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i’m behind on everything these days, but i just wanted to post how nice it is to see this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/12/washington/12policy.long.html
Bush’s Plan for Iraq Runs Into Opposition in Congress
By THOM SHANKER and DAVID S. CLOUD
Democrats and moderate Republicans expressed profound
skepticism about President Bush’s call to increase the U.S.
military commitment in Iraq.

whee!

this will be the last time i post about the wii, but i just wanted to put up this post from boing boing about the wii. you’ll prob. be hearing a lot of similar stories in the days to come. what will be interesting is whether or not the wii not only levels the playing field and brings new casual gamers, but keeps things engaging for more experienced players.

mama’s cooking!

i’ve been meaning to post about this for a while. and although this is about video games, it is somewhat food related (and i know winnie’s been playing her sister’s DS) so i thought i’d post it here. for those who haven’t heard, nintendo has proven that innovation can succeed, with their fairly recently released handheld the DS (now available in a “lite” version). the DS uses two screens, but more importantly it uses a touch screen/stylus interface (and a microphone for voice recognition components). their games brain age (simple activities to exercise your brain) and nintendogs (keep a pet dog; like ye olde tamagotchi toys but on a whole new level) have been huge hits worldwide.

which brings me to the food-related portion of this post: one of their latest quirky offerings and a sleeper hit is cooking mama. there are other video games like this that consist of “mini-games” that are usu. fairly straightforward tasks such as tapping the screen or moving your stylus in a certain way. in this case, cooking mama takes you through a whole slew of actual recipes, from simple tasks of making rice or a sandwich to more complex tasks such as making fried wontons (and you have to do the plating as well haha). lively animation and music are the major draws here (although one drawback is it’ll make you hungry!), and although experienced cooks may not get a whole lot out of it, if you have friends or relatives who know nothing about cooking, this might get them started on the right track.

here’s the US trailer:

and here’s a video of someone going through one of the recipes: tenderizing meat, breading it, and then throwing it into the deep-fryer:

the newest thing nintendo has come up with is the wii (pronounced “we”), due out in the US in a week. like the DS, the focus here is on innovation rather than horsepower. here the controller is motion sensitive, so instead of pushing buttons you move the controller around. this japanese commercial will give you some idea of what possibilities this interface provides in terms of games. nintendo’s promo videos, in which they got regular people from different countries to try it out, are hypnotic to watch. someone has compiled the first few and put them on youtube (below) but the originals are much higher quality and can be found here. be sure to check out the one w/ the older japanese couple playing golf and the japanese family playing baseball.

it’s not too surprising that a wii version of cooking mama is in the works. here’s a video from france from a gaming convention where someone tries out a demo.

people have been endlessly debating about whether or not the wii will succeed ever since it was announced, esp. in its attempt to draw the attention of more casual gamers. the DS’s success is promising, although nintendo already had a huge share of the handheld market. they’re far behind in the home console market, but this could very well be a gamble that pays off. looks like we’ll find out soon though.

kentucky animals, land and sea

i meant to post this a while back before winnie visited my homeland (i.e. kentucky) in case she needed something to do when she wasn’t stuffing her face. last time i was there i made two worthwhile excursions. first off: henry’s ark:



this is lesser known than it should be. it’s a completely open farm where you can see a load of farm animals (pigs, roosters, chickens, cows, goats, ducks) side by side with more exotic animals (camels, emu, zebra, monkeys). most are behind fences, but quite a few (including the emu) are just wandering around. people can drop in with vegetables (we brought carrots and celery) and crackers, and wander around feeding whatever they want. you’d think the setup would be chaotic, but it’s very laid back and everyone i saw visiting when i was there was responsible and self-policing. it’s located at: 7801 Rose Island Road, Prospect, KY 40059 (open every day til sunset except mondays), and here’s an interesting newsletter from 1999. fyi: prospect is right next to one of the edges of suburban louisville (and only a few minutes away from where my family lives).

second, the newport aquarium in newport, KY:


i haven’t been to boston’s aquarium in a while, but i remember when i went the second time i was fairly unimpressed. not so w/ the newport aquarium, located directly across from cincinnati (about 1.5 hours from louisville). they’ve clearly spent a lot of money on this, and some of the areas are quite amazing. in particular, they have some glass walkways underneath tanks where you’re completely surrounded by water above you and on both your sides, a small “rain forest” room where you can feed birds nectar, and a place where kids can pet starfish and another where they can pet sharks.

so now you know what to do for the next time you’re going through kentucky. 😉

NY eats fondly remembered

i’m ridiculously far behind on everything. but to cross off at least one thing from my list, here’s the recap of what andy and i sampled last time we were in new york (in august!):

bread (nolita): recommended by the ‘foo, but it was fairly disappointing. started w/ the bruschetta which was mediocre tomatoes on this ridiculously unserviceable thick white bread, and my pesto pasta was similarly bland. andy’s aged salami sandwich was a bit better though, and his cucumber yogurt dill soup was nice.

los dos molinos (119 east 18th, union sq): recommended by the village voice’s sietsema via winnie. we were hoping for some good mexican food for once, but this was completely ordinary save for the spiciness which was promised and delivered. i had a deep-fried burro and andy had a chicken chile plate, but both were completely unremarkable.

– all was not disappointment, however. blaue gans (139 duane st, tribeca) was a nice reco from winnie. for saturday (i think) brunch it was almost completely empty, with nice low-key waitstaff. andy had some fantastic sausage and i had the apple pancakes which were good, although rather more melt-in-your-mouth than i would prefer. my potatoes were simply fantastic though, although i’m not sure if they’re on the regular menu. we both had some memorable pastries as well.

thor (the hotel on rivington, 107 rivington st (between essex and ludlow st), LES): we count ourselves lucky that we got to thor before chef kurt gutenbrunner called it quits. i haven’t found the full text of the ny times article about it (the article that also mentions tom colicchio’s decision to leave gramercy tavern), but it happened soon after we were there and i believe it was motivated by his desire to bring more of his austrian background into the dishes and the owners’ resistance. from our experience, we heartily side with the chef. the meal we had was clearly of high standard and we definitely enjoyed it, but the menu was incredibly conservative and didn’t at all stand apart from your average high end american restaurant. andy had been hoping for some excellent meat a la blaue gans and both of us had been expecting a more unique experience. andy’s highlight was sardines w/ a lime relish over caramelized cauliflower and mine was a pretty nice chinese mushroom dish (both were appetizers).

and a quick link to end: winnie’s prob. already seen this, but i randomly came across a whole page with patterns for food to knit. knock yourself out!

NYC proposal to ban trans fats

new york times article about recent proposal to force restaurants to pretty much ban trans fats:

    The New York City Board of Health voted unanimously yesterday to move forward with plans to prohibit the city’s 20,000 restaurants from serving food that contains more than a minute amount of artificial trans fats, the chemically modified ingredients considered by doctors and nutritionists to increase the risk of heart disease.

    Trans fats, derived from partially hydrogenated oils, became popular in the 1950’s as an alternative to the saturated fats in butter. They allow fast-food restaurants to use frying oil for longer periods and make crunchier cookies and flakier pie crust. They also have a longer shelf life than butter, olive oil, corn oil or other alternatives.

they’re likening it to the ban of lead paint. sounds fair enough to me, although since it’s food people are eating every day it seems people have been indignant about it. thoughts?


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