Tuesday, November 29, 2005

My Trip to Pittsburgh: A Full Day of Museums

Luke Swank [Steel Worker in Foundry], c. 1934

Among the reasons to visit the hometowns of my friends are the cultural gems each have. In Pittsburgh, we spent black friday in museums: The Mattress Factory, The Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) and The Warhol Museum.

The Mattress Factory is like a small PS1. The current exhibit was hit and miss, but the permanent installations were gravy. In particular, I am a James Turrell fan, and the Factory has three installations, two were imediate wonders, and the third took some patience.... at least 5-10 minutes... for your eyes to adjust. Another highlight was Allen Wexler's bed sitting rooms in the annex.

The CMOA had a great retrospective of Luke Swank's work. Swank, who's work is primarily in Pittsburgh, is considered an early modernist. However, his work was forgotten after the 40s when he passed away. His industrial photos are marvels in contrast, composition and empathy as seen above. The show was great by itself, but even more so as an essay of Pittsburgh's past. The permanent collection was nice, including a nice Bonnard, and couple recent pieces of Ed's.

The Warhol was at the top of my list when I first thought of visiting. Warhol was a gateway for me to contemporary art so it was nice to see this collection. Highlights included seeing his time capsules sitting in the archive shelves. The current exhibit was of General Idea's media works from 1967 to 95, a precursor of sorts to Justine Cooper's upcoming piece on prescription drug advertising.

Some random, current notes of Sam's life:
Last album purchased: Styrofoam: Nothing's Lost
Recommended to me (& loved): Iron & Wine's Trapeze Swinger (C'mon, it's only 99 cents!)
Really good food: Evan's Farmhouse Yogurt (whole milk, cream on top) from Murray's Cheeseshop

Monday, November 28, 2005

My Trip to Pittsburgh: Ed's Studio

I spent the past week in Pittsburgh, seeing Joe's hometown. Among the highlights was seeing his dad's studio, which is at an industrial park on the Allegheny. Having seen a couple shows at Garth Clark, and a few pieces at Joe & Gretchen's, I knew what his work was like.

Still, it was interesting to see where he worked (quite an impressive set up of throwing wheels, kilns, a wood shop, a dark room), samples of older pieces, some new pieces, and in many ways, an idea of what it was like for Joe growing up. Ed set up the studio with his last graduate student in the mid 80's.

One of the more amusing stories was that when Ed was setting up the studio, he had a hard time getting the black pigment (one of his signatures) in commercial quantities. The manufacturer didn't want to bother with such a small order, so he finagled a deal for 25 pounds of pigment, thinking it would last a couple years. It turns out that it'll be a life time supply.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Wishing and a Hoping

Jason recently pointed out the benefits (for the wisher and the grantor) of having an Amazon Wishlist and asked that I put one together. All though I didn't buy from Amazon, I did buy off his list (from the Strand... discount without the shipping cost!)

Which is all to say, yes Virginia, I have a wishlist.


By the way, have a good thanksgiving. I'll be in Pittsburgh for the first time ever. Enjoy your turkey, or for some... turky

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Wouldn't it be nice if iTunes...

I want iTunes (since I use it for music and short video) to store and manage on-demand feeds for Real Audio, Flash, Quicktime and Windows Media Player.

Here's why... when folks talk about web 2.0 and the internet as platform, they often predict that personal computing will be thin clients, meaning that people's computers won't need massive storage or processing power to do things because people can store information and applications online. All they need is a broadband connection nearer to today's theoretical speeds of 54-300 Mbs (in practice the US gets 1.5-2Mbs). In this world everything on demand is instant. Be it movies, mashup programs, or just home office tasks.

Yet part of this scenario has been around for years with a very poor tool to manage it. There are so many RealAudio feeds, particulary public radio, that is on-demand. Video is become more present. But one of the conditions is that these feeds are streaming, so you can't save it on your computer. But if there was a better way to manage these feeds, you probably don't want to save them on you computer, but I often think it'd be nice to go back to them. These feeds need a thin client, and I think iTunes is perfect for it.

