The Omelette

I just finished watching both seasons of The Bear (one of the best things I have watched this year; I will have more to write about it later.) Given the restaurant premise of the show, a lot of different dishes are prepared on screen, and most of them look incredibly delicious.

One of the dishes that caught my eye was the relatively simple French omelette prepared by Sydney in a later episode. The entire scene is beautifully shot and cathartic to watch (in a show that is anything but chill.) I tried my hand at her technique and recipe this morning:

A little overdone on this first try, but it was still easily the best omelette I have ever made. Possibly the best I have ever eaten. Wow.

Yes, it has crushed sour cream and onion chips sprinkled on top. Yes, those are absolutely vital to the yumminess of this dish. Incredible!

I get texts

Sometimes I get political fundraising texts:

Screenshot 2023 08 21 at 6 34 56 PM

Don’t tease me like this, you’re giving me hope.


via Newsweek:
Last Wednesday Jobs himself received a more thunderous thumbs-up at the announcement of Apple Computer’s successor to its own hall-of-fame classic, the original Macintosh: a machine designed for consumers dubbed the iMac (only Apple would dare to lowercase the “I” in Internet). 

Do you remember the original iMac? I do. I never owned one personally, but it was an important computer for those of us of a certain age. Yesterday was the 25-year anniversary of its availability.

I grew up as an Apple fanboy. Unashamedly bleeding in six colors. Leading up to 1996, the Apple I loved was dying — quickly. But after a reverse acquisition, co-founder Steve Jobs was back at the helm of Apple and all seemed right with the world. Indeed, today Apple is the most valuable company in the world and unlikely to disappear any time soon, all of it rooted in that 1996 deal. Digression: it’s absolutely bonkers to think about it, but every Apple product today (2023) runs software that can trace its roots back to NeXT. Who in 1985 could have imagined a future where their code was at the heart of computers, cell phones, TVs, speakers, and watches 30 years in the future?

None of that future would come to pass though if Apple couldn’t get their shit together and make some money. The first step in that journey to profitability was the iMac. This was Steve Jobs at his best. The iMac project was a Hail Mary; milk the existing platform for as much short-term profit as possible while we try to figure out the next thing. It was basically existing hardware, boiled down to a cheaper and more forward-looking version (no legacy ports, no floppy drive), and existing software. Easy to build, highly profitable, the iMac was a lifeline for a company that desperately needed one.

The iMac had just become available when I entered college in the fall of 1998, and by October they were everywhere on campus. An immediate hit. Today, Apple is the most valuable company in the world (and a company that I still adore) and it all started with that little Bondi Blue plastic shell.

The Radical Theology of Mr. Rogers

Via Rabbi Danny Ruttenberg:

Fred Rogers was a Presbyterian minister whose life’s work was, I believe, built almost entirely (if not entirely) around Leviticus 19:18: “Love your neighbor as yourself: I am God.” Hence… the neighborhood. In practice it that looked like this (all of these are his words): “To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way [they are], right here and now.” and “Everyone longs to be loved. And the greatest thing we can do is to let people know that they are loved and capable of loving.”

“Love thy neighbor” is definitely no longer en vogue with modern Christianity in the United States. We need more Fred Rogers in the world.

Computers Are Fun and Useful

I was just listening to an episode of All Consuming podcast, where John Gruber was the guest. They asked him about the genesis for his love of computers, which got me thinking about my own love of computers, which goes back 30 years. I was a child of the ’80s, which was when television, film, music, and print media (indeed, the peak of print media) collided with the rise of personal computing.

I had exposure to computers in elementary school (1985-1991), but only ever for entertainment. If you were done with your classwork, you could go play a computer game. I played a lot of Oregon Trail on the school’s Apple IIs, but those experiences never really unlocked a true passion for computing within me. I never went home and asked my parents for a computer to satiate my Oregon Trail needs. If I wanted to game at home, I had a Sega Master System!

