Archive for the FOOD & RESTAURANTS Category

Jazz in Holyoke with Kaos Theory; An Unusually Fine Outdoor Experience

Posted in Adventures and Interludes, FOOD & RESTAURANTS, Life Performance Art, Poetry, Thoughts with tags on September 23, 2012 by Admin

So, my pictures from this event did not turn out well, but I think the video gives an idea of the spectacular projection and music of the band. Oddly, I have not been able to get an answer from anyone I have contacted regarding the exact name of the band. But then, some times I don’t feel so… sane.


The original poster:


We have been having a series of jazz concerts in a huge parking lot behind two abandoned buildings and a single occupied one, using an old long-abandoned loading dock with weeds and etc as a stage. The result is pretty amazing as the parking lot is situated such that it is between two canals and this creates a beautiful cross breeze, helpful especially on those hot summer nights. Sometimes the BYOR crew coordinates with the jazz series but on this night we were the only people who’d brought food and wine and candles and yet somehow, due perhaps to a miraculous miracle in which the dishes we’d made had self-replicated exponentially, we were able to feed most everyone who showed up. The bottles of wine lasted throughout the evening, as did the Eggplant Parmesan from a friend’s garden — well, all but the cheese — as well as the chocolate zucchini cake, the pumpkin tarts and muffins, and the myriad other dishes.

There is something rather ethereal about tablecloths, cloth napkins, candles and flowers in a visually near-post-apocalypse setting, and the stage… well it is hard to describe just how it lends itself to the various jazz bands who have played at this unnamed venue.

At this last event the evening was  the sort cool temperature bordering on cold of the sort which, following seemingly endless painfully sweltering dog days, makes wearing socks and sweaters as delicious a feeling as at the end of a long day at the beach when the sun has set and the goosebumps appear.

As I was the only person with a camera, this is the only video we have. The song which is labeled “Candy’ has been stuck in my head ever since, along with the warm feeling from sitting around the old discarded kiln we dragged out into the parking lot and used as a fire pit, and the dreams I had after a beautiful evening in the fresh air.

Restaurants owned by people and not corporations have something I love: The Joy of Casita Azteca

Posted in Adventures and Interludes, FOOD & RESTAURANTS, Life Performance Art, Music, Poetry, The meaning of life on May 5, 2010 by Admin

The Front of La Casita Azteca as seen from Cottage Street

People will complain about jobs being farmed out to India or being replaced by machines, the corporate white-collar crime stats, the overuse of fossil fuels, shipping costs, and etc; and will advocate buying locally and this or that, but then will go to chain restaurants, not keeping in mind that for starters you are getting mass-produced meals assembled by ‘chefs’ who follow corporate mandates to reduce the number of mushrooms on your pizza- which are shipped across the country in 18-wheelers – so as to increase the national or worldwide profit margin by another million(s), which will ultimately go toward corporate salaries and private jets. Essentially your meals are prepared fiscally by suits in big offices with expense accounts bigger than our annual incomes and who jet about checking on said numbers of mushrooms on said pizzas, at chains around the country.

And, as seen from the side parking lot, once one drives through the parking lot between De Grandpre Jewelers and the Sunrise Bakery

Yet there still exist, somehow, real restaurants with real food prepared on the premises, with care, often with locally-grown ingredients, and which are owned and operated by people like you an me (except that they have restaurants, so there’s that), and so I try to stick to such places, for enjoying a lovely meal, and spending my real, organic dollars on such choices. No franchises, chains, fast food, restaurants owned by a “Management Group” or the like.

And, for Cinco d Mayo, Casita Azteca is having a celebration in their lovely front garden with the pretty lights, colorful flags, flowers and vines, with live music and fun! So maybe give it a try? It’s conveniently located on Cottage Street (Route 141)  in Easthampton, next to De Grandpre Jewelers, across the street from The Brass Cat, and has free parking out back.  Affordable, delightful, delicious, musical outdoor fun!

Would it not be lovely if we all patronized local establishments when possible and thus supported mere fellow human beings trying to make a living like ourselves? before the entire world becomes one large corporation.

Excellent food, amazing atmosphere, happy times, at Casita Azteca. Always.

Vinh Chau in the Springfield Xelta

Posted in Adventures and Interludes, FOOD & RESTAURANTS with tags , , , on November 25, 2008 by Admin


Vinh Chau Vietnamese Restaurant

409 Dickinson St
Springfield, MA 01108
(413) 731-8858


The mascots at Vinh Chau. I think they need some more stuff in their tank. They have no place to hide and no things to swim around.

The mascots at Vinh Chau. I think they need some more stuff in their tank. They have no place to hide and no things to swim around.

According to Wikipedia: Vinh Chau (Vietnamese: Vĩnh Châu) is a district (huyện) of Soc Trang Province in the Mekong River Delta region of Vietnam. And a Delta is an alluvial deposit, often in the shape of the Greek letter “delta”, which is formed where a stream drops its debris load on entering a body of quieter water. And, again, an alluvial deposit is a place where a stream slows down and where people can go gold panning.

Kathy at Vinh Chau, with the town of Vinh Chau and the Mekong River in the background, made of beads, naturally. The blues in this picture all fed off each other and made more bluish-ness.

Kathy at Vinh Chau, with the town of Vinh Chau and the Mekong River in the background, made of beads, naturally. The blues in this picture all fed off each other and made more bluish-ness.

So it would seem to follow that the Springfield X is a Xelta as it is in the shape of an X, and is, because that’s where Vinh Chau is, where one might be able to go panning for fabulous Vietnamese food complete with mint, lemongrass and tea. Yesterday I had lunch with my sweet pal Kathy at Vinh Chau.I have tried other Vietnamese Restaurants in the area but this is the teeniest and the freshest and one place we tried actually doesn’t carry mint (I asked) and mint is rather essential to Vietnamese food according to my extensive research in the Allston area of Boston where I used to live and where Vietnamese restaurants abound.

