Archive for December, 2008

We’ve been known to go to Naked City, a new pub in Greenwood. I wanted to add a review to Yelp when I noticed an interesting pattern in the other reviews. The reviews were almost all favorable, but quite a few complained how at Naked City you order your beer at the bar.

Some of my international readers may be confused at this moment. Ordering at the bar is bad? As opposed to ordering where? I have to admit when I moved to Washington state I found it a bit peculiar that almost all pubs have table service. I don’t recall that being the case in California. It may have been more like 50/50. In Britain of course you generally order at the bar unless you’re in a restaurant that also happens to serve beer. Ordering at the bar seems to be the case in most of the places I travel to.

Personally, I prefer it. If a pub doesn’t hire enough servers then you invariably will be looking around and waiting for someone to serve you. Which can be a bit distracting.

I liken it to Oregon where you are not allowed to pump your own gas. Oregon state law prevents you from doing this in order to save gas station attendant jobs. While this is a great idea in theory, gas stations are too cheap to hire the requisite number of attendants so you are invariably waiting for someone to do something for you that you are perfectly capable of doing for yourself. But I digress.

So what do you think?

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I spotted this cute little guy on Sunday. Let me tell you it’s hard getting a picture of a woodpecker. They never stop pecking. I got so many blurry images of its head pounding the tree.

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When the story about Bernard Madoff first broke, I immediately thought of the Nineteenth Century Playwright Harley Granville Barker. His play The Voysey Inheritance begins with a son finding out from his father that the family business is no more than a Ponzi scheme. The son is asked by the father to inherit the business and perpetuate the ruse. If you have the time to read the rather long excerpt from the first act, I highly recommend it. You can find it below. If not, here is the link to Google Books. Print it out and take it home. It’s worth it and very timely. It’s a comedy, I think.

I haven’t used block quotes in order to put more text on the page. I’ve done some editing to make it easier to read than what I copied and pasted it from. The scene begins in Mr. Voysey’s office.

Just after Act I begins:

MR. VOYSEY. Good morning, my dear boy.

EDWARD has little of his father in him and that little
is undermost. It is a refined face but self-conscious-
ness takes the place in it of imagination and in
suppressing traits of brutality in his character it
looks as if the young man had suppressed his sense
of humour too. But whether or no, that would not
be much in evidence now, for EDWARD is obviously
going through some experience which is scaring
him (there is no better word). He looks not to
have slept for a night or two, and his standing there,
clutching and unclutching the bundle of papers he
carries, his eyes on his father, half appealingly but
half accusingly too, his whole being altogether so un-
strung and desperate, makes MR. VOYSEY ‘s uninter-
rupted arranging of the flowers seem very calculated
indeed. At last the little tension of silence is broken.

EDWARD. Father . .


EDWARD. I’m glad to see you.

This is a statement of fact. He doesn’t know that
the commonplace phrase sounds ridiculous at such
a moment.

MR. VOYSEY. I see you’ve the papers there.


MR. VOYSEY. You’ve been through them ?

EDWARD. As you wished me . .

MR. VOYSEY. Well ? [EDWARD doesn’t answer. Refer-
ence to the papers seems to overwhelm him with shame. MR.
VOYSEY goes on with cheerful impatience.] Come, come,
my dear boy, you mustn’t take it like this. You’re puzzled
and worried, of course. But why didn’t you come down
to me on Saturday night? I expected you . . I told you
to come. Then your mother was wondering, of course,
why you weren’t with us for dinner yesterday.

EDWARD. I went through all the papers twice. I
wanted to make quite sure.

MR. VOYSEY. Sure of what? I told you to come
to me.

EDWARD, [he is very near crying.] Oh, father.

MR. VOYSEY. Now look here, Edward, I’m going to
ring’ and dispose of these letters. Please pull yourself
together. [He pushes the little button on his table.]
EDWARD. I didn’t leave my rooms all day yesterday.

MR. VOYSEY. A pleasant Sunday! You must learn
whatever the business may be to leave it behind
you at the Office. Why, life’s not worth living else.

PEACEY comes in to find MR. VOYSEY before the fire
ostentatiously warming and rubbing his hands.

MR. VOYSEY. Oh, there isn’t much else, Peacey. Tell Simmons that if
he satisfies you about the details of this lease it’ll be all
right. Make a note for me of Mr. Grainger’s address at
Mentone. I shall have several letters to dictate to At-
kinson. I’ll whistle for him.

PEACEY. Mr. Burnett . . Burnett v Marks had just
come in, Mr. Edward.

EDWARD, [without turning.} It’s only fresh instruc-
tions. Will you take them?

PEACEY. All right.

PEACEY goes, lifting his eyebrow at the queerness of
EDWARD’S manner. This MR. VOYSEY sees, re-
turning to his table with a little scowl.

MR. VOYSEY. Now sit down. I’ve given you a bad
forty-eight hours, it seems. Well, I’ve been anxious about
you. Never mind, we’ll thresh the thing out now. Go
through the two accounts. Mrs. Murberry’s first . . how
do you find it stands?

EDWARD, [his feelings choking him.] I hoped you
were playing some trick on me.

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Unusual vegetarian meats

R.J. this one is for you.

1. Vegetarian haggis. I can vouch for MacSween’s vegetarian haggis. It’s good. Perhaps better than real haggis…


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Making tamales

I’ve been experimenting with food photography to no avail. I love to cook and I love to take pictures, but the low-light problems as well as my lack of talent suggests I need to take more photos of sceneries.

In any case, every year for Christmas I make my dad a batch of tamales and Fedex them over to him in California.

1. A good tamale starts with lard. The first year I gave these a try I used shortening. They were great I thought. Then the next year I tried lard and I’ve never looked back. Lard is better. It is on the other hand extremely difficult to clean dishes and hands that have lard on them.

More after the jump. (more…)

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Seattle Snow Photos

I realize I’m late to the party on this one. The snow has just about melted away. But my camera to computer chord was held hostage at work and I have only just freed it. I hope you enjoy them.

1. We took a walk to the pub in our neighborhood which we found to be a very popular activity. With everyone snowed in, everyone wanted to drink. On the way to the pub we came across this street that had many decorative lights as well as these amazing trees full of ice.

2. Some of the Christmas lights at this house were buried under snow.

3. I was fortunate to have witnessed the first time Jake ever tried a milkshake. Now I can say I witnessed also his first snow angel.

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Here’s an great year in sports call-out to Jason Lezak, a professional free-style relay swimmer. Lezak always swims in relays and always swims the free-style leg, so he’s pretty much remained out of the limelight. Until now.

Usain Bolt wasn’t the only man in Beijing last summer to cover 100 meters under his own power faster than anyone ever had before. The other man who made locomotive history isn’t nearly as well remembered, but he should be. Without him, Michael Phelps doesn’t beat Mark Spitz, doesn’t win eight gold medals and isn’t the greatest swimmer who ever lived.

If you watched the Olympics, you’re heard of him. But there’s a good chance you don’t remember his name. You should. It’s Jason Lezak.

The whole article is a great read. Here’s the video.

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