Dining at Daniel SEP 30
Some people spend their money on cars, houses, tobacco, music, alcohol, shoes, clothes, electronic gadgets, or collectables. After taking care of my rent and savings account, I spend my money on very few things, one of which is food. Specifically, eating for experience. I developed this habit while living in San Francisco -- one of the best cities in the world for food -- and have continued it here in NYC, also, as it happens, one of the best cities in the world for food.
Eating for experience doesn't necessarily require vast sums of money. I probably spend less on average per month than the typical twenty-something does on booze or clothes. I haven't eaten at all of these cheap places in NYC, but I've been to more than a few of them and have had some very good experiences. Many professional food critics will tell you that their favorite spots to eat, places they wouldn't dare to review or write about, aren't particularly expensive. The soup dumplings at New Green Bo are 8 for ~$3 and I'd choose them over a $35 filet mignon most days of the week.
But every once in awhile, when you need to celebrate an occasion and have your tiny mind blown in the process, you get yourself a reservation at the type of place that requires reservations and perhaps a jacket and tie. For my birthday (as well as another special occasion I am quasi-legally bound not to reveal), Meg took me to Daniel, one of only five NY Times four-star restaurants in New York.
The vocabulary of a physics major can't do justice to the meal we had at Daniel, so I'm not even going to try. The dining room, the service, the food...all great/excellent/fantastic or whatever superlative you want to supply. Two things stood out:
- The -- and I'm quoting from the menu here -- Duo of Cedar River Farm Beef: Braised Short Ribs in Red Wine with Scallion-Mashed Potatoes, Seared Dry-Aged Rib Eye with Watercress, Porcini, and Young Carrots. The short ribs were excellent and I don't remember what I thought of any of the accompaniments, but the rib eye was a revelation. It literally floored me. Ok, not literally, but I would have been knocked to the actual floor if that kind of thing was acceptable behavior at Daniel. The first bite startled me it was so good. Beef, even really good beef, tastes like beef, but this was on some other level of flavor...it tasted like magic. The remaining few bites were as perplexing as the first as I struggled to comprehend how ordinary meat could taste like that. Best dish I've ever had in my life, ever. Ever!
- When the maitre 'd comes up to your table in the middle of the meal and inquires if you're there for a special occasion "or something", he's basically asking, "what the hell are you young people doing here?" in the really polite way of someone who has a lot of practice asking indirect questions. Because if there was a sore thumb sticking out in the restaurant that night, it was us. Young, not particularly fashionable (me only...Meg looked quite fine in her new dress), not rich, not there for the scene or to be seen, and genuinely interested in the meal rather than just eating on an expense account. I told him it was my birthday. Still trying to figure out precisely why we were there without asking outright, he tried the obvious follow-up question: "are you a chef?" I replied that I wasn't but that Meg worked in the kitchen of a restaurant.
From there, it was easy. When Meg starts talking about something she's enthusiastic about, the other participants in the conversation can't help but be engaged. Soon they were talking about garde manger, covers, and who knows what else. A tour of the kitchen was offered and accepted. After we paid our check, he showed us all around the huge kitchen, if that's even what you can call three stories of food prep area. Really nice guy and generous with his time...he spent 20 minutes showing us around when I'm sure, as the maitre d' of the whole fricking place, that he had a much better class of flesh to press about the dining room. He even gave Meg a card for the women in charge of staffing and suggested she come in to do a stage in the kitchen.
Right before we left (5+ hours after we'd arrived at the restaurant), we got to watch Daniel Boulud direct plate traffic and then chatted with him for a few moments. I tried to relate to him my religious experience with the rib eye, but I'm sure I didn't do it justice. What a wonderful experience all the way around.
The Mount St. Helens webcam is updated every five minutes. Recent seismic activity points to a likely eruption soon.
fotolog.net needs some help SEP 29
fotolog.net needs some help. 22 terabytes of data per month ain't cheap.
iPac is a intellectual property policy PAC. "We support U.S. Congressional candidates who will be advocates for the public interest in debates over copyright and patent law, technology regulation, and other IP-related issues."
A new web forum about cancer has actual medical professionals hanging out to answer your questions about the disease. This could be a really good resource.
I've been away from the computer for a couple of days, but I'm back with an update about the Voters Information Guide. It's been updated to include some alternate versions:
Of particular note is the 1-page PDF version...print that sucker out and hang it on the fridge at work, on the bulletin board in your dorm, in your barracks, at church, at school, at the mosque, at synagogue, at softball practice, etc. Throw it in the folder you use for P2P sharing. Email it to your folks. Whatever. Get it out there. (And also, Trevor worked on this PDF as part of a community service program for his high school. A politically engaged high school student! We can't let him down!)
NYC photobloggers gather at the Soho Apple Store once again on Sept 30 @ 6pm. Last time was standing room only, so get there early.
What the Bubble Got Right SEP 29
What the Bubble Got Right. Paul Graham on the good things that happened during the dot com bubble.
Marc Horowitz put his name and phone number in the 2004 Crate and Barrel Fall Catalog during the photo shoot and got hundreds of calls. He's going on a National Dinner Tour to dine with some of the folks that called him.
Twigs, toothpicks, sardine cans, and trying to describe the aftermath of so many hurricanes. "Whether hackneyed or inspired, hurricanes beg for similes because most verbs just aren't built to handle 130-mph gusts."
Winners of the recently announced 2004 MacArthur genius grants. It's 2004 and no one has won this for doing anything on the Internet/Web.
The unfairness of the electoral college; "a voter in Wyoming is worth 2.6 times 'more' than a voter in Pennsylvania". I'm not a big fan of the electoral college either.
Crazy photorealistic illustrations done with Adobe Illustrator. Outline views are available to see how it was done.
Voters Information Guide SEP 27
Several dozen people and I have produced this Voters Information Guide for the 2004 US Election, a quick resource for anyone who needs to know how, where, and when to vote or register to vote. It is free for you to distribute however you wish: online, in print, or otherwise. Spread it far and wide. Deadlines for registration are as early as October 2 in some states.
If you are willing and able to translate it into other formats or languages, please do so and send me a link. Particularly helpful would be a print version (with URLs written out in some fashion...as footnotes?) and/or
a PDF version that fits on one page for easy distribution or hanging on the refrigerator at work got a PDF version, thanks (will be linked up soon).
Here's some backstory on how this guide came about. Thanks to everyone who offered feedback, links, and information.
Update: The Voters Information Guide is finished. Thanks for all the help.
Ok, I spent most of Friday night knee deep in information on how to go about voting in the 2004 US election and have come up with a first draft of the Voters Information Guide (as initiated here). It's unfinished with the barest of formatting, but I wanted to get feedback on it before I go any further. And keep in mind, this is more Voting for Dummies than it is an exhaustive FAQ.
What do you think? Too much information? Too little? Is it clear? Can someone find me a list of absentee ballot deadlines as good as the one on Michael Moore's site but not on MM's site? English majors and copy editors, help me smooth out the rough edges (with a focus on clarity, concision, and readability by someone who may not know what "absentee" means). Does anyone see any incorrect or misleading information? Leave your feedback in the thread or email me.
Eventually, translations and other versions (print, PDF, audio?, etc.) would be helpful to have, but wait on that until we're nearing the final draft.
Wonkette is on the cover of the NY Times magazine this weekend. Maybe I should get a sex change and write about politics?
A recipe for lemon pie SEP 24
A recipe for lemon pie. This is an excellent use for Flickr's photo annotations.
Why does taco sauce clean pennies?. Weblogs aren't journalism, they're science!
Sims 2 characters can play The Sims. Holy recursion, Batman!
Sales of presidential candidate Halloween masks have correctly predicted the outcome of every election since 1980. Bush is currently leading Kerry 56% to 44%.
Ok, this is the first wiki interface I've seen that has real potential. Dunno quite why exactly, but this blows my mind.
Update: The Voters Information Guide is finished. Thanks for all the help.
Alright folks, we're going to do some of that collaborative citizen journalism you've heard so much about. I want to compile a short list of essential resources for people who need to register to vote, vote via absentee ballot, and, you know, vote normally. I've looked around at a few voter information sites and they are confusing, often too marketing-based, aren't focused on presenting information clearly, or are too partisan/biased. I'm looking for the opposite: information, links, and resources that are clear, concise, nonpartisan, and above all, practical. The information is out there...it just needs to be presented properly.
Here are some areas I'd like to focus on:
- Deadlines and procedures for registering to vote. Is this list accurate? Is there a better source?
- Information for people voting via absentee ballots. How do they register? What are the registration deadlines? How do they get ballots? What are the procedures/deadlines for sending their ballots in?
- Information for overseas voters that may be affected by the Pentagon's decision to restrict access to the "official Web site intended to help overseas absentee voters cast ballots".
- Regular voters...how do they find out where they should vote? Is there a easy-to-use polling place locator?
- Information about groups of people being discouraged to vote. I'm thinking specifically of recent reports of minorities being discouraged to vote by threatening them with arrest at the polls for unpaid parking tickets and the like (it's a partisan example, but this issue affects all involved parties and is damaging to the whole system). Is there practical information for educating people about these tactics and their rights? The article says "many people were wrongly turned away when they could not produce identification"...do you need ID when you vote?
- Electronic voting - Is there anything people need to know beyond that it's gonna suck? Are there Flash interfaces online where people can practice their vote? Do people have the option to vote on paper in some states? (Practical voter info only...I don't care about Diebold lawsuits or anything like that.)
- Any other important issues?
So send me your links and information (or leave it in the comments) and I will compile everything, distill it down to the essentials, and write up an article which will be released into the public domain so anyone can distribute it however they wish. There will also be a compilation of all the relevent information I'm sent for people who want to dig deeper.
I don't really have the time to do this and neither do you probably, but this is important and if you've got the knowledge, please consider helping out. Thanks.
I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I'm gonna be blunt and plain; if one ever looks at me like that, I'm gonna kill him and tell God he died.
How Christian of him.
Molly guard: "A shield to prevent tripping of some Big Red Switch by clumsy or ignorant hands. Originally used of the plexiglass covers improvised for the BRS on an IBM 4341 after a programmer's toddler daughter (named Molly) frobbed it twice in one day.".
A pair of helicopters land in Iraq. Or are they landing in Las Vegas? (Or is Las Vegas some sort of code word for a landing zone in Iraq?)
Mars rovers have their missions extended again. Original mission was 90 days...they're still going strong at more than 260 days.
NetNewsWire 2.0 is in public beta. As is MarsEdit, a new weblog editor.
Another confirmation of Ken Jennings' loss. "And yes, Ken got beat the day before we saw the tapings."
Following up on last month's speculation on Google building their own Web browser:
On April 26, 2004, Google registered gbrowser.com. Here's the relevent bit of the WHOIS for gbrowser.com:
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View
Domain Name: gbrowser.com
Created on..............: 2004-Apr-26.
Expires on..............: 2006-Apr-26.
Record last updated on..: 2004-Apr-26 16:46:39.
Thanks to Dave for the tip. Additionally, this NY Post article notes that Google is hiring folks formerly of Microsoft's IE team as well as other people that would be good bets to work on a browser.
Update: There was a bug in Mozilla's bug tracking system that was closed because "this is a duplicate of a private bug about working with Google. So closing this one." More info at Blogzilla. Thx, Phil.
Movie listings SEP 20
I've redesigned the movies section of this site.
All Most of the movies I've seen since April 2003 are listed on one page with my rating and an excerpt of my review (if there is one). You can also view them sorted alphabetically and by rating. Ratings are color-coded...green means good, yellow means OK, and red means not-so-good. When I have something to say about a movie, it'll appear as usual on the front page and on the movies page, but if I don't, it'll just be added to the movies page. Got rid of the monthly archive pages because they weren't needed anymore. The design is a little unfinished, but it's better to launch now than to tweak myself into paralysis. I'll fix it later.
And of course, all this was done fairly easily with Movable Type and a few plugins (ExtraFields, Compare, MTSQL, and MTIfEmpty). I'm continually amazed at how flexible MT is. With all the plugins available for it now, it's pretty much its own little scripting language/environment, which depending on your perspective, is either fantastic or so very wrong.
NY Post on Google hires that point to a possible Google Browser. They don't really call them "Nooglers", do they? Does everything in Silicon Valley have to be so dorky?
The Tall Buildings exhibit at MoMA QNS. Went and checked this out today...very good. Better hurry if you'd like to see it; it closes on 9/27.
