Over SIX MILLION

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 10:54 pm
[syndicated profile] feministphilosophers_feed

Posted by annejjacobson

I was watching so I could announce FP’s reaching the 6,000,000 views mark. Then my attention wandered and now we are over 6,040,000.

About the time I found out we’d passed the 6,000,000 mark, I saw a somewhat backhanded acknowledgement that we’ve had some impact. But as with many things on the net, what started out a simple pleasure became complicated and a bit unpleasant. Apparently a lot of people took the remark that FP has soured the profession to leave out other immense efforts to do so. (That is snark!) In addition, the very premature celebration of Brian’s loss of power and importance started up again.

So now back to a deflated feeling, let me give you the urls that added up, I thought, to something funny.

It starts with BL’s repeating a letter:

http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2014/08/have-blogs-been-good-for-the-philosophy-profession.html

And it ends with Jaded PhD very funny interpretation of the letter:

http://philosophysmoker.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-answer-is-yes-some-of-them-have-been.html

Only now we have an Intro or two from Jaded, along with interim comments in bold, who appears to have been very severely chastised. And, of course, it would be very wrong to write out the last 40 or so years’ of feminist struggle for women in philosophy. I didn’t for a minute think Jaded was doing this. And nothing could be farther from the intentions of those writing for FP.

Celebrations about Brian are in the comments.

As Dr J, my partner, often says, But you’re dealing with philosophers! You know what to expect.


[syndicated profile] dcwomenkickingass_feed


Everyone! Listen to This Speech by Gene Luen Yang on Diversity and Comics Right Now

On Saturday, writer Gene Luen Yang gave a speech at the National Book Festival where he discussed the issue of diversity in publishing and specifically in comics and it is amazing.

The award-winning Boxers and Saints author began his speech by discussing the importance of Dwayne McDuffie to his own entrance in to comics and to comics overall. McDuffie, of course, fought for diversity in comics ultimately creating his own comic company so he could see people like himself in comics.

Yang talks about the importance of that company, Milestone, because the character Xombi was also an Asian American male.

But he also addresses the issue of diversity in terms of the writer’s responsibility and overcoming the fear of “not getting it right” and suffering the wrath of the Internet.

I strongly recommend that every writer or potential writer in comics listen to this speech. I strongly recommend that every editor and publisher in comics listen to this speech. I strongly recommend every comic reader listen to this speech. And I strongly hope that every person who diminishes diversity in comics with snide remarks listens to this speech.

You can also read the transcript here.

Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 07:05 pm
settiai: (Willow/Tara -- remember_nomore)
[personal profile] settiai
Happy birthday, [personal profile] juliet316 and [livejournal.com profile] kiki_miserychic!

Fund This: 'Who is Arthur Chu?'

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 04:00 pm
[syndicated profile] angry_asian_man_feed

Posted by Phil Yu

Documentary follows 'Jeopardy!' hero's return to the "Tournament of Champions"



Few folks have rocked Jeopardy like Arthur Chu. Earlier this year, the seemingly unassuming insurance analyst got a shot on the perennial TV quiz show and instantly became a polarizing figure, hated and loved for his unorthodox tactics and refusal to back down to internet haters. During an impressive eleven-game winning streak, Arthur amassed $298,200 and a new king of the nerds was born. Since then, Arthur has leveraged his proverbial fifteen minutes of infamy to use as a megaphone for social commentary on a variety of issues.

Arthur is an interesting guy, and his story is a fascinating, unique take on the American dream. So naturally, some folks are making a documentary on him. Who is Arthur Chu? will be a look at the man, the myth, the legend, following him back to Jeopardy! next month for his final showdown, the Tournament of Champions. The filmmakers are currently in the throes of a Kickstarter campaign to make it happen.

Here's a video with some more information:

Read more »

[Stories] Magician's Feast

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 05:49 pm
yhlee: Animated icon of sporkiness. (sporks (rilina))
[personal profile] yhlee
For [personal profile] cohomology. Prompt: recursive pepper. (Okay, so maybe it's a bit of a stretch...)

(Spork of fooding, not spork of sporkiness!)

