books NaNoWriMo 2005

have you pushed in your pin?


Just an excuse to let my readers stick a pin in the map and see where the others are

Three readers so far . . .

The slush pile

thoughts on food and values

So I thought some more on this and realized one thing I find curious about folks who profess they “eat anything.” From my reading of Pellegrini’s book, I know in my own history there were lots of animals and animal parts I didn’t eat, when I “ate everything.” But calf liver was on the menu, just about every week when I was a kid, and I have eaten steak and kidney pie.

We are heading back down south for a few days before Christmas and I was musing aloud that it had been awhile since I have seen jars of pickled pigs feet or buckets of chitlings in the freezer case. Folks who think vegetarians are somehow odd due to their food prejudices would likely not be eager to dive into a taco with brains or tripe. But why not? Meat is meat, and perhaps if people ate more of these diverse delicacies, we would have been spared mad cow disease (the feed that is suspected of causing the spread of this stemmed from feeding the offal of slaughtered animals to others. Obviously, it had no value as a human food.)

Pellegrini makes the point that he ate what he ate out of an appetite for it, but also because of his frugal upbringing and his desire to get the most value from his pantry and icebox. Throwing away most of a carcass when there was so much edible stuff left on it was not acceptable. Here in the industrialized world, meat is a commodity that comes pre-sliced in little wrapped trays, but if you look behind the counter, you can see the meat cutters, maybe cutting a joint into manageable pieces, maybe working on a full carcass as it hangs on a hook. I don’t know if most shoppers give a lot of thought to what they eat in that sense or what the things they eat ate themselves.

Seriously, if people are going to look at vegetarians as cranks (not that I care: a crank is an eccentric with a smaller bank balance, in my book, and eccentrics are tolerated more often) because of what we don’t eat, can we have a new category or steakatarian or muscle-meat-no-organ-meat-arian?

I’m not so sure who’s being picky . . . . when I get asked what I am going to eat for Thanksgiving, I suggest the questioner take the bird or ham off the table and leave me the rest. I’ll be fine.

books NaNoWriMo 2005

on the merits of getting started

Crooked Timber » » Advice to Authors:

Here is one of the many footnotes from Susanna Clarke’s novel, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, which Henry reviewed recently:

Horace Tott spent an uneventful life in Cheshire always intending to write a large book on English magic, but never quite beginning. And so he died at seventy-four, still imagining he might begin next week, or perhaps the week after that.

“Publish-or-perish” is hardly the best motto for good scholarship, but if the alternative is to perish without publishing at all then perhaps it might not be so bad. This footnote may find itself stuck above my desk come Monday. Or Tuesday, at the latest.

Referenced in the Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell seminar @ Crooked Timber.

The slush pile


Pimp my 24″ Dell widescreen monitor:

I hear a lot of people say, “I don’t watch TV — I only watch DVDs of movies and TV shows.” To me, that’s kind of like saying, “I’m a vegetarian, but I eat chicken” — something I’ve heard more than once. Ahem.

OK, when I think of television, I think of programmed, broadcast over the air or distributed via cable, commercially or pledge supported content. In other words, stuff that emanates from TV stations that I have to access with a TV tuner. That’s TV, television, pictures that are transmitted, ie televised. 

I don’t watch any of that. is that clear enough?