Corduroy appreciation photos

Here are a couple of my favorite photos from Corduroy Appreciation Day. This first one was sent to me by Portland resident Adam Schafer. He wasn’t able to attend our party but he may have outdone us all with this amazing Corduroy Appreciation Cake.


Second, here’s my friend Ed Ryan sporting the reversible corduroy smoking jacket from Betabrand. Casual on one side, party on the other. We put it to its intended use in the El Gaucho cigar lounge at 11:11 pm, where it was the envy of all present.


Hail the Wale!


Sunday dog blogging

Richard Posner makes an interesting point about a court’s refusal to honor Leona Helmsley’s bequest of a full $12 million* to her dog, Trouble:

As I said, a bequest for a specified animal that greatly exceeds any conceivable estimate of what the animal needs to be as happy as it can be cannot be rationally altruistic, so perhaps the authority that the Uniform Trust Act confers on trustees to cut back such bequests to reasonable limits is justifiable–and for the additional reason that excessive wealth actually endangers an animal, since once it dies the money will go to residuary legatees; and killing an animal is not considered murder (though it can be a lesser crime) and is easier to arrange and conceal than killing a human being. Expensive security precautions have in fact been taken for the protection of Mrs. Helmsley’s dog. These concerns do not attend a bequest for a large class of animals.

On that note, here’s a few photos for Sunday dog blogging, an event I rarely get to participate in. The first two were taken by my sister, Casey, of our tennis ball-loving dog, Peekay, both of whom left Michigan just before I got here:

The approach…

… and the leap!

And here’s Chance the golden retriever entreating for less blogging, more playtime.
Chance the golden retriever

* $12 million. Not $12. Thanks, Ben!


The man ain’t got no cultures

Got milk?

Last week, Pennsylvania Mennonite farmer Mark Nolt was found guilty of selling raw milk without a permit. In California, dairy farmers are fighting strict new regulations that would require raw milk to be as biologically sterile as its pasteurized counterpart, and at least one dairy has faced a federal investigation into allegedly selling raw milk for human consumption across state lines. Why are consumers so eager to buy raw milk, and why are authorities cracking down on the people who sell it to them? That’s the topic of my new article at Reason Online.

As part of my research, I visited farmer Kitty Hockman-Nicholas at Hedgebrook Farm in Winchester, VA. It’s illegal to sell raw milk in Virginia, but dedicated dairy drinkers buy into cow shares to get their supply. By becoming part-owners of cows and paying Hedgebrook to care for them, they ensure a steady supply of the raw milk they crave.

Kitty couldn’t sell me any of her milk, of course, but she was nice enough to provide me a sample jar. After several enjoyable hours spent wandering around her farm on a spring day, watching the animals, learning about her milking process, and being introduced to her cows by name, my friends and I couldn’t were eager to get home and try the stuff for ourselves. One of us was a bit nervous, though. “I don’t know if I can drink this. It came out of a cow.”

“All milk comes from cows,” I said.

“No, it comes from plastic jugs!” she replied. And that’s the way most consumers think about milk these days, living their lives completely disconnected from its origin. Having watched the care Kitty took in milking, however, we tried her product feeling confident that the cows were as sanitary as they get for being, well, cows — a far cry from the many bulk milk operations that feed into pasteurized dairies.

Once we tasted the milk, we were all converts to its superior flavor. Having it side-by-side with ordinary store bought milk made the difference even clearer: the mass-market milk has a processed aftertaste that I’d never picked up on before, but that stands out terribly next to fresh, pasture-fed, unpasteurized milk.

A blind tasting with different friends a few days later brought similar results. One person preferred the standard milk, but the rest of us liked the fresh stuff better. (It helps that Kitty’s milk is unskimmed and therefore has a higher fat content, but that’s not the only factor going into its appeal.)

Visiting the farm was one of the most enjoyable weekend outings I’ve had in a long time. Hedgebrook is occasionally open to the public, and I recommend checking it out if you get the opportunity. Unfortunately, the experience of trying Hedgebrook’s milk is harder to come by. Part of the madness of our current dairy laws is that if Kitty were to sell her product, she would be shut down by the state of the Virginia. Unless the law changes, you’ll have to commit to owning a cow for all its days on Earth or take your chances on the underground black market for raw milk products.

Below the break, more photos from our trip to Hedgebrook…
Continue reading “The man ain’t got no cultures”


Absurd latte art

The crowd was thin and the barista was late when I walked into the cafe for my bartending shift, so for a little while tonight I got to work on the espresso machine for the first time since trading in my tamper for a muddler. It was the perfect evening for it: I’ve been missing making espresso and have been wanting to get to know the new La Marzocco at Open City a little better. And more importantly, I wanted to whip up some contributions to barista champ Jim Hoffmann’s “slightly absurd latte art challenge.”

The challenge is to pour latte art into something unusual. There are some great entries already, including a ladle, a cash register, and bare hands(!). So I poured mine into the last place one would expect to see latte art…

It hides under the lid

Not that I have the right to be snarky. After all these months off the machine my latte pouring hand is pretty wobbly. Still, by the time I got around to the martini glass I was steady enough for a decent rosetta.

Goes well with olives

I actually like the way this drinks as the art slides to the bottom with every sip. Could be the start of a new coffee cocktail…

Needs a garnish

And finally, one more bar-centric latte showing up where the olives are supposed to be.

Art in a bukkit


Aikido photos

Yesterday’s wet and chilly weather was hardly ideal for our aikido demo, but after last week’s snow and wind even this felt good. Slippery mats? No problem. More photos below the break…

Heaven and Earth throw

My stuff was simpler than the above “heaven and earth” throw, like this escape and throw from an arm grab.

Imagination time! Obviously something happened between those two photos. Pretend it was awesome.

This fall and pin was actually kind of fun on the slick mat.

Disarming a guy attacking with a stick. Useful in parts of the country where stick attacks are common.

Bokken on bokken action!


Dog blogging

Today my parents drove a bit north of Dallas to pick up a new puppy. This scruffy little guy makes our third wire hair fox terrier.

They’ve chosen the name Pee-Kay, as in PK, or a penalty kick in soccer.

I won’t get to see him until I head home for Christmas. You know what that means — a mere four days of using him to meet women. I’d better ask Radley for some tips before I go.



Back when I first started this weblog with such an immodest URL I cautioned myself against letting the site drop into the narcissism pit. Today we ignore that advice completely and take the plunge…

1) First, from my friend in S.F., here’s me imagined as a South Park character. Double-fisting the coffee and the beer is especially appropriate given the blog’s subject matter of late.

OMG Infinite Crisis LOL I'm ready

2) Second, here’s what I would look like as an East Asian man and as a woman (scary). These come courtesy of David Barzelay, who had way too much fun with the Perception Laboratory’s Face Transformer. It’s a neat application to try out if you’ve got some time to kill or have been considering drastic plastic surgery.

East Asian Jacob Hot!

3) Finally, for no good reason at all I’ve added a Frappr map to the sidebar. Waste some time at work and add yourself with this new Google Maps application.