Thursday, April 21, 2005

I'm chuffed to report that author and journalist Ed Moloney, subject of this post and this post and mentioned in this article, found my blog and wrote me a nice note asking where to send the check for the publicity work. Right on, Ed!

I've long known that if I had Ed Moloney's email address (which I do now) that I'd ask him (as I have now) whether he now thinks his book was perhaps a bit pre-mature, if only because many of the IRA sources he plumbed to write it are probably no longer talking to him. As he wrote in the book's preface, many of these sources would not have spoken to him to begin with if they'd known he was working on a book.

As we now know, the peace process isn't over and there's good deal of ongoing drama within the IRA at the moment. There's still quite a story to be told about this highly secretive organization, and it would be a shame if an investigative journalist of Moloney's calibre will never be able to tell it.


You know, speaking of publicity, I'm ashamed to admit I never sent out a public thank you to Nick Gillespie of Reason magazine, who also surprised me with a personal e-mail asking if I'd be interested in a complimentary copy of Choice: The Best of Reason. Naturally I said yes, please! And sure enough, a copy made its way across the puddle. Many, many thanks.

My review: Well, honestly, I haven't read every essay yet, so I can't really give a proper review, but that won't stop me from recommending it. It's a damn good book, if only for Matt Welch's essay comparing Vaclav Havel to George Orwell, which is arguably the best piece I've read on Havel since, well, ever.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The lost plays of Sophocles? The epic prequel to The Iliad? "A collection of Greek and Roman writings so vast it could redraw the map of classical civilisation"? "The classical equivalent of finding the holy grail"? "A second Renaissance"? Lost Christian gospels?? Five million words of this stuff, all discovered by multi-spectral imaging techniques?

That's a pretty amazing story. Now that I'm looking for a job, it almost makes me want to consider a new career as a classics scholar.
Today I learned: Musharraf was born in India. Singh was born in what's now Pakistan. How about that.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Last week I stepped out in into the garden at Tulip Cafe, the restaurant I've owned since before I started this blog, and staring down at the ground I saw something that sparked a brief moment of clarity: tulips.

Tulips, you know -- as in the flowers that bloom in the springtime. Last fall, my friend David was on some silly cosmic karmic trip, so he planted some bulbs in the garden, convinced that something cool would happen (like, say, tulips sprouting from the ground) as a pleasant surprise in the springtime. I'd completely forgotten about them.


As of Friday, the new majority owner of Tulip Cafe is Raymond Husum, a lawyer from San Francisco who recently moved to Prague with a dream of settling down with his own bar or restaurant. Ray is also an co-owner of The Park, a bar in San Francisco across from the Giants ballpark.

Ray and I met recently and immediately hit it off. He's more experienced that I was when I first started, and his enthusiasm and personality will suit Tulip well, so please stop in and say hello to Ray and the tulips. Ray will be making a number of improvements, to be sure, but don't expect wholesale changes. As for me, I still own 49% of the restaurant, but I won't be playing an active roll in managing its day-to-day affairs.

Don't ask what's next for me: Something different, to be sure, but I don't know what yet.

Tulip's having a party this weekend to celebrate the change (and my new freedom), so send me a line if you want to come and haven't received word by Wednesday or so.
Word of the day:
"The chances of being elected pope decreases in proportion to the number of times he is described papabile in the press."
And here's a blog devoted to papability.
I'm flagging this Slate article for no other reason than it spoke to me:
What about children of boomers, Trivial Pursuit's other major demographic? They were warned away from the original—the box declared, "Age: Adult"—which of course made mastering the original game even more enticing. To compete at Trivial Pursuit, and maybe answer a question or two, was to secure a seat at the adult table. I remember my grandparents' astonishment when I correctly answered that Radar O'Reilly's favorite drink was Grape Nehi—a fact I'm pretty sure I learned directly from a Trivial Pursuit card. However sacredly boomers regard their nostalgia, it turns out their children regard it as more precious than their own.
All true, very true. But then something struck me, here:
"What jungle planet do Wookiees hail from?" a Star Wars card asks. Let's say, hypothetically and only for the sake of argument, that I know the answer. Who is supposed to be impressed by that?

Certainly not me. Reason? Look, I'm not even such a Star Wars geek, and even I know that this is a trick question. The Ewoks do not live on a planet. The reside on a moon, the forest moon of Endor.

UPDATE:Uh... OK, so I misread the very passages I quoted, thinking the question was about Ewoks. Wookies, not Ewoks. Wookies wookies wookies.

And, um, just to show you I'm not a total dweeb, I really didn't know (i.e. I learned from the Wikipedia link above) that Endor is named after Tolkien's Endor in Middle Earth. I've never read Lord of the Rings.