Links that reflect my personal interests,
lifestyle and business
These are sites I've discovered that are
entertaining, informative and reflect personal attitudes, interests
or just tweak my curiosity. This page is sorely in need of an update,
and I will get to it as soon as I am able and have nothing else to do
with my time. I apologize if not all links work as expected. Sites change,
pages move from server to server, servers close or get bought. URLs
change as often as the weather. It's sometimes difficult to keep up
with their shifts.
Try these sites yourself. You may
find they engage your own sense of wonder. Remember that these are simply
starting points - diving boards into the deeper pool of the Net. The
true surfer will pursue these links, then the links on their pages,
and let the stream of e-consciousness take him or her along for the
ride. You never know what's beyond the next wave... The exciting, wonderful
thing about the Net is its ability to connect us without constraints
of linearity. Every time I start to explore, I find myself like a child
again with a new toy that keeps changing and evolving into something
better than I ever imagined. Click here for the sections:
Hot peppers Beer Dilbert
Web Design Tea Mail
Boxes Etc. Virology Skin
Art Dinosaurs Good Reading
Dogs (and puppy mills) Cats
Ferrets Celts Music
Miscellaneous links Motorcycles
For my own pages and sites, start at my
home page. For my commentaries, see my essays
page. To have your own say, visit my new
Food is a good place
to start. So let's begin with condiments. Hot sauces and spices
are the difference between bland and bravisimo for most meals.
But hot isn't the end: each pepper, each sauce has its own flavour
and appeal. It's like fine wines. Spicy wines, true... but still
wonderful. Read my thoughts on hot peppers.
This is the Mo Hotta Mo Betta home page, a source of hot sauces,
salsas and shakers, plus hot pepper accessories and other delights.
It also leads to other interesting locales. Here are a couple of
other spicy links:
Chilly Chiles: Ottawa's (and Canada's) best source for hot sauces,
salsas, marinades, powdered peppers, and chile accessories. Great
folk, great store (in the Byward Market) and great selection.
Good for mail order, too. Visit them and say I said
|The site for McIlhenny's fabulous Tabasco
sauce, and home of their Pepper Fest: www.TABASCO.com
Chile Pepper magazine
Fire Girl is at: www.firegirl.com/
Chileheads is at: chileheads.netimages.com/
And some hot resources at:
For lovers of real
beers (not that homogenized, chemical-laden sludge
produced by the major breweries... you know, that mass-produced,
pasteurized swill tastes like fermented cardboard or alcoholic
dishwater...), here is the address for Creemore Springs Brewery,
makers of Ontario's best lager:
Creemore Springs. They also make a rich traditional Christmas
beer, urBock, a ruby red nectar with a smooth, hoppy finish. try
and find it. You'll enjoy it. Creemore is a small community in
the Purple Hills south of Collingwood. Worth a visit - stop at
the tea house for a nice cuppa while you're there.
|And here's a site for information about
beer and brewing, albeit mostly American:
Real beer. You'll learn a lot about beer, including its history,
industry and growth.
If your tastes run to spirits, check out my site on tequila
and mezcal - a comprehensive look at the spirits of Mexico.
is a documentary cleverly disguised as a cartoon so that
the bozos who scoff at comics will overlook its depth and acuity.
Under the humour, Dilbert is hardcore truth about corporate environments,
and as such it's a subversive message. Such truths upset and frighten
managers who consider humour a challenge to their authority. This
is the stuff of revolutions - or at least revelations.
When your boss takes down all the Dilbert cartoons
around the office, watch out! You're either on the way out or
he/she has finally got a glimmer of the meaning, and Dilbert is
cutting too close to home for comfort. Or maybe it's just punishment
for knowing something he/she can't comprehend... the first sign
that you're getting under the management's very thin skin. The
next thing you know, you're being booted out the door under the
guise of "reorganization." Happened to me!
Check out United Media's Dilbert
Zone, where you can read more about Dilbert, his creator Scott
Adams, join Dogbert's new Ruling Class and try to fathom the message
in this medium. NOTE: Dilbert is copyright United
Media. While you're there, check out Pearls
I occasionally design Web pages under my own company
Webworks, so here's my design page with my qualifications
and links to pages I've created. I also sometimes teach a 'tricks
& tips' Web page design course at the local Collingwood Learning
Centre. Here are my thoughts on some elements of Web
page design and my thoughts on the essentials
of web pages. The trilobite on the left is my company logo,
a stylized phacops taken from the local Ordovician shale. I have
a lifetime's interest in paleontology that started from finding
trilobites in shale when I was a child. The fascination has never
left me. Want more? See
www.aloha.net/%7Esmgon/ordersoftrilobites.htm (a truly
wonderful site) and
Why can't most North American restaurants make a good cup
of tea? Instead of a hot, refreshing cup of the amber gold,
we get a tepid, dull liquid, often in a metal pot that slops water
all over, with the tea bag floating in it like a dead fish. Probably
because they don't understand that it needs boiling water
to steep properly - not lukewarm water from a pot perched on a
coffee machine. Have you ever tried to explain steeping to a counter
person in a coffee shop? Almost daily I have to repeat the lesson:
the tea has to sit in the hot water while the essential oils and
aromatics emerge, for at least two minutes - not get dowsed with
milk the moment the bag hits the water, otherwise it's just a
cup of hot, watery milk. Sigh.
If you're a tea drinker, or would like to learn about the 5,000-year
history of tea, the many (many!) varieties and brands, plus how
tea is manufactured, start your search here. On the way you'll
learn about tea pots, tea ceremonies, tea recipes, and read reports
from the tea industry itself. My personal favourite is Lapsang
Soochong, a smoky, almost peaty flavoured tea.
Start here for one of the better sites about the world of tea. Good
A tea company with some nice products to order, plus a web site
with good information.
|A brief history of tea and its role in Korean Buddhism
is at: www.sogang.ac.kr/~anthony/kortea.htm
And the Beginner's Guide to Tea on the Internet is here: members.aol.com/wazee17th/TOC.htm
Tea links, and resources, natch!
The Hot Zone
I've developed a keen interest in virology,
especially the filoviridae like Ebola. Scary stuff, but fascinating.
Are viruses alive? Or are they bio-nano-technology? Are they remnants
of evolution's start? Do we carry hibernating viruses in our genes?
How do they work, how do they infect us - and how does our immune
system help save us? When is the next pandemic going to hit and
what will our response be?
There are a lot of sites to check out in this field, many very
technical, but even if you don't have the scientific background,
it's worth a visit. Good reading abounds in this field, including
Laurie Garrett's excellent, wide-ranging
masterpiece, The Coming Plague
(as well as her recent book, Betrayal of
Trust, which is not about viruses per se, but rather about
"the collapse of global public health"), Frank Ryan's
Virus X, C. Peters' Virus
Hunter and Joe McCormick's Level
4: Virus Hunters of the CDC. Of course, Richard Preston's
The Hot Zone is a good - if
somewhat operatic - read, as his 'sequel'
The Demon in the Freezer. Richard Rhodes' Deadly
Feasts will also open your eyes about CJD, BSE and
the dangers of eating meat in a factory-farm world. All of these
are available through Chapters,
Barnes & Noble
|Start with All the Virology on the WorldWide
Web at www.tulane.edu/~dmsander/garryfavweb.html
and then go to the Big
Picture Book of Viruses and to the CDC's own emerging
diseases information page. And a general portal with links
about microbiology at:
The Institute for Molecular Virology is here: www.bocklabs.wisc.edu/Welcome.html
and the Outbreak page (not the movie, the real thing!) at
Hanta virus is here: www.hantavirus.net/.
Hanta virus has been found in Ontario, only 60 kms from my home.
