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The Staples I’m Not Hoarding

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Department Of Thoughts That Wake Me Up At 4 AM.

 

 

“Argyle is such an all-encompassing name. It’s not, my-gyle; not your-gyle, it’s our-gyle.
Can it get more inclusive? And in these divisive times,
could an item of inclusive hosiery unite us in…”

 

“Step away from the notepad ma’am; put the pen down; go back to bed; we’ll handle it; no need to write this down.”

 

*   *   *

Department Of Feeling Smug Should Feel Better Than This

Dateline: yesterday, circa 7 am; listening to the latest Freakonomics podcast on another aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic (“What Happens When Everyone Stays Home to Eat,” 4-8-20).  I was bemused when, early on in the episode, a “food economist” spoke of his concern to find (what he considered to be) food “staples” in short supply:

“So about a week ago, I had planned to go to the store early in the morning. I got up about 7:30 a.m. I thought, ‘I’ll beat the crowds.’  And I got to the store and was, frankly, shocked. There was basically no meat left. And your major staple foods — bread, pasta, rice — were largely picked over.”

Moiself  thought about* my* trips to the store recently, which have been just fine (other than looking like someone getting ready to knock off a 7-11, what with my mask and gloves).  There’s one type of people not panicking and doing just fine thank you, because our staples are those which provide plant-based, whole foods nutrition.

 

 

Now, by whole foods I’m not talking about the market[1]

“A whole-food, plant-based diet is based on the following principles:
Whole food describes natural foods that are not heavily processed. That means whole, unrefined, or minimally refined ingredients.
Plant-based means food that comes from plants and doesn’t include animal ingredients such as meat, milk, eggs, or honey.
A whole-food, plant-based diet lets you meet your nutritional needs by focusing on natural, minimally-processed plant foods.”
(Forks Over Knives)

My basket is full at my weekly shopping trip – full of fresh fruits and vegetables – and I’ve yet to encounter or hear of shortages in that department.  [2]    Like most people who’ve adopted plant-based eating, I know how to turn all of these minimally-processed, non-industrialized, “source foods” into tasty, nutritious meals. This is not bragging; this is reality-stating.

So, maybe this is the time to consider making some gradual – or drastic – changes in your life in this matter? And, unless you’ve stuck your head under a rock (or in a bucket of KFC wings) the past twenty years when it comes to reading about the science of nutritional health, your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar (and waistline) measurements will thank you.  Here are some references to help you get started:

* Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Diet: A Detailed Beginner’s Guide

* Plant-Based Primer: The Beginner’s Guide to a Plant-Based Diet

* The Right Plant-Based Diet For You (Harvard Health School Men’s Health Watch)

And that is the end of this particular polemic.   [3]

We now return you to our regular inanity programming.

*   *   *

Department Of Silly Quote Of The Week From A So-called “Expert”

This inanity – or just a misstatement? – comes via the previously-mentioned podcast. The podcast host was talking about the effects of the pandemic vis-à-vis income inequality:

As in every crisis, there are some protections, some forms of insulation. Money is one. If you have enough money, adjusting to the pandemic is easier. You may have to wait in line a bit longer at the grocery store. You may not be able to buy everything you’re used to getting. Still, you’re going to eat. If you don’t have enough money, even feeding your family becomes a big challenge. The bureaucratic phrase for this is “food insecurity.”

Then we have this, from a “development and relations director” at Midwest Food Bank, who was being interviewed about the concept of food insecurity :

“There’s been a moment when we’ve all experienced food insecurity in the last week; the moment when we went to the grocery store and we were looking for pasta, or canned beef, or even toilet paper, and we saw the shelf was empty…. That pit in our stomach – that is food insecurity.”

Wait a minute – you’re talking about food insecurity, and she adds TP to the mix (and “canned beef,” yikes)?  Sure, a lot of people are   currently obsessed with/hoarding toilet paper, but I think that speaks to a different kind of insecurity.

 

“Alas and alack, ‘tis nobler to suffer your departure from this mortal coil, as I cannot procure the ingredients for our pasta-Spam-toilet paper casserole.”

 

*   *   *

Department Of Not-So-Funny In Retrospect

Dateline: A Monday or Wednesday, 8:45 am-ish, approximately three months ago.  A young-ish woman across the studio in my yoga class struck up a conversation with me before class, as we yogis (yoga students) were setting up our mats. My voice reminded me of a friend of hers, she said.  She picked up on a conversation two other students was having, about a sick relative unable to travel, and Youngish Yogi told a story about her husband, who had been home sick for a while but had recovered.

