Saturday, April 11, 2015

Last free day for a while?

  On the following day, we are
  promised a multi-media immer-
  sion in excuses for the most
  insatiable political ambition
  ever to be thrust upon one
  generation of Americans after
  another, until the last con-
  ceivable immunity to it has
  been wrung from the merest
  necessary plurality.

  I do not look forward to it,
  but as Rick said at the end
  of Casablanca, we'll always
  have this Saturday.

Elliott Erwitt

Thursday, April 9, 2015


The Southern Poverty Law Center, whose
address has been in the sidebar here,
as Context for years, bring perspec-
tive to policy announced by the White
House this week as a Presidential ini-
tiative in human rights, lacking pre-
cedent in our politics except as prop-
aganda. The Obama Administration has
recommended the abandonment of the na-
tion's infamous abuse of psychiatry

Like many of my generation; no, like
all of us, who must always wonder why
we were not slated to die with friends
in the great health crisis of the 1980s
and 1990s, I see the breakers of the
present as humane footnotes of benumbed
existence. I scan the waves for all the
life they once so exuberantly held, to
pass the word of the torment's disinteg-

I cannot, and would not, remark to the
Nothing can taint, nothing can elevate
the place they create for themselves.
This month, this page will reach a mile-
stone in readers, I never contemplated.
But there is nothing in that dull sta-
tistic that can mollify the sense of
achieving nothing, to redeem its license
of time, when I think of those I've al-
ways wished to invoke, claim, praise.

However, I can say, it suits me, and
it suits their memory, that the South-
ern Poverty Law Center are in the boat,
and as they pull, I know we don't have
to say, Hurry. They know the tide.

Martin Pichler

XL, ii

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Reversed jeans

Not the kind of day that brings
one to the web to be useful. We
have held a consensus against 
murder for some time, and so if
a jury in Boston convicts a de-
fendant of 30 counts along that
line, and a cop in South Caro-
lina is dismissed for gunning
a citizen down as he flees for
his safety, these events corres-
pond with what we already believe.
Persuasions to small adjustments
are not amusing, to anyone.

Still, a revealed malice, com-
mon to both instances; a revealed 
perfection of intent of sadistic
destruction, as a recreation to
pursue with likeliest impunity, 
strike our life experience as
very tiresomely familiar, and we
are brought back into the refrain
of an uncomprehending child. What
on earth did I do wrong?

I would not trust anyone who did
not endure this question today.
Irrational as it is, it comes
from the only conscionable pred-
icate: How could the place of my
trust conduct itself so violent-
ly, if I love it so? 

We know, we do begin there, every 
day - after chocolate, of course - 
as if counting up the waking flock 
of our affections and our duties. 
We often find, they are at odds,
and discover what our purpose is. 
It is not, to coin a phrase, to sit 
and wonder why, Babe.

We have reversed our own jeans,
yet we admire the reputation we
then foist upon a God. It was 
good enough for us, and a heap 
better than the one traded for.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The bracelet length

Do you like this one?

Oh, it's lovely - but,
aren't the sleeves a
little short?

Oh, that is for the
bracelet, Monsieur.
That is what we call,
the bracelet length -

Just as many of us had
begun to think well e-
nough of April, for giv-
ing us the Resurrection
(not unlike Hackensacker
in The Palm Beach Story,
restoring Gerry Jeffers
to the pinnacle of fa-
shion), a new bracelet
has been foretold for
this same month, which
is likely to restore
the forearm to the plâ-
teau to which Hacken-
sacker raises it with
rubies and diamonds. Or
so they wish, at the
world's most valuable
corporation - as had
Hackensacker's been,
once upon a time.

Oh, Hackensacker com-
rehends. Would you like
a bracelet?

You mean, Gerry almost
weeps, with stones?

Certainly with stones,
Monsieur, the sales
priestess promises him,
whacking Gerry into si-
lence, zay are all ze

We know so little of
miracles, that it is
consoling of Apple to
scatter their latest
incarnation before us
in this month of gath-
ering introspection in
the Southerly latitudes.
Not that Palm Beach is
so distant from Cuper-
tino, as the lucre flows, 
freshets of its tributar-
ies shoring up the nose.

You have been denying 
yourself, Monsieur, 
one of ze basic plea-
sures of life, the
priestess remarks, is-
suing the mark out the

I never tire of this
especially splendidly
stage-managed jest on
society and its requis-
ites, conceived and dir-
ected by a Yale man, of
all things; and when a
brilliant refreshment 
of the movie emerged
not long ago from Cri-
terion, I was there.

