Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Renaissance Man

Niccolò Machiavelli: “This is the tragedy of man. Circumstances change, and he does not.”

Saudi Barbie


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

cessation of desire

Reclining Buddha, 12th century, Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

history repeats

Lord Byron on His Deathbed, Joseph-Denis Odevaere, c 1826

History, with all her volumes vast,
Hath but one page
- Lord Byron

Monday, June 28, 2010

You've got to love London

You've Got to Love London from Alex Silver on Vimeo.

A time lapse video tribute to London, made by Alex Silver during his final days studying abroad. 7,757 pictures. Music: You've Got the Love by Florence and the Machine

Saturday, June 26, 2010

living the sweet life in Paris

grand illusion

"For Balsillie, business is 5 per cent strategy, 95 per cent execution, so RIM focuses on execution in the full knowledge that most competitors cannot maintain a similar concentration. 'You never modulate, you just don't stop, you never give advantages, and you count on the other person blinking. They'll have to reorg, or they'll quit, or they'll be overaggresive, or they'll do something erratic. Methodical predictability with a high function, high trust, high execution-centric organization is an unbelievably effective strategy,' said Balsillie, who takes his work seriously but not himself. 'Do your best, live for the day, go to bed, and do it again tomorrow. Don't live with regrets, don't over-scenarioize and don't worry about the future. That's all there is. The rest of it is just a grand illusion.'"
- Rod McQueen, BlackBerry: The Inside Story of Research In Motion, pg.305

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Facing Mental Illness

Pillars of American Society role play mental illness incarceration scenarios. Watch the full PBS episode of Minds on The Edge here.

A Book For All And None

... we must become a camel (drinking up everything) before we can become a lion, and properly rebel against the strictures of society.
- Paraphrase of Nietzsche in Thus Spake Zarathustra

Image source here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

vicious cycle

"You order more wine to finish the cheese then more cheese to finish the wine."
- A Parisian on the cheese course


Damien Hirst, Zebra in Formaldehyde

"To be art it must have no purpose other than itself; no function."
- Tate Modern

Sunday, June 20, 2010

single food

One-dish wonders
By Emily Stokes, Financial Times

The Meatball Shop in Manhattan

At brunch-time last Saturday, chef Daniel Holzman was taking me through the menu at his restaurant on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. “You can have classic beef, spicy pork, chicken or vegetable,” he said, beaming with enthusiasm, “and then you choose your sauce – classic tomato, spicy meat, mushroom gravy or parmesan cream.” Next were the sides, including polenta and white beans, then the cheese (provolone or mozzarella) and lastly the bread (white or wholewheat).

“All the options are good,” he concluded. All good, yes – and all, arguably, the same, for Holzman’s restaurant only serves variations on one item: meatballs.

Holzman opened the Meatball Shop with his childhood friend Michael Chernow in February, when it immediately gained plaudits and attracted queues of at least an hour every night (it closes at 2am). In fact, the shop is the latest in a string of fashionable “single-food” establishments to open in New York in the past five years – from a café that serves nothing but cannolis (Sicillian pastry desserts) to a restaurant specialising in macaroni cheese.

Many of these – like Pommes Frites, a small East Village venue serving traditional Belgian fries, or Bark, an upmarket hot-dog restaurant in Brooklyn – elevate a traditionally working class or fast food. The ingredients used at the Meatball Shop are locally sourced and organic, and the meat, Holzman tells me proudly, is ground on-site. The decor is similarly nostalgic, with family photographs on the walls and a bar made from salvaged wood – designed to look, says Holzman, as if it has always been there.

The oldest single-food restaurants in New York – pizzerias – have specialised for convenience’s sake; others – like Risotteria, a risotto restaurant on Bleeker Street that is a hit with the gluten-averse – have benefited from a niche market.

For Holzman, the disadvantages of running a “single-food” restaurant (that he “might become hopelessly, utterly bored with meatballs”) are outweighed by the benefits. “You can actually be good at something,” he says, “and explore it thoroughly.” Meatballs are, he believes, sufficiently a part of the American culinary heritage for his restaurant not to seem “gimmicky”, even if it is clear that meatballs are having a “moment” (last year even saw the launch of Meatball Madness, a city-wide competition to find the best). Holzman likes the idea that his restaurant is simple and “concept-driven”, rather than reliant on the prowess of a star chef.

