Amoeblog

(In which Job mourns the loss of a loved one.)

Posted by Job O Brother, May 25, 2007 11:52pm | Post a Comment
“I miss mayonnaise.”

I thought this to myself as I was walking home from work tonight. It was the sad, unfunny punch-line to a joke that began, “What should I eat for dinner?”

I love cooking for other people. Last minute, eight-course meals deftly prepared using nothing but a half-empty, bachelor’s refrigerator’s groceries? That’s a challenge I am suited for. I am MacGyver in the kitchen. And yes, smart-ass, I in fact could turn a ball of twine and a pinecone into a sumptuous dessert.

Left to my own devices, however, I am more inclined to eat simply. I like very rich foods with few ingredients. I suppose you could say I am the opposite of vegan. In fact, all my favorite foods can be traced back in origin to an udder. (And you Freudians can just back-down, because I have no patience for your antiquated psycho-babble; y’all are the Spanish Inquisition of the Modern Age!)

Cheese, yogurt, eggs – these are the main building blocks of my diet. Up until recently, though, the base of that food pyramid has been – steady yourself – mayonnaise.

Like most of you, I spent the first quarter of my life grossed out by that famous blend of stabilized emulsion of oil and yolks. I was made into a fan by a fellow punk rocker; a girl with long, curly, black tresses who’s name changed as frequently as her sexual partners, and who will remain nameless in this blog because I just said that. It was she who introduced me to the practice of smoking clove cigarettes and dipping French fries into mayo. A temptress indeed.

Tradition informs us that both of these practices are harmful, unattractive, and a good way to end a first date without making it to second base, but when you consider it was this same girl that I wanted to get to second base with, you’ll see why I had no option but to become addicted to both.

The cigarettes I quit long ago. The condiment, only recently.

I’ve never really trusted soy. Oh, I like miso soup, very much, and soy sauce too, if there’s no Bragg’s Liquid Aminos present. It’s these new-fangled incarnations of soy that trouble me.

Soybeans are cooked and ground and whipped and injected and shaped to resemble everything from a scoop of ice cream to a cube of butter to an entire Thanksgiving turkey to my grandmother. The things they do to the soy – the heavy processing – freaks me out a li'l. I am not a scientist; I have done no educated testing to support my theory; I have nothing but intuition.

I feel the same way about waltzes by Johann Strauss, Jr.; I don’t know they’re harmful, I simply don’t trust them.

So when, out of sudden and ill-advised curiosity, I turned a jar of my favorite mayo* around to read the ingredients, I was shocked, appalled, and, as though I had been transported back in time, grossed out to learn that my beloved glop was mostly made out of soybean oil.

I was torn. I wanted to forget I had ever read it. Maybe I had judged soy too harshly? No. No, I couldn’t feel right about soy. But maybe, since I had already enjoyed it for so many years, I could make an exception, just for mayonnaise?

I tried that for a jar, but it was too late. It weirded me out now. I was Adam and Eve, once happy in oblivion and free to enjoy myself; then I succumbed to the Condiment of the Hot Dog Stand of Knowledge, and now I saw that I was naked. And I was sore ashamed.

I discovered Trader Joe’s Canola Oil mayo, but I was living a lie. It wasn’t the mayo I loved. It was smooth as silk and tarter. Not clumpy and subtly nasty like Best Foods. Besides, even without the soy, I had also taken a quick glance at the fat content of mayo. When I did the math and learned that one of my serving sizes equaled about a week’s supply for the Food and Drug Administration, my heart almost stopped then and there.

So, with a great sadness reserved for British soldiers who discover in court that the Chinese woman they’ve been married to for years is actually a man and that they’re going to write many awful plays and films about you, I said “zài jiàn” to mayo.



Love means never having to say 'I'm sorry I have a womb and a Y chromosome.'

It was only then that I realized how much I had come to depend upon it to make simple meals a pleasure. A bland burrito could be made festive with mayo and Chinese spicy sauce. Uninspired linguine with marinara because decadent when mayo made it a sweet-tomato cream sauce. A can of tuna, carrot sticks, peanut butter and crackers – all these things worked fine as an entire meal when paired with mayo. What now?

Well, it’s been some months since I axed mayo from my diet (though I still enjoy it with fries when I go out to eat – it’s like the difference between a glass of wine with friends and a box of wine alone). I can say that I’ve adapted well. I’ve even lost weight.

