about my own fair city!

The New Yorker: The Critics: Musical Events: David Robertson lifts up the St. Louis Symphony.

Katherine Boo

I remember being tremendously impressed by some article or another by the writer Katherine Boo (senior fellow at the New Yorker) a while ago – it might have been The Marriage Cure, which won a national magazine award – and in her most recent piece, Shelter and the Storm, I again found myself re-reading several simply perfect turns of phrase:
"Some evacuees saw a liability in what had been their lives’ great expenditure – glittering gold-capped teeth – and began to cover their mouth when they smiled."
"Terrebonne’s predicament was an intensified version of a classic American dilemma: the belief that ghettoizing a disadvantaged population is morally wrong, joined to the conviction that the disadvantaged population might be a lot happier in the next county."


Two Bike Stories from Slate

Thanks to Alex.
The Bicycle Diaries - Is it possible to live in America without a car? Uh, sort of. By Bill Gifford: "As I approached the Kmart cash registers in this early visit, metal cleats clicking on the linoleum tile, the cashier girls stopped comparing their incarcerated boyfriends and stared. Then they looked away. One studied her nails, while the other concentrated on scanning the plunger and counting change. This, I'd come to recognize, was The Silence, the awkward, get-this-over-with tension that often accompanied transactions where one party is clad head-to-toe in stretch synthetics that might not smell so great. I paid, grabbed the plunger, and click-clacked out the automatic sliding doors, to everyone's relief. And as I pedaled away, I realized that bike clothes aren't merely ugly, to normal people: They're transgressive."
Nobody Bikes in L.A. - But they'd be a lot happier if they did. By Andy Bowers:: "Although I had actually been a bike commuter in other cities (most notably during three years in London), it never occurred to me to try it when I returned to L.A. (this despite the fact that there may be no major city in the world with a climate as perfect for bike commuting as ours—warm winters; moderate, dry summers; alarmingly little rain). Since cycling to work is such an aberration here, I found the idea both exhilarating and pleasingly subversive."


Four pizze

The New Yorker: Fact

The New Yorker: Fact: "Chery’s early strategy—gleaning useful information from the wreckage of troubled automakers—culminated in a tiny vehicle called the QQ. In 2002, General Motors acquired a controlling interest in Daewoo Motors, the South Korean company, which had gone bankrupt. G.M. took the platform of a Daewoo minicar known as the Matiz, repackaged it under the name Chevrolet Spark, and prepared to start production in China. In June of 2003, half a year before the Spark went on the market, Chery unveiled the QQ. It looked almost exactly like G.M.’s car but retailed for a quarter less: about six thousand dollars. Chery also introduced a sedan that appeared suspiciously similar to the Daewoo Magnus. Chery named that car the Son of the Orient."


MAKE: Blog: Laser etched Powerbook!

Wow, that is so fucking cool.

Dining in Puebla, Mexico - New York Times

Dining in Puebla, Mexico - New York Times: "That nothing quite replaced my memory of my own mole poblano is a testament to the prowess of the cookbook writer Kennedy and to my narcissism. Or it may simply be that a little more time must elapse since my recent visit to Puebla. Like its birthplace, mole poblano is a curious blend of the familiar and the exotic, of the immediate and the delayed reaction. It's a dream - and if a dream is powerful enough, it only expands in the memory."

The Winner Is. . . Only Acting Gay - New York Times

The Winner Is. . . Only Acting Gay - New York Times: "There has been an explosion of Oscar-baiting performances in which straight actors play gay, transvestite or transgender characters. Philip Seymour Hoffman melts into the role of the gay title character in 'Capote,' while Cillian Murphy plays a transvestite in 1970's Ireland in Neil Jordan's witty, endearing 'Breakfast on Pluto.' Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger play lovers in 'Brokeback Mountain' (set to open Dec. 9), already better known as 'the gay cowboy movie' and already a Letterman joke."


