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The Movie I’m Not Seeing

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Department Of How Did This Happen?

It’s October, y’all!

( design from The Brights logo )

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Department Of A Reason To Rejoice:

Mary Roach has another book out.

 

 

“Join ‘America’s funniest science writer’…on an irresistible investigation into the unpredictable world where wildlife and humans meet.
What’s to be done about a jaywalking moose? A bear caught breaking and entering? A murderous tree?…. as New York Times best-selling author Mary Roach discovers, the answers are best found…in the curious science of human-wildlife conflict, a discipline at the crossroads of human behavior and wildlife biology.”
(excerpts from book blurb for “Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law” )

I just finished Fuzz, and now an armed with a plethora of animal-human encounter trivia with which to annoy entertain friends and family.  Previous books by Roach (which I have read and highly recommend) include

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers;

Gulp: Adventures On The Alimentary Canal;

Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife;

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex;

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void.   [1]

The thing about Roach: not only is her writing informative, amusing and accessible, even her footnotes are thought-provokingly droll.  One of my favorites in Fuzz is re “Compound W,” which was a code name used for ricin   [2]  during WWII by the National Defense Research Committee, which was doing experiments in a quest for new rat poisons.  [3] 

“Did the makers of the wart-removal product Compound W realize this when they named their product? I don’t know, because Prestige Brands, which owns Compound W, doesn’t return calls, their online media query form is a dead-end, and they’re not on Twitter.
But while we’re on the topic of inappropriate names, let’s consider “Prestige Brands.”  Because here are some more of their prestige brands: Fleet enemas, Nix for lice, Beano for flatulence, URISTAT, Nōstrilla decongestant, Summer’s Eve douche, Boil-Ease, Efferdent denture cleaner, and Boudreaux’s Butt Paste.”
(footnote from Chapter 8, “The Terror Beans: The Legume as Accomplice To Murder,”
( Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law )

 

 

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Department Of Can You Guess Who Is The Diplomat In My Family?

Last week a cousin of MH’s sent an email to MH’s extended family, to suss out interest in a family reunion the cousin is organizing for Spring 2022.  MH’s cousin wrote that recipients of the email should feel free to ask questions, make comments, etc.

This cousin is a Good Person. ® The location for the reunion he’s planning is his town of residence, a city widely known as the most liberal in the state.  However, the state is Texass.  Thanks in part to my recent blog post, y’all know how moiself  feels about that.

MH’s and my reactions were similar.  Here is mine, which I shared only with MH:

I will attend nothing held in Texas….
Please feel free to pass that along – even the more liberal residents in Austin need to know what Texas voter suppression and anti-reproductive choice policies are costing them (yeah, like our family not coming is a *big* loss to their tourism, but still….).

I also suggested to MH that, since the reunion organizer requested feedback, MH share his opinion.  And he did, succinctly and eloquently:

This is probably not what you meant when you included the word “comment,” but while I would enjoy seeing all of you, I’m currently not of a mind to spend my time or money in Texas.
I know that Governor Abbott and the state legislators won’t care that I find their actions repugnant enough to avoid the state… but I will.

Miss Tammy Wynette her-own-self couldn’t have been prouder of her man than I was of MH, when I read his reply.

 

 

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Department Of The Movie I’m Deliberating Seeing

The Eyes of Tammy Faye.  It’s about the rise and fall of televangelists Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker, and their religious broadcasting empire, in the 1970s-80s.

Those of you us who are old enough may remember how Tammy Faye became a cultural “thing” (and also, in a delightful twist as per religious conservatives’ antipathy to LGBTQ folk, an icon to drag queens), due in part to her liberal (sorry) use of eye cosmetics.

 

 

Here’s the thing: I’ve enjoyed the work of the movie’s two lead actors, Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen either of them give less than a terrific performance, which I can also say about another actor in the movie, Vincent D’Onofrio, who plays Jerry Falwell.

Here’s the second thing.

 

 

Does moiself  really want to spend two hours with those characters? As in, the people…

*  who are responsible for getting the Religious Right in bed with conservative politics?

* who preached against the supposed immorality of others while they themselves were embroiled in sexual and financial scandals, robbing their supporters blind and demonizing ethnic, sexual and gender minority groups in order to spread fear and ratchet up their quest for donations?

