Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Best Bring Your Sense of Humor

UPDATED Comedy Central has posted a legitimate copy of the clip which you can see here.

Colbert Report covers the passing of President Hinckley. Really. Come on guys, it's funny.

Guy Smiley? lol!! I don't want to quote any of the jokes because that would spoil it, but there's one especially good one, if you ask me.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Best Talk That I Actually Listened To

Sunday night when I posted all those talks by Elder and President Hinckley I really hadn't listened to any of them but I thought the titles were pretty interesting, so up they went (I've since listened to them and I think the books match the covers pretty well). A few weeks ago I started exploring, an amazing archive of free mp3s just about every devotional or major address ever given at BYU. The amazing thing about it is how far back it goes...if you want to hear Spencer W Kimball speaking on morality in 1951, you can hear Spencer W Kimball speaking on morality in 1951 (me, it was probably the first time I ever heard his "real" voice. Very commanding), if you want to hear the most recent Devotional address of this year, that's there too. Before President Hinckley's passing I had been meaning to talk about the talks I've been listening to thanks to this site, and that post will come, but I listened to a super-excellent old Hinckley talk today and I wanted to post it before my eventual display of enthusiasm for Nibley talks and such:

Caesar, Circus, or Christ, 1965.

Don't miss his joke about choosing topics to speak on at BYU at the beginning or his definition of a beatnik towards the end.

Looking over the three pages of Hinckley mp3s, there's a lot of excellent looking titles. If anyone listens to ones that I haven't posted, please let me know what you think of them and maybe we can get a good little Guide to the Archived Speeches of Gordon B Hinckley going here.

Addendum I remember one summer riding home from our annual YM/YW rafting trip (or maybe something entirely different) in the YW Leader's car and she put in a tape of her favorite church talks (and this wasn't an old lady, it was Sister Julian, she was just in her 20's or something) and I remember thinking (even though I was a pretty good kid) "Man, what kind of dork keeps a tape of their favorite talks to listen to in the car?" Fast forward 16 or 17 years and here I am, listening to Apostles on my iPod as I ride the subway. So it goes.

Best Pasta of The Week Returns!

This week's pasta is spaghetti tossed in a sauce of lemon juice, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese plus a bit of lemon zest and basil on top.

Last week I didn't make pasta, but I made things like soup and chicken in green sauce and worked on finishing my creamy fettuccine from the week before. You know, no matter how best a Pasta of the Week is, it's never easy to love a whole pound of it, unless it's aglio olio--that one stays lovable for some reason. This pasta seems pretty nice, but it screams "Serve me with something else!" with anger. I get this feeling that that something else might be salmon, but I have never ever cooked myself any fish.

But you know something that I am going to cook someday? Carnitas! I finally found a good looking carnitas recipe that didn't start off with boiling three pounds of lard.

For those who couldn't care less about what pasta I made this week, I've got good news: I've finished nearly two selections (meaning I definitely finished one and another is almost dead) from my reading playlist and will be posting word-soaked assessments of these first victories soonish. I have a vision of myself sitting at my desk and typing tomorrow and those assessments just might be what it is I am typing. We'll see.

ALSO, do you know how many people can fit (sitting) in my apartment? Definitely more than 28, because that's how many came to FHE tonight and there was room for a handful or two more. If everyone stood, who knows what kind of congregation I could host?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Best Temporary Employment

Remember in December when I went to the gallery where Brooke works? Well, I was invited to spend Wednesday and Thursday there working on a little project with Collin.

See these cards? It was our job to stamp and label them (and several hundred more) so they could be mailed out to art enthusiasts throughout the world.

Labeling, it's hard work.

What you see here is me covering up a Canada stamp with an International stamp because maybe some card addressed to London wound up in my Canada pile and maybe a small number of them got Canada stamped before I noticed the trespassers. Disaster averted! Nothing to see here!

This is art, btw.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

They finished Batman, right?

Best Facebook Glory

I saw this on Facebook today and all I've got to say is, "YES!"

