Monday, May 21, 2018

Repurposing fondue pots

Near as I can tell, poké started out as basically Hawaiian ceviche. Now there’s this big poké scare here on the mainland, a build your own approach with little forms where you check off the ingredients you want and somebody piles all this stuff in a bowl. It’s like a salad bar without all the tedious and exhausting legwork. And while it’s a real step-saver for the hungry patron, it also saves the restaurant from the laborious process of creating actual recipes. It can be good, but then so can opening every Tupperware and eating a bowl of cold leftovers.

Monday, May 14, 2018

This bugs me

It’s one thing to be surprised by something wonderful that’s gone on for a long time before you notice it. It’s another to declare that this wonderful thing was unknown and unseen and uncelebrated until you discovered it. Black people make music! Unschooled hillbillies make art! Women write books! Ain’t I clever to have noticed? Often, these amazing discoveries occur long after the work is done, the purpose achieved, the creators long gone. Like busy little insects stumbling across something big and dead, and dragging bits of it back to the hive. Art needs critics like the sky needs astronomers.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Just maybe

If there’s this one thing you like to cook that you always end up saying, “Well, that’s just more for me,” maybe you should change recipes. If you keep saying “I can quit whenever I want,” maybe it’s time to wonder why you never want to. If you think the people who make garments have been sneakily and gradually using less cloth every year, maybe you should admit you need bigger pants. If you notice that somebody is looking at you slackjawed, head cocked liked a puzzled dog, maybe you should shut up about what a great listener you are.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Spitballing, Brainstorming, Benchmarking

Every field of endeavor has its jargon. Like when farmers are running implements across their acreage real fast, they’ll call it walking the dog to make work sound like fun. Soldiers might talk about the pink mist or blue on blue contact to make horrible things sound a little less horrible. In the cubicles where the business of business gets done, you might jump on a call to hammer out a game plan that puts boots on the ground. Maybe circle back to grab hold of some actionable metrics. All this language to make it sound like you’re doing something.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Mandate of Heaven

I read once about how a Chinese emperor might spend his days moving through spare harmonious uncluttered spaces no matter where he walked in his palace. It was because when he looked as if he wanted to sit, a chair would miraculously appear. If it seemed he might want write, suddenly he would have desk, paper, pen, ink. The people who provided these services where invisible, unnoticed, unmentioned. My life is kind of like that, but it’s globally outsourced so it’s hard to feel any personal responsibility. I own maybe a billionth each of maybe a billion slaves. You too.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Also, accordions

We’ve had some pretty loony ideas. I mean collectively – not just me and my immediate family. “Let’s visit Thomas Edison’s boyhood home,” is not all that weird. But what about “Why not boil up these tiny lobsters with some hot pepper and wash ‘em down with beer.” “Hey! We could set fire to these leaves and suck the smoke into our lungs!” “I’ll bet this special powder could drive a small chunk of metal through a tube fast enough to punch a hole right through a human!” And, “Walking is so slow. Let’s sit on these enormous powerful excitable animals.”

Monday, March 26, 2018

The generic knockoff? Blue Fentanyl.

There’s this magazine in my house that features many pictures of extremely thin young women wearing shoes that if the Spanish Inquisition was to threaten me with them I would without hesitation deny my God. Presumably, the reader is encouraged to strap these implements onto her own feet. Voluntarily. Meanwhile, the folks at Yves Saint Laurent are advertising a perfume called Black Opium. I see what they’re going for. Edgy. Exotic. Illicit. But let’s just say no. They need a new brand name that’s drug free but still as glamourous, forbidden, and darkly seductive as substance abuse. Maybe “Bowel Cancer.”