February 2011 Archives

Canadian Temperature Chart


Official Canadian Temperature Conversion Chart

50o Fahrenheit (10o C)

New Yorkers try to turn on the heat

Canadians plant gardens

40o Fahrenheit (4.4o C)

Californians shiver uncontrollably

Canadians sunbathe

35o Fahrenheit (1.6o C)

Italian cars won't start

Canadians drive with the windows down

32o Fahrenheit (0o C)

Distilled water freezes

Canadian water gets thicker

0o Fahrenheit (-17.9o C)

New York City landlords turn on heat

Canadians have last cookout of the season

-40o Fahrenheit (-40o C)

Hollywood disintegrates

Canadians rent some videos

-60o Fahrenheit (-51o C)

Mt. St. Helens freezes

Canadian girl guides sell cookies door to door

-100o Fahrenheit (-73o C)

Santa Claus abandons the North Pole

Canadians pull down their ear flaps

-173o Fahrenheit (-114o C)

Ethyl alcohol freezes

Canadians can't thaw the keg

-460o Fahrenheit (-273o C)

Alcohol zero; all atomic motion stops

Canadians start saying "cold, eh?"

-500o Fahrenheit (-295o C)

Hell freezes over

Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup

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Proverbs From Around The World

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WUHAN, CHINA - FEBRUARY 18:   Worshippers burn...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Night rinses what the day has soaped.

It's not the fault of the post that the blind man can't see it.

God deliver me from a man of one book.

Old age does not announce itself.

An ounce of patience is worth a pound of brains.

From my Page-A-Day email calendar: Uncle John's Bathroom Reader

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Book Reviews


Getting caught up on some book reviews, as I am almost back on schedule for my goal of 50 books this year.

The Lock Artist: A NovelThe Lock Artist: A Novel by Steve Hamilton
My rating: ★★★★✩

The Lock Artist was a very intriguing novel about a mute safecracker. After a traumatic childhood experience, Michael never talks again. Through a series of incidents, he uncovers a real talent, even a gift, for cracking safes. Told in an interesting first person fashion, written as an autobiography, with alternating childhood and later chapters, I enjoyed it very much. Not a whole bunch really happened, but the story was told with real style. Micheal's experiences became yours and you really pulled for him to get on the straight and narrow.

The Tricking of FreyaThe Tricking of Freya by Christina Sunley
My rating: ★★✩✩✩

Sorry, but I just couldn't get into The Tricking Of Freya. Telling what could be an interesting story of Icelanders transplanted to Canada, trying to hold on to their heritage, it just wasn't all the interesting in the end. I gave up.

Expiration DateExpiration Date by Duane Swierczynski
My rating: ★★★★✩

The Expiration Date tells the amazing story of a guy down on his luck and some time traveling pills. Can he go back in time and solve his father's murder without tearing up the fabric of time? Seems unlikely, but in a typically brash fashion, Swierczynski manages to pull it off. The story hurtles along to a very wild conclusion, again trademarks of Swierczynski novels. While not as crackling as The Wheelman or especially The Blonde, it's still a tremendously fun ride.

The News Where You AreThe News Where You Are by Catherine O'Flynn
My rating: ★★★★✩

I listened to The News Where You Are as a book on tape and found it an excellent slice of life book. Not really much of a mystery, despite its nomination for an Edgar this year, it tells the story of a news anchor trying to figure out the somewhat puzzling death of a former co-worker who has gone on to bigger and better things. I really enjoyed the repartee, laughing out loud a few times. Frank, the protagonist, is just trying to figure things out. His 8 year old daughter is very precocious and his mother, in an old age home, is truly a curmudgeon. O'Flynn's descriptions of BBC newsroom politics, old age, and time marching on, really hit home. While more of a 3.5 star book, it's worth while enough for 4. The narrator did a very nice job.

Gone WildGone Wild by James W. Hall
My rating: ★★★✩✩

Gone Wild is another entry in Hall's long running Thorn series, although Thorn himself doesn't show up for quite a number of pages. Told mostly from Allison Farleigh's point of view, this wild thriller about exotic animals, poachers and wildlife preservation has plenty of memorable characters. Maybe too memorable in some cases, as the bad guys in this book are quite over the top, both in craziness and money. Like all too many recent thrillers, it depends too much on stupid police. In one case, Allison is shot at while in a zoo at night, and the night watchman is killed, but the police don't believe her story at all, pinning the killing on a random robbery. And no one in power seems willing to lift a hand to help out, despite the mounting evidence. And the two main antagonists, Orlon and Rayon (I kid you not), just don't seem bright enough to have survived this long. So it was a fun read, but nothing too believable or deep. Maybe a good beach or airplane paperback.

View all my Goodreads review

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Tragic Marriage

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It seems that a devout, good couple was about to get married, but a
tragic car accident ended their lives.

When they got to heaven, they asked St. Peter if he could arrange for
them to be married, saying that it was what they had hoped for in
life, and they still desired wedded union. He thought about it and
agreed, but said they would have to wait.

It was almost one hundred years later when St. Peter sent for
them. They were married in a simple ceremony.

So things went on, for thirty years or so, but they determined, in
this time, that eternity was best not spent together.

They went back to St. Peter, and said, "We thought we would be happy
forever, but now we believe that we have irreconcilable
differences. Is there any way we can get divorced?"

"Are you kidding?" said St. Peter. "It took me a hundred years to get
a priest up here to marry you. I'll never get a lawyer!"

Snow Snow Snow

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Here's a view of Lake Shore Drive in Chicago the other day:

I am totally confused. What exactly would make you abandon your car in the middle of a busy road? I can see if you were in traffic that wasn't going anywhere, but someone had to be the first to put it in park and just walk away. Bizarre!

Here in Medford, we have a remarkable amount of snow on the ground. I don't think we've actually set any records, but I'm pretty sure it has been a long time since I have seen this much snow actually on the ground. Certainly not since we moved here over 10 years ago, and I probably since at least '95/'96, but maybe even going back to '78.

We live in a cul de sac, so the plowed snow mounds are getting immense. The neighbor threatens to get a flag, hire some Sherpas, and climb to the top of what we affectionately call "Mt. Rita" to claim it:

snow4.JPGAnd the picnic table out back is merely a bump in the yard at this point:

backyard.jpgUnfortunately, it looks like this next storm is going to be one of those ugly rain/snow mixes, like the one the other day that came through from Chicago. I'd much rather have snow than the "mix". We had some graupel come down the other day, which is some strange stuff. It's like it is raining sidewalk salt!

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Cocktails 'n' Gaming: Sazerac


Wow, I need to do a post today before I get too far behind on my Cocktail 'n' Gaming posts!

Last week, we went Olde School again, this time with the New Orleans classic, the Sazerac, with the recipe from David Woolrich's wonderful book Imbibe!:

  • 1/2 cube sugar
  • 2 oz whiskey (must be rye. I used Jim Beam)
  • 2 dashes of Peychaud's Bitters
  • lemon twist
  • splash of absinthe (I used the wonderful Spanish absinthe Obsello)

I'll quote the good doctor's mixing instructions, which came from the late Tome Handy at the Sazerac Bar :

Frappe an old-fashioned flat bar-glass; then take a mixing glass and muddle half a cube of sugar (1/2 tsp) with a little water; add some ice, a jigger of good whiskey, 2 dashes o Peychaud's bitters and a piece of twisted lemon peel; stir well until cold, then throw the ice out of the bar-glass, dash several drops of absinthe into the same, and rinse well with the absinthe. Now strain the Cocktail into the frozen glass and server with ice water on the side.


I finally came across a bottle of Peychaud's in a local grocery store, of all places, so I was dying to finally mix up a real Sazerac. To "frappe" a glass means to fill it with chipped ice and let it set a while. It didn't say to add any ice to the drink, so we didn't. It tasted real good!

IniquityBlackAleAndAmericanKriek.jpgFor beers, we had a hit and a miss. Micheal brought over a bottle of Southern Tier iniquity Imperial Black Ale, which was the hit. Really full taste with lots of things going on. A "black" ale, which is odd for an IPA but really works here.

Second beer poured was one of the Samuel Adams "Barrel Room Collection", the American Kriek. It is a red fruity beer, which uses black cherries for flavoring. It was just too fruity for us.

Finally, for gaming, we finished up the last of the "Terrorist Hunt" maps in Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2. The last two were just "dark" versions of previous maps, including our toughest one. But we must be getting good at it, because we did pretty well on all three. Then Michael made it safely home in Yet Another Snowstorm, but that was 3 storms ago!

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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