As mentioned above, I use iTunes for music and short video. Sometimes iTunes will save internet radio feeds (KWLC), and it also saves PDF files, and this is my point. PDFs in iTunes open in Preview (for Macs). Why couldn't iTunes save these other feeds and open them in Real Audio or Windows Media. Not that I like I using them, but there is a lot of good content. If iTunes managed them, I would rely even more on iTunes.

Think about the iTunes Music store, it's a webpage embedded into iTunes, meaning the iTunes becomes a very specific web browser. Why not add the ability to bookmark some feeds, and play them like a browser plug-in? Who needs a TV tuner or a "radio tivo" if iTunes better managed the on-demand content already available? It's easy to do this with podcasts. Some sites, perhaps too risky to show up in ITMS, have feeds that subscribe you to their podcasts. I think this is an easy lateral step.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Thing About Birthdays

Generally few of us are around for the births, but we love the birthdays. Today is auspicious for three:
  1. Jason
  2. Michelle
  3. Shameless... okay not it's not really Steve's birthday, but it's the anneversary of his first post on his award winning blog, The Shameless Antagonist, "Keeping The World Safe For Democracy Since 2003!
Thanks y'all for enriching my days.

p.s. and earlier this week we welcomed to the this mortal coil one MacGregor Alic Crensen, "Mac" and his happy folks Amanda and Ethan!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Be Here to Love Me

Man, I've been waiting for months for this film since I spied the soundtrack at Other Music. My favorite tragic Texas troubadour: Townes Van Zandt gets the documentary treatment in "Be Here to Love Me." The film opens December 2 at the Angelika (I know, the train rumblings ruin the experience, but there are always exceptions).

A certain bird tipped me off that my favorite North Caroliner is headed back up to the City for a free jazz gig. I'm hoping that he'll clear enough time for 99 minutes of hard-drinking Texas-song listening. Bring your flasks folks.

One of my favorite records is his live double album "Live at the Old Quarter" home of the Rex of "Rex's Blues." Besides a great set, there are great asides and jokes by TVR.

Parenthetically, many of Townes' early album covers (from Tomato records) were done by Milton Glaser, a favorite designer of mine, most famous for the I [heart] NY logo, and flavoritely the Brooklyn Brewery labels.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Why are doctors part of torture?

Today was our Semi-Annual Board Meeting. It's fun, we can send out grant award letters finally (the application date was my birthday-August 1), and we always have a "seminar" for the Board dealing with an aspect of our grant programs.

Today's presenter was Johnathan Marks, a barrister in London and a Greenwall bioethics fellow at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins. His presentation was "Doctors & Interrogators: Medical Ethics, Human Rights & the Laws of War." He was kind enough to give us some prepatory reading in today's Times op-ed page.

His presentation got down to the conflict of a physician's hypocratic oath to treat all patients with greatest respect to their being, and the policies of the US military in using physicians, particularly psychiatrist, to formulate aggressive interrogation practices. This all falls under the current uproar over the White House stance to allow torture, which John McCain's proposal forbids torture in any venue. There is support among the medical community on the McCain amendment but the AMA has been slow to comment.

One of the interesting points raised in the discussion is that the current administration treats international law as fundementally endangering US interests. Yet where do those ideas come from? From the greatest of Americans who had a bold vision for the world as well as their country.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Borrowing from the Genki

It took me far too long to realize that Amalia's journal would be good for me, and perhaps of some interest to y'all. Being in my final year at NYU Wagner, I have a capstone project to complete to graduate. Capstone is a group project, usually as an applied project (with a client organization) but in my case it is a team research project. Meaning it is an economic research project, using multiple regression.