It was my computer exposure in later years of school which really made the mark. In 1993, or 7th grade, our computer lab was fully equipped with Macintosh computers. We had already learned to type, but now it was time to make the computers work for us: enter HyperCard.

My mind was officially blown. Something clicked, and I understood why computers were fun, and useful, and important. I created HyperCard stacks (truly, the precursor to the web) which were educational. I created stacks which were useful. I created joke stacks which were only funny to me. I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life using computers.

I can’t recall who needs attribution for this, but I once read someone describe their love of computers as “pushing bits around inside of a computer in ways that are only interesting to other computer enthusiasts.” That probably sums up own love of computers. I love to tinker, inside and out. I moved from HyperCard to web design. I dabble in JavaScript, PHP, and Python. I buy digital advertising in my day job, and fret over the implications of privacy policies. I’ll spend hours building a script to automate a task which will only save me a few minutes a year. I build my own gaming computers after carefully shopping for each component, and I’d rather spend hours in front of my machines that around most other people.

Computers, be it a desktop computer or mobile device, are never boring. You can finish a game, like Oregon Trail, but you can never finish tinkering. I love computers.

The GOP’s great Trump reckoning begins at the state party level

Via Politico:

Having lost high-stakes, expensive races for the Senate, House and governor, there has been a wave of finger-pointing and second-guessing across the party.

In Pennsylvania, several potential candidates are rumored to be thinking about challenging the current state GOP chair, Lawrence Tabas, whose term is up in 2025. And Republicans there are questioning everything from their disdainful approach to mail voting; to whether the state party should have endorsed candidates in the primary; to, yes, Trump himself.

I’ll believe it when I see it. The Trump rot in the GOP runs deep and it’s probably too late to save it. Sane and sensible Republicans have either been defeated or cast out of the party, leaving actual conservatives without a political party to call home.

Organ donors, motorcycles, and statistics

Via MedPage Today:

Over 9 days — the mean duration of a motorcycle rally — the net effect of motorcycle rallies resulted in 14% more organ donors and 19% more transplant recipients per day during rally dates versus non-rally dates (IRR 1.14, 95% CI 1.01-1.30, P=0.04).

“During motorcycle rally weeks in distant regions not containing motorcycle rallies, there was no increase in the number of organ donations or transplants, suggesting that our observed main effect was associated with the rallies rather than other temporal factors such as vacation travel,” the authors wrote.

WaPo: “Texas’s new secessionist platform exposes a big GOP scam”

In an opinion today from Greg Sargent:

The new platform, which thousands of GOP activists in Texas agreed to at the state party convention over the weekend, is a veritable piñata bursting with far-right extremist fantasies. It states that Texas retains the right to secede from the United States and urges the Texas legislature to reaffirm this.

It describes homosexuality as “an abnormal lifestyle choice.” It flatly declares that no validation of transgender identity is legitimate. It dismisses all gun regulations as a violation of “God given rights,” and sharply rebukes Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) for pursuing a bipartisan gun-safety package that’s extraordinarily modest.

But the document might be most revealing in its treatment of voting and democracy. It declares President Biden was “not legitimately elected” in 2020. It says Biden’s win was tainted by voting in swing-state cities, furthering a GOP trend toward more explicitly declaring votes in urban centers illegitimate.

The Texas GOP is an embarrassment. The GOP everywhere is an embarrassment. None of this is “conservative” – certainly not in the traditional sense of intellectual conservatism in America. All of it is driven by the cult of personality surrounding the former president, and his populist whims. He was willing to upend the American republic without hesitation, to preserve his own power. All of it based on a big lie.

I spent seventeen years of my life working in politics, all of it in support of the Republican Party. In 2020, I had long since had enough and walked away. I still have a lot of friends who work in politics, and who still work for the GOP. I keep wondering when they, too, will have had enough. What is the line that the GOP will cross that will finally be too far for them? At this point, I cannot imagine where that line would be and, worse, what it says about my friends.