Monthly Archives: June 2009

John Wesley at the Venice Biennale

The NYTimes.com continues to have interesting coverage of the Venice Biennale. This article, John Wesley Has His Art Moment in Venice, is a delightful story of theirs about a painter who defies easy categorization. Indeed, as the article starts:

“For more than 40 years the art world has never known quite what to do with John Wesley”

Critics may ask: is he a pop artist, minimalist, a reinventor of Rococo, or perhaps something else? But when you get right down to it, he is someone who creates “bright, funny” works of art that happen to be great.  Sounds like someone who deserves a spotlight in Venice. If you have a chance, check out the article. Not to mention the other articles they have on the Biennale.

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Swiss artist Olivier Suter and the ‘Enemies’ project

Over at Haaretz is a good article on Swiss artist Olivier Suter and his ‘Enemies’ project. (Can you tell the difference between an Israeli and a Palestinian?). Suter has started with Israelis and Palestinians, but he is moving on to Rwanda and other places. In some ways, it is obvious what he is doing. Yet people continue to demonize others for various reasons. Projects like this can be a corrective and a reminder how similiar we really are.

Yay! Futurama is coming back!


It’s true, says this: It’s official: ‘Futurama’ is reborn!
I’ll be interested to see how it changes. Personally I could do with less Bender and more of everyone else. Let’s see what they think and what you think.

Poor analysis in the WSJ on the difference between “whites” and “Asians”

It’s hard to know where to tackle this article: Brandeis Economists Find Race Leads to Price Disparity at Fulton Fish Market – Real Time Economics – WSJ. There are a number of things objectional with it. Let me start with the conclusion:

“White shoppers would fare better in a fish market with fixed and publicly displayed prices, Graddy and Hall conclude.”

Why not conclude: shoppers who appear to be willing to negotiate will fare better? After all, the abstract of the paper talks about how the authors “estimate a dynamic profit-maximization model of a fish wholesaler who can observe consumer characteristics, set individual prices, and thus engage in third-degree price discrimination.”  It seems like the person who wrote the column asked the authors a loaded question and they answered it.

Why didn’t the columnist ask: instead of being “Asian”, could looking poor affect how the wholesaler prices the fish? Or looking picky? White people can look either way. The same goes for people who appear to be from Asia. I would be willing to bet that if the tests were done with a  group of mainly poor looking white people and a group of affluent looking non whites, the former group would get better prices.

But I guess that wouldn’t make for as good a story in the WSJ then this one that says Asians are tough bargainers and white people are getting ripped off.

Where to eat in New York


You’re in New York. You want to eat well and not spend a fortune. Perhaps you need a good concierge for some inside advice? If so, look no further than here: The Concierge | Eating Cheaply (But Well) – The Moment Blog – NYTimes.com

Twenty Part-Time Business Ideas

I’m not sure why BW.com went with the 1950s graphics for this article, but that aside, there are some good ideas to be found in this: Twenty Part-Time Business Ideas: Businesses You Can Start on Your Own. If you are unemployed, retired, or someone who simply wants to work something other than a 40 hour (or more) work week, you should check this article out. Your new career could be there.

Hard Times at the Venice Biennale


The Venice Biennale is on. As discussed in the NYTimes.com, it’s not the same event it might have been a few years ago. Less money means a lower key event. That said, it is still a great event, and anyone wanting to know about what is current in the world of art should check it out. At the very least, read the article: In Venice, a Quieter Biennale of Careful Choices and Looks – NYTimes.com

(Photo of Hot Spot III by Todd Heisler of the NYTimes.com – artist is Mona Hatoum)

Now that you are tweeting…

..you may be asking yourself: are there times I shouldn’t tweet? Well, yes. These may seem obvious, but I have seen may people break the guidelines listed in this posting on the blog Meg’s Single Step. There may be more than this, but start with the Top Ten Worst Times to Tweet.  Incidentally, what goes for tweeting goes for blogging and any other digital communications.

(Thanks to Andy Piper for the tip.)

Motown revisited

I love Tumblr. And I love Motown music. So why didn’t I think of doing something like this? No matter, someone did, and the result is good. You don’t like Motown? is a tumble log dedicated to that sweet music. If you like good music, then go take a listen.

Just one more good thing coming out of tumblr.com

You deserve to be happy – part 2 or Matt and Kim: Daylight

This is such a happy video. It makes me smile just watching it. See:

YouTube – MATT AND KIM – DAYLIGHT

The end of miscegenation – part 2

This is a brilliant commercial from Bacardi. The man cuts across the club in search of a drink. And as he does, he cuts through time as well, going through the 60s, the 50s, 30, 20s, etc. until he ends up with a bartender who looks like he is from the 19th century.

What struck me was three couples: at the beginning, the main character leaves what appears to be a mixed race couple who are almost easy to overlook (they are only in the shot for 3 seconds). They are together in a very casual way. Midway through the ad, there is a black man dancing with a white woman in around the 1950s: they are very close.  (Though interestingly, she wears gloves.) This is in contrast to the black and whilte couple towards the end of the commercial: a black piano player with a white flapper from the 1920s, where there is a greater separation of the pair.

