. Alberto Gonzales yesterday. He said:

"Mistakes were made" but "I think it was the right decision."

"I am responsible for what happens at the Department of Justice," but "I . . . was not involved in any discussions about what was going on."

You've been caught. Resign.

They all should. Won't happen.

Read more here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Stardust Demolished


With a deafening rumble and a cloud of debris that has become all but customary in this city of short-lived icons, the venerable Stardust Hotel-Casino was demolished early this morning.

The spectacular demolition ended a yearlong farewell to a classic 48-year-old resort that was, in its heyday, considered the ultimate in luxury and style.

It was a frequent haunt of Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack, the original Las Vegas Strip home of the illusionist duo Siegfried and Roy, and the scene of reputed organized crime activity that inspired the book and film “Casino.”

Read more here.

The Blood Scarf

ewwBlood Scarf
chromogenic prints mounted on aluminum
24"H x 20"W each

Blood Scarf depicts a scarf knit out of clear vinyl tubing. An intravenous device emerging out of the user's hand fills the scarf with blood. The implied narrative is a paradoxical one in which the device keeps the user warm with their blood while at the same time draining their blood drip by drip.

Read more here.

Pentagon's top general calls homosexuality immoral

"I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts...I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way."

General Pace, as long as invasion and torture are considered moral, you can go fuck yourself.

Read more here.

Evangelicals & NRCAT

The National Association of Evangelicals has endorsed an anti-torture statement saying the United States has crossed "boundaries of what is legally and morally permissible" in its treatment of detainees and war prisoners in the fight against terror.

Human rights violations committed in the name of preventing terrorist attacks have made the country look hypocritical to the Muslim world, the document states. Christians have an obligation rooted in Scripture to help Americans "regain our moral clarity."

"Our military and intelligence forces have worked diligently to prevent further attacks. But such efforts must not include measures that violate our own core values," the document says. "The United States historically has been a leader in supporting international human rights efforts, but our moral vision has blurred since 9-11."

National Religious Campaign Against Torture

Torture Is A Moral Issue
A Statement of Conscience of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture

Please join the over 14,500 people who have already endorsed this statement.

Torture violates the basic dignity of the human person that all religions, in their highest ideals, hold dear. It degrades everyone involved -- policy-makers, perpetrators and victims. It contradicts our nation's most cherished ideals. Any policies that permit torture and inhumane treatment are shocking and morally intolerable.

Nothing less is at stake in the torture abuse crisis than the soul of our nation. What does it signify if torture is condemned in word but allowed in deed? Let America abolish torture now -- without exceptions.

Read more here.

Monday, March 12, 2007


huhThough this film has apparently nothing to do with gays or gay themes, someone should have told that to the art department.

This may be the gayest non gay poster ever.

Or is it an accident...?

Animal House


DePauw University severed its ties today with a national sorority that evicted two-thirds of the university’s members last year in what the sorority called an effort to improve its image for recruitment, but which the evicted women described as a purge of the unattractive or the uncool.

The women the sorority allowed to stay were all slender and conventionally pretty.

Read more here.

Searching for the Silures

A leading historian has documented the exploits of the ancient Silures tribe, who fought a long campaign against the Romans two millennia ago.

Dr Ray Howell from the University of Wales, Newport, even says our [Welsh] penchant for wearing red may spring from the tribe's favourite battle colour.

Read more here.

Israel recalls envoy found naked, drunk

So far, my favorite news item of the day:

Israel has recalled its ambassador to El Salvador after he was found naked, bound and drunk, according to Israeli media reports confirmed Monday by a government spokeswoman...

Two weeks ago, El Salvador police found Raphael in the yard of his residence, tied up, gagged with a ball and drunk, Israeli media reported. He was wearing sex bondage equipment, the media said. After he was untied, Raphael told police he was the ambassador of Israel, the reports said.

The ambassador did not file a police complaint in the incident

No, he probably didn't. Other standouts include:

In 2000, Israel's ambassador to France died of cardiac arrest in a Paris hotel under circumstances the Foreign Ministry refused to publicize. Media reports said he was with a woman who was not his wife at the time.