His illness started when he was travelling – I can’t recall the name of the country she said he’d been to, but it was somewhere in east Asia.  The airport where YY’s hubby was to catch his return flight had thermal scanners placed on either side of the hallways just past the airport’s security screening stations. Passengers, most without knowing they were doing so, walked by the scanners as they strolled down the airport hallways on their way to their flights’ gates. The scanners sounded an alarm when a person with a fever walked by, and that person would be given further screening by an airport employee.  People with fevers and other symptoms of illness were not allowed to board their flights.  [4]

 

 

YY’s husband was running a fever and was afraid that the scanner would catch him. According to YY, he figured that if he sprinted down the hallway past the scanners, as if he were late for his flight, the devices might not have enough time to register his fever…which is what happened.  She said he was miserable on the flight home and then for many days after, but that’s why he did what he did: he wanted to be home to recuperate, and not be stuck in a foreign city and have to seek medical care there.  “He was feeling so bad, and was so happy to be home,” she said.

Other yogis softly giggled in amusement at her story, and then at my response, when I cracked, “Yeah, but were *you* happy to have him back, in his condition?”

I continued to project geniality, but ventured, “Uh, gee, I sure wouldn’t have wanted to be the person sitting next to him on the airplane…”

Of course, we all had no inkling of COVID-19 at the time.  I just remember thinking how personable and nice YY seemed, and what a dumbass, selfish – and dangerous – thing her husband did.

 

*   *   *

Department Of Puns So Bad Even I Couldn’t Stick With It

Musician name puns; that should be a thing, right?  Apropos of nothing, I came up with five before I disgusted even moiself :

Instructions given to the “Heart of Gold” singer/songwriter as he was
about to be knighted by the Queen:
Kneel Young.

Jazz pianist arrested for destroying Liberace’s $50,000 candelabra:
Felonious Monk

Texas rock trio simultaneously beset by hay fever attacks:
Sneezy Top

Legendary heavy metal band reunites and hires
“The Flintstones” dad to be their drummer:
Fred Zeppelin

Fleetwood Mac singer/songwriter turns down request by New York b-ballers
to perform the national anthem at their next home game:
Stevie Nix Knicks

 

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Department Of Yet Another Mystery Of The Universe

That would be the…uh, point…of this yard “decoration” pictured at the end of this post. Is it to represent, attract, or repel other deer? Is it a talisman of some sort? I’m trying to think of a culture in which there is an equivalent of a scarecrow, only in the form of a deer. And what kind of creature would a deer scare away or ward off, other than perhaps a neurotic Pomeranian or other yippee-dog?   [5]

I know the knee-jerk/go-to answer is, “Because they (the home residents) think it looks nice,” but, really?

BTW, the street where this Deer Sentinel house is located is the same street that was the subject of the Facebook post I made on April 2:

Best. Morning. Walk. Ever.
Dateline: this morning, circa 6:45 am. See that white thing in the tree branches? As I got closer I realized it was what I thought it might be: a person, facing east, wrapped in a blanket, sitting amidst the blossoms of a tree.
From a social-distance safe length away (the middle of the street), I called out to her: “Okay; there’s got to be a story behind this.”
The blanket-wrapped young (?) woman turned her head to look down at me, and smiled. From my viewpoint, she could have been in her mid-twenties to late forties. “This corona virus-isolation thing’s got my schedule messed up,” she said. “I was awake early, and decided I wanted to see the sun rise.”
(Looking around her street, I could see that the best view of the rising sun might be up in a tree, so she could see past the roof-line of neighboring houses).
“What the heck,” she added. “It’s better than watching another episode of ‘Friends.’ “
I told her I agreed, and added, “Carry on.”

 

 

 

Deer Sentinel House and Sheet-Woman-in-Tree House are right next door to one another, in what is an otherwise average-seeming cul-de-sac. I am not fooled.  There’s something going on there; some alien wormhole travel vortex or other, weird phenomenon. Perhaps I should contact SETI about this?

 

“Klaatu barada nikto.”

 

*   *   *

Pun For the Day

All the toilets in New York’s police stations have been stolen. As of now,
it appears the police have nothing to go on.

*   *   *

Department of The Corona Virus Playlist

The Ramones Edition
No, not just a Punk Rock edition.  The Ramones are worthy of their own edition.

Moiself has listed some of The Ramones’ song titles which are IMHO, applicable to our social-isolating, transmission–paranoid, COVID-19 times, and which, in small groupings, imply a related story.

