Monthly Archives: June 2007

More non-standard meat options in Madison

Moving on from beef heart:

  • Pig stomach can be had at China Palace, and it’s really good, though I found eating a whole plate of it myself to be a little too much of one thing.
  • For chicken feet, you’re looking at Hong Kong Wok in the Hilldale Mall food court, which serves them in black bean sauce. I actually found these gristly, goopy, and unappealing, but looking around at people’s tables it’s plain they’re very popular, and at two bucks a plate you might as well try it yourself.
  • Duck heads (and lots of other parts of lots of other animals) are sold raw and shrinkwrapped at the Angkor Thom market, in the same Northside shopping center as China Palace. They also sell the only good banh mi I’ve had in Madison; they call it “Angkor sandwich” and it seems to be completely random whether they have any on any given day.
  • I am very pleased with the New Yorkiness of the new Gotham New York Bagels and Eats, but they do not sell a tongue sandwich. Nor, as far as I know, does anyone else in town. Tragic.

Inka Heritage

I’ve already blogged about Beefheart this week so it’s probably a good time to talk about Inka Heritage, the new Peruvian restaurant on Park Street where today I enjoyed a satisfying dish of anticuchos, grilled slices of beef heart on a wooden skewer. I’d never had heart before — it’s muscle, so tastes less like organ meat and more like a slightly chewier hanger steak, with a nice livery tang to it. The skewers come with two nicely fried potatoes and a heap of imported choclo corn, big faintly sweet kernels about the size of typewriter keys.

Inka Heritage is a fine addition to the neighborhood. Their menu tends away from big bursts of flavor and towards the creamy, cheesy, and mild, but just about everything I’ve tried has been enjoyable (though chicha, the purple corn cinnamon soda, I think I liked mostly for novelty value; I skipped it today. ) I haven’t ordered the ceviche yet, which seems to be a point of pride here. Maybe next time.

Also, the room is lovely, the service is friendly, and my son adores it because there’s a big picture window through which he can watch the trucks going up and down Park. And because he likes beef heart, it turns out.

Inka Heritage
602 S. Park St., 310-4282
11 am-7 pm Sun., 11 am-9 pm Mon.-Thurs., 11 am-10 pm Fri.-Sat.

Isthmus review

When the near West Side was a battlefield

A great post this week from Letter from Here about the end of the Black Hawk War in the summer of 1832. Chief Black Hawk’s band of Sauk warriors, fleeing from the U.S. Army, passed right by where our house is now, about two weeks before their ill-fated final stand. Read the post!

Local band: The Stevedores

The other night a group from the math department went to the High Noon to see some local bands play; I think we made up about a quarter of the audience. The highlight of the night was a short set by The Stevedores, who played about half originals and half oldies (“Maybelline,” “Love Potion # 9″) in a great reverby, tired, end-of-the-world way. When they played covers they sounded like a band you might see in a David Lynch movie. When they played originals they sounded like a much mellower Man Man.

Not really local for long, I’m afraid — it seems they moved here from New York last year and are moving to Austin shortly. But it was nice to have them here.

Hundreds of hours spent flipping through “Miscellaneous C”, now on my hard drive

I’ve just finished ripping every CD I own (with the exception of a few that the drive didn’t like, and some comps I don’t like enough to type in all the song titles.) The total is 5,604 songs, or a little over 18 gigabytes.

On the one hand, it’s quite interesting to have my entire music collection in one place. But it’s also a bit sad — that pile of CDs represented many trips to record stores in many cities, and many hours scanning used and sale racks looking for something of interest to be had for $3.99. (Look at the shelves above and below eye level for the best deals!) Now all that labor is in a form that can be copied to an .mp3 player in a few minutes. For that matter, somebody better at filesharing than me could probably reproduce almost the whole library in one night without getting dressed and leaving the house.

Nonetheless, I’ll plug the two best places I know to be surprised by very good, very cheap CDs: Amoeba Records in Berkeley and Princeton Record Exchange in Princeton.

Another good way for the Orioles to beat the Yankees

Is for the mighty Roger Clemens not to be able to keep Aubrey Huff in the ballpark with runners on. It’s perhaps time to revisit my considered opinion that Clemens is going to be worth what the Yankees are paying him.

Oh yeah, and — Eric Bedard! Seven innings, two hits, one walk, 8 K. He is crisp like a cool Canadian breeze.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a bad team with such a good collection of starting pitching.

There are many good ways for the Orioles to beat the Yankees

but surely the game-ending bases-loaded walk is among the very finest.

Another fine outing for Jeremy Guthrie, another no-decision. Almost halfway through the season, he’s pitching better than everybody in the AL except Haren, but with only 4 wins he’s not getting the Rookie of the Year attention he ought to be. If the season ended today, I think he’d have no serious competition apart from Okajima, and as good as Okajima’s been he’s only pitched 40% as much as Guthrie.

The Orioles face Zombie Clemens tomorrow. Seeing them knock Clemens around in Yankee Stadium a few years back is one of my treasured baseball memories and I’m ready for a replay.

The Child Worshipers, I: overscheduled children

Kids today!

“…a manufacter of stationery supplies saw nothing but sound business recently in bringing forth an appointment calendar designed exclusively for children. It came bound in pink for girls, blue (navy) for boys; bore, just after the frontispiece, a blank page for Telephone Numbers of My Friends; provided outsized space for the hours of every calendar day to accommodate third-grade penmanship, and at last report was, as the trade has it, moving nicely.

Of course it was; it filled a genuine need. How else is one to keep track of the after-school dates, the birthday parties, the bowling parties… And the club meetings? And the benumbing roster of appointments in pursuit of gracious living: the guitar, piano, and recorder lessons…the language lessons, the art lessons, the judo lessons, and, in season, the swimming, riding, skiing, and tennis lessons? When one recalls that this social lion must also fit in his pediatrician, his orthodontist, his allergist, and, alas, not too rarely, his psychiatrist, the wonder is that he ever got along without an address book at all.”

“It has been suggested that what this superbly organized child needs more than anything else is time — time to sit alone under the apple tree and simply muse. The question is: does he know how to sit alone and muse? And would he want to, even if he did? There still may be children around who putter in happy solitude with empty coffee cans or, in their livelier moments, crouch with the neighborhood aficionados over a smashing good game of marbles, but life’s heady pace has broken most tykes of such quaint preoccupations…”

Sounds pretty up-to-the-minute, right? It appeared in 1963, in Martha Weinman Lear’s book The Child Worshipers, which I feel quite privileged to have gotten for 50 cents at the Shakespeare’s Books moving sale last Saturday. I suppose one knows abstractly that despairing New York Times Magazine pieces about the plight of today’s upper-middle-class child don’t change that much from decade to decade — but it’s really quite startling to read passages written almost 45 years ago that also appear, more or less unchanged, in this year’s papers:

Though she considers herself well organized, Kathy Diamond, a mother of two in Huntington, acknowledges that her children’s after-school schedules have the potential to be daunting. Each week, her 12-year-old daughter, Alex, is taking drum and Hebrew lessons and five dance classes, and is also playing travel soccer, which includes a practice and away games. Seven-year-old Dylan has karate two days a week, drum lessons, soccer and baseball practices and games…

Many kids today “have almost a workaholic level of stress,” says Gloria Rothenberg, a school psychologist for Plainview-Old Bethpage School District who also has a private practice in Merrick. Children are overbooked with activities that can extend into what should be their bedtime, leaving them with little down time.

“Parents enroll their children in several activities for a lot of well-intentioned reasons,” says West Islip psychologist Wendi Fischer. You feel “you have to have every minute of your child’s life scheduled or you’re not doing right by them. Then there’s a sense of keeping up with their peers – both their own and their child’s.”

This zealous involvement has become a cultural phenomenon, says John Siefring, a psychologist in Northport. “It’s not just parents creating the need, but pressure from the top down, with honor societies to get into and Ivy League schools to compete for,” he says. “It’s not surprising that parents feel they’re doing their children a disservice by not having them involved in many things.”

But a pitfall of over-programmed time, Fischer says, is that children get so used to organized activities that they don’t know how to handle time on their own. “Ultimately, it’s not fair for kids to have the hectic pace we’ve adopted for ourselves.”

On the contrarian side, my college classmate John Cloud writes in Time that kids today aren’t overscheduled, and anyway, overscheduling is good for kids.

More Child Worshipers blogging to come.

Togetherness

I always thought “togetherness” was an ordinary English word, but it turns out it was invented in 1954 by McCall’s magazine as part of a publicity campaign to encourage families to do things, well, together.

“…this new and warmer way of life not as women alone or men alone, isolated from one another, but as a family sharing a common experience… Had Ed been a father twenty-five years ago, he would have had little time to play and work along with his children. Husbands and fathers were respected then, but they weren’t friends and companions to their family. Today the chores as well as the companionship make Ed part of his family. He and Carol have centered their lives almost completely around their children and their home.”

Time Magazine reports on the end of togetherness, 1959, here. Did you know Time’s entire archive was available free online?

Update (27 Jun) John Cowan points out in comments that in fact togetherness was a well-established English word before the McCall’s campaign. Maybe I should start looking stuff up before I post! I do get the impression from the contemporary sources that in the mid-50s the word was very strongly associated with the campaign; but maybe it should be seen as roughly analogous to the present position of the word “abstinence,” which has a dictionary meaning but which at the moment is closely attached to a specific political initiative.

The paperless office and officeless papers

Via John Quiggin at Crooked Timber, the startling news that U.S. office paper consumption has been dropping about 1% annually since 1999. He says his paper use has dropped to almost nothing.

I still use paper. Like any academic, I have to have access to lots of journal articles — most of these can be downloaded, but I’m often not at a screen. In fact, to keep my eyes away from my unanswered e-mail, I often sequester myself in a coffee shop with a bunch of printed-out papers and a spiral notebook, but no computer.

Even when I have my computer with me, I don’t have a good analogue of “the stack of papers I’m currently carrying around in my backpack” — the “officeless papers,” so to speak. Is there a natural way to identify some small set of .pdf files on your laptop as the ones you are currently “carrying around”? The problem is this — at any given moment there are probably a hundred papers I feel I really ought to look at. But a hundred papers would make my backpack too heavy, so I’m forced to select five or six really urgent ones, which means that I actually do get around to looking at them. If I made a directory called “Papers I really ought to look at,” I doubt I’d have the willpower to keep it below a hundred papers; and then I’d never look at any of them. Do any of you paperless people have a solution to this problem?

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