Log in

No account? Create an account
15 July 2019 @ 02:50 pm
I have lots of catching up to do. My quarterly updates will come soon, followed by a vacation summary and a write-up of the NPL con. But first, an overdue celebrity death watch and a theatre review.

Celebrity Death Watch: Beatrice Arbour played shortstop in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Pat Bowlen owned the Denver Broncos. Michael Jaffee led the medieval music group, The Waverly Consort. Charles A. Reich wrote The Greening of America. Franco Zeffirelli was a film director. Susan Bloom directed the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons University. Yehuda Levi was an Orthodox rabbi and a physicist who wrote books on science and Judaism. Susan Bernard was an actress, best known for starring in Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, and may have been the first Jewish Playboy playmate. Judith Krantz wrote trashy novels. Spiro Malas was an opera singer, who starred in the revival of The Most Happy Fella. Beth Chapman was a bounty hunter and reality TV star. Tyler Skaggs played for the Angels. Sid Ramin was the orchestrator for West Side Story among other musicals. Lee Iacocca was an executive at Ford and at Chrysler (not at the same time, obviously). Bob Gililand was the first pilot to fly the SR-71 Blackbird. Marie Ponsot was a poet. Rip Torn was an actor, primarily on television. Ross Perot founded EDS and ran for President. William Dannemeyer was an archconservative, homophobic congresscritter from Orange County, California. Fernando Corbato developed Multics.

Gloria Vanderbilt was a socialite, an artist, and a fashion designer. Her jeans were a huge success. I admit to having owned and loved a couple of pairs of them, largely because she designed for women with hips. I had assumed that everyone knew that Anderson Cooper is her son, but it is generally a fallacy to assume everyone knows something.

Arte Johnson was a comedian who appeared on Laugh-In and is probably best known as the German soldier who would pop up and say, "Very interesting."

Martin Charnin was the lyricist for Annie, as well as several other musicals, including Two By Two. The song "You’ve Got to Have a Rudder on the Ark" from the latter was a big favorite in my family.

Michael Sleggs was an actor in the British sitcom This Country. I got a ghoul pool score for him, largely because I believed a tabloid article that said he was near death, so I traded Ed Kranepool (who got a kidney transplant, meaning I was looking to replace him from the list) for him. I then backfilled with Denise Nickerson, who had played Amy Jennings on Dark Shadows and Violet in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory because I saw an article saying her family had withdrawn life support from her after a stroke. As a result, I’m now in 5th place in my ghoul pool.

Jerry Lawson was the lead singer of The Persuasions. His wife is a facebook friend of mine (and a cousin, though we haven’t figured out the exact relationship).

Jim Bouton was a pitcher for the Yankees. More importantly, he wrote the memoir, Ball Four, which is a classic of baseball literature.

Blackbeard: Just before I left on vacation, I went to see Blackbeard at Signature Theatre. This is a new musical by John Dempsey and Dana Rowe and tells the story of the famous pirate, as he tries to evade the British Navy by raising an army of dead pirates, with the help of the enchantress, Dominique. She’s under a curse, which traps her in a coral reef - something the costume designers had a lot of fun with. To help him, she demands that he retrieve the three jewels she needs to break the curse. It seems impossible, but quest stories always have just the right helper and there’s a young stowaway who just seems to be able to come up with ideas on how to do impossible things.

The quest takes him first to Valhalla, where he wins a drinking contest with Odin, in a funny scene. Then it’s off to Japan to fight Kamikaze and, finally, to India, to get the final jewel from Kali Maa. And, by the way, each of those enemies has some supposed connection to Blackbeard’s father, who he never met – only it seems that none of them ever heard of the mysterious Whitebeard.

The songs are fun, especially the livelier ones like "To Be a Pirate" and "Valhalla." And there are several excellent performances, starting with Chris Hoch in the tile role. Nova Payton as Dominique, Bobby Smith as Odin, and Kevin McAllister as Caesar, the ship’s mate who escaped slavers in West Africa for the freedom of the pirate’s life, are all among my favorite frequent performers at Signature. I should also note the excellent choreography – both the theatrical fencing and the spectacular scene of the undead pirates, which took my breath away even though it was obvious how it was done (a mixture of costuming and puppetry).

