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June 28, 2007

Pearl Oyster Bar Lawsuit

Albert pointed me to a story in The New York Times about a lawsuit filed by Rebecca Charles, owner of Pearl Oyster Bar in Manhattan, against her former sous-chef Ed McFarland for ripping off not only her recipes and menu but even her decor.

I had already heard about the striking similarities between McFarland’s restaurant and POB via a discussion on Serious Eats, but this was the first I had heard of the suit. The piece by Ed Levine provides some background on copycats of all stripes and demonstrates that this clone of POB is only just the latest in a long line of imitators.

I encountered a more modest example of the temptation to trade on Pearl Oyster Bar’s fame when I happened upon a restaurant in Charleston called *cough* Pearlz Oyster Bar. Admittedly, “pearl” is an appropriate name for an oyster bar, and if we’re feeling charitable, that’s all there is to it, but I doubt it. (The Pearl in Pearl Oyster Bar is actually an homage to Rebecca Charles’ grandmother, nothing to do with the product of oysters.)

Pearlz Oyster Bar, Charleston

Pearlz Oyster Bar in Charleston. Wow, what an original name! They do make a decent lobster roll, I have to admit.

June 26, 2007

Friday Is the Big Day

Can’t wait till Friday.

Hoo boy.


Some time after 6:00 PM on Friday I should be in possession of a certain something oh so shiny and new, and I am so psyched.

I know it’s not for everyone, but I’ve always wanted one and finally it will be mine.

Imagine something small and lightweight that nestles easily in the palm of your hand and can be operated with two fingers. You can probably take a guess what it is—I've given you enough hints.

Give up? It's a Zeiss T* ZM Biogon 35mm f/2 lens, of course! Did you think I was talking about the iPhone or something?

It will arrive just in time to celebrate my Leica’s fifth anniversary (July 1) when my then-fiancée Anne stunned me with a Leica M4 and 50mm f/2 Summicron lens. As nice as the Summicron is, I’ve often wished for something a little wider than the 50, hence the 35. The Biogon, while not cheap, is significantly cheaper than a Leica lens and by all accounts a respectable performer.


Okay, you had me at Friday. I thought it was the iPhone, but that's even cooler...f/2, baby!

I had a good idea of what it would be from the moment you said that you were so psyched.


You will love the wider format.

I hope to see it soon.

Congrats! And yes, you got me!

Thanks! It was a cheap trick, but I just couldn’t resist. Turns out the lens was out for delivery today, so I should get it tomorrow. That’s much faster service (from UPS) than I paid for.

The Biogon is a great lens. Enjoy it.

June 20, 2007

That’s MISTER Microphone to You

Remember Mr. Microphone? It was (is?) a microphone with a transmitter that allowed you to broadcast your voice to a nearby FM radio. Truly, with this innovation, life was perfect. I hadn’t thought of it since I saw the ad on TV in the late Seventies, but it popped into my head the other day. I vividly remember one scene in the ad where some guys cruising in a convertible slow down to schedule a date using Mr. Microphone: “We’ll be back to pick you up later!” I’m sure the ladies were swept off their feet.

Since rediscovering it, Mr. Microphone has proven to be so handy to have around the house. To the dishes in the sink, I wink and say, “I'll be back to wash you later!” To the laundry: “I’ll be back to fold you later!” You get the idea. The possibilities are limitless.

Of course, the ad is available on YouTube for your viewing pleasure.


Tony, I *had* a Mr. Microphone. I used to practice saying, "Hey good lookin', be back to pick you up later." I think the ads I saw said the "good lookin'" part. My brothers and sisters and I used to use that bad boy all the time. It was nuts...and so 70s...I feel like getting one of my quiana shirts out of the closet, putting on a pair of platform shoes, and firing up Mr. Microphone. Too, too funny. Thanks for making my day with this one!

June 18, 2007

Darkroom Progress

On Saturday, I stopped by Yo! Darkroom to check it out, not only because I am drawn to darkrooms like a moth to the flame, but also because I might be in the market for some darkroom time, being between darkrooms as it were.

I was extremely lucky to find a practically ready-made darkroom in the house we moved to in 2003. Long before we arrived, the house had been divided into apartments, and the upstairs kitchen was perfect for a darkroom. Eventually the ancient pipes started leaking, and we decided to remodel the room and put in a bigger sink. Things are moving along slowly but slowly...

Darkroom demolition

Julius concludes his inspection of the darkroom demolition. “What a mess,” he said, unimpressed. “You cant has darkroom at this pace. Quit slackin’.”

