Friday, August 31, 2007


So as I'm sure you're aware South Korea recently negotiated with the Taliban to release a number of hostages that were taken in Afghanistan. Now the problem with his is the following, it gave the appearence of Korea being forced to change its disposition in afghanistan (this isn't the case but it does give the appearence of being dictated to by the Taliban). Secondly, it gives legitimacy to an odious group we are trying to marginalize. It certainly doesn't make the life of the afghanistan government any easier to give that kind of legitmacy to the old former government. Lastly, what the Koreans have done will embolden the taliban to kidnap more people in the hopes of being able to dictate to other countries and bring more legitimacy to themselves.

Lets be clear: The taliban is not a government nor a legitimate organization. They are terrorists. While negotiating peace with a political wing of a terrorist organization is often helpful, one cannot hope to gain a lasting or sustainable peace by negotiating with such a group while it is holding your a gun to your head (or those of your citizens as was the case with korea). 2. Backing down in the face of the taliban or any other group will weaken not strengthen your position and 3. It will now be just that little bit harder to prevent such actions in the future.

Well done south Korea... well done. You've damaged us all and helped the Taliban.



Tuesday, August 28, 2007


- and yes OXFORD street in London is a complete mess. Bloody people have no idea how to walk there.

From Saturday's globe:

"Sidewalk etiquette needed in busy cities


From Saturday's Globe and Mail

August 27, 2007 at 9:57 PM EDT

TORONTO — My introduction to sidewalk rage came a couple of years ago. I was walking along a sidewalk near Dupont and St. George in Toronto when I saw a jogger coming in the opposite direction, with a weighted backpack, furrowed brow and set jaw. He chose a route that headed straight for me. As he got closer, with no intention of slowing down, he barked, “Move.” When I halted in the middle of the sidewalk, he cursed and jostled me with his bellicose elbows.

Until recently, sidewalk etiquette wasn't an issue in Toronto. Urban sprawl made sure that our congestion was limited to the Gardiner and the Don Valley Parkway and that our mostly narrow sidewalks were sufficient for the number of people who used them.

But ever since the current condo boom began a decade ago, our downtown has been straining under the foot traffic – and so has our civility. As the city core gets more crowded, and adds more and more amenities to draw us out onto the streets, we need to adapt.

The sidewalk has always been the place where we meet fellow citizens face to face. “The sidewalk is where people connect with the city,” says Dylan Reid, a pedestrian advocate and co-chair of the city's increasingly active Pedestrian Committee. And so, Mr. Reid says, it really matters how we behave there. “Good etiquette encourages people to get out on the sidewalk, building civic community,” he explains, “whereas bad etiquette discourages people from using the sidewalk, building isolation and alienation.”

The City of Toronto has only recently started studying pedestrian issues in earnest, but one thing city staff has learned is that people will go out of their way to walk. “People who move into downtown neighbourhoods, one of the primary reasons is so they can walk to work,” says Dan Egan, the city's manager of pedestrian and cycling issues.

And the sidewalks are now used by more people, in more ways, than their planners ever intended. People use them to commute, to shop, to jog, to walk their dogs, to busk, to beg or just to meander. They use them on foot, on scooter, skateboard, Heelys, the occasional bike and motorized chairs.

But there are ways to resolve such conflicts, Lesley Carlin says. Ms. Carlin is one half of the Etiquette Grrls, authors of the 2001 etiquette guide Things You Need to Be Told, which includes a section on pedestrian etiquette. According to her, London is a good example of how masses of people can work well together in public spaces.

“They really know what they're doing,” she says from her home in Pittsburgh. “I don't know if it just has to do with stand-to-the-left, walk-to-the-right you hear in all the tube stations, but people really do that. When you get in an elevator, you don't have to navigate around people. There are more specific etiquette rules there and they seem to have been internalized.

“On a very fundamental level, it's about common sense,” she adds. “Generally, you don't want to have body contact with other pedestrians. It's not hockey.”

She advises editing your carry-on baggage when leaving the house to minimize your personal perimeter. “And don't stop abruptly,” she says. “There are probably people behind you and they will run into you.”

It's a good time to be considering such things. Walk21, the international pedestrian association, will be holding its annual conference in Toronto starting Oct. 1 at the Design Exchange. Its president, the appropriately named Jim Walker, says that on Oxford Street, Europe's busiest, London has even considered instituting fast and slow lanes to separate what he calls the striders and the strollers. Though he thinks applying traffic rules to sidewalks is ultimately ridiculous, he does think something needs to be done.

