Esquire through the years

Sander's Children | in costume

From a recent exhibition at Danzigers Projects, NYC


I think you will love this: Kermit | Bale

and there's more! See these sites
I Heart Photograph


The New Republic hands Canada a zinger

From "Neighbors Without Benefits" (The New Republic, Jan 27, 2009):
"If Canada does collapse--and the parliamentary crisis is pointing us in that direction--the U.S. will end up with something like a Balkans to the North.

"Canada has become ungovernable, entering a period of Italian-style instability."
Regarding Obama's upcoming visit to Canada:
"Canada needs to see what a unifying leader looks like, and the new president needs to have a look at a country which may turn out to be yet another mess dropped on his doorstep."

NYT Loophole

I've discovered a pretty big flaw in the New York Times website registration system. The Grey Lady's website requires that readers register online and log-in to read any articles older than 1 day. I suppose this is so the webmaster and marketing team can log whatever you're reading and your patterns, and survey you in whatever other ways they can imagine.

Well, I've discovered another way in. Just Google the article name and "nytimes." This works for virtually any article. If something is more than one page, just click the single page option to read the whole thing.

Ok, that's it. Keep under the radar.

Forgotten Treasure from the Tina Fey Oeuvre


Desire for Ryan McGinley

Ryan McGinley's photography graces the cover of this week's New York Times Magazine. The feature is probably one of the longest essays featured in my recent memory of the Times magazine. This extended piece comes to no conclusions, and the point it finally reaches is so frustrating you wish you never started reading the article.

The artwork, however, is pretty compelling--and so is the story behind it. Here's a spacy diary written for Interview by photographer Ryan McGinley, during his most recent trip across America with young naked people.

This guy!

He just kills me

Happy Chinese New Year

The day in pictures from around the world:
*All photos from Flickr
Taiping, Malaysia

Chinatown - London, UK

Gung Haggis Fat Choy - Vancouver, BC

Los Angeles, California

Brooklyn, New York

Chinatown - Liverpool, UK

Helsinki, Finland


I love this idea that a Really Interesting Group put out last year. Should we create the North American version?

More about the project here.


Playmobil Security Check Point

Read the reviews for this fun product on Amazon:

Like this one:

Women's Bodies: the ultimate ping pong match

Hat tip: Aaron Leaf

On Friday, the new US administration reverse[d] rules on U.S. abortion aid. Obama rescinded the rules that "restricted federal money for international organizations that promote or provide abortions overseas, sweeping aside a pillar of the social policy architecture of George W. Bush’s presidency."

As promising as this news is, I look back at the history of this policy and I want to cry: "President Ronald Reagan first imposed the ban in 1984 when it was announced at a conference in Mexico City. President Bill Clinton lifted it a couple of days after taking office in 1993. Mr. Bush restored it a couple of days after he took office in 2001, and advocates on both sides expected Mr. Obama to lift it again."

So what happens four or eight years from now when Republicans take power again? Without a public debate, this back and forth continues quietly in the halls of power, as the fallout happens on women's bodies and reproductive rights.

They're Watching Us: The Google Edition

I started uploading personal information on Google about two years ago when I opened up a photo sharing account. Since then, I have my resume uploaded, created a small personal website for professional purposes, and used Google docs for school and work. Between this blog and my email, Google probably knows everything about me aside from my birthday and social security number. They have my credit card information and my employment background and obviously, they know where I live since I plug it into my computer for transit information nearly everyday.

This all got me thinking about what sort of risk we all are at as Google extends its reach farther into our private lives. This year--or sometime in the near future, Google plans to make PCs (as in personal computers... we're not talking macs vs. PCs, though Google and Apple are in this together) obsolete. Your home computer will just be a portal into your Google world.

According to an article from The Guardian:
The PC would be a simpler, cheaper device acting as a portal to the web, perhaps via an adaptation of Google's operating system for mobile phones, Android. Users would think of their computer as software rather than hardware. It is this prospect that alarms critics of Google's ambitions. Peter Brown, executive director of the Free Software Foundation, a charity defending computer users' liberties, did not dispute the convenience offered, but said: "It's a little bit like saying, 'we're in a dictatorship, the trains are running on time.' But does it matter to you that someone can see everything on your computer? Does it matter that Google can be subpoenaed at any time to hand over all your data to the American government?"

