Sunday, May 08, 2005

jon stewart, cheesesteaks, and freakonomics

i was in new york last week, where i got to see a live taping of the daily show. every college town probably has a really good, really cheap restaurant that becomes a student-favorite, and for me and duane and our friends that place was Hoagie Haven. as it turns out, jon stewart is a proud native of lawrenceville, NJ, which is down the road from princeton and hoagie haven. knowing this, i went to the show sporting my bright orange haven t-shirt. before the show, jon came out to take questions and chat with the audience. after he made one joke that people mostly snickered and grumbled at, the following exchange ensued:

JON: settle down! you might not know it from looking at me, but i'm tough. i'll fight anyone in here! except for the guy in the hoagie haven shirt.
ME: thanks jon, i appreciate it.
JON: for those of you who aren't familiar with hoagie haven, it's incredible. they have, like, the best sandwiches in the world, at ridiculously cheap prices. i just don't get it. it's not a viable economic model they're running. i swear it's a front for a russian heroin outfit.
ME: can i ask you what your favorite sandwich at the haven is?
JON: sure, i don't mind sharing that information with you at all. i like the whole cheesesteak, with lettuce/tomato/mayo. jersey style, not philly style. what about you?
ME: i've got to go with the chicken parm. just spices.
JON: ahhh, the chicken parm. let me tell you: these guys at the haven will go to frank purdue's backyard and pick out anything you want, fry it, put it on bread with a stack of cheese.... two dollars and fifteen cents.

it was pretty satisfying. and duane assures me that this story would be interesting to more than just him :)

incidentally, steven levitt, an economist from u. chicago, was talking about his new book "freakonomics," in which he describes (among other things) some research he's done that links the dramatic drop in crime rates in the early 90s to the Roe v. Wade decision. the general logic is that people getting abortions were those most likely to have had unwanted children, who are in turn the kids who would have been most likely to commit the very types of crimes that dropped off severely right about the time they would have reached the prime criminal age... he's gotten a lot of shit for this, as you can imagine, but actually remains pretty neutral about the morality of the issue and his claims. he's just a brilliant and creative economist with access to great datasets and precise models that rule out many of the other obvious factors that might contribute to such effects. he also has a terrific analysis of why most drug dealers still live with their mothers. it's worth checking out it you're interested in how econ can shed light on some of the more interesting mysteries of everyday life.


Blogger Becky said...

i knew i loved jon stewart for a reason! ah, the endless cheesteak/ chicken parm dilemma. all of life's choices should be so sumptuous :) mmmm... haven.... i can taste it now!

1:56 PM  
Blogger Duane said...

I haven't had a hoagie from the haven in aobut 5 years, and I still occasionally have a dream about heading down there and getting a sausage omelet hoagie.

Re: Levitt: i haven't read the book but i can only imagine the amount of shit he's gotten.

9:47 AM  

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