May 31st, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Contamination from genetically engineered crops could make it impossible to practice organic farming in the future. That’s been known for a while; what’s interesting is that the European Union agrees (although it doesn’t want you to know that).

Look at me

May 31st, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

If you like photography at all, definitely check out Look at Me.

Bangla Aloo Sem

May 22nd, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

There’s something weirdly gratifying about being the only Caucasian in an Indian grocery store. It feels like being let in on a secret.

Fake persuaders

May 21st, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

Do you think that scientific papers should be retracted because of the machinations of a public relations firm? Would it bother you to learn that just such a thing happened recently?

Guest editorial by Method Man

May 16th, 2002 § Comments off § permalink

The latest “Please renew your subscription” letter from Harper’s editor Lewis Lapham includes the following line right after the signature:

LHL: rza

Which totally impresses me, because far too few of America’s magazines employ members of the Wu-Tang Clan as secretaries.


May 13th, 2002 § Three comments § permalink

It was a beautiful weekend to be in San Francisco. I spent Saturday afternoon at SFMOMA, and although I was particularly excited about the Eva Hesse exhibition, my favorite work was Video Quartet, a video collage by Christian Marclay. It was shown in a long, rectangular room, with four video screens lined up side by side on one of the long walls; from dozens of movies1, Marclay extracted a 10-minute symphony. Besides being a remarkable work of art, it offered one of the best arguments for fair use that I can imagine. If the entertainment industry had its way, it would be technologically impossible to create a derived work like this one.

I expected to enjoy Perfect Acts of Architecture as well, but that exhibit was dominated by self-righteous modernists who don’t give a tinker’s damn about such petty concerns as whether a space meets its users’ needs. Perhaps it’s worth focusing purely on theoretical questions as a thought experiment; what bothers me is the extent to which some of those architects’ work is informed by the cold vacuum of theory. On the other hand, the exhibit succeeded in making me genuinely angry, which was a nice reminder of the power art can hold.

Before SFMOMA, my brother took me to Vik’s Chaat Corner, a hole-in-the-wall place in Berkeley that he described as “the BEST INDIAN RESTAURANT EVER.” I’m not inclined to disagree. When I told one of my Indian coworkers that I’d been there, he mentioned that he used to drive down to Berkeley occasionally just to go to Vik’s. Good sign.

  1. A sampling of the movies I remember picking out: My Fair LadyMr. Holland’s Opus;Woodstock; footage of Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Frank Sinatra; The Music Man; a Marx Brothers movie; and M. There were many others. []

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