this one is about cake.

Today, your musical selection appropriate to this entry is Sufjan Stevens' Come on Feel the Illinose! (the second song) followed by more Sufjan.

Who likes cakes? I do, I do! That cake there was made by my friend Kirby for Chicago's birthday. He even iced it himself!

For those not in the know, it's the Chicago flag (or see the offical-er version). The four stars are for four important events in Chicago history: the Chicago Fire (1871), World's Columbian Exhibition (1893), the Century of Progress Exposition (1933), and the Dearborn Massacre (happened in 1812, star added 1939).

To learn more about the Columbian Exhibition, I recommend The Devil in the White City, even though I haven't read it yet. It comes highly recommended by those who have. Daniel Burnham, who was the architect of the exhibition, is one of the subjects of the book, and he was apparently a pretty inspirational guy. I was looking for a quote of his, and I found this extended version on wikipedia:

"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistence. Remember that our sons and our grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty."

It's often abbreviated to just the first part: "Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood" ... but I like the whole thing. Good stuff.

This is all especially appropriate for this week, since I have returned (triumphantly?) to Chicago. I'm at Fermilab for this week and next week, working hard!

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red, white and ... purple?

While reading, you may enjoy listening to some of Kaki King's new album "... until we felt red". And if you're in NY, you should go see her at the Living Room!

Yesterday, I got inspired to make a salad with red white and blue toppings. For the red: roasted beets. Very red, even if they were kinda purplish-red. For the white: radishes, which even had nice accents of red (well, pink). For the blue... well, blueberries solve pretty much any Fourth of July color problems, but I thought I'd think *outside* the blue-food-box, and think of something else. I got excited about the idea of blue potatoes. The problem is, that they're really purple potatoes, and cooking them makes them even more gray/purple. So, to sum up, I've got Red/Purple, White/Pink, and Purple/Gray instead of Red White and Blue. I solved all my problems by sticking a sparkler in the salad when I served it. (Mmmm, flakes of burning metal! Festive!)

the flag of no nation

Also! I bet you didn't know that (according to my half-assed Google search) no flag has the color purple. Look at this flag search thing. Purple is not even an option!

Last year, for Red, White, and Blue-ness I did an easy, tasty sour cream/cream cheese graham cracker crust raspberry/blueberry thing. The recipe for that, which I recommend for color and taste, is on epicurious.

Currently in: Pittsburgh
There are 4 days left until I go to Cleveland and then Ann Arbor.

A sparkler huh? I would have gone with a walnut.
No way! The sparkler was the bomb! Shout out Kathy. Any friend of Zessa's is a friend of mine :)
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4th of july, 4th of july...

Happy 4th of July! While you read, I recommend listening to Challenge Club's "4th of July" song -- kind of Bishop Allen/Album-A-Day-ish... it's sweet and catchy. (via The Sound of Young America's blog -- a radio show about things that are awesome.)

This may be a bit of a lazy-blogger's entry today, full of links to things you may have already seen, but here it goes...

Let's see. When I left off a week and a bit ago, spoons and I were off to Florida. We had a good time there, getting slammed about by big (for Florida) ocean waves (we still have scars...) and playing the board game Puerto Rico with the family. (good stuff!)

Here are a few things we've been talking about:

The NY Times review 'The Empire Strikes Back' Strikes a Bland Note: "'The Empire Strikes Back' is about as personal as a Christmas card from a bank." Ouch. (First seen on the Elephant Larry blog, from Stefan.) It reminds me of reviews of the most recent Star Wars movies.

Look Around You, Maths -- first saw this on Landon's page, and then we were talking about it at brunch yesterday at the Square Cafe. It's a really well-done parody of old-school educational broadcasting by the BBC.

Diet Coke and Mentos guys (via the EL blog, then talked much about it in Florida.) Really fun. You must have seen this already.

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