Archive for the ‘Loose Links’ Category

Mechanical Twit
24-25 January 2013

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

* 24 *

¶ What would New York be without (a) water towers (b) Jason Kottke (c) Siberian cold? Not leaky! It even kinda looks like moi!

* 25 *

¶ A list of 100 great “books of fiction” written in the last century. This would so not be my list. Long on “significance” and Americans; short on Brits and humor. And women. (HTMLGiant)

¶ In her humanae project, Angelika Dass samples skin tones and finds a Pantone match. (HiLoBrow)

Kurt Andersen’s green room. (The Rumpus) Our foyer is painted in a similar color, which is why my blue room is blue and not green. In the country, my writing room was deep, fiery red. People said, “How can you write in here?” But the red got me going. The color that I could not bear, and would be paralyzed by, is white. 

Gareth Morgan hates cats. (The Atlantic)

¶ Almost everything that I cook today is something that I’ve cooked many times before: novelty has lost its appeal for an old-timer who has a lot of other things to do. So it’s not surprising that, when I do trying something new, it’s at the recommendation of Mark Bittman, whose weekly column in the Times Magazine has been a fountain of fresh ideas for months now. There are recipes, certainly, but they’re usually buried in methods — take this, add that, and roast in an x oven for y minutes. The mix-and-match art direction is a treat all of its own. But this past Sunday, as I was flying back home from Cincinnati, I was arrested by the three very specific recipes in the back of the book. One for roast beef (not the expensive rib roast, but what I would call pot roast if I had ever made it or even tasted it); one for a savory chutney sauce to put on the beef, invented by a headwaiter called Henry Bain about a century ago; and one for a sort of lettuce garnish for roast-beef sandwiches. I pointed all of this out to Kathleen and said, “I’m going to try that.” And, today, I did. You really must, too. It’s scrumptious. Since the meat is tepid when it comes out of the oven (which you turn off at a certain point, leaving the beef to cook over dying embers, as it were, for two hours afterward), and the sauce is supposed to be served at room temperature as well, this is really a warm-weather recipe. But I made it for the sandwiches — the leftovers — and we’ll see how they turn out, with good peasant bread that I have yet to buy and the chiffonade of romaine (pico de lettuce?). I forgot to mention that you rub the meat with a paste of olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic (with red pepper flakes added “to taste”). A tablespoon of freshly ground pepper: that’s a lot of grinding! The apartment smelled like some sort of culinary heaven for the rest of the day, and it still does! This is the sort of thing that you ought to have in the fridge for “emergencies”: blushing beef, chewy but not tough, with a fantastic barbecue sauce that’s meant to be eaten, not cooked. Served with Yukons roasted with rosemary, it really can’t be beat.

Mechanical Twit
10-17 January 2013

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

* 10 *

Jan Estep reminds us that fMRI images are not photographs. And we’re still not sure what they tell us. (triplecanopy; via 3 Quarks Daily)

Zoning laws are, well, medieval. (Brainiac)

Marcy Campbell’s piece about her Book Club is interesting in several ways. It hs been going on for about a decade, and interests have shifted over time. But it triggered a memory from my radio days. As so manyy of our listeners did, Campbell wants her favorites to be shared. But doesn’t the accent in “book club” fall on the seccond term? (The Millions)

¶ Davos fatigue: Felix Salmon reports that Google won’t be giving it’s “ninth circle of hell” party at the Belvédère.

* 11 *

¶ An Iranian riposte to Argo is in the works. (NYT; via The Morning News)

* 14 *

¶ Oh, the glamorous New York spots that — don’t exist. Scout considers the “Chinese restaurant” problem. Dim, moody lighting is not a Chinese cultural choice.

¶ Stools! I love the stools! Just the seating for e-book reading! GOOD reports the opening, scheduled for Fall 2013, of Bexar County (TX) wonder, BiblioTech. A library with no (print) books!

* 16 *

¶ At Brain Pickings: Gorgeous Vintage British Road Safety Ads, 1939-1946. Blacked out!

