Jazz, Books, Macs, Food, and Life Outside the Academy
Blogging from Cleveland Park, DC
iJunkman at hotmail dot com
September 29, 2003
Words Without Borders, an on-line project hosted by Bard College and funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and other benefactors, hopes to expose English speakers to cultures around the world by translating their literature. It's a laudable project.
I'm amused, though, by the site's option to search for works by environment. I suppose this grows out of "environmental criticism," a critical approach I don't understand since it never took hold in my speciality, 17th century Spanish literature. (How was the environment in 17th century Madrid? The air was so putrid that it would mummify animal carcasses tossed into the streets.) Isn't there something a little patronizing, though, about the idea the rest of the world's literature can be classified by the landscape where it was created? That proximity to a mountain is a category as important as language? [via Bookslut]
posted by Todd at 10:43 PM |
September 28, 2003
Just asking the question makes me momentarily imagine a bad taste in my mouth. Why would they want me start my meal with a mental imagine of how it could have gone terribly wrong?
This new question also sets the bar pretty low. No concern with the presence of utensils, any desired sauces or condiments, the comfort of the diner, or whether the dishes delivered were the ones actually ordered. Just a question about whether the kitchen had their act together. I suspect this is probably the reason why waiters have adopted the phrase. Once you define the inquiry that narrowly, it's hard for diners to broach other subjects and make additional demands.
posted by Todd at 10:38 PM |
September 26, 2003
George Plimpton, writer and editor of the Paris Review, has died.
Without a well-bred editor to shake down wealthy patrons, will the magazine survive?
posted by Todd at 11:52 AM |
September 24, 2003
Chris Lehman, reading from "The Eyes of Spiro Are Upon You," traced the myth of the "liberal media elite" to Spiro Agnew's attempts to disguise the fact that the real elite were the people who owned the media. I am sympathetic to the idea that the media is only as liberal as their corporate owners allow them to be, but at the same time it seems hard to deny that an elitist group produces the content. Paul Maliszewski next read from a series of fake articles he published in a Syracuse newspaper where he worked as a business reporter, and implicitly confirmed the idea that an elitist establishment controls the media. Paul became bored as a business reporter in upstate New York and started penning outlandish articles under false names. While recent writers who have duped the New Republic and the New York Times has been greeted with infamy, according to his bio Paul has recently published in Harper's and the Paris Review. Is the only difference that Paul committed his fraud at a backwater newspaper?
Personally, I would be happy to know that an educated, liberal elite controlled the media. I just wish they were a little more liberal and a little less elitist sometimes. I hate to sound like a humorless scold, because I found Paul's stories to be incredibly funny. At the same time, though, it's hard to see how a group of writers can hope to create a broader political change if their allegiance and concerns are limited to a small groups of insiders.
On a lighter note, I sat behind the Antic Muse, one of my favorite bloggers.
posted by Todd at 11:55 PM |
September 22, 2003
As a faithful Metro rider myself, watching the cars creep along the streets and honking at the intersections would normally give me some satisfaction. Unfortunately, I had an information interview with Georgetown's director of corporate and foundation fundraising this afternoon. With no metro in the Goergetown area, I had to rely on Andrea picking me up in the car. We then had to fight our way home with the other commuters.
posted by Todd at 8:44 PM |
September 21, 2003
Update: I think I originally misunderstood the concept. Upcoming.com is not supposed to be an exhaustive list of area events, but a way for people attending similar events to make connections and discuss. Still a very cool concept. Still very much in the starting phase. Join up and make it happen.
posted by Todd at 4:13 PM |
September 20, 2003
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September 18, 2003
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posted by Todd at 1:43 PM |
In an effort to serve the needs of the lower-IQ set, NOAA patiently and thoughtfully responds to the frequently asked question of "why don't we try to destroy tropical cyclones by nuking them."