Last year, Israel replaced its ambassador to Australia, Naftali Tamir, after he said Israel and Australia are "like sisters" because both are located in Asia and their peoples don't have the Asian characteristics of "yellow skin and slanted eyes."

In 2005, Israel canceled the appointment of a diplomat to Australia after it was discovered that he published pictures of nude Brazilian women on the Internet while on a mission in Brazil.

Oy vay

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Rome II ep 8

look serious

Much as I hate to say it, this episode of HBO's Rome finally resembled BBC's "I Claudius"...sort of.

Some criticized I Claudius for being just a soap opera in togas. Well, Rome tonight was very much that and more (I mean more than usual).

We begin with Octavian thanking the women of Rome for their strength and virtue, but knowing the writers, they mean to show nothing of the sort.
You like to do what!!?
It's all their fault, of course.

First, Octavius arranges to meet a young Livia at a party (I waited for violin stabs as they met, but even Rome isn't that cheesy...). They blink an eye, and the marriage is arranged.

But what's this! Maecenas is plotting, with Caesar's slave, to steal from Octavian? Ok, it's weak, it's unhistorical, but the writers must have a reason (other than Maecenas's need to keep his lady friends in opium)...

...of course, all will be well, as Tweedle Dumb is guarding the gold, natch!

What! Just at the last moment his wife is poisoned (by an evil woman - see *), so the gold is stolen! NO!

Such shock, such suspense. Who could have taken it?

it's mineAnyway, Octavian brings new wifie to dinner, and gets around to pissing everyone off (sis and mother's fault this time).

Even more glowering.

Thank God it isn't just the aristros having family problems, as Tweedle Dee finally goes through naughty little daughter's Barbie collection and discovers she has been sleeping with the enemy...oh *there's* the gold!

"Cherchez la femme" is what they should have done, but nooooo, Lepidus has already discounted anything a Gaul would say.

Rufus has slaves for every budget

So off to Egypt goes Antony, because the history books say he does, and with him goes Tweedle Dee..because...because...the writers say he does.

Tweedle Dumb is left to get over his wife's death in 30 seconds and then recreate the Gangs of New York to settle some scores (*caused by same evil woman?).

There were fragments of historical events, but they passed as motes in the wind. The episode does end with an amusing bit of dialog...


look more serious

Tune in next week.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Boston's lead singer dies


In 1976 Boston were touted as the Next Big Thing (it was still waited for back then), but by 1980 when they got around to their second album, the moment had long passed.

Try this, play their song "More than a Feeling", then Nirvana's "Smells like Teen Spirit".

It's the same song, right?

U.S. Military: Censorship was justified

The U.S. military asserted that an American soldier was justified in erasing journalists' footage of the aftermath of a suicide bombing and shooting in Afghanistan last week, saying publication could have compromised a military investigation and led to false public conclusions.

Compromising an investigation sounds like a reasonable reason, but this is followed by this strange statement by Col. Victor Petrenko, chief of staff to the top U.S. commander in eastern Afghanistan:

"When untrained people take photographs or video, there is a very real risk that the images or videography will capture visual details that are not as they originally were," he said. "If such visual media are subsequently used as part of the public record to document an event like this, then public conclusions about such a serious event can be falsely made."

"there is a very real risk that the images or videography will capture visual details that are not as they originally were" is a very odd way of describing it.

Read more here.

John Lennon & Chuck Berry

Danish Amulet linked to early Christianity

stoneKing Harold Bluetooth brought Christianity to Denmark roughly 1100 years ago. At least that's what he declared on the Jelling Stone located in Jutland:

'King Haraldr ordered this monument made in memory of Gormr, his father, and in memory of Thyrvé, his mother; that Haraldr who won for himself all of Denmark and Norway and made the Danes Christian.'

A tiny crystal amulet in the National Museum's archives suggests something quite different though, that maybe Christianity arrived in Denmark six centuries earlier than previously believed.

Actually, I don't think they should be surprised Christains were in the north. It was a center of trade, and there nothing more a Christain loves than making money (ok, maybe Jesus, and saving the heathen).

