theresaurus

January 22, 2018

January 22

Filed under: Uncategorized — theresaurus @ 11:16 pm

Another view from my window.

Men chopping off the nice autumn branches just when they’re at their peak:

 

January 20, 2018

January 20

Filed under: Uncategorized — theresaurus @ 11:41 pm

Sam brought home two Gorgonzolas and four Camemberts and there was much rejoicing.

National Cheese Lover’s Day. From Emile Zola’s “The Belly of Paris”:

“All around her, cheeses were stinking. Huge blocks of butter were lined up on the two shelves at the back of the shop. Brittany butter was overflowing from its baskets. Normandy butters, wrapped in canvas, looked like models of stomachs onto which some sculptor had thrown wet cloths to keep them from drying out. Other blocks, already in use, cut with large knives into jagged rocks with valleys and crevices, looked like landslides on a mountain gilded by the pale evening light of autumn.

“A Parmesan added an aromatic pungence to the heavy smell. Three Bries on rounds were sad as waning moons. Two very dry ones were full. The third, in its second quarter, was oozing, emitting a white cream that spread into a lake, flooding over the thin boards that had been put there to stem the flow. Port Saluts shaped like ancient discuses had the names of the producers inscribed around the perimeters. A Romantour, wrapped in silver paper, was reminiscent of a nougat bar, a sugary cheese that had strayed into the land of sour fermentation. The Roqueforts, under their glass bells, had a regal bearing, their fat, marbled faces veined in blue and yellow as though they were the victims of some disgraceful disease that strikes wealthy people who eat too many truffles. Alongside them were the goat cheeses, fat as a child’s fist, hard and gray like the stones rams kick down a path when they lead the flock.

“And then there were the smells: the pale yellow Mont d’Ors released a sweet fragrance, the Troyes, which were thick and bruised on the edges, were stronger-smelling than the others, adding a fetid edge like a damp cellar; the Camemberts, with their scent of decomposing game; the Neufchatels, the Limbourgs, the Marolles, the Pont l’Eveques, each one playing its own shrill note in a composition that was almost sickening; the Livarots, dyed red, harsh and sulfurous in the throat; and the Olivers, wrapped in walnut leaves the way peasants cover rotting carcasses of animals lying by the side of the road in the heat of the sun with branches. The warm afternoon had softened the cheeses, the mold on the rinds was melting and glazing in rich reds and greens of exposed copper, looking like badly healed wounds. The skin of an Oliver beneath an oak leaf lifted up and heaved like the chest of a sleeping man.”

January 18, 2018

January 18

Filed under: Uncategorized — theresaurus @ 11:09 pm

The Diary of Anais Nin, Winter, 1931 – 1932.

“Louvenciennes resembles the village where Madame Bovary lived and died. It is old, untouched and unchanged by modern life. It is built on a hill overlooking the Seine. On clear nights one can see Paris. … Behind the windows of the village houses old women sit watching people passing by. The street runs down unevenly towards the Seine. By the Seine there is a tavern and a restaurant. On Sundays people come from Paris and have lunch and take the rowboats down the Seine as Maupassant loved to do.

“The dogs bark at night. The garden smells of honeysuckle in the summer, of wet leaves in the winter. One hears the whistle of the small train from and to Paris. … My house is two hundred years years old. It has walls a yard thick, a big garden, a very large green iron gate for cars, flanked by a small green garden for people. … Behind the house lies a vast wild tangled garden. … When I look at the large green iron gate from my window it takes on the air of a prison gate. An unjust feeling, since I know I can leave the place whenever I want to, and since I know that human beings can place upon an object, or a person, this responsibility of being the obstacle when the obstacle lies always within one’s self.

“I chose the house for many reasons. Because it seemed to have sprouted out of the earth like a tree, so deeply grooved it was within the old garden. It had no cellar and the rooms rested right on the ground. Below the rug, I felt, was the earth. I could take root here, feel at one with the house and garden, take nourishment from them like the plants. … I had a sense of preparation for a love to come. Like the extension of canopies, the unrolling of ceremonial carpets, as if I must first create a marvelous world in which to house it, in which to receive adequately this guest of honor. It is in this mood of preparation that I pass through the house, painting a wall through which stains of humidity show, hanging a lamp where it will throw Balinese shadow plays, draping a bed, placing logs in the fireplace. Every room is painted a different color. As if there were one room for every separate mood: lacquer red for vehemence, pale turquoise for reveries, peach color for gentleness, green for repose, grey for work at the typewriter.”

 

January 16, 2018

January 16

Filed under: Uncategorized — theresaurus @ 10:10 pm

Sam’s birthday. It was a snowy day.

January 14, 2018

January 14

Filed under: Uncategorized — theresaurus @ 11:18 pm

Mie prefecture road trip. Highlight was delicious oysters grilled by old ladies at a tourist road stop. We’d stopped at several places for oysters but they tried to lure us into an all-you-can-eat situation. The sushi we bought at a supermarket came with salt instead of soy sauce. We passed the famous Ise Shrine and the line of cars waiting for parking was incredibly long so we didn’t stop. Not a very interesting drive unless you are obsessed with oysters.

 

January 13, 2018

January 13

Filed under: Uncategorized — theresaurus @ 11:35 pm

I dislike those winter birds with the hoarse, screeching unpleasant cries, don’t know what kind they are. There’s a bush (called “heavenly bamboo” in English according to my little book about Japanese plants) with bright red berries and green leaves that’s a popular doorway decorations in the countryside in winter, and growing on a vacant lot under the freeway a few blocks away is a spectacular patch with branches so laden with berries that they bend to the ground. Plump little sparrows hang around.

There’s a tree with intensely sweet yellow blossoms, but it’s not in the book so don’t know what it is. Nearly everyone has a camellia bush blooming in their garden. I was told that since camellia flowers fall off as a whole and not petal by petal, it’s like a samurai’s head being lopped off, and how can you not think about that once you know it?  The trees next to the stream have sprouted gray pussywillow-like buds. It rained last night and this morning everything looks icy.

From “Shocking Life, The Autobiography of Elsa Schiaparelli”:

“Although I am very shy (and nobody will believe it), so shy that the simple necessity of saying, ‘Hallo’ sometimes makes me turn icy cold, I have never been shy of appearing in public in the most fantastic and personal get-up.

“I learnt to know London well, and though was invited into many homes and attended all the parties … I also delighted in the more popular places. There is a public house in Wapping (and I confess that I love ‘pubs’ because they are so human) that pleased me immensely. I would sit for hours at the water’s edge, surrounded by ancient and rotting wooden poles, and munch bread and cheese. One could see the tugs and lighters, dark grey in the haze, in the grey of Whistler’s Thames, threading their way majestically through the busy shipping. This part of the river was cosmopolitan. Cockneys laughed at Italians, Chinese would bow to Swedish. Men of all nationalities came in for a glass of beer and a craps game, and though they spoke different languages they understood each other perfectly.

“Meals outside the embassies were occasions for farce. My companions would ask for something impossible, like salmon or a minute steak, and were surprised and a little cross when they could not get it. I stuck to the only good menu, hard bread and caviare — sometimes sturgeon, but always vodka. Caviare was sold in the grocery stores in big barrels of red wood, and one could take it out with a large soup spoon. I can vouch for this diet being miraculous for losing weight, for when I returned to Paris I was as thin as Gandhi and in marvelous health.

“I acquired nothing merely because of its value either in money or age. Therefore the house sings with a feeling of abandon, thrown its arms round you, hugs you, and whoever comes to it as a guest never wants to leave it. … This room has given Schiap more joy than any she has lived in. She sometimes makes an appointment with herself to spend the evening alone and do absolutely nothing. She rests with friends who look out smilingly from photograph frames placed on the grand piano, and she is surrounded by beloved paintings put anywhere, on the floor, on chairs, against ancient Chinese bronzes. Then there are books, books, books. … She has a special corner on the divan that nobody is ever allowed to occupy. … It has the shape of a piano and is upholstered in red, and two people can lie on it facing each other with a tray in between.

“I often wonder what is the urge that makes us want to travel. Why not be thoroughly grand, and have the world brought to us?

“She is lying on an orange sofa made in Paris by Jean Franck of Moroccan leather, wrapped in a vivid Scotch rug of yellow-and-black tartan, framed by narrow and low Arab cement seats with pillows made in the local bazaar, and a Hammamet straw mat on the floor. Surrounded by quantities of multicolour Italian hats bought at the Galeries Lafayette, a dispatch-case bought in New York, a cigarette case of silver and enamelled pink rose bought in Leningrad, a super-typewriter … that comes from Switzerland, a red rug from the Bedouins marketing in El Djeb under the Roman Coliseum, a woolen donkey bag brilliantly coloured in her preferred shades, woven in Peru … , with shorts made in Paris of American cotton, with an English silver ring, with Chinese slippers, Swedish matches, Turkish cigarettes, and an ash-tray of broken pottery brought in by the sea from never-never land. And here is Schiap in her small human way absorbing the world while outside a storm lashes the cypresses and the eucalyptuses, and drenches this land of sunshine and dreams.”

 

January 12, 2018

January 12

Filed under: Uncategorized — theresaurus @ 11:52 pm

I’ve been coveting these relatively large hams that are so popular at New Year’s; finally gave in and bought one marked down a bit. I’ve been terrible about what I eat for too long, have seemed to have lost any self-control. I was going to start the New Year by being good again and then I go and buy a big ham. It started after the mother-in-law died. She loved eating and I kept thinking how when you’re in a coma and then dead, you can’t eat. I think, This may be my last chance to eat this! No self-control. After devouring this ham, though, I believe I can safely say that I won’t need to eat another ham again.

Happy birthday to Jack London, “Love of Life”:

“Three weeks afterward the man lay in a bunk on the whale-ship Bedford, and with tears steaming down his wasted cheeks told who he was and what he had undergone. … The days were not many after that when he sat at table with the scientific men and ship’s officers. He gloated over the spectacle of so much food, watching it anxiously as it went into the mouths of others. With the disappearance of each mouthful an expression of deep regret came into his eyes. He was quite sane, yet he hated these men at mealtime. He was haunted by a fear that the food would not last. He inquired of the cook, the cabin-boy, the captain, concerning the food stores. They reassured him countless times; but he could not believe them, and pried cunningly about … to see with his own eyes.

“It was noticed that the man was getting fat. … The scientific men shook their heads and theorized. They limited the man at his meals, but still his girth increased … . The sailors grinned, they knew. And when the scientific men set a watch on the man, they knew too. They saw him slouch for’ard  after breakfast, and, like a mendicant, with outstretched palm, accost a sailor. The sailor grinned and passed him a fragment of sea biscuit. He clutched it avariciously, looked at it as a miser looks at gold, and thrust it into his shirt bosom. The scientific men were discreet. They let him alone. But they privily examined his bunk. It was lined with hardtack; the mattress was stuffed with hardtack; every nook and cranny was filled with hardtack. Yet he was sane. He was taking precautions against another possible famine — that was all. He would recover from it, the scientific men said; and he did, ere the Bedford’s anchor rumbled down in San Francisco Bay.”

January 11, 2018

January 11

Filed under: Uncategorized — theresaurus @ 11:47 pm

While watching the news last night, Sam made a joke about Trump. I jot down his jokes and puns to not only remember the good ones but to make him feel good — I’m an appreciative audience — and I wrote down the punchline: “Thumbs down.” But looking at it later, I couldn’t remember why that was funny and neither could he. Must take better notes. At least I remember his latest pun: What do ninjas drink? Ninja ale.

From Andy Cohen’s “Superficial, More Adventures from the Andy Cohen Diaries”:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014.  Taped The Meredith Vieira Show; they had Doritos in the greenroom (I guess they paid attention to the book) and I gorged on them. Ryan got sick watching me suck the flavor off and asked if that’s what I do. So I guess my own Bravo publicist didn’t read my book in which I detail sucking the flavor off Doritos? The scuttlebutt backstage was that Streisand had been there the day before and wanted all the orange removed from the set. Any trace of orange had to be gone. But she asked for cantaloupe and cheddar cheese in the greenroom. Both orange! What does it mean?

Monday, February 1, 2015.  It was snowy and slushy and rainy today and so I went for it and had a can of SpaghettiOs … . It was glory in a bowl. Delightful. Delicious. I don’t know when the last time I had them was, or when I will ever have them again, but the taste brought me back to the thousands of cans of SpaghettiOs I ate at the kitchen table at 7710 West Biltmore Drive. I wasn’t a latchkey child … but for some reason I only have memories of ‘fixing’ myself SpaghettiOs alone at that kitchen table, using nacho-cheese Doritos as spoons to make the experience as rich as possible.

Sunday, June 14, 2015 — Fire Island — NYC.  I reset all my emojis to black people because I like them better and then took the ferry home with three brothers. One of them wound up putting his number in my phone and I texted him back applause, but they were black hands and I felt weird — like, did he think I reset my emojis to black people for him? Life is a minefield.

