In its final days, the Bush administration imposed a 300 percent duty on Roquefort, in effect closing off the U.S. market. Americans, it declared, will no longer get to taste the creamy concoction that, in its authentic, most glorious form, comes with an odor of wet sheep and veins of blue mold that go perfectly with rye bread and coarse red wine.
The measure, announced Jan. 13 by U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab as she headed out the door, was designed as retaliation for a European Union ban on imports of U.S. beef containing hormones. Tit for tat, and all perfectly legal under World Trade Organization rules, U.S. officials explained.
It’s just like, could I like this guy any more? The other shoe has to drop sometime, right? And then he says something like “I’m just not a plates kind of guy,” and all his aides talk about how excited he is to get to live “over the store” so he can see his family all the time. Him, I could get a beer with.
My friend Pia (see here) has just started writing a food blog with the rather objectionable title Julia Child is Ugly. If the first two entries are any indicator, good things will come of this. And lots of pictures of her exceptionally handsome cat, Little Pajamas. Pia writes of him: “if anyone is a foodie, it’s this total chunkerjamas because i ain’t never known a hungrier bear.”
It also must be said that, on the subject of sex, Updike could be the worst writer Knopf has ever known. David Foster Wallace, in a review of Toward the End of Time that sized up Updike as a “phallocrat,” counted 10 and half pages devoted to the protagonist’s thoughts about his penis, and that cannot be a record. Anyone with the stamina to get through Brazil, a beachy retelling of the Tristan and Isolde myth, will discover at least as much space fruitlessly expended on the hero’s “yam.” Last month, Updike justly earned a lifetime-achievment prize in the Literary Review's Bad Sex in Fiction Awards. He clinched it with a passage in the new Widows of Eastwick that includes—avert your eyes, children—the following sentence: “Her face gleamed with his jism in the spotty light of the motel room, there on the far end of East Beach, within sound of the sea.”
I’ve been having some good “me time” while walking to and from the bus. And on the bus, I suppose. Recently:
-I have only ever lived on corners, with the exception of the time I spent in Paris. Even my freshman year dorm room was on a corner of sorts, of a major path (the kind college security could drive on in their little red Rav-4s) and one of the on-campus roads. The house I lived in for the first 18 years of my life was on a corner lot, the house I lived in sophomore year in college was, too; my college apartment was on a 90 degree bend in the apartment loop road, and all of the apartments I’ve lived in in Philadelphia (3 so far) have been on city street intersections.
-I need to stop doing things in public that I do freely and ALMOST ALL THE TIME in private. Two examples from tonight only: singing aloud (after checking around me, I started singing a GROUPER song [of all things] REALLY LOUDLY along with my iPod, only to have some unsuspecting person come wheeling around a corner in front of me), and pretending to know how to tap dance (I was waiting for the bus and became enamored of how my footprints looked into the snow; this turned into a rather elaborate faux soft-shoe routine which was disrupted only when I realized that some judgy girl in a North Face jacket was giving me the hate stare while crossing the street next to me).
-Every place grows more lovable when it’s being snowed on, and I can be outside for measurably longer in the snow than I can in the humid heat of a Mid-Atlantic summer. So good work, Philadelphia. I like you more now.
“He is a prose writer of great beauty,” Mr. Wood wrote, “but that prose confronts one with the question of whether beauty is enough, and whether beauty always conveys all that a novelist must convey.”
Comments like these did not deter Mr. Updike from plowing ahead with his work, turning up three pages a day of fiction, essays, criticism or verse, and proving the maxim that several pages a day was at least a book a year and would add up to many dozens of books in a lifetime.
“I would write ads for deodorants or labels for catsup bottle, if I had to,” he told The Paris Review in 1967. “The miracle of turning inklings into thoughts and thoughts into words and words into metal and print and ink never palls for me.”
We’re making reservations at El Vez for Friday, I think. I’ve never been there but I mean you really can’t go wrong with Mexican food and margaritas. I can’t find the restaurant week menu anywhere though, which is a bummer.
Ok I had to step in here as a knower of all good mexican good in philly - DON’T go to El Vez! Its over-priced for the quality of the food…which is bad. Better, are,
They should all be on restaraunt week, I think. Have fun!
Lolita = amazing. Xochitl and Cantina Los Caballitos are good too. El Vez is good only for atmosphere, and for the fact that they have a photobooth. I will say that they have one of the only elaborate cocktails that I love: El Diablo is cinnamon-infused tequila with hibiscus tea and muddled orange. Yum.
Cantina! Oh man goat burritos are so delicious, and they make a damn fine margarita. If you end up at Lolita, say hi to my friend Willy, who’s the handsome (if grouchy), blue-eyed food runner.
I celebrated my fortieth birthday last week by cataloguing my collection of bird feeders. Next year I’m hoping for sexual intercourse. And a cake. Join my invite mailing list at box no. 6831.
OMG! This magazine is the shizz. Seriously, dudes. Awesome! LOL! Classics lecturer (M, 48). Possibly out of his depth with today’s youth. KTHX! Box no. 2680.
God appeared to me in a dream last night and spoke your name in my ear. He gave me the winning lottery numbers, too, though, so you can understand where my priorities lay when I raced to grab a notebook and pen. Man, 37, living on hope and the next seven weeks’ bonus balls seeks woman whose first name begins with S, or maybe F, and rhymes with chicken, and has a surname that’s either a place in Shropshire or the title of a 1979 Earth, Wind and Fire track. Shicken Boogiewonderland, I know you’re reading this. Write now to box no. 5729.
"Mr. Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider the Bush administration’s past rejection of the California application [of stricter auto emissions standards]. While he stopped short of flatly ordering the reversal of the Bush decision, the agency’s regulators are now widely expected to do so after completing a formal review process.
The president also directed the Transportation Department to draw up rules to implement a 2007 law requiring a 40 percent improvement in gas mileage for autos and light trucks by 2020. The Bush administration failed to write any regulations to enforce the new law.
Once the agencies act, automobile manufacturers will quickly have to retool to begin producing and selling cars and trucks that are cleaner and get better gas mileage on an accelerated schedule. The auto companies have lobbied hard against the regulations and have challenged them in court.”
La da da, keep on making me happy to see you on the front page of the New York Times, Barack.