Google refused to confirm the GDrive, but acknowledged the growing demand for cloud computing. Dave Armstrong, head of product and marketing for Google Enterprise, said: "There's a clear direction ... away from people thinking, 'This is my PC, this is my hard drive,' to 'This is how I interact with information, this is how I interact with the web.'"
Beware the GDrive! I would caution against giving your life to Google because they make everything so easy and free.

If you're not already convinced that they may be working against us, see the video below, animated with great graphics and narrated with British-accented gravitas.

Also, a Simpsons clips below because everything in life has a Simpsons reference.


The Publishing Biz: Based on a True Story

From the wizards in digital marketing at MacMillan

Today's One Cool Thing

I know, you're sick of Obama-mania (or is it Obamania?) but consider this a photography- and tech- related post. Here's a 1,474 Megapixel shot of the inauguration, that took a MacBook Pro 6 hours (!!!) to stitch together. You can see everything!

* Full-screen link to the stunning photograph

You can't write this stuff

From Kanye West's blog:

[said photograph]:


Two more years! Two more years!

It's official: AMC Mad Men has renewed Matthew Weiner's contract for two more seasons.

[Source: IGN.com]

Well, if you're going to reissue a book because the movie adaptation came out, this is how you do it.


Ricky Gervais = Prophet? (UPDATE: Answer: Yes)

UPDATE: Kate Winslet was nominated and will win for this performance. I'm calling it now.

Oscar nominations will be announced tomorrow. The clip below feature's Kate Winslet's appearance on Ricky Gervais' show Extras. Skip ahead to 5:08 when Kate reveals the real reason for starring in that downer, The Reader.

Something to remember him by

Wow, super harsh moment this morning when the crowd booed W. as he was introduced. The icing on the cake was Obama diplomatically condemning the last administration's actions and policies. However, it turns out that Bush did something right: His work in combating AID/HIV in Africa is being praised.
"In Uganda, a country already far along on its own AIDS initiative when Mr. Bush began his, 110,000 people are under treatment, and 2 million have H.I.V. tests each year, up from 10,000 treated and 400,000 tested before, according to Dr. Alex Coutinho, a top AIDS expert there. The money comes mostly from Pepfar, but also from a United Nations fund to which the United States contributes.

Dr. Coutinho said Ugandans were terrified that when Mr. Bush left office, “the Bush fund,” as they call it, would go with him. “When I’ve traveled in the U.S., I’m amazed at how little people know about what Pepfar stands for,” he said. “Just because it has been done under Bush, it is not something the country should not be proud of.”"

* For a more in-depth account, read "AIDS and the President--An Insider's Account"

Something is wrong

"Browsing through the top 1,300 search terms in the U.S. that contained the word “inauguration” in the last four weeks provides unique insight into our Internet frame-of-mind surrounding the installation of our 44th President...
"Forget the recent controversy over Obama’s selection of Rick Warren, pastor of the Evangelical Saddleback Church, to give the inaugural invocation in light of his position on gay rights, Internet users instead are galvanized on the choice of Beyonce’ to perform for Barack and Michelle’s first dance at the inauguration ball. With searches such as; “Beyonce’ inauguration,” “hate on Beyonce’ inauguration choice,” and “petition against Beyonce’ inauguration,” the Internet and the blogosphere more specifically, is swirling with controversy over why Beyonce’ Knowles was chosen to sing Etta James’ classic 'At Last' given allegations by petition proponents that she wasn’t a vocal supporter of Obama during the election."
--Julia Angwin, Wall Street Journal

* Video of the Obamas competing for the spotlight with Beyonce. I can't believe I'm saying this--but I think B is a star here. She showboats but she can sing.

