Sunday, April 15, 2007

April 15, 2007 to April 21 2007

Wherein so how's this new format been working for you? Do RSS feeds or services like Bloglines let you see anything other than empty posts? Not that I'm planning on changing, just curious if there's a number of people who hate the blogging by comments approach.

58 Comments:

Blogger bill said...

WIFI iPod?

That's what I'm holding out for.

4/15/2007 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

You're Crazy

Just because Amy is right doesn't mean he's wrong. I've long thought that it's not that she drives defensively, it's that she drives scared. On one of my scooter posts I linked to her (because of her hybrid) and she left a comment that reinforced that thought. Triggered some thoughts of my own about comments others have directed towards me about riding a scooter in traffic and from all my years bicycling in traffic.

Wife has a coworker who rides triathlons, but his bike training is only on a dead end, flat residential street--it's a really nice 2-mile loop. He's scared to get out on real roads. Sad thing is, if he'd only go 150 yards across the bridge he'd have 15-20 miles of wide, sparsely traveled roads with some bigass hills perfect for sprint climbs. This is all inside the Perimeter (local reference I'm not explaining) and literally across the road from where he parks. Wuss.

Then there's the friend with the $25k BMW bike that his wife practically freaks out about every time he gets on it. Maybe she has a point. I followed him to the dealership to give him a ride while he had some work done and he complained he felt more comfortable riding in the mountains than the relatively 5 mile Saturday morning suburban ride he just completed. "Really," I said, "I ride 30 miles in rush hour traffic every day and I've never felt uncomfortable."

You want to know the worst place to ride a bicycle? Bike lanes and multiple use paths (MUPs). Glorified sidewalks filled with joggers, roller bladers, dogs, kids, and worst of all, they cross multiple driveways and parking lots. Intersections are where bikers get killed. Much safer to be a part of the traffic flow and reduce the number of artificial intersections.

Anyway, having almost always driven under-powered vehicles I can tell you there's a definite difference between driving defensively and alert--being aware, maintaining lane integrity, minding the gaps--and soiling your britches because you see a car in your rearview miror.

4/15/2007 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

Chapter 5: Information Economics

The Information Economy was a Ponzi scheme spiraling out of control. The investment bankers got rich slaving away, so they called in their tax accountants, who gt so rich filing government forms that they called their investment bankers back for advice about where to invest their surging wealth. The investment bankers were also miserable, so they called their therapists, who billed them by the hour to listen like a good friend and assure them the weren't crazy. They worked so hard they neglected their families, so many of which ended up in divorce, They called their divorce lawyers. The lawyers worked even harder thann the investment bankers and suffered phyiscal maladies that the doctors charged them ridiculous fees to attempt to cure. The doctors, worried about being sued by the lawyers, called their insurance brokers for malpractice coverage. The engineers built computer systems that helped all of them speed up this cycle so they could call and bill at a faster pace. The engineers that didn't build computers worked in the military industry at the request of the politicians, who were worried the Iranians might invade Florida. The politicians kept changing the laws so the lawyers could keep busy, and they kept changing the tax code so the accountants could keep busy, and they kept norrowing money to keep the investment bankers busy. This was the Third Law of Information Economics at work, and it was the way of the future. A young person could either go to college and become an expert and learnto play along, or he could work part-time answering phones for someone who had gone college and learned to play along. They all profited from the increasing disarry of the information glut. So many experts led to so many theories, and they needed an expert to sort them all out. They needed a gynecologist and an obstetrician and an ophthalmologist and an internist adn a dentist, as well as a dozen books on their ailments to make sure they weren't being ripped off. They needed a tax accountant and a stock broker and a personal banker and an insurance broker, plus a few business magazines to cover the bases. They needed a therapist and an aerobics class and several volunteer projects to assuage their guilt, as well as a stack of books beside their bed to help explain the unexplainable. Then, to stay up on it all, they needed the New York Times, the Maclaughlin Group, the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, the local daily, the local weekly, Morning Edition, and several insider newsletters to cover what the others had missed. Everyone needed each other, and it all went around faster and faster in the name of efficiency. Everyone in the economy worked the phones. Their many voices raised up into a frenetic, urgent pitch, the whir of the machinery of the mdoern economy. The sound wouldn't go away, so they grew to like it instead, and couldn't relax without knowing there was lots for them to do. For brief periods life grew more hopeful, which meant it was even more disappointing when the volatility failed to subside.

Bombardiers, Po Bronson

4/15/2007 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Ahistoricality said...

There are some blogging platforms that allow you to get an RSS feed of comments, but blogger is not one of them. So I check back once a week to see what I've missed. Love the Bronson quote, though it's basically a very funny failure to understand the evolution of a technological economy.

