The great works.

Neil Steinberg had a great blog yesterday, about his intention to see the entire Ring cycle at Chicago’s Lyric Opera in 2020. For you non-opera fans, this is the four-part, 15-hour magnum opus of Richard Wagner’s “The Ring of the Niebelung,” the most operatic opera of all. Staging it is the Mt. Everest of opera, and watching it is pretty much the same. In Chicago…

The first opera in the cycle, “Das Rheingold,” will be staged in the 2016/17 season, with the other three, “Die Walkure,” “Siegried” and “Gotterdammerung” performed in each subsequent season, with the whole megillah, as Wagner definitely would not say, being performed — three complete Ring Cycles — in April, 2020.

Mark your calendars.

What I liked about it, though, were his observations on Big Works, and why they’re still important:

…like a mountain, a massive work calls to you. Not by its pure massivity, mind you. There are plenty of works that are long, multi-part 19th century romance novels and such, that have fallen into deserved obscurity.

But certain long works endure into our Twittery time, not because they’re big, but because they’re also good. Very good, wonderful, something that becomes clear when you gird your loins and finally sit down and read them. If they weren’t, they’d be forgotten. People don’t hold onto these things because they should, but because they have to. War and Peace is the template for every Barbara Cartland novel that followed. It isn’t tedious — well, much of it isn’t — but filled with love and conversation, with blood and battle, with war and, umm, peace. It’s a great book. That sounds obvious, but so many years of it being a “great book” sometimes obscure that. Tolstoy knew his stuff.

I need to read a great work this summer. So much depends on translation, though, and how do you choose the right one? I started “Dr. Zhivago” when I found a copy at a vacation house we rented years ago, but absolutely couldn’t penetrate it. Just show me one hint of Julie Christie and Omar Sharif, I kept thinking. Nothing doing.

Maybe that’s part of the problem. So many great books have been adapted into something else, and necessarily sliced down to a shadow of their original selves. We need to approach them as something completely new. On the other hand, Steinberg does a nice job explaining why the Ring is pretty much the single source for all opera jokes in pop culture; it is where the fat lady sang, after all.

OK, a quick cut to the bloggage, because this has been one long icy-lumpy-fuck week:

Columbusites! Remember Larry’s bar on High Street? Here’s a lot of old pictures from the place. I wasn’t a regular, but I loved that place.

I just found this, but it MUST BE SHARED. Of course Wendy’s day-care center posts daily photos; how else would her humans get through a day without her? (This is from Monday, obvs.)

Finally, can the Marlise Munoz case in Texas get any worse? Hard to imagine. How awful.

Let’s all have a good weekend.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Popculch, Same ol' same ol' |

125 responses to “The great works.”

  1. Sherri said on January 24, 2014 at 1:00 am

    The Seattle Opera has been staging the Ring Cycle every four years for quite a while now. The summer 2013 performances included three full cycles, and I’m pretty sure all were close to sold out. My husband and daughter went; it was my husband’s second Ring Cycle. He’s a Seattle Opera subscriber; I’ve gone with him a few times, but I really don’t care for opera. I can’t stay awake, though a friend who has been to the Ring Cycle several times says that’s not really necessary – you’ll have fantastic dreams sleeping through Wagner.

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  2. MarkH said on January 24, 2014 at 2:45 am

    Larry’s. Wow. Talk about cutting through 40+ years like a hot knife through butter. Great photo and narrative. I was an occasional patron of Larry’s during OSU days, and only went back a handful of times after graduating in ’75. A few of those folks look familiar, couldn’t tell you who they are, though. How did you get a hold of this?

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  3. Deborah said on January 24, 2014 at 2:51 am

    I’ve never been to any of the Ring Cycle operas, but I’ve seen them on video. Probably not the same thing because I found them boring. Opera videos aren’t my thing but I like going to opera productions, my husband loves the videos. He’s coming to Santa Fe tonight will stay until Tues. He’s really sick of the cold in Chicago. He’d stay longer but he teaches, he’s going to miss one day of classes as it is.

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  4. Dexter said on January 24, 2014 at 4:00 am

    I don’t have the cred to be any sort of grammar Nazi, but whoa, man, Walter A. Johnson needs an editor. I rarely bitch about sentence structure or even spelling, but when a jukebox is called a “jute-box”, well, an old dog like me who used to shove quarters into Wurlitzers every time I went to a bar, I cringed mightily.
    I otherwise enjoyed the story of Larry’s, and like many of us here, could relate many personal stories of my own favorite bars, but now is not the time.
    When my daughter was a sophomore at OSU she lived in a very nice newer townhouse just off 5th Avenue. When we visited, sometimes I’d walk to a funky coffee house called Victorian’s Midnight Cafe. This was the most-relaxed coffee bar I have ever been in to this day. There were large coffee tables laden with newspapers and magazine amid several couches, and there were old-school floor lamps to read by. The espresso was very good and drawn professionally. I think the place sold beer too but I am not sure. Over the ensuing 17 years since then the place has been sold and totally changed, and now is shut down.

    Me too. After watching Dr. Zhivago in a movie house, I bought the book but just didn’t, couldn’t, get past the first few pages. Here’s a SparkNote for you.

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  5. Jolene said on January 24, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Not sure it qualifies as a great work, but the reference to theater productions spread over days reminded me of Nicholas Nickleby, which I saw as a student production at Carnegie Mellon. CMU has a great, highly selective theater program,* and the kids did a great job. Although I’ve forgotten much of the story, I still remember the kid who played Smike, the crippled boy. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen an actor more successful in creating sympathy for his character.

    *One of the side benefits of working there was having students practice their sword fighting skills outside my window–something you don’t see just anywhere.

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  6. coozledad said on January 24, 2014 at 8:21 am

    I’ve seen people cry when they talk about our neighborhood bar. It was a church. The owner even went on to become a minister, and learn about real money.

    If she’d had us tithing that bar would still be there. But some of us already were.

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  7. nancy said on January 24, 2014 at 8:24 am

    I found the Larry’s thing via one of my Facebook contacts, Mark, and I share the general horror over the photographer’s misuse of the language, but hey, he’s a photographer. If he were good with words, he’d be a writer. I can count on one hand the number of photogs I’ve known who could write a simple sentence.

    Didn’t they used to play Risk there on Sunday nights?

    I also liked that they got the gay-bar rumor in there. Had to do something to keep the frat boys out.

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  8. beb said on January 24, 2014 at 8:27 am

    A “jute”-box must be the chest where they keep the rope made from jute. Personally I prefer the rope made from hemp because in idle moments you can smoke it and pretend that you’re getting high.

    According to the Freep website, it’s 4 degrees outside but feels like -19. I may never get warmed up again after the drive to work….

