Essays link page

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 Forum.


Hot stuff!!

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 hello!
The site for McIlhenny's fabulous Tabasco sauce, and home of their Pepper Fest:
Chile Pepper magazine
Fire Girl is at:
Chileheads is at:
And some hot resources at:

Creemore....real beer!

Cool drinks

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.



Dilbert 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. 

Dilbert: the scion of truth in business and management







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 Before Swine.

Ordovician Webworks (it's a trilobite)

Web Design:

I occasionally design Web pages under my own company Ordovician 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 and (a truly wonderful site) and

tea leaf


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 pics.
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:
And the Beginner's Guide to Tea on the Internet is here:
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 or Amazon.

Start with All the Virology on the WorldWide Web at 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: and the Outbreak page (not the movie, the real thing!) at
Hanta virus is here: Hanta virus has been found in Ontario, only 60 kms from my home.
Here's the world of diseases site: and several links to news and info about ebola is at:

Mail Boxes Etc.

Mail Boxes Etc.:

In July, 1999, Susan and I purchased the local (Collingwood) MBE franchise. We'll have our own site here, sometime. 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:

One of my tattoos

Skin art

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: -Tattoo E-zine
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:
Dinosauria Online
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:
Dino Russ has an informative site at
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!

Shakespeare, or was he?

Good Reading

"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 bags.

Shakespeare can be found online in many places, including the "complete" works at: (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):
Dante's Inferno. A good site. Here's the Clickable Inferno:
. Some online resources:
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 The Casanova research site is at: and the online Casanova magazine is at: 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: Here's a story about responses to that effort from Wired:,1287,14090,00.html and the National review's list: Waterstone Bookseller's made its own list at: You'll find more lists here:

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

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 of health!
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 breeder yourself!
Educate yourself about these horrors! Here are some links to puppy mill information sites. Some have very graphic images.
puppymill_facts.html and also - links - good links Very moving article - Prisoners of greed article
NY Post article

Sue's tattoo


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 and here:

And this very amusing cat page:

Kitten Mills

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: (a rebuttal) Sad story



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: and and here: and here:

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:
Ain't science wonderful? There's a lot more online. Just start searching...

Celtic dog


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:
. There is a FAQ here:
Draw your own Celtic knots.


The Fat Lady


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: Don't miss out on this site: Here's a pop diary of the times: It all began here (well, some of it did...) in People's Park:'s_park.html
Beatles information 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:, ,, ,
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 for their story. And see here too:
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:
And if you're into mellow music, my friend Rick Garner has a site on where you can download his music.

Miscellaneous links

Dr. Timothy
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: A whack of Sixties links here: And here's a whole site dedicated to the era:
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,,
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.
VRLI image 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   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 programs Terragen and Genesis II.

Mapping the Atari, 1985

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:
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

  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 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. 

Looking very pompous and proper.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!

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