Okay, so Yasmin has left me; now my constant nauseating companion is, well, Lois. Lois is, of course, the secretary at the local high school. She sighs unthinkingly a lot in a way that sounds angry, wears the classic Embarrassed double-knit fat lady top-and-pants outfits of my yoot (RIP), has a too-short older-straight-lady dyke hairdo that's always a little sweaty at the back and wears glasses on a chain around her neck. Only maybe it's not Lois who's making me sick...maybe it's the conflict of her and CeeCee, drug #2. Yes, that's it. CeeCee, who is younger, transferred from another high school where she worked and now she and Lois are deadlocked in a battle of the embittered martyred employee. A battle of whispered angry conferences in the hallway, teary-eyed lunches in the break room, partisan birthday card passing, when all the time their real enemies are the awful students. I hope they resolve their difficulties soon.
* The current E coli outbreak in commercial spinach production is making for some hilarious visuals on TV news. They have to have imagery to fill in during voiceovers, of course, and what they end up with is a lot of...spinach. Very passive spinach. Lying in piles, sitting in bags, being sprayed with water, perhaps being hesitantly fluffed by anonymous human hands. In a bowl. On a plate. It can make for a long 30 seconds.
* Newsflash: Kim has just informed me that Cole Porter's hometown is pronounced Pee-roo. I had implied that it was Pair-oo in my last post, by my fondness for orthographic spelling in all sorts of inappropriate contexts. Pee-roo. PEE-roo.
* What book has had the most effect on my life at the moment, do you ask? Why, High Heels for Jennifer, of course. Arguably the least great of the Jennifer books by Eunice Young Smith, but one with an enormously valuable life lesson: how to deal when something you've created and care desperately about is destroyed. How to do it over. Suck it up and do it over. Keep doing. My mercurial web browser just ate in an instant 1,500 of the most carefree happy words I ever threw together for this blog with all the benefit of backed-up energy and it felt like somebody stabbed me through the heart. You know the kind of prose where you're not looking right at it, but just leaning back and tapping effortlessly into a deep, free-flowing vein of exuberant expression--more importantly, with content and form in place too? Rare. Non-reproducable. Devastating. But you know what, you gotta keep doing. And doing over, which is the same as just keeping going. Plod back into it. The kicker: you never know, it may be better the next time around (not in this case; I'm catatonic. But still.). And it's my damn fault for doing it on the web and not in a text edit prog.
It's like Dog comma the Bounty Hunter--you know? You gotta follow the rules. I can't fundamentally fault him for going after Andrew Luster, but if Luster goes free because he took matters into his own hands, nobody knows better than Dog that you gotta follow the rules. What if he barged into innocent people's houses in Mexico and extradited them? Many years of Sunday School makes it clear that that kind of gesture--Dog's--can't be free of ego. However, there's morality and then there's morality--I'm glad Luster's in jail good god, what evil.
* Jon Stewart recently identified something that has always bothered the crap out of me about Fox News and their "headlines"--bottom-of-screen text. They use the most partisan, lurid, BAITING rhetoric, but try to make it look thoughtful or even vaguely journalistic or just let themselves off the hook by putting a question mark at the end of it. He totally nailed them for it. Very satisfying. Some of the things they say are so far-out I wonder if I'm remembering them right--a very Fox phenomenon, that. (Clinton: Skirt-Chasing Sinner? We Want Iran So Bad We Can Taste It...Can We Take It, Can We?) I think sometimes that's why I can't watch Jon Stewart, as delicious as his show is, esp. when I'm unwinding from work--it's almost TOO delicious. And on the spot, which puts you--well, me--in touch with this enormous well of frustration and nondirected energy that the last six years has brought, even though it scratches an itch.
* To wit (today's political thought Better Expressed Elsewhere But I Don't Kare): I am thinking more and more these days about the enormous, looming similarities between the Christian right and the Christian left, as far apart as they are. How the ends of that circle dangle open. How when you hear a fundie preacher and your basic heathen Episcopalian talk about the need for less commercialism, more personal responsibility, less sex selling product and compromising people, more QUIET...all the ways in which they echo each other stand out more and more. It's hard to imagine those ends ever knitting together, but still. What if?
This is exactly what watching Joyce Meyer is like--watching the ends of that circle dangle open. She says things I don't agree with, and things I do agree with, but they're all right there in that area. Her latest outfit, by the way? Almost Kenny Kingston-like. Hilar. Well, okay, not that extreme, but with a stand-up collar and brocade embroidery. It made me want to call her Marchelin, for some reason. I really must find somebody to share this Joyce Meyer obsession with, somebody who can be both dead serious about and totally amused by her at the same time. Ali? You want to start a club?
* I doubt I'm the only one who can't take the word "zesty" very seriously because of over-exposure to Bloom County in their formative years, right? Hehe. Zesty.
* Note to self: once I finish the dissertations I wanna write on period films, friendships in threes onscreen and the evolution of language in cooking shows, I would like to write one about the imagery of women escaping from life in ads for "treat"-like foods. I will call it: Cal-GONE, Man. And then because this is academe and there has to be a colon, I will call it: Cal-GONE, Man: A Feminist Look at Imagery of Snacky Snack Fuds in TV Commercials.
* There's something so moderne sometimes about early music, isn't there? I listened to Couperin's La Menetou today (really cool) and it was just serious HARPSICHORD BOMBARDMENT. Highly structured, but bashing. Very satisfying.
* I know I'm a horrid crank, but I finally identified something, an obvious something, that had been plaguing me in all this Croc Hunter coverage: why the noun adjunct? Why Australia Zoo, the two words just sitting there next to each other, hoping to rub off on each other but too lazy for one to take an adjectival form? Why not Australian Zoo? The Zoo of Australia? Australia's Zoo? Is this why Australia was a penal colony--grammar issues?
* A truly grotesque episode of Fast Food My Way with Jacques Pepin this week in which Jacques, bless his heart, killed a worried, claw-waving lobster by severing his spinal cord, then cut him up into pieces and made a fricassee. He did it with phlegmatic French calm, for, as he said, whether fishmonger or restaurant or cook, "SOME-bodee [has to] keell the lobstuhr." And he's right, it was just horribly nasty to watch. He proceeded to disembowel the thing into all its slimy parts after killing it, and I kept wondering why it was okay to show this and not a cow being cut up. Seemed arbitrary, like permitting cussing in foreign languages but not your own. Still totally disgusting, even if I admire JP, and I do, for knowing how to do things like this and not flinching from them. Man, I hate shellfish. It's just too insecty.
* I have finally learned to like Michael Chiarello's cooking show. His manner, not his food, had always put me off--it felt pushy and cheffyego-ish--but having watched it a bit it seems more like innate enthusiasm. The man talks a lot with his hands. It's almost like those old fake "3D" shows on SCTV, waving things at the camera all the time. But he's a good cook. The other day he made cappellini in brodo, one of my fav dishes, and it was more like a Vietnamese pho than the way I've seen the dish usually prepared--interesting. Boy, did it look wonderful. He also made a polenta pound cake with berries I coulda dived into.
* I have been craving for months foods that I finally have decided to call ur-fuds, for lack of a better term. Foods as I first had them, learned to like them, first ate as a child. Not, necessarily, foods that I had often; I might have, but sometimes we're talking about foods I had only a few times. The first foods. It's partly a result of being so sick to my stomach recently and not having satisfying food experiences as a result, whether from too little/too much hunger, hunger that is going to be hard to satisfy regardless. Ur-fuds...strong clean flavors I can taste easily in my mind.
So recently I've started to crave: Real Texas chili, no beans, no onions, just lots of tender chuck in a sweet spicy ancho chili/cumin/oregano sauce base. Preferably served with basmati rice. Also tabouli, made the way I first had it, by the Palestinian husband of my mom's best friend from high school: NO tomatoes, just a very dark parsley/mint salad with lots of bulgur and lemon juice/olive oil. Maybe a little very thinly sliced scallion. Also on the hit parade: hush puppies (onion powder, please) and fried flounder, sausage gravy and biscuits, peppery grits, really lean, non-gristle-y and juicy ECarolina BBQ with slaw on a squishy bun. And aioli. Craving aioli. And hummus made with cannellini beans. Oh well, we'll see what Lois can do for me.
* Turf wars: Hermione, who of course in the last few days had found a way to get in the new laundry basket and was enjoying its protection and comfort, has been usurped by Ursula, who thugged her chubby way in with the help of an ottoman nearby. She's now lying in it, licking her paws, and Hermione is sitting on the ottoman plotting her next move.
* From a voiceover for an ad for a Julio Iglesias album: "One of the most iconic voices of our time." This made me feel bad about overusing the world myself! It just doesn't sound right...it's 3rd/4th word definition correct, but Wrong. One of the most melodic painters of our time.
* More than a lil MFK Fisher in this entry. Sometimes you just gotta. To wit: I *must* press on with this gastronomy/taxonomy article, if nothing else because I have discovered in the research process that calling Spain is expensive and I'd like to make that worth my while. Also: hang tight for a flurry of Keith Preston appreciation to be showing up soon. Due to the joy of online second-hand book sellers, I am going to indulge in some KP ownership for the first time. Can't wait. Little pet obsession flowering.
* One of my favorite quotes, speakin of favoritin' quotin' authorin', has floated to the front of and been firmly lodged in my brain the last few weeks, due to its relentless and growing relevance in the life of a woman. It's from a film by Eric Rohmer and I'm grateful every day I thought to write it down when I first saw it. It's the way of perceiving it describes that I find so dead-on, as well as, secondarily, the maturity of the attitude expressed: Now, when I see a woman, I'm no longer so quick to classify her as one of the elect or one of the damned. . . In their most mundane tasks, I grant them that mystery I used to deny them.