But on these evenings when I'm particularly tired and I don’t feel like steaming “this” or layering slices of “that”, I am reminded of how convenient, inexpensive and fulfilling mayo was for me. Oh sure, I’m still MacGyver – but these days I feel like I don’t even have a pinecone option, to say nothing of twine.

I determined to take myself out to eat. I rarely do that alone. There’s a sushi restaurant near my home that I wanted to try out, so I headed there, giddy for my impulsive adventure, only to see that it was graded a ‘C’ by the health inspectors. Raw fish and filth? Um, no thanks.

Of course, raw fish, filth, and mayonnaise – now that’s got some possibilities…



My sweetheart in happier times...

[Incidentally, I realize this blog entry has little to do with music, films, or anything else that Amoeba sells. So allow me to say that I really like all albums by Moondog and that you should listen to them. Thank you.]

*I have been a loyal supporter of Best Foods Mayonnaise. Those of you east of the Rockies will know it as Hellmann’s Blue Ribbon, although I’ve seen Hellmann's for sale on the West Coast, too, at Target. Also, Sysco brand is acceptable, which is good, because it seems to be the default of many West Coast restaurants.

GUERILLA ARTISTS CREATIVELY REDECORATE PUBLIC SPACES

Posted by Billyjam, May 25, 2007 08:08pm | Post a Comment
 
'I'm like the Rainman of the F train now because I now know every speck of that train,' laughed New York public space guerilla artist & recent subway prankster Ellen Moynihan. "Sixty seats, eight doors, and seven poles. And the overhead ads are exactly seventy inches by ten inches," said the ring leader of the spirited and highly creative four-woman House Of Malcontents crew, made up of Ellen and three other New York artists with a shared desire to reshape public spaces such as a subway car to make it more homey. This they accomplished last month when all four boarded an early morning F train in Brooklyn headed into Manhattan, and briskly and artistically made it over to look and feel more like ... home.

'No Train Like Home,' they dubbed the installation that took the four guerilla artists 40 minutes to carry out during early morning New York City commute hour. Carol Tessitore was one of the collaborators. The other two wish to remain anonymous because of the illegality of the maneuver. The idea for the 'No Train Like Home' came to Moynihan, who is also a writer (currently working on a book about Patti Smith), after checking out Mark Ecko's controversial graffiti on subway event in Chelsea a couple of years ago. Later, as she was riding the bland, drab, New York subway, she fantasized about how great it would be to make over the institutionalized-looking subway car into something warmer, to make it feel and look like your living room -- especially since so many New Yorkers spend so much time commuting by subway daily.

     

At first she thought, "How cool would it be to get a grant and get a lot of money and a subway car of my own to redecorate?" But soon after she gave up on the difficult task of trying to get a grant, and also on the idea of asking for permission. So she studied the subway to learn "every speck" -- taking photos and measuring in preparation for the perfectly plotted makeover morning (April 6th) when Ellen and her three fellow Malcontents went to work on the train. They put a runner rug down the center of the subway car and taped down 'welcome' mats near the sliding train doors, covered the windows with curtains, tied flowers to the poles, put pillows on the usually uncomfortable hard seats, scattered magazines around to read, and nice art to look at instead of the ads already there. "We made copies of family portraits or paintings you'd see at home," said photoshop expert Carol, who also 'stitched together' on computer photo images of books on a shelf and later printed them out on the long reams of paper they had purchased.

Continue reading...

The Weirdo

Posted by phil blankenship, May 24, 2007 09:05pm | Post a Comment
 





Raedon Home Video RD-011

Old Joy Is the New, Softer, Gentler Joy....

Posted by Miss Ess, May 24, 2007 08:03pm | Post a Comment
So I went to see Old Joy back when it was at the Red Vic.  It's out on DVD now and it's really different from any movie I can think of at the (tired) moment.  In a good way.


I'd like to stress again here on my blog (strongly) that I am not a Yoga Mat Person, but I will say this movie has a meditational feeling to it.  By that, I mean while you watch it there is so much silence and there are so many moments of a quiet kind of reflection that when you finish watching it you really do feel like you went somewhere else on a journey.

