Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thoughts of Food

Blettes farcies

Thoughts about food bring out the weird in people. Otherwise agreeable, laid-back folks get a weird glow in their eyes when talk turns to ways of eating. We are what we eat, in a very concrete sense, and also in a variety of more or less metaphorical ones.
—How do you spot a vegan at a cocktail party?
—Don't worry, he'll let you know.
Food is a marker of identity. The Inquisition even came up with a special dish to make sure that Iberian Jews who had converted really had done so. It's made with pork and shellfish. The Greenland Norsemen preferred to die out as Christians rather than eat seal like the Inuit, when the Little Ice Age hit.

Monday, October 24, 2011

What Happened to the American Dream?

Suomi Hall

I don't really care for Johnny Cash. I've tried listening to his songs a bunch of times, but they never really spoke to me. Some have been played so much that they've become cliché, Ring of Fire for example. Yesterday, however, I ended up playing a few of his songs again, after wandering there via "Flowers On The Wall" by The Statler Brothers. I was playing them more or less at random, still going "meh."

Until I stumbled upon "The Man In Black." And, perhaps for the first time, really listened to the lyrics.
Well, we're doin' mighty fine, I do suppose,
In our streak of lightnin' cars and fancy clothes,
But just so we're reminded of the ones who are held back,
Up front there ought 'a be a Man In Black.

I wear it for the sick and lonely old,
For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold,
I wear the black in mournin' for the lives that could have been,
Each week we lose a hundred fine young men.

And, I wear it for the thousands who have died,
Believen' that the Lord was on their side,
I wear it for another hundred thousand who have died,
Believen' that we all were on their side.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Of Police States and Occupations

Monument To World Peace, With Proletarian

The Occupy Wall Street movement and its offspring seem to be building up steam around the world. I like that. It's pretty unlikely that it'll result in the kind of revolution many of its adherents would like to see, but it's already shifted the discourse. Stuff that just wasn't talked about is back on the agenda. Some good ol' progressive ideas have been dusted off, and a bunch of new ones are being floated.

This kind of change is good. So carry on, occupiers. I'll be cheering from the sidelines, and maybe even showing up with my "The System Stinks" sign every once and anon. Thanks to Robert Aitken Roshi for that slogan.

It's brought out the nasty, too, in new ways. I haven't been a huge fan of the USA for a quite a while, but some of the ways the political establishment there has reacted to it has shocked even me. The American system really has come scarily close to a police state, and it's even possible that this will push it over the edge.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Meditation on a Watch


I can tell what kind of day I'm having by looking at my watch.

On some days I look at it and go "Damn, those hands are crooked, and the detailing isn't very good, and I'd really rather have a completely different kind of watch. Like an aviator watch maybe."

On other days I look at it and go "Hey, that is one fine watch."

On other days I look at it and wonder if it's fast, or slow.

On yet other days I look at it and go "It's 12:30."

The first kind of day is not a pleasant one.

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