Friday, June 30, 2006

Tell me more about the carrot.

I am as lame as Star Jones for even mentioning the Star Jones situation, but really: how lame. She is so repellant. I've never been as appalled by any narcissistic public display of princessy conspikuous product-placement consumption as I was by her wedding and I don't even *watch* The View. It seeped through every bit of the media, around the corners, into the edges, whether you wanted it to or not. Just awful. And I'm (oh celebrities) equally appalled by the dead-eyed look she's acquired since Losing the Weight--she has (what could be construed as) this kind of smug, you-come-to-me, superior, sleepy-eyed look that at the very least make me wonder what kinda drogas she's on. Oy! Well, who cares and all that, but--who cares. Especially since the controversy just feeds the problem--I can't help feeling that we're watching a bit of a monster being created by the fame machine we feed just by...watching. Breathing. Living.

Real find: Wild Oats Organic Tater Tots! Thank god they don't have a cutesy re-named name the way some organic food does, like Healthy Li'l Potato Pals. And they're good: more actual potato taste without the seriously pre-fab flavor the generic ones have (which are still not as bad as Ore-Idas), and not quite as greasy, but they still cook up with that requisite lovely, almost grainy tot texture, and crisp, potato-mosaic outside. As I prepared my dinner last night I realized there are a few rules that always go with them, a few--as it were--Tot Tenets:

1. It doesn't matter what temperature at which you begin cooking them, or what the various packages say (always somewhere in the 400s), you will always end up cooking them at 500 degrees. That is the correct tot temperature to achieve proper textural contrast and bite. So go ahead and crank the heat up.

2. There are never enough tater tots.

3. Tots are in their way very ephemeral things--not held together with very much, prone to sticking to the cooking sheet and coming apart, in the end just a squeeze of leftover potato pieces chopped into little tiles pressed together in lieu of being fed to livestock. Hence, the best tool for getting them off the cooking sheet, even when covered with foil or paper, are your fingers, as they delicately pull at them. Spatulas gouge them into bits, even when they've cooked enough and therefore started to raise themselves a bit off the paper.

4. Corollary to #3: you will always get a little bit burnt handling Tots.

5. Tots are at their best plain, with salt and ketchup for dipping. I can't get with these Casseroles. Seems coy. A tot is a tot is a tot.

Been watching Dial M for Murder. I am in love with movies with very constrained physical locales--which often means movies that were plays. This one is too small, too constrained, too claustrophobic (3/4 of an apartment), though, even for me who loves this shit. Downright lazy. Well, 95% of the time I think that, 5% of the time I think that much constraint plus Raymond Milland's elegant performance contributes to the creepy evil of the story, although really, when you look at it, it's awfully English, the kind of murder mystery writing Raymond Chandler faulted the British for. The scene at the end where Milland, having been caught hiring someone to murder his wife, offers them all a drink, including the policeman AND the wife, and they civilly agree that they "could do with something," seems pretty comical now.

This movie is notable also for starring John Williams, who is my grandfather manque, or--doppelganger is not quite right--he my grandfather. I say this, even though 1) he, um, ISN'T and 2) I actually never met my grandfather. But I know the photos, and the stories, and he looked very like JW, down to the waxed mustachios, Anglo-egg-shaped head with smoothed-down hair, and tweedy 3-piece suits with watch fobs and vests. He was also the right era (my grandfather was of a more than usually distant generation--born in early 1890s). There are also a few family stories relating to JW (seeing him on a train right after my grandfather died, e.g.) that aren't mine to tell that first put the idea in my head in fact. So he just Is. This is something more than superstition; it's this kind of illogical but pleasing flat-footed deliberate (dis)belief. Yup, there he is. I have to have *some* bit of this very important but mysterious person in my life, so I choose to think he walks in and out in this manner occasionally.

Small Spaces, Big Style on HGTV is fascinating, not just because it demonstrates the interesting, spatial-orienting workings of people's minds as they try to cram their lives into 400 sq. feet, but it shows how *couples* do this. Usually crazed NYC couples, who are trying to fit their whole lives, including often pets and at-home businesses, into ridiculously tiny apartments with no storage or square footage. Flavored with an ascetic religious fervor. I decided the other day, though, as they featured these great carpeted cat "stairs" along the wall in one of those places, that the show means nothing if they're not showing us how they deal with THE LITTER BOX, *ESP* in a small space. That's the ultimate challenge, there, and if they don't show that, nothing else matters. Puh-lease. I've never known a cat yet who couldn't fling litter out of the most carefully designed space in all their scrabblings and diggings.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Go lean on Shell's Answer Man

More iTunes joy: finally got Flavor Flav's "I Can't Do Nuttin' for Ya, Man!" due to fact that PE greatest hits album now on iT. Sometimes when I'm home alone I'll spontaneously holler "oooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaohhhhhhhhhhhhrunnin for ya lifeYI!" I flatter myself that I do quite a nice imitation, but who knows.

Oh the joy that $.99 brings.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

This is the 101st post in this blog. I think I shall strip down, paint myself white with black dots, and wait for Hugh Laurie to arrive in his night attire.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Ye Mighty

Well, I don't know about you, but the first thing I did on Saturday was talk to me best pal about my Feelings about Aaron Spelling dying. I did not ever think while I was limping through a miserable Saturday night babysitting and watching the horrible Love Boat/Fantasy Island double-header that I might miss this guy, but I felt a pang. He shaped so much of the TV that was on when I was young, even as I railed against it all at the time. Plus he was the ultimate point of reference, that guy, the crap he produced--him dying is a little like when I left an incredibly conservative high school I hated and unexpectedly felt a little lost without those extremes to define myself against. Always helps to have something you're Not.

It's not that I think all the contributions he made to the Great American Eating Disorder or Conspicuous Consuming are so adorable, but he had the virtue, like the first wave of immigrant Hollywood dreambrokers, of working in fantasy. He created jiggle shows that were really jiggle shows and didn't feel like they could be anything else. Friends is a jiggle show but pretends it's not.

Plus, the funnest thing about Aaron Spelling is not the work of his that succeeded, but the insane crap that never took off, like Velvet, maybe the worst/best made for TV-movie ever, with aerobics-instructing crime-fighting ladies who step on a scale to open their secret lair and have radio transmitters in their diamante lightning bolt hairclips, with Shari Belafonte as the high-fiving sassy Velvet of Color and Polly Bergen as the dyke-y housemother Velvet instructress. Unbelievably great.

So much of his stuff was just kooky, nuts--all those Fantasy Island plots come from somewhere really dark in the brain. The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (oh my GOD, I remember my whole class so atwitter about that the next day) probably shaped my entire female generation's sexuality on some level--the byooful johntravolta, all trapped in a bubble, waiting for us to love him out of it. Anyhow...godspeed. Strangely, Ozymandias-ly sad.

* * * * *

Heh heh...hilARious. Maybe you've noticed this (yes, you) in all the different mattress ads on TV: a big selling point is now that you can't feel the other person moving on the mattress next to you. Demonstrators fling bowling balls on one side of the mattress while people snore away on the other or people jump up and down on one side while a wine glass stays still. It's starting to make for some really hilarious Sophie Tucker copy, is the point, that cracks me up every time I watch it. "I can't even sense Bob moving!" "My husband's moving and I can't feel a thing!" Hehehehe I'm sorry, but hehehehehehe.

Janine Turner is getting weirder. I am positing this with certainty NOT because of an article I read not too long ago about her holing up in Texas with guns and voting for Bush, she says bluely, but because in the only footage I've seen of her in the last few years, her lipstick is creeping farther and farther out from around her mouth to where it's looking kind of clown/whore-y. Your basic porn star lip pencil. Weird! Perhaps she's doing her own makeup down there in Tejas and thinking it all has to get bigger and bigger? I wish I had a still from her latest GoSmile infomercial, because now her hair's starting to look weird too.

Fav cheeseball show: Pimp My Ride. Mostly it's fun (apart from the makeover show transformations) to see the state people let their cars get into, and all the workarounds they live with to dangle some prepositions against the pavement as I drive. I kept laughing out loud at this one guy (a repeat) who had to put on goggles whenever he drove to keep the foam ceiling from sifting into his eyes. I used to do stuff like that all the time, is the point--you think you're not, but you're just as bad as them. I had a bumper tied on with string and had to climb through my passenger side door for months. Plus host Xzibit has this scary growly OG rapper voice, but he turns out to be a big smiley cute nerd underneath it all. I love that he's so entertained by all the shitty cars. Note: I WANT A BIG, BIG-BUTT CADILLAC.

