Saturday, September 24, 2016

My Gerhard Richter phase

Also known as my accidental photo of the sidewalk phase...

Friday, September 23, 2016

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Eating out in Palo Alto

Yeah, I guess I have some sympathy for restauranteurs in Palo Alto, where rents are astronomical, and Google and Palantir hire away your best line chefs. On the other hand, the answer to a labor shortage is... Econ 101 students? Excellent answer, yes, higher wages. And thus, higher prices for the consumers. We can afford another dollar or two for our artisan pizza. Still, the best restaurant in town, aside from the impossibly loud and overpriced Evvia, is one of the cheapest, Tofu House. Dinner for two with all the fixins, and you're out the door for $30. That is, if you can get in the door in the first place.


During my recent visit with my parents in Florida, my (formerly?) Republican father tried to goad me a little bit, as he usually does. "Here's someone I bet you and I disagree on: Edward Snowden. Good or bad?" I suppose he thought I'd side with Obama on this one. More good than bad, I replied, moderating my actual view, which is way more to the good than the bad side. Dad agrees.

Finally watched the movie last night. I know Laura Poitras is anything but impartial, but when all is said and done, it's hard to think of Snowden as anything but heroic.

I do love Obama, but security and intelligence issues are a serious blemish on his record. Barack, a pardon for Snowden would be courageous, the right thing, and good for your legacy. Bring the boy home. He can do more good here than in Russia. You can wait until after the election, of course.

Can Music Be Perfect? Vol. 73

Mostly Other People Do the Killing is the most consistently exciting working jazz group of recent years. Their latest album Mauch Chunk is quite accessible... well, at least by MOPDtK standards. I like everything they do, and I'm especially fond of Jon Irabagon on alto. Every tune is a winner, including this one.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Ben Bernanke on Fed policy

A clear and cogent column by Professor B, per expectations. Ben thinks negative policy rates ought to be taken more seriously here, but the bottom line seems to be that we couldn't push the nominal rate much below -0.5%. That's a pretty limited scope for monetary policy, but given the apparent difficulty and uncertainty of managing inflation expectations, a viable option. Et tu, Janet Y?

Friday, September 9, 2016

Offspring plays Janáček

One of the greatest string quartets... the world in 24 minutes...

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Mr. Robot

Both visually and aurally arresting, Mr. Robot is avant-garde filmmaking masquerading as TV crime drama. Yes, sometimes they try too hard, and by now I really have no idea what the F is going on, but I don't care, I wouldn't miss an episode. And the cast. There are at least five or six you hope will appear in the next scene, and the next. I never cared much for Meryl Streep (sorry), but her lookalike daughter Grace Gummer kills it, with her naturalness and wry humor. Michael Cristofer, the perfect corporate Satan. Portia Doubleday, with her 20 different variations on deer in the headlights. Even annoying habitual over-actor Christian Slater, born to play a schizophrenic's hallucination (maybe). And Rami Malek, the bug-eyed schizo icon for our time.