Read more here.

Roman clues found at ancient hill

Archaeologists have found traces of a Roman settlement at a 5,000-year-old landmark man-made hill in Wiltshire.

English Heritage believes there was a Roman community at Silbury Hill about 2,000 years ago.

The 130ft Neolithic mound near Avebury - one of Europe's largest prehistoric monuments - is thought to have been created some 3,000 years earlier.

Experts carrying out a project to stabilise the hill say the site may have been a sacred place of pilgrimage.

Read more here.

Friday, March 09, 2007

You sir, are an idiot

Rob Ford, Toronto City Councillor:

"I can't support bike lanes. Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks. My heart bleeds when someone gets killed, but it's their own fault at the end of the day."

This little quote is tucked away in a story, and is, if this is what he meant, unbelievable.

Sex and Violence

Full episode.

Motorola and the cellphone


The Story of Motorola and the cellphone.

Read more here.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Nine Inch Nails - Survivalism


R-rated trailer. Woohoo.

GodTube II

Chris in Montreal says:

You mean no Yehovah? No Zeus and Hera and their kids to torment the Greeks? No Wotan, Freya, Thor or Heimdall to battle the Giants? No Ganesh, no Allah, no Monkey God? No Ariadne, Diana, Venus, Aphrodite, Mary, Gaia nor any of the other infinite names of the Goddess? No Pan, with his horns, hooves, shit-eating grin, big stiff cock and flute? No Quetzalcoatl, Mayan corn god who gave us nothing? No Dionysius and Bacchus to party the night away with? No Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Luna spinning in the sky? No-one to describe as Junoesque?

No Krishna for the milkmaids to bathe? No Buddha, no holy Llamas spitting from incarnation to incarnation?

No trans-dimensional beings in orbit around Neptune, waiting for us to arrive?

No Coyote or Raven, nor Cannibal Birds, Otter and Turtle?

No Kali, with her many fragrant armpits? No Shiva?

No Zarathustra to be ventriloquist to Nietzsche?

No Victoria to lead the English in war? No Britannia, no Gog and Magog to inspire the woad-wearing ancestors of the West?

Well, if that's the way the internet must be, so be it. Personally, I'm going to go frolic with those milkmaids before they get totally bored and wander off.


God Be Praised

Hallelujah, Praise the Lord.

There is finally a Christian alternative to the godless heathen YouTube.

Lo but there be not many videos there as yet (thought the classic "The Atheist Nightmare" is there), but have faith, the Lord Shall Provide.

Cast thine eyes here.

Color Me Kubrick

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Fat English Lady

Dance my pretties dance

A while back I reposted a story "You know you're a Montrealer when..." and this was one of them:

"You know the apocryphal story of the fat lady at Eaton's"


1. of doubtful authorship or authenticity.
2. false: spurious

I've also read online that it is "legendary".

It is not a myth, doubtful or false though, it happened, it is fact.

It's just a small part of the delightfully civil discourse that is Quebec politics. The wider world never gets to see and hear the zany utterances of those in, um, charge. Must be the Anglos and ethnics fault...

This one comes from a particularly nasty period in Quebec's language war c. 1988-9 when zealots were measuring the size of English signs and lunatics were climbing the Mt Royal cross planting banners.

Suppressing the rights of a minority so the majority can feel comfortable is a thankless job but somebody has to do it.

In defense of the other side, there are reports that Eaton's (a now defunked department store, known in Quebec as Eaton as English names were banned...well, actually that depended who you were of course. McDonald's maintained its apostrophe [because of a suspiciously arbitrary loophole in Bill 101, allowing corporations to maintain their names, just not Canadian ones it seems]. The Quebec government may not have liked English, but they never crossed the Americans for long...) were attempting at persuade the government to maintain unilingual English signs, an equally stupid move.


pierreIn 1985, LIB PIERRE MACDONALD defeated PQ MICHELLE DOZOIS by 22,368 votes. Appointed Minister of External Trade and Minister of Technological Development, Dec. 1985. Minister of Industry, Commerce and Technological Development, July 6, 1988. MacDonald remembered for "damned fat English lady" quote.

