book review: the lifespan of a fact

Reblogged from www.bureauphile.com.

The Lifespan of a Fact, by John D'Agata, author. Jim Fingal, fact-checker.

I heard about this book from a podcast out of Wisconsin, TTBOOK. Listen to the interview if you have a few minutes. But you might be wondering what this has to do with bureauphiles. Well, lots of our government's time, and energy, all joking aside, is spent checking facts before government publications are published. As an intelligence analyst I spent days double and triple checking reports before they were "sent forward" for review and action upon my recommendations.But working at GAO is where I spent the most time checking facts. All words in GAO reports have been fact-checked. What Lifespan of a Fact distills so clearly is the back and forth regarding facts. A friend once spent hours trying to find original support for the assertion that the F-22 is the Raptor...hours. I spent time citing the Periodic Table of Elements to prove that Na was indeed sodium.

The flip side of this obsessive compulsive checking is that the information is reliable.
What is somewhat disappointing about the book is that it is apparently some kind of meta commentary on the nature of fact checking. The book itself, while publicized as nonfiction, is actually fiction.

So check out the book if you want to read some entertaining, yet apparently not entirely factual, insanity...and pull your hair out a bit.


book review: an everlasting meal

An Everlasting Meal, Cooking with Economy and Grace
by Tamar Adler

She gets a bit philosophical at times, but overall, this is one of the best cookbooks I have ever read. Less recipes, and more home cooking theory, if you will, we have already started implementing a lot of Adler's ideas into our kitchen. For instance, we now have "spread night." You basically make pestos out of whatever you have in your fridge with olive oil and walnuts (we used pistachios last night) in your handy chopper. Have someone bring home a fresh baguette and call it dinner.

She also instructs the reader to shop and then cook immediately all of your veggies, so you have them ready at hand to put into other meals, such as omelets or soups or pasta. This saves you time on the other end. We have done this for a few weeks now with great success. We are eating better and cheaper, at home.

Fun quote:
"Children must shell peas. In a world of things too big, getting peas from pods is a chance for pea-sized people to exercise authority. Always told to put things back where they found them, here, children have it right. Pea shelling goes only in one direction: dig, disperse, and never look back." pg. 53

This book is so good, I am going to buy it. (I got it from the library...)



I have been spending some amount of my time blogging over at www.bureauphile.com. I need to spend more time there. For those inclined we are posting information and topics of interest to people interested in government.

We are also looking for guest posters...so if you are interested, drop me a line!


40 under 40

Had a great time today at the Renwick Gallery's 40 under 40 exhibit. The art was amazing. Oskar enjoyed the Ostridge feather dress.

Worth checking on online or in person.

Click here to see more.