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April 27, 2007

Doyle's Road Race

Last Sunday, we headed out to Doyle's in JP. Lynn had been talked into running the five-mile Doyle's Road Race. She runs a few miles pretty regularly, but not usually quite five, not usually in a giant pack of other runners, and not usually over a hilly course. So understandably, she was a bit nervous and excited.

In any case, Lynn received the very lucky number 1072 (2 * 7 - 0 - 1 = 13) and had at it. Her goal was to finish within 55 minutes and she bested that easily, crossing the finish line somewhere around 53:30 after she passed the starting line. I was (and am) quite proud and impressed. Way to go, Lynn!

lynn before the start    lynn at the end

I went through the hundred or so pictures I took at the race, and as I flipped through them a conclusion slowly dawned on me about the people who ran this race. I'll blog about it soon, but I need to put together some pictures first. For now, a sneak peek of my favorite runner (second to Lynn, of course) approaching the finish line.

runner 1438

Please enjoy a small helping of the pictures I took at the race.

April 26, 2007

The Decoy Effect

The Decoy Effect, or How to Win an Election:

Front-runners are usually focused on racing each other. They often do not realize that when people cannot decide between two leading candidates -- and it doesn't matter whether we are talking about politicians or consumer appliances -- our decision can be subtly swayed by whoever is in third place.

(Via Raymond Chen and The Old New Thing.)

I'm going to see if I can make use of this when advocating technical positions, weekend activities, Mario Kart race setups, dinner choices, television and movie lineup selections, and more. Look out, world.

April 19, 2007

How Not to be an Effective Volunteer

Just got a call from a volunteer from Barack Obama asking me for money. I like Obama, but I'm wary of his lack of executive experience, and, more importantly than that, I feel like I know next to nothing about his the policies he would implement were he to be elected. The volunteer asked me for a "small donation of $200" (whoa!), and I declined. He asked if it was for financial reasons and I explained that I hadn't chosen a candidate to support, and I would like to learn about Senator Obama's policies before supporting him.

At which point the volunteer hung up on me!

Obama  -1
Field   0

April 17, 2007

Phillies' Broadcasters

This probably comes as a surprise to anyone who knows me even a bit, but I really like the Phillies' TV broadcasters. Especially their main play-by-play guy, Harry Kalas.


But if I have to listen to him refer to Jimmy Rollins as J-Ro one more time, I think I might vomit.

To the zoo!

This past weekend, Lynn and I headed down to the city to see Julie, Shayne, Jess, Pete, and, of course, the Della Torre newlyweds. On Saturday afternoon, Lynn drove into New Jersey for a bridal shower, and Julie, Brian, Marcy, and I took advantage of the beautiful (but chilly) weather to head to the Central Park Zoo. The $8 admission brought us a couple of hours of sea lions, penguins, puffins, seals, polar bears, a sea otter, a red panda, turtles, monkeys, and tropical birds and flowers. It was excellent. How could anyone not enjoy seeing penguins and polar bears?

We had picked this activity over some other possibilities mainly because I asked to go somewhere that I could use my camera, so please enjoy some of the pictures that I took at the Central Park Zoo.

Chicken Salad with Asparagus and Sun-Dried Tomato Dressing

chicken salad with asparagus and sun-dried tomato dressing

Wing's recipes always sound delicious and look delectable. (No, there's not really any difference.) I am jealous, and though I have questioned the copyright issue before, I will now try to mimic him. Lynn and I had some chicken (shredded dark meat) leftover from making chicken soup for Passover. We had made another of Cook's Illustrated's mayo-less (heresy!) chicken salads before, so we knew we were in for a treat.

