Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Things that Frustrate Me: Part 1

I recently discovered the hard way that the short stories in a New Yorker Debut Fiction Special Magazine I have (all caps because it's a capital way to spend like 8 bucks--if none of your friends or relatives subscribe) are all JUST a little bit too long to read on the john.

To clarify: not only are they too long for a trip of normal length--they're even too long for that trip you prolong because you like what you're reading, so that when you get up, you have to slap the feeling back into your thighs. I try not to have too many of those.

You know what makes great crapper reading? Franz Kafka. Try it.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Chorus from a song I'm writing

In a little while
I'm gonna go away
Cuz I didn't come
Round here to stay

And when I get back
From where I've gone
I speck to find
That you've moved on

And this, too, shall pass
And that, too, shall pass
And so it goes around and round
And so it goes around.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Last Names

There's been some talk of late concerning the potential for empowerment in "keeping one's own name" after marriage or hyphenating or whatever. All of this sounds suspicious for the usual reasons which I won't bother too much about--the fact that the name a woman would "keep" was her father's name, which her mother took; the fact that being "empowered" in name is not necessarily the same as being empowered in reality, etc--but there are a few new ones I'd like to discuss.

The first one relates to the use of last names as first names--Walker, Hunter, Harper, Braden, Bradley, Apple, etc. While not a part of modern feminist chic, per sé, it seems useful to lump them together under the common heading of "name fads," the better to connect them to a third practice: the Spanish last-name-bonanza.

While studying literature over the summer, I was introduced to a writer named "Perez Galdós." Now, I wasn't paying very close attention that day, so I came away thinking what a stupid name "Perez Galdós" is. Wrong. The full name is "Benito Perez Galdos"--matronymic and patronymic. Of course, the "matronymic" comes from the father of the mother, but that doesn't stop most people nowadays, and it certainly didn't stop people back then. Furthermore, inherent in the name is a further tribute to the father: "Perez" basically means "Son of Pedro" the way "Benitez" means "Son of Benito" and "Mikhalovna" means "daughter of Michael" and so on.

I admit that, to a large extent we have lost the fight regarding the last-name-as-first-name. Hunter S. Thompson is here to stay. But I do believe there is some grit left in us to resist the substitution of a name that comes from one's father with a name that comes from one's grandfather.

After all, last names are fairly new things. In a small village it was enough to say "Andrew, son of Edmund, Cooper" or something similar. And everyone would know who you were because there weren't many coopers in town. Well, now we live in large villages and the burden of proof is on you to make yourself identifiable. So take a Jameson if your father's name is James. Take an Ericasdaughter if your mother's name is Erica. And keep your father's last name and come up with a new one. Mine would be Adam Stephen Robertson Katz (Katz, a Hebrew word, is, for reasons I don't wanna go into now, close enough to my current occupation I don't feel I need a new one).

The problem with "keeping your own name" is that it doesn't involve change or reassessment. It doesn't come from a new conception of yourself. If you want to be modern and do something modern with your name, ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING WITH YOURSELF, AND TAKE A NAME TO REFLECT THAT.

A Thought

The following appeared on a neighboring blog in my name, but I decided to reappropriate it to keep up the volume of stuff without having to actually write so much.

I would like to take this opportunity to point out the justice of Catholics identifying the origin of their church with the line: "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock (petrvs) I build my church," especially considering how overly concerned Catholics seem to be (especially of LATE! My GOODNESS!) With the peters of their officials.

Thank you and enjoy each your week.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

How to Carve a Turkey

1. Cut open the thigh and make sure the juice runs clear. If not, continue baking or roasting until juice will run clear in the other leg. If you run out of legs to test, you do not necessarily need a new turkey.

2.Cut off the wings and drumsticks to prevent escape. Take out the gizzards, too, for much the same reason--the idea is to take away the turkey's options, I guess.

3. Enter the knife into the turkey near the spine and cut a slice downwards until the blade is between the leg and wing. Do this until all meat is gone, except what you want to pick at later. This will come to be called the "breast meat," even though turkeys don't have breasts, and, if they did, probably wouldn't have them on their backs.

4. Ponder whether drum-sticks were designed to look like--or, indeed, were made out of--birds' legs; or if the similarity was noted later.

5. Try futilely to cut thigh meat away in a coherent fashion (put most of the little pieces in your mouth, even though it's all little pieces). Give up. Vow to return for a second attempt when Aunt Edna finishes her fascinating story about the pubic cysts she just had removed.

6. Remove neck and put into fridge for later making into soup. Vow to do same to Aunt Edna if she doesn't shut up about the fucking cysts.

7. Put all slices on a plate in coherent fashion. Place pan-drippings in a small, porcelain toureen.

8. In light of Aunt Edna's refusal to take any hint at all, contemplate the oneness of all things: here you are carving a turkey--and yet, as you grit your teeth ever more tightly, you realize you and the turkey are both "on knife's edge." Allow a tear to roll down your cheek; vow to be more compassionate.

9. Stab Aunt Edna.
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