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June 12, 2005

The best pizza in New York City?

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More and more I'm hearing and reading the name "Una Pizza Napolitana."

Andrea Thompson (the Andrea Thompson?) featured the restaurant in her "Tables for Two" feature in the current (June 13 & 20) issue of the New Yorker.

    Here's her piece:

    On a recent Friday evening around seven o'clock, a hand–lettered sign hung in Una Pizza Napolitana's window: "Closed until Saturday at 5."

    Another sign advised prospective diners that the restaurant was open only until "the dough runs out."

    Had there been a mad stampede for pizza?

    No one knew. (The early hour was unusual; the dough normally lasts until ten.)

    One stymied couple stood outside.

    "This is the second time we've been here and they've been closed," the man said, shaking his fist in defiance at the dark windows.

    Of course, there's nothing more enticing in Manhattan than a restaurant that plays hard to get — and Una Pizza Napoletana is worth pursuing.

    The restaurant, which moved from Point Pleasant, New Jersey, to the East Village last October, has a wood–burning oven in back and a menu–cum–manifesto that puts its beliefs right up front: "Gas–fired and coal–fired ovens are not used now and never were used in the past to make pizza in Napoli," it says.

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    Blustery put–downs ("We have no quarrel with the man who sells cheaper pizza... he knows how much his is worth!") and ungrammatical boasts ("Nothing more purer or honestly wholesome can be bought at any price") follow.

    Still, the proprietor, Anthony Mangieri, has earned his brashness.

    Una Pizza Napoletana's odd hours reflect the care put into the dough, which is made from pure ground wheat berries, Sicilian sea salt, and water and rises over a two–day period.

    When the pizzas arrive, hot from their two–minute sojourn in the oven's flames, the beautifully–shaped ovals (individually sized and unsliced, Neapolitan style) have slightly charred edges and lightly laid toppings: buffalo mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes, extra–virgin olive oil. (There are only four varieties to choose from, including a cheeseless Marinara and a tomatoless Bianca.)

    The dough is thin but never too crisp, sagging just a bit in the middle, where the intensely flavorful oil pools.

    After such a meal, it's hard not to feel a little sorry for the late arrivals confronted by the "Closed" sign.

    But don't worry: they'll be back.

    20050527unapizza1

    349 E. 12th St.; 212-477-9950; Open Thursdays through Sundays for dinner. Pizzas $16.95.

June 12, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hand Crank Milkshake Maker

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No batteries? No electricity? No problem!

    From the website:

    Simply place your ingredients inside the plastic pitcher of our Cow Milkshake Mixer, turn the crank handle, and voila — you've got a rich, delicious milkshake or frozen smoothie!

"Strong gears and powerful torque allow you to mix up and turn solid chunks of ice cream and frozen ingredients into a smooth milkshake."

Stainless steel and plastic.

Built–in pouring handle.

Dishwasher safe.

24 oz. capacity.

10.5" tall.

Sweet.

$29.98 here.

June 12, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Podcast Nation

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Many requests from all over the planet in recent weeks for a bookofjoe podcast.

Ain't gonna happen — now, anytime soon or ever.

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As noted previously I'm going straight to video with bookofjoeTV when the time is right and the auguries favorable.

But in the meantime many others are picking up the podcast slack.

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Today I learned the following:

• Former MTV VJ Adam Curry is credited with the development of podcasting technology

• Dannie Gregoire of Louisville, Kentucky, the founder of the online directory Podcast Networks, coined the term by combining "iPod" and "broadcast"

Podcast Alley is a good place to read a review or two of what you're getting before you download.

And to think I learned all that from today's USA Weekend Sunday supplement, the one with Lindsay Lohan on the cover.

You just never know, do you?

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I wonder what it'd be like to have a bunch of podcasts on an iPod shuffle, such that they just came up randomly.

June 12, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'INSTANT HUMAN: just add coffee'

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Like Wanda said in "A Fish Called...": "Speak it!"

For those especially rough mornings.

Maybe every morning....

$12 each here.

June 12, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

A note on the type

Big_gut_vol1det_uk

This book was set in Electra, a typeface designed for Linotype by W.A. Dwiggins, the renowned type designer (1880–1956). Electra is a fluid typeface, avoiding the contrasts of thick and thin strokes that are prevalent in most modern typefaces.


This book was set in Minion, a typeface produced by the Adobe Corporation specifically for the Macintosh personal computer, and released in 1990. Designed by Robert Slimbach, Minion combines the classic characteristics of old style faces with the full complement of weights required for modern typesetting.


The text of this book was set in Linotype Sabon, named after the type founder, Jacques Sabon. It was designed by Jan Tschichold and jointly developed by Linotype, Monotype and Stempel, in response to a need for a typeface to be available in identical form for mechanical hot metal composition and hand composition using foundry type. Tschichold based his design for Sabon roman on a fount engraved by Garamond, and Sabon italic on a fount by Granjon. It was first used in 1966 and has proved an enduring modern classic.


This book is set in the Adobe fonts Berthold Baskerville Book and Bodoni, comtemporary adaptations of fonts created by John Baskerville in the mid–eighteenth century, and by Giambattista Bodoni in the early nineteenth century. The headings are set in Bodoni Poster, Bodoni Poster Compressed, and Bodoni Bold Condensed.


The body typeface used in this book is set in 10 x 14.75 Janson Text. This type dates from about 1690 and was cut by Nicholas Kis, a Hungarian in Amsterdam. The display face used is set in 85 point Diotima RomanSC. This type was designed by Gudrun Zapf-v. Hesse. A light roman with thin, flat serifs and wide letters is shaded to 20 per cent black.


This book was set in a modern adaptation of a type designed by the first William Caslon (1692–1766). The Caslon face, an artistic, easily read type, has enjoyed over two centuries of popularity in our own country. It is of interest to note that the first copies of the Declaration of Indedpendence and the first paper currency distributed by citizens of the new–born nation were printed in this typeface.


The text of this book was set in Requiem, created in the 1990s by the Hoefler Type Foundry. It was derived from a set of inscriptional capitals appearing in Ludovico Vicentino degli Arrighi's 1523 writing manual, Il Modo de Temperare le Penne. A master scribe, Arrighi is remembered as an exemplar of the chancery italic, a style revived in Requiem Italic.


The text of this book was set in Filosofia, a typeface designed by Zuzana Licko in 1996 as a revival of the typefaces of Giambattista Bodoni (1740–1813). Licko, born in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, in 1961, is the cofounder of Emigre, a digital type foundry, and publisher of Emigre magazine, based in Northern California.

***********************

Ever since I can remember, the very first thing I've done when settling down with a new book is to read "A note on the type."

It's a way of intellectually limbering up, as it were, or something similar: it just feels good.

As a rule "A note on the type" is on the very last printed page in a book.

Very few paperbacks have this feature and most hardbacks do not either; I went through about 30 books in my "to read" area to get the eight whose notes I reproduced above.

How many books are in my "to read" area, you might be wondering.

About 60 nonfiction titles and an equal or greater number of novels.

If you buy a book then you don't have to read it, I once read somewhere; that's one explanation, anyhow, for the fact that they arrive faster than they depart.

Can't help it: I confess — I am an addict.

While I was compiling these notes it occurred to me that a website consisting of nothing but notes on the type, with the name and author of the book and other details such as year of publication furnished as well, would be an interesting online destination.

I put anoteonthetype.com into the URL box up top and voila, it's taken: it turns out to be the website of one Craig McCaffrey, an artist and designer whose portfolio is displayed thereon.

I'll be sure to email him as soon as this goes up so he has an explanation as to why all of a sudden his traffic spiked.

June 12, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Toilet Paper Holder Magazine Rack

P27704_500

What?

No coffee maker?

Maybe that's in Version 2.0.

    From the website:

    The Toilet Paper Holder Magazine Rack conveniently fits beside toilet in arm's reach.

    Stores one roll of toilet tissue while supplying a rack beneath for storing periodicals, magazines, books and more.

20.75"H x 10"W x 9.75"D.

$29.98 here (item #23322). [Toilet paper and magazines not included]

What do you think are the chances that this item appears in the pages of that chic French decor magazine in the picture above?

June 12, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

What to do in case of emergency

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The subject of emergencies and their management is of particular interest to me because of my professional background and training as an anesthesiologist.

Long story short: an anesthetized patient — anyone, actually, but I'm not responsible for those I'm not anesthetizing — is five minutes away from permanent brain damage and death.

There is very little margin of safety afforded by mother nature to the oxygen–dependent cells of the cerebral cortex.

Yet if every time something went wrong in the OR it precipitated a panic attack in me because I envisioned a disaster just moments away, I wouldn't last long without stroking out myself.

So knowing when something is serious, or potentially so, and when it's a variant of normal, is critical.

It helps to have seen almost everything imaginable — almost — many times.

But no one is perfect and there may be a catastrophe waiting to happen the very next time I put someone to sleep.

But there are ways to mitigate the anxiety and decrease the chances of such a thing happening.

James Surowiecki, in his "Financial Page" feature in the current (June 13 & 20) New Yorker, discusses this subject quite nicely in the scope of a single magazine page.

His article follows.

    IN CASE OF EMERGENCY

    In the early nineteen-eighties, American businesses discovered that they could manage crises, rather than merely stumble through them.

    The gold standard was Johnson & Johnson, whose deft maneuvering, after seven people died from ingesting cyanide-laced Extra Strength Tylenol, helped create a new and lucrative subset of public relations known as crisis management, which was poised, as Time put it in 1986, to become "the new corporate discipline."

    Practice—and lately there’s been plenty of it—has not made perfect. Companies may now have packs of super-flacks on hand, but in the glare of bad publicity they can still appear as helpless as possums in the road.

