I mentioned, in what I hope was a certain woe-is-me tone yesterday, how I overcooked my New York strip night before last. It was still very good, because I did what I do from time to time and splurged on the really good USDA Prime that my meat market has on offer, most weeks. They display the Choice and Prime steaks right next to each other, and the difference is apparent to all but the fat-phobic yoga moms in their XS Lululemons — notable marbling in the Prime, little in the Choice. The flareups that overdid the steak would have reduced the Choice to leather.
The Choice steaks were $14.99 a pound, the Prime $19.99. Alan and I split one, for the standard deck-of-cards-size serving. I don’t feel guilty, because eating is something you have to do at least twice a day, and beef is something I might eat twice a week, so no biggie.
Sometimes I wish I’d gone into food journalism. Although by now I’d probably be a vegetarian. Feedlots are not nice places.
Can you see how hard I am trying not to talk about current events? I have to go back to reading novels instead of Twitter. “The Underground Railroad” is on the coffee table, “Lincoln in the Bardo” is on its way via Amazon (thanks, users of the Kickback Lounge!). I have to take more breaks from this insanity. Think about steak and cooking and the prose of George Sauders.
But we have to get to it sometime. I guess the story of the day is Milo. You only need to read two pieces, Roy’s —
Milo tried to do that with his pedo-tapes (in “a note for idiots” — ha, that Milo!) — but found that he was suddenly no longer the Right’s sassy gay friend. Not because he had sex with children himself — there’s no evidence he did; interestingly, it seems he was the one exploited as a child — but because, from the conservatives’ perspective, he did something worse: He embarrassed them. It was fine when he was whooping up those wanton cruelties and bigotries a normal American can get away with. But pedophilia is a Hard Limit, at least socially.
Conservatives could have done a love-the-sinner, hate-the-sin thing, but that would have required charity, and bitter experience has taught us all that in America this is not a Christian precept. They could have said that though Yiannopoulos had put himself beyond the pale, his principles were still sound, and they could put aside his failings the way intellectuals put aside the anti-Semitism of Mencken or the racism of Larkin, and cleave instead to his aesthetic legacy; but when his book deal and CPAC spot evaporated, it became obvious that there was nothing like a principle or an aesthetic legacy at all left to defend — just a savage clown show that no one wanted to see anymore. (Even Soave is edging away from him. Did I say “even”? Ha, I meant “of course.”)
…and this one, from Slate:
You can thank Steve Bannon, now a central figure in Donald Trump’s administration, for making the clownish hustler Milo Yiannopoulos a star. As the editor of Breitbart, Bannon recruited Yiannopoulos to the site, where he published columns like “No, J.C. Penney, Fat People Should Absolutely Hate Themselves” and “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy.” If Trump is a poor person’s idea of a rich person, Yiannopoulos is a Trump voter’s fantasy of a decadent gay sophisticate. His shtick is to wrap various shades of reaction – anti-feminism, racism, anti-Semitism, hatred of Muslims – in camp, to sell bigotry as cheeky provocation. He and co-author Allum Bokhari put it this way, in a Breitbart ode to the alt-right: “Just as the kids of the 60s shocked their parents with promiscuity, long hair and rock’n’roll, so too do the alt-right’s young meme brigades shock older generations with outrageous caricatures, from the Jewish ‘Shlomo Shekelburg’ to ‘Remove Kebab,’ an internet in-joke about the Bosnian genocide.”
Yiannopoulos uses his gayness to grant absolution to his mostly straight right-wing audiences, telling them that by reveling in prejudice they are bravely flouting taboos. During the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, an at event billed as an America First Unity Rally, Yiannopoulos told a crowd full of bikers and Alex Jones acolytes: “I might be a dick-sucking faggot, but I fucking hate the left…the left in this country is a cancer that you need to eradicate.” As a gay man, he added, he aims to be “transgressive, to be naughty, to be mischievous. And today in America that means being right-wing.”
And that’s about all the Milo I can handle at the moment. Time to start “The Underground Railroad.” Good Wednesday, all.
basset said on February 21, 2017 at 10:30 pm
If a steak’s not bleeding, it’s overdone.
Ann said on February 21, 2017 at 11:32 pm
Good luck with “The Underground Railroad.” Mighty grim. I’m not sorry I read it, and I gave it the required five stars, but I’m sure not pushing my friends to read it.
A. Riley said on February 21, 2017 at 11:33 pm
Does anyone else pick up an Ann Coulter vibe from this guy? Bright young thing figures out a gimmick that’ll bring in the rubes (and the rubes’ bucks), and the gimmick plays for a while.Then either the gimmick gets old or the huckster takes it a bit too far, and oopsy! faw down go boom. — Thing is, the next one is almost guaranteed to be ickier. Bleah.
Julie Robinson said on February 21, 2017 at 11:43 pm
Underground Railroad is not going to be a break from the insanity.
Sherri said on February 21, 2017 at 11:55 pm
Just one more Milo-related article-Laurie Penny on the Milo hangers-on.
CHarlotte said on February 21, 2017 at 11:56 pm
I loved the Underground Railroad — although, well, it *is* about slavery. Even more, I adored Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, which is all about the slave trade from the point of view of black slavers in Ghana on up to the present — astonishingly rich and I think I read it straight through.
I’ve been hiding out in Amitav Ghosh’s Ibis Trilogy — set in India, Canton/Hong Kong and Mauritius during the opium wars it’s three big books with a sweeping set of characters, most of whom are odd but not in a needlessly quirky way. At any rate, the writing is lovely, the characters are compelling, and it’s about a period of social, political and economic turmoil just enough removed from ours that it doesn’t give me nightmares.
candlepick said on February 22, 2017 at 12:10 am
Better breaks from the insanity: Lab Girl (very soon in paperback), memoir by Hope Jahren; Mister Monkey, novel by Francine Prose.
James Moehrke said on February 22, 2017 at 12:29 am
Two words about cooking steak: sous vide. Best technique ever. That is all.
Dexter said on February 22, 2017 at 1:41 am
I simply avoid dumb-shit journalism; I pegged Breitbart and Drudge and Limbaugh and O’Reilly as peas in a pod, and I have no time for their nonsense. By the time Breitbart died very young, I had already long-deserted that crap, so I didn’t know much about Bannon until Trump tapped him. The kid who was phone-sreener for Bannon is now on a station I listen to on XM. He said Trump called in “all the time” and Vito told him “Mr. Bannon’s lines are backed up, sir…maybe twenty minutes before we can get you on…” Trump: “That’s OK, HE’S THE BOSS”. You got THAT right, damn-sure.
Mitch Albom , the most-hated celebrity here at nn.c, had a great interview with George ( I didn’t understand his last name), an interment camp survivor, whose family was herded onto a cattle car and shunted off to Idaho to live in sparse conditions for almost 4 years during WWII. And this man harbored no hatred for the USA, instead he bragged of how his family loved America and did throughout. Wow. Better than I would have handled it, I believe. He told of how all-Japanese Americans fought so bravely in the European Theater. (Mitch has a radio show on WJR-AM 760, Detroit.)
coozledad said on February 22, 2017 at 2:56 am
The Half Has Never Been Told is also a fundamental text.
Sherri said on February 22, 2017 at 5:23 am
I wasn’t one of the finalists chosen for the council seat, which is just fine, other than the ego disappointment of not being selected. Of the three finalists selected, tow are Indian, a group that really should be represented on council, and both are talented and qualified. I don’t know the third person, but I’m sure she’d be fine.
I’m pulling for the Indian woman. I’ve said all along that if she is picked, I would be satisfied with the process.
This simplifies my life; I get to finish up the project I’ve been doing on Planning Commission, start up on Truancy Board without having to switch to another group partway through, and have some time to breathe and make a decision about whether to run this time or next for council. And support my husband and daughter and MIL and her husband as my MIL deals with end of life issues.
Breathing is important. Worrying about the council appointment was more stressful than I had realized.
alex said on February 22, 2017 at 6:51 am
I’ll probably take a pass on the Underground Railroad book. I’ve been reading about the real deal for too long to be able to suspend disbelief for an escapist fantasy. I’ll take Cooz’ recommendation of the Slave Coast instead.
Good news to report. My partner was able to rescind his ill-considered purchase of a flashy car we didn’t need. Although I’m still aghast at his lack of judgment, I’m very much relieved. He has a new job that’s better paying and he just got a nice tax refund, and I can understand the feeling of empowerment that comes with that, but not the impulse to go on a thoughtless spending binge. I’m trying to get our financial house in order so that we can coast to retirement in relative comfort and without needless debt.
Alan Stamm said on February 22, 2017 at 7:42 am
“. . . not going to be a break from the insanity,” as Julie says, but you’ll swoon over Colson Whitehead’s imaginative, dazzling audacity, oh yes you will.
And I heartily second candlepick‘s nomination of Lab Girl, if not enjoyed yet. It sent me to her delightful blog, still visited regularly, and made me a devoted follower of @HopeJahren. Once could say I’m a Hopeful fanboy, if one had no filter.
