Applied Mathematics

February 17, 2017

I know, click-bait headline…

Romance = Pizza

February 16, 2017

My wife has always purchased little gifts for our daughters on Valentine’s Day. That’s a nice thing, but the end result is that they feel that Valentine’s Day is a family event. So Valentine’s dinner has to please everyone.

Obviously pizza meet that criteria.

To truly understand the history of New York pizza, this article about Patsy Grimaldi is a good start. Patsy has the unique honor of not being able to use either his first or last name for his restaurant due to legal issues (sold his last name, first name already in use). He opened the original Patsy’s in Brooklyn:

Aficionados soon began to make pilgrimages to Old Fulton Street. Next came the celebrities: Bill Cosby, Bob Costas, and John Turturro were regulars. Warren Beatty called to sweet-talk Carol into saving a table for him and Annette Bening, whom Patsy asked, “So, are you in the movies, too?” In 1995, Patsy and Carol were sued by Frank Brija, who had bought the East Harlem Patsy’s. Much legal wrangling ensued, the result of which was that the Brooklyn Patsy’s became Grimaldi’s.

Getting older, they sold the Grimaldi’s name. If you are eating Grimaldi’s anywhere in the country, know that it is no longer authentic. It’s good, it’s just not Patsy Grimaldi.

He recently opened a new place in Brooklyn called Julianna’s (his mother’s name) which may serve the best pizza on the planet.

We did not go there for Valentine’s dinner.

But we did go to Patsy’s. This is a place in the same NYC pizza lineage  but it’s not the same Patsy. This place (well, not the Brooklyn location) came first and it’s the reason Patsy Grimaldi can’t use his first name.

Is it as good as Julianna’s? No. Is the pizza awesome? Yes. Can you get in with two kids and not wait forever, and is it walking distance from our place? It was a school night, we didn’t have much time and the pizza was fantastic.

Was it romantic? Great pizza with your wife is always romantic.

Op-Ed: Dangerous Stability Threatens America’s Banks

February 6, 2017

From The Reformed Broker, an amusing response to the coming demise of Dodd-Frank and the Fiduciary Rule:

The US financial and banking system has gone almost seven full years without experiencing a major crisis. With today’s announcement from the administration that Dodd-Frank regulations are about to be dismantled, this nightmarish period of excessive stability will finally be coming to a close…

The End Of The Level Playing Field

February 5, 2017

This is an important post by Fred Wilson, a top VC…

When the Internet came along in the early 90s, we saw something completely different. Here was a level playing field where anyone could launch a business without permission from anyone. 

We had a great run over the last 25 years but I fear it’s coming to an end, brought on by the growing consolidation of market power in the big consumer facing tech companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, etc, by the constricted distribution mechanisms on mobile devices, and by new leadership at the FCC that is going to tear down the notion that ISPs can’t play the same game cable companies played.

It is certainly true that consumers, particularly low-income consumers, like getting free or subsidized data plans. There is no doubt about that. But when the subsidies are coming from the big tech companies, who can easily pay them, to buy competitive advantage over that nimble startup that is scaring them, well we know how that movie ends

Bodega Strike 2

February 3, 2017

Here’s a better roundup from Brownstoner:

Bodega Strike

February 2, 2017

In NYC today many bodegas shut down from 12-8 today to protest Trump’s immigration ban.

If you aren’t from New York, this may take some explaining. Bodega is a Spanish term (I think it means warehouse) and it refers to the small deli/grocery on many corners in NYC. If I need milk, I could go to the grocery store, but there’s a bodega across the street that has it. You pay a little more, the selection is limited but the convenience rocks. Most have limited deli service so you can get a bagel or an egg sandwich in the morning. Bodegas are a critical part of the NYC experience. But these days they aren’t predominantly Spanish.

We recently had our favorite deli across the street close due to crazy Brooklyn rents (their rent was tripled). This was a Middle Eastern deli and a total local establishment. They knew my daughters, threw in candy for free from time to time, all the things you’d expect from a local joint. There was one older guy who was a strict Muslim and he couldn’t ring me up if I bought beer (they had pretty good beer) because he was devout. To this day my daughters bemoan this place closing.

In NYC this is all totally normal.

So today there was a “Bodega Strike” in NYC. There is a large number of these delis run by immigrants from Yemen. Yemen is a part of the immigration ban so this affects family. They shut down for the day and came to protest at Brooklyn’s Borough Hall. A block from my office:

The flags other than US flags are Yemen flags. There were some other good pictures:

This one amuses me, but also needs explanation if you aren’t from NYC. Google “nyc coffee cup”. For reasons I honestly do not know, there is a common Greek style paper coffee cup used all over the place and the text in the middle is “we are happy to serve you”.

Of course, the picture of Muslims praying is not going over well everywhere:

Democracy in action…