Archive for January, 2009

More Inauguration stuff

Jan 20, 2009 in politics

The New York Times has a ridiculously awesome graphic illustrating the most-used words in every Inaugural Adress

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. Not surprisingly Government and America come up a lot!

But really. We all know that all of you just want to reduce this moment of history into another excuse to drink, smoke and yell things out at inopportune times (we call this playing Bingo). So, here’s the 2009 Barack Obama version of Inauguration Bingo.

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If none of this appeals to you, check out my boss, Kenny Yum’s round-the-clock live blog of Inauguration Day. From the streets of Washington, D.C.! Starting at 7:00 a.m.

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Happy Inauguration Day everyone!

Jan 20, 2009 in Uncategorized

My friend Alexis spotted this. Yes, it’s a snow White House!

Here’s a few more photos! Branded psp

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How I feel on this fine Saturday morning

Jan 17, 2009 in Me Me Me

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From the always fun Manna from Brooklyn.

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Mr. Yum goes to Washington

Jan 16, 2009 in Work

My boss at the National Post download Soggy Bottom, U.S.A.

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, Kenny Yum, is heading to Washington D.C. for the inaugural. He’s a frequent visitor to the city and will try to shed his insight on next week’s festivities.

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You can follow him on our blog.

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He will undoubtedly be tweeting the inaugural. I look forward to seeing the tweets get progressively more incoherent as the evening wears on.

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Matt Bai on Obama's transition

Jan 16, 2009 in politics

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Men of Honor rip Unless you’re a dyed-in-the-wool Republican (and even then) it’s hard not to get excited about Obama’s inauguration. The New York Times Matt Bai warns us though that this kind of optimism isn’t anything new.

From the piece:

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Doctor Strange dvd Weeks before the election of 1960, Norman Mailer, already an accomplished novelist, sat down to write his first major work of political journalism, an essay for Esquire in which he argued that only John F. Kennedy could save America. In an unruly, haunting and somewhat self-indulgent piece running nearly 14,000 words, Mailer submitted that a mechanized America, with its bland and automated politics, was on the verge of stamping out individuality and randomness and artistic spirit; the only kind of leader who could rescue it, who could sweep in an era of what Mailer called “existential” politics, was a “hipster” hero — someone who welcomed risk and adventure, someone who sought out new experience, both for himself and for the country. In Kennedy, Mailer saw a man of “not quite describable intensity, a suggestion of dry pent heat perhaps,” with “the eyes of a mountaineer” and a penchant for risking his life.

Bai goes on to write that Mailer would eventually grow to be disappointed by Kennedy. JFK, it turns out, wasn’t the ‘hipster’ president that Mailer wanted him to be.

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Fatigue over the Bush administration, excitement over a transformational figure, anxiety over a very real financial crisis and the maturation of the internet as a news-gathering and political tool means that this Presidential transition has been the most one of the most scrutinized ever.

Bai, a political writer for the New York Times and the author of the very excellent The Argument: Inside the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics, puts Obama’s transition into historical context and tries to explain why this time things are a bit different.

For extra credit, Mailer’s “self-indulgent” piece, “Superman comes to the supermarket” is reproduced here. While Esquire has been rapturuous in recent months about Obama, one of the best pieces on the Saviour-Elect is by Charles Pierce and isn’t nearly as cheerleady in tone. It’s here Indecent Proposal rip and was published back in June 2008, when the outcome of the election was far from certain. Both are worth reading.

So that's what Michael Stipe's apartment looks like

Jan 15, 2009 in On-line

I recently got hooked to the Selby, photographer Todd Selby’s portrait/drawing series of artist/creative types in their homes (yes, including Michael Stipe). There are dozens of them here. A portrait in someone’s home sheds so much insight into their character. Being shot in a familiar place definitely puts the subject at ease. It doesn’t hurt that evidence of comfortable domesticity are everywhere in these photographs.

Here’s Canadian artist David Altmejd Gangland download

in his studio in Queens

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Canadian Literature overload

Jan 15, 2009 in On-line

Not sure how I missed blogging about this but my friend Alexis Christmas in Connecticut move (and her friend Melanie) are currently undertaking the Canadian literary equivalent of an ultra-marathon, reading as many of the New Canadian Library.

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download The Terrorist Next Door I started collecting 1970’s paperback copies of the New Canadian Library novels about 10 years ago – purely for aesthetic reasons although I always told myself that I would get to them… someday. When I had my daughter in April 2008 I had the chance to read more while nursing her a million times a day and thought it would be a good time to challenge myself and dig into those paperbacks starting at #1 and seeing how many I could get through.

They are currently on a bit of a detour, reading all five books in this year’s Canada Reads. CBC’s battle of the books The Dark Crystal psp for all you non-Canadians reading this. But will undoubtedly return to tales of snow, wilderness and frontiersmen (and the brave, hardy women that follow them) in no time.

Photo Break: Oh, Great White City

Jan 14, 2009 in Photo break

Yes. That’s the administration building from Chicago’s World Columbian Exposition in 1893. The Ninth Gate divx

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Featured in Sufjan Steven’s song “Come on! Feel the Illinoise”

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Also the star of Erik Larson’s very fun and awesome book The Devil in the White City

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Check out the New York Moon

Jan 14, 2009 in On-line


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Chris Hardwicke of

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points me to The New York Moon, an ambitious online magazine that thematically explores everything from water (check out their map of water systems of Manhattan), neighbourhoods, and even the future

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The Moon Superman III movie doesn’t just look at New York, there’s pieces here about Rwanda, Peru (the floating cities of Lake Titicaca!), Istanbul and more.

Mark Bittman's new book

Jan 14, 2009 in Books

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Most of you who have come for my dinner parties know that I admire Mark Bittman. I never really learned how to cook when I was younger (I picked up the absolute basics from my mother) but Bittman, and British food writer Nigel Slater, were my mentors in the kitchen.

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Bittman’s How To Cook Everything has been a handy bible for me over the last few years and his NY Times blog, which include very easy-to-follow instructional videos) is a must-read for me.

I’m excited that he’s got a new book, Food Matters

. Salon’s Laura Miller reviews the book, comparing it favourably to Michael Pollan’s the Omnivore’s Dilemma.

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From the review:

The formula is very simple (Bittman is the Minimalist, after all): “Eat less of certain foods, specifically animal products, refined carbs, and junk food; and more of others, specifically plants, in close to their natural state.” It is a recommendation that owes much (as Bittman repeatedly acknowledges) to the work of Michael Pollan, author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “In Defense of Food”; the spirit of Pollan presides over this book like the Virgin Mary over a Catholic Church. In fact, you could describe “Food Matters” as “applied Pollan,” because Pollan, for all his endlessly inventive, inquisitive and adventurous writings on American eating and food production, lacks Bittman’s pragmatic touch.

Pollan is even making a stop here in Toronto. Sadly, I’ll probably be working.

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