When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sloane Court Hotel: a place that will probably be blown up and redeveloped soon

"If you don't know to the second when a drunk's gonna vomit on you, you don't survive as a strip club bouncer." - Veronica Pare and Ferrett Steinmetz


Opposite used to be the Garden Hotel, where I went carolling in the mid-1990s.

The restaurant isn't much to shout about though. The 'roast chicken' was mediocre (though at $14.80 with soup, a scoop of ice cream [with lots of ice crystals] and a cup of tea) at least I someone paid for what I got) and I was told the steak was alright. And the buns they give are fried (wth?!)

The oxtail stew was good though. Which was why 3 people at another table all ordered it.

If you look around, the buildings around are all high-rise. So this place's fate is assured.

Links - 26th February 2011

"The girl with a future avoids a man with a past." - Evan Esar


Sex: New York City unveils condom finder for smartphones, users satisfied - "

Placebo Effect May Work in Reverse - "With 'nocebo' effect, pain levels rose as patients' belief in painkiller fell, study found"

Ecuadorean Villagers May Hold Secret to Longevity - "The villagers are very small, generally less than three and a half feet tall, and have a rare condition known as Laron syndrome or Laron-type dwarfism... They are also almost completely free of two age-related diseases, cancer and diabetes"

Sex-starved? How over half of women would sacrifice a year of making love if it meant they could be skinny - "A quarter had removed photographs from Facebook because they thought they looked too fat in them"
This is Fitness magazine so there's self-selection

5 Amazing Things Invented by Donald Duck (Seriously) - "#5 Scrooge McDuck Did Inception First
#1 Scrooge McDuck Created Manga"

cyoa - "Outside of the realm of task-oriented books, this sort of hopscotch across the contents is a rarity. And the cyoa books are actually not exceptions in this respect, for they too are books that perform a task. But rather than being a definition retrieval system or associative datastore, their interactive function is to create a gameworld for the reader... The branch diagram for UFO 54-40 is unique in that it has one ending – the Ultima ending – which is completely disconnected from the rest of the story. It exists as an island, unreachable through choices but discoverable thanks to the random access nature of the book"
Essay on Choose Your Own Adventure

The Case of the Pregnant Seaman - "Indeed, researchers have long known about a phenomenon called couvade syndrome [which] describes men who experience certain signs of pregnancy"

Susan Pinker - Journalist and Psychologist - "If the majority of children with school and behavioral problems are boys, then why do so many overcome early obstacles, while rafts of high achieving women choose jobs that pay less or opt out at pivotal moments in their careers? A provocative examination of how and why learning and behavioral gaps in the nursery are reversed in the boardroom, The Sexual Paradox: Men, Women and the Real Gender Gap reveals how sex differences influence ambition and success"

YouTube - Triad recruitment process as tough as nails - "Police revealed that the recruitment process was tough. Members must have a height of over 170cm. They are required to run around 2 miles weekly and do heavy weight training. They also have to learn hand to hand combat skills. A six-pack is a must as are branded clothes"

Ice! - "Americans appreciated ice as no people had before. They used it to chill beer and wine, to make delectable icy cocktails, to soothe fevers, and to create a vast range of frozen treats. Ice cream became popular – and startlingly inventive, too. At Delmonico’s, the celebrated New York restaurant, customers could order pumpernickel rye ice cream and asparagus ice cream, among many other unexpected flavors. Manhattan alone consumed nearly 1 million tons of ice a year, while Brooklyn sucked down 334,000 tons, Boston 380,000, and Philadelphia 377,000. Americans grew immensely proud of the civilizing conveniences of ice. ‘Whenever you hear America abused,’ one American told Sarah Maury, a visiting Briton, ‘remember the ice.’"

