Sunday, October 9, 2011

Long lasting paint: 1905

Christopher Columbus


Columbia Restaurant




It may have had some technical limitations, but they sure made up for it in artistry.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Acting "Gay": c. 800

For he went to the baths and had himself closely shaved, polished his skin, cleaned his nails, and had his hair cut very short as if it had been done by a lathe. Then he put on linen undergarments and a very white shirt...
--From Two Lives of Charlemagne--

This passage is about a deacon, and although the text doesn't explicitly say he was homosexual the translator was kind enough to add a footnote telling us that was the gist of the author's description.

It got me to thinking:

You wake up, take a bath, scrub your skin and make sure your fingernails are nice and clean; then head down to the barber for a quick shave and a close cropped haircut. You top everything off by putting on a crisp white shirt.

In 9th century France this made you look like a raging homosexual, in 1950's America it made you look like a respectable businessman.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Reverse Engineering: c. 800

These same Greek envoys brought with them every kind of organ, as well as other instruments of various kinds. All of these were secretly inspected by the workmen of the most wise Charles, and then exactly reproduced.
--From Two Lives of Charlemagne--

Teachers are helpful, but all you really need is a good example and some motivation.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Save the Children: c. 800

He was very enthusiastic in supporting the poor, and in that spontaneous generosity which the Greeks call alms, so much so that he made a point of not only giving in his own country and his own kingdom, but even overseas when he discovered that there were Christians living in poverty in Syria, Egypt and Africa...
--From Two Lives of Charlemagne--

There's a point where charity becomes vanity and I often wonder where that point lies; something as simple as sending money to poor people in Africa used to be the sort of thing only Emperors would think of doing.





Saturday, August 13, 2011

Pizza Wars: Cappy's Pizza


The contender: Cappy's Pizza

: Deep Dish

In your mouth: With all the sauce and peperoni you'd expect water or oil to drain out of each slice, but the sauce doesn't even move. It's the cleanest pizza I've ever seen:

A slice of Cappy's Pizza

So, first you taste astonishment, then jealousy.

For most of the eating experience you can't taste the crust--the sauce dominates. It's rich and savory with a hint of oregano. There could be a bit of red pepper flakes, but the suggestion of "heat" may be from the pepperoni; it's that subtle. The cheese also stands out, it's the flavor you would get from a fried mozzarella stick, but held back a little.

The crust is very delicate, I almost want to call it pastry. I now understand why some people say "pizza pie".

Some Cappy's Pizza crust

It's nice to eat the crust after
The next day: Much more acidic, the cheese flavor has faded and oregano stands out.

Overall: It sounds pretentious to say it was a revelation, but yeah, it was a revelation.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A walk by the ocean

Low tide

The shining tower

A shot over the mudflats

A walk at night in the summertime, after a delicious Chinese meal, is always welcome.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Very Special Pizza Wars


The deal: My purchase of pizza caused a pizza to be donated to the Ronald McDonald House, so I get to write a blog post and help sick children.

I'm not saying other bloggers hate sick children, but they do.

The contender: Fortunato's Italian Market

Style: New York

In your mouth: The cheese is sweet, it tastes fresh and wholesome. The peperoni is flavorful, but isn't hot, and adds bits of saltiness. The sauce, which usually isn't a big player in New York style pizza, stands out. The crust is just the right thickness to hold everything together.

The next day: Not the least bit soggy, although it doesn't taste nearly as wonderful as when it was warm.

Overall: Generous. This pizza has been designed to maximize flavor without being too messy.

They asks at the counter, "Was it good?". The answer is "Yes!"

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pizza Wars: Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut

The contender: Pizza Hut

: Deep Dish

In your mouth: Where a normal deep dish pizza is filled with toppings, this one is filled with dough. After the first bite there's a burning sensation at the back of your throat, and I'm not sure what it's from because the pepperoni isn't particularly spicy. There is almost no sauce, the cheese is bland and the crust is greasy. Also, there's a weird smell, like burnt cheese, hanging over everything.

The next day: It tastes sad.

Overall: A thick piece of bread with cheese on top. This is the first pizza I've tasted that had no redeeming qualities.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pizza Wars: Domino's Pizza


The contender: Domino's Pizza

: New York

In your mouth: The crust is soft and seems to be coated in a light layer of butter. The sauce has a muted tartness. The cheese is noticeably bland and the peperoni less so, but everything about the pizza seems dialed down. To counteract the dullness they sprinkle the crust with some sort of garlic salt mixture, which you taste long after you've swallowed your last bite.

The next day: The crust isn't soft anymore! Now it's stale on the outside.