¶ At PandoDaily, Bryan Goldberg opines that bright young people today are no longer interested in careers in finance: the soul-sucking downside has become too obvious. Good news for the rest of us! (via Abnormal Returns)

§ Why, I’ve no idea. But as I was filling the kettle this morning I was brushed by that warm and awful question: what, really, distinguishes the fate of the kids in Never Let Me Go from mine? On Monday, the dermatologist extracted tissue for three biopsies. We’re all headed in the same direction.

* 17 *

Jim Emerson is GREAT about (the great) Jodie Foster. It’s her business.

Gorgeous George! (Joe.My.God)

¶ As usual, Maria Bustillo’s Awl piece, “The Questions Following Aaron Swartz’s Death,” is full of really good answers. It’s too easy for political toads to become prosecutors.

¶ Sage advice on “warmups” — bringing roomfuls of students back into the classroom from the phonesphere — from Historiann. Also, this incredibly appealing postscript:

Age before beauty:  One more thing about my evaluations:  My evals, unlike those of most of my women colleagues, have never, ever commented on my personal appearance, but for the first time this past fall, an evaluation said “you are beautiful.”  Now I am at an age to find this silly but also kind of cute, instead of disturbing or concerning as I would have when I started teaching at age 27.

Gotham Diary:
Mechanical Twit
1-4 January 2013

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Let’s see where this goes.

* 1 *

Will turns three at 1:39 AM. Kathleen turns sixty later this year. I’ll be sixty-five in six days.

¶ Speaking of kids, if Will’s day-care classmates behaved like the bienséant children on Chris Ware’s New Yorker cover, I’d call Frank Campbell’s for help. Does Chris Ware hate life? I’ve always thought so. (If you can think of a link, let me know.)

Pastafarian! Nostalgic, isn’t it? Considering what’s going going on with Gangnam Style. 555! Who knew the rosary had an area code? Were you able to stay awake? (JMG) In the times, an explanation of where the hell Gangnam is. (yes, it’s a place!)

¶ And a pretty lady from New Orleans. (Slimbolala)

* 2 *

Steerforth, the pseudonymous former bookseller who graces us with The Age of Uncertainty, offers some of the idiotic questions that eventually drove him to do business on the Internet. “Where’s your section of coffee table books about Paraguay?”

Ron Rosenbaum talks with Jaron Lanier, the contrarian Internet guru who has learned that, whether or not information wants to be free, you still get what you pay for. (Smithsonian, via Arts Journal)

¶ A fantastic little verse — title? — right out of A Child’s Garden of Verses in spirit. (Attributed to Mark Eckman and Jerrold Zar; FT; via Arts Journal)

I have a spelling checker,
It came with my PC.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye can knot sea.

¶ The 10 Cleverest Internet Films of 2012, chosen for The Awl by Eric Spiegelman. You can watch them in order, but I had to start with “Holiday Etiquette,” and that reduced me to silly putty.

* 3 *

¶ Dismay: I saw only one of Roger Ebert’s top-ten movies for 2012 Argo. Life of Pi, Flight — jamais de la vie. Arbitrage, End of Watch, Oslo, August 31 — how did I miss them? A Simple Life — I might give that a try. The Sessions — I love Helen Hunt, which is why I haven’t seen this picture. Beasts of the Southern Wild — as Fossil Darling would say, “Couldn’t be less interested.” (Tant pis pour moi?) In the end, I’ll break my rule against seeing Spielberg in the theatre just to see what Sally Field has done. But I disapprove of Abraham Lincoln almost as much as I do Steven Spielberg. Some days, more! (via TMN)

¶ I don’t know who he’s talking about!

¶ It occurred to me this evening that the American president, in 1860, ought to have invited the British to join in a war to restore the Southern states to the Empire. The British needed the cotton, and they hated slavery more than the North; the expansion of slavery into the West — the true cause of the Civil War — would have been utterly forestalled. I understand that this “solution” to the problem of the United States’s impossible existence would never have succeeded in 1860, but the fun in history is imagining what clear thinking would have looked like.

