Who Is Nick Beef?

Pop Culture

November marks the 50th Anniversary of JFK’s assassination and even to this day, the rumors and legends of who was behind his death continue to drive rabid interest.

Since 1996, a mysterious gravestone has sat adjacent to Lee Harvey Oswald’s in Shannon Rose Hill Cemetary in Fort Worth, TX which has fueled all sorts of chatter. Folks visiting Oswald’s grave couldn’t help but think that someone with a name like Nick Beef had to be associated with the Mafia. Problem is, the plot’s owner is alive, well and has no affiliation with “La Cosa Nostra” what so ever.

To begin with, Mr. Beef remains happily above the clay.

Affable, with gray-black hair slicked back, save for a stray curl or two, he sips tea at a cozy table at the Jack bistro in Greenwich Village, not far from his Manhattan apartment. With evident pride in possessing one of the more distinctive conversation starters in American discourse, he confirms that he owns the burial plot beside Lee Harvey Oswald’s.

Turns out “Mr. Beef” was at one point a stand up comic, writer, and father of two, who admits that he purchased the plot next to Oswald as somewhat of a morbid joke.

Via NYTimes.com

Biking Patterns

Society

The New Yorker has a really cool interactive visual showing movements of folks using Citibikes through the months of June/July. It is a really interesting view into how people are using these much talked about additions to the NYC landscape. From the New Yorker’s quick analysis of the data:

A commuting pattern first emerged in our data on Tuesday, June 11th, when bikers travelled to a central corridor, which begins in midtown Manhattan and moves south, through the Flatiron District and down to the Financial District…Temperatures and precipitation also influence bike use, so the map displays weather information alongside bike movement…On weekends, the commutes are replaced by patternless, recreational movement, in which bikers meander around the city.

via The New Yorker

Producing A Tesla

Technology

An facinating video from Wired Magazine showing how Tesla’s production line works. The most amazing part is at around the 3:30 mark where one of their robots actually installs the seats and the windshield (including applying the glue to the glass) with absolutely no human intervention.

Disclosure: I own Tesla stock.

Hat tip to Dave Pell’s Next Draft

Early Video of The Ramones At CBGB

Music

Super awesome early early video of The Ramones playing a three song set at CBGB in the summer of 1974. The set includes:

Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue
I Don’t Wanna Go Down To the Basement
Judy Is A Punk

This is a beautiful window into the NYC punk scene of the early 1970’s. And it’s pretty gratifying to see that The Ramones essentially did not change their style or sound from their earliest days before they were ‘discovered’ through to when they called it quits 20+ years later. According to the short article on Rolling Stone. this was close to two full years before The Ramones released their first album in 1976.

Pay attention to the pause between the first two songs, as they get into a funny argument over what the 2nd song should be.

I remember once seeing Joey Ramone on the streets of NYC and marveling at just how tall and lanky he was.

Hat Tip: Rolling Stone

Where Is My Toothpaste?

Business

There is a vast conspiracy against your dental hygiene when you travel.

Why has toothpaste been relegated to this supplementary status? I asked this question of executives at 18 North American hotel chains, and most provided the same pair of explanations. First, they said their in-room amenities are chosen based on extensive consumer research. In other words, if the hotels aren’t giving you toothpaste, it’s because you don’t really want toothpaste. “If such requests did begin to trend,” explained a representative from the Wyndham Hotel Group, “we would evaluate our brand standards and offerings.”

The hotel chains are essentially playing chicken with each other, waiting for the other to move first and put toothpaste in their bathrooms. They don’t currently include toothpaste because they don’t perceive there to be a need for toothpaste from their customers.

What Are The Chances?

Sports

With LeBron and the Miami Heat winning a 2nd NBA Championship in as many years (the Heat franchise has won 3 in their history), the inevitable talk is if the Heat can win it all next year, and what their legacy is within NBA history. Everyone’s favorite statistician Nate Silver from the NY Times 538 Blog has actually taken that conversation a little further and asked what is LeBron’s chances of matching Michael Jordan’s 6 NBA Titles.

Players like Jordan and James are so rare that it can be risky to compare them to anyone else. Still, one reasonably useful benchmark is to evaluate players who, like James and Jordan, had won at least one Most Valuable Player Award and at least one N.B.A. title as of their age-28 season, meaning that they had achieved the pinnacle of both individual and team success.

It’s tough to say exactly what James’s odds of catching Jordan might be, as the average conceals a wide range of outcomes among the individual players. Four of the players on the list — Magic Johnson, Moses Malone, Bob Pettit and Dave Cowens — would never win another championship after their age-28 season. But four others — Jordan, Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — would win four or more additional tiles.

While he does not definitively say one way or another if it is statistically possible for James to catch Jordan, he does hedge by saying that while the chances are small, it could be possible for James to snag an ‘easy’ one or two later on in his career depending on how he adjusts his game as he gets older and if the circumstance he finds himself in is optimal for winning a title.

And from the analysis, I was probably most surprised by the realization that all the championships that Magic Johnson won (5 of them) happened before his 28th birthday and after that, he never won another championship. Of course, having to retire prematurely doesn’t help things but still.

via Nate Silver’s 538 Blog on NY Times.

Red Brick Road

Movies

Yellow-brick-road-copy

I’ve always wondered: We know where the Yellow Brick Road goes. Where exactly does the Red Brick Road lead?

2nd Avenue Subway

Photography

A pretty awesome compilation of photos (including the one above) from NYC’s MTA and their official photographer Patrick Cashin (I wonder if he’s related to Wall Street ‘soundbyte’ legend Art Cashin).

The 2nd Avenue Subway line is a project that actually goes back some 90 years but has been rife with delays and issues. Finally, the city is making some serious progress on the project. For anyone who has taken a ride on the 4-5-6 Lexington Ave. line during rush hour, the 2nd Avenue line can’t come soon enough.