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  9. brian stouder said on January 24, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Well, first, here’s hoping for a positive update regarding Alex’s loved one. All I know about infection is – they’re absolutely nothing to fool around with or underestimate.

    Regarding classics, Shelby (our high school freshman) had to read Of Mice and Men – under 100 pages long(!) – and it made her cry at the end. I’d never read it, and she twisted my arm, and it also affected me.

    And finally, today is definitely ‘icy lumpy fuck Friday’ here in Fort Wayne, with an emphasis on “icy”; currently below zero (-5 when I drove to work) and with lots of snow forecast for mid-day.

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  10. brian stouder said on January 24, 2014 at 8:57 am

    (I love that term – ‘ILF’!)

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  11. mark said on January 24, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Great shot of Wendy. Prayers for Alex and his partners and the physicians helping them.

    Thank you Justin Bieber for making the case for tighter immigration standards…

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  12. mark said on January 24, 2014 at 9:09 am


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  13. Maggie Jochild said on January 24, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Thinking of you and your sweetheart, Alex.

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  14. Connie said on January 24, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Oh Alex, my thoughts are with you and your partner. I’ve done a couple of hospitalizations for IV antibiotics (Vanco!) And it’s not fun. New things I learned about hospitals that have changed in the 25 years since I had my baby in one. Room Service food and wifi.

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  15. DellaDash said on January 24, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Amputate, Alex? How can that even be mentioned these days, let alone threatened? Here’s a two-handed finger cross to ward off the curse of passing the medical buck…and hope that the two of you can soon step out of your horror story on four sound feet.

    For what it’s worth, Nancy, I recently listened to Thérèse Raquin mostly because I was curious to hear Kate Winslet’s celebrity narration; but then was delighted to discover how enjoyable (rather than dutiful) reading Émile Édouard Charles Antoine Zola can be.

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  16. Heather said on January 24, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Alex, that sounds scary. I hope you have lots of support around you physically–you know you’ve got it here. Nothing but good thoughts from me.

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  17. Julie Robinson said on January 24, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Alex, I’m also praying for a positive outcome. My sister has been having treatments in a hyberbaric chamber as they try to save the other toes on her foot, and has seen good progress. The extra oxygen can accelerate the healing process. Keep us posted on how he’s doing.

    Della, sadly, amputations are still common among the diabetic community.

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  18. Kirk said on January 24, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Great shots from Larry’s. I always enjoyed spending time in that place, though I made it only occasionally. Think I might have gotten high in there once. I definitely was high every time I darkened the door there.

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  19. alex said on January 24, 2014 at 10:32 am

    He’s in surgery now. I’m hoping that the talk of amputation was simply to brace him for the worst-case scenario. I’m not particularly knowledgeable about abscesses in bone or how these are addressed. Evidently this was encapsulated in such a way that all of the antibiotics of the last few weeks couldn’t reach it. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that this will be covered under work comp insurance, along with all of the lost wages for the duration.

    The other silver lining is that this is the kickstart we both needed in order to adopt healthier lifestyles. I’m finding that I can live without alcohol and don’t miss it, and will have no problem limiting consumption to rare social occasions. We got into kind of a rut and drank mostly out of boredom. We ate out a lot instead of cooking at home, and kidded ourselves that dining at high-end places must necessarily be healthy. In fact, it’s a waste of money and the food contains a lot of processed ingredients that we need to avoid. So far this week, we’ve had some fantastic meals that were simple and fast. I have yet to venture into seafood because it stinks up the house if you’re not careful and also I recently read a stomach-turning article about specific types of fish and shrimp to avoid because of contaminants, as well as harm to the planet. But I’m eager to try some recipes, such as a 25-minute bouillabaisse.

    Getting ready to head for the hospital to see him when he gets out of surgery.

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  20. brian stouder said on January 24, 2014 at 10:52 am

    Alex – my impression from yesterday’s post was that he was still in Pennsylvania.

    It is certainly for the best that he’s back here in the Fort.

    Here’s to a successful result and a restfule weekend

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  21. coozledad said on January 24, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Hoping for good news, Alex.

    Grayson Perry, CBE!

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  22. Sherri said on January 24, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Hope all works out well, Alex.

    Jolene, when were you at CMU? The CS department I mentioned yesterday was CMU’s; I was there in the mid-80’s.

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  23. Jolene said on January 24, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Sherri, I was there from 1992 to 2000.

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  24. Bob (not Greene) said on January 24, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Alex, good thoughts to you and your partner.

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  25. brian stouder said on January 24, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Cooz – your link was the perfect antidote to the following one, which bothered me just before I saw yours:

    Sheriff Arpaio represents an ugly, official (and elected) subculture in America. The silver ling, if any, is that his antics are indeed “news-worthy” in 2014, whereas it would have been utterly common-place in 1930’s Florida or Mississippi

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  26. Peter said on January 24, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Alex, my prayers that your partner’s operation will be successful.

    My cousin’s son is in town – he’s conducting a seminar at U of Chicago. The guy’s from the south of France and for him this weather is like the arctic – and he’s loving it. My lovely wife thinks he’s either putting up a brave front or is seriously crazy.

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  27. Charlotte said on January 24, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Ooh! ooh! ooh! (raising hand like annoying girl in the classroom). Russian novels are one of My Favorite Things Ever. Nancy — look for the new translations by Larissa Volokhonsky and Richard Peavar. Their Anna Karenina is wonderful and they’ve done War and Peace too. I love Tolstoy. He has some of the most gorgeous nature writing ever, is lovely on food and social scenes, is I think, quite good with women, an really touching about the terrors that aflict men as well. It was something of a surprise on re-reading Karenina in middle age how much I sympathized with Karenin this time around, just trying to keep it all together. One of my criteria for a “great” novel is that when you read it again during different times of your life, new aspects open up.

    And Alex. Oy. Virgin of Guadalupe candle lit for you. She’s been getting a workout — one of my dear friends had a shingles outbreak on his temple, that then turned into meningitis last week. Four days in Cedars and he’s home now, but terrifying. Fingers crossed — and good for you both on cooking at home. Easiest way to cut down on junk. Martha Schulman at the NY Times has a great column on cooking for health with lots and lots of really easy, delicious recipes.

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  28. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 24, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Grace and peace to you both, Alex.

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  29. LAMary said on January 24, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Alex, there was a very good article in the NYT about sustainable resolutions to make regarding eating better. Mark Bittman is nothing if not realistic in his recommendations. This is really doable and smart:

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  30. LAMary said on January 24, 2014 at 12:10 pm


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  31. Heather said on January 24, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Agree with you on the healthy eating, Alex. In the last year I have found that it’s increasingly difficult for me to digest rich food. I don’t go out to eat for fancy vittles that often anymore, but we did on Sunday for my birthday, and I woke up in the middle of the night with terrible heartburn. My stomach didn’t feel right for a couple days. I’ve always been a red meat lover, but now I find I crave seafood and veggies more and more. And all in a very simple preparation. If you are looking for ideas, I recommend Cooking Light magazine. I think the name is misleading–there’s nothing diet-y about it. It’s pretty much how I was already cooking–olive oil, lemon, beans and greens, salad ideas, seafood. There are great recipes and ideas in it.

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  32. Maggie Jochild said on January 24, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    Re Grayson Perry, I had never heard of him until I became involved with Margot, who used to share a squat with him in Portsmouth when they were both impecunious, rebellious students at the uni there. The stories I have heard about him… I love his even-handed approach to accepting the CBE.

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  33. LAMary said on January 24, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    I had almost three years of not eating in restaurants thanks to the ex and my lawyer relieving me of much cash. We now eat far less meat. Nearly no beef other than occasional burgers made at home or in meatballs, and even then it’s mixed with ground turkey. We eat chicken a lot and lean pork a lot but in much smaller portions than we used to. The meat isn’t the biggest part of the meal. The vegetables are. I have no blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar problems and I’m 61. I think it’s all about using fresh food instead of processed and really eating pretty much anything you want within reason. I bake using real butter. I just don’t eat as much of what I bake. I’ve had to become a smarter cook by being broke and I think we eat better now than we did when I would rely on something like a steak to make a nice meal.

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  34. Dexter said on January 24, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    If you working folks are pressed for time , no time to cook from scratch, the shopping time and all, maybe, if you can afford it, you might look into Blue Apron.
    This ain’t no joke; I have heard continuing first-hand reports that this food is great, it makes cooking great food quicker, it eliminates the shopping time. I have heard about ten people call into a radio show I listen to, none of them ever cooked anything before, and they are just crazy about Blue Apron.

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  35. Scout said on January 24, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Alex – sending healing thoughts to your partner and you. Please keep us posted.

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  36. Dorothy said on January 24, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    I’m late to the news, Alex, but be assured you’re both in my prayers and positive vibes are being sent westward! St. Jude is the patron saint of lost causes – not that I think this IS one but I like to think of him as working magic for scary and/or bleak circumstances. I talked or prayed to him an awful lot when my husband was jobless for seven months about 13 years ago. It took him awhile, but he came through eventually. He’s probably inundated constantly! Haha

    Tomorrow we are supposed to go to an Army event that tells us what to expect when our soldier loved ones come home. Snow is in the forecast so it could be dicey. I’m just overjoyed that this meeting is taking place cuz the unit should be back within a month or so. On USA soil maybe in two or three weeks. Yeee haw!

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  37. brian stouder said on January 24, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    excellent news, Dorothy!

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  38. 4dbirds said on January 24, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Hope all is well Alex.

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  39. alex said on January 24, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Thank you, everyone, for the well wishes and good advice. This morning’s surgery was merely a bone biopsy. They’re also, of course, doing cultures of the infection. I spoke with my partner’s infectious disease specialist who says it’s more than likely the pseudomonas bacterium, which is often found in puncture wounds caused by stepping on nails and is susceptible only to certain antibiotics.

    When they identify the specific bug, they’ll put him on an appropriate antibiotic and we’ll just have to make sure his sugars stay within the normal range for the next six to eight weeks. So things are looking up after the initial shock of it all. We’ll know more when the biopsy and cultures come back.

    I had lunch there today and I must say I was mightily impressed with the new Parkview Regional Medical Center’s cafeteria. Everything was first-rate. I had a very satisfying pasta dish for under four dollars that would have cost about ten dollars more in any restaurant. The chef prepared it right on the spot and was quite the showman, tossing it in the air from the sautee pan and catching it, and preparing other meals for multiple customers simultaneously in the same fashion. There was also a pizza kitchen with an oven like, well, California Pizza Kitchen. There was a sandwich place. There was a salad bar to beat all. There was a guy slicing slabs off of a big prime rib if that’s your thing. There was even a dessert shop with every kind of ice cream and lots of other goodies. Hell, I’d sooner go out to dinner there than a whole lot of other restaurants around here. In fact, I plan on dining there again tonight.

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  40. Scout said on January 24, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Great news, Alex! Sounds like things are looking up, and meanwhile you get to enjoy some healthy, well prepared cuisine.

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  41. davidkirk said on January 24, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Alex, Michael and I wish Harry and you all the best with this challenge both the foot and your new direction in life. Please t
    ell Harry we are thinking of him! – David

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  42. Dave said on January 24, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Alex, also allow me to send you best thoughts and wishes. May all go well.

    I’ve heard good things about the Parkview cafeteria. I told my wife we should go eat lunch sometime but she replied that she didn’t want to eat lunch in a hospital in the wintertime. I think it has to do with the extended stay and continuous eating of hospital cafeteria food in Florida, when her mother had her, as it turned out, final health issues. Perhaps your positive review will help persuade her.

    I’ve just learned of the passing of a man I knew from a massive heart attack. I don’t think he was even 40 yet and, the last time I saw him, he was a slender, healthy looking man. One never knows.

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  43. Joe K said on January 24, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Hope all is well Alex,
    Wife will be checking in there Monday morning for a knee replacement so I’ll probably try the pasta.
    Pilot Joe

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  44. Deborah said on January 24, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    Chicken. We eat lots of Chicken. It’s a good thing LB knows a bunch of good ways to cook it or I’d be really sick of it. We don’t have heart problems or high cholesterol, although my husband is borderline on the cholesterol, so we all watch it. LB lost 19 lbs on the first phase of her diet, she has 11 more to go. The second phase allows more things like beans, brown rice, potaoes and even pasta (brown rice pasta that is) variety is nice. Of course you can only have a half a cup of pasta. She has been iceskating almost every day for exercise, it really burns up the caleries. she’s following the 17 Day Diet, there are essentially 3, 17 day phases. The trick is, of course, keeping it off especially when she likes beer and bacon, a lot.

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  45. Connie said on January 24, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    We have found ourselves eating a lot of chicken/vegetable stir fries. After listening to my husband and daughter bicker about who made the worst rice, and constantly try to get the other to make it, I bought them a rice cooker for Christmas. Dinner time has improved. So has the rice.

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  46. Suzanne said on January 24, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    I feel a little out of place here. I loved Dr. Zhivago, the book. It’s so much more than the movie, which is little more than a love story with the backdrop of revolution. The book is more about a revolution with a little backdrop of romance. Anyone spouting that revolution is a good idea needs to read every bit of it, to see how horribly things can go wrong and how much suffering it brings. Fabulous book.

