OCTOBER 2006 ARCHIVE
10.02.06
A New Horror on the Horizon

As Americans, we are enjoying a new era of great food. I think this era was ushered into being by Julia Child, and has only gotten better since then. Not that all of us eat well, by any means, but there is more interesting food available for our palates than ever before. One need only look at a small town like Meadville, in a remote corner of rural Pennsylvania: We have here Chinese restaurants, a bagel shop, a Mexican restaurant, specialty foods in our grocery stores, and the ability to cook, if not to buy, nearly any sort of international cuisine we desire.

This was not always so.

Let's travel back to a simpler time, 1954 to be exact. Eisenhower is President; Senator McCarthy is in the midst of hearings on un-American activities; West Germany wins the World Cup; and the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches a record high of 382. Really. Not kidding about that.

And this frightening image is unleashed upon the world:

No, really, let's take a closer look at that:

Dear God! Yes, the centerpiece of every good American table in 1954, purple alien brains, pureed and molded into a big, purple lump of brains, then poked with toothpicks, each one bearing a grotesque, shriveled olive, or a translucent cocktail onion, or a pale yellow cubic cheese unit. Surround it with a selection of canapes summoned directly from the pits of Hell itself:

Starting on the left, we have a cracker topped with creamed spinach (I wouldn't begin to assume that's pesto!) topped with a flake of pimento (Could it be smoked salmon? No!). Squeeze three thin stripes of mustard on tip, border with a frilly wall of whipped cream, and voila!

What's next? It appears to be a hairball, artfully arranged atop a bed of chocolate whipped cream, and topped with a limon. Yes, a limon, twisted gene-spliced offspring of lemon and lime, with yellow skin and green flesh. Is the belt of white cream of tartar, or perhaps more whipped cream? Only Satan Himself can tell.

The rest is too horrible to describe. Does the sliced, hard-boiled egg appear to be topped with more cream and a toffee, and perhaps mustard? I shudder to think!

But there is more, gentle reader. Over the next few days, we will explore this vanished land of cookery most terrible. Join me on this quest! What gelatinous concoction awaits? Just how much aspic will we find, and what will be encased within its glistening, shivering walls?


10.01.06
Sunday Morning

In a town like Meadville, Sunday morning is quiet time. Actually, I think that's true of a lot of towns in America, and cities too. I've never seen New York City as quiet as on Sunday mornings either, come to think of it. So, I guess size is less a factor than the Christian-centric nature of our society. This is not to say that everyone is Christian, though I'm sure the majority is. But the prohibition on work on Sunday, combined with large numbers of people going to church in the morning, tends to put a damped on the 6am to 10am time. What this means is, though I don't care for being at work on a Sunday, it's nice to watch the town sitting quietly.

Yeah, I'm sure that was interesting to two of you. I sorted through some old pictures and found a few that I thought might be fun to post. First off, here's something that I desperately want for Christmas:

Is that cool or what? In case it's not apparent from the picture, the bigger dolphin's back is made out of stained glass, and he's lit up from the inside. It's like. . . . Good God, I don't know what it's like, exactly. It is both beautiful and frightening, like some netherworldly tchotchke dreamed up by someone with only a passing knowledge of dolphins, art, and taste. Take a moment now to imagine it inside your home, the happy marine mammalians caught in mid-frolic, light beaming from their glass-enshrouded internal organs, eyes literally made of beads staring at you from their obscenely bulbous heads. Yes, truly a family heirloom in the making!

Speaking of family heirlooms, I know of one here in town that's on display for all to see. It might be a little hard to move, if and when the time comes, but the power of patriotism will provide, I've no doubt:

God-damned liberal tree-hugging, chardonnay-swilling, Frenchy-loving commie pinko bastards aren't going to burn this flag, are they now! Ha! Sure, the paint's peeling a little bit, but look at the effort here, the attention to detail. There's fifty stars there, arranged in the correct pattern of alternating rows six and five stars long; there's the obligatory 13 stripes, also in the correct order, seven red and six white.

Oh sure, you say, what's the big deal? How hard is it to get the flag right? It's not like Bhutan's flag, say, with it's rampant, juggling lion/dragon/lizard beast, is it:

However, it's a flag painted on a rock. Somehow, I don't associate that with an attention to detail, or to numbers. Feel free to call me on that.

Finally, to relax your mind and make you feel closer to your deity of choice, or closer to refracted light passing through suspended water droplets in the atmosphere, I present this:

Isn't it pretty? This is another early morning picture, courtesy of my ungodly work schedules. I believe this one was taken in the mid summer, though I can't recall. I know next to nothing about cloud identification, but these seemed particularly interesting, even without the light shining through them.

Have a happy Sunday!

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