I'll do whatever it takes to maintain my ranking short of adding the Trend Setter application to my page.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Best Soon-to-Be-Necessary Amenity

Friday afternoon I visited some art galleries in Chelsea. The galleries of Chelsea are mostly located (if you didn't know) in the 20's between 10th avenue and the river...a formerly rather barren area that has become home to a variety of new apartment buildings over the past few years as this is the fate awaiting all rather barren areas of Manhattan. Anyway, at 24th street and 11th avenue I saw a new building on it's way to completion festooned with ads boasting that the 19 story building would boast New York's first "ensuite sky garages." What does that mean? That means that many of the apartments, way up there high above the ground, will have garages and that are to be reached by a special car-elevator. Absolutely nutso yet very very seductively luxurious.

A little googling unearthed this video of how the whole process is imagined to go:

Myself, I can't wait for the first major ensuite sky garage disaster, because where there are car elevators, there are disasters waiting to happen. Remember?

The official site of the apartment building ("200 Eleventh Avenue") is worth a visit if you like imagining living in a nice apartment. Link.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Best I've Got Nothing to Say

...but I Will Say This

If you love Marvel Comics or barely even care about Marvel or Stan Lee, click this link and check out some absolutely magnificent Stan Lee tribute artwork. Seriously. Do it. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Best Unveiling of the Mystery

As slightly indicated in a previous post, last Thursday I spent the day in Philadelphia because Shane and Jen were in town from Albania visiting Jen's folks. Shane met me at the Philadelphia Chinatown Bus stop and we did a tiny bit of downtown Philadelphia-ing before going home to the Felts'. And do you know what I found out there? That the neighbors owned a DeLorean and were totally friendly about letting people check it out and sit in it!

This is Jen and Shane. Do you know how long I've known them? Over 12 years. Isn't that insane?

Here's the DeLorean's engine. You know what I learned when I got home from Philadelphia? That the DeLorean wasn't a particularly fast did 0-60 in just under 9 seconds. Finding that out made me wonder what the point of this automobile was, but I gave it some thought and decided the points to a DeLorean are: Stainless Steel. Gullwing Doors. Time Travel Capabilities.

Still, it was pretty exciting to sit down in that car. The cockpit was absolutely tiny, I barely fit at all and my elbow kept hitting the horn (which stuck out of the steering column on a lever like it was the turn signal).

This is me before I knew the DeLorean wasn't a sprinter.

Father and child.

Back in the house, a patient Oliver played with his sister. (He didn't play patient, though, he's being an art subject).

Just when I thought my day could not be any more filled with unexpected awesomeness, do you know what happened? We went to a Benihana clone for dinner. YES!!

As you can see, Shane and I were utterly mystified by our chef's talents.

And when he was done cooking it was time for some shrimp-tossing (and catching). Here's Jen's dad a millionth of a second after catching his shrimp. I would also like to report that I totally caught my shrimp, and not with my eye or forehead as you might suspect, but with my mouth.

And that was my day in Philadelphia!

Additional Reading:

The time Jen and Shane came to New York and we saw Holly Golightly in Hoboken but Imageshack seems to have lost a lot of my pictures.

The time I went to DC to see Jen and Shane and Shane and I saw the Cramps but the show was just Ok.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Best Follow Up to a Post from Months Ago

An article on the growth of fast-casual dining in today's Times answers the question raised ("Why are there no Panera Breads in Manhattan?") in the comments to this post about a dinner at Panera with my family in Chicago this summer.

The question and answer, as presented by the New York Times:

The modest growth strategy typical of fast-casual chains might be one reason for an absence that many chains find conspicuous in Manhattan: Panera Bread.

Panera, a bakery-cafe, is the most lucrative fast-casual restaurant in the country, according to Technomic, with nearly $2 billion in sales in 2006. Some experts say Panera must enter Manhattan cautiously because a large part of its appeal is a spacious dining room with modern décor. Manhattan real estate will make such arrangements costly. But Ronald M. Shaich, the company’s chairman and chief executive, said he hoped to be in Manhattan within three years.

“I’d rather the legacy of what we do be something that was phenomenal, that customers were raving over, rather than to say that we’re as big as McDonald’s,” he said.

I think we can all get on with our lives now.

Link to the original Times article, if you're interested in knowing how popular Chipotle and Five Guys are.

