November 30, 2005

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who made the passing of my 29th birthday that much more palatable. Festivities TK.

November 28, 2005

Backroom Deal Breaker: Shining bright lights on a backroom dealmaking tradition that gives rise to the New York City Council Speaker, effectively the second most powerful position in the City of New York (a valuable info source for those following the Speaker campaign). Elsewhere, the Daily News says "the whole thing has piggy-piggy smell" (re the overwhelming push to abolish-or-at-least-extend term limits), and the Village Voice calls candidate Bill Di Blasio a "poster boy for conflict of interest" (re his hypocritical position on campaign finance standards).

November 26, 2005

Via Brand Autopsy: a New York article called Average Joe. For the record, I've been big-upping Dunkin' Donuts' coffee for years, especially their iced coffee. One thing you can be pretty sure of with DD's coffee -- no mouse droppings!

Recently, I had noticed that new Dunkin’ Donuts shops seemed to be spontaneously materializing on every other block in New York. A little research confirmed it: Dunkin’ Donuts—whose previous claim to local fame was an epic episode of bad publicity in the form of 1998 New York Post photos of mice nibbling on doughnuts in a Dunkin’ window—has increased the number of its stores in the metropolitan area from 600 to 1,200 since 2002 and plans to open another 100 stores by next summer, bringing the total to 1,300 (by comparison, there are 237 Gap stores in the metro area). So I placed a call to Dunkin’s Canton, Massachusetts, headquarters with the hope of getting a flack to discuss its plans for New York coffee hegemony. After three months of negotiations and a dozen phone calls, I was instructed to be at the Dunkin’ Donuts at 40th Street and Second Avenue on a Monday morning in October. Imagine my surprise when I was met by not one, not two, but eight Dunkin’ employees. There was the flack, the outside-agency flack, three executives, the franchise owner, his son, and someone to drive the trail vehicle. Soon, I was deluged by a shower of business cards, fair-trade beans, and Coffee Coolattas. Over the course of the day, I would be shuttled to four stores, a building site, and a proposed location that I could see only if I swore on a box of Munchkins not to divulge its address. Oh, and as an afterthought, I was shown where they make the doughnuts.

November 22, 2005

The WSJ hits upon something I've been saying for a long time, that we can tackle obesity through more mindful architecture and planning, creating spaces that promote exercise and limit the cheap conveniences that have come to define suburban complacency.

November 18, 2005

You can't have a blog without a meme, can you? No you can't. Here's a new one that's been making the Myspace rounds. I added my name at the end -- first and middle compressed into one.

Take your name and put an album for each letter. Bonus points if you name the band/artist.

J- Jamboree [beat happening]
A- And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out [yo la tengo]
D- Double Nickels On The Dime [minutemen]
E- Electric Version [new pornographers]

M- Mule Variations [Tom Waits]
I- Imperial Bedroom [Elvis Costello]
N- Nomad [Lotus]
H- Hit & Run Holiday [My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult]

R- Reachin': a refutation of time and space [Digable Planets]
O- On Through The Night [Def Leppard]
B- Believo!- [Enon]
E- End Is Near - [The New Year]
R- Rasing Hell - [RUN DMC]
T- Thousand Leaves - [Sonic Youth]
O- Outhud - [Outhud]

L-London Calling (The Clash)
O-Odelay! (Beck)
R-Ride the Fader (Chavez)
E-Exploded Drawing (Polvo)
N-No Pocky For Kitty (Superchunk)
A-A.M. (Wilco)

J-Junkyard [The Birthday Party]
E-Exile on Main Street [The Rolling Stones]
N- No Depression [Uncle Tupelo]
N-Nowhere [Ride]
I- If I Should Fall from Grace with God [the Pogues]
F-Fire of Love [Gun Club]
E-Endless Summer [Beach Boys]
R-Reign in Blood [Slayer]

J-Jesu [Jesu]
O-Orchid [Orchid]
E-Endless Summer [Fennesz]

E - Eazy Duz It [Eazy E]
M - Marquee Moon [Televizzle]
I - I Keed [Triumph The Insult Comic Dog]
L - Low Life [New Order]
Y - Your Disco Needs You [Kylie Minogue]

M - My Life [Mary J. Blige]
I - Idlewild South [The Allman Brothers Band]
C - Closer [Joy Division]
H - Highway to Hell [AC/DC]
A - Another Green World [Eno]
E - Everything Is Wrong [Moby]
L - Last Night a DJ Saved My Life [Indeep]
A - All That You Can't Leave Behind [U2]
N - New York [Lou Reed]
G - Get Lucky [Loverboy]
E - Everybody's Free [Rozalla]
L - Live at the Liquid Room, Tokyo [Jeff Mills]
O - Om [John Coltrane]

J - J to tha L-O! The Remixes [Jennifer Lopez]
O - Only Theatre of Pain [Christian Death]
D - Dancer With Bruised Knees [Kate and Anna McGarrigle]
Y - You [Tuxedomoon]
B - Bullshit Detector Vol. 3 [V/A, Crass Records]
E - Escape From Dragon House [Dengue Fever]
T - Time And A Word [Yes]
H - Hymns of the 49th Parallel [k.d. lang]

November 16, 2005

Via the ArchNewsNow newsletter: E. Thomas Casey, former dean of Taliesin West, dies at 81, and Gotham Gazette on the messy, "through the looking glass"- style development issues plaguing Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards project.


