OMG, you guys, I’m so excited about my halloween costume.
I’m going to go out as a guy with mild gastroenteritis or some other sort of 24 hour bug.
This character I invented has the shits and was throwing up all morning, so he’s pretty haggard. He’s also achy and tired and is rocking a nasty headache, a headache that was quite enhanced when he got nauseous and dizzy after getting up too quickly to take a piss and, in a quite frightening moment, passed out right as he put his junk away mid-piss and proceeded to slam his head on the toilet seat and/or bowl. He has a nice tender red spot right on his hairline, but is not going to go to the doctor, even if he might be concussed, because it is much scarier for his wife if he pretends it was no big deal. That’s the point of Halloween after all, scaring people. It’s going to be so great you guys, this sick sad sack character I’ve invented is going to throw up in all the candy and infect everyone who comes near.
I’m back in the States and I miss Parma already. And not just for the television:
While I’ve had some great meals in my life, I’ve never experienced a stretch of so much good food all in a row. It was three days of oohs and ahhs and holy shits.
Parma is most well known for its salumi, or cured meats. By far, my favorite thing was Culatello di Zibello, known as “the king of salumi,” a higher end neighbor of prosciutto crudo made from only the choicest part of the rear pig leg, rubbed in a blend of salt and wine and spices, and aged for 12 months in a dank, humid 500 year old moldy cave. This crazy means of production means that it’s really expensive (€85-€100/kilo or $50-$60/lb.; usually at a restaurant it’s $12-$15 for a plate of 6 slices) and also completely illegal to import into the United States.
So I ate a fuckton of it — at the breakfast buffet, for a snack at a salumeria after lunch, before dinner.
I also fell in love with Strolghino di culatello, a tender fatty sausage made from cuttings of culatello during early stages of curing. It’s soft to the fork, just tough enough that you want to use your knife. Not too spicy, a little sweet, bright red with nice white fatty deposits.
You’ll often eat these with some chunks of fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano, which isn’t nearly as expensive there and usually far fresher (the minute you cut the parm into wedges, it starts losing moisture and freshness). We usually only get 18 months aged in the States for the most part, but there, you can get 24, 30, 72 month aged parm, and the better restaurants will list the age on the menu.
The traditional wines of Parma are sparkling, which is strange on its face, but it turns out to make sense because they cut through the heavy, fatty nature of all the cured meats and heavy cheeses. The disgusting Riunite wines of the 80s were based on these, but were much much sweeter. The two most prominent are a sparkling white malvasia and a sparkling red lambrusco. They go wonderfully with salumi.
Another curious Parma food are torta fritta, which are these fried rolls that are light as air, largely because they are mostly air. They look like pillows and when you bite into them, they turn out to be hollow. Delicious.
While there, I had three amazing dinners, each one better than the one before. It was bittersweet not to be able to share these meals with anybody, but man, they made the brutal travel schedule totally worth it.
"Delizie di Parma" (Culatello di Zibello, prosciutto di Langhirano, salame di Felino, strolghino di culatelo, and Parmigiano-Reggiano) Mixed plate of cured meats and sausages, with chunks of aged Parmesan cheese
Tortelli di zucca alla Mantovana Pumpkin ravioli in Mantuan style
Carbonade di cinghiale al cioccolato e spezie con polenta Stewed boar and polenta with sauce of chocolate and spices
Salame dolce con crema allo zabaione Sweet chocolate and torrone “salame” with wine-infused egg cream sauce
“Now he was stepping in front of the camera as Mister Rogers, and he wanted to do things right, and whatever he did right, he wanted to repeat. And so, once upon a time, Fred Rogers took off his jacket and put on a sweater his mother had made him, a cardigan with a zipper. Then he took off his shoes and put on a pair of navy-blue canvas boating sneakers. He did the same thing the next day, and then the next … until he had done the same things, those things, 865 times, at the beginning of 865 television programs, over a span of thirty-one years. The first time I met Mister Rogers, he told me a story of how deeply his simple gestures had been felt, and received. He had just come back from visiting Koko, the gorilla who has learned—or who has been taught—American Sign Language. Koko watches television. Koko watches Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and when Mister Rogers, in his sweater and sneakers, entered the place where she lives, Koko immediately folded him in her long, black arms, as though he were a child, and then … “She took my shoes off, Tom,” Mister Rogers said.”—
Did you know that most of the Mr. Rogers episodes stream on Amazon Prime? I didn’t until a couple of weeks ago. I had been thinking of buying DVDs so my son (2.5 - years, not version) could watch them. We’ve been watching them ever since. Seeing him get totally enthralled by these old videos has brought me so much joy.