Julie Robinson said on February 22, 2017 at 8:10 am
It’s an important book for better understanding our country’s horrible stain, but I wouldn’t recommend reading it if you’re already feeling bleak. I was on vacation under warm and sunny skies and it still brought me to my knees.
brian stouder said on February 22, 2017 at 8:28 am
Non-sequitur alert: I was stunned by this bit of local Fort Wayne news, which Nance woulda’ known all along
nancy said on February 22, 2017 at 8:39 am
I just found out yesterday, Brian.
Heather said on February 22, 2017 at 9:14 am
I heard George Saunders interviewed on our local NPR station yesterday. For some reason I didn’t know he was from Chicago! Said he grew up on the south side, in Gage Park. One of the drawbacks of my grad program is that I don’t have much time to read for pleasure, but I’ll have to pick up a copy of “Lincoln in the Bardo” for spring break.
Lou Gravity said on February 22, 2017 at 9:14 am
If this Milo character has really run out of brain dead alt-righters to con, watch out for the 180 as he sees the light and moves to the left in his next incarnation. See Ariana Huffington, David Brock, etc.
Danny said on February 22, 2017 at 9:18 am
I’m reading two API Standard Specifications, API 616 “Gas Turbines for the Petroleum, Chemical, and Gas Industry Services” and API 684 “API Standard Paragraphs Rotordynamic Tutorial: Lateral Critical Speeds, Unbalance Response, Stability, Train Torsionals, and Rotor Balancing” These two tomes are a combined 500 pages which tell in great, exacting, bland detail the story of how us engineers and our evil Oil &Gas Industry overlords subjugate various specifically “bred” alloys to do our bidding. How we keep these machines from “sassing” back to us and ultimately seek to prevent high entropy uprisings whereby metal parts escape their assigned quarters and liberate themselves at supersonic velocities in an ensuing melee of cataclysmic carnage. And that’s about as exciting as it gets.
In my leisure time, I am rereading a series of sci-fi books, The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons, that I had read years ago. In them is a great character, a poet named Martin Silenus, who upon waking from cryogenic sleep is temporarily brain damaged by a stroke and his entire vocabulary of manageable words is relegated: fuck, shit, piss, cunt, goddamn, mothefucker, asshole, peepee and poopoo. He explains:
“A quick analysis will show some redundancy here. I had at my disposal eight nouns, which stood for six things; five of the eight nouns could double as verbs. I retained one indisputable noun and a single adjective which could also be used as a verb or expletive. My new language universe was comprised of four monosyllables, three compound words and two baby-talk repetions. My arena of literal expression offered four avenues to the topic of elimination, two references to human anatomy, one request for divine imprecation, one standard description of or request for coitus, and a coital variation which is no longer an option for me since my mother was deceased. All in all, it was enough.”
Needless to say, I love this character and he reminds me of someone we know.
Suzanne said on February 22, 2017 at 9:33 am
Lou @ 17, that was my thought as well. Milo went too far for the alt-right so now he’ll join the left. And then the right will say, “See? Really we knew all along he wasn’t one of us”
Andrea said on February 22, 2017 at 9:38 am
Sherri @5, that was a great article. Thanks for sharing.
Sorry your city council run did not work out. Take two breaths and figure out what’s next. Your talents, intellect, and passion are forces for good!
coozledad said on February 22, 2017 at 9:59 am
Suzanne: Milo will cash in on the standard Republican redemption narrative. Marcus Bachmann is standing by ready to perform an emergency gayposuction as we speak. Republican Jesus will always find a way to keep his assets liquid, and the limits of discourse shifting rightward.
In re: the stain of slavery. We can’t discuss it as a phenomenon of the past. It’s a bloody pool that has wicked into the fabric of this nation, determined its entire economic trajectory, and hobbled our public morality. We’ve deliberately ostracized the people who bled the most, built the most, and did the most to separate this country spiritually from the savagery of its European antecedents. Considered as an “ethnic” bloc, they’ve been here longer than the majority of the “whites” who target them for oppression, and haven’t merely left their blood on the whipping machines of the south, but everywhere from Manhattan to the Ohio Valley to the Paris Bourse, not to mention in the genome of old “White.” Five hundred years of chattel slavery doesn’t even support the notion of whiteness. It’s simply that people cling to the comfortable myths of highborn European ancestry when the highborn themselves were vermin ridden swaybacks, humping their cousins until they were batshit as Joanna the Mad, or unable to chew their own goddamn food, like the last Hapsburg.
coozledad said on February 22, 2017 at 10:11 am
Oh, and by the way, I’m reading The Great Transition: Climate, Disease and Society in the Late Medieval World. by Bruce M.S. Campbell. It’s a groundbreaking interdisciplinary masterpiece that tracks the end of the Medieval Climate Anomaly with the decline in economic viability preceding the overlapping disasters of famine, sheep scab, rinderpest, and the plague pandemic. It also discusses in susbstantive ways, the limits of the concept of labor value when depopulation results in wage pressures that those in power choose to artificially restrict.