Inauguration Wrap-up

I missed all the stunning images live from the inauguration this morning, but I listened to the processions on the radio while cruising on the Broadway B-line. It felt old timey to hear the clumsy coverage from CBC, but, without a doubt, the words were made more moving. There is something to be said for closing your eyes and just listening to and remembering what was said today, what promises were made, what duties we all have as global citizens. I think the ceremonies hit a nice balance between pompous and popular. The showstopper was the benediction by Reverend Joseph Lowery [below].


Before I spoke English, I watched the Muppet Show everyday. This is a documentary about Muppets creator Jim Henson (part 1 of 9 is below). The intro gives me chills - what genius!


"...by limiting experience to a search for the photogenic, by converting experience into an image, a souvenir. Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs. The very activity of taking pictures is soothing, and assuages general feelings of disorientation that are likely to be exacerbated by travel. Most tourists feel compelled to put the camera between themselves and whatever is remarkable that they encounter. Unsure of other responses, they take a picture. This gives shape to experience: stop, take a photograph, and move on. The method especially appeals to people handicapped by a ruthless work ethic--Germans, Japanese, and Americans. Using a camera appeases the anxiety which the work-driven feel about not working when they are on vacation and supposed to be having fun. They have to do something that is like a friendly imitation of work: they can take pictures."
--Susan Sontag, "In Plato's Cave"

Malcolm Gladwell continues his media blitz

This year's first "big" book is Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers. Everyone I see is reading this book or has read something from it. The idea is that if you are lucky, somewhat talented, and devote a lot of time (10,000 hours) to something, you will be a successful master at that skill.

I like Monday's interview with Gladwell by Jimmy Kimmel because Kimmel makes the most obvious joke about the 10,000 hours, which no one has made yet.

Is this even worth saying?

The Vancouver Sun employs a handful of "legacy" columnists (old people) who have license to write whatever they want and no one will edit or fact check it--and many of the paper's readers will accept it as the ultimate authority. That's why the front section comes chock-loaded with nuggets of xenophobia, homophobia, and sexism, fully unchecked. Yesterday's front page headlines included: "Are you buying your clothes at a store that sells porn?"

The article was written by Daphne Bramham, the staff writer who has devoted years to covering the polygamous community of Bountiful, B.C. It's been a long time since I've seen her write about anything else and maybe she hasn't. The article reads as if she's never stepped into an American Apparel store in her life and some how has avoided the ubiquity of their ever more scandalous ads. And when a reader brings it to her attention, she is fully outraged and vows to never shop there again. This can't be a huge loss to AA, since the 50-65 set isn't their biggest market.

Braham writes about the company's ads, which are undoubtedly provocative. In the past few years, the ads have actually employed porn stars, and not AA employees. Something about the ads bothers me, which I'm not going to put my finger on yet because I know I'll get it wrong. Newsweek offers some thoughts and this troubling photograph of a billboard from NYC's Lower East Side (if you can't see the graffiti, click the image to enlarge).

More locally, brilliant Michelle [Have you read Michelle's blog? Go now!] has offered an opinion on Braham's article and condemns the writer's unfounded moral outrage at AA's merchandising:
"I hate that this woman basically says American Apparel should be condemned for promoting “soft-core ponography” even though it’s sweatshop-free labour, thus reinforcing a horribly skewed North American value system that finds nipples and cocks more offensive than sweatshop labour. I just don’t really get why sex is so offensive. Any kid shopping at American Apparel has probably already cruised porn on het internet; clearly it’s a good marketing strategy; clearly pornography will never be defeated by moral outrage because EVERYONE LIKES LOOKING AT ATTRACTIVE NAKED PEOPLE."
Still, Braham does one thing right which is to bring attention to the way Charney runs his company and interacts with his female employees:
"Charney masturbated several times and even had oral sex in front of journalist Claudine Ko, who wrote about it in July 2004 for now defunct Jane magazine*

Charney makes no apologies for calling female employees the C-word or sluts. The employee handbook warns that employees working in creative areas "will come into contact with sexually charged language and visual images. This is part of the job."