Vinh Chau at lunch

Vinh Chau at lunch

Vinh Chau actually has fresh fortune cookies, which we couldn’t help but notice. You know how mostly the fortune cookies don’t actually taste good, especially not so much good enough to actually eat after a big meal, but you open them anyway to see what lovely little bit is tucked inside? Well the fortune cookies at Vinh Chau are not only edible, they are rather delicious with a hint of orange and a perfect crunchity crunch. I wonder how many distributors of fortune cookies there are. And if the taste and fortunes vary depending on the sensibility of the manufacturer.

Vinh Chau Fortune on table - cameraphone pic

Vinh Chau Fortune on table - cameraphone pic

There is a little place in Northampton where I used to get sushi that had the oddest and sometimes even disconcerting fortunes. And there is another place I used to eat where the food was only so-so but the fortunes were better so we’d find ourselves there once in a while. And yet another place where the fortunes seemed aimed always to allude to romance with females. Odd that.

I recommend the make-your-own Spring Rolls, under the steamed vermicelli section of the menu. You get a bowl of hot water, a stack of rice papers, and a platter of stuff including fresh mint, vermicelli, lettuce, bean sprouts, and crushed peanuts. You soak each piece of rice paper in the hot water till soft, drip dry, lay it out on your plate, load it up, and then play slippery origami. The result is your own handmade spring roll which comes with sweet fish sauce and peanut sauce for dipping delight.

I also recommend the Vietnamese salad, which we loved. If you order it with duck be sure to do so immediately upon arrival as it takes at least 20 minutes to prepare and includes an entire duck. We had it with chicken and it was the best I have ever had. It consists of shredded cabbage, cilantro, chicken and other essentials and comes with a dressing which seems to be fish sauce and rice vinegar.

The spring rolls are amazingly fresh, delicious, and are packed with mint (still can’t get over the other Vietnamese restaurant where they don’t stock mint). I can’t resist the Chicken Pho but we had ordered so much fabulous food (the portions are quite generous) that we were stuffed. So to maximize our eating out productivity, we planned ahead and put in a few orders of the Chicken Pho to go so we would have them for the next day. There is nothing quite like a Vietnamese Chicken Soup (Pho). Usually the Pho is served with a side of sprouts and basil but on our last trip (we go a lot, this being my favorite restaurant) it was served with a spikey cilantro. Be sure to squeeze that accompanying lime into the Pho – you’ll be surprised at the taste.

On our next trip we tried the tapioca shakes in melon which came with large black tapioca pearls and a straw wide enough to shoot them out of, which we were too grown up to do. For dessert we had fortune cookies and coffee, Vietnamese style, which means you get your own little press which drips into a glass submerged in hot water and with a layer of condensed milk at the bottom. Once the coffee is fully pressed into your glass you stir up the condensed milk or not, if you prefer less milk and more show.

Vinh Chau does not have a liquor license. This means you can stop en route and choose the perfect saki, plum wine or whatever you choose, to go with your meal. The service is sweet and endearing. Kim always takes great care of us, as does the other guy whose name I have yet to get. Healthy, delicious, exotic, simple, charming, fun…. I could go on and on.

And…  very affordable. Tell them Mo sent you.  ;-)

Longfellow and I have a quietly thrilling weekend

Posted in Adventures and Interludes, Being a Virgo, FOOD & RESTAURANTS, Philosophy?, Superstition and OCD with tags , , on October 11, 2008 by Admin

This past weekend a dear friend took me to an old inn for a quiet weekend, as a birthday gift to us, because we share a birthday. I went to an inn once last October and rewrote the wine list at a nearby restaurant. October is inn appreciation month. I did not rewrite anything on this trip, but am currently writing a story. But, anyway.

The Wayside Inn, where we stayed, is a living museum. Indeed it felt much like having some sort of connection enabling us to stay, on the sly, in a museum for the night. Like when you go a museum and wish you could hide away and then stay overnight in one of the exhibits–yeah, it was like that.

This inn is so old in fact that it has very low beamed ceilings which made me feel tall. I am not often within reach of any ceilings and don’t often feel tall. This inn is said to be haunted. It has something to do with Longfellow. It is called, officially, Longfellow’s Wayside Inn. I like inns. I like the quiet of no TVs and quiet, tiptoey times.

I drove up to the inn...

I drove up to the inn and pulled in at the sign and thought wow! This is so rustic. I can't believe we are staying here. Then I re-read the sign and realized that this is The Wayside Inn grist mill. oops! Back in the car I go...

Arriving at the real inn

Maureen's thumb, arriving at the real inn

The tavern has brown checked tablecloths.

The tavern has brown checked tablecloths and people. The people can be any pattern they like. .

A glass of wine

A glass of wine at the tavern.

At check-in time we logically checked in. There was an innkeeper.

At check-in time we logically checked in. There was an innkeeper. I imagine this guy who let me take his picture is the innkeeper. but ya know, I didn't actually ask.

And brought our little things to our little rooms.

And brought our little things to our little rooms.

Then walked around the pond...

Then walked around the pond...

And sat by the pond on the little benches and chatted...

And sat by the little pond on the little benches and chatted...

the pond has Lillypads...

The pond has (little) Lillypads...

Things stirred up the pond and made swirlies

Things stirred up the pond and made swirlies

My little room.

My little room.

The gift shop had dolls...

The gift shop had dolls... They were like my little expressionless inn friends.

And ducks...