Saturday, January 23, 2016 — Los Angeles.  It’s a snowstorm shitshow in New York, and all anyone here can say is, ‘Aren’t you glad you’re here and not in the snow?’ Then they get a monologue from me about not liking to miss a snowstorm and enjoying being hunkered down with my dog in my apartment and how quiet and romantic the city gets … I’d be enjoying my gold Christmas tree, which I still haven’t taken down. I lose them when I mention the Christmas tree.

Sunday, January 31, 2016 — Columbus — NYC.  On the plane home the woman next to me kept asking me who I was and I kept saying, ‘Nobody.’ … I finally told her I host a talk show. If someone doesn’t know me, then isn’t it weird to have to explain who I am? I mean, who are you? We’re even.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016.  Got a tweet from a lady saying she was bored with my guests last night and I need to step it up. … I wrote and deleted three nasty responses to this lady with impossibly high standards. Then I looked at her profile and she’s a massive Trump fan and that’s all I needed to know. I responded that I would try to round up a gaggle of Donald’s ex-wives, maybe that’d entertain her. All I do is fight with Trump supporters on Twitter. I cannot stop myself. The man is disgusting me in ways I didn’t know I could be disgusted and the media is playing into his hands. He’s a thin-skinned, flip-flopping orange sham who has manipulated them perfectly. … The vulgarity at the debate the other night went too far — and this is the Housewives guy saying it.

January 9, 2018

January 9

Filed under: Uncategorized — theresaurus @ 10:55 pm

It’s hard to get up in the cold darkness when the alarm goes off at 5:30 in the morning. This morning after Sam went to work I returned to bed and stayed there. The bedroom is the smallest room in the apartment and warms up with the little electric heater — I tell myself I’m saving fuel by not trying to heat the drafty living room with the kerosene heater, and I hate filling it. It’s hard not to dribble at least a little kerosene when pulling the plastic hose from the tank. I wonder if this is what it’s like to pee for a man. Besides, I had nothing particular to do today and Sam would be home late and didn’t need dinner. Why not stay cozy in bed and read all day? Of course I completed the usual menial household chores, just later in the day, but somehow Sam knew. “You didn’t do anything today, did you?” he accused me. I don’t understand how he could tell. Well, next time I’m going to do lots of laundry and move around the furniture to throw him off the scent.

Osamu Dazai, “Return to Tsugaru, Travels of a Purple Tramp”:

“I hoped to find my true identity in Tsugaru. … My theories are so muddled that I myself often cannot understand what I am saying. … It seems as if this is all some sort of transparent charade I’m perpetrating, and that idea is a thoroughly humiliating one. … But that evening I did not vent such clumsy ideas … and drank until very late with a pile of crab, that favorite food of mine, right in front of my eyes. N.’s wife … must have thought that I considered it too much of a bother to crack the shells and pick the meat, for she briskly set to and did it for me with great skill, heaping the delicious white meat on the shells. … Perhaps these crabs had been caught on the Kanita beach that very morning; they had the fresh, light taste of newly picked fruit. I was reminded of those fragrant cool jellies that are shaped like real fruits.

“Having had our water containers filled with sake, we started out in good cheer. … The roof of the temple had already come into sight when we met an old woman selling fish. The cart she was pulling was full and there was a great variety. I spotted a sea bream over half a meter long. … Our room looked out over the sea. It had begun to drizzle, and the sea was white and calm. … I pulled the wrapped-up fish out of my rucksack and gave it to the maid. ‘This is a sea bream. Broil it as it is, please, and then bring it back here.’ The maid did not look very bright. … Like me, N. seemed to have his misgivings about the maid. He called her back and explained once more. ‘Broil it as it is. There are three of us, but that doesn’t mean you have to cut it into three pieces. Remember! There’s no need to divide it into three equal portions.’ … While we were still joking to each other that in this case it had not been necessary to specify the exact number, the bream was served.

“N.’s instructions that it did not have to be cut into three identical sized pieces had produced an idiotic result: on an ordinary, off-white dish lay — without head, tail, or bones — five slices of broiled bream. I am not in the least fussy about food. I expect my readers will understand that I hadn’t bought such a big bream just because I wanted to eat it. I had wanted to admire it as it lay served on a big dish, broiled in its original shape. … I had wanted to feel that glow of luxury, sipping my sake and looking at the fish. … Looking at the five slices of grilled fish (this was no longer sea bream, merely grilled fish), piled unimaginatively on the dish, I felt like crying. … Where were the head and bones now? That big, splendid head — perhaps they had thrown it away! … N. chuckled. ‘But don’t you get the joke? When you tell them not to cut something into three pieces, they go and cut it into five. They’re comedians, these people, real comedians. Well, cheers, cheers, cheers!’ … Even now it exasperates me when I think of that sea bream. It was plain idiocy.”

