February 28, 2008

All the Food thats Fit to Eat

We currently find ourselves living in a city in which the most consistently reliable food comes out of our own kitchen - which isn't saying all that much about our own cooking abilities but is saying a mouthful about the restaurant scene in these parts.  Trips out of town are, regardless of their original impetus, always seen as a chance to partake of a dining experience hopefully more elevated than our favorite taco-truck - of which in fairness I must say that we are blessed in both abundance and quality.  So with a trip to New Orleans on the horizon I'm already casting about for interesting places to eat, which as you might imagine is not difficult to find in the Big Easy.  I came across two more in The New York times this morning (yesterday's print edition actually, as I'm trying to go analog for breakfast these days) in a piece by Frank Bruni on the ten best new restaurants in the nation and I'm wondering if anyone has tried either or has an opinion, or heck even other suggestions.  The first is Cochon, (how great is that logo) which he hasn't reviewed yet (its one of those multi-week dealies) and the other is Luke, which didn't make the cut but made the initial fifteen he was checking out.

While not in the cards for this trip, his number nine restaurant was Tilth in Seattle.  Whom I appreciate from a distance already for their blog, their great looking house-of-a-restaurant,
their slightly insider farmer friendly name, their emphasis on local food production and last but certainly not least posting their reputedly delicious hot chocolate recipe.

PEPFAR: Makin' it rain?

Via the FP Passport blog (by the by, if you aren't reading a general global news blog already, the folks at FP do as good a job as anybody out there with equal measures of humor and insight) - it appears that congress is looking at both expanding and amending PEPFAR - increases of funds to $50 billion and loosening of some of those cumbersome abstinence requirements, which as the article points out were never as ennobled as their supporters liked to claim or as restrictive as their detractors liked to bemoan.  Like most projects of its ilk, PEPFAR has an equal number of proponents and detractors and there are all kinds of ways to splice the numbers as to how much "aid" is actually getting where and whether or not its actually an increase, etc., etc., etc. - I won't go into that here.  Point being, Bush is obviously thinking legacy and looking everywhere except Iraq, and if that means he starts pushing the HIV/AIDS agenda then who am I to complain - I know a number of individuals and organizations that have directly benefitted from PEPFAR, by which I mean they have been able to keep the lights on and the doors open as they minister to those suffering with HIV/AIDS so hopefully this will push through.  This, however, will probably still be true.

Blind Irishman sees with the aid of son's tooth in his eye

You know you're pushing the envelope of surgical practices when you can't pull up Wikipedia to find out what's going to happen when you go under the knife.  Who comes up with this initially?

Image from this Singapore government website which is interesting in and of itself, is that supposed to be blood scattered all over the page?

February 26, 2008

Taxonomical Conundrums

Update: Glimmer?  Some thoughts from Chris Blattman.

I'm having trouble figuring out who is the hippo and who is the cheetah in Kenya right now.  I'm baffled as to why this hasn't been worked out yet, baffled and disappointed.

Who the Deuce Can Parleyvous a Cow?

[I'm not a big embedded audio fan but we'll give it a whirl, feel free to push play and listen while you read]

I've had an Andrew Bird song running around in my head for a week or two. Its off his new EP, Soldier On, that he released on his European tour stint. There are some really good tunes on this short collection but the song in question here is his rendition of "How You Gonna Keep Em Down on the Farm." Bird originally recorded it for the Janet Reno helmed compilation Song of America but also released it on Soldier On.

The song was originally penned back in 1919 by Walter Donaldson, Sam M. Lewis, and Joe Young and in its original form was a much more upbeat affair than what Bird gives us here. It makes an appearance in the Judy Garland, Gene Kelly film Me and My Gal which is set in the context of the war that was drawing to a close when it was penned rather than the one which was ongoing when it was filmed, but which certainly provided it with new inspiration. Despite its original upbeat lilt the song's lyrics are maudlin at best - and that is how Bird plays it, and makes it more so with a few tweaks in the lyrics - and you can feel the very real apprehension of a mother and father somewhere in the mid-west feverishly expecting their son to return home from the front lines and with equal fervor fearing that the cornfields are never going to have the allure that "Paree" had (or Detroit, Chicago, New York, Boston, etc., etc., etc.,) - and they were ultimately right.

So, give it a listen above, or if you are so inclined I have it on good authority that it can be found for download here.