However, I do wish the show had more focus. Blackbeard is motivated partly by his quest for fame, partly for his need to search for the father he’s never met, and partly for sheer love for the sea (personified by La Mer, who appears periodically to tell him he belongs to her). I think the show would be stronger if the creators had decided to focus on one aspect of this. It would even work to make it more explicit that he wants the fame to prove something to his father. As it is, the show is entertaining but thin.

This entry was originally posted at https://fauxklore.dreamwidth.org/454786.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
22 June 2019 @ 07:19 am
I am going to have limited internet access over the next couple of weeks.

I expect to have lots to say come mid-July.

This entry was originally posted at https://fauxklore.dreamwidth.org/454490.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
19 June 2019 @ 02:46 pm
Falsettos: Friday night, I went to see Falsettos at the Kennedy Center. For those who are unfamiliar with it, this is the story of a rather complicated family. In the first act, set in 1979, Marvin has left his wife, Trina, for a man, Whizzer. Trina goes to see Marvin’s psychiatrist, Mendel, who falls for her. Marvin and Trina’s son, Jason, is caught in the whole mess.

By the second act, in 1981, Mendel and Trina are married. Marvin and Whizzer split up, but then get back together. Jason is preparing for his bar mitzvah. Then Whizzer gets AIDS.

This all sounds like it could be pretty bleak, but there is plenty of humor and a generally tuneful score. This was helped by strong performances from the entire cast. I want to particularly note Eden Espinosa as Trina and Jonah Mussolino as Jason. Since I often complain about the KenCen’s lack of local actors, I should also note that Mendel was played by Nick Blaemire, who has performed at Signature and, more significantly, wrote the music and lyrics for the notorious Glory Days, which had a single performance on Broadway.

Overall, I liked the show quite a bit, with a few qualms about the frenetic choreography (especially for Mendel). And the set / staging which had blocks of furniture being moved around into different configurations constantly was rather distracting.

Spunk: I saw Spunk at Signature Theatre on Saturday. This is a combination of three stories by Zora Neale Hurston, with music by Chic Street Man. Iyona Blake, who is also stunning, was a sort of one-woman Greek chorus called Blues Speak Woman who narrated parts of some of the stories and sang the blues (with guitar accompaniment by Jonathan Mosley-Perry) in between them.

The first story, Sweat had to do with a woman being terrorized by her husband and a rattlesnake he keeps in a cage, until he ultimately gets his just rewards. That story held my attention, but was a lot more violent than I would have preferred.

The second piece, Story in Harlem Slang, has to do with a couple of flashy men harassing a girl. I had a hard time with the dialect, but my bigger issue is that nothing really happened. I’ve actually read this story and it’s funny on the page, but I needed some narrative for it to work for me on the stage. I should note that much of the audience found the whole thing uproarious, so this is me, not the story itself.

The final story (after an intermission) was The Gilded Six-Bits, which involves a young married couple and what happens when a flashy guy opens an Ice cream parlor. I found the story fairly predictable, alas.

Overall, this show just didn’t resonate with me. I associate Hurston with her work as a folklorist, so the stories were not what I was expecting. And, since I am neither African-American nor southern, the cultural gap was significant.

This entry was originally posted at https://fauxklore.dreamwidth.org/454199.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
17 June 2019 @ 02:34 pm
*Here is the curious unexpected topics meme. If you wish to participate let me know in the comments, and I will give you three topics, or spheres of interests, which I think you are not interested in, or maybe you'll surprise me with your interest and/or knowledge. Then you talk about those subjects in your journal. It's interesting to see who knows what about what.*

spikesgirl58 gave me these:

1. Scrapbooking: I’ve never done any scrapbooking myself, but I have friends who have. And I have done various related crafts, including collaging and rubber stamping. Scrapbook stores (and the scrapbooking aisles at more general crafts stores like Michael’s or A.C. Moore) sell decorative papers and inks and various cutting / punching tools, including the particularly wonderful device known as a Crop-A-Dile, which is second only to the bone folder for fabulous names for tools paper and book artists play with. The reason I don’t do scrapbooking is that I have no idea what I would do with the finished product, which is essentially one or more decorated pages with photos and decorative elements. That hasn’t really stopped me from doing other crafts, however.