January 8, 2018

January 8

Filed under: Uncategorized — theresaurus @ 11:54 pm

This afternoon a mysterious alarm went off. Sam finally discovered that it was an old alarm clock stored way back in a closet. How did that happen? What was the alarm trying to tell us? I suggested a nuclear bomb was about to drop on Japan and life as we know it would soon be over. I always leap to the worst case scenario. But I guess that wasn’t it. I’m still wondering what it was time for.

I can hardly contain my rage when I think of the years of dire warnings that President Obama was a warmonger about to start World War III any minute and then hysteria that Hillary Clinton was an even bigger warmonger who’d immediately attack Russia and start World War III if elected.

Now President Trump insults North Korea and Iran on Twitter and I dread an accident or misunderstanding or incident happens and there’s nobody in charge at the White House. It’s a worst case scenario in the making. I’m waiting for one of those North Korean missiles to accidentally hit something.

But where are all those voices yelling about Obama and Clinton being evil warmongers, that shared fake news propaganda from RealNews and TrueActivist and ProgressiveWhatever on social media — are they worried about Trump being a warmonger? I haven’t seen it, they’re still obsessed with Hillary “Satan” Clinton.

I’m curious if anyone who fell for all that pro-Russia anti-American propaganda notices that the anti-American part means the Democratic Party as if it’s the only political party in the U.S., that even though Republicans have the White House and majorities in the legislature it’s still only Democrats who are to blame for everything. And Republicans are going to investigate Satan’s emails and the Clinton Foundation yet again. It’s almost like Hillary Clinton IS the president.

From Katy Tur’s “Unbelievable, My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History”:

“Trump arrives. … Suddenly he is so close I can smell what he had for breakfast. And then, before I know what’s happening, his hands are on my shoulders and his lips are on my cheek. My eyes widen. My body freezes. My heart stops.

“Everything he says falls into one of two categories. If it’s good it’s ‘we.’ If it’s bad it’s ‘they.’ ‘We’ are going to have so much winning. ‘They’ are going to hate it. His supporters feel that he is fighting for them. They identify with him. They can relate. ‘He talks just like us,’ supporters say over and over again. He’s the rich guy they would be if they were rich. And he knows it.

“People seem drawn to Trump’s rallies in the same way that they are drawn to a professional wrestling match, and as with a professional wrestling match, they seem divided between people who believe all they see and hear, and those who know it’s partially a performance. The scariest thing about being at a Trump rally is that you don’t know who believes it and who doesn’t.

“Information coming directly from a politician or his team, without being vetted by reporters, is little more than propaganda. No American voter accepts one-sided accounts in their personal life. … We should demand the same in politics. And yet so often we do not. We really have to start teaching journalism in elementary school. People don’t even understand the basics of what we do anymore.

“They’re your taxi driver, your fireman, and your supermarket cashier. … But inside a Trump rally, these people are unchained.
‘Obama is a Muslim!’
‘Hillary Clinton is a cunt!’
‘Immigrants need to get the hell out!’
‘Fuck you, media!’

“He recalls a little old lady who approached him outside of one of Trump’s rallies. She wasn’t wearing Trump gear and she seemed like sweetness personified.
‘Excuse me,’ she said, walking right up to Kenneth. ‘What’s your name? Are you part of the media?’
‘Yes, I am, ma’am. My name is Kenneth.’
She looked him right in the eye, holding his gaze.
‘Fuck you, Kenneth,’ she said.
Another favorite comes from one of the correspondents, who remembers a call from one of Trump’s comms people.
‘Are we off the record?’ the staffer asked.
‘Sure,’ the reporter said. ‘What’s going on?’
‘Great. Off the record: Mr. Trump wants you to go fuck yourself.’

“The crowd in New Hampshire is frothing as Pence talks about Clinton. … I don’t know if Pence even hears this other man. Probably not. But I do, and I will never unhear him: not the man’s message, and not the thousands of other voices that summarized 2016 by not shouting him down.
‘Assassinate that bitch,’ the man said.
And the crowd said nothing.
‘Assassinate that bitch.’
And the crowd cheered on.”

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