Re: I Don't Even Know What To Do With This One

1

The ending let me down. I was expecting a voice-over: "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints...."


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 1:39 PM
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2

Jesus. I think that's the Nicole Kidman character in Margot at the Wedding.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 1:39 PM
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3

As far as I can tell, Darcey Steinke should kill herself any old time.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 1:48 PM
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I was running around with the college writing crowd, mostly pale Irish-boy poets

Paging Dr. Gonerill...


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 1:49 PM
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As far as I can tell, Darcey Steinke should kill herself any old time.

Seriously. Who resents banana bread?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 1:49 PM
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6

I Don't Even Know What To Do With This One

"No good deed goes unpunished."

"There are makers, takers and fakers, no fourth category."

And because I couldn't find the one that won't come clear, this:

Everybody takes pleasure in returning small obligations; many go so far as to knowledge moderate ones; but there is hardly any one who does not repay great obligations with ingratitude. - Francois Duc de la Rochefoucauld

max
['Notably, many writers are scumbags.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:01 PM
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7

Clearly remorse is a dish best served cold and in public.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:06 PM
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8

I've only gotten three paragraphs in and I want to commit homocide. This is non-fiction, right? So the writer must be aware that she is representing herself as the evilest, shallowest person in the entire world? Ugh. I read on...


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:18 PM
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9

I'm just going to imagine that Karen did something a college friend did, and poisoned her "leftovers".


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:19 PM
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10

Oh my fucking God. "The Tale of a Doormat, from a Dirty Boot's Interesting Perspective!!!1"!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:22 PM
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9: Perfect.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:24 PM
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And you know she never, like, thanked or was nice to this Karen person. She's just hoping this Karen person sees what she wrote, for money, in public, for the whole world to see and, doormat that she might still be, thinks to herself, "Well, I don't want to bother Darcey now that she's the star she always wanted to be. It's enough just knowing that she's aestheticized her pointless loathing for me."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:25 PM
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And she's still writing things like "Karen lumbered." Just, wow. Apparently Steinke is a pretty successful writer, so this isn't even a foot in the door or something.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:28 PM
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To have received from one, to whom we think ourselves equal, greater benefits than there is hope to requite, disposeth to counterfeit love, but really secret hatred, and puts a man into the estate of a desperate debtor that, in declining the sight of his creditor, tacitly wishes him there where he might never see him more. For benefits oblige; and obligation is thraldom; and unrequitable obligation, perpetual thraldom; which is to one's equal, hateful.

And how much more, thraldom to one's supposed inferior. Nietzsche is good on this too.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:30 PM
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I am trying to select the part I hate most, and I think it's the part where she feels extra-horrible for poor Karen once she sees Karen's not-fat parents. Could anything be more terrible than to be overweight? Yes, the answer is: being overweight with thin, good-looking parents. It's a wonder she made it that far in life without killing herself, the poor dear.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:32 PM
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Ogged, AWB, and politicalfootball, and many others here, are missing the point. Steinke looks back now and is lifted up. This is a heartwarming holiday tale.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:32 PM
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I'm sure this Darcy person lives in New York. Vigilante justice is the answer, AWB.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:38 PM
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12: Yeah, that.


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:41 PM
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16: Yes, it is a heartwarming tale of a Christmas epiphany that there exist in this world a few kind people, but the sad thing is that they are ugly and fat and boring, so they're hard to recognize.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:43 PM
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20

Jack London wrote a version of this story.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:43 PM
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13: Indeed. She tried to present it as if she now realizes that she was wrong, except that a lot of her word choice belies her current attitude as "No, you have to understand. She was fat, and from the Midwest."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:44 PM
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||
I just posted photos of the dessert I prepared for Christmas dinner: Voilà, bûche de noël garnie aux bobbleheads.

|>


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:48 PM
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She was fat, and from the Midwest.

There is no greater crime, especially in NY. These qualities are indeed so vilified that there seems to have grown up a fetish for fat Midwesterners, because, OMG they're so revolting that they're hot!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:48 PM
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24

I've had fat Midwesterners. They were okay.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:49 PM
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22: It's friends only. Can I be your friend?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:49 PM
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26

Oh, it's on the flickr group, just not available via the link.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:49 PM
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27

New Yorkers need to get the fuck over themselves.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:51 PM
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28

THis is pretty much the worst thing I've ever read. On the other hand, this Darcy person has to go through life being herself, alienating and disgusting everyone except a handful of shallow, self-important arts prats. I can't really work up too much anger; she doesn't have any significant political or financial power as far as I know, and all she really wants is to think that she's better and more sensitive than those around her, even when she's talking about how ghastly she was.

Maybe the NYT is going to publish a whole series of pieces about appalling hipster behavior, pieces which will of course legitimate such behavior...lord, make me polite and kind, but not yet, that sort of thing.

It's funny how capitalism works. In maybe the eighties or nineties, we'd hear this story from Karen's perspective, and the the story would be told so that we'd identify with Karen and think of Darcy as a self-serving creep. (In the vein of Lucas, one of my least favorite movies ever, if you remember it.) But because that's gotten dull and is no longer even a little bit transgressive, now we're supposed to identify with the asshole-ish writer.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:51 PM
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29

It would be a more heartwarming story, of course, if we got to find out that Karen was now vastly successful and Darcey's face fell off.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:51 PM
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25: Oops, forgot to send it to the deggognU group. Should be visible now.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:52 PM
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31

From the pool: Becks made Ratatouille ratatouille! I am charmed.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:52 PM
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32

I add that this--like almost everything bad--is what happens when you aestheticize your politics.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:53 PM
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33

Note the title, folks: "The Exchange"

Darcey is appalled, you see, appalled, and, well, see Ben's 14.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:53 PM
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32: Er, the story, not the ratatouille.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:53 PM
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35

the story would be told so that we'd identify with Karen and think of Darcy as a self-serving creep

To be fair, I suspect that the author of the piece did sort of want the reader to think of her past self as a self-serving creep, even though she also wants us to identify with her. "Remember that time you were a self-serving creep? Yeah, me too."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:54 PM
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36

now we're supposed to identify with the asshole

This isn't exactly a new theme.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:58 PM
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37

35: Oh, piffle. We're supposed to think of her as sort of having been a self-serving creep (but to a Midwesterner! And a fat one!) and now possessed of the hipsterish stones to talk about what a creep she was. It's cool, you know, to have been sort of ruthless and awful. It's cool to fess up to dreadful things; after all, if you were ruthless and beautiful and cruel, you're showing off that you're sensitive and perceptive now but that you were also never, you know, one of the fat kids. It is sort of cod-Nietzchian, as if Nietzsche had produced Gossip Girl.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:58 PM
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38

Cabbage with soy sauce sounds strangely pleasing.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 2:59 PM
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39

Is there a non-aestheticized politics?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:00 PM
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37: Oh, yes, no need for piffling, that's exactly what I meant!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:00 PM
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41

