No matter what you are cooking, as our man, Jacques Pepin likes to say: Happy Cooking.
Lots of people getting out of town today. I’m glad that I’m not one of them. Hope that no matter where you are, you have a decent time of it tomorrow.
[Photo Credit: Thig Nat]
My grandmother on my mother’s side had dementia and spent the last years of her life in a home. I was told that she liked to bite people. I never saw her during that time–she was in Belgium, I was here in New York–but hers is the only experience I have with Alzheimer’s. I got to thinking about her as I read Charlie Pierce’s beautiful memoir about the disease, his family curse, which claimed his father and four uncles, and which may eventually claim him, as well.
Here is an excerpt:
The waking dream is of a dead city.
There was a great fire and the city died in it. I am sure of that. I can see the smoldering skyline, smoke rising from faceless buildings, flattening into dark and lowering clouds. I can hear the sharp keening of the scavenger birds. I can smell fire on damp wood, far away. I can feel the gritty wind in my eyes. I can taste the sour rain.
The waking dream comes upon me when I forget where the car is parked, or when I buy milk but forget the bread, or when I call my son by my daughter’s name. Wide awake but dreaming still, I walk through the ruined city.
When it happens, I remember. I remember everything. I remember anything. For years, I have been a walking trove of random knowledge, but I’ve come not to believe in the concept of trivia. I do not believe that anything you remember can be truly useless because I have seen memory go cold and dead.
“Why do you know stuff like that? people ask.
I smile and shrug. I do not tell them about the relief I find in remembering that Leon Czolgosz shot President McKinley. Not to remember Leon Czolgosz is to realize that one day you may not remember your son. Leon Czolgosz goes first, and then your children. Not to remember is to realize that the day will come when you cannot find your way back home, that the day will come when you cannot find the way back to yourself. Not to remember is to begin to die, piecemeal, one fact at a time. It is to drift, aimlessly, deep into the ruined city, and never return.
…There’s a game I play now, when the waking dream comes. I make a deal with the disease. All right, I say. I will allow you to have some of my memories. You can have my first polio shot, all the lyrics to “American Woman,” two votes for Bill Clinton, and both Reagan administrations.
Leave me my children’s names.
Let me know them, and you can have all four Marx Brothers.
This is not clinical. I know the disease does not work this way. But sometimes, when the waking dream comes and I can feel the wind all gritty on my skin, I play this game anyway, and I am very good at it. I was born to play it. I was raised to believe that truth is malleable, and that you can bend it so that even its darkest part can be shaped into the familiar and the commonplace. I can play this game. I can play it well.
Makes you appreciate the moment, this moment, for what we have.
You can order Hard to Forget: An Alzheimer’s Story, here.
Bobby V and the Red Sox? Oh, man, it’s just too good not to happen. Sensitive, bright, smug, insufferable, and just this side of self-parody–they are made for each other. Bobby V will make it even easier to despise the Sox.
Imagine Buck Showalter vs. Bobby? Then add dd Joe Girardi’s tight ass? Never mind Joe Maddon. That’s a lot of gamesmanship from the top step of the dugout in the AL East. Oh, man, for pure entertainment value, this will be rich if it happens. And it looks like it will.
For more on Bobby V, check out Chris Ballard’s 2007 SI profile.
[Photo Credit: Greenwich Time.com]
Why, our old pal Jay Jaffe, of course. Oh yeah, here’s the rest of Baseball Prospectus’ 2011 Internet Baseball Awards.
No real surprise, here. The two candidates from Boston were sunk when their team choked away a playoff spot; Curtis Granderson didn’t have the numbers to overwhelm the field, and the same goes for Miguel Cabrera; Jose Bautista was the best player in the league but an unpopular pick with many writers because his team wasn’t in the playoff hunt, which left Verlander. It was a pick-’em vote and it went to the pitcher.
He adored New York City. He idolised it all out of proportion.
Great shot of Yankee Stadium in this sequence.
There are really no humdrum pages in the adventures, which is a reminder of their origin as weekly comic strips. To keep the attention of young readers, Hergé crammed his stories with conflict and sight gags, with explosions and pratfalls and jets and cars and rampaging animals. This energetic pacing, sustained over 60-odd pages in book form, manages to make the experience of reading Tintin both prolonged and quick. It also speaks to the narrative taste of young readers, who love action and do not require the emotional psychodrama or character development adults so enjoy.
There are other reasons that Tintin has resonated with so many readers for so long. Through his international exploits—in pre-revolutionary Shanghai, the jungles of Peru, a faux Eastern European police state, even the surface of the moon 20 years before Neil Armstrong got there—Tintin shows young readers that the world in all its complexity is theirs to bestride.
The resonance with children can’t be exaggerated. When you are young and your hero crash-lands in the Sahara or treks through the snows of Tibet, you do, too. The Himalayas and North Africa then become, in an elusive yet significant way, “yours,” part of your personal geography. When your hero outwits assassins, solves riddles and escapes execution by firing squad, you do, too. And when your hero, in pursuit of a baddie after dark, steps on a rake and knocks himself out (with comical stars circling his head to show it) or finds himself duped into drinking an intoxicating aperitif, you too experience his concussion and befuddlement.
My grandfather loved Tintin and read the books to my mother when she was a kid. My mother read them to us, and I read them with my grandfather, and also my aunts and uncles in Belgium. And now, my mother reads it with my niece and nephew.
The Tintin adventures originally appeared in magazine form, but were later compiled in hardcover editions. I loved those books, they were sturdy, and felt more important than the flimsy-looking American comics that were printed on cheap paper. These books were made to last, the colors were bright, and of course, Herge’s compositions were formal, meticulous, and strong.
For more on Herge, click here.
Early Talking Heads: