November 2007 Archives

Things you never knew you wanted to know until you knew them

Gael Greene asks an expert what is the sexiest restaurant in New York, along with other secrets of culinary seduction…. (hint: it’s not really about the food—but it’s really about the food)

I was...

going to write about how I make steak, but the steak got eaten before pictures could be taken. So maybe next time.

In the interim, how can you resist a story about a guy called “the Indiana Jones of tiki drinks”?

I could watch this all day

TopGear sends a Smart Car into a concrete barrier at 70 mph.

And in other totally unrelated news, blondes make men stupid.

Two From The Times

Two quick hits:

leeeeetle cat feeet

fog over the coast
connecticut bundles up
the roads are empty

rain, mist, shadows
slick asphalt reflects the light
lonely grocery

looking at lettuce
in a consumerist haze
damn forgot wallet

So long, Fast Eddie.....

The classic pool hustler is no more. Like so much of small-town America, the hustler has fallen prey to the ever-widening global village…

Man of leisure

As today was given over to indolent pursuits, many of which involved napping, tomorrow will be a day of culture, built around the Rembrandt show at the Met and the Robert Capa show at ICP.

Plans had been made to investigate the Edward Burtynsky gallery show but tragically, the gallery is closed on Sundays.

More little known facts

In the Algonquin language, the phrase “metro-north” means “nap”.

Some things, like turkey, are traditional.


Just like last year, and the year before, and …

Mark Pilgrim on the future of reading

It doesn’t look pretty:

Act V: The act of remembering

Another possible change: with connected books, the tether between the author and the book is still active after purchase. Errata can be corrected instantly. Updates, no problem. — Newsweek, The Future of Reading

Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct; nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary. — George Orwell, “1984″, Book One, Chapter 3

It's little known (the first in a series)

The name of the city of Annapolis means “Anna’s/Ann’s/Anne’s City”. It was named so because the city founders sought to immortalize their city in literature (plus they thought they could make a mint on the tourism and licensing fees). It never quite worked out that way, though; Anne of Green Gables was set in northeastern Canada; Anne of The Thousand Days was set in England; and the writers of Anna and the King, though perhaps tempted by the lucrative incentives offered by the city, ultimately thought that Maryland was just too mundane, choosing to set their work in the exotic kingdom of Siam. I have heard, however, that some of the early drafts of Anna Karenina were set on the shores of Chesapeake Bay rather than St. Petersburg.

on the benefits of modern construction

my neighbors turn their
heat on my flat gets warmer
winter not so cold

the washing machine
cross the hall thumps against the
wall do less laundry

comes morning gloaming
bleats of garbage trucks stir me
trash gone and I sleep

That worked out well

NBC’s flex game
passes up Skins-Cowboys
forty-six point rout

Have football, will sing

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The starting fullback for the Harvard Crimson wants to sing opera when his football career is over.

Why not? (so long as he doesn’t injure himself…)

Following up on Vidal, Norm, and Dick

Dick Cavett recalls the memorable confrontation with Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer on his show that is linked below.

Great reading. And to think that neither of them had a book to sell at the time….

links for 2007-11-16


I’m a lawyer now.

Oh, those were the days

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Check out this clip of Gore Vidal and the recently late Norman Mailer going at it on the Dick Cavett show.

It’s kinda of sad, but I think that it does say something that pop culture used to be about two great writers getting into it and today all we can seem to talk about is whatever drug-addled celebrity most recently flashed her (or his) genitals.

Seriously—when was the last time that Leno or Letterman actually had writers of the stature of Vidal and Mailer on their shows? Beverly Sills used to appear on Carson; today we get manufactured pop tarts who can’t stay in tune even when they’re lipsynching….

links for 2007-11-14

The problem with long weekends

is that they’re never long enough, and one always finds oneself wishing for just one more day away from the office.

But on the other hand, if you did actually have all the time off you wanted, you’d get bored…

OK, I might be overstating the case a bit, but I was flabbergasted when I first saw this on broadcast television:

I'm not sure how I managed to miss this

…and if I’d known about it before, my reader would have been spared the cheese sandwich post below.

