Sunday, December 31, 2006

The New Paperback Edition of WDILTP is now in stores

From Po:

I want to thank everyone who bought the new paperback edition of Why Do I Love These People? for themselves or a friend. I don't know how many did so, but it was enough to drive the book way up at Amazon for the whole week. I'm guessing the email blast was the cause of these sales, since there's been no other publicity yet whatsoever during this quiet week.

For those of you who belong to a book club, I'm working with Random House to create a program where, if your book club reads Why Do I Love These People?, you can get me on the phone during the discussion period. (Unfortunately, I cannot join you for the eating period, or I'd quickly turn into a blob). We're going to send another email blast soon to describe the program.

Speaking of eating, my holidays this year have been spent at home, with my mother and my wife's family visiting. My kids have three weeks off. So I have spent most of the time learning to cook some new things.

The theme of everything I cooked was "low & slow." I made a 7-bone Standing Rib Roast for xmas dinner, and if you don't know your roast beef, a 7 bone roast is about 17 pounds and it is almost impossible to cook evenly. I gave it about 5 hours at 200 degrees, then fired it at the end at 500. Came out pink and perfect throughout. Then a friend gave me some "artisanal grits" from South Carolina. Artisan grits sounds like a bit of an oxymoron, but that's what was fun about 'em. Soaked for a day, simmered for about 70 minutes to get them there - it took a lot of touch and feel to get the consistency right, but the time investment paid off. My brother-in-law and I made a cassoulet as well, with duck legs, duck sausage, and great northern beans, that took 4.5 hours to complete. Finally, my favorite of the whole week was this incredible bread that Mark Bittman wrote about in the New York Times a couple months ago. Super simple. Results are as good as any bakery. The trick is, very little yeast, a lot of water, and let it sit for 18 hours. No kneading, give it a second rise, and cook it inside a pot, so it traps the steam and works like a steam-injected oven, making the crust crisp and shatterable. Phenomenal bread.

Every new dish was a testament to what can be done if you actually stick around the house for long periods of time. Gives a lot of shape to the days.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bad News Coming in Small Bytes - A Follow-Up That's No Lie... Well, Maybe....

From Ash:

Back in August, Po and I wrote a piece, "Bad News Comes in Small Bytes: Are We Forgetting How To Be Honest In Person?," about how people are increasingly using technology to say what they wouldn't have the nerve to say in person (e.g., "You're fired," "I don't want to see you anymore.")

Today, a report out of the U.K. seems to further answer our titular question. We haven't forgotten to be honest; instead, we intentionally lie – early and often – and we choose technology to help us in our deception.

According to a survey commissioned by Friends Provident, a whopping 81% of Britons say they say at least one white lie every day. And these aren't just as in "I love your new haircut." No, these include covering up big mistakes at work and the like.

Three-fourths of those surveyed say that they use technology to tell these lies.

But here's the really troubling part: half of them said that they felt less guilty about a lie told via email or other tech gadgetry, than they would have had, if they'd had to have lied straight to the person's face.

Just think – if Alexander Bell cried out for Watson's aid via text msg today, Watson probably would have replied, "Sorry - 2 sick 2 work 2day."

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Boomerang Trend Disproven, Once and For All (Read our essay at

From Po:

Readers of this blog will remember how, last March, we got in a light-hearted spat with the author of "Boomerang Nation" after she was involved in the promotion of the movie, Failure to Launch, which was about a grown man who moves home and stays home, to the chagrin of his parents.

Throughout the last two years, we've constantly seen this trend misreported. We've debunked it and picked it apart on this blog in previous posts, and we've been waiting for a chance to take our criticism national. We knew it would only be a matter of time before yet another news outlet attacks young people.

Well, last week USA Today and ABC News gave us our chance. Our essay is now at You can read it here.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Immigration - Senator Biden Says the Answer Is In Mexico

From Ash:

The headline of the AP piece, "Biden: Blame Immigration Woes on Mexico," grabbed my attention, since it reminded me of the headline Time editors gave our column on immigration ("Blame Mexico"). In that piece, we had argued that Mexican leaders gain so much from immigration – financially and politically – that they literally sponsor migration of their poorest: unless we address that, nothing will really change here in the U.S., no matter what we do on this side of the border.

Turns out Joe Biden, the Delaware Senator (and possible presidential candidate) who will soon chair the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, agrees.

From the AP, reporting on a recent speech he gave: "'Mexico is a country that is an erstwhile democracy where they have the greatest disparity of wealth,' Biden said. 'It is one of the wealthiest countries in the hemisphere and because of a corrupt system that exists in Mexico, there is the 1 percent of the population at the top, a very small middle class and the rest is abject poverty.'"

Without addressing the corruption and poverty there, he explained, any other effort to address immigration on our end is just "window dressing."

He also cautioned that failing to address those core issues has even more severe consequences than immigration – citing the rising tide of illegal drugs coming from Mexico, he said: "People are driving across that border with tons, tons — hear me — tons of everything from byproducts for methamphetamines, to cocaine, to heroine." [sic]

Man, I can't wait for the Dems to take over. Things could get very interesting.