I was running around with the college writing crowd, mostly pale Irish-boy poets

in fairness, running around in wellies takes some doing.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:04 PM
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42

I could be sympathetic if I believed she were really contrite. But it reads a bit like saying, so I knew this jungle bunny, because I was a racist back then.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:04 PM
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39: Well, there's certainly politics where you don't seek to enact them primarily through aesthetics. Like not thinking that you're really sticking it to the man by being all skinny and dating Irish poet-boys (!!1!!) and looking for hip record shops, and then ending up as a writer for the NYT, the paper of mendacity.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:06 PM
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44

I just don't see any remorse here. Where is it, in the text? Is there some set of words that conveys remorse? I get that this is the ML-ish mode, like, "I'm telling a story about how I was really mean," but, just like in most ML columns, the actual emotional content is only suggested by the words we have on the page, which are almost entirely about how disgustingly uncool women who make and eat food without shame, and who are self-sufficient enough to spare a little energy for kindness are. "Now I often think of" is not necessarily remorse. It could be bafflement, like, "Why the fuck was that girl so nice to me even though she was fat? I guess I'll never know. Maybe I'll write about it for the Times."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:09 PM
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45

Pwned beautifully by 42. Exactly.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:11 PM
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46

Sweet baby Jesus how I hate the Times.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:12 PM
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47

further to 41:

I mean for fuck's sake. "I'm too cooool to hang around with midwesterners, I've got really really hip friends who are so hip they're Irish!" The Irish are not cool. Fucking sorry and all that but they aren't. Cork is the second city of Ireland and shall we say that after Dublin, there's a pretty freaking steep drop-off. It's not awful, or anything, but then nor is the American MidWest and it's certainly not a fucking metropolis. All these "sensitive Irish poet boys" would appear in the cold light of day to someone who wasn't a star-struck Yank rube, to be indistinguishable from what might be called "gombeen goths". I mean really.

Tune in later tonight, by the way, because if I return to this thread while drunk, you're likely to see a string of xenophobic epithets that will certainly get me chucked out of the Crooked Timber group blog. Only joking Kieran and I would point out that I have already significantly tuned down my actual views about the relative merits of Cork and Dublin.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:13 PM
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48

I made it clear I didn't need help bathing

Don't get any funny ideas, fat girl.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:16 PM
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49

And indeed further to 48, the author could have had exactly the same educational and social experiences at the University of Wales in Aberystwyth, and I think we would then all have been able to agree that her "running round with Welsh poet-boys" was not something to set her on a higher social plane.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:17 PM
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43: Then in that sense, does she even envision her piece as political? At most you could say it's the politics of the beehive.

44: If she feels no remorse, it means that she's a) psychotic, and b) too stupid to realize how her piece comes across.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:17 PM
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51

Now we know: Karen was our very own dsquared.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:19 PM
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52

Well, there's certainly politics where you don't seek to enact them primarily through aesthetics. Like not thinking that you're really sticking it to the man by being all skinny and dating Irish poet-boys (!!1!!) and looking for hip record shops, and then ending up as a writer for the NYT, the paper of mendacity.

I don't see the slightest indication that this woman sees her story from a political perspective at all.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:20 PM
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53

Sorry, but 47.1 comes across as pretty messed up itself to me. Now if she had been hanging in Dublin (or London, or someplace actually cool) - then it would have been understandable, then she truly would have been a superior being.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:22 PM
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It could be bafflement, like, "Why the fuck was that girl so nice to me even though she was fat? I guess I'll never know. Maybe I'll write about it for the Times."

This is it, really: cluelessness. The writing partakes of a relatively recent trend in merely-reporting as a kind of flat pseudo-realism: I was like this, she was like this, each of us did the following things, perhaps there is a clue in all this .... Ya know, I think about it, life is mysterious. I'm just sayin'. See.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:22 PM
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50b: I'm willing to go with that. I really do think she thinks we'll see ourselves in her. "Oh, yeah, God, I really hate it when fat Midwesterners won't even give you a reason to hate them. Makes me hate them more. But I guess we bear up under their oppressive thoughtfulness, and then have to spend the rest of our lives feeling guilty about not being able to tolerate their ugly faces." That sums up a lot of the attitudes about fat Midwesterners I run into here. Except it's covered over with condescension, "Well, you know how they eat. Poor things; all they have to eat are Supersize meals and they have to drive around in their cars. One was very nice to me once! But the poor thing was round all over."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:22 PM
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56

48 is hilarious and exactly what I was thinking.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:24 PM
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53: I include by citation Bernard Williams' discussion of Paul Gaugin's voyage to Tahiti in "Moral Luck".


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:24 PM
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52: The thing is, lurking in the concept of "cool" is the concept of "sticking it to the squares". What legitimates cool is the idea that uncool is bad--this is the stuff of a million underlyingly reactionary movies of the Truman Show sort, as well as naive and forgivable narratives like Hairspray. The ur-narrative is that they, the uncool, don't know how to have fun and want to prevent you from having fun, and that this is somehow tied up in a grey nineteen-fifties-of-the-spirit. That's the whole nineties transgressive thing right there, transgressing bourgeois norms as a radical act in itself. Ol' Darcy may know jack about politics, but politics, so to speak, knows all about her.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:27 PM
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54: I think the style is the dead hand of Raymond Carver reaching from beyond the grave.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:28 PM
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It's cool to fess up to dreadful things; after all, if you were ruthless and beautiful and cruel, you're showing off that you're sensitive and perceptive now but that you were also never, you know, one of the fat kids. It is sort of cod-Nietzchian, as if Nietzsche had produced Gossip Girl.

She doesn't go far enough here. She confesses to having been dreadful, but what boots that? If she wants cred, she should confess to currently being dreadful—or she should reproach herself for not being one of the fat kids. (The fat kids are the victims of dreadful folks like her, therefore they can judge the dreadful, but by reproaching herself for not being a fat kid, she can, by a sort of performative jiujitsu, get the drop on them and also judge us, who are content merely to be not dreadful.)

Might I recommend The Fall to everyone? Thanks.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:29 PM
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61

60 cracked me up, Ben.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:31 PM
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60: If she could do all that, w-lfs-n, she'd be writing for something cleverer than the Times, probably some sort of style mag.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:31 PM
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63

"I was horrible to this other girl, but believe me - if you'd known us then you'd have rather hung out with me, too."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:33 PM
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something cleverer than the Times, probably some sort of style mag.

Zing! Ya like that, Sulzberger?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:34 PM
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"She was a practical person, more conservative, more stable than I."

We can all thank Darcy for giving us Karen Hughes- spending her life getting revenge on all the bitchy, unstable, liberals!


Posted by: fleur | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:36 PM
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I think you are all mean and cruel and uncharitable yourselves. Clueless pretentious snobby New Yorkers are people too! I can imagine that story written by Karen with a condescending pity for Darcy, and I can remember many geek fantasies about superiority to the socies, or whatever they're called. Even if in the movies the geeks are played by Rachael Lee Cook or Reese Witherspoon.