Once, in a far land, there lived a magician whose great passion was not her studies but her food. In her youth she had applied herself passionately to her studies, but her particular school of magic emphasized asceticism and long hours of meditation. However, once she left her teachers and founded her own tower (she was enough of a traditionalist to prefer a tower, and humane enough to call it out of the earth's bones in a remote location where it wouldn't trigger seismic disturbances or ghost-plagues), her discipline began to slip. Away from her teachers and her solemn fellow students, it was not long before she began dreaming up feasts of custard and roast goose, couscous and eggplant, quail eggs and minty lemonades.

Traders soon learned of the new tower from far-wanderers and dream-seekers. The first ones brought the usual goods favored by magicians: whirring jeweled orreries, dried plum petals gathered from cloud-veiled peaks during the new moon, crystals brimming over with their own iridescence. Although the magician was too kind to say so outright, none of these tools of her trade interested her much. She bought some of this and that so that the traders would see some profit for their journey, and bid them come back next time with exotic foods.

The traders went away well-provisioned and laden with the kinds of small gifts that only a magician could provide, such as charms of trebuchet-warding (very useful in certain siege-ridden parts of the world), bat-binding, and may-your-sewing-needles-never-break. And then the magician settled back into her existence of meditations broken by the occasional galloping thunderstorm, and the even more occasional fantasy of chicken stuffed with rice, jujubes, and chestnuts, or tea-of-quinces.

The magician was not entirely idle during this time. Her mechanical servants gathered rarities such as firefowl eggs (the yolks had an unfortunate tendency to overcook) and mistfruit and the milk of dragons. At first these foods pleased her, but after a while her palate grew jaded and even these palled.

A year passed and the traders returned. This time there were three-fruit marmalades and rose liqueurs; a herd of plump, comically nearsighted goats ready for the slaughter; kumquat pickles in jars painted jewel-bright. The magician took in the goats but did not have the heart to roast them.

The traders had yet one more surprise for the magician: a jar of chopped dried pepper, piquantly red and to be handled only with gloves. (The magician had plenty of those.)

"A pepper?" the magician said, a little dubiously. It wasn't that she disliked spicy food--she liked it very much indeed--but she wasn't sure how far a single pepper would go.

"Its taste is very subtle," said the oldest and wisest of the traders. "But chop it fine and sprinkle a little of it over each meal you wish to make special, and someday it will reward you." More than that they would not say.

Years upon years passed. The magician experimented with the pepper, and found its taste so subtle that she could not detect it at all. Nevertheless, each year when the traders stopped by, she made use of it in preparing the welcome dinner so that they would not think her unappreciative.

At last illness came upon the magician, and she knew that death would overtake her before the traders came again. Moved by whimsy, she made herself a simple meal and seasoned it with the mysterious pepper. But this time, when she ate, all the memories of those previous dinners came back to her: not just the savor of roast boar or rare slices of beef alternating with candied ginger, but the traders' convivial stories of seas where squid danced paeans to the kelp-gods, and the way they had laughed at the antics of her mechanical servants, and the pleasure of company after long months alone. And so it was at the end of her life that the magician finally understood the true value of what the traders had brought to her in their yearly visits.

Ahead on the 9/2/14 Maddow show

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 10:14 pm

[ SECRET POST #2800 ]

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 06:20 pm
case: (Default)
[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets

⌈ Secret Post #2800 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.

01.

More! )


Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 02 pages, 045 secrets from Secret Submission Post #400.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.

Punk+ Rare photos from the early days of British punk

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 03:10 pm
[syndicated profile] boingboing_feed

Posted by Mark Frauenfelder

Punk changed my life when I was a teenager in the late 70s. It wasn’t just the music that I loved (especially The Clash, The Sex Pistols, The Buzzcocks, The Ramones, and X), it was Punk’s DIY aesthetic.

Read the rest

give a book a home!

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 04:41 pm
yhlee: wax seal (Default)
[personal profile] yhlee
Anyone want my extra contributor's copy of The Mammoth Book of Warriors and Wizardry, ed. Sean Wallace? It includes my story "Effigy Nights," as well as stories by N.K. Jemisin, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Aliette de Bodard, Saladin Ahmed, and more.

Leave a comment (or email me at yoon at yoonhalee dot com) if interested. I will decide by (pseudo)random generator at some point. Shipping's on me anywhere reasonable in the world (so, bottom of the Mariana Trench, not so much).

(Unrelated note: [personal profile] cohomology, I swear I'm working on your flashfic right now.)