4/15/2007 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger TKM said...

The point is what you prefer.

4/15/2007 08:31:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

though it's basically a very funny failure to understand the evolution of a technological economy.

Guess I don't see that. He wasn't speculating, he was writing as things were. As he did them. Published in 1995, he's writing of events around the early 90s. Sounds pretty accurate to me. As far as technological evolution, pretty much the same just faster and more connected.

For a work of his of a more speculative nature, read The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest. Internet based applications. Stuff that was big news for a couple years, written off as impractible, but now coming back in vogue.

4/15/2007 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

tkm: I don't recognize the intials, are you new here? If so, I'm curious about how you got here.

Anyway, just asking questions. No actions promised or implied.

4/15/2007 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger XWL said...

Blogging by comments feels sort of like a secret little club.

But blogging by blogging can be good, too.

New blogger isn't so bad, it's just not old blogger.

4/16/2007 04:47:00 AM  
Blogger XWL said...

As far as your Amy Alkon comments, amen brother. Catching somebody doing something stupid behind the wheel doesn't mean they're that stupid all the time. Folks don't always do as they should, get over it. So far I haven't been in her rogues gallery, but Santa Monica's a small town.

She's lucky she's small. I think a larger person would seem more threatening acting that confrontationally, and might be greeted with the fight reflex rather than the flight or ignore response.

I've never understood folks fear of riding bikes in the street. Cars on the road are safe, it's the parked cars that you have to watch. But I've ridden all over LA, Riverside and San Bernardino counties on bicycle, and folks give you space (and the heavier the traffic the better, if the street is jammed, then you'll be the fastest person on the road).

4/16/2007 05:02:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

I'm a fan of John Forester's philosophy: Bicycle advocacy is not cycling advocacy.

I'd developed many of the habits taught by Effective Cycling before I'd ever heard of that system, so of course I think it's great. When my daughter gets older she's going through the program.

Love his page on Bicycle Politics
Anti-Motorists

For a wide variety of reasons, anti-motorists disapprove of private car motoring and want to reduce it. Anti-motorists are very similar to militant motorists and equally ignorant of cycling; they hold exactly the same beliefs regarding roads, motoring, and bicycles, except that the anti-motorists hate motoring instead of worshipping it. Anti-motorists advocate any mode of transport that is not motoring; since bicycling is the nearest competitor to motoring, they strenuously advocate bicycle transportation. Since they fear and hate motor traffic, they are even stronger advocates for bikeways than are the militant motorists, arguing that because motor traffic frightens cyclists from the roads, safe and wonderful bikeways are a prime part of their anti-motoring strategy.

Vehicular Cyclists, Pragmatic

The pragmatic group of vehicular cyclists uses a different strategy. They accept that cyclists have to operate in a motoring society, that the private automobile provides very useful flexibility in transportation, and that most things done for motorists are also good for cyclists. They consider the problem to be, how best should cyclists be treated in a motoring society. In general, the answer is, for cyclists to act and be treated as drivers of vehicles. But since they recognize the general utility of private motor travel, they also recognize that bicycle transportation will be used by only two groups. The first is those who cannot drive a car and have little political power. The second is those who so enjoy cycling that the enjoyment repays the sacrifices in utility that they have made to use it. They recognize that vehicular cyclists will always be a minority group that is unable to acquire the political power to change the societal and governmental views of cycling through political action. On the other hand, technological knowledge supports vehicular cycling on roadways and contradicts incompetent cycling on bikeways. Therefore, they are outspoken critics of the technological errors of the present governmental program and of the attitudes that allowed those errors to be made. Their aim is to discredit the system of incompetent cycling on bikeways, and advance the system of obeying the rules of the road for drivers of vehicles, in order to limit the anti-cyclist aspects of the present governmental program regarding bicycle transportation and to preserve their right to cycle properly and the facilities that encourage it.


Noncyclists think everyone who rides a bike wants bikeways. The truth is there's a very bloody difference of opinion and many cyclists hate "advocates" more than motorists. Yes, I'm raising my hand.

4/16/2007 06:57:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

I think a lot of the advocate thing, aside from plain ignorance, is defining oneself by identifying who you are not.

When I got my scooter I followed some local scooter groups for news, to see if anything was going on. Turns out--no surprise--they're just as bigoted as everyone else. Vespa riders think everyone else is inauthentic and I lost count of the number of people referring to motorists as "cagers." Can't anyone enjoy what they do without putting down another group?

But this is no difference from how most people practice their political beliefs. Much easier to explain your support of Candidate A by telling me why Candidate B sucks.

