Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ze Politics

For whatever reason, I have been mildly obsessed with this ancient youtube video for a few days, "End of Ze World."

The LYM introduced me to it and in a tragic moment of not remembering, I played it for him having forgotten.

Someday, we will reminisce to our grandkids about how we used to gather around the computer to watch youtube videos together, much like people reminisce about gathering around the fire to swap stories, or gather around the television or the radio. The media and the means are different. But the desire to gather and share stories is the same.

Monday, June 23, 2008

He died yesterday

My first year as a grad student I got a free ticket to see George Carlin at Assembly Hall.

He started off with bit where he said, "When you buy a pet, you are bringing home a little piece of death." Because there's no way that your pet will outlive you. You have brought a living thing into your life, into your home to hug and love and hold and play with, to care for and take to the doctor, a cute furry adorable little new member of your family who you know without a doubt is going to die first.

I have often thought about that bit since then. Pretty much whenever someone tells me that they just got a pet.

He went on to touch all manner of topics. Some of them offensive and sharp to the point that S who came to the show with me wanted to leave. But I couldn't. My ass was glued to the seat. And after some rough social satire and commentary he changed gears and spoke seriously and technically about farts. About how you had a choice between letting a fart out all at once and letting it pip out a puff at a time, about the sound of the walking fart.

He was funny, biting, insightful, and kind. His kindness radiated all the way from the stage to my craptastic nosebleed level seat.

I didn't know him, but I miss him. I am so sad that he died. I say it that way because, as is mentioned in the yahoo article, that's how he would have said it, only funny.

Note the day after:

My friend Mythworker has pointed out that being heartfelt is not quite in keeping with the essence of George Carlin. The links on his LJ post are very in keeping with George Carlin.

He's famous for "The Seven Words You Can't on TV."

And I like this.

Listening to a number of his routine on youtube, ... okay, maybe he wasn't always kind. Maybe he wasn't always funny. But listening to him and thinking about what he had to say will wake you up.

That, and chickens are good people.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

My own personal chaos

Today while looking for my giant crochet hook under the couch cushions, I found 36 cents and my TV remote which has been missing for months and months. But no crochet hook. Maybe I'll have it by Fall.

Sleepy, thirsty, hungry and itchy

Bugs have been biting me in my sleep. Last night they bit my feet and the itch was so bad, I woke up at 5am.

I hate when that happens.

Pi to thirteen places

Yesterday, I told the LYM that my favorite Stooge was Moe. It's an appalling thing to admit. I have never been proud of this fact. Especially with my lingering suspicion that everyone else's favorite Stooge is Curly. But there it is.

I consider this to be a flaw in my character because, Moe was mean. Moe was a bully. Always pissed off, always hitting or slapping someone, taking joy from cracking someone on the head with a hammer or a mallet. But I always felt bad for Moe. Moe had ambition. Moe had a plan, something that he was trying to accomplish or some catastrophe that he was trying to prevent and there he was, surrounded by Stooges. How could he get anything accomplished under these conditions?

Though I, like everyone who's seen them, have a favorite Stooge, as a child I never liked the Three Stooges. (How can you not have a favorite Stooge?) All that violence and nonsense never appealed to me. I never laughed at their antics. I never thought that they were funny.

And then yesterday, during this conversation the LYM pulled up this movie on youtube.

And in watching it, I must share with you that I have crossed yet another barrier in my life. I actually laughed.

The lion hunter part just kills me. The timing is so sharp.

But you have to wonder, who on earth needs to have that many pies on hand for a dinner party?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Le Blame Game, Le Sigh

I don't like idiot proof systems. When dealing with an idiot proof system you feel like an idiot and are treated like an idiot. When things go wrong, as they often do, you can't adequately express the problem and no one helps you. Instead they treat you like an idiot. But that's the problem to begin with and it's not getting your problem solved, now, is it?

I want my money back.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tenderize the Night

The heart is a very tough muscle. It has to be. It works very hard for you. It has to keep you going regardless of your preference or intention.

Tenderizing is the process of breaking down collagens in meat (muscle) to make it more tender.

In cooking, there are three common ways in which muscle is tenderized: Mechanical - you can pound it, Temperature - you can cook it, and Chemical - you can add enzymes that will break it down.

