Archives for the month of: September, 2012

Seinfeld is one of the few things in life that stays as funny as it was. I told some people at a dinner party the other night (they’re Martians, never watched) about the Costco episode, where Kramer buys thirty-five 10 lb. cans of Beef-a-reeno and then has to figure out what to do with it in his tiny New York City apartment. Not to make spoilers, even at this late date, but he feeds some to one of New York City’s long-suffering Central Park carriage horses. Hijinx ensue. I’m a sucker for a good fart joke and so was everybody at the dinner table. Such a good guest am I!

My Beef-a-reeno story isn’t half as funny. Absolutely gobsmacked on the price for a five pound bag of spinach, on one of my early, innocent and unguarded tours of Costco, I paid like a dollar for it and considered myself slick. Got it home and realized it would make three gigantic spinach lasagnas, the cost of cheese and other groceries for which approached $100, and which took me like three days including shopping at the other stores, schlepping, parking, chopping, making bechamel, etc.etc. etc.. It was a Trojan horse bargain, like one of those Martha Stewart peasant food recipes — the minestrone from scratch — which cost $100. First catch your cow, and butcher off the shanks….

Strategies for the successful negotiation of Costco include having cleared a place to store the 24-roll whopper-een-o pack of toilet paper. When I lived in an efficiency apartment, I stacked them in a decorative pyramid in a cute galvanized window box in the bathroom. As I had an under-the-counter refrigerator, the three frozen spinach lasagnas would not have fit. Clearing off a shelf in my walk-in closet made space for the one-gallon size of organic dish detergent, and I pretty much still avoid the five-pound bags of carb. What no human can do without from Costco, however, is the jalapeno popper and Amy’s bite-sized quiche hors d’oeuvres. People love them and don’t know you didn’t make them. I tell them I got them at Costco, along with the toilet paper pyramid.

I went to Costco the other day and successfully resisted a mouthwatering five-pound bag of pita chips, a half gallon of cashews, three pounds of Brussels sprouts, two quarts of blueberries and so on. I was proud of myself. I cleared space for, and achieved the bargains I needed — extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, organic canned tomatoes and scored some nummies too — not least half a dozen Comice pears, nowhere else in Macondo to be found, and  a side of wild caught, not farmed, salmon, for $8.99 a pound, as compared to $12 or $13 frozen at Albertson’s. But I had to buy a huge slab, nearly three pounds worth, and I decided it would be my meat for the month. How to put it up?

Comice pear, the juiciest and most delicious of all, third from right.

I made fish sticks. I love fish sticks. I want to see how well they freeze.

Here’s the recipe I used. Typically for a Costco recipe, I had to go to the hippie-dippie grocery store for cage free eggs to make them; already had panko crumbs from the Asian market.

I’m going to have my salmon goujon-a-reenos with that five-pound bag of Costco spinach — ready for it, this time — creamed with an elegant veloute sauce of evaporated milk and chicken bouillion cubes, well-nutmegged, with rice with currants and almonds. The leftovers will be huge and Ima freeze ’em.

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So, the Duchess of Cambridge’s naked breasts have been photographed and published in an increasing number of tabloids. And Buckingham Palace has responded in unusually vituperative terms, despite the fact that Prince Charles himself was photographed nude years ago — as his other son, and his inlaws make a specialty of it, and the Duchess’ siblings make a specialty of being photographed in louche costumes — James in a French maid’s outfit, Pippa in a toilet paper dress.

One royal source invoked the ghost of Princess Diana, who, as you will recall, lived and died by the sword of the paparazzi:

This is disappointing, saddening and turns the clock back 15 years. We have always maintained the position that the Duke and Duchess deserve their privacy, not least when they are on holiday in their own swimming pool.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/kate-middleton/9542541/Topless-photographs-of-Kate-Middleton-to-be-published-by-French-magazine.html

The official statement from St. James Palace was even more explicit:

“The incident is reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, and all the more upsetting to The Duke and Duchess for being so,” the statement continues. “Their Royal Highnesses had every expectation of privacy in the remote house. It is unthinkable that anyone should take such photographs, let alone publish them.”
http://www.people.com/people/package/article/0,,20395222_20630081,00.html

It’s my sense that Prince William’s life has been formed and deformed by the paparazzi and that if the British monarchy folds, it will be because William cannot stand the invasion of privacy.

His parents’ marriage seems to have foundered on the fact that Diana could and did sabotage every public appearance Charles made by crossing or uncrossing her legs. Crowds behind the ropes on either side of the walkway the couple strode would groan when Charles came to shake their hands and Diana went the other way. Diana most unwisely told her story of the marriage secretly to Andrew Morton, and then to Martin Bashir. I believe the Martin Bashir interview persuaded the government of Britain that Diana was a loose cannon, like the Duke of Windsor, who needed to be divorced, shamed by the removal of her HRH rank, and sent far away to govern the Bahamas because she was a threat to national security. Within days after the interview, the Queen for the first time was urging Charles and Diana to divorce, something they had not contemplated in the years previous.

In the hours leading up to her death in a car chased by paparazzi, Diana had chosen Dodi Fayed’s drunken driver and security system (possibly believing that any royal security officers were spies) — choosing the very rich, very foolish boyfriend Fayed, possibly, as one biographer speculates, to make a previous Muslim lover jealous. She was complicit in her own death, to be sure. Still, that as a 19 year old she was thrown to the paparazzi without protection at all seems to have been the lesson Prince William learned from day one. Indeed, there are photographs of the young family taken when baby William was learning to walk allegedly so that the crowds and sounds of photographers wouldn’t frighten him, a photo opp suggested by Diana.

William, in his 21st birthday interview, named the invasion of privacy as the most onerous aspect of his fate. He said he spent the years after Diana’s death keeping his head down so no paparazzi would benefit from photographing him. His official birthday photographs were of William slopping the pigs at his father’s country house.

“I was never shy,” he said. “But, it’s very funny. I was called shy because I put my head down so much when I was in public.

“It was never because I was shy. It was a really naive thing that I hadn’t picked up on.

“I know it’s silly and that everyone will laugh at it. But I thought that, when I was in public, if I kept my head down, then I wouldn’t be photographed so much.

“Therefore, I thought, people wouldn’t know what I looked like so I could go about doing my own thing which, of course, frankly was never going to work.

“It was so that people wouldn’t recognise me and I could still go out with friends and things like that.

“So they just saw the top of my head. But usually I was photographed with my eyes looking up through a big blond fringe. It was very silly.

“I wouldn’t say I prefer to be unnoticed because that’s never going to happen.

“But I’m someone who doesn’t particularly like being the centre of attention.”
http://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/newsandgallery/news/prince_william_is_interviewed_for_his_21st_birthday_part_2_501917688.html

I don’t think stealing images of the Duchess’ breast is new or shocking. I think it comes from the war trophy instinct by which the Khmer Rouge string dried fetuses from the eaves of their headquarters, the Chinese threaten to eat their enemy’s liver, the genitalia of Sarah Baartman, the so-called Hottentot Venus are displayed in a formaldehyde jar,  Napoleon’s amputated penis peregrinates the world and Otzi’s is rumored to do so, but actually does not. Long lens photographs are the 21st century version of the formaldehyde jar. The  atavistic French editor who published the topless photographs of the Duchess touches on this war trophy aspect of the photographs when she captioned them, Incredible pictures of the future Queen of England as you’ve never seen her before… and as you will never see her again!

An early 19th century caricature of Sarah Baartman.

I thought Laurence Pieau, who is an employee of the conglomerate owned by the pedophiliac Italian prime minister Berlusconi, an especially loathsome specimen of the long-term French anti-feminist tradition, the same kind of  pimp Frenchwomen like former Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld  or the scholar Mona Ouzouf are famous for being:

The real issue in this story is the bond between Princess Diana and her son, who famously — as she told the reporters — would slide tissues under the bathroom door as the most-photographed woman in the world sobbed.  The thing is William has no choice.