The only thing it doesn’t do is explain why grown motherfuckers listen to Yes.
Julie Robinson said on February 22, 2017 at 10:15 am
Coozledad, I agree and was careful to say it wasn’t in the past. It’s why I do recommend the book for better understanding slavery; but would also recommend you be in a good place before you start. Hard under the current regime, I know.
Alex, glad the car is gone. Retirement is approaching for us too, and I am blessing Fort Wayne Newspapers, its pension plan, and 401K. All well earned through some miserable years!
Sherri, good attitude, and I’ve no doubt you’ll find another place to serve.
Is Mark the Shark running for higher office?
Deborah said on February 22, 2017 at 10:31 am
“gayposuction” ha ha ha.
Peter said on February 22, 2017 at 11:57 am
James at #8 – Oh god, my brother in law can’t stop talking about sous vide. It’s not bad, but to him it’s the Greatest. Thing. Ever.
I’m sorry but I like a nice char on the steak, so I need a thick piece so I can still have it nice and red in the middle.
I did a project for the National Beef Board once – Oh, the steaks they had laying around that place.
Sherri said on February 22, 2017 at 12:17 pm
The only reason this doesn’t make Trent Franks the stupidest man in Congress is that Louis Gohmert and Steve King say things this stupid far more often.
LAMary said on February 22, 2017 at 12:23 pm
George Saunders went to Colorado School of Mines which isn’t a school known for turning out writers. When I lived in Colorado my boyfriend was a Mines student. I learned a lot about geology hanging out with him.
Jolene said on February 22, 2017 at 1:24 pm
Just happened across this schedule for David Sedaris’s next book tour. Nothing near me on this one, but he’ll be in St. Paul, Milwaukee, and some other places that are near non.com folks. I haven’t been to one of his talks, but have heard they are as entertaining as his books.
4dbirds said on February 22, 2017 at 1:33 pm
Watched George Saunders on Charlie Rose and decided Lincoln in the Bardo is my next read. Don’t feel guilty Nancy, once in a while, I love a good steak.
Sherri said on February 22, 2017 at 2:37 pm
I won’t pretend to know anything about the politics so Broadway theater criticism and who behaved badly, but I will say if you had asked me to name a NYTimes theater critic, the name I would have remembered is Christopher Isherwood. Paging Marty Baron?
Julie Robinson said on February 22, 2017 at 3:13 pm
Sherri, I just read that article–do I smell a nasty/ugly lawsuit? No one ever said theatre people aren’t drama queens at all levels. Creative differences is always the polite term, but I think in this case there was some real hatred.
James Moehrke said on February 22, 2017 at 3:40 pm
Peter @ #25: That’s the thing about sous vide, if you cook it to the proper temperature to your liking, then you can quickly sear the surface to get that char you like without overcooking. A really hot cast iron pan or a hot grill for a couple of minutes and you are all set.
David C. said on February 22, 2017 at 4:02 pm
Peter, sous vide gives you the best of both worlds. When the steak is just about, but not quite medium-rare, you throw it on a really hot grill and do a reverse sear. You end up with a perfectly done steak with a nice char. It’s the only way to do a really thick steak and have it turn out.
Sherri said on February 22, 2017 at 4:19 pm
Okay, I’m intrigued. What else besides steak do you use sous vide for? Which sous vide device do you use? I’ve been tempted, but not sure I need another kitchen appliance.
basset said on February 22, 2017 at 5:49 pm
Never wanted to try sous vide – cooking in a plastic bag just doesnt appeal to me. Meat, fire, maybe a little rub.
