Jazz, Books, Macs, Food, and Life Outside the Academy
Blogging from Cleveland Park, DC
iJunkman at hotmail dot com
October 31, 2003
posted by Todd at 6:12 PM |
Why was Emmylou Harris playing for free at a Washington Borders? She mentioned that her daughter Molly worked at the store. It's hard to imagine Emmylou Harris' daughter working at the Foggy Bottom Borders. It's also hard to imagine having Emmylou Harris for your mother.
posted by Todd at 5:08 PM |
October 30, 2003
Be safe out there in the dark and don't eat too much chocolate. It will make your face break out.
posted by Todd at 11:50 PM |
In the end, though, there are things more important than the economy. If the economy were a novel, it would be an endless episode of good and bad days with no satisfying forward motion or conclusion. Yes, we witnessed one of the largest upward swings in the economy's history. Now, we are suffering through a downturn. It will go up and down many more times during our lives. There are events, however, that are singular in history. The attacks on 9/11 were such an event. A great leader could have a created something positive from the destruction. A good leader would have made the nation safer and rallied the world to our aid. Instead, the United States is more vulnerable, more distrusted, and more despised than it has ever been. It is impossible for me not to be angry at the opportunity that was lost and at President Bush for losing that opportunity through actions that appear more willful than inept.
History is littered with men who, in hindsight, made colossal mistakes. We tend to grant them the benefit of the doubt and assume that that the disastrous consequences of their actions, which are so clear to us in the present, were merely hypotheticals in the past. Having watched the Bush administration squander its moment in history, I wonder if we are too kind to the figures of the past. Maybe the consequences of their mistakes were perfectly clear at the moment, but other agendas and interests were more immediately compelling.
posted by Todd at 11:34 PM |
Tina Brown returns to the Washington Post to remind us that she knows lots of famous people, and these famous people call her on the phone, and sometimes they even let her eat ice cream with their kids. As a service to the citizens of Washington, she also notes that Patrick Moynihan was the senator "of the bow tie, the tweeds." Tina, we may not know what Prada means in D.C., but we can identify politicians without visual cues.
posted by Todd at 10:20 AM |
October 29, 2003
posted by Todd at 10:14 PM |
My heart goes out to them, and then it comes back, selfishly, humanly, to me and my own.From T. Coraghessan Boyle's "Waiting for the Apocalypse," an op-ed in the New York Times.
posted by Todd at 4:53 PM |
What will Amazon do next? Jeff Bezos tips his hand in his open letter introducing the Search Inside the Book feature. As an example of the new service, Jeff says that by searching for the term resistojet, "I've been able to find books that I could not have found otherwise." And those books all relate to rockets and nuclear power. Is Amazon about to follow China into space? Or does Jeff want to join the nuclear club before Iran? That's one way to spend Amazon's profits.
posted by Todd at 12:09 PM |
October 26, 2003
To Do List:
posted by Todd at 5:50 PM |
Elizabeth Stern, a partner with the law firm Shaw Pittman LLP quoted in the Washington Post, questions the government's renewed vigor in enforcing immigration laws. "That's the wrong attitude when you are trying to foster a national economic recovery," she said. I suppose publicly suggesting that federal authorities ignore the laws governing corporations is one way to drum up clients.
posted by Todd at 11:24 AM |
October 23, 2003
posted by Todd at 9:28 PM |
John Allen, a corporate brand consultant, cautioned, "Where this could hurt the company is in its reputation of not being a great place to work. If left unchecked, it could have an impact on Wal-Mart's image." Since most people who believe that Wal-Mart is a great place to work appear only in the company's television advertisement, their image is probably safe.
Update: The feds dubbed the raids "Operation Rollback."
posted by Todd at 3:53 PM |
October 22, 2003
We had been warned about bears in the area and I spotted a deer one night along the road, but the possibility that people might be lurking around the house was more frightening than any wild animal. On our way out for a walk Saturday, we noticed an old car at the end of the driveway. I'm familiar enough with the horror genre to realize that a young couple in an old house in the country are always at great risk for grisly assaults. By the time we returned, the car had disappeared. It's possible there was an innocent explanation. The fewer people that surround me, though, the more suspicious I become of their motives.
Andrea celebrated her birthday Saturday, so we met some friends at Metro for dinner. The restaurant used to be called Metropolitan and specialized in applying one too many innovations to good ingredients. Thankfully, they have streamlined the cuisine and lowered the prices. Now, Metro serves high-end pizzas, duck carpaccio, and rich ravioli stuffed with lobster or goat cheese. After dinner, we all returned to Andrea's apartment to eat cake, drink Cava, and sing happy birthday.
Monday, I defended my dissertation and then celebrated as well. In the University of Virginia's Spanish department, all trials and tests of graduate students are public, from the M.A. and Ph.D. orals to dissertation defenses. While that may sound like torture, and often can be where M.A. and Ph.D. exams are concerned, the dissertation defense normally provides an opportunity to share your work with the faculty and fellow graduate students.
