Friday, February 27, 2009

Inspired by whom served

One of a collection of images sketched by Anna Magnowska, inspired by various characters she served during her time as a waitress. Click the picture to go to the gallery to view them all.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Dilbert's on a roll this week..

When's The Best Time To Install Safety Latches Under The Kitchen Sink?

Is the answer:

A. As soon as you find out you're going to have a kid, so you can get used to opening the damn things.
B. By the time the kid is born.
C. By the time the kid starts crawling.
D. By the time the kid starts walking.
E. A few months after you buy them, so they can have a chance to get acclimate to your kitchen space.
F. After the tenth time your wife says don't worry about it, she's going to install them herself, you just go to the gym.
G. Three minutes after turning the corner into the kitchen and seeing your one-year-old daughter playing happily with a bottle of laundry detergent and snuggling a plastic grocery bag.


erm... "F"?

Tweet the future

click for larger, ie. readable version..

More caffeine

"Downing five to six regular cups of coffee with a carbohydrate-rich meal helps your body refuel faster. For the study, a group of seven cyclists performed a two-day trial. On the first day they biked to exhaustion and ate a low-carb meal to deplete glycogen stores. The following day they again biked to exhaustion, but followed the workout with either a plain high-carb drink, or one with 8 grams of caffeine for every kilogram of body weight. After four hours, the caffeinated group's glycogen levels were 65 percent greater. The 8 grams/kg of body weight come out to about 600 mg of caffeine for a 165-pound person. That's also the equivalent of eight cans of Red Bull, four Monster Energy Drinks or two Starbucks Grande coffees." say yes to coffee

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Pork Blood Cakes

A great - well amusingly written at least - dog related tale at Sweet Juniper
(Pork blood cakes are a Vietnamese version of Black Pudding)

Some excerpts..

"The dog has been in a permanent diarrheal squat in the backyard for two days and it's all my fault. I just knocked a butt-gravy icicle off his tail before letting him back into the house.

A few weeks ago at a strip mall Vietnamese place out in the suburbs.. of course I had to go all Anthony Bourdain and scan the menu for the most authentic-sounding dish.. "Pork blood cake!"

I'm not sure if she wouldn't let me order it because I'm white..

They were each about a square inch in size. They jiggled on the spoon, a maroon gelatin made from congealed blood. I think the dark spots were clots.

I ate two of them but fished the others out and threw them to the dog. Then I gave him the oxtail and pig's feet, too.

Under the table the tail of only true gastronomical adventurer in the house batted against my feet while he crunched on bones. And somewhere up in Madison Heights that old crone was rightfully laughing her ass off.

For the last several days, though, the dog has squatted around giving me a pained look I knew all too well having spent many high school dinners at a friend's house sucking the marrow out of lamb bones and eating South Indian curries far spicier than anything my lily-white intestines had ever before encountered."

Just brilliant. Pepper isn't fussy, but Dylan licks the carpet if there was at any time the chance a crumb was dropped in that vicinity. I am sure they would love Pork Bood Cakes. I doubt they would go well with our carpets.

No One Wants to Hug a Banker

"Public anger at financiers is at levels last seen in Moscow circa 1917. And bankers make fat targets: you don't get to the top of an investment bank by being cuddly, or even nice.

"The lack of preparation was truly breathtaking." Crisis PR guru Robert Dilenschneider notes that instead of doing the basics, like making constructive statements before, during and after the hearings, the bankers focused on symbolic items like taking the Acela train instead of a private jet.

Arrogance is also a factor: people who have done well in finance tend to think they're really good at everything. And so they tend to eschew the advice of their PR staff." newsweek

I think it's going to take more than good PR to sort this mess out.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How the Oscars should have gone

Didn't watch, don't - usually - care about the movies nominated, although I do want to watch 'Slumdog Millionaire' and Wall-E was great.

Caffeine up

"Department of Nutrition, Arizona State University, Mesa, AZ 85212, USA.

The study examined caffeine (5 mg/kg body weight) vs. placebo during anaerobic exercise. Eighteen male athletes (24.1+/-5.8 yr; BMI 26.4+/-2.2 kg/m2) completed a leg press, chest press, and Wingate test. During the caffeine trial, more total weight was lifted with the chest press, and a greater peak power was obtained during the Wingate test. No differences were observed between treatments for the leg press and average power, minimum power, and power drop (Wingate test). There was a significant treatment main effect found for postexercise glucose and insulin concentrations; higher concentrations were found in the caffeine trial. A significant interaction effect (treatment and time) was found for cortisol and glucose concentrations; both increased with caffeine and decreased with placebo. Postexercise systolic blood pressure was significantly higher during the caffeine trial. No differences were found between treatments for serum free-fatty-acid concentrations, plasma lactate concentrations, serum cortisol concentrations, heart rate, and rating of perceived exertion. Thus, a moderate dose of caffeine resulted in more total weight lifted for the chest press and a greater peak power attained during the Wingate test in competitive athletes." ergogenic aid via sabernomics

We talked about there being no coffee for lunchtime whilst we were skiing. A big cup of hot, or tall glass of iced has helped me home many times at the end of a long ride. Definitely makes a noticeable difference.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Woof woof

"I never met a dog that didn't beg at the table. If there is a dog that doesn't, it has had all the dog scared out of it. But a dog is not a sneak thief like a cat. It doesn't snatch and run. Only if presented with an irresistible opportunity. It is a dinner companion. It is delighted that you are eating, thinks it is a jolly good idea, and wants to be sure it's as delicious as you deserve. You are under a powerful psychological compulsion to give it a taste, particularly when it goes into convulsions of gratitude. Dogs remember every favor you ever do for them, and store those events in a memory bank titled, Why My Human is a God."

Roger Ebert

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Night Curry delivery

Joli asked why it’d taken so long to pay the delivery guy for our Indian food. I told her we had to chaat about the Naan Compete Agreement, and it tikka longer than I expected, but that he was Ghandi now.

I know, I know. So sari.

stolen from kfg

Friday, February 20, 2009

A worrying spiral of ignorance

"The culprits many have now settled on are the bankers. Some of those—unable to accept the reality of their institutions’ failure—deserve the opprobrium. But the furore over their bonuses has obscured other realities. One is the fact that, now that taxpayers own some of them, they have an interest in the banks being run by clever people; another is the fundamental role banks play in the economy. And because MPs are instinctively populist, as well as bemused themselves, they too have fixated on bonuses.

It is not only banking about which general knowledge seems poor: the same is true of the concept of money. The nasty little secret of the slump is that by overborrowing and making myopic investments, lots of ordinary Britons helped to bring their difficulties on themselves. Low levels of financial literacy (knowing the difference between an ISA and an iPod, and so on) are part of this problem. But so is the cowardly reluctance of politicians to say unpalatable things.

The philosopher Bertrand Russell once remarked that he knew of only six people in the world who had followed his daunting book “Principia Mathematica” to the end. There sometimes seem to be almost as few people in Britain who truly understand the credit crunch and its recessionary consequences. The public is scared and uncertain; the politicians are panicky and confused. They are leading each other around and down a worrying spiral of ignorance." economist

Wise words.

More Wiegele..

Just a little taster.. I took more video than photos this year - when we got the rare opportunity to stop for long enough to get the camera out and catch our breath that is!

So when I can get around to editing it all, I may try and post some video.. need a rainy Sunday methinks to persuade me to sit down with my laptop though.

I just want to go back there. So bad.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Rock-a-bye-baby from Knotty on Vimeo.

He's the smart one


via slt


"TODAY, roughly two months after receiving a $4 billion loan from the government, Chrysler reported its plan for a return to profitability. It's a two part plan, based on the press reports: 1) keep doing what they've been doing, and 2) ask for more government money.

The company, which received $4 billion from the government in December to help it avoid bankruptcy, originally planned to seek $3 billion in April. It now says the vehicle market has deteriorated so dramatically that a total of $9 billion is needed.

But the plan does not call for more plant closings, and only three of the company’s models, which were not immediately named, will be discontinued.

Officials said that other steps taken—sacking 3,000 workers, a deal with Fiat, and as yet undescribed concessions with the UAW, dealers, and suppliers—are going to get the company back on track. But if the new Congress agrees to this plan, I'd be willing to bet a large sum of money that Chrysler is back in a matter of months, asking for additional assistance.

General Motors' plan is due this evening. It should make for interesting reading."

via Free Exchange

in Comments.

"If one was choosing where to invest US taxpayer's money on the basis of creating the most jobs would Chrysler be in consideration? Even if one was constrained to support the auto industry would not one of the foreign-owned firms be a better bet? (might be better for the environment, too)."

"Why would anyone throw money at Chrysler? Give Honda or Toyota a couple billion if they'll open up factories here in the United States."

Not so bold, hardly stimulating

We have a once in a generation chance to act boldly, turn adversity into opportunity, and use this crisis as a chance to transform our economy for the 21st century” - Barack Obama

"Act boldly", so was the Stimulus package a 'bold act'? Erm, no.

"Just take a gander at the three largest components of the $787 billion spending bill from two points of view: “boldness” and stimulus.

"First, about $300 billion goes for existing programs and existing infrastructure: $87 billion for state Medicaid programs; $54 billion to subsidize state budget deficits; $40 billion to extend unemployment benefits; $27 billion for highways and bridges; $26 billion to schools for special education; $20 billion to increase food-stamp benefits; $21 billion for laid-off workers’ health insurance; and a $17 billion increase in Pell Grants.