    Seeing the entire Ring Cycle is on my bucket list. I’ve seen Die Walkure and Siegfried. Parts are a little dull, yes, but the music is glorious. Nothing can beat hearing the Ride of the Valkyries live, at least nothing I’ve ever experienced. All that sound swirling around you. Absolutely fabulous!!! I better start saving my $$ now for Chicago 2020!

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  47. Suzanne said on January 24, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    And, because I’m late to the game, I add good wishes to Alex’s partner. Hope for a quick and simple recovery.

    We eat a lot less meat, too, than we used to, and many more veggies and beans. Roasting veggies in olive oil is, most of the time, the only way to go. Fresh green beans roasted are super and I never make asparagus or cauliflower any other way (well, hardly ever). Garbanzo beans make everything better! Here is a food blog I highly recommend: This is a young couple who live in Indy and give proceeds from their blog to charity. And the food is simple and tasty!

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  48. Dexter said on January 24, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    We have all probably been to Chinese buffets when the staff sits down to eat at a large table. Every plate is heaped with white rice. All these people are very thin, but they eat rice in larger quantities than most Americans-by-birth could eat in a week. They sit at their tables, the rice already on the plate, and a chef brings out a huge platter of maybe chicken and a vegetable and they all get the same thing and eat it all.

    So we go a diet and we can have seven grapes and three level tablespoons of cooked rice and three green beans.

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  49. Dexter said on January 24, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    I learned to use chopsticks as a boy, I use them regularly, but I notice most folks like the old fork and spoon.
    I was in Nova Scotia years ago on vacation, had lunch at a Chinese storefront place, and ate with regular wooden chopsticks. I was on a camping trip with a friend so I wiped the chopsticks off and stuck them in my pocket to use later by the campfire. When I paid, the manager and waitress met me at the cashier’s desk, and were clearly irate. I was scolded for stealing the chopsticks, how embarrassed I was! I just didn’t know they washed them and re-packed them in the fancy paper and served them to the next guest to use. I was so upset, I simply offered to pay for them, would that be alright, okay? “OK. fifty cents.” And I sauntered out, looking down at the sidewalk, just feeling like an azzole.

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  50. Hattie said on January 24, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    That poor woman and her family. When will the American freak show ever end?

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  51. Jessica said on January 24, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Big works: Anna Karenina and W&P are really fine. The first 60 pages of W&P are sort of boring, but it takes off after that.

    If you want something modern, try My Uncle Napoleon by Iraj Pezeshkzad. A truly funny novel about Iran in the 40s. Sounds unpromising, but it is very funny. Ask any Iranian about it, and watch a face light up. Plus there is only one translation so you don’t have to pick.

    Don’t try Ulysses. Double-don’t try Finnegan’s Wake.

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  52. brian stouder said on January 24, 2014 at 4:59 pm


    I’m guessing that the Board of Health would not approve of ‘washing’ wooden chopsticks and reusing them!

    I recall having to read some ‘classic’ in high school; cannot remember the name of it.

    But in the book, a young fellow is taken in by a pastor, and marries too young (‘two can live as cheaply as one’ was a recurring line, that the kiddo learned wasn’t true)….anyway, the book goes on and on (and on!), but the movie – circa 1930’s – covers maybe one chapter of it.

    (clear as mud, ain’t I?!)

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  53. Sue said on January 24, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    There is only one ‘classic book’ that I have been unable to finish, and that is The Scarlet Letter.
    Of course, the reason that The Scarlet Letter is the only classic book that I have been unable to finish is that it really put me off trying to read classic books.
    And the classic book comment thread is about 20 comments short now that Prospero is no longer with us. Right about now he’d be shouting at someone, I just know it.

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  54. Bob (not Greene) said on January 24, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    My favorite “long work” classic was “Bleak House” by Charles Dickens. I really went on a Dickens binge many years back, which was fun — “David Copperfield,” “Our Mutual Friend” and “Nicholas Nickleby” (which I actually didn’t ever finish). Had to read “Vanity Fair” and “Moby Dick” for the written exam for my master’s degree at Purdue. Had a Russian Lit class in undergrad where “Brothers Karamazov” and “Anna Karenina” were on the reading list. I finished “Brothers”; don’t think I did get through “Anna”. The trouble is that I an a slow reader. I tend to go back and re-read to refresh my memory about something or to clarify a plot point, so it takes me forever to get through those huge books. I just can’t afford that kind of time. The house just goes to hell.

    The last gigantor book I read was “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”. Why? Because it was there. A 1,300-page challenge, sneering at me. It was just OK.

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  55. alex said on January 24, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    I had to read the Scarlet Letter in a college American lit class, and having lectures on the historical context to accompany the reading made it sufferable. It was quite the racy potboiler in its day and reflected the age-old hypocrisy, not at all self-consciously, of how women are shamed for sexual behavior while men get a pass.

    LA Mary, I printed out the Bittman piece and also saved it as a .PDF along with all of my other Internet recipes. And Suzanne, the couple from Indy have quite an interesting site and I’ll be looking to them for some inspiration. Bittman has a Thai beef salad recipe in that article and I’ve always wanted to make that at home.

    Well, heading back to the hospital and looking forward to dinner.

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  56. David C. said on January 24, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Alex, I hope your partner is doing better soon. My doctor, after I had an infection from a puncture wound, told me to always take off my shoes before I step on a nail. Good advice, and I suppose it’s worked. I haven’t stepped on one since.

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  57. MichaelG said on January 24, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Been down south for the last few days again and just got back.

    I’m glad to see that things may be looking up for your partner, Alex. Here’s hoping for the best.

    I think this might have been my last trip. I’m planning on retiring in a couple of months and have been shedding responsibilities in preparation.

    If you are looking for a big read, try the Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World) by Neal Stephenson. It’ll make your bedside table groan.

    I don’t know, Dexter. I don’t believe those chopsticks were intended to be reused. For sure I wouldn’t go back to that place.

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  58. coozledad said on January 24, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    On Moby dick:
    You cannot read this book for speed. It is designed for the long haul, the chapters never too long, naps seemingly built into the text. It is, dare I say, a voyage. When in doubt, or simply in need of something, the something uncertain, a scratch like the scratch Ishmael feels in those opening lines, instead of the sea I will take to Moby-Dick and turn to a random page and read a few paragraphs out loud, my voice hauling forth the words like a net full of squirmy fish. It gets in your blood. It is your blood.

    Someone over at Alicublog(smut clyde?) suggested there ought to be a mashup of Finnegans Wake and Moby Dick. In some ways they are similar. Both are cosmic apprehensions of the fleeting world. Circular.

    Emerson called Moby Dick “The soul’s striving for certainty”*

    Joyce’s work was the distillation of certainty into the ludicrous: the compression and distortion of history into a long form drunken joke: “A petrified superpun” (Nabokov). But they have one thing in common, and that is the dialog of salts.