Totally, completely worth it: the nice DVD version of Gosford Park. The commentary by screenwriter Julian Fellowes is really fascinating. Some of the detail I was familiar with as a die-hard fan of stories of Edwardian houseparties, but lots of it was new and revelatory. Balanced, fair, fascinating. In me umble O.

Friday, June 23, 2006

We can show y'all better than we can tell y'all.*

Funnest dilettante-in' parlor game ever (this is very Late, these perambulations): guessing what Daniel Barenboim would play at his last concert. I have to admit to getting verklempt even imagining what it would have been like to hear Beethoven's Ninth in that context. The impression you get about his leaving--not so much from all the current sentimentality, but from when it was first announced--is that he's just not up to the conjoined American tasks of artmaking and fundraising and it'll be a relief to get back to state-funded art and smoking his Galoises standing outside a pub in London with his collar up talking about Free Love no, that's very Hilary & Jackie and not actually true and actually I have no idea what he'll be doing or where he'll even be living, but still there's some truth in that he doesn't wanna hang around to kiss McCormick/Blair tushies or whatever. Skip thinks he'll get stuck making shitty government-sponsored art for bridge-openings and regret it, but I think DB's out of that class in most ways. All I know is: 1) I have been in this city a LONG time, to have seen out both Solti and now Barenboim, fifteen years later 2) the CSO is one of this city's great, world-class babies and I have both every cliched chauvinistic feeling about wanting it to only get better and an enormous amount of pride in where it's come to the last fifteen years and 3) there is no conductor on earth who is immune to the effects of the Barenboim syndrome: somewhat classically unattractive men (short, baldy, etc.) who become yum through sheer musical magnetism.

I saw Something New as my neXt Very timid, very cautious, notable mostly for flipping the flimsy movie romance, particularly the interracial movie romance, around completely to where The White Guy is a combination of The Girl + Sidney Poitier in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?. Skip in her great take says he's emasculated, and he basically is...he's connected to every domestic task, doesn't fight for himself, and when Kenya goes running back to Him at the end of the movie you realize we don't even know where he lives we're so uninterested in him except as he relates to Her life. Very arm candy. (I love Sanaa Lathan...I wish this movie weren't so limp and obvious.) The thing is, she's emasculated (whatever the female is that we're always groping for) too. Not in her Career Woman shell, but in that she's such a shallow character that all her walls are beige, and He's the one who opens her up to color. How tired is that. This person who is supposed to be so smart just finds the intelligence and energy to reject how fussy a cotillion is when she's 30+ for our stirring denouement. I really wanted to see this movie--it looked fluffy but good--but as per uzh all the good stuff was in the promo. Made a great promo. P.S. I just remembered what really cheesed me off about this movie: the idea that *he*'s the one who convinces Sanaa--Kenya--to Go Natural with her hair (!). Good golly. Feels roundaboutly racist to me in its cliche. Well, anyhow.

I have been watching The Little Zoo That Could on Animal Planet rather too much in recent weeks. It's all about a zoo on the Alabama Gulf Coast hit hard by the hurricanes and how they try to rebuild: the structure of the show is very manufactured, and the voiceovers really repetitious. Very True Hollywood Story with breathless 5 minute breaks for commercials.'s hard not to constantly notice what an incredibly good setting for melodrama a zoo is. You always have an animal getting sick, being wrenched from its mother, being born, fighting for its life, fighting others, people crying, people laughing, whatever you want. Built-in drama-fest. Excise all the footage of animals pooping (check), flinging feces at children (check) or other disgusting activities (check), not to mention all the hours of zookeepers raking out pens, and you're all set--they can even leave in a lot of the physical drama (tranquilizing tigers with dart guns) and have it be halfway realistic. Hard not to get sucked in. And the show is really making me love ring-tailed lemurs even more than I did, with their whole repertoire of gravity-free and sometimes very human postures. I love when they sit on their haunches like a little throne or a tired old man and survey life.

Josh Max, well-known in the size-acceptance community, has a great, really nicely-written article at Salon about his life as a guy who loves fat women. It's wonderful, very lucid. I don't know if that direct link will work, or if you'll have to stare helplessly at a Salon ad to make it show up, but it was in Thursday's Salon if you need to backtrack. Thanks to JL for the link! She's the one that spawned the Jack Kerouac idiocy, god bless her.

