Wednesday, May 26, 2010

the blogs

I subscribe to about 80 blogs; I just checked the number today, out of curiosity. It's crept up quite a bit. Pretty eclectic mix, too. I confess that a good handful of them involve kittens, generally the blogs of nice people who foster litter after litter, like the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee. I also subscribe to a lot of music blogs, some personal blogs, a bunch of food and restaurant blogs, and one design blog.

I force myself to read the design blog because I am SO not-interior-design-minded and thus do not maintain an attractive interior in my home. This is something I consider a major flaw. I like to think I tend toward the aesthetic in a lot of ways -- I make jewelry, for God's sake! -- but I have no home design chops at all. This is partly because I've always lived in rented spaces which never felt permanent, and so I didn't want to put in much effort or money, and often did not have the money anyway. The apartment we're in now is way the hell too small, in case I haven't mentioned that a thousand times before, and I guess I'm not inclined to beautify it because I hate it. In fact, I heard that one of the front apartments in this building might become vacant, and I might want to make the move, even though it's no bigger, because the light is better. But what I really want is "out", not "here decorated." We've had to make some improvements to get the place a little tidier, but I don't think it will ever be sufficient or nice.

(It is I, mistress of getting sidetracked!)

Anyway, the two consistently funniest blogs I read are Regretsy and Old Jews Telling Jokes.

Regretsy basically finds weird or ugly things on Etsy, which is kind of the artsy-craftsy eBay, and makes comments about them or makes fun of them in some other way. (One of the mottos of the site is "Handmade? It looks like you made it with your feet!") I guess it particularly tickles me because I'm artsy-craftsy too, and somehow find bad or tasteless crafts really funny.

Maybe that's the same reason I like Old Jews Telling Jokes -- I'm also one of them. But it's more than that -- the site and its daily videos are beautifully designed and produced, down to the theme music (I'd like it even if it weren't produced by my old friend Henry Sapoznik), a bouncy Dave Tarras klezmer ditty. They also get a really interesting and cool assortment of people to tell the jokes, mostly retired (anything from a dentist to a former president of MGM), the occasional well-known face (the actress Suzanne Shepherd). They are all very, very funny. And even the jokes I haven't heard before are clearly classics. Also, if you like to tell jokes, you may have a favorite joke that you've told many, many times over the years. And you kind of experiment and hone it and get your timing down. That's what this site is like -- people who have made their favorite jokes perfect after telling them for 40, 50 years.

I like to tell jokes myself, and have actually retold a few that I heard on OJTJ. I always tinker with it, same as I do with recipes and jewelry instructions. But many of the ones I've been telling for a lot of years are Jewish jokes, some of which were told to me by my mother. (She could tell a mean joke, usually not dirty, but often involving cursing.) There's one I love that has slightly outdated references to Golda Meir, Abba Eban, and Moshe Dayan -- and, come to think of it, a second one that also references Moshe Dayan. Oy vey. I can only tell it to other old Jews. My favorite non-Jewish jokes tend to be animal jokes, which never age. Here's one that doesn't suffer from being read rather than heard: What do you do if an elephant has three balls on him? Walk him, and pitch to the giraffe. (This is actually both an animal joke and a baseball joke, which has to be extra points.)

Well, my entire family is/was frustrated show-biz types of various stripes. Actors, directors, book-and-lyricists, opera singer -- none of us every pursued it hard enough or if we did, never succeeded. So we tell a lot of jokes and stories.

Which reminds me -- there's a comedian named Louis C.K. whom I think is absolutely brilliant. I recently saw a stand-up show that he did a couple of years ago, and in fact watched it twice in two days. His timing, and his movements are so spot-on, so practiced and so skillful -- and yet so subtle that you feel like you're just listening to a guy talking smack. I have to say, his act is extremely vulgar (which is a plus for me, maybe not for everyone), but he is so charming that you kind of don't mind. At least I don't. He's the first stand-up I've seen in many years who's made that kind of impression on me.

OK, one more pop-culture sorta thing, though it's also a personal thing. Last week, we were watching The Cleveland Show (and just shut up if you don't think a woman over fifty should be watching cartoons, just leave me alone), and there was this character who was on for a very short time, with kind big hair, and when he spoke, I said to Barry, "That was David." He said, "What?" I said, "That was Lynchie, that was his voice." Then I forgot about it, but we just watched Sunday's episode tonight, and there he was again. I watched the credit, and sure enough, it was he. Him. I mean, how cool was that, David Lynch on The Cleveland Show? Much cