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fauxklore
25 June 2015 @ 03:38 pm
Celebrity Death Watch: Kirk Kerkorian was a rich businessman, whose projects included (among other things) the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. Ralph J. Roberts founded Comcast. Allen Weinstein was the Archivist of the United States for 3 years. Jack Rollins made Woody Allen (among others) famous. JoAnn Dean Killingsworth was the first person to play Snow White at Disneyland. James Horner was a film composer. Dick Van Patten was an actor, best known for his role in Eight is Enough. Susan Ahn Cuddy was the first Asian-American woman to join the U.S. Navy and became the first female gunnery officer.

Don Featherstone invented the plastic lawn flamingo. Before that, lawn flamingos were made of concrete. Even earlier, flamingos only rarely frequented lawns and were made primarily of meat and bones and feathers. Flamingo trivia: Their feathers are actually white, but take on coloration from their diets, with pink coming largely from things like krill. I have often wanted to test this and feed them lots of, say, spinach. Could you make designer flamingos, kind of how they dye flowers? Think of the possibilities!

Last Weekend: I already wrote about seeing Cabaret at Signature Theatre. I also went to a story swap on Saturday night, which meant a slightly terrifying drive home through massive thunderstorms afterwards. I had had all sorts of grand plans to get caught up at home, but most of them succumbed to napping.

When I Rule the World: Heavy rain will be limited to weekdays, ideally between noon and 3 p.m. For other weather notes, listen to the title song from Camelot.

DGS Deli: I belong to a meetup group that tried Jewish delis in the greater D.C. metro area. Our excursion to the new branch of DGS in the Mosaic District (a rapidly gentrifying part of Fairfax County) was last night. There were samples of pastrami and corned beef for everyone and I thought the pastrami quite good, albeit somewhat less peppery than I am used to. I ordered a sandwich called The Leon, which had smoked turkey, chopped liver, and cole slaw. I found it quite tasty and want to particularly commend the rye bread. The cole slaw was definitely the weak point, as I prefer a less creamy, more vinegary sort. And the accompanying pickle was so-so. Still, I would go back and try other items on the menu, which has some rather promising smoked fish offerings. I also had an excellent mixed drink called The Schmoozer, which had plum-infused vodka, ginger beer, mint, and lime. They do have a drink on the menu called The Miriam, but its ingredients were a bit heavy on rhubarb, which just didn’t appeal to me. The conversation was excellent and wide-ranging, so it was quite an enjoyable evening.

Confederate Flags and Such: I am happy to see Confederate flags being taken down and stores stopping selling merchandise with them. But I don’t think that this means much in the long run. What it takes to change attitudes is having people from different groups understand one another’s stories, so they realize the basic humanity we all share. That can’t be accomplished by merely getting rid of symbols, however offensive those symbols may be.

I will also note that I have had black friends tell me they’ve experienced far more racism in some parts of the north (e.g. Boston) than in some parts of the south (e.g. Atlanta). I am (obviously) not in a position to comment on this. (Nor would I presume to speak to other people’s experiences.)

On another note, I see various calls for removing statues of people on the grounds that they were slave owners or defenders of slavery. I do find it offensive that there is a statue of Roger Taney (best known for the Dred Scott decision) in front of the Maryland State House. But I also believe that forgetting our history is dangerous. Maybe the solution lies in what explanatory plaques are put up with the statue?