Anxiety
All’s Quiet On The Eastern Front
You Should Have Never Opened That Door
You Sound Like You’re Sick
I Can’t Give You Anything
I Don’t Care

Bad Brain
Can’t Control Myself
Danger Zone
Do You Wanna Dance?
Bop Til You Drop
Don’t Come Close

You Are Gonna Kill That Girl
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
Death Of Me
Bye Bye Baby

Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment
Go Mental
High Risk Insurance

I Don’t Wanna Go Down To The Basement
I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You
I Don’t Want To Live This Life Anymore
I Just Want To Have Something To Do
I Wanna Be Sedated

I’m Affected
I Wanna Live
It’s A Long Way Back
It’s Gonna Be Alright

Needles And Pins
Sitting In My Room
Take It As It Comes
Tomorrow She Goes Away
Too Tough To Die
Why Is It Always This Way

 

Hey Ho, Let’s Go

 

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Department Of The Things You Learn During Social Isolation
When You Have Time To Stream The Series You’re Supposed To Watch
Because It’s Critically Acclaimed

So, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, one of the creative minds (writer; executive producer) behind the disturbingly compelling Killing Eve, is the same person writing and starring in the reassuringly I-SO-can-cross-this-off-my-list, Fleabag?

Moiself  was only mildly disappointed, and not really surprised, by how non-interested MH and I turned out to be, after watching 1.3 episodes of Fleabag.  Ten minutes into the second episode we exchanged life-is-short glances and almost tripped over each other reaching for the remote. MH heartily agreed when moiself  announced, “I don’t care about *any* of these characters.”

I have learned that when a show (or play, movie, book, next-door neighbor, new in-law….) when a show markets its protagonist as “free-spirited, quirky, sexually active, but angry and confused,” that too often translates as “aimless, self-absorbed, vulgar,” and – worst of all, for anything marketing itself as comedy/drama – “tediously uninteresting.”

 

Is that show still on – are we having fun yet?

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Department of Epicurean Excursion  Evolution  [7]

 

Featuring this week’s Theme Day – Wednesday Wraps – and recipe:

* Lentil-rice Koftas in butter lettuce wraps with Sumac Tahini Sauce (chaperoned by roasted butternut squash, lemon-garlic sautéed greens, homemade whole wheat naan)

My rating:

 

 

 

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

Recipe Rating Refresher  [8]   

*   *   *

May you be compelled by forces beyond your control to place a dozen
plastic flamingos in your yard before you would add one “realistic” deer
or other wildlife ornamentation;
May you wake up at 3 am with a bad pun in your brain and think to yourself,
“So, this is what she feels like, poor thing;”
May you never feel compelled to embrace the critical darling you in fact disdain;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

 

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

*   *   *

 

[1] Although you certainly can find a lot of whole foods at Whole Foods.

[2] if the supply chain, farmers getting their fresh produce to market – is interrupted for a prolonged period of time, then we’re all really in trouble.

[3] For the moment.  You know there will be more…eventually….

[4] I don’t know what the parameters were; i.e., what was considered a further-screen-worthy body temp.

[5] In that case, the lawn ornament would be well worth whatever they paid for it.

[6] Boring, Oregon, is a small town (population ~ 2000) twelve miles east of Portland.

[7] A recurring feature of this blog, since week 1 of April 2020, wherein moiself decided that moiself would go themes as listed in the 4-3-20 blog.

[8]

* Abject Failure:  I’ll make a canned wieners & Spaghetti-Os gelatin mold before I make this recipe again.
* Tolerable:  if you have the proper…attitude.
* Yep: why, sure, I’d share this with my cat.
* Now you’re talkin’: Abby the support Avocado ® approves.
* Yummers: So good, it merits The Purple Tortilla Chip Of Exclamation ® !

 

The Casting Director I’m Not Thanking

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Department Of Putting It Off Until The Last Moment

Last Thursday I checked my list: only Roma and Vice were remaining. I needed to see those two movies in order to have seen every movie nominated for a major 2019 Academy Award.  [1]    And what, you may ask, are the major awards (and who decides such things?). The parenthetical answer is that moiself decides what is a major award, and they are the awards for:

– writing (best original and adapted screenplays)

– acting (best leading and supporting roles)

– best directing

– best picture

Roma was streaming; I watched it at home  last weekend. I had put off going to see Vice and wasn’t sure, until the very moment I was walking toward the theatre, if I was up for it: I didn’t want to subject myself to the images, memories and history of that gang of incompetents and liars, torturers and thieves (Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, ad nauseum), even if their stories were presented satirically, by actors.  Nevertheless, the theater got my money, and I’d say I got my money’s worth.  [2]

 

 

So, the terrorist coddling wimp actually had the cojones to sit through it?

