Gerard Butler has a new catchphrase

tonight we dine in mcdonald's

We can’t all take off enough time to hit the gym hard enough to develop the physique he sported for 300, and yes, it’s better to have had a Spartan six-pack (recorded on photos and film, too!) and lost it than never to have had one at all. Still, I found this caption on Gerard Butler’s photo amusing.

Here’s a quick video about the workouts they had to do:


The Ontario post-election campaign poster you didn’t know you wanted

hudak resignation poster

Feel free to spread it far and wide.

For those of you outside Ontario, the central plank of Tim Hudak’s campaign to become premier of the province was his “Million Jobs” campaign promise, which promised the creation of a million jobs in Ontario over 8 years, and hinged upon the elimination 100,000 government positions. The promise is said to be based on faulty math, and — surprise, surprise — is based on the ideas of a Tea Party, Koch Brothers-funded economist.

Credit for the joke has to go to Corina.


My week in Charleston


Happy Juneteenth, Gentle Reader!

Last week, I tagged along with Anitra to Charleston. She was there to attend the GIANT conference, while I continued with my regular telecommuting workday from our hotel room and various wifi-equipped establishments in town. I also managed to squeeze in a little touring around, and snapped a few photos along the way.


Graphic artist Shepard Fairey — he of the “Andre the Giant has a posse” signs and Barack Obama’s HOPE poster — was born and grew up in Charleston. He recently painted murals all over downtown, and I spotted a couple, including Andre’s face atop the Francis Marion hotel:


Our hotel was just north of Marion Square, the largest green space in the downtown area.


It seems as if there’s always something going on at Marion Square. We saw a drum circle one night, outdoor yoga another night, and on Friday noon, the local hospital, as a way to promote skin cancer awareness, was giving out free hats. We couldn’t pass those up:


The weather was quite good that week, and the hotel had outlets and a strong wifi signal in its courtyard, so this was my office:


Much better than a cubicle, don’t you think?


Other times, I set up office in various wifi-equipped places downtown, which gave me a chance to check out the heart of the city. I love the palmetto-lined streets:




Even smaller side streets get the palmetto treatment:


Of course we visited Fort Sumter. I was torn about visiting this traitorous hive of scum and villainy, especially with Juneteenth coming up, but I figured I might as well see how they told their side of the story.


I couldn’t help being reminded of this South Park episode

cartman as general lee

…and after hearing over and over about defending their way of life and the so-called “Lost Cause,” I walked out of that dump thinking…

dammit white people

Anyhow, enough about that.

Being a well-preserved older city, there’s no shortage of alleyways like this downtown:


…or gaslights:


And while there are the usual tourist-trappy shops you’d expect to see in a destination like Charleston…


…with the usual kitschy wares…


…they don’t seem to be short of quirky, locally-owned establishments:


Or this sort of business:


Reading the local alt-weeklies, it seems that like a lot of other places, the mayor of Charleston has declared war on nightlife. Only bad people go out at night, right?


That’s a shame, because they’re actually quite good at it, with a number of excellent bars, restaurants, and clubs, from what I could see:


And hey, you’re going to need a night out dancing if you’re going to work off that lobster and grits (this one’s from Stars, who do an excellent rendition of the local shellfish-and-grits dish, and who also have a killer daily rotisserie special):


One night, we found that many restaurants were booked and ended up at Stars a second time. The staff recognized us, and seeing that we’d shown up twice in a week, comped us with their fantastic baked oysters. Thanks guys!

In addition to good food, there’s a lot of good drink to be had here. I’d recommend The Gin Joint (I wish I’d taken a photo), as well as The Belmont, pictured below:


A local favourite is the coffee/bourbon cocktail, which is hard to come by in other bars. This one’s called “The Bucket List”, and they serve it at Husk:


We ate outside on Husk’s balcony, which has this lovely view that lets you see the cyclists — and there are many in Charleston, mostly on cruiser-style bikes, many of whom bike in nice clothes and dresses as opposed to sports cycling gear:


…and they too serve a great shellfish-and-grits. I’m going to be paying for my caloric sins this week at the gym.


The folks at the GIANT conference were cool about letting spouses and significant others (I suppose I exist in that zone between the two now) attending their evening parties, and they threw some good ones. The opening night party was at Charleston Music Hall

charleston music hall

…where I got to entertain the crowd in the lobby and got free beer in return:

accordion at giant

The second night’s party was at The Alley. You know your city’s doing well when it has one of those “like a bowling alley, but more hip” drinking establishments:


The final night’s party was at the office of Blue Ion, a local digital marketing agency who had a space that anyone in New York or San Francisco would kill for (and I’m sure their rent is cheaper). It turns out that I wasn’t the only person to bring an instrument — Katie Greff did as well, and we had a little jam session that night:

jamming at giant


Apparently, the French have updated their slogan

liberte egalite beyonce


Kim Jong-Un looks like a 1960s Bond villain in his rusty green sub


“Set course for the island of Dr. No!”

With the old-school appearance of the submarine designed in the 1950s, the blue-green tones of the exterior photos, and the Great Successor’s poses and angles at which he’s photographed, Kim Jong-Un looks like a villain from the Sean Connery-era James Bond movies in these undated photos released by North Korea.


Click the photo to see it at full size.

“Look upon this sub made from Chinese knock-off parts I got on the military equivalent of eBay, and despair!” the photos seem to say. The Soviets called this design “Project 633”, while NATO’s classification for this sub is Romeo. Designed from lessons learned from captured German XXI U-Boats, Romeo-class subs are powered by diesel-electric engines and were first built in the late 1950s. The Union formerly known as Soviet phased them out shortly after 1961 when they switched to nuclear-powered submarines, and they’ve been decommissioned by military powers such as Syria and Algeria. China still has a baker’s dozen of these sub for training purposes, Egypt operates 3 upgraded variants, and Bulgaria still has one in operation.


Click the photo to see it at full size.

Naughty Korea (as opposed to Nice Korea) is the leading operator of Romeo-class subs, with 22 in its navy. Four of these — presumably the better-built ones — were bought from China, while the remainder were assembled locally with parts bought from China. They carry Chinese-made Yu-4 torpedoes, which date from the 1960s and have a range of between 6.5 kilometres (4 miles) for the original version and 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) for the upgraded version. In contrast, the U.S. Navy’s Harpoon missiles can hit a target 240 kilometres (150 miles) away — that’s nearly 40 times the range of the Chinese torpedo.


“Notify Dr. No that I will be arriving,
and want to see the progress on his jamming device.”

Click the photo to see it at full size.

These photos were released Monday by the North Korean government’s press agency, who reported that Kim, whose polymath powers make Buckaroo Banzai s green as Kim’s sub with envy, taught the submarine’s captain “a good method of navigation”. True to his title, the Great Successor has taken mansplaining to a whole new level.


Annyeonghi gaseyo, Mr. Bond.”
Click the photo to see it at full size.

I’ll end this with the closing lines from David Blair’s report for The Telegraph:

Mr. Kim’s decision to pay a high profile visit seems at odds with the official doctrine of the so-called People’s Navy, which stresses the importance of camouflage and concealment.

So seriously were these tasks taken that 2004 was officially declared the “Year of Camouflage.”

On the 10th anniversary of that occasion, however, Mr. Kim allowed photographs of the unlikely pride of his fleet to be released to the world.

Cdre Stephen Saunders, the editor of IHS Jane’s Fighting Ships, summed up: “The fact that the Dear Successor is spending time on what, in any other navy, would be an obsolete submarine tells its own story.”


“Minions! Now set course for the island of Dennis Rodman!”
Click the photo to see it at full size.


Today on Salon: Two smug bearded preppies take time off from their Saturday shopping at The Gap to write “pro” and “con” pieces on libertarianism

going gap

Smug Button-Down Preppie, pictured below, is using the “No True Galt” debate tactic in his defense of Libertarianism

bearded casual white guy 1

Click Smug White Guy #1’s photo to read his opinion.

…while Smug Hoodie Preppie, pictured below, has moved to something he calls “libertarian-socialism”, which sounds a lot like “kosher pork rinds”:

bearded casual white guy 2

Click Smug White Guy #2’s photo to read his opinion.

Ignoring the content of their articles — which, given the subject matter, is a good idea — these guys are smugness selfie amateurs. Let me show you how a professional does it:

this is how you do smug

Damn straight.


Pill-swallowing spray: Another product I didn’t know existed

pill glide swallowing spray

Hot on the heels of learning that manga eye makeup existed, I stumbled into this product while picking up groceries at Publix the other day.

I don’t think there’s really a need for this when a solution already exists. It’s my understanding that Americans will eat anything that’s been covered with enough ranch dressing, which is probably way cheaper thanks to economies of ranch dressing scale.