# 01 Dec 2004, 05:26PM: Geeks:
Once upon a time I thought I would write a CES entry entitled "A Thousand Voices: Augury and sympathetic magic". But I have no idea why I would have done that or what topic I'd have covered. So instead I'll tell you that tonight Salon will publish an article I wrote about TV chefs Alton Brown and Christopher Kimball. For all I know it is not actually good, but people have told me it is good, so probably it is not awful. I'll post a link tonight or tomorrow.
While you are waiting for that, you might want to read Josh Kornbluth on Ben Franklin.
# 02 Dec 2004, 08:47AM: Includes A Link To Wikipedia!:
My third article in Salon and the only one that talks about Leonard the whole time.
It's worth it to read a Cook's Illustrated, even if, like me, you seldom cook. The articles read as very accessible lab reports, with hypotheses, trials and errors, and conclusions (recipes). I find them much more useful than yet another three-recipe column that begins, "While staying in a small hotel in Tuscany ..." and extols the virtues of fresh, seasonal ingredients but doesn't teach any skills or methodology.
If I could write this article over again, I would include more carping about food safety, more evangelism about teaching first principles rather than just recipes, more examples, and less cutesiness. But half a loaf is better than none.
Thanks to Kerry Lauerman and Amy Reiter for improving my piece a heck of a lot.
# 02 Dec 2004, 09:57AM: Spilling the Beans (Into the Soaking Water):
An incredibly funny Good Eats moment: "Okay, they won't explode."
# 03 Dec 2004, 10:54AM: Unitarians Be Walkin' Down The Street Like This:
Instant Messaging with Leonard about religion:
Sumana: I found out why they don't take vows and oaths
Sumana: no, Quakers
Sumana: no, UUs don't take oaths because they don't believe anything is true
# 03 Dec 2004, 08:48PM: In Progress:
My obsession with Malcolm Gladwell includes watching a 45-minute speech that he gave to Lucent and taking the Connector test from The Tipping Point.
# 06 Dec 2004, 01:30PM: Thanks, Professor Bishop:
I'm watching Atul Gawande talk about "The Imperfect Science of Medicine". Actually, I am listening to his speech to distract part of my brain from the boring boring customer service stuff so I can do it without having to take as many breaks.
Gawande refers to a woman as "measuring out her days in coffee spoons." I recognized it! I'm edumicated!
# 06 Dec 2004, 06:41PM: December 11th:
Yes, Will Franken's one-man shows at the Marsh take place at 11pm, when I sort of want to go to sleep. Oh well. This one is "Ohio! Ohio! Ohio! (You Can Say It Ten Times) And It Will Still Be There".
# 06 Dec 2004, 07:08PM: Aiee!:
Gordon Atkinson! (she squeals as though he is the Beatles)
# 08 Dec 2004, 06:07AM: Pineapple Whatever:
Dahlia Lithwick, a Slate writer,
covers the interstate wine-shipping case with panache.
Every piece about these consolidated cases starts with the reporter going off to some exotic mom-and-pop winery in some state that isn't Michigan and proceeding to get loaded with the mom-or-pop vintner, who is desolate about their inability to sell $4,000 Shiraz over the Internet. Stupidly, I completely forgot to write that story.
# 08 Dec 2004, 07:58AM: Lessons From Web Publishing:
People who are used to the paper model of periodicals worry about missing an issue of Salon. I take an effort to mention our archives if I sense that a reader is in that category.
People who are not used to blogs and discussion message boards get confused when Salon links to Table Talk, Scott Rosenberg's blog, the War Room, etc. I think I've given my "a blog is like a diary" speech twice to Salon readers.
# 08 Dec 2004, 10:35AM:
Why can't I photosynthesize? Why?
# 08 Dec 2004, 05:41PM: White Shirt - No Marinara, Please:
I feel drained after a day of meetings. There is a party later where others may attempt to get me sauced. Evidently I am pasta.
# 10 Dec 2004, 10:20AM: I Miss Michael Rogin:
First John-Paul Spiro got me to see Kinsey and now he is making me want to see The Incredibles.
# 10 Dec 2004, 01:13PM GMT+5:30: Media Matters:
Tim Goodman turned me on to Arrested Development and it is awesome and I love it. Even Leonard likes it. Something aside from The West Wing and Star Trek that I can watch with Leonard! It is so great.
Currently reading Middlemarch by George Eliot, which is also fantastic, detailed and observant.
# 10 Dec 2004, 07:45PM: Sorry, Sophomore English Teachers:
To Kill A Mockingbird, a Flash movie that tops all other book reports.
# 13 Dec 2004, 12:03PM: Continuity!:
# 13 Dec 2004, 05:00PM: TeeVee:
Leonard and I watched recorded episodes of House, M.D. last night. Hugh Laurie affects a grumpy US accent; otherwise I'd probably deem it trash. As it is I'm calling it my "guilty pleasure" because otherwise I have to come up with a rationale for wasting 44 minutes of my life on bad medical mystery.
