Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Judge Dredd at Christmas

Housebreaking - twenty years, creep!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Neil Tennant reviews Prince in 1982

Neil Tennant, Smash Hits, December 09, 1982 - p.26:

Dance, sex, romance: these are Prince's themes. He makes an effort to be sultry, sexy and streetwise amid a barrage of synthesizers, electronic burps and crashes but comes across as more of a Black American Gary Glitter (and that's a compliment in my book). The best song here, however, is the title track when war is his theme and the cries of "Paaartee !" take on an unsettling irony : "Life is just a party and parties weren't meant to last".

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Chocolate Consumption vs. Number of Nobel Prizes

Correlation between Countries' Annual Per Capita Chocolate Consumption and the Number of Nobel Laureates per 10 Million Population. Paper is here. Chocolate consumption enhances cognitive function, which is a sine qua non for winning the Nobel Prize, and it closely correlates with the number of Nobel laureates in each country.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Two science fiction books set in my past

While I was on vacation this Summer I read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Bryan's quick review summarized it nicely like this:

Ready Player One is somewhere at the intersection of science fantasy, nerd humor, and romance. It's full of jokes and puzzles and references to classic elements of the 80's
The book is full of action and adventure. The author is good at describing the games which are an essential part of the plot. The author's style actually reminded me quite a bit of my friend Conor Kostick's books, which also have a strong relation to video games (read a sample chapter of one of his books here). Overall this was a perfect holiday read.
One quibble I had was that I didn't really believe in the version of the 80's that the book celebrates. Everything seemed monochromatic and limited. In my 80's we might have secretly liked Rush but most of the other music mentioned in the book is rubbish.

I mention this mostly because I found 1979 in Among Others by Jo Walton to be entirely convincing. This beautifully written book has already won the British Fantasy award for best novel, the Hugo and the Nebula and deserves them all. There is a nice interview with Jo Walton in the Guardian but I recommend you read Among Others before you read that. I was pleased to agree with Mori (the protagonist) that in 1979 I found the cover of Glory Road to be embarrassing.

So what didn't I believe in Among Others? The only thing was when Mori comes across the Stephen Donaldson book with the famous blurb from The Washington Post; 'Comparable to Tolkien at his best...' and knows that as the implication cannot be true she will ignore the book. I wish I had done similarly.

So... Ready Player One is good but Among Others is great.

Republicans attack Democratic candidate for State Senate in Maine for playing World of Warcraft

See here for the details of how she plays an "orc assassination rogue".

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Happy Birthday BART!

September 11 is also BART's birthday. BART is 40 years old. As you can see there was once a time when Republicans were actually allowed to use public transit systems (and visit Oakland).

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wolves on BART

I saw this great advertising poster encouraging reading on BART today. This one features Call of the Wild.

The paintings are by Owen Smith. There are two more: Joy Luck Club

The Maltese Falcon.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Monday, May 14, 2012

Friday, April 27, 2012

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Louis le Brocquy

Irish Times: 1, 2, 3.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Raymond Aubrac

French resistance hero Raymond Aubrac dies aged 97. Obituaries: NYT, Guardian. Both of these end with the same quote:

In an interview in Le Monde in March last year, Aubrac said the decision he was most proud of was choosing his partner. "You know," he said, "in life there are only three or four fundamental decisions to make. The rest is just luck."

(And the Philip K Dick articles also on the front page of Liberation are here and here, in French of course).

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Gangs and Cupcakes

Mission: Gangs and Cupcakes, by Danya Al-Saleh shows how the Mission mixes things up.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Monday, March 12, 2012

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Underwater Dogs

Incredible photos of underwater dogs (go to the link and click on the thumbnails to the right).

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Return of the Brunch at Ananda Fuara