It’s a highly impressionistic commercial, and it is an advertisement, not a history lesson. But it does flash moments of history in the spot, and I was struck by these three couples. It could be happenstance, but the strong historical sense in the ad got me thinking otherwise.

Anyway, watch the ad and see what you think.


The end of miscegenation – part 1

Over at the very cool site TRANSRACIAL, they are highlighting that…

“This weekend marks the anniversary of the historic Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia — which in 1967 removed all legal barriers preventing mixed-race marriages.”

And to celebrate this event, the wonderful named Loving Day is being celebrated around the world. You can lean more about it at their site, including reading this post,  WE SALUTE: Loving Day. You can also go to Wikipedia and learn more about the case of Loving v. Virginia. There you can read, among other things, this very timely quote from Mildred Loving on the 40th anniversary of the decision:

“Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.”

Amen.

How to launch a book 2.0

It’s alot harder than you think, what with all this new Web 2.0 technology! The following is a funny take on how much harder it can be to promote a book these days. See:


You deserve to be happy

Watch this. Be happy. :)

P.S. I love the light in this video. It perfectly captures the light of dusk in late spring, summer.

(H/T: andrew sullivan)

Lawyers Gone Wild

Over at the brilliant blog, Lowering the Bar, is a survey of some of the wackier things happening in the field of law. Did you know that someone sued because they thought there were real berries in “Cap’n Crunch with Crunchberries”? Or that someone is threatening to sue the Venetian casino because of bad Feng Shui? Well, if you follow this blog, you will!

Smart People I Know: my brother Eddie


Everyone has the potential to be smart, but some people choose to act otherwise. I have little time for anyone who makes such a choice. Everyone I spend any amount of my time with/on chooses to be smart. Whether they are 6 or 96, nearby or far away. They may be smart in any number of ways, but talking to them, you come away being that much more intelligent.

I started this blog because I wanted to share things with such people. By sharing what I know,  I get feedback from them and an opportunity to learn from them. The benefit I get is not having smart people hear what I say: it’s having smart people respond to what I say.

Of the smart people I know, one of the smartest is my brother, Eddie (shown here). If you like my blog, you should check out his: PANG — The Human Realm. Better yet, add it to your feedreader. It’s the smart thing to do, I think.

Having a bad day? Now you have something to blame!

And what could that be? Why Drew’s cancer! You see:

“On May 20th, 2009, Drew Olanoff was diagnosed with cancer. Ever since that day, Drew has blamed everything on his cancer. Losing his keys, misplacing his wallet, Twitter being slow, the Phillies losing, etc. Why? Because you have to beat up on Cancer to win… and you can help out.”

How? Well go to his site, Blame Drew’s Cancer – Blow off Steam on Twitter… for Charity! and you can get all the details.

Tiananmen Square


Execution by Beijing artist Yue Minjun. This work was inspired by the events of Tiananmen Square that occurred 20 years ago, in 1989.
Incidentally, Wikipedia reminded me of this painting by Manet of the execution of Emperor Maximillien of Mexico. The influence is strong.


Time to Train for Your First Marathon?

If you have been running for awhile — and even if you haven’t — you may be considering running your first marathon. If you are, first off, congratulations on making such a decision (when you do make it). Having made that decision, what do you do next? Well, consider reading this post: Time to Train for Your First Marathon on the Well Blog at NYTimes.com. Not only does the blog itself have good information, but it also has links to other great sites, such as Bill Rodgers.

What are you waiting for! Get training! :)

Koko Taylor


Koko Taylor, Blues Queen, Dies at 80 – Obituary (Obit) – NYTimes.com

Advice of the day

It takes a minute to like someone,
An hour to love someone,
But a lifetime to forget someone.

How to go on a date


Flying your date to NYC for a Broadway show with a Marine Honor Guard send off is definitely a way to leave a good impression. :)
From Obamas’ Date Night in NYC at TPM Photo Galleries

The latest viral note on Facebook: 15 books in 15 minutes

(Rather than restrict it to FB, I put it here. It goes like this:)

Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Tag 15 friends, including me.

1. A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine Engel
2. The Good Soldier – Ford Maddox Ford
3. Emigrants – W.G. Seybald
4. Stalingrad – Antony Beevor
5. Europe – Grandeur and Decline – AJP Taylor
6. Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel Marquez
7. The Satanic Verses – Salman Rushdie
8. Unpopular Essays – Bertrand Russell
9. A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway
10. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
11. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch – Philip K Dick
12. Zen and the Birds of Appetite – Thomas Merton
13. The Dhammapada – The Buddha
14. Brighter Than a Thousand Suns – Robert Jungk
15. The Brothers Karamazov or Notes from Underground (book 1)- Fyodor Doestoyevsky

Father’s Day is coming

When? Well, it depends on the year and the location. Different parts of the world celebrate the day in different months. And the day changes ever year too. So, for help on locating the exact day, check out When is Father’s Day? 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014?