ThinkGeek :: Chain Mail Shirt - "Chain Mail is the new Black
* For medieval battle or just Thursday
* Standard or riveted mail available
* Half-sleeve for summer, full sleeve for winter"
This is made of real chain mail

Rick’s 5 Perks of Having a Girlfriend | Wong Fu Productions

Sarah Palin and the Battle for Feminism - "When Sarah Palin took the podium... calm and collected feminists might have recalled the old saw: Be careful what you wish for... “calm and collected” are not the words that come to mind to describe the feminist response to the governor from Alaska... Over time, the list of women’s issues got longer... sexist media representations of women, and—depending on which feminist you asked—sex workers, gay rights, pornography, and the beauty industry. As the list grew, so did the demands for government action. Even as feminists won major congressional reforms like the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title IX, as well as a host of court cases ranging from minor to transformational, it became clear that from their perspective, a woman’s policy work was never done... In March 2010, a Quinnipiac poll found that 55 percent of Tea Party members were women... “I wanted to ask all the gurus here why so many of the Tea Partiers are women,” she said. “I find that just intriguing and don’t quite understand why that has happened.” Indeed. For Stahl and her ilk, real women care about day care, not deficits... For the first time since exit polls have been taken, slightly more women voted for Republicans than for Democrats in the congressional election... married women were far more likely to vote Republican than single women in 2010. More evidence that feminism is up for grabs"

YouTube - Durex - Baby campaign on Iphone

YouTube - Parlez-Vous Eyak? - "Eyak was the first indigenous language in Alaska to be declared 'extinct' when its last Native speaker died 3 years ago. But in 2010, Eyak began being spoken once again with the help and inspiration of a young man from halfway around the world"

Wow, I Boned a Feminist - "I inquired about the whole blow jay thing. From what I understand she was so into them because it was a form of empowerment for her. I still don’t fully understand the logic behind it but I wasn’t going to argue. Then she went downstairs again, so to speak... She explained to me that the assumption that girls want to wait to have sex is incredibly problematic because it characterizes women as being less interested in sex and incapable of asserting their own desires. It puts them in the usual position as desired objects, rather than desiring subjects – or something like that. I am not unfamiliar with feminism and I encountered a lot of it in college, but bonin’ this girl was worth more than all of the reading I had done!"

The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media » ‘The Simpsons’ Take on Climate Change

Epiphenom: Bible done be the Word of God! - "Belief that the Bible is the word of God has a negative effect on verbal skills similar to the positive effect of being university educated... fundamentalists earn less"

A metaphor too far - "People approve of differing responses to crime when it is presented as either a 'beast' or a 'virus' ravaging society. In the former case they are most likely to call for strong law enforcement, whereas in the latter they are more open to solutions such as rehabilitation and the understanding of root causes... We ought to heed the warning of pioneering cyberneticists Arturo Rosenblueth and Norbert Wiener that "the price of metaphor is eternal vigilance""

Fro-Yo Fallacy - "“You can make frozen yogurt creamy with lots of fat or lots of sugar... Sugar freezes at a different temperature, so that’s part of the reason why ice cream or sorbet works — it doesn’t freeze hard and stays creamy.” So while ice cream uses fat to achieve a smooth texture, low fat frozen yogurt defaults to plain old sugar. And tons of it... you’ll need a calculator and an advanced degree in Mathematics to crunch out the amount of sugar in a small serving. The answer? Thirty grams per Original flavor size small (150 grams) serving. And that 30 grams equals roughly 7 teaspoons of pure granulated sugar... Pinkberry even loses the sugar war to a same size serving of Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla Ice Cream. And at least the fat content in a scoop of vanilla ice cream will keep you satisfied longer, making you less likely to indulge in a second serving of something deemed “healthier,” but far less fulfilling"

Churnalism or news? How PRs have taken over the media - "A new website promises to shine a spotlight on "churnalism" by exposing the extent to which news articles have been directly copied from press releases... all media organisations are at times simply republishing, verbatim, material sent to them by marketing companies and campaign groups. Meanwhile, an independent film-maker, Chris Atkins, has revealed how he duped the BBC into running an entirely fictitious story about Downing Street's new cat to coincide with the site's launch"