*Speaking of fat chicks in the media, BET had this really inane (read: promotional) countdown show of the top 12 moments on the BET Awards show, but I was still breathlessly clasping my paws together throughout (inanely) hoping for Mo'Nique's dance to be #1 and it was! Glory be. Her dance is still one of the most amazing fat girl things I've ever seen on TV, especially when surprised with it cold for the first time. I love her for flying the fat flag high and putting her money where her mouth is. And I love their dresses. I love their dance! Not to mention those 30 seconds are the only 30 seconds of any Beyonce song I like--I like the bass and the Chi-Lites sample, 'scuse me but I just do.

je reviens

Let's start this back off with a Rebecca reference--shall we? Always called-for.

I've certainly experienced it before, but it's still a little weird these days to be completely without a computer for a big chunk of time, in this case about a week and a half (minus the PDeen posting). Not the best timing in this case, but--

For now I will just say that despite the good beat I'm not buying Nelly Furtado's reclamation of "Promiscuous" as a fun funky word...or however we're supposed to be reading it. Too stupid. It's like calling a song called "Loghorreic" or "Untidy" or "Dilatory." Hain't sexy.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

5,001 Nights at the Remote.


The other day during a really excellent show about hamburgers, during preparation of the first Paula Deen suddenly realized that she had forgotten to take her jewelry off (ground meat + diamonds = nasty mess). If you've ever seen her eng*g*m*nt r*ng, then you know that this is a fairly serious place for raw meat to become lodged. Anyhow, she said, "I better take these off or Michael will spank me" (meaning her husband). You could see her face change as her thoughts wandered off her normal kitchen patter and she made this hilarious smile at the camera out of the moue she was sporting, then just kept going.

Of the chorus line of chickies on FoodTV, Paula Deen might be my favorite. That moment, which sounds in the telling like nothing very far-out--a kinda rote maewesty nudgenudge TV bit--made me laugh out loud at its spontanaeity. It doesn't rival the One Fat Lady's comment about greasing up with butter like it's Last Tango in Paris, but that isn't her kind of humor, which isn't usually that sly or ironic, but right out front.

I like that she's older. Yes, I do. The average age of a cooking show host on TV keeps getting younger and younger and it's starting to feel like the information they impart--which cycles around this tired track of very common shared cooking knowledge--could't be that useful for anybody, even for a beginner. Either way, the good news is that Paula Deen brings her own (often nicely lightly-worn but) serious cooking experience to the show. She knows a lot about Southern cooking, and although she's sometimes hyperbolic in her natural demeanor, she doesn't have that rhapsodic food anthropologist/foodie air. She knows how to make lacey corn cakes, the real kind, because her dad liked them. Maybe she's dragged out that story a few too many times for the camera, but it's still interesting.

Although we seem to fetishize "peasant" food of other countries like ribolitta or whatever but don't always have that much interest in our own, she is somebody who actually cooks American food that has a real basis in economics. Like her bean patties on white bread (very good). I don't mean all her food does, and I don't know how to explain this very well, but her basic ingredients are often the only ones I've seen that you *can't* spend a lot of money on. Hard to pay a lot for beans. A lot of her shows feature recipes that you really could start from your pantry, not just if your pantry contained perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes and $70 of halibut steaks. She makes lots of fancy stuff too, but somehow her food feels more like cooking--meals--than foregrounded Dishes with a capital D. She's not pushing the food in the camera quite as hard as other TV chefs do in their zeal--she's in charge here.

I like the way she cooks and her depth of knowledge. She has strengths that come from being both a serious home chef and then a restaurateuse. Sometimes her years in restaurant cooking comes out in all the unPC stuff she dips into without a lot of fanfare like Accent, garlic powder or liquid smoke, but it helps make the whole thing feel, well, honest, to use the word in the total MFK Fisher sense of it (as she always used it about food or wine or cooks). PD also uses home cooking shortcuts like the occasional cake mix, but that works too. She is also quite in love with butter and mayonnaise, bless her.