2. China (the country): I have been to China twice. The first time was a few days in Beijing, on my way back from a trip to Tuva, Siberia, and Mongolia. (The complete route resulted in my circling the globe, by the way.) I had a couple of disturbing experiences there. The worst of them was during a walk across Tiananmen Square. Two women were sitting in the square, possibly meditating, when we saw a group of 6 armed policemen walk up to them, pick them up, and carry them away. This was in 2000 if I recall correctly and it was the height of news stories about Falun Gong, so I was pretty sure that was the connection, but it was still upsetting. The other thing was that the people I was traveling with (2 American men and our Czech tour leader) had no qualms about buying clearly pirated CDs. I also felt like the Chinese government was determined to tear down anything with character (i.e. the hutongs) and replace it with a modern skyscraper.

The second time was on my way home from a trip across Australia in 2013, when I flew from Adelaide to Hong Kong. I spent a couple of days in Macau, which had an interesting historic center (though somewhat disappointing food) and four or so days in Hong Kong. I was particularly taken with Victoria Peak, largely because it was nice and cool at the summit. And the food was a lot better than in Macau.

I’d still like to get to Shanghai. And to the Silk Road cities (e.g. Kashgar and Urumqui).

3. Radios (the sort you listen to music on): I am of the generation who grew up listening to music on the radio. Cousin Brucie was the DJ on WABC in New York and I (along with almost everyone I knew) listened to his show through the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. I must have listened to the radio in college, but don’t have specific memories. In grad school, I listened to a couple of different things. The more mainstream DJ was Alex Bennett on The Quake (a San Francisco station). In addition to playing music by the likes of Grace Slick and Thomas Dolby, he had various comedians on his morning show. He produced live comedy shows with them and, when my parents visited, I took them to see a show that featured Whoopi Goldberg, Dana Carvey, and Bobcat Goldthwait.

The other thing I listened to was public radio – both NPR and Pacifica. I stumbled upon a Celtic music program while channel flipping one night and that’s what led me to years of listening to everything from Silly Wizard and the Tannahill Weavers – and some peripherally related performers, like Pierre Bensusan, who I have seen perform live more than anybody else. (I remember that the song I heard which led me to NPR was the Franch Canadian dance "La Bistrangue," which I knew from having spent a lot of time folk dancing.) The Pacifica station (KPFA) had a late night folk music show with the theme song "Hawaiian Cowboy."

When I moved to L.A., I listened some to their Pacifica station (KPFK). But I listened even more to KCRW, an NPR station in Santa Monica and, specifically, the show Morning Becomes Eclectic, which played a wide range of music. Chris Douridas was the DJ most of that time and was one of the greatest influences on my musical tastes.

If I’m in my car, the radio is on. This is a problem in some parts of the U.S., where the choices are Country or Western, but you can find Oldies stations in a lot of places. And NPR.

One last radio story. Remember the little transistor radios, that had a single ear plug to listen to them with? In 8th grade, a guy in my class used to use his to listen to Mets games during math class. Our math teacher was unaware of what was going on ntil one day he remarked to another teacher about how said it was that Mike had to use a hearing aid at his young age!

This entry was originally posted at https://fauxklore.dreamwidth.org/453995.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
17 June 2019 @ 01:15 pm
*Here is the curious unexpected topics meme. If you wish to participate let me know in the comments, and I will give you three topics, or spheres of interests, which I think you are not interested in, or maybe you'll surprise me with your interest and/or knowledge. Then you talk about those subjects in your journal. It's interesting to see who knows what about what.*

missdiane gave me these, which I think qualify as winning a game of Stump the Chump:

1. Game of Thrones: I’ve never watched it, so what I know is pretty limited. Without turning to google, I think there were 8 seasons and they were based on a series of books by George R. R. Martin. There are some families (four maybe?) competing for an iron throne. There are dragons, but maybe only some families have them. And there is a place called Westeros. A lot of people die. I’m not really interested in knowing more.

2. Boba Tea: This is tea, possibly served cold, with large chunks of tapioca in it. I think it comes mostly in fruit flavors. I seems popular, though I have no idea why.

3. ASMR: I had to google this. It apparently stands for "autonomous sensory median response" and has to do with some sort of pleasant sensation associated with certain sounds. I got nothing.

This entry was originally posted at https://fauxklore.dreamwidth.org/453781.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
14 June 2019 @ 02:49 pm
*Here is the curious unexpected topics meme. If you wish to participate let me know in the comments, and I will give you three topics, or spheres of interests, which I think you are not interested in, or maybe you'll surprise me with your interest and/or knowledge. Then you talk about those subjects in your journal. It's interesting to see who knows what about what.*

zhelana gave me these:

1. Fastpitch Softball: Isn’t this just softball? As opposed to slow pitch softball, which is what they used to relegate girls to playing?