    In the past few years, stalwarts like Firestone, CBS News, Tyco, and Marsh & McLennan have seen their reputations demolished, mainly because they did such a lousy job of dealing with bad news.

    Most recently, Wendy’s took a month to discredit a woman who claimed that she’d found a human finger in her chili. (She’s since been arrested for putting it there.) The delay cost millions of dollars in sales and did incalculable harm to the brand.

    The term “crisis management” may seem like little more than a euphemism for "snow job," but there is an art to it.

    Spin alone won’t do the trick.

    Without going overboard, the offending company needs to acknowledge that it has a problem, demonstrate that it has control over that problem, and then make a real attempt to fix it.

    This holds true whether or not the company is at fault.

    Johnson & Johnson defused the Tylenol crisis in large part because it recalled every Tylenol capsule in America, and then quickly introduced tamper-proof bottles.

    In the end, the company was seen as the victim.

    By contrast, when news broke, in 2000, that more than a hundred people had died in accidents involving defective Firestone tires, Firestone initially reacted by blaming drivers (for underinflating their tires) and Ford (whose S.U.V.s were involved in most of the accidents).

    Dispirited by this strategy, Firestone’s P.R. firm quit.

    Eventually, Firestone recalled 6.5 million tires, but it was too late.

    Sales plummeted, and claims mounted into the hundreds of millions.

    Many companies have basic assumptions about public relations that can hurt them during a crisis.

    They tend, as people do, to stonewall and deny.

    But, as Ian Mitroff, a crisis-management specialist at U.S.C., has said, "There are no secrets in today’s world."

    And if the truth is on your side you have to insure that it emerges quickly.

    In 1993, when syringes ended up in Pepsi soda cans, allegedly as a result of a flawed canning process, the company, within a few days, produced videos of its entire canning process and denounced its accusers as frauds.

    Wendy’s, on the other hand, wasted a month investigating its entire supply chain, made little of the fact that the accuser had a long history of suing companies on dubious grounds, and, bizarrely, spent more than a week figuring out if the finger had been cooked.

    In the meantime, parents took the kids to Roy Rogers.

    It’s easy to make intelligent decisions after the fact.

    The real challenge is making them in moments of anxiety and panic, so, while crisis-management gurus don’t always agree on what the strategy should be, they do agree that everyone should at least have one, before crisis hits.

    Their clients tend not to listen.

    Mitroff estimates that less than a fifth of big corporations have formal crisis-management plans.

    The crisis plans that do exist vary in detail and scope—Dow Chemical had one that included the names of the people who would be responsible for running the copy machines—but, basically, they suggest vulnerabilities (and potential remedies), identify a crisis-management team, and lay out a general script.

    Even a simple plan is valuable; though crises are, by definition, rare, they should not be unthinkable.

    A study released last week by the Institute for Crisis Management found that just a quarter of business crises come out of the blue.

    Most are "smoldering" rather than sudden, and are the result of mistakes that management has made.

    Signs of trouble exist but are ignored or overlooked.

    Many of the most famous crises are examples of what the sociologist Charles Perrow has called "normal accidents."

    As technologies and organizations get more complicated, Perrow argued, they are more likely to break down, even in the absence of malice or intentional neglect.

    Firestone, the Challenger explosion, Intel’s flawed Pentium chip: you could argue that these were all, in one way or another, normal accidents.

    Why are companies so often caught unaware?

    It turns out that the events that create crises are usually those which most people have trouble taking seriously—that is, events with a low probability but a high cost.

    We tend to treat low-probability events as if they were impossible. Instead of preparing for them, we ignore them.

    In the phrase of the sociologist Neil Weinstein, we are "unrealistic optimists."

    This tendency is exacerbated when we think we’re in control; we worry less about the dangers of driving than about those of flying because we think we determine what happens to us on the road.

    Of course, unrealistic optimism, insofar as it's a byproduct of self-assurance, assertiveness, and conviction, may be a handy trait for those seeking success in business.

    It will come as a surprise to no one that in most surveys executives are found to be consistently optimistic and overconfident.

    Entrepreneurs are the cockiest of all.

    It may be that the very qualities that help people get ahead are the ones that make them ill-suited for managing crises.

    It’s hard to prepare for the worst when you think you’re the best.

I cannot praise Charles Perrow's book, "Normal Accidents," highly enough.

I read a few years ago and it has made me a much better anesthesiologist.

If ever I were to return to academia, my first grand rounds would feature this book and its lessons.

It has much to offer anyone in terms of both their professional and personal lives.

Long book summarized in one sentence?

The more complicated or unusual something is, the more likely something is to go wrong.

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But you'd do better to read the book.

June 12, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Night Light Clock

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Luminescent face tells the time and guides you on your way to wherever it is you need to go in the dark.

No bulb to replace; includes button cell battery.

Cool to the touch.

True plug–and–play.

3" diameter.

$14.95 here.

June 12, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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