The iPad is here! The line at the

Apple Store was impressive, and the Apple Store clerks handed out Smart water, coffee, and muffins. The line moved briskly and there was a festive atmosphere and a fellowship of similarly minded futurists. And I believe that this device is a portal to the future of mobile computing. It untethers you from the desk in a way that laptops never could because laptops were still all about creating a desk.

It is an enabling technology much

in the way that literacy and human language enabled humans to be unfettered by genes and instinct. You may hate Apple and all that it makes, but you will be turning away from the next big thing, if that is important to you.

On opening, the device, like the iPod, wants to be connected to iTunes to be activated. Once set up, the device is beyond words in terms of fit, finish, and smooooothness.

Michael’s Old Country Sabbath Challah from Chernowitz

My daily bread for this week is challah bread. Specifically, it is Chernowitzer Challah bread from my current favorite iPhone app, Epicurious. I have always felt the pull of Judaica since I was a child in the shtetl of Jacksonville, Florida. Now, I can partake of a little bit of manna.
This bread took about 6 hours to make -my kitchen is a bit cooler than that called for leavening dough. The bread out of the oven looked great but was “biscuit-y” according to my wife. The difference was that I used bread flour rather than plain enriched white flour -perhaps the enriched flour is more gluten-rich?
I will try when it has cooled -perhaps the structure will set in as it cools giving the inner texture that one associates with the best challahs. That may be it or the Chernowitzers just prefer cakey challah.

My Favorite Bar In Manhattan

In celebration of St. Patrick’s day, I will give out the location of my favorite bar. The Landmark Tavern (link) is my favorite bar in Manhattan. It is old, classy, with naked lady sculptures and bas-reliefs meant to mesmerize 19th century gentlemen. The barkeeps are fastidious and silent -the place is never full, usually empty, and nearly impossible to find from just memory, hard to get to by public transit, and there is a Hotel California kind of vibe if you go there at night. The picture above implies that the place is sunny and it is absolutely not -it’s dark and gloomy, and best visited on a rainy afternoon. Its the place to go for solitude, for breaking up (although awkward because there are literally no cabs and the nearest subway is two avenue blocks or so to my recollection, but aren’t they always awkward), for catching up with long lost friends, and for the best shepherd’s pie on the island. I half expect to sit down to a drink with Ullyses S. Grant in the place. There are no college students, and no loud drunk tourists. It’s a serious bar for serious people who want to meditate in the twilight zone.

The right side of history

It is the right thing to do -to get health care available to those with pre-existing conditions, to avoid the situation of modern indentured servitude for the sake of healthcare, to avoid bankruptcies in the name of healthcare, to bring order to what is a patchwork of coverage, to bring science to bear. Health care is like clean public tap water -we chose to offer the clean water to all, and those who wish to, can pay for bottled. A nation is held together by its institutions, and healthcare has always been absent as a force compared to defense, agriculture, and commerce. The promise of a healthy life is part of the bounty that we are compelled to share if we are to call ourselves a United States of America.

Yale Is Burning

This made the rounds a few weeks ago, including a nice article on The New Yorker. Watching it, I had to smile. As a Harvard Alum, I can tell you there is no amount of glee at 86 Brattle Street that can match this gleeful video. You either get it or you don’t. They want to select for an even creamier crème de la crème. This goes beyond being able to understand and appreciate pink polo shirts, munching on pistachios, grapes, and brie with a Gewurztraminer, or liking to sing show tunes in the shower while being completely heterosexual.

If you don’t get it, you will snigger at this video and apply to Princeton. If you really don’t get it, you’ll stop watching when the singing starts and you’ll apply to a Big Ten School. If you get it, but don’t get in, you’ll be perfectly happy at Amherst. And so on.