Best Shocking Exposé

Last week's New York Observer featured an article called "Mormons of Manhattan!" (now that's a headline) which you can read here. It's pretty much your standard "Hey look, Mormons that live in New York, blah blah blah" article that pops up every now and then except it's written in the looser style of the New York Observer*

*What's the New York Observer? Well, it's a weekly paper here in New York that's printed on pink paper and it's sort of different from most papers here. I don't know, like the Village Voice crossed with the Times minus the listings of every single concert and off-Broadway even that will happen that week...also, no ads for prostitutes, either. And here's a piece of bonus information: the summer after I finished law school my classmate Jared Kushner bought the Observer, the whole company. I, however, probably accepted a copy or two of AM New York. ALSO, this is what the Observer is probably most famous for: It published the original Sex and the City columns by Candice Bushnell that spawned the cultural phenomenon/curse of stupidity which grips this city still.

Anyway, the article is pretty much ok but the most interesting thing about it is how the Observer describes what everyone is wearing--I suppose that's a necessary New Journalismy flourish, but it really sticks out at me. Also, I know every single person quoted in the article and it's funny to see them as just someone being quoted and described.

This is what I suggest: Read the article and then we'll all meet up in the comments section and talk about it. Deal?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Best Get a Load of This!

A lot could be said about today, but for now let's leave it at this:

I know what you're thinking. Yes. That's Shane Holmes.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Best Pasta of THIS Week

Anonymous, I present to you this week's pasta dish: fettuccine with a creamy sauce of red roasted pepper and feta cheese (with some onion and garlic tossed in there, too) topped with some more feta and a bit of parsley. You know what? This was one was GOOD, the kind of tasty where you sort of start humming to yourself as you eat it, you know? Last week's walnut linguine was hard to stay enthusiastic about for the five or six days it lasted but this zingy little creation will be a joy to work on through the week.

I had wanted to make this with sausage but couldn't find any at the Food Emporium tonight (stinking New York City grocery stores) but it turned out more than fine without. It might be awful good with a variety of vegetables mixed in, I'll give that a shot someday. Someday after I make anchovy aglio olio.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Best Playlist

Ok, these are the books that I'm going to read next. They are easily divided between "Books I am Reading Now" and "Books I Need to Finish." Let us walk through the stack.

ReJoyce by Anthony Burgess

Did you know that Anthony Burgess, famous for writing the Clockwork Orange, was a serious Joyce enthusiast? It's true, he was. I got this book for Christmas and it's receiving the majority of my reading attention right now because it isn't too long (under 300 pages), it isn't too hard going, and I'm always interested in reading opinions on Joyce. This isn't so much a biography or criticism as a really fleshed-out set of Cliff Notes, Burgess spends most of the book walking through all of Joyce's works, pointing things out and putting his two cents in here and there. Right now I'm halfway through the Ulysses section, I've got a pretty good grip on that book so reading this part is like getting a nice pat on the back but I look forward to the Finnegans Wake part of the book because that's when I'll truly be experiencing the "critic as storyteller" experience. I've said it before and I'll say it again, if theres a purpose that Finnegans Wake readily serves for its first time readers it's to teach them that Ulysses is a perfectly accessible and open book.

Snow White by Donald Barthelme

I liked his short stories, so why not try a longer (but still short) story? I bought this used when I was in Philadelphia earlier this year and read probably two pages of it before being distracted by who knows what. I came across it recently and decided to give it a real shot...I'm looking forward to a nice little post-modern slugging in the gut to spark up my mind a bit and get my own desires-to-write stirred up.

Jesus the Christ by James E Talmage

You know, I would have read this book a long time ago if someone had told me that Talmage writes like a prince (just like I would have seen Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid much earlier than I eventually did if my Dad had just told me it was funny). I took my first serious look at it this summer when preparing a Sunday School lesson and found it thrilling, so I've been chipping away at it here and there, mostly on Sundays. Some Sundays I read 5 pages, other Sundays I read 80 pages. I'm in no rush, but I'll finish this book.

Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon

This has been my number one enemy since November. I got this book last Christmas and it just sat on my bookshelf since then, staring at me, making me feel guilty. Then, at the beginning of fall, I decided I needed to finish all the books I got for Christmas '06 before asking for any more this year. I finished off the others and started with this beast. The main problem with this book--aside from its being over 1000 pages of small print--is that I don't think completing it will be terribly rewarding...I mean, I don't think there will be a lot more to get out of it besides being able to say "Yeah, I read Pynchon's new book." It definitely has moments, but it is not V. and it is not the Crying of Lot 49. Who knows, maybe I'll have a different opinion when I'm finished with it, but right now I'm just trying to enjoy the language of the book and keep track of all the characters. It's hard to be on page 300 of a book and realize you've still got 700+ pages to go.