I see that Abraham Lincoln devoted himself to preserving the Union of 1776. He was a good man, but it was a bad idea, and he would never have achieved the White House if he agreed to any kind of breakup. When we finally do split, we’ll have one or two great faces to look back on — FDR, Eisenhower — but more to regret: Jackson, Lincoln, Grant, Hayes, Arthur, McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt (a foreign-policy nightmare), and, at the climax, the very worst president that the United States has ever had (given his immense international influence), Woodrow Wilson. Not to mention the king of bogus, Ronald Reagan. He was an insult to the presidency that the office may well not withstand.

There are no slaves in the United States of America — Lincoln saw to that. But how would you like to be a descendant of one of the vast number of human beings who were counted, per Constitutional provision Article I, Section II. “which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.)” Yes, this clause was cleaned up by the Fourteenth Amendment, but still… It’s not okay.

* 4 *

¶ Don’t miss Alan Hollinghurst on E M Forster. (LRB)

We are not guests in a Bloomsbury Valhalla but eavesdroppers on a very unusual man’s preoccupations: ‘carnality, intellect, humour, kindness’ and the connections between them that always preoccupied him.

I will go to my grave not knowing just how unusual the preoccupation with carnality is. Is it unusual? How unusual am I, not to share it? Not what I call carnality, anyway. (By which remark I betray the fact that I can’t imagine any connections between carnality and the three virtues that follow.)

Have A Look:

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010


Eddie Bauer, 1966. (A Continuous Lean)

T-Shirt War. (via  MetaFilter)

Crazy Apartments. (via Joe.My.God)

¶ Zooming in on the Mandelbrot to e.214. (

Have A Look:
Loose Links

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010


¶ Some dust jackets and book covers for Philip K Dick. (Spine Out; via The Second Pass)

¶ Europe’s “alcohol belts” — where wine, beer, or spirits are preferred (and why Hungary may be more Mediterranean than you think). (Strange Maps)

Haiti, by Peter Turnley (The Online Photographer)

Have A Look:
Loose Links

Monday, January 25th, 2010


Googolopoly. (via reddit)

Electoral College Reform (via Joe.My.God)

Visualizing the campaign finance case. (via Marginal Revolution)

Have A Look:
Loose Links

Friday, January 15th, 2010


¶ Shelving books spines in. (Apartment Therapy)

¶ 1602 Chinese map of the Gulf Coast. Our Gulf Coast. (Guardian)

¶ Cheap at $12,000,000 — even Choire Sicha thinks so! Take the tour. (Business Insider)

¶ Sculptor Cal Lane. Love those shovels! (The Best Part)

Bon weekend à tous!

Have A Look:
Loose Links

Friday, January 8th, 2010


¶ Jiří Šalamoun’s Basic Phrenology.

It never hurts to ask. (And whatever happened to Carolyn Weatherhogg later on?)


¶ How long before Bill Cunningham snaps this in titanium on a fashionista at his favorite corner of town?

Have A Look:
Loose Links

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009


We need something more seasonal for this space — but then isn’t that what the holidays are all about? You can always do better! But what we are trying to do better at the moment is vacation.

¶ Frank Rich’s column about bamboozlers is great, but it might be greater, by stressing the complete failure of media to exert critical authority. The Times itself thinks that this is largely a matter of keeping naughty words off the record. No wonder readership is down.

¶ Handwriting: a new frontier for sentimentalists. Ann Trubek argues persuasively that it has no place in schools. (via  The Morning News)

¶ Oy! Why did I wait to make a reservation for my birthday until the day on which Sam Sifton’s three-star review of La Grenouille appeared? Not to worry: the restaurant re-opens after its holiday break on the next day, and we’re down for 7:30. — The Editor.

