Rainbow White House? There really are no words. Yet, here are some anyway.
I was about to inflict upon you a [charming] photo of four ficus leaves that had dropped randomly from the plant into a nestlike little circle on the floor of our sleeping porch. For the sake of good communication, a quick investigation has revealed that ‘sleeping porch’ is not strictly a Southern term, though it certainly still sounds like one to me.
Instead, I thought a ‘food selfie’ of a culinary obscenity Stephen forced me to create last week. It is a perfectly serviceable beef meatloaf, with onions, mushrooms, and fresh thyme, but it has been ‘enrobed’ in a blanket of bacon.
The term ‘enrobed’ came into popular advertising parlance, as best I am aware, pitching anything covered in chocolate. I’ve used it here just to be obnoxious. The other term I really hate is ‘crafted’. Nothing is ‘made’ anymore, it’s ‘crafted’. Even burgers are ‘crafted’.
No they’re not.
Anyway, I’ve never even done a lattice top for a pie pastry before, and here I am weaving bacon. It was surprisingly easy to do, though I don’t think I’ll be doing an encore.
Now, for those of you concerned about Stephen’s heart and mine — or just mine, if you don’t care about Stephen. Bacon fat aplenty below the roasting rack, so that’s where that went, and feature how little bacon would still be attached to each serving slice, so put your worries away.
Did I mention that it was grotesquely tasty?
I want to confess that I fidget the bejesus out of the things I finally press the button to ‘publish’ here on WordPress. To what good end, I don’t know, given my microscopic readership; let’s just call it obsessive, or prissy. Or, both, why not.
I have a three-person email round-table fairly regularly with my best friend of 48 years and a mutual friend of ours. The email the past couple of days asked: Should an insane person ending nine lives be called ‘terrorism’, or is this more CNN cheapening discourse for sensation?
The last email I received began with the following:
Well, considering that the asshole’s official statement is that he wanted to start a race war, I guess ‘terrorism’ turns out to be a fully justified description of his actions. …
If for nothing more than reading something I write that’s more off-the-cuff, here’s what I wrote back. I hope this has any value beyond that.
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I fear any response to this message will seem insensitive if it agrees with your original reaction, that calling this ‘terrorism’ was somewhere on the side of histrionics. This is a crazy, brainwashed person. How much of the desensitizing effect of first-person-shooter video games, etc., who knows. I don’t know enough of the historical record to know if these kinds of massacres occurred in ‘gentler times’. I’d be surprised to find that to be true, which leaves us with this being a product of our own age. There were ‘always’ guns around, but not as many crazy people? I’m just stumbling through an ignorant haze here.
I got this from my ‘Truth-Out’ feed yesterday. I cannot b e g i n to process these ideas.
Let me muddy the waters at this point. Our [straight] friend, sculptor and carpenter David ‘C’, a far brighter and more sensitive person than I, was here yesterday finishing a small portion of a couple of unfinished jobs here on the house. In the course of back-and-forth, it came to light that on his work crews, frequently involving fundamentalist rednecks and Christian blacks, he announces at the onset of a job, ‘We don’t discuss politics or religion on the job, leave that at home, no exceptions, no tolerance’.
A small part of this, he said, was not wanting to hear any more about black intolerance of gays. Of ‘didn’t-see-that-coming’ statements, like praise for Putin being a ‘strong man’ for putting down the gays in Russia. Chew on that briefly.
I got into an unfortunately-timed exchange with my brother on the telephone last year right before Stephen’s and my trip to Greece. He has become a big Presbyterian here late in his life, and wanted to affirm that the ‘split’ in the Presbyterian Church USA was not as ‘the media’ would have it over ‘gay marriage’, though his ‘half’ still felt that marriage was ‘between one man and one woman’. I said that was fine, my aspirations had nothing to do with ‘a church wedding’.
But whereas I just wanted to get out of a stupid dialog saying ‘fine’, his beliefs do poison the rational culture. We are all completely fucked.
Hosting the International Olympic Games is not to be taken on blithely.
Athens, Greece lost its bid for the 1996 Summer ‘Centennial Olympic Games’, games that should by all rights have gone to Greece, host of the 1896 ‘Birth of the Modern Games’. Instead, the ’96 Games were staged in Atlanta, Georgia.
Hosting the 1996 Games in Atlanta was the brainchild of William ‘Billy’ Payne, who ironically was born in Athens, Georgia. Chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club, home of ‘The Masters’ golf tournament, he is the very definition of Southern ‘Good Old Boy’ booster. After gaining the Games, it soon became clear he was out of his depth.
Though they were intended to showcase the city, the state, and the South in general, the ’96 Olympics were an embarrassment at every turn. Quoting an ‘Appraisal’ in a Wikipedia online article:
At the closing ceremony, IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch … simply called the Games ‘most exceptional’. This broke precedent for Samaranch, who had traditionally labeled each Games ‘the best Olympics ever’ at each closing ceremony, a practice he resumed at the subsequent Games in Sydney in 2000.
Is there anything as satisfying as a sly, almost imperceptible comeuppance?
Greece eventually hosted another Olympic Games in Athens in 2004. The games themselves were a success, but apparently not equal to the cost. Have a look at photographs which perhaps illustrate a quote on the webpage upon which they appear: “We simply made the biggest mistake in our history.”
