Saturday, April 19, 2008

Things Worth Sharing

There are a few things I would like to share with my readers today:

For the last couple of years, I have been enjoying listening to the tail end of the Vinyl Cafe on CBC Radio, when I get out of the book store on Sunday afternoons. I don't think I've ever caught an entire episode, which is a shame. I was thrilled to hear a couple of months ago that they are making weekly Vinyl Cafe podcasts. It's a free subscription, so of course I subscribed as soon as I learned that the podcasts were happening. I'm a bit disappointed that the podcasts are not the entire shows. However, they're absolutely worth listening to. If you've never listened to the Vinyl Cafe, you really should give it a try! And with podcasts, it's easy to fit the listening into your schedule, rather than trying to fit your schedule around listening. This Stuart McLean fellow is a truly amazing storyteller. Really, a Canadian national treasure, in my opinion.

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If you've spent years using one of these:

Unsatisfying peeler
. . . (especially if you have found the experience rather unsatisfying, as have I), you really should make an effort to track down one of these:

Brilliant peeler
I don't know where we got ours, nor can I tell you who the manufacturer is, as it has no identifying marks on it that I can find. But here's the thing:

I don't really consider myself to be an Anglophile. Sure, I tend to use -ise instead of -ize. But that's simply a matter of finding it to be a much more elegant solution. And while I think it's wiser to use "zed" than "zee", I really only do so when it comes up in conversation with a Brit (which is extremely rarely). I have absolutely not adopted the British habit of (what in my opinion is) overuse of the word "brilliant". Instead, I have fallen into the dopey American habit of overusing "cool". However, in this one case, I have no better word to use than "brilliant". The orange-handled peeler pictured above is absolutely brilliant! It is somehow so vastly superior to the other style, that it seems somehow insulting to claim that they're really the same utensil. After years of hearing people say that there's a real difference between using a genuinely good tool and using a readily available tool, it's strange that this is the best example I have of experiencing the phenomenon for myself. Well, maybe the second best. Using the one instead of the other is akin to using a good dictionary instead of using a bad dictionary. And frankly, the difference is much starker than the superiority of the Mac over the PC. Gosh, that's weird to say! Anyway, bottom line: When I use the orange handled peeler, I end up wishing I had need to peel more! When I use the other style, I can hardly wait for the experience to be over. The orange handled peeler is an absolute joy to use! It is brilliant on potatoes and brilliant on carrots. If I objected to eating apple skins, I expect I would find it to be brilliant on apples too.

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We have two friends who recently gave birth, which means that they and their husbands recently went through the process of deciding what to name a child. Surely a daunting task. I neglected to mention to them the Name Voyager. Shame on me!!! The Name Voyager may or may not be helpful in choosing a child's name. I have found it useful in coming up with character names for writing fiction, at least. Whether you have need for it or not, I find it difficult to believe that you wouldn't appreciate its sheer beauty and elegance. It is a magnificent example of how it's possible to display complex data sets in our new digital world. In that respect, so far I have found its only rival to be Thinkmap's Visual Thesaurus.

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There was one more web site that I was eager to share with you, but it seems to have disappeared. So sad. Anyway, I hope you enjoy what I have shared today. Have a wonderful week!

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