Although she uses a lot of kitchen help to speed things along on her show, she's also clearly in her domain by the way she uses her hands. I've always said that the cooking shows I like the best are the ones where I can turn off the sound and still learn almost as much (one reason Jacques Pepin is King). You learn a lot about how to handle yourself in the kitchen just watching her work. The way she handles meats, the deliberate order in which she does things, the casual way she handles other things. Again, it's a not a ballet of precise show-off choppings--it's just that you get the feeling she's really doing this, she's really done this a hundred times before, and this is how she gets stuff done. There's a certain ease--not bravura--but ease. As a result, she spends much less time than other TV chefs telling you to always do this or to never do that. She just does it and you can judge if it's something you'd do or not yourself.

She's got a seriously "folksy" demeanor...the word oil is "ooooooooohhhhhhr" and the word bread is "braaae-hed." The other day as she poured a glaze onto chocolate bread pudding (sweet jesus did that look good) she said, "ooo, listen to eet goooo-ooooouush." I'm going to guess it could become pretty grating for some people, like the way she attaches gender to foods, especially meats ("I'm going to rub him with a dry rub" about a steak) but I like it, as I like most things about her, since it feels real. She's also pretty. She has beautiful eyes and the most beautiful head of white hair I've ever seen, one that's giving me hope along with Emmilou Harris for the glamour of going greywhite. And her clear happiness in her later-in-life second marriage is very charming. It's a little tedious that even with her very comforting auntie-like persona people don't notice what a glamorous older lady she is.

Folksy TV is still TV, with all its sins and manipulations and overexposures--especially folksy TV--but I still really like this one.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Cor blimey!

Well, my computer's gone toes-up. Barring miraculous resurrection via bribed coworker geekitude (may happen), my home computer's really dead, unless--until such time as, well, miraculous resurrection occurs, or I get so sick of it all I willy-nilly cough up $ for the new car smell of a shiny PC that I don't really want (Mac girl here) but will work in the LCD way for longer than reconfigured computers do (my last three--for which I am very grateful, but I'm not sure I have the chops or green thumb or whatever to keep them running). Or whatever. Well, we'll see. Oh sigh.

I finished watching Match Point -- not bad. Borrowed a little too much from his own movies (Crimes and Misdemeanors), other people's movies (A Place in the Sun), and Hitchcock (Dial M for Murder)--a different category somehow, but I still liked it. It was a bit like an accomplished painter going back and carefully executing a classic painting exercise--it was a beautifully put-together film, with really careful joints and intersections and moving parts. Like...Norm Abrams making a simple chest of drawers, step by step. Making sure you can still do it. Beautifully shot, beautifully edited, with all that careful, non-topical dialogue (other than little bits, and even the opera was never really discussed in proper nouns). It was also kind of a test movie, in that it was possible to feel more annoyed by the relentless middle-class pursuits of his in-laws and his wife, than of his (the main dude's) venal qualities. I appreciated the horrifying way the death scene was shot--effective. And the silly but also effective lil plot twist at end.

It occured to me that one should be able to predict exactly what's about to happen in Woody's life by the events of the films he makes--i.e., you could obviously tell things were going south w/ MF after Husbands and Wives and the swervy ending--but I bet it could get more complicated than that, the predictions. Or perhaps his recent films in which he's not acting throw the algorithm off. ?

I also watched one of my all-time favorite Pink Lettering movies, a recent acquisition, The Best of Everything, and please note: this film ALSO features a wedding ring in its key art design (like Match Point), just to a very different end. This time around I was struck, despite the very different sexual mores and sheer lack of conviction about Women in Business, by the very PLUS CA FREAKIN CHANGE quality of the whole thing, both in terms of film and in terms of office life. Like (for film)...the model-turned-not-very-good-actress (Suzy Parker); or the trope of the woman who's had problems saved at end by man in uniform--this time a doctor, but remember the cop-savior of movies in recent years? (Grand Canyon, Object of My Affection, off the top of my head); etc. And in the office: the boor, the bitch, the claustrophobic female feel, the enforced corporate fun (picnic). Oh the glamour of single girl city life...

I have missed almost ALL of the Zarqawi a pixel. All I know is (the point being I bet this has been pointed out) the sight of his dead head made me think that that image on CNN is no different than a head on a pike outside the castle walls. Plus ca change indeed.

