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Showing posts from December, 2009

Playing fool, to boomer-king

Concerning my despicable boomer "hatred"Contrary to reports, HTWW does not want to sentence an entire generation to mandatory euthanasiaJudging by the comments thread on yesterday's post, "Curse of the Boomer Hegemony," and some extremely upset and vituperative letters written to me personally, I really hit a nerve with my comments on the generation that supposedly won't let go.I will cop to an inflammatory headline, but for the record, I am not calling for mandatory euthanasia for baby boomers, nor do I bear them any special ill will. (Andrew Leonard, “Concerning my despicable boomer ‘hatred’,” Salon, 11 December 2009)THIS is your power, boomersI really hit a nerve with my comments on the generation that supposedly won't let go.Supposedly? So the truth is otherwise? They really want to pass the baton onto youth, but circumstances have just determined they have in fact handed them the bayonet?Indeed, as a 47-year-old born in 1962, I belong, according to…

Wilbur-bourbon

Cider-bourbon braised baconGet the rings and the bubbly ready, because you're going to officiate the wedding (Ian Knauer, “Cider-bourbon braised bacon,” Salon, 9 December 2009)
So you're pulling a Good Fellas on the poor Wilbur ...EVIL DUPLICIOUS MAN: "Guess what little piggie! -- we think you're so ring-ding special, we're going to save your hide and anoint you special!!!"WILBUR: "Squeel! squeel!"[Evil despicable man leads Wilbur to "ceremony" room]REPREHENSIBLE, UNEMPATHIC, UNCARING MAN: "Sorry pig, You shouldn't have been born so tasty sweeeeeet . . ."["Blamo!" -- as voiced by Marisa Tomei, from My Cousin Vinny.][Followed by chef-prepared, Wilbur-bourbon; pig-skin wallets for the best men; and a burp, by reprehensible pig-eating thug-man]-- FIN --NOTE: You would have to say that a pig WAS very much harmed in the making of this drama, but he got good press, and should prove good to wear.Next up!: Vegan meat! -- it&…

Cormac McCarthy U: Come bag yourself some Shakespeare

Call of Duty. Photo by Patrick h. lauke
My "radical living" experiment convinced me that the things plunging students further into debt -- the iPhones, designer clothes, and even "needs" like heat and air conditioning, for instance -- were by no means "necessary." And I found it easier to "do without" than I ever thought it would be. Easier by far than the jobs I'd been forced to take in order to pay off my loans.[. . .]I refused to join those ranks. I became a deserter, an eccentric, an outsider. At Duke, I felt like an ascetic in the midst of wealth, a heretic in the Church of the Consumer. I had to hide.Because I was so paranoid about campus security finding out about my experiment, I kept myself apart from other students. Whenever I did talk with a fellow classmate, I found myself souring the conversation with preposterous lies -- lies I'd tell to protect myself. Whenever someone asked me where I lived, I'd say "off cam…

Neat freaks

Salt and pepper sets are arguably among the most mundane and ubiquitous of gifts. But this particular set, the Taste of Talking, sums up a lot of what can be wonderful about products that are idea-driven -- inspired by thought and creativity.The part with the holes? Those parts are mouthpieces and earpieces from old telephones. They are NOS (new old stock), not used. There are stockpiles of such product left from the days when we all used such phones. They're repurposed here to pour seasonings at the table.[. . .]There are a series of progressive values reflected in the Taste of Talking. It's green: It uses recycled (and non-biodegradable) parts that might well otherwise truly end up in a landfill. And in using these mundane, disused materials, a wholly unexpected result is achieved, which, I think, changes your perspective on the materials themselves, causing you to look differently at some of the castoffs of our industrial culture. Beauty in a telephone mouthpiece, or an aut…

Hippo-daddies, not hipsters, in the new depression era

How often have you been at a fancy dinner party, or a rocking kegger, and overheard someone lamenting the fact that their friends with children have suddenly been rendered incapable of discussing anything except the contents of the baby's diapers or the adorable thing little Cullen did to the dog? There are Facebook groups for venting frustration with parents who constantly yammer about their offspring and the business of raising them. I understand where these people are coming from. But it is hard for me to understand why they are so annoyed — after all, those people are free.The common misconception of childless, alcohol-imbibing party guests and cyber-ether baby-haters alike is that parents blabber constantly out of some arrogance or indulgent desire to show off their great kids and their perfect parenthood. Nothing could be further from the truth. We parents have so little now; the children have taken so much. We just have nothing left to say. We sometimes hear ourselves and k…

Salon store

Welcome to the Salon Store -- a new Salon feature that we hope you will find engaging, entertaining and a useful extension of what Salon is all about.The Store's mission: to offer a collection of products that reflect what always interests us at Salon -- startling creativity, soul-pleasing utility, interesting ideas, unique perspectives and sometimes just the profound wackiness of our culture.Why do we think the interests of Salon and its audience translate into products? Because, in various ways, things matter to all of us. They make statements, they offer solutions, they express or create emotion. I think of Salon as a place -- a destination, a community -- that is defined chiefly by an evolving set of shared interests. So we think it will be fun, interesting and appropriate to identify products that reflect those interests and showcase them on Salon. And we are particularly interested in your feedback about the products we offer as well as others you think we should be offering…

Just friend them; they're as frightened as you are

“Just ignore them; they’re as frightened as we are” (“Hey man!” Kids in the Hall)I did not go quietly into that lonely and unpopular night. Each morning, I tried to assume a casual air of friendship. Big mistake. My efforts backfired, and my former friends’ apathy toward me turned to hatred. Soon, I was not just ignored at school. I was tripped as I came out of the shower. People made flatulent noises when I sat down in class. My locker was magic-markered with the word "loser." We are tempted to remember this behavior and make light of it. Oh, it couldn’t have been that bad, we said. But I remember it well. It was that bad.[. . .]Whatever my intention was when I contacted my former friends, it’s different now. I no longer want validation; I no longer am testing the waters to see if they now find me worth their time. These women are not who I thought they’d be. They’re people having a hard time in the economy, people who are struggling through their days, their relationships.…