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Nov. 24th, 2011


(no subject)

We sat side by side in the morning light & looked out at the future together.

-- Brian Andreas

Nov. 10th, 2011


God Says Yes to Me

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said, "Yes."

I asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said, "It sure is."

I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish.

And she said, "Honey,"
she calls me that sometimes
she said, "You can do just exactly
what you want to."

"Thanks God," I said.
"And is it even okay if I don't paragraph my letters?"

"Sweetcakes," God said,
who knows where she picked that up
"What I'm telling you is
Yes. Yes. Yes."

-- Kaylin Haught

Nov. 6th, 2011


(no subject)

“Daylight saving time was popular during World War I,” people say. “And we brought it back during World War II.”

Do you know what else was popular during World War I? Racism. And I don’t see you rushing around demanding we reinstitute that.


It would be one thing if people defended this abomination on the grounds that they hated waking up in the dark because it felt like being in a Dickensian workhouse. But they don’t.

And it’s not that I mind leaving work under cover of darkness. It gives me the illusion that I am a dedicated workaholic who ought to be awarded some sort of plaque. Sure, this leaves me more vulnerable to attack by vampires. But I’ll cope.

Once I tried neither springing forward nor falling back. Eventually, it works out to the same thing, but I don’t recommend trying this unless you have a six-month window during which people will not mind your showing up an hour late for everything. Perhaps don’t schedule your wedding during this time.

-- Alexandra Petri

Nov. 5th, 2011


The Money Masters

Any 'broad sweep of history' thing, that blames all economic crises on 'fractional reserve banking' is, fundamentally, crackpot.

In fact, most theories about money are crackpot.

The reality is money is itself a simply fuzzy summary, an aggregation of information and expectations, and a sustained universal illusion that we use, a belief in the continuity of government and institutions into the futures.

You know what? So what? Society is built around a series of comfortable assertions that are basically lies. That's how human civilizations (or troops of apes) function. The US is not the home of liberty. Her Majesty is Queen because her something great grandfather was protestant and we had run out of non-catholic kings. etc. etc.

-- "Valuethinker"

Nov. 4th, 2011


(no subject)

I don’t have a 9/11 story. It barely happened to me. I mean, it very much happened to me, it happened to my city, I lived here at the time and it broke my heart. But I didn’t work down there, I didn’t know anyone that did, and were I to spin any kind of dramatic retelling, it would be inauthentic as it’s just not my story to tell. I wasn’t even on the island at the time, as I worked in the Bronx back then and I remember, distinctly, and in hardly my finest moment, feeling like I immensely hated my life right then, stranded miles and miles from everyone I cared about, stuck at the kind of job where they asked you to get back to work shortly after the first plane crashed. I wanted a different path, I just didn’t know how to forge it for myself.

The next year was a blur of trying to get our heads around the unfathomable, and I barely remember it. I know that on the first anniversary, it was still very raw and hardly needed to be commemorated because we hadn’t stopped thinking about it for a minute. But by the second, people had starting dusting themselves off and convincing themselves they were moving on. I’d recently started a blog (it was 2003! it was the thing to do!) and had started reading one from some guy who lived here, too. On the second anniversary of 9/11, he said that he’d invited some friends to get a drink and they’d reacted as if that were a tacky way to commemorate a nation’s tragedy. I was then and am still firmly of the belief that a stiff drink is a fine way to soften the blow of a crappy memory, and told him that a complete stranger would be happy to meet him for a drink after work. Two years later, I married him. Two years later, we decided to have a kid. Two years after that, we did. And this week, that kid turns two. I never once, not for a single moment before I was kinda secretly hoping that the bars would close already so I could get back to sleep on Saturday night connected in my head that I do have a 9/11 story, but it came later, and it is a happy one. I’d never considered that pretty much everything awesome that’s happened in the last eight years spun off from the axis of something awful.

-- Deb Perelman @ smitten kitchen

Oct. 30th, 2011


Effulgent Tomatoes, Laconic Recipe

The thing I love most about tomatoes other than their effulgent, puerile nature is their beneficience. They take pity on the fact that by the time their cute, little bodies reach their most adorable, juicy and delectable stage, it is already the end of summer, when the air is getting chilly and the leaves have already started to fall. When we have almost given up on the warmth and taste of summer.

These beauties then show up at our local farmers markets, ready for the picking as if saying, don't be sad, here is one last summer hurrah, one last chance to be happy before it's time take out the woolens from storage and start consoling yourselves with sun dried and canned tomatoes, tomato paste and tomato sauce.

It is around the middle of September that fresh organic green tomatoes start appearing in massive quantities at the farmers market. And the sight of them could not make me any happier.

