Rants & Ramblings

random commentary about culture, media, politics, technology and whatnot.


Washington’s 40 most essential eats | Going Out Gurus | The Washington Post

In this week’s Weekend section, we fully devoted ourselves to the one resolution we want to stick to: to eat every last glorious thing this city has to offer. To that end, we spent months eliciting reader help in pointing us to Washington’s most necessary eats, the dishes no local should go without consuming at least once (and sometimes, at least once a week).”


StreetView Stereographic

Explore Google StreetView via stereographic images. Both awesome and mildly nauseating. Click the “+” sign in the upper left to manipulate the code that produces the images.


Get Them to the Debate on Time: Reporters’ Tips | Practical Traveler | NYTimes.com

Following the presidential candidates requires a journalist to be the most savvy of travelers.”

Photo of the Day: Up in the Air

Denver-bound. Obligatory airplane wing / view photo.

Rob and I flew out to Tucson last week for an always-too-short Christmas visit, then returned to D.C. on Tuesday. This photo was taken just after we departed TUS for Denver.


'It’s A Wonderful Life' | Scenic Routes | The AV Club

Mike D’Angelo muses about how very dark “It’s a Wonderful Life” gets at its hero’s lowest moments. “[T]his venerable holiday classic isn’t as heartwarming and life-affirming as its joyous ending insists, but rather one of the grimmest, most despairing portraits of middle-class compromise ever produced by Hollywood.”

Apple's Hottest New Product Can Be Thrown in the Wash | WSJ.com

Jessica E. Vascallaro and Ian Sherr write, “When thousands of fans line up for Apple Inc.’s opening of its Grand Central Terminal store … many won’t be queuing to ogle iPads. They’ll be there for the T-shirts. Since Apple opened its first stores in 2001, it has handed out tees sporting the new store’s name to the first 1,000 or so people through the door.” I have one from the Pentagon City store opening.


The Sketchbook of Susan Kare, the Artist Who Gave Computing a Human Face | NeuroTribes

A look at Susan Kare’s early history with Apple, including some of her gridpaper sketches for the original Mac OS iconography.

I’m starting to think Lego is evil | Dan Sinker

Dan Sinker laments the current state of the Lego product line, dominated by movie tie-in model kits. “The reality is that the unisex, open-ended, building and imaginative creation sets that my peers normally associate with Lego are gone.”


Long-Term Unemployment: How Do You Compare? | NPR

We’re running a series about the long-term unemployed and underemployed this week, based on an NPR / Kaiser Family Foundation poll. Today, we rolled out an interactive that allows users to compare themselves against poll respondents on certain questions. On the geeky tech side, I put this together entirely with HTML/CSS/jQuery (look, Ma, no Flash!). Took a little longer than Flash would have, but it was a good learning exercise. (Just forgive my horrible jumble of code.)


A Not-So-Straight Story | Opinionator | NYTimes.com

Frank Jacobs writes, “The American-Canadian border, famously said to run straight across the 49th parallel for hundreds of miles, is neither straight nor along the 49th parallel.”

Fun With Colored Pencils

Something to brighten a Monday afternoon.

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Photo of the Day: Tea Time

Tea time.

Stopped in at Northside Social in Clarendon last night for tea and a little catch-up-on-work time.


On Composing for Kermit the Frog | NYTimes.com

Frogs can sing, penguins can’t and other lessons that Bret McKenzie, of the musical-comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, learned while writing music for the Muppets.” I highly recommend the video that accompanies this story, in which Bret and Kermit perform “Life’s a Happy Song” from the new Muppets movie.


Primary Calendar Shake-Up | WSJ.com

With conventional wisdom pressuring candidates to score victories on early-voting states, Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida and South Carolina have moved their caucuses and primaries earlier in recent election cycles. See how recent presidential primary calendars compare.”

Vowels Control Your Brain | Krulwich Wonders… | NPR

Robert Krulwich writes, “When comparing words across language groups, says Stanford linguistics professor Dan Jurafsky, a curious pattern shows up: Words with front vowels (“I” and “E”) tend to represent small, thin, light things. Back vowels (“O” “U” and some “A”s ) show up in fat, heavy things.”


What Countries Are Doing To Tackle Climate Change | NPR

Many top emitters have set their own goals, but it’s not always clear how they can meet them.” Worked with Andrew Prince on this chart, which accompanies our coverage of the U.N. climate summit in South Africa. Nothing particularly challenging technically about how this one’s set up — just HTML / CSS — but I was happy with how it came out.