My team of five is interested in how public investment in infrastructure, particularly roads, and access to capital affect economic development at the state level in Brazil. With a lack of capacity in rail and ports, public investment in highway capital may prove to be similarly important in Brazil as in the U.S. As a jumping off point, we are using Teresa Garcia-Mila and Therese J. McGuire’s model in, “The Contribution of Publicly Provided Inputs to States’ Economies” (Regional Science & Urban Economics 22(1992)). Their paper examined aggregate output at the state level in the U.S. as a result of capital in structures & equipment, labor, highway capital and education.

I'll let this marinate for a while I'm sure there are already vocabulary that don't jive too well with everyday usage. My goal is to break that all down to easier to understand morsels.

Future topics will include a Brazilian background, where our topic fits in the literature of economic development, what kind of regression model we're looking at and what coefficients we want to use; the challenges we have with data, the challenges we'll have theoretically (what if there is endogeneity in our model?).

Next time you ask what I'm up to, I'll expect a spirited discussion of these issues. More practically though, we will have to complete our paper next April. So there much data to gather, regessions to run, literature to review.

What's up with...

people wearing sunglass in a snowless winter?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A List of Things Done

Done: Last Saturday I went to the Brooklyn Museum to see Edward Burtinsky's Manufactured Landscapes. The photography as expected was stunning. But the greater treat was seeing the BMA's Visible Storage Study Center. Everything is encased in plexy, but tagged with a catalogue number that can can be entered into various kiosks. Additionally you can see a fair bit of painting in storage, but wonderfully displayed on "walls" hanging on tracks so that the painting left open can change regularly. Too bad there isn't a good picture to show the effect.

Done: On Sunday I took my "little" to see the Marathon. Over 37,000 runners participated. It was great to see smiles when I cheered out their names. Later we went to MoMA to see "Safe." It was interesting how Mitchell's definition of art seemed to open up.

Done: I hung out at DTW's 40th birthday party on Monday. (Cary gets a nice review in the middle of the article) Caught up with some old friends, and struggled to see work among the huge crowd. Later Michelle and I stole over to Galapagos to see the amature burlesque show. Kanye West had the same idea.

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Friday, November 04, 2005

What kind of leader am I?

Today's diversion? Meaningless surveys to boost my ego.

You scored as Denial Goth. Denial Goth...you're too kool to admit you're Gothic. you're probably a loner & dont really have a clique...come on, we know you're Goth...

Romantic Goth


Denial Goth


Industrial Goth


Classic Goth


Poser Goth


The True Goth Quiz
created with QuizFarm.com

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Thursday, November 03, 2005

It's not the guy next to you looking, but...

It's been awhile since there was a potty themed post but this clip from coohunting was too good to pass up (yes, it's midterms!). Greeting the gentlemen at the Sofitel in Queenstown, New Zealand. It certainly beats lame urinal advertising and is definitely popular with the guests. Even without the gawkers the urinals themselves are pretty nice.

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Thunder Lightning Struck

Man, there is nothing like a killer show full of chest thumping beats, sixties soul bass lines, and cheerleading to lift one's spirits.

Gretchen and I caught The Go!Team last night at Webster Hall. Fresh off their retooled American release of Thunder Lightning Strike, the team closed out a three week US tour.

Huddle Formation and Bottle Rockets were hugely uplifting, but they tore the house down with Ladyflash to close the show. There were some beautiful slowdowns and the video mixes of old super 8s made for a great backdrop. After all the 60s/80s/90s soul/hiphop/guitar, one of the best ballads featured a banjo and harmonica.

Quite a show for a project that started out with a guy, a computer, and lots of samples. The Team now sports a multi-ethnic troup of multi-instrumentalists.

I hadn't danced so hard in ages. It was a great reminder that as good as recordings are, one really needs to be at a venue to truely feel the power. Next up, Jason and I will see Andrew Bird in a week.5. Again, another show that transcends the albums.

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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Banana Republic an

I snapped this in DUMBO on Sunday. For a long time I've refused to shop at Banana Republic because I find the name so offensive. Doubly so since it has an upscale aspiration. But its application here is uncanny...

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