The New Yorker: Fact

Carnal Knowledge: How I became a Tuscan Butcher by Bill Buford:
"One woman stood in front of me with her arms across her chest in open disapproval. I was tempted to prop our pig against the organic wheatgrass stand. (“Mind if we leave this here while we get a cup of coffee?”)"
I love his sense of humor.

ABC News: The Great Microsoft Blunder

ABC News: The Great Microsoft Blunder:
"I think it can now be safely said, in hindsight, that Microsoft's entry into the browser business and its subsequent linking of the browser into the Windows operating system looks to be the worst decision—and perhaps the biggest, most costly gaffe—the company ever made. I call it the Great Microsoft Blunder."


  • Spinach salad, ginger dressing, broiled tofu
  • potato-chorizo soup (patatas a la riojana); ciabatta
  • whole-wheat pasta with chorizo and fontina; mixed greens
  • Lentil soup with prairie grass farm lamb sausageli>


Hooked on a Feeling - New York Times

Hooked on a Feeling - New York Times
dumb thursday styles image
Yes, thursday styles is in fact utterly pathetic.

Are we next? heh

Brand U. - New York Times: "As the program's Web site explains (complete with footnotes, bibliography and quotes from the urban theorist Jane Jacobs): 'In the bustling personal-but-impersonal rhythms of campus activity, as in the streets of a big city, proprietors of public establishments occupy a special position... The SAGES cafe staff are patently not interested in providing grades or passing judgment.' And, not only that, but 'there are no compromises that would undermine the quality of our drinks.... Our chai latte is made not from a bottled concentrate, but from a fresh-brewed base made from scratch every day on site.'"

MTV's 'Super Sweet 16' Gives a Sour Pleasure - New York Times

MTV's 'Super Sweet 16' Gives a Sour Pleasure - New York Times: "Over the years, the sisters' ostentatiousness has earned them enemies. 'Some people give us dirty looks and mock us,' Divya said. 'They're just jealous.' " (Jessica pointed me to this article yesterday – it is, as promised, totally absurd. I set two episodes to record this afternoon.)


The Wallaby That Roared Across the Wine Industry - New York Times

The Wallaby That Roared Across the Wine Industry - New York Times:
"The Yellow Tail phenomenon took everyone in the wine business by surprise. In retrospect, however, it was probably inevitable. Interest in wine had been growing steadily in the United States for two decades, but the domestic industry had never had much success in meeting the need for a good, inexpensive wine to attract all these newcomers. 'There were good wines at $15 and up, but nothing between those wines and the jug wines at the bottom of the scale,' said Rich Cartiere, editor of The Wine Market Report. 'Yellow Tail, at $6, was and remains better than most American wines at $8.99 and $10.99.
'When I think of Australian wines, I think of a big, juicy, red apple,' he added, 'and that's what the American wine consumer looks for, too, even if he can't say why. Couple that with a label that's friendly — not a joke, like so many now — and excellent distribution, and you have an unbeatable package.'"

And You Thought Abercrombie & Fitch Was Pushing It? - New York Times

And You Thought Abercrombie & Fitch Was Pushing It? - New York Times:
"Dov Charney proudly refers to himself as a 'Jewish hustler.' But he is quite possibly the most unorthodox Jew in the history of the shmatte business. A complicated, charismatic and occasionally controversial figure — he is currently facing a sexual harassment suit — Charney is so acutely in tune with the cultural moment that he is somehow able to use the plain blank T-shirts that he sells to convey potent messages concerning contemporary sex and politics."


Win a date with E.J. Dionne. By Michael Kinsley

Win a date with E.J. Dionne. By Michael Kinsley: "Or maybe I should wait and Win a Trip With Maureen Dowd. Maureen writes: 'Are you girl enough to come shopping with me and my best friend, Jill? Can you dis the defense department and find the shoe department at the same time?'"


QMV, the answer to everything!