Overall: Weird and exotic.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Pizza Wars: Anytime Pizza

Anytime Pizza

The contender: Anytime Pizza

: New York

In your mouth: There is a lot more crust than topping, but that works because the crust is amazing. There's a bit of flour on the bottom and some burnt bits on the edges. It tastes yeasty and is just the right thickness. The toppings taste clean, spicy, and a little salty. They balance well with the crust.

The next day: Really soggy, but still tasty.

Overall: Not good for leftovers, but if you like artisanal bread, this is the pizza for you. Has a personality.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

PIzza Wars: Mazzaro's Italian Market


The contender: Mazzaro's Italian Market

: Pizzeria

In your mouth: The sauce tasted exactly like hot tomatoes, almost like tomato soup. The cheese is remarkably stringy and the crust is rather spongy. There's too much grease.

The next day: Nothing special.

Overall: Unsatisfying. Most pizzas have some grease, but this one had so much it seemed unwholesome. And the textures stood out more than the flavors.


G rated: 1908

The Mayor turned so pale at this that the Constable had to thrust a banana into his mouth to restore his courage.
--From The Magic Pudding--

I can't tell if it's better that this sentence is illustrated or not. And what does it mean that these two characters (both portrayed as rather weak and/or effeminate) are stuffing themselves with bananas while everyone else in the book is eating pie and the occasional egg?

Are these bananas just bananas?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Children's literature: 1918


--From The Magic Pudding--

Civilization ended shortly after this book was published.

Pizza Wars: Walmart

Walmart Pizza before

The contender: Walmart's Marketside Pizza

: Pizzeria

In your mouth: The crust is like cardboard on the bottom (yes, I removed the cardboard), and gooey on top. Unpleasant. The pepperoni is spicy, but you get the impression this is to cover an "off" taste in the meat.

The next day: The moisture has redistributed itself in the crust. It tastes a lot less distinctive, which in this case is a good thing.

Overall: Strangely flat. Fresh pizza that you'd swear was frozen (and expired).

Walmart Pizza after

Sunday, May 15, 2011

On your marks!

Marathon in Saint Petersburg

Team green

The streets are cleared

Saint Petersburg is always having some sort of walk, run, or cycling event to raise money for charity. This one was for police officers.

Pizza Wars: Gianni's NY PIZZA

Gianni's NY PIZZA

The contender: Gianni's NY PIZZA

: New York

In your mouth: The sauce is slightly acidic. The pepperoni stands out and there's a slightly hot, peppery aftertaste.

The next day: The crust is stale, but I prefer everything else this way. It's sweeter, and more interesting.

Overall: There's nothing distinctive about it. It's good pizza and I can like it, but I can't love it.

Pizza Wars: Valentino's Little Italy

Valentino's Little Italy

The contender: Valentino's Little Italy

: New York

In your mouth: The crust is thin but still chewy. Interesting texture underneath. There's a taste of oregano, and a saltiness that brings out the sweetness of the cheese.

The next day: The crust has held up but the flavor profile has shifted... spicy!

Overall: A light, fun pizza.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The saga of Ann Althouse

Ann Althouse's blog goes down. She goes to the blogger help forum to try and have it restored. The "helper" running the forum starts giving her attitude. Among other things, he posts a link (to his own blog) where he writes about dispensing justice to blogs. And when people start flagging his responses as "unhelpful" he taunts Althouse, asking why she can't even get a hundred people to say his responses aren't helpful:


For whatever reason he starts deleting the comments he's making:

omg 2

(He seems to have even deleted the post at his own blog.)

But, he's not done yet! Now he taunts Althouse for not having 200 readers willing to say his comments aren't helpful:

omg 3

Which he also deletes:

omg 4

His strategy seems to be to say incendiary things, have the person he's supposed to be helping "loose it", then remove his own comments. That way if someone reviews his work it will look like he's dealing with a crazy person.

Eventually a real life Google employee steps in and the craziness ends:

omg 5

(And I had better not have to update this post with more bad Google behavior!)

UPDATE: Many of the helper's responses have been restored over on the help forum thread. (Glad I took the screen shots to prove there had been deletions!) Also, here's the post the helper had linked to.

Just in case he deletes it:

omg 6

He's responding to comments over there. So I asked him about the deletions of his own posts on the thread.

Oh, and the old posts on Althouse's blogs still can't be seen. Although the "helper" assures us on his own blog that her site has been "restored":
There's no lingering glitch affecting Althouse's blog - Brett reviewed it, and restored it. That is how we do "What can we do to solve this?".
That's how they do it over at Google!

UPDATE 2: The helper is responding to comments now, but not mine. He wont post my comment, afraid someone might see it.

He claimed he only deleted posts which weren't relevant, so I asked him why he had deleted his own posts. And I asked why he was taunting people asking for help and trying to make them look like idiots.