Have A Look:
Loose Links

Thursday, December 10th, 2009


Dream Library (Marginal Revolution)

It’s like playing with an the peel of a clementine. (New Scientist)

¶ We must have this chair! If only to look at. (ArtCat)

Have A Look:
Loose Links

Monday, December 7th, 2009


¶ An Silhouettes of Jazz — moving shadows generated by computer-generated mini-sculptures, and very nearly as cool as the music. (Brain Pickings)

¶ The good old days of sharp collegians. (Ivy Style)

How China is perceived by the residents of Beijing, Shaghai, and Hong Kong — respectively but not respectfully. (The Atlantic)

Have A Look:

Friday, November 20th, 2009


Whoa! Our 30th law school reunion takes place next year. It’s unlikely that we’ll go, what with one thing and another. Not that we don’t love reunions — when they take place in Manhattan! We do, after all, live in the center of the universe! Perversely, however, we went to law school within the ambit of the one town on earth (a windy, lakeside locale) that refuses to acknowledge the self-evident truth of the matter.

Our class secretary (a judge!) sent this montage out the other day, by way of dire warning. I share it with you because I photographed at least six of the eleven images, and may have taken two others. Can you tell which ones?

I know that it was supposed to be law school, but, gawd, I had fun!

Daily Office:

Thursday, March 12th, 2009


Matins: “Unseemly” is the nicest word that I can come up with to characterize attempts by the Roman Catholic Church (and other religious organizations) to block a temporary repeal of the statute of limitations on child abuse.

Lauds: Is there a movie here? As the UN prepares to evacuate its Turtle Bay headquarters for a four-year renovation, lots of valuable artworks seem to have been evacuated earlier, less officially.

Prime: A new and very smart-looking literary blog, The Second Pass.

Tierce: Muntader al-Zaidi, the journalist who threw his shoes at our last president, was jailed immediately after the “insult, not an assault”; he has just been sentenced to three years in prison. Bernie Madoff will spend less time in jail prior to sentencing — presumably. I must say, prison looks more and more like the waste of a public good in cases involving the crimes (and “crimes”) with which these men have been charged.
Sext: One great thing about the recession so far is the way it has replaced “because I can” with “because it’s smart” as a principle of style. Consider the chic $300 re-think.

Nones: Soi-disant Prime Minister Vladimir Putin “forgives” Ukraine its penalty debts in the wake of winter’s gas crisis.

Vespers: Nina McLaughlin re-reads Scott Spencer’s Endless Love, at Bookslut. It’s not the book she remembered!

Compline: At the Infrastructurist, Barbara McCann writes about a bill in Congress that might make the economic stimulus/transportation vector a lot smarter. Also, a great pair of before-and-after photos.


Daily Office:

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008



Posh: My good friend Yvonne just tipped me off to a fantastic send-up of cooking shows, starring Richard E Grant at his twitissime, “Posh Nosh.” The show is a hundred years old, so you’ve probably see it already…


Mad Max: Poor Max Mosley — so to speak. For my part, I can’t imagine anything more in keeping with Formula 1 racing than recreational sado-masochism. One does wonder, though, what Lady Redesdale would have said. “Every time I see “Peer’s Daughter” in the newspaper…”


Cartographic: Is it or isn’t it? An optical illusion, that is. How big is England?


1000 Fifth

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008


Do not miss Roman’s floor plans for “1000 Fifth.”

Friday Movies: There Will Be Blood

Saturday, January 26th, 2008

Union Square at the worst time of the year.

This week, I shall be very brief. I went to see There Will Be Blood because I hoped that it would disprove my discomfort with this year’s Academy Awards nominations. Three of the five best-picture nominees are intensely violent, male-centered dramas. (I say this without having seen No Country For Old Men.) A fourth, Atonement, offers a distinctly unsympathetic critique of the male hierarchy of class background, but it is not without its cataclysms. Only Juno resists this rampant guyism.

There Will Be Blood turns out to be about nothing more than how awful a man can be — and how symphonically that awfulness can be represented on the screen. Potential background stories about such things as the imaginative poverty of the American frontier, cavalier attitudes toward workplace safety, or the anaerobic deadweight of extractive economies are muddled by the protagonist’s bewilderingly inconsistent sociopathy. What this film boils down to is the virtuosity of Daniel Day-Lewis’s acting — and of the men and women of the film’s Makeup Department.

What was the Academy thinking?

Heed This

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

Fossil Darling is cleaning his attic, and he wanted to know if I’d seen this clip. No, I hadn’t, but I found it quite exquisitely appalling.