Now we're getting to the part of the stack made up of books I started a long time ago:

The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow

Andrew used to talk and talk and talk about this book so I bought it back in 2005 and spent about a week on it before I got a little bildungsroman-ed out by it. Unable to forget the praise poured onto it by my old chum, I know that I must return to it and finish it.

Don Quixote by Cervantes

Remember in 2006 when Don Quixote madness was sweeping the nation? And by sweeping, I mean that this new translation had come out and both my Dad and Andrew were reading it? And, technically, since my Dad read it in Chicago and Andrew read it in Utah, more or less sort of kind of that's a coast-to-coast spread of readers, if you ignore the coasts. Anyway, who hasn't been curious about Don Quixote all their life? So I got a copy and was working on it for a while and really enjoying myself, but here's the thing: It's just very hard to stay committed to long books. That's all there is to it. But I must be a man and get back to this book and finish it because it is a classic and my soul will be enriched by conquering it, and I don't even care if the book isn't as in style as it was two years ago.

Death and the Idea of Mexico by Claudio Lomnitz

I got this one for Christmas 2005. Here's a bit of the book's official description:

Death and the Idea of Mexico is the first social, cultural, and political history of death in a nation that has made death its tutelary sign. Examining the history of death and of the death sign from sixteenth-century holocaust to contemporary Mexican-American identity politics, anthropologist Claudio Lomnitz's innovative study marks a turning point in understanding Mexico's rich and unique use of death imagery. Unlike contemporary Europeans and Americans, whose denial of death permeates their cultures, the Mexican people display and cultivate a jovial familiarity with death. This intimacy with death has become the cornerstone of Mexico's national identity.

I shouldn't have to explain my interest in this one, right? I actually think I made it pretty far into this scholarly text, I think I backed off once I was feeling a little like "Ok, I get it. Death has always been a big deal in Mexico." But if I was able to finish all my Christmas '07 books (just about), shouldn't I finish all my '05 ones, too?

Generation of Swine by Hunter S. Thompson

Ok, I'll confess. This afternoon I got a little crazy grabbing all the books I hadn't finished that I wanted to finish and I grabbed this one. It's nice to spend time with the good doctor from time to time and I choose this to be the Hunter S Thomspon book that I spend time with from time to time for the time being (sorry Great Shark Hunt). My decision was mostly inspired by the fact that Thompson tackles (ha!) the Bears' 1986 Superbowl Victory in one of the articles/essays/what do I call these things, pieces? Chapters?

Of Human Bondage by William Somerset Maugham.

My Dad loved it, Sariah loved it, so I bought it at the end of the Summer of '04 to read during Early Interview Week. Early Interview Week ended, and so did my time with this book. I think it was another case of not being in the mood for a coming-of-age tale (I say that so you don't get sick of me using a certain four-syllable German word)

The Big Teddy Roosevelt Biography I Bought This Summer by the Guy Who Wrote It

Inspired equally by curiosity put into my by Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation and A Night at the Museum, I picked this one up very cheap at the Strand. I actually put a fair amount of time into it, getting about 300 pages into it before burning out a bit. I don't think I ever officially stopped reading it, I just started reading other things, too. However, I hadn't been reading it too long before I realized that maybe I should have just read Mr. Roosevelt's wikipedia entry first and then deciding if I needed to read a whole thorough biography on him or if my internet learning would be enough. Basically I just want to read quips and anecdotes, not much more than that. Oh well, maybe this time next year I'll be filled to the brim with Roosevelt-knowledge.

Ok guys. Unless I come across something really exciting (and short), these are the next 10 books I'm reading. Also, at any moment I might get distracted and decide that it's time to finally re-read some Kierkegaard or get serious about reading Ulysses again. Those are bookurges I'm always fighting.

Best Reality Prayers Answered

The Mole is coming back!