The journey of the film takes place in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon.  Old friends from way back Mark and Kurt meet up and go camping.  They haven't seen each other in a long time and it's obvious that their lives have branched far away from one another in those years apart.  What's great about this film is that the issues that  this growing apart have caused are never directly addressed.  Instead, the filmmaker Kelly Reichardt allows the viewer to use those gorgeous silent moments to absorb thoughts and scenery and to reflect, bring about one's own ideas, and draw one's own conclusions.  I love it when movies don't preach their message to you,slam you over the head with whatever it is they are trying to get you to feel,  and this one is brilliant in that regard.


The film definitely sparked my own memories about similar experiences.  It got the awkward silences right for sure. Mark is the Reformed And Now Responsible Guy and Kurt is the Wild Dude That Never Grew Up Totally.  Kurt is still flying by the seat of his pants and Mark is uncomfortably wearing his like Urkel.  I read a review a few weeks ago that said how the viewer sees both Mark and Kurt by the end of the film will say a lot about how that viewer sees life in general and I think that is a fair and interesting comment. 

Kurt is played by Will Oldham,  a musician who occasionally acts.  Mark is played by Daniel London.  The two are so believable it sometimes feels as though you are watching a documentary of sorts, esp with all the nature shots in the film.  It really sucked me in.  If you can't handle films that are meandering and low on plot, this ain't the flick for you.  If you are in a yoga mat kind of mood though, you might get into it.  Actually, despite my stance, I truly did.  Geez.

In A Tired Week, There Is Jolene

Posted by Miss Ess, May 24, 2007 07:04pm | Post a Comment
Oh, what a week.

The View is self destructing right there on live tv for everyone to see.











America's Next Top Model is over.



                                                                            Even b-b-b-boring American Idol is over.























What else is there?

Well, there's a new video for the White Stripes first single from their forthcoming album, Icky Thump.  You can watch it here: Icky Thump Video Hottness



Please note that Jack White got a long-needed haircut and looks amazing.  Oh yeah, the song's killer too.  I like Meg's fake eye.  I like the Mexican whorehouse setting.  I like that Jack gets vaguely political in the song for the first time ever.  He's always been outspoken about avoiding that sort of thing so it's curious he put that line about America and immigrants in there.  Good stuff.  It's going to be so interesting to hear if the album sounds like the first single.  Last time with Get Behind Me Satan "Blue Orchid", its first single, ended up sounding totally different from anything else on the record.  We shall see what they have in store for us.

I know I have written about The White Stripes maybe too much but hey I am exhausted today and they are one of my favorite bands, what I am attuned to right now, so there you go.

These new Dolly Parton reissues are pretty great.  I have Just Because I'm A Woman and (speaking of The White Stripes) Jolene.  Isn't "Jolene" one of the best songs ever?  Dolly played the Hardly Strictly  Bluegrass Festival a couple of years ago I was there and she was so amazing she brought tears to this jaded record store employee's eye.  Even afterward when people who were closer to the stage told me she might've been lipsyncing I still didn't particularly choose to believe them or care either way.  Her presence alone is phenomenal.  She sang "Jolene" for us that day, among many other of her songs, newer and older.  In her turquoise dress she looked like she was ready to play some music and then go ice skating, show us some of her tricks.  She played dulcimer, guitar, banjo-- and her flying V electric guitar matched the shade of her dress exactly!  Oh that Dolly, she's the consummate performer! 

Watch this!:



I just love Dolly's description of her girlfight -- I believe she could kick some little green eyed redheaded woman's ass anytime!  Any gal from the backwoods of Tennessee with 11 brothers and sisters can certainly hold her own. I bet she takes her earrings off before she fights and digs her nails and heels in!  But the best is that she wrote the song about it and it rules so much and she made megabucks off of it!  Sweet revenge.

Just for comparison, and if you are not totally sick of hearing about them, here's The White Stripes' version of  "Jolene". 


I think it is so super hot that Jack White doesn't change the genders of the characters in the song.  That YouTube version is not the greatest vocal performance ever, but you get the idea.  The White Stripes released that song as the B side to "Hello Operator" back in 2000 and I love how often their B sides are better than their A sides.  Well, "Hello Operator" is a strong song too.  They are just full of singles and tight tracks.  And tight pants.....

OK, no more.....I gotta stop.


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