Viewing these pictures is every bit like my visit to my abandoned Air Force base on Crete last September. I imagine athletes returning to these ruins.
Since my own return last year to Greece after 46 years, I have been following the economic meltdown there, the cost of the 2004 Games being a small part of the country’s debt — if you can call 8.5 billion Euros ‘small’.
The opening ceremony of the 2004 Olympics is one stunningly positive legacy of those Games. It was conceived of and directed by Dimitris Papaioannou. Please read the accompanying post about him, which I felt best be situated on the blog separately from this downer.
‘Performance Art’ can be pretty wretched. I’m not talking about the titanically wrong ones like the 1970 ‘performance suicide’ of Yukio Mishima, or even the grotesquely dumb ones like Chris Burden’s ‘Shoot’. Rather, I think I mean the mind-numbing, ‘I-want-that-hour-of-my-life-back’ kind.
A universe apart (well, maybe not an entire universe), in my opinion, are the choreographed pieces of Dimitris Papaioannou. I’m not sure of his acclaim before staging the opening ceremony for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, but that event certainly pushed him into the international spotlight.
Visit a sampler of his performances here.
Of course, you’ll want to suggest that this only about naked men — again! — and that apparently any artistic appreciation I possess never rises above the carnal, but that would be, plain and simple, entirely because you’re mean.
I just finished seeing and hearing a short interview with Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’. I quasi-invaded his privacy via Wikipedia, and confirmed the signals from my gaydar.
As the interviewer bid him adieu, Mook himself signed off with the expression ‘Take care’. In these kinds of ‘talking head’ long-distance TV interviews, I think this is the first time I’ve ever heard anyone say that.
‘Take care’ is a wonderful salutation, and really in a way, sort of ‘all-purpose’.
Short, sharp, sweet.
On the other hand, I discovered last week calling FedEx that the loathsome expression ‘No problem’ has found its way into recorded customer service messages.
As an antidote to this troubling news, I offer for your consideration:
‘The pleasure of your company’
Let the expression luxuriate in your mind for a minute. It is maybe my favorite collection of words, positively impervious to negativity.
I have a proposal, more than a proposal, actually — I want it written into law.
Anyone nominated for an Oscar in Hollywood must agree to go through training taught by any British thespian on how to make a decent acceptance speech. My limit has been exceeded watching film stars make eye-avertingly embarrassingly inarticulate rambling fools of themselves.
Training is not required for those receiving awards on Broadway, proof via last evening’s Antoinette Perry/American Theatre Wing/Tony Awards broadcast.
Tony acceptances seem mostly to follow the standard set forth by my dear high school drama teacher, Miss Julia Elliott: ‘Simple, Sincere, Direct’.
‘Witty’ also never hurts:
“My father’s great dream for me was the same as every Texas father’s dream for their firstborn son – they wanted us all to leave Texas, go to New York, and dance in the chorus of a Broadway show. And I did it.” — Tommy Tune
My plan of last month, that going forward each new post would replace the previous one, seemed like a good idea. The sad part here is that I’m writing about this like it matters. Instead, I’m going to put most of my five-year collection back, and prune stupid posts ad hoc, so to speak. I have in mind to write a piece on tattoos, beards, and typewriters, but maybe not all in the same post.
Those young men in the post title? I’ve been disciplined and haven’t mentioned in really forever my daily half-hour speed-walk. I’m in my eighth year of it, still amazed, since as I’ve said before, I see myself as less self-actualizing than a dog. Anyway, the strapping gentlemen joggers wearing practically nothing have made their way back to my walking route now that the weather has warmed up.
I suppose you’re going to say something cheap like this explains everything.
Domani fans will know, at least from my Davemas selfie this past January, that I am by actual count 68⅓ years old. Being told you don’t look your age is a drug. Stephen tells me that I probably need to start preparing for the inevitable when people stop telling me so. The solution is to bump up my age, incrementally he says — start with 70.
This idea is a lot like the one I had for people who feel they need to lose weight, but can’t. I say buy pants that are two sizes large, cinch them in with a belt so you get folds around the waist. Reaction? ‘Look at you! You’re skin and bone!’
As to that ‘incremental’ business Stephen was suggesting, forget that. From now on, I’m 80. My secret, Marlene Dietrich’s: lamb placenta injections.
I’m pretty sure this is a good idea, like the oversized trousers one.
I returned home an hour or so ago from a neighbor’s memorial at quite a large local Episcopal church, bordering on standing room only, which probably speaks for itself. I discovered in my email that our friend Martin had sent the attached op-ed from yesterday’s New York Times. So, I’m in the mood for passing it along.
The Small, Happy Life — David Brooks, May 29, 2015 — The New York Times
A few weeks ago, I asked readers to send in essays describing their purpose in life and how they found it. A few thousand submitted contributions, and many essays are online. I’ll write more about the lessons they shared in the weeks ahead, but one common theme surprised me.
I expected most contributors would follow the commencement-speech clichés of our high-achieving culture: dream big; set ambitious goals; try to change the world. In fact, a surprising number of people found their purpose by going the other way, by pursuing the small, happy life. …
Please continue reading The Small, Happy Life here: