Saturday, November 27, 2004

Random Notes

Thanksgiving went well. One of the dishes I cooked up, a couscous with dried fruit, was a disaster because I added too much cinnamon (the lesson is, don't confuse teaspoons and tablespoons). My other dish was much more successful.

We also checked out a new Tibetan restaurant in Northampton. Pretty good. When I got home, I tried to replicate the potato dish that I had with some success (using garlic and ginger sauteed in butter and simmered in a small amount of liquid).

Recently we have watched a lot of movies; all of them show the deep, complex landscapes. Down by law was great, although Benigni carried the second half. The outdoor scenes are wonderful, showing the depth of the urban blocks in Louisiana. Talk about inventing traditions, we finally watched Lawrence of Arabia. The story was paced perfectly, allowing the viewer to fall in love with the vast deserts and high mountains. Finally, the Scottish film Ratcatcher, shows the claustrophobia of youth trapped in Glasgow in the 1970s. It takes place during a strike by garbage collectors that affects the health of the large tenements in which the main characters live. Their lives evolve around an unused, infested canal that cuts through their neighborhood, taking their children and making them ill (mostly morally). The director went out of her way to show the cruelty of the children (something that bothered me). Nevertheless, an excellent film. (I wonder: do the English tease the Scots about how they speak as Americans tease Canadians?)

The death of me will be the South Park movie. Comedy Central shows it twice a month, and every time my wife and I get sucked in. We must watch at least long enough to see Cartman tell his math teacher to "suck his balls."

Claire points out two reviews of books on Weimar Berlin, that romanticized city of decadent cosmopolitanism. The milieu of cabarets and experimental arts has made a big comeback in historical studies, especially as people have returned to the relationship of art and politics. How funny that the ewige junge Stadt (eternally youthful city) would not shape Germany for almost six decades; all the ideas would come from the south (Munich and Vienna), the east (Moscow), and west (Bonn, Frankfurt and Paris).

Whiskey River has a post about the meaning of landscape in Chinese culture and how it references specific topographic features and their symbolic use.


At 8:03 PM, Blogger Sharon said...

Oooh, no, tablespoons instead of teaspoons with cinnamon. Oh dear.

Some Scottish accents can be comic arising from the fact that we (the English) find them unintelligible (but it takes a brave man to tease a Glaswegian. Sorry, stereotypes). But the real comedy accents are closer to home, in the west midlands around Birmingham. Even the Brummies themselves send it up. (Second place would go to strong 'yokel' accents, either from the south-west or East Anglia.)

At 11:58 AM, Blogger Nathanael said...

That's odd: I would think someplace called "Anglia" would be normative.


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