There is also—our personal favorite—$5 billion in aid to states to do whatever they want with.

Worthy as that $300 billion may be, and we express no opinion on the merits of any of these particular programs, not one dollar of this $300 billion is even remotely transformational, nor is it “acting boldly.” Nor does it stimulate much.

It is more like $300 billion worth of running-in-place.

A second $200 billion of the $787 billion House bill is comprised of various tax cuts: $115 billion in $400-per-worker tax credits; $70 billion to taxpayers hurt by the alternative minimum tax; $14 billion in one-time payments to the elderly and poor.

Transformational? Hardly. Stimulative? Well, without, again, reflecting on their merits, we point out that Congress granted tax rebates last year in excess of the $115 billion in this bill, and consumer spending stabilized for a month or two, but that’s about all it was good for.

Now, given that these first two slugs of the $787 billion—which add up to $500 billion—do little more than keep things where they are, the third slug is, therefore, where you might expect to see some “bold” thinking.

You’d be wrong.

A measly $8 billion for mass transit, but $10 billion to construct NIH buildings.

A rounding error's worth of $1.3 billion for Amtrak, which needs more like $130 billion and some real management if America is ever to move off highways.

Then there's $7 billion for broadband Internet to rural areas, which Google could probably figure out how to do for $70 million.

Oh, and Congress wants $1 billion for airport screening equipment: apparently we need more of those GE “puffers” that sit unused at West Palm Beach airport because, as one screener told us, the only time these explosive-dust-sensing devices actually sound an alarm is when they malfunction.

Then there's $3 billion to defray new car taxes, and $5 billion in accelerated depreciation for business. And a whole lot of pork.

Indeed, anybody looking for “boldness” in a stimulus plan ought to look not at our Congress, but at China’s, whose $587 billion stimulus plan allocates a full 15% of its funds, or $88 billion, to adding 5,150 kilometers of new track and five high-speed passenger lines, in one year.

China can do this because, among other things, that country implemented a long-term rail plan four years ago, when our Republicans and Democrats were too busy conjuring up tax breaks to encourage ethanol production—as a sop to the farm lobby, the oil lobby, the highway lobby, and every other lobby that helped write this $787 billion “stimulus” bill—to bother with long-term thinking about anything so mundane as breaking America's addiction to fossil fuels.

Nancy Pelosi, as much a part of the problem as any of ‘em, had perhaps the most archetypically banal comment on the whole thing:

“By investing in new jobs, in science and innovation, in energy, in education ... we are investing in the American people, which is the best guarantee of the success of our nation.”

By our calculations, less than one-twentieth of the $787 billion House “stimulus” package relates to anything like science and innovation and energy and education outside the public-school-monopoly this bill enforces.

Mainly it goes to existing institutions, doing their mediocre, Sears-like thing.

Almost nothing goes for truly “bold” initiatives of the type China is pursuing, and our President insisted needed to be done:

We agree with that sentiment. But Congress didn’t do anything even close.

Worse, it looks like the former Senator from Illinois is going along with his erstwhile colleagues for the ride." Jeff Matthews

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

We're going to need a bigger blog


Push the button.

Push it again.

Keep pushing, as many times as you like.

Clusterfuck Nation by James Howard Kunstler

"Now we've arrived at the moment of wreckage. Meanwhile, Barack Obama sailed into the White House on a tide of "hope" for "change." The change was unspecified, by both Mr. Obama and the general public (and the news media that audits its thinking). What is dogging many of us who supported Mr. Obama is the delayed entrance of much-vaunted change. At this moment of "stimulus" and TARP-II, it seems to have been about a desperate attempt to preserve the hypertrophic debt economy of "miracle" mortgages, blue-light-special shopping on credit cards, and endless happy motoring at all costs. And by "all costs" I mean literally bankrupting our society at every level to keep on living as if it were still 1999. This naturally alarms those of us who perceive a need for more drastic reprogramming in American life.

I suspect that President Obama has learned over the last several weeks that the nation's banking system and economy -- indeed, the whole world's -- are in way worse shape than anyone imagined before January 20. He is faced with the immediate crushing problem of appearing to do something while a tsunami of catastrophic debt deleveraging sweeps away the first outlier nations and their economies and bears down on the G-7. I suspect that in a few weeks, or possibly even a few days, Mr. Obama will have to start announcing all kinds of new and more drastic measures that will shock the stunned American public -- things like bank holidays, nationalizations, possibly even dollar devaluation."

I've linked to him many times before but he really does stick to his guns and, unfortunately, speaks a lot of sense in these insensible times. The question in my mind is whether we have the wherewithal in these reality-tv orientated, instant gratification times to make the changes necessary.


Monday, February 16, 2009

The Tory Atlas of the World

Click to enlarge

The Sully

Most popular cocktail in New York - The Sully, named after Capt. Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger. It's two shots of Grey Goose and a splash of water.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


SANY0017.JPG, originally uploaded by Knotty.

