Legacy of Ashes

This fantastic history of the CIA is kind of depressing: it shows how organizational dysfunction can be caused by inadequate/bad/misguided leadership, as well as the inability of our Presidents to use the CIA appropriately. If you want to know all of the crazy/illogical/misguided things that the CIA has done in the name of America, read this book.

I was particularly intrigued by the portrait of President Clinton as uninterested/uninformed about the rest of the world. Even though President George W. Bush was not very well informed, the picture that the author paints of Clinton's initial years in the White House is not very different.

YouTube - Top Secret DrumCorps Basel Tattoo

- Top Secret DrumCorps Basel Tattoo

Pretty amazing!

Joe Wong at RTCA Dinner

- Joe Wong at RTCA Dinner

This Chinese-American comedian is pretty funny!

Tying shoelaces

Interesting information about tying shoelaces. I learned that not all knots are the same recently: apparently, about half the time I mistie my laces!


It is clear that Philip Seymour Hoffmann deserved his Oscar for his portrayal of Truman Capote in this film. There was something essential missing from the film, though: the fact that writing "In Cold Blood" may have destroyed the rest of his career was missing from the storyline, since the movie ends with the execution of the killers. Still, a compelling movie to watch.

Event Horizon

One of the wonderful things about Madison Square Park is the public art that has appeared here regularly. The latest exhibit is quite fun: 31 life-sized statues placed all around the park (a lot on top of landmark buildings in the neighborhood). Check them out!

Up in the Air

This film starring George Clooney was a wonderful film to watch: witty dialogue, great characterization, interesting plot, great acting. A far better film than Avatar, certainly. It feels like it belongs with "Michael Clayton" in George Clooney's output: a "really good" (and I mean that in a non-grade-inflated, good way) movie that didn't achieve blockbuster status. Highly recommended.


Drive, by Daniel Pink, is a fascinating book about work vs. play, motivation and money. Some experiments have shown that economic incentives ($) can actually lower the long-term performance of so-called "knowledge workers". That is, performing an interesting task (i.e., writing software) can become less interesting to workers if management links performance too heavily to pay. The best explanation in the book for that is that it takes away the worker's sense of autonomy: people want to work, and they want to solve interesting and worthwhile problems.

Well worth reading. The author gave a talk about his book at work, but I wasn't able to listen to the talk, unfortunately.

Dexter Season 3

Wow, what a great series. The series uses the guise of a serial killer to explore human relationships; the writing is fantastic, and the acting is very compelling. Jimmy Smits must have loved playing the psychotic Miguel Prado; what an over-the-top character!

Can't wait to watch the 4th season, with John Lithgow!