    I think I might take Smut Clyde up on his challenge someday, at least for three thousand words or so.
    I’m calling it Finnegans Dick!, and basing it on the circumstances of Piero Pasolini’s death by motorcar.

    See if you can spot the authorial break in the dialog:

    “Start her, start her, my men! Don’t hurry yourselves; take plenty of time- but start her; start her like thunder claps, that’s all”, cried Stubb, spluttering out the smoke as he spoke:
    “Look about you Tutty Comyn!
    Remember and recall, Kullykeg!
    Look at Lokman! whatbetween the two cupgirls and platterboys the director’s been a’ mortared on the strand. Stranded, Amortized by Fiat. Motored.

    A nexistence of vividence!”

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  59. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 24, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    I love the idea of Alex & Pilot Joe standing there together in front of the pasta station, egging on the chef to flip his panful higher and higher until he misses one . . . enjoy, and be well y’all.

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  60. coozledad said on January 24, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Oh, and if you want to read a big classic that is also small beyond its wisdom, Nabokov’s got two: Pnin, and Pale Fire. for all his flash and humor, Nabokov’s subject was the disastrous soul-crushing sump humans have made of their beautiful world.

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  61. Scout said on January 24, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    Finally some relief for Marlise Munoz and her family.

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  62. ROGirl said on January 24, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    DO try Ulysses. If it’s too much, start with Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Immerse yourself in Remembrance of Things Past (A la recherche du temps perdu) by Proust. And in honor of Prospero, don’t forget Gravity’s Rainbow.

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  63. Deborah said on January 24, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    Some of my favorite longish Fiction: “The Last Report of the Miracles at Little No Horse” by Louise Erdich, “Infinite Jest”, by David Foster Wallace (Prospero would puke), “War and Peace” (this was a long time ago), “Light in August” by Faulkner” (ditto on it being a long time ago, it might not be as thick a book as I remember it, I went through a Faulkner phase when I was much younger). There are lots more but I’m going to have to think about it. We listened to Moby Dick on CDs during a road trip, I guess that counts.

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  64. Deborah said on January 24, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    I’ve tried and tried to read Ulysses one of these days I will read it to completion.

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  65. Charlotte said on January 24, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    I went to Dublin for a semester as an undergrad to do Ulysses — which was a wonderful experience, although I don’t have the kind of punny/puzzle-brain to enjoy the Wake. And I love Moby Dick — like Ulysses it experiments a lot with form in different ways throughout the book — the key to both of those is not to read for story as much as to read for form/language. Tolstoy I love for story and for character (and food and nature — there are some amazing dinner parties). Dickens annoys me, although I think I had to read Great Expectations about 8 times between undergrad and grad school. I keep taking a run at Proust every few years, and keep bouncing off it, but one of these days I hope it’ll open up to me. I adore Middlemarch by Eliot, all the Hardy’s (although they’re bleak!), and I’m a Jane Eyre person not a Wuthering Heights person (my experience is that one tends to be one or the other, I know few who love both).
    Right now I’ve just finished the new Hermione Lee biography of Penelope Fitzgerald, and I’m reading all the Fitzgeralds, which I missed the first time around. Like great big books boiled down to their essence — so much packed into so few pages.

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  66. sg said on January 24, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Alex, you’re in my prayers. Also, I’m a professional cook, working on promoting healthy eating. Once your health crisis is over, I’d be more than happy to give you guys some free cooking lessons.

    As far as long/big books, Moby Dick and anything James Joyce rank high on the list. But there’s also all three versions of Lady Chatterly’s Lover. Or, the Diaries of Anais Nin. You can never go wrong with a book written by a women married to two men (at the same time).

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  67. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 24, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Jane Eyre.

    And I think Joyce’s “Portrait of the Artist…” gets too little attention compared to those later two doorstops.

    You want a long but endlessly rewarding read? Try William Least Heat-Moon’s “PrairyErth” which is a “deep history” of a county in Kansas. His “Roads to Quoz” is pretty memorable, too.

    And as a pastor with a cheerfully cynical view of the church, large-C or small-c, I loved the Barchester Chronicles of Anthony Trollope, starting with “The Warden.” That’s an epic tale in multiple volumes.

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  68. Kirk said on January 24, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    I made it through about 20 pages of “Gravity’s Rainbow,” which one of my best buddies swears is a great book.

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  69. basset said on January 24, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    Couldn’t handle the Baroque Cycle, maybe the Stephenson book I tried to read till I ran into math formulas was part of it or maybe it wasn’t but that just put me off him. “Snow Crash” was brilliant but anything with math in it is not recreational reading, when I see an equation I shut down. No math in “Reamde” but I had to make myself finish it, have seen the plot a million times… people in peril, a pursuit, fights, so on and so forth.

    Least Heat-Moon’s “Blue Highways” was interesting but “PrairyErth” was not. Currently reading “The John Lennon Letters” and finishing John Toland’s “The Last 100 Days” about the end of WW2 in Europe; not particularly literary right now, go ahead and mock but that’s what I want to read.

    Positive thoughts to everyone with health issues, hope your insurance situation is a good one.

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  70. Kirk said on January 24, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    I’m reading Wil Haygood’s excellent biography of Sugar Ray Robinson.

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  71. Deborah said on January 24, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    The only Pynchon I’ve read is The Crying of Lot 49 and Against the Day, for that one I had to keep a notebook to keep all the character’s straight. I’m not that into Pynchon. Again Prospero would puke.

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  72. Sherri said on January 24, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    Liked Snow Crash, loved Cryptonomicon, gave up on the Baroque Cycle after a few too many descriptions of vivisection. Reamde was disappointing. Anathem is on my list to read sometime.

    Most of my really big book reading has tended toward non-fiction, because it’s easier to read it in chunks. I have read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, of course, and even plowed through the Silmarillion. One of these days I plan on reading more Russian literature; I’ve only read Crime and Punishment.

    Still working on The War That Ended Peace; had to take a break to read The Devil in the White City for my book club.

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  73. alex said on January 24, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    Never read PrairyErth but loved the design of the book jacket when it came out back in, what, the ’80s? It depicted a burning house flying through the air over a field and against a very dark, turbulent sky. Simply arresting.

    Thanks, sg, I’m always glad to learn from the pros. I’m a pretty good cook, but my old standbys are largely rich foods with marbly meats and bases that begin with bacon grease, although I’m capable of doing some pretty decent lighter fare. What I really need to be better at is knowing how to stock my pantry optimally and how to utilize leftovers to maximum advantage. The Mark Bittman piece linked by LA Mary above offers a tip that sounds pretty good–take leftover veggies and puree them in a food processor with olive oil, lemon and black pepper to create a spread for toast, crostini, etc.