“Generally, planners don't allocate enough space to pedestrians,” he says. “In North America, for example, road designs are based on two fire engines being able to pass each other. There is a standard in the way that footways are designed, but that doesn't have any association to understanding demand or potential demand.”

The Walk21 conference will gather 400 experts in fields related to urban pedestrianism to discuss the latest thinking on the subject of cities and those who walk in them. In preparation for this conference, Toronto has decided to get its pedestrian act together. It plans on having a draft pedestrian strategy prepared by the city's Pedestrian Committee in time for the conference, with final adoption slated for the end of the year.

But while we're waiting for those new pedestrian zones or wider sidewalks, there's the question of our behaviour. “It seems to me there's been a deterioration in people's collective behaviour, how they respond to the collective they're a part of,” says urban geographer Larry Bourne, a professor in University of Toronto's geography department and a member of the Centre for

Urban and Community Studies. In his opinion, pedestrian etiquette is in dire need of amendment, on the sidewalks, as well as in the subway system. “I have a sense that we aren't as civil as we could be in our use of civic space.”

His colleague Paul Hess, who specializes in urban and suburban pedestrian studies, says that while there are very few studies anywhere on pedestrian behaviour, there have been numerous ones on the effects of crowding and urbanization on people's social skills. “We're far less likely to help if we see someone in distress, for instance,” he says, adding that the corollary for less serious misbehaviour can be inferred.

Prof. Bourne figures there's a simple solution that something even as low-profile as the Pedestrian Committee might be able to accomplish. “I think a not expensive but concerted public-relations campaign would waken people up to [the fact that] what they do individually, when multiplied a million times over the course of a day, can have a significant effect on the efficiency and comfort of a system.” Special to The Globe and Mail"



Friday, August 24, 2007


Tales of the ODD from today's globe and mail.

"Fleeing hornet attack, man falls off roof, dies
Canadian Press

August 24, 2007 at 3:59 AM EDT

MILTON, ONT. — A guitarist who once played in a band with Stompin' Tom Connors has died after tumbling off the roof of his apartment building while being pursued by a swarm of angry hornets.

Wayne Chapman, 52, had been enjoying a drink with a friend on the roof Wednesday when he felt something sting him, Detective Sergeant Murray Drinkwalter said.
He got a fly swatter and started flailing at some yellow jackets that were buzzing around the fire escape of the three-storey rooming house in the southern Ontario community.

As he was retreating from the wasp attack, Mr. Chapman lost his footing, fell over the side of the building and landed on the gravel driveway about six metres below.
He never regained consciousness and died of cardiac arrest a few hours later in a Toronto hospital.

"It was a case of a couple of buddies having cocktails on the rooftop and it took a turn for the tragic," said Det. Sgt. Drinkwalter, a Halton police spokesman.
Ken Murray, 66, who manages the 15-room boarding house, said he had repeatedly warned Mr. Chapman to keep off the roof.

He also said he told him to stop swatting at the hornets, which had a nest near the top of the roof near the fire escape.

But Mr. Chapman, who lived by himself and worked as a janitor in the Milton industrial park, would often climb through his back window to get to the flat roof to socialize, play his guitar and cool off on warm nights.

Mr. Chapman still had an old vinyl album with his picture on the jacket beside Stompin' Tom.
Friends said it was one of his most cherished possessions, along with a battered guitar.
"I think he'd be happy if we buried him with his old guitar," Gordon Brown said.

It was the second bizarre insect attack in Halton this week.

On Tuesday night, a Burlington, Ont., man inadvertently set his house on fire when he flicked
his cigarette at bees swarming around him on his back porch. The embers ignited some dry material in the eaves and started a fire that caused about $60,000 damage."



Thursday, August 23, 2007


Never get Tonsilitis. Its bad, BAD news.

On the bright side check this out from my friend dave



Wednesday, August 15, 2007


This just made my day. From Britan's Independent:
Breast supporting act: a century of the bra

In 1907, Vogue coined the term 'brassiere', and launched a billion-dollar industry that changed the way women dress for ever. A hundred years on, lingerie lover John Walsh provides an uplifting social history of the undergarment – and grapples with its role in today's world
Published: 15 August 2007

The bra was invented by an engineer of German extraction called Onto Titzling in 1912. He was living in a New York boarding house, and one of his neighbours, a voluptuous opera singer called Swanhilda Olafson, complained that she needed a garment to hoist her vast bosom aloft every evening – so Titzling obliged, using some cotton, elastic and metal struts. Unfortunately, he failed to patent the device and, in the early 1930s, a Frenchman named Philippe de Brassière began making a suspiciously similar object. Titzling took him to court, but the unscrupulous Frenchman won the day. And that's why the garment all the ladies are wearing is called a brassiere, not a titzling.