On this Xmas eve, it is good to remember that the three kings weren't kicked out of the manger to make room for shepherds. And that everybody has their own unique cross to bear.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:37 PM
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And that everybody has their own unique cross to bear.

Mine is made out of SOLID GOLD.

It's pretty heavy, so I hired some cross-bearers.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:38 PM
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66: Oh, mcmanus, you're so funny! Oblique, but a laugh riot.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:39 PM
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68:I try.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:40 PM
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I think you are all mean and cruel and uncharitable yourselves.

I'm okay with this.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:46 PM
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|| Well, fucking hell. My laundromat is closed.

Where's my Christmas spirit? I don't know. I haven't spend Christmas with my family in five years, and we're all happier for it. It's been such a success my mom has decided not to see family on Christmas anymore either. If we can get my dad on-board, it'll be a massive success. |>


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:46 PM
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71: Would you like to spend it with my Grandma? She's alone, too, this year.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:53 PM
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73

Tell your Grandma to go get takeout sushi! That's what I'm about to do.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 3:54 PM
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74

"I look back on the doormat who had the quaint, flyover state charm of not ditching me for that guy in that bar, kept me from freezing in my own vomit, and showed interest in my life sometimes... I hope she reads this and knows, 30 years on, that I vaguely appreciate it."


OTOH, as an NYCer, I consider 1/3 of my rent an upfront payment allowing me at least three acts of random rudeness a month.


Posted by: fishbane | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 4:09 PM
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75

Christ, what an asshole.

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone!


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 4:17 PM
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76

My Sapporo and yam tempura roll and avocado and kappa rolls are having a perfect Christmas eve.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 4:18 PM
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Happy Christmas Eve, mrh!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 4:19 PM
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78

Merry Christmas, everyone.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 4:20 PM
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79

Oh, can someone answer a Christmas-related question? Why, and in what way, do various peoples in Asia celebrate Christmas? I remember it being a big part of 2046 (and ItMfL too, right?), how horrible it is to be alone on Christmas, but before then it never occurred to me that Christmas would be a big holiday in Hong Kong. Colonialism? Do Japanese people celebrate Christmas?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 4:25 PM
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Orzo, little bitty pieces of sauteed zucchini, a ridiculously fruity-tasting olive oil and a downright yuppie parmesan grated on top. Then reading, writing and loafing. Possibly the best Christmas Eve of my life so far.

Happy midwinter not-working time, everyone.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 4:26 PM
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81

Nevermind; I found this. Very interesting!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 4:26 PM
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82

Tapenade-stuffed leg of lamb, bitches.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 4:31 PM
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||

The internet radio station I'm listening to keeps airing Viagra ads with a jingle to the tune of "Viva Las Vegas" except they sing "Viva Viagra!"

So. Fucking. Annoying.

(Oh, and I'm still playing that goddamned dolphin game that fishbane linked. Dammit.)

|>


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 4:32 PM
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I only know "Viva Las Vegas" from the Dead Kennedys' version..."Got coke up my noise to dry away the snot", etc. Better than "Viva Viagra"...


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 4:37 PM
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I fed my wife's family and friends Scouse with pickled beetroot. They thought it was pretty quaint. At least one of them had not previously been aware that lob-scouse was a food as well as an underclass.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 4:38 PM
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So the story of Christmas seems to be that it started off as a pagan holiday and then Christians got jealous because is seemed more fun than their fairly minor religious holiday. Then the makers of giftable goods got jealous because people weren't spending enough money. Around the same time, colonialism forced lots of people in non-wintery climates to celebrate Christmas, where the locals got jealous that whitey has all his own special holidays, and then the toymaking corporations in those and the neighboring countries popularized the celebration. So now, basically everyone celebrates Christmas except really hardcore Muslims and Jews. WTF? Can we just blame MegaCorp?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 4:42 PM
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dsquared's instructional scouse-making video.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 4:43 PM
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88

Geez, that guy's got a pretty shit knife.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 4:45 PM
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he also appears to be playing a Smiths track as his backing music (and using beef instead of neck of lamb), so I count him rather suspect.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 4:48 PM
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90

(and using beef instead of neck of lamb)

He's got an explanation for that part.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 4:50 PM
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Can we just blame MegaCorp?

I'd rather blame the Christians.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 4:52 PM
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92

I've never heard of Rooster Potatoes. Wikipedia says they're Irish but little else.

So scouse is a poor-man's stew that Brits tart up with a fancy name? Hmm....


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 4:53 PM
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93

Scaloppine milanese with pommes sautées à la graisse d'oie, at the request of Fleur.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 4:53 PM
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94

He's got an explanation

fucking scousers always have. I'm now checking my computer to see if the hubcaps have been stolen.

btw, query on that accent which seems like a pretty generic Lancashire with none of the distinctive Scouser consonants. Is that guy even from Liverpool?

(although in fact, lob scouse is the same stuff as Lancashire hotpot with the potatoes cut a slightly different shape, it's as well to avoid the vanity of small differences here).


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 4:53 PM
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The chicken curry vid reveals him to have better knives and knife skills than one might have guessed. Also, he instructs people who haven't cut a chicken into parts before to think of them as being like humans, as a guide for how to get the job done.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 4:56 PM
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I guess there's some serious social cache or buzz capital or whatnot to be gleaned from being an awful person, but this doesn't really strike me as interesting enough to be worth the trouble.

I bet "chubby" Karen was a size 8 or something eminently reasonable like that.

I have to admit, I am very much enjoying the prospect of Christmas at home this year. No presents, but lots of DVDs to watch and books to read, and gallons of warm tea for my aching head. There's nothing quite like Mom when you're sick and weary. Merry Christmas everyone!

79:In India it's a national holiday, because it has to be, but it's not a very big deal. My understanding from my students is that people buy presents for each other on Christmas in Taiwan and Shanghai, but it's not a big deal, and New Years is a more important holiday.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 4:59 PM
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The results of too much scouse? (kinda NSFW)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 4:59 PM
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98

94: He said his mum's a scouser, but he's not, and he learned it from her.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:00 PM
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Dude takes his rice seriously.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:01 PM
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People should take rice seriously. What else is there in this world as dependable, nutritious, and versatile?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:03 PM
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Maize.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:04 PM
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Darcey is the very face of Unfogged today. The fetishism of small differences or whatever.

I think that except for dsquared people no one here has properly recognized that in this case much of the blame in the blame should be attached to the Irish -- the poets, their mothers and ancestors in both lines, their affines, and their friends and acquaintances back to Brian Boru. PC has gone to far.

I'm not exactly fat, but I don't look good in a swimsuit and I'm Midwestern, and I'm a self-admitted oaf. In other words, the wave of the future.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:05 PM
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98: ahh, thought as much. Fair do's, it doesn't look all that much different from what I actually did. My pickled beetroot (actually braised with thyme and then lightly soaked in vinegar for ten minutes) was a fucking triumph though. Just the thing for when the family came back from carol singing (yes we're very middle claaaarse)


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:06 PM
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We're doing mint duck, asparagus, garlic potatoes, and pickled cherries and cheese fondue for dessert. Oh, and too much wine.

The kitten is getting leftover garlic chicken, which for some reason is far, far superior to plain old chicken for her.


Posted by: fishbane | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:07 PM
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by the way, the thing about "Rooster potatoes" (because I have now taken it into my head that the entire Unfogged readership want to cook this utterly unexceptional meat stew) is that they need to be floury rather than waxy potatoes; the idea is that they disintegrate during the long cooking. If anyone was wondering whether it was traditional to use olive oil in frying the meat and constructing hypothetical stories about shipwrecked Spanish sailors, actually it isn't. The other point he doesn't emphasise enough is that it's heavily seasoned with black pepper.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:17 PM
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oh, another food thread
skipping


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:21 PM
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102: Oddly, the problem here is that I am stone cold sober. With the settling effect of a beer or two that comment would have been properly edited.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:27 PM
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Gin is flowing generously at my house, Emerson. Come on by.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:28 PM
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Good move, read.

In Minneapolis Frowner and I went to restaurant featuring Polish cuisine: pickled (almost candied) beets, sauerkraut, pork dumplings. It was successful, but it was all just reframing: "food poor farmers eat in order not to starve" --> "comfort food from back home" --> "haute cuisine".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:32 PM
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During the hippy days my hippy friends and I went caroling in the very ordinary neighborhood we lived in and people were weirded out. Not because we were hippies, they'd gotten used to that, but because we were caroling.

Where I grew up a caroling tradition was kept alive, but only by actual church groups.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:35 PM
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Who resents banana bread?

I'm allergic to bananas. So, me.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:40 PM
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Allergist!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:42 PM
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102:I can only trace my Roscommon roots back the 13th century, but my research tells me I likely have some Viking forebears.

Else there would be consequences, Emerson.

(Were there Swedish vikings? If so, they likely went down the Rus)


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:43 PM
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As I have explained, British history consists of the mysterious megalithic civilization, followed by lazy, dirty, violent, poetic, inept Celtic barbarism, followed by the oafish and brutally efficient Germanic/Celtic British hoodlum civilization of those we call the British.

Rimbaud identified with the inept Gauls, the first victims of Western imperialism. That proves my case.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:48 PM
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As I have explained, British history consists of the mysterious megalithic civilization, followed by lazy, dirty, violent, poetic, inept Celtic barbarism, followed by the oafish and brutally efficient Germanic/Celtic British hoodlum civilization of those we call the British.

Rimbaud identified with the inept Gauls, the first victims of Western imperialism. That proves my case.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:48 PM
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I gotta go to the store for some beer. My editing has collapsed.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:49 PM
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109 oh, you were hippy once?
how cool
i read upthread now and agree with Mcmanus on that people are being judgemental here, the author just shares her memories
no reason to hate for that
that Darcy girl robbed herself of great friendship she could be happier in all her relationships if she was just a little open and accepting
and that Caren does not need her remorse now or then


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:50 PM
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Read, you're so nice I just can't stand it.

Having been a hippy is not cool, but that's OK.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:52 PM
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why it's not cool?


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:54 PM
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because I have now taken it into my head that the entire Unfogged readership want to cook this utterly unexceptional meat stew

Regional variation is the spice (or lack thereof) of life. My favorite beef stew is the evolution of a lot of experimentation with a bunch of different things. I'd actually have to cook it, measuring things as I go, to reconstruct a real recipe, but knowing how other folks do things rocks.

FTR, my current incarnation looks something like,

1Lb stew beef, tenderloin or rump,
2 yellow onions,
1 white onion,
handful of sauerkraut,
1 diced tomato,
whatever peppers are left over from last night,
other veggies - carrots, celery, turnips, whatever, too taste
more garlic than probably anyone else on the planet likes,
salt, pepper, coriander, mustard powder, cumin
parsley, if there's any around
lemon juice or vinegar or red wine
Dissolved bouillon (get the good stuff - salt cubes suck)
roue

Marinate the beef in the lemon juice, wine or vinegar (rice wine vinegar works well here), some pepper, some minced garlic for as long as you can stand it. Flour and brown it, set aside.
Sweat the onions, add the garlic late, sweat some more, add other veggies (other than non-hot peppers), add bouillon, simmer for ~ 20 minutes.
Add spices, beef, tomato.
Simmer for ~60 minutes. Correct seasoning, add sauerkraut. Simmer for ~10 minutes.
Final corrections, if needed. Add parsley and roue, reduce heat, stir constantly until thickened. Serve, variously, over potatoes, rice, egg noodles, or nothing at all. Cheddar and sourcream are nice on top. Some people like chopped onion, too.

Anyway, there are guidelines for a stew that probably only me and mine like. That's probably too fast and loose a description for reproduction, but I thought I'd share, because I'm waiting on the damn duck to finish cooking and I'm tipsy.


Posted by: fishbane | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:55 PM
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Somehow my trolling is failing. Apparently their cunning Hindu or Paki advisers have explained my cunning plan to the oafish Brits and Irish. I'll have to switch to Cunning Plan B.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:55 PM
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read, brave defender of down-trodden assholes everywhere!

I gotta go brine a turkey.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:55 PM
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i thought it's as cool as for example beatniks
very american cultural phenomenon something


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:57 PM
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Former hippies are usually either a.) successful, and unbearably self-satisfied, b.) angry, drunken and homeless or c.) really dumb people with boring jobs who speak in stoner cliches and who wasted their younger days having fun .

Or so it is thought.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 5:58 PM
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John, those three are not exclusive of one another. A and C go well together for a certain class of ex-hippy, who then tends to wig out on occasion (usually on something) and become angry in a vague sort of way.


Posted by: fishbane | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 6:01 PM
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I just ordered Hunan Tofu from the only place that's open and willing to deliver. Oh, Christmas Eve alone. You are quiet and nice.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 6:01 PM
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My Christmas week stew was a gumbo. Deleesh.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 6:03 PM
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Can't beat gumbo. Our preference tends to have a lot of expensive seafood in it, so it tends to be a treat. Had I thought about it, we haven't done it in a while... would have been great instead of this duck.


Posted by: fishbane | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 6:15 PM
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My roommate got mad at his mom for freezing the duck prior to preparations, asserting this would adversely affect the taste. I know nothing about duck cooking. Is this true?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 6:19 PM
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Paki

You can't say that.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 6:19 PM
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Tenderloin, fishbane?

Oh, Christmas Eve alone.

Why aren't you stuffing eekbeat's stocking?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 6:30 PM
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Freezing fowl (really, any meat) will certainly change the texture, and frequently the flavor.

