Friday, July 06, 2007


8 Things

I'm not usually one for memes, but having been tagged by both Dr. Pion and Lesboprof, here goes.

  1. I've long held a strange fascination for the later/lesser works of otherwise great artists. What happens when the Great Ones miss? I've never seen a systematic examination of this question, and I don't have the tools to do it myself, but if there's one out there, I'd love to see it. (This may be at the root of my love of baseball, since even the best hitters make 'outs' more often than hits.)

  2. Although I love tomato-heavy Italian food, I don't like tomatoes. I have no explanation for this.

  3. I once threw a rod outside Binghamton, NY. If you ever get the chance, don't.

  4. The one time I led a cheer at a high-school football game, I misspelled it. I just wasn't meant to cheerlead. I am okay with that.

  5. I once lived in a second-story apartment next to a church with a short steeple. This was in grad school, when I'd usually roll out of bed around 9:30. Except that the #&*(%)@ church would start ringing its bells at 9, and go for a solid 15 minutes. The church was a far more vexing neighbor than the drug dealer on the first floor, since he slept late and mostly kept to himself.

  6. The first album I ever bought was Are We Not Men? We Are Devo! I learned about Devo from a feature on P.M. Magazine. That tells you all you need to know about growing up in the suburbs.

  7. In my teens and early twenties, I was pretty un-squeamish. Shots didn't bother me, giving blood didn't bother me, and it took something pretty extreme to cause motion sickness. Sometime in my late twenties, I started the process my brother lovingly termed “wussification,” and now I'm terribly skittish about shots or blood, and I have to avoid the cool rides at amusement parks. As concessions to age go, it's pretty mild, but it's also counterintuitive. I'd expect to get desensitized with age, not extra-sensitized. Bummer.

  8. I once had an extended conversation at brunch with the pianist Jaki Byard at Birdland. He talked about his painting – he preferred realism – and his kid, who was in and out of rehab. The trick to getting a musician to sit down with you is to be in the company of an attractive young woman.

Most folks out there have already been tagged, so if you haven't yet, and it looks like fun, consider yourself tagged.

1. I hears ya. When the geniuses of art fail, it's often not only an interesting failure, but it allows a look into what makes that artist different. Failures of genius, particularly late-period ones, often come from an over-reliance on what made them geniuses in the first place. Illuminating.

(This reminds me of a trick John Kennedy used to charm artists: when he'd meet a famous artist, he'd compliment the artist on his or her greatest flop, particularly if the flop was a stab in a new direction. A brilliant play to wounded vanity.)

2. Me too. Maybe it's genetics? Curious.

4. You led a cheer at a high school football game? Were drugs involved, or did you lose a bet?

7. For what it's worth, I too am in an advanced state of wussification. Roller coasters I would have laughed off at fifteen are death to me now.
Cooked tomato is chemically very different; notably it covers many more of the basic taste components.

Google for "gladwell ketchup", go to the first link at gladwell dot com, and search the page for "umami."
A few weeks ago, I found myself at the National Gallery in DC. "Go see that DaVinci," people said. "Everyone has to see the DaVinci." It's apparently the only DaVinci permanently in the U.S. It is the ugliest damn thing. It's a portrait of a woman, framed roughly similarly to that other, more famous work, but apparently Leonardo didn't care for this woman, because he didn't go out of his way to flatter her. If this were what DaVinci was known for, he wouldn't be known at all.
You "threw a rod"? Pardon me for my ignorance, but what does this mean? All that comes to mind is far too vulgar for such a classy gentleman as you, Dean Dad!
"Throwing a rod" is what happens when an engine loses too much oil, so the piston rods don't get lubricated. It's a quick and easy way to destroy an engine.

No, it wasn't a sexual metaphor. This isn't that kind of blog!
It's also slang for "went completely off-the-wall angry". It's possible DD threw a rod after he threw a rod.
2. There's tomatoes, and then there's tomatoes. If you can find a good variety of tomato that you can grow yourself, they're fantastic. Store-bought, not so much. I think that tomatoes probably rank highest on the list of produce that growing them yourself makes the biggest difference. That and sweet corn.
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