The hash of the day.

Just once, it would be nice to see a Democratic president stride to a microphone after an event like this Wednesday’s at Fort Hood and say, “America, you’ve made your bloody bed. Now lie in it” and then walk away. It would be cruel and unnecessary, but I don’t know what the alternative is.

What a day. Dahlia Lithwick covers the latest from SCOTUS:

Roberts honestly seems to inhabit a world in which what really worries the average Joe about the current electoral regime is not that his voice is drowned out by that of Sheldon Adelson, but that he might be forced to spend his millions “at lower levels than others because he wants to support more candidates” or that he is too busy making billions of dollars at work to volunteer for a campaign, or that he has Jay Z and Beyoncé on standby to perform at a house party in the event that his billions are tied up elsewhere this week.

…But I worry that the court has located itself so outside the orbit of the 99 percent that it simply doesn’t matter to the five conservatives in the majority that the American public knows perfectly well what bought government looks like and that Breyer is describing a level of cynicism that has already arrived. Worse still, I worry that it matters very little to them that we will stop voting, donating, participating, or caring about elections at all in light of this decision to silence us yet further. In which case McCutcheon is a self-fulfilling prophecy in exactly the way Breyer predicts: Money doesn’t just talk. It also eventually forces the public to understand that we don’t much matter. It silences. It already has.

That lady has a way of getting right to the point, doesn’t she?

Another day that leaves me a little wrung out at the end, but there’s some good bloggage, so let’s get to it:

I was a fan of Laurie Colwin’s novels before I ever read her food writing, but once I did I loved that, too. I never loved it as much as these people obviously do — she had a weird crackpot streak that was both endearing and, when she was rhapsodizing over English food, a little off-putting. But it’s fair to say we both feel — felt; Colwin died some years ago — exactly the same way about food, that it’s a way to bring people together and shouldn’t be fussed over too much. Unless you really want to:

During her life, she gained a reputation first and foremost as a novelist and a composer of delicately calibrated short stories. But in the years since her death, at the age of 48, her following has only grown, and her highly personal food writing, collected in the books “Home Cooking” and “More Home Cooking,” has attracted a new, cultishly devoted generation of readers. Her musings, anecdotes and quirkily imprecise, not-altogether-reliable recipes show up with regularity on food blogs. Which only makes sense, because even though Ms. Colwin expressed wariness about technology and cranked out her essays (most of them for Gourmet magazine) on a mint-green Hermes Rocket typewriter, there is something about her voice, conveyed in conversational prose, that comes across as a harbinger of the blog boom that would follow.

I will say, however, that all this came through in her fiction, too, so I’m a little puzzled that this story barely mentioned her fabulous novels of domestic life: “Goodbye Without Leaving,” “Family Happiness,” “Happy All the Time” and “Shine On, Bright and Dangerous Object.” The very first thing of hers I read was a short story called “The Achieve of, the Mastery of the Thing,” which made me laugh out loud. That doesn’t happen often. She’s been dead since 1992, but I bet she holds up.

Neil Steinberg talks to a conductor and asks why he waves that stick around.

And off to bed I go.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Uncategorized |

28 responses to “The hash of the day.”

  1. basset said on April 3, 2014 at 12:34 am

    I was raised on English cooking… done properly, it’s a lot better than it gets credit for.

    Meanwhile, an interesting link about a man who’s been tracking down the people shown in the FSA pictures:

    Lady Gaga is on Letterman right now, the audience seems excited but I don’t get it.

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  2. David Edelstein said on April 3, 2014 at 1:49 am

    I read those lovely cooking books after her death and since they featured her daughter so much I found them almost too heartbreaking to bear. I wonder how she’s doing–I hope well. Her mother wrote beautifully.

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  3. MaryRC said on April 3, 2014 at 1:56 am

    I never knew that Laurie Colwin wrote about food. I’ve kept my copy of “Happy All The Time” through 4 moves. I liked it so much that I went on to read “Shine On, Bright and Dangerous Object”, which effectively stopped me from reading anything else by her. I think a lot of readers have shared my reaction to “Shine On, Bright and Dangerous Object” which was somewhat akin to trying to make sense of the last chapters of “Huckleberry Finn”, i.e. “What the hell happened here?”

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  4. Nancy said on April 3, 2014 at 3:35 am

    Thank you for the Laurie Colwin article!

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  5. sg said on April 3, 2014 at 4:08 am

    Laurie Colwin has always had a cult following. She’s the Jane Austin of food writing. Her “recipes” are spot on-don’t quite follow the NYT’s dig about them being imprecise.

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  6. Deborah said on April 3, 2014 at 5:39 am

    Where have I been? I have never heard of Laurie Colwin before, must do something about that.