“We will change the name of the People of Freedom because people no longer carry it in their hearts. We will examine any suggestions. I’m told the name that would have the biggest success is ‘Go Pussy!’”—
Came very close to getting a Zipcar, to find a Taco Bell, to try the XXL Chalupa.
Fat for life. Lord have mercy.
I am all for being open and honest on the internet, but some things should be buried deep deep down. Like a Sarah Palin Presidency or a Hulk Hogan-hosted reality show about wrestling dwarves, this scenario is completely outside my ability to imagine. I am only slightly less disgusted than if you said you wanted to diddle a preteen.
Update #2: In the comments, Ziv points out the following things:
(1) Registering and getting the swab kit, is free. (2) The transplant is not done through a needle in the back, in most cases. It’s done via a blood-transfusion-like machine, and is totally painless.
Update #3: By “South Asian” I am told that means (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, or Sri Lanka).
Yesterday, we lost one of the great luminaries of our time to cancer.
Today, we have an opportunity to help others in their fight. In particular, one of the most special people I know: Amit Gupta.
Amit is the founder of the endlessly wonderful DIY photography site Photojojo. He’s the cofounder ofJelly, a casual coworking community which started in New York in 2006 and spread to over 60 cities worldwide.
Amit has changed the world with his actions and through the people he has inspired. Anyone who knows him will tell you that he is one of the most special people they know, and they are right. Rarely will you find an individual with such a combination of warmth, charm, and tenacity.
To aid him in his fight, Amit is going to need a bone marrow transfusion. Unlike blood transfusions, finding a genetic match for bone marrow that his body will accept is no easy task. The national bone marrow registry has 9.5 million records on file, yet the chances of someone from South Asian descent of finding a match are only 1 in 20,000.
This is where we come in. We’re going to destroy those odds.
How? By finding and registering as many people of South Asian descent as we possibly can.
“So, who is this man? He’s the anchor baby of an activist Arab muslim who came to the U.S. on a student visa and had a child out of wedlock. He’s a non-Christian, arugula-eating, drug-using follower of unabashedly old-fashioned liberal teachings from the hippies and folk music stars of the 60s. And he believes in science, in things that science can demonstrate like climate change and Pi having a value more specific than “3”, and in extending responsible benefits to his employees while encouraging his company to lead by being environmentally responsible.”—RIP
I highly recommend this browser extension, which blocks web trackers.
I’m not a privacy nut, but all things being equal, I’d just as soon not be tracked like a mofo. The new Facebook stuff heightened my concerns a bit — it never crossed my mind that that those Facebook and Twitter buttons were tracking me regardless of whether I clicked on them or not.
Ghostery identifies tracking bugs (aka web beacons, web bugs, page tags), such as pixel/image trackers and scripts, blocks them, and then gives you a pop-up report of what’s been blocked. You can then click on those that were blocked and find out more about them. It takes like 10 seconds to install and another 15 to understand. Super simple.
I’ve been astounded by just how many trackers are embedded on sites I visit every day. For example, I just looked at an article on Wired.com and Ghostery found 11 trackers - Brightcove, ChartBeat, Disqus, DoubleClick, Facebook, Google AdSense, Google Analytics, Lotame, Microsoft Atlas, Omniture, and Twitter. Ignorance was bliss, I guess.
Some of those trackers (e.g. Google Analytics) provide important information to Wired.com, who is serving me something to read for free. I want the sites to get the advertising support they need to continue to produce great articles, but I hate the fact that it’s all or nothing. Either I let these completely untrustworthy third parties run amok with my data, literally getting wealthy on something of value that I am creating simply by using the web, or I block them all.
I think I’m going to allow Google Analytics to track me — mostly because I know people who rely on this data for their own sites and because I really do trust Google with my personal data more than Facebook — but that’s it. Everybody else can go fuck themselves.
This ad tracking stuff reminds me of the early days of iTunes, where everything was DRM. I wanted to support the musicians, but every time I downloaded something, there were all these barriers to sharing it with people. If my wife and I wanted to both listen to an album on our iPods, we had to buy two copies. Bullshit. So I downloaded stuff illegally because it was the only non DRM option — sometimes after buying one DRM’d copy legally. Nuts. Nowadays, I buy just about everything I listen to, and it’s no biggie.
I kind of feel the same way about this stuff. I want to support people producing good quality web content, but I don’t like not knowing what I’m giving up for it. By blocking the ads, I’m getting something for free. Maybe one day someone will figure out a truly above-board system — transparent, opt-in, ability to view your own tracked data, etc — and popularize it.