We thought the Ananda Fuara Sunday brunch had been permanently lost to the annals of history; their wholegrain pancakes and homefries were hardly unique to brunches in SF, but it was veggie, and not so crowded, and a comforting place to go on Sunday. We've been going there since we started going out together! They took a three- or four-year break from Sundays. Their brunch is back, and they appear to have gotten ambitious. Gone are the mix-n-match combos of wholesome-sounding fare that could have been found in any year from 1970 to 2000. Now they offer dishes that are finished, much more refined-sounding, with some fashion-flavors thrown in, and some twentieth-century standards veganized. We ordered Sausage Benedict, Orange Blossom French Toast, and Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. First came the coffee, and the Rose Lassi. The sipper said: “You can taste the yogurt sourness. The rose water flavor is strong. I like it to be very strong. It’s more enjoyable.” There were visible flecks of cardamom, another flavor note that didn’t overpower and added depth. The coffee was good in strength and flavor, and fresh. (No sign of the hazelnut flavored coffee, as of old at AF; no loss I say.) The food came, and was prettily presented. The french toast was unfortunately barely shy of burned, and that was a real knock off the total experience. “A little bitter,” said the diner. Otherwise, the dish was good. The bananas were cooked and soft, but maybe not as nicely caramelized as the menu would lead you into thinking. The maple syrup was applied beforehand, rather than served in a cup for you to douse the dish as you please. The ricotta pancakes were excellent: the cheese does a nice job of tenderizing the pancake, and adding a slight sourness and substance. The maple syrup came in a cup, but the diner didn’t use it all. The raspberry sauce proved to be a really tasty addition, tart and flavorful, and a good foil for the pancakes. A few fresh raspberries were nice. A few more might have been welcome, but the diner didn’t even finish the ones given. “Better than the pancakes they used to serve,” he said to sum up. The sausage benedict showed a clear effort toward perfection (photo at top): The hollandaise was lemony and smooth, the eggs were poached very nicely (no loose white, the barest layer of cooked yolk) the sausage (veggie of course) was crisped beautifully outside, chewy but not dry inside, and a good flavor—imitating the meat experience without falling outside the bounds of real food and into mystery-processed food-product land. The diner liked it, and she is no fan of flesh-imitating food stuffs. However, the sauce was too thinly laid on. There was no puddle left toward the end into which the diner could smear the last bite of muffin! Also, they chose margarine instead of butter for spreading on the English muffin, which was a mistake not worth the penny in savings. The potatoes with the benedict were as close to perfect as could be imagined: not overcooked to start, toasty crisp on all sides, just salted enough, and no nasty blackened bits adhering to them. In fact, there was something a little eerie about potatoes all that uniformly cooked and sized: one pictures the cook picking off the dark bits, and removing the too-small or too-big pieces, and otherwise fussing in a way one doesn’t usually associate with something as homey as a pile of … homefries! Still, they were good eating. The little bit of salad on the plate was a welcome foil. Glad to see their signature julienne beets and carrots. At least some things are the same old Ananda Fuara. Some let down in service: no coffee refills, not quite there on the water refills, and the scrambled eggs that were ordered with the pancakes had to be asked for after they had brought our food. The service has always been earnest but often unprofessional, being the work of devotees rather than resting actors. I always liked this, but sometimes it means prompting. The up side is they don’t hover, which irritates more than one person in our party. The scrambled eggs were very good, when they came: well cooked with just a film of liquid egg inside. We look forward to returning and trying almost everything on the menu—huevos, omelets, scrambled tofu, crepes, gingerbread pancakes. Ananda Fuara, Sunday Brunch, 9am-3pm, NE corner of 9th St and Market. 415*621*1994

Thursday, January 26, 2012

2 Lady Gaga covers for Elle UK and China

It looks like these are from the same photo shoot.

ETA: also Elle Indonesia

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Le Freak by Nile Rodgers

You can keep your Jeff Becks, Steve Vais and Jimmy Pages if I can keep Nile Rodgers. I enjoyed Nile's book about his trip life and music. There are three acts. Act 1 is his incredibly hardscrabble upbringing. Skip a paragraph and you'll miss Nile being shipped off to a different female relative on a different coast with a different unreliable male. Act 2 is success with Chic and later as a record producer for Diana Ross, David Bowie and Madonna. This part is the most fun with a few gossipy stories. If you skip the drug stories it all speeds along merrily. Act 3 is addiction and redemption. Nile is inspired to get clean when he hears that Keef has done it. Inevitably as soon as he gets out of rehab the first call he gets is from Keef looking for drugs.

We don't hear as much as I would like about Bernard Edwards. Nard is there at the beginning of the success story, and his death (almost) concludes the book but in between we don't really get to know him.

So this is pretty decent book by a great musician. The Red Hot Chili Peppers may be in in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame while Chic are not, but I won't be reading any books by them.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

It has been days since I posted a picture of an actress or model channeling David Bowie

Of course some say Tilda Swinton is always channeling David Bowie