    I always enjoyed reading Kim Severson in the NYT and also read her book, Spoon Fed. You know I haven’t seen her writing in the NYT lately? Does she still write for them?

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  7. alex said on April 3, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Off topic but a day brightener just the same:

    Long story short: Mr Teabag Nutsack gets his reality checked.

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  8. Alan Stamm said on April 3, 2014 at 7:45 am

    Gail Collins is another lady who has a way of getting right to the point:

    “The downside to the decision is pretty clear, unless you are of the opinion that what this country really needs is more power to the plutocrats.”

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  9. beb said on April 3, 2014 at 8:22 am

    I came home to this:

    EMS and police were already there but there were still thirty or more people milling about the area. The gas station is about six blocks from me house. The street, Morange is not a residential street, though the side-streets are. Morange is lined with small businesses from one end to the other. It’s not a place where you expect kids to go running into the street. But of course they do. Still, to beat up a guy who stopped to do the right thing is so terribly wrong.

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  10. Judybusy said on April 3, 2014 at 8:39 am

    I’ve only read Colwin’s “Shine On…” and really liked it. Thanks for the reminder, and new-to-me knowledge she wrote about food. The writing is so good, and it’s a shame she died so young.

    The SCOTUS decision is so depressing. How are we supposed to change this sytem without a constitutional amendment? That would be the only way, correct?

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  11. Kim said on April 3, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Because I didn’t get to it yesterday, your girls K & W are adorable.

    On the Lithwick commentary, all true. But how can we expect the 80 percent who say no to such a lack of rules to be heard when voter turnout is so low and the majority so uninformed on issues? Elections are the true poll and until people actually take charge they’ll get what someone else has paid for.

    In saying that, I feel like a newly minted 18-year-old voter who’s just taken a college civics class – all bright-eyed, outraged and ready to change the goddamned world. “Be the change,” I tell my two who have crossed that threshold. So far, they have. I think this community here at NN.C knows how hard it is to sustain that level of engagement.

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  12. coozledad said on April 3, 2014 at 9:25 am

    It’s past time for the oligarchs here to join their brethren over in the vast Russian bumfuck, where freedom reigns, and everyone’s too damn drunk to protect them from the mafia that might come gunning for their ass.

    And take that Reagan religion with them.

    One of the many many bad calls I’ve made in my life was believing the next Jesus for the American dumbass was going to be dead Elvis. He had it all. The racism, the stations of the cross, the gut.

    Who could have known it was going to be a a cigarette pitchman who looked like a funeral home mannequin in his prime, and jerked his skull near off his neck worse than Katherine Hepburn every time he fakeassed his way through the lines they fed him? Fuck you Reagan.

    As far as conductors go, once you get past a very small ensemble, you need someone waving their arms to start the piece, to make sure the attack at the beginning of a phrase is in correct time and volume, and the end of a phrase tapers off or ends abruptly as is appropriate. Sometimes a concert pianist or first violinist can do this for the orchestra, but to the detriment of their playing, and at the risk of sore necks for everyone else trying to find them over their sheet music.

    A lot of people complained about Stravinsky’s conducting, but I’ve watched a few of his sessions with the CBS? orchestra, and he was good; concise, didn’t dance around like an idiot, and he kept time. He was also very attentive to dynamic levels.

    Valery Gergiev, on the other hand, drives me apeshit with that “hands of flowing water” crap. If someone removed his left hand, he’d be a fine conductor.

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  13. Jeff Borden said on April 3, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Government of, by and for the people is a sad joke these days. Witness the poor, persecuted Charles Koch being given a Wall Street Journal op-ed to lament how he is simply a misunderstood patriot fighting for what he believes in and all those meanies who are fingering him for his massive political expenditures represent a “collectivist” mindset.

    Fuck Charles Koch.

    I’ve done all right under the capitalist system. I don’t begrudge him his money. I do begrudge him his attempts to use all that filthy lucre to change the very essence of our country.

    We’re in for some very bumpy weather until one of the conservative judges croaks or decides to retire. And if a Republican is elected president in 2016, well, we are screwed for an even longer period of time.

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  14. Judybusy said on April 3, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Had time to read the Colwin article. That tomato and corn pie that found its way to the Smitten Kitchen blog is so, so divine. I hadn’t put together the Laurie Colwin connection, even though the blog author puts it right there. We began making it a few years ago, and it’s one of the reasons summer will always be the best season for me. I think Nancy’s mentioned it here before. It epitomizes my attitude towards cooking. Many people assume because we cook almost every day, we are healthy eaters. I always crack back, “I eat very well, but not all that healthy!” Then again, with another round of de-bunking the low-fat diet, maybe I do eat healthily…..

