21 March 2007


Tomorrow morning My Better Half and i will be flying to Los Angeles to spend a few vacation days hanging out with friends Ivan and Sarah and Twiggy. Yay! MBH probably is looking forward to driving. Me, i'm looking forward to doing nothing... at... all...

19 March 2007

Another Busy Weekend

The Ides of March was My Better Half's birthday, which we celebrated with friends Keith and Beth, Brian and Lindsay, Karin and Alex, and Abby and Josh; the fun started at Kasadela, and then we moved the party to Ben & Jerry's to sample Stephen Colbert's new ice cream, "Americone Dream". MBH brought in a good haul this year, but the winner (in my opinion) was this gigantic, crocheted eyeball made by my sister:

Friday was a quiet dinner at home.

Saturday i made MBH a birthday breakfast, featuring Eggs in the Basket (which a nearby brunch spot calls "Toad in the Hole" -- wikipedia disagrees), accompanied by one of MBH's favorite brunchy cocktails, Bellinis! Proper Bellinis, too, not some stank mix with peach schnapps.

MBH's parents came to town Saturday afternoon (with a birthday poundcake), and we went back to the little island (which i like to call Lisland) for the evening. Dinner was at Steak Frites, which was OK. (You'd think a place that called itself "Steak Frites" would build its menu around a streak frites to wow a schlub from North Dakota, but as Sharmila says, you'd waste a thought. The tuna tartare was very good, though.) Then we traipsed across Union Square to see "Be by Mayumana", a percussive/musical dance/acrobatic performance along the lines of Stomp and Blue Man Group (or so i've been told; i haven't seen either of the latter). We all had a good time and were quite impressed with the crazy stuff those dancing kids can do onstage.

Sunday afternoon we all took a short tour through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (just around the corner from our house), then MBH and i saw her folks off and went back to Manhattan to meet friends Jess and Mike. We had a nice dinner at Palacinka (a pressed sammich with merguez, goat cheese, tomato, and olive tapenade -- mmm!), then MBH and i had a drink and listened to some music at Toad Hall before heading home. We both wish Toad Hall was closer to home, but you couldn't pay us to live in Soho.

15 March 2007

Worshipping The Golden Bull

For some time now i've been consternated by the incredible regard many right-wing Christians hold for unfettered markets (excluding drugs and pornography, of course). Back in the day, when they were deathly afraid of the Godless Communists, it was kind of, you know, cute. But as it becomes increasingly obvious that our market-driven approaches to some problems just aren't working, this fanatical devotion to The Market starts to look like idolatry.

14 March 2007

Support Our Troops!

But only if they're straight.
More than 11,000 [gay soldiers] have been fired under the policy, including more than 800 mission-critical specialists and 300 linguists covering 161 different occupational specialties.
Good thing we dumped thousands of troops from the ranks before and during our Next Big War! They might have, i don't know, shot some bad guys, or something. But in a gay way.


Last night: dinner at Aliseo Osteria del Borgo with My Better Half, my mom, cousin Tris (my cousin Greg's wife), and her friend and colleague Charis. Tris and Charis were in town for a long-term project with New York City schools, helping them design programs to prepare inner-city school kids for college, or evaluate the effectiveness of such programs, or something. It was interesting, but we had a lot else to talk about as well. The difference between family and blood relations was discussed briefly (as far as i am concerned, the two have so little to do with each other i am sometimes surprised how many people conflate them). This was my first time ever meeting Tris, but it was quickly clear that she's family.

Aliseo is the perfect kind of place for get-togethers like this: quiet but not dull, lively but not hectic. The food is wonderful, tending toward the simple and comforting, and the wines are always well-chosen (we typically ask the waiter to pick out wine here) and very reasonably priced. The owner is a character, and often seems to be entertaining friends at one of the few tables. It's not far from our house, but i wish it was closer, just around the corner. In the Movie of my Life, it should serve as the set for several Important Dinner Conversations.

12 March 2007

Quiet Weekend

This last was a relatively quiet weekend for us here in Awesome Brooklyn.

Friday night My Better Half and i got together with friends Keith & Beth and Brian & Lindsay at our go-to Enduro, the reliable Mexican place than opened late last year in our neighborhood (and vastly improved the variety of available food options). Good times as always with that crew. And at that place, for that matter.

Saturday night we stayed in and watched "Brazil", which is even better than i remembered. (I think MBH might have preferred "Time Bandits", though.) "Brazil's" treatment of the banality of evil (among other things) is superb without even being explicit, which alone makes it far and away better than contemporary movies of its type that tend to be shrill, preachy, or explanatory to the point of narrativicide. Michael Palin's Jack illustrates everything we have to look forward to if we continue to allow the party of torture to infect our government and our culture -- a bureaucratic apparatus of smiling functionaries whose only purpose is to perpetuate institutionalized cruelty, and whose only effect is to transform tax dollars into grief and citizens into mutilated corpses.