The irony of Mr. MacDonald's last name was not lost on observers of the time...

Mr. MacDonald gave this now famous quote to the newpaper la Presse during an interview sometime around January 17, 1989. He was referring to a time in Montreal when a French speaker couldn't be served in French at Eaton's (oh excuse me, Eaton), but would be met by "la maudite grosse anglaise" (a damned fat English lady). This delightfully candid quote summed up much of what drove the Quebec government's language policy.

Well! Hell hath no fury..

As a member of The Psychotic Hour said: "Fat English Lady to cosmetics, fat English lady to would be like the dance of the hippos from Fantasia..."

You can hear that audio file here (featuring John Moore and Carmen Bouchard).

Ah Québec. Je me souviens, and you're damn well not going to forget either.

Btw, I am a proud owner of a P.Q. lapel pin, given to a journalist friend (who gave it to me) in this period by none other that Jacques Parizeau, the Sidney Greenstreet of Quebec..



Spotted in the gay village in Toronto, their two gods. Every fag in the city will be in the cinema this Friday.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

English and Irish may be closer than they think

Britain and Ireland are so thoroughly divided in their histories that there is no single word to refer to the inhabitants of both islands. Historians teach that they are mostly descended from different peoples: the Irish from the Celts and the English from the Anglo-Saxons who invaded from Northern Europe and drove the Celts to the western and northern fringes.

But geneticists who have tested DNA throughout the British Isles are edging toward a different conclusion. Many are struck by the overall genetic similarities, leading some to claim that both Britain and Ireland have been inhabited for thousands of years by a single people that have remained in the majority, with only minor additions from later invaders like Celts, Romans, Angles, Saxons, Vikings and Normans.

The implication that the Irish, English, Scottish and Welsh have a great deal in common with each other, at least from the geneticist's point of view, seems likely to please no one.

This does tie in with recent thought, such as Francis Pryor's "Britain A.D." for example (a work I was less than kind to). Interesting developments.

Read more here.

Geico cavemen could star in TV series

Those Geico "cavemen" shouldn't be so upset after all -- they may get their own television series.

ABC said Friday it had ordered a pilot for a comedy, tentatively titled "Cavemen," that features the characters used in a series of ads by the insurance company.

It's been done, 1966, "It's About Time". Lasted 2 season. It is forgotten.

Anne Coulter is a cunt

Don't be offended Anne, there's nothing sexual about that word. It's a schoolyard taunt.

Read more here.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Dinosaur that Fooled the World

Hey Harper, look into this


Call it international limbo. Detained by U.S. Customs officials after their flight to Toronto made an unscheduled stop on American soil nearly four weeks ago, Kevin and his Iranian parents, Majid and Masomeh, feel they are being held hostage not only by the physical parameters of Hutto, but by the politics of nationality.

“We can't go home because I am Canadian but my parents are not,” Kevin said in a telephone interview with The Globe and Mail — no personal interviews have been granted.

Read more here.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Rome II ep 7

such long faces

"No one believes what the news reader says..."

Boy that's true, but I'll try just the same...

HBO's Rome is back and see, I was right, there is much lamentation.

And lamentation, and lamentation.

I call for justice.

HBO's own site put it this way: "Servilia's incessant cries for justice drive Atia to distraction, and result in an unfortunate public denouement."

"an unfortunate public denouement" LOL, now that is an exit.

Real politics take a back seat to sexual ones in this episode, with everyone fucking the wrong people (oh no, not in the kitchen!) and marriages that will cause *all* sorts of problems.

You're fucking my sister you little's Egypt by the way

Flashes of fun here and there with the Triumvirate dividing the World.

"Well, this is awkward...spit"

The gratuitous breast washing shot was also a highlight, as was a gift bearing King Herod stopping by...almost for good.

All mockery of Jews and their one God is to be kept to an acceptable minimum.

Amen. Mockery of the extremely dumb story line of the assassins on the other hand, is greatly encouraged.

Episodic. I would love to reedit this series.