And expressionless ducks...

The dining room was busy indeed...

The dining room was busy indeed...

Christine took excellent care of us.

Christine took excellent care of us.I loved Christine.

Parts of the inn are roped off and are museumish. That turkey is not real.

Parts of the inn are roped off and are museumish. That turkey is not real.Then we went to bed. But not to sleep because there was a wedding on the grounds and the music and the DJ did not stop louding till 11:18 PM. So as I waited for the quiet to come to the inn, and ghosts to appear, the sounds of Michael Jackson's Thriller were in the background. Hence the thrillingness. Then we checked out the next day and went home. To nap.

Sushi-Rama Extravaganza a la Virgoan Embracements

Posted in Being a Virgo, FOOD & RESTAURANTS, Sushi, The meaning of life, Thoughts with tags , , , , , on September 8, 2008 by Admin


Moshi Moshi photo by Mo Ringey

It was a dark and stormy night. It was a virgo night. It was our birthdays. We decided to get sushi to celebrate having made it through another year. We chose Moshi Moshi because Sam is ever so friendly and welcoming and because his wife Kimi remembers my name and is so sweet and stellar. And I have my own chopsticks there. They are girly. And Red. With abalone.

Moshi Moshi photo by Mo Ringey

It was still a dark and rainy night outside and people walked by, as they will do. It was cozy and warm and dry inside. I like that Moshi Moshi is a single restaurant; owned by a person and not a group or corporation. I always wonder why parking lots of big chain restaurants are jammed with cars. I worked at a chain once - a large pizza chain - and executives would come from wherever they came from and inspect it. And us. If your tables were not set up exactly to corporate specifications you would get written up. I was written up once because my salt and pepper shakers were wrongly positioned. I asked what was wrong with them; they were full and clean and next to each other all nicey nice-like and they had logic. I was told that they should be centered such that from wherever the table was, the salt should be facing the entrance with the pepper exactly behind it. Why are those parking lots always so full?


I am generally a trifle confused. But color soothes. And raindrops. Real food, un-chemicaled, soothes. Delights. Love. It.


I read a short story once in Omni Magazine, back in the 90s, about a drunk couple on their way home from a party. They were abducted by aliens. Aboard the alien ship they continued their bickering; he accused her of flirting too much and too rampagingly, she accused him of drinking too much, and all the while the aliens were trying to get their attention and maintain some order. I can't find it now. It was a brilliant little story. Please send it.

Moshi Moshi photo by Mo Ringey

It looks so sweet from the outside looking in. At the chain restaurant I worked at in Boston (ok--Framingham, but I lived in Boston, which is so much many less letters to type) the food came mostly pre-prepared from corporate headquarters in giant containers and had loads of preservatives and was made in giant batches. Maybe it was made of soilent green?. The chefs were really assemblers. Why are those parking lots so full? Sam's sushi is fresh and delicious. Fresh. Robert Parrish came in to pick up pizzas once at the Framingham chain place. We all stared. He was taller than me. by like, two me's.

Moshi Moshi photo by Mo Ringey

Sam with a few of his creations. He is smiley. My Aunt Mary used to make the best pies. And she knitted crazy outfits for me, while she made pies. She multi-tasked. That had logic and efficiency. I'd wear them. The knitted things, not the pies. I had a purple knitted jumpsuit. I loved it. I wore it until it unraveled completely. Sometimes people unravel. That's why I am in therapy. It all started when my purple knitted jumpsuit unraveled. It was symbolic. And heralding-ish.

Moshi Moshi photo by Mo Ringey

Sam has funny glasses. He sing-songs a hello to all who enter. Moshi Moshi means hello in Japanese. Ohio (not its real spelling) means good morning. I like spellings. But I don't know all the spellings. Life, the mystery. Tune in. Unravel. Cling to whatever shreds of logic you can find. Eat sushi. It is a cure-all. I am having sushi again tonight. I am housesitting for a house, two cats, and a dog. They are very nice. I have two eyes and a nose. I have two chipped teeth. When the housesitting people come back they are taking me out for sushi for my birthday. I turned them on to sushi and they now crave it. It's good to turn people on to sushi. I am getting spoiled. Maybe that will start a raveling effect.

Moshi Moshi photo by Mo Ringey

Sam let us wear his glasses. Gosh. I think they suit Jim in a cartoonish way. This is Jim as a cartoon. Character.

Moshi Moshi photo by Mo Ringey

We both got to wear them. Sharing is caring. Teasing Hurts. I love Sam's crispy tuna thingies. Like sushi taco-ettes. I think sushi should be a daily thing. I ran into Mike there. He goes there a lot. Restaurants love Mike. Mike loves restaurants. Reciprocity is nice. it has logic. Does Sarah Palin really believe global warming is a "farce"? Mike is elusive. He said why don't we hang out more. I said your elusivity eludes me, Mr. Forgets-to-call-back. I don't want to stalk you. He said please stalk me, I like it. I'll put that into the neurotic processing circulation file. I won't stalk. I will persist. That's how we get through life I guess.

Moshi Moshi photo by Mo Ringey

Kimi. I am not sure if I spelled her name correctly. I am just guessing. But I like my spelling version. Kimi always remembers my name. Sam calls me JD. I tell him my name is actually in the name of his restaurant. My parents feed a raccoon family too. They are not shy, the raccoons. There is a mother and 3 babies. They climb over the fence and eat the food that is out. They walk right up the stairs when we are sitting on the deck and make expectant faces. So we clap to scare them just a little bit away. It's not good if they don't learn fear of humans. And they don't eat at chain restaurants. I bet they'd love sushi. After we scare them gently they go back down the stairs to the yard and we put the food down there for them. They use the water dish to wash their faces. Last night my friend kathy came over and she saw them. I didn't have my camera. Or Jim's, either.

Moshi Moshi photo by Mo Ringey

We drank wine, in the shelter from the rain. I waited on Amy carter once when she was in Northampton summers a lot ago for that trail when they were arrested for protesting the CIA recruiting on campus at UMASS. One of her fawning co-arrestees ordered wine. This was when I worked at Joe's Cafe in Northampton which also real and delicious and un-fucked up food. I asked if he wanted it room temp or chilled. We served it both ways because the wine was kept in a not-wine-cellar temperature area and sometimes people said it was too warm. Red wine is meant to be at 57 degrees, they say, like a wine cellar. So room temp is a bit higher than the red wine likes to be. So this fawner made an extremely aghasted face and put his hand to this throat and said, "Only a BARBARIAN would drink red wine chilled." So I asked him for his I.D.

Moshi Moshi photo by Mo Ringey

Sam's counter is decorated. With decorations. And a tip jar.I have a tip jar. I have decorations. I am like Sam and am therefor meant for sushi.


Reflecting on reflections somehow seems more logical than reflecting on life. And why people eat preservatives instead of real food. Without the polyurethane and shellac.

Moshi Moshi photo by Mo Ringey

Those are the fried rice bombs. Sam invents crazy specials. We made assemblages of everything within reach.I took the extra ginger home. I love ginger. But I forgot to put it in the fridge. Please send ginger.

Moshi Moshi photo by Mo Ringey

It was easy to go there because it was open. More logic. More welcoming. More pretty colors.

Moshi Moshi photo by Mo Ringey

Oh my. Happy sushi birthday to us. Maguro is my favorite.

Moshi Moshi photo by Mo Ringey

Sam works from slips from the waitperson, who was very nice. It is logical and has that logic thing going for it. Life is not always logical.

Moshi Moshi photo by Mo Ringey

Fried rice bombs are the bomb. Those are my chopsticks. They are number 233. I think. Or maybe they are number 223. The number has twos and threes. It was a lovely birthday meal. I like being greeted warmly and feeling welcome.The end.

As it turns out…

Posted in Animal Stuff, FOOD & RESTAURANTS, Life Performance Art, Special People, The meaning of life on July 22, 2008 by Admin


Anecdotally it would seem that I live in the past I suppose. But sometimes the present is less interesting than the past and so the past serves as surrogate present until which time the present becomes sufficiently amusing so as to merit a redundant anecdotal aside. It’s about time, again, a personal perpetual preponderance perhaps (10 demerits for over-alliteration). And sometimes things are far more amusing when seen in life’s rear-view mirrors, although not this one. It took years for my broken leg to seem hilarious, though.

Artists' rendering of Jamoka in a lobster bib.

Artists' rendering of Jamoka in a lobster bib.

Anyway- back in Boston I worked crazy hours at a dot com startup and so I enrolled my dog in a day care called Dog Day Afternoons. Pickup was precisely at 6 so plans after work had to accommodate having Jamoka in tow. I lived on a little island called Squantum so dropping him at home meant a long trip through snail-like commuter traffic and then a trip back into the city. Planning took some planning, I suppose.

One day a co-worker asked if I wanted to grab a drink after work, not a rare thing, and so first I picked up Jamoka and then we had to choose a place where he could sit outside with us as it was too hot to leave him in the car. I always left all the windows rolled down but was always afraid someone would steal him as he was so sweet and would go with anyone. So we walked through Christopher Columbus Park in the North End because there was a bar there which was dog-friendly on the outside but all of the outside tables were full. So we kept walking through the park. We came across a man and a woman with their beagle and the dogs liked each other and played so nicely that the man (forgot his name) suggested we all find a place to have dinner together.

We went to a restaurant at the edge of the North End (forget the name. I think it was 101 Atlantic. Years before it had been called Joseph’s Aquarium, of that much I am certain) that had outside tables. The man kept ordering expensive appetizers and wines and we got a little squirmy at the mental tabulations of the inevitable check but we were afraid to voice our fiscal fears and so we said nothing and decided this would be the big splurge. The evening was delicious with a velvety breeze from the water and the waning light and the getting along swimmingly thing. We had a delightful dinner and amusing conversation and the waiter brought the dogs bowls of water and dishes for the dog food. I always had a travel pack of dog food in my bag for such occasions. Jamoka happily shared his food with his new beagle friend. A well-dressed couple at the next table offered Jamoka a piece of their lobster and he smiled so wide that they kept feeding him bits of lobster and he sat up like an eager child on his best behavior. I was envious. It was a beautiful evening and I was dreading saying goodbye to my new friends. I tend to miss people before they are gone.

Artists' rendering of Jamoka as Carmen Miranda in a lobster bib.

Artists' rendering of Jamoka as Carmen Miranda in a lobster bib.

The waiter saw this and brought Jamoka a lobster bib that he didn’t at all mind wearing and some tourists came by and took a picture. It was pretty cute. jamoka delighted the guests by doing his famous breakdance; years earlier I had tried to teach him to roll over. But he would get confused and he knew it was a circular thing so he’d twirl around in a sitting position a few times and then drop to the floor and roll over. If the treat held aloft were fancy and I said the words, “Break it down”, he’d do his dance. People loved that trick.

The owner came out just then and took in the breakdancing the lobster bib tied around Jamoka’s neck and said, “Almost every day a woman who is a photographer/writer for The Boston Globe comes by with her dog about this time. I wish she would come by now and take a picture for the paper”, and so we all hoped she would come by as we ate. Yet she never did. It must have been her day to pick up her drycleaning. or maybe she was having a pedicure. I loved pedicures but would only have clear nail polish applied which always disappointed the woman I went to in Chinatown. She tried for color every time and we’d have a friendly debate about that. I always won.

