September 22, 2009

September 21, 2009

Bush In 2008: "I'm Not Going To Tell Some Gay Kid In The Audience That He Can't Get Married"

Bush In 2008: "I'm Not Going To Tell Some Gay Kid In The Audience That He Can't Get Married"

Malaysia Looking To Copyright Food?

From TechDirt:

Malaysia Looking To Copyright Food?: "Last year, around this time, we noted that the country of Lebanon was trying to claim that it owns hummus and other middle eastern foods, such as falafel, tabouleh and baba gannouj, and that no other country could produce them. It seems that other parts of the world are seeing the same sort of thing, as Malaysia is trying to declare that it owns popular Malaysian dishes, like nasi lemak. It doesn't seem entirely clear what this means, and the article is a bit vague (the title mentions 'copyright,' but the rest of the article does not). Still, it's certainly yet another sign of the times, when it feels natural to some people to do totally ridiculous things in claiming 'ownership' of ideas.

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September 19, 2009

Occupation in the US by year

This is a cool way to see how the US workfoce has changed over 150 years

Flare | Apps | Job Voyager

A bill I can get behind

My biggest disappointment with the Obama administration is his continuation of the Bush administration's policies that prompted the passage of the PATRIOT act.

Luckily, Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold is going at least partway to alleviate some of the more egregious parts of that bill.

The Justice Act - Wendy Kaminer:

September 13, 2009

One Year Since Ike

It was one year ago that Ike came onshore.

I was looking at some of my old posts, and reliving some of the fun.

Here, Here, Here, and Here

Hurricanes are one of those things (like bankruptcy) that sound interesting, and even adventurous, but are better left for others to handle.

I love this year's hurricane season!

September 10, 2009

September 7, 2009

London, Friday. Then the trip home

Friday morning we walked through Green Park, which is very close to our hotel. As a matter of fact, the Underground stop closest to us is called Green Park. They had these lounge chairs set up in the park:

From London 4 Sept 2009

then we walked on down past Buckingham Palace:

From London 4 Sept 2009

They're changing the guard at Buckingham Palace
Christopher Walken went down with Alice.

There were some Horse Guards just standing around:

From London 4 Sept 2009

From London 4 Sept 2009

It was nice walking around. The weather was nice - probably in the high 60s or low 70s. Partly cloudy. Good weather for walking.

We wandered past Westminster Abbey but didn't go in:

From London 4 Sept 2009

and eventually made it to our lunch reservation at The Cinnamon Club, a fancy Indian Food place. I won't do a detailed food description, but it was all great. We even had a bottle of wine (A Gewurztraminer), something we don't often do at lunch.

It is mainly a business lunch place. I think I was the only man there without a suit and tie. I usually feel uncomfortable in a place like that, but I did not here. I even snapped a (bad) photo of the kitchen:

From London 4 Sept 2009

That evening we went to see a play version of The Shawshank Redemption. It was started in London, and this was really just the previews. The play itself stars on the 13th of September. But we had great seats (row F!) and had a great time.

We had to leave early the next day (our flight left at 8:35, the car was picking us up at 5:45). We made it to the airport no problems. But we almost missed our plane as Doreen was having so much fun in the President's club. I think I remember them calling our name in the overhead speaker, threatening to remove our luggage.

It was a great trip.

September 6, 2009

Texture Restaurant

Thursday evening we ate at a place called Texture. It is a venture between an Icelandic chef and a French sommelier.

They have a Scandinavian Tasting menu (all fish, all the time) and a more conventional one that we probably would have ordered had we not had Beef Ribs the previous evening.

So we ordered off the menu. Starting with artisan tomatoes for one starter and chargrilled Anjou Pigeon with sweetcorn, shallot, bacon popcorn and red wine essence for the other. The pigeon was great, although the foot was still attached to the leg. I think you were supposed to suck the tiny bits of meat off the toes - but we didn't do that.