But the Duchess, like Diana, was a volunteer.

Dorothy L. Sayers™* Annals of Femmenism #1:
Dear Naomi Wolf:
Everybody groaned when you wrote a book about all the trouble you had being a pretty girl.
Now you have written a book about your vagina. Nobody even wants to think about your vagina.
It’s a book about how you lost your orgasm, and Freud. Freud is dead, Naomi. The only people who believe in Freud are aging atheist chicks like you who were brought up by their Freud-washed mothers to believe that there are two kinds of orgasms, one, dyadic and het, for grownups and one for onanist perverts, and that the achievement of the one was literally the confirmation or bat mitzvah, the rite of passage,for atheist chicks. Thence the famous characterization of het sex, “He’s trying too hard not to, she’s trying too hard to.”
Orgasms as Freud prescribed them are one of those things Venus Xtravaganza, the tranny philosopher of Paris Is Burning, would have longed for as something belonging to white bitches in the suburbs. The only thing about Freud that is still relevant, Naomi, is something he’s wrong about, the permutations through Lacan in post-modernism. And this Freudian thread, despite post-modernism’s thrilling new frontiers of queer theory, is the most seriously fallacious aspect of all the Afro pomo homo thought.
Naomi, you are a 19th century Viennese gasbag. Move along.
Sincerely,
JS
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/16/books/review/vagina-a-new-biography-by-naomi-wolf.html?pagewanted=all
English: Naomi Wolf at the 2008 Brooklyn Book ...

English: Naomi Wolf at the 2008 Brooklyn Book Festival in New York City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dorothy L. Sayers™* Annals of Femmenism #2:
The minute I saw the rear view picture of UVA president Teresa Sullivan addressing the freshmen at Mr. Jefferson’s uni, I knew exactly why she had been fired.
Nevertheless, I kept reading. And as usual in graf #47, found the real fattist, ageist story:
“Some of Sullivan’s allies suggest, discreetly, that she didn’t fit the board’s image of a chief executive. She is in her 60s and has the fashion sense of an academic. In a personnel review process last year, Dragas, who is immaculately tailored, told Sullivan that she received comments from several board colleagues, questioning whether her wardrobe was occasionally too informal.
“I don’t know what the unprofessional dress was,” Sullivan said. “I do live here at the university, so when I’m working out or doing something else here, people will see me.” It’s hard to imagine anyone leveling such criticism at, say, the famously rumpled former Harvard president Larry Summers. “People are very much aware that I’m the first woman president of Virginia,” she said. “It would be naïve to think it’s not there as an issue.” Dragas calls the suggestion that she judged Sullivan by her appearance “ridiculous,” adding, “If the president had been a man, I would have conveyed the same sentiments from the board, no question about it.” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/16/magazine/teresa-sullivan-uva-ouster.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

She looks like somebody’s midwestern grandma, and that will never do. Great case of female sexism. Shame on you, board chair Helen Dragas.
*”Time and trouble will tame an advanced young woman, but an advanced old woman is uncontrollable by any earthly force.” – D.L.S.

Lia Lee, the little Hmong girl whose epilepsy was forcibly treated in the Western way by California doctors, has died after nearly three decades in a vegetative state.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/15/us/life-went-on-around-her-redefining-care-by-bridging-a-divide.html?src=me&ref=general

Lia Lee in 1988, by Anne Fadiman

Her story is the case study for the treatment across cultures of refugees from genocide and mass killing. This history of medical malfeasance begins with Robert Jay Lifton’s astonishing psychodynamic assertion that the survivors of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombings felt something he called survivor guilt. On every page of his book about it, the survivors can be found denying that they feel it. As an early reviewer of Lifton’s book noted, it takes some nerve to bomb the Japanese back into the stone age and then accuse them of being guilty for living through the assault.

Miss Lee’s parents did not adhere to the Western doctor’s orders, which they felt were threatening to the child’s life and well-being. He had Lia removed from her family’s care and put into a foster home for a year. Once returned to them,

For 26 years, her days varied little: her parents bathed her, fed her, flexed her stiffened limbs, kissed, caressed and tenderly talked to her. There were visits to doctors in Merced and later in Sacramento, where the family moved in 1996. There were periodic visits from a shaman, intended not so much to cure Lia as to ease her suffering.       

