Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Round-Up: Tuesday, Apr. 27, 2010

Art: Check out a cover for Fortune Magazine that was commissioned but ultimately rejected. It's pretty funny and well done. More info on the rejection here.

News: NYT piece on teacher layoffs based-on seniority. Shows both sides very well, with some arguments I had never really thought about. "Facing the likelihood of the largest number of layoffs in more than a generation, Mr. Klein and his counterparts around the country say that the rules, which require that the most recently hired teachers be the first to lose their jobs, are anachronistic. In an era of accountability, they say, the rules will upend their efforts of the last few years to recruit new teachers, improve teacher performance and reward those who do best."

Eat: All You Need to Know about the LA Pizza Scene

Listen & Laugh: Embarrassing pre-fame music careers. Trent Reznor as a New Wave cover artist? Billy Joel as a Psychedelic Metal God? Katy Perry as a Pious Christian Pop Angel? The answer is yes, with videos to prove it.

Predictions: Facebook Privacy Settings. My favorite user comment: "2021: Farmville becomes self aware and enslaves the human race"

Food Porn: The Cheese and Burger Society website is insane but so well-designed.

Politics: Interesting take on Harry Reid and Lindsey Graham's tussle on prioritizing immigration reform over a climate change bill.

Political Humor: Do You Find National Security Advisor Jim Jones's Joke Funny? Background and another joke here:
"I’d just like to tell you a story that I think is true. It happened recently in southern Afghanistan. A member of the Taliban was separated from his fighting party and wandered around for a few days in the desert, lost, out of food, no water. And he looked on the horizon and he saw what looked like a little shack and he walked towards that shack. And as he got to it, it turned out it was a little store owned by a Jewish merchant. And the Taliban warrior went up to him and said, ‘I need water. Give me some water.’ And the merchant said, ‘I’m sorry, I don’t have any water, but would you like a tie? We have a nice sale of ties today.’

Whereupon the Taliban erupted into a stream of language that I can’t repeat, but about Israel, about Jewish people, about the man himself, about his family, and just said, ‘I need water, you try to sell me ties, you people don’t get it.’

And impassively the merchant stood there until the Taliban was through with his diatribe and said, ‘Well I’m sorry that I don’t have water for you and I forgive you for all of the insults you’ve levied against me, my family, my country. But I will help you out. If you go over that hill and walk about two miles, there is a restaurant there and they have all the water you need.’ And the Taliban, instead of saying thanks, still muttering under his breath, disappears over the hill, only to come back an hour later. And walking up to the merchant says, ‘Your brother tells me I need a tie to get into the restaurant.’"

Entertainment News: Love this weekly round-up. Highlights:

  • Woody Allen's next film, Midnight in Paris, will star Owen Wilson, Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, and Carla Bruni.
  • Pixar has announced Monsters, Inc. 2
  • Aliens prequel w/ Ridley Scott will be about the "Space Jockey"
  • A deal on Avatar 2 hasn't been officially inked, but it's going to happen and will feature the oceans of Pandora
  • Do you think a Bad Boys 3 is necessary?
  • See if your favorite TV show is on the "safe" or "endangered" list for renewal. Thankfully the prospects for Chuck are looking better. 
  • New Ricky Gervais pilot in the works!
Watch: I know this is going to be my new favorite cooking show. No competition, no stress, just cooking and talking. In "Dinner With the Band," chef Sam Mason cooks and hangs out with musicians such as The Mountain Goats, Rufus Wainwright, Andrew W.K., Owen Pallett (aka Final Fantasy), YACHT, etc.... In the following clip, he cooks for Canadian indie-rockers Tokyo Police Club (who were super nice when I met them after a show on Bruinwalk at noon one day at UCLA).

Listen: Oh and Tokyo Police Club just previewed a new song off their upcoming full-length.

Watch: Jim Carrey & Conan O'Brien sing "Superman (It's Not Easy)"

Friday, April 23, 2010

Round-Up: Friday, Apr. 23, 2010

News: Why the Affordable Care Act is Important (hint: perhaps b/c health insurance companies can drop you if you get breast cancer or if you have braces which can be classified as a "congenital deformity"

Politics: Nate Silver's model predict that Republicans will gain 4 Senate seats in November, there's a 6% chance of a takeover of the Senate, and Democrats have only a 7% chance of adding one seat to their current total, giving them a 60 super-majority.