As Crooked Timber said, "There are no stupid questions. Well, as a matter of fact, there are."
posted by Todd at 12:15 PM |
My main fear is that the power will go out, and our fine DC government won't get it restored for several days.
posted by Todd at 10:59 AM |
September 17, 2003
Tex-Mex was shaped by both the people who settled Texas and the U.S. food industry. Chili powder was introduced by a German immigrant familiar with the production of paprika and tired of driving to Mexico to buy his annual supply of ancho chilies. The heavy use of cumin may be a contribution of a group of Berber colonists in one of the early Spanish missions. The substitution of flour tortillas for corn tortillas was a natural adaptation to the grain available in the area. And the now ubiquitous fajita could only appear in the 1980s when flank steaks become supple with the shift from free-range cattle to beef fattened at a feed lot.
In the past, I have been guilty of believing Tex-Mex to be an anglicized version of Mexican cuisine. Jorge Cortez, along with fellow restaurateurs and food writers participating in a panel discussion this weekend at the National Museum of American History, convinced me that it's not a watered down import. Rather, Tex-Mex is a legitimate product of Tejano culture and the oldest regional cuisine in the United States.
posted by Todd at 11:46 PM |
My parents called last night and urged me to prepare for hurricane Isabel. I thought they were just being alarmist.
When I stepped off the metro today, though, I found that the grates and gutters had been sandbagged during the day. At my apartment, the management greeted me with a dire warning to buy water and prepare for blackouts. Maybe this is serious.
posted by Todd at 12:02 AM |
September 16, 2003
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September 14, 2003
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September 13, 2003
Johnny Cash (1932-2003), R.I.P.
posted by Todd at 10:35 AM |
September 12, 2003
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September 11, 2003
Other than noting flags at half mast, there was nothing about today, September 11th, that distinguished it from September 10th or August 11th. For weeks after that day, I was constantly nauseous and anxious. Today, even when walking past the layers of security surrounding the White House, I was at ease. There are surely ways, however, that I and everyone else in this country have been permanently altered.
posted by Todd at 11:42 PM |
September 09, 2003
To Do List:
posted by Todd at 11:49 PM |
September 08, 2003
Today they called to say that late last week the funding for the position had been pulled. I was eating lunch in Lafayette Park when I got the message, so I walked across the street to shake my fist at the White House.
posted by Todd at 10:10 PM |
September 05, 2003
The Naples Daily News reports that wedding cakes made of Krispy Creme donuts are a growing trend across the nation:
Doughnuts are nudging their way onto the wedding scene, adding a touch of fun and the unusual to regular reception fare.Our wedding was more traditional. We added "a touch of fun" by providing copious amounts of beer and wine.
posted by Todd at 7:43 PM |
September 04, 2003
Outside my office window today, I saw a line of children being led along by an adult holding a rope. It's cute, I suppose, watching unruly kids follow a straight line, in the same way an animal is charming when its trained to perform tricks that go against its nature. I'm just glad this practice started well after I grew up.
And then I notice that all the kids were blindfolded. Doesn't that count as torture?
posted by Todd at 10:22 PM |
September 03, 2003
Most of the crowd assembled at the Kennedy Center for the Brave Combo concert tonight seemed prepared to see a novelty act. That was certainly my expectation when, well over a decade ago, a friend urged me to see this "punk polka" band. What I soon discovered, and I'm sure everyone in attendance tonight learned, is that Brave Combo is far more than polka. It's probably no exaggeration to say that Brave Combo is one of the best dance bands in America. If they can't get you off your feet, then somebody better double check you pulse.
Brave Combo embraces every unloved genre--the polka, the samba, the cha-cha-cha--and makes them rock. The sheer talent of the five members allows them to effortlessly bounce between genres at a moments notice. They have absorbed a range of influences every bit as wide as a hipster like John Zorn, but the music that results is more immediately satisfying. What other band can cover "Louie, Louie" and make it sound urgent?
I should also mention that the Kennedy Center has some excellent drink specials for those arriving before 6:00. $2.50 for good music and a beer, you can't beat that.
posted by Todd at 11:36 PM |
September 01, 2003
To Do List:
posted by Todd at 10:51 AM |
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