“Everything that my parents had done for her is all manual labor,” Mai Lee said on Wednesday. “Carrying her from place to place, transporting her to appointments here and there, it was all done manually. They did that for a very long time.”

Medical anthropologists and other humane experts have begun to work on the problem of appropriate cross-cultural treatment for survivors of genocide. Anne Fadiman’s book about Lee is required reading for incoming Yale Medical school students and Healthy House, a social service agency which facilitates medical care, including Hmong shaman treatment, for immigrants has been founded, mainly due to Lia Lee’s fate, in Merced County, CA, where she lived. Arthur Klein’s eight questions for patients was the beginning of a medical practice more closely based on the Hippocratic oath.
http://erc.msh.org/aapi/tt11.html

Whether Lia Lee was the victim of war, genocide, or Western medicine is a question that a world full of refugees needs an answer to sooner rather than later.

Darmstadt

unusual silence, bright sunshine, cloudless cerulean sky and a high wind. at the corner of 18th and church, in the park they’ve made where the church burned down, two girls, one on the steps of the former altar, one stretched out on a bench looking up 18th street, listening to their earphones.

the dog and i walk over to saint matthews cathedral where nothing is happening. we cut back through the alley behind, and the strongest sense of eternity is there — nothing changes life in the alleys. they’re excavating a big hole in back of the church properties on rhode island avenue; earth moving equipment and the wind blowing the dust. red clay like the battlefields of virginia. the latino men are carrying heavy pails full. no shouting, no talking, no laughing, men bending silently to their work in the crystalline air. across the alley the rear entrances of the old brownstones soak up the sun and the branches and their leaves make the only noise i can hear.

on the front steps of the apartment building, the wind has shaken down a microscopic carpet of tiny twigs and dark brown dried calyxes and little green fruits from the crape myrtles. i have one of the perfect little calyxes here on my desk.

all over the city, from connecticut avenue to georgetown to arlington, unusually light traffic and silence.

on the way to the georgetown library, the marigolds and purple petunias in front of the romanian embassy are tossing in the wind. i can’t determine whether or not the romanian flag, like many others, is at half mast. the metro bus is sporting a small american flag on the drivers’ side, as was the rolls royce i saw at 18th and R. up on library hill, i get out and look down on the city, as far as rosslyn, the potomac, TR bridge and beyond to the pentagon. the sky fades out to palest blue on the horizon, the world is far below me, and the sun shines on the just and the unjust.the wind rises and there is a roar in the trees above me; the strong sunshine shines through them and the leaves glitter in the wind.

an old woman in the cherrydale safeway is talking about the firebombing of darmstadt, september 11, 194…something. “just for pure meanness,” she says. “and that was us.” the cherrydale fire department, founded in 1898, is swagged with red white and blue bunting and a god bless america sign. cherrydale very quiet. in my mother’s apartment, the breeze is blowing through the balcony doors, and the tree tops glittering and tossing outside. the wind is tossing the branches of the oak tree outside my window now as i write this.

back through georgetown, across key bridge. six skyscrapers in rosslyn have two story-long flags draped from upper stories facing the bridge. the potomac roughened by the wind and empty of any boats. traffic very light, pedestrians almost non-existent. a few flags in the shop windows. on connecticut, julia’s empanada has a flag leaning in the corner of the window; betsey fisher has beautiful flags as backdrops to undressed white mannequins and incriptions (“Imagine” by John Lennon) in white on the glass.

someone’s briefcase full of papers, some colored, blow across M street in the sunshine, no traffic to trammel them. at new hampshire and 20th the flashing red and blue lights of a police car marking a fender bender catch my attention. a very well set up middle aged man, good gold glasses, beautiful navy suit, immaculate starched shirt, gleaming bald head and firm belly, standing, looking like a stunned bull, waiting for the traffic light at 18th and P with three long-stemmed white carnations in his hand. the little blue and silver pin wheel on my shopping cart spins wildly.

there is no distant sound of traffic as i sit here. i hear someone hammering far away. the shadows of the oak leaves are oscillating on the building across the street, a dazzling optic version of the sound of the wind.

Originally posted September 11. 2002 14:35 at LiveJournal

Just War

i’m very pissed off at bush for using this emotion to float war.

i think i have to think about whether or not it’s a just war. i think it may be.

http://www.mindspring.com/~skazmarek/war/02Crit.htm

it meets three of five criteria — initiated by a duly constituted government (even if you didn’t vote for him),

with right intention, to promote peacewith reluctance.

still questionable:

exhaustion — all other venues, including discussion and negotiation, are not exhausted.

potentiality — does it have a reasonable chance of success, or will there be a pointless loss of life.

Originally posted September 11. 2002 18:54 at LiveJournal

For Bianca

Job, even Job, says

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold….

Originally posted September 11. 2002 10:15 at LiveJournal

Another PhD Brit knitter, like Kate Davies, the original Intelligent Craftafarian, who explores the female proletariat (Ackworth Quaker School, peonage system for Shetland knitters) through material culture, and Felicity Ford, the sonic feminist and all-night walker, takes on “fashion”, and the political and aesthetic significance of rolling your own. I think of these British historiennes, all under 40, as the theoreticians of the straight edge punk philosophy of the new crafters, inspired by Marx, Armageddon or Fugazi, whatevs.
Amy Twigger Holroyd defines makers and deconstructers of factory-manufactured fashion as “fashion Diggers”, after the Haight-Ashbury socialists and their earlier incarnation as 17th century British communists. She writes,

Fashion well-being is an under-researched concept which could be placed within a broader debate around body image and definitions of beauty (Corner 2009); however, I define it more specifically as a positive sense of ownership regarding clothing choices, and a feeling of balance between the self and others in these decisions.

Amy Twigger Holroyd

In arguing for fashion as an ethical self-representation, Holroyd crystallizes decades of observation on my part about fashion as authenticity.  The American philosopher William James discusses as purity, a character trait of saintliness, the fashion revolution instigated by the Quakers, to whom the Diggers were connected, and how it enraged the oligarchy.*
Chumbawamba – The Diggers Song
These are the people Alexander McQueen came from, overcoming enclosure, as Holroyd defines it in her PhD abstract on Fashion Diggers: transgressive making for personal benefit.
McQueen is the most important fashion influence of the past 50 years, I think, aside from street fashion, which is always the engine of the designers. Watch McQueen deconstructing a man’s suit. If you are in doubt that fashion is of the essence, take a look at McQueen in this Bridegroom Stripped Bare video; Dada will not even make you tell what is the high art work and movement the title refers to.  Trust me, it is art. Scroll down for it.
http://blog.metmuseum.org/alexandermcqueen/video/
(Pause while contemplating the most influential people in the past 50 years of fashion, most all of it up from the streets: Yves Saint Laurent and the pantssuit, Stevie Nicks, the Pointer Sisters, Westwood, and Kissi and Gumbs, the black ivy guys over at Street Etiquette.
Yves Saint Laurent pantssuit, by Helmut Newton, 1975.
Helmut Newton’s shot of the Yves Saint Laurent pantssuit, 1975.
Travis Gumbs and Joshua Kissi perfect an aesthetic of dress that is as good for working women as it is for black men. TCB Sauce, you could call it, with Blade Runner/bicycle messenger elements.
http://streetetiquette.com/2010/09/23/the-black-ivy-2/
Personally I am thrilled that somebody writing about fashion cites John Clare and the whole idea of the commons. You can Google it. Power to the people.
The peoples' poet, John Clare.
The peoples’ poet, John Clare, 1793–1864, who lamented the privatized enclosure of Britain’s commons lands, where poor people grazed their livestock.
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/173204
_____________________________
*In the autobiography of Thomas Elwood, an early Quaker, who at one time was secretary to John Milton, we find an exquisitely quaint and candid account of the trials he underwent both at home and abroad, in following Fox’s canons of sincerity. The anecdotes are too lengthy for citation; but Elwood sets down his manner of feeling about these things in a shorter passage, which I will quote as a characteristic utterance of spiritual sensibility: — “By this divine light, then,” says Elwood, “I saw that though I had not the evil of the common uncleanliness, debauchery, profaneness, and pollutions of the world to put away, because I had, through the great goodness of God and a civil education, been preserved out of those grosser evils, yet I had many other