Laugh: Unintentional Porn

Watch: Gross but Funny

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Round-Up: Thursday, Apr. 22, 2010

Did You Know?: Sugar
1. The average American eats 44 pounds of sugar per year
2. The largest sugar exporter, Brazil, now uses half the sugar it produces to make ethanol
3. Sugar is an ingredient in 70% of manufactured food
4. Louisiana is America’s second-largest sugarcane producer behind Florida
5. The price per pound of American raw sugar has doubled in the past year
6. "Manufacturers including Hershey, Kraft and General Mills warn that they will have to raise prices and lay off workers if America does not ease import restrictions on foreign sugar—a move the Department of Agriculture (USDA) indicated earlier this month that it is considering. America’s powerful sugar lobby is vehemently opposed, and cites the security of the home-grown supply"

Network: Do You Wish Facebook Looked Like This?

Laugh: Craigslist Ad about Sticking a Flash Drive in...

Debate: UCLA Professor Argues Why We Should Get Rid of the Performance Review

Watch: Wikus from District 9 & Charlize Theron

Watch: Drunk Guy vs. Flip-flops at Coachella. If you like that, check out this European guy trying to wear his pants as a shirt (courtesy of my coworker Tracey)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Round-Up: Wednesday, Apr. 21, 2010

News: Are unhealthy school lunches a national security issue? "While it is indeed worrisome that our high-calorie lunches might prevent the dull-eyed, sexting youth of today from becoming the IED fodder of tomorrow, remember this: Predator drones always stay trim"

Laugh: April Showers

Watch: Funny Video about How Every Pop Song Uses the Same Chords

Read: Top 10 Absurd Classics

Read: "10 Gay Indie Rockers (In Otherwise 'Straight' Bands)"

1.Jonsi of Sigur Ros
2.Owen Pallett of Final Fantasy
3. Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear
4. Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend/Discovery
5. Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu
6. Kele Okereke of Bloc Party
7. Bradford Cox of Deerhunter
8. Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons
9. Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields
10. Joel Gibb of The Hidden Cameras

Antony of Antony and the Johnson's:
"I think the fact we’re led to believe we’re different because of our sexuality is a hoax that’s been pulled on us. When you think about how much time you actually spend having sex compared to how much time you spend eating or talking or listening to music, it’s really not that significant or important. I might be an active homosexual for an hour here and there, but I’m myself 24 hours a day. Obviously I have quite a big gay and lesbian fan base, but I’m hopeful that the thing that binds us together isn’t our sexual orientation—it’s the fact that we’re all special in our individual ways."

Watch: Owen Pallett

Eat: Jidori Chicken is finding a home on LA restaurant menus.

List: 15 Movie Posters Re-Imagined With the Stars Originally Cast

Read: Interesting Anthony Bourdain interview (of course, any interview w/ Bourdain is bound to be interesting).

This Week at the Farmer's Market I bought:
1. Blood oranges (for blood orange margaritas)
2. Fava beans (something I've never cooked with)
3. Eggs
4. Romaine lettuce

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Round-Up: Tuesday, Apr. 20, 2010

Did You Know: Social Mobility in the US
1. In 2008, the richest 10% earned nearly half of all income, surpassing even their share in 1928
2. In 2009, 71% of Americans agreed that hard work & personal skill are the main ingredients for success
3. In 2004 men in their 30s earned 12% less in real terms than their fathers did at a similar age
4. "Between 1947 and 1973, the typical American family’s income roughly doubled in real terms. Between 1973 and 2007, however, it grew by only 22%—and this thanks to the rise of two-worker households"
5. "Parental income is a better predictor of a child’s future in America than in much of Europe, implying that social mobility is less powerful."
6. More than 40% of those Americans born in the bottom quintile remain stuck there as adults
7. Those who graduate in recessions have lower incomes in the long term
8. Those born to the middle class have about an equal chance of moving up or down the income ladder, according to the Economic Mobility Project. But those born to black middle-class families are much more likely than their white counterparts to fall in rank
9. "Ms Sawhill and Mr Haskins (Brookings Institution) argue for a drastic shift in federal priorities: rather than pay for the consumption of the old, America should invest in the productivity of the young. Reducing entitlement programmes will be tricky, to say the least. But stagnant rates of mobility risk turning the American dream to delusion."

Watch: An acoustic set by Silversun Pickups at Spin.

