Monday, October 29, 2007

Why does Canada rule?

Because they make sure that their residents know all about the local wildlife! For example, I know that the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is one of Canada's smallest birds and a welcomed summer visitor to backyards across most of Southern Canada. Its nest is made of cobwebs and lichen, is the size of a toonie, and is designed to look like a tree knot. To attract these colorful little birds to my backyard, all I would need to do is plant a garden. Why not visit hww.ca to learn more about the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird?

Or for now, you can learn about the Loon.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

He lies

This is Matt's real latest obsession:

Friday, October 26, 2007

Heaven on Earth: Anhinga anhinga!



Anhinga anhinga (sometimes called Snakebird because of its long thin neck, sometimes called Water Turkey because of its silly tail feathers, though I know it as Anhinga) swims completely submerged in the swamps, the canals, the lagoons, the mangrove-bordered bays, the coastal streams, chasing after fish, aquatic insects, crayfish, leeches, shrimps, tadpoles, frog eggs, young alligators and water snakes. Mostly fish, though, which it catches by stabbing them with its beak. Then it swims and waddles up onto the shore, where it throws the fish off its beak and into the air, catching it in its waiting, open beak, swallowing it whole. Unlike ducks, Anhinga anhinga has no oil glands, which means its feathers get wet when it swims. It must stretch out its wings in the sun to dry off, which is what the male bird in the photo is doing. One often sees them soaring in the sky like hawks. Sometimes you'll just see the snake-like neck and long beak sticking out from the surface of the water, swimming past. But my favorite is when they extend their four feet of wings and soak up the hot Florida sun. They are ugly birds, to be sure, and one of my favorite. Years ago Danica and I played a game in Boulder where we had to pick an object to have as a god. I don't remember what I chose then, but now I choose Anhinga anhinga.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My latest obsession: Marie-François-Pierre Gonthier Maine de Biran

Si (un) corps est abandonné sur ma main, en lui supposant un certain poids (...), je sens ma main poussée en bas et entraînée par une force opposée à la mienne, assurément ce qui pousse ma main, ou qui contraint le mouvement qui tend à élever ou à retenir mon bras, ce n'est pas le moi qui agit pour le retenir ou l'élever; quand je serais réduit à cette seule impression, je saurais qu'il y a quelque chose hors de moi que je distingue, que je compare, et tous les sophismes de l'idéalisme ne sauraient ébranler cette conviction.

Le corps étant toujours sur ma main, si je veux la fermer, pendant que mes doigts tendent à se replier sur eux-mêmes, leur mouvement est brusquement arrêté par un obstacle qu'ils pressent et qui les écarte: nouveau jugement nécessaire; ce n'est pas moi. Impression très distincte de solidité, de résistance qui se compose d'un mouvement contraint, d'un effort que je fais, dans lequel je suis actif, et de plus des modifications plus ou moins affectives, correspondantes à ce que l'on appelle les qualités tactiles (de polis, de rude, de froid ou de chaud) sur lesquelles je ne puis rien.

Arrêtons-nous un instant sur cette impression d'effort qui naît de tout mouvement contraint: nous avons besoin de le bien connaître.

L'effort emporte nécessairement avec lui la perception d'un rapport entre l'être qui meut ou qui veut mouvoir, et un obstacle quelconque qui s'oppose à son mouvement sans un sujet ou une volonté qui détermine le mouvement, sans un terme qui résiste, il n'y a point d'effort, et sans effort point de connaissance, point de perception d'aucune espèce.

Si l'individu ne voulait pas ou s'il n'était pas déterminé à commencer de se mouvoir, il ne connaîtrait rien. Si rien ne lui résistait, il ne connaîtrait rien non plus, il ne soupçonnerait aucune existence, il n'aurait même pas d'idée de la sienne propre.


Maine de Biran, Influence de l'habitude sur la faculté de pensée, 1802



Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Music from my moustache to yours

The Books - Take Time


Smog - I Feel Like the Mother of the World


Mountain Goats - No Children

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Doin' it for the money

This summer, Matt told you all about his favorite busker. Now you can read about other Montrealers' favorite buskers in town. No pictures to go with their descriptions, but the descriptions are pretty good on their own. If you're really aching for pix, try this.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Revenge?

A few months ago, I dreamt that Danger Kitty beat Matt in a free throw shooting contest. Then yesterday, Matt dropped Danger Kitty in a bathtub full of water. On purpose. Hmmmm.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lucky Dube

South African reggae legend Lucky Dube, widely recognized as the most important reggae artist since Bob Marley, has been shot and killed by car thieves while dropping off his children in a Johannesburg suburb. The importance of his music (which was banned during Apartheid) cannot be underestimated, as was made clear to me by my friend and classmate Gilbert, whose family was forced to flee from South Africa to Cameroon. When I was going to school in Kansas City, Gilbert would always play Lucky Dube's music for me and tell me about how important Dube's music was to he and his family. He would begin these speeches quietly in English, then slowly into French, getting louder and louder until he moved into an outburst of the French/English/Afrikaans patois that he spoke with his friends in Africa. That was the best introduction to any music I've ever experienced. The news of Lucky Dube's death makes me feel miserable. He will be greatly missed.

Here is Lucky Dube and his band playing the song 'Remember Me.'