2. Butterflies: Many of them are pretty. As a child, I favored monarch butterflies. As an adult, my favorite is the blue Morpheus. I have some pretty cool pictures of them resting on rusting World War II planes on Guadalcanal. I’ve also been to a couple of walk-through butterfly houses. There’s one in Westminster, Colorado and another in Key West.

3. Ukraine: I haven’t been to Ukraine, but it is on my list. The problem is that I specifically want to go to places in the Crimea, which has been taken over by Russia. I suspect that if I do go there, I will be singing the song "Djankoye" for weeks after. (If you go to Sebastopol, it’s not far from Simferopol, just a little further on …) Fortunately, I don't know any songs about Odessa.

Also, why does Joe Biden spell the name of Ukraine’s capital "Kiyiv," while everyone else seems to stick to "Kiev?"

This entry was originally posted at https://fauxklore.dreamwidth.org/453393.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
14 June 2019 @ 01:48 pm
*Here is the curious unexpected topics meme. If you wish to participate let me know in the comments, and I will give you three topics, or spheres of interests, which I think you are not interested in, or maybe you'll surprise me with your interest and/or knowledge. Then you talk about those subjects in your journal. It's interesting to see who knows what about what.*

maju01 gave me these:

1. Lego: I think I had some lego blocks when I was a kid, but all they had in those days were basic ones in bright primary colors. I don’t have any specific memories of them. I did later get some lego kits that had something to do with pirate ships. I believe I got them free from some offer or other. I know I gave some of them away.

I do know that the name comes from the Danish for "play well."

2. Bricklaying: I admit to not having thought much about bricklaying, though my great-grandfather, Schachne Fainstain, was a contractor in bricks. Now that I think of it, I wonder how much or how little bricklaying has been mechanized / automated. I definitely think of it as a skilled trade, with people slathering mortar and arranging bricks by hand.

3. Ice fishing: In order to go ice fishing, you need to be near a body of water that freezes over in the winter. Presumably, that means a pond or a smallish lake. And it definitely means fresh water. My image is of little huts where men sit around holes in the ice for hours, more as an excuse for drinking beer than in hopes of actually catching fish. I like saltwater (and fish that live in it) and being warm and not worrying about falling into a hole in a frozen body of water and dying of hypothermia. In other words, no thanks.

This entry was originally posted at https://fauxklore.dreamwidth.org/453344.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
13 June 2019 @ 05:03 pm
I am busy at work and busy at home since I am going on vacation soon and in the usual pre-vacation mad rush. I have a few other things to write about due to the three unexpected things meme, but that will be a separate entry (or maybe more than one).

Celebrity Death Watch: Roger Hirson was a writer, primarily for television, but also of the book for the musical Pippin. Claus von Bulow was accused of murdering his wealthy wife. Anthony Price wrote spy novels. Frank Lucas was a drug trafficker. Thad Cochran was a Republican Senator from Mississippi. He was relatively moderate, e.g. voting to allow stem cell research, but still pro-gun and anti-health care. Paddy Fahey was an Irish composer and fiddler, whose works have been performed by a number of other traditional musicians. Leah Chase was the chef behind the well-known New Orleans restaurant Dooky Chase’s.. Le Anne Schreiber was the first woman to run the sports section of a major U.S. daily newspaper. Robert Earle was the second host of College Bowl. Maida Heatter wrote cookbooks, focused on desserts. Sylvia Miles was a film actress.

Leon Redbone was a singer and guitarist, who earned attention for his unique voice and his revivals of Tin Pan Alley classics. Until reading his obituary, I hadn’t known that he was born in Cyprus. I particularly recommend his album Champagne Charlie. Since that includes the song "Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone," I won’t say more.

Dr. John was a New Orleans singer-songwriter. His shows incorporated Mardi Gras beads and elaborate costumes and voodoo elements. He was pretty much the last of his kind left since Professor Longhair died in 1980 and Allen Toussaint in 2015.

Velvel Pasternak was a musicologist, specializing in Jewish music. He is credited with preserving Hasidic music, as well as Holocaust songs. But his work, especially as a publisher of 150 some odd books, was much broader and included Israeli folk dances and Ladino songs, too.

