The Fortune Cookie Chronicles

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  • Archive for June, 2007

    Nicholas Kulish: Last One In is Finally Out!

    Friday, June 29th, 2007

    Nick Kulish’s satirical take on the Iraq invasion, Last One In, is out this month from the Ecco imprint of Harper Collins. It trails a Page-Sixish type tabloid gossip reporter for The New York Daily Herald as he gets embedded. (Kulish himself was actually embedded for the 2003 invasion for The Wall Street Journal). I […]

    Hi Daddy! (wave)

    Thursday, June 28th, 2007

    I was very confused by a sudden small spike in traffic this morning as this blog, in its normal course of events (i.e. no external high-volume links), has a few dozen readers a day at best (mostly friends, and a few refers on my Wakiya post from Japan). But there wasn’t a likewise traffic spike […]

    General Tso’s Kitten? Only if He Misbehaves

    Thursday, June 28th, 2007

    My friend Jennifer sent me a picture of her cat named General Tso! I’m sure the Qing Dynasty Chinese warrior would be amused to learn that he has pets named after him overseas more than a century after his death (yes he actually existed, watch this blog for more details. I’ve even met his family, […]

    Breathing easier. The manuscript does not suck.

    Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

    I got an e-mail from my editor, Jon Karp, which was a great relief. It looks like the book revisions are not going to take too long, and are not going to be too much of a structural overhaul, which means we can get it to the copyeditors by August 1 (which is apparently key […]

    Suppose General Tso had trademarked General Tso’s Chicken?

    Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

    Peter Wells writes about intellectual property skirmishes among chefs today The New York Times, specifically focusing on a lawsuit between Rebecca Charles of Pearl Oyster Bar and Ed McFarland, her former sous chef and owner of Ed’s Lobster Bar in Soho. But excellent and powerful food ideas, it seems to me, seem to be hard […]

    Is Mitt Romney Sticky Rice? Well, Supposedly the Chinese Voters Might Think he Is

    Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

    Frank Phillips of The Boston Globe has a piece discussing the seemingly awkward translations of candidates names into Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese) as required by law. According to the article, Mitt Romney could be read as Sticky or Uncooked Rice, Fred Thompson as Virtue Soup, and Tom Menino as Rainbow farmer — or worse. The […]

    WSJ: Atheism, the new readers’ market

    Monday, June 25th, 2007

    Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg of The Wall Street Journal writes about the surprising success of Christopher Hitchens’ God is Not Great (Twelve, 2007). Twelve originally printed a modest 40,000 copies. Demand has been so strong that booksellers and wholesalers were unable to get copies a short time after it hit stores, creating what the publishing industry […]

    Do dogs add “in bed” after their fortunes too?

    Monday, June 25th, 2007

    Michael Schaffer, who is writing a book on pet culture called One National Under Dog, sent me an e-mail message with the subject line “Our books meet” and a url. I clicked and laughed when I saw it. This company, K9takeout, now sells fortune cookies for dogs. The types of fortunes they offer include “Confucius […]

    Despite Castro (or because of him?), the Chinese are back in Cuba

    Monday, June 25th, 2007

    Nathanial Hoffman of McClatchy discusses the resurgence of Chinese in Cuba, (and with it, a new breath of life for El Barrio Chino, which was once the largest Chinatown in the Western hemisphere (yes, bigger than San Francisco and New York Chinatowns). Massive numbers of Chinese originally arrived in Cuba to work on the sugar […]

    Jamaican Chinese food? Jamaican Chinese reggae?

    Thursday, June 21st, 2007

    Tomorrow I’m heading to Kingston, Jamaica with my friend Eric Lee (who I know from Chinese camp from the time we both still wore braces) to do research on the Chinese Jamaicans, and Jamaican-Chinese food and the importance of Chinese Jamaicans in the reggae music industry. The Chinese started arriving in Jamaica in the 1850s-1860s […]

    Wakiya Watch: Yuji’s Google count rising

    Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

    Many of the “Japanese” restaurants in this country have Chinese chefs (those Asian guys behind the sushi counter? Chances are they have never been to Japan). Florence Fabricant profiles the hot new Chinese restaurant with a Japanese chef: Wayika, which will be opening up in Gramercy Park Hotel next month Yuji Wakiya, who is a […]

    I <3 flickr wordpress widgets

    Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

    I just installed Josh Gerdes’ SimpleFlickr Plugin to display Chinese restaurant photos from Flickr and it was breathtakingly easy. When I saw the line of code I was suppose to drop into the page, I thought, “Is that it? That can’t be it.” It took maybe 10 minutes and it comes back with this beautiful […]

    Facebook: “When I was your age, Pluto was a planet.”

    Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

    So people in my age group have only recently gotten into Facebook (we were the Friendster generation, though I am proud to say I have a very low ID on Facebook, but never got into it since no one else I knew was in it back then). My  favorite Facebook group of all time is […]

    The chopsticks are no worse than a tattoo

    Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

    My friend quickly threw together a temporary header for the blog (displacing boats, tomatoes and puppies that came with WordPress templates), asking “is it obvious that i had to mirror the chopsticks?” Um, yes. If you look closely, you’ll see the Chinese characters on the chopsticks are backwards. But it doesn’t matter since most of the […]

    Are Chinese delivery men invisible?

    Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

    The new New York Times Cityroom blog (go Sewell!) has a piece on how delivery bicyclists must wear helmets. Many accidents like getting doored etc. Perhaps because delivery men are invisible in our eyes. The whole missing deliveryman in an elevator from 2004 plays to this theory. My friend, David Hu, once had a taste […]

    If you blog in an empty forest, will anyone hear you?

    Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

    (I wrote this post two nights ago and I guess it’s now irrelevant. I feel like this blog is like a baby born prematurely — you have to work a bit harder a bit earlier than expected, but it will all be okay in the end):  I set up this web site a few days ago […]

    Newspapers: relying on deep thoughts as much as Deep Throat?

    Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

    David Folkenflik has an NPR piece today about media depending on “conceptual scoops” — which is akin to what I call “stories that people talk about” (aka the most-emailed stories, aka, the secret weapon that newspapers will (hopefully) ultimately wield in a hyperconnected, hypermemed, hyperblogged digital media age). He interviews Phil Bennett, managing editor of The Washington, Post, who […]

    Will America’s best Chinese restaurant be headed by a Japanese chef?

    Sunday, June 17th, 2007

    Today we will being our countdown to a non-specific date…Chinese food aficionados are waiting with baited breath for the mid-July opening of Wakiya in New York City after Alan Yau (of Hakkasan fame) was unable to get a visa for his chef for Park Chinois and thus canceled the project. Yuji Wakiya, who is Japan-Japanese, […]

    NYT: Why immigration reform affects your Chinese takeout

    Sunday, June 17th, 2007

    Tim and Nina Zagat of (yes as in those Zagats) have an interesting op-ed piece in The New York Times about why Chinese cuisine in the United States is stagnant — and they blame it (partially) on the difficulty with getting visas for Chinese chefs. This is something that I have thought long and hard […]

    Two for two for Twelve on the NYT bestseller list

    Sunday, June 17th, 2007

      New York Magazine has an item by Lloyd Grove on Twelve’s early success with landing the imprint’s first two books on The New York Times best seller list — Boomsday by Christopher Buckley (peaked at #14 on the fiction hardcover bestseller list) and God is not Great by Christopher Hitchens (#1 on non-fiction hardover). […]

    Did you change the margins on your term paper too?

    Thursday, June 14th, 2007

    I was contracted at 90,000 words, and it looked like I was heading to 110,000. Journalists are obsessed with length/word count (Book editors tell me that their journalist authors will always know exactly how many words they have written so far. Was true for me!) It seemed to me 20% overage was severe, so the […]

    My book cover: Orange is the New Orange

    Thursday, June 14th, 2007

    So here it is: my orange orange cover. It’s what I call Gates-of-Central-Park orange, which is admittedly eye-catching and “in” right now. A lot of people have complained about the “cognitive dissonance” of “fortune cookie” on a soy sauce packet (which isn’t cognitive dissonance at all per psychology definitions, but rather “incongruity”). There are no […]

    Whatever happened to The Long March of General Tso?

    Thursday, June 14th, 2007

    If you are here, you will notice that my book on Chinese food is no longer called The Long March of General Tso, as reported previously. Many people are sad about this, I among them. This brilliant title was conceived by my colleague Michael Luo. But the logic by my editor was this: If you […]

    I’m 34% off!

    Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

    V.V. Ganeshananthan (whom we call Sugi) pointed out to me a few weeks ago that my book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, was already on sale on Amazon (if you buy by clicking through that link, I get like 4% commission) — which shocked me as I had not turned even turned in my manuscript. I […]

    Dreamhost, WordPress and MySQL

    Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

    Okay. I just registered for hosting at Dreamhost and installed WordPress. And indeed, as my friend promised, it was one-click installation + typing in some fields. I had a little stumble with trying to figure out a good nomenclature for the mysql database, as ‘wordpress’ and ‘blog’ (recommended) were being used elsewhere in the Dreamhost […]