David C. said on February 22, 2017 at 6:19 pm
Our sous vide is made by Sansaire. It’s an immersion unit so we can use any pot and it takes up little space. You also need a vacuum sealer, which we already had. It works best for thick cuts of beef and pork. I haven’t found anything better for making a thick, stuffed pork chop without drying it out. We also use it for making yogurt. A lot of people use them for chicken, but I find the chicken it does very boring. I’d rather roast it in the oven or on the Weber. I was a scoffer, at first, but we use ours a lot more than I thought I would.
alex said on February 22, 2017 at 7:06 pm
Before I shell out for a sous vide machine I want to try an Instant Pot. One of the things I always hated about pressure cookers and slow cookers was the blandness of meals unless you browned all of the ingredients first. This device takes care of that for you and can serve as either/or.
Sherri said on February 22, 2017 at 7:15 pm
Scott Pruitt takes regulatory capture to new heights (or depths): https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/22/us/politics/scott-pruitt-environmental-protection-agency.html
Julie Robinson said on February 22, 2017 at 7:50 pm
We have an Instant Pot after friends raved and raved about it. Honestly, it’s been sitting on the counter for a couple of months without being used. There’s a bit of a learning curve, and it seems to work best with big hunks of meat, which we don’t buy all that often. Right now I’m just as happy with the slow cooker.
Sherri said on February 22, 2017 at 8:31 pm
I’m still looking for the perfect way to cook batches of steel cut oatmeal that requires as little attention as possible from me. The slow cooker with a plug in timer is okay, but I’m in search of the optimal solution.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 22, 2017 at 9:10 pm
I am torn on the big push to orient all of high school into college prep — I dislike tracking, and paeans to the German and French “eighth grade sort” into vocational and academic paths, but I’m also getting very tired of being part of the system belaboring depressed single moms who’ve not gotten their oldest three kids to finish high school to now exhort her middle schooler, who has clearly given up on himself, the school, and the future, to be more regular in attendance at a building where he just finished his sixth in-school suspension and has all Fs so far this year. He hates the classroom and the entire school vibe, regularly cusses out teachers for asking him to sit down (insert my praise of standing desks and ADHD kids like me right HERE) or giving them the finger when they ask for his worksheets back, getting him two and three and now six day in-schools.
He needs, IMNSHO, juvenile behavioral health assessment and interventions, delivered on-site and not at a distant facility after school reliant on a mom who needs some counseling and supports herself (if she wasn’t abused as a child and young mother I would be completely surprised), but what he’s going to get from us is a) an invitation to a ten week anger management group through the court and b) charges filed if he resentfully sleeps in and skips more days. Which is going to do bugger-all, as my British friends would say. But what do we offer this fine young angry disaffected not-quite-learning-disabled-enough-for-IEP man? If he punches a teacher or commits a DV at home, he might be lucky enough to get the good-news-bad-news of a juvenile record and referral to residential treatment. If there’s a bed. And then he will come back, a bit more stable and with new meds, to the same home with mom, two older sisters with kids neither of whom got diplomas, and stories of an older brother who may be in Alaska, or at least he used to talk about it.
Seriously, what do you think local districts and states should/could have for a kid like this, other than more suspensions? I can give you four or five a week from this county to help populate it if you can define it, demonstrate evidence for modest success rates, and figure out how to (wait for it) fund it.
basset said on February 22, 2017 at 9:26 pm
It’s obvious. Run the schools like a business. Test to the standards. Cut the waste. Teachers don’t even work the whole year. Fire some administrators, that’ll pay for it. Nothing wrong with that kid that a couple good whuppins wouldn’t cure. Liberals are too soft on ’em.
Oatmeal? Put it in a thermos with boiling water the night before.
BItter Scribe said on February 22, 2017 at 9:35 pm
Nancy: I’ve worked in food journalism for nearly half my career. Let’s just say I envy what you do at Bridge a lot more than you’d probably envy what I’ve done.
Carter Cleland said on February 22, 2017 at 10:44 pm
Colson Whitehead is one of two National Book Award winners giving keynote addresses at a New Trier H.S.(Winnetka, IL) seminar on 2.28. The second author is Andrew Aydin. The title of the all-day event is Understanding Today’s Struggle for Racial Civil Rights. More http://www.newtrier.k12.il.us/seminarday/.
alex said on February 22, 2017 at 10:50 pm
The fast- and slow-laning of children, which they were still doing when I was in school, wasn’t such a bad thing when there were still guaranteed job opportunities and the promise of a middle-class existence for either lane of students upon graduation. The cultures of sexual permissiveness and drugs notwithstanding, those who had a fair chance at prosperity were always more responsible with their family planning, child-rearing and substance abuse when they had something to live for. We’ve devolved to a point where people think authoritarian rule is a panacea for social ills and much easier to achieve than financial contentment. We’ll see how that works. Sucks that this social experiment has to take place during what should have been my (our) golden years.