Chicken Salad with Asparagus and Sun-Dried Tomato Dressing

From Cook's Illustrated

3 - 3 1/2 pound whole chicken (we used leftover boiled and shredded dark meat from making soup)
Table salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil plus 1 additional tablespoon
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes , drained, rinsed, and minced
1 small clove garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1/2 teaspoon, we used about double this, like usual)
1/2 pound asparagus , trimmed of tough ends and cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
1 cup chopped fresh basil
3 ounces crumbled goat cheese (optional, Lee used, Lynn didn't)
1/2 cup pine nuts , toasted (Lee used, Lynn didn't)

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Roast in a 375-degree oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 165 to 170 degrees, about 1 hour, 10 minutes. When cool, pull the meat off the bones in 2-inch shreds, discarding fat and sinew. Reserve 5 cups for this recipe; set the rest aside for another use. (The chicken can be roasted, shredded, and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 24 hours.) (As I've now said three times, we skipped this and used leftover chicken from making soup a few days before.)
  2. Puree 1/2 cup oil, vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in blender until smooth. Transfer to large bowl. (Dressing may be made ahead of time, covered, and refrigerated overnight. Whisk to recombine before using.)
  3. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in 10-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until beginning to smoke; add asparagus, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook until asparagus is browned and almost tender, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to plate to cool.
  4. Add cooled asparagus and basil to vinaigrette; stir to combine. Add chicken and toss gently to combine; let stand at room temperature 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and sprinkle with goat cheese, if using, and pine nuts. Serve immediately.

Lessons the Feigenbaums learned while making this:

  • Not all great chicken salads need be drenched in mayonnaise.
  • It's best to have twice the needed asparagus on hand; this becomes useful when the lid on the spice container with the pepper is too loose and you dump the entire container of pepper into the sauteeing asparagus and need to start over.
  • Thumbs-up to goat cheese.
  • Thumbs-up to toasted pine nuts. Most "recipes" for toasting pine nuts recommend using a bit of oil and a small skillet. I just tossed them in the toaster over and hit "toast," and it worked fine.
  • I need more practice taking food photos. This one isn't bad, but the sauce was a bit redder than the picture shows.

Passover 2007, Part Two

After getting back from our New Jersey seders, we held a third seder at our place in Brookline on the eighth night of the holiday. We've had a few friends over for seders the past few years, and we wanted to continue the tradition. It was great: Passover was bracketed by love and joy shared with our family and our friends, and in my mind, that's what the holiday is all about.

Jess at the Seder     Jeff and Wing at the Seder

April 16, 2007

Shootin' Ducks

Well, I guess I wasn't particularly creative when I decided to process some duck photos I took about a month ago. Still learning my new D200, Wing and I walked over the Longfellow Bridge and took some pictures of a pair of ducks by the banks of the Charles. Enjoy this set of pictures of the Charles, the Boston skyline, some ducks, Wing, and, of course, a lonely cone.

Wing photographs the duck     the second duck

April 6, 2007


If Lynn were a college-aged male, pitched baseball instead of slow-pitch softball, and could throw 91 miles-per-hour, then this article would be about her!

As his teammates whipped the ball around the infield, Venditte smoothly, unthinkingly, removed his custom glove from his left hand and slipped it on his right. Moments later he leaned back, threw a strike left-handed to the next batter, and finished the side in order.

Passover 2007

I've got a lot of thoughts about Passover this year. Mainly, the thoughts relate to the fact that these were the first seders that Lynn and I have been to in New Jersey since Dad died. The corollary is that these were the first seders that I've ever led in Glen Rock. As I said at the seders, this is something that I never wanted to have to do. But if life teaches us anything it's that we need to be able to make the best of (really) bad situations, and with that outlook I was proud to lead the seders. People at both seders said that I did things a lot like Dad did. Of course, that's no coincidence; I learned everything from him. He was the best though, and all I can do is try to live up to his high standard.

There's a bunch more thoughts here about the composition of our seder crowds--about what's changed and what remains the same. But for now, I'd just like to share some of the pictures I took over the weekend. (I'm still learning my new camera, so the shots aren't as crisp as I'd like, and my post-processing leaves a lot to be desired. Apologies.)

Lynn and cousin Rachel     Julia

Enjoy all the pictures from Passover 2007.