Why don't female rock stars have groupies? - ""No, ladies in bands don't get ANY action"... musician Colette Alexander says, "The best gift a friend can get a (girl)friend who's about to go on tour is a vibrator"... the biggest reason for the lack of males in the groupie workforce likely stems from the power dynamic inherent in a sexual negotiation... "We opened for Tori Amos for a few shows and she's got totally fanatical fans who would spill blood for her. But they are mostly female." So where are the men in female rock stars' lives? "Most women stars I know are busy screwing male stars and guys in their band," he said, adding, "a VERY important factor -- the groupie gate keeper." Male fans, he says, are less likely to get past security, for very compelling reasons of safety. A girl is simply less of a perceived threat... Case herself admits the issue here isn't really about conquest. "Was not COMPLAINING about not getting hit on, not ASKING to be hit on... I didn't want to be hit on BY lots of men so much as I wanted to be hit on AS MUCH as men"... "I'm too old to care now," Case says. "But in my 20's I felt pretty robbed""
"I didn't want to be hit on BY lots of men so much as I wanted to be hit on AS MUCH as men" - this explains a lot about women

Personality Differences Between Dog and Cat Owners - "Dog people were generally about 15 percent more extroverted and 13 percent more agreeable... In addition dog people were 11 percent more conscientious than cat people... In comparison cat people were generally about 12 percent more neurotic... people who owned only cats seemed to be somewhat different than dog owners or people who owned both dogs and cats in terms of their personalities. People who own both dogs and cats seem to be much like people who own only dogs... Being married, living in a house, and having children living in the home, are all factors that are more likely for dog owners than cat owners. A single woman was the most likely individual to have a cat...More than two thirds of the cat owners (68 percent) said that they would not accept a dog as a pet, while almost the same number of dog owners (70 percent) said that they would admit the cat into their household"

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Sickest Shit I've Ever Seen

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

On Great Men and how to know you're doing Good History

"We are here and it is now. Further than that all human knowledge is moonshine." - H. L. Mencken


Simon Sebag Montefiore on writing a book about Jerusalem (from the BBC History Magazine February 2011 podcast):

"To Arabs and many moderate Jews Menachem Begin is a terrorist and a monster. To virtually all Jews and many Arabs the Mufti is also a terrorist and a monster, for example. And yet they, both of them remain heroes to parts of their own constituency.

Of course, the further one goes back, it's easy to make people heroes, because once you pass a certain stage, you know, people traditionally regard Genghis Khan as a Great Man. Or Suleiman the Magnificent. They were all incredibly brutal.

So, the further back one goes the easier it is to have heroes. But the more intimate
you want to look at people, it's hard to have heroes. Of course, many of these monstruous people - like Herod, for example, were the greatest builders, who had the most beautiful buildings.

So one is tempted to admire them for their building. And at the same time, one has to remember what they did to people...

Everyone's done something wrong, and I guess the only people who come out of it really kind of nobly are the writers. And who are they?

The writers of the Bible, great poets, the Victorian writers who visited... and even they often sort of encouraged, they had a special power.

I mean, even the archaeologists, there have been riots about archaeology. When they opened the Temple tunnels, several hundred people died as a result of riots, you know.

This is an insane world where this stuff really matters, and that's right: I can't think of anybody. I can't think of any of the politicians that didn't kill somebody. It's very depressing...

One still loves the city, even as one regards it as something dark and brooding and dangerous. Frightening...

Every side in the story has tried to sort of tell me their view. I've had to go away and work out what I think is actually true, and of course that won't please everybody. It won't please anybody. [My book] should displease everybody a bit... It's been read by all sorts of different people, and none of them quite satisfied with it. Which is a good sign. They all want more of their view in it."

