In 2000, Ralph Nader was nominally carrying the banner for the Green Party. Now Al Gore has a Nobel Prize (and an Oscar) for his recent quixotic gestures on behalf of the environment, gestures he performed in the absence of the actual environmental regulatory powers of the American presidency.
Also there are soldiers in full combat gear on the streets of New York. And we seem to have built a global network of secret torture prisons.
Steve Coogan returns to the theme of the wheel in a lot of his work, including “24-Hour Party People” where his character introduces his first Wheel of Fortune taping thusly:
Welcome to the Wheel of Fortune. There it is, the wheel that throughout the centuries has been used as a symbol for the vicissitudes of life. Boethius himself in his great work ‘The Consolation of Philosophy’ compares history to a great wheel, hoisting us up, then dropping us down again. “Inconsistency is my very essence” -says the wheel- “Raise yourself up on my spokes if you wish, but don’t complain when you plunge back down” Now spin the wheel.
Welcome to publishing in New York, where, just like the wheel you can be assured that you’ll get screwed and you’re not allowed to complain about it. It’s just a matter of time, based on where you started on the wheel.
Onine, Many, many writers have fought the I-don’t-want-to-write-the-BS-traffic-post, and they almost always lose. The traffic ostensibly pays the bills*, just like the ad sales pays the bills in the magazine, and just like… well, nobody in book publishing makes money anymore.
To sort out payment, I don’t buy the meritocracy argument either. The class of writers who freelance and aren’t making a racket of it based on their name or connections know there are plenty of people who want their lifestyle, even if that lifestyle is paycheck to paycheck and involves fighting with Time Out to make rent (and it usually does). Because the system is paying less as time goes by, well, that next generation expects less too. So they’re stuck writing for online content providers who pay chump change yet tout the need for as much original content as possible—do the hourly math on that at $5 or $10 or even $15 a post. To ask writers to sing for their supper via page views is self-serving and a way of keeping the brass ring far enough out of reach so that no one can make a living. And thanks to a generation that is going through serious gold star withdrawl—chasing a popularity bonus is as close as it comes to an A after college—there will always be fresh fodder.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to chase some paychecks.
I had a chance to visit Bar Boulud this weekend, and it was strikingly quiet for a Sunday afternoon meal on the Upper West Side. I’m not sure if it is the acoustics of that swooping ceiling, but there didn’t seem to be a lot of life in the place, despite being full.
Meanwhile, the restaurant is underwhelming. Yes, the charcuterie is everything you’d want from cut up pieces of pig face, but there wasn’t much flair, or, from the servers, pride about the food. Actually, there wasn’t much attention from the servers either, inexcusable at that price point. The food was well-executed but, again, nothing outstanding or worthy of a trip in the way that Dovetail is. Perhaps that’s an unfair comparison, but it is not on par with the competency and consistency of other Daniel Boulud restaurants. It felt like a franchise and not like a labor of love, which perhaps explains why the kitchen is so adept at the sausage-making process.
Both Blender and Rolling Stone mention in their Britney Spears cover stories that Kevin Federline was nicknamed “Meat Pole” by friends and hangers on. Hard to resist shoehorning that into a story, clearly.
The “Gopher Cam” is useless if the cars are under caution for most of the race’s final 30 laps. Until they install lasers and missiles in the cars, there’s no point in commiting any length of time to watchng NASCAR.
Two Things I Learned from Reading "The United States of Arugula"
1) People talk about California Cuisine and the restaurant mania of the 1980’s in a similar manner to the way the talk about Jay McInerney or Don Johnson’s suits: what were we thinking?
2) I didn’t know the Beard House had such ignominious troubles with financing and such. Now I understand that the awards are even sillier than I once thought.
Also, the book was well-researched, if a touch smug, but listing the unlisted number of 1980’s L.A. hotspot Ma Maison seemed a touch I-loved-their-first-EP-ish to me. Makes me wonder if Momofuku Ko will have an unlisted website for reservations. Maybe password protected?
The burger at the Smith is pretty good—I’d rank it higher than the recently New York Times-lauded patty at Seymour Burton, which I found gooey—but after a second visit there, I wonder whether the restaurant is worth the trouble.
Yes, it’s better than the Pizzeria Uno that preceded it, but for the price point the food needs to be better. My lamb schnitzel was tough, and the Alsatian pizza, which sounds like it should be the best thing ever to grace flatbread, felt like a Friday night toaster oven creation. Even for those of us raised on frozen Stouffer’s pizzas, that’s disappointing.
Paul Greico is crazy, but in that good way that’s somehow entertaining instead of scary. Like Jim Cramer or Chris Matthews. Hence, I am excited for the opening of Terroir, assuming no sound effect buttons are installed on the premises.
“It seems that the Dean has already followed his onetime apprentice Levy over to Blender, possibly leaving RS’s hypothetical copyeditor with no editorial mandate along the lines of “we know this guy indignantly refuses to turn in clear, readable copy, but he’s the dean of rock criticism, so you, me and the rest of the staff have to grant him deference available to no one else.”—Idolator
Is it me, or is House music not as widely mocked in New York as it once was? Maybe it’s all the euros gamboling about, but I recall the days when it elicited a sneer instead of being employed in the lobby of a business aspiring to trendiness.
“Attention TSA jackholes: if you’re going to insist that we all take off our shoes to walk through security, don’t get testy when it takes us an extra second to collect ourselves and move away from the other side of the x-ray machine. Since some of you guys are too big to even tie your shoes, I’d hope you’d be more understanding.”—Killing Batteries
No, not the nice one in Madrid. At Kennedy. It’s not as bad as it used to be, which is to say, it was much, much worse not so long ago. Like, only-a-Chili’s-to-sustain-you bad. In any case, lots of air and glass and nice views of the planes taxiing hither and yon.
As for Ruzyne in Prague, it’s getting worse as it expands. Beyond the total lack of non-cold-cut food options, they’ve taken to charging $9 for a Pilsner Urquell at the brewpub closest to the gates. If I could get Arnold Diaz on the next plane, I would.