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Roger Ebert on Blogging and Dining

Posted January 7, 2010

After several surgeries following a bout with cancer, Roger Ebert cannot talk or eat. He posted about the experience on his blog. The end is the best.

So that's what's sad about not eating. The loss of dining, not the loss of food. It may be personal, but for me, unless I'm alone, it doesn't involve dinner if it doesn't involve talking...Maybe that's why I enjoy this blog. You don't realize it, but we're at dinner right now.

For whatever reason, I had never put two and two together. I couldn't believe how long his blog posts were, but now it makes a lot of sense. These stories make me happy to work for a blogging company.

Know Your Meme: Geddan Get Down

Posted October 18, 2009

Know Your Meme is my favorite video podcast. Even for someone like me who probably knows a little too much about the internet, I'm constantly learning new things. This site is also great for anyone who is confused by "The Twitter" and "FaceSpace".

The video above is my newest favorite episode. I suggest you watch it.

But is it Better Than Swine Flu?

Posted June 23, 2009

I saw this on the street today.

McDonald's Ad

It says, "More refreshing than open fire hydrants to the face." That's quite a high bar to set there, McDonald's. I'd like to pitch some of my own slogan ideas to you.

"More fun than a day in the cancer ward."
"Less chunky than raw sewage."
"Fewer calories than some of our extra value meals."
"Not (very) poisonous."

I'm sure I could come up with ideas for some of your other products, if these get you jazzed.

See also: Now you're eating

What a Great Day

Posted November 4, 2008

Illustration by Patrick Moberg

Yes, I am in paradise, but I'm also pretty pumped about my man Obama.

What's surprised me is how pumped everyone in Thailand is about this election. Every time I hopped in a cab and they asked in broken English where I'm from, the first response to "New York City" is always "Barack Obama!" Oftentimes, they'd go on and talk to me about who has more foreign policy experience or if America can really elect a Black President. Sure, the US elections affect everyone, but it's amazing how knowledgeable my cab drivers have been.

Anyway, with this election seeming pretty much wrapped up, I'm going to go hang on the beach.

A Poem for the Young Voter

Posted October 28, 2008

I voted this morning (I'll be out of town). Listen to Jay Smooth and make sure you vote a week from today.

A Fantastic Reason to Vote for Obama

Posted August 29, 2008

Obama Loves Tacos

Dude loves tacos. (via zulkey)

This is Not the McFly 2015

Posted July 3, 2008


I'm sorry, the new Nike Hyperdunk is nice, but it ain't no McFly 2015. I appreciate the thought Nike, but either do it right or don't do it at all.

For Those Who Can, Please Vote Today!

Posted February 5, 2008

Unlike most days, when this site is bustling with activity and new posts, today I'm putting up Matt's vote page to remind ya'll to get out there and pull that lever, push that button or whatever it is you do to make your vote count.

And if you do go, take a picture and send it to the Polling Place project.

The Robot Vacuum

Posted January 5, 2008

20080105obama.jpgPolitics piss me off. Everyone is too worried about keeping their job or getting a new one to bother doing what's best for their constituents. Most politicians enter Washington with the best of intentions, but a potential failure looms and their scruples go to the wayside.

"'You've got to do what's right, OK?' [McCain] told me, 'but if you want to succeed, you have to adjust to the American people's desires and priorities".

Unfortunately, the people don't always know what's best for themselves. As James Surowiecki says, crowds are smart, people are dumb. This is why I want a leader who is smart and has a mind of his/her own. I'm not so worried about aligning perfectly with their views, so long as it's close. I also don't mind if they're lacking in experience if they seem willing to turn to any of their dozens of advisers.

I singled out McCain above because, despite having very different views on social policy, I always liked him. After failing to get the nomination in 2000, he has been sucked into the robot vacuum. Sure, he'll talk off the cuff and verbally attack an audience member now and again, but he has sold out. He's just too willing to play the game.

Obama also seemed in danger of a one way trip to the vacuum. His speech at the 2006 DNC really moved me, but I was a bit turned off at the beginning of his campaign. Somehow, his advisers managed to make him boring, which is a travesty. In the last month or two, and especially at his Iowa victory speech, he's got me back into the fold. He's a real person and I love it.