Embassy of Belize: I went to a reception at the Embassy of Belize last Thursday night. The weather held up, so the event was out on the back deck. They started with drinks – a mixture of pineapple juice and coconut rum that is apparently called a “panty ripper.” Then the ambassador gave a speech, emphasizing the diversity of Belizeans and their ties to both the rest of Central America and to the Caribbean region. Dinner included guacamole tacos, plantains, potato salad, rice and beans, and chicken. There was some sort of pudding with fruit for dessert. They also had music playing, which created a lively atmosphere. All in all, it was a nice event.

Addictive game: The New York Times puzzle page has a new game called Tiles. I recommend ignoring it if you plan to be productive any time in the next few days. Or weeks. Or months. Okay, it just showed up Sunday. So maybe I will get tired of it someday. But, in the meantime, it is definitely not helping me review a list of compliance documents.

Sticker shock: I need to go to the Bay Area for a few days. Unfortunately, the timing is not flexible. The price is not quite high enough to justify using miles, but it is getting close. Oy. I’m almost afraid to check Amtrak prices for a trip to NY this summer.

Since it is pride month: I am hopelessly heterosexual and past child-bearing age, so this has no direct impact on me. But I am increasingly angry about the struggles LGBT adoptive parents face with respect to having their parental rights recognized. This is particularly dramatic when it comes to citizenship issues. I believe that recognition of same sex marriage should imply that the adoption of a child by the non-biological parent should be treated the same way for same-sex partners as for mixed-sex partners. And this should be the case when assisted reproductive technology is involved. The State Department needs to update the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 to fix this.

This entry was originally posted at https://fauxklore.dreamwidth.org/452918.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
06 June 2019 @ 03:34 pm
The Indie 500: Saturday was The Indie 500, which is an annual DC crossword tournament. The name refers to the organizers being independent crossword constructors. I’ve managed to compete in this every year, which is a bit surprising given that it is inevitably the same weekend as two dozen other things I want to do. Just imagine you hear me muttering something about priorities.

Puzzle 1 was a straightforward one, with a theme full of the sort of wordplay I enjoy. I solved it cleanly in 7:17, which I think was a little slower than it should have been. I will blame the lack of speed on being sleep deprived. I should probably mention that all of the themes were sort of travel related which is, of course, right in my wheelhouse.

The traditional pie arrived at that point and included coconut custard, which is as good as it gets without a time machine. (Nesselrode pie from Custom Bakers would be better, but is long extinct, alas.)

That lack of speed was even more apparent on Puzzle 2. The theme wasn’t difficult, but didn’t particularly resonate with me. And I had a few moments of hesitation regarding the fill. As a result, it took me 12:19, while it should have only taken me about 10 minutes. (Note that the top competitors finish a puzzle like this in maybe 5 minutes.) It was not helped by them having left out clue 75, which was read out. How did the test solvers miss that? At least I was still error-free.

I continued being accurate, but plodding through Puzzle 3. In this case, it took me a while to grasp the theme. Once I did, I thought it was particularly clever and I’ll say it was my favorite of the day. While my time of 17:05 was middling, it is better than making mistakes. (See the comments for a spoiler in rot-13.)

Over the lunch break, I went with a few people to Poki DC, conveniently around the corner. Getting some protein and upping my blood caffeine level apparently helped quite a bit, as I more or less zoomed through Puzzle 4 in 14:47. That is, of course, a bit of an abuse of the word "zoomed" given that the top solvers finished in 5 or 6 minutes, but it was a big improvement over the morning. The theme was the type I tend to be good at, which also helped. More importantly, I was still solving cleanly.

And, yes, the perfect solving continued through Puzzle 5, the last regular puzzle of the day. I didn’t find the theme particularly interesting, but it was easy enough to grasp. I finished the puzzle in 7:14, which I thought was pretty respectable.

While we were waiting for scoring to complete, we played a game that involved identifying countries through various clues. Some of those involved anagrams, which are hard to do quickly and, for me, something I either see immediately or never. On the other hand, geography is one of my good trivia categories, so I can quickly answer clues like the location of the Blue Hole.

They did something experimental this year and had the non-finalists do Puzzle 6 before bringing in the top 3 in each track. I thought this worked well. The puzzle was challenging and I had to switch from the inside track clues to the outside track ones to finish it. (The inside track is for people who have finished in the top 25% in a crossword tournament within the past 5 years. The grid for both tracks is the same, but the clues differ.)