Mr Sturges could be
virulently funny, but
this is the one where 
he remembers his priv-
ileged roots with un-
faked sympathy, whole-
some salaciousness,
and the devil-may-care
play of the talented
boy. His Ale and Quail
Club, trap-shooting the
saltines with live am-
mo, is a pastiche of
such perfect pitch upon
our not-very-secretive
societies of silliness,
we all dismiss the case
against them. 

He reminds me of the
morning I spent at
Mark Cross on Fifth,
when in college I had
to pick up some lug-
gage for a pleasant
trip abroad. I used to
love the shop, anyway,
like my father before,
for its textures and
aromatics; and this
was just as well, be-
cause I found myself,
not against my will,
given time to browse,
as a young lady was
selecting things for
her trousseau. She
was a Miss Percy of
Illinois, and she
was about to marry
a Mr Hackensacker.
When it came my turn,
I was served every
bit as solicitously. 

So, one can't mock the
recurring stampede of
lemmings, for absolute-
ly anything from the
marque that is the rage.
It will pass, of course.

Mark Cross did, and I
miss them. Travel has
not been the same, al-
though the luggage has
held, and now glows. Of
this bracelet factory,
no such thing could be
said. Rubies and dia-
monds? I'm not worried.
They have the measure
of delight. They have 
the bracelet length.

Preston Sturges
  director and writer
The Palm Beach Story
Claudette Colbert
Joel McCrea
Mary Astor
Rudy Vallee
Paramount, 1942©
The Criterion Collection, 2015©

Monday, April 6, 2015

History so large ii

         If the region's 
         workin' well,
         we'll do fine.

         Forbearance so
         honest, it can
         not be shaken.


President of the United States
   to The New York Times
5 April 2015©

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Salmon, Sorrel Sauce "Ast Hampto"

Here it is again, the
comprehensible season
at its brightest best.

I love my sorrel plant.
In March .. their tart
bite reassures me that
one day summer will be
here. By April, there's
a more luxuriant quanti-
ty of leaves, each one
coming to a point at the
top, broadening toward
the center, then dipping
down as the tips more or
less take on the shape
of an arrow. The stem
that runs up the center
of the leaf and the side
veins are visible and
delicate .. Because its
tartness is so pronounced
sorrel is good at bright-
ening foods .. cream and
sorrel are divine togeth-
er, so you might combine
them .. think about sal-
mon with sorrel sauce, 
the oil-rich pink fish
swimming in a tart green
pool of brightness.

   3 1/2 cup sorrel, de-stemmed
   2 shallots
   1/3 cup white wine  see below
   1/3 cup fish stock
   2 tbsp vermouth
   1 1/4 cup crème fraîche
   juice of 1/4 lemon
   s & p

   Rinse the sorrel in running water,
     slice the leaves as in a chiffonade
   Pour the white wine, stock and vermouth
     into a saucepan and add the shallots.
     Reduce over medium-low heat until al-
     most fully evaporated.
   Add the crème fraîche and slowly bring
     just to a boil to obtain a creamy tex-
     ture, swirl in the sorrel leaves and
     remove from heat after 60-90 seconds.
     Taste, then finish with salt, pepper,
     and increments of lemon juice.

   For the salmon, select best quality fil-
   lets (up to 4) and pound flat between
   oiled parchment paper. Season only one
   side of each filet with s&p. Sear the un-
   seasoned side for 30 seconds and the sea-
   soned side for 20.

   Avoid any garnish, pink peppercorn excepted,
   and serve promptly. Do not relegate this to
   a chafing dish. Winter is over.

   Present with a classic Loire Valley-sourced
   Chenin Blanc, modestly chilled. The earthi-
   ness obtainable in this wine grape in this,
   its home region, underlies such a seamless 
   intermingling of subliminal sweetness and
   acidity as to offer a gps of the wine's ori-
   gin as well as the dish's own ingredients,
   distinguishing the nature of "Ast Hampto"
   sorrel sauces, potages, pesto, and salads.
   On the palate, an alla breve element, so
   in keeping with the season of the herb, 
   avoids shallowness with stirring vivacity.



Deborah Madison
Vegetable Literacy
  Sorrel: Rumex acetosa
  pp. 103-7 et passim
Berkeley, 2013©

Petit Larousse Cuisinier
Zachary Townsend
[Adaptation and
    wine suggestion, rmbl]
Éditions Larousse, 2010
John T. Wiley & Sons, 2012©