Not an Artists' rendering of Jamoka in a lobster bib, but rather an actual picture of how lobster made Jamoka feel.

Not an Artists' rendering of Jamoka in a lobster bib, but rather an actual picture of how lobster made Jamoka feel.

As the sun set and the food and its vessels were cleared, it became that apparent time to go. The check came and there was that vulnerable moment (for the check) when it was neither here nor there and we all reached for it but the man snatched it and held it above his head and after a briefest of pauses which added to the subtle drama, said, “As it turns out, I’m rich.”

I plan to end up at dinner with relative strangers one day and use that line. I hope it does not sound inorganic or staged. I will practice aloud in the shower.

Holiday in Dubai Gone Awry

Posted in Adventures and Interludes, Communication, Confusion, FOOD & RESTAURANTS, Life Performance Art, Narcissisim, Philosophy?, The meaning of life, Therapy with tags , , , , on July 11, 2008 by Admin


I read a news item, tantalizingly brief, about a holiday in Dubai gone way awry. It seems a British businesswoman went on holiday to Dubai, one of the seven states that form the United Arab Emirates, with some friends. It seems she was with friends and they were having drinks when one thing led to another and now she has achieved international fame and is possibly being made an example of; “Michelle Palmer, manager of a publishing firm, was arrested after a police officer reportedly found her and a British holidaymaker in a compromising position on Jumeirah Beach in the Arab state.”

It appears there was drinking of champagne during a brunch with fellow holidaymakers and then said businesswoman agreed to go for a walk on the beach with a friend of a colleague. Funny choices of words those – ‘agreeing to go for a walk’, which might suggest a level of innocence and which also suggests that the walk was not her idea. Clearly the reporter is sympathetic to her plight. ‘Friend of a colleague’ might suggest a distance from her partner in crime. I can’t help but analyze choices of words, all day, every day. Anyway, brunch is often in the morningish time of day, so this 5 July day was off to a merry start. I imagine the sun was out in sunny Dubai.

The walk turned into sex on the beach. Ok-this means she’s a daring and impulsive sort as now she is having sex in broad daylight (why is it called ‘broad’, I wonder?). So anyway they are having sex/making hay on the beach while the sun shines. A police comes along but lets them off with a caution. Phew, right? But then it all goes terribly wrong when later they are discovered in the same position (it’s not clear if it is the same police at this point), and they are arrested. At this point businesswoman Palmer is said to have become aggressive.

She is now charged with being drunk in public which is bad in the UAE because while alcohol is available to non-Muslims in hotel bars, it is not legal to drink or be drunk in public. So she’s kinda screwed. She is further charged with indecent behavior in public, another pretty weighty offense in the UAE. So she has some charges for which to answer. But it gets worser and worser!; she is charged with assaulting a police officer. Oh dear. I guess he wrecked the moment for the couple. Yikes. For all of her sins she is facing a possible 6 years in a moral Dubai prison. That’s got to be terrifying. And here’s the worst of it-she is further charged with having sex outside of marriage. Whoa! Businesswoman UK Lady is married! Imagine the call home. And, Adultery is not cool, so there’s that. But prison?

Remember in Jaws when they try to hold off alerting the public about the killer bikinicladgirl-eating shark because the politician guy doesn’t want to lose holiday tourists and their detachable disposable income? Maybe that’s what the first caution was about. I bet she is consumed by a myriad of shoulda, coulda, wouldas; those are the killers in life. Shoulda stopped when the first police came, shoulda gone to the south of France, shoulda gone back to the room, etc. I’d not like to find myself in a foreign prison (New Hampshire is a foreign country, by the way).

And isn’t Dubai where Michael Jackson went for an extended stay as guest of some incomprehensibly rich royal at his insanely opulent palace to escape the investigations and insinuations of various moral and financial indecencies? Oh–the hypocrisies. I think Michael Jackson should call his royal pal and help this poor fellow morally turpitundinal woman out. She looks so nice.

Back to Dubai; I have heard it is really expensive and is home to the world’s only 7 star hotel. I will ask my editor to send me there to investigate, and will report back.

“Among the Jumeirah Hotels you find the world famous Burj Al Arab, the only 7 star hotel in the world.”

A King suite at this architecturally intriguing hotel is 4,000 AED (United Arab Emirates Dirhams) which equals $1089.18 USD. That’s not so expensive really. There are hotels in Boston similarly priced. I must be getting misinformation from the hotel booking engine.

“Offering the highest levels of personalised service in the most luxurious surroundings imaginable, your butler will ensure that every little need is met. Designed to provide maximum comfort, our unique service levels mean that even your check in will be in the privacy of your suite.

Burj Al Arab does not have rooms; it has 202 suites, each one arranged over two floors. Ranging from a spacious 170 sq. mts to an astonishing 780 sq. mts in size, the floor to ceiling glass windows offer simply breathtaking views of the Arabian Gulf.

Decorated with lavish textures and exuberant colours, each suite features a sumptuous living and dining area, state of the art entertainment system and office facilities. Their sheer opulence in every tiny detail is underpinned with technology that does everything from controlling the 42 inch Plasma screen TV to closing the curtains.” <–That description aptly describes my life and its surrounds.

So we’ll see what pans out for poor Michelle Palmer, who looks so nice. Seriously, Michael Jackson needs to give back – he needs to come to the aid of Michelle Palmer. She is a fellow human being and has a humble and endearing smile.