 

Thus, when it came to our annual Movie Awards Dinner party on Sunday (a tradition I’ve written about previously in this space), I had fun watching the telecast, holding my sample Oscar ballot and commenting oh-so-knowingly on the categories (“Well, Sam Elliot gets my vote for best supporting actor, but I think the Academy will go for Mahershala Ali, even though he was nominated in the wrong category   [3]….”) .

I found most of the awards spot on, was disappointed with a few, and was relieved that Roma didn’t win best picture – a category for which I had no personal pick as I deemed them all (except Roma) more or less worthy of the nomination.  [4]   Right up until Julia Roberts made the Best Picture announcement I feared the Academy would do what they have done in the past – choose an “artier” film to show that we here in America can recognize and appreciate Serious Cinema ®. But while I found Roma to be beautifully shot (it won the cinematography award, and also Best Foreign film), it was too languid and plot-meandering for me. It’s like I made myself watch it because it was nominated for several awards and…because I was supposed to watch it.  You know, the cod liver oil criteria? (drink this stuff watch this movie; it’ll be good for you).

*   *   *

Department Of Not That You Asked….

As for the Oscar telecast itself: Yo, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, are you listening?

 

Why, are you someone wealthy or important?

 

 

With the recent unintended [5]-but-successful, host-less telecast, y’all Motion Picture Academians or whatever you are finally appear to be at least trying to get on the right track.  Apparently the show “numbers” you are so concerned about   [6]   improved this year. But you still have some work to do. Like other pressing issues in this world – be they related to human rights, geopolitics, nutrition, [7] space exploration, you name it – things would be so much better if Those In Charge Just Listened To Me ®.

Thus, here are my suggestions to get a watchable (read: well under three hours) presentation:

* This year’s show proved that no host is necessary. Do not return to the Host format.

* However, do have Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler provide the intro to the show. Every. Single. Time. You simply cannot go wrong with those three.

 

 

I would voluntarily undergo and pay for a root canal sans anesthesia if these three writer/comedian/actors would host the procedure.

 

 

*Combine the presentation of awards with similar categories, saving stage entry/exit time for the presenters (you already did this, in at least two categories, during the recent show. Good on you). Have the same presenters announce all the awards for writing (original & adapted screenplays), “short” subjects (Documentary, short film/live action, short film animated), sound (editing and mixing) and the “staging/production” awards (costume; makeup/hairstyling, etc.)….

* Leave the singing to the Grammies and ditch the live performances of the nominated songs!!!  You don’t have other actors read the soliloquies from best acting award nominations, do you? Simply air a film clip of a snippet of each nominated song, showing where and how it fit into the movie – just as you play a brief (~15 sec) portion of each movie/acting performance nominated.

And about those acceptance speeches:

 

Make it stop!!!!

 

There must be a way to attach some cattle prod to the stage microphone – or give the Academy Award orchestra conductor some kind of fart noise-producing device to use – to humiliate encourage the winners to shorten their acceptance speeches.

I suggest the Academy send, via certified mail requiring a signature of confirmation – a contract to all nominees, informing them of the RULES – NOT SUGGESTIONS for their acceptance speeches, and then go over said rules at the banquet or whatever you throw for the nominees prior to the ceremony:

* Absolutely NO thanking of your agents, managers, accountants – no one who makes money off of you. Your $ucce$$ is thank$$$ enough.

* Also, do not thank your film’s casting agent, director, writer, costume designer, etc.  Not only are these thanks boring and gratuitous (your winning of the award validates their choice to work with you), it also comes off as if you are ass-kissing greasing the wheels in hopes of getting future roles. You may indeed be boundlessly grateful to director Spike Lee and his crew for taking a chance on your bony white ass – that’s great! But tell them privately, after the ceremony, when it will seem more sincere and less self-congratulatory.

* Tailor your time on camera for the audience watching the show – you know, the ones buying the tickets that keep the movie business in business? Say something humble and touching about your friends and family, and/or tell an odd/amusing/self-deprecating and BRIEF anecdote about what got you to where you are today ( anyone else remember composer Marvin Hamlisch thanking Maalox during his acceptance for Best Original Dramatic Score[8]  ) and then GET OFFSTAGE.

 

 

 

 

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Department Of And I Mean Every One, As In Every Single Fucking Person…

Dateline: riding the Max (light rail) train to Portland, to see the movie Vice.  After I boarded and the train began moving I noticed that everyone in the car (and once I noticed what I was noticing I craned my neck and turned to look forward/sideways/backwards to try to see every person on the train), including the Hillsboro High School wrestling team (on their way to a tournament),  bowed their heads, in unison. Was it respectful meditation time?

