Archive for May 26th, 2009


Counting Crowes II: The Man With Two Brains

May 26, 2009


I think the Academy felt guilty about snubbing Ron Howard’s superior Apollo 13 back in 1995 and that’s why they voted A Beautiful Mind as being 2001’s best.  Not that A Beautiful Mind is bad, it’s just not that great.  It sort of reminded me of one of those 1930-1940’s MGM melodramas where no one believes Greer Garson could discover radiation and she ages or no one believes Jennifer Jones sees visions or Irene Dune conquers rustic Oklahoma and ages.  This time Russell Crowe (as John Nash)discovers some complicated theory whilst going a bit schizoid and ultimately (after aging) wins the Nobel prize.  And Jennifer Connelly gets to be supportive and impossibly beautiful.

This movie made me feel like 1994’s Teen Talk Barbie (“Math is Hard”) because I didn’t understand what John Nash’s theories were all about and all the scratches he left on the windows left me scratching my head.


The movie is a bit slow but just like Ms. Connelly it’s very pretty to watch.  Princeton University looks amazing.

Othe films nominated that year: Moulin Rouge (oh, how I wish this one had been picked it’s such a favorite of ours), The first of the Lord of the Rings trilogy of terror (I’m dreading 2003, I really am.  I just don’t get all that Middle Earth stuff) Gosford Park (that’s a good one, too.  And they should have thrown one Altman’s way; now it’s too late) and In the Bedroom (meh).

For dinner we had dorm food.  But not just any dorm food: we cherry picked from what they were serving for dinner at Princeton that day.  Let me tell you, those Princeton University students eat some tasty food. And the following salad was the one Jim and I had at our wedding dinner 20 years ago. Fancy stuff Princeton

Spinach and Warm Bacon Salad

  • 8 ounces young spinach
  • 8 pieces thick-sliced bacon, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large white mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 ounces red onion (1 small), very thinly sliced

Remove the stems from the spinach and wash, drain and pat dry thoroughly. Place into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Fry the bacon and remove to a paper towel to drain, reserving 3 tablespoons of the rendered fat. Crumble the bacon and set aside.

Transfer the fat to a small saucepan set over low heat and whisk in the red wine vinegar, sugar and Dijon mustard. Season with a small pinch each of kosher salt and black pepper.

Add the mushrooms and the sliced onion to the spinach and toss. Add the dressing and bacon and toss to combine. Divide the spinach between 4 plates or bowls . Season with pepper, as desired. Serve immediately.

and for dinner:

Gnocchi Bolognese

(Serves 4)


* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1/2 oz. finely chopped onions
* 1/2 oz. finely chopped carrots
* 1/2 oz. finely chopped celery
* 1 lb. ground meat – mixture of pork, veal, & beef
* 2 lb. Italian potato gnocchi
* Handful of fresh basil
* 6 cups of marinara sauce
* Handful of Parmesan cheese
* Pinch of salt & pepper


Sauté onions in frying pan with olive oil. Add celery and carrots. Add ground meat and marinara sauce and cook in frying pan for about 15 minutes. Cook gnocchi separately in boiling water for 6 minutes. Stir constantly. When gnocchi rises above water, they are done. Drain water. Combine gnocchi with meat/ marinara mixture and add Parmesan cheese, basil, and a touch of salt and pepper.