I've been thinking a lot about minimalism recently--its appeals and its horrors (architecturally). I think in the end you more accurately have to describe it as a housekeeping method rather than an architectural style. I dislike design that puts everything away--I like storage that is out, to a degree, doesn't hide. All that hiding feels coy. And if a be-ruffled fake toilet brush cosy in a tuxedo is coy...then how much more coy is an entire John Pawson house?

Unintentionally ghoulish: the teasers on shows like Animal Cops, which end up in their Perils of Pauline way presenting in voiceovers lines like "When we come back, see how the dog whose owner left it with two crippled legs to die reacts." Um...well, it comes back from the grave and wreaks holy justice on him? Everything is so ghoulishly "you'll find out when we come back" and it ends up increasing the nastiness of it all.

To wit: I really was excited about Meerkat Manor. I really wanted to watch that show. But just like Babe, Babe, Pig in the City, and Charlotte's Web, I do not think I am old enough to watch it. The anthropomorphization just encourages my inability to handle sights like valiant little Shakespeare the meerkat limping home to die from a snake bite, or the little meerkat baby abandoned by his caretakers. Next week we find out if Flower will kill her grandchildren to better increase the chances of her own surviving...forget it! Don't get me wrong--I know this is real life, and I don't think sanitized nature shows are any fun or are even quite moral, but gah! Wah! Little meerkat babies!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Tomorrow's Judy's birthday. And how are you going to celebrate? And why does TCM always show the fab lineups (today it's For Me and My Gal, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Clock, The Harvey Girls, Summer Stock, In the Good Old Summertime AND The Pirate...UNBELievably delicious) while we are AT WORK?? Would be a great day to stay at home in a pink pegnoir and sip cocktails with someone sympathetic. I'd like to take this opportunity to give a big shout-out to my homeskillet Kim B., the biggest Judy fan I know, who's probably celebrating as we speak, and Fred K., who in a perfect world would be my sympathetic Judy-watching-to-headachey-excess person.

Ashlee Simpson's nose: why? Her face has lost whatever individuality or piquancy it once had. Routine rhinoplasty = nassy.

Come to my room in half-an-hour. And bring some rye bread.

More new Bette Davis movies on DVD--yahoo. I've wanted the Man Who Came to Dinner for a long time, although really, people--aren't Ann Sheridan and Richard Travis awful? They both seem like they're borrowed from a bad stage production and stand out horribly amidst all the fabulousness. I do love the rye bread line with great ferocity. How can you not love something so inane that seems so lurid for no reason at all? Brill.

Watched part of Match Point tonight...verrrry interesting. I like it for a lot of reasons that may have nothing to do with it being good--the lovely talky linear Eric Rohmer quality of the plot, the opera, all the bits that scratch my Anglophilic itch, the careful scoring. I'm very interested in how Woody Freakin Allen got the Anglo stuff both correct and wrong--is he *that* familiar with British slang/language/idiom/social niceities? Alternately: didn't somebody tell him that they don't talk about upward mobility the way we do? Anyhow, so far a very fun indulgence or that delicious walking around the city and talking and having drinks and eating and smoking and sex type of (usually Frog) movie I am a sucka for. Obviously a little bit of Hitchcock thrown in here too (tennis, byooful blondes, etc.).

Deep, Deep, in the Way-Back Machine: I generally veer far far away from begathon crap on PBS and I even scoffed when I saw it was on, but I got TOTALLY sucked into the Tommy/Quadrophenia video concerts tonight. Surprised me. I opened my mouth and out came every single singalong word of both...I used to *pore* over the lyric sheets to those, esp. Quadrophenia. I mean, I forgot how much of my brainpan they actually occupy. It was interesting, too, to seem them performed as rock operas, since I hadn't seen them in so long...see how they held together. How dated they felt or not (still not sure). I did have several recurring thoughts, though: 1) I kept remembering when the Who licensed Rain O'er Me for a car commercial when I was just out of college and how disappointed I was...that now seems so naive 2) J. Entwistle's bass solo during 5:15 was, while slightly Derek Smalls-ish, totally fantastic...forgot those flying fingers. Kind of like Keith Moon's flying arms that never seemed like they were doing what they were. Then I kept thinking...He (JE) died with a hooker in Vegas tra la. 3) It was probably inevitable, but wow, was my obsession with Quadrophenia ever...unhelpful on some level. I was so depressed, and it fed into all the depression so well, down to the movie, which I never really knew well, but even the images on the LP. Blergh. Anyhow, interesting. I was left thinking: the Who were a little weirder than they get treated in their categorization, which is neat. I'm too tired to explain any of this well, but it was some interesting musical nourishment and I am always for that. The ushers were sniffin/eau de cologne-in...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

My computer appears to currently have epilepsy, so if a post breaks off nonsensically in media res, do forgive. I really hope this problem is healed, by which I mean, I wish the finger of God would reach down and fix it willy-nilly because I still can't figure out why and how this thing is seizing up and it's a very unsure way to live.