    I wish I’d been at the hospital this afternoon when the dietician stopped by so that I could have asked some questions. From the materials that were left, I see that the diabetic diet is largely about counting carbs and balancing portions, but in most respects looks very similar to the heart healthy diet in terms of what’s verboten and what’s encouraged. My only quibble with the ADA diet is its insistence upon the use of margarine. If I couldn’t eat butter, I’d sooner do without it entirely than eat margarine.

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  74. Dexter said on January 25, 2014 at 1:32 am

    Steinbeck is my favorite American author, Cannery Row/Sweet Thursday is my favorite Steinbeck story, as those two books go together. My favorite book outside of the hallowed Mark Twain classics is John Kennedy Toole’s “A Confederacy of Dunces.” That book is perfect. Toole killed himself at the specter of never being published, but his mother contacted Walker Percy who was astounded by the book and was a big influence in getting it published, and , finally, the Times ended a review with these words: “it is nothing less than a grand comic fugue.” -The New York Times Book Review.

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  75. Dexter said on January 25, 2014 at 1:39 am

    William Least Heat Moon’s “Blue Highways” got great reviews but that book was a bore and a drag to read. I resented that I spent time reading it. I love most all travel stories, again Steinbeck: “Travels With Charley” was about a trip with a dog in a homemade camper, and it was a delight. Very dated now, but if you have never read it, might be fun.

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  76. Deborah said on January 25, 2014 at 6:59 am

    Ewwww margarine, I’m with you Alex. Hate the stuff. We never had butter when I was growing up, my mother slathered margarine on my school lunch sandwiches, I never ate them. When I got out on my own it was butter for me or nothing.

    I read “Blue Highways” and loved it. I tried following his theory about the number of calendars in a cafe determining how good the food would be when on road trips but it never worked for me.

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  77. Andrea said on January 25, 2014 at 9:18 am

    As far as long works go, I’d have to also recommend the Patrick O’Brian Aubrey-Maturin series. 20 completed books, plus a fragment of the 21st. It follows the friendship of two men over their adult lives, on a ship in the British Royal Navy during the Napoleanoic wars. Great characters, incredible details about the history and daily lives of that era, and excellent use of punctuation. I’m a sucker for the masterful deployment of a semi-colon.

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  78. Maggie Jochild said on January 25, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Unreserved yes to “PrairyErth”, “Blue Highways”, and “River-Horse”. And when I think of those, I am reminded of Stephen Ambrose’s biography of Lewis and Clark, and then, perversely, Calvin Trillin’s travelogues.

    If you haven’t read through a Mapp & Lucia omnibus, you are in for a lifetime treat. Another series I can’t recommend enough are the Chanur quartet by C.J. Cherryh — I take it as a sci-fi allegory of what happened to North American indigenous peoples at the time of white contact, set in Far Space.

    I also enjoyed reading my way through some (but not all) of the Mitford sisters. And it may seem trendy at the moment, but I think everybody should try the collected short stories and novels about Sherlock Holmes, then move on the Laurie R. King’s expansion on the character.

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  79. Maggie Jochild said on January 25, 2014 at 9:29 am

    P.S. Any ADA diet that advocates margarine is seriously out of date. Transfat is what clogs arteries, not healthy animal-based fat. And my experience with hospital dietitians, esp with regard to diabetes, has been abysmal. They will steadfastly maintain there is NO difference between whole grains and white flour, and beans are classed as a “carb” on the same order as rice or potatoes. Diabetics actually benefit from an emphasis on proteins and greens. If you eat adequate protein (and yes, that includes grassfed beef and milk products), you will want smaller portions and stop craving sugar. That’s my experience, anyhow. I eat bacon and eggs (but the organic kind) every day for breakfast and my cholesterol is absolutely healthy, despite a strong family history otherwise.

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  80. coozledad said on January 25, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Here’s one of those “thought experiments” so beloved of the right. What if Adlai Stevenson had cheered the Soviet intervention in the Hungarian revolution?

    Mitt Romney is sucking Putin’s ass while the Russians are returning to their old Stalinist imperialism. Shouldn’t we be encouraging Republicans to get their asses the fuck on over to Russia? It’s a beacon for authorito/libertarian douchenozzles, and the environmental cesspit of their dreams. Plus, it reflexively resists all that “Eurpeenizin'”

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  81. Minnie said on January 25, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Second Andrea’s vote for the Aubrey-Maturin books. I’ve read the series twice.

    We met Patrick O’Brian when he lectured at The Mariner’s Museum in Newport News. My husband occasionally brags that after the Q&A session Mr. O’Brian approached him with a question of his own that he was able to help him with.

    “Which way to the gentleman’s?”

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  82. beb said on January 25, 2014 at 10:31 am

    As a person with a short attention span I have given up reading any book over 400 pages and generally avoid books over 30 pages. The longer the book the more likely the author is just going to amble and fail to get anywhere.

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  83. Charlotte said on January 25, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Because I can hear him sputtering from the Great Beyond, I’m going to put in a word for At Swim Two Birds, by Flann O’Brien. Not a doorstop, but one of the great comic novels of all time. A strange, fantastical, hilarious novel, and one I was astounded to watch a bunch of grad students treat as though the imaginary violence was real (it’s imaginary in the book). Sigh. (Now will you stop yelling at me Prospero?)

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  84. Deborah said on January 25, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Beb, you should read short stories, there are some really good ones out there, The Tenth of December has a collection of great stories by George Saunders, there are many Alice Munroe collections, Raymond Carver etc. The list goes on and on including Hemingway and Fitzgerald. They’re great to read, bite sized chunks of fabulous.

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  85. alex said on January 25, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Maggie, another thing that took me aback in the diabetic diet materials we were given: Advice on menu choices at McDonald’s and Arby’s. We never eat at those places anyway and would sooner go hungry if there weren’t any other choices. I think the expose on pink slime burger meat was my tipping point, though the pregnant pustules on the face of the guy in Super Size Me had already grossed me out to the point of no return.

    Probably they do this because they’re dealing largely with a clientele that is used to eating pure shit, which is how they came by their disease in the first place. Kind of like my doctor telling me to vape instead of smoke. Is it ideal? No, but it’s a whole lot less harmful and a positive step toward the ultimate goal of weaning off of nicotine.

    I must say I was also surprised that the materials said nothing about using whole grain breads and pastas, which we’re doing already, versus the processed stuff.

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  86. Maggie Jochild said on January 25, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Whole grains, brown rice, and non-commercial potatoes release more slowly, reducing the glycemic peaks and valleys. You wind up without carb cravings. If I eat one item with white flour, the longing for more returns. It’s a vicious cycle. Same with “sugar-free” desserts, which the local hospital menus literally load onto the platters of diabetic patients: It makes your body go on a sugar-hunt. If I eat cheese or plain (nothing but peanuts) peanut butter instead, I want no dessert. But I have to get that stuff brought in to me at the hospital. Even the fruit juices either have HFCS or chemicals added, instead of just plain juice blends.

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  87. Dexter said on January 25, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Many years ago a friend gave me a copy of “Trout Fishing in America”, by Richard Brautigan. Simply intellectual, a fun read. Samples:

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  88. Joe K said on January 25, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Greetings from the big easy,
    40 degree and sunny, feels like a heat wave wish to heck I could stay.
    Must say it was a little windy taking off from Auburn this morning, heading back soon.
    They is gettin ready for Mardi-grah down here.
    Pilot Joe

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  89. Dexter said on January 25, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Have a beignet or two for me, Joe. Cuppa chicory java too. 🙂

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  90. Dexter said on January 25, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    J-Bo just Facebooked about a mall shooting in Maryland…better go watch TV for a bit.

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  91. Deborah said on January 25, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    I’m making bread right now, although it’s not on LB’s diet, but since my husband is here we’re doing it anyway. As of this morning LB has lost 20 lbs, so a slice of bread should not matter. Anyway, the recipe called for milk and we didn’t have any, but we did have kefir, so I used that instead of milk. Then I got nervous about the cultures in kefir mixing with the yeast I used in the bread dough. I googled it and found out you can make bread without yeast if you use kefir. So this should be interesting because I used both. It’s rising in the bowl now, maybe it will be way fluffier than it usually is after this first rising? I’ve been using LB’s Kitchen Aid stand mixer with a dough hook to make bread, and boy is it easy. I swore off of ever buying bread again. When the bread is finished we’re having it with soup.

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  92. Connie said on January 25, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    I’ve been making very simple bread from the book “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day”. Basically you mix up a big bowl of dough using the Kitchen Aid bread hook. The dough can sit in your refrigerator for up to two weeks. You grab a blob of dough, shape it, and bake it with a pan of hot water in the oven. The steam it makes is what makes a crispy crust. I’ve made loaves of various sizes, baguettes, and cinnamon rolls from the dough. For more info see

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  93. Snarkworth said on January 25, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    I love a good book thread!

    (scribbling furiously)

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  94. Deborah said on January 25, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Holy Cow Connie, that bread website is fantastic. Totally bookmarked. Never buying pizza out again, never buying cinnamon rolls again. Thanks for the link. But how does that woman stay so fit and trim?

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  95. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 25, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Ah, Charlotte, the yelling will never really end…. 😉

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  96. LAMary said on January 25, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    There are collections of the best American short stories of each year. I’ve discovered a lot of authors through those books. The paperback is less then ten bucks on Amazon, slightly less for the kindle version.

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  97. alex said on January 25, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Just made Mark Bittman’s Thai beef salad, and it’s the best meal I’ve had in ages. He’s not terribly specific about the proportions of the ingredients, but this seems to be one of those dishes where you can wing it and you won’t go wrong. It’s as good as any I’ve ever had in a Thai restaurant, and I used to frequent the best of them in the Windy City. The only change I made was to add some finely minced fresh ginger, which was another delightful flavor in the medley of savory tastes and textures. The flank steak I prepared on the grill was also a bit more tender than the mystery meat they usually serve in the restaurants, which always seems to be on the more well-done side. The combo of basil, cilantro, mint and crisp red onion is out of this world. And of course the ginger and a finely minced jalapeño also. I know what I’m having for my late night snack and my breakfast tomorrow and very much looking forward to it.

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  98. Deborah said on January 25, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    That sounds delicious, Alex, I’m going to have to check that out.

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  99. Dexter said on January 25, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    No. 26 is a bunny pic for nance. The other 30 shots are for wild animal lovers and supporters. These are mainly NorCal and Central Cal shots, but I know LAMary’s part of the state has plenty of the same.

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  100. Dexter said on January 25, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    Tonight the UM Wolverines utterly defeated the blowhard MSU Spartans on the basketball court at The Breslin Center in East Lansing. It was a huge upset, #21 beating #3 nationally.

    So for the Moo U fans, here’s some words of advice, “…got to scrape that shit right off-a yer shoes…”

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  101. LAMary said on January 26, 2014 at 2:22 am

    Mark Bittman has never let me down. I used his basic pancake recipe this morning. It tastes something between a pancake and a crepe. I followed his suggestion from the article I linked above for frozen peach jam and had that on the pancakes. Stupid good.

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  102. Deborah said on January 26, 2014 at 2:44 am

    LA Mary, I went back and read that Bittman link, lots of good stuff there.

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  103. Scout said on January 26, 2014 at 10:12 am

    For those who enjoy short story form, Jhumpa Lahiri has a beautiful collection.

    I too am bookmarking the bread website. I was recently gifted with a vintage kitchenAid from a friend who’s mother was transitioning into a senior care facility. I’m not sure of its age but it weighs a ton, is white instead of today’s fancy colors. It has a bread hook!

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  104. James said on January 26, 2014 at 10:52 am

    There is a Bittman “How to Cook Everything” app I got for free (may have been a special) that I find very useful. An iOS (iPad), but may be on other platforms. You can search by recipes, ingredients, and it’s replaced the bible (The Joy of Cooking) in many instances.

    Here’s the App Store link:

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  105. Connie said on January 26, 2014 at 11:33 am

    That app is now $9.99.

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  106. coozledad said on January 26, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Has Mike Huckabee got a co-host? Got one for him:

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  107. Deborah said on January 26, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Little Bird has the Bittman, How to Cook Everything Book. I’m going to have to spend some time perusing it. Some things that I’ve found helpful for cooking are all the how to videos out there. Maybe because I’m the kind of person who needs to see how it’s done rather than just reading a recipe. I also found online videos extremely helpful when LB and I were renovating the bathroom. It’s amazing what you can learn online, how did we manage before?

    By the way, you guys got me started on using LB instead of always typing out Little Bird. So much easier.

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  108. basset said on January 26, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    That bread book does look good, headed out for the bookstore shortly to at least see if they have it before we go to Amazon. Some of the links off that page are interesting too… like the bread top slasher that you reload with industrial razor blades…

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  109. Dexter said on January 26, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Someday I will be inspired to find a recipe for old-style bagels. As you know, today’s bagels are not really bagels in the Old-World European style. Real bagels are formed and boiled before baking to get that hard and shiny outside. I haven’t had a real bagel in many years. I suppose I eat three bagels a week, sometimes I take a break for a couple weeks, always back to them. Always with a full schmear of plain cream cheese , sometimes a spoon of jam.
    Real bagels are the best traveling food ever. Take a long train trip, always pack bagels and maybe a few oranges , you can go a long way on just that.

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  110. coozledad said on January 26, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    American Nazi revisionism, Billy Graham style:

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  111. LAMary said on January 26, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Dexter, I know I’ve seen a boiled bagel recipe recently. Let me see if can dig it up.