In life, there are any number of ways in which to tenderize the heart. Babies, cute little fuzzy creatures, simple acts of kindness, Hallmark cards, certain particularly manipulative TV commercials, crushes and first kisses, unexpected displays of vulnerability, nostalgia, alcohol. Mind you, not all of them are universally or consistently effective.

Yesterday, I was grappling with a song and the Lionel Richie/Diana Ross duet, "Endless Love" came to mind. Nothing will wreck a songwriting session faster than a quick meditation on that tune. In my youth, I expended a lot of energy hating that song. Passionately, hating that song. And in my advanced years, I feel pang in my chest as they sing, well, pretty much every single word.

"'Cause nooooo one can denyyyyyy, this love I have insiiiiiide. And I'll giiiiiive it all to yooooouuuuuu, my love (my love, my love)." -Lionel Richie

And I have to wonder, what the hell happened? Is it the Lionel, finally breaking down the walls of my heart? Have the trials and tribs leading to these middle ages tenderized my heart to the point where I am receptive to every silly and heartfelt declaration of the Lionel? Is it the early flush and then slow burn of interest radiating from making the acquaintance of my new friend, the LYM? Has someone been slipping papaya or pineapple enzyme extracts into my meals?

It might be all of the above. If this is what it means to mellow with age, in the words of CK, "I don't like it."

Or maybe it's just acid reflux.

I take comfort in the fact that the swell of emotion brought on by "Endless Love," led to a meditation on tenderizing meat. I can only hope that this is a phase and that it will pass. That or I am going to blast Lionel Richie songs whenever I cook a steak.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Le Pew

For whatever reason the previous post reminded me of a quote from Pepe Le Pew:

"Ze moon! Ze June! Ze spoon! C'est l'amour!! C'est toujours!" - Pepe Le Pew

Which lead me to a forum with a thread devoted to Pepe Le Pew quotes.

Which in this day and age are pretty much an invitation to a great big sexual harrassment lawsuit or a restraining order. The key to such ardent wooing is the perception of the receiver and the ability of the wooer to correctly interpret his or her reception. What is romantic to a receptive party is harassment, stalking or at the very least an annoyance to the unreceptive.

Back in the day I felt so bad for the poor little kitty. But today in the moments in which I can stand back from the chase, I find these quotes to be pretty hilarious.

"Permit me to introduce myself. I am Pepe Le Pew, your lover."

"She want to play eet zee lover's chase. Eet ees the leetle girl in her. C'est l'amour."

*after getting clubbed by the cat* "The one in zee middle may remain. The rest of you.......... another day."

"Zee cabbage does not run away from zee corn-beef."

The oblivious confidence, the sunny love-drenched optimism, and the irrepressibleness of Pepe Le Pew are so charming on screen as an innocent, disinterested bystander.

But for the sake of my nearest and dearest, I think my advice would be to leave that crap to the cartoons and take all the hints that are given. Especially when she or he hits you over the head with a giant mallet.

I love Paris in June

At the intersection of Paris, New York, the month of June, and making the acquaintance of a lovely young man - I am reminded of one of my favorite movies, "Sabrina."

In particular of her time in Paris at cooking school.

"The souffle, it must be gay. Gay. Like two butterflies dancing the waltz in the summer breeze. Tra la la la la" - Ze Chef

or this meditation on ze egg.

At this particular intersection of time, being, place, and memory - I hope for sunny days with mild weather and picnics in the park with someone really nice.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Thinking inside the bottle

After a meal one might enjoy a glass of Eau de Vie, Poire William (the water of life, a brandy made from bartlett pears).

That's not an optical illusion. That's a real pear in a glass bottle of pear brandy.
It's magic. A wonder to behold. How on earth did they squeeze that thing into a bottle through that tiny opening?

Rest assured that they didn't. As described at and, the Eau de Vie makers put glass bottles over pear branches with blossoms or tiny growing fruit and leave them there, waiting until the pear grows big enough to harvest.

Low tech but ingenious, imaginative.

I wonder what possessed Jean-Francois or Jean-Henri to try this. What dreams did he have that resulted in such a fanciful thing? How long did it take him to convince his pere and grandpere to let him keep the bottle on the branch and just see what would happen. Or did he just tie up a bottle in a far side of the orchard and come back with it containing a whole fruit to the delight and amazement of his friends and family?