I'd like to now officially exchange Natasha Bedingfield for Daniel. PLIZ THANK YOU.

I would also like to describe the challah french toast I had the other night. I'm not a huge nursery foods fan--I don't often eat pancakes, rarely eat rice pudding, blancmanges, custards, whatever. But this French was very thick and soft and (I like this) not all the custard got all the way through the bread so chewing through it was through a forest of all these different kinds of Softs, not to mention all the variations caused from syrup and butter above. It was like swimming in a sea...the challah and the elements that make challah (egg, milk) all floating around it, steamily and warmly, with just the nicest enticing bits of crispness outside for contrast. It was unbelievable. I tore through two triangles in a happy daze with my knife and fork before leaning back, suddenly sated. Right on. Mother's milk. Think...MFKF's description of the gooseberry tart at the Strand, for a better description.

Carol Marin was vewy nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnice to John Updike on Chicago Tonight the other night. Verry verry. But he sure is amazing--I hope I'm 1/2 that compos mentis and adventurous intellectually when I'm his age (another reason to worship DLSayers). Funny, he's one of those writers I basically love but rarely reread. It's almost uncomfortable, how sometimes virtuosic his writing is, and it gets in the way of just giving over to fiction. I keep getting too amazed. Ain't saying I love everything about the man, but a lot, even down to his "light" verse that I still enjoy. Plus: he's gone all Dorian Gray in recent years. He certainly went from S&P to all gray some years ago, but since then: very little phsyical change. I think the big honkin WASP schnoz helps anchor it all.

I think my VCR died to spare me the disappointment of riding out the end of the Gilmore Girls season. It was a kind of counter-irritant/distraction--the VCR threw itself on the pyre, as it were. And what next season is going to be like, I don't even know.

I hate, I really hate, when I forget things I want to write about. My head and my life is full of little cryptic lists that are supposed to mnemonically remind me of whole gallons of ideas, but sometimes I can't figure out what I meant later, or sometimes the idea doesn't even make the list, usually because I think brashly that I'll remember it without writing it down. I mourn for this shit. I know how my brain works and it just doesn't always come back around.

I'm starting to like that Ron White comedian guy. Ain't my politics or anything, but I like that nice surreal BillHicks-y edge he has to things when he gets going. Kinda cool.

I would like to hear a bagpipe version of Phil Collin's "Separate Lives."

Unsurprising: My haul from the V&A museum to scratch this crazy spring blue and green William Morris itch I have going on was the most successful at the cheap end, which means I could sit and look at my coasters forever, but the absurdly expensive scarf just ain't working. Seems cheap. A huge pretty ripoff. Still on the hunt for more Liberty hankies...

Monday, June 05, 2006


A Threesome with Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady

Jack: Could you go get us some more cigs, babe? And pay the rent?
Neal: Is there a girl here? I didn't notice.
Jack: Yeah, don't worry, she's getting cigs.
Neal: Let me see that dick!
Jack: Let me see that dick!

The End

A Threesome with David and Shaun Cassidy

David: I am so hot.
Shaun: I am not as hot as you, but mom loves me better.
David: That's not true, plus I get all that Partridge trim you don't.
Shaun: Is there a girl here?
David: Don't worry, she won't tell anybody.
Shaun: Well, that's good, dah doo ron ron ron.
David: Let me see that dick!
Shaun: Let me see that dick!

The End
More proof that our local PBS station sucks: It was so busy with their intrusive begathon that it didn't have time to air the Live From the Met broadcast tonight, so it was left up to our valiant City Colleges of Chicago 2nd tier PBS station to do it, and may I just note that nothing ever sounded tinnier coming out of my crappy TV speakers. But it was still fun. It was the farewell tribute to Joseph Volpe, and I had forgotten much of his history: that he started as a carpenter (how biblical) at the old Met, that he had kind of found (the opera) god under the stage while listening to Nilsson & Corelli sing Turandot, and I want to say, WHO WOULDN'T. Lots of singers dragged out for the tribute, including Mirella Freni, who sounds like she *just* got off the boat when she speaks English--hilariously parodic--think she actually used the phrase "how you say." Funny--I just don't think she's as beloved here as she is at the Met, even though her late husband was a real Chicago regular. Dunno. Rene Pape wonderful...Dmitri Hvorostovsky his usual slightly quiet (in that context) and beautiful self. I love the name of the Volpe autobiography: it *is* the toughtest show on earth.

The thing that struck me watching the program for some reason was this little trope that I had forgotten I heard a lot in my childhood--the way that people say, "the Met," then quickly add "the OLD Met," when they're talking about the old building. That was a big distinction people made when they were talking about my greatgrandfather, who apparently subsidised his love of opera by being a spearcarrier when not in the standing room seats AT THE OLD MET (was always the addendum). The old Met with the curtain. It had this fairytale ring, and was intimately connected somehow to the idea of the old country and struggle--like that was the church, the temple of opera that the recent immigrants got for their new years in this country, where they brought their love of it. The OLD Met. Heard a lot of people saying that on the Volpe tribute. I guess it's just that I forgot I had a relative who liked opera that much, and on that side of the family (never met him, obviously)--there are more loud music lovers on the other side. I'd like to know more--always did. To me as a kid, standing room and being a spearcarrier sounded incredibly glamorous.

I have had very specific dreams about donating huge amounts of money to the 2nd and 3rd tier PBS stations in Chicago and leaving the big one out in the cold. I just can't figure out what they do with all their money--doesn't show up on what's on screen.

- - - - -

There are an army of women populating my late-night TV: punching, kicking, abdominalmuscley, yelling, smiling, sweating, hyper, amenorrheic(-looking), devotees of whatever--Tae Bo, Yoga Booty Ballet, whatever. These exercising Californian women who often look like they literally are part of an army with all the olive green. I'm tired of them. They all have too-young girly hairdos and clothes slung low on their hips and are getting very tedious. I think they would be better-served fighting for something else.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Quite continental.

I like the Lupe Fiasco "Kick Push"'s kind of onomotopoetic [sic, oh sic]. Feels like skateboarding. Nicely Chicago-y video too, without a lot of El. Reminds me a little of 'Gravel Pit' by Wu-Tang. Back back forth and forth.

I enjoyed the festival of food writing review in the Times this weekend (in my usual weird torqued up way), but I still think the opening to the (fatuous) Prud'homme review was stupid: Julia Child did *not* like everything about France.

Also, the out-of-print cookbook list was interesting. A. Bourdain's exactly what one would expect from reading his books. I woulda put Alice Medrich's Cocolat on there for sure. If I may make a dorky little literary comparison, it looks like Ma Gastronomie and Fernand Point is in for the same treatment B. Pym got after Lord David Cecil and Philip Larkin mentioned her in 1977 in the Times. That's grand news.

Today: M Monroe's birthday. All hail. Celebrated by watching part of Niagara (alternate titles: We Must Punish Her for the Sexuality That Makes Us So So Hot; also This Film Wrapped in Oilcloth) and all of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. [I STILL don't understand why the Gilmore Girls used Lorelai for their name; the first two major associations with it are of a Teutonic siren on the Rhine and of a gold-digging chorine--I must be missing some waspy somethin-somethin here.] The teal-colored deep vee neck with magenta sash and pedal pushers MM wears in Gentlemen is one of my all-time favorite Marilyn outfits. She looks so beautiful in it.

How many more people would have died in Iraq if this were 30 years ago? Without the advent (horrifying) of poly-trauma medicine, as it were? All we need is for Malcolm MacLaren to come up with a new song for this to look *exactly* like Vietnam.

Anderson Cooper definitely OUT as GV's son now.

I indulged (right word) in the 2nd wildly over-scored Bridget Jones movie. Bleah. Only three funny words: 'mini spotted dick.' Well, okay, a little better than that. And why the big dose of John Currin near the end? A bit of the most bizarre product placement ever? Probably just a chance for HL to say "perv quotient."