Pasta science is a crazy thing

“Add 3 cups of cold water to a pot, add the pasta, turn the stove on high, then give the pasta 10 minutes with a perfunctory stir every now and then. As it cooks, the pasta absorbs the water, all of it, which is kind of nuts, but which also eliminates the need to drain the pasta.”

My brother sent me a link and video with the above. The subject of his email? “The devil’s pasta” and I think that’s about right.

But I’m interested.

Excited about SND news

(News from a couple weeks ago, that is.)

Both the redesign project I’ve been managing the past couple years and the NPR One app project to which I’ve contributed are finalists for the Society of News Design’s Digital “World’s Best Designed” competition. NPR is the only organization with two finalists among the 10. I work with terrific people. More new product designs to come.

Anne Hull remains amazing

In today’s Post, seeing the economy through one Iowa Hardee’s, bringing narrative journalism out of the halls of power to where it’s needed:

“That one’s mine,” says Brandi Garner, snagging the cinnamon biscuit. A digital clock overhead is tracking each customer’s wait time in the drive-through and transmitting the results back to corporate. Brandi folds the bag so the heat won’t escape, then leans out into the 8-degree wind chill with snow spitting sideways on her face and farmland all around. At home later she’ll have a few nice sips of Equate Stomach Relief, but now she’s counting four sets of headlights and two employees who called in sick.

Helen Hunt as ‘New Yorker’ ed

This trailer for Ride doesn’t make the movie look great. Maybe it’ll be terrific, who knows — benefit of the doubt. But I’m pretty sure if you asked me, before the trailer came out, what my various dream movie characters might be, Helen-Hunt-as-New-Yorker-editor might be one. Yes, this movie isn’t about the magazine. But I like that the idea exists.

Related thought from this trailer: How great would it be if Hunt played Judy Woodruff in a movie? How great would it be if there were a movie about The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour? I have no idea what the plot would be. Maybe no one beyond D.C. journalists and dedicated PBS viewers would watch it. But I’m now actively casting that movie in my head.

Trailer via friend Meriah’s interview with Hunt (note: auto-play video).

Accept pain, cause no damage

Head of a conservative think-tank but writing apolitically in this Times link (and drawing mostly apolitical comments from the Times readership), Arthur C. Brooks discusses what Lent can bring to everyone, regardless of faith: “Think of it as a personal declaration of independence. The objective is not to cause yourself damage, but to accept the pain and fear that are a natural part of life, and to embrace them as a valuable source of lessons to learn and tests to pass.”

I’m working on cleaning. Digging out of accumulated detritus, mental and digital, in hope of being more responsible, helpful and expedient on both those counts to those around me. (The backlog builds most when pain and fear win, I think.) Whether I can get there, who knows. But I started working toward these kinds of goals over the winter, and accomplished some but not enough. Now is the right time of year to feed off incoming light and warmth and turn that heat into energy.

I respect high mash-up art

Yes, I arrived at this video several days after seeing it in my feeds and after other people had already played it four million times. But the Biggie-meets-Dinosaurs video is a cut above the rest, and one needs to acknowledge that. Beyond close approximations of mouths, the mash-up succeeds at tone, from beginning to end. In a distributed culture, we should always applaud successes of tone. That statement sounds silly, but I mean it. Good tone, struck once or held longer, unites.

Winning gets you green

For years, for whatever reason, I’ve been tracking how the Nats have fared on St. Patrick’s Day. Not in spring-training games, but in green gear. Every year, Major League Baseball makes special St. Patrick’s hats and shirts and what-have-you for its teams, but the amount per team varies.

In 2012, for instance, the Phillies had 37 items, the Cubs 35, the Red Sox 32, and the Yankees 31. The Nats had four items. The year before they had two items. In some year prior, the lean RFK years, they had none. As someone named Patrick, who is also half-Irish, who is also a full Nats fan, these numbers were sad.

But it’s wonderful what winning can get you. The league store sent its annual email this week, and we set ourselves a new record: 11 items! I hardly know what to do with myself. To track such things is odd. To be excited over such things is ridiculous. But I am. Several of my favorite things, together, happily.

The Phillies, after some losing, are down to 25. The Cubs, after enough losing that losing hasn’t mattered in a long time, are at 26. They’re tied with the reigning-champion Giants, and both are one ahead of the Tigers. The Red Sox are leading the way at 31. And the Yankees… well, the Yankees page in the store turns up blank right now. Hard to say what that means.

So, we’re a ways from the top. But on our trip up, one has to believe. I’ve bought myself a cap, the plainer one from among the Nats’ bunch. I’ll wear it with pride.


My gosh, again? So soon? Thanks to friend Nate, the now-perennial leader in our March Indicator Sweepstakes, for reminding me via Twitter this morning. February was Washington’s coldest in 36 years or so, I read this morning. Let’s hope for a warmer March.