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  15. Deborah said on April 3, 2014 at 9:37 am

    I looked into my Trader Joe’s shopping basket and saw butter, bacon and beer. Oh well, so much for healthy eating.

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  16. brian stouder said on April 3, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Best facebook comment from Alex’s excellent Ted Cruz (Senator Green Eggs and Ham) link:

    As a concerned Canadian , I apologize for both Ted Cruz and Justin Beiber , that being said , you can keep both of them , we have a no return policy for defective merchandise

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  17. brian stouder said on April 3, 2014 at 10:58 am

    btw, last night, during the “BREAKING NEWS” phase of our latest gunfire/rampage, and after the “tape”* of the president’s response was played, I popped over to Fox to see how the flying monkeys were responding….and I shit you not – Shit-for-brains-Sean Hannity his-own-self was in high dudgeon* about the suggestion that this was NOT an act of terror (dammit to hell!) and that soldiers on the base generally are NOT armed!! Dammit to hell, they all SHOULD be armed, all the time, says Sean.

    His guest, the crazy guy from Florida who lost his congressional seat, even disagreed with him(!), and then it was time to tune back away from the angst-network

    *we have to coin a term for the righteous-anger pose that everybody on Fox must rehearse before they get to prime time

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  18. LAMary said on April 3, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Deborah, those shopping cart contents aren’t as bad the carts you see with pop tarts, hot pockets, Prego, ranch dressing and vitamin water. At least you’ve got real food in your basket which in moderation is better for you than the chemical crap so many people eat.

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  19. MichaelG said on April 3, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Here’s a terrific time lapse video of Sacramento. It lasts something over 2 minutes. The ziggurat building about 13 seconds in is where I have worked for the last 13 years or so. I was there yesterday to pick up my last check. It is also in the last scene when visible as the Tower Bridge rises for a fireworks display.

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  20. coozledad said on April 3, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Charles Koch wants you to know that he’s the real American, and like that Dupont heir, he made this baby, and he can fuck it if he wants:

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  21. Jeff Borden said on April 3, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    I believe I prefer the Mr. Potter style of plutocrat to the Koch brothers, who so very much want us to think they have our best interests at heart as they gut our nation and its politics. Mr. Potter lorded his wealth and position over the peons of Bedford Falls, speaking and dressing the part of the uber-wealthy old bastard who enjoys the groveling of his lessors. He didn’t give a damn and never pretended he did. He was outspokenly greedy and evil.

    The Kochs are more sensitive flowers. They are hurt –deeply hurt, I tell you– by all those nasty comments from Harry Reid and others. They are only deeply patriotic ‘Muricans, dammit, who have dedicated their lonely little lives to making our nation greater by transferring ever more power and influence to the 0.001 percent.

    Fuck them.

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  22. Dorothy said on April 3, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    I really liked the Neil Steinberg article. I always wondered the same thing! The musicians are looking at their music mostly, so I always assumed the conductor was more like a cheer leader holding a stripped down pom pom. We went to UD’s Celebration of the Arts downtown two nights ago and really enjoyed it. There were dancers, singers, musicians, actors – lots of good stuff. My favorite was the Irish dancers. And of course I appreciated the efforts of the conductor(s) of the strings and brass orchestras. I did note that the jazz band was conductor-less, which was different from what we used to see at Kenyon. Professor Ted Buehrer always conducted with such flair!

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  23. Heather said on April 3, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    I think I eat healthier than 90 percent of Americans, but that’s not really saying much. I realized this many years ago when I opened my stepmother’s (full) fridge for a snack and there was literally nothing I wanted to eat–everything was pre-made and pre-packaged.

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  24. Deborah said on April 3, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Dorothy, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go to a symphony again without thinking of your stripped down pom pom remark. Funny.

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  25. coozledad said on April 3, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    The Republican party is a hate group, part 37,541:

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  26. Charlotte said on April 3, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Oh Laurie Colwin — she’s one of the writers I first wanted to emulate, and was a huge influence on my Livingsmallblog years … I remember weeping over Gourmet magazine after she died — they had an editorial noting that she’d written a whole year’s worth of columns ahead of time, and they’d be running them, once a month. I still cook out of those books a lot — if you’re going to a dinner party, and need a quick cake to bring along, the Chocolate Buttermilk cake is a cinch. Bowl to table in about 40 minutes. A little powdered sugar, some raspberries, and maybe some ice cream and you’re there.

    I can’t deal with the Supreme Court thing. I have my metaphorical fingers in my ears, and my inner Candide is coming out. It’s all so f*cked that I’m just going to concentrate on the garden and the chickens.

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  27. Kim said on April 3, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    MichaelG – I have never considered Sacramento that gorgeous. It is! Thanks for sharing.

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  28. Dexter said on April 3, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    Finally! A chupacabra has been caught.

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