Eat: Nate Silver of 538 compares the nutritional values of KFC's Double Down with a bunch of other fast food restaurants.

4/20 News: 10 Successful "Potheads"

Friday, April 16, 2010

Round-Up: Thursday, Apr. 15, 2010

Did You Know: Statute of Anne
1. First copyright statute in Britain & recognized as the first full copyright statute in the world
2. Went into effect 300 years ago this week
3. Named for Queen Anne of Great Britain
4. Copyright lasted 14 years for new books & an additional 14 years if the author was still alive when the first term ran out
5. In America, it is now 95 years (and may be extended soon)
6. The 95 years is called the "Mickey Mouse Protection Act" by its critics, referring to the fact that every time Mickey Mouse is about to go in the public domain, copyright law is extended

Design: Beautiful and creative office designs

Listen: Stream the latest Tallest Man on Earth album. Straight out of Sweden, give this a listen if you like some Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan.

Watch: Check out this sweet Japanese Nike ad where Japanese DJs make music using the shoes.

Watch: The future is coming.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Round-Up: Wednesday, Apr. 14, 2010

New blog feature: Did You Know?
This week's topic: Taxes:
1. The head of the IRS, Douglas Shulman, gets someone else to do his taxes.
2. The federal tax code was 400 pages long in 1913
3. The federal tax code is now 70,000 pages
4. Americans spend 7.6 billion hours a year on taxes
5. 82% of taxpayers pay for help on filling taxes. 

Travel: 161 Road Trips in the West

Tech News:
Watch: Clips of South Park that explain all of the annoying things about Facebook

Michael Pollan on Feedlot Meat: "The consumer can only go so far -- we can all buy grass-fed meat and the price will come down  and there will be efficiencies in distribution and slaughter, and that sort of thing, but ultimately feedlot meat enjoys large subsidies, in the form of subsidized grain, in the form of not having to clean up their waste -- they are in effect exempt from many environmental laws, and also the fact that they're allowed to use antibiotics on healthy animals.  So until you change the three struts of federal support for feedlots, that kind of meat is always going to be more expensive." (Read the rest of the HuffPo interview here)

Tweet: "City of Choi; Saturday Night Lefevbre; There's Something About Mary Sue and Susan; I Was a Fugitive From a Wolfgang. #cheffilms" - Jonathan Gold
(Choi = Kogi, Lefebvre = Ludo Bites, Mary Sue & Susan = Border Grill & Ciudad, Wolfgang = Wolfgang Puck's many restaurants. I've eaten at all of those except for Wolfgang). 

Friday, April 9, 2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Round-Up: Thursday, Apr. 8, 2010

Read: Great concept for a site. Experts list the best 5 books in their field. Check out Five Books.

Listen: 10 Songs for English Majors.

News: "Stars & Stripes reports that an Air Force officer who outed herself as a lesbian was told she has to stay in the military because you can't out yourself just because you want to get a discharge. As the military newspaper notes, "if you admit to being homosexual you can be discharged from the military, but if you admit it for the purposes of being discharged you won't be." (The Best Defense)

Laugh and Cry: "Pope Forgives Molested Children" (2002 Onion article)

Listen: Owen Pallett "Lewis Takes Off His Shirt (Dan Deacon Remix)"

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Round-Up: Wednesday, Apr. 7, 2010

News: "People are all upset with Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell because he signed a proclamation celebrating Confederate History Month. The crux of their concern seems to be that the language in the proclamation makes no mention of slavery, but let's be fair: The Confederacy wasn't about slavery. It was about raising up arms against the government of the nation because certain states were upset by the results of a legitimate election. The whole point of the thing was the treason. The slave-owning was more of a side benefit." - The Awl

Pictures: Pictures of the crisis in Kyrgyzstan. A must see.

Watch: Evan Kleiman of KCRW's Good Food has great informational videos you can see here. I personally loved the "Herbs" one because I just bought rosemary, thyme, oregano, mint, and parsley plants to grow on my balcony. I'll have to try her tip in this video of throwing in the blender some garlic, salt, rosemary, and fennel seed to put on almost anything. She also has another video talking about salt, so added to my shopping list is Diamond Crystal kosher salt and Maldon sea salt

Laugh: Possible Lost spin-offs; best parking ticket dispute letter I've ever read, what an honest Facebook debate would look like,

Watch & Laugh: Megan Fox on CA Schools, plus some great Schwarzenegger jokes

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Round-Up: Tuesday, Apr. 6, 2010

Learn: Really cool Interactive guide to the key players in David Cameron's shadow government. British PM Gordon Brown just announced that elections will take place on May 6th. David Cameron may very well become the PM. Time to learn about his young braintrust. Britain's finances are a mess, so a more conservative government may be necessary. I am worried about how few leaders in Cameron's Conservative party support the EU, however.