Harold Washington

While this ended up being about the current election, the idea for this post came from an episode of This American Life about Chicago Mayor Harold Washington. I didn't know much about him, but the episode painted him as the rare politician who could both play the game and speak his mind.

There's plenty more to say about Harold and this episode of TAL, but an interesting statistic from Washington's original campaign is that he was able to register 140,000 new voters when his campaign thought 50,000 would be a stretch. On Thursday Democrats nearly doubled 2004's caucus with 100,000 additional voters.

Okay, to finish it off here is my favorite quote from that episode. This is what Harold had to say about Richard J. Daly, a man revered by white Chicagoans. Try to imagine anyone saying this today.

"When he says that he had hoped I'd have the good qualities of past mayors, there are no good qualities of past mayors to be had. None. None. None. None." "I regret anyone dying. I have no regrets about [Daly] leaving. He was a racist to the core, head to toe, hip to hip, there's no ding or doubt about it. He eschewed and fought and oppressed black people to the point that some thought that was the way they were supposed to live, just like some slaves on the plantation thought that that was the way they were supposed to live. I give no hosannas to a racist, nor did I appreciate or respect his son. If his name were anything other than Daley, his campaign would be a joke."

You Got a Quarter?

Posted August 29, 2007

I get asked this at least once a day, if not more, from people on the street. Sometimes they have an elaborate schtick, performed while captive on the train, and sometimes they just sit peacefully with a coffee cup at their feet. I rarely give change to these people. It's not that I'm cheap or don't think they deserve, I'm just aprehensive about how they might use the money (a man who reaked of whiskey once walked down the aisle of a subway car asking us for change). Some people are happy to give what's in their pockets, even if it may go to ill pursuits, but I just can't stomach it. I'd rather see them go to shelters and soup kitchens or see a counselor to learn how to get back on their feet.

Instead of just talking about it, I've decided to put my money where my mouth is. Today I made a donation to the Coalition for the Homeless, a charitable group that fights homelessness in New York City. They offer the ability to give a monthly gift of any amount for any length of time. I would have preferred to give directly to a few shelters, but I didn't know which one to pick from the list provided by NYC DHS.

How did I pick Coalition? Of course, I did a google search first, but I also used Charity Navigator, which gives you a breakdown of the financials and inner workings of the organization and a 1-4 rating. Coalition Against Hunger scored a three, which is a very good rating. A key indicator is the percentage of their gross income that goes to program expenses — good charities keep this above 70%.

If you don't live in the city, I also recommend National Alliance to End Homelessness (4 stars on CN). Another great option is Habitat for Humanity, which Jori and I may volunteer for early next year.

If you're like me and hesitant about giving money without knowing how it will be used, do something about it. Do some research, find a cause you're passionate about, and donate in whatever way you can.

Why Be a Cop When You Can Beg?

Posted August 13, 2007

Before I start, I wanted to mention that the Freakonomics blog has been awesome since moving to I've always liked their stuff, but I think they're hitting us with a bunch of great topics and I actually prefer the quick descriptions to the full content in the RSS feed.

I say all this because I was blown away by a quote on the Freakonomics blog from the book Blue Blood by Edward Conlon. It's worth re-republishing as its that good.

I handed Tommy some money, he held up his hands and said, "C'mon, Eddie, you don't have to, it's okay." I said, "It's all right, you guys work, you take risks for us, you should get paid." He took the money, but he shook his head.

"Don't take this the wrong way, but I feel a little funny, since you guys pay out of your own pockets. Do you know how much we make out here, panhandling, during rush hour?'

"No, how much?"

"About a dollar a minute."


I didn't take my money back, but I saw his point. Charlie and Tommy made more money than us. I should have realized that earlier, as the math was not complicated — we took home less than a hundred dollars a day, while their habits were at least that. I tried not to dwell on the fact that, economically, a New York City police officer was a notch down from a bum.

First, I can't believe panhandlers make that much money! That's eye-opening to me and helps explain how so many people can afford to live on the street. It also makes it frustrating that they're still on the street if they could theoretically take home several hundred dollars a day. I have enough concerns about giving to panhandlers as it is, but that's a whole other blog post.

Second, I'm sure most cops aren't in it to get rich, but that's gotta be frustrating. It mostly shows how little people understand what a little bit of money can do. We tend to piss away small sums of money all the time that could be terribly useful when pooled together. I guess it's hard to grasp that in the same way it's hard to convince someone their vote is important in a sea of 100 million.

Third, I really want to buy this book. Ever since my obsessions with the Wire began, I'm fascinated by realistic tales of police work. Thanks for the recommendation, Freakies.

Crowd-Powered Technology

Posted August 10, 2007

20070810mit.jpg Two MIT graduate students have found a way to harness the power of steppin'. They've developed technology that generates electricity when you walk over a special sub-floor that shifts slightly as you depress each square. This magic device then converts the movement into energy. While a small step from one person won't do much, if you install this in a train station or concert areana, you're suddenly generating enough electricity to make it worth while.

While I love any renewable energy resource, the idea of directly effecting the energy output is exciting. It could become a game. Maybe they put a huge sign in Yankee Stadium that shows how many joules have been created this month. They could then compete with Mets fans at Shea. In some ways, this reminds me of the Hong Kong gym that generates electricity from treadmills. The more you exercise the more you help the community.

Not nearly enough useful technology incorporates fun. It's depressing hearing about how global warming is going to kill us all, so give us a fun way to help out. Sure, I'll still do the boring things like unplugging gadget chargers, but isn't it more pleasing to think my spastic game of tag in Grand Central is actually helping the environment?

Fuel News You Can Use!

Posted June 21, 2007

This is more like a thematic quick post roundup than a real post, but the main section of the blog was feeling stale. Here's some potentially important new that came out today:

Hey Boston, Take a Chill Pill

Posted February 1, 2007

Yes, it's a post-9/11 world. No, we shouldn't jokingly claim to have a bomb when boarding a plane. But freaking out over an ad campaign? Get over it.

In case you don't feel like clicking through, the Cartoon Network had an ad company do some guerilla marketing for Aqua Teen Hunger Force. They put up devices that look a lot like Lite-Brite in various spots around the city. Fast-forward to yesterday when people were calling the police about suspicious devices and the bomb squad had to come out and you'll begin to see the insanity.

I would just think this is all hilarious if they didn't arrest the poor kid who was told by his bosses to put these up. It may be vandalism to hang these power lines, but don't take out your anger on some guy who likes LED Throwies and not getting fired. I might have some sympathy for the Boston Police if the same devices weren't up in ten other cities around the country. You screwed up, don't be a pussy.

Bonus! I just found a link to video of the press conference with the evil-doers. They would only talk about 70s hairstyles. Everyone in the media got all pissy and it made me happy.

If you would like to give the Boston cops the finger, you can buy this shirt that says, "Aqua Teen Hunger Force is the Bomb." Indeed it is.

I Cannot Wait Until 2011

Posted December 31, 2005

Overall, I've enjoyed the first six years of this millenium. Lots of fun, lots of growth and the Bears are finally good. Unfortunately, there is one huge downside to this decade—the number of zeros.

It is clear to all that 200x years contain two zeros. The problem is that this tchotchke-makers everywhere noticed the same thing. Thus, people all around the country are wearing ridiculous glasses that say "2006" and use the zeros for eye-holes. It makes me cringe. No, it makes me cry. Wait, first I cringe, then I cry and then I lay on the ground in a ball and rock back and forth. It's not pretty.

My lovely girlfriend knew this fact and decided to surprise me with a holiday gift. Yes, she bought me a pair of these awful, awful glasses. Happy Chanukkah! Oy. Well, as long as she got them I figure I should at least share my pain with you. Here I am, in all my glory, "enjoying" these as best I can. Feel free to use this to demonstrate the evils of this glasses to your children and your children's children for the remainder of the century.

Me and Those Stupid Glasses

On Safety and Terrorism

Posted July 7, 2005

This morning's attacks caught me offguard. I guess that tends to happen with terrorism, but I've felt safe lately and hadn't thought much about mortality. In fact, earlier this week I was thinking about the new Freedom Tower plans for lower Manhattan and how crazy the 20-story concrete and metal base is. I also questioned why I live in New York City and put myself at risk. I love my city, but am I willing to put myself in harm's way so I can see movies two weeks before the rest of the country? Yes, I am trivializing what New York is about but this morning's bombings brought up a lot of questions for me.