The faculty were more complimentary of the dissertation than I had anticipated and the conversation reminded me of how much I enjoy scholarship. I had almost forgotten, after reading too many bad articles and listening to too many hastily written conference presentations, why the seventeenth-century captured my attention and held it for five years. The defense proved to be the culmination of my decade of college education.
posted by Todd at 11:28 PM |
October 21, 2003
It's official. As of three o'clock yesterday, I am a Ph.D. Now that I've completed graduate school, I can devote all my attention to updating this blog.
posted by Todd at 12:53 PM |
October 17, 2003
Chinese state television also reported that attempts to dig a hole to the United States were thwarted by the discovery of molten lava at the core of the Earth.
posted by Todd at 2:01 PM |
October 16, 2003
I couldn't make it to Jason's class, but I like to imagine that it was filled with Baby Boomers hoping to blog away their Golden Years. If that was the case, then Jason was just carrying on the Generation X's proud tradition of fleecing their parents. I've always believed that the rise and fall of the internet era was a massive payback to the Boomers for calling my generation slackers. The children of the 60s crowed about the good works they accomplished and clucked over the self-centeredness and inertia of their kids. Their kids built an online house of cards, took advantage of their elders greed, and took mom and dad's 401K for damn near every penny it contained.
Of course, when the bubble burst, it forced the kids to take up temping and move back home. No shame in that, though, since no one ever expected the Generation X to amount to much anyway.
posted by Todd at 11:20 PM |
October 14, 2003
We were enjoying our last day of summer Monday, so I headed over to Adams Morgan to see what the district looked like in the daylight. For lunch, I stopped in at Mixtec (1792 Columbia Rd., NW), a Mexican restaurant that began as a grocery but now serves some of the best Mexican food in the district. Instead of the more typical Tex-Mex platters, I ordered a pork torta, a sandwich with guacamole and refried beans served on a French roll. It reminded me a similar sandwich I bought from a street vendor in El Paso. In El Paso, the meat was ladled with the juice of jalepeño peppers and the bread cover with both mayonnaise and guacamole. The torta at Mixteca was excellent; the sandwich from the stall carved out of the entrance to a discount store in El Paso specializing in baby clothes was even better.
As you move down Columbia Road, which connects Adams Morgan to the Columbia Heights neighborhood, the aesthetic, the language, and the people become increasingly Latino. At the point where you are surrounded by Latin music stores blasting music onto the street, emporiums of cheap luggage and dolls, and wire transfer shops, you almost forget that two blocks away people are sipping three dollar cups of coffees and bars are preparing for the onslaught of young professionals, students, and interns.
posted by Todd at 11:30 PM |
posted by Todd at 9:58 PM |
October 12, 2003
I had dinner Tuesday with my friend Chrissy at the Chinatown Express. It's a humble basement location, but welcoming with its bright windows full of hanging ducks and cooks making noodles and dumplings by hand. We shared an order of pork and leek dumpling, which were as good as I imagined they would be when I saw them lined up in the window like pastries on a tray. My entrée, dried and cooked squid in black bean sauce, was less exciting. The corn starch in the sauce imposed a uniformity of both texture and taste on the dish. I should have been more adventurous and ordered one of the specials, which was where the Chinese patrons appeared to be finding their food. My normal instinct is to order anything new or that I can't identify. How else will I learn what it tastes like? I might be a little more timid with Chinese food, but next time I vow to order off the special menu.
Chrissy has started applying for academic jobs in Spanish, and the conversation about openings--the jobs that seemed out of reach, the locations that weren't great but acceptable, the crazy Christian schools we would never apply to--reminded me of so many I had last year. I'm still close enough to the academy that the job list, which provides a rough guide to the interest of the discipline and clues about whose contract wasn't renewed, interests me. At the same time, my daily life, my concerns, and my future is so removed from the academy that I can hardly believe I went through the very same job search just 12 months ago.
The academic job search was an attempt to imagine a dozen different ways I might spend the rest of my professional life. Could I be happy living in the South, teaching all the time, and hosting regular dinners for my students? Would I want to be in a near-Artic clime and adopt a Marxist attitude? Could I settle in my old hometown and teach the same five classes for the rest of my life? While some academics change jobs every two years, most professors finish their careers where they start them. I began to realize, though, that none of these possible careers appealed to me and I would be better off outside of the academy.
posted by Todd at 3:55 PM |
October 09, 2003
posted by Todd at 11:54 PM |
If you are as obsessed with your music as I am and have more tunes than you can track, the newly launched Smart Playlists.com is here to help. The site will be collecting ideas for iTunes smart play lists and other tips and programs to help you manage your Mp3 collection. [via Boing Boing]
posted by Todd at 11:35 PM |
October 08, 2003
The newly installed management of Tyco took out full pages ads Tuesday to let the world know that "despite the distractions of the recent past" they still believe in the company. Can you really trust someone who considers the theft of $600 million a "distraction"?
posted by Todd at 4:21 PM |
October 07, 2003
FutureMe allows you to browse the emails of those who opt to make their messages public. Several years in the future, some people will be embarrassed by how immature they are now.
posted by Todd at 4:48 PM |
October 06, 2003
posted by Todd at 9:56 PM |
October 05, 2003
In an unrelated story, the New York Times reports that police discovered a 350-pound bengal tiger in a Harlem apartment over the weekend. The tiger shared the apartment with his owner and a five-foot reptile.
posted by Todd at 11:54 AM |
October 02, 2003
Record changer, long play, and ten-cent store have all been removed from the 11th edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. As David Kipen reports, these words can be revived, but only if we use them in a handful of newspapers and magazines published east of the Mississippi.
posted by Todd at 4:53 PM |
October 01, 2003
posted by Todd at 6:55 PM |
JAZZAll About Jazz