Read more about the election here:
"The contest itself will be exciting. For the first time in nearly twenty years, the outcome is not at all certain. The detonation of the parliamentary expenses scandal still reverberates. Politicians are disliked and distrusted, and a record number of MPs will be standing down. The economy is tentatively recovering after a long recession. And, as British politics becomes ever less parliamentary and ever more presidential, the party leaders will clash for the first time in American-style televised debates, with unpredictable consequences.

Before Christmas, Mr Cameron’s party enjoyed double-digit poll leads. But since the start of 2010, the numbers have been much more volatile. Recent polls still put the Tories ahead of Labour, but often by smaller margins. In most countries their lead would be regarded as a healthy one, but Britain’s strange electoral arithmetic tilts the playing field against the Conservatives, and a victory that once looked certain now merely looks possible."

Policy: Parking and Biking Policy in Santa Monica examined. Interesting allusions to land-use and UCLA Urban Planning Professor Donald Shoup (I once wrote my own policy memo based on his work on parking).

News: The Economist highlights why the net neutrality ruling today might be bad news.

Commentary: Should Obama play it safe when replacing Supreme Court Justice Stevens or excite his base?

Art: Sweet needlepoint by Ryan Berkley

Laugh: How to Write a Nicholas Sparks Movie

Laugh: Shut-up Foodies tumblr

Tech: Council President Eric Garcetti (actually had the honor of meeting him) is going to release an iPhone app for city services. "Take and submit photos of potholes, graffiti and other problems for the city to address." This follows the news of iPhone app by new councilman Paul Koretz (my friends might recognize the name, since I was planning on volunteering for his campaign if I didn't get my current job).

Listen: Manchester Orchestra "Tony The Tiger" (Simon Illa remix)

Listen: Manchester Orchestra "Shake It Out" (P.O.S. remix)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Round-Up: Monday, Apr. 5, 2010

Garden: 7 Things You Can Do to Celebrate National Garden Month

Read: Interesting LA Times article about the rising importance of decline to state voters in CA. They currently support Democrat Barbara Boxer's for re-election in the Senate, and Republican Meg Whitman for Governor.

"The nonpartisans occupy the ideological ground you'd expect, midway between the Democratic and Republican folds. They tend to be fiscally conservative and socially moderate.

Demographically, they look like the future of California, meaning that their sway should only increase. They are more white than the Democratic Party and more Latino than the Republican Party. They are more Asian than either party and between the two when it comes to African Americans.

Fully 55% are college graduates, compared with fewer than half of Democrats or Republicans. A quarter of them are aged 18 to 29, the same as Democrats and Republicans combined. Six in 10 are under age 50, compared with less than half among Democrats and even fewer among Republicans."

Recipe: I'm looking forward to making Ciudad's Peruvian ceviche. So tasty.

List: 50 Awesome Musical Movies

Listen: Tumbler of the Top Songs of the 80s (Think Husker Du, The Smiths, Talking Heads, etc...)

Listen: Pharoahe Monch - Simon Says

 pharoahe monch-simon says get the fuck up.mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Round-Up: Thursday, Apr. 1, 2010

News: Quick summary of Obama's No Child Left Behind proposed reforms

Learn: 80 sex tips courtesy of Cosmo

Eat: Some great pics of lots of dishes at The Bazaar

Read: Why Warren Buffet Would Make a Great General

Gross: Peeps recipes galore. Peep sushi, Peeps Krispie TreatsPeeps Fluffernutter, Deep Fried Peeps

Apartment Hunt: My friend Aubrey put together some resources about finding an apartment in LA. Check it out at her blog.

List: 10 of the best April Fool's jokes in recent history. If you want a complete rundown of today's April Fool's jokes on the internet, go here.

Watch: LCD Soundystem's new song "Drunk Girls" already has an unofficial music video

Watch: I've been doing a lot of research on concealed guns and been following the Starbucks Open Carry controversy quite a bit. Here is Jimmy Kimmell's take: