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Death of Loiseau
Quining the Qualia
Where's Cheny
I Made Sushi
Yogurt Travails
Plague
Giant Worm in Hudson
What is Art?
Heliopauses
Fiberglass Dogs
Meteor Shower
Connie Chung Bugs Me
February 25, 2003

According to Kim's Snapple top  of yesterday, Maine has 62 lighthouses.

The great French chef Bernard Loiseau died today in an apparent suicide:

"Loiseau's death recalled the legendary 17th-century Francois Vatel, said to have killed himself over a failed meal at which King Louis XIV was the star guest. The fish had reportedly arrived late."  
more... (NYT-AP)

I didn't know him, or even of him, but I feel for him. His name caught my eye and I thought immediately of Wallace Shawn, the actor and playwright who played a man name "Oiseau" in the highly enjoyable 1988 Alan Rudolph film, "The Moderns." Wally, if you didn't know, has been in an amazing 73 movies, mostly rather bad ones, from the brilliant "My Dinner With Andre" to the probably not-so-brilliant "Nice Girls Don't Explode."

I like the guy but he once cut in front of me in line at Drama Books. Oh well.

February 20, 2003

I've never attended a peace rally. Even at Berkeley during the time of the anti-apartheid protests -- which I felt pretty strongly about -- and People's Park riots (which I felt somewhat strongly about) I preferred to watch from the sidelines. Read more...

Rally pics

From the February 13 Wiscasset [Maine] Newspaper: Bravo for Bobsy and Val Thompson [Mom and Dad] on Spring Hill Farm Road. They braved weather, a long crowded bus ride, and some harsh disapproval, to go to the Peace March in Washington January 18, and both have written thoughtful commentary on it in several papers. Loyalty to one's nation should not be measured by a slavish agreement to its policies, but, like King Lear's youngest daughter Cordelia, it is having the courage and generosity to say "nay" when one's nation is in danger of erring. The strength of our country is its willingness to sustain and benefit from its nay-sayers, an uncomfortable prickly lot who should be known as "the loyal opposition." So, another bravo for all the stalwart souls who have held peace vigils on the Davey and Newcastle-Damariscotta Bridges, and all the other bridges, nation and state.

February 14, 2003

Finally some good news: Monarch Butterflies Alive and Well in Mexico

February 12, 2003

Quining the Qualia
I've been doing a little
light reading in hopes that a mental workout might unfreeze my neural connections. So far, I'm just getting a headache. I'm spending the morning divining words that encourage my velleitous imagination, that make my heart leap or that I have to look up. Hence, the above.

An interesting article in Scientific American, my new fave zine. "To sleep, perchance to file? Findings published online this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences further support the theory that the brain organizes and stows memories formed during the day while the rest of the body is catching zzz's," begins the article.

I also checked out FEMA's 101-page Are You Ready? A Guide to Citizen Preparedness after the incident on the subway yesterday*:

"If you live in an area prone to high winds, make sure your roof is firmly secured to the main frame of the residence." Damn sound advice.

* After a weekend of hearing about possible terrorist attacks in the NYC subway tunnels, I overslept and yes, had to take the subway to work. And wouldn't you know it, I sit down right next to a guy with a big metal suitcase. Not something you usually see during rush hour. I hate being paranoid. It really sucks.

January 28, 2003

I'm not alone! At least in my preoccupation with yogurt and yogurt marketing. Read this... it's infinitely funnier than my tale of woe.

January 21, 2003

I had a moment the other day when I questioned my sanity and so I tried to remember who the Vice President of the United States is - and I couldn't. Where's Waldo? It got me thinking - and I know I'm not alone in this (or anything apparently) - where the hell is he? I did a quick search and came up with some "recent appearances" that sound pretty suspect to me, I'm sorry: the most recent is a discussion on the economy to the United States Chamber of Commerce. Huh? We need a Chamber of Commerce? I know Bath, Maine does, but the United States of America? Wierd. The other recent event was honoring Margaret Thatcher (surprise, surprise) at the Heritage Foundation (surprise, surprise). Still, I haven't seen his scary visage on the tv for a very long time, so obviously he must be in hiding, kidnapped or ... I was pretty sure I spotted him at the curtain call for the cast of a St. Cloud, Minnesota production of Annie but I could be wrong.

January 17, 2003

I made sushi! Okay, it was just the roll kind but it still consisted of raw fish and sushi rice and nori and wasabi. The rice is the hard part, requiring many rinsings and delicate handling and fanning to cool and religious utterings and Upanishadi prayer rings and the silent promising of first babies as long as it doesn't, god forbid, get mushy. It's supposed to become shiny and not sticky-togethery and then become quietly submissive, which, thankfully it did. The rest was easy; having purchased a totally pointless "sushi kit" that consisted of the essential bamboo rolly-up mat thing and a totally useless "special wooden spoon," I couldn't really miss. I used raw salmon and cucumber and served the whole thing with a large dollop of self-satisfaction and it was all good except for the blood I shed when my newly purchased "chef's grade" knife sliced my thumb half off and goddamnit I don't have any of the swanky new invisible bandaids just sesame street ones.

Braved 60 mph winds (approximately) and face-freezing cold to walk down to the WTC [area] and saw My Big Fat Greek Waste of Money. My personal big fat waste of money. Must have been the hype or I'm hanging out with the wrong kind of people. Not a bad indie-flick, just benevolently one-dimensional. Even with my own mother still wearing Birkenstocks, her McGovern poster still gracing the empty boathouse wall, swearing a blue streak, D.Min. notwithstanding --I uncomfortably related more to the family of the whitebread, sweetly lobomotized groom.

Caught a more complex movie on Lifetime Movie channel starring the ever-lovely odd bird Roseanna Arquette later in the day. Spent the rest of the day and night making CDs including that may or may not propel me to stardom as a DJ/CD-burning wonderkit. Look for me in clubs that cater to nerdy, once-cool, baffled, cynical, cranky and angry but somehow optimistic late late 30-somethings.

I might be late* to work tomorrow.

* mild frostbite

January 20, 2003

This morning's Dannon yogurt (Light 'n Fit Peach) is definitely SMALLER than it was yesterday. I'm dismayed -- what had seemed such a great product and company (see below) not only has not answered my recent email suggesting they institute Key Lime flavor, but now the yogurt is shrinking! I think. Can anyone confirm?

From: "Dannon Consumer Affairs" | Add to Address Book To: "'kit1000_1@yahoo.com'" Subject: Yogurt Question Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 12:44:38 -0500

January 22, 2002

Dear Ms. Thomas,

Thank you for contacting the Dannon Company, Inc. We apologize for the problem you experienced with our products.

Since our products are foil sealed, pressure can build up inside the cup. If pressure builds up, sometimes the product will squirt out of the cup when the seal is broken. To avoid having the product squirt out of the cup, you may want to puncture the foil top to relieve pressure before you open the container.

Once again, thank you for contacting Dannon. We hope this information is helpful for you. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call our toll-free number 1-877-DANNON-US (1-877-326-6668), Monday through Friday, 9 A.M. to 6 P.M. Eastern Time.

Sincerely,

Lisa Moore Consumer Service Representative Ref#:410966

January 16, 2003

Bananas and the Bubonic Plague  

Sorry, didn't mean to scare anyone. There is, as far as I know, no link between the two.

"It is one of the world's favorite fruits, but the banana hasn't had sex in years and its days may be numbered," Reuters (London) told us yesterday. Now, I'm not a huge banana fan, and don't think anyone is except maybe some babies until they grow up and realize there's actually food with crunch and texture out there. The banana, in my mind, is a very utilitarian fruit, highly portable, filling, and chock full of vitamins. So. I'm trying to gauge my feelings about the impending extinction of so fine a fruit. Just what the banana-less generations of the future might feel is thus far beyond my ken, though comparing the relative value and attributes of the banana vs. the dodo is instructive.

Yes it was a rollercoaster of a news day, what with the missing and then mysteriously found bubonic plague specimens causing "palpable fear" in the FBI not to mention the rest of us.

December 20, 2002

I had heard that there are very large worms swimming on the bottom of the Hudson due to recent cleanup. Don't know if that's still true or ever was but it alone is scary enough to make my skin crawl. Now it appears they have mapped the entirety of the river and located every boat that ever sank in it! State officials won't tell us where the wrecks are; I guess because we're not to be trusted. But what's REALLY scary is the NYT headline chosen for this most interesting story: "Hudson Shipwrecks Found, but No Loose Lips." Gross!  Loose lips! Large worms! Ewww!

