What I learned today

Discovered while researching French cooking terms. This is useful, too.

Ecstatic poem, annotated, call-and-response

Via rejectamentalist manifesto.

My phone just buzzed

“I just don’t understand”

Robert Fitzpatrick, retired transit worker, apocalypse evangelist, author of The Doomsday Code: God Is Warning Us Through the Bible, riding back home to Staten Island yesterday evening.

Consolidation in the baking aisle

To look at these tins of baking powder, one might imagine three very different brands. Indeed, their designs reference three distinct origin stories and each has its regional loyalists. Their contents, however, are all manufactured in an aging Terre Haute, Indiana, factory owned by Hulman & Co.

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The Flea Marketing of New York

“I’m always amazed by these groups of cool young people, wandering around, looking for stuff, and I think, ‘If you didn’t have this venue, your performance of yourself wouldn’t be as complete,’ ” Professor Prokopow said. He described the phenomenon as “I have something that no one else has. I was different before I got this fantastic blank, but now my differentness is borne on my shoulders.”

The New York Times looks at nostalgia, self-curation, and the city’s flea market moment.


Go into the kitchen of a Taco Bell today, and you’ll find a strong counterargument to any notion that the U.S. has lost its manufacturing edge. Every Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King is a little factory, with a manager who oversees three dozen workers, devises schedules and shifts, keeps track of inventory and the supply chain, supervises an assembly line churning out a quality-controlled, high-volume product, and takes in revenue of $1 million to $3 million a year, all with customers who show up at the front end of the factory at all hours of the day to buy the product. Taco Bell Chief Executive Officer Greg Creed, a veteran of the detergents and personal products division of Unilever, puts it this way: “I think at Unilever, we had five factories. Well, at Taco Bell today I’ve got 6,000 factories, many of them running 24 hours a day.”

It’s as if the great advances of human civilization, in everything from animal husbandry to mathematics to architecture to manufacturing to information technology, have all crescendoed with the Crunchwrap Supreme, delivered via the pick-up window.

Via Businessweek.

A zero-star review

Our servant glides past and does a silent-movie double take. “Your snails!” he exclaims. “They have not come!” His cheeks bulge as he flaps his short arms. In all my years of professional eating, I have never seen this before. I have seen waiters do many, many things, including burst into tears and juggle knives, and I once glimpsed one having sex. But never, ever has a waiter commiserated with me about the lack of service.

Twenty minutes later, possibly under their own steam, the snails arrive.

Lovecraft in Brooklyn

The back stories behind John Darnielle’s songs are often as interesting as the music itself….

American horror icon H.P. Lovecraft moved to Red Hook, Brooklyn to be with the woman he loved. He had never really seen any people who were not white folks from Massachusetts. Immigrants were spilling into Brooklyn from the four corners of the globe. Lovecraft’s xenophobia during his time in Brooklyn resulted in some of the weirdest, darkest images in all American literature. One must condemn Lovecraft’s ugly racism, of course, but his not-unrelated inclination toward a general suspicion of anything that’s alive is pretty fertile ground.

As seen in these fantastic cartoon liner notes.

Chicken on a plate

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The Apotheosis of Brunch

With word starting to leak about the two-person, once-a-week brunch at Williamsburg butcher shop The Meat Hook, it’s no wonder it’s booked up until mid-year 2011. The $50 rezzie covers a marathon brunch for two, drinks included, with the caveat that the dishes keep coming till they get back an unfinished plate….Part ultra-exclusive meal, part psychological experiment and part hipster prank, it’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And by that, not only do we mean that it’s unique, but also that we’re not sure we’d ever do it again.

Via Zagat.

Extra, extra!

Tin Man arrested in Times Square screwdriver stabbing.

My one-hit wonders

I’m not sure whether to blame my short attention span or the artists’ oeuvre: today I came across two new musicians by listening to, apparently, their only good song (rather, the song that I like).

Aloe Blacc – “I Need a Dollar”
[http://www.fortunyfamily.com/pillows/Aloe Blacc - 2010 - I Need A Dollar.mp3]

Francis and the Lights – “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” (a Kanye West cover!)

