Short story by Tobias Wolff in this week's New Yorker

I long ago stopped reading the weekly New Yorker short story unless it happened to be by an author I know and love, like Wolff. Also in this week's New Yorker, Noah Baumbach wrote the comedy bit, titled "Tom Cruise is My Dog." I heard Baumbach speak after the screening of his movie The Squid and the Whale at Sundance this year. Baumbach, a close friend of Wes Anderson, did not seem like the type of guy who'd write a piece like that, but I guess I was wrong.

Upcoming cookbook by Ferran Adria contains recipes from his famed El Bulli

Will cost $210 and include interactive CD-ROM.

Entourage gets a third season

Tattooed fruit could mean the end of the annoying little stickers you have to peel off


I'm away from NYC a lot in the next month, so every day here is spent running errands. This stretch of days where I have to venture out onto the street just happens to coincide with the muggiest weather since I've moved here. Within a minute of walking out into the heat, I feel like a damp towel. NYC feels like a sauna with a concrete and asphalt floor, brick and metallic walls, and the sun for a heat lamp in the ceiling.


Every camera store I've been to in NYC so far is owned and run by Hasidic Jews, including the massive B&H. Yesterday I had to drop off my inkjet printer for repair at a local camera store and was greeted by a store full of Hasidic Jews, just like B&H. It's the fourth such store I've visited. Interesting cultural phenomenon.

Do camera stores have really low margins? Are photographers a jealous, misanthropic lot? How does one explain the awful customer service at camera stores (it was the same at Glazer's in Seattle)? A majority of camera store employees I've dealt with are rude and curt, as if they disdain my business. I have no idea why that is but it's really unnecessary.

The late night employees at Whole Foods, on the other hand, are just careless and indifferent. Twice the clerks there have forgotten to pack one of my items, and each time I've had to stand there waiting while the checkout clerk carried on a social conversation with one of their peers. In this heat and humidity, it's more than aggravating to walk 10 blocks round trip to retrieve a single item. When this happened again last week, I had to throw a tantrum on the phone to the manager to get him to credit me for my salad (which I pictured the manager eating himself as he replied "uh-huh" "uh-huh" to my litany of complaints). I'm not going there in the evening anymore.


I only caught a bit of the British Open, but it seems safe to say that Tiger Woods' swing changes have worked themselves out. To hurt Tiger, a course needs to punish him for errant drives, and if that doesn't work, competitors have to hope he's putting badly. The rough at the U.S. Open handled the former, and Tiger couldn't putt that week. But the British Open links layout didn't punish him when he hooked or pushed his drives. Errant tee shots landed in the next fairway over, and he simply hit irons from wherever he landed. The fairway bunkers? Tiger drover over most of them.


While in DC last weekend, Joannie and I visited the Holocaust Museum thanks to Rich's sister Catherine who works there and left passes for us. Even several years beyond its opening, it's still an attraction that requires advanced planning in order to secure a spot. The main exhibit is linear, winding down from the top floor back to the main floor. For some subjects, like this one, I prefer that format over an open format where you have to choose your own path.

Impressive exhibit and well worth a visit. Of course, I also dragged Joannie to see the insects at the National Museum of Natural History. As a compromise I went with her to view the Hope Diamond and other assorted bling.

Thank goodness the DC Metro stations are air conditioned. It was so hot that wandering from museum to monument to museum felt like strolling in a ceramic kiln. At the Supreme Court we viewed a video interview with the current Justices. Ginsberg commented that when the Constitution was written, women couldn't vote and blacks were still suffering the indignities of slavery, among other injustices to be rectified in later years. While she spoke, the video cut for a few seconds to the face of strict constructionist Scalia, and it was all he could do to keep from rolling his eyes. High comedy. Scalia's a nut.

The trip to DC was a success. Joannie found an apartment in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. It will be great to have her and Mike closer by, just a three and a half make that four five hour bus ride away. The bus drivers this time around sure took their sweet time.

On the way down, the in-drive movie was that awful movie in which Jennifer Lopez and her daughter and haunted by a crazy guy, presumably her ex-husband (I wasn't watching that closely). The lunatic was played by the guy who played Carter Buckley on The O.C. this season. Finally, after being terrorized by the guy for the entire movie, J.Lo trains herself in boxing and goes after him. Our arrival in DC cut off the final fight scene, to no one's dismay.


I keep receiving a phishing e-mail for eBay, an excerpt of which appears below. This fraudster needs a copy editor. If you want to steal someone's money, at least put some effort into it.

It has come to our attion that 95% of all fraudulent auctions are caused by members using stolen credit cards to purchase or sell non existant items. Thus we require our members to add a Debit/Check card to their billing records as part of our continuing commitment to protect your account and to reduce the instance of fraud on our website. Your Debit/Check card will only be used to identify you and bill any open seller fees incase your initial credit card gets declined. If you could please take 5-10 minutes out of your online experience and renew your records you will not run into any future problems with the eBay® service. However, failure to confirm your records will result in your account suspension.