Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Not much to say about Thanksgiving. Avoided the worst of the travel delays. Relatives are fine. Good to see the DeVeaus. Kenmore Square is...well, if I was a prospective BU freshman with the same interests I had in 1988, the cleaned-up Kenmore would have far less allure. I guess it all depends on what I was able to unearth at Nuggets.


Then again, the younger me would have new music avenues. Like the iTunes Music Store; the waters of which I finally waded into this weekend. First purchase: Joe Strummer's cover of "Redemption Song," after seeing the almost-made-me-cry video over the holidays. The track was intended to be a duet with Johnny Cash, and said duet made it onto the posthumous Cash box set. I like the Cash Rick Rubin-era stuff, so I bought that version as well. Ehh...not so good. Strummer can pull off a Bob Marley cover; the Clash dabbled in reggae on and off since the first album. But despite Johnny and June maintaining a residence in Jamaica for decades, I wasn't feeling the rastamon vibration from the Man in Black.


Is it fair or even appropriate to comment on the end of the KJ era when the only episode I watched in its entirety was his finale? Did he tank? Probably not. Those Double Jeopardy questions were ass-hard. On the other hand, having not watched the show with any regularity in years, maybe I'm off here, but he seemed to be running down the clock. Took a while selecting categories. The silence on the Sports Venues category was just strange. I think he'll hear about "Joe Louis Arena" from particular NAQT staff more than he'll hear about tax preparers.

And if he did decide to hang it up in a somewhat graceful manner, so what? This isn't his job. If I'm not mistaken he was on the hook for his own expenses all along, though that investment...has been recouped. He doesn't owe the viewers or other contestants anything.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

We took Friday off before Chris & Ali's wedding to do some sightseeing in Philadelphia. I'd seen the historic sites around Bicentennial time, and Kirsti'd never been. Unfortunately it was rainy and miserable all day.

The only thing we had scheduled was lunch at Morimoto, the restaurant owned by the once and future Iron Chef Japanese, so we may as well start there. Kirsti had a spicy chicken tempura. and a pot de creme for dessert. I opted for the lunch omakase (tasting menu), which was five courses consisting of:

1. raw yellowtail...um...paté?. the name escapes me. But it was chopped pretty fine and served with a light sauce, some scallions, and caviar.

2. sashimi salad; I forget what sort of fish, but not a sushi cut I was familiar with.

3. chilean sea bass steamed once in sake, then with a black bean-garlic sauce.

4. sushi sampler: tuna, sardine, yellowtail, shrimp, salmon.

5. chocolate soup, passionfruit sorbet.

Not a single bit of this was disapppointing, but the highlights were the bass and the sorbet. The restaurant itself was pretty nifty, though Morimoto himself was out of town.

Kirsti's goals were to eat lunch and see the Liberty Bell. The restaurant is right near Independence National Park, so we killed time before lunch by getting the bell out of the way. Can't touch it any more. We decided to pass on the Independence Hall tour. I recalled being impressed with the underground museum at Franklin Court, and tried to get over there later in the evening, but we didn't get to it in time...assuming going on 28-y.o. memories is a good idea.

Next up was one of Chris's recommendations that got nixed for the out-of-town guest guide: The Mütter Museum. I don't have much to add that the good folks at Roadside America haven't covered, except:

1. Eat your bran, kiddies!

2. After my dental tribulations this year, I was disturbed at the high number of flippers in the "objects swallowed & removed" collection.

3. Kirsti's most-amusing bit was the exhibit on Laura Bridgman, the first blind-deaf person to be systematically educated: "[she was] held up as a model of Victorian girlhood...young girls would poke their dolls' eyes out and name them 'Laura.'" th' hell?

We took the subway to the Mütter, and the nearby stop is a fascinating microcosm of America. On the corners of 22nd and Market, we have: a Salvation Army thrift store, an adult book & merchandise store; a porn theatre advertising new first-run films (leading me to wonder who's still making first-run smut projected via celluloid, but my "research request" on this matter was flatly denied). And topping it off, we have...Trader Joes, the upscale food emporium. I'm hoping the Forum cuts its raincoat-brigade patrons some slack on bringing in outside snacks. 'Cos hey, nothing beats Inka Chips, y'know?

Traveling seems to be the only time I read anymore. On this trip I read The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I was expecting crashing waves of despair, but it ended up being sort of uplifting. I'd recommend it if there were more than five people left in this country that haven't read it.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Congratulations to the last Gerbil to wed: Chris somehow got Ali to marry him this Saturday. Mark may have pictures in the near future.

Some sort of Philly travelogue to follow, which will include an Iron Chef lunch and an 8-foot colon. NOT at the same place, thank the lord.

Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Let the healing begin

It's been a long, stressful 48 hours, capping off a long year. Emotions have run hot. Some may have said things they'd like to take back. Some may think they haven't said enough. In some rare cases I've lost respect for some people I've read. No doubt some of you may have come to feel the same way about me.

I say enough of that. It's time to come together. To come together and recoil in horror at...Stevie Nicks Fantasy portraits!

scarier ones here.

And dear god, the tambourines!
(pasted nearly verbatim from comments at Tim's place. Lots of good comments there as well. Blogger was busted most of the morning. )

On the tiny upside, the presidency is finally legitimized by the electoral and popular votes matching. Bush has been such a lousy president, under his own circumstances; I can't imagine Kerry swimming upstream against freeper wackos and a GOP congress. And, as pointed out elsewhere, Bush and his party are out of excuses. No more passing the buck. The Bil Keane Not Me/Ida Know presidency ended at 1 p.m.

On the downside...in the words of Mr. Hand, "Are all of you on DOPE?!!" The government is in the thrall of the dangerous religious right, and Bush seems determined to put future generations in hock. But since he's trying to bring about the End Times, hell, buy on credit. Enjoy those HDTVs, bitches...your grandkids and great-grandkids get to clean up after you.

At least I can be proud of all most of the states I've held residence in: Minnesota, Massachusetts, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin. Oh, then there's the state of my birth...let's just say there's good reason it's said to be an acronym for Idiots Out Walking Around or I Owe the World an Apology.

Well, not so proud of Michigan either. The seeds of the next civil war were planted there and in 10 other states. I suppose the same could be said if those referenda had gone the correct way. As older folks die off, we will once again walk the walk about being a freer society and forming a more perfect union, but until then...it'll be a long 40-50 years.

Well, don't mourn, organize. I join PFLAG and the ACLU this week. The stakes are too high now.

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

If you are for fiscal responsibility, you probably should not be voting for Bush. If he wins, I think one of his first 100-days activities will be to have his faith-based government apply for some of that Christian Debt Management that's still in my spambox.

If you'd like to see fewer abortions, you also might want to abandon the guy whose policies have led more women to decide not to bring kkids into the world.

If you value your gay and lesbian friends and family -- and believe me, you have some -- you may want to be able to look them in the eye sometime in the next four years.

Honestly, I don't think Kerry's in much of a position to alter the path in Iraq. Nor should he cut and run. But the proper analogy isn't changing horses mid-stream. It's Kyle Lohse on the mound with a 6-2 lead in the 6th walking five straight with no one out. Let's make that call to the bullpen, even if it's only JC Romero warming up.

I decided I can't watch too much TV tonight. I'ma go see Shaun of the Dead instead.