Well, the fish tacos were grand. The best food is the simplest food. Also: The best food is peasant food. The French aristocracy may have invented bearnaise sauce — and big ups to the French aristocracy for that one, because what the world needs now is tarragon, sweet tarragon — but the rest of the great food in the world came from people who didn’t have enough, or didn’t have the best cuts of the animal, thinking, “What can I do with this?”

The rest of the evening was perhaps a bit too grand. Beer + wine + margaritas = not a good idea. But there was key lime cheesecake for breakfast Sunday. Always a good thing.

(You ask me, the genius of Nigella Lawson’s show is the end-credits shot of her raiding the refrigerator after her big meal. Leftovers are another great peasant-culture pleasure.)

But Sunday’s “Six Feet Under” — whoa. Also grand, but in an entirely different way, the way experiencing the sensation of plunging toward the ground at a high rate of speed on one of those Cedar Point rollercoasters is “thrilling,” as opposed to “bladder-emptying.” Next week’s the last episode, and I’m going to miss the Fishers and their soapy lives. And yeah, I’ll watch “Rome,” because HBO is batting about .900 with me (sorry, Mike Binder), but I wonder where it is written that all movies about Rome must feature actors with British accents. In fact, Brit cadences are the default “we have to say it in English, but we want you to imagine it’s in another language” accent for American entertainment. William Hurt used a British accent in “Gorky Park” to play a Russian police detective. I ask you.

OK, bloggage:

I was knocking around Laura Lippman’s Memory Project sorta-blog when I came across her entry on “The Godfather,” the book. She wondered if the time is right for a Godfather mash-up, maybe a retelling of the story from one of the female characters’ perspective, and then wonders, and wouldn’t it be refreshing if Lucy was finally allowed to say: “My vagina’s not too big — your penis is just too small!”

(You only get that joke if you actually bothered to read the horrible book, but it’s a funny one. A woman with a too-large vagina — only in Mario Puzo, eh?)

From San Francisco, an update on the liberal media, this time on the comics page.

Live in exurbia? Not for all the tea in China. Actually, the NYT had another story about suburbia last week, sort of tangentially, about the efforts of Waukesha, Wis., which is depleting its ground water, to draw surface water from nearby Lake Michigan. The community is considered outside the lake’s watershed, so the effort has so far been unsuccessful. But what struck me is the same thing that strikes me when I read about $3-a-gallon gasoline or other scarce and expensive resources: Only the fringe suggests the common-sense answer of using less in the first place:

For critics like Emily Green, who oversees Great Lakes issues for the Sierra Club, Mr. Duchniak’s arguments are a dodge. Her complaint, like that of Mr. Murphy, the Milwaukee alderman, is the absence of conservation as the growth spurt of the western exurbs, in towns like Oconomowoc, has accelerated.

“Yes, people need a place to live,” Ms. Green said. “But do they need McMansions on five-acre lots?”

I know Americans are like toddlers on these issues, the idea that maybe you need to make do with less, even temporarily, but this is ridiculous. We’re having a drought in the Midwest this year, so what is the sound you hear on every corner? Cicadas? No. Lawn sprinklers. And not just once-a-week emergency water, to keep the grass from getting entirely baked, but daily drenchings so that it stays lush and emerald-green and California-like in its perfection. No one even suggests it might be a good idea to just write the lawn off this year, in the interest of acknowledging reality. Noooo. Grosse Pointe Shores waters its damn median strips. Constantly, it seems like.

Don’t even get me started on the war and gasoline. I’ll sound like Claire on “Six Feet Under” last night.

What a way to start the week! Let’s have a good one, eh?

Posted at 10:27 am in Uncategorized |

15 responses to “Dry.”

  1. mary said on August 15, 2005 at 10:35 am

    California like lawns? We have far less water than you guys do. I’m glad I live in a neighborhood where most houses have a bit of backyard, but almost no one has a lawn. In spite of all the rain this winter, the water supply here is always on the verge on crisis. Maybe in the cooler, wetter parts of the state the lawns are lush and green, but here in LA county, it ain’t happening.

    If you want to see lawns to drive you around the bend, check out the suburbs of Phoenix. Greenest yards ever, in the middle of the desert.

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  2. Nance said on August 15, 2005 at 10:44 am

    You’re right, Mary. What I was trying to get at is the weirdness that any Midwestern flatlander gets on your first trip to SoCal, where the desert blooms year-round. Thanks to sprinkling.

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  3. colleen said on August 15, 2005 at 11:00 am

    In western KS, where I lived for a time, lots of folks don’t even bother with lawns…they do interesting things with rocks and boulders and gravel.

    SFU–yeah good one. Brenda’s storyline was taking a serious turn down Creepy Street for awhile last night. Wondering how they will wrap it all up. Though I prefer to think of the Fishers just living on someplace outside HBO land…..

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  4. Dorothy said on August 15, 2005 at 11:22 am

    I’ve been itching to discuss SFU with y’all but didn’t know how to begin.

    SPOILER ALERT – as they say in Entertainment Weekly. When Brenda and Billy started making out I was so grossed out. Even if it was a dream sequence. Everything else, though, was amazing. I just knew a tug of war was going to erupt over Maya. The insertion of Nate into the scenes just feels so right. The best one was in the elevator with Brenda and the stinging things he said to her! And I’m glad it looks like George and Ruth will stay together. I think they need each other desperately.

    All of the emotions of loss that have been on display at SFU have been so overpowering for me, and I know it’s cause my dad died just 11 days ago. I know one is pretend and the other is real, and my dad was 86 years old so it was not a shock that he died. But still – it has been surprising to me, the intensity of the feelings the show stirs up. Only this past Saturday evening did I get to see the episode right after Nate died. I could not stop crying for nearly the entire show.

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  5. Mary O said on August 15, 2005 at 1:30 pm

    Thanks for the opportunity to talk about Six Feet Under. Brenda’s Creepy Street turn, indeed. Though I expected the show to address that issue at least once before the end (particularly with his return to her house at the end of last week’s episode), I never imagined it would go that far. All I can say is: Eeeeuuuuwwww. And though I’m a longtime show watcher who should expect these things, they get me with the dream sequence every time. Every time!

    I find it interesting that the only time David imagines Nate, it’s as Death — as the red-hoodie guy. Everyone else sees him as a reflection of themselves — Brenda sees him as combative with a wicked mean streak, Claire as spacy and selfish, and Ruth as loving and self-affirming. David had not seen Nate as anything until the red-hooded killer (who originally was his own attacker). All I can say is Peter Krause is one heck of an actor.

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  6. mary said on August 15, 2005 at 1:32 pm

    Re William Hurt and his English accent: Good friends in the biz tell me William Hurt is a not very bright person who is capable of playing very intelligent characters. Maybe he thinks the English accent sounds intelligent?

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  7. Dorothy said on August 15, 2005 at 2:25 pm

    The mail guy at my office (here in South Carolina) always says “‘ello Ms. Dahrthy!” (that’s a bad phoenetic English interpretation). My first few weeks here I thought he really WAS British! I finally heard him talk like the good ol’ boy he is and was amazed. He could beat Bill Hurt’s butt at the accent thing any day!

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  8. Nance said on August 15, 2005 at 3:18 pm

    As an amateur screenwriter, I like the “inside the script” feature on the HBO website. From the season opener, where Lisa appears at the wedding to taunt Brenda, the writer notes: “Lisa shows up and articulates everything that’s been brewing within Brenda, which is always the case with the dead appearing. They’re the manifestations of the character’s own dark side. It’s Brenda attacking Brenda. The actors often find it very difficult to play themselves dead, because they’re not really playing their characters.”

    So Nate is basically the personification of David’s nutsiness right now — essentially the unresolved trauma from his ordeal last season. I hope, in some of next week’s 75 minutes, he manages to find a shrink.

    The person I’m proudest of is Brenda. I totally understood her dream/fantasy. Ever been pregnant? It’s like taking a nine-month trip to Hornytown. I think her own subconscious just got a kick from the hormones, and served her a heapin’ helpin’ of Pervert Salad.

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  9. harry near indy said on August 15, 2005 at 9:27 pm

    as for movies where romans have british accents …

    in spartacus, the major actors playing the slaves — kirk douglas, tony curtis, jean simmons — were americans. the major actors playing the romans — laurence olivier, charles laughton, peter ustinov — were british.

    could’ve been a co-incidence.

    mebbe the british play romans better than americans because the british were once ruled by the romans. they have history, while we yanks have some but not as much as them.

    as for the green lawns — man, sometimes we are our own worse enemy. outside the iraq invasion, there are good reasons why many, many people in the world despise americans — that’s one of them.

    bet you all the green-lawn freaks voted for bush. middle-class pigs.

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  10. Nance said on August 15, 2005 at 10:00 pm

    Did you ever see the restored version of “Spartacus,” with the originally deleted “snails or oysters” speech? Really amusing. Considered a bit too homoerotic for 1960, I guess.

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  11. MarkH said on August 15, 2005 at 10:02 pm

    Harry, really….

    With all the reasons given in the last 30 or so years to hate Americans, think people really toss green lawn fetishes in the mix?

    Not all voted that way, Harry; my down-the-street Kerry freak neighbor was just complaining the other day that low water pressure wasn’t helping his lawn any. Blamed Cheney.

    BTW, the lovely Jean Simmons was indeed British. But you may have a point…

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  12. alex said on August 16, 2005 at 12:02 am

    Well, Harry, even if others think that was a bit intemperate and over-the-top, I couldn’t think of a better epithet to hurl at those damn ChemLawn/TruGreen junkies than to imply they’re GOP toadies. My lake’s been polluted all summer thanks to those folks and because some litigious bitch down the road blames her daughter’s leukemia on the copper sulfate we treat the water with we’re not treating the water anymore and can’t do any recreation of any sort until that mess is cleaned up. And I’m talking about the litigation, not the mountain of pond scum we have to look at every day. Oh, but the lawns around it are simply fabulous.

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  13. Dick Walker said on August 16, 2005 at 10:37 am

    Fish tacos? FISH tacos?

    Wouldn’t they sell more of ’em if they were called Tacos del Mar, or something?

    Just askin’.

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  14. Carolyn said on August 16, 2005 at 11:36 am

    I get so emotionally involved when I watch 6F after a low-stress weekend that I’m a basket case all of Sunday night and into Monday. I’ve taken to taping it and watching it the next day.

    I don’t know anyone who watches it, which is strange because it’s one of the most addictive shows I’ve ever followed.

    After Sunday’s show, I’m worried about the finale, tho. I need closure – yet everyone is going in eight different directions.

    I hope Alan Ball is able to pull it off.

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  15. Mary O said on August 16, 2005 at 3:21 pm

    Thanks, Nance, for the note on the “Inside the Script” portion of the HBO site. I’ve never read it but will do so now… or, maybe when I get off work.

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