July 2007

The Archdruid Report

I recently discovered this blog that I find fascinating. Here’s a man who is profoundly concerned about the future and the direction of our society, and yet he is dispassionately non-political. Nowhere in this blog has he, to my recollection, ever mentioned the name of a political party…or an office-holder. For that matter, even though he is a Druid, I do not recall his ever suggesting in his blog that any other person on the planet might want to be one. 

Check it out: The Archdruid Report

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I’m trying to finish writing Feeding Amsterdam, and somehow, this project is like doing your taxes long ahead of the deadline, so I keep jumping up from my chair to do something else, anything else. Watering plants, making up a package of books to send to my sister, cooking something. Oh, yes, cooking something else. And then having a snack. Another snack. And then lunch. Oh, might as well have supper now. The last ten tales in this thing are gonna put a pound apiece on me.

Oh, and reading!!!! Not to mention in my first week home from Amsterdam reading that pile of periodicals that had stacked up in my absence, and since then reading A Meal Observed (Andrew Todhunter), The Road and No Country for Old Men (Cormac McCarthy), Stalin’s Ghost (Martin Cruz Smith), Last Watch of the Night (Paul Monette) , Oblivion (short stories by David Foster Wallace), Emporium (short stories by Adam Johnson), and now I’m into Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly.

Not really the best thing to be reading before retiring for the night, what with lines like



which you don’t really need context to savor….and re-savor. Kinda reminds me of that line from an Orange County (FL) county commissioner, “Just because we’ve ruined ninety percent of everything doesn’t mean we can’t do wonderful things with the remaining ten percent.”

Next time you’re in the library and feeling like a tasty tidbit, read Adam Johnson’s “Teen Sniper” (in Emporium), If you want a full meal, and leave it to David Foster Wallace to write one of the more complicated short stories in history, try “Mr. Scrushy” (in Oblivion).

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Just another entry in my Cranky Old-Age Observations file.

Some days, I am moved to take from the slowest goose in the yard a quill, that I might sharpen it to set down my outrage.

Remember how when we were kids and we finally wore our mothers down and got them to buy Raisin Bran occasionally even though it was a lot more expensive than the other dry cereals?

And how you had to be very careful to ration the little rock-hard raisins out so you got at least two or three in every bowl?

Well, I was in Safeway the other day and grabbed my favorite cereal, that Oatmeal Crisp with Almonds, and was sticking it in my cart when my eye was caught by the price!!! The damn box was six bucks! Gotcha! Eternal vigilance is the price of shopping. Not that it always hasn’t been, but still…

So I put it back and looked for a more reasonable alternative except that I already had cheerio-type cereal and shredded wheat at home, so I had to look for something entirely different. And then I spotted the Raisin Bran man stocking the shelf with 2-for-1 boxes. Much better. I hadn’t eaten raisin bran in years, and I got to make his day.

Alas, I just ate a bowl and discovered that there’s been a considerable change in raisin bran over the past fifty-something years: instead of not having enough raisins, it now has too many! And I am not losing my mind, at least not over this, because I distinctly remember having to shake the box around and even, when my mother wasn’t looking, do a little hand redistribution in order to get a single damn raisin to appear in every fifth spoonful.

Now, you can’t get a single spoonful without two or three raisins in it. Too many!  Couldn’t they have just quintupled the amount instead of making the damn cereal half raisins?  OK, and I’m not quite ready to call for jihad on General Foods, but they better not push me.

Oh, and speaking of raisins, here’s some grapes up at Saratoga Springs I kinda liked:


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