Charney, who frequently wears only underwear in the workplace, has had five sexual harassment suits against him in the past three years. Four have been settled. In the one filed in June 2008, the employee says Charney ordered her to simulate masturbation in front of him. When the woman refused, Charney got her supervisor to do it.
There's a total lack of transparency in the way that AA runs their business and I cannot believe that it has not been fully verified of any of these charges are legitimate.

To be on the safe (and cheap side), I think I may be staying away from AA; it's "sweatshop free" label is not enough to make me want to buy a $26 t-shirt, or interact with intolerably smug employees. I'll also have to buy my copy of BUTT somewhere else.

*I found a copy of the Jane article here.


The Most Unwanted Song

"A poll [about music listeners' preferences], written by Dave Soldier, was conducted on Dia's web site in Spring 1996. Approximately 500 visitors took the survey. Dave Solder and Nina Mankin used the survey results to write music and lyrics for the Most Wanted and Most Unwanted songs.

...The most unwanted music is over 25 minutes long, veers wildly between loud and quiet sections, between fast and slow tempos, and features timbres of extremely high and low pitch, with each dichotomy presented in abrupt transition. The most unwanted orchestra was determined to be large, and features the accordion and bagpipe (which tie at 13% as the most unwanted instrument), banjo, flute, tuba, harp, organ, synthesizer (the only instrument that appears in both the most wanted and most unwanted ensembles). An operatic soprano raps and sings atonal music, advertising jingles, political slogans, and “elevator” music, and a children's choir sings jingles and holiday songs. The most unwanted subjects for lyrics are cowboys and holidays, and the most unwanted listening circumstances are involuntary exposure to commericals and elevator music. Therefore, it can be shown that if there is no covariance—someone who dislikes bagpipes is as likely to hate elevator music as someone who despises the organ, for example—fewer than 200 individuals of the world's total population would enjoy this piece."
Interestingly, unofficial as my stats are, pretty much everyone likes the "most unwanted song" [click the link to listen]. I just think it's the funniest thing I've heard today.

More Media Meltdown

According to Planet Money, if all print were to move online, the industry could only support 20% of its initial workforce. For your reading pleasure, Laura Conaway and David Kestenbaum also make mention of this piece by Michael Hirschorn in The Atlantic, which is getting a lot of attention; it says that the New York Times will survive until May (surprise!).

To download the NPR podcast about how the world (economy) is going to hell in a hand basket, right click here, for the live stream, click here.

In related news, that massive eyesore that is Times Square, is losing one of its most prominent stores, Virgin. This Virgin Megastore location will shut down in April 2009 because it's just not viable to sell CDs anymore. The Times Square location is the most successful music store in the US but Richard Branson is throwing in the towel. Word is that some of the massive space will be sold to Century 21 so that Midtown will be even more zoo-like. Perfect.

This is not a fashion blog, Part II

Click for a dramatically photoshopped Katie Holmes for Miu Miu

Mental Health Break

This one comes courtesy of MTV, Comedy Central and Daily Dish. Here, Cartman exposes the truth behind the New York Times' newest columnist, Bono.


What's that you say? (UPDATE)

UPDATE: I'm reading "Smoking, Drinking, Writing, Womanizing" from the New York Times Magazine which clarifies Weiner's absolutely vital role in the show's production.

Yes, another great show may be canceled. Why can't you (Jack Donaghy-type) just keep a good show on television? I still weep for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Arrested Development. So the news is that Mad Men may not return for a third season, says creator Matthew Weiner. Or if the show does come back this summer, he might not, which would prove fairly problematic since Weiner writes and occasionally directs the show.

I just don't understand. In the meantime, we have to watch Bromance and more American Idol?? Puh-leeeeeaaaaze.


Fleet Foxes - He Doesn't Know Why
Are you watching True Blood?

NYT reports: "Fiction Reading Increases for Adults"

I spent an hour in Chapters yesterday and the line at cash was consistently at least 15-transactions long. That was the kind of line-up I would expect during the shopping insanity of the holidays, but it really looks like the economic downturn and transforming the ways that people spend their time. The New York Times reports that after 25 years of illiteracy, people are reading again! This is most likely attributed to series like Harry Potter and Twilight--books that are also cultural events. But I stand by Oprah and suggest that any reading, so long as it is reasonably grammatically correct, is a good thing--and tasteful during these times!