Sky Captain reminded me of the first Star Wars movie, which ordinarily wouldn't be such a bad thing. However, the problem here is that Star Wars is almost thirty years old and very much belongs to that time. Sky Captain feels like a movie made in the late 70s that recalls the Flash Gordon space westerns of the 30s but using today's special effects technology. That fits in well with the feeling of the movie itself, where we see the telegraph side-by-side with circa-2070 killer robots in late-30s NYC, but doesn't help our enjoyment of the movie because we've seen all that before. To be sure, the visual effects in the film are great -- but not moreso than those in Finding Nemo, Lord of the Rings, Spider-Man 2, or any other recent film using extensive CGI -- but in another parallel with Star Wars, Kerry Conran reminds me too much of George Lucas as a director...too much focus on the visual and not enough on the actors or emotional flow of the film.
Oblivion SEP 18
With his new story collection, David Foster Wallace has perfected a particularly subtle form of horror story -- so subtle, in fact, that to judge from the book's reviews, few of his readers even realize that's what these stories are.
Exactly right. It's Stephen King for the literary crowd. In many of the stories, there's always something lurking off frame...the oblivion, as it were. Wallace knows, as does Scott McCloud, that what happens between the frames makes the narrative. Wallace never shows us the monster...the reader just gets glimpses of its shadow and is left with a feeling of unease. As opposed to the horror movies of today with their gore and choreographed multimedia frights, the seeming normalcy of Wallace's stories set the reader up for a later sense of discomfort.
Peter Jackson is giving everyone a behind the scenes look at King Kong. It's a weblog without permalinks. How quaint!
Collection of senior photos found on the Web. I think I went to high school with most of these people.
Update on Postal Service (the band). "We made that record like two years ago and it's still selling like crazy. I don't really know why."
Just because the market has shifted so dramatically. A lot of people are getting very worried about piracy. That has really eaten dramatically into the sales. It really just came down to, there may not be a market when I wanted to bring it out, which was like, three years from now. So rather than just sit by and watch the whole thing fall apart, better to bring it out early and get it over with.
In the words of a famous sports announcer, let's go the videotape. The Web site for the DVD Entertainment Group (their BOD is stocked with bigwigs from the large entertainment and electronics companies) states that "DVD [is] the fastest adopted consumer electronics product ever". There have been literally thousands of news articles written about the explosive growth of DVD sales; here are some quotes from an article on the CBS News Web site (from 10/2003):
Home video sales now account for nearly 60 percent of Hollywood's revenue. DVD sales are not only the fastest growing part of the movie business, they're changing the way Hollywood does business.
He says DVD sales can save a film like "Dark Blue," which pulled in a modest $9 million in theaters. "It actually did more revenues in DVD than it did at the box office," says McGurk, because the DVD market is a man's world.
Blockbuster films now often sell more than 10 million DVDs in the U.S. alone. And that's at $20 a pop. And with DVD players still in only half of American homes, Hollywood believes those soaring sales will just get hotter still.
Finding Nemo grossed $320 million from DVD sales in 2003. "Consumers spend more money on the DVD version of almost every movie than they do on that same movie in theaters, including blockbusters such as The Lord of the Rings, Finding Nemo and Pirates of the Caribbean" (USA Today). CNN/Money reports that the movie studios "pocket roughly 80 cents of every dollar on each DVD sold, a take well above the 50 cents for each dollar at the box office" and The Hollywood Reporter says that "studios are earning about 60% more upon initial release from video sales of theatrical feature films than they did during the VHS-only era". So, not only are video sales up overall, DVDs are more profitable for the media companies than VHS or the box office.
And the future looks rosy as well. PriceWaterhouseCoopers has a sample chapter of their Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2004-2008 report** online which says:
We project filmed entertainment spending in the United States, EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa), Asia/Pacific, Latin America, and Canada will rise at a 7.5 percent compound annual rate, reaching $108 billion in 2008 from $75.3 billion in 2003. EMEA will be the fastest-growing region, rising by 10.3 percent compounded annually to $36.9 billion in 2008 compared with $22.6 billion in 2003. The U.S. market will expand at a 6.3 percent rate, from $34.3 billion in 2003 to $46.6 billion in 2008. Spending in Asia/Pacific will increase from $13.3 billion to $17.3 billion in the five-year period, growing at a 5.4 percent compound annual rate. Filmed entertainment in Latin America will total $1.6 billion in 2008, up from $1.3 billion in 2003, representing a 4.6 percent gain compounded annually. Spending in Canada will rise from $3.9 billion in 2003 to $5.6 billion in 2008, 7.7 percent compounded annually.
