Friday, December 18, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Beyond Parody and Description

While grabbing a cup of coffee at a 7-11 this morning, I noticed, among all the various and sundry flavorings provided for coffee (not the "flavored-non-dairy-petrochemical-based-creamer-analogues," but the "let's-make-a-simple-beverage-fancy-by-changing-it-into-something-else flavorings"—you know, the ones that look like bottles of liquor with italianate names and pump tops on them?) I noticed that 7-11 now offers:

Honey-flavored syrup.

Hey, wasn't there already a 'honey-flavored syrup?' I think it might have been called "Honey?" Or am I misremembering something?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Hey! That's My Congressman You're Talking About!!

"Eric Cantor as a congressional leader is a classic example of a post turtle -- you know he didn't get up there by himself; he obviously doesn't belong up there; he can't get anything done while he's there; and you just want to help the poor, dumb thing down."
Steve Benen, The Washington Monthly


Monday, December 07, 2009

A Long Ago Christmas Party

The rare men clustered near the glow of the fireplace—solid, beefy, upright masses, ruddy-faced prime rib well-marbled in bespoke suits. To a man, their freshly-shaven necks bulged over starched white collars bound tightly with ties, tradition and decorum defying the warm festivity of the carpeted living room. Thick hairy paws exited their french cuffs; one paw each held a squat cylindrical glass, formless icebergs tinkling within miniature amber seas. The other paw casually held a cigarette—the men murmured and laughed, each cocooned within the self-perpetuating cloud of his own making.

Their women clustered musically at the far side of the room. They were freshly-baked confections, delicate crusts browned in just the right places, frosted and iced and dusted and topped with sprinkles, redolent of cinnamon and citrus and vanilla. They held pale pastel drinks in crystal glasses that served as exclamation points at the end of their tiny delicate hands.

Warm side, cool side. The children look on, mystified.


I don’t know if the snow globe still exists or not, nor do I know whether what I remember is a memory of a real time and place or a conflation, a confabulation of remembrance and imagination.

I think it was a gift to me in what—third or fourth grade?—perhaps from a teacher. A cheap trinket from the five-and-dime, but the memory has such greater gravity and significance associated with it than had it come from one of those meaningless children who are so long forgotten to me.

However, what I can say with great surety is when I think of the snow globe, what I am remembering is looking out the window of that ancient red stone school into a cold dark sky that is both woolen grey and deep cobalt blue. It is me, looking out at a snowing and snow-covered place, from within that plastic world.

Now I find myself seeking the snow sky, driving in vain towards it, sniffing it out, searching in a most animal way, traversing hill after hill until I lose track of how far I have come, wondering if it is possible to ever find that twilight blue world out there again. I seek but cannot find—there are ten-thousand intervening steps that distract and deflect, and only serve to misdirect me from that elusive place. I know it is there, but cannot seem to find it.

At next daybreak the snow finds me. And at twilight, for a fleeting instant, I catch a glimpse of that cobalt blue snow globe world behind me, the heavy sky drawing its muffling dome close down over the pines.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Our Thanksgiving Benediction

In lieu of saying grace or offering a blessing, we shared this quote as we all sat together for our Thanksgiving meal:

"Eating with the fullest pleasure - pleasure, that is, that does not depend on ignorance - is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world. In this pleasure we experience our dependence and our gratitude, for we are living in a mystery, from creatures we did not make and powers we cannot comprehend."
— Wendell Berry