The Good Old Thanksgiving Days

November 26, 2009

In 1936, Camel cigarettes issued the following ad for Thanksgiving:

I hope you can read it.  Smoking between courses is the healthy thing to do it declares.  “Smoke a camel right after the soup,” it says. “For digestion’s sake … You enjoy food more and have a feeling of greater ease after eating when you smoke Camels between courses.”

Ah, those good old days!

I started smoking early and was already a confirmed smoker by the time I started to attend dinners with my father’s American businessmen friends.  However, it was still a shock to me back then (perhaps 1966) when they lit up cigarettes between courses.  I remember then doing it with my friends and explaining that it was just the chic thing to do.  Such dupes we all were!

Shadows On Wood

November 23, 2009


Shaken By The Salt

November 22, 2009

I like food.  A lot.  I like eating it, and I love cooking it.  But I find it really difficult to suggest that one kind of diet is better than another.  You want a high-fat diet — go for it.   You want vegan — great!  I happen to eat just about anything, and that’s good too.  Everyone should make their own choices.  But there are some things that are taken out of our hands, unless you are willing to cook everything from scratch.  And the amount of sodium in processed foods is one of them.

We Canadians live in this little bubble of self-esteem that assumes that, as a country, we nearly always do “the right thing”.  Therefore, it is more than disturbing to read in the Globe & Mail:

… one cup of All-Bran cereal in Canada has 620 milligrams of sodium, but in the U.S., one cup has only 160 milligrams of sodium.

… and that this sort of difference is general across the range of food categories.  Worse, apparently we — the consumers — are the only ones to blame:

“Consumers will simply not compromise on taste,” Catherine O’Brien, director of corporate affairs at Nestlé Canada Inc.,  said. “Therefore, [taste] must be a priority alongside improved health.”

Where would we be if we had accepted this kind of logic from the cigarette manufacturers?  Regular readers will know that I am not a supporter of government intervention in our lives.  However, so long as we have this patronising system, isn’t one of their jobs supposed to be to protect consumers from this kind of profit-above-all marketing?

A Good Victory For England

November 22, 2009

Having stayed up late — for me — last night, I just managed to crawl out of bed at 5 this morning to follow the last couple of hours of England’s one-day cricket match against South Africa.  It was worth it, with England winning decisively.

Once again it was our old stalwart Paul Collingwood who was man of the match, taking wickets and a spectacular catch in the South African innings, and then knocking off an unbeated 105 runs.   He was brilliantly supported by Jonathan Trott and Eoin Morgan in the run chase.

After the up and down play in the T20s, this augers well for the rest of the ODI series and, later, for the Tests.

[Note: image is from CricInfo]

I Left You A Message

November 21, 2009

Tim Burton As Artist

November 20, 2009

I have always enjoyed Tim Burton’s movies — and I am looking forward with anticipation to his “Alice” — but not in any fanatical way: they often have a conceptual similarity about them that detracts for me.   Besides being a filmmaker, Burton is also an artist and the NY Museum of Modern Art has honoured him with an “expansive” retrospective.  Ken Johnson, the NY Times art critic, is not impressed.

Given the tremendous visual appeal of Mr. Burton’s movies, you would hope that “Tim Burton,” the Museum of Modern Art’s expansive retrospective of his noncinematic art, would be equally exciting. Alas, it is a letdown. Focused mainly on hundreds of drawings dating from his teenage years to the present and including paintings, sculptures, photographs and a smattering of short films on flat screens, it is an entertaining show and a must for film buffs and Burton fans. To see the raw material from which the movies evolved is certainly illuminating. But there is a sameness to all Mr. Burton’s two- and three-dimensional output that makes for a monotonous viewing experience.

That’s a shame, but I am not altogether surprised.



Sleep Pods

November 19, 2009

Here is a fascinating idea for urbanites like me who just feel like a nap wherever they happen to be:  Sleep Boxes

As the story says:

SLEEPBOX is a small mobile space (box) 2mx1.4mx2.3m (h). The main functional element in it is a bed 2×0.6 m, which is equipped with automatic system of change of bed linen. Bed is soft, flexible strip of foamed polymer with the surface of the pulp tissue. Tape is rewound from one shaft to another, changing the bed. If a client wants to sleep in maximum comfort, he can take the normal set of bed linen for an extra fee … SLEEPBOX is equipped with a ventilation system, sound alerts, built-in LCD TV, WiFi, sockets for a laptop, charging phones. Also under the lounges is a place for luggage … After the clients exit, automatic change of bed linen starts and quartz lamps turns on. Payment can be made on a shared terminal, which provides the client with an electronic key. It is possible to buy from 15 minutes to several hours.

Here are the possible locations for SLEEPBOX:

  • Railroad stations
  • Airports
  • Expocentres
  • Public and shopping centers
  • Accommodation facilities

In countries with warm climate SLEEPBOX can be used on the streets. Thanks to SLEEPBOX any person has an opportunity to spend the night safely and cheaply in case of emergency, or when you have to spend few hours with your baggage …

SLEEPBOX is intended primarily to perform one main function – to enable a person to sleep peacefully. But it can also be equipped with various additional functions, depending on the situation. Application of the device can be very broad, not only in the form of paid public service, but also for internal purposes of organizations and companies.

I can see all sorts of problems, but it is still a great idea in our services/entertainment/pampering culture.