A movie and a new book cost about the same amount of money but the book will probably keep you occupied substantially longer. I read a few books this weekend to prepare for this semester and as much as I will complain, it was actually incredibly satisfying.

Aside from boring 18th-century novels, I also managed to squeeze in Michael Pollan's 2008 (foodie) blockbuster In Defense of Food. It's changed the way I look at shopping at the supermarket. Think of it as a Fast Food Nation for people who shop at Whole Foods and Capers...or anywhere for that matter. If you eat, it's worth knowing what's food and what's simply food-like.

Read the introduction here.


Worst Comment to Hear During a Recession

Never missing a shot at shameless self-promo, the Cyrus family stopped to chat with Ryan Seacrest on their way into the proceedings. After trading the usual quips and bon mots about how to be a ridiculously successful family, tween sensation Miley started to complain about how her birthday present of a Porsche sports car was actually a hand-me-down from her father, and not a brand spanking new one. So sad it makes you want to cry into a wad of hundred dollar bills, doesn’t it? No?


This is not a fashion blog

You'll fall in love. Directed by Sofia Coppola for Dior.




- - - -

(Excerpts courtesy of William Strunk Jr., E.B. White, and Generouss Q. Factotum.)

- - - -

Elementary Rules of Usage

1. Form the possessive of nouns by adding 's, just an apostrophe, just an s, a semicolon, a w, an ampersand, a 9, or anything.

My wifesd*porcupine hot pix for u.

11. A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject.

Upon receiving this couppon, the free iPOds will greet you!

The introductory phrase modifies you, not iPOds; therefore, it is necessary to recast the sentence.

Upon receiving this couppon, you will be greeted by the free iPOds!

Or, better still (see Rule 14).

This couppon entitles you to greetings from the free iPOds!

Elementary Principles of Composition

14. Use the active voice.

Notice how aloof the passive voice is.

Your balls are to be slurped the most by cum-starved nymphos!!!!!

Hardly persuasive. The five exclamation points feel tacked on, an attempt by an inexperienced writer to breathe life into a desiccated construction. The active voice, however, allows you to write with verve and straightforwardness.

Cum-starved nymphos will slurp your balls the most!!!!!

16. Use definite, specific, concrete language.

Generalities enervate your writing; strong details invigorate it.

In short order, you'll notice enhanced length and girth.

What is meant by "short order"? A week? A month? The imprecision is suspicious. Further, avoid bankrupt modifiers such as enhanced. Rewrite with exactness.

Your exactly one week away from an 11-inch jizz stick.

A Few Matters of Form

If you absolutely must use slang or colloquialisms in your spam, simply use them. Don't wink at the reader.

Our so-called "carpet munchers" will ride your "cum rocket" then gobble down what's sometimes referred to as "baby batter."

Although you've successfully called attention to your mastery of pornographic euphemism, you've written a punchless sentence. Rewrite without the quotes, the clutter, and the pretension.

Formal quotations cited as documentary evidence are introduced by a colon and enclosed in quotation marks.

Hey, bob_r_mail0899, the New York Times' said this to me: "bob_r_mail0899 has lost his hair and is unsexy now to his wife!"

Words and Expressions Commonly Misused

Means "include" or "embrace." Not to be confused with constitute. Your free online pharmacy comprises no-prescription Lunesta, herbal Ecstasy, and a secret formula that will make her moan all of the night. These items constitute your online pharmacy.

Your best friends wants the freest Rolexes, jane_wb_rollins323@yahoo.com.
Avoid this hideous cliché.


Can't Stop, Won't Stop

Obama loves Spiderman so Marvel showed him some love. This issue will be released on Wednesday.

Note: School has taken my soul. There is nothing left but my mortal flesh and my ability to post Obama related material. The meaty, good stuff will return when my outstanding reading list shrinks. It is currently the size of a small library for the contemporary arts.