For our main course, we both had the roast suckling pig. It had several different pieces of pig, two with crispy crackling attached. Smooth and sweet, crunchy and sharp, this was a good dish.

We had a Vosne-Romanée Burgandy (I know - that is redundant. I am just making it easy) that complimented the dishes well.

There was a cheese course with a blue, a sheep, and a goat cheese. All were excellent (Sharp and tangy)

We only ordered on dessert - a white chocolate soup with Passion Fruit sorbet and beets. (!). It didn't work. But the passion fruit sorbet and white chocolate soup was good!

London and Cambridge - Thursday

I checked my work e-mail Wednesday and found out I had to have a work meeting on Thursday at 5:00 PM. So that affected our plans for the day.

We had been wanting to Go Up to Cambridge and see the Darwin exhibit at the Fitzwilliams Museum there. So we checked the train schedule and figured we could get up there about 11:00 and would have to leave about 3:00 PM. Not a lot of time, of course, but there was little choice.

So we got to the King's Cross train station with what we thought was plenty of time. But the ticket machines would not take cash or our credit cards (they only take European cards with a chip in them). All the ticket booths have long lines behind them. We were distraught, but walked on down to the track to see if there was another way to get on.

Luckily for us, a ticket seller was open and empty, so we quickly bought a ticket at about 10:10. I asked if we could make the 10:15, and he said yes, but "Don't dawdle. I know that there are a lot of things to see here at King's Cross, but you should go right to the train.

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

We just made it to the train before it took off. (More on almost missing transportation later. Doreen made us almost miss our plane home!)

It is an uneventful 45 minute non-stop train to Cambridge. School had not started yet, but there were some kids in our car that I think were going up to school - but Doreen was more sceptical. It was funny to see these kids (none older than 22) jabbering and teasing each other on the train.

We made it to Cambridge and got to the museum

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

without a problem.

The exhibition was interesting, and well curated. But it seemed as if it were just an excuse to have paintings and sculptures with a focus on Natural History. Doreen especially enjoyed a sculpture of a gorilla carrying off a woman. If you are in Cambridge, go to the show. It was fun.

We wandered around the rest of the museum, which had a great collection of all sorts of stuff. Arms:

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

plates, china, ancient religious paintings, old Italian masters and famous English painters. They even had a good collection of impressionists, including this one from Camille Pissaro named Piette's House at Mountfoucault:

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

We then went to lunch at The Anchor on the recommendation of a fellow Board member who went to school here.

They had a beer celebrating the 800th (Octocentenial!) of Cambridge:

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

(I Got that kid to smile, but I think that this was his natural disposition)

We had Fish and Chips:

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

and watched the punters on the Cam:

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

while we ate:

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

The Anchor is famous:

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

after lunch we wandered from one college to another. At first we just looked in through the gates:

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

But Trinity College let you in for free, so we took a couple of photos there:

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

We ultimately did pay to get into King's College:

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

We wandered about Cambridge a while longer. We certainly would have spent more time there if I did not have the meeting arranged. But we made our train in good time:

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

and we made it back in time for me to make my meeting.

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

We ate at a place called Texture that night, but that will have to be the subject of another post, as this one is getting sort of long.

London Wednesday

Wednesday was the day of the Board Meeting. So I trained off to Weybridge Tuesday evening and worked all day Wednesday.

I got back to the hotel about 6:30 or so and Doreen had made reservations at a place called Wild Honey at 8:00.

I started with a Chicken and Foie Gras Boudin Blanc, accompanied by a spring onion puree and wild mushrooms. Doreen had smoked eel with crisp boneless chicken wings and sweet and sour turnips. The Boudin was very soft and was a good combination of rich foie and chicken. Doreen's eel was absolutely great - almost any smoked fish is great. She will almost always order something if it has root vegetables included.

For the main course we had the beef ribs for two. The meat was done correctly - nice and rare in the middle, but with tasty brown bits on the outside.