Arby's new Meat Mountain

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 02:40 pm
[syndicated profile] boingboing_feed

Posted by David Pescovitz

Arby's, inspired by customers who inquired about a poster in the restaurant depicting a heap of myriad meats, now sells an off-menu "Meat Mountain" piled with various kinds of animal flesh for $10. Here's what's between the buns: Read the rest

Fluffy Bunnies

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 10:42 pm
[syndicated profile] andrew_rilstone_feed

Posted by Andrew Rilstone

The Rabbits of Watership Down are rabbits. They are as rabbitty as Richard Adams can make them. Everything they do is based on real rabbit behavior. However, Mr Adams asks us to imagine -- well, not imagine, but take for granted as a scholarly fact -- that these rabbits have human intelligence, culture, language, even religion. Well no, not these rabbits -- rabbits in general, and foxes, and sea gulls. How this works we can’t question for a moment. (Could a leoporine mouth even form the syllables El-ahrairah? Is a rabbit brain big enough to develop that kind of consciousness?) It’s funny, actually, how easily our mind accepts this kind of thing. It gets you into philosophical hot water if you aren’t incredibly careful. If a rabbit or a hamster had human consciousness, then obviously vivesection would be wrong. But they don't, so it's not a good argument. I think Richard Adams develops this fallacy at some length in his later books.

Peter Rabbit is also a rabbit, possibly with a fly upon his nose. And the anthropomorphicisation has gone a lot further than it has in Watership Down. He wears clothes. His daddy smokes a pipe, forsooth. But he also lives in a hole, and steals cabbages from a farmer's garden, and if I remember correctly there is an implication that the farmer has sometimes made his relatives into pies. If Watership Down asks us to imagine a world in which rabbits have human minds, the Peter Rabbit books asks us to imagine a world in which, instead of Rabbits, there are tiny, Rabbit shaped people.

Again, we don’t have any trouble getting our heads around this weird-ass parallel universe. We don’t say for goodness sake they have culture and language and you are going to put them in a pie what kind of weirdo are you? We just take it for granted that that's a normal way of writing about rabbits.

The Hare in Aesops Fable is even less animal like than either Hazel and Fiver or Peter Rabbit.  It's not really even an animal at all. I mean, we take it for granted that tortoises and hares can communicate, and place bets, and that owls can adjudicate races, and all the birds and beasts can come and cheer them on their way. But I suppose he's not really a hare because the Hare and the Tortoise isn't really a story. It's just a thought experiment or a proverb, with the Hare meaning “fast thing” and the tortoise meaning “slow thing.”. You could do it just as well with a motorbike and a Virgin train.  

Now, the only rabbity thing about Bugs Bunny is his carrot, and that carrot is pretty much only there to be a place holder for a cigar so Bugs can be a sort of cartoon version of  Groucho Marx. He isn’t even really rabbit shaped, any more than one of those child's drawings of a cat looks anything like a cat. But we still sort of accept that he's a bunny because that's what rabbits look like in cartoons. In the days when Walt Disney still made cartoons, kids used to ask “What Kind of An Animal Is Goofy?” The answer is, well, he isn’t really any kind of animal, and it wouldn’t make any difference if he was. (I suppose he's a country bumpkin?) I think there used to be a rabbit in the Disney Mythos, but it was retconned out during the Crisis. There is a famous example of false memory syndrome in which subjects are persuaded to believe that they met Bugs Bunny at Disneyland, even though Bugs Bunny isn’t owned by Disney, or wasn’t then. But cartoons are probably a different kind of thing to prose narratives and fables and anyway, I have run out of rabbits.

Bears. Paddington Bear. Except that again, he really isn't. He wears clothes, talks English and although he causes chaos wherever he goes, its the sort of chaos that a very naughty child would cause, not the sort of chaos that would occur if a large South American carnivore got loose on and English Railway station. The only bear like thing about him is that he likes marmalade, which comes in jars, and is spread on toast, like honey, which is proverbially likes by bears, at least since Pooh.

Does anyone but me remember Mary Plain? She was a sort of proto-Paddington, a two legged bear who could talk English living in a suburban home. She did mostly did human things -- entered fancy dress competitions, joined the boy scouts, and, after the series had jumped the entirely non anthropomorphic shark, solved a mystery and get shipwrecked on a desert island populated by natives that would, if it were reprinted today, cause the PC Brigade to cancel all leave.