* who included the Bakkers’ fellow carnival barking snake oil salesmen televangelists:

* Jimmy Swaggart

(Moiself’s  favorite Swaggartism: “The Lord told me it’s flat none of your business,” Swaggart said, when confronted with evidence of his dalliance with prostitutes, despite Swaggart having exposed the extramarital affairs of a fellow Assembly of God minister, which led to that minister being defrocked   [4]    )

*  Jerry Fallwell,    [5]

(a mere sampling of Fallwell’s decades of WTF?!? pronouncements include,
* “AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.”
* “The true Negro does not want integration… He realizes his potential is far better among his own race.”
* “If you’re not a born-again Christian, you’re a failure as a human being.”
* “The National Organization of Women is the National Organization of witches.”)

* Pat Robertson

(* “The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”
* ” You’ve got a couple of same-sex guys kissing, do you “like” that? Well, that makes me want to throw up. To me, I would punch ‘vomit’ not ‘like,’ but they don’t give you that option on Facebook.”
* “So, can demonic spirits attach themselves to inanimate objects? The answer is yes. But I don’t think every sweater you get from Goodwill has demons in it…but it isn’t going to hurt you to rebuke any spirits that happen to have attached themselves to those clothes.”
* “Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to the evangelical Christians! It’s no different! It is the same thing! It is happening all over again! It is the Democratic Congress, the liberal-based media and the homosexuals who want to destroy the Christians! Wholesale abuse and discrimination and the worst bigotry directed toward any group in America today! More terrible than anything suffered by any minority in history! … And it is happening here and now! Same thing, but directed against Christians by the liberal government and media! Send money today or these liberals will be putting Christians like you and me in concentration camps!”  [6]  )

 

 

Deliberation over.

Hell, that was easy.  The answer to Thing Two is a resounding, fuck no.

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Department Of Cancel Culture Cookbooks

My latest cookbook acquisition: Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give a F*ck.

 

 

I’d read a recommendation for the cookbook in a plant-based cuisine magazine.  The cookbook takes its name from a food website – make that, *took* its name.

Reading through the book I found many recipes I was eager to try, and my sides were sore from laughing at how the authors had written the “potty mind” thoughts I often have when thinking or talking about food (or anything, for that matter).  When I googled the book to learn a bit more about Thug Kitchen,  moiself  discovered  (yet another) New Controversy ® about which I’d been previously unaware: digital blackface.

“Popular vegan cooking website ‘Thug Kitchen,’, which has published three vegan cookery books under the brand, has announced it has changed its name to Bad Manners following years of criticism. Bad Manners, which is run by its Los Angeles-based founders Matt Holloway and Michelle Davis, has stated that it will discontinue the use of ‘Thug Kitchen’ as the title of all of its previous cookbooks and aims ‘closely re-evaluate’ the content shared on its site.
The duo has relied heavily on their use of Black English and hip-hop vernacular in the captions of their posts and cookbooks, which has long drawn criticism from many who have accused them of ‘digital blackface’ and cultural appropriation.
‘Thug Kitchen’ first faced controversy after an interview published to promote their first cookbook revealed that Holloway and Davis were white, as many believed that the blog’s creator was a POC. Followers were under the assumption that the use of the term ‘thug,’ which is a racially charged term often used to portray Black males as violent criminals, was an attempt to reclaim the racially-charged word. In more recent years, the term has been reclaimed by hip-hop artists such Tupac, leading followers to believe the bloggers were trying to redefine the term to promote veganism to communities of colour.

( ” ‘Thug Kitchen’ rebrands following accusations of cultural appropriation and ‘digital blackface,’ ” veganfoodandliving.com  June 2020 )    [7]

 

 

Moiself  didn’t know (or care about) the background of the authors when I purchased the book.  I still don’t care what “color” they are;  I do have yet another opportunity to ponder That Thing ®, of taking a pejorative or “forbidden” word and modifying or elevating it (depending on your POV) by using it: e.g., Black rappers and comedians who use the n-word; women who affectionately call each other bitch.  Which got me to thinking: if the cookbook authors considered themselves to be badass women, would I object to them calling their book/website, Cunt Cookery?  [8]

“Not my chickens – not my circus.” That’s what friend CC might say, re this particular version of the brouhaha about who gets to use what terminologies AND who gets to be the police of such things.    [9]    What counts for moiself  is that the Thug Kitchen recipes are tasty and “doable.”  Also, the recipes’ text and descriptions are consistently (and profanely) amusing: 

“This captures the smoky flavor of a falafel without all the fucking work.”
(Spiced Chickpea wraps with tahini dressing)

“Pour all this shit together in a jar and shake the fuck out of it.
Taste and add more of whatever-the-fuck you think it needs.”
(Basic Thug Kitchen vinaigrette)

“Tired of boring-ass lettuce wraps? Try these crunchy fuckers out and remember why it’s fun to eat with your hands.”
(Yellow Split Pea and Green Onion Lettuce Wraps)

“This shit is a little complicated but well worth it. Make it when you’ve got people to
impress or when you’re really fucking lonely.”
(Mixed Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna)

“There are two kinds of people in this world: people who like enchiladas and people who
have no fucking taste.  Which are you?”
(Sweet Potato, Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas)

“Quit fucking with that tired-ass take-out. You can make better shit at home in no time.
Plus, you don’t have to put on pants to answer the door.”
(Vegetable Pad Thai)

 

 

Interesting note:  the book and its two companion cookbooks have been rebranded as Bad Manners.  The book with the original Thug Kitchen title, which I purchased a week ago new for $17.95, is going for $49 on Amazon.

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Punz For The Day
Cookbook Edition

After five years, I’ve finally finished my fresh herb cookbook.
It’s about thyme!

My other cookbook will have recipes for flatbreads and other unleavened bake goods.
I’m taking the path of yeast resistance.

The members of Aerosmith recently wrote a Chinese cookbook.
It’s titled, Wok This Way.

 

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May you cook and eat like you give a f*ck;
May you be the diplomat in your family;
May you read at least one Mary Roach book this year;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

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[1] The last which proves that she is capable of coming up with primary book titles of more than one word.

[2] A poison found in the beans of the castor oil plant.

[3] During the war rats were “sabotaging factories, destroying food needed for our allies, and spreading disease among our armed forces.”

[4] A great word, isn’t it? I think all religious ordination rites should be referred to as “Frocking.”

[5]  Fallwell had the audacity of fronting the group he called The Moral Majority, which, as critics pointed out, was neither.

[6] This and more filth fun can be referenced at Pat Robertson’s Wikiquote page.

[7] CC’s farmer-husband has a yearly chicken circus.  I’ve seen the tents.

[8] Well, in this case, yeah.

[9] Such issues ( who “owns” language, thoughts, and ideas) are of keen interest to moiself, as regular readers of this blog know well.

The Wild Rumpus I’m Not e-Reading

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“You cannot write for children. They’re much too complicated. You can only write books that are of interest to them.”   (Maurice Sendak)

It’s hard to imagine, in a world where we have children’s literature (ahem) with titles like Zombie Butts From Uranus, and The Fart Book: Whiff it, Sniff it, Lay it, Rip it! – Milo Snotrocket’s Gross-out Guide to Thunderpants and Toilet Tunes and Go the F*** to Sleep [1], that Where the Wild Things Are caused a bit o’ controversy when it was first published in 1963.

Some parents said that the book’s illustrations of fanged and clawed, googly-eyed creatures were too grotesque and frightening for a children’s book.  Of course, most children (and adults) thought otherwise, and Maurice Sendak’s tale of imaginative Max’s journey is now a beloved classic. Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the book’s publication by giving a copy to a child of any age who doesn’t have one, or break out your own well-thumbed copy for a re-read, and let the wild rumpus begin.

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“F**k them is what I say. I hate those ebooks. They cannot be the future. They may well be. I will be dead. I won’t give a s**t.”      (Maurice Sendak)

With all apologies to the late, great Maurice, spinning (slowly, naturally, without the aid of technology) in his grave: I gave up (in?) and bought an eReader.

We had one in the family: MH’s birthday gift, from K and Belle and I, was a Nook .  When searching for MH’s gift I’d researched the various models available, and went with the recommendations of a techie whose name I cannot recall.  Also, I liked the Dr. Seuss-ish sound of the device.