This is the only way to fix Congress. By Juliet Eilperin: "Under Hirsch's plan, the tie-breaking chairman would be almost a redistricting dictator. He would have more votes than all the other members combined, which would block the kind of bipartisan gerrymander that happened in New Jersey. At the same time it would keep politicians involved in the process, allowing them to provide expertise about campaigning and the electoral nature of individual districts."

Listen to this. Now.

NPR : Out of Hiding, Into the World: Thembi's AIDS Diary: "Ngubane introduces listeners to her boyfriend, Melikhaya -- and recalls when she told him she was HIV-positive: 'I thought, 'What if I've also infected him? Now I've ruined my life, and I've ruined everybody's life.''"



I finished a draft of my paper that was due for Andrew's MLE class. There are lots of loose ends and unfinished business – like the whole fixing the formal model – but it's not horrible, I don't think.

The gist is that strikes are a form of collective action that individuals coördinate on when they believe that their action will be pivotal to bringing about change; and that they observe and interpret imperfect signals about that probability. The empirical part is a count model looking at the number of strikes and strike-days in a given month, with covariates of who's participating and demonstrating. I find that the presence of radicals depresses striking and the presence of students is associated with an increase.

ah delightful bitchy food writing...

Why sauvignon blanc is overrated. By Mike Steinberger: "Simply put, the grape is a dud, producing chirpy little wines wholly devoid of complexity and depth, the very qualities that make wine interesting and worth savoring. For years, this offensively inoffensive grape has escaped criticism while chardonnay and merlot have been scorned. The free ride ends here."


WashU Poster Boy (eeeek!)

My Conflict class with Sunita on Wednesday afternoon, where I ate my pen contemplatively, seems to have been captured by some PR photographer. eating my peneating my pen


Potato Leek Soup, salad, and anarchist pumpernickel

The Soup


  • 4 medium potatoes
  • ¼ pound bacon
  • 2–4 leeks
  • 4 shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • Rosemary
  • Parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream


Chop the bacon and place in a cold heavy pot. Turn on heat to medium; remove bacon when it's done and has rendered most of its fat. Slice the leeks, shallots, and garlic. Place in the pan and cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and sweat for 20 minutes. You don't want them too brown, but a little caremalization never hurt anyone. Cut the potatoes into about 1-inch cubes.

When everything is soft and smells yummy, add potatoes, bacon, and chicken stock. Cook, uncovered, until potatoes are soft (45 minutes?). Purée in food mill or using a handy immersion blender. Add milk and cream, and heat through without boiling.

About anarchist pumpernickel

Here's the story from the riverfront times back in 2001 about the marvelous breads made by the Black Bear Bakery Collective, including the Lickhalter Pumpernickel pictured above.

Their bread label may show a smiling bruin astride a bicycle, but the bakery's mission statement defines itself as an "anti-authoritarian, anti-ideological collective" that "challenges division-of-labor and capital-based hierarchical business." Aside from producing healthy, affordable food, one of the bakery's primary objectives is "to organize and embrace anarchic grassroots agitation, information and action."

Slashdot | Why Is Data Mining Still A Frontier?

Slashdot | Why Is Data Mining Still A Frontier?: "Scientific (and other) data is still housed in unrelated collections, waiting for some enterprising Relational Database Programmer to unlock the keys to understanding. Is RDBMS still a Brave New Frontier, or will Google make the art obsolete once they finish indexing everything?"
This is what occasioned my finally re-finding the metafilter question below – I work with social scientists who, because of their statistical training and general worldview, call rectangular tables "databases" all the time (god that irks me..) and to whom I've had to (try to) explain why relational data structures are good both theoretically (shifting of unit of analysis, forces explicit decisions at query-writing time) and practically (allows collection of data that you'd like to be able to use in the future but collection cost is high).

