In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

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Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

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College administrator and arts buff

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Architectural historian and arts buff

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Entrepreneur and arts buff
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Media flunky and arts buff

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Our Last 50 Referrers

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Julia Child
Dear Vanessa -- I was very sorry to learn that the great Julia Child died today. She was 91, and she passed away only a few miles from where The Wife and I are vacationing. I'm just thinking out loud, but I find myself wondering if anyone since World War II has had as much impact for the good on American art as she did. By knocking the snobbery out of French cooking and bringing her own enthusiasm and her wonderfully eccentric character into living rooms, she made class and taste accessible and attractive to millions. The food revolution that has transformed middle- and highbrow American eating owes no one a greater debt. Two small thoughts? I'm no foodie, and I can barely scramble eggs. But The Wife is a wonderful cook; I do know books and publishing; and, FWIW, it seems to me that Julia's The Way to Cook (buyable here) is not only her magnum opus but a masterpiece of bookmaking -- a Rubik's Cube of depth and wisdom comparable to Christopher Alexander's "A Pattern Language." I also hope this is a good moment to express admiration for the way Julia (and the food crowd that she spearheaded) put over a topnotch cooking-and-eating culture in a country that's often skeptical and dismissive of aesthetics. There's much for American fans of all the arts to learn from her example. Here's a lovely and merry q&a that Polly Frost did with Julia in 1989. Best, Michael... posted by Michael at August 14, 2004 | perma-link | (4) comments

Sunday, August 8, 2004

Donate to Steve
Dear Vanessa -- Blogsurfin' fans of Steve Sailer's will want to make like me and contribute to his current fund-raising drive. Since Steve's work provides me with more free-thinking provocation, information, and matter to chew on than does the entire NYTimes, it struck me as quite a bargain to kick in the equivalent of a four or five months' subscription to the Times. Amazon and Paypal make the donating easy. Go and cough up here, then hang around to explore and enjoy Steve's brain and writing. Best, Michael... posted by Michael at August 8, 2004 | perma-link | (1) comments