March 30, 2006


what happens when one laments leaving nyc? one goes to see a new spike lee joint, inside man. and then one ends up sitting next to spike lee (and his two sons) himself.

March 29, 2006


nina has been patiently entertaining my recent fascination with preserved lemons, and the consequent attempts to cook with them. all of the dishes we made were variations on a tagine, but done in a pot, not a traditional cooking vessel.

with the exception of the very first chicken tagine with olives, lemons, and turmeric, and certainly by the third chickpea tagine with lemons, currants, and tomatoes, nina and i used patience and technique to overcome the difficulties of stewing tagine without a tagine.

now, it seems that a traditional tagine would have helped.

March 27, 2006

coolest apartment contest

results from the smallest coolest apartment contest of 2006 are in. i am impressed.

if you come across an apartment in boston that may be eligible for submission and that's available for rent this june, please contact us. we are confused about moving there.

March 22, 2006


a powerful post on craigslist.

the bc

the oc was fun to watch for a season or two, but lately got quite stale (with the exception of the music). now, it seems there is an unexpected newcomer to help it along: the bc.

if only boston was as ridiculously american place as the orange county, it would make the upcoming move from new york all that more festive.

check out the bc's blog, and of course, their profile in the nytimes.

March 21, 2006

March 19, 2006

restaurant: ureña and movie: thank you for smoking

yesterday, saw thank you for smoking, a directorial debut by jason reitman whose father directed the ghosbusters. like the father's work, the son's is a great joy to watch, though not much substantive to say about it.

thereafter, nina and i went to ureña on madison and 28th. the expectations were quite high on account of the chef's pedigree.

the food was delicious, but not exciting. that is, with the exception of the desert. the lighting was a bit too bright, as nina pointed out, and the service awkwardly "over-enthusiastic," as someone wrote on citysearch. unfortunately, the reviews are accurate.

diagnosis: go.

prognosis: closure in 2 years.

March 17, 2006

bachelor party

some pics from the bachelor party (from the green fields in flushing and pencil factory in greenpoint).

where do our taxes go?

a graphic chart of US tax spending here. the priorities are pretty clear.

the hospital for children

that's the assumed name of havard's children's hospital in boston, and my place of employment and training come this june.

March 16, 2006

dr. 90210

those that have spent time in the tenement-penthouse know my fascination with pop tv, including shows like nip/tuck and dr. 90210. now, nytimes has profiled roberto rey, the singular star of the latter show. here is a quote:
Walking through the ghetto I was raised in, I knew I was going to go to the United States, go to Harvard, be a plastic surgeon, move to Beverly Hills, become a member of Congress and then become surgeon general.
what's not to admire?


today is the day of the announcement of the results of the national resident matching program, a process designed to optimize job placement for medical residency applicants. the program has a long history and its iterative optimization algorithm has its foundations in game theory.

"the match" is a subject of great controversy and litigation, largely because it forces applicants to enter into a contract without knowing the details of its outcome and prevents residents from negotiating their salaries (which after 12 years of higher education, including 8 years of graduate training of yours truly, are admittedly meager).

to add to the frustration, the results of "the match" have been known since last week, but are not being released until 1PM EST today. count the hours with olog.

March 15, 2006

new williamsburg

yesterday, while coming back from his work, nina's father and i drove through south williamsburg, where throngs of satmar hasidim were stumbling through the streets in celebration of purim.

south williamsburg is not what it used to be though, even when i moved to nyc in '98. now, it includes places like this. and residents are displeased.

spike lee on moving into the mainstream and the upper east side

a great little interview with spike lee in the ny observer that includes comments about his recent interests, including the new inside man. and of course, spike and tonya lewis lee's town & country article.

March 13, 2006

guilty pleasures

having just watched the premiere of the sopranos (without waiting for nina: guilty!), i am realizing that one of the most enjoyable parts of the show is watching tony eat. he does it with such satisfaction, and i envy him. after all, what's the harm? it's just gluttony.

unwanted: academic

the sad state of academia begins with this nypress story.

it continues with the current administration's scientific policies, as discussed in this week's newyorker.

it concludes with paul nurse's excellent commentary "US biomedical research under siege" published in the january issue of cell.

March 12, 2006

the music teacher: a play/opera

a couple of weeks ago, nina and i saw the music teacher: a play/opera by the venerable wallace shawn. it was awful! neither a play, nor an opera, it failed through flailing narrative and faltering performance. it was so bad that i quickly proceeded to forget about it, until today when the gothamist decided to be pleased with it. here is a more reliable review from the nytimes.

March 10, 2006

is that really necessary?

yesterday, drinks and snacks at bar jamon, a formerly fav stomping ground for yours truly during the hard-working days at cabrini. but i digress.

while contemplating cheese offerings, including the intriguing "tres manchegos," i was told that they are the same manchego of different ages.

is that really necessary?

the waiter was not amused by my question: "maybe the other [cheeses] are not really necessary either!"

perdóneme. qué chechon!

free form film festival: a nervous filmmaker

March 06, 2006

more SNL: Natalie Portman


last night, tried fragole in carroll gardens. though some dishes like crostini di fegatini have a certain tasty homemade feel, every thing else we tried was uninteresting though well seasoned. combined with the prices and disorganized service, including a 10 minute delay on one of our main dishes, fragole blows.

diagnosis: stay away.

March 05, 2006

award-winning steak

bruce cole reveals his secrets about cooking steak.

thanks kottke.

spore game: geeks reign supreme!

google hacks

a list of a few google api hacks. quite useful and interesting. there should be more.

iCi and hedda

last night, dined at iCi in clinton hill with mosman and aneimark. delicious. fresh ingredients speak for themselves, while a wood fireplace warms the space. iCi is somehow related to added value, an urban agriculture project in red hook. which is also exciting.

then, we saw hedda gabler at bam. not so exciting. though cate blanchett is a joy on stage.

diagnosis: delicious iCi, dull hedda.

March 03, 2006

sous vide goes mainstream

this is an unusual cooking method that acts to cook and flavor without denaturation that accompanies conventional heating. several ny restaurants are using, including my fav wd-50, and now it seems to be going mainstream.

and i am not too far behind. you can make a very nice gift for our wedding by giving us this essential little item, required for cooking sous vide. i promise to have you for dinner upon its first use.

March 01, 2006

existential psychobiology

the newyorker has a nice piece by john lanchester on "pursuing happiness", as he reviews two recent books on the subject.

as most projects that attempt to apply biological concepts to human behavior, this one also comes short of being cogent. take for example lanchester's gedunken evolutionary experiment of "ig and og." he proceeds from the flawed intuition that evolutionary selection acts on traits, e.g., ig and og, and concludes that og, the pensive one, is more likely to survive. but, natural selection acts not on traits, but on their variability. neo-darwinian refinements notwithstanding, the correct conclusion of such a gedunken experiment is that humans have survived precisely because they have both ig and og. indeed, doesn't ig prevail in the art of war?

so how does happiness relate to the natural history of humans?

isn't happiness, in the way that we construe it today, a relatively recent development in human history? natural selection does not act on such short time scales.

and on a more general note, didn't heidegger already write something fundamental on the subject? not that i am arguing against my fellow uchicagoer's behavioral theory.