Anyway… the original Star Trek episode “The Menagerie” (Parts I & II) will be playing at a movie theater near you on Tuesday and Thursday of this week. It’s the remastered version and it will apparently have a bit about the remastered effects as a special feature.

“The Menagerie” is a two-part Star Trek episode that recycles footage from the original, never-aired pilot that featured Jeffery Archer as Captain Pike, who commanded the Enterprise before Captain Kirk did. The original pilot also featured Leonard Nimoy as Spock and Majel Barrett (credited as “M. Leigh Hudec”) as Number One. As usual, Wikipedia has more.

On balance, it was a good day

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So, I went to the NY Chocolate Show, got seriously buzzed on chocolate, won a bottle of Grand Marnier, and ate lunch at the Shake Shack.

All in all, not a bad day, even though the Giants lost. Plus there were naps involved, and that’s always good.

(yes, I know that this is a cheese sandwich post—sue me)

Last night I dreamt that I owned a cat

Some random stuff:

  • Pan Am 747-100. Probably the classic combination of airliner and airline.
  • I seem to be buying frying pans at Ikea recently. I have a very nice stainless steel professional pan from France, which is fantastic, but has two drawbacks: it’s only 8 inches (good for cooking small things, larger things not so much), and it’s not non-stick (while I’m not a huge fan of non-stick, it does make certain things like making pancakes much easier). So I picked up a cheap pan that’s good for quick and dirty stuff. And then a few weeks later I ended up buying a somewhat more expensive, but more all-around useful pan. And this doesn’t even count the wok…
  • Speaking of Ikea, I was there buying a quilt/duvet cover when I ended up getting that second frying pan by accident.
  • I’ve been using OS X 10.5 “Tiger” on my main system for a while now, and my brief thumbnail review is that it’s a highly worthy upgrade. The consumer highlights are, of course, Time Machine, Spaces, and the quickview feature. Ars Techinca has a somewhat more in-depth review which covers a lot of the more technical details.
  • Note for the traveler going through southwestern Connecticut. If you wish to break your fast at the king of breakfast restaurants, you are advised to arrive well before nine a.m.

We're Doomed

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As it turns out, we won’t have to wait until the Sun goes nova (or turns into a red giant) for Earth to become completely uninhabitable; it looks like in only one billion years the temperature of the Earth will be the boiling point of water.

So, what are our options?

  1. Evolve into beings that can survive very high temperatures. Doesn’t seem likely, as water-based organisms generally don’t do well when they’re boiling.
  2. Change the orbit of the Earth to compensate for the increased temperature of the Sun. It seems to be that this solution would have significant engineering challenges to overcome.
  3. Abandon the planet and seek out new homes elsewhere in the galaxy. The good news is that the engineering is at least theoretically possible, and its a somewhat easier problem than, say, #2 above. The bad news is that it’s still really hard, and that’s even assuming that we stick with slower-than-light travel. Plus, outer space is a unforgiving environment, so if anything screwed up, we’d all be dead. And, of course, we still haven’t actually found any suitable planets—and there’s no guarantee that those planets wouldn’t already be inhabited.
  4. Evolve into non-corporeal beings. Difficultly level on this one is off the charts.
  5. Move our civilization underground. This is something of a temporary fix.
  6. Terraform Mars, and move there. Doable. Hard, but one of the easier options listed here. Downside is that it’s still only a temporary fix since that’d only buy us time until when the Sun went nova.
  7. Do nothing.

Autumn is here

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And yes, I’m wearing a knit cap in bed. I’m sure it looks ridiculous. but that’s not really the point here… and, more to the point, since there’s no-one here to tell me that it looks ridiculous, it doesn’t matter that it (probably) looks ridiculous.

Unpeeling no more

It has occurred to me that since we’re now in November, we’re no longer unpeeling our winter coats—rather, we’re re-cocooning.

