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Member since: Sat Nov 30, 2013, 04:06 AM
Number of posts: 4,151

Journal Archives

PBS, Brief but Spectacular: pianist Jeanne Stark on the golden age and Ray Charles

After the segment, Judy Woodruff says, "I want to be her."

Stark: "I've been so lucky, where these great artists -- Gertler, who was a friend of Bartok. ... To learn from people like that. It takes you years to understand what they were saying. But once you get it, you get something precious. It's not interpret, it's understand, how music is made. How it is put together. ... I played Mozart sonatas, Beethoven sonatas, and I was never happy with my adagios. I did it with the metronome, I tried everything. And I came to the States, and by accident my friend took me to hear Ray Charles. And I thought: Now I know an adagio."

In the coming Age of Trump, I remind myself: people with enormous power and money cannot buy talent, intelligence, beauty, whit, love and they know it.

Japan's Obama City bids farewell to U.S. president and his hot steamy buns.


"A Japanese confectionery store in the city says an 'Obama' steamed bun, which bears his image, still sells well. The store's president, Koichi Inoue, said he wants to make the bun together with Obama in the city someday." HOT STEAMY OBAMA BUNS.

Obama goods that used to be for sale, including cans that say, "Yes We Can":

Obamas around Obama City:

Besides the hot steamy Obama buns, there really isn't anything exciting about Obama City: it's a tiny town where everybody goes to bed early, especially in winter. But the seafood is excellent.

Samantha Bee: People Are Saying Trump Likes Pee; White Plight; A Session on Sessions

Writing about food: Roger Welsch, "Diggin' In & Piggin' Out, The Truth About Food and Men"

"When we were teaching colleagues, Vic Lane and I used to take our lunches together at a drive-in food place ... called the Tastee Inn. There's no other way to say it: the food was dreadful. The onion chips were greasy, the malts were tasteless, and a Tastee sandwich -- a kind of loose-meat burger -- is for all the world more like papier mache than beef. But the place was where we ate, and the food was what we ate when we were there. ... And we liked it because of how the place was run: the service was as bad as the food. During a particularly memorable week, Vic and I pulled into the Tastee Inn and ordered our lunches at the little microphone set up at the end of the drive. I ordered a Tastee sandwich, chocolate malt, and fries; Vic ordered a fish sandwich, large diet Coke, and onion chips, double dip. When we pulled up to the pick-up window, I got my bag -- Tastee, malt, fries -- and Vic got his -- a cup of chili, two chili dogs, and a lemonade. As we paid, Vic mentioned that this wasn't exactly, or even close to, what he'd ordered ... .

"The next day ... I ordered two chili dogs, potato salad, and medium Dr Pepper; Vic ordered two Tastees, onion chips, and a cup of coffee. When we pulled up to the window, I got my bag -- dogs, salad, Pepper, and Vic got his -- a fish sandwich, three french fries, and a lemonade. This time he complained a bit more forcefully. ... Third day, same thing. I got exactly what I wanted, Vic got not a single thing he had asked for. He snapped. He pushed the bag back through the window and said that this time he would like to have what he wanted to have when he had placed his order only moments before ... The elderly lady inside the window snatched the sack from his hands, leaned out the window and into his face, and snarled, 'What's the matter with you anyway, Mister? You never get your order right.' And from that moment on the Tastee Inn occupied a special place in our hearts."

Seth Meyers, A Closer Look: Russian Hacking and Trump Ethics

Writing about food: Simone de Beauvoir interviews Jean-Paul Sartre in "Adieux, A Farewell to Sartre"

D: Apart from tomatoes, what food do you dislike most?
S: Crustaceans, oysters, shellfish. I think ... that it's their resemblance to insects ... . Insects live in the air and not in water, but they have that same degree of life and doubtful consciousness that I find so irksome, and above all, in our everyday existence, they have a look of being entirely absent from our world ... .
D: When you eat vegetables you are stealing them from another universe too ... . There's one great difference, and that is that vegetables have no consciousness.
S: In all likelihood vegetables have none. ... If it is cooked, a vegetable stops being a vegetable and becomes a thick soup or a cooked salad. Rawness sets it farther apart from us.
D: But shellfish don't have that insect look one sees in crustaceans. So why don't you like them?
S: It's food deep down inside an object, and you have to pry it out. It's mainly this notion of prying out that disgusts me. The fact that the creature's flesh is so snugly inside its shell that you have to use tools to get it out instead of cutting it off.
D: Among the things you don't dislike, are there any you practically never eat?
S: Fruit. Because if I want to eat something sweet I'd rather have something man-made, a cake or a tart. In that case the appearance, the putting together and even the taste have been thought out by man and made on purpose. Whereas the taste of fruit is a matter of chance. It's on the tree -- it's lying on the ground, in the grass.
D: In other words, fruit is too natural.
S: Yes. Food must be the result of work performed by man. Bread is like that ... .
D: Do you like meat?
S: No. ... I used to be very fond of charcuterie, but I like it less now. It seemed to me that there man was using meat to make something entirely new. ... As far as I'm concerned it's no longer meat at all. Red meat, even when it's cooked, is still meat. It has the same consistency. There is blood that oozes, it's cut up in the same way ... .
D: In short you are resolutely on the side of the cooked against the raw?
S: Absolutely. I can obviously eat almonds or walnuts, although they hurt my tongue. Pineapples too, because a pineapple looks like something cooked.