4/16/2007 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

Skipped a word, in bold:

The truth is there's a very bloody difference of opinion and many cyclists hate "advocates" more than motorists do

4/16/2007 07:08:00 AM  
Blogger XWL said...

Can't anyone enjoy what they do without putting down another group?

No.

Why?


(and unrelatedly, my favorite new toy)

4/16/2007 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

I'll assume by the brevity of your response that you recognized the rhetorical nature of the question.

4/16/2007 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

Shows the SoQuoted household recommends:

The Riches. Read Tim Goodman's article.

30 Rock. Funniest show on television.

Lost. Got the feeling we're in for a few episodes that might rival the best they've done.

Drive. Off to an interesting start, let's see where it goes.

Other shows we watch:

The Office.

Two and a Half Men.

4/16/2007 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

Movie soundtracks. Here's what I added:

Repoman and Something Wild are two of the finest collections of 80s music you can listen to.

Disney's original Jungle Book.

South Park. Also worth checking out is their student film, Cannibal: The Musical. Listen to the songs here. Get the DVD for the best director's commentary ever.

About a Boy, with a perfect soundtrack by Badly Drawn Boy.

4/16/2007 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Icepick said...

I'm not sold on Drive. They drove me batshit crazy last night. Repeat after me: THERE ARE NO FUCKING MOUNTIANS OR DESERTS IN FLORIDA! AND THE MOUNTAINS SURE AS FUCK DON'T COME OUT OF THE OCEAN!!!!

....

I'm not sure I can get past that. Also, Florida doesn't do front license plates, but every single show on television gets that one wrong, even some of the ones that have actually filmed in Florida.

4/16/2007 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

THERE ARE NO FUCKING MOUNTIANS OR DESERTS IN FLORIDA

Oops. Well, in my defense I missed the first 30 minutes and was distracted for large portions of the rest trying to convince the daughter that she was tired and needed to go to sleep. Interested me enough to watch again and it's always good to see Malcolm Reynolds. Though the Minear script had the distraction of sounding a bit too much like Reynolds.

Also, according to Google Maps, it's 561 miles from Cape Canaveral to Rome, GA; not the 480 the show told us. Going with their mileage, that's 6 hours if they average 80 MPH. If they don't hit rush hour.

Another question: just how many times can you hit a guy in the head with a wrench and a shovel, or otherwise knock him unconscious, before inflicting brain damage or death?

4/16/2007 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

It's been awhile since I've provided a Neal Stephenson quote, so here's one from Cryptonomicon. This is not meant as a commentary on today's events or to this discussion at Done With Mirrors. I just happened to pop open a chapter at lunch today and this is what I got. For background on Secret Admirers, read this FAQ by Neal Stephenson. Otherwise, I am not aware of a group that actually walks around with rifles to assert their rights.

In the lot of the 24 Jam, Mike or Mark has joined three other elvish-looking sorts in black cowboy hats and bandannas, whom Randy can identify based on the length and color of their ponytails and beards. There’s Stu, a Berkeley grad student who is somehow mixed up in Avi’s HEAP project, and Phil, who invented a major programming language a couple of years ago and goes helicopter-skiing in his spare time, and Craig, who knows everything there is to know about encrypted credit-card transactions on the Net and is a devotee of traditional Nipponese archery. Some of these guys are wearing long coats and some aren’t. There is a lot of Secret Admirers iconography: t-shirts bearing the number 56, which is a code for Yamamoto, or just pictures of Yamamoto himself, or big fat question marks. They are having an energetic and very happy conversation—though it looks a bit forced—because, to a man, they are carrying long weapons out in plain sight. One of them has a hunting rifle, and each of the others is slinging a rudimentary-looking gun with a banana clip sticking out of the side. Randy thinks, but is not sure, that these are HEAP guns.

This scene, not surprisingly, has caught the attention of the police, who have surrounded these four with squad cars, and who are standing at the ready with rifles and shotguns. It is an oddity of the law in many jurisdictions that, while carrying (say) a concealed one-shot .22 derringer requires a license, openly carrying (e.g.) a big game rifle is perfectly legal. Concealed weapons are outlawed or at least heavily regulated, and unconcealed ones are not. So a lot of Secret Admirers—who tend to be gun nuts—have taken to going around conspicuously armed as a way of pointing out the absurdity of those rules. Their point is this: who gives a shit about concealed weapons anyway, since they are only useful for defending oneself against assaults by petty criminals, which almost never happens? The real reason the Constitution provides for the right to bear arms is defending oneself against oppressive governments, and when it comes to that, your handgun is close to useless. So (according to these guys) if you are going to assert your right to keep and bear arms you should do it openly, by packing something really big.