Which means, of course, that you, gentle reader, get to suggest new title lines for this here blog…. leave ‘em in the comments!

links for 2007-11-07

As predictable as clockwork

For some inexplicable reason, my traffic always spikes on Halloween….

the hallloween spike.gif

And yes, that picture of an apple pie in the sidebar is a picture of an apple pie I baked. I even took it into the office. I’m turning into Betty Freakin’ Crocker over here.

a bug's life

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it is a little known fact that one of the greatest american poets of the twentieth century was a cockroach who lived in greenwich village from about 1916 to about 1937 period being a roach he didnt have a larynx which ruled talking right out but he could use a typewriter by jumping from key to key period this had the side effect of limiting him to only using lowercase letters much like another more famous american poet but for archy the effect was purely a matter of practicality and not of asthetics period archy was a great observer of human nature and american life this is something that perhaps is outside the ken of most insects admittedly but perhaps there was something in the water back then semi colon after all we are talking about a roach that could type in free verse period here is one of his more famous poems semi colon perhaps as it suggests humans can learn something from what we call the lower animals period

you can read more about archy and his friend mehitabel the cat who thought she was cleopatra reincarnated at the website dedicated to don marquis period some people think that don marquis who found archys poems already written on his typewriter in the mornings actually wrote the archy columns and poems himself but that is just silly because if don wrote them himself then he would have used the shift key on his typewriter period

the lesson of the moth

i was talking to a moth
the other evening
he was trying to break into
an electric light bulb
and fry himself on the wires

why do you fellows
pull this stunt i asked him
because it is the conventional
thing for moths or why
if that had been an uncovered
candle instead of an electric
light bulb you would
now be a small unsightly cinder
have you no sense

plenty of it he answered
but at times we get tired
of using it
we get bored with the routine
and crave beauty
and excitement
fire is beautiful
and we know that if we get
too close it will kill us
but what does that matter
it is better to be happy
for a moment
and be burned up with beauty
than to live a long time
and be bored all the while
so we wad all our life up
into one little roll
and then we shoot the roll
that is what life is for
it is better to be a part of beauty
for one instant and then cease to
exist than to exist forever
and never be a part of beauty
our attitude toward life
is come easy go easy
we are like human beings
used to be before they became
too civilized to enjoy themselves

and before i could argue him
out of his philosophy
he went and immolated himself
on a patent cigar lighter
i do not agree with him
myself i would rather have
half the happiness and twice
the longevity

but at the same time i wish
there was something i wanted
as badly as he wanted to fry himself


links for 2007-11-05

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Last night I dreamt that I looked up my bar results on the Internet (the NY bar is scheduled to release the results in the real world sometime in “mid-November”). This, by itself, is unremarkable.

However, I dreamt that I looked up the results three times. And every time I looked it up, I knew that I had been dreaming the previous times I’d looked it up.

Things I like about the end of daylight saving time

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  1. An extra hour of sleep
  2. When I get up for work, the sun is actually up, aka ‘no more getting up before dawn’ (dawn being a time of day, not Tony Orlando’s sidekicks)
  3. Did I mention the extra hour of sleep?

Things I don’t like about the end of daylight saving time 1. leaving work when it looks like midnight out 2. having to change all the clocks that don’t change themselves 3. feeling like I don’t know what time it is

links for 2007-11-02

Who Will Be The Last?

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Brian Hunter, Iraq War veteran and, writes a requiem for the last American soldier to die in Iraq:

Who can say where that last soldier is now, at this very moment? Kettlemen City. Turlock. Wichita. Fredricksburg. Omaha. Duluth. She may be in the truck idling beside us in traffic as we wait for the light to turn green. He may be ordering a slice of key lime pie at Denny’s, sitting at a booth with his friends after bowling all night. What name waits to be etched on a stone not yet erected in America? Somewhere out in the vast stretches of our country, somewhere out in Whitman’s America, out among the wide expanse of grasses, somewhere here among us the last soldier may lie dreaming in bed before the dawn as the sun sets over Iraq.

OK, so this might be a bit pricey

But this would be the perfect thing to add to your Christmas dinner table, wouldn’t it?