Pretty much Road Rules with a traitor, the Mole was a really fun reality show and I'm happily surprised to see it is coming back after disappearing a few years back. To tell the truth, I only watched the first season and didn't even bother with Celebrity Mole, but that first season of the was great. Much more fun to speculate who the villain of the show is than wonder which castaway will be winning immunity.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Best "Hey, Look at this!"

Noah Feldman was the superstar young professor at NYU when I was there, apparently he's at Harvard now. He was an expert on law and religion and a super-brain that everyone idolized. Anyway, this weekend's NY Times had a big article he wrote called "What is it about Mormonism?" I think you'll like it...


It's a good little article, but I've got something even neater for you now. It's Feldman giving the keynote address from a conference on Mormonism & Politics at Princeton.


By the way, the artice and video? Romney-related, Romney-inspired, of course.

Best Nail Hit Upon Its Head

Best Touch of Anticipation

What do you mean not until 2009?

And if this is successful, do we get an In the Night Kitchen movie?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Best Pasta of the Week.

Tonight I made linguine with a toasted walnuts "sauce" of walnuts, breadcrumbs, garlic, shallots, red pepper flakes, and parsley topped with a little (lot) pecorino romano. It was fine, but something about it wasn't perfect. Probably could have used a lot more shallot and garlic, or maybe I liked my aglio olio a lot more than I realized.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Best Late Night Dilemma plus Root Beer Sidetracking

With the talk shows coming back tonight, it's so hard to decide: Would I rather watch the debut of Bearded Letterman with Writers, or relish seeing what Leno is like without writers. There will be a lot of clicking back and forth.

Also, whatever it is it's still beeping. The noise seems to be coming from the bathroom, or a kitchen cabinet but examination has not revealed anything.


1) Turns out I just got sort of bored and turned them both off. Or, better said, once the Top 10 List was finished and I realized that Robin Williams was Dave's guest, I was done. And I was able to watch about 23 seconds of writing-for-himself Jay before it was back to Dave.

2) Also, it turns out that if I go to bed hungry (which is what I did last night...but don't feel bad to me, I just decided to call it a night instead of rooting around in my fridge and cabinets) I'll dream that I'm drinking an entire 2 liter bottle of A&W. Which was odd, as A&W is one of my least favorite root beers. So creamy and foamy.

Here's a List of Root beers I Like:

  • Stewart's
  • Mug
  • Dads or Hires (at least I think I do. I haven't had much Dad's or Hires ever since I started really thinking about what Root Beers I like)

Here's a List of Root beers I'd Rather Not Have, Given the Choice (as if I might go to a party with a whole bunch of root beers to choose from):
  • Barqs (tastes like dish soap.)
  • A&W (see reasoning above)
Root beer that no longer impresses me like it used to, but I'm glad it is available from fountains now:
  • IBC
Most Disgusting Root Beer:
  • Diet A&W
Root Beer that I Once Had to Show ID to Buy (Silly Deli Worker):
  • Brooklyn Brewerey
HOWEVER the best root beer I ever had was a Utah microbrew called Howie's that someone had sent to them at the MTC.

Brigham & Root Beer FUN FACT #1: Did you know that my Uncle Bob had/has a root beer making contraption in his kitchen? If you're from my family then you did.

Brigham & Root Beer FUN FACT #2: Did you know I have two mugs frosting in my freezer, just waiting for root beer to be poured into them? And that these mugs have been put to use once in the past year and three quarters? It's true! See, I told you.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Best Mystery of the New Year

Something somewhere in my apartment is beeping about once every minute or maybe just once every thirty seconds. What could it be?

Best New Years Evening

There was a big New Years party on the Upper West Side last night. Although I pretty much knew all the girls that were throwing it and pretty much recognized all the names on the evite the party eventually became one where everyone was asking "Who are all these people?"

From this party full of strangers, these are pretty much all the people that I knew:


Mike and Jen (a hostess, by the way)

Jordan and her visiting friends.


Open mouths, back to back. How odd.
Jeff and Kristin (I remember this picture looking better when I took it)

Mollye (so shy!) and Kieren (I remember this picture being in focus...New Years Eve, the whole thing is just a blur)

You might think that this is a picture of a crowd but actually if you look carefully you'll see that it's a portrait of Jacob Pugsley.

Out on the street Kristina told me "It's funny, I haven't seen you taking any pictures all night"

New Years Eve. Ta-da!