Monday, August 21, 2017

What more could one ask of Afghanistan?

I certainly hope our Impresario-
in-Chief will feel himself in a 
position to promise us all a res-
toration to greatness in the Af-
ghan textile trade, for our next
few hundred billion. Vestments
and lap throws will mark a high-
er return on investment than we
have achieved so far, in this
longest of all foreign wars,
and might be just the thing to
seize the luxury goods imagina-

I am positively wearing out a
sumptuous but delicate scarf, a
traveling friend brought me from
that redoubt of cashmere grazing. 
I only hope, by now, that this
long-standing skeptic of every
catastrophe he didn't precipit-
ate, himself, will not tamper 
with the war's salubrious prop-
agation of poppies, to say noth-
ing of teas, and other herbs. Or
should we make less light of our
wars, just now, and leave that
confidently to his ministrations? 

Alexander Calder
Tapestry in jute

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Changing throats

It has been such a wonderful week
for moral clarity that one almost
hates to discern a strait, or ev-
en so much as a shadow to extenu-
ate this invigoration. The papers
and their digital appendages are
full of demands for extirpation
of impacted illusions, under the
impeccable provenance of yet an-
other Presidential provocation.

If there is anything more ener-
getically to be interrogated,
than a superfluous validation
of a vengeful premeditation,
it surpasses irony in emulating
the tone of a false just cause, 
to be embracing that monster
inherent in the absolutist vi-
sion. Tired tirades, ever chang-
ing throats. As is so often the
case with our incumbent Prophet,
sacrificing regard to prove his
case, he has exposed the vulner-
ability of even the good as the
distinction between equivalent
imperatives, such as our plan-
et's fundamental interest in
climate science, and his Party's
equally compelling need to crush
to perfecting our expectations.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Suppose it were Friday cxxxvii: motive's feast

Handle the ground beef as briefly
as possible - in other words, 
don't knead the meat - because o-
verhandling changes its texture,
moistness, and flavor. Shape the
meat firmly into a uniform patty
about one and a half inches thick.

Brush both sides with olive oil
and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Brush the grill lightly with olive
oil, and grill over a medium flame
about 5 to 6 minutes on each side
for medium rare.

Add dried thyme to 1/4 cup olive
oil and brush the ciabatta, tomato,
and onion slices, each 1/2 inch
thick, with the thyme oil. Salt
and pepper the onion and tomato;
grill all lightly on both sides.

This is Michael Lomonaco's take
on the hamburger that made '21'
famous, before his own years as
Chef at this power trough on the
near-West Side of Manhattan. With
the place's impossibly rich chick-
en hash, this open-faced concoc-
sion underwrote social standings
for visitors from all over America,
not for being especially witty, but
for being prohibitively expensive.

Yet it kept alive a gastronomic ac-
cident which has fueled prolific
invention ever since, and shows no
sign of withering in cachet. After
meetings of ACT UP each week, the
present writer would repair to the
bar at Jeremiah Tower's version of
'21,' for his superlatively simple
hamburger with a jigger of pepper
vodka. A pleasure denied is resis-
tance without a cause. This is why
repression can always be beaten.

Michael Lomonaco
The '21' Cookbook
  Recipes and Lore from
  New York's Fabled Res-
Doubleday, 1995©

Jeremiah Tower
Jeremiah Tower Cooks
  250 Recipes from an
  American Master
Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2002©

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Age of awe, age of memory

It is difficult to avoid
namedropping in times of
epistolary stress, invok-
ing others to sustain a
matter to be personally
confessed. It revolts us
to observe that habit ad-
opted as a fetish, in-
famous among disciples
of William Buckley. Yet
even low church patriots 
were taken into schools,
where the catechism ad-
mitted their memory for
just such times as ours.
Sometimes the ages wink.

Has anyone ever seen a
caricature of such im-
becility as now is giv-
en us every day, by the
most dangerous man on
Earth? Yes, at least in
the last 300 years.

And the hell of it is,
it's easy to remember.

             High on a gorgeous seat, that far outshone
             Henley's gilt Tub, or Fleckno's Irish Throne,
             Or that, where on her Curlls, the Public pours
             All-bounteous, fragrant grains, and golden showers;
             Great Tibbald sate: The proud Parnassian sneer,
             The conscious simper, and the jealous leer,
             Mix on his look. All eyes direct their rays
             On him, and crowds grow foolish as they gaze,
             Not with more glee, by hands Pontific crown'd,
             With scarlet hats, wide waving, circled round,
             Rome in her Capitol saw Querno sit,
             Thron'd on sev'n hills, the Antichrist of Wit.


Under these variations
of acute mental complex-
ity, we do not know, at
any given hour, what pon-
tification to expect of
our exalted idiot. As of
the moment, Nazis were
back in vogue, and the
gentle art of public as-
sembly was being upheld
as their right against
dissidents of violence.

is bound to be revised,
pending its recital anew,
in future moments of in-
vincible rapture in fury.

Our Tibbald has vowed it.
Let's just keep the lan-
guage open, to illuminate
his wondrous manuscript.

Alexander Pope
The Dunciad Variorum
  Book the Second
John Butt
The Poems of
  Alexander Pope

Monday, August 14, 2017

All travesty is local

I purchase my wines from one of two
shops, each no more than a hundred
yards from where Donald Trump's fol-
lowers murdered a resident of Char-
lottesville on Saturday. Not two
hundred yards away, is the bookshop
where I purchase poetry, Wodehouse,
and the occasional history. I host
my friends at an al fresco French
restaurant, down that very street,
on the premise that to dine out-
side, is not, technically, a vio-
lation of the masthead's dark view
of such conduct. I happen not to
believe, that a gentleman dines in
restaurants, but less contentious-
ly, until the present government,
I have always believed the nation
is constituted against mob rule.

Now one finds, the daily life of
discrete discretions that Char-
lottesville supports is, to the
menace of Trump, what an assump-
tion of immunity is to a virus:
an almost aggravated assault. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

His Katrina moment

         August 12, 2017


Willy Vanderperre

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Summer negatives

                   A man, of no particular interest,
                   in seeing civilization inherited, 
                   can ill be trusted to see that it

ii  Ernst Haas

iv  Josef Sudek

Friday, August 11, 2017

He's come alive

     Who can forget Michael Corleone's
     pride, promising his father that
     he'd be able to handle the blood-
     bath they had planned when he took
     power, that 3-year-old Anthony is
     already reading the funny papers?
     But even he does not rest his case
     on the oxymoron, military solutions.

     We'll get there, Pop.
     We'll get there.

Francis Ford Coppola
Mario Puzo and
  Francis Ford Coppola
The Godfather
Paramount, 1972©