Bette Midler sang about this court case in the film Beaches, so obviously it's true, isn't it? Don't be ridiculous. It's a total fabrication, based on a spoof 1971 history by Wallace Reyburn, and is just one of a thousand tales and myths that punctuate the history of the small double-dome of cloth that encases the female chest.

The bra is a thing of wondrous variety. It has been called the Hemispheres of Paradise and, less flatteringly, the Over-the-Shoulder Boulder Holder. Its function has been, paradoxically, both modest concealment and brazen revelation. It has been praised as a revolutionary garment that freed women from constriction, and has been (allegedly) burnt in public as an emblem of oppression.

It's available in a riot of forms, including lacy, push-up, sporty, plunge-line, strapless, pointy, Cross Your Heart, conical, and Wonder. It's a billion-pound industry in the UK, and a $15bn mega-industry in America. No other garment has so closely shadowed the history of the status of women. No other garment has had the power to reduce intelligent, rational men to drooling boys and awestruck slaves.

Exactly a hundred years ago, in 1907, the word "brassiere" was used in Vogue for the first time. But its evolution goes back three millennia. Historians have found that, while Roman women sometimes wore a band of cloth over their breasts, to restrict their growth or conceal them, the Greeks favoured a less uptight approach. Some enterprising designer realised that such a belt worn under the breasts might accentuate them, to pleasing effect. (In the hierarchy of ideas that have made the world a better place, this is up there with light bulbs and indoor plumbing.)
The brazen Minoans were streets ahead of the Greeks, however: women in Crete wore material that both supported and revealed their bare breasts, in emulation of the snake goddess – 3,000 years before the invention of glamour modelling.

While the French Revolution freed women from the corset (it was outlawed because of its fatal association with the aristocracy), elsewhere its rule continued. The big change came in the early 20th century, as women played more sport, and the corset divided into the girdle and the "bust bodice" , like a really scary bikini.

Early feminist organisations, such as the National Dress Reform Association in America, had warned against the health risks of corset-wearing and called for "emancipation garments". By 1900, several proto-bra experiments had been conducted. Henry Lesher of Brooklyn offered ladies a rigid metallic structure, like a dustbin, to hold their bits in place. Clara P Clark's "improved corset" came up with shoulder straps in 1874. Olivia P Flynt's "bust supporter" offered to hold each breast in a "fabric pocket" supported by wide straps.

In 1885, Charles Moorhouse romanced lady customers with his "inflatable breast-enlarging garment", with its rubber straps and cups. And in 1889, Herminie Cadolle invented the "soutien-gorge" (the name meant "throat-support") as part of a two-piece undergarment, patented her idea and showed it off at the Great Exhibition. It was 1905 before she thought of selling the upper section separately.

The word "brassiere" was once a military term meaning "arm protector" (le bras being French for arm), and, by extension, " breastplate". It was first used in the sense we understand it during the 1890s. Manufacturers used it in 1904, but it took a mention in the pages of Vogue in 1907 to make it a milestone in fashion history. It first appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1911. In that year, Britain's new king, George V, visited France with his queen, Mary. Because of her small stature beside the king, she was known to hilarious Parisians as " La Soutien-George".

Credit for the first brassiere usually goes to Mary Phelps Jacob, a 19-year-old girl-about-Manhattan who, in 1910, bought a sheer evening gown for a party. The whalebone corset that was supposed to define her figure actually poked out of the plunging fabric. What was a girl to do? She and her maid dug two silk hankies out of a drawer, sewed them on to a length of pink ribbon, added some string and tucked her breasts in place. Girlfriends asked if she would make a similar device for them. Then somebody paid her a dollar to do so, and she took the hint.
The "backless brassiere" was patented on 3 November, 1914. Ms Phelps Jacob (who later married Harry Crosby, founder of the Black Sun Press, which published works by D H Lawrence, Joyce, Hemingway and Pound) didn't do well out of her invention. Disappointed by sales, she flogged the patent to the Warner Bros Corset Company for a measly $1,500. It was later valued at $15m.