I needed to meet a friend at 6, so left at that point (i.e. without watching the actual finals) so as to not be disruptive while slipping out. All in all, it was a fun event and good to see people I don’t see often enough, as well as meeting a few new ones.

So how have I done overall in the Indie 500? Here are my results:

2019 – 83/195 (57th percentile)
2018 – 100 / 164 (39th percentile)
2017 – 64 / 128 (50th percentile)
2016 – 60 / 117 (49th percentile)
2015 – 61 / 100 (39th percentile)

Note for next year - be sure to caffeinate adequately in the morning.

Oyamel: My friend, Teri, made a dinner reservation at Oyamel, because we had tickets to see Describe the Night at Woolly Mammoth, which is more or less around the corner. When she got to the restaurant, she went to check what time the show started – and discovered it was cancelled. I’d bought the tickets on Goldstar, checked my email, and saw the cancellation notice, as well as a refund notice from Goldstar (whose customer service is quite good about this sort of thing). I was already in the city, at least, so it wasn’t horribly annoying. And, frankly, I was tired enough to be glad for an early night. (We found out later that an actor was ill. Do they not have understudies?)

There was no reason not to continue with dinner, however. We shared a dish of stuffed plantains with a chili arbol sauce and brussels sprouts with pumpkin seeds. I got a lengua taco (i.e. tongue) and she got some other sort of taco. I drank a cocktail with the cute name of Nick and BacaNora. (Bacanora is similar to mezcal, but less smoky.) Everything was quite good. We also had a brief conversation with two women at the next table about theatre and other things to do.

JGSGW Annual Potluck Luncheon: I had to be up early on Sunday to cook for the annual Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington members’ potluck luncheon. I made cold peanut noodles, largely because I had all the ingredients on hand. The event was in downtown Silver Spring and I contemplated metroing there, but decided that it would be an okay drive on a Sunday. And it was, except for the part where I thought I knew where I was going and had to circle around the downtown area to get to the parking garage. Still, I had left plenty of time and it all worked well.

The speaker, Emily Garber, talked about evidence and how you can prove or disprove family lore. She had a couple of interesting examples, e.g. a claim that a Shawnee chief in Ohio was a white man.

Which gives me an excuse to talk about a particularly ridiculous story in my family. I think the source of this was my great-aunt Bernice, but it is possible someone else told it to my mother, who told it to my brother. Anyway, the claim was that my great-great-grandfather, Berel MAKOWER, lived to be 100 and was murdered on his birthday by Hitler himself. Aside from there not being any evidence that Hitler personally killed anyone, there are two problems with this. Namely, my great-grandmother, Malka Ryfka MAKOWER, married Enoch Ber SZWARCBORT in 1896 and their marriage record (which I have a copy of) says that her father, Berel, was already deceased. And the death certificate of my great-great-grandmother, Byna MAKOWER, from Pultusk in 1909, shows that her husband, Berel, was deceased. So, even though I haven’t found his death certificate, I can be reasonably sure he died long before Hitler came to power. And, while it isn’t impossible that Byna was a lot younger than he was, it seems unlikely he made it to 100.

Movie Night: Monday night, I went to see the new documentary The Spy Behind Home Plate at the Cinema Arts Theatre in Fairfax, followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker, Aviva Kempner. The film is about Moe Berg, who was one of the more interesting Jewish baseball players. He was known for his prowess with languages, which allegedly led someone to say about him that "he knows 12 languages and can’t hit in any of them." More significantly, he became a member of the OSS during World War II. I’ll say more about the movie itself when I do my quarterly rundown. The Q&A was interesting mostly for learning that a major source was archival footage from Princeton from an earlier attempt at making a movie about him. She also emphasized that the OSS deliberately drew people from all walks of life, which was part of the reason for their success. All in all, it was an interesting evening.

This entry was originally posted at https://fauxklore.dreamwidth.org/452618.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
04 June 2019 @ 10:49 am
I've been quite busy the past few days, but it will take me a little more time to write about what I've been up to. So, here, have a meme about food.