Sometimes one thing just leads to another and then lines get crossed, egos and issues get involved, things escalate, tempers arise and pointless retributions are cavalierly meted out, depending on who has the power or the connections. I know. I was unfairly arrested once in a far geographical cry from Dubai… Continue reading

Maya Anjelou’s mother does not have a saying for this

Posted in Confusion, FOOD & RESTAURANTS, lessons in Art, Literary, Philosophy?, Recipes with tags , , , on April 17, 2008 by Admin

Maya Angelou’s mother is/was wise (I’ll have to check on her whereabouts). I want to ask her what she would say about things like this.

I am merely posting about this and have no commentary. But then, that doesn’t feel much like a blog post. So–in a random and blindfolded way I will open 3 different books that are in my currently reading pile (I always read books in threes and have no idea how that happened) and insert quotes. Then it will feel like I made a real post. With peachy pasted quotes.

———-Article from Yale Daily News———-

For senior, abortion a medium for art, political discourse


Martine Powers

Staff Reporter
Published Thursday, April 17, 2008

Art major Aliza Shvarts ’08 wants to make a statement.

Beginning next Tuesday, Shvarts will be displaying her senior art project, a documentation of a nine-month process during which she artificially inseminated herself “as often as possible” while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages. Her exhibition will feature video recordings of these forced miscarriages as well as preserved collections of the blood from the process.

“They a pain.”

“Yeh. Wish I’d listened to mamma. She told me not to have ’em too soon.”

~Sula, Toni Morrison (I swear to god that this was a random blindfolded quote and not chosen on purpose. Sigh. Who’ll believe me? So random yet so oddly, twistedly related. I hardly believe me.

The goal in creating the art exhibition, Shvarts said, was to spark conversation and debate on the relationship between art and the human body. But her project has already provoked more than just debate, inciting, for instance, outcry at a forum for fellow senior art majors held last week. And when told about Shvarts’ project, students on both ends of the abortion debate have expressed shock . saying the project does everything from violate moral code to trivialize abortion.

But Shvarts insists her concept was not designed for “shock value.”

“Simon was shocked. He had detected nothing more than the usual amount of lubrication at such moments. There had been nothing of plastic or foam rubber or metal on or in her.”

~Venus on the Half Shell, Philip José Farmer

Ok–that is too weird. And this puts me in a bad position. I honestly chose 4 books to quote from and by their titles there was no way I could know I’d choose quotes that looked purposeful or snarky by covering my eyes with my Showergirl Terrycloth Beautycap and opening each book. Now I look like he who doth protest too much. I hope the third quote is totally irrelevant.

“I hope it inspires some sort of discourse,” Shvarts said. “Sure, some people will be upset with the message and will not agree with it, but it’s not the intention of the piece to scandalize anyone.”

The “fabricators,” or donors, of the sperm were not paid for their services, but Shvarts required them to periodically take tests for sexually transmitted diseases. She said she was not concerned about any medical effects the forced miscarriages may have had on her body. The abortifacient drugs she took were legal and herbal, she said, and she did not feel the need to consult a doctor about her repeated miscarriages.

Shvarts declined to specify the number of sperm donors she used, as well as the number of times she inseminated herself.

Art major Juan Castillo ’08 said that although he was intrigued by the creativity and beauty of her senior project, not everyone was as thrilled as he was by the concept and the means by which she attained the result.

During that time I let all the houseplants die. After the book was finished I noticed them; the plants hung completely black dead in their pots on the bay window. For I not only let them die, I had not moved them. During that time, I told all my out-of-town friends they could not visit for a while.

“I understand you’re married,” a man said to me at a formal lunch in New York my publisher had arranged. “How do you have time to write a book?”

~The Writing Life, Annie Dillard

I guess this has rather turned into an experiment. The result is that I no longer believe in randomnicity.

“I really loved the idea of this project, but a lot other people didn’t,” Castillo said. “I think that most people were very resistant to thinking about what the project was really about. [The senior-art-project forum] stopped being a conversation on the work itself.”

Although Shvarts said she does not remember the class being quite as hostile as Castillo described, she said she believes it is the nature of her piece to “provoke inquiry.”

“I believe strongly that art should be a medium for politics and ideologies, not just a commodity,” Shvarts said. “I think that I’m creating a project that lives up to the standard of what art is supposed to be.”

The display of Schvarts’ project will feature a large cube suspended from the ceiling of a room in the gallery of Green Hall. Schvarts will wrap hundreds of feet of plastic sheeting around this cube; lined between layers of the sheeting will be the blood from Schvarts’ self-induced miscarriages mixed with Vaseline in order to prevent the blood from drying and to extend the blood throughout the plastic sheeting.

There is no one strong color note here to start the action as in the Perugino, nor one sharp value-contrast. In fact, value-contrasts of almost equal attraction are dispersed throughout so that our eye seems to move quickly and constantly over the entire painting. Unlike the other work, where details are massed and there are large restful, unbroken areas, the whole surface is broken up by the scattered knotty clouds (note how they are organized in the Perugino), the sharply contrasting plants, and the harshly defined stones — an agitated surface which enters into the excitement of the moment.

~Learning to Look; A Handbook for the Visual Arts, Joshua C. Taylor

Sigh. I am dropping this experiment.

Schvarts will then project recorded videos onto the four sides of the cube. These videos, captured on a VHS camcorder, will show her experiencing miscarriages in her bathrooom tub, she said. Similar videos will be projected onto the walls of the room.

School of Art lecturer Pia Lindman, Schvarts’ senior-project advisor, could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

Few people outside of Yale’s undergraduate art department have heard about Shvarts’ exhibition. Members of two campus abortion-activist groups . Choose Life at Yale, a pro-life group, and the Reproductive Rights Action League of Yale, a pro-choice group . said they were not previously aware of Schvarts’ project.