When I rode the subway home, there were three police officers in my car. I suppose they are there more to make me feel at ease than to actually stop an attack. I don't know that I felt safer but I did wonder what these cops would have been doing if it were not for this morning.

Maybe we're not approaching terrorism the right way. Or maybe we'll never be able to stop it. I'm not sure, but I feel very unsettled. I guess it's appropriate I'm heading to International Falls, MN for a long weekend to go fishing. It's possible I could come back with the answers to everything. I guess you'll find out next week.

My heart goes out to all of those involved in the attacks.

Sit Up Front

Posted April 21, 2005

This may seem silly or obvious, but sitting up front is the best way to get the most out of a talk or conference.

When you've got ten or fifty or three hundred people between you and the speaker, it gets easy to tune out. By sitting in the front row, it becomes a one-on-one conversation. Asking questions becomes less fear-inducing and idle chatter is less distracting.

I suppose people get self-conscious about having all those eyes bearing down on you, but if just sit down and focus on whatever is being presented, it'll make for a better experience. I just wish I had done it more during college.

And this was your pubic service announcement for the day.

Hey Grimace, It's Your Birthday

Posted March 28, 2005

Coolfer found out that McDonald's will pay you up to $5 everytime a song airs that mentions the brand. I think that's hilarious and potentially lucrative.

I wonder if this will begin to work like pay-for-click advertising (i.e. Google AdWords). If it does, I'm going to follow in the Asbestos Blog's footsteps and start a hip-hop group that talks only about the hottest/most desperate brands. Once we blow up, which we will, I'll start rapping about MTV2 and Dewar's. Before you know it, I'll start bringing in real money. Hell yeah.

Who wants in?

Breaking News from Liberty Village!

Posted November 2, 2004

My roommate Scott and I are watching election results come in from our couch, which shall henceforth be referred to as Liberty Village. Our breaking news: NBC News has named their set location "Democracy Plaza." How ridiculous is that?

Anyway, nothing exciting has happened yet. At one point the campaign manager for Ronald Reagan said, "You know, I think it's going to come down to the swing states." I'm gonna go out on a limb and say I agree. That man is a visionary.

I'm looking forward to seeing how they'll try and entertain us until something genuinely important happens.

Update (12:47am): Am I crazy, or is it possible for ther to be a tie in electoral votes? Here's some math. Bush: 246 + 20 (Ohio) + 3 (Alaska) = 269. If Kerry can win the rest, it's a tie. Granted, he's likely to lose New Mexico, so this moot, but if Kerry has to lose, this is how I'd like it to go down -- a trip to the Senate. At least we'll finally have a chance to get rid of this craptastic election system.

Update (1:01am): Bah. Based on my estimates (looking at's county breakdown), Kerry is going to lose Ohio. That means it's over. Fuck.

Update (2:30am): I was going to go to sleep an hour ago. I didn't. Just now Edwards spoke to the crowd at the Kerry camp and told them "we'll fight for every single vote." In other words, even though Ohio looks almost certainly like a Bush win, the Dems are going to fight it. I hope this isn't as messy as last year.

2:35am: CNN just announced three projections going for Kerry, which makes it 249 for Bush and 242 for Kerry. I think they're just trying to make it a close race because it's more exciting. At this point, I think Bush has got it, but I think Kerry will drag it out at least until the morning, if not much longer.

2:47am: That's it. I quit. It's completely and totally bedtime.

Vote Tomorrow!

Posted November 1, 2004

This is a reminder to all of those who just woke up from a 31 year coma. Please vote tomorrow.

If you don't know where to vote, you can call 866-OUR-VOTE or go to If you're not sure whether or not you're registered, please go anyway. At worst, you will fill out a provisional ballot that will be contested. The New York Times has all the voting information you'll need.

I'm incredibly anxious for tomorrow. It's like the day before the SATs, first day of school and first date rolled into one.

Finally, don't forget to watch Indecision 2004 tomorrow night on Comedy Central. It's one hour of live coverage from the Daily Show team.

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