Click here for article if you are registered for the New York Times. If not, here's a snippet:
Scientists mapping the bottom of the Hudson River with sonar say they have found nearly every single ship that ever foundered in the river over the last 400 years or more. Not just some of them, or most of them, but - astonishingly - all of them, except for a few that may have been disturbed by dredging.

December 18, 2002

What is Art?
I don't have the answer, though you know I've pondered it at length. I do know what is NOT art... and now we all do, thanks to one dumb-shit art student who recently managed to terrorize the 14th Street subway station. As Michael Kimmelman writes in the NYT, "Yesterday's loony loner is today's Conceptual artist."
Read more;  and note how Mr. Kimmelman uses the inherently funny phrase "Rancho Cucamonga" to great effect...

"Rancho Cucamonga. Rancho Cucamonga!"   Heh heh heh.

Just finished another interesting Times article which induced my current headache... Lines like this: "The contemporary city is a place of multiple perspectives that occasionally add up to a fleeting fusion of subjective perception and objective truth." Okay. Brilliance? Bullshit? Pretentious hooey? I'm not sure. I like it anyway. Architecture is an endlessly fascinating subject to me and this piece explores the inter-relationship (though not at great length) of language, architecture and possibility while reporting on the complex and delicate process of re-building at the World Trade Center site.

December 16, 2002

Strike, schmtrike. That doesn't sound right. But neither did all the hoopla. I was really looking forward to a little chaos, but no. Of course, the last time I expressed my desire for a shake-up -- I believe my exact lament was "Today was the most forgettable day of my life. Tomorrow better be more interesting" -- was on Monday, Sept. 10, 2001, and look what happened. On a more interplanetary note, I just found this, detailing the remote travels of Voyagers I and II. I especially like learning about heliopauses. Heliopauses. Reminds me of Kim's aunt who is quoted as saying, hinting at a post-menopausal hot flash, "Excuse me, I must go outside, I am having a personal summer." December 13, 2002

Interesting: last week or so I expressed my dismay about Henry Kissinger being named to head up the 9/11 investigation. A week or so later, he resigns the post (no details yet). Then, I expressed my disgust for the fiberglass hero dog outside the fire station in my neighborhood, and a few days later it disappeared.

I would now like to publicly express my utmost fury at my out-of-control student loans that Citibank is currently, inexplicably still holding over my head. There.

December 3, 2002

The downtown creation memorializing the tragic Irish potato famine is such an amazing example of creativity and artistry. I can only hope those confabulating a WTC memorial will have this kind of vision. The Irish Hunger Memorial

December 2, 2002

The dog is gone. [see below, Nov. 21st]. Now I miss it.

Maureen Dowd does an excellent - and very funny - job of summing up why it's insane to have H. Kissinger in charge of the 9/11 investigation

November 21, 2002

Broke my own record for weekend walking. Don't know how far, but do know that I ended up in Brooklyn, just south of Montague Street. Not bad. First I stopped off at the World Financial Center for Annie Leibowitz's [with Amex] Rewarding Lives photo exhibit. Stunning. Seeing them altogether is like eating candy. Once I found my way out, I headed east toward City Hall and over the Brooklyn Bridge. I must have made a wrong turn somewhere because I ended up in the middle of the highway (it seemed) walking for miles (it seemed) in between the two lanes until finally, past Cadman Plaza, there was a way to escape. I then took a tour of my old stomping grounds, Henry's End (not open), that wierd old hotel (the strip club gone), that Italian restaurant on Montague where Eric and I met a mobster once. I walked past my old apt. at 89 Hicks St., my first in New York (not really even mine) and didn't even recognize the lobby interior. Kinda sad. Brooklyn Heights is a bit dark and creepy actually, away from the water.

November 21, 2002

This might explain my weeklong feeling of impending doom. Astronomers Foresee Enormous Collision of Two Black Holes

On another note, I have a confession. I harbor great ill will toward the fiberglass dog outside my local fire department. I'm all for honoring our heroes, two-footed or four, but this is too much. The dog is white and covered with red "kisses." He stands on a thin square of cement (probably too heavy for me to lift, and believe me I've thought about it) looking balefully into middle distance. Occasionally someone will leave a bunch of flowers in his doggy water bowl, which seems to compound my annoyance. I can handle the guy who hangs out outside the station, talking day and night to the portraits of the fallen firefighters. But I can't handle the dog. The station didn't even have a dog, as far as I know. And lest you think I'm anti-animal or something, I was a big fan of the cow project. This dog project seems more than a little derivative. And dorky. And tacky.

November 19, 2002


Managed to miss the entirety of
Leonid, the largest meteor shower of the century.

Apologies for the long delay. A birthday has passed (a quiet one, with lots of unassuming presents like the apron (?) coffee cups (?) apple chutney (!) and Christopher Morley book (?!) from my parents.

Spent last week working at Penguin Putnam in a somewhat ill-conceived employee exchange program. The two most interesting things I did were:

  • Attended a meeting between a self-help author, his silent, supportive wife, and their publicist.
  • Researched a possible cross promotion between some new book about a guy who makes or is attempting to make single-malt Scotch (in America, no less) and well, single-malt Scotch.

    Books garnered during aforementioned week include Fingersmith, by Sarah Waters, High Maintenance, by Jennifer Bell (hilarious), and The Color of Water - A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother, by James McBride

    New wishlist item: Man Bites Dog

    October 31, 2002

    Oh great. Now I'm compelled to read Bertold Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui just to figure out if this guy is on the mark. He's writing - scathingly - about a current production starring Al Pacino, John Goodman, my future husband Billy Crudup, Chazz Palminteri, Steve Buscemi, and Charles Durning. Not a bad cast. What went wrong?

    Apparently, nothing. ...a stunning coup de grace."
    Now I'm really confused. [Salon article about John Heilpern whose review began my quest for clarity around a play I'll never see and quite frankly will probably never read either.] I enjoy deconstructing things about which I'm completely ignorant. There's something at once challenging and absurd about it.

    HAPPY HALLOWEEN! And here we go again. I can expect drunken ghouls from the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade hovering on my stoop starting from the moment I get home. I already ran into a phalanx of men in blue on my way to West 4th. They looked cold and annoyed and were probably wondering, like me, why they had to be there so early.

    Welcome to the world, Jacob Noll Lassner!

    October 29, 2002

    Today was a visual day, as opposed to a literary or intellectual day. As a result, I used up a grand total of 86% fewer brain cells and I must say it feels good. For your viewing pleasure... some fun with digital camera. I also took a mighty fine picture of a ruler because I needed one for our website (company site) but simply couldn't find one. I would love to just photograph extremely everyday boring objects for a job. Someone please help.

    October 25, 2002

    A large galaxy absorbed a smaller companion and left behind a bright blue imprint

    October 23, 2002

    Good. It's not just me... Connie Chung bugs me.

    Astronomer sees black hole eat star   Cool.

    Maybe the sniper era is drawing to a close. Last thing I remember from last night was hearing that they arrested a tree trunk. I thought, as I snuggled deeper into the down, that ah, now the world is definitely a safer place. Renegade tree trunks must be stopped so that all freedom-loving Americans can get on with their daily lives and not let the deciduous sleeper cell tree trunks win ... especially the white, male homegrown tree trunks with big egos and credit cards.... This is what I dreamed, and how much sense it made (though you might compare it to the cryptic messages sent from Mr. Moose to the sniper, which seems to make even less). All in all, the world is not making a whole lot more sense now, even in the light of day. To wit:

    [from today's NYT] "While Chief Moose was careful not to label Mr. Muhammad and Mr. Malvo suspects, one federal law-enforcement official, said: `We're not ready to call them suspects, but we suspect them. We want to talk to them. We really want to talk to them."  I'm sorry; that cracked me up. I may just be overtired.

    Had my annual review today. Or, as I call it, the annual self-flagellation ritual wherein I spend some precious work hours inspecting my psyche, examining my work ethic, probing my motivational impulses, detailing my shortcomings, and finally accepting that I'm just not any more than "meeting expectations" which is the box checked, I'm sure, in the vast majority of annual reviews, regardless of whether the person is a bona fide imbecile or a nascent genius workerbee. Actually, in fairness, this company uses "Successful" instead of "Meets Expectations" which is supposed to be enlightened and more motivational but still means a check mark in the damn center box, below "Exceeded Expectations" [read: I have something on my boss} and above "Needs Improvement" [read: you're pretty much a sorry loser whose ass is grass].

    On logging/blogging/flogging: I'm not sure any of this is worthwhile. Who am I sharing with? (Maybe about three friends and two relatives). Why am I sharing? It's not as if I would put my deepest thoughts here, and certainly not any really GOOD writing (I'm not going to waste it on the Web... hello, New Yorker?).

    More

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