Friday, November 27, 2009

English [language] preservation

The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that the English language is as pure as a crib-house whore. It not only borrows words from other languages; it has on occasion chased other languages down dark alley-ways, clubbed them unconscious and rifled their pockets for new vocabulary.
James Nicoll, March 21, 1992

Books come to life - NZ Books Council

Friday, October 16, 2009

Blues blast from the past.

1967 - Hound Dog Taylor & Little Walter. Harp mic is too loud, but a great recording and 'vid.'

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

Classic Tom Waits

The line "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy," is my 2nd fave TW quote (behind "I wish champagne for my real friends and real pain for my sham friends.")

Friday, September 25, 2009

The times, they ain't a-changin'

Let’s see if we can add up all of the liberal change this new [i.e. Obama] administration has brought to economic issues so far:

1. The president has appointed the very same people who screwed up the economy to “fix it.”
2. Efforts to increase regulation of the financial sector appear to be in trouble, even as Wall Street continues to game the system.
3. Health care “reform,” with the public option in trouble, is beginning to look like “The Heath Insurance Company Relief Act of 2009.”

Don’t get me wrong. Obama has done a lot of good things and God knows he’s a thousand times better than what we had. Still . . . I can’t say I’m exactly pumped. Original post here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Still studying the master

After acquiring the Intégrale collection, I am now one of the world's top scrobblers of Django Reinhardt.
Click here if you don't know what I am talking about.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Empty ships signal global economy still shrinking.

The largest ever gathering of maritime ships - bigger than the US and British navies combined - anchor empty and without crew off the coast of Singapore.
A couple of years ago those ships would have been steaming back and forth, going at full speed. But now you've got something like 12 per cent of the world's container ships doing nothing.
Some experts believe the ratio of container ships sitting idle could rise to 25 per cent within two years in an extraordinary downturn that shipping giant Maersk has called a 'crisis of historic dimensions'. Last month the company reported its first half-year loss in its 105-year history.

Read the piece here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Greens get it.

"We get that (as a wise man once said) the economy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way round. We get that the pursuit of economic growth at the expense of environmental security is a fool's bargain that betrays the health and prosperity of future generations of Canadians." From here.

Breaking in a new artist.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Milky Way Rising

Who doesn't like star gazing? Who prefers a good night's sleep to sitting in a dark field all night? Well, watch this HD Vimeo clip in full screen instead (and turn out the lights).

Galactic Center of Milky Way Rises over Texas Star Party from William Castleman on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Luongo Deal

12 years, sixty-four million dollars. Oh yeah.
More here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Baratza Vario grinder - home barista's dream.

Sure, $450 Canadian is a chunk for a home grinder, but oh, what a grinder! 230 'steps' completing the range from the finest espresso (or, say, Turkish) all the way to french press and everything in between. Coffee devotees or curious folks with time on their hands, read the details here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sean's jazz starting 5

With Team Canada announcing their invitations to camp and the summer jazz festival season winding down, I thought I'd combine threads to list my "starting 5" of jazz, alive or otherwise. Thoughts and dissenting opinions savagely encouraged.

Drums - Art Blakey
Sax - John Coltrane
Guitar - Wes Montgomery
Trumpet - Miles Davis (Wynton Marsalis off the bench)
Piano - Thelonious Monk (Herbie Hancock as alternate)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New weather symbol - smoke!

What a strange symbol. Never saw that before.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What's behind the HST?

Since 2005 Ottawa has increased program spending at twice the rate of inflation. Even before the wheels came off the economy last fall, federal spending had hit the highest point ever, under Stephen Harper. Despite pledging in the last election he would not allow an annual deficit, it’s now going to be at least $50 billion (a record), and will take years to reduce.

The Parliamentary budget officer estimates at least $200 billion will be added to the national debt. That debt is financed mostly by bonds. When the government is forced to flood the marketplace with new bond issues, it competes for capital, and forces mortgage rates up. That interest on $600 billion debt is tax money, transferred from your income to the pocket of investors. It doesn’t buy a single new MRI machine, fund a school or fill a senior’s prescription.
Thanks Garth Turner.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

War / No More Trouble

Thanks Nancy S. for the link.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Teaser of Team Canada's entry into the 2009 Celebration of Light

Thanks M. Kalus (follow link to full 27 minute video).

Monday, July 20, 2009

Shuffle Demons - August 8th in Maple Ridge

Demons' resume: 3 saxes, bass, drums, one goatee, 6 albums, 5 Casby Awards, 2 Toronto Musician Awards, 1 Juno nomination, 7 videos, 700,000 km, 3800 concerts, 6500 conga lines, 1 cockroach, 12 Beer my dears, 100,000 rubles, 1 Spadina Bus, 21 countries, 15 European tours, 20 Canadian tours. Oh yeah!

Power of Social Networking

Friday, July 17, 2009

10 Killer Resume Phrases to Get You Hired:

* Guaranteed not to fall asleep, much.
* Will give 110%, 10% of the time
* I always show up to work on time, if you come and get me.
* There's no I in Team, but there is an M and an E
* I'm all about making money
* Likely to Perform well
* Will do almost anything, once we define "anything"
* Plays well with others
* Great personality, when medicated properly

Thanks Liz Ryan.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Afghan reality

Diplomacy, your hour has come. There is no way soldiers will find an exit from Afghanistan. They can deliver defeat or they can deliver bloody stalemate. They cannot deliver victory and every observer knows it. This conflict will end only when the courage being daily demanded of soldiers is also shown by politicians.
Simon Jenkins, the Guardian (UK).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Maple Ridge Jazz & Blues Festival teaser.

The August 8 lineup icludes the legendary Canadian satirical streetnicks The Shuffle Demons, world renown blues harmonica ace Mark Hummel with Rusty Zinn, an encore presentation from Grammy nominated Cuban jazz singer Wil Campa y su Gran Union and 2009 Canadian National Jazz Awards winners Bill Coon Quartet featuring Ross Taggart; two of this country’s most highly respected and sought after jazz musicians. Full lineup and additional details here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Rethinking espresso

James Hoffmann, former World Barista Champion. More on his site.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The power of words / work

I ran my resume through Wordle (

Monday, June 29, 2009

Walkman turns 30 this week.

On the heel of Purple Rain's 25th anniversary is this - the Sony Walkman's 30th b-day. What next? Teens and Tweens telling me they go to "80s Retro Nights?" Oh, that already happens. Sigh.
For the fun and science of it, a 13 year old traded his iPod for a Walkman for one week. Read it here.

10% approaching fast.

Numbers don't lie ... or do they? Regardless of your particular lens, historic levels of unemployment are coming to the US.
The way I see it is that there are two main problems. The first is that the numbers are still rising at high speed, that there is neither an end in sight, nor anything that can stop these numbers from rising. The second problem is that the government, and in its wake the media, continues to downplay, embellish and, if you take an objective view, downright lie about the gravity of the situation.
Read the Automatic Earth piece here. The author has been eerily spot-on throughout most of 2008 and 2009.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

History Making in Tehran?

In a way we've reached a bit of a deadlock. The government can't work out how to deal with the unprecedented demonstrations. But the opposition is disorganised, it has no co-ordination, no strategy.
Read the BBC piece, incl the sidebar by Jon Leyne, here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Glacier & its Melt

Columbia Glacier, near Jasper - Sept. 2008.

Postcard-ish Peyto Lake

Road to somewhere.

Banff - September 2008.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Career Search 2.0

When you submit a résumé, three things happen. The hiring manager will look for you on LinkedIn to see what kind of endorsements you have. They’ll look on Facebook for pictures of you at drunken parties. And they’ll ‘Zillow’ your address to see where you live, the value of your property, how long you’ve lived there & if you can reasonably commute to a job.
So says Dan Voelpel. Read more.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

An empty pitcher - sad, yet beautiful.

M. Kalus photo - visit his flickr sets here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Get fancy with yer Bombay Sapphire

Beppi Crosariol from the Globe & Mail shows us the White Lady and Negroni (the latter as a short & long). Click here for the short video clip.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

With apologies to the hinomaru.

Photo credit: Vancouver Indy Coffee Scene.

Sun breaking through.


View from atop Mt. Maxwell, Saltspring Island - July 2008. More here.

O's artwork

O's trees IMG_1364.JPG

Early efforts of my 4 year old (when he was 3). More here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

So much for no deficit, eh Stevie?

After campaigning last fall on a 'no deficit' platform, the Harper government announces something quite different.
The federal deficit will soar to more than $50 billion this fiscal year, setting a dubious record far eclipsing the bad old deficit days of the early 1990s.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced Tuesday that the government's shortfall will be more than $16 billion higher in 2009-2010 than he forecast in January's budget.
"We will run a substantial short-term deficit this year which I would estimate at more than $50 billion," Flaherty said.
Read the story here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Vote on "The Great Canadian Tune"

Some odd choices in the list, and others conspicuously absent, but a worthy topic and project. Visit here to listen to the nominees and cast your electronic vote.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Do CEOs Matter ... and the state of Steve Jobs' health & company.

The ghouls and hustlers at play on the Web have been quick to exploit the interplay between Apple’s stock price and its CEO’s health. In October, one of’s volunteer “iReporters”—the network is experimenting with so-called citizen journalism—filed an entirely false report that Jobs had been rushed to a hospital after a massive heart attack. Traders suspected that this was a ruse by the iReporter to profit from a fall in Apple’s stock price, though a subsequent investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission concluded it was just a teen prank.
More in The Atlantic here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Labatt & Home Hardware join "Make it Seven"

120,000 individual Canadians, and now two major corporations, support Jim Basillie's efforts to bring a seventh NHL franchise to Canada. Visit here to show your support, and here for TSN's coverage.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Great cafe & jazz bar in East Shinjuku (Tokyo)

Click image to see details. Photo is of Hampton Hawes, in the club in 1968.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Commodified consciousness.

The purpose of life is to know this. Einstein glimpsed it. Lao-Tzu knew it. So did St. Francis. But you and I are not supposed to. It would shatter the revered, digitized, super-sized, utterly meaningless hologram. The one that mesmerizes us, and mediates our every experience, but isolates us from universal humanness and its coursing energies. Such as love. Or mercy. Compassion. Existential pain. Hunger. Or the unmitigated joy of simply being alive one finds in children everywhere, even among the poorest. Most of the human race still lives in that realm. Blessed is the one who joins them.
Read the entire speech (called "We've Let Corporations and Media Rob Our Souls -- It's Time to Do Something Meaningful") by Joe Bageant here.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The rafters at GM Place

Opportunity for IT Consultants with Public Sector experience

IT Consulting opportunity with premier strategy and technology firm.

Premier strategy and technology consulting firm client is looking to selectively expand their strategic IT capability by adding exceptional, principal track professionals to their Public Sector Diplomacy and International Development practice. This is a challenging and rewarding career opportunity for a passionate management consultant seeking significant career enhancement and upward mobility.

The qualified candidate will have a Bachelor of Science and/or advanced academic degree in an IT-related field. A degree combined with business/economics or public policy would be a plus. The incumbent will have a minimum of 7 years of progressively increasing responsibilities and experience in the Information Technology industry, blended within the Department of State, USAID, or multilateral development banks, and/or global corporations, including a minimum of 3 years of experience working at top tier strategy or IT management consulting firm.

For consideration, interested parties should submit, in electronic format, a resume and a cover letter outlining reasons for interest in this opportunity to [More details at]

2009 Recruiting Excellence Award Winners

* Best College Recruiting Program - Ernst & Young
* Best Corporate Careers Website - Yahoo
* Best Diversity Program - Microsoft
* Best Employee Referral Program - Accenture
* Best Employer Brand - Ernst & Young
* Best Retention Program/Practices - American Cancer Society
* Best Strategic Use of Technology - Microsoft
* Recruiting Department/Function of the Year - DaVita

E & Y recognized for the second or third year running. Read the story here.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The 3 email rule for effective communication.

Ever get dragged into a seemingly endless trail of emails in which questions or statements are misunderstood or deflected? Check out Cathy McCullough's "3 email rule."
1. You send me an email asking for help or clarification or advice
2. I respond via email with my thoughts, comments, questions, etc.
3. You send another email back with additional questions, or the need for clarification. (3 emails have been sent - hence the name of the rule.)
4. I pick up the phone and CALL YOU to discuss the matter.

Friday, March 27, 2009

NCAA - live bracket

This is great - a bracket with live score updates. How cool is that?

Monday, March 23, 2009

DC Bound

Going here tomorrow
View Larger Map. Any suggestions for mid to late afternoon spots on Wed?

Friday, March 13, 2009

World, meet Google Voice.

Here's how it works: Google Voice assigns a unique phone number to each user. Calls to the Google Voice number can then be directed to any other phone line. The service also provides a hub for all messages. The online command center also enables a user to customize greetings for friends and family or ward off unwelcome callers. Read more here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

On tap, on snow for Har's 40th

Snow (from backyard) packed cooler - a "Warsteiner" for the Brier and Harlan's 40th.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Heaven in a cup.

Yes, there is a God and she is roasting beans in Chicago. Black Cat all the way!

If you are in the 'hood, call at least 30 minutes ahead and I will crank up the beast.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Crazy car-sighting in South Florida

Saw this on the strip in South Beach, Florida last Friday. A crazy machine, it packs 1000 HP.
The Veyron consumes more fuel than any other production car, using 40.4 L/100 km (6.99 mpg-imp; 5.82 mpg-US) in city driving and 24.1 L/100 km (11.7 mpg-imp; 9.76 mpg-US) in combined cycle. At full throttle, it uses more than 115 L/100 km (2.46 mpg-imp; 2.05 mpg-US), which would empty its 100 L (22 imp gal; 26 US gal) fuel tank in just 12 minutes.

Cool new tech toy/tool.

Can't decide between a new netbook or a tablet? How 'bout both? Click here to read about the Touchbook.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

BearingPoint files for Ch. 11

Makes me think if a certain Doors tune, but I do hope my many friends and former colleagues will be OK, as BearingPoint files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection.

Stories here and here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Real cola returns.

Pepsi's new 'Throwback,' goes for it; sweetened with sugar instead of the ultra-nasty High Fructose Corn Syrup. Retro log, too. Read more.

Bomber's Stegall Retires.

"Milt the Stilt," Winnipeg's favorite slotback, calls it a season.
Cheers to you, Milt, and thank you on behalf of all Bomber fans.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Today's latte art

Tried pouring a heart, then though it might turn out a rosetta (leaf). In the end, it looks more like a cotton bud!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Help Wanted - Looking for ERP Professionals

Hello all, I am supporting the hiring for a couple of great positions.

1. An ERP (SAP/Oracle/PeopleSoft/JDE) Manager in Calgary - @ a professional services firm
2. A Content Manager in Edmonton - @ a professional services firm
3. An SAP FI business analyst for the Washington DC area - @ a leader in pharm/biotech

If anyone reading this is interested, or knows someone that may be, please let me know - I'd be happy to share details. This is, of course, in support of my scotch and designer coffee addictions, as well as Owen & Emily's college/therapy fund! [mostly kidding]

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Excerpt from 1/20/2009

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

More positive statements and ideas in BHO's proclamation.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Harper propping up the big banks without debate in House.

Ottawa is putting more money into the banks on a per capita basis than Washington’s entire giant $700 billion bailout package. In that country, elected politicians got to debate and vote on the deal. In Canada, forget it. Parliament is closed. taxpayers are giving $75,000,000,000 to the banks for a return on investment of half of one per cent, and for the highest-risk mortgages in the land. Last year the banks made a collective profit of $19,500,000,000.
Angry? Read more.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

More doom & gloom - Google lays off 100 recruiters.

From the Vice President, People Operations on the company's blog:
We know this change will be very difficult for the people concerned, and we hope that many of them will be able to find new roles at Google. They helped build this company, new hire by new hire, and we are enormously grateful for everything they have done.

Read the ERE post here.

Mercer dissects the coalition attempt.

The truly astounding thing was, in the middle of the whole fiasco, the Dominion Institute did a poll and they found out that a majority of Canadians had no idea what was going on and in fact lacked a basic understanding of our parliamentary system. This is a crisis.
A funny man, Rick Mercer also has his sh@t together and shares some with us here.

Nortel Bankrupt!

And the post-bubble disaster is nearly complete, as Nortel Networks applies for bankruptcy protection.
The company said the process will allow it to deal with its cost and debt burden, restructure its operations and narrow its strategic focus. While Nortel said it has about $2.3 billion in cash, it owes about $4.5 billion US in long-term debt.
Here's the CBC piece.

Monday, January 12, 2009

BearingPoint in the news

Not the desired start to 2009, but the forecast looks like more tough times ahead.
Read the Washington Post piece here.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Business as usual at JJBean

The Christmas card I received from JJBean - thanks guys!

Seems WE are to blame for awful coffee.

James Hoffmann, 2007 World Barista Champion, encourages us to send back poor coffee. The aim is to trigger improvements in bean sourcing/supply, machine selection & maintenance and staff training.
Link here.