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Becoming a female mag sex fantasy‏

Subject: Become a female mag sex fantasy‏

Message: Let the Love Guru show you the way to the woman's heart and loyalty
*spam URL*

Whoever believes this has never read a female mag (at first I thought female was an adjective rather than part of the noun female mag - since it made more sense)

France 2010 - Day 10, Part 1 - Brittany: St Malo

"Special-interest publications should realize that if they are attracting enough advertising and readers to make a profit, the interest is not so special." - Fran Lebowitz


France 2010
Day 10 - 11th October - Brittany: St Malo
(Part 1)

Today we visited various towns in Britanny. The first was St Malo.

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Hôtel de Ville

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Drain cover with the motto of the town: "Semper Fidelis" ("Always Faithful" in Latin)

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Porte St Vincent

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Breton Speciality: Kouign Amann (pronounced "Kweeg'h Ah'mahn")
It's a sweet pastry with layers of pastry soaked in syrup. I quite liked it.

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St Malo: Rue Porcon de la Barbinais

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Menu of a snack place

I was still feeling a little sick, so I visited a pharmacy, only to find that a box of 24 Strepsils cost more than 6€. So I passed and stuck with my Tesco capsules (1 pound!).

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"Pourquoi ne pas agir de l'intérieur ?
Près de 7 femmes sur 10 ont minci, tests à l'appui"

("Why not act on the inside?
Almost 7 women in 10 lost weight, tests show")

I'm not holding out hope that these were double-blind studies.

Then there was a bakery with more interesting stuff than the one where I'd only taken pictures of the Kouign Amann:

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Rue de la Vieille Boucherie ("Road of the Old Butcher Shop)

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Rue du Puits aux Braies ("Road of the Breeches to the Well" [???])
(I tried Googling to find out the meaning of the road name and got an Adult Shop listing)

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Map of toilets. The most amusing part of this (apart from the translation of "Profitable Automatic Public Toilets" and "Kept and Free Public Toilets") was that they distinguished between pay and free toilets.

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It was 12 degrees. Maybe she wasn't cold.

Almost-Live Seafood: you can still see some langoustines (scampi) moving

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Fresh from the sea. On the right are Moules de Bouchots from Mont-Saint-Michel

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Rue de l'Orme ("Elm Road"). This was also a street with all the groceries, which was appropriate as it was off Place du Marché aux Légumes (Vegetable Market Square).

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Porte St Louis

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Town wall and parking

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Top of town walls

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Nice roof garden

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St Malo harbour

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Wall Walk

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Fortified quasi-tower on wall
The Fleur-de-Lys makes a great shape for a haldberd, don't you think?

St Malo reminded me of Crete - a town made of stone, the coast and ferries.

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Harbour view of St Malo

There was a staircase in the sea. Even at low tide, where would one climb it to? Maybe it was for getting off a boat.

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Wall and Harbour

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The other shore. That should be Dinard.

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Commemoration of Jacques Cartier, explorer of Canada. He came from Britanny. Indeed, he was born in St Malo!

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Disgusting modern statue

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Town wall and sea

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Islands in bay

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This was a very strategic location for a café. The café was recommended by the Routard guides 2006-2010, but unfortunately it was a bit too early to eat (11am)

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Islands in Bay

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More nice architecture

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"DANGER ! par fortes marées" ("DANGER! From strong waves")

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2 more famous citizens, among whom is "François-René de CHATEAUBRIAND, Enchanteur"

Among other things, this guy named the Chateaubriand steak. But he seems to be more famous as the father of French Romanticism. I was wondering why he was commemorated as an "Enchanteur", but that also describes "Personne dont le beau langage, les manières séduisantes peuvent tromper" or "Personne qui sait charmer, séduire".

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Galette Saucise (Sausage Galette)
I much preferred crêpes. And this had mustard, wth.

I saw a lot of specialists, but no GPs. Maybe the hypochondriac French go straight to the ones who matter.

I saw more lapdogs in France than in all the other countries I'd been to.
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