2008 Prediction

So this is what I do to kill a couple hours on a quiet Sunday aft. It's true that an idea isn't very real to me until I can see the blurb. Blame my years in the book biz.


Another favorite: Joe on a replica of the Santa Maria that visited a couple years back.
A favorite shot of Ferguson's orchard.


Backing into the future

Whatever happened to Michael J. Fox? Apparently a lot. LINK


Marginal utility

I love these bits that explain concepts that I just don't get and make them plain as day.

"Data has this really weird quality. In economic terms data has an increasing marginal utility. Anyone who took Econ 101 knows that most physical objects have a decreasing marginal utility. When it is raining my first umbrella keeps me dry, a second may be handy if the first blows out, but a third is unlikely to be used. This is true of shirts, steaks, houses, of almost anything you can think of except data." LINK


Jeeves on Design

Stephen Fry has begun writing a column on the Guardian. Nice moment to inaugurate a new tag on the topic of design, specifically deep design.

Deep design is all about function. It's form follow function, but the structural functions, features, and benefits—not merely the surface or cosmetic needs.

"So, yes, beauty matters. Boy, does it matter. It is not surface, it is not an extra, it is the thing itself. Le style, c'est le truc, as De Buffon would have written today." LINK


Garrison, Gervais, and Mayo

What a great hour or so of radio: Simon Mayo interviews Garrison Keillor and Ricky Gervais. Click the link and click on Wednesday. The link is good until next Wednesday.

Bush Blush

I must make mention of my hero of the moment. Mike McConnell heads up the NIE, which published the report in December that must have embarrassed Cheney and Bush. If that's possible.


Pizza contest

I wanted to try out the Brightcove video use. The company is run by Jeremy Allaire, who once collected baseball cards with Chris. Slick!

Yale, more free courses

Yale has begun offering online courses, with lectures and video. Nice!

And here's Berkeley's.

And MIT's.

And while I am at it, here's a site that coordinates language learning using Skype.


Pizza history

Maybe I'm simply hungry.

At the height of the Persian Empire, it is said that the soldiers of Darius the Great (521-486 B.C.), accustomed to lengthy marches, baked a kind of bread flat upon their shields and then covered it with cheese and dates.

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Festival of Lights

Friday night was our Channukah celebration. Nice!


Shakespeare's horrible shadow?

I am putting this bit in as a placeholder. Apparently Middleton wrote some or more of Macbeth, my favorite of Will's plays.

Thomas Middleton was the rebel of English Renaissance drama. Audiences adored how his plays went right to the limits — his sex was dirty, his violence grisly, his politics risky. His work was so popular in his time that it broke box-office records at London's Globe theater. But over the centuries, thanks to censorship and Victorian prudery, he fell out of fashion. By the time the world was ready again for Middleton's R-rated brand of theater, Shakespeare reigned as the undisputed heavyweight champion of English literature, knocking everyone else to the margins of the curriculum and away from center stage.


Gorky Park

Between viewings, I forget how much I like the film version of Gorky Park. I say how much I like the film, not how good it is. Tough to judge it because I hold the Martin Cruz Smith novels and his Renko character in high regard. The books represent a well researched perspective, dark and fetid, on recent Russian history. My high school Russian history teacher, Walt Lacek, would have loved them. If William Hurt and Joanna Pacula play the characters of Renko and Irina a bit soft, they are full blooded and even haunting. It's a shame that Hurt didn't get to reprise the role. The second Renko book, Polar Star, is very cinematic, brooding, and scary. And his Chernobyl book, Wolves Eat Dogs, depicts the apocalypse in a minor key.



I tried making a slideshow from Steffi's photos. See what you think.



I just realized I didn't post shots from our time in Chicago with Bob, Bill, Kath, and Lauren. We had a delightful couple days. Thanks to Bill"s family! And kudos to John for deep frying the turkey. The other shots are from the Brookfield Zoo, a must visit when in Chicago. I want to do an "Old Brookfield" photo series of things I remember from when I was a kid visiting the zoo.

Pompeii at St. Paul

Last Friday we traveled up to the Science Museum for the Day in Pompeii exhibit. It included some fascinating pieces and of course the plaster casts of victims of the Vesuvius eruption, which are affecting.

We hung out at the museum for perhaps five hours, there was so much to do.

We had a swim, pizza, and a film—Ratatoullie—going late into the evening. All you can eat breakfast at the hotel was an event in itself, after which we headed home with a snowstorm at our heels. This was one of Betsy's first outings with us. She's a trouper.