"In the celestial pot au feu, time, culture and serendipity have combined to produce a scrumptious dish of Julia Child on what would have been her 100th birthday.
You can just imagine Child’s delight watching herself portrayed by Meryl Streep in the film Julie and Julia. Streep does Child with the earthy sophistication that Child did brussels sprouts. She rhapsodizes over butter, merrily whisks cream into cumulus clouds and gives raspberries to the snooty Cordon Bleu bitch who says she - who would become one of the world’s most renowned chefs - has no talent.
Without intending to do much more than share her joy of French food, Child changed our world and, in her 91 years, lived to witness her own influence. She wasn’t the first to star in a television cooking show, but she was the only one who came to her double ovens with a clandestine back story, having worked for the OSS and developed anti-shark recipes to protect underwater ordnance. To watch her make an omelette was a revelation: not only that a few elemental ingredients - eggs, butter, salt, pepper and heat - could result in something so sublime, but that the woman herself was a work of wondrous simplicity and taste. ....."
A step back in time to the 1970's as Julia Child prepares 'boeuf bourguignon'.
"Sometimes culture doesn’t help. Just as I sat down to write a few notes about something else, I learned that the writer and performer David Rakoff died last night, after a long struggle with cancer. I only knew David in the way some writers know one another in New York: at parties, across lecture halls. Our lengthiest conversations took place at a New Year’s party we attended each year. Once I ran into him at a performance of “Other Desert Cities,” and his e-mail to me about the production made me laugh so hard that there was no point in reviewing it.
But before all that, I met David at Columbia, when it was an all-boys school. We were both students then. This was in the early-to-mid nineteen-eighties, and to say that gay men were interested in, and terrified of, one another back then is to reduce the horror of the time: AIDS, parents checking out on their ill children, fear and loathing of other male bodies mixed in with desire. Back then, I stayed away from David, because of the sadness I saw in his eyes; I didn’t think I could take it. His sadness felt like the sadness I felt wandering through a world of broken bodies, dashed hopes, possibilities extinguished. ....."
'Kuhn Ling' [Mr. Monkey] was his Thai name, but he was also known as 'Monkey Cat' and 'Buster'.
He arrived to stay with me and my Siamese cat 'Wan' [Sweet] in August of 2005. When I arrived home and was getting out of the tuk-tuk on a showery afternoon, my elderly neighbor came rushing down the street towards me with something in her arms. I became aware that she was carrying a very small, wet, and unhappy part-Siamese kitten. Obviously someone had left him on our steet to fend for himself. She handed it to me to hold, commenting that he was very cute. I responded that he was indeed adorable with his pale blue eyes and unusual markings of sable brown and white, but tried to explain that I already had a cat. She then said, "Well, I can't take care of him since my dog doesn't like cats, and besides your cat needs a friend". At that point she turned around and went into her house which left me standing in the street with this abandoned kitten in my hands.
I doubted that my 3 year old neutered female Siamese cat would accept having another cat in the house, but she was very receptive to this new addition to our small family. She taught him how to play, climb, hunt, and become a cat. He received his name on his second day here when he scampered up the drapes and wrapped his tail around the supporting rod, much like a monkey would do. When the proper time arrived he was taken to the vet to be neutered since I knew that tom cats have very short lives due to their constant fighting.
During the past seven years Monkey Cat has been a near perfect companion. He never failed to greet all visitors with a show of his vibrant and loving personality. He was exceptionally intelligent and a phenomenal hunter. He contnually left a bounty of dead lizards, snakes, field mice, rats, and other creatures on the floor by the dining room table. He rarely went outside the fenced area of the garden, but patrolled it vigilantly, lest any interlopers should appear. And if they did, they soon fled at the sound of his loud hissing and yowling.
Monkey cat with a bandage on a sprained leg
Monkey Cat got into a horrendous battle two weeks ago with a wandering tom cat who had obviously decided to exend his territory. He sustained four head wouns which the vet cleaned and then filled him full of anti-biotics and an anti-inflamitory. Wthin a week he was once again in perfect health.
However when he did not appear for his usual breakfast three days ago I knew that something dire must have happened. He was always on time for his breakfast. I searched the neighborhood thinking that he might have been injured, but there was no sight of him. I can only surmise that he got into yet another fight and expired. He will be missed.
"Moisés Kaufman and members of New York's Tectonic Theater Project went to Laramie, Wyoming after the murder of Matthew Shepard. This is a film version of the play they wrote based on more than 200 interviews they conducted in Laramie. It follows and in some cases re-enacts the chronology of Shepard's visit to a local bar, his kidnap and beating, the discovery of him tied to a fence, the vigil at the hospital, his death and funeral, and the trial of his killers. It mixes real news reports with actors portraying friends, family, cops, killers, and other Laramie residents in their own words. It concludes with a Laramie staging of "Angels in America" a year after Shephard's death."
The next time you encounter a news report about some 'Christian' preacher ranting about gay people, remember the events portrayed in this moving film. 'The Laramie Project' is about American intolerance, fear and hatred. A cultural hatred based on their narrow, warped interpretation of christianity.
On a technical note, this HBO production is a seamless and near perfect blending of professional actors and TV clips from the time of the incident. Powerful and thought provoking film.
I admit to being a long time afficionado of the books and words of Maurice Sendak. An affair which began as I was finishing my undergrad work at L.A. State in 1963, and when his 'Where The Wild Things Are' was published, and my closest friend J. was pumping out yet another child. [Although she had never found a husband, she seemed to become impregnated with increassing regularity.]
Maurice Sendak was doing the same, but with phenomenal books for children.
Where the Wild Things Are (as read by Christopher Walken)
"There is no-one like Christopher Hitchens. He was the most brilliant and versatile non-fiction writer of modern times, whose prodigious output was of stunningly high quality, a showcase for his vast range, deep knowledge and fierce wit. When he was diagnosed with cancer, he faced it with characteristic honesty, courage and rigour," said Mundy. "He is, quite simply, irreplaceable."
I was going up the broad staircase at the 'Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey [ITESM], Veracruz campus, prior to my first class of the day. I had been teaching at the university for some 9 years since I moved to eastern Mexico from northern California. Suddenly a colleage grabbed my arm, said 'you have to see this' ['tienes que ver esto'] and forcefully ushered me into the office of a fellow professor. A number of teachers were standing around the large TV on the wall in hushed silence. I saw one of the large towers in New York with smoke billowing out it and since it was a relay broadcast from Mexico City the announcer somehow presumed that a plane had accidently crashed into the tower. Then no more that a few minutes later what appeared to be a large passenger airplane flew into the second tower. It suddenly became evident that this was a purposeful act. I, like all of those in the room, was in a state of shock. Things like this just didn't happen in the USA, the most powerful nation on the planet.
I eventually made my way to the 'Méthodos de Investigacíon Científica' classroom, attempted to explain why there would be no class that day, stopped by the main office to have the secretary cancel my other classes, and walked home, still in a state of confusion and shock. I utilized a shortcut to my home which passed through a coffee plantation filled with an abundance of nature. The birds were singing, butterflies were floating through the air and this walk had always the most peaceful part of my day. What I had just witnessed a few minutes before occuring in New York seemed more like a nightmare than reality.
I like millions of others around the world sat as if glued to the TV for the rest of the day and early evening, attempting to make sense of it all. I don't now recall how long before it was established that this horrendous act was perpetrated by Al Qaeda and was the result of Moslem fanaticism. And since I was liviing in a predominately Catholic country, I couldn't very well proclaim with indignation that this barberous act was the end result of what religious fanaticism can produce.
I recalled the childhood history lessons from my father, a history professor, when he told me about the Albigensian Crusade, initiated by Pope Innocent III, which resulted in the deaths of at least a million innocent people in Europe, and the dreaded Spanish Inquisition which had also killled and tortured an untold number. My own father had been a victim of the Nazi occupation of our country. Our neighbors had been sent off to concentration camps from which they never returned. Since childhood I have been made painfully aware of what any religious/political fananticism is capable of, but especially during those troubling days after 9/11, I kept my thoughts to myself.