Writing about food: M.F.K. Fisher's winter tangerines

"Borderland" from "Serve it Forth" (1937):

"In the morning, in the soft sultry chamber, sit in the window peeling tangerines, three or four. Peel them gently; do not bruise them, as you watch soldiers pour past and past the corner and over the canal towards the watched Rhine. Separate each plump little pregnant crescent ... tear delicately from the soft pile of sections each velvet string. You know those white pulpy strings that hold tangerines into their skins? Tear them off. Be careful. Take yesterday's paper (when we were in Strasbourg L'Ami du Peuple was best, because when it got hot the ink stayed on it) and spread it on top of the radiator. ... After you have put the pieces of tangerine on the paper on the hot radiator, it is best to forget about them. Al comes home, you go to a long noon dinner in the brown dining-room, afterwards maybe you have a little nip of quetsch from the bottle on the armoire. Finally, he goes. Of course you are sorry, but ------

"On the radiator the sections of tangerines have grown even plumper, hot and full. You carry them to the window, pull it open, and leave them for a few minutes on the packed snow of the sill. They are ready. All afternoon you can sit, then, looking down on the corner. Afternoon papers are delivered to the kiosk. Children come home from school just as three lovely whores mince smartly into the pension's chic tearoom. A basketful of Dutch tulips stations itself by the tram-stop, ready to tempt tired clerks at six o'clock. Finally the soldiers stump back from the Rhine. It is dark. The sections of tangerine are gone, I cannot tell you why they are so magical. Perhaps it is that little shell, thin as one layer of enamel on a Chinese bowl, that crackles so tinily, so ultimately under your teeth. Or the rush of cold pulp just after it. Or the perfume. I cannot tell."

Happy Tempura Day: Natsume Soseki's "Botchan"

"One evening while I was taking a stroll in a neighborhood called Omachi, I saw a little shop next to the Post Office with a sign that said TOKYO BUCKWHEAT NOODLES. I love buckwheat noodles. When I was in Tokyo, just passing a noodle shop and getting a whiff of the spicy, simmering broth was enough to make me want to dash right in. ... The first item on the list was tempura noodles. 'Give me a bowl of tempura,' I shouted. As soon as I ordered, a group of three customers over in the corner, who up to that point had been slurping away at their own noodles, all turned to look at me. I hadn't noticed before -- it was so dark in there -- but when our eyes met I realized that they were all students from the school. ... The noodles were good and it been a long time since I'd had any, so I polished off four bowls, all with tempura.

"The next day I walked into my classroom just as I would any other day, only to find that someone had written the words MISTER TEMPURA in giant letters on the blackboard. As soon as the students saw me they burst out in raucous laughter. The whole thing seemed so stupid. I asked them what was so funny about somebody eating tempura. One of them answered: 'But four bowls is too much ... .' I told them that as long as I paid for them and I ate them, it wasn't any of their business if I had four bowls or five or any other number I wanted. Then I rushed through my lecture and headed straight back to the faculty room. When I got to the next class ten minutes later, I found another message on the board: FOUR BOWLS OF TEMPURA -- LAUGHTER STRICTLY PROHIBITED.

"The first time I hadn't minded that much, but this time I was really upset. When you overdo a joke it just becomes obnoxious. ... But country people haven't figured out this principle, all they seem to think is that it's okay to keep pouring it on indefinitely. I guess if you live in so small a town that once you've walked around it for an hour there's nothing more to see, the sight of somebody eating some tempura seems like a big deal, right up there with the War with Russia, just because people don't have anything better to talk about. ... In the next class, the blackboard said EATING TEMPURA MAKES A MAN TOUCHY."

Liberal Redneck -- Thanks Obama

Documentary on climate change, "Years of Living Dangerously"

Just saw it on TV again and notice some episodes and clips are on YouTube. I like this documentary.

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