And yet on top of all that, it's a fantastically fun movie to watch! And, it's got a great musical theme and score -- MBH finally got to hear the music i'm constantly humming. And, what a cast! Jonathan Pryce, Robert DeNiro, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm... Terry Gilliam is awesome, even if he does come off as an utter goofball in interviews and DVD commentaries.

Sunday morning found us at Fred's in Little Connecticut brunching with friend Heather, who we hadn't seen in a while. It was nice to catch up. Then we each spent a lazy Sunday avoiding doing our taxes and scraping caulk from a tub. We wrapped the weekend up with "Drugstore Cowboy", which still holds its weight. I had forgotten Heather Graham was in that; it was pretty easy to do.

08 March 2007


Last night My Better Half took in a pilates class after work, so it fell to me to cook dinner. Cooking is fun! Especially when you're cooking for someone else, instead of just for your own self. We enjoyed some marinated steak with roasted potatoes and carrots with garlic and onions and rosemary, and some roasted baby zucchini and peppers. Man, roasting vegetables is totally where it's at! So good and so easy.

After dinner i convinced her to watch "Time Bandits", which she'd never seen. That one's definitely in the running for Best Movie Evar. Or at least Best Terry Gilliam Movie Evar. (And no, "Twelve Monkeys" isn't in that list. No, it's not. Stop saying so, you're only making yourself look bad.) She hasn't seen "Brazil" yet, either. Soon, soon...

07 March 2007


My Better Half and i get together with friends Jess and Mike and Keren and Adam for dinner on the town about once a month. Last night: Taboon. The "married sardines" -- two sardines butterflied and baked together with garlic and cilantro -- was fantastic, and no one else at the table would try it, so i had them all to myself. My heraime was also quite good: halibut baked in a spiced tomato sauce with couscous. For dessert, MBH couldn't resist the ice cream, and i couldn't resist the shredded halva on top. Mmmmmmmmmm.

06 March 2007

It's "All Right"

When did "alright" become acceptable English? It didn't! You don't have to be a Prescriptivist to hang your head when incompetence defines the linguistic norm.

05 March 2007

Fun With Science

Yesterday was the first Sunday in March, which means it was time for Roald Hoffmann's Entertaining Science Cabaret! The presenter was Herb Meltzer, who talked about the role he and others have played in the development of atypical antipsychotics for the treatment of schizophrenia. (The talk was fascinating, but a bit over the heads of most attendees, i think.) Act II was The Amygdaloids, a four-piece bluesy-country-rock band that plays "Brain Rock" (originals and covers), a kind of Electric Company/Weird Al/neuroscience blend.

After the musical set, Dr. Meltzer got back on stage for a short conversation with John Nash, which sounded exciting but didn't really go anywhere -- though once freed from the iron grip of PowerPoint, Dr. Meltzer became a much more engaging speaker.

Of course, in addition to being a hot Greenwich Village performance space, the Cornelia Street Cafe also has delicious food, so four of us (My Better Half, my mom, my brother's father Todd, and i) stayed for dinner. Mmmmm, boudin blanc!

04 March 2007


My old home-town friend Justin is in town, doing a few days in New York and then Boston along with a couple of work friends, Mark and Kim. My Better Half and i met up with them last night at Le Zie, a comfortable little Venetian place in Chelsea. The food was good as usual, and it's always fun to see New York through newcomer's eyes again (even though we're far from old hands ourselves). Then a drink at a bar nearby, then back to their hotel, passing by the various over-crowded pubs on the way... Why does everyone have to go out on a Saturday night?

02 March 2007


Last night was another opening at Galerie Mourlot, where My Better Half works. Apparently this fellow CharlElie has been a big-time music star in France since i was in short pants. Who knew? Anyhow, he now spends at least part of his time in New York and paints and sculpts and what-not.

Upon arrival the small Galerie was packed to the gills with French speakers. Not being fluent, i hung out with friends Gerard and Toni Ann and discussed whether CharlElie was the Elvis Costello, the Lou Reed, or the Jerry Garcia of France. None of us had heard his music, so we were shooting in the dark.

After the show MBH and i got to tag along to dinner with the artist and gallerist Eric Mourlot and his wife Charlotte, along with various other hangers-on. The venue was Le Bilboquet, not the kind of place we (MBH & i) typically pop into, but they do make a mean steak tartare. Here's Eric (left) and CharlElie (right):
And an awesome picture of MBH's hand:After dinner we two split a cab back to Brooklyn with Eric's architect friend Doug, visiting from Baltimore, and Doug's architect friend (and fellow Brooklynite) Edmund (Edwin?), and chatted about their kids and stuff. Once they were dropped off, the cabbie referred to our neighborhood as "the dark side of the park", which made us laugh. And, finally, bed time.