Chuck is 100

Converse Chuck Taylor shoes turn 100 this year. To celebrate, they've created a limited edition shoe (just 1000 in two sizes only), packaged in a bunch of books with a hole in them. This seems like a rather odd choice to me.

More here


More reasons not to go skiing in BC

Perilous avalanches and now this.

In case you missed it...

"blog" replaced "beaver" in the Oxford Junior Dictionary.

Beloved Canadian artist Robert Bateman is very mad and has launched a seriously out-of-touch campaign to nature-fy the dictionary again. I support the sentiment, just not the ugly website.

Tall People are Smarter

I can't figure out the chart that illustrates this study from Anne Case, Christina Paxson, and Mahnaz Islam so I guess they must be right... and taller than me:

Andy Warhol's TV

From: Daily Dish: Boing Boing: NYSun:

"Andy Warhol's TV" was conceived as a televisual companion to Interview magazine, and featured rapidly interwoven interviews with the great, the good, and anyone else Warhol happened to take a shine to. An intoxicating array of stars from Grace Jones, Debbie Harry, and Paloma Picasso to Cindy Sherman, Philip Glass, and Keith Haring all passed before the camera.

In one episode, Bianca Jagger interviews the 34-year-old Steven Spielberg on a hotel bed while Warhol perches on the end.

The Truth About Regional Stereotypes

According to Sam Gosling, red states and blue states exhibit basic psychological differences. As well, the west coast is more laid back than the east coast.

Will I fit in more in NYC or will it make me more neurotic?

Gosling's best findings are about openness and creativity. Guess where people are more interested in and open to new ideas!

2 Weeks to Go (UPDATE)

UPDATE: My friend Jen has left some really insightful comments regarding this post and provided a perspective I couldn't have. The background regarding the what constitutes a "member" of a church is accurate.

Let me be clear here: this is not an attack on Christian or Evangelical beliefs or practices (everyone knows I'm a raging atheist) but specifically the views of Saddleback Church and Rick Warren. I think his interpretation of Ephesians 5:22-28 is much more extreme than the beautiful one Jen has given. His views towards women are clear to me in his official stance on divorce and abortion. Let the discussion continue!

Due to a surprise snowfall last night, SFU is closed today so there are thousands of students at home, probably sleeping. I'm catching up on some podcasts I subscribe to and found this clip from the Dec 23, 2009 episode of the Rachel Maddow Show: an interview with The Nation writer Katha Pollitt about Obama choice of evangelical crazy Rick Warren to lead the invocation prayer at the Jan 20 inauguration in just two weeks. Warren is the head of the Saddleback (mega)Church of Orange County, known for his genial personality but also his extremely conservative politics. Because Prop 8, which took away marriage rights from gays and lesbians in California, is still fresh Obama's choice is a huge blow to the LGBTQ community. Warren's has gone on the record comparing homosexuality to incest and pedophilia:
"The issue to me, I'm not opposed to that as much as I'm opposed to redefinition of a 5,000 year definition of marriage. I'm opposed to having a brother and sister being together and calling that marriage. I'm opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that marriage. I'm opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage."
Hey, Rick Warren, you're freaking me out. This is the guy that is going to lead a nation in prayer at the ceremony that is touted as the start of a new era that's more inclusive. Because I just watched The Savages, here's a quote from the movie which I think is particularly appropriate, just switch out "Wendy" for "America": "Hey Wendy, this isn't the time to regress."

But the really scary part of all of this is Warren's doctrines regarding women's rights, which, in my opinion, haven't been properly covered by the press. Pollitt discusses some of these with Maddow in the clip below and wrote a corresponding piece for the LA Times (I insist you read this).

