State of Play

State of Play is a well-done political thriller. Russell Crowe did a really good job, as did Ben Affleck (mild surprise there); Helen Mirren was hilarious in her role as the chief editor. It kept our attention throughout, and it really does a good job of memorializing the classic newspaper. It's not clear from the screenplay whether they think that the greater threat to newspapers lies from their large corporate owners or the Internet.

Anyway, it was entertaining, which is all I expect these days. High art it was not.

Welcome to Your Brain

Written by two neuroscientists, this is an entertaining book about our knowledge of the brain. It was a little too cheerily written to hold my attention as a serious book, but it was still interesting.

One of the authors, Sam Wang, runs the web site Princeton Election Consortium, which had a lot of interesting stuff during the last election.


We ate dinner in Koreatown. This restaurant was bigger than it seemed from the outside, and there wasn't a huge line. But it was filled with Korean customers, and the food was prompt and quite good!

Morgan Library

The Morgan Library just opened an exhibition of their "latest" acquisitions (since 2004). Impressive stuff: definitely worth a visit, if you get a chance. The exhibition is open until October. Too bad they won't let visitors take photographs: they are the only major museum that has such restrictive rules.

We thought the most impressive works were some photographs by Irving Penn and Diane Arbus. There were some fantastic portraits of Pablo Picasso, Georgia O'Keefe, and T.S. Eliot.


John Bogle founded the Vanguard mutual fund company, and has made his life into a battle against entrenched interests. "Enough." is his latest broadside against the financial industry, although it also contains diatribes against the deterioration of America's moral fiber. An entertaining read, although not as to-the-point as his other books. He's got quite an ego, and it shines through brightly in this book; and certainly he admits it.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Barbara Kingsolver's is a wonderful read. She has a lyrical way with words and a wonderful sense of humor. This book was recommended back in January by a friend (an Australian CS professor): it describes how Kingsolver and her family spent a year eating only local food. She describes the whole year of growing vegetables, raising chickens and turkeys, canning and preserving foods.

Her husband and elder daughter added sidebars through the book, with information about organic/local foods and recipes. All in all, this book is one worth reading: it will make you hungry!

New Yeah Shanghai Deluxe

We ate dinner in Chinatown, at this excellent little restaurant. Excellent dumplings, and the shredded chicken and jellyfish was great. Well worth it, although not that cheap.