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evils to put away and to cease from; some of which were not by the world, which lies in wickedness (I John v. 19), accounted evils, but by the light of Christ were made manifest to me to be evils, and as such condemned in me.

“As particularly those fruits and effects of pride that discover themselves in the vanity and superfluity of apparel; which I took too much delight in. This evil of my doings I was required to put away and cease from; and judgment lay upon me till I did so.

“I took off from my apparel those unnecessary trimmings of lace, ribbons, and useless buttons, which had no real service, but were set on only for that which was by mistake called ornament; and I ceased to wear rings.

“Again, the giving of flattering titles to men between whom and me there was not any relation to which such titles could be pretended to belong. This was an evil I had been much addicted to, and was accounted a ready artist in; therefore this evil also was I required to put away and cease from. So that thenceforward I durst not say, Sir, Master, My Lord, Madam (or My Dame); or say Your Servant to any one to whom I did not stand in the real relation of a servant, which I had never done to any.

“Again, respect of persons, in uncovering the head and bowing the knee or body in salutation, was a practice I had been much in the use of; and this, being one of the vain customs of the world, introduced by the spirit of the world, instead of the true honor which this is a false representation of, and used in deceit as a token of respect by persons one to another, who bear no real respect one to another; and besides this, being a type and a proper emblem of that divine honor which all ought to pay to Almighty God, and which all of all sorts, who take upon them the Christian name, appear in when they offer their prayers to him, and therefore should not be given to men; — I found this to be one of those evils which I had been too long doing; therefore I was now required to put it away and cease from it.

“Again, the corrupt and unsound form of speaking in the plural number to a single person, you to one, instead of thou, contrary to the pure, plain, and single language of truth, thou


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to one, and you to more than one, which had always been used by God to men, and men to God, as well as one to another, from the oldest record of time till corrupt men, for corrupt ends, in later and corrupt times, to flatter, fawn, and work upon the corrupt nature in men, brought in that false and senseless way of speaking you to one, which has since corrupted the modern languages, and hath greatly debased the spirits and depraved the manners of men; — this evil custom I had been as forward in as others, and this I was now called out of and required to cease from.

“These and many more evil customs which had sprung up in the night of darkness and general apostasy from the truth and true religion were now, by the inshining of this pure ray of divine light in my conscience, gradually discovered to me to be what I ought to cease from, shun, and stand a witness against.”[175]

[175] The History of THOMAS ELWOOD, written by Himself, London, 1885, pp. 32-34

These early Quakers were Puritans indeed. The slightest inconsistency between profession and deed jarred some of them to active protest. John Woolman writes in his diary: —

“In these journeys I have been where much cloth hath been dyed; and have at sundry times walked over ground where much of their dyestuffs has drained away. This hath produced a longing in my mind that people might come into cleanness of spirit, cleanness of person, and cleanness about their houses and garments. Dyes being invented partly to please the eye, and partly to hide dirt, I have felt in this weak state, when traveling in dirtiness, and affected with unwholesome scents, a strong desire that the nature of dyeing cloth to hide dirt may be more fully considered.

“Washing our garments to keep them sweet is cleanly, but it is the opposite to real cleanliness to hide dirt in them. Through giving way to hiding dirt in our garments a spirit which would conceal that which is disagreeable is strengthened. Real cleanliness becometh a holy people; but hiding that which is not clean by coloring our garments seems contrary to the sweetness of


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sincerity. Through some sorts of dyes cloth is rendered less useful. And if the value of dyestuffs, and expense of dyeing, and the damage done to cloth, were all added together, and that cost applied to keeping all sweet and clean, how much more would real cleanliness, prevail.