The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation's Taliesin West page

Empire State Development Corporation Atlantic Yards Arena and Redevelopment Project

November 10, 2005

Couch, Montague St.


November 08, 2005

Election Day is a Holiday
by Ogden Nash
November 1932

People on whom I do not bother to dote
Are people who do not bother to vote.
Heaven forbid that they should ever be exempt
From contumely, obloquy and various kinds of contempt.
Some of them like Toscanini and some like Rudy Vallee,
But all of them take about as much interest in their right to ballot as their
right to ballet.
They haven’t voted since the heyday of Miss Russell (Lillian)
And excuse themselves by saying What’s the difference of one vote in
fifty million?
They have such refined and delicate palates
That they can discover no one worthy of their ballots,
And then when someone terrible gets elected!
They say, There, that’s just what I expected!
And they go around for four years spouting discontented criticisms
And contented witticisms,
And then when somebody to oppose the man they oppose gets
They say Oh golly golly he’s the kind of man I’ve always abominated,
And they have discovered that if you don’t take time out to go to the
You can manage very nicely to get through thirty-six holes.
O let us cover these clever people very conspicuously with loathing,
For they are un-citizens in citizens’ clothing.
They attempt to justify their negligence
On the grounds that no candidate appeals to people of their
But I am quite sure that if Abraham Lincoln (Rep.) ran against Thomas
Jefferson (Dem.)
Neither man would be appealing enough to squeeze a vote out of them.

Congratulations to Freddy Ferrer for putting up a surprisingly good fight. I didn't vote for him, but he didn't get clobbered like I thought he would. And to everyone I did vote for who won, w00t w00t!

November 05, 2005

Very telling: a new study about Restless Legs Syndrome suggests the numbness, aching, and need to move around that RLS sufferers experience might be symptomatic of other physical and psychological issues, including stressful situations and anxiety. I've had some bad sciatica in my right leg recently and I'm sure I can attribute it to lingering "radiating" pain from a back injury I incurred a few months ago. With the aid of a chiropractor the back trouble has subsided, while the leg keeps bothering me. It bears mentioning that this is a nutty time in my life -- and in these especially nerve-wracking past couple of weeks, I've noticed that my foot has been falling asleep a lot. For no reason. This wasn't happening before.

Of the article's suggestions, what can I realistically do? I'm working on keeping the diet and exercise under control; I'm GOING to curb my drinking and occasional smoking (really) (but the caffeine and the other drugz stay. I need those). I will be asking my doctor about Requip though.

I mean for this post to be informational and helpful rather than expository and Livejournalish. If I sound unusually neurotic... sorry bout that.

November 04, 2005

From BusinessWeek Online's excellent "Innovation and Design" section: a photographic tour through Dutch Design Week 2005, including (as pictured below) a metal bookshelf "custom-made to replicate a stylized rendering of the voice pattern of its owner." (Warning: article doesn't look so hot in Firefox.)

November 03, 2005

Although my body is hardly a temple, I do make a habit of reading nutrition labels and keeping abreast of what those confusing scientific words mean. So over the past couple of years I've really started to pay attention to which food products contain additives, preservatives, unnatural dyes, and hydrogenated oils. Once I learned what some of this stuff actually was (and what else the active ingredients were used for -- pesticide, for example), the decision to seek out organic foods wasn't a tough one.

Now a lot of companies, seeing the success of Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, are looking for ways to incorporate this "organic" buzzword into their product lines. A New York Times piece reports on what some consumer and trade associations feel organic means (or should mean). There are concerns that as manufacturers start throwing around "organic" willy-nilly, any regulation of the term will have to include a wide-enough definition to satisfy corporate interests.

This story comes to the blogosphere via Amuse Bouche, who also wrote an MSNBC article last year about labeling concerns.

November 02, 2005

Greetings from jury duty. I'm in the lounge of the Kings County Supreme Court, waiting for my name to be called and enjoying the free wifi. With all this downtime I can catch up on fun stuff like news feeds, including this one from Binary Bonsai about an underground city in the UK:

The subterranean complex that was built in the 1950s to house the Conservative prime minister Harold Macmillan’s cabinet and 4,000 civil servants in the event of a Soviet nuclear attack is being thrown open to commercial use. Just four maintenance men are left.

Already two uses are being considered: a massive data store for City firms or the biggest wine cellar in Europe. More outlandish ideas put forward include a nightclub for rave parties, a 1950s theme park or a reception centre for asylum seekers. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has ruled out any suggestion of using it to store nuclear waste or providing open public access because of the dangers that still lurk below.