The Pilgrims Didn't Brine - New York Times

The Pilgrims Didn't Brine - New York Times: "No one remembers the turkey unless it is bad."

Goodnight Reality - Put Back the Smoke in Clement Hurd's Hand - Yes or No?

Goodnight Reality - Put Back the Smoke in Clement Hurd's Hand - Yes or No?: "In a single stroke, Harper Collins has changed our collective history, and created an alternate reality in which Clement Hurd does not smoke. It calls to mind a censorship tactic most famously associated with Joseph Stalin, who falsified the archival record of the Soviet Union by literally removing images of his political enemies from photographs in an effort to recreate history in his own image."


train dinner

Train dinner is usually quite a production for me. With about six hours to fill, why not spend the better part of one of them enjoying things I love (that is, cheese)? I discovered pita in the freezer so I'm using that and did not go to Companion today for bread.
  • Castello (mild, cow's milk blue)
  • A mild, young, California cheddar
  • (both of which to go with rather bland but nicely textured local Fuji apples)
  • Valdeon, a cabrales-like but younger (creamier) cow-goat blue from Spain
  • A few slices each of jamón Serrano and prosciutto di Parma, to compare and more intimately understand both.
  • Sungold cherry tomatoes (the last of them for months! They are generally not commercially available because like satsumas they are very easily damaged once picked.)
  • peanut butter cookies I made the other day
  • And of course, australian wine in a can!



a short week's food

before heading to chicago on Thursday afternoon (yay!)
  • carne enchilada (chile-crusted skirt steak), sweet potato roasted and mashed with bacon and shallots.
  • orzo with chicken, onion, and zucchini
  • whole wheat pasta with meatless balls (it tastes the same – if you close your eyes)
  • curry fried rice (nasi goreng if I serve with a fried egg)


yay for transnational activism :P

Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Bush feels hand of God as poll ratings slump: "The keynote was struck by football star Diego Maradona, who wore a 'Stop Bush' T-shirt to attend an anti-Bush 'counter-summit' that drew some 4,000 protesters from around the world and easily eclipsed the official summit in the public's attention. 'I'm proud as an Argentine to repudiate the presence of this human trash, George Bush,' said Maradona."


Lentil soup / zuppa di lenticcie

I thought for sure I had posted this previously, but I seem to have been wrong. This is one of my favorite soups, especially with a nice crusty bread like ciabatta or a baguette. The first time I made it, I thought it would just be ok – nothing to invite someone over to share, just a nice rustic meal for myself. I was quite wrong and now have shared it several times, and everyone else has quite enjoyed it. Unfortunately, this is a vegan recipe so I am always sure to use at least some chicken stock. Fuck vegans!

Lentil soup

From the excellent cookbook Italia in Cucina from McRae books srl.


  • 1½ cups lentils (I use the big green kind, but any, from French green to brown to red would do nicely. Experiement!)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 2 small carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves garlic, whole or finely chopped
  • A few fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • A heap of chopped fresh rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil


Put the lentils in a bowl and cover with cold water to about 1¼ in above the lentils. Soak for an hour or two. Drain the lentils and place in a saucepan with the onion, carrots, celer;y, bay leaf, and garlic. Add enough cold water and chicken stock to cover to about 2 in above the level of the lentils. Cover, and cook over low heat for about 45 minutes.

Discard the bay leaf, add the sage and rosemary, and continue cooking, still covered and over low heat, for another 5–10 minutes. At this point, the lentils should be very soft and will begin to disintegrate. add salt and pepper to taste, drizzle with the oil, and serve.

aww, how nice!

Scott's parents sent an anniversary card!

as of 3 Nov, Scott and I have been together for six years! :)

blah, blah, blah

10 Ways to Please Us, the Customers - New York Times: "II. Thou shalt hire native English speakers to translate thine instruction manual. 'When the camera focus is not so possible, hold the shutter button vaguely until the beeping tone is heard.' Is that really how your company wants to address customers?"