“Thinking often on these things, the use of hats and garments dyed with a dye hurtful to them, and wearing more clothes in summer than are useful, grew more uneasy to me; believing them to be customs which have not their foundation in pure wisdom. The apprehension of being singular from my beloved friends was a strait upon me; and thus I continued in the use of some things, contrary to my judgment, about nine months. Then I thought of getting a hat the natural color of the fur, but the apprehension of being looked upon as one affecting singularity felt uneasy to me. On this account I was under close exercise of mind in the time of our general spring meeting in 1762, greatly desiring to be rightly directed; when, being deeply bowed in spirit before the Lord, I was made willing to submit to what I apprehended was required of me; and when I returned home, got a hat of the natural color of the fur.

“In attending meetings, this singularity was a trial to me, and more especially at this time, as white hats were used by some who were fond of following the changeable modes of dress, and as some friends, who knew not from what motives I wore it, grew shy of me, I felt my way for a time shut up in the exercise of the ministry. Some friends were apprehensive that my wearing such a hat savored of an affected singularity: those who spoke with me in a friendly way, I generally informed in a few words, that I believed my wearing it was not in my own will.”

When the craving for moral consistency and purity is developed to this degree, the subject may well find the outer world too full of shocks to dwell in, and can unify his life and keep his soul unspotted only by withdrawing from it. That law which impels the artist to achieve harmony in his composition by simply dropping out whatever jars, or suggests a discord, rules also in the spiritual life. To omit, says Stevenson, is the one art in literature: “If I knew how to


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omit, I should ask no other knowledge.” And life, when full of disorder and slackness and vague superfluity, can no more have what we call character than literature can have it under similar conditions. So monasteries and communities of sympathetic devotees open their doors, and in their changeless order, characterized by omissions quite as much as constituted of actions, the holy-minded person finds that inner smoothness and cleanness which it is torture to him to feel violated at every turn by the discordancy and brutality of secular existence.

That the scrupulosity of purity may be carried to a fantastic extreme must be admitted. In this it resembles Asceticism, to which further symptom of saintliness we had better turn next. The adjective “ascetic” is applied to conduct originating on diverse psychological levels, which I might as well begin by distinguishing from one another.

http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=JamVari.sgm&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=all

Ottolenghi is the man.

Yoram Ottolenghi, the fusion chef, right, with head chef Sami Tamimi.

He’s got sweet potatoes, my go-to food. He’s got sweet potato salad, a recipe for which that didn’t send me screaming to the raw green crunchy purlieus. He’s got a luncheon salad, my very favorite kind, of cooked vegetables with fruit. He’s got that awesome fruit and balsamico thing going — you remember those delicious desserts of golden balsamic vinegar on strawberries with a touch of fresh cracked pepper? And the immortal fresh fig, balsamic, mint, pepper, hazelnuts?

Finally, he’s one of the two chefs I’ve ever run into who took the coarse indigenous fusion cuisines — think goat, butchered into 5-inch cubes from head to tail, port to starboard — with which they grew up and turned it into something not just 100 per cent better but a true incarnation of melting pot culture. The other one is Steven Raichlen, who single-handedly created a Caribbean/Cuban/central American/Florida cracker cuisine in Miami Spice. What Raichlen did for guava cheesecake, or cole slaw with carambola and Scotch effin’ bonnet pepper, Ottolenghi is doing with the many cuisines of his native Jerusalem.

Further he has a column for The Guardian called The New Vegetarian — good news for all who claim that sometimes healthy lunch meat is a salad —  in which he brings all that and his London restaurateur polish to the table. They are gathered in his Brit best seller, Plenty.

I am making the sweet potato fig salad, and I am making it with my homegrown Chimayo chiles and local figgies. I am very excited.

This picture is from the Guardian piece.

Next up, his celery salad with soft-boiled egg. Celery floats. my. boat. And he’s got a kohlrabi salad for winter to die for.

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