4/16/2007 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

For some mindless entertainment, Fizzball is kind of fun.

4/16/2007 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

I call this one "triggered memory"

I'm reading along and I get to "Punishing someone for calling college women "whores...."

Whoa, head rush. University of Minnesota campus, on the patio in front of Northrup hall. It's spring, 1983; maybe '84, maybe '85, who knows? I caught his act a few times. There's this guy "preaching." Really working the crowd, and it's a big crowd. Quite the story-teller talking about going to Wis-con-SIN and the evils of rock and rollllll. I think he said he was saved at a Van Halen concert. The crowd played along and seemed to anticipate some of his bigger lines. Figured it was some theater group having some fun and I probably stood there for at least 30 minutes enjoying the show and I did think it was show. Turns out I was wrong, he was real and his job was preaching on campuses. Southern campuses in the winter, northern in the spring.

Maybe you've run across him: Brother Jed. He was also traveling with a woman by the name of Sister Cindy who claimed to be a born again virgin. Later, she and Jed would marry and have children, so I guess she got that taken clear of. Maybe it was Cindy who was saved at Van Halen.

Back to the head rush. I know longer remember the context, but Jed started going off on the U of M women. Many of whom, after a cold and brutal winter, enjoyed walking around on a nice spring day wearing fewer clothes than usual. I believe Brother Jed's quote was "I have more respect for the prostitutes downtown than I do for the young ladies here. At least they're getting something and not just giving it away for free."

I think he got a standing ovation for that one.

One that didn't go over so well was when a homeless man picked up a puppy out of his grocery cart (no, I am not making this up) and asked Jed if his dogs would go to heaven. Jed paused, then revealed "No, no dogs in heaven. Just people and white horses."

So, yeah. Guess I'm done with that memory. Couldn't tell you my cell phone number, but I remember Brother Jed from more than 20 years ago.

4/16/2007 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

Photodude updates his Dell buying experience. He's just fine sticking with XP:

In summary, from everything I’ve heard and read, I cannot figure out one substantive functional gain I would get from a new operating system that Microsoft spent six years creating. And that’s pretty stunning, when you think about it. No wonder Bill Gates is getting out.

As far as I can tell, buying into Vista gains you some new eye candy in the form of the “Aero” interface. To a guy who works mostly in a plain text environment or on photos from the real world, that doesn’t exactly make me giggle with excitement. You also buy into a hardware and software web of Digital Rights Management. But since I’ve never ever had any problems with managing my digital rights (have you?), I have to assume this “feature” is for the benefit of others. And you gain the protection of the now infamous User Account Control (“Cancel or Allow?”), at the cost of decreased productivity as you click pop-ups to authorize the simple action you just requested.

In addition, you apparently gain time to smell the roses or savor the coffee while you wait a few minutes for your Vista Experience to reboot. This is exactly the user experience a company trying to commit suicide would force upon both its vendors and customers.

...Barring disaster, the earliest I’ll be looking to replace this new system is likely in the spring of 2010. I’m betting something will have replaced Vista by then. One way or another.

Because if Vista is the future of Microsoft, Microsoft is now dead to me. And my wallet.


In the comments he adds: As I said, I truly think this dilemma was the reason Bill Gates finally said “I’m going to retire and go try to fix the Whole Darn World” (I mean, if you’re going to take on a gargantuan and likely impossible challenge, why not take on one that may save a few lives?). I’d like to think Microsoft is collectively smart enough to offer up a Service Pack or three for Vista that does the best they can to undo/limit the damage done, but otherwise devotes a Manhattan Project like effort into creating Vista’s successor, and a worthy one that will make up for this mess.

4/17/2007 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

The Macalope attacks:

**…but did also not warn against the potential for misuse when iPods are set as such.**

Also, nowhere on Apple’s web site does it say anything about how you should not throw a click-wheel iPod really, really hard at someone’s head or file a nano into a shiv and stab someone with it. Apple did at least put up a warning about not eating the original shuffle, though.

4/17/2007 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

Adopt a barrel of wine:

Our "orphan" barrels are looking for caring owners to sponsor them as they mature from babes into full grown wines. At $5,000 to $9,600 per barrel ($17 to $32 per bottle) it's a lot cheaper than raising another kid - and they don't talk back to you! If you don't see exactly what you're looking for, we're always up for blending (try that with a couple of kids).

4/17/2007 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

A Kurt Russell appreciation:

When asked why he hadn’t become a major movie star in the same league as Kevin Costner and Mel Gibson, Russell responded that maybe it was because he was more interested in story than character. While his work for John Carpenter certainly had character to spare, Russell has a more substantial career in roles where he provides a backbone for the action. Like Jeff Bridges, he’s able to give substantial performances that blend into the material. He's so good at it that he's damned with praise for being so “dependable" -- which is another way for saying that his work as the even-tempered boyfriend in Silkwood and the stoic, slow burning Wyatt Earp in Tombstone is so naturalistic that you forget he’s acting.

4/17/2007 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

Tony Bourdain reviews the Food Network Awards:

Do Emeril and Bobby--who, whatever you think of their shows--BUILT that fucking network, deserve to be pimped out with such casual disregard? Does anyone deserve to run the Gauntlet of Shame that was the "red carpet", forced to waddle past the California Raisins and Tony the Tiger and a bunch of other corporate Big Heads? The overmuscled fuckwit from DINNER SLIGHTLY DIFFICULT delivered the best line: something like "This is the greatest night "ever!" If that was his greatest night ever, I suspect he would say the same thing while being publicly butt-slammed by the San Diego Chicken.

Enjoyable rants aside, I've never understood the Rachel Ray hate. She may not be a sanctioned chef, something she's never hidden, but she can cook. A lot of her 30 minute recipes require some real kitchen skills to complete in time and they use fresh ingredients and are actually tasty. Not her fault she's perky and popular.

4/17/2007 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

Tuesday Trivia 42

1. Kim Jong-Il
2. Doug? correct answer.
3. Dallas? Nope.
4. Sherman? Get a shave you hippy freak.
5. Whiskers
6. They have names? I suppose it would be bad form to go look at the box. Let's just list the 7 Dwarfs and pick one. Sneezy, Sleepy, Grumpy, Doc, Bashful, Happy, and Achondroplasia. I'll go with Happy for the alliteration. Luckily I assumed he was referring to the Disney version of the Seven Dwarfs as these names are unique to his version of the story.
7. Not even a guess. Alright, one guess: food poisoning.

4/17/2007 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

At Slate.com, Isoroku Yamamoto, The poet who planned Pearl Harbor, Clive James:

Because Yamamoto died early, and because the ­English-­speaking gambler is such a sympathetic character, he tends to be enrolled in the ranks of those who would have seen reason and sought a sane way out. For those who hold that view, a close study of Yamamoto's face can be recommended. He knows your country well, admires its virtues, and doesn't even think he can prevail: But he wants to fight anyway.

Oh, look what I just found--another quote from Cryptonomicon:

Isoroku Yamamoto spent a lot of time playing poker with Yanks during his years in the States, smoking like a chimney to deaden the scent of their appalling aftershave. The Yanks are laughably rude and uncultured, of course; this hardly constitutes a sharp observation. Yamamoto, by contrast, attained some genuine insight as a side-effect of being robbed blind by Yanks at the poker table, realizing that the big freckled louts could be dreadfully cunning. Crude and stupid would be okay—perfectly understandable, in fact.

But crude and clever is intolerable; this is what makes those redheaded ape-men extra double super loathsome. Yamamoto is still trying to drill the notion into the heads of his partners in the big Nipponese scheme to conquer everything between Karachi and Denver. He wishes that they would get the message. A lot of the Navy men have been around the world a few times and seen it for themselves, but those Army guys have spent their careers mowing down Chinamen and raping their women and they honestly believe that the Americans are just the same except taller and smellier.


Another I need to pull off the shelf and grab some quotes from is Japan's Greatest Victory, Britain's Worst Defeat by Masanobu Tsuji. Planned Japan's invasion of southeast Asia and somehow evaded being charged with war crimes. It's been a few years since I last read this book, but I remember its unrepentent theme being "I can't believe we lost to these chickenshit assholes."

4/18/2007 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

ALERT! ALERT! Laura Love has a new CD: Negrass.

4/18/2007 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

Somewhere in the middle of page 2: Every now and then, we turn out a movie or two to keep middle America satisfied, while we continue our more important work of artistic debauchery and violence that hollows the country's moral core.

4/18/2007 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

Rent a jigsaw puzzles. Prices range from $40-$225, plus a $75 membership fee. You have 3 months to complete the puzzle.