If you're super keen to know about what those freaky undertones are in Warren's sermon on Jan 20, you can check out Saddleback Church's "Bible Q & A." Questions No. 22 and 32 are especially interesting. That isn't Warren talking but these are the views of his church; that is, gays and lesbians cannot be members of the church and that abuse alone is not enough grounds for a divorce. Not to mention,
"At his Saddleback Church, wifely submission is official doctrine: The church website tells women to defer to their husband's "leadership" even when he's wrong on important issues, such as finances. Never mind if she's an accountant and he flunked long division, or if she wants to beef up the kids' college fund and he wants to buy shares in the Brooklyn Bridge. The godly answer is supposed to be "yes, dear." Is elevating this male chauvinist how President-elect Obama thanks women, who gave him more than half his votes?" (Pollitt)
Obama's team announced the choice on December 17 and eyes are on Israel now. In all likeliness, it's too late to pull Warren from the program but I really wish they would.

More opinions and reading on Warren from HuffPo, because I have the tabs open:
* Discussion on AC360 [video]
* Melissa Etheridge Op-Ed


My Morning Jacket - Touch Me I'm Going To Scream Pt. 1

Brothers and Sisters

After two and a half weeks in Vancouver, my brother returning to the snowy scapes of our nation's capital. To mark the occasion, I watched The Savages, an old movie with two of my favourite actors, Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Linney and Hoffman play siblings Wendy and Jon confronted with the task of caring for their dementia-addled father after his girlfriend passes. Jon is a Brecht scholar and Wendy is a office temp and a playwright at night. Though director and screenwriter Tamara Jenkins keeps it light, this is a sad movie. I would not recommend it for any other reason than the stellar performances or if you're looking for a slice of life. I would rather watch movies for escapism. That's just how I'm feeling these days.

In the literary section, I'm reading Marie Brenner's memoir Apples and Oranges, which charts another difficult brother/sister relationship. Carl Brenner is a fruit farmer and Marie Brenner is a journalist for Vanity Fair and the New York Times Magazine. The Brenners have impressive pedigree - their aunt was a friend of Diego Rivera, Edward Weston and Tina Modotti, and published writer - but their family history is fraught with tensions between siblings. Brenner asks if these relationships are hereditary.

To be continued...


They Gave Bears Beers?

"People who have one to two alcoholic drinks a day are often at a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and dementia than their teetotalling peers, researchers concluded after analyzing 44 studies about moderate alcohol intake and its effect on the heart and the brain.

More than half of the studies - all published since 1990 and conducted on humans over the age of 60 and animals - found benefits to sipping a regular glass of wine, beer or spirits."
--Globe and Mail


I wish I had a time machine

It feels awfully silly to review 2008 when we are now well into the second day of 2009. Nonetheless, I am maniacally catching up on what I missed while fixating on Manderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer in the weeks leading up to November 4. CBC's review of the year in books led me to this piece by David Sedaris about undecided voters, published in the New Yorker in the October 27 edition of the magazine. It is so brilliant, I am posting it, no matter how 2008 I look doing it.
"To put [undecided voters] in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked."

What I Read in December of 2008

I had a terribly ambitious reading list to complete before the end of 2008. Here's what I actually got around to reading and my rating out of 5.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (3)
Drown (4)
Never Let Me Go (4)
Cold Spring Harbor (5)
Revolutionary Road (3)
Simple Recipes (4)

All recommended.


The Joy of Sex in 2009

A podcast from the New Yorker about the history of The Joy of Sex and a review of the 2008 edition. Right click to download.

Author Ariel Levy says that writing about sex and culture is like writing about money because it's "a way to talk about everything. When people talk about sex, they talk about what they feel about family, responsibility, and monogamy and their balance between their personal need for adventure and independence and security and stability." How true!

The hilarious accompanying slideshow can be found here.

Left: "Charles Manson having sex with a pretty lady"

This year, I will...

expand my blog roll. I've noticed that most everything I read comes from New York and sometimes Toronto. This is very embarrassing for me.

Where do you get your news?
She & Him - Sweet Darlin'

Happy 2009!


I promised I would be back in the new year so here we are. I'm starting off slowly with a piece from Cathy Horyn at the NYTimes about Vogue. This is a succinct, accurate, thorough look at the trouble at the biggest fashion magazine in the world. Bravo, Ms. Horyn.