155,000 vertical feet in 6 days of skiing.

An inspiring, epic trip. Thanks to group members, Josef, Michael and Tom.

Conditions were fantastic and our Swiss guide - Armin - was simply brilliant.

I hope I can get back to Wiegele's in 2011...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday - Howard's Burn

SANY0029.JPG, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thursday - Post Lunch Pickup

SANY0037.JPG, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday - First Run


Amazing day.. perfect snow, great weather (cold! -12C to -18C) but the gear is great.. 27,000ft of vertical today.. BIG epic day.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Sunday Lunch


Spot the ski lift in the background..

Friday, February 06, 2009

Thursday, February 05, 2009


"Millions of people will be able to track each and every move by friends and family through their mobile phones, thanks to a new feature launched by Google.

The new system dubbed “Latitude” uses a digital map to show automatically exactly where a loved one is at any time, sometimes pinpointing their location to a few metres.

Google said that Latitude was an opt-in feature, meaning that both parties have to consent.

The feature was made available immediately on millions of mobile phones that can access the web. Within weeks Google hopes to release a version that will also work on computers as well."

This is clearly an attempt to boost the sales of mobile phones as everyone will need two, one to leave at home or the office and the other one to use. I loaded it on the phone. I like this idea. Will see how it goes. I wonder what the bandwidth charges will be and the effect on battery life as I suspect it has to constantly check your position etc. Let me know if you want to 'opt-in'.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

White Elephant

"In the USA, divorce lawyers are reporting that the marital home is no longer considered an asset. It is considered a liability in many situations, a white elephant, a finanical burden." Housing woes exacerbate the despair of divorce

Diving off a cliff into a volcano

"Japan industrial production will have fallen 28% (non annualized) in four months. It will have fallen by a third in about a year. Nothing in the history of major nations compares. It would be a greater decline in four months than in any 12 month period in the Great Depression in the US. We are literally looking at the unimaginable."

collapse in global demand that has seen huge hits taken by big Japanese manufacturers, which have announced sweeping cut-backs in jobs and production.

So now, the government has reeled out a series of extraordinary measures including — on Tuesday — the announcement that the Bank of Japan will buy Y1,000bn ($11.1bn) of shares owned by financial institutions to shore up their capital, encourage them to lend and basically try to boost liquidity in the battered system."

"Japan’s six biggest banks hold about Y11,000bn of shares by book value, and plans to buy less than a tenth of that amount would do little to strengthen their finances, “It’s questionable whether this stock-buying program will improve banks’ capital adequacy ratios”.

Many western institutional investors remain skeptical of the efficacy of such measures. “It doesn’t really solve the fundamental problem; the fundamental problem is how much the earnings are being damaged… [the economic data last week] was a total shock to us.”"

Land of the rising sun: Closer to the precipice?

Total shock is a bit strong, but no doubt the economy here is knackered. The mkt rallied yesterday on the BOJ announcement but soon gave back all the gains. I can see now why that was, a 10% share purchase is a drop in the ocean.

Aeroflot flying itself into the news

"Aeroflot representatives boarded the aircraft to try to calm down the 300 passengers. One sought to reassure them by announcing that it was "not such a big deal" if the pilot was drunk because the aircraft practically flew itself." drunk pilot sparks panic

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Good ideas are rare

"I had a good idea earlier, but I cannot remember it now."

"It would have been a good idea to write it down."

"I did write it down, but the note isn't helpful."

"The note says, 'remember idea' doesn't it?"

"Shut up."

basic instructions


"And as I am watch yet another now-teary-eyed hopeful [if not rightfully then accurately] crucified by Mr Cowell, I cannot help myself from making the comparison to American's similar bewilderment over the causes of the current crisis, and economic state which they collectively find themselves. They too, don't have clue and quite genuinely seem not to understand what has happened, what they did wrong, what got them here, or there, as if the words "reflection" or "introspection" were entirely foreign from the English language on these shores of the Atlantic. This reveals itself in the pronouncements from lawmakers, interviews with ordinary people, selective lynchings by the media without the wholesale indictment of the hand that feeds them."

Simon Cowell is a D*ck

If you can, watch 'Million Dollar Traders' 3-part series from the BBC, the only reality show of late that I had any interest in watching. It was actually pretty good, all things considered.

Monday, February 02, 2009


Tour 710 begins Friday afternoon with a flight to Vancouver..

Not that I am excited or anything silly like that.

Wise beyond her years

“We have a lot of tests. I don’t really see how they are for my benefit, unless they showed up that I need extra help. The whole testing thing is for the schools’ benefit. You don’t see children poring over the league tables.

Morgan Furneaux, 13, 'I don't see how tests help me.'