Alice Buttrick ’10, an officer of RALY, said the group was in no way involved with the art exhibition and had no official opinion on the matter.

Sara Rahman ’09 said, in her opinion, Shvarts is abusing her constitutional right to do what she chooses with her body.

“[Shvarts’ exhibit] turns what is a serious decision for women into an absurdism,” Rahman said. “It discounts the gravity of the situation that is abortion.”

CLAY member Jonathan Serrato ’09 said he does not think CLAY has an official response to Schvarts’ exhibition. But personally, Serrato said he found the concept of the senior art project “surprising” and unethical.

“I feel that she’s manipulating life for the benefit of her art, and I definitely don’t support it,” Serrato said. “I think it’s morally wrong.”

Shvarts emphasized that she is not ashamed of her exhibition, and she has become increasingly comfortable discussing her miscarriage experiences with her peers.

“It was a private and personal endeavor, but also a transparent one for the most part,” Shvarts said. “This isn’t something I’ve been hiding.”

The official reception for the Undergraduate Senior Art Show will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 25. The exhibition will be on public display from April 22 to May 1. The art exhibition is set to premiere alongside the projects of other art seniors this Tuesday, April 22 at the gallery of Holcombe T. Green Jr. Hall on Chapel Street.

My Random seems to be broken. I’ll have to measure it with my Densitometer and recalibrate it. My countability is off too. That was actually 4 books.

I wonder how many people will find the very successfully random link hidden within the peachy goodness. Which makes me think of another of my favorite recipes… Continue reading

Homemade Ginger Ale

Posted in Communication, Confusion, FOOD & RESTAURANTS, Philosophy?, Recipes on April 12, 2008 by Admin

Psychoacoustic Metaphorical Attenuations

When I boil down my thoughts about life (which makes me think of homemade gingerale for which I have included the recipe below) to the simplest personal philosophy in an effort to tease out some meaningful meaning (in other words, when I make up shit in an effort to convince myself that I have even the slightest understanding of life and what is happening in my head), I always come back to the homegrown notion of the Metaphor-Go-Round which I first invented years ago in my arts newsletter.

So this morning when I got an email from my Valley Free Radio listserv (where I have an arts talk show), the following bit struck me as an inadvertent metaphorical perspective on life; a somewhat hidden gift of insight in the form of an innocuous email about why the turntables are creating oddly attenuated output when programmers play selections from the vinyl library. I have added my comments, theories?, and etc in peachy parentheses and brackets. And of course I have added random “illustrations” in the form of stock photography resulting from searches using peculiarly attentuated phraseology.

[sic] “It’s most likely because the two channels (Id and Superego?) are becoming PHASE-INVERTED (as in Cognitive Dissonance?) somewhere in the audio transmission chain. When this happens, “center channel” (ego?) information, such as vocals (reason?) which are centered directly between the two channels, are effectively “nulled out” (loss of affect?) of the stereo mix, and thus become nearly inaudible. If you’re listening in mono (i.e., listening solely with Superego or Id), you won’t notice it. But if you’re listening in stereo, the two channels SUBTRACT the information which is common to both of them (the commonalities between Superego and Id, as in the land of Ego), when the phase between the channels is reversed. As to what the “fix” might be (Freudian psychoanalysis? Internal Family Systems? pharmacotherapy?), I’ll defer to [Freud], who knows more about the equipment and its quirks than anybody else. It’s possible that either the left or right track is being attenuated somewhere between source and output. [ Attenuation of the prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle response within and between sessions?]

And then I imagine a lofty and convoluted discussion with my therapist, a la the dream sequence in my favorite movie (for my attenuated identity is the “Girl Friday” protagonist in that film) I’ve heard the Mermaids Singing, in which my therapist replies, Get your lovable shit out of this office, please.”

P.S. I don’t really get any of the stuff above. I just ponder it.



Posted in FOOD & RESTAURANTS on December 9, 2007 by Admin

Dinner at Big Mamou. Another unqualified food review by Mo____________________________________________________________________________________

Mo RingeyLet me start by saying that I am not a culinary expert, nor am I a licensed oenophile. As a matter of fact, in my mind I was once enrolled in, and expelled from, the Cuisine et Tradition School of Provencale Cuisine in Arles, France for being a gastronomical ne’er do well because I chose my forks based on astrological positions and I once led the trained pigs in that “bottle of beer on the wall” counting song while ostensibly rooting for truffles in the french countryside. Was it Sartre who once said something about “rooting up muddles and fallacies like so many truffles…”? Maybe it was my Aunt Mary.

Anyway, I think most of going out for dinner is the experience. The food is a huge part of it, clearly, but the service and ambiance are just as important in the overall dining experience hypotenuse. And this is my newsletter so I can assign restaurant reviews to me and so I did. Like I did with The Green Street Cafe, and El Guanaco.

So, Wednesday night a friend took me to dinner at Big Mamou in Springfield for unhijacking her computer.

I LOVE Big Mamou. Part of the charm is that it is BYOB which makes the whole experience more picnic-y, more down home and much cheaper. On a busy Saturday night people arrive in large, jovial groups bearing coolers or brown paper bags and inevitably, flailing arms of coats coming off.

The waitstaff is snappy and sharp-witted, as they push in chairs in the aisle (from the previous guests who did NOT) and work around the stumbling, happy hordes, and dodge the inevitable human flailing arms. So snappy in fact that I think if you accidentally decked them while throwing off your coat, they’d likely deck you back. And that’s part of the charm.

