It is finally spring here in Michigan, and we’re trying to make our space a little nicer. The enormously expensive back-strip landscaping is fleshing out nicely, and we’ve added a couple bird feeders. Of course this attracts not only the wrong birds — if I wanted mourning doves, I’d have put on a funeral — but squirrels. My experience firing a shotgun last week leads me to fantasize about more interesting target practice, preferably on those little bastards. The other day I wondered idly what they might taste like.
It turns out squirrel cookery is in Alan’s immediate bloodline. His parents used to go hunting together, and sometimes brought home a bag of them. “I remember my mom would boil them, and then fry them,” he said. Alan’s mom was a humble cook with a limited repertoire, but I give her points for guts and pluck for even trying to cook a squirrel. (Although, to be sure, boiled-then-fried sounds positively vile.) Turns out I’m not the only one giving this critter some thought:
(Squirrel) meat is selling faster than butchers can get it, not least because it is currently nesting season. Ever since Kingsley Village Butchers in Fraddon, Cornwall, began offering grey squirrel two months ago, it has shifted up to a dozen a day.
That’s from the Telegraph. The British can be very strange.
The story goes on to reveal the astonishing price English butchers are fetching for “tree rat:”
At £3 to £4 for one, the shop-bought variety is hardly an obvious answer to keeping the lid on an escalating grocery bill.
Jeez. At current exchange rates that’s almost $7 per squirrel. Alan and I split a one-inch Delmonico from time to time, which at current prices costs us around $14. And for that we can get two squirrels? The dollar is weak, but please.
But that’s not what I want to talk about today. Via Nervous Rod Dreher, a profile of Marston Hefner in GQ magazine, teenage son of you-know-who:
Marston doesn’t actually live in the Mansion—not anymore, not since his parents split up in 1998 and his mom, the blond Playmate Kimberley Conrad (January ’88), moved into a more modest house that adjoins the property. He’s 18 now, about to graduate from high school, a tall and lanky kid with heavy brows, watchful, slightly sad eyes, and a complexion that says “I spend too much time playing video games.” He has none of his dad’s swagger or mothlike attraction to the bright lights of Hollywood—which you could attribute to a young man struggling to define himself in opposition to his famous father, or to the fact that they just don’t spend that much quality time together these days. Marston doesn’t make it over every day. He’s usually here on Thursdays, though, for…backgammon night?
Nervous Rod thinks the kid is a slack zero, because of course GQ is the last authority in all things, and because he disapproves of Hugh Hefner. I’m a parent, too, and I had a different reaction: Marston Hefner is turning out about as well as can reasonably be expected, a typical child of a parent who blots out the sun, his odds in life perhaps 50-50 — his money will provide him cushion and opportunities, while the essential weirdness of his upbringing and its attendant pitfalls will try to take him down.
And while I’m always happy to see a freelance writer getting some work, I’m less fond of hit pieces against people who don’t deserve it, and while the hit wasn’t aimed at young Marston, he’s certainly collateral damage in passages like this, in which the writer interviews Hef pére:
Did you ever try to explain the fact that, just after the separation, you started dating seven blond women?
“Not really. What is there to say?”
There was never any conversation about monogamy or marriage?
“What kind of conversation would that be?”
What kind of signal does that send?
“I think the signal that it sends, quite frankly, which the boys liked, was that instead of somebody replacing mama, I dated a bunch of girls.”
After about forty-five minutes, Hef appears to be losing steam. I turn off the tape recorder, and he rises from the couch. As he does, he rips the kind of fart that one does not even attempt to hide from. No one in the room blinks.
News flash: Hef was a lousy father, and 82-year-old men fart unexpectedly. Wow. I bet Ronald Reagan was the picture of refinement at that age, too. (And, to be sure, not much of a father, either.)
Let’s just hope they had better taste in picking the mothers of their children.
Nice David Edelstein appreciation of Sydney Pollack, actor.
OK, Friday. I’d looked forward to a long, relaxing bike ride today, and in the last half-hour three e-mails arrived that will see to it I’m desk-bound for half the day. Better get to work. Enjoy your weekend, and I’ll see you back here after.