Now Yogi Bear, he's more like Peter Rabbit. I can see in what way he's a bear. He wears clothes and talks and can interact with the human world but he lives on a nature reserve, and steals goodies from visitors picnics. He's a human being -- Yogi Naughty Petty Thief Man -- who stands in the same relationship to the Park Ranger on the one paw and the tourists on the other (in one specific respect) as an actual bear would. (On my one visit to an American national park I was warned to hang any food out of reach of the bears or put it in a metal crate, so evidently it's a thing.) The same goes for Tom and Jerry. They are really only a cat and a mouse in so far as one does the chasing and the other does the running away. 

The least bear like of all is Rupert the Bear (everyone sing his name). He is, basically, not a bear. He isn’t even a teddy bear. He is twelve year old boy with a bear’s head; whose friends are twelve year old children with elephants heads and badgers heads. I don’t recall that he even particularly likes honey. Cartoonist Alfred Bestall said that you couldn't ever send Rupert to the seaside, because putting him in a bathing costume would force you to decide to he was furry all over. 

I never quite understood why clever men like C.S Lewis and A.A Milne and Pink Floyd were quite so keen on WInd in the Willows. I’m not sure I ever got to the end of it. I think Lewis was right about why Mr Toad had to be a toad rather than and English country gentleman, even though he’s obviously an English country gentleman and not a toad. If he was a human, he would have to have servants and employees and we’d have to at least have a hint about where his money came from. As long as he’s an animal, we can sort of skate over that. (Lewis thinks he’s both a child and an adult: a child in that food sort of just turns up and no-one asks where it came from; and adult in that he gets to choose what he wants to do and there’s no-one to tell him off.) And the shape of a toad’s face is a sort of fixed caricature of a certain kind of human. 

I don’t think that there is any reason to suppose that Owls are wise, particularly; I don’t even know if they are cleverer than other birds of prey. But they are always wise in stories because the big eyes look like we imagine a wise human ought to look. So stories about animal-shaped humans lend themselves to a kind of fable where everyone has a more or less fixed personality and it can’t really develop. (A.A Milne said that you only had to look at the toy pig and the toy donkey and the toy tiger to see their personalities -- timid and gloomy and bouncy.)

It is perfectly true that if a child behaved like Paddington Bear, he would get punished or injured or given pills. (If an adult behaved that way, he’d be arrested or put in a home.) This is not to say that you can’t do stories about naughty or accident prone children in a realistic setting, but they either have to get some sort of comeuppance, like Dennis the Menace, or they have to be devious enough to avoid it, like Just William, which introduces an element of cynicism which isn’t funny in quite the same way. But I don’t suppose that Michael Bond said to himself that he wanted to write a story about the kind of child who floods the bathroom the first time he needs a wash, but then thought it wouldn’t be that funny if an actual child did that kind of thing and then thought I know I’ll make him a bear instead. I think he started to tell a story about a bear, and the rest followed naturally. And that's what's so odd. Once we start to tell stories about bears or rabbits it somehow becomes natural that they wear duffle coats and tam o shanters and like honey and marmalade. We can’t look at an animal without anthropomorphising it.

Doesn't the trailer for the Paddington movie look appalling? Like Winnie-the-Pooh reimagined by Peter Jackson.

Anyway, I hope this clears up all the confusion. I was as surprised as anybody to find out that Hello Kitty had a personality. I assumed it was just something you stamped on notepads and teeshirts. But I don't have a problem with the recent bombshell that she's not a cat. Of course it isn’t. Anymore than Bugs Bunny is a Rabbit or Pooh is a bear.

R.I.P. IX

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 11:32 pm
lethe1: (ad: shock horror)
[personal profile] lethe1
It's 2 September already, high time to post about the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril event!



I've decided to do Peril the Second: read two books between 1 September and 31 October that fit into one or more of the following categories: mystery, suspense, thriller, dark fantasy, gothic, horror, supernatural, or anything sufficiently moody that shares a kinship with the above.

Last year I only managed to read 1.5 books, so my provisional list looks more or less the same as it did then. From my own book shelves:

Daniel Hecht: Skull Session

Alfred Hitchcock (ed.): 12 Stories They Wouldn't Let Me Do on TV

Angela Carter: The Bloody Chamber and other stories

The last two titles also fit in the Peril of the Short Story category.

