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18 May 2009


Left vs. Right on economic policy. Difference... 3.21%.

I haven't thought too much about if this little economic thought exercise works or not, but it's interesting none the less. How to fix the economy.

Here's a good article from the NYT dealing with the economic relationship between the US and China. And here's a slight correction by Paul Krugman.

Interesting photo of the day. (HT: Steve Urich)

16 May 2009


Anonymous, French, Nude woman with cushion, c. 1855, daguerreotype, 5.9x6.7 cm

I found this in The Art of the Daguerreotype by Stefan Richter (p. 75). What I like about this photograph, other than the fact that it's a daguerreotype, is that candid, frank, and relaxed portraiture didn't really seem common place for another 100 plus years. Still today it's not the norm. I always feel very distanced from people in old photographs because they look so rigid and nothing like the people I encounter on a daily basis, but not so with this portrait.


This picture was taken (with my phone) at my family's warehouse in Chicago Ridge. My grandfather bought it in the 1964. We're tearing it down in a few weeks and in the mean time we're clearing it out. I'm not taking as many photos as I should, but I found this hanging in the wall of a room that hasn't seen foot traffic in perhaps ten or twenty years.

It's makes more sense if you know that my grandfather was a workaholic. He worked seven days a week well into his late 60's and 70's, and this isn't office work we're talking about. It gave him the kind of physical strength that body builders can only dream about. My dad once told me that he asked his dad if he could start taking Sundays off because he had a wife a kids. His response was something like "what are you queer?" Not very PC, but then again growing up during the Great Depression, fighting the Nazi's, and living through the Cold War might change your mindset a little.


A few weeks before going to New York I watched a documentary called I Like Killing Flies about a small breakfast and lunch spot in lower Manhattan. It's run by an guy named Kenny Shopsin who has a very unique, almost ineffable personality. The best description I can give of him is that he's just very honest about himself and others - a quality I find lacking in most people. Combine that with the fact that he's very nice yet blunt and you get Kenny Shopsin:

Just before I went back to Chicago I caught an F train to the Essex St.-Delancy stop and ate breakfast at Shopsin's located at 120 Essex Street. They've changed storefronts since the documentary was made. The place had seating for maybe 15 people tops.

I actually met Kenny Shopsin too. He sat about five feet to my left conversing with customers (which seemed more like friends who ate there a lot) the entire time I ate. He was really nice and fun to talk to. Apparently his brother is an architect who teaches at Pratt... which is funny because just hours before I spoke with a friend who told me that he's starting a sort of environmental architecture program at Pratt in the Fall. Crazy stuff. It's only once you start talking to people, anyone really, that you find out how similar we all really are.

Anyways, the menu (1,2) is huge and really original. I had the Iliana which consisted of a egg and cheese omelet, mangoes, guacamole, chips, and refried rice. It was really good.

14 May 2009

Scientists Recreate RNA (beginnings of life)

Just read this.

I don't see how it would be possible for these scientists not to win a Nobel Prize, but crazier things have happened.

New York's "Green" Street Vendors

A green street vendor at 84th Street and Park Avenue.

A while ago I read that New York was going to issue another 1,000 street vendor permits, in addition to the already 3,000 that they issue, to "green" carts that would peddle produce exclusively. To be honest I thought it was a bad idea. They were controlling where they could set up shop, the number of permits available, and the good to be sold. I suppose specifying the good to be sold, in this case produce, is fine, but the rest just seemed like a bunch of bureaucratic hassle and piecemeal economic development.

Wow was I wrong. Why doesn't Chicago have these things? I don't care what silly bureaucratic nonsense has to go down. When I was in NY I ate more fruit and less crap because I could pick up two apples and two oranges for $2 right before I hoped on #2 train in Harlem everyday (too many twos?). Harlem - fruit? There have been entire chapters in prominent books devoted to the fact that getting produce to city dwellers is a problem. Especially if they're poor.

Naturally, the grocery stores complained and of course they have a point, but here's mine. I live in a city and when I go grocery shopping I generally have to carry it home. I don't like to go shopping for groceries too often so I buy a limited amount of fruit due to its weight and perishablility. Thus, by placing fruit strategically on my walking routes my diet and well being were improved.

07 May 2009

Art Show

My friend Justin is having an art show this Friday from 6:30-9:30 at 1932 S Halsted, #408. I'll be showing a print there too, but unfortunately won't be in attendance.

Also, Justin is in the hospital with appendicitis. He called me once yesterday afternoon complaining of stomach pains and again at night to tell me he was in the hospital getting his appendix removed, so there's that. He at Palos Hospital if anyone is interested in visiting him. He should be out Friday morning in time for the show.

06 May 2009

Grad School and Sandwiches

I previously wrote about sandwiches and food research here.

Also, I got accepted to the Graduate Architecture program at the Illinois Institute of Technology (who's, I shit you not, name I spelled wrong at the end of my professional statement - long story). Check out the curriculum section of this page. Those are the courses I have to take over three years. It totals 103 credit hours which is a bit intense considering my undergrad was 129. Should be fun and interesting though.

Now, for no real reason other than the fact that I like cooking, eating, and taking photos; I bring you - sandwiches (that I've eaten in the last week or so)!

Toasted whole wheat white bread (I know weird), guacamole, lemon chicken, sprouts, lettuce, tomato, and cucumber.

Toasted whole wheat bread, fried tofu, red pepper, lettuce, sprouts, tomato, sauteed onion, and roasted garlic.

Toasted whole wheat bread, black bean burger, lettuce, tomato, red onion, jalapeno, and avocado.

Toasted whole wheat bread, egg whites with ground flax seed cooked in olive oil, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and avocado.

Toasted whole wheat bread, guacamole, sprouts with olive oil, lettuce, tomato, jalapeno, and cucumber.

Toasted whole wheat bread, goat cheese, roasted red pepper, spinach, friend tofu, lettuce, tomato, and avocado.

Toasted whole wheat bread, avocado, fried tofu, spinach, tomato, red onion, and cucumber.

Not pictured was an excellent egg white and goat cheese sandwich and a tofu, goat cheese, and pea sprout on ciabatta bread sandwich. I really need to get some new breads and make sauces to go on top of my sandwiches, but as they're mostly for sustenance and health I haven't been doing either. Health wise almost nothing tops olive oil and wheat bread. I just found out that goat cheese is far better for you than regular cheese. It has far few calories, less saturated fat, and more protein than other cheeses... and it tastes amazing.

I kind of figured If I felt entrepreneurial I'd open up a vegan restaurant. There aren't enough of them in Chicago, and all of them I go to with my friend Justin are always packed. Plus they're priced at a slight premium to everywhere else I eat. Here are two I really liked: Karyn's and Amitabul. I guess that won't be happening anytime too soon with my likely foray into graduate school, but in the mean time I've been creating all these sandwiches in anticipation/hunger.