So we stopped at a wine shop en route and asked them for a recommendation. I have found that if you stop in at a good wine shop and tell them where and what you are eating, they can perfectly match your wine to your dish, which makes the whole experience much more fun. We had help choosing a Kerpen Riesling 2005 which was a nice match for the spicy acts to follow. It was sweet and seemingly complex yet sheepishly light, in a not so light kind of way. It was almost even shy. It was not properly chilled however, and this set the stage for our waitperson experience.

We wanted it really chilled to complement the spicy dishes we anticipated ordering so we started by asking for an ice bucket. The waitperson (let’s name her *Dixiecup* so I don’t have to keep typing *waitperson*) said they had no ice buckets or things to put ice in. I am tenacious though, so I asked did they have any kind of containers at all? No. Can you find some old plastic bucket to put some ice in? No. A condiment container? Trash bag? Anything? No. Then I said, “Well, I think I have a nasty old plastic ice bucket in my truck from The Hampton Inn in St. Louis. If I get that can we clean it up a bit? No. I can clean it in the bathroom sink maybe? No? If you give me some water I can rinse it outside on the sidewalk and then we can use it? Or I can use an old garbage bag from my trunk if you just give us a little bit of water and ice? Or we could buy it? What price, a bit of water and ice?” Finally Dixiecup took her reluctance for a walkabout and returned with a plastic bucket complete with a cup of water and some ice. We put the wine in and the ice water barely covered the bottom inch. We needed to act and fast!

So we cleverly ordered 2 glasses of ice water and informed Dixiecup that we’d order our food in a bit, once we felt properly hydrated. We had to remind her a few times that we needed water and then we’d order so finally we got it. As soon as she wasn’t looking we covertly poured our ice water into our bucket, like secret spies under cover. It was oddly fascinating and satisfying. It was cat and mouse, spy vs. spy. Then a party of 3 lovely people from Ware sat at the table beside us. They had a little cooler and a bottle of wine. They seemed to be negotiating with Dixiecup at frustrating length. When Dixiecup walked away they threw up their hands (not in a coat-shedding kind of way) and looked at us and asked, “What did you pay?”. I thought they were kidding but then Dixiecup came back with a wineglass full of ice and I saw one of the women dejectedly pouring her cherished wine directly onto the ice!

I felt compelled to step in, like when you see a crime being committed and you get an adrenaline rush and beat up the perpetrator and save the victim and go on TV and get a medal of bravery from the mayor (but first get a new haircut and even put on lip gloss and mascara) and give autographs and interviews and then go back to your life. Yeah, like that.
I leaned over and said, “Do you want…” and before I could finish the woman from Ware shouted, “Yes! Thank you!” and she reached over and put her wine bottle in our bucket with relief and vindication. We made new friends. Every time they reached over to retrieve or return their wine to/from our ice bucket, we exchanged niceties. It was really quite special. We bonded. I wanted to hold their hands. I wanted to tell them to go to YouTube and listen to the Young @ Heart Chorus sing, “I will fix you”. I wanted Fred Knittle to come along and fix us all. I wanted to start a fan club for the whole universe. I think people from Ware seem really nice. I had never met any before.

Anyway, the food. It was really good. I went to New Orleans once and I ate everything I could find so I do have some gastronomical comparative metrics against which to rate this feast. It was truly great and we tipped Dixiecup very well because we kind of enjoyed the whole ice bucket battle and maybe because we felt victorious. I feel victorious exactly 0 times each week so it was a unique and refreshing feeling for which I thank Dixiecup.

We started with the Louisiana fried oysters in seasoned cornmeal with fresh Cajun remoulade. The oysters were plump and amiable and the cornmeal coating was loose and light yet coherent and did not overwhelm the oysters or hoard too much oil from the fryolator so the result was more oystery than fry-ey. The remoulade was seemingly mayonnaise-based with a mild spice and had a pleasantly vague crunch. The slight crunch was clearly from some lucky vegetable that had gone on a wild ride through the cuisinart. I am guessing onion. Both my compadre and Dixiecup thought maybe onion too. A local character in New Orleans who once randomly best-friended me on the street (my crazy magnet was showing 3 bars of reception), told me an old Cajun joke: “When a bunch of Cajuns get together to make dinner one says, ‘You guys decide what you want to make for dinner; meanwhile I’ll start chopping the onions”. And so it goes. (that’s Kurt Vonnegut, no?)

We then ordered the Crawfish Quesadillas in flour tortilla with crawfish tail meat, cheese and green onion and served with corn tomato salsa. The quesadillas were lightly something-ed. They seemed baked but aren’t quesadillas usually pan-fried? And the cheese was in perfect quantity; it neither overwhelmed the dish (as we are wont to do in this land) nor underwhelmed (as we are not wont to do), and the green onions were complementary without being a punchline. The whole melee was drizzled with a beigey-brown sauce which was sweet and tangy. I think it was vinegar and sugar and secret ingredients. Dixiecup agreed it must be so. We wished we had more of the corn tomato salsa but didn’t want to push our luck, already being the envy of Springfield due to our ice bucket coup.

We finished with the Aunt Millie’s Five Flavor Pound Cake with brandied pecans and peaches. It had many flavors but my math skills are hilariously lacking (according to my tax accountant who says I would be best served by the witness protection program or a winning lottery ticket) so I can’t be sure about the actual number of flavors thing but it was pretty good.

And this does not exactly make for a full tasting of the menu but I also draw on previous visits in which I had the Chef Wayne Big Bayou Special which was incredible and also the Cajun Blackened Catfish which was delightfully delightful. But I guess I can’t put that in this review as on those visits I did not take notes. Next trip to Big Mamou I am bringing ice, a bucket, candles, and a letter *R* for the bathroom wall where it says, “Lake Ponchatrain”. I give it 5 ice cubes with a remoulade-y exclamation en pointe.

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