From the library, I'd also like to read:

Lauren Beukes: The Shining Girls

Neil Gaiman: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Margaret Millar: The Devil Loves Me


My provisional Peril on the Screen film list is the same as ever:

Images (Robert Altman, 1972)

Memento mori (Tae-Yong Kim & Kyu-Dong Min, 1999)

Tideland (Terry Gilliam, 2007)

Plus I intend to borrow The Fades from the library.


Of course, after a few weeks of cool, rainy, autumnal weather, perfect for R.I.P., the sun decided to come out again as soon as it turned September, and it looks like we're going to have an Indian summer. Such hardship!

Tuesday Update

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 01:35 pm
wendelah1: (Like petals from a rose)
[personal profile] wendelah1
I've already missed one day--so much for my resolution to post every day in September. My husband is sick. Technically, he's never been completely well, not since he got pneumonia three+ weeks ago. cut for people who are as tired of reading about this as I am writing about it )

Today is my son's first day of classes in his DPT program. He's gradually moving his stuff down to Orange County. Someday I will get that room back for my own use, but today is not that day. I took him out to dinner last night, just the two of us because his dad's too sick to leave the house. I'll miss him but I know it's good and right for him to be out on his own.

Our fourth cat Boris, the male stray who wandered up to the door starving to death a few months ago, finally got carted to the vet for his shots and neutering. He was very anxious about being indoors for the first couple of days but he's settled down now. We only have to keep him in a week for the stitches to heal, after that, we'll see. He's gotten very fond of lying smack dab in the middle of where people need to step. He's tripled in size since we started feeding him. By the time he's full grown, he could be the size of a small black panther.

Our tiny girl Nina has gotten a little bigger but she's still half the size of the smallest of our males. She managed to escape today by climbing through a small hole in the wall under the sink, and falling down into the crawl space under the house. She managed to climb back in the same way she escaped. I'm going to have to put a baby lock on the cabinet door, which is too bad because opening those things hurts my joints.

The three boy cats have settled into a truce with our fierce little girl. She's not chasing them, hissing, or even getting a puffed up tail now. Thank God for small favors. Our oldest boy Pumpkin has decided he prefers sleeping outdoors most of the day on the porch, to avoid her, just in case. I make him come in to eat but leave a water bowl outside.

Don't laugh. Or, laugh if you want. To cheer myself up, after I finally stopped revising my [community profile] crossovering story, I started writing an X-Files AU for the following truly cracked prompt I saw on Tumblr.

imagine an AU where mulder and scully are adult shelter cats and share a cage (bc crowding), and they share their life stories/comfort/get to know each other. they get adopted by different families but neither is sure of the other's fate because adult cats often get put down. but they each run away from their new owners and miraculously meet again, and then run away to the countryside and are adopted by cabin-dwelling reyes and doggett and live meowpily ever after. IT'S WEIRD BUT GO WITH IT

I WENT WITH IT. Right now the first chapter is in draft format at AO3. I don't think I'll ever post it but imagining Mulder and Scully as shelter cats is strangely relaxing. Well, so far, it's just Mulder the stray, but Scully Cat should appear in Chapter Two.

One last thing. I want to rec my [community profile] crossovering gift, which is everything I could want in a Fringe/Orphan Black fic. The clones of Fringe Division, plus the Redverse characters! Thank you, dear author. You made me very happy.

Variations of their Being (5589 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Fringe, Orphan Black (TV)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Alternate Olivia Dunham, Cosima Niehaus, Alternate Walter Bishop, Rachel Duncan, Alternate Astrid Farnsworth, Tony Sawicki, Alternate Lincoln Lee, Alison Hendrix, Alternate Charlie Francis, Beth Childs, Sarah Manning
Additional Tags: Crossover
Summary:

Meanwhile, in another universe.

or, Five moments in the lives of the clones of Fringe Division.



Bye now. I hope everyone has a good week.

"Teaching Love"

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 09:11 am
michaelchance: (Default)
[personal profile] michaelchance posting in [community profile] sherlockbbc
"Teaching Love" by Tiffany F
PAIRING: Sherlock/Lestrade
FANDOM: Sherlock
RATING: AO
SUMMARY: Sherlock breaks into Lestrade's flat and finds the older detective doing something odd. Being Sherlock he starts asking questions and ends up with far more than he ever expected.

