Friday, September 30, 2011

Canadians...on the Highway of Heroes

Canada is a large country with a small population. Perhaps that's why we can afford to acknowledge every single fallen soldier. I think, though, we would do it regardless of our size and regardless of how many are lost.

The Ontario Department of Highways has designated the road from Toronto to Trenton the "Highway of Heroes". It is a segment of Canada's largest transportation artery known officially as the MacDonald-Cartier Highway or unofficially as "the 401" as we natives call it. It is also the path a soldier's body (repatriated casualty, if you like euphemisms) takes as his hearse travels from the Canadian Forces Base in Trenton to Toronto for the official autopsy and his family is allowed to travel with it. You know who else goes along? These people:





The Highway of Heroes and the people who line the overpasses on this route honour our fallen servicemen by acknowledging them and their family as they pass by on their solemn journey. Since 2002 when our first soldiers began returning from Afghanistan, crowds have lined the overpasses and shoulders and as the convoys pass by they wave flags or hands or salute.



The highway is closed while this convoy makes its way to Toronto and people are perfectly OK with that.


Traffic in the far lanes stopped as the motorcade accesses the 401 on ramp


What I don't understand is why other countries do not do this. President Barack Obama has ordered a review of the country's hidden and heartless U. S. casualty repatriation policy. At the time of this writing, dead American soldiers return home to a camera ban at the air base and are hustled off without ceremony to the mortuary and onward to burial. If you see a photo of a flag draped coffin of a US soldier it is most likely unauthorized. [source]


From an NBC News program Veteran's Day 2008 with Brian Williams. Thank you to Anon in comments for suggesting the video.

Whether you are patriotic or not, whether you support war or not, these people died doing what they believed was right and they have left behind grieving family and friends. Why is this not something to esteem? Why not show the grieving family that their son or daughter and their sacrifice is valued? What's to hide?



Take the journey on the Highway of Heroes and imagine it is your son or daughter whose life is being honoured by strangers. It gives me chills. (I apologize for the Amazing Grace soundtrack. That gives me chills of a different kind, but you can always play with the sound off)



More on the Highway of Heroes in an article here and more here.

The concept of overpass sentinels was a spur of the moment improvisation. No formal invites were issued and no ads were aired calling for people to line up and support the motorcade. It started with a few people feeling the need to be there and it's grown into something that inspires pride.

Canadian band The Trews composed a song called appropriately "Highway of Heroes". If they look like they're feeling the song, they are. It was inspired by the 2006 death of Capt. Nichola Goddard, the first Canadian female soldier killed in Afghanistan and a schoolmate of members of Trews. The song was made available on iTunes in Canada only, with all proceeds from the sales of the song going to the Canadian Hero Fund, a charity that provides academic scholarships to the spouses and children of soldiers killed in combat. If I'm understanding the lyrics correctly, it's sung from the point of view of a repatriated casualty.

Carry me home down The Highway of Heroes.
People above with their flags flying low.
Carry me softly, down The Highway of Heroes.
True Patriot Love,
There was never more.



[soft toned dj late night voice] Ladies and Gentlemen, The Trews, from Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Next up we'll be kicking things low down with Canadians...on the Highway of Tears...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Am Optimus Eeyore...?


Peter Cullen, The Voice



Peter Cullen is Optimus Prime...and Eeyore too!


Peter Cullen is a voice actor who is best known as the voice of Optimus Prime in the original Transformers series (he would subsequently reprise his role as Optimus in Michael Bay's live-action Transformers film series and the new Transformers Prime animated series). I can't tell you how many people were overjoyed when the original Optimus voice was also used for Bay's movie. My 30 something sister cheered. I was never into transformers like she was.

Yeah, and he voiced a whole bunch of other voices but also Eeyore! Mr. Cullen's middle name is Claver. Interesting.

I guess if you imagined a depressed Optimus Prime you can kind of hear Eeyore...no. No, I'm sorry, I just don't.

UPDATE: I see it now. Check this out.


Do you believe now, Angie? I do.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Kinda Amusing






Go here and illustrate a story. It's short and easy. I'm no artist, that is my stick man in the picture, but it made me smile.

Kidneys, preparing them for recipes

Hello? Organ meats are called "offal". Is this some kind of attempt at ironic marketing?

Lamb, ox, veal or pig kidneys are very versatile but make sure they are fresh. [because buying stale kidneys would be so much worse] They should be a nice brown colour and feel firm, dry and plump. [dry?] Prepare them by removing any white membranes that may still be attached and the hard core and wash thoroughly. [any animal part that has to have its membranes and hard core removed before eating is not fit for human consumption] Pig’s and ox kidneys are rather strong in flavour [meaning: smells and tastes like urine at this point] so, like liver, will benefit from soaking in milk for a while before cooking.


Here someone is preparing to ruin a perfectly good steak and onion by preparing it with kidney. See how they put that poor bay leaf on there like it is supposed to somehow make up for what's about to happen? It would be even funnier if there was a lemon there. Stop it, you eaters of offal! Dressing it up with a lemon only causes the lemon to fall into a depression.



I can assure you from personal experience that no amount of soaking in milk will change the fact that a kidney processes bodily impurities and produces urine. If you forget this, the smell of the kidneys will bring this home to you like a baseball bat in the face while standing in an outhouse.


This is what I mean by depressing the lemon. No amount of dressing up will change what this hideous dish actually is. You can't fault the lemon, it's trying, you can tell


We won't even go into the rubbery, yet chalky, texture when you try to chew it without gagging and getting slapped in the back of the head by your mom. I curse my parents for growing up in UK families.

Update: I just spoke with my mother, and by spoke I mean texted, and she says she never removed a hard core from the kidneys when preparing them. It sounded like she did not know to what I was referring. That might explain a lot. Will it get me to try kidney again? Are you out of your mind?!

Free Kale From Kitchen Duty Now!

Really, it belongs outside playing in the garden.


Kale, a purported food item



A suggested serving



More Kale


Have you tried Kale? I have. There is nothing redeeming about this vegetable's taste. Yes, I have even tried the kale chips. Recipes abound around the internet. This is a very healthy food to eat. Like cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, kale is part of the Brassica family it is therefore teaming with beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, calcium and it has cancer fighting properties.



I figure if deep frying something fails showcase a vegetable's potential flavour than nothing is going to work. You can even dress it up with lemon and that isn't going to help. It just depresses the lemon.

Kale grows as an unformed head and is thought to be closer to wild cabbage than our domestic cabbages. Well, sure, that makes sense. Here is what Kale is meant to do:


See? Beautiful



Just because something is pretty, doesn't mean we should eat it



Kale, in the garden where it belongs


I am not fond of chocolate. I understand why others like it though and occasionally I will taste something chocolate. But a micro portion is enough to remind me why I don't eat it. It just doesn't do it for me.

Sometimes I think people jump on a food trend because for no other reason, it is suggested this food is trendy. Goat cheese anyone? Seriously, have you even smelled an actual goat? If you have you would recognize the earthy pungency wafting up from the package of goat cheese and you wouldn't eat it.

Or maybe it's just a subjective thing and I'm not tasting it the same way everyone else is. Is there a popular flavour or food you dislike that everyone else you know loves?

Rock Paper Scissors...The Big Bang Theory

This is crazy, I found another embeddable video!



I guess now I'll just have to wait for a cease and desist from CBS

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Salvadore Dalí



We were discussing Dalí, my BFFs and I, and this painting was mentioned. Swans Reflecting Elephants. It's worth a post. The only problem I have is with the title of the work. It's a total give away! It should be called "When you see it you'll shit bricks..." or whatever former hipster meme goes that way. Then you know to look for something but it won't immediately be apparent to look for swans reflecting elephants. Just my two cents.

I really love this picture:

See the wires?


I happen to know they had to do this in twenty-eight takes over six hours. I'm sure the cats were hard to surprise after the first one and Dalí conceived it so he wasn't surprised and yet they all look surprised. And what a delightful arc of water they made! This picture is just all kinds of fun and not a bit surreal. What is this photo called? Surprise! No. Where Did All The Gravity Go?! No. What about Surprise Reflected in Cat's Eyes? No. It's called "Dalí Atomicus" The title of the photograph is a reference to Dalí's work Leda Atomica (in the photo with the cats, water and Dalí).

Just thought you'd like to know...



Any questions?

The Big Bang Theory



A short clip from The Big Bang Theory. Subject: Non-Newtonian fluid. In this case a corn starch suspension easily made at home. This makes a liquid which is fluid but becomes solid when force is applied, or in this case as Sheldon says in the next frame not included in this video, "the percussive action of the speaker". I'd embed that video but nobody wants to share the embed code for most of TBBT videos I found.



Of course we know the characters on TBBT are actors playing physicists, but who makes sure what they're saying, or reading, or writing on their white boards is accurate? An actual physicist. His name is David Saltzberg and as a Wired article on Fact Checkers says, he is the most well known of all the fact checkers and he's a rock star because TBBT is the least of his accomplishments.



Ok, he looks a bit too much like Jason Alexander as George Costanza maybe. I'm sure it's just the angle of the picture and if he's tall, all is forgiven.



He has a Bachelor’s degree in physics from Princeton. Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago. Post-doc at CERN. Currently a professor of physics at UCLA. Has seen the Large Hadron Collider up close and personal. The Large Hadron Collider! Up close and personal, people!!!!! That list does more for me sexually than a big dick especially because you can't fake it, unlike men and their estimates of dick size, which is inconsequential compared to so many other things in my opinion but that's a post for another day.

More on Wired's TV Fact Checker article here.

Freddie Sound Alike Viral Video

I have to say this is not bad at all. Sadly he's a Christian rocker which to me is oxymoronic.



An article in Huffington Post about this man can be found here.

French Word of the Day: Au Contraire



Can ya do the rolling the 'r' thing? If you can that's really helpful in speaking French. And English with a Scottish accent.

In French we say Au Contraire: oh conn trrrreh [rolling the r thing, try it]

It means "on the contrary" or "in an opposing way".

In English we say: oh conn trayer or I have also heard "Oh country air".

Marie: "You lost the knob on the armoire door!"
Peter: "Oh country air! [produces knob] "Viola!"

Anyway, in context it would be used thusly:
Marie: "Are you feeling ill, mon petit Chou Chou?"
Petit Chou Chou: "Au contraire, I am feeling in excellent health today!"

The last words of Henry Ibsen, in French, "Au Contraire!":

A nurse told him he was feeling better. He disagreed. He was right.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rocks

Someday when I grow up and learn how to take pictures I'll show you some of my rock collection.


I don't want to brag but I have a chunk of geode that's way nicer than this bunch of random, or free form, amethyst crystals



Malachite - one of my favourite rocks to hold. It's velvety and is heavier than it looks



Rutile on hematite. Rutile is a common accessory mineral in high-temperature and high-pressure metamorphic rocks and igneous rocks.



So the rutile is inside the rock here. It's like the rock got shot with a molten thread which was captured forever when it solidified. Like a snapshot of chaos, sorta



Right now I'm excited to go to the Calgary Gem Show. I wouldn't mind pricing some specimens similar to what I have just to get an idea of their value.

Friday, September 23, 2011

French Word of the Day: Mardi Gras



In French, Mardi Gras is pronounced; Mardy Grah

We actually use the French words in our language. Mardi (Tuesday) and Gras (fat)

As everyone knows Mardi Gras refers to the practice of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of Lent beginning the next day - Ash Wednesday. Often people will give up a favourite food or alcohol or sex. Which is why Mardi Gras has become a wanton orgy of taboo breaking.

Interesting factoid: Foie (liver) Gras (fat) is a culinary delicacy. Now that you know what "gras" means, you'll see it everywhere, especially hanging over your waistband. Which brings us to muffin top...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Artists Who Dislike Their Own Songs

Crabbie suggested a post about artists who don't like songs for which they are famous. I found a lot of information on this subject and here are some of the people and groups on the long list. I decided to just list the songs without personal commentary.

MILEY CYRUS


Miley Cyrus hates all of her music. Oh, really? She is quoted as saying: "I listen to zero pop music, which is really weird for someone who makes pop music. My 13-year-old self would have beaten up my 17-year-old self because she would be like, 'You're a sellout!'" I'm thinking that's like the angsty 15 year old girl who takes 2,000 pictures of her face, up close, and posts them on Facebook each with a caption saying how ugly she thinks she is. Sorry, I said I wouldn't do that. I'm also not going to post videos to all her music. You're welcome.

OASIS
Oasis hates their whole "Be Here Now" album. Because as Noel Gallagher's stated, it's "The sound of five men in the studio, on coke, not giving a fuck."





I chose this video because I was turned on to Oasis by a British guy who died shortly after we became acquainted. It's nostalgic and not a bad song.

GUNS 'N' ROSES
Slash hates "Sweet Child o' Mine". More accurately, he used to hate it and now he doesn't. It was a fluke song that they stumbled upon while acting stupid. I used to hate it and I still do. I don't much like any 'power ballads' by metal groups with the exception of pretty much anything Rob Halford does. Seriously, have you heard him do Johnny B. Goode?





THE BEATLES
The Beatles hate "Let It Be". One of the reasons they hated this album is they were possibly at the worst point in their relationship and teetering on the brink of break up. You can't see they are not happy in the video of the song "Let It Be".





BOB GELDOF
Bob Geldof hates "Do They Know It's Christmas?" AND he hates "We Are The World".



R.E.M.
R.E.M. does not like "Shiny Happy People". Michael Stipe says: "I wouldn't say I'm embarrassed by the song but it is what it is, has limited appeal for me. I try never to say anything bad about the songs that I don't particularly like. Because there might be someone out there who hears that to whom that song means everything, to whom that song represents something in their life which is essential and I don't want to take that from them."





LED ZEPPELIN


You just knew this one would be on the list. Robert Plant hates "Stairway To Heaven". *sigh* If you must watch it, here's the video. Hit play, open a new tab in your browser and go surfing for ten minutes.



Jimmy Page, and Atheist Granny hates "Living, Loving Maid (she's just a woman)



TOM PETTY
Tom Petty dislikes "Free Falling" and "Don't Do Me Like That".








JUDAS PRIEST
Judas Priest hates "You Got Another Thing Coming". (Shouldn't it be "think"?)



RADIOHEAD

Radiohead hates Creep



MADONNA
Maddona hates her song "Like a Virgin". Of course she does, she sounds like Betty Boop





What I thought was interesting was most of these musicians disliked a song because they were unhappy with the attitude or atmosphere around the recording, or they were unhappy with the quality of their work. Madonna is just a Diva who doesn't want to sing the songs that made her a Diva. As I recall she didn't feel the need to tour to support her albums in the beginning either. I guess she got over that.

Animusic - Pipe Dream 2



Interesting computer generated music from Animusic. It's just as intriguing to watch it as it is pleasant to listen to.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ink Blot Art

I've been paddling around in the placid art 'lagoon' of the internet today. I came across these colour blots with corresponding finished renderings of what the artist saw in the blot. Fortunately the artist was able to draw. I imagined what I saw in the blot and what I would draw if I were given these blots. Assuming I could draw. Which I can't. These pics were interesting because none of the artist's finished works resembled anything I saw in the original ink blot. It really punches home how our perspective is unique and art is subjective. The artist's name is L Filipe dos Santos from Viseu, Portugal. Here is a brief profile and more of Mr. dos Santos's work.

Turned up something interesting today...



This is a fake capsized boat. It was designed by Julien Berthier. He does a lot of interesting art and some stuff that makes you question the definition of art. Some of his stuff made me laugh out loud. Like that boat.

Here is a pic of the boat out of water:



It's designed to operate with a motor. This is how it looks parked at the marina:



Clearly he has a well defined sense of whimsey. You can check out his pictures of this boat here.

Here's a glimpse of some of his other works. A sculpture entitled "Self":



I guess "Self Loathing" or "Self Destruct" were too obvious. His other works can be found here.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I don't like Brown Eyed Girl...

...and neither does Van Morrison!!! "I have about 300 songs that are better" he says in a video interview with Life Magazine, below. Yes...yes he does. Fans call him Van the Man. I am a fan but I will refrain. I think if he gave a shit, and I'm sure he doesn't, he wouldn't like it. But that's my opinion.



Van Morrison, Order of the British Empire. No, you may not call him "Sir" and I'm pretty sure if you did it would royally piss him off. Portrait by John Griffin

Van Morrison's official website, here, is a wealth of personal information, viewpoints, formulas for quantum mechanics, philosophy and photos both from his personal life and throughout his decades long career. I am totally kidding you. In typical Morrison style, the only thing besides a vaguely threatening, and somewhat unwelcoming guarantee that the website is "THE ONLY OFFICIAL AND AUTHORIZED WEBSITE FOR VAN MORRISON INFORMATION, FILMS AND MUSIC ON THE INTERNET", is a list with a few dates and locations for upcoming concerts. That's it.

I'll save you the trouble of linking to it. As of this date this was the web site in its entirety:

www.vanmorrison.com
This was all of it. No hyperlinks. Move along

Update: I was just there today (September 19, 2013) and he's improved it a lot. It almost feels like he's thinking about thinking about being welcoming.

He delivers his live performances in much the same way. He walks on, without introduction and dramatic staging, he starts singing, continues to sing without commentary or one word explaining the provenance of the songs, and when he's singing his last song, he has been known to walk off the stage while singing it. He does not return for encores. He returns to his private world in a magical bubble somewhere in Middle Earth.




Imagine my surprise when I googled "magic bubble middle earth" and got this picture! I think Mr. Morrison's bubble has a population of one. And he would be the one with the fire spell of death

I love that about him, frankly. Unapologetic and curmudgeonly he believes there are no new musicians who stand out in any way and he believes everything we hear now, has been done before. When asked if there were things he would do differently knowing what he knows now he replied that he would not have become famous. I believe it is a huge understatement when he admits that his ability to handle fame is "not what it seems". Indeed not.



Into the Mystic" from his 1970 album Moondance


I have to admit that I like most Van Morrison songs, but love them when someone else is covering them. That being said, there is something fascinating and genuinely moving about watching a musician feeling the music.





This is an excellent example of a song by VM that I love when it's covered by someone else. Is it just me or wow...just, wow. Colin if you're single, sprout up about 8 inches and think Jann Arden is cute...call me. More about this artist in a future post.

Neither does he possess the cookie cutter beauty that is now characteristic of modern artists.



At best he resembled a much shorter, slightly less handsome combination of Neil Diamond and Denis Quaid and looks like he would be suited more to a career as an IT tech. Not that I have known many who look this good

Imagine I could find a video of Van Morrison singing Fiddler's Green. Imagine it would be embedded here.



Here is a Fiddler's Green cover by the Tragically Hip, October 28, 2006 at MacEwan Hall in Calgary.

Domino by Middle Earth, Neil Diamond look alike and IT tech impersonator, Van Morrison.



I have heard a really good cover of this song by my own brothers-in-law. No name for their band, but they have a guest sax player who jumps on stage for this song. They do not record, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

Still busy recording and touring Morrison released his 33rd studio album, Keep It Simple, in the US and Canada on 1 April 2008.

This is the interview with Life Magazine:




I hope he's not alone in his magic bubble, insulated from us. I hope he has someone with him who takes away his sadness, fills his life with gladness and eases his troubles without crying and being a blubbering idiot about it like some Rod Stewarts we could mention.