Leonard and I also watched The Offspring, a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode. (Data, alone among NextGen crewmembers, cares/knows about India; he names his daughter "Lal", or "Beloved," and notes that Data's Day takes place during Deepawali.) The third-to-last scene set us bawling. So sad!
# 15 Dec 2004, 01:10PM: Delicious Dioxin:
I need to update my menstruation products compare-and-contrast with new evidence (I first wrote it in April of 2002). In particular, perhaps I should research the "dioxin in tampons using bleached cotton" rumors. What reminds me of this? Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko's dioxin poisoning.
Dioxin, which settles in the body fat, lasts a long time in the body. Eliminating it quickly from Yushchenko's body would likely reduce his chances of long-term ill health. One possibility is a couple of courses of liposuction, a procedure that sucks the fat out of the body.
Another option being discussed by scientists is the use of olestra, a fake fat substance used in diet food that could act as a magnet to draw the poison out of the body fat into the gut for elimination. The technique has been proposed before for the elimination of other fat-soluble pollutants.
# 15 Dec 2004, 06:09PM: Egg/Cookie Redux:
Advance tickets to the Egg/Cookie show are available and relatively cheap, and the show is fun. It's returning in January and February of 2005.
# 16 Dec 2004, 04:32PM: Aside From Saints, Psychopaths, And Children:
We're also living in fear.
# 17 Dec 2004, 11:01AM GMT+5:30: Metahumor Discovery:
I have probably 150 Amar Chitra Katha ("immortal picture stories") comic books, and have been reading ACK for as long as I can remember. I learned most of my Indian mythology from ACK and press it on friends to teach them Indian culture and history. (Right now a friend has one of my Mahabharata sets.) I saw a recommendation for ACK and set off to the ACK online store -- fantastic! Ships anywhere in the world!
Click on "The Making of a Comic" to find out how much work goes into a single ACK. I started laughing uncontrollably when I saw that the ACK folk had drawn this section as an ACK comic. Metahumor works best when it's subverting something you have always taken for granted, not just taking a new joke one step further.
# 17 Dec 2004, 04:25PM: I'm Turning Into A Secular Mormon:
Garments and fashion! Baptisms and mission policies! Brigham Young's Gandhi-like concern with home industry! I can see that Times and Seasons is opening LDS up to me in a highly interesting fashion.
# 20 Dec 2004, 10:20AM: What A Huge Fuss:
Aha! Roger Ebert reviews the original film and confirms that Phantom of the Opera isn't a huge deal.
# 21 Dec 2004, 07:13PM: Regrets:
I am staying in San Francisco in the few days before New Year's, instead of visiting John, Susanna, and other Leonard family members in Utah. Sometimes the necessity of work is really argh. I really hope I get to visit you all before you move!
# 22 Dec 2004, 05:48PM: Finally Created A "Religion" Category:
Gordon Atkinson has his Nativity story up, and a posthumous baptism discussion that is pretty cordial even if the word "libel" escapes my lips.
# 27 Dec 2004, 05:44PM: Quality Of Life Increase:
Shoutcast is cheering up my worklife immensely. (For those of you who don't know, I had a highly enjoyable Christmas with Leonard's family and am working part-time this week.) Instead of hoarding legal and enjoyable MP3s for a tiny playlist, or switching from college station to college station in desperate fear of DJ babble, I can listen to an infinite length of ska! And thus I don't curse at customers as much. We all win.
# 29 Dec 2004, 10:51AM: "Look at all these banjo lovers, not a dry eye in the place":
While pondering and practicing procrastination and its causes, I recall hearing a song from the Wodehouse-inspired musical By Jeeves on the satellite radio with Leonard a few days ago.
Here I am in an extreme position
General Custer out of ammunition
Didn't get here by my own volition
# 29 Dec 2004, 11:56AM: There Is A God (yes/no):
Part of my reason for my interest in religions is hereditary; my father, a Hindu priest, has always been a student of world religions. My sociological interest trumps my personal quest for meaning (as I implied to John while misjudging his offer to assuage curiosity). How do people figure out how to live? Well, sometimes religions tell them what to do, but lots of people only follow religions part of the way. They obey some rules but not others. Why?
Here's the PowerPoint description of Judaism. Includes "God has favorites and some nations have a special deal with God", as well as:
- When God tells you what to do, you must do it, even it it seems crazy
- The bible contains a lawbook better than any law we can make today
- God created the world in 6 days
The children of this congregation also have taken field trips to other religious services, including a Reform Jewish Shabbas.
They did not give us the little caps to wear. If we come back, we would probably want to weat them. Do they have a basket of loaners, or would we have to buy our own?
The spirit was a bit different at an Eastern Orthodox Easter service.
We visited on Sunday, May 17th 1999, which was the last Sunday beteeen Easter and Ascension. This meant that a major element of the service was the repeated triumphal hymn of Easter: "Christ is risen from the grave, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!" One of our adults commented later that this was not unlike a stadium of football fans greeting the home team: "You know you are visiting the winning team."