This is anything but piracy "dramatically" eating into sales. Mr. Lucas, would you like to change your answer?
** The same report also says that "piracy will cut into spending, particularly on rental, with the most pronounced impact in Asia/Pacific and Latin America, although all regions will be affected", but there is no evidence given. In fact, in all the articles I read, piracy was handled in a very hand-waving fashion with no numbers or evidence to back up claims.
The Sheboygan Museum of Art presents Abstract Expressionist Works by Miss Wensleydale's Second Grade Class. "Seems just as good to us as anything in some fancy-dancy high-falooting snobby art museum."
Stripped for parts, on organ donation. The cadaver of the donor is "the safest place to store body parts until surgeons are ready to use them".
Q: Would you resist a labor-organizing effort at JetBlue?
A: We would. I love American history, and I've studied it. I understand we had a big need for unions in this country. You basically had unscrupulous people who were building companies on the backs of their people without giving them health care and without giving them other benefits. They made them take on hazardous jobs and work long hours.
We aren't one of those companies. We don't do that to our people.
We don't want a third party who may or may not have our best interests in mind or our crew members' best interests in mind because they may be serving a union of one of our competitors. They are trying to equalize us and take away our competitive advantage.
We are just interested in dealing with the people we're paying every day. We know federal law allows them to vote in a union at anytime, but we think we can resist that by talking to our own people and giving them enough upside.
I was also surprised at how open he was in discussing exactly how JetBlue is successful and will remain so. Quite refreshing. So many American companies think that their business plans are so special that they need to keep them a secret from everyone. But Neeleman realizes that while ideas are important, execution matters more. It's one thing to say you're going to hire the right people, focus on customer service, and offer better service at a lower price than your competitors, but actually doing it requires a commitment and skills that are impossible to duplicate having read a newspaper article.
What's the origin of izzle? SEP 16
What's the origin of izzle?. Snoop Dizzle: "It's a way of speaking that's been around for years. It originated in Northern California."
If you could fold a piece of SEP 16
If you could fold a piece of paper in half 100 times, it would be as tall as the radius of the known universe. Scroll down to read about the hand-made noodles as well.
Giant robot in Times Square SEP 16
When there's a 40-foot tall robot in Times Square, even the most jaded New Yorkers gawk up at it like tourists. It was next to the Good Morning America studios; I think it's a promotion for the movie Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
Belle de Jour quits writing her blog. "Don't ever turn down pleasure because you were afraid of what other people might say".
Hossein has a wrap-up on the crackdown on reformist Iranian bloggers. Lots of arrests and filtering going on.
Renaming NYC skyscrapers in light of the Freedom Tower's 1776 feet. "Trump World Tower, 861ft: Paris Raped Again by Vikings World Tower (Vikings sack the city 845 AD, 856-7 AD, and again in 861 AD)"
iPod guilty pleasures SEP 15
It's only Wednesday, but we're gonna have some Friday-grade fun anyway. I found this iPod guilty pleasures article wherein folks confess the most embarrassing songs on their iPods. Britney, the Carpenters, New Kids on the Block, and Air Supply are all mentioned. I don't have it in front of me, but my iPod contains the likes of White Town (Your Woman), some post-Thriller Michael Jackson, White Zombie, Guns and Roses, and a bunch of trance that's probably pretty cheesy and non-credible. After reading the article, I'm gonna have to put some Ace of Base on there at some point as well. How about you? Any dirty little secrets on your smooth white machine?
Stanley Milgram's subway experiment, thirty years on. Asking people to give up their seats on the subway turned out to be more of an inconvenience for the person asking the question than for the person having to give up their seat.
Personality tests SEP 15
In his article about personality tests for this week's New Yorker (sadly, not online), Malcolm Gladwell offers a less-serious alternative to Myers-Briggs:
Once, for fun, a friend and I devised our own personality test. Like the M.B.T.I., it had four dimensions. The first is Canine/Feline. In romantic relationships, are you the pursuer, who runs happily to the door, tail wagging? Or are you the pursued? The second is More/Different. Is it your intellectual style to gather and master as much information as you can or make imaginative use of a discrete amount of information? The third is Insider/Outsider. Do you get along with your parents or do you define yourself outside your relationship with your mother and father? And finally, there is Nibbler/Gobbler. Do you work steadily, in small increments, or do everything at once, in a big gulp?
I think I'm pretty much a FDIN although I have definite M & G tendencies, along with a little bit of O. How about you? Also, crude poll time. It's well known that there are really only two personality types: those who know their Myers-Briggs personality type by heart and those that do not. Which are you? (I only know the 'I' for sure because that's a no brainer...dunno the rest.)
Quote of the day: "Computer games don't affect kids; I mean if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music." - Kristian Wilson, Nintendo VP, 1989. Link updated...the quote is fake.
Windows security checklist SEP 14
A few months ago, a blogger at Everything Hurts (everythinghurts.com) posted a quick and very useful Windows security checklist. The site and the checklist have since disappeared, but I managed to find a copy of the original list which I have reproduced below in the hopes that it will help you out as it has several friends and coworkers. If your machine is being hosed by spyware, virii, and malicious popups, this list is a good place to start.
8 steps to better Windows security
1. Run Windows Update regularly.
2. Install ZoneAlarm (Firewall)
3. Buy and install NOD32 (Anti-Virus)
4. Install WinPatrol (Anti-Hijack)
5. Buy and install AdMuncher (Ad and Popup Blocker)
6. Install and run AdAware (Anti-Spyware)
8. Disable Autorun.
Thanks and apologies to the original author of this list.
US Open champ Roger Federer could be greatest player ever. He's got lots of strengths and no major weaknesses.
Map of where spam is coming from. Info from Postini service indicates the most activity in the US, west-central Europe, Brazil, Korea, China, and Japan.
Gael samples the stick-oriented bounty of the Minnesota State Fair. Including deep-fried candy bars, deep-fried Twinkies, deep-fried macaroni and cheese -- sensing a trend here? -- pork chops, and a deep-fried reuben sandwich.
Meet the US cricket team SEP 13
Meet the US cricket team. Although US interest in cricket is small, the team competed in the Champions Trophy tournament, albeit at 1000-1 odds.
You've only got a couple more days to take advantage of the special kottke.org discount for Pop!Tech. $400 off the regular registration fee.
Designers William Drenttel, Michael Bierut, Jonathan Hoefler, and Matthew Carter weigh in on Font Forensics. Last link on this topic, promise.
Hero SEP 12
An absolutely beautiful film by the director of Raise the Red Lantern; I felt as though I were watching a lavishly produced ballet instead of a movie. If you're heading to the theatre to see this film, do your fellow patrons a favor: if you're just there to see Jet Li kick ass and chat on your cell phone for half an hour, don't bother. Just stay home and watch the Matrix on cable again, ok?
Interview with Errol Morris from the April 2004 Believer. And since when does Morris have a weblog?
I've gotten lots of email about the Texas National Guard memos and their possible forgery. At this point, I don't know what to believe and I don't really care. Were they typed with an expensive IBM typewriter that was a pain in the ass to use? Or were they done three weeks ago in Microsoft Word? Or maybe they were retyped from the originals by a bored secretary in 1993. The most plausible explanation seems to be that after Bush wins the election in November, a disgruntled someone whips up these documents in Word, travels back in time, gets Jerry Killian to sign them, repeatedly photocopies them, sticks them in an envelope, and leaves it with the post office with instructions to deliver it to Dan Rather in September of 2004.
And if they are forged, what an amateur effort. Fer crying out loud, bloggers figured it out. If a Kerry supporter did this, may I suggest you sit the rest of this one out...I don't think he needs this kind of help. And if a Bush supporter did this to distract everyone from the real issue (more about that in a bit), well, that's just brilliant 'cause it's working like a charm.
But like I said, I don't care. All this National Guard Swift Boat Purple Heart Vietnam crap is a red herring. Daddy got Bush out of going to Vietnam and he goofed off at his National Guard job. So what? A lot of people did that...some people fled to Canada. And Kerry could have done the same thing, but didn't. Good for him. And now they and their supporters are trying to outdo each other by telling tall tales and discrediting the other side. Bush said he did this but really he did this. Kerry said this but these other people say the opposite. Shut up, Shut Up, SHUT UP!
We've got an election to think about. Yeah, the election...remember that? We need to choose the leader of our country in just under two months from now. That sounds pretty important. How about we look past election political tactics and judge the candidates based upon their records, their promises, Bush's actions over the past 4 years as President, Kerry's plans for the future, the respective platforms of the two parties and what they've done to advance them, etc. etc. Let's look at the men, not the marketing. By all means, factor in their Vietnam military service or lack thereof, but I think it's safe to say that neither Bush's National Guard service or Kerry's Swift Boat adventures were their defining moments as potential leaders of the United States. Let's stop acting like they were.
Nobody can find their heart during 9/11 moment of silence. The girl in the pink sweater looks dead with her arms crossed like that, the guy behind her is reaching inside his coat for his wallet, and Bush can't decide between his heart and his crotch. Or maybe he's just hungry?
The IBM Composer typewriter SEP 10
The IBM Composer typewriter. As used to type the Bush National Guard documents.
Writing books is a bad way to make a living unless you're Stephen King. A story of a woman and her small book about the war in Kosovo.
What the heck? US assault weapons ban to lapse?. Never mind the assault weapons, here's the Swift Boat Veterans and forged National Guards records!
Roster of the Dead SEP 10
Roster of the Dead. Photos of each of the 1000 soldiers who have died in Iraq.
Citizen reportage and Flickr SEP 10
Citizen reportage and Flickr. Flickr is becoming a good place to find photos of notable events.
Weblog by a "twenty-something New York escort" who loves Prada, Seven jeans, and Jimmy Choos. Book deal in t-minus 4, 3, 2, ...
Analog is hip among the digital generation. I've wanted a rotary dial on my cell phone for the longest time.
The documents produced by 60 Minutes about Bush's National Guard service might be fake. The main issue is with the font; the document may be too modern-looking to have been produced on a circa-1972 typewriter.
Warning: spoilers. Well, since it's all over the news today (there's an AP story that was picked up by just about everyone -- USA Today, SF Gate, Miami Herald, Washington Post -- but no love to kottke.org for breaking the story...TV Week is getting all the credit), there's no further harm in revealing that Ken Jennings does in fact lose on Jeopardy at some point in the near future.
But there's more. Super-tipster Phillip has graciously provided us with the Final Jeopardy answer and question from Ken's final show. If you'd like to know what it is, highlight the redacted text below:
Subject: Companies and Corporations. The Answer: This company has a workforce of 17000 people, whose average working year is only 4 months long.
Hard to believe Ken couldn't guess that one. I'll have the correct question for you tomorrow. [I've been asked to hold off posting the question for now...sorry! I'm not trying to be a tease, honest.]
Update: Still more information about Ken's final show from our man Phillip, who will pretty much be the first one in line if kottke.org ever starts handing out knighthoods. Sayeth Phillip:
"As well, you can also post that Ken Jennings got the two Daily Doubles in Double Jeopardy during his losing game. In both, he bet $4000 and lost both. Had he not bet so high or had he won at least 1 (I hear he has a propensity to lose a lot at the Daily Doubles) then he would still be champion today."
"The champ who beat him is named Sharon and she is from Ventura, CA. As far as I remember she won $14,401. which was $1 more than Ken had before he revealed his losing answer to Final Jeopardy. Ken ended up having less than $10000 after losing."
Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, TVWeek!
Update: Posted some information about the airdate of Ken's loss.
Holiday e-commerce ideas from the gang at 37signals. "Dozens of ideas for improving the holiday customer experience at your site".
Online Sumerian dictionary SEP 08
Online Sumerian dictionary. Dictionary makers put it online after discovering fast and loose is often preferable to slow and exhaustive.
Unix for the Gameboy Advance SEP 08
Unix for the Gameboy Advance. Nerdy, nerdy, nerdy, nerdy, nerdy, nerdy, nerdy, nerdy, nerdy, nerdy, nerdy.
Logo RIP, a commemoration of dead logotypes. Where design nerds go to mourn old logos, including Enron, Paul Rand's work for UPS, and the swastika.
50 essential music tracks from 1900 through the 90s. Looks like they missed some of the hippie music in the 60s/70s. And no disco? Still, what an impossible task...
Some Ken Jennings news SEP 08
Warning: spoilers. I received a tip about Ken Jennings this morning which I have pasted below in black-on-black text. If you don't want to spoil your enjoyment of Jeopardy for the next few days/weeks, don't read it. If you want to read it, just highlight the text in your browser. Those reading the site in newsreaders, you'll just have to close your eyes or something. So here's the scoop:
"I was at the taping today of Jeopardy. He lost during his 75th game and eventually won 74 games. He ended up with 2.5M. He got a standing ovation by the crowd. I asked the studio if this was supposed to be a secret but they said we could spread the news. Spread the news. The show should air around the end of October."
Don't know how accurate this is because it's uncorroborated, so grain of salt, etc. Thanks to Phillip for the tip.
Update: I've got independent corroboration from another reader on the above news, so I consider it to be correct. Thx Carol. TV Week and Newsday are reporting it as well. But you heard it here first, baby!
Update #2: Posted some information about the airdate of Ken's loss.
For the first time SEP 07
Even after almost two years of living in NYC, returning here after being out of town still makes me feel the wonder and novelty of a tourist. The lights of the Empire State and Chyrsler Buildings from across the river. Crossing Manhattan past the residences on the long blocks and downtown past the bodegas and restaurants lining the avenues. The three 80s-style heavy metal chicks filming a commercial. Hipsters with bags laden with hummus hailing cabs in Chelsea. And an impromptu puppy gathering on the front steps of my building; more soft fur than any one town deserves for itself.
Flying Triangles SEP 03
There's a strange article on space.com right now about the continued sightings of Flying Triangle UFOs. A man familiar with the sightings says the sightings of the triangles are akin to those of the then-secret stealth fighter and bomber back in the 80s:
But it does not appear to be consistent with the covert patterns of deployment we saw with the F-117 and B-2 prior to their acknowledgement. This is open, even brazen.
Which makes sense. Maybe the DoD is testing out a new hover aircraft. But people have been sighting these things in populated areas and adorned with unusual lights:
The vehicles sometime fly with easily noticeable bright lights -- either blinding white lights, or have "bright disco lights" that usually flash combinations of red, green or blue.
Bright disco lights? Is it a mobile wedding DJ transport? Sony's new PlayStation Mega platform with built-in Dance Dance Revolution? Old movie props from Close Encounters of the Third Kind? I thought space.com was a serious journalistic organization. Stay tuned for next week's headline: "Moon made of cheese, says National Institute for Believing that the Moon is Made Out of Cheese (NIBMMOC)".
Paul Graham on the writing of essays. I liked this bit: "so the main value of notebooks may be what writing things down leaves in your head."
Paul Ford is going to "collect as much data on the U.S. government as [he can], convert it to RDF, and build a site and a web service that make it possible to explore that data". This first column of the Hacking Congress series is called "Screenscraping the Senate".
Humiliated, Angry, Ashamed, Brown.. A photo student get hassled repeatedly by the Seattle PD and federal agents about taking pictures. The Homeland Security guy's 9/11 speech is nauseating.
Wow! The charges against Kobe Bryant were dropped because "the sole victim at this time is unable to go forward". Read Bryant's odd apology. I wonder what the real story is here...I hope she didn't bow out due to any pressure or because she was making it up. Either way, what a mess.
Meow meow meow, meow. Meow meow. Meow! Meow!. Meow, meow, meow meow?
On the Webster Apartments, one of the last women-only apartment buildings in NYC. Maid service, no men allowed in rooms, 2 meals a day.
Dave Matthews Band Lyrics That Take On New Meaning in Light of the Recent Brouhaha Surrounding One of the Band's Bus Drivers, Who Allegedly Dumped the Contents of the Excrement Tank off of a Chicago River Bridge and Onto the Deck of a Tour Boat.
Ruff! Ruff ruff ruff ruff, ruff ruff. Ruff Ruff, ruff.. Ruff ruff ruff ruff, ruff ruff. Ruff! Ruff! Ruff! Ruff ruff.
Do you really need a real estate agent to buy/sell a house? Perhaps not at 5% commission.. May real estate agents rot in hell with the NYC apartment brokers.