There is a paradox, however, in this “simple” world of mono-menus. Being limited to one product brings with it the temptation to dream up never-ending variations of the original. At S’Mac, a macaroni cheese restaurant in the East Village, I was challenged to “build my own” meal in three steps, or to choose from a selection of 12 flavours, including Masala, Cajun and Cheeseburger.

For dessert, I went to Rice to Riches – a restaurant in Nolita with white walls, high counters and a proliferation of signs and notices, as in a public bathroom, that serves exclusively rice pudding. After sampling a few varieties – including mango, tasting faintly like shampoo – I felt despondent. This dish, I realised, had no relation to the rice pudding of my memories or dreams. What of slow, oven-baked rice pudding with nutmeg? Or cheap and cheerful school-dinner rice pudding? As I ate the pudding out of a bowl the shape of a grain of rice with a spoon resembling a shoe-horn, I worried about the future of New York’s macaroni cheese, rice pudding and risotto – all these lovely carbohydrate comfort foods reduced to being dressed up in novelty flavours, like a variety pack of crisps.

The Meatball Shop was more uplifting. When my meatballs arrived – round and squashed and smashed, hidden in buns and covered in sauce – I understood why the restaurant was bustling. You can’t go far wrong with nice ingredients; even the vegetarian option was well-seasoned and crunchy with walnuts. But I must confess that, of the combinations I tried, the classic beef and tomato sauce won. Of course, if you want to raise eyebrows, you could just order a salad.



The Meatball Shop,

Pommes Frites,

Bark Hot Dogs,



Rice to Riches,

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Post removed by request.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

on directing

"The camera tells the story; the dialogue just gives a bit of atmosphere, at best."
- Alfred Hitchcock as quoted by Tilda Swinton

Monday, June 14, 2010

a coach on success

seven summits

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

Architectural Declaration of Independence



"It's true: I spent lunchtime in a grave during the filming of Bloody Mama. When you`re younger, you feel that's what you need to do to help you stay in character. When you get older, you become more confident and less intense about it -- and you can achieve the same effect. You might even be able to achieve more if you take your mind off it, because you`re relaxed. That's the key to it all. When you`re relaxed and confident, you get good stuff."
- Robert De Niro


"True power is an individual's ability to move from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm."
- Winston Churchill

to be good at anything

"Study, practice, make mistakes."
- Alan Bean [born 1932]

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

How happy is the little stone

How happy is the little Stone
That rambles in the Road alone,
And doesn't care about Careers
And Exigencies never fears --
Whose Coat of elemental Brown
A passing Universe put on,
And independent as the Sun
Associates or glows alone,
Fulfilling absolute Decree
In casual simplicity
- Emily Dickinson [1830-1886]

galaxies > people

"In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe."
- Carl Sagan

Monday, June 7, 2010


"... lend your ears to music, open your eyes to painting, and ... stop thinking! Just ask yourself whether the work has enabled you to 'walk about' into a hitherto unknown world. If the answer is yes, what more do you want?"
- Kandinsky, 1910

Greg Martin's gallery here.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


"To choose whether a business is right to invest in, firstly we have to deal with things we are capable of understanding. Once we're over that filter, the business must have intrinsic characteristics that give it a durable competitive advantage. And then of course we'd vastly prefer a management in place with a lot of integrity and talent. And finally no matter how wonderful it is, it's not worth an infinite price; we want a price that makes sense."
- Warren Buffets's investing partner Charlie Munger, 85 year old Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway

"email on a belt"

According to Fortune, Research In Motion is the fastest growing company in the world.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

beyond cars and trucks

Thursday, June 3, 2010

undefeated 29 year old

"Say what you will about Bonaparte, he wasn't afraid. That's why they respected him."

One [Number 31], 1950

Make your own Jackson Pollock here.