Crack, Beat, Cook, Exaggerate

I like the contrasting and complementary colours on the front and back of the dust jacket… Soufflés, Quiches, Mousses and the Random Egg

George Bradshaw - front cover - Souffles Quiches Mousses and the Random EggGeorge Bradshaw - back cover - Souffles Quiches Mousses and the Random Egg

Our amusement continues inside.

George Bradshaw supplies an anachronism to make a recipe memorable in the section on quiches:

But, i you are not, and would like to know the way to make a rich and easy crust, here is one that was first written down by Sir Kenelm Digby three hundred years ago:

In a bowl place three ounces (a small package) of cream cheese […]

Project Gutenberg assists

The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Knight Opened


To half a peck of fine flower, take a pound and half of Butter, in this manner. Put your Butter with at least three quarts of cold water (it imports not how much or how little the water is) into a little kettle to melt, and boil gently: as soon as it is melted, scum off the Butter with a ladle, pouring it by ladlefuls (one a little after another, as you knead it with the flower) to some of the flower (which you take not all at once, that you may the better discern, how much Liquor is needful) and work it very well into Paste. When all your butter is kneaded, with as much of the flower, as serves to make paste of a fitting consistence, take of the water that the Butter was melted in, so much as to make the rest of the flower into Paste of due consistence; then joyn it to the Paste made with Butter, and work them both very well together, of this make your covers and coffins thin. If you are to make more paste for more Tarts or Pyes, the water that hath already served, will serve again better th[a]n fresh.

Unlike Bradshaw’s recipe there is no cream cheese here let alone from a package.

And so for day 2502

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Indwelling and Ingathering

I was trying to remember a movie from the 70s.

A school teacher comes to a rural area. The children are made to drag their feet on
the ground. It emerges that if they don’t they will levitate. Teacher helps the
children explore their powers. It’s not a horror flick. It’s more of a feel good be
true to yourself story…

All my attempts at search strings that included “children” and “levitate” returned hits for horror films.

A co-worker, movie buff, knew immediately that it was the 1972 made for TV movie called The People.

And so I learned that the movie in question was based on a story by Zenna Henderson and that she had more stories featuring The People:

Pilgrimage: The Book of the People (1961)
The People: No Different Flesh (1967)
Ingathering: The Complete People Stories (1995)

It is the title of the collected stories that resonates with a line from Henry David Thoreau “the thoughts of the indwellers travel far abroad”. There is telepathy in the stories and although Thoreau meant something a bit different by traveling thoughts, the ethos is similar to that of Henderson’s stories:

Now commences the long winter evening around the farmer’s hearth, when the thoughts of the indwellers travels far abroad, and men are by nature and necessity charitable and liberal to all creatures. [“A Winter Walk” 1843]

And so the heart rises and we levitate.

And so for day 2501

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Three Sparks and a Flare

This haiku derives some of its poignancy from its being a death poem.

Chine-jo was a pupil of Bashō. As one collects and reads the various English versions, the mention of the kinship with the firefly comes and goes but the theme of passing remains.

By Peter Beilenson in Four Seasons: Japanese Haiku (Peter Pauper Press, 1958)

Suddenly you light
     And as suddenly
     Go dark …

By Ikuko Atsumi and Kenneth Rexroth in Women Poets of Japan [originally published by The Seabury Press in 1977 as The Burning Heart]

The fireflies’ light.
How easily it goes on
How easily it goes out again.

By Jane Reichold in Those Women Writing Haiku (self-published, 1990[?])

suddenly you light
then suddenly go dark…
sister firefly

By Stephen Addiss in Haiku: An Anthology of Japanese Poems (Shambhala Publications, 2009)

     Burning so easily,
Extinguishing so easily —
     the firefly

And so for day 2500

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Reaching the Reachable and Beyond

The ends are in view at the beginning of a chapter …

Sara Ahmed
Chapter 3 “The Orient and Other Others”
Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others

“Doing things” depends not so much on intrinsic capacity or even on dispositions or habits, but on the ways in which the world is available as a space for action, a space where things “have a certain place” or are “in place.” Bodies inhabit space by how they reach for objects, just as objects in turn extend what we can reach.

Not doing as a skill that depends on sensing potentiality… imagining the out of place and out of space (which Sara Ahmed does further in this chapter).

And so for day 2499

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Good Questions Good Stories

Act I – The Question

A young gentleman asked: Does anyone not have a cellphone?

His parent answered: Yes, as a matter of fact.


My friend and co-worker François.


That’s a good question.

Act II – The Answer

I really don’t need a cellphone. If someone is late for a meeting, I don’t need to know about the reason for the delay. I just wait and imagine the reason why. Not having a cellphone helps me tell better stories…

… and that’s a good story.

And so for day 2498

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Re: On their use of the term white supremacy

As usual, in her own inimitable style, Kathleen Fitzpatrick has provoked some thinking about discursive practices and power. She identifies a tendency towards appropriation (and dilution) of key words.

The gravity of these events and our larger cultural moment leave me struggling to figure out how to put this: I am worrying a bit about how widespread the use of “white supremacy” has become when used to talk about obviously racist mass shootings. Because I’m convinced that the mainstream white-supremacist Right is starting to find an out in the term. Something as horrible as El Paso is so beyond white supremacism that Ted effing Cruz and whatsername the orange one’s daughter can use those very words in tweets and yet distance themselves from their larger import. So when we talk about voter suppression, about redlining, about the million microaggressions that people of color face every day, they will have created ground on which to say “ONLY THAT qualifies as white supremacist, you are trivializing the concept by using it to refer to (X thing I regularly do but know I shouldn’t).”

Got me thinking and pondering in the epistolary mode.


How does one meet the accusation of trivializing the terms of the debate?

Feminists have done so by focusing on “trivia” and giving import to the
mundane, that is by interrogating the very foundations of the assignment
of value. Their impact has been cumulative.

List making and sharing is one tactic that allows people to recapture the
definitional gambit (see especially Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post).
And to pressure the discourse away from newspeak. And furthermore it is such vigilance that challenges who can say what when – witness the reactions to the NY Times headline* on the President’s call for unity vs racism. Storytelling matters. Stories bring values alive.

Values inhabit the stories we tell, including the stories we tell about
their story making. The critical edge will not be dulled. Vigilance will
not slumber. At any time and any place, there is the possibility of going
meta, inquiring into the bases of the discourse.

I am grateful to you for having reminded us of this.

All the best,


‘Headline was flawed’: New York Times changed headline about Trump speech after backlash

And so for day 2497

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Galway Kinnell opens introduction to The Essential Whitman (1987)

The poems of Walt Whitman meant little to me when I read them in high school and college. Luckily, when I was teaching at the University of Grenoble in my late twenties, I was required to give a course on Whitman. My experience of his work then was intense, the more so because, in a foreign country, it was my one real connection to my own language. Soon I understood that poetry could be transcendent, hymnlike, a cosmic song, and yet remain idolatrously attached to the creatures and things of our word.

It is a viewpoint the carries through to editorial decisions, including this one

A word about “Once I Passed Through a Populous City,” which appears here in the manuscript version. As published, the poem describes an encounter with a woman, but in this version, the encounter is with a man. To fit the poem in the “Enfans d’Adam” poems, that section of Leaves of Grass about love between a man and a woman, Whitman changed the man to a woman and deleted both the poignant “we wandered” and, what is so precious and so seldom found in love poems, the evocation of the actual other — “one rude and ignorant man.” I find the manuscript version stronger by far.

Interesting that Kinnell in his selection placed this poem just before “When I Heard at the Close of Day” which ends: “In the stillness, in the autumn moonbeams, his face was inclined toward me, / And his arm lay lightly around my breath — and that night I was happy.”

And we are too.

And so for day 2496

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Thrown for a Loop

It took me a while to piece together the elements of this advertising campaign.

Timed to coincide with Gay and Lesbian Pride, it ran during the month of June and into July at the corner of Church and Bloor in Toronto.

It involved three billboards.

Fruit Loops - Church and Bloor - Toronto - 2019

The sponsor was Kellogg’s Fruit Loops. The slogan invited viewers to “Follow Your Nose Heart” with Sam, the friendly toucan, wielding the chalk rewriting the slogan.

The other billboards feature pairs of the cereal. With a double take I realized two of the billboards featured same-same pairings and one with a pairing displaying difference.

There’s a rainbow tying all this together.

fruit Loops - Church and Bloor - Toronto - 2019

Very clever way to celebrate pride and diversity.

And so for day 2495

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Pro Forma

From Czesław Miłosz’s Unattainable Earth translated by the author and Robert Hass.

This very humble gesture — friable.

Where does humility come from? From sitting down and putting little signs on paper with the hope of expressing something. I am able to spend whole days on the occupation, but as soon as I finish I see that I did not express anything.

And the gesture is reinscribed at the end of the book, [p. 141]

To find my home in one sentence, concise, as if hammered in metal. Not to enchant anybody. Not to earn a lasting name in posterity. An unnamed need for order, for rhythm, for form, which three words are opposed to chaos and nothingness.

Note carefully that meaning is not there. There is order, rhythm, form but not meaning. Or expression.

And so for day 2494

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Lineation as Aide-memoire

From Alice’s encounter with the Duchess (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 9)

I quite agree with you,” said the Duchess; “and the moral of that is — ‘Be what you would seem to be’ — or if you’d like it put more simply – ‘Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.'”

“I think I should understand that better,” Alice said very politely, “if I had it written down: but I can’t quite follow it as you say it.”

“That’s nothing to what I could say if I chose,” the Duchess replied, in a pleased tone.

“Pray don’t trouble yourself to say it any longer than that,” said Alice.

On the page there it is in writing. But in a movie you may only have the passing sound.

Still from the movie (1933). Duchess played by Alison Skipworth.

1933 movie - Alice in Wonderland - Duchess played by Alison Skipworth

Alison Skipworth as the Duchess

And a script !!

Duchess: How glad I am to see you
again, you dear old thing.
How did you like
your game?

Alice: Well, it was very exciting.

Duchess: Of course it is.

And the moral of that is,
“Be what you
would like to be.”
Or, to put it more simply, “Never
imagine yourself not to be otherwise
than what it might appear to others
that what you were or might have been
wasn’t otherwise
than what you had been
would have appeared
to them to be otherwise.”

Alice: I should understand that
better if it were written down.
I can’t quite follow it
as you say it.

Duchess: That’s nothing to what
I could say, if I chose.
And the moral
of that is…
It’s a fine day,
Your Majesty.

So it appears otherwise…

And so for day 2493

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