 

Yeah, right!

 

 

Really; it was odd. As soon as the train began to move, all aboard (save for moiself) dropped their gaze to their cell phones and/other other electronic devices they held on their laps. Or, perhaps they found their own crotches to be particularly fascinating? Meanwhile, looking out the window, I espied a majestic great blue heron standing in the middle of the field next to one of the train stops – a beautiful sight, oblivious to the crotch-gazers.

Here are just a few of the sights my fellow train light rail passengers missed:

*  a Canadian geese couple (or a couple of Canadian geese – I shouldn’t assume they were a couple; they may have just been good friends, or on a first date) confronting a squirrel over the squirrel’s cache of goodies at the base of a maple tree;

* the afore-mentioned heron;

* two people hoisting a blanket, which was rolled up into a way that made it look as though they were transporting a body in it;

* a rather disaffected-looking young man vigorously picking his nose in the boarding area at the Sunset Transit Center.

But, nooooo. Ig was if aliens had forced everyone’s head down.  For a moment, when the train approached my stop, I thought of throwing a question into the void: Hey folks, are your crotches really that fascinating?   [9]

 

 

 

 

*   *   *

Department Of (Yet Another) Podcast You Should Be Listening To
(And Not Looking At Your Cell Phone While Doing So)

Disclaimer: Moiself is not anti-digital technology; I am pro personal interaction.

Most people are familiar with Alan Alda as an actor, but the self-professed science geek hosted Scientific American Frontiers for 12 years. Alda is presently channeling his lifelong interest in getting people – particularly scientists – to communicate clearly by working with the Center for Communicating Science.   [10]  He also hosts a podcast, Clear + Vivid, in which he and his guests explore how to better connect and communicate with others in every aspect of life.

In a recent episode of Clear + Vivid, “… How We’re Losing Touch With One Another and What We Can Do About It,” Alda speaks with MIT professor/clinical psychologist Sherry Turkle, who has spent the last 30 years studying “…mobile technology, social networks, AI, robots…our relationships with our devices and how our constant connectedness isn’t always the best thing for us — and what we can do to disconnect from our technology to reconnect with our humanity.”

While speaking of her research Dr. Turkel made one of the more profound observations about modern/present communication I’ve ever heard. She nailed it, I thought, when she described about what happens between people who are talking face to face (or backseat to front seat) when they are in the same place with one another – what happens when, for example, someone pulls out their cell phone when they are having lunch with a friend or dinner with their family. Whether or not it is their intention, the phone users have removed themselves from the interaction, without having taken a step out of the room:

“…there is that sense of a shared space…one of the things that has come out so poignantly in my research is that when you go to your phone you’re basically saying, ‘I’m leaving the shared space.’  When you take out a phone, you aggressively leave the common space of the people you’re with.

…It has to do with presence. What the phone does at its worst is take us away from – give us an alternative to – presence.”

 

 

 

*   *   *

 

May you realize it’s never too early to start honing your
2020 Academy Awards acceptance speech;
May you consciously endeavor not to be one of the crotch-gazers;
May you, when inhabiting the common space, put down your phone
and actually be where you are;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

 

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

*   *   *

 

[1] Confession:  I (along with the majority of movie-goers) missed the one about Vincent Van Gogh that had William Dafoe (nominated in the best Actor category) in it. It was not playing in a nearby theatre and not streaming – there was nowhere for moiself to see it.

[2] In other words, thumbs up…if somewhat painfully.

[3] Ali’s performance in Green Book was a leading role, not a supporting role!

[4]My criteria for best picture includes which one(s) would I be willing to see (and pay to see) again?).  

[5] Comedian Kevin Hart was scheduled to host the telecast, but abruptly backed out in December when past homophobic tweets of his came to light, and the show’s producers could not find a replacement host(s).

[6] That would be, the ratings. The “Oscar” show had had years of declining viewing audience, especially among younger (as in, under age 40) viewers.

[7] Go plant-based, everyone!

[8] For The Way We Were, 1974.

[9] Although, in the case of the wrestling team, which was composed of buff teenage males…you could make an argument for a vigorous and sincere YES MA’AM! answer to that question.

[10] A multidisciplinary organization, the Center for Communicating Science is a cross-disciplinary organization founded in 2009 within Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism (Stony Brook, NY), with the goal of helping scientists learn to communicate more effectively with the public.