They sell all their wines by the carafe here (usually a 250 ml carafe, sometimes a 325) which allows you to pair one wine per course.

With the appetizers we had a Jose Pariento Verdejo (A Rueda from Spain) wich was rather light for what we were eating, but was fine.

With the beef we had a Benjamin et David Declaux Cote Rotie. THAT matched about perfectly.

For dessert I had vanilla cheesecake with Scottish raspberries. Doreen had the Victoria Plum Cafloutie with Grated Pistachio. She substituted the Wild Honey Ice Cream for the Almond Sorbet. My cheesecake was great, and Doreen's cafloutie was, too. The oddest thing was that the ice cream came with some crushed honeycomb. I was expecting soft and waxy. It was crunchy and tasted of insects. I did not care for that at all.

The meal was excellent and enjoyable. One funny thing was that on the menu they marked dishes that were included in the chef's new cookbook.

We didn't buy it.

September 5, 2009

London Tuesday

Tuesday was sort of a short day for us. I had to take the train down to Weybridge for a Board Meeting.

We started the day by going down to the Tower of London. It features rather prominently in the book both of us are reading at the time (The White Queen - about Elizabeth Woodbridge - Henry VIII's maternal grandmother. We were both reading Kindle copies.)

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

We didn't go in. We didn't want to be beheaded.

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

We wandered around that part of London for a while, taking in things like The Monument (to the Great Fire - Designed by Christopher Wren)

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009
Here is the inscription:

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

We didn't walk up to the top.

We then went over to the British Museum again, where the Rosetta stone is, sadly, still behind glass:

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

We also saw some "rescued" artifacts:

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

We had a nice meal at a "Balti Bowl" Indian restaurant. Someone told me that the Balti concept was invented in Manchester. I would not be surprised:

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

We also saw some folks protesting global warming:

From Cambridge and London, Sept 2009

Interesting enough, they got the attention of Lord John Browne. One of my fellow directors was having lunch with him, and they discussed these 150 or so ragged protesters.

London: Monday

We woke up Monday about 8:00 am - an exceptionally good nights sleep. I think it was because we stayed up so long.

David Byrne had an installation at The Roundhouse called Playing the Building. It was ending that day, so we tubed on over to take a look.

From London, August 2009

It was a bizarre thing to see, but fun at that.

There was a cute little tube station (Chalk Street) near the Round House:

From London, August 2009

After that we went over to the British Library to see an exhibit they had put on showing all the documents they had over the life of Henry VIII. (We are watching the Showtime version of his life on Netflix right now.)

From London, August 2009

The amazing thing is the number of documents they have! They have his divorce decree, they even have love letters he wrote to Anne Boleyn!

That night we went to the play Warhorse. It is story about a boy and his horse in WWI. It is from a children's book, so you know how it ends. But it IS a British children's book, so maybe you don't. The production was tremendous, with life size puppets being used for the horses. (there are several). I would highly recommend this show to anyone who gets a chance to take it in.

September 3, 2009

Notting Hill Carnaval

Our flight to London was uneventful. We watched Duplicity on the plane over. I found it formulaic and with no spark between Clive Own and Julia Roberts. But it passed the time.

When we arrived the the weather was very nice. We had a car meet us at the airport (Heathrow) and drive us to our hotel in Mayfair.

From London, August 2009
The driver told us that the Notting Hill Carnaval was going on that day and the next (it was a Bank Holiday Weekend) so we decided to head on down to Notting Hill to see what that was all about.

It turns out that this is the "Biggest Carnaval" outside of the Caribbean. It was jam packed with people, noise, and stands selling hotdogs and jerked chicken.

From London, August 2009
There must be frequent violence at these festivals, however, as many windows in the area were boarded up.

From London, August 2009
We didn't stay too long.

We went back towards the hotel, ate soem bad fish and chips (It can be good!) and went to sleep.