Also, your going to want to check out this mashup of another Bird track off of Soldier On, The Trees Were Mistaken, with the Youngbloodz tune Presidential - how great is that photoshop!

February 21, 2008

"They're in a really bad situation there in Africa."

Translation of the Day

“Numbers no longer shock people,” he said. Zimbabweans have learned to live in a hyperinflationary environment, he added, “but the question is, how long can this continue?”

Translation: There is a point well before the rate of inflation rises above 100,000 percent at which it just doesn't matter anymore.

This makes me very sad and I can't see how it is going to get better any time soon - there are large parts of the rural areas which are essentially operating wholly on a barter economy - and unfortunately there doesn't seem to be much reason for optimism about the upcoming elections. I had the pleasure of spending a good bit of time in Zimbabwe while living in a neighboring country and it is a beautiful land full of beautiful, intelligent, optimistic people who deserve far more from their leaders than they have been receiving for quite some time.


Does the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have a philanthropoly on global health development? The Economist poses that question (more or less) in this piece centering around malaria research. (By the way, don't you imagine that there are an innumerable amount of slightly awkward photos of Bill and Melinda like the one accompanying this story.)

* Yes, I did just coin that word so be sure you reference accordingly boys and girls.

February 14, 2008

To Be or Not To Be, Redux

Can't imagine seeing this as a kid, would have thoroughly freaked me out.


Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Coloring Me Excited

The first trailer is up and its quieting some doubts and making me hopeful . . . "I thought it was closer" - classic Indie!

February 11, 2008

Like Hope, But Different

This is one of the many reasons I love the internet, and should in all honesty turn it off if I hope to get any work done from home. Obviously its a rift on the now ubiquitous will.i.am, Yes We Can viral video (which besides being a nice bit of editing doesn't really appeal to me as I'm not especially prone to the logical fallacy of an appeal to authority), but obviously made by some "average joe" and his friends. Regardless of which way the politics in these things skews I love that the internet provides a forum for them to be distributed.

Also still funny.

February 6, 2008

Second Skin

For a variety of reasons I never started playing MMORPG's. A turn of events which for all practical purposes I must admit has been undoubtedly extremely good for virtually every area of my life and whatever small amounts of growth and development I have managed to piece together over the past five to six years. Because, I am quite certain that I would become very quickly and extremely hopelessly addicted if I ever started to play one of them. The closest I've ever come is a couple years ago over the Christmas holidays when my brother and I snagged one of those $1.99 trial versions of World of Warcraft just to see what it was like . . . . oh boy, we came very close to some sort of disturbing "how the paladin stole Christmas" or something because for a few days/nights there we didn't do much else. And of course, like every male around my age I know (of) people who are hopelessly addicted to one of this breed of game to the dire detriment of their marriages, relationships, jobs, health, etc. But even with all of that I am incredibly interested in these games - in how they work, in who plays them, in how you play them, in experiencing them, in getting immersed in them and all their wonderfully intoxicating seemingly endless minutiae. So, while I'm still determined to steer clear of their sirens song (although my brother and I have made an agreement that once (or maybe if) we get established into some sort of respective profession and find ourselves there for at least four years we'll join up and see what happens) I am very interested to see the forthcoming Second Skin which tells the story of seven gamers who have not only been lured in by the song but are themselves now singing along. From the trailer it looks to be a pretty balanced, fair, humane treatment of the subject and the individuals (the stereotypes have been done ad nauseum) and who knows maybe it will convince me to take a pass after all.

February 5, 2008

"It's not the years, its the mileage"

I love the Indiana Jones films, they have for me always been more fun to watch and rewatch than the Star Wars films that positioned Harrison Ford to be Indie - I've always been more interested in the mysteries of the past than the possibilities of the future. So, while I'm excited about the forthcoming Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull I'm also a bit nervous, I mean, its been 19 years since The Last Crusade - a period of time which the new film will supposedly take into account by setting itself in the early 50's and swapping out nazi's for commies as the bad guys - and while Sean Connery fessed up to being too old to have another go around as Indie's dad, Harrison is hopefully still spry enough to pull it off convincingly. Also, Shia LeBeouf . . . . i don't get it? However, it will be nice to see Marion Ravenwood again. So, cross your fingers and brush up on your crystal skull (who knew it was so pervasive in pop culture) knowledge before May 22.

PS - While I think I knew it existed, why have I never seen this.