And then I woke up

Last night, Andrew Simone and I had to dispose of a body. We did a pretty good job of it, burying the corpse next to a fence and covering it with railroad ties. I wrote about our accomplishment on Clusterflock, before realizing that our real names were attached to the post and might tip off the authorities. (Do cops read Clusterflock?)

After discovering that I couldn’t delete the post, there were frantic emails to Deron all night, asking him to remove it for me. Or change the author to Christopher Walken.

If you see something, say something


6-year-old girl: Mom, what does that [automated bus announcement] mean “You are the eyes of New York”?

Mom: Well, it means we should look out for anything dangerous. Like an unattended package left somewhere.

7-year-old girl: Well…I see something dangerous…

Mom: Oh?

7-year-old: Snow! Someone could slip in it.

6-year-old: I see something dangerous–a bus! It could hit someone.

7-year-old: I see something dangerous–a tree! It could fall down.

7-year-old: Mom, I see something really dangerous…

Mom: What.

7-year-old: Cardboard in the street!

6-year-old: Someone could trip on it.

7-year-old: (Singing) “Cardboard in the street! Cardboard in the street! Nothing more dangerous than cardboard in the street!”

Lady Gaga, pianist

I had no idea.    (via Lex A)

On the death of newspapers

Whatever I may say in the rant that follows, I do not believe the decline of newspapers has been the result solely of computer technology or the Internet. The forces working against the newspaper are probably as varied and forgone as the Model-T Ford and the birth control pill. We like to say that the invention of the internal-combustion engine changed us, changed the way we live. In truth, we built the Model-T Ford because we had changed; we wanted to remake the world to accommodate our restlessness. We might now say: Newspapers will be lost because technology will force us to acquire information in new ways. In that case, who will tell us what it means to live as citizens of Seattle or Denver or Ann Arbor? The truth is we no longer want to live in Seattle or Denver or Ann Arbor. Our inclination has led us to invent a digital cosmopolitanism that begins and ends with “I.” Careening down Geary Boulevard on the 38 bus, I can talk to my dear Auntie in Delhi or I can view snapshots of my cousin’s wedding in Recife or I can listen to girl punk from Glasgow. The cost of my cyber-urban experience is disconnection from body, from presence, from city.

Richard Rodriguez in this month’s Harper’s Magazine [subscription required]

In the news

Moscow, Russia (CNN) — A bear on ice skates attacked two people during rehearsals at a circus in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, killing one of them, Kyrgyz officials said Friday.

It is unclear what caused the bear to attack Potapov, 25, …

Quote out of context

A harried coworker runs up to me:

Do you want to be the doer or the thing?!

It was warmer, and remarkably easier to talk

Coney Island

Coney Island, New York

The Puppini Sisters – Crazy In Love

Art on the roof

Emanuele Sferruzza Moszkowicz

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Quote out of context

At the end of the very last day, I told myself that Ansel Adams would have rented a helicopter.

Annie Leibovitz, on finding the correct spot to photograph Monument Valley. (A Photographer’s Life, 1990-2005)

Where’s the moon?

This morning on the 2 train, a large white-haired man boarded in downtown Brooklyn, wearing overalls and a hat covered with all manner of buttons, clutching a worn, wrinkled photocopy. As the train started to move, he sat up straight, held the paper aloft, and began reciting the following to the assembled commuters, in the sing-song tone of a storyteller or a town cryer. This continued until I exited the train, a few stops later, and has been playing in my head for the better part of the day.

Where’s the moon, where’s the moon?
Where’s the moon, where’s the moon?

The globe in Columbus Circle–that’s the Earth.
The moon’s on 63rd Street West;
It’s a simple test
Of spacial reality.

How well did you do?

Where’s the moon, where’s the moon?
Where’s the moon, where’s the moon…?

the clusterflock store

The apartment is also the headquarters of a glossy fashion and literary magazine called Dossier, a biannual that Ms. Parrott founded and runs with her business partner Katherine Krause…

The tiny store on the garden level is run by Ms. Krause and Ms. Parrott… It is named for the magazine and is, in a sense, its incarnation as a retail establishment…

“The store is the magazine that doesn’t get published,” Mr. Friedman said.

A great idea. What would be in the clusterflock store?

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