Omega D2 enlarger in its cosy

My Omega D2V XL enlarger ensconced in its cozy.

While work “progresses,” I tucked the equipment away into various other rooms. The enlarger (an Omega D2, the same model that Yo! Darkroom uses) is parked on a bureau in the guest bedroom. I thought this would be an opportunity to show the handsome enlarger cozy I asked Anne to make. It has a Velcro® closure along one side and a handle to hang it up when not in use. I think it’s pretty cool.

I was impressed with the quality of the darkroom at Yo!, and the gallery spaces demonstrate their commitment to building a photographic community. It’s quite an accomplishment, and they have only just begun.


“You cant has darkroom at this pace. Quit slackin’.”

Nice lolcat.

Thanks! I was aiming for a faithful translation of his comments rendered in idiomatic lolcat-speak and that’s what came out.

Your kitty is right! I'd love for you to come by the space and use our D2's. Anytime is the right time. We're here for ya :)

June 16, 2007

Authorized to Operate a Class M Motor Vehicle

That’s right—I passed! I feel fully qualified to ride on smooth, dry parking lots at speeds not exceeding 20 mph. Seriously, it was a great course; it’s amazing what you can learn in two weeks. As the instructor said, all we need now is experience (and in our case, a motorcycle of some kind). It was interesting that almost all of the students already had riding experience and weren’t total beginners like we were. Thanks to Anne for, um, kick-starting the whole process. She passed, too, of course.


jealous! congrats!

June 15, 2007

Blogger Meetup Time Again

June’s Philly Blogger Meetup is tomorrow. If I have the energy, I may swing by Yo! Darkroom beforehand (113 N 23rd Street—between Arch & Cherry), but I’ll be on foot, and it’s a bit of a hike. But gosh, cameras! galleries! enlargers! Oh my!!! The vapors! (I think it must be the hypo.)

Ten Stone Bar & Restaurant, 21st & South St., 3:00 PM.

June 12, 2007

Zeldman Delivers Mixed Message on HTML Email

The cool kids have solved the problem of “monetizing their content” with an ad network called The Deck. Deck ads are small, don’t insult your intelligence, and are very relevant to the host site’s content—so relevant that I’ve actually clicked on some of them.

Since there is only one ad on a page, there’s no chance of the embarrassing situation of showing competitors’ ads side by side. Last week, however, I was reading Zeldman’s rant against HTML email, and the Deck ad showing at the time was for “HTML Email Design & Coding tips from MailChimp.” The rant undermined the ad’s message a little (ya think?), but it sure got a chuckle out of me. I have to admit, though, that if I had to serve up some HTML email, MailChimp is the first place I would turn for help. Now that’s effective advertising.

Zeldman's anti-HTML-email rant with MailChimp ad

June 10, 2007

Brushed Metal Whacked

John Gruber writ the sad end of the “brushed metal” interface in Leopard [the context to his post is the run-up to Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference]. I hope it’s not giving anything away to say that Brushed Metal was “end-of-lifed” in this little drama—literally. Although I abhor violence, in this case I would have gladly pulled the trigger myself. “Dark Gray” is being groomed to take Brushed Metal’s place, which interestingly enough could also refer to the color that Gruber uses for the background on his site, or as I like to call it, “hot gray.” But what do I know; I’m color blind. Have fun at WWDC, you crazy kids. Try and get to Woodhouse Fish Company and have a lobster roll.

June 9, 2007

Connecticut Lobster-Roll Page Updated [nanoblog]

I finished updating the Connecticut lobster-roll page with reviews of places I visited on a road trip in May: Sea Swirl and Ten Clams in Mystic, Abbott’s in Noank, Johnny Ad’s in Old Saybrook, Hank’s Diary Bar in Plainfield, and a quality-control visit to an old favorite, the Cove Fish Market in Mystic. I added a few more places in New York City to the Lobster Roll Finder as well. Of local interest is the news from one of my spies who reports that Bridgewater’s Pub has already cut the lobster roll sliders from the menu. It’s a shame; I’m glad I had a chance to try them.


It's a minor thing, but Chick's in West Haven, Conn., is on Beach Street, not Captain Thomas Boulevard. Jimmies is on Captain Thomas which is almost an extension of Beach Street, but not quite. When you're in West Haven, also try Turk's (Captain Thomas) and Stowe's (corner of Beach and Washington Avenue, which is where Beach ends and Captain Thomas, after a half-block jog, begins).

Try the Lobster Rolls at Denmo's in Southbury CT and Frankies in Waterbury. You only are listing coastal places, but we inlanders have them too!

Corky, You are right, I do favor the coastline, but I pass near Southbury/Waterbury on my way to Maine, so I will definitely check them out. Thanks for the recommendations!

Without a doubt the best lobster roll (wait till you try the bread) of yeah and BBQ Ribs in the state is at The Lazy Lobster in Milford... You can eat on the pation or right on the he sand. Abbots may have a view but Lazy Lobster has the food.

Smithy, Sounds awesome. I added them to my list. Thanks!

June 8, 2007

Ted Adams Photo Exhibition

Kind of short notice I realize, but E.C. “Ted” Adams has a show opening tomorrow at Photo 612 Gallery in Haddon Heights. Entitled “Dollface: Black & white photographs of and about women,” the exhibition is a “series of candid photographs taken in public and private settings organized in a chronological depiction of a woman's life -- with a few stops and tangents along the way.” At the gallery through July 10.

I will be heading over to the reception, which is from 1:00 to 3:00 PM.

June 5, 2007

Spotlight on NetNewsWire 3.0

A shiny new NetNewsWire was released today, my go-to RSS feed reader. I hadn’t tried any of the betas, just jumped right in with both feet at version three point oh. Big mistake. I noticed that search wasn’t working (I was looking for posts about the closing of Copa Too, which should be a post in itself) and learned that NetNewsWire uses Spotlight for searching now. (Spotlight!!! Gaaaack! Urggh! We hates it! We hates it! We hates it forever!) Since I had forbidden Spotlight from indexing the folder where NetNewsWire stashes its stuff, NNW couldn’t find anything, so there was no alternative but to unleash Spotlight. I gave Spotlight ample time (I think) to index the folder before trying a search, but Spotlight rendered poor NetNewsWire basically useless—searches took forever, CPU usage spiked, and I finally got a persistent beachball, so I force-quit and slunk back to NetNewsWire 2.

Search was working perfectly in NNW 2, so I can’t understand how Spotlight ever entered the picture. Reminds me of one of my favorite jokes: Overheard at the Stonehenge construction site, “What was wrong with the old wooden one?” Pity.

June 2, 2007

Mahalo Launches [nanoblog]

1994 called. It wants its search engine back. Not to be a wet blanket, but that was my immediate reaction when I saw Mahalo, which offers handcrafted search results for popular search terms. Although it claims to be the “first human-powered search engine,” it seems little more than a link directory in the tradition of Yahoo!’s original handmade directory or a site like, powered by volunteer “guides.” And hey, what’s wrong with dmoz, the Open Directory Project? It boasts 75,151 editors. Nevertheless, I wish them luck and will definitely be trying Mahalo for broad search terms (like “macintosh”) that return an overwhelming number of results in Google, but Google for narrow searches (like “macintosh powerbook hard drive upgrade”), which, um, also return an overwhelming number of results. Via Blankbaby.

June 1, 2007

Sly Fox Royersford

The last time I visited Sly Fox (Phoenixville) and had their beer sampler was a while ago, and it was time for another visit. Besides, we needed to visit Martin Motorsports in Boyertown to pick up helmets and gloves before the motorcycle safety course begins next week. Before leaving we filled the car with hoarded recyclables that our boro doesn’t collect and made our first stop of the day at Recycling Services in Pottstown. Then, after admiring the bikes at Martin, we arrived at Sly Fox in Royersford around 1:00.

This was our first visit to the Royersford location, which is a little closer to Route 422 than Phoenixville is. The restaurant is large with a big bar, two dining rooms, and a room with pool tables and some video games. I knew my tastes had changed substantially in the last year, so I was curious how I would rank the beers this time. (Last time, Pete’s Peerless Ale was first and O’Reilly’s Stout last.) I couldn’t order the exact same beers, but here’s what I had from best to worst:

  1. Route 113 IPA
  2. Jake’s ESB
  3. O’Reilly’s Stout
  4. Pikeland Pils
  5. Black and Tan

What’s significant is that I liked all the beers this time and had trouble ranking them preferentially. In times past, India Pale Ales were among my least favorite brews, and now clearly they have become a favorite. The Route 113 IPA is a good one. Even without a side-by-side comparison, I have to say that I prefer O’Reilly’s stout to Guinness, although that’s not a strongly-held opinion, and neither is a match for the big Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout we have at home right now. Finally, the Pikeland Pils had the strong taste of honey as its dominant flavor even though the description didn’t mention it.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the superb pub fare we enjoyed for lunch. The kitchen turns out some excellent stuff.


Oooh, thanks for the recycling link! I keep trying to find a center that recycles plastic. Pottstown is a little far afield for me, but if I save up my junk, it'll be worth the trip.