this week i

wrote the authoritative guide to working with the medicare current beneficiary survey in the r language.  cms could not officially approve it, but they liked what they read.  more valuable once they release a public-use file.

recently passed one billion seconds in age.  ( 1,000,000,000 ) / ( 365.25 x 24 x 60 x 60 )

received a link from the brazilian census bureau to our tutorial on how to work with their 2010 census.  the coming of age for sqlsurvey.

checked the november 1981 death listings, didn't find anyone worth being reincarnated from.  about a year too late to be lennon.  perhaps i'm the true hier of this lama.  or maybe one of those shiny new souls.

read tony judt's memory chalet.

the only serious chinese restaurants in london before the mid-sixties were in the east end and patronized by chinese sailors and a handful of east asian immigrants.  the menus were frequently untranslated and the dishes unknown to locals

railways effectively invented social classes in their modern form, by naming and classifying different levels of comfort, facility, and service

my europe is measured in train time

to my surprise, i discovered that most israelis were not transplanted latter-day agrarian socialists but young, prejudiced urban jews who differed from their european or american counterparts chiefly in their macho, swaggering self-confidence, and access to armed weapons

we pretend to conform and you pretend to believe us

talking, it seemed to me, was the point of adult existence

if words fall into disrepair, what will substitute?  they are all we have

born like most europeans in a country i could cross on foot in a matter of days, i had absolutely no grasp of the sheer scale and variety of the place

the first american motel i ever stayed in was in sioux falls, south dakota.  the rates seemed so implausibly low that i tentatively inquired whether we might upgrade to a room with a shower.  the desk clerk, after pretending not to understand my accent, explained with undisguised disdain that 'all our rooms got showers'

america's three strongest assets..thomas jefferson, chuck berry, and the new york review of books

what distinguishes the new york review is precisely that it is not about new york-nor is it written primarily by new yorkers: like the city itself, it is tangential to its point of origin

being "danish" or "italian," "american" or "european" won't just be an identity; it will be a rebuff and a reproof to those whom it excludes

i have never thought of myself as a rooted person.  we are born by chance in one town rather than another and pass through various temporary homes in the course of our vagrant lives