WHY are all these TABS OPEN????!!!!

I mean, seriously. Tabs are like rabbits in the way they proliferate across the top of my browser window.

::  Skyline Chili explained by a local.

Skyline Chili is a perfect food and I will tolerate no slander of it. We can agree that sauce-like clove-nutmeg-cinnamon-and-god-knows-what-else-infused Cincinnati chili bears little resemblance to the bean-studded or beef-chunked stews that other regions of this great land might recognize as chili. But that’s no justification for the torrent of bile Cincinnati chili receives from those unaccustomed to its pleasures. (Deadspin notoriously called it “the worst regional foodstuff in America or anywhere else” and “abominable garbage-gravy.” ) But to those of us who grew up in the Greater Cincinnati area, this stuff is mother’s milk — Mama’s Cookies, even; it’s a Cincinnati thing, look it up — and it’s the pride of the Queen City, alongside Graeter’s ice cream, goetta, and LaRosa’s pizza. I specify “Greater Cincinnati area” because I’m technically from across the Ohio River in Northern Kentucky, but in my defense, so is the Cincinnati Airport, and you can take it up with them. I’ll be over here eating my Skyline Chili three-way (I’ll explain) with an oyster cracker and hot sauce chaser.

Cincinnati Chili is one of those food items that lots of folks (a) claim to hate, and (b) act like they don’t understand. I guess I can understand hating it, since everybody hates something food-wise, but not understanding? This, I don’t get at all. But then, people in the US tend to be really bad, in my experience, at understanding local variations on different foods, which is how you get people who think NYC is the only place in America with good pizza (and that Chicago’s pizza scene is a blight upon humanity), that the only good barbecue in the world can be found in Texas (or Kansas City or North Carolina or Georgia or wherever), and even in Buffalo where “wings” means one exact preparation with one exact dipping sauce.

My response to almost all of this is “Yeah, whatevs, I’m down for anything if it tastes good.”

Which is to say, I like Cincinnati Chili just fine, and I even have plans to make some in the hopefully near future. I guess what annoys people is the idea of calling it “chili” when it’s more a sauce that is served atop spaghetti, and I’ve also noticed that people in the US tend to not be big fans of the Middle Eastern approach to spices, where savory and sweet often live next door to one another, and since the seasonings in Cincinnati Chili were invented by cooks of Middle Eastern or Eastern Mediterranean descent, people claim to not like it.

Whatevs. I’m down for anything if it tastes good.

(This is the recipe I’ll be using when I get ’round to this, by the way.)

::  Stanley Whitney Doesn’t Like to Look Back, Even on the Eve of His First-Ever Retrospective

Lists of great artists often begin with rule breakers and revolutionaries—people like Duchamp, Pollock, and, Warhol who changed art by zagging from its traditions. Stanley Whitney belongs among these names, but he’s no revolutionary. The 77-year-old abstractionist has, after all, spent the last two decades of his career painting variations of the same square, gridded image. For all his achievements, Whitney has never been one to reinvent the wheel.

This fact is a central theme of the artist’s first-ever retrospective, “How High the Moon,” which just opened at the Buffalo AKG Art Museum in Western New York. While many career-spanning surveys measure their subjects’ success on scales weighted toward progress and innovation, this show highlights an artist who prevailed on different terms. A snippet of wall text two-thirds of the way in sums it up nicely: “Whitney has made paintings that are not about getting somewhere but about laboring to find where we are.” 

That’s no small feat.

Ending soon at Buffalo’s AKG Art Gallery is a display of paintings by abstractionist painter Stanley Whitney. The Wife and I saw this exhibit last February, and the works are fascinating.

A painting by Stanley Whitney. It looks MUCH better than this in person; this is the fault of the person with the camera. (That would be me. I’m learning, folks.)

::  Another recipe I’m going to make at some point: Enchilada lasagna, by Alton Brown.

::  Two articles by the ever-brilliant Matt Zoller Seitz. First: The Problem and the Solution: Why Palpatine from Star Wars is One of the Great Movie Villains.

Many of Palpatine’s most devious plans stem from him planting an idea or emotion in someone’s head and letting them do the rest of their own volition. He activates or amplifies some characteristic that amounts to an Achilles heel (fear of being unable to save a loved one for Anakin; arrogant complacency for the Jedi council; eagerness to end an occupation for Palpatine’s boss Padme, the Queen of Naboo). Then he stands back and watches as somebody else delivers the result he hoped (and planned) for. 

Obviously I’m a big fan of Palpatine–with the exception of his resurrection in The Rise of Skywalker, which annoyed me to no end. But I won’t be writing about that here; I’m saving my rants about that particular movie for my forthcoming (hopefully in 2025!) book of essays about Star Wars in general. Seitz has the right of it throughout this article, and I sometimes wonder if some of the goofy tone George Lucas created in the Prequels is specifically designed to help hide Palpatine in the tall grass. I love how Palpatine doesn’t have one single overarching plan; he has a sequence of plans that he changes and alters to fit the circumstances that arise, each one always designed to get him just a bit more power. He doesn’t just show up and seize control; he instead makes his growing power seem totally reasonable at each step. It’s really quite amazing, in terms of structure.

The other one by Seitz: Dear Tim Cook: Be a Decent Human Being and Delete This Revolting Apple Ad.

During the Super Bowl broadcast of 1984, Apple debuted one of the most innovative and spectacular commercials ever made: Ridley Scott’s ad for the then-brand new MacIntosh home computer. It showed an auditorium full of lifeless human drones staring at a dictator-like figure ranting on a giant screen, followed by an athletic blonde woman (the only splash of color in the scene) bursting through the doors and hurling a hammer into the screen, symbolically destroying the oppressor.

Forty years later, Apple CEO Tim Cook took to social media to debut an ad for “iPad Pro: the thinnest product we’ve ever created, the most advanced display we’ve ever produced, with the incredible power of the M4 chip. Just imagine all the things it’ll be used to create.” 

The tonal opposite of the company’s most famous ad, it shows a stack of creative tools and imaginative objects being crushed in a giant press. 

Sonny and Cher sing “All I Ever Need is You” as the device destroys some of the most beautiful objects a creative person could ever hope to have, or see: a trumpet, camera lenses, an upright piano, paints, a metronome, a clay maquette, a wooden anatomical reference model, vinyl albums, a framed photo, and most disturbingly (because they suggest destructive violence against children’s toys, and against the child in all of us) a ceramic Angry Birds figure and a stack of rubber emoji balls.

I only watched the ad once, and I thought, “My God, what a wasteful and sickening enterprise, to imply that every single tool ever devised by humans to assist with creative work can now be replaced by this one electronic gewgaw.” This sentiment was not alone, and in fact, the backlash against this ad was so swift and sure that Apple has already apologized for it. Well, that’s good news, at least.

::  I don’t recall how I ended up with a tab opened to the official site of artist Juliette Sandleitner, but I did, and her work is good! Check her out.

::  Dear Internet: Please Stop Making Me Think Articles About AI Are About “Weird Al” Yankovic.

On April 20th, the website Consequence of Sound ran an article confusingly titled “Drake Baits Kendrick Lamar with Weird AI Diss.” 

The internet collectively responded, “Huh?” This was followed shortly by, “Wait, what?” 

Because I am a forty-eight-year-old man who grew up with Weird Al Yankovic’s music and had the honor of collaborating with him on multiple books as an adult, I read that headline and wondered why Drake would bait Kendrick Lamar by dissing national treasure “Weird Al” Yankovic. 

What could that possibly accomplish? Why was Drake mad at “Weird Al” Yankovic? What did Al do to the Jewish Canadian former child star that made him want to attack him in his lyrics? 

Heh!

(Note to self: Watch the “Weird Al” biopic movie one of these days.)

::  By the way, an aside here: I have no idea who Drake or Kendrick Lamar are and since they have been massively being discussed on social media of late, I’m feeling like I’ve landed on a strange planet.

::  One final recipe I’ve had open for a while, which I’ll probably attempt next fall when I make chili: Jalapeno cornbread with a lime-honey glaze.

And that’s all for now! Finally, my browser is more manageable again. Time to open up some more tabs!

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One Response to WHY are all these TABS OPEN????!!!!

  1. Roger says:

    I DO know who Kendrick Lamar is – I have one of his albums. He won a Pulitzer Prize for his music. rake is Candian. What the gripe is, however, is beyond my attention span to find out about it.

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