this week i

ate four cheesesteaks from aunt ro for fireside thanksgiving dinner


type "i love you love you man" into youtube search, fail to find nina simone's song, recite some lyrics into a google search bar, find the name of the song, type "i love your lovin' ways" into youtube, listen on repeat.  next night, "i love you love you man" into youtube search gets me where i want

dined elkridge furnace.  clyburn arboretum, jimmy & rosalynn carter's, sasha helloed snapchatters cuz double upgrades.  tattoo the ambassadors!

received a big skink.  ben's since moved on to googly-eyed mini me gritties


(1) into the antarctic night

future space expeditions will resemble sea voyages much more than test flights

as if the rats were scurrying through their brains

amundsen fulfilled his life's ambition on december 14, 1911, becoming the first person to reach the south pole

(2) ottoman selim's fascination lies in the equipose between his psychopathic behavior and his visionary statesmanship

entrench the sunni-shia divide

he no longer craves only sicily

to whom god grants the sultanate may lawfully put his brothers to death

place-names such as matamoros...moor-slayer

(3) financially pushing up tulips

attendees at an english rural fair in 1906 who competed for a prize to guess the weight of an ox came up with a median estimate that was very close to the animal's actual weight

bad is stronger than good

the company hails from silicon valley and blends techniques devised by social networks to attract users' attention with those of casino operators meant to keep people betting.  new customers are offered a free stock upon joining; the app sends them emoji-filled notifications and erupts in confetti after a customer places an order; digits spin up and down like a slot machine when share price changes; and an alert is sent once a price rises by more than 5 percent.  all these techniques are designed to draw customers back to the app

robinhood's customers don't pay transaction fees because the company earns money by selling information about their trades to financial firms, which are only too happy to take the other side of the bet

(4) deciding cases on the narrowest possible grounds

in one of those cases, van buren v. united states, the vote was 6-3, but the six were the three liberal justices joined by the three trump appointees, and justice barrett wrote the opinion

defying expectations and rising above party lines becomes more difficult as the stakes increase


(5) umami: a short cut to deliciousness

 for 1200 years meat had been banned in japan

parmesan (the umamiest cheese on earth)

a nice bit of hashtag lobbying persuaded merriam-webster to preface its online definition of 'chinese restaurant syndrome' with the note: 'dated, sometimes offensive'


use kokumi to make the biscuit biscuitier


(6) wildfires in western north america

like an atomic bomb went off

a 1 degree celsius rise in the average temperature could bring up to a 600 per cent increase in the median area burned every year.  there are feedback loops to worry about

the conservative party of canada recently voted against recognising the existence of climate change

(7) peter thiel and silicon valley

 i'm not even sure what i'm supposed to say.  i want to publicly tell you i'm not a vampire

'my generation was promised colonies on the moon,' he said after being introduced by zuckerberg.  'instead, we got facebook.'  zuckerberg had once called twitter 'a clown car that fell into a gold mine'


(8) more on the food system

the philosophy underlying our global food system is often referred to as 'cornucopianism' - the belief that the earth's capacity to produce food is, as a result of planning and technological innovation, just about limitless

refrigerated shipping made new zealand mutton cheaper than mutton raised at home

in 1939 britain had 250,000 sweetshops

bread bulked with sawdust

domestic 'zoomass' outweighs wild 'zoomass' by a factor of ten

pomologists..are people who study fruit; oyster-eating is ostreophagy


(9) the dissociative psychedelic ketamine and other substances

how amazing is it..that so many kinds of plants have hit upon the precise recipes for molecules that fit snugly into receptors in human brains

i began to think of caffeine as an essential ingredient for the construction of an be caffeinated is an altered state.  it just happens to be a state that virtually all of us share, rendering it invisible



this week i

described the population of americans eligible for but not enrolled in health coverage under medicaid

flew to louis armstrong intl to drink corner store beers with jerome beneath flickering porchlight.  he recounted the chaos of vietnam, andy griffith's mayberry played on television.  waffle house dinner, octagonal overnight, elderly gentleman at grand hotel placed baseball cap on the floor and asked, "how 'bout a mimosa, heloise?"  milkshakes at the athletic fields of the university of south alabama (usa) then barbecue among bayside alumni



(1) famine in ethiopia

the punitive carthaginian operation

the shift from severe poverty to famine as like freezing water turning to ice: it's not just a lower temperature, but a change in state.  during the early stages of a food crisis, the graph of excess deaths resembles the foothills of a mountain range.  then comes a sudden, precipitous rise

war is primarily an intellectual activity

(2) edgar allan poe the scientist

an accidental voyage to the moon in a hot air balloon

in 1839 he wrote an illustrated taxonomy of seashells, the conchologist's first book, a school textbook that sold better in his lifetime than any of his subsequent works

(3) not the first archbishop of canterbury

becket and henry ii fell out in 1163 - over the primacy of church v. monarch - the dispute revolved around what was or wasn't written down

a fragment of becket's skull

henry ii made a barefoot pilgrimage to becket's tomb and been whipped before it by the monks

much to the consternation of the clergy, becket began rapidly to acquire a post-mortem celebrity.  townspeople who were in the cathedral at the time of his death instinctively dipped their handkerchiefs or fingers in the congealing blood.  taken home and diluted with water, it became a drink with powerful effects.  the paralysed walked, the blind saw, stillborn children were revived.  in effect, the laity invented a form of eucharist for themselves

(4) cali, branch office of heaven, salsa-protesta

ceibas, jacarandas, caracolis

guerrillas, industrialists, indigenous peoples, a shaky middle class, afro-colombians

the media most often show the anti-riot squads in their darth vader get-ups, the beatings and the shootings and the tear gas bursting into the air in great clouds.  what appears less often are the ecstatic marches that are also celebrations of being alive

(5) right-wing vigilantes have long been with us

you could hold an official-sounding rank, feel you were defending your country, and still come home for dinner

the genial senator warren harding, who campaigned for a "return to normalcy"

(6) the golden horde, the black sea to the pacific

the vast expanse of its sovereignty could be covered only on horseback

the mongol court never settled

hoarding was anathema.  there was no difference, declared one great khan, "between buried treasure and dust"

(7) nigeria wants the bronzes back

their ju-ju broken

in the edo language, sa-e-y-ama means both to make a bronze cast of and to remember

france should return to africa all 'objects taken by force or presumed to be acquired through inequitable conditions'

(8) who now has ever smlled the burning of a spermaceti candle or worn a baleen corset?

dead whales come apart as they drift downward to the ocean floor, a kind of spring rain of cetacean morsels falling into a barely imaginable biological zone, a realm of extremeophiles whose existence depends on that intermittent bounty from above..globally there may be nearly 700,000 whales "coming undone at this very moment."  in their afterlife, whales become something entirely different from the animals we yearn to know.  they turn into "decomposing ecosystems that amass, pulse, twitch, and dissolve"

(9) the hovering life of the hummingbird

equivalent to about 155,000 calories for a human-sized animals


(10) chinese factory workers follow a 996 schedule: 9am to 9pm six days per week


this week i

published my tenth employer health benefits survey.  matthew blurred the library background

reenacted the cow devouring scene from jurassic park



emptied two storage lockers.  eyes are weird

installed a tropical visitor

read factfulness by hans rosling

 the chimps' errors would be equally shared between the two wrong answers, whereas the human errors all tend to be in one direction.  every group of people i ask thinks the world is more frightening, more violent, and more hopeless - in short, more dramatic - than it really is

the child mortality rate..takes the temperature of a whole society

archaeologists have to get used to discovering that a large proportion of all the remains they dig up are those of children

ddt's creator won a nobel prize russia it was called the polish disease.  in polish it was the german disease; in germany, the french disease; and in france, the italian disease.  the italians blamed back, calling it the french disease

a funeral at uppsala castle


this week i

caught lisztomania from a guitar arrangement.  dan fed ciara and me pizza, naiose demonstrated his hot wheel-engulfing megatruck.  next night we drank near clinic, re-lived the farshtunken origins of every ngo and k01.  rupak and i manned momo edition of lucille ball's chocolate conveyor belt

see museums as future-oriented rather than historically-facing endeavors.  categorizing humanity's achievements etches what's yet to be discovered.  at the met and amnh, spotted jeffrey tambor, greco-roman wasp nest response to baltimore beehive, prehistoric open-ocean navigational cheat sheet



drove to brigantine.  joe fried sausage, chick peas, tomatoes enough so second dinner with absecon italians only allowed one more cheesesteak.  wine jugs tucked in crathie lane closet actually oil vessels.  mahjong before bed, we sleuthed mom watercolored one of the paradise flycatchers

read the lost weekend by charles jackson

last night it had been merely drink.  it was medicine now

he downed his drink and then started to pay, as if he were about to leave.  "before you get married" - he waved a finger at her - "be mighty sure, gloria, that your wife isn't frigid"

he recognized, like a veteran before a neophyte, the stage of drinking the other had reached - the confidential, the confiding stage - he began to feel superior, amused, tolerant, generous, and warmly friendly himself

he can help himself to the salt-tablets.  we encourage that as much as possible.  no sedatives in the daytime.  we try to maintain or restore the normal sleep-cycle, you see - make them stay awake during the day.  put them to sleep now and they'll be raising hell all night.  that fellow over there took a running jump at the wall around three-thirty this morning and got a terrible shaking-up.  thought it was the ocean and wanted to jump in.  that wouldn't have happened in the day-time.  delirium is a disease of the night

"why do you only come to bed with me when you are drunk?"  he roared with delight. he knew damned well she had reason to ask; but in his relief that it had been no worse he was able to laugh as if it were terribly funny and he almost shouted "because i'm always drunk!"

the bat had flown his cloister'd flight and come to rest at last