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  112. LAMary said on January 26, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Here’s this one. I hope you have a kitchen scale:

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  113. DellaDash said on January 26, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    This household is gluten and dairy-free, these days, with a smattering of other dietary restrictions. I’ve got a small repertoire of yummie dishes…the best of which is a mean sizzling cornbread.

    Off-topic/thread…this is too good of a story to keep to myself. It comes from Ted, my most recent chess opponent (from the International Email Chess Club). He’s a 98-year-old South African and former Postmaster.

    Many of you may have seen “The Gods Must Be Crazy”; a movie featuring the Kalahari Bushman. Ted mentioned that encountering a Bushman has become more and more rare…

    “…the little Bushmen, I have read that they are the one race of mankind that leave no harmful trace of themselves on the environment.

    They do not hunt for the “pleasure” of killing a creature, but only when hunger necessitates it and then they ask its forgiveness. They do not understand fences or possession of land or beast and, consequently, in the early years, were regarded and destroyed as vermin because they considered that all animals were for the benefit of all men and could not understand that to kill some farmer’s cow for food was a criminal act.”

    Ted promised to tell me an amusing Bushman story with a future move. Here it is:

    “The Bushman anecdote is from my years in Kuruman and took place about 1985.

    Kuruman country abounds in Kudu (a large antelope with magnificent corkscrew horns) which have an exceptional ability to leap and easily clear a high road-side fence and are, consequently, a danger on the roads (a Kudu cannoning into your car can create havoc).

    One of my telephone technicians was building a telephone line to a remote settlement, a series of telephone poles across the sparse scrub and thornbush, supporting telephone wires.

    Out of the bush, one day, came two little Bushmen, complete with bows and arrows and an ostrich egg to hold their drinking water.

    They sat down on an adjacent anthill and watched the gang at work, erecting and stringing poles, all day.

    The following day they continued to watch in silence but, on the third day, gathered their meagre belongings and prepared to move on, grimacing and clicking softly to themselves.

    My technician asked one of his gang if he understood the Bushman tongue and, if so, to go and find out what they were saying, and the man went and spoke to the departing Bushmen.

    In due course they separated, the Bushmen continuing on their way and the man returning to the gang.

    The Bushmen, he said, were laughing about the white man and his foolishness.

    He made a fence and the Kudu jumped over it, so now he made a fence up in the air and, of course, the Kudu would just walk under it!”

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  114. DellaDash said on January 26, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    Correction…Ted is 89 years old…not 98

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  115. Dexter said on January 26, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Thanks, LAMary, I will copy and save.

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  116. Carolyn said on January 26, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Charlotte and sg mentioned Moby Dick.
    Here’s what a great work of art can make you do. It can make you fly from Florida into a snowstorm to then drive 90 minutes to a seaside New England town on the chance you’ll get to participate in a nonstop 25 hour reading of Melville’s masterpiece.
    Moby Dick Marathon every January at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. For us, it was worth every dime and two canceled flights to get there.

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  117. beb said on January 26, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    “Massive Canadian pipeline explosion deprives 4,000 of heat and power in subzero weather.”

    The pipeline company is Transcanada, who wants to build the Keystone XL pipeline. They have a history of pipes leaking.

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  118. Deborah said on January 26, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    I have an edition of Moby Dick illustrated by Rockwell Kent one of my favorite artists. I love looking at those illustrations, but as I said before, I never read the book, instead we listened to it on CDs in the car on a long road trip. I think there were about 16 separate CDs in the set. Quite an epic.

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  119. basset said on January 26, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Mrs. B is watching the Grammies in the next room, I’m not interested but can hear it whether I want to or not… who in the hell ARE these people? I could not name you a single Jay-Z or Keith Urban song, rap, whatever they’re called. Would like to see Ringo & Paul, they’re supposed to perform at some point but I’m not gonna sit through this to get to it. Heavily styled young blonde is sitting at a piano and emoting about something right now, can’t make out a word of it. Mrs. B says that’s Taylor Swift.

    And all you kids get off my lawn…

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  120. LAMary said on January 26, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    There is a group called La Santa Cecilia and they’re nominated for a grammy. They’re really good. The lead singer grew up helping at her parents’ business in Olvera Street and she learned to sing listening to the Mariachis.

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  121. LAMary said on January 26, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    I understand La Santa Cecilia won.

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  122. brian stouder said on January 26, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    Cooz at 110; this overt Nazi stuff seems to actually be a considered direction that our nutball righties have settled upon.

    Venture capitalist Tom Perkins came under fire after publicly comparing the experience of wealthy Americans to a deadly Nazi campaign that preceded the Holocaust. “Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its ‘one percent,’ namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the ‘rich,'” he wrote, opening a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal. “This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent ‘progressive’ radicalism unthinkable now?” he concluded.

    What the hell?

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  123. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 27, 2014 at 12:07 am

    Daft Punk – do they have other songs, or is “Get Lucky” their whole oeuvre?

    Smarmy or not, I felt a pang watching Paul & Ringo perform together at the Grammys. Then to see Yoko cheerfully shoulder-dancing to it . . . oh, the Beatles. You are missed.

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  124. coozledad said on January 27, 2014 at 12:52 am

    Every holocaust denier and spouter of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion I have ever known, every anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-labor bigot who has stood in my face and worked their jaw back and forth over the twin gobshites of “miscegenation” and “welfare fraudin’ nigras” was a Reagan-blowing piece of white skank who were unwilling to crawl even halfway out of the sump of cousinfuck they erected as a hookworm riddled memorial to the slavers who dragged their white trash asses to war with the United States in an unpardonable act of treason. If it hadn’t been for Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal they’d have had to force pregnancies just so they had something besides squirrel to cram down their throats with all that hominy and lard.

    It’s coming up on the seventy year anniversary of my uncle’s death at the hands of a bunch of “Positive Christian” white nationalists, who wore Gott mit uns on their beltbuckles and wrapped all their killing vehicles in the sign of the cross:

    The same people who killed Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Sophie Scholl. The same people Reagan eulogized at Bitburg.

    I know which American party is beholden to corporate fascism and the votes of blue-eyed, pink skinned, twelve-fingered recessive ditch monkeys, and it’s not my uncle’s party, and it isn’t mine.

    I only have one thing to say to Republicans anymore, and that’s go eat a bowl of your own filth.

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  125. brian stouder said on January 27, 2014 at 8:35 am

    History’s repetitiveness is constantly amazing to me.

    Angry rich guys who feel a disaffected hatred for the very system that shoved a silver spoon into their mouth….

    Bobby Lee was one such bearded rebel, and Sammy bin Laden was another….and this Wall Street guy, at the very least, has sympathy for his nihilistic predecessors

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