I was not prepared for mid-to-upper 80 degree temps this week, folks. I’ve found over the last several years that I handle heat a lot better than I used to–time was when 85 degrees would reduce me to sitting in a pool of my own sweat, wishing for the sweet release of the Reaper’s icy touch (or, less dramatically, the inevitable return of winter)–but the heat made something of a sneak attack yesterday. It’s still a warm weekend to come, but not quite so warm as yesterday, thank the Gods! On the good side of the ledger, though, is that we’ve finally turned the corner into actual Spring. And this is no small thing: it’s worth remembering that just two years ago, we had snow on Mother’s Day. Yikes!
Anyway, it’s time to close up some tabs I’ve had open a while! Here are some links.
Transgenderism in the Old West. No matter what the TERFs and other creeps might have you believe, transgenderism is not a new thing. At all. It’s probably been around since we were drawing on rock walls in caves.
All Hail the Spiedie! What’s a spiedie, you ask? It’s a fantastic sandwich that has somehow never managed to move much beyond its regional beginnings in Binghamton, NY. Note to self: Buy a bottle of Salameda’s Sauce and get spiedies on the menu for this summer’s grilling! (Flavorwise, if you’re a WNYer, spiedies are in the ballpark of our beloved Chiavetta’s sauce.)
When murder-mystery writers have surprising real-life experience with their subject. Reminds me of a favorite exchange in my favorite Hitchcock movie, Dial M for Murder:
Tony Wendice: How do you go about writing a detective story?
Mark Halliday: Well, you forget detection and concentrate on crime. Crime’s the thing. And then you imagine you’re going to steal something or murder somebody.
Tony Wendice: Oh, is that how you do it? It’s interesting.
Mark Halliday: Yes, I usually put myself in the criminal’s shoes and then I keep asking myself, uh, what do I do next?
Margot Mary Wendice: Do you really believe in the perfect murder?
Mark Halliday: Mmm, yes, absolutely. On paper, that is. And I think I could, uh, plan one better than most people; but I doubt if I could carry it out.
Tony Wendice: Oh? Why not?
Mark Halliday: Well, because in stories things usually turn out the way the author wants them to; and in real life they don’t… always.
Tony Wendice: Hmm.
Mark Halliday: No, I’m afraid my murders would be something like my bridge: I’d make some stupid mistake and never realize it until I found everybody was looking at me.
On reading Ulysses on my iPhone. I’ve never read Ulysses, so I have no personal axe to grind here, but I continue to believe that the reading experience should be seen much more broadly than just paper.
Sheila O’Malley’s April viewing diary. Nobody does deep dives like Sheila does, and this is a case in point. She earned an amazing opportunity to write an essay about Raging Bull for that film’s upcoming Criterion Collection release, and in preparation she did a deep dive into Robert De Niro’s career. I’ve never seen Raging Bull, but I’ve seen a lot of De Niro through the years, and Sheila’s insights are always golden.
(Yes, I probably should see Raging Bull, if only to confirm my suspicion that Ordinary People‘s Oscar win really was a travesty.)
John Scalzi had thoughts a few weeks back when news broke of Elon Musk trying to buy Twitter. Since then there are other news items that alternately make it sound like the deal is all but done, or that Musk is looking for an exit strategy to kill the deal, so I’ve no idea what’s going on. That Musk has openly stated that among other things, he’ll reinstate posting privileges to the 45th President is not encouraging.
Roger on rote memorization. In all honesty, I never hated doing memorization in school, though I was always rather pigheaded about what we were required to memorize. It really is nice to be able to rattle off quotes of stuff; having King Henry V’s Agincourt speech in my memory bank (maybe not entirely accurately, but enough to get me by) is something that I am convinced will one day serve me well. It hasn’t yet, but it will!
Anthony Bourdain: 39 Books to “Unfuck” Yourself. I will never not miss Anthony Bourdain. Never. He was brilliant and curious and full of love for the world, and more than all that, he was literate. You could sense his deep reading in every word he spoke on his various documentaries, shows, and in his own writings.
Finally, I close with a song I heard just last night on the episode of Letterkenny that we watched. (More on Letterkenny another time. Suffice it to say that we love it, and it is not like anything else on teevee, anywhere.) I had, to my recollection, never heard this song before, but I have already put it into a playlist I’ve been working on. Here is “It Always Happens This Way”, by Toulouse.
I went to the NY State Fair in 2019. There was a booth purportredly selling spiedies near the performance area. It was chicken, but no way in hell it was a spiedie. The sauce and and the cooking process was all wrong.