Depending on what you do with it, duck can be worse from a flavor perspective as well than other meats, because ducks have a layer of subcutaneous fat, which both behaves differently once frozen and thaws before the rest of the bird, unless you're both a brilliant cook and have a fancy combination forced air oven/microwave.

I'd never freeze it. Store at most a day or two in the fridge (I think the recommendation is something like 42f.

I don't cook it very often, so I'm no expert here, though. (In general, cooking whole animals viscerally creeps me out, so, being the masochist I am, I only do it on special occasions.)

Speaking of the bird, it has been resting, and I think it is time to eat. If I am back tonight, know that I will be substantially less coherent than my already inebriated state. And smack me for playing on a comment board when I should be having sex or watching a movie or something.


Posted by: fishbane | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 6:35 PM
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124: The Dude: Let me explain something to you. Um, I am not "Mr. Lebowski". You're Mr. Lebowski. I'm the Dude. So that's what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 6:37 PM
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Why aren't you stuffing eekbeat's stocking?

She's up in Long Island (grandma in the hospital; not looking good). So it's my stocking alone to be stuffed.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 6:40 PM
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Why, and in what way, do various peoples in Asia celebrate Christmas?

According to a friend, in Japan Christmas is treated sort of like Valentine's Day. Just a day to give presents to loved ones.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 6:41 PM
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Just a day to give presents to loved ones.

Shocking!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 6:42 PM
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I like this cover of Nick Drake's "River Man".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 6:47 PM
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It's electric!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 6:48 PM
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403 error, Ben.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 6:51 PM
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This cover, contrariwise, is laughably awful. The video really doesn't help.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 6:51 PM
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I'm forbidden to access that object, Ben. Why must you persecute me?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 6:51 PM
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Should be accessible now. The file's permissions were mis-set.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 6:52 PM
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Go hang it in your ear, Walt.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 6:53 PM
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On this Xmas eve, it is good to remember that the three kings weren't kicked out of the manger to make room for shepherds.

They didn't show up until twelve days after the birth, long after the shepherds were back on the job.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 6:54 PM
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124 just fucking bums me out, man. I think it's so uncool to throw lapels on each other.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 6:58 PM
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Bob wears sweaters.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 6:59 PM
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a.) successful, and unbearably self-satisfied, b.) angry, drunken and homeless or c.) really dumb people with boring jobs who speak in stoner cliches and who wasted their younger days having fun .
***
John, those three are not exclusive of one another. A and C go well together for a certain class of ex-hippy, who then tends to wig out on occasion (usually on something) and become angry in a vague sort of way.

Tee hee hee. I read that first and was trying to decide whether I count as A or C. Of course I was relieved to read that I could be both. Thanks for saving me, fishbane.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 6:59 PM
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144:This is a conspiracy, isn't it? Y'all are collaborating via email to nitpick my asinine jokes.
It's ok, I don't expect you to admit it, and if you do, I will think you are trying to make me think...I get so confused sometimes.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:01 PM
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I agree with your assessments, young Ben.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:06 PM
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I am glad we have reach accord in our musical judgments, wizened ogged.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:07 PM
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Now I will lie down to die.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:08 PM
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I can't listen to the tunes, lest I interfere with Jammies' dad's movie watching.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:08 PM
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I will make your bed both long and narrow, ogged.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:10 PM
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I didn't mean to get between you guys.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:11 PM
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But that's just where we want you.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:12 PM
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Don't implicate me in your sick fantasies, Ben.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:14 PM
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Ogged prefers to be the implicater.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:16 PM
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in Ben's sick fantasies.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:16 PM
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Darcy Steinke is an asshole! But, perhaps her Art requires it.

I know this ground has been well covered above, but I needed catharsis after reading the article.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:18 PM
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Did anyone upload any holiday music without me noticing? The lady says no, but I & the dogs have overruled her. But all I gots is Sarah McLachlan and fricking Loreena handy and don't feel like getting Fahey off cd.

Aw nevermind


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:19 PM
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And Darcy's last name is stinky!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:20 PM
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Give me a minute, mcmanus, and I'll upload a Christmas song you might not have heard.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:24 PM
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Bob, I posted Robert Earl Keen over on my blog. But I doubt that is new to you.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:26 PM
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Ok, here's an awesome Christmas song.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:30 PM
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I am searching U&-(net and got charles & carter but damn, I cant believe the Chipmunks never covered O Holy Night


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:31 PM
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We had chili for dinner and went to the movies. I guess that makes us honorary Jews.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:43 PM
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I'm doing some leisurely data entry.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:45 PM
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Heebie:

Great pick.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:47 PM
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Ah, tasty duck. This Xmas song starts out a little annoyingly, but has some charm.


Posted by: fishbane | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:49 PM
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Robert Earl Keen's "Happy Holidays Y'all" is *the* Christmas carol of our times! It captures perfectly that moment when the bloated excesses of consumer capitalism make us too damn tired to fight with anybody else in the family, and a pleasant, weary comity is achieved!


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:51 PM
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Thanks, will! That song really does make me sentimental. It's so accepting and loving.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:52 PM
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For the record, I posted "Merry Christmas from the family" not "Happy Holidays, y'all".


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 7:56 PM
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Yeah, I just saw. Holy shit, there appear to be *two* great REK Christmas songs! Who knew?

"Happy Holidays, Y'All" is off "Walking Distance", it might have been an alternate version of the more well-known one.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 8:01 PM
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162:not bad ogged. I liked it better than better than carter & charles.

Lady made me take Joseph Spence off my playlist, but I can get away with Son House.

Looking for Mavis


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 8:02 PM
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Lady made me take Joseph Spence off my playlist

Tragic.

Happy Hollidays Unfogged.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 8:08 PM
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No, the lyrics are pretty different, but they're both note-perfect descriptions of modern Christmas. Except "Happy Holidays" is more the morning after hangover. Here's the lyrics:

http://lyricsplayground.com/alpha/songs/xmas/happyholidaysyall.shtml

I retract 170 for general annoyingness, but it might be a better descriptor of Heebie's song than this one.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 8:08 PM
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Heebie:

I agree completely. It is absolutely what the holidays should be, accepting, crazy, fun.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 8:13 PM
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166- What movie did you see? Anything good?


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 8:20 PM
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I spent the last couple of days in a state of total decadant laziness-collapse, consisting of alternating napping, reading, substance abuse, and watching videos. This was an introvert's prep for the upcoming week of total social freak-out (mother and aunt tomorrow, brother and sister-in-law next day, then Unfogged people, then NYE).

My discoveries were:

--"Weeds" is an awesome TV show! My advice? Go waste several days watching all the old episodes.

--The newest issue of N+1 has a terrific essay called "The Face of Seung-Hui Cho" that is the absolute last word on the "nice guy" issue. It's the "War and Peace" of loserdom. Unfortunately not linkable on the web, I might stick some quotes in sometime tho.

--Laura Kipnis' latest book is a lazy piece of crap.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 8:24 PM
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Bob, Wrongshore uploaded two huge (and great) Christmas mixes, but now I can't find the link.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 8:28 PM
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--"Weeds" is an awesome TV show! My advice? Go waste several days watching all the old episodes.

That's exactly what I've been doing. Weird internet mindmelt.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 8:29 PM
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Thanks for posting, Heebie. I hadn't heard that song yet this year.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 8:29 PM
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My wife, our old roommate and his new roommate roasted a duck, with apple, sausage, and onion stuffing, and a cherry sauce, made some rosemary potatoes, and are waiting for the go-ahead to eat the bread pudding (bourbon sauce) that we made. I'm barely here.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 8:30 PM
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Tomorrow I'm going to Queens to have Chinese food with some Kentuckians.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 8:35 PM
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Stop it with the gourmet postings! You're ruining my crudely broiled hunk of salmon with half a lemon squeezed all over it.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 8:36 PM
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181: I feel validated.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 8:39 PM
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Shit; we roasted a goose. I'm a drunken fucktard.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 8:43 PM
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I uploaded a Christmas mix a little while ago too! Me me me! I'm just saying.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 8:51 PM
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If you're looking for something to roast that both looks, and sounds, impressive, yet is very simple, do a goose. Delicious and handsome results for not a lot of effort. On the other hand, dealing with the rest of the stuff simultaneously while steadily drinking has left me spent. My pregnant wife is taking out the garbage... I'm a bad man.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 8:57 PM
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180:I'm ok fine all I wanted was a couple hours

Found Annie Haslam's Xmas album in the street and the lady, an ex-singer, went into bliss. Haslam has the voice ("I can't believe she hit those notes on 'Holy Night') with more pop/rock expressiveness than a Kiri te Kanawa.

Shit, Renaissance has always been in the playlist but she never noticed Haslam. She likes a lot of prog, Crimson, Floyd, grabbed "No More White Horses" for the car first time I played it, but somehow Haslam never stood out. Sigh. Got some thinking to do.

Yeah folks, most evenings I'm reading blogs & she's playing games & we are listening to playlists I think will please both of us.

Happy Holidays cause I can't shake the Solstice and good night


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 8:58 PM
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This was an introvert's prep for the upcoming week of total social freak-out

Heh.

No, I have nothing more to say.

Oh! Except this evening I had a lump (technical term, you louts) crab cake with lemon squeezed all over it. It was good.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 9:01 PM
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I knew a Steinke in HS. He was very Midwestern, but in no way fat. Maybe her sister was fat, though.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 9:29 PM
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192: "His".

Toward the end of a reconstructed nuclear-family Xmas event which was surprisingly successful. Tomorrow, extended-family event.

In other news, gym rats, hormone-simulating molecules in Nalgene water bottles turn boys in to girls and girls into boys.

Not that there is anything wrong with that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 9:40 PM
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Man I'm gonna throw some lapels all over this place if dsquared doesn't show back up all drunk and start causing trouble.

DSQUARED: BUDWEISER'S PISS, BRO.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 9:45 PM
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Don't call me bro, chief!


Posted by: TJSquared | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 9:50 PM
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164 is awesome, O. Who is it?

Merry Christmas from me and Arnold Schoenberg.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 9:55 PM
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Semi-OT: Someone wrote upthread about their cat eating garlic chicken. Onions and, to a lesser extent, garlic are toxic to cats. There's something in them that destroys red blood cells and causes anemia in cats. Best to avoid feeding anything with garlic and/or onions to cats. I don't want to be a nudge, but also don't want your cat to get sick.


Posted by: Annie | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 10:03 PM
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164 is awesome, O. Who is it?

Isn't it? It's called "Holy Babe" from this fantastic CD.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 10:07 PM
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It's a pretty inefficient way of killing cats, though, so fuck that shit. Cyanide, motherfucker!

Otherwise: Hi, Annie!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 10:11 PM
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198: Thanks; I clearly need that. You reminded me of this. If you're not familiar with it, that'll be two Christmas presents for you.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 10:16 PM
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Two Kobes for you, I mean.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 10:17 PM
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I don't know that one, and it looks great. Thank you, Jesus! And happy birthday!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 10:20 PM
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Oh, yeah. Happy birthday, Jesus!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 10:22 PM
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And happy birthday!

Actually, that was on the solstice. Proving that I have a better grasp of calendrical symbolism than that other Jesus, or at least His One Most Holy Church on Earth.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 10:24 PM
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Happy birthday, whoever it is!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 10:25 PM
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It has just now occurred to me that I have but duct tape to secure the wrapping on my parents' presents. Hm. Duct tape it is!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 10:30 PM
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One of my friends and I were on a long car trip together with no radio, and sang every song we knew many times over. Between us we knew most but not all of the words of "Holy Baby" and so we made do. Now I can never hear it without thinking that it ought to be "six for a box of pick up sticks."

Curiously, I am feeling much better about my (almost entirely unfair) family Christmas crankiness now that Snark found a bottle of rye in my mother's cupboard and poured me a drink. It's almost like I took a dose of magical decrankification medicine!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 10:32 PM
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207 made me listen to 164 and -- hey! -- I know that song too! It is really good and -- hey! -- that's a great version! It's a christmas miracle basically positive experience!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 10:35 PM
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I'm with my family at my sister's place in Utah, where everyone knows Jesus was born on April 6. No Christmas drinking for me, sadly. And they've got me sleeping on the couch in the living room, so I can't go to bed until Santa is finished and have to wake up at the crack of dawn with the four-year-old and the two-year-old. Remind me of this next year when I start feeling guilty for not visiting family for Christmas.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 10:36 PM
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OT: I'm aware that it's common to give one's trashperson and one's paper-delivery person a holiday tip. But how much? I meant to do this last week but forgot.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 10:42 PM
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Just piss on the trash can and be done with it.

Wait, no, I guess you also have to piss on the delivery kid. Get up early!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 10:43 PM
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199: Hi John! We currently have a houseguest who will be leaving by 12/31. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you, John, for never pissing on my mountain laurel or vomiting on my comforter while you stayed with us lo so many moons ago.

Happy Holidays!


Posted by: Annie | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 10:49 PM
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210: Here's what we did: Trash guys: $50. Paper carrier:$25 (she gets a small tip weekly tip throughout the year).


Posted by: Annie | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 10:53 PM
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We currently have a houseguest who will be leaving by 12/31

At long last! You're a saint, Annie.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 10:56 PM
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You know that that really cost me, Annie. Nothing I love like pissing on mountain laurel. But I restrained myself in a steely, resolute manner.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 10:58 PM
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214: Not a saint. It seemed like - and still seems like - a good idea, in theory. I don't regret doing it, but it has been quite the learning experience. If we were to ever do anything like that again, we'd be better prepared.


Posted by: Annie | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 10:59 PM
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215: I wish I'd known. I would have directed you to piss in the two old bats' yards across the street.


Posted by: Annie | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:00 PM
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This is a little weird. I actually *know* this person-- she wa a visiting writer-in-residence in the town where I live.

And guess what? This story was no surprise to me at all.

On the one hand, I paused and chose not to write a telling anecdote that demonstrates she grew up to be the person suggested by this story. On the other hand, I thought: Geez. Someday, I'm going to read a story like this about me and the other rubes here in town. She'll make it clear she thought, (name withheld) was cool, but then there's.....

Fortunately, it'll be the other rubes 'cause I didn't know her well.


Posted by: TomF | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:01 PM
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TomF you rube.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:03 PM
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There's this, though: We now have a datapoint. The way these folk appear in their NYTimes Style-Section moment is how they are in real life, in my limited experience.


Posted by: TomF | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:08 PM
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And guess what? This story was no surprise to me at all.

Awesome and disturbing. Now we have to believe that the Modern Love-ists are as horrible as they sound.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:09 PM
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I'm proud to be a rube, Sifu


Posted by: TomF | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:09 PM
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221, 222: hooray!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:11 PM
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I paused and chose not to write a telling anecdote

Damnit, TomF, you can't be saying stuff like that and then not telling us the story. It's totally against the spirit of this place.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you, John, for never pissing on my mountain laurel or vomiting on my comforter while you stayed with us lo so many moons ago.

This is a big relief to those of us who will be hosting John in the future.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:14 PM
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It's totally against the spirit of this place.

Much as I'd love to hear stories about this woman, we do try to be good about respecting real-life interactions. But don't let that stop you, Tom!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:17 PM
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Opening sentences to Darcy Steinke's magnum opus, "Suicide Blonde":

Was it the bourbon or the dye fumes that made the pink walls quiver like vaginal lips? An acidy scent ribboned the pawed tub, fingered up the shower curtain. My vision was liquid and various as a lava lamp.

It goes on from there, pretty much.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:19 PM
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Wasn't that an INXS song? Man, I loved that band when I was ten.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:22 PM
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226. Oh, my. Somebody owns a thesaurus.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:24 PM
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Is that for real, PGD? She got that published?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:25 PM
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228: no, in that case she would have used unnecessarily fancy words correctly; 226 features ordinary words used incorrectly.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:26 PM
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How exactly do vaginal lips quiver?

I was going to proceed past the lips into the pink walls, but I decided not to go there.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:27 PM
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It's real, ben. I think that's her second novel.

I really can't figure out a way to abstract the anecdote I know enough to keep relatively innocent bystanders from being completely identifiable. Sorry folks.


Posted by: TomF | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:28 PM
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She's a successful writer. Go to her full name dot org.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:31 PM
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229: Yes, it's right from the Amazon "Inside the Book" feature.

I'm starting a new novel, first line:

"The ceiling lurched and swayed, like a wobbling testicular sack"

Or should I go with the more colloquial "ball sack"? So confusing, these artistic choices.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:31 PM
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Good lord.

"His face vaguely twitching".
"I thought I seemed overly anxious, like a Danish".
"As the dye snaked out there was a faint sucking sound, like soil pulling water".

God, there really aren't any editors anymore, are there?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:31 PM
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"The ceiling lurched and swayed, like a wobbling testicular sack"

"We had a perineum of a relationship, not quite friends, not quite lovers".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:33 PM
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"I thought I seemed overly anxious, like a Danish".

Hey! She brought pastries!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:34 PM
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God, it really is poorly written. Hey, at least she's not big-boned.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:38 PM
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God, I hate similes.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:39 PM
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"I soon came to think of him as my duodenum—that lumpy, tissuey place between my pylorus and my jejunum."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:39 PM
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"poorly written" doesn't begin to do it justice, oggedelah.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:40 PM
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In all seriousness, though, I have a certain admiration for productive literary writers like her, assholes or not. It's very hard work, and literary writing doesn't necessarily pay well even if you are "successful". Even if she's not a great writer, she's in there plugging away. Not surprising that she's a jerk, it's got to take a massive ego and a certain sense of artistic entitlement to perservere at that stuff.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled snark.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:41 PM
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I assume "literary" in "literary writer" is meant to distinguish her from other sorts of writers. Would that be from the good writers, or what? What makes you think she's a "literary" writer, whatever that might be?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:43 PM
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It's nice that the lifeguarding and bass playing keep her in health care and all that.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:43 PM
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226:I like it. Trippy. Try to tell you didn't find that sentence disorienting, as you tried to make those words mean what you think they should mean.

But not blatantly surrealistic, either. The style recreates the tension of an acid trip, the uncertainty of perception, in its very form.
I am somehow reminded of Celine and Burroughs. Baudelaire.

Philistines.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:44 PM
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"poorly written" doesn't begin to do it justice, oggedelah.

Must be the holiday spirit, Benyamin.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:44 PM
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CELINE?!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:45 PM
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I had an anxious Danish for breakfast this morning. Apple. I could tell it was anxious because it was quivering, like a vaginal wall.

After breakfast, I spent ten hours playing Desktop Tower Defense. Thanks a lot for my wasted life, AWB.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:45 PM
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"Literary" writer refers to a particular genre or market niche, examples of which can be well or badly (or terribly) written. I think the implied contract with the reader is that they will be intellectually and spiritually challenged by the dazzling prose style and subtle observations in the book. A deeper, richer experience than mere entertainment, possibly leading to self-improvement of some sort.

My understanding is that mid-list or even upper-level writers practicing in the "literary" genre do not make much money.

Of course, Steinke's latest book is a memoir of spiritual seeking, blurbed by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the horrible, noxious best-seller "Eat, Pray, Love". So perhaps she is seeking a more lucrative genre.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:48 PM
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247:There is this movie on Starz, Journey to the End of the Night, with Brendan Fraser & Scott Glenn as drug-dealing nightclub owners and Mos Def as a mule. Takes place in the mean streets of Sao Paulo.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:53 PM
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Ah. So "literary" is not, as it is elsewhere, a term of praise, but just another genre term. In that case I don't see why you should single out productive literary writers for praise.

We still don't know why we should call Steinke a literary writer even on that account—I wouldn't hold out much hope after those first few paragraphs for anything worthwhile in the way of prose or observations or characters or ideas or any of that.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:53 PM
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249 to 243.

I think McManus is trying to yank our chain. And succeeding, at least with w-lfs-n. I'll admit it's hard to resist rising to the Celine bait.

G'night, and Merry Christmas! Because I have an un-hip love for the traditionals, I'll leave you with...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-HHh-pSkiA


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:54 PM
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I'm sorry, jms. I wish I'd never started playing the damn thing either.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-24-07 11:57 PM
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Merry Christmas, everyone. We had a nice dinner at La Casa Sena then walked up Canyon Road. It was nice.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-25-07 12:08 AM
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Merry Christmas, teo.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-25-07 12:09 AM
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Merry Christmas, Stanley. I didn't know you were Jewish.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-25-07 12:24 AM
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256: I do in fact have Jewish forebears on my mom's side (via Norway of all places). They converted to Catholicism and now rightly view the holiday as a secular shebang, like any ex-Jew/lax-Catholic.

That video cracked my shit up.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12-25-07 12:31 AM
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We too had the traditional Yuletide food of the Jewish people for dinner tonight. Might have it tomorrow night, too, depending on whether we score leftovers from Christmas dinner tomorrow.

Merry Christmas and a happy kung pao, y'all.


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 12-25-07 12:34 AM
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That video cracked my shit up.

After we got back from dinner we watched some YouTube videos on the subject of Jews and Christmas. That was the best one.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-25-07 12:48 AM
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I considered the notion that I was infatuated - was it because I was like coffee, excited, too sweet, and excessively creamy? Or was it that I was fragile, a cup holding the scalding liquid, so ready to be relieved of my burden?

Gah. Writing that way is hard. Maybe she should actually win something for that.


Posted by: fishbane | Link to this comment | 12-25-07 1:24 AM
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Ironically, "White Christmas" was written by a Jew.

I take back what I said in 179 about Laura Kipnis' latest book. It's hit or miss but sort of intriguing, if you can stand the pop commentary genre.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-25-07 5:18 AM
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261 to 259. The original Bing Crosby version of "White Christmas" is the best Youtube video on the subject of Jews and Christmas.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-25-07 5:28 AM
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he-he, holy night and they were reading like porn
i shouldn't worry that i offended people's sensibilities posting not christmas song but a nationalistic russian song
because it's a nice song about birches
the reason i felt bad about mentioning corn soup with vinegar was this terrible simile: it tastes like condensed sweat
sorry to spoil your appetite :)
Happy Holidays and now off to work


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-25-07 6:37 AM
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57: I include by citation Bernard Williams' discussion of Paul Gaugin's voyage to Tahiti in "Moral Luck".

I was not familiar with the Moral Luck discussion, and I'm not sure how d² intended to apply it , but after some searching and reading (although some tear in the spacetime fabric of Google books is causing the text of Second Order Partial Differential Equations in Hilbert Spaces to show up in place of Williams' book), it does appear that it points the way to possibly the only avenue of discussion other than the parade of condemnation that we obligingly provided.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 12-25-07 7:17 AM
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...the parade of condemnation that we obligingly provided.

That is, the parody of condemnation that we were obliged to provide, Steinke's phenomenology of the anxiety of cool cutting all too close to the reified, aestheticized, self-conscious bone.

Merry Christmas, you damned heathens. Let all who are loved, love, and let all who love be loved, and let the love we now know in part open our hearts to the love we shall know in full, even as now we are fully loved.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-25-07 8:07 AM
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All I want for Squidmas is for some tentacled elf to wash all those dishes...

In full Norwegian tradition, we did the family Xmas thing last night. [Or, as my stepson calls it "participated in your pagan rituals."] Now my kitchen is full of dishes. I cannot believe how many dishes. In the full spirit of my pillaging pagan foreparents, I am going to ignore them and go back to sleep for a year or two. Then I have to figure out how to get the leftover salmon to my stepson, as we will not eat it, and at $20 a pound, I am not letting the effing fish go to waste. Then, and only then, will we eat the leftover twice-cooked pork and Mongolian beef from Sunday's belated Solstice celebration.

May you all have a very merry non-denominational ho-ho-ho!


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 12-25-07 8:26 AM
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256. Hey, Baltimore!

And a Merry Christmas Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 12-25-07 8:46 AM
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But the thing is, the "oh, don't provide the parade of condemnation because humanism" trope is already in place. That's why the damn thing got published--the correct train of thought goes "oh, how repugnant. Wait, as a sensitive hipster, I am implicated in this repugnant behavior...but really, can anyone judge? the fat midwestern chick is as empty a shell as the hipster....aren't we all just tourists in a world we never made?" That's what keeps capitalism rolling, folks. The flood of condemnation is at least as productive a starting point as anywhere else.

Now I am going to have dim sum! A day no pigs would die, hah! And then go to a to-be-determined movie.

The thing is, all responses to the NYT have pretty much been anticipated, this late in the day. At least, all the first-order responses. The question is, do you do anything? Beating up the author, though tempting, probably doesn't address the underlying problem.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 12-25-07 9:24 AM
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An innocent, stumbling upon Unfogged like the brave Unfogger who first read a "Modern Love" column, might have a similar reaction to our own little festivals of tap-dancing casuistry.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-25-07 9:36 AM
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That's what keeps capitalism rolling?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-25-07 10:13 AM
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The novel snippets inspire me to my magnum opus, The Reunification of the Two Cultures:

"The pain of my septum's collapse receded for a moment as I began to grasp the full implications of thinking of the rattling behind where it had been as 'sinusoidal'."


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 12-25-07 10:15 AM
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270: mocking the other, yes. Adam Smith's original title was The Wealth of Things Nations Can Make Fun Of You About, Fatty.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-25-07 10:27 AM
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Capitalism, in its ever-present drive to evoke the needs of the consumer, ends up tracing the contours of desire itself. Which can get the ball rolling anywhere, because any stimulus is sufficient to get human beings wanting something. Once the basic physical needs are satisfied, the something is usually social -- expressing approval, or disapproval, or being recognized.

The Internet is a preview of the post-scarcity state that capitalism (in contradiction of its own property relations) is tending toward. Hence places like Unfogged allow infinite free expressions of approval or disapproval. But the economy of attention (still scarce!) leads to frustrated desires for recognition.

Damn, I should have become some kind of Zizek-type culture critic, that would be such a fun "job".


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-25-07 11:28 AM
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Now do a Girardian analysis of the column.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-25-07 11:38 AM
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I did a careful reading of the first five pages of Steinke's Up Through the Water last night, and I have decided, as I hinted above, that the "bad writing" is intentional. Nobody can write "eyelids like ripe plums" or "vegetables squaredancing in the pot" without knowing what they are doing.

And the "badness" of her prose is awesome. 3-4 changes of points of view in one paragraph, factual contradictions on every page. She "breaks the rules" with every fricking word. It is too consistent to be accidental.

I don't understand the irony or kind of statement Darcy is making, but when I am laughing and astonished on every page, every sentence, I can guess that this was the author's intent.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-25-07 12:59 PM
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266: at $20 a pound

Was it some special kind of salmon?


Posted by: Annie | Link to this comment | 12-25-07 8:15 PM
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275: that sounds groovy/cool. I'm totally willing to stipulate that. I know I got a kick even out of the one paragraph of "Suicide Blonde" I read.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-25-07 8:43 PM
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I think Bob is underestimating the badness a crap writer can get up to unintentionally.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 12-26-07 10:00 AM
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