Here's the world of diseases site: www.diseaseworld.com/
and several links to news and info about ebola is at: www.infowire.net/brett/personal/eframe.html
Mail Boxes Etc.:
In July, 1999, Susan and I purchased the local
(Collingwood) MBE franchise. We'll have our own site here,
MBE Collingwood is an authorized shipping depot for UPS,
Fedex, DHL and Canpar couriers. We also offer packing and shipping
services, business services such as word processing, resumes,
business forms and cards, bulk mail services, photocopies - black
and colour - image scanning, graphic design and specialty printing,
specialty papers and office supplies, laminating and binding,
retail packing supplies, computer rental, document finishing,
fax receiving and sending (705-446-2188), and mail box rental
services. We have courteous, efficient and friendly staff to serve
you. If you're in the area (115 First Street, Collingwood), please
drop in and say hello. Our store email is: email@example.com
An ancient and fascinating culture. Skin art goes back to neolithic
times and is practiced worldwide, one of the few cultural practices
that binds us across borders and time. In some places it is a
highly respected art, in others it is the stuff of undergrounds
and secret societies. I've had five tattoos inked into my flesh:
an allosaur skull, a mosasaur and a pterosaur represent my interests
in vertebrate paleontology. I also have a trilobite and a small
personal logo. These are things that have had a meaning in my
life. They're also good art, done by a master needler (I provided
the designs, that's one on the left). I got all but the logo done
by Perry at Pushin' Inc., in Barrie, Ont. I recommend his work
without reserve. For surfers who have interests in tattoos, piercing
and body art, you may find these sites worth a peek:
Body Modification E-zine. Some extreme stuff here... not recommended
for youngsters or the faint of heart.
Did someone mention dinosaurs? I have a passion for paleontology
I've kept alive and thriving for five decades. Share the passion
and help defeat the evil overlords of 'creationism' in their quest
to bury the truth about evolution under religious claptrap and
pseudoscientific jargon. Here are some sites I've enjoyed:
The Dinosaur Omnipedia
Some fascinating articles.
|The BBC did an incredible documentary series called
Walking With Dinosaurs. it's well worth owning this video set if
you're a fan: www.bbc.co.uk/dinosaurs/
Dino Russ has an informative site at www.isgs.uiuc.edu/dinos/dinos_home.html
The trilobite home page. Okay, it's not a dinosaur (trilobites were
extinct long before dinosaurs walked the earth), but it's another
topic that fascinates me (I've collected a few from the local Ordovician
shale). It's all paleontology!
"I have always imagined that Paradise will
be a kind of library."
Jorge Luis Borges
Can anyone live a full life without reading? I don't believe
so. I read 2-12 books a week, from sci-fi to virology, from Shakespeare
to detective novels, astronomy to English, history, paleontology,
theology, politics, fiction, travel, language - anything to continually
learn and increase my understanding and appreciation of the world.
I read voraciously, consuming almost everything I can find. My
biggest problem is finding the time to read - so I carry a book
or two to work, in the car, to the bathroom, in my coat pocket,
to breakfast, to dinner... everywhere. Even have one in my motorcycle
Shakespeare can be found online in many places, including the
"complete" works at: tech-two.mit.edu/Shakespeare/works.html
(although it doesn't have Two Noble Kinsmen, Edward III and some
minor pieces). Is there any better read than the bard? Okay, aside
from science fiction... But did Shakespeare actually write those
works? Or was it someone else? Read my
own thoughts on the debate. Start here to get both sides of
the debate at...
Here's the Oxfordian side of the story:
Then the Stratfordian side:
Or maybe even Francis Bacon?
Check out the Shakespeare authorship sourcebook:
and the Shakespeare resource centre:
Another good site is Mr. Shakespeare and the Internet:
Are there cyphers in the Bard's works? Read:
Finally, teachers can check here for help in building lessons
on the Bard (and other topics): www.edhelper.com
Dante's Inferno. A good site. Here's the Clickable Inferno: martin.carthage.edu/departments/
english/dante/. Some online resources: www.dc.peachnet.edu/~shale/humanities/
Personally I prefer Robert Pinksy's modern translation, but these
are good places to start in your exploration of this classic work.
Casanova's journals are truly enjoyable reading for a good look
into 18th century European politics and society. Get a taste of
them at www.idiom.com/~drjohn/intro.html.
The Casanova research site is at: www.dickinson.edu/~emery/Casanova.htm
and the online Casanova magazine is at: www.giacomo-casanova.de/home.htm.
I recommend you read the Trask translation because it's far better
than anything else (at present - although a new translation is
apparently coming out, with excerpts in a new paperback from Penguin).
Here's Modern Library's best book lists: www.randomhouse.com/modernlibrary/100best/list.html.
Here's a story about responses to that effort from Wired: www.wired.com/news/topstories/0,1287,14090,00.html
and the National review's list: www.nationalreview.com/100best/100_books.html.
Waterstone Bookseller's made its own list at: www.california.com/~rpcman/TOP10.HTM.
You'll find more lists here: www.bookspot.com/
The quote at the top was lifted from A Passion
For Books: A Book Lover's Treasury edited by H. Rabinowitz and
R. Kaplan (Times Books, 1999)
I love 'em. Most of them, anyway. It's just their irresponsible
owners I detest, the ones who let their dogs run loose, the ones
who are too ignorant or arrogant to have their pets neutered or
spayed, the ones who don't train or socialize their dogs and leave
them as prisoners in backyards, a life in chains, a holocaust
of pets... humans treat dogs so damn poorly it always saddens
me. Treat your dog like a family member, enjoy its company, share
your home with it. They will give you love, devotion and endless
enjoyment in return a thousandfold. And what kind of lame
idiot doesn't pick up after his or her dog? Anyone that
stupid and inconsiderate should not be allowed to own an animal.
Anyway, enough of the soapbox. Here are some canine links:
|Digital dog has info on behaviour and training at:
Nerd World dog list. Quite good.
|Dogs in Canada.
Home site of the Canadian Kennel Club. While hardly a perfect organization,
the CKC has a good reputation, better at least than the AKC and
far less tolerant of puppy mill breeders.
Puppy Mills are concentration camps for
dogs, run by sociopaths who are the animal world's equivalent
of the SS camp guards.
They are brutal, dirty places, often violent and fatal
to the animals who are prisoners there. Animals are often inbred,
fed garbage and scraps, kept in filth and feces, living lives
in tiny cages and forced to breed. Unproductive animals, or those
too old are usually killed, or sometimes sold to other sociopaths
who use them in training dogs for pit fighting.
The people who run puppy mills are as evil as sexual predators
and serial killers. They are as welcome in a community as pedophiles
and rapists. But our legislators tolerate them by refusing to
make their punishments equal to their crimes. And they are encouraged
by chains of pet stores where money is money is more important
than the animal's health or well being.
Puppy mills are about cruelty to animals, NOT about breeding
loving pets for the home. They are inhumane, mass breeding factories.
They are a moral blight on our civilization, a degradation of
any community where they reside.
To avoid supporting puppy mills, NEVER BUY
A DOG OR CAT from a large pet store. Always make sure any
dog you buy comes with proper papers (AKC or UKC in the USA, CKC
in Canada - pet store dogs with AKC papers
in Canada are NOT purebred: they are mutts from puppy mills!).
Make sure any pet you get is fully vaccinated, has a veterinarian's
health certificate and proof of worming. And has a guarantee
Don't encourage backyard breeders who let their pets have random
litters, either: they are only small-scale puppy mills. Only buy
from certified CKC breeders (in Canada).
Unless you are part of a recognized, certified, purebreed breeding
program, always spay and neuter your pets
to avoid unwanted or unnecessary litters. Don't become a backyard
Educate yourself about these horrors! Here are some links to puppy
mill information sites. Some have very graphic images.
and also www.critterhaven.org/puppy_mills.htm
- good links
Very moving article
- Prisoners of greed article
article-nypost-pa-puppymills.htm NY Post article
I also like cats. Cats have a
dignity and independence dogs lack. We've had as many as seven
at a time, plus many more foster care cats and kittens. We "only"
have five at present - all strays. I can't imagine a home without
a cat. Is there any more gracious sign of contentment than a cat
sitting on a summer porch, eyes closed, face into the sun? Or
a more trusting sign than a cat curled on a lap, sleeping? Or
gently purring? The image shown here is the one we developed for
Susan's newest tattoo. Check out the cat links at:
|Choosing a cat? See www.choosing-a-cat.com/
and here: www.ivillage.com/pets/cats/
And this very amusing cat page:
These are the feline version of the puppy mill (see above),
as brutal and ugly as their canine counterparts. They are factory
farms where cruelty to animals is institutionalized. Do not encourage
or support them. Never get kittens from
pet stores or backyard breeders. Always spay or neuter
your pets to prevent unwanted litters - most unplanned kittens
never find a home: they are put to sleep in shelters, abandoned,
drowned or die of illness or starvation. Read about kitten (and
pet) mills at:
I also really like ferrets. They are
remarkably intelligent, affectionate, curious and entertaining.
I used to have quite a few ferrets, and even ran a ferret shelter
until it bankrupted me to have them all spayed, neutered and vaccinated!
At one time we had 23 in our home. What a zoo - they ran around,
got into furniture, into cupboards, into the bed... poor Susan
almost divorced me over that one. But I don't have any now, although
I'm interested in getting some again but haven't any local contacts
for them. Ferrets are a constant amusement: fascinating, intelligent
and playful creatures, perfect pets for apartment dwellers. Check
them out at: www.ferretcentral.org/
and here: www.cdfa.com/
and here: www.geocities.com/Heartland/Ridge/3819/
Sadly, there are also ferret mills,
where animals are factory-bred in appalling, inhumane conditions.
Read about some of them here:
||Want to see inside the human body? Well, it's a slice
at a time, but check this out: www.uchsc.edu/sm/chs/
wonderful? There's a lot more online. Just start searching...
Deep in my bloodline, I have a Celtic
heritage (that's pronounced "Keltic". Anything pronounced
"seltic" refers to a basketball or soccer team, NOT
the people or anything vaguely related to Celtic culture...).
I'm concerned that the popular "Celtic" revival has
little to do with their culture, but a lot to do with marketing.
And that more myths are being perpetuated about the Celts as a
result. Still, some of the revival is entertaining, fun and a
its grassroots pleasantry.
My ancestors are from Scotland and northern England, although
I can also trace my heritage in Canada back 120+ years when my
Scottish ancestors arrived here after the great Highland Clearances.
It's probably why I ride an English motorcycle, too. There are
many good Celtic sites online, but start here. Don't forget to
attend Collingwood's Celtic Continuum festival every summer.
and surf the Celtic connections therein. Or here: www.georgetown.edu/labyrinth/subjects/
british_isles/celtic/celtic.html. There is a FAQ here: www.scot.demon.co.uk/celtfaq/contents.html
Draw your own Celtic knots.
The glue that fills the cultural spaces between us. I
like pretty much all types of music - opera, heavy metal, blues,
reggae, psychedelia, rock, baroque, electronic, dance, Japanese,
Mexican, Indian, Gregorian chant - except most country and western
(it gives me hives) and rap (too much percussion, self-indulgent,
often violent misogynist lyrics). There are many, many good music
sites online, but here are some jumping off places:
Old Hippie's groovy links. Since I'm an aging hippie, this seems
appropriate. There are other Sixties
links here: www.oldies.about.com/musicperform/oldies/cs/psychedelic60s/.
Don't miss out on this site: www.lib.virginia.edu/exhibits/sixties/.
Here's a pop diary of the times: www.sixtiespop.freeserve.co.uk/.
It all began here (well, some of it did...) in People's Park: www.dnai.com/~hi_there/people's_park.html
pages abound. Was there ever a better band? Have there been any
new music forms since the White Album? Okay maybe Let
It Bleed... But the Beatles defined it all, did it all, played
and sang it all. Everything else in music since then has pretty
much been derivative of their work. Browse the Beatles here: www.getback.org/,
Hippies on the Web. More music links
from the 1960s (my era and still the most creative in pop history).
One of my favourite bands was(is): the West Coast pop Art Experimental
Band. See users.bart.nl/~cvdlely/wcpaeb/history/wcpaeb1.htm
for their story. And see here too: users.bart.nl/~cvdlely/wcpaeb.html
A good site for opera
information. I'm not really a fan of Wagner's operas (everyone in
a Wagnerian opera seems to be screaming and the plots befuddle me).
I prefer mostly Verdi, Puccini and so on, stuff with good stories
and memorable arias. My favourite work, however, is Mussorgsky's
Boris Godunov. You might find the original (not Rimsky-Korsakov's
reworking of it) even more powerful.
Don't know much about opera? Don't be shy. This site offers a gentle
introduction. Here's the virtual opera house, a great resource:
and some good links at Daring Diva: www.daringdiva.com/Opera.html
And if you're into mellow music, my friend
Rick Garner has a site on MP3.com where you can download his
Dr. Timothy Leary
was one of the most influential people in the 60s and 70s. He had
a profound impact on me back then: not about drugs, but about his
wide-ranging philosophy and insight. He resurfaced in the 1990s
with a new vision for the Internet age. It was a great loss when
he died in June 1996. But his thoughts and philosophies live on
at this site.
||The Sixties. What an
era. Strife, change, creativity, upheaval, exploration, music, literature,
politics... Here are some links: www.bbhq.com/sixties2.htm.
A whack of Sixties links here: www.slip.net/~scmetro/sixties.htm.
And here's a whole site dedicated to the era: www.sixties.net/
I'm not much of a TV watcher (we don't
even have cable, satellite or anything more than rabbit ears
at home). We maybe watch 3 hours a week. But I've been told that
Discovery is a good channel. Here's the site. Not to be confused
with Discover magazine, one of my all-time favourite reads,, at:www.discover.com/
CBC Radio's home
site. See it before the Canadian government destroys our national
broadcaster because the CBC refuses to be a propaganda tool for
the government. Brian Mulroney and his Conservative party started
the process of destroying the CBC - when Beatty was Minister of
Communication. PM Jean Chretien has continued to strip mine it and
layoff workers. The local Ontario Morning has become "London
Morning," cutting pretty much all coverage from correspondents
outside London. One day the CBC will be only a memory. a victim
of the government's need to dominate the media for their own uses.
And we'll all be a lot poorer as a result.
||Ever used VistaPro? It's one of my favourite mind
toys. It lets you create and explore 3D landscapes - and imagine
whole new worlds. Take a ride in cyberspace with this inexpensive
software - see www.adventuregamer.net/html/vistapro.html.
Version 4 was recently released - some nice new features
have been added, including lighting and lens effects. Very impressive.
For more professional users, I recommend Bryce 3D from Corel (formerly
MetaCreations). It is a superb program for rendering landscapes
(besides which, I like Corel products). Also see the superb shareware/freeware
|Remember the Atari 8 bit computer? I write a book about
the Atari back in '83 (revised in 85). It was very popular among
programmers and techies. I owe a lot to that Atari community and
I'm glad to see it's still out there alive and thriving. Many, many
thanks to all of you and I hope you continue to thrive. You can
find a starting site for Atari 8 bit computers here: pmwww.cs.vu.nl/home/ipoorten/Atari.8bit.Homepage/.
I thank everyone for their support of my book, Mapping the Atari
and have released it into the community. More than 60,000
copies sold to enthusiasts and programmers. You can read a copy
online at www.atariarchives.org/mapping/
||Canadian and American journalists
will find Pierre Bourque's site an excellent resource for news,
opinions and related links. He's worth checking out at www.bourque.org/.
Journalists in Ontario might also want to check out the Southern
Ontario Newspaper Guild where people work hard to make
sure reporters and editors are paid more than minimum wage.
There are still so
many other places to describe and link to, but space is limited. Some
day I'll include the Firesign Theatre, astronomy, netsuke, military
history, hot newspapers and magazines, the English language, wargaming,
animal behaviour, blues, cross-country skiing, fishing, fractals, more
Mexico, gardening, Go, guitar, tarot,
history, paintball, science fiction, I Ching, shortwave radio, why creationism
isn't science, Napoleon, motorcycles, hhgttg,
wargaming, Stonehenge, zymurgy, millennial
madness and so much more! The Web is a delight to peruse and explore,
it's a learning centre and it's anarchy - but don't just read my opinions:
start surfing and form your own!
Visit the Mumpsimous forum to
leave comments and opinions.
Email me with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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