1. How do you feel about golden Oreos? They’re okay. I don’t buy them, but I don’t refuse to eat them if somebody has them on a cookie platter. I admit I do buy oreos mostly to check out their odder new (usually temporary) flavors. Recently, I had the s’mores flavor and thought they were pretty good. But I still prefer Carr’s ginger lemon cookies when it comes to this sort of thing.

2. What is your favorite dessert topping? Some sort of liqueur. Probably Grand Marnier, which is excellent drizzled on vanilla ice cream or on fruit salad.

3. What is your favorite flavor/brand of bubble gum? I was unaware that bubble gum actually came in flavors other than the generic pink one of the Bazooka gum of my childhood.

4. Favorite cheese? I am not a big cheese eater. Cream cheese is good on bagels. Those high fat herb cheeses, like Alouette, are good on crackers. Pepper jack is good for omelets or grilled cheese sandwiches.

5. Favorite Lunch Meat? Assuming I can interpret "lunch meat" as any sort of cold cuts, I like tongue.

6. Favorite ice cream flavor? McConnell’s Turkish coffee if we are talking American-type ice cream. I also tend to like ice cream or gelato with cinnamon or ginger (but not both)at the same time.

7. Best looking food? Probably some sort of sushi.

8. Best food to put cheese on? Um, a cracker?

9. Best food to eat away from people? It’s hard to eat spaghetti with any dignity.

10. Best tasting drink in the summer? Sparkling water with lime.

11. Best tasting drink in winter? Hot buttered rum.

12. Best food for a night out with friends? Tapas. Having a crowd means you can order more small plates to share.

13. Best foods to eat with a roll? It depends on the sort of roll. Hot dogs, for example, are the best thing to eat with a hot dog roll. Assuming one considers a bagel or bialy to be a type of roll, then cream cheese and lox.

14. Messiest food, in your opinion? Any sort of long noodle. See comment about spaghetti above.

15. Easiest food to prepare? Chili.

16. Cheapest food you ever ate? I got a bowl of soup and a large dish of kasha for the equivalent of roughly 50 cents in Polatsk, Belarus.

17. Most expensive food you ever ate? Maybe a venison dish I ate in Sweden?

18. Stinkiest food you ever ate? I have eaten durian a couple of times.

19. Favorite dipping sauce? Mayonnaise combined with horseradish. Or with sriracha.

20. Best pizza topping? Mushrooms and black olives.

21. Favorite potato chip flavor? Since the disappearance of onion and garlic flavor potato chips. I have to settle for barbecue.

22. Most toxic substance you ever ate? My understanding is that fiddlehead ferns become toxic if they open up. But, when tightly furled, I find them delicious.

23. Most calories you ate in one meal? Now that some restaurants put calories on their menus, I’ve been astonished at how many calories are in many breakfast offerings. I imagine I’ve probably eaten 3000 calories at a breakfast buffet at some point.

24. Favorite soda? Schweppes bitter lemon.

25. Favorite flavor of juice? Grapefruit

26. Favorite Vegetable? Hmm, asparagus maybe

27. Favorite fruit? Cherimoya

28. Worst canned food? Canned mushrooms are disgusting, which is particularly annoying given the deliciousness of fresh mushrooms.

29. Best side dish? A good, vinegary cole slaw. Unfortunately, most places down here make cole slaw that is sweet and/or creamy instead.

30. Worst fast food restaurant? I ate at Taco John’s in Colorado or Nebraska once. It was awful – salty and bland. There is not enough hot sauce in the world to salvage that horror.

31. Best restaurant? So hard to choose, but let’s say Zaytinya locally and Le Peep in Boulder, Colorado for non-local breakfasts. Though the best meal of my life was at the restaurant of a 3 star hotel in Sorrento, Italy.

32. Best smelling food? Freshly baked bread

33. Favorite appetizer? Beet salad

34. Favorite cookie flavor? Ginger-lemon

35. Favorite cake flavor? Chocolate

36. Favorite pie flavor? Coconut cream, though there’s a place in my neighborhood that makes wonderful raspberry-peach pie

37. Chocolate or rainbow sprinkles? Chocolate

38. Ketchup or Mustard? Mustard, though not on burgers

39. Best food to have with a near-stranger? You can learn a lot about somebody by eating Ethiopian food with them. Or anything else you eat with your hands.

40. Most share-able food? French fries. Because restaurants always give you about 12 times too many.

This entry was originally posted at https://fauxklore.dreamwidth.org/452358.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Tags: ,