Has just been added to Sherlock Holmes Slash and is listed on the new stories page and the other pairings page.

Crossposted to Chance's Archive.

Free Kindle Books.
[syndicated profile] boingboing_feed

Posted by Xeni Jardin

American journalist Steven Sotloff (Center with black helmet) talks to Libyan rebels on the Al Dafniya front line, 25 km west of Misrata on June 02, 2011 in Misrata, Libya.  Sotloff was kidnapped in August 2013 near Aleppo, Syria. Photo by Etienne de Malglaive.


American journalist Steven Sotloff (Center with black helmet) talks to Libyan rebels on the Al Dafniya front line, 25 km west of Misrata on June 02, 2011 in Misrata, Libya. Sotloff was kidnapped in August 2013 near Aleppo, Syria. Photo by Etienne de Malglaive.

The Islamic State militant group today released a video online that appears to show the beheading of American freelance journalist Steven Sotloff.

Read the rest

A strangely legal act of public indecency

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 01:23 pm
[syndicated profile] boingboing_feed

Posted by Mark Frauenfelder

In a public place, a man deliberately exposes a portion of his anatomy to a horrified crowd of men, women, and children. Several children burst into tears and one outraged father almost tackles the man. After the incident the man is dismissed from his job. He receives hate mail and a local newspaper brands him a monster, but there is never any suggestion that he should be prosecuted, and the police are never involved. Why not? Read the rest

View From the Hotel Window, 9/2/14: Denver

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 08:53 pm
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

I’m back on the road, and here’s what the road looks like today. Not too bad. The hotel room I’m in tonight has a jacuzzi. I feel like I should listen to some smooth jazz or something.

In any event: Denver! Come see me tonight! 7pm at the Tattered Cover Bookstore on Colfax. Here are all the details. Come and (you know this part by now) bring everyone you know. The more the merrier.

Tomorrow: Seattle, at University Bookstore, also at 7pm. Also will be a blast.


theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

If you’ll recall, my wife and I got drunk on a heady mixture of MasterChef and the Food Network, and decided to dine at Michelin-starred restaurants this year.  A Michelin Star is like every other award in existence – which is to say that it claims to reward “the best,” while covertly defining “the best” to be a narrow range of tastes.  (If “the best” movies are Oscar winners, then comedies and horror movies apparently suck.)

Michelin defines “the best” to be expensive, hard-to-prepare food with attention to detail and impeccable service.  Which generally implies pretty good food, but it leaves out, you know, that clam shack down at the beach that serves perfectly-steamed mussels taken straight from the ocean.  Yet still, when we dined at Babbo (one star), it was still one of our top ten restaurant experiences ever, and La Terrazza del’Eden in Rome was also very good, so…

…we had to upgrade.  Enough with these paltry one-star restaurants.  Let’s see what two Michelin stars gets us!  And so we booked a meal at Sixteen in Chicago.

Now I will walk you through our meal, which was overwhelming on every level. Thirteen courses of food.

Dinner at Sixteen

Sixteen clearly set out to dazzle from moment one, wherein they laid out a map of Chicago’s waterfront and laid out the menu in little plastic blocks. The menu, which changes seasonally, is a very upscale version of surf and turf, and each course was a melding of seafood and the meat district that Upton Sinclair helped make famous. This was all to hide the reality that when you came to Sixteen, you ate what the chef damn well felt like making from you, but it did lend a festive Lego-style atmosphere to the dining.

Dinner at Sixteen

Now, the surprise appetizer course was utterly adorable, in that they said, “We’re at the beach now, so we’re having a picnic” and laid out all sorts of little picnic foods for us. This was a great start, because every mini-food on here was quite above the cut:

  • The mini-sandwich was tomato, Italian ham, and mozzarella, if I recall, and it was perfect.  Every bite brought out the tomato and the meat and the cheese and the toasted bread in a different combination, a little tooth-inspired dance of flavors and textures interplaying with each other, so this was good right up through the last swallow.
  • The quail legs were dark meat, and I usually don’t like dark meat because it’s monotone and oily… but this was firm, cooked well, and seasoned so that it had a wonderful texture between the crispy skin and the salted meat.
  • The potato chip had a tiny piece of smelt actually woven into the chip, which was a piece of starchy sewing that we could only admire, and what that got us was a slightly soggy potato chip that melded quite nicely with the salty fish taste of the smelt, so what you got was kind of a crunchy fish with a sharp burst of salt around the edges.  Awesome.
  • Finally, there were sangria popsicles.  Which were the disappointment.  They weren’t like sorbet, as we’d expected, but rather creamy, which I suspect was some sort of chemical adhesion so they didn’t melt instantly while we were eating sandwiches.  But the cream in the center completely obliterated any sangria flavor – if you hadn’t told me, “Hey, this is supposed to be sangria,” I would have thought it to be some sort of bland fruit pop.  Still fun, but meh.

This came with a tiny glass of sweet peach tea and whiskey, and boy did that work well.  The only complaint I had about that drink was the glass was very small.
 

The remaining eleven courses, with photos, cut for your mercy )

So Was It Worth It?
Look, Sixteen was worth a mortgage payment and then some.  We’ll be paying for this sucker for some time.

The relevant questions are: a) was it the best meal we ever had? and b) was it significantly better than the one Michelin star meal we had?

The answer as to the Michelin star question is unquestionably no.  When you’re paying as much as a used car to get your meal, you want flawless service, and there were a couple of significant bobbles – the wrong foods being given to the wrong people, the forgetting of a drink, and unforgivably, giving us the wrong check.

It is very hard to be moral when someone gives you a check that is worth several hundred less than you actually owe.  It’s even harder when they go “Whoops, our bad” and bring you the full check, with nothing written off on it, no discount for this honesty.  Hey, the cheese tray was $35, you coulda given that to us for free and we would have felt moral and frugal.  As it was, I don’t exactly mind paying full price, but the restaurant really hit home just how much this cost, leaving a tremendously sour taste on the way out the door.

But that aside, I was of two minds: I personally don’t mind a bobbled check, or having to switch plates with my wife when the wrong dessert arrives.  But when I’m paying premium price for what is, literally, world-class service, getting elementary mistakes becomes a weird question: Should I let this slide? I mean, I could buy a large portion of a woodworking workshop for what I paid for this meal, and part of that cost was the promised flawless service.  And what I got was very good in many ways, but world-class?

No.

Now, it could be that Sixteen no longer deserves its two-star rating, and we’ll see them slide down to one star next year.  (Ratings are dynamic things, you see.) It could be that they had a bad night.  Either way, though, I paid about $200 above what I paid for Babbo, and Babbo was not exactly cheap.

As for the food, Gini rates it the best meal she’s ever had.  Me, I’d rank two above it: Victoria and Albert’s in Disneyworld, and Babbo in New York City.  This was a very good experience, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t know if Michelin was correct on this one.  There’s also the fact that, frankly, both Victoria and Albert’s and Babbo tend to be conservative in their meal choices, whereas obviously Sixteen had some playful experiments that were aiming higher and fell harder.  (Agnolotti is hard to do, but you have a clear idea of what the perfected state of it should be; more difficult to find the perfect porktopus.)

So I liked it.  Very much.  But the expense really carved the edge off.  Were this the same price as a Babbo meal, well, I woulda said this kicked the crap out of Babbo.  But value enters into the equation, and with that much on the line, well, I’d probably go with Babbo again.

Still very good.  Memorable.  Awesome.  But spendy. Let’s see how other restaurants compare, once we’ve grown back our meager savings.

Oh, as an extra bonus, here’s how I looked in The Suit that day:

The suit.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

Poem: "Titanium Transformation"

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 03:38 pm
ysabetwordsmith: (Fly Free)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This is the first freebie for today's fishbowl, prompted by [personal profile] pinkrangerv. It also fills "the cost of magic" square in my 9-1-14 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. It contains spoilers for Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue.

Read more... )

RNC starts a losing fight over pay equity

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 08:08 pm
[syndicated profile] maddowblog_feed

Posted by Steve Benen

The RNC wants to initiate a debate over which party is truly committed to equal pay for women? It's an argument Democrats are eager to win.

The color of Cantor's parachute is green

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 07:27 pm
[syndicated profile] maddowblog_feed

Posted by Steve Benen

Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) seems to have landed on his feet -- at a boutique investment bank on Wall Street.

About This Blog

picture of Jennie Rigg

Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.






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