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Cross-Canada Shenanigans – Kenora to Rossport

Right, so we wake up in Kenora, after blowing off Manitoba, to this view from our hotel window:


Alas, we must move on, so after loading up on Starbucks we head east. Destination: Rossport, ON.

I’ve been around the north shore of Lake Superior a few times now, but there are two things I am constantly struck by:

1) The sheer number of small motels. I mean, can these places really survive? How much money can these places really make? And is space at such a premium that desperate families will stay at some of these dumps?

2) People traveling around here must go nuts for amethyst. I mean, there are amethyst shops, amethyst mines, amethyst themed hotels…everywhere! Is amethyst even a rare mineral?

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Cross-Canada Shenanigans – YEG to YYZ

As some of you know, Ben Co. HQ is relocating to Toronto, ON. Now, I’ve written all sorts of fun things about Edmonton, AB over the past year and a half that we’ve been there, but it is time to move on to bigger and better things.

What does this mean?  Why, another cross-country road trip.  Yep, nothing but me, my wife, our cat, and kilometer upon kilometer of prairie.  So, to share my pain fun, we’re gonna be blogging all across Canada.  Keep your eye out, as we’ll update when wireless access permits!

See you in 3,419 kilometers!

Flickr vs. Picasa

bad touch

In an earlier post I had mentioned that I was switching my photos over to Flickr versus Picasa. There were quite a few things I enjoyed about Picasa. I think the biggest benefit was having so many different of my online tools running through my Google Account, (gmail, documents, calendar, etc.), that it made a lot of sense to use Picasa. Most of my other friends have a google account, so sharing and commenting on photos was easy enough.

Now, a decent deal of my photos are hosted on UrbanOhio‘s servers, then hotlinked elsewhere. Picasa was good for non-UO photos and quick uploads without having to meander through FTP world. So for the random image, or the random post, I’d throw the image up on Picasa, then hot-link it here. However, during my last post, I was seeing a lot of loss with image quality. When I upload photos, I generally upload at a high resolution, generally around 3000×2300 because that how my camera shoots (and unless storage size is an issue, I’m not going to bother with resizing). Picasa and Flickr both take it upon themselves to resize the image, while keeping the original in tact. Unfortunately, Picasa does a piss poor job of this. I don’t know if its some weird algorithm or whatever, but its clearly a case of everything Google touches does not turn to gold. Below are two exhibits.

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Some of you may have noticed a lack of activity on Ben Co. recently. It is with great sadness that I have to inform you of the loss of one our truly great minds behind Ben Co., Puddles.

Born on the rough and tumble streets of Ruthven, ON, Puddles’ early kitten years were marked with drug use, cat gangs and “fluffing”. One day while harassing mice at the local Heinz factory, the Woodfern Street Scratchers Gang was ambushed by the rival Queensmen MC chapter in a brutal and bloody battle for dominance of the tomato exporting racket.

One local super citizen, “GE” witnessed the atrocity and whisked in to rescue Puddles and nurse her back to health. Soon Puddles was on the road to recovery in a caring household. It was a lavish lifestyle filled with milk, catnip and tender love. Aside from the great Cat Condo Fire of 2003 and the Aries Rebellion of 2007, no cat lived a better, more fulfilling life than Puddles.

Puddles is survived by her two owners and step-brother Aries.

We’ll miss you puds.


I’ve been taking more salt water baths


Nature is great.

So here’s the deal,  in order to reproduce in a tough environment, barnacles (yargh!) “have evolved the longest penises of any creature for their size — up to eight times their body length — to seek out and have sex with their neighbors.”

However, not all is sunshine and puppies: “..large penises can be a problem, what with waves crashing down on the surfaces where these crustaceans often dwell.  A too-long penis could flop around uselessly in such turbulence, drastically cutting down a barnacle’s chances for procreation.” 


(Image: Christopher Neufeld)

As Ian Malcom tells us, “I’m simply saying that life, uh… finds a way. “


On October 17, 1956 Donald Byrne and Robert James Fischer sat down for a game of chess. What they did not realize is that that battle of the minds that was to ensue was to be dubbed by many as “The Game of the Century.”

Byrne, 26, was one of the top American Chess Masters at that time. He would go on to represent American in three Olympiads, and would earn the status of International Master.

Little Bobby Fischer was 13.

The fact that a child was able to defeat one of the top players in the country would be astounding enough, if it wasn’t for the fashion in which he was victorious. This youngster had both the foresight and the tenacity to offer up his most powerful piece on the board for sacrifice, in order for the opportunity to engage in the whirlwind attack that was to follow.

Fischer would go on to win the U.S. Open the following year and would achieve Grandmaster Status at the age of 15½ – the youngest player to do so. In an era of Soviet World Dominance, spanning about a half century, Fischer won the World Championship in 1972 against Boris Spassky, thus creating another bastion with which to defend the American ego against the onslaught of the Soviet machine.

After that match, Fischer not only failed to defend his title, but he withdrew from society and didn’t play chess for another 20 years.

Fischer Died yesterday at age 64. He was one of the brightest, most controversial, and least understood people to have lived in our lifetime.


Up Yours 2007!

So we sit here to commemorate yet another anniversary of the sun rotating around the earth. I’ve never really liked Johannes Kepler, so screw him, I’m going to live in a geocentric universe. Seemed to work out pretty well for the Greeks.

Without further ado, my resolutions for 2008:

1) Blog more on Ben Co. You see, the founder of Ben Co. spends way too much time talking about real issues like politics, health care and the environment. But we all know the real reason people blog is because they think they are so goddamn interesting, that people will intentionally go out of their way daily to hear them whine about relationships, a pair of shoes, or what they did last night. I intend to bring that “me, me, me” aspect to Ben Co. that it is sorely lacking

2) Make fewer “your mom” jokes.

3) Actually let your mom stick around long enough to eat breakfast.

4) Punch anyone in the face who wears these glasses:

you're a queef

I was anxiously counting down until the year 2010 when we won’t have to see them anymore, but a friend of mine pointed out that you can just shift the “1” over the nose, and you still have two “0”s for the eyes. So I’ll be counting down until 2011. But until then, If I see you wearing them, I hope the tiny plastic shards that are produced from my punch don’t jab your retina too harshly.

5) Get Ben to finally eat pork rinds. Most of us here know Ben reasonably well, and I bet if I asked anyone, “can you foresee Ben eating a bag of Pork Rinds while watching TV?” I guarantee nearly all of us would say “yes”. I mean, this is the guy that ate multiple bowls of chili with no hands for an Xbox.

6) Clean out my ostomy bag.

7) Observe Rosh Hashanah. So if these resolutions don’t work out, On October 1st, I can get a redo, and shift into the year 5769 and just call 2008 a wash

8 ) Overcome my fear of small hedges.

9) Poop less.

10) And finally, stop being nice to people. It occurred to me that I have way too may “peripheral” friends that yield little value to my life. I was thinking about all the different names these peripherals call me: James, Jimmy, Pope, JP, Jamesy, Jimsey, Jimothy, Jamesthanial, Poodle, Soy, Zippy McGee*, Dave-James, etc. I show up to your parties, I do you favors, I sub in for “dates” to events, I’ll help you through tough discussions and decisions, I’m always nice. What do I get out of it? When I need someone to drink with, they aren’t around, when I need a favor, phone calls aren’t returned, and when I throw a party, you don’t show up. Yes, I’m still holding a grudge over my birthday party where literally no one showed up until 1:00 AM.

So up yours periphery friends, you probably can’t even tell me what my hobbies are, what I do for a living, but I’m sure you’ll call when you need something.

*Okay that one was made up.

For Sale: Titan Missle Base – Only $1.5 million!

Okay, how often does a deal like this come along? 57 acres of land, close to major highways, 1.5 hrs from Spokane, 16 underground buildings…wha? Underground buildings?

You heard right, kiddies.  For a cool $1.5 million you could be the proud owner of the decommissioned Larson Air Force Base Complex 1A Titan ICBM Facility! 

Think of the things you could do with not one, not two, but three 160′ missle silos – you could launch cows, launch cars, launch semi-trucks, heck, you could launch missles!

Or maybe you could re-activate the two antenna silos and broadcast your own pirate radio.

Or you could start your own society.

At the very least you would have your own evil lair from which you could plot your takeover of the entire world!

Thanks to Heidi for the tip.

Titan Missle Base

Batteries not included.

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