The First World War saw more and more women abandoning corsets, as they found themselves, for the first time, in uniform and factory garb. The bra began to take off – not that the fashions of the time gave it much to work with. The flat-chested "flapper" look required breasts to be flattened and bound rather than lifted and defined.

The next bra revolution was the Maidenform breakthrough in 1922. In a New York shop called Enid Frocks, a seamstress, Ida Rosenthal, spotted that women with the same chest size didn't necessarily look right in the same bra, because the breasts were different shapes; and so cup size was born. In accentuating and lifting the bosom, rather than trying to flatten it, they bade farewell to the flapper, and paved the way for the future glamourpuss.

In the next two decades, a combination of Hollywood starriness, ever-bolder advertising, and the lure of department stores saw a colossal boom in women's products; and the bra was, so to speak, at the forefront. Maidenform was joined by Gossard, Triumph, Spirella and Teilfit, manufacturers who fought tooth and nail to invent refinements: better fabrics, patterns, straps, cups, fibres, padded sections. As the technology became more abstruse, the garment's name was simplified, in the 1930s, to "bra" .

The Second World War helped, with the Forces' insistence that low-rank military women should wear bras and girdles "for protection" – especially the ludicrously conical "Torpedo" or "Bullet" bras. Step, or rather wiggle, forward the Sweater Girl, whose tight jumper was meant to show off the artificial jut of her breasts, like twin artillery shells.

The Fifties saw the pointy bra give way to a more shapely, maternal look (probably helped by the huge post-war baby boom), and the market rose exponentially, with ever-greater choices of bra, new styles, paddings, even functions: the zip-up nursing bra was born, and the 24-hour "Sweet Dreams" model.

The Sixties saw the biggest upset in the history of the garment, when Germaine Greer declared, "Bras are a ludicrous invention", and her sister feminists insisted that they reduced women to sex objects. The key moment was the 1968 demonstration by 400 women against the Miss America beauty show at Atlantic City Convention Hall. Somebody put a "Freedom Trash Can" on the ground and encouraged protesters to throw into it girdles, nylons, bras, curlers, high-heeled shoes and other emblems of enslavement. When the can was full, someone suggested setting fire to it, but no one could obtain a permit, and the plan was, rather weedily, dropped. But the idea of "bra-burning feminists" remained a potent image in the public mind – on a level with students burning their draft cards in protest against the Vietnam War.

In the late 1960s, the head of the Canadian Lady Corset company died and his son, Larry Nadler, a Harvard-educated MBA, conducted some intense market research. Women, he discovered, didn't hate their bras as symbols of oppression. Rather, they considered them a means to looking beautiful. Nadler targeted the bra market with something new: it would be seamless, sexy and flattering, and would appeal to teenage girls. His invention was called the "Dici (by Wonderbra)" – of the two names, the former was later ditched, and the latter went on to change the world.

In underwear history, the Wonderbra was the Great Liberator. Bras would no longer lurk unseen behind a lady's blouse. They would no longer be " unmentionable", nor be a defence against prying male eyes. On the contrary, they'd be the main attraction. Rather than "lift and separate" (the Playtex tag line), the Wonderbra would yank the breasts together and shove them in your face. Rather than a purely functional garment, they would be seen as a means of attraction, marketed as a luxury item.

In 1974, its TV commercials took the unprecedented step of showing a woman's torso wearing only a Wonderbra, with the tag line, "We care about the shape you're in". By 1980, sales in Canada alone hit $30m.

In 1991, Gossard took on the brand under licence and hit a wave of popular uplift. British women in the early Nineties became fixated by plunging lines and spilling cleavages. Vogue carried articles on the return of the padded bra, Vivienne Westwood brought out a range of outrageous corsetry, and Jean Paul Gaultier began his cheeky experiments with lingerie worn as outerwear – a trend that reached its apogee with the conical breastplate worn by Madonna on her Blond Ambition tour.

The Wonderbra, now owned by Sara Lee, the parent company behind Playtex, scored a bull's-eye with its 1994 poster campaign showing the model Eva Herzigova gazing at her pushed-together breasts, and the words "Hello Boys". In major conurbations across the UK, cars mounted the pavement or crashed into bollards as motorists tried – and failed – to drag their eyes away from Ms Herzigova's perky frontage. The image was later voted No 10 in a "Poster of the Century" contest.

Rigby & Peller, corsetière to the Queen since 1960, opened its flagship store in London in 1994. It is prized by its well-heeled clients for its expert fitting service – it claims that 80 per cent of women who walk through its door are wearing the wrong size and fit of boulder-holder (and need constant refittings, every six months or so). The company has had a huge influence by insisting that a bra is far from a one-size-fits-all clothing item – that it's something unique to the individual, like a second skin.

In the 2000s, the market has expanded (ahem) to bursting point. The arrival over here of Continental brands such as Lejaby and La Perla, and newer brands such as Under Cover and Elle Macpherson Intimates have established bras as a self-indulgently luxury purchase, while the Agent Provocateur and Myla houses have opened up a lucrative market in sexy products for women who like to remind themselves of the wanton seductress that lurks beneath their sensible business suits.

The top-of-the-range modern bra is a semi-visible item, heralded by a pretty, pastel-coloured shoulder strap that hints, a little saucily, at the colour of its wearer's matching bra and pants down below. It's a long way from the days when underwear was about concealment, flattening and the furtive "structuring" of female breasts. While sales of functional Marks & Spencer cotton bras are still high – and the world bestseller remains the sturdy Triumph Doreen, as worn by millions of ladies over 50 – many women are happy to spend £100 on a pure-silk number as a caressing indulgence.

It has to be silk, though – not cotton, or lace, or nylon or polyester. Strangely similar, in fact, to the twin silk handkerchiefs sewn together with some pink ribbon by Mary Phelps Jacob's enterprising maid, a whole century ago. "

Friday, August 10, 2007


This just makes me laugh. Laurel, really, follow texas... use a sticker not a whole plate.

From the Toronto Star:

" If you put green plates on your car, don't go near Ohio; Ontario's clean- car tags could get you branded as a sex offender in three U.S. states

It's enough to make an environmentally conscious motorist turn green.

While Environment Minister Laurel Broten plans to offer green licence plates for energy-efficient cars next year - with perks like free parking or access to carpool lanes - at least three U.S. states are considering green plates for convicted sex offenders and pedophiles back on the streets.

State legislators proposing the special plates in Ohio, Wisconsin and Alabama tout them as a public safety tool.

Critics say the green plates for sex offenders are a form of public humiliation that could encourage vigilantism.

And two Ontario border-area MPPs are worried about the dangers Ontario motorists with green plates could face travelling outside the province if the states pass the bills as part of sex offender registration and notification laws.

"Can you imagine, you're a granola cruncher, you've got a green plate, and you wonder why everyone hates you in Ohio?" said Progressive Conservative Tim Hudak (Erie-Lincoln).
"It's fraught with risk when the green plate may have different meaning in different jurisdictions," added New Democrat Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre).

"It's the scarlet letter."

Broten and Transportation Minister Donna Cansfield announced plans for the "eco-licence" two days ago, arguing that the perks would be another incentive for Ontarians to buy vehicles that are better for the environment.

Opposition critics dismissed the plate idea, which won't come into effect until well after the Oct. 10 election, as a Liberal campaign gimmick because details of which vehicles will qualify, how the plates will look and the perks haven't been worked out.

A spokesperson for Broten was initially unaware of the Ohio, Wisconsin and Alabama proposals.
But she later said Ontario will stick with its plans.

"Just as Vermont has green plates for all their vehicles, we will make sure as we design this program that the eco-licence plates are a distinctive green colour that in no way resembles the Wisconsin proposal, if it should pass through the legislature," Sandra Watts said.

In Ohio, which already has yellow licence plates for convicted drunk drivers, state Rep. Michael DeBose, a Cleveland Democrat, originally proposed pink plates for sex offenders but changed the colour to fluorescent green.

The switch was prompted because pink is the colour for breast cancer promotions, said Ross Davis, legislative assistant to DeBose, who was not available for comment.
In Broten's office, Watts said Vermont already has green licence plates for all vehicles, which doesn't seem to be causing problems.

She added that distinctive licence plates for alternative fuel vehicles are provided in Arizona, Georgia, Utah and Virginia.

California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland and Texas provide separate "green" stickers for licence plates. "



Friday, August 03, 2007


Anyone out there looking for some light/fluffy sci-fi/fantasy reading this summer should consider World War Z by max brooks Its a 'first person oral retelling' of the global zombie war. It sound hokie and is at parts but overall it is an interesting read if only for its ability to examine at one way our modern world can or cannot address a truly global crisis.

Probably not the best book for those who like more serious reading or just don't like the alternate future/sci fi genre.