Christians Sue for Right Not to Tolerate Policies - Los Angeles Times

Christians Sue for Right Not to Tolerate Policies - Los Angeles Times:
"Critics dismiss such talk as a right-wing fundraising ploy. 'They're trying to develop a persecution complex,' said Jeremy Gunn, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief."
They really do thrive on and try to cultivate this absurd idea that christians don't control congress, the white house, and the courts... that they are in any way not a majority and that America is not the most religious developed country.

The Long-Distance Journey of a Fast-Food Order - New York Times

The Long-Distance Journey of a Fast-Food Order - New York Times:
"While the call-center idea has received some attention since a scattered sampling of McDonald's franchises began testing it 18 months ago, most customers are still in the dark. For Meredith Mejia, a regular at a McDonald's in Pleasant Hill, Calif., near San Francisco, it meant that her lunch came with a small helping of the surreal. When told that she had just ordered her double cheeseburger and small fries from a call center 250 miles away, she said the concept was 'bizarre.'"

Chastity, M.D. By Amanda Schaffer

Chastity, M.D. By Amanda Schaffer:
"As Michael Specter pointed out in The New Yorker last month, the Bush administration spends hundreds of millions of dollars touting the benefits of abstinence. Most abstinence-promoting programs waste the government's money funneling misinformation directly to adolescents. But one such group, the Medical Institute for Sexual Health, has another audience in mind—medical students. With the help of Congress, the institute has finagled $200,000 out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop a sexual-health curriculum for doctors in training. It's a small bit of pork, but it represents the hijacking of a government agency that normally funds research based on merit. And the CDC's imprimatur could persuade medical schools to use the institute's work."


A fellow sufferer!

How can social scientists learn database skills? | Ask MetaFilter:
"I am a computer guy who has been working extensively with a couple of psychologists on a research project. I knew they were more comfortable with single-table (flat-file or spreadsheet) data representation for data storage, but in this case their study generated much data, and so highly-related data, that I convinced them to give a database a shot. Long story short: half a year later, they're still a little mystified by SQL and wouldn't be able to design their own table schemas if their lives depended on it, but they see the very strong advantages databases have over spreadsheets for their needs. Furthermore, we're writing a paper about how to replicate the study we did, and we want to include a bit about why we used a database instead of a spreadsheet and why we think anyone replicating the study should consider doing the same thing. "

Realty Bites By Douglas Gantenbein

Realty Bites By Douglas Gantenbein: "Certainly, most people realize that a 6 percent commission—or even 5 percent—is nuts, given that e-mail alerts, Web-based home tours, and other services can easily give buyers and sellers as much information as their realtors. It will be a painful change for the 1 million real-estate agents out there—alas, a number that is growing rapidly. But a little Darwinism is needed to thin out the herd, and when it happens it won't give me much grief."

Wow. This is brilliant design.

12 sided clockAMEICO INC. - It takes innovation to create a classic.: "Patented desk clocks with 12 slides, each with the name of two major cities; together, the 24 cities represent the 24 global time zones; to find the local hour in another time zone, simply roll the clock so that the city representing that time zone is on top."

current song stuck in my head

Dream Machine, by Mark Farina and Sean Hayes, from the Hôtel Costes 8 album. (iTunes Music Store link).

"Hello, Bangalore? Where's My Unemployment Check?" By Timothy Noah

"Hello, Bangalore? Where's My Unemployment Check?" By Timothy Noah: "The GAO also found that states were offshoring some administration of child support enforcement and—in what seems like a cruel joke at the expense of American workers displaced by cheap foreign labor—unemployment insurance!"
Anyone see the simpsons last night?

Switch Different By Paul Boutin

Switch Different By Paul Boutin:
"As a Mac nerd, I know I'm supposed to gush that this is a brilliant move for Apple and an exciting day for me. Instead, I've been struggling to figure out why a Windows boot from Apple warrants front-page play in the New York Times."
Unusual media coverage of apple was discussed over on slashdot following a Dvorak column a while back too.

Salon | Three Colors

Salon Directory:
"Kieslowski's 'Three Colors' trilogy was more than just the slickest concept album in the history of European cinema. It was a quantum leap for the medium, a reminder not only of what was possible, but what was necessary.