Dead tree scrolls I’ve not forsook
Since I broke down and bought a Nook.
I like to read by hook or crook [2]
and when I look open up the Nook
I’m treated to a new ebook.

It turned out to be quite the popular device.  Belle used money from her after school job at Noodles & Company and bought herself the same version as MH.  I had leftover gift $$ to spend (thanks, Mom!) and got the HD version for me, as I want to be able to see hamster and whistle and other images from The Mighty Quinn’s cover page in glorious e-color.

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Inauguration, schmauguration

(written on Monday, January 21: There are going to be two prayers during President Obama’s inaugural ceremony: an invocation and a benediction. I will not watch today’s ceremony, for that reason.

Various Christian conservatives are arguing over what it means to have the first “lay person” (i.e. non-clergy, first woman, to boot) give the invocation [3] and a non-evangelical [4] blather the benediction they.  As always, they miss the point.  There should be no argument because there should be no deity-invoking in a secular procedure.

The founders of our nation, when forming the nation’s governing document, made it god-free.  Religion is mentioned merely twice in the U.S. Constitution, and then only in exclusionary terms:

-“…no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” (Article VI, Section 3)

-“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” (from the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution)

The United States is the most diverse country on the planet in terms of world view or belief systems.  Twenty percent of us are the “nones” (freethinkers, humanists, Brights, atheists/agnostics or the “non-affiliated”); the rest of us claim affiliation with denominations described [5] as mainline Protestants, evangelical Protestant, Catholic, historically black churches, Jewish, Mormon, Buddhist, Jehovah’s Witnesses, “other Christian,” Orthodox, Hindu, Wiccan, “other world religions” and “other faiths.”  One of the few things people pledging allegiance to different religious beliefs can claim in common is their willingness to be live in this country and be united through our system of governance.

The presidential oath of office, laid out in Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution, is secular, in accordance with our secular democracy.  There is no mandate nor even mention of placing a hand on (anyone’s) scriptures; no “so help me God”:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States,
and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The Constitution does not mandate religious oaths; it prohibits them. Yet once the religious verbiage got appended in the inaugural oath, woe unto those who might consider removing it (surely, that would be evidence that they are Kenyan socialists!).  And so Obama, like every pandering politician president since Chester Arthur in 1881, will follow suit, and place his hand on a collection of monarchy-upholding, Bronze Age fables one particular version of one particular denomination’s scriptures, and by doing so he’ll violate the Constitution in the act of promising to uphold it.

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Beware literary journals helmed by MFAs [6]:

I have a file, once hard copy, now on my computer, labeled Most Pretentious Writers Guidelines.[7]  Always happy to add another entry to the file, my happiness was doubled this week, when I came across the following as I was checking out a journal that had put out a call for material.  The first blurb is from the journal’s how-we-journal-came-to-be description, the second from their About the Editors listing:

Several members of the editorial board of “The Lofty Spleen Review”[8] are graduates of the prestigious MFA in Creative Writing program at Pompeux College, one of the top five programs of its kind in the nation.  As a highly educated, highly motivated group…. 

Editor Richard Knoggin[9]  completed his M.F.A degree in Creative Writing at the prestigious Pompeux College of Cleftpan, Iowa.[10] The low-residency program he attended is rated as one of the top five in the nation….

Yeah, I get it.  Y’all think highly of your pretentious prestigious, highly educated selves.

If there’s anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot immediately!
(Douglas Noel Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

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Happy reading.  May hilarity ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!


[1] Okay, so this title is not marketed at children.  Way too funny to share it with them.

[2] Obscure Anglo/Irish expression of disputed origins meaning “by any means necessary.”

[3] Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of slain civil rights hero Medgar Evers.

[4] Rev. Luis Leon, a liberal pastor at St. John’s Episcopal Church.

[5] By organizations that keep track of such things; e.g., The Pew Charitable Trusts & Religious Tolerance

[6] Use your best Mr. Rogers voice: “Can you say, prestigious?  I knew you could! Now see if you can find a reason to use it, as many times as you can.”

[7] Writers guidelines, for those of you sane enough to be non-writers or those unacquainted with the term, are guidelines from a journal or publishing house that specify their requirements for material from writers.

[8] Not the journal’s real name.

[9] Not the editor’s real name.

[10] Not the college’s real name or location.  Except in my dreams.