After yesterday’s overcast start, the day brightened into something a little less leaden. The sun was safe behind many veils of clouds, but the rain stopped and what ho, I have an interview at the coffee shop on the corner? Think I’ll wear my raincoat in this mild, 50-degree weather. I called my editor in Lansing after I got home. It was 52 here, but 100 miles to the west, 32. And sure enough, soon the sky darkened again, the wind changed from southwest to northwest justlikethat, rain blew horizontally for a while and tomorrow it’ll be winter again. Highs in the 20s.
Do I start every blog with a weather report? Yes, I do. I am a Midwesterner, after all.
And at the moment I’m a Midwesterner with just two squares of a Green & Black white-chocolate bar left, the spoils of a splurge trip to Whole Foods Saturday. Whole Foods in Ann Arbor, I should add — a childhood friend was passing through, and thought she’d give me a shout, see if I was up for lunch. These days, I have a refuse-no-friends-who-are-passing-through policy, especially when I haven’t seen them in years. You never know when you’ll get another chance.
So we went to Zingerman’s Roadhouse. It was an episode of “Portlandia” come to life, with the waiter introducing himself, sketching out the restaurant’s philosophy (“comfort food and barbecue”), its policy on sourcing (local, of course) and then expressing his deep delight that he would get to break my friends’ Z-cherry, so to speak. All of this would be intolerable if Zingerman’s didn’t dollar up on the hoof so well. You pay through the nose, you put up with this seemingly endless bullshit, but when the food arrives, there is nothing to do but say, “This may be a side dish of macaroni and cheese priced at $7.50, but if there’s a dish of macaroni and cheese worth $7.50? It tastes like this.”
Cindy ordered the go-go grilled cheese sandwich. She asked if she could change the cheeses. But of course. Could she maybe have some cheddar with a little Maytag bleu? Certainly, our waiter said, adding:
“I beg your pardon?”
“How old on the cheddar?” There was a choice. One year, two years, or five. She asked for the one-year vintage. It was an excellent sandwich, and the mushroom soup was even better.
I had lentil soup, with a side of sauteed spinach. I’m going through a big sauteed-spinach phase. So easy. Buy it by the bag, prewashed, throw a little olive oil and garlic into the pan, get it going, toss in the greens and wait until they wilt down into iron-rich deliciousness. Sometimes I have it for breakfast, with a poached egg. Florentine, but without the mornay sauce. Popeye never asked for mornay sauce. It gives me the strength of 10 old bags.
Weather and food. Yep, that’s about right.
Fortunately, we have much good bloggage today:
First, quite the arresting slide show of the Italian cruise-ship disaster. Alan tells me they actually drifted to that position so close to the rocks, but I’m not sure. This overhead view plainly shows barely submerged rocks. How much pinot grigio was this captain drinking? The first rule of marine navigation: If you see rocks sticking out of the water, don’t drive the boat there. (It’s possible that’s some sort of lens flare or other trick of the light. Still. Awful close to those rocks, cap’n.)
My education sources keep telling me the lecture is dead. It’s not only not dead, it’s pretty lucrative — if you’re the lecturer, anyway:
In official Washington, there is an afterlife, and it’s a crowded, cacophonous place. Called the public speaking circuit, this D.C. Elysium is bound by the same transactional laws as the realm that preceded it. But instead of political parties, it is governed by speakers bureaus that promise visibility to those who sign up. In the past 30 years, a proliferation of bureaus has promoted, booked and enriched former lawmakers, candidates, consultants, Cabinet members, political reporters and gadflies.
“Let’s say you are secretary of something — there are two ways you are going to make a really good living: a lobbyist or a speaker, or a combination of the two,” said James Carville, the political consultant and a client of the Washington Speakers Bureau.
The bulls got out at Coozledad’s place again. Spoiler: Purley was OK after his encounter with the truck. I’m so glad, as Purley is the cutest bull ever. You let Mrs. Gingrich set eyes on him, and he’ll be a character in her next children’s book.
Me, on one side effect of the college competition — the common-app crush.
For once, a photo I find more interesting than Tom & Lorenzo. Spike Lee is a Christian now? Mariah Carey looks drunk, but considering she showed up in a version of the same dress that other lady did, maybe she had a reason. And yeah, Shelley shut it down. She looks better every year.
And with that, the hump day commences. Not you, Purley! Down, boy.