This inspires me to hark back to college, to the time when I hijacked the microphone at Naples Pizza in New Haven and proclaimed, “Yale Sucks!” And now, we have proof.

docpark’s Nice Tea! and my picks

Football playoffs and lazy Sundays mix wonderfully in this iced tea creation. I make a typical Southern sweet tea using double density of P&G Tips tea bags, steeped extra long for that extra bite of tannins. I add a tablespoon of sugar for every two cups (may add more for more traditionally sweet tea) and if I have them, I crush and muddle in spearmint leaves. At this point, this drink is fine for drinking after mowing lawns, but if you want a super smooth Nice Tea -you add a shot of Amaretto and a half shot of Grand Marnier along with a dash of Angostura Bitters. The result is a very smooth concoction that makes you think about spring -sunny, cool, and stirring to the spirit.

I won’t talk about the Vikings because it may curse them. I will root for the Jets in the same way I would root for the drunk Irish guy on St. Patrick’s Day who picks a fight with a bunch of yobby out of town college kids from an SEC school. He may go down, but he’ll be defending the honor of New York in his own special way.

The Agonist

I have agonized over this for a while, particularly after being on call and dropping 3 consecutive calls that left me awake and irritated. Luckily, they weren’t critical, but the iPhone, which I love, works very poorly in my house with AT&T. There is a nearby cell tower, and I should get 5 bars of coverage but we are behind a hill and as you enter its shadow, the bars go to zero, and in my house, 2-3 bars is a good day. I know never to take calls from the kitchen but rather run outdoors if the call is critical.

Therefore, I am quitting AT&T and moving to Verizon. I used to be a 10 year Sprint veteran, but their coverage is equally poor. AT&T in its greed sets their phones for almost no roaming and so won’t switch towers even though there are GSM towers within site (T-mobile I guess). So to Verizon I go with their miserable top down approach to smart phones.

They apparently were offered the iPhone but did not want to relinquish controll over the apps.

I know I had sworn off WinMo, but fact is that HTC has hacked up WinMo 6.1 to work almost like the iPhone with its “flo”-ing user interface. What I like is the fact that you can tether the phone or even better, download a software that will let you make the phone a WiFi hotspot which is nice for my laptop. The irony will be that my iPhone will still be in my pocket for use to call out via Skype over Wifi -this works very well.

I’ll review the HTC Touch Pro2 as soon as I get my hands on it. It’s screen is larger and has higher pixel density than iPhone and it has a real keyboard. It has Bluetooth 2.1 which should let me pair all kinds of gadgets to it including a stereo headset and my earpieces (Plantronic Pro 950 which I consider incredible for cancelling outside wind noise).

Verizon will have to change a lot of things to get iPhone and may not have it in its DNA to undergo this change. AT&T deserves a bag of poop delivered on its doorstep on fire for its negligence of establishing bulletproof coverage. These phones are mission critical and need to be on and reliable.

AT&T had its chance -I asked the customer service rep for microcell -to set up a local in-house micro cell tower. But this would only be an admission of defeat for AT&T and it has not release what would be an enabling technology.

So I ring AT&T’s doorbell, light that paper bag full of steaming poo, and run down the street!

NaNoWriMo Update

Video update of my NaNoWriMo project, Abandonner: A Memoir of Regret. It is taking all of my powers of literacy and observation of women in their natural environment to write this exploration of the feminine psyche from the perspective of men who abandon them. I am writing in the Chick Lit category.

My Mighty Red Pens


If you accept this pen, it is an implicit endorsement of me.

The federal government cracked down on the allegedly briberous practice of pharmaceutical and medical device companies giving away pens and other swag (Plavix alarm clock anyone?) to physicians, nurses, office staff, and physician’s children. These rules were meant to avoid the impression that physician were endorsing these companies. I had always maintained that I could not be swayed by the giving of a pen, but if the government says so, so be it.

The problem is that now people are hoarding the logo pens. I have my private stash of Viagra pens that I’ll now keep like reliquary pre-embargo Cuban cigars. It was in a fit of libertarian pique that I decided to invert the relationship between Giver of Pens and Taker of Pens.

I decided to have my own pens manufactured, and have been giving them away at a torrid pace. There is no rule against my giving these pens to the drug and device sales reps -I tell them to drop them off wherever.