Our kids were more impressed by how long the service was. Two hours is a long, long time to stand when you are 12 years old, and some of them may not go on another field trip after this.
What do you believe? Choose!
There is a God (yes/no)
There are many Gods, each person can decide which to pray to (yes/no)
There are many Gods, but only one of them is good (yes/no)
Do pets go to Heaven (yes/no)
Currently I'm interested in the huge multidimensional Venn Diagram describing what I believe and how those beliefs fit into other religions. Evidently I am a Unitarian and I didn't even know it!
"Seeker-sensitive" actually does appear in the descriptions of nondenominational Christian churches in the SF Bay Area - I had previously only read that term in a Real Live Preacher anecdote about conferences among clergy.
In the course of this rambling I found a listing for the SF Quakers and found out how they run their Meeting for Worship, which has no pastor or priest. (I'd love to watch their meetings to check how they avoid the Tar Pit From Hell.) The Quaker meeting description includes the line "this is not a discussion group", which should also be in that song about the country club and the disco as well as the song about the wife and the beautiful house.
The Quaker listing is on the best GeoCities page I've ever seen. Martin Marks recently made me laugh:
Oh yeah, memo to Dan Brown: your novels read like extremely compelling Geocities pages. Please, please, please go take a writing course at your local community college. You are hurting the children.
(I do not know whether Leonard would mind if I embraced a stapler on camera to indulge Mr. Marks. Would it have to be a red Swingline à la Office Space?)
Had a long and interesting conversation with Seth last night. I surprised him and myself with my passionate denunciation of deliberate rootlessness as inflicted on children, in implicit defense of raising children in a religious tradition. So there is some personal quest here, as well as the "look at cute or clever or puzzling things I have found on the web" aspect. I don't know how I want to live my life and all I can do is be honest about it. Wish me luck, if you believe in luck.
# 29 Dec 2004, 01:23PM: In Other News, Stendahl Did Not Write "The Cream And The Clear":
The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals didn't think Darlene Jespersen demonstrated that her employer discriminated against women. They required female employees to wear makeup. Regardless of whether that's a reasonable or constitutionally legal requirement, here's the laughable part:
Jespersen argued that cosmetics are expensive and take time to apply. But she presented no evidence of the cost of complying with Harrah's makeup requirements, or how they exceeded men's burdens in following the company's short-hair and clean-fingernails standards, said Judge A. Wallace Tashima.
Yes and yes! Come on!
[Judge Sidney] Thomas, in dissent, said a jury should be allowed to decide whether putting on makeup is more expensive and time-consuming than not putting it on, and also whether the policy imposed intangible burdens on women.
# 29 Dec 2004, 03:57PM: Grrrr:
There are very specific customers of Salon Premium whose email addresses make me react in negative emotional ways. I hereby wish all of them enlightenment.
# 31 Dec 2004, 10:31PM: Filing Personal Moral Bankruptcy:
Via Kottke. What does it mean to be organic? The people who want to buy organic usually also want the food to be produced by a small, local, independently owned business or co-op that is environmentally friendly. But if all you look for is "organic" you might get stuff that has no pesticides but otherwise doesn't jibe with your principles and desires. The CEO of Whole Foods seems to have the right idea regarding organicity in depth.
I subscribe to Planet Organics for a fruit and vegetable delivery every other week. I just give Leonard all the groceries and he cooks dinner and invites me over all the time. Today Leonard and I went wild customizing the standard order to exclude some unwanted items (persimmons, eggplant, lettuce) and increase the vegetable : fruit ratio.
In the new year I should eat better -- more greens, fewer processed foods -- but I probably won't. But Leonard's nutritious food is getting to be the staple of my diet and we try to keep each other honest about sweet-eating.
Right now he's making brownies. New Year's is a special occasion, right?
I never feel prepared for a new calendar year. And I feel as though I have no cred with myself to launch a New Year's Resolution. I still feel as though 2004 is the future.
Now the brownies are in the oven and Leonard is playing a melancholy singer-songwriter tune on the guitar and the rain is really falling hard on his freshly planted rhubarb in his back garden.
I feel as though the attempt to live an ethical life, or to discover relationship compatibility, are like Peter Sarnak's bit about Andrew Wiles fixing the bug in the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem:
PETER SARNAK: And every time he would try and fix it in one corner, it would sort of - Some other difficulty would add up in another corner. It was like he was trying to put a carpet in a room where the carpet had more size than the room, but he could put it in in any corner, and then when he ran to the other corners, it would pop up in this corner. And whether you could not put the carpet in the room was not something that he was able to decide.
The brownies smell great. They are familiar but exciting. That's how we get through the disorientation of January first - friendly stimuli that coax us through the membrane of midnight into the new year.
Happy New Year!
Cogito, Ergo Sumana by Sumana Harihareswara is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
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