4/18/2007 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

2 Nice Girls

Interview with Gretchen Phillips:

I have to ask about the Two Nice Girls recording of the Lou Reed song, "Sweet Jane (With Affection)"
Well, there was going to be a "Sweet Jane" contest in Austin at Liberty Lunch, where bands performed "Sweet Jane" and people, some voting body, voted on which was the best version, and I was away, working at Michigan Womyn's Festival at the time and Korn and Laurie said we want to do this, it will happen right when you return. And when they were working on "Sweet Jane" Korn noticed it was basically the same chords as Joan Armatrading's "Love & Affection," so they interwove them. So we performed and some other band won, although we won the popular vote, they won the official vote. And we actually were signed to Rough Trade on the strength of that song. Our manager at the time, Jim Fourat, played it for Geoff Travis and he fell in love and he signed us on that song. And we tried recording it in the studio a couple of different times and it never was as good as the version that people know, which was live, on KUT, a radio station in Austin. And Rough Trade was counting on this being the single, the breakout single for Two Nice Girls, and then two months prior Cowboy Junkies version of "Sweet Jane"…who knew that some Canadians were going to do an acoustic that was going to catch on to the degree that it did, and we were scooped, we were absolutely scooped by the Cowboy Junkies


Absolutely brilliant song and I only have it on vinyl. Lucky for us, I found a copy in someone else's vox. Go listen:

Sweet Jane (with Affection)

4/19/2007 06:32:00 AM  
Blogger Icepick said...

Bill, here's a question from out of the blue. My wife and I may travel to St. Augustine this weekend. Have any recommendations for good restaurants in the area?

4/19/2007 07:11:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

Sure. Let me double-check with the wife.

4/19/2007 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

Most of our dining is casual, so if you're looking for upscale I can offer a couple hints but no recommendations. The weird thing about St. Augustine is that I don't think it's a great place for seafood. Unless you like fried, particularly fried shrimp.

We spend most of our time on the island, so I'll start with St. Augustine Beach and Crescent Beach.

Gypsy Cab Co. is one of my favorites. Nice variety, good atmosphere, pretty much enjoyed anything we've had.

O'steen's if you like fried shrimp. My father-in-law could eat 3 meals a day here--he can even tell you the daily specials. Usually have to get my wife a couple of shrimp dinners when we visit. I don't eat shrimp and can't really recommend anything else on the menu.

Nalu's for yummy fish tacos. In front of the Surf Station, just past the alligator farm. Because the wait to get into O'Steens can be as much as an hour, The Wife will get takeout and we'll head about a mile down A1A to Nalu's so I can get tacos and we'll eat at the Nalu's picnic tables.

Saltwater Cowboys is pretty good. Same people also run Creekside Dinery which we loved the first time we ate there, but has been hit and miss since.

Conch House has tons of atmosphere, but feels a bit touristy. Food was ok and it does have my favorite bowl of Minorcan clam chowder.

South Beach Grill. Haven't eaten there, but they're affiliated with J.T.'s Seafood Shack, which we have eaten at. J.T.'s is excellent and I would suspect that South Beach is going to be good. Not quite sure why we haven't eaten at South Beach since it's about 30 minutes closer.

Jewel of the Sea sounds interesting. Doesn't sound real kid friendly, so I don't see us trying this for a while.

In the Old City

We're suckers for the Columbia Restaurant. Pretty much the definition of a factory kitchen for the tourists, a visit isn't complete without a 1905 salad, soup, and a Cuban sandwich. Sangria is pretty good. If going for dinner, make reservations.

Opus 39 is at the top of my list of places to go without The Child.

Pizzalley’s is nice for lunch.

San Sebastian Jazz Bar sounds nice.

A1A Aleworks. Used to love this place. Even called in sick one Friday just to drive down and eat their banana split. Then it turned crappy and unpleasant. Probably been about 7 years since we last ate their. It would be nice to hear they're good again.

DeNoel French Bakery. Get a map, find it, eat pastries, send me a thank you email.

Here's another source

4/19/2007 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Icepick said...

Thanks for the recommendations. The missus is kind of fixated on Saltwater Cowboy's, but perhaps I can interest her in some of the other places. How are the Napoleans at DeNoel's? I imagine that if we go (we haven't set our plans past early Sunday in Gainesville) we'll hit the bakery for a loaf of bread to snack on while walking around town.

Incidentally, casual is definitely what we're looking for this time. We rarely do upscale formal places, which is just as well. They either disappoint, or we end up never wanting to eat anywhere else. That would be okay if we were rich....

4/19/2007 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

Saltwater Cowboy's is nice. At the end of a deadend road overlooking the intercoastal. Beautiful at sunset. Get there early or expect to wait (no reservations; I think--you might want to call). If in the mood for seafood and a good view, I'd consider trying South Beach Grill (especially if you want to sit outside). Maybe another 15 minutes down the road from Saltwater.

Never had the Napoleans. Actually, the last visit (November) was the first time we stopped in. Either it's been closed or it's down a side street we forget to visit. Had a pastry and a slice of cake. It's now on permanent rotation.

If you're in the historic district and need a hot beverage, Rockin Bean served a nice latte.