I'm trying at some point in the next couple of months to arrange a showing of the trilogy, since I know a few people to whom I've said, "What? We must, must watch them sometime!" This salon article from 2002 is as glowing as I always am about Kieslowski's masterful work.

The Bjork-Barney Enigma Machine - New York Times

The Bjork-Barney Enigma Machine - New York Times:
"Because the two are so artistically and personally unconventional — for the Cremaster films, Mr. Barney transformed himself into a tap-dancing satyr; for the Academy Awards, Bjork transformed herself, with less success, into a swan — is it hard to imagine them doing something as conventional as dating."
Why is it impossible to mention Björk without making some pathetic mention of the swan dress? It really wasn't bad. It was creative, and more so than most of the crap that passes for 'fashion'.

Is One Museum Honoring Cheese Really Enough? - New York Times

Is One Museum Honoring Cheese Really Enough? - New York Times


botanical garden pictures

Here (went with Alex this afternoon)
I should install Gallery at some point... until then it's just regular photoshop web pages.


  • Leek and potato soup with black bear pumpernickel
  • Sweet potato and ginger crusted mahi-mahi, over spinach curry
  • Tofu and green beans, black pepper sauce
  • Something with chicken pieces (risotto? chicken salad?)


Missouri legislative highlights

: Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the state of Missouri

(A.1.7) Present the benefits to individuals, families, and society of a lifelong monogamous marriage between a man and a woman.
(A.1.8) Present scientifically accurate information, consistent with the provisions of sections 1.205, RSMo, and 188.015, RSMo, on the development of the unborn child from fertilization until birth, including but not limited to such developmental milestones and information that:
  1. At fertilization an unborn child's life begins;
  2. The unborn child's gender is determined at fertilization;
  3. An unborn child's heartbeat and brainwaves can be detected during the first trimester of pregnancy;
  4. The unborn child has growth and development of various body organs and limbs, fingerprints, and sensory awareness long before birth; and
  5. Alcohol, drug, and tobacco use by the mother can be harmful to the developing unborn child.

(A.7) No school district or charter school, or its personnel or agents, shall provide abortion services, or permit a person or entity to offer, sponsor, or furnish in any manner any course materials or instruction relating to human sexuality or sexually transmitted diseases to its students if such person or entity is a provider of abortion services.

Dictionary.com/Word of the Day

OK how funny / wrong is theDictionary.com/Word of the Day for today, my birthday. Yup, it's the last uphill milestone (25, cheaper car insurance!) before the downhill ones (aarp) start. :)


cool stuff i want

suitcase bagV&A - Shop: I saw someone at washu with this – and you know me and stylish, unique bags. I was jealous.

This suitcase bagCMYK shirt is also very much my style.

| a gay typeface? | Typophile

| a gay typeface? | Typophile: "My typographic gaydar could be on the blink."

I was checking typophile to see if anyone yet had commented on NYT's web redesign and the abundant use of Georgia.

um, duh

Long-Awaited Medical Study Questions the Power of Prayer - New York Times: "Analyzing complications in the 30 days after the operations, the researchers found no differences between those patients who were prayed for and those who were not."


Prosecution of Midwife Casts Light on Home Births - New York Times: "Doctors, legislators and prosecutors in Indiana and in the nine other states with laws prohibiting midwifery by people other than doctors and nurses say home births supervised by midwives present grave and unacceptable medical risks."


Dinner: Mandarin Kitchen!

This is a new Chinatown place for us – we usually go to Lao Sze Chuan, Spring World, Penang, or 'Little' Three Happiness.. Branching out, here are lthforum posts about MK. (The other places are of course worth looking up at lthforum and drooling over.)


Around downtown chicago yesterday we observed a couple demonstrations – one by the AMSA people for universal health care, and another by some group of apparent high schoolers with signs that said "finish our school" and "future voter."

My main observation on American protests: we need more ululating.