G.O.P. Candidates Criticize Slur by Conservative Author

Three of the leading Republican presidential candidates on Saturday denounced one of their party’s best-known conservative commentators for using an antigay epithet when discussing a Democratic presidential contender at a gathering of conservatives here.

The remarks by Ann Coulter, an author who regularly speaks at conservative events, were sharply denounced by the candidates, Senator John McCain of Arizona, Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. Their statements came after Democrats, gay rights groups and bloggers raised a storm of protest over the remarks.

Thank you gentlemen, apology accepted.

Read more here.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Quo Vadis


A while back I was lamenting the lack of some titles on DVD.

Quo Vadis was one of them, but today TMC played it uncut.

First off, the print they had was not best, there were repaired breaks and reel change dots. The colour look shifted, with green sometimes too predominate.

What doesn't hold up? It does have its share of shaky dolly shots, obvious painted backgrounds, and some truly awful rear projection (but again, it also has some beautiful model and matte painting works as well).

The women in this film are complete idiots. Petronius's Spanish slave girl is in love with him, even after he tries to have her sold, and beaten (gently now, don't break the skin...).

In a particularly creepy scene, she proclaims her his statue.

And of course, she follows him in dinner.

The so called female lead, Deborah Kerr (here just slightly too old) falls for the incredibly boorish Roman solider Robert Taylor, after he

1) mistakes her for a slave
2) insults her important general father by having her taken from him (she was his adopted daughter)
3) insults her house guest, St. Paul, yes The St. Paul, by breaking a crucifix in front of him.

There are other minor things, like attempted kidnapping...but before hour 2 (of this almost 3 hour movie) she's in love. Awwww.

What's fun about the film? The design. This is a Rome that never existed. Bigger, grander, more colourful. We are even given a Roman "Feast" (read orgy), or as much as 1951 Hollywood could show. There are one or two double entendres in the film (We must take them to our breast....Yes, my Lord)

But above all, it is still very much Peter Ustinov's film. He is Nero, and no one has flung around velvet better. See the film for him, no question.

The burning of Rome is meant to be the film's high point, but I found the arena scenes much more powerful. Christians while attacked by lions singing to a baffled Nero, and later used has human torches, are all the more disturbing as they are not the film makers creations, but taken from Roman histories themselves.

Whither St. Peter showed up to challenge the front of everyone, is not important. It's a great moment.

The Christianity portrayed here is fairly benign, though be warned there is a 12 minute sermon at the beginning of hour 2 (ok, it's from St Peter but still. This actor shows up in Ben-Hur as a wise man btw).

All in all, a not terribly inaccurate portrayal of what we know of that period, c. 64 A.D., in a Hollywood style of course (and no more unbelievable than HBO's Rome).

This film's echos can be hear in others such as The Robe, Ben-Hur, Star Trek (check out the Empress's makeup), Monty Python's Holy Grail (check the Greek they hire to lead them to the Christians...)

Anne Coulter

Coulter @ CPAC: I would comment on John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot.’

And this with high level Republicans in the audience, laughing and applauding. The ugliest of people run that government.

Any wonder the world eyes today's America with such lack of respect.

Friday, March 02, 2007

RvD2: Ryan vs. Dorkman 2

Ok, so they can't act, but it is some great film making

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Crossing Saturn's Rings

The Cassini spacecraft's cameras filmed this photo montage during a recent ring crossing. Photos courtesy of NASA/JPL.

Earth is in fact growing

I can't vouch for the scientific validity of this, but it's damn interesting. But, where does the water go?

The Guiness Book of the Ancient World

greeksThere was no annually published Guinness Book of Records to keep track, but the ancient Greeks and Romans were crazy about setting and breaking records. Now two Swedish archaeologists have compiled a selection.

The scientists combed through hundreds of old texts in their search for superlatives. Here are some of the results: The tallest man in the ancient world measured 288 centimeters (9 foot 5 inches), while the shortest (60 centimeters -- 2 feet) was barely as tall as a bedside table. Another treat from the book: The naturalist Pliny reports the case of some conserved beans that were forgotten in the cellar and retained their taste for 220 years.

Read more here.