Because while I love tomatoes of all kinds (heirlooms in particular), sizes, and colors it is the late summer green tomato that lends itself best for one of my favorite things to doing the kitchen: preserving and jam making.

I had been looking forward to making green tomato jam at home ever since discovering O&Co.'s heavenly Green Tomato Jam (Confiture Au Chaudron Tomate Verte).

After finishing the jar and before running up the street to buy some more, I figured I could always give it a go, and see if a home version would be as good or better.

So, reaching once more for my favorite manual on jam and jelly making, the little gem of a book that is Christine Ferber's Mes Confitures I searched for her Green Tomato and Cinnamon recipe (page 201).

Then it was a matter of stopping by my favorite market to purchase enough organic green tomatoes from Alvarez Farms to make my jam.

The tomatoes were as beautiful as can be. Organic, green, firm, the perfect size. I took them home and aided by the simplest of ingredients - superfine sugar and a couple small lemons - and my laconic recipe, I got to work.

-- Seattle Bon Vivant

Oct. 28th, 2011


(no subject)

If you watch the history of baseball, teams come back.

-- Tony La Russa

Oct. 26th, 2011


John McCarthy (September 4, 1927 – October 24, 2011)

Mr. McCarthy, who died Monday at age 84, brought a mathematician's rigor to computing. "He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense," he wrote in a 1995 paper.

Collaborating with other pioneers of early computing, Mr. McCarthy worked on one of the first chess-playing programs with British researcher Alan Turing and edited an early volume of papers on artificial intelligence with Claude Shannon, the father of information theory.

Mr. McCarthy coined the phrase "artificial intelligence" for a 1956 conference he organized at Dartmouth College with longtime collaborator Marvin Minsky, Mr. Shannon and others that is widely considered the crucible of the field.

He proposed Lisp in 1958 as a way to process more sophisticated mathematics than Fortran, the dominant programming language of the day. Later, Mr. McCarthy became an architect of computer time-sharing. He envisioned dial-up networking and imagined a metered utility similar to cloud computing.

Mr. McCarthy "really encapsulated what computation meant," Peter Norvig, the director of research at Google, told Wired magazine. "He was the first one to really put the essence of computing into a simple programming language."

The son of a labor organizer and a women's suffrage activist, Mr. McCarthy was a "red-diaper baby," with both of his parents active in the Communist Party. During the Depression, his family lost their home in Boston and moved around before settling in Southern California, where his father, a sometime inventor, developed a hydraulic orange-juice squeezer.

Despite starting school late, Mr. McCarthy skipped grades and taught himself enough calculus to take math graduate courses as a 16-year-old freshman at California Institute of Technology. His application essay was a single sentence: "I intend to be a professor of mathematics."

After graduate studies at Princeton, Mr. McCarthy held appointments at Dartmouth, Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

-- Stephen Miller, from "Computer Scientist Coined 'Artificial Intelligence'" @ wsj.com

Oct. 14th, 2011


(no subject)

In the great green room
There was a telephone
And a red balloon
And a picture of --
The cow jumping over the moon

And there were three little bears sitting on chairs

And two little kittens
And a pair of mittens

And a little toyhouse
And a young mouse

And a comb and a brush and a bowl full of mush
And a quiet old lady who was whispering "hush"

Goodnight room
Godnight moon
Goodnight cow jumping over the moon

Goodnight light
And the red balloon

Goodnight bears
Goodnight chairs

Goodnight kittens
And goodnight mittens

Goodnight clocks
And goodnight socks

Goodnight little house
And goodnight mouse

Goodnight comb
And goodnight brush

Goodnight nobody
Goodnight mush

And goodnight to the old lady whispering "hush"

Goodnight stars
Goodnight air

Goodnight noises everywhere

-- Margaret Wise Brown

Oct. 1st, 2011


(no subject)

I wanted adventures. I wanted to go up the Nung river to the heart of darkness in Cambodia. I wanted to ride out into a desert on camelback, sand and dunes in every direction, eat whole roasted lamb with my fingers. I wanted to kick snow off my boots in a Mafiya nightclub in Russia. I wanted to play with automatic weapons in Phnom Penh, recapture the past in a small oyster village in France, step into a seedy neon-lit pulqueria in rural Mexico. I wanted to run roadblocks in the middle of the night, blowing past angry militia with a handful of hurled Marlboro packs, experience fear, excitement, wonder. I wanted kicks – the kind of melodramatic thrills and chills I’d yearned for since childhood, the kind of adventure I’d found as a little boy in the pages of my Tintin comic books. I wanted to see the world – and I wanted the world to be just like the movies.

― Anthony Bourdain

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November 2011



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