'House of Exile'

Now where is it...

I am looking for something. Maybe you have it. I am looking for a pro-choice argument that is not founded on the idea that a woman's body is her private property. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

À lire absolument

Être québécois ou faire comme tout le monde
Groupe d’action politique des Québécois issus de l’immigration du Parti québécois, Le Devoir.

Une démocratie se doit de protéger ses minorités. D’où la pertinence des accommodements raisonnables. Nous tenons à dénoncer l’intolérance, voire l’intégrisme, du discours ambiant. Car la laïcité et les valeurs québécoises sont instrumentalisées, sinon pour éliminer, du moins pour diluer la diversité. Certaines personnes proposent maintenant d’exiger des immigrants la réussite d’un test de français, test que bien des Québécois peineraient à réussir. On veut imposer aux employés de l’État une tenue vestimentaire exempte de tout symbole religieux. On propose même que l’État québécois dresse une liste de valeurs séculaires que tous devraient partager… mais que seuls les immigrants devraient signer.

Forcerait-on un Québécois né ici à s’engager par écrit envers certaines valeurs? Lui demanderait-on de ne pas porter tel ou tel type de vêtement? Demander aux immigrants de le faire, c’est les confiner à être des citoyens de deuxième classe. Dans notre Québec, tous sont égaux. Chacun d’entre nous a les mêmes droits et les mêmes droits responsabilités, dont celle de comprendre la différence. Nos libertés de conscience, de religion et de culte sont garanties par les institutions démocratiques et représentatives encadrées par la Charte québécoise des droits et libertés. Elles le sont pour tous, pas seulement pour la seule majorité catholique.

Oui à la laïcité, non à l’ostracisme.

Du spleen


Malheureusement je suis malade depuis hier. Fièvre, je crois. Mal partout. J'ai trop de choses à faire pour être comme ceci. Hier j'ai dormi toute la journée et j'ai lu Freud, qui n'a pas remonté la morale. Comme hier, je sèche les cours aujourd'hui. Regardez la photo. Je suis cerné sous les yeux. Plaignez-moi !

Je ne vous connais pas même.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Take Action

This was originally posted on My Green City Life Blog.

Today is October 15, which means it is Blog Action Day, the day I am supposed to remind you to live green and take care of our planet as best you can. Isn't that what I've been saying all along? I certainly hope that's the message you've been getting.

So today, I would like to impress upon you the importance of living a truly green life. Why go green? There are so many answers to that question it's overwhelming to know where to start. Let's see... Because landfills are not only filling up the land but also the oceans. Because gas-guzzling vehicles — commercial and personal — are polluting the atmosphere as well as sucking down oil, a resource that many other aspects of our lives depend on, and a resource that is finite and quickly being depleted. Because there is only so much fresh water on our planet, so we need to use it wisely. Because pesticides sprayed on crops gets washed downstream, effecting wildlife and humans alike. Because the weather has been acting kind of freaky across the board in the past few years, and I'm not a fan of violent storms.

I could go on. Protecting our environment means protecting ourselves. We need to step it up and take action now. As in right now. Today. Here's a way to start: I've typed up 60 ways to start making your life a green life. Pick three items off the list that aren't currently part of your life and that actually pertain to you. Start them today. No cheating, no dilly-dallying. Push yourself, and do it!

Three small changes to your life is a good start, but it's not going to save the world, unfortunately. However, that doesn't make it futile. Talk to people and get them going on the green path too. Take on more green changes. Be the green example. I believe that the action of the individual does make a difference, a very tiny difference though it may be. The real change comes when that individual influences those around her, and the individual becomes part of a larger group. Please join me. Let's be the group that affects real change.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Music fer yer mutha's mutha

Scout Niblett (with Will Oldham) - "Kiss"

Monday, October 08, 2007

Happy holidays

Happy Thanksgiving to the Canadians. Happy Columbus Day to the Americans. Happy normal day to everyone else.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Click for cans

Hey, ya'll, it's football season, which also means it's Campbell's Chunky Click For Cans season! Hit up the site everyday and vote for the team you like best (obviously the Chiefs). I *think* that at the end of the promotion, they donate cans of soup — as many as the team with the most votes has votes — to some charity. So if you're in it for the hungry tots, vote for the leading team to up the number of cans that will be donated. If you're in it for the glory, vote for the Chiefs. Yeah, that's right: Chiefs = glory. They also have a field-goal kicking game this year that you can play to increase the number of votes you add each day. The more field goals you kick, the more votes your team gets. It also increases the time you are on their site and exposed to their branding.

BTW, you can vote only once each day... but they track you by cookies, which are browser specific. So really you can vote once per browser per day. If you want to play the game in each browser, you'll have to delete the cookie that the game saves on your computer. (Technically, it's not a cookie but a Flash Shared Object. Yes, I am a Flash geek.) All you have to do is search your hard drive for a file called lastDate.sol. Delete it. It's that easy.

UPDATE: I was wrong about how many cans are donated. They donate one can for each pound of the winning team's weight. So, uh, vote for a fat team? Nah, just vote for the Chiefs.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Been waiting 14 years for this

Squashed


This is why I should never attempt to make any sort of baked good involving zucchini ever again. They always end up like this.