Let me know what you try, especially if it's something not on the list. There are a bunch of places we'd like to try, but it's hard to fit in the favorites and try something new.

Oh yeah, if you plan to spend time in the historic district, use the parking deck. It's a Godsend. Otherwise parking is horrible and you have to run back to the car every hour to pump in more quarters.

4/19/2007 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

Update: O'Steens is closed Sundays and Mondays.

Make a note of it.

4/19/2007 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

Trinity?

4/19/2007 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger Icepick said...

I wondered about that too, Bill. I hope there's a juicy story behind that, or we'll have to make one up.

4/19/2007 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

My favorite trinities:

Cajun Holy Trinity

Carrie AnnE Moss

4/19/2007 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am.

4/19/2007 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger Icepick said...

"Yes, it is perfectly reasonable that Kirk had the know-how to make the gunpowder and put together the bazooka to defeat the Gorn. That's why he's the goddamn Captain."

LOL!

4/19/2007 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

Icepick, anything going on in St. Augustine or just hanging out?

map of art galleries, if you're into that kind of thing.

4/19/2007 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger Icepick said...

Something's going on in Gainesville, and we might make a side trip to SA.

4/19/2007 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

I had this idea for a webpage over 10 years ago. Should've done it then, but the idea that advertising and fast foodis a collusion of misrepresentation is neither original nor all that entertaining. Unless it's Michael Douglas in Falling Down, which was my original inspiration.

4/20/2007 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

Hacking the Superbowl:

"Listen, you'll do fine," said the criminal lawyer. "Just be careful, and keep your mouth shut."

"A minute ago I was going to be tasered by the housekeeping staff. Now I'm going to be fine? Make up your mind."

"I used to be in the military," laughed my lawyer. "I just know how they're going to be thinking."

"Really?" I asked. "What branch of the military?"

"Special operations."

"Wow."

"Canadian Forces."

"I take back the wow."

Note: I didn't really say this last part. The last thing I need is to be bumped off with a side of back bacon.


another quote:

"Stay in character," I told my crew, the Super Six, as we approached the security checkpoint. "But be honest with everything you say. You're working for my company, Media Shower, Inc. This is true. You're handing out additional audience lights for the Super Bowl halftime show. This is also true."

"Be honest," said Big Mike.

"Right. Use your real name, address, and phone number. We want this prank to be ethical. Also, it's easier to keep track of a truth than a lie, especially in the heat of a high-stakes prank."

Gallons of adrenaline were coursing through our veins as we slowed to a stop in front of a large LED sign reading SECURITY CHECKPOINT. We knew what to expect: FBI, CIA, ATF, Secret Service, police, bombsniffing dogs, and 3,000 uniformed security guards would be looking for people like us. We had rehearsed extensively for this moment, but urine was trickling down our legs as we approached the first gate.

4/20/2007 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

Good, I was having trouble keeping track of all these. A list of who’s to blame for the Virginia Tech massacre.

4/20/2007 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

From Tufte: Genealogy of Pop/Rock Music: The Classic Graphic by Reebee Garofalo

See other prints at History Shots.

4/20/2007 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

Dell brings back XP

4/20/2007 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

Update: discussion about how the superbowl prank story may be a prank

4/20/2007 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

change the pronouns for the candidate of your choice:

Oh, he may get weary
Candidates they do get weary
Repeating that same old shabby address
but when he gets weary
try a little tenderness

You know he's waiting
Just anticipating
The Job he'll never ever possess
No no no
But while he's bloviating
Try a little tenderness

It's not just sentimental, no no no no
He has his bullet points and cares
But the soft words
That are spoke so gently, yeah
It makes it easier, easier to bear

You wont regret it
Volunteer workers they don't forget it
Winning is their only happiness
Yeah yeah yeah
It's so so easy
Try a little tenderness
You know what I mean

But the marching orders
They are spoken so gently, yeah, yeah
It makes it easier, easier to bear

He may be weary
Candidates they do get weary
Repeating that same old shabby address
But when he gets weary
Try a little tenderness

4/20/2007 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

And sometimes the writer doesn't know as much as he thinks he knows:

On NBC's new series Thank God You're Here, an adaptation of the Australian improv-TV hit of the same name, low-grade celebrity guests—Tom Arnold, say—are given outlandish costumes and props (a chef's hat, an apron, a toilet plunger), shoved onto flimsy-looking sets (a fancy restaurant), and forced to respond to wacky scenarios they know nothing about (Tom Arnold: angry chef!).

For the record, back in Tom Arnold's early standup days, when his act was mostly eating goldfish on stage, he worked in a restaurant.

So suck it, overly snide Dan Kois.

Four additional points.

1. Yeah, the show is bad and Mr. Kois successfully discusses what is wrong with it.

2. this is the second time I've mentioned this about Tom Arnold. Incredibly redundant and a little sad. Yes, I worked at the same restaurant, but a different location and I never knew or met Tom.

3. Don't you just hate this kind of "not relevant to the point" nitpickery?

4. Jack McBrayer of 30 Rock is one of the best things on TV. Alec Baldwin rightfully garnered the initial attention for his brilliant work, just don't ignore Kenneth, one of the best sitcom characters of the last 200 years.

4/20/2007 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

Does qualify as gobsmackery? From Boortz

Fred Phelps [video, if you can stomach it], who, by the way, I strongly believe to be gay, has decided to bring his Westboro Baptist Church thugs --- you know, the people with the "God Hates Fags signs --- to Augusta, Georgia to demonstrate outside of the funeral of Ryan Clark, the resident advisor who was murdered at Virginia Tech this past Monday. If you have the stomach for it, you might want to click on this link to read a bit about this pathetic creature and his plans.

4/20/2007 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger XWL said...

Yes and No. Fred Phelps is beyond gobsmacking. He and his followers (how such idiots always manage to find followers is one of the strangest aspects of human nature), are outside my ken. I can't process even the concept of how stupid and heartless these people are. Therefore, they are beyond my ability to even smack my own gob.

(besides I try and limit my gobsmacking to just once a day, any more and it could lead to brain injury)

And as far as your other post. I thought that Lewis and Clark sitcom from about 190 years ago had one of the best breakout characters. That rapscallion "Cookie" character (real name never given) with his farting, incoherent speech, mostly toothless grin, and wiry physical comedy was the prototype for all "Cookie" characters to follow.

4/20/2007 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

Since it's Friday and I've already thrown one hissy fit this week on your blog, I'll concede Cookie and move Kenneth to the #2 spot.

4/20/2007 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

In the latest Cooks Illustrated email (and man, they send an annoying number of emails) is a recipe for pan-seared salmon:

1. Heat a 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet for 3 minutes over high heat. Sprinkle salmon with salt and ground black pepper.
2. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. When oil shimmers (but does not smoke) add fillets skin side down and cook, without moving fillets, until pan regains lost heat, about 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium-high; continue to cook until skin side is well browned and bottom half of fillets turns opaque, 4 1/2 minutes. Turn fillets and cook, without moving them, until they are no longer translucent on the exterior and are firm, but not hard, when gently squeezed: 3 minutes for medium-rare and 3 1/2 minutes for medium. Remove fillets from pan; let stand 1 minute. Pat with paper towel to absorb excess fat on surface, if desired. Serve immediately.


That's very simple, But I think I can simplify it just a touch more with the bonus of being less messy. You will miss out a bit on the browning and the maillard effect, otherwise it's pretty much the same. It so happens I cooked salmon last night under the broiler:

1. Turn broiler on high.
2. place aluminum foil in a sheet pan.
3. Spread some olive oil on the foil. Spread some olive oil on the salmon.
4. Sprinkle with kosher salt and ground black pepper.
5. Cook for 8-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the filets and your preferred doneness. For this I leave the oven rack in the middle instead of moving it to the broiler level.
6. Slide on a plate and throw away the foil.

To complete the 10 minute dinner, I microwaved a bag of fresh green beans for 3 minutes and tossed with kosher salt. I also nuked a bag of Uncle Ben's 90 second rice. Felt a little bad about using processed rice in a bag, but the rice cooker would've been another 10 minutes and we were already almost 2 hours late for dinner. Even had time to set the table and saute some shrimp for The Daughter while the salmon was broiling.

4/20/2007 03:19:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

I really feel guilty for never making my own salsa. Here's Cook's Illustrated 1-Minute Salsa::

This quick salsa can be made with either fresh or canned tomatoes, but if you're using fresh, make sure they are sweet, ripe, in-season tomatoes. If they aren't, canned tomatoes are a better choice.
INGREDIENTS

1/2 small jalapeño chile or 1/2 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
1/4 small red onion , peeled and root end removed
1 small clove garlic , minced or pressed
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 teaspoon table salt
pinch ground black pepper
2 teaspoons lime juice from 1 lime
2 small tomatoes (about 3/4 pound), ripe, each cored and cut into eighths, or one (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

Pulse all ingredients except tomatoes in food processor until minced, about five 1-second pulses, scraping sides of bowl as necessary. Add tomatoes and pulse until roughly chopped, about two 1-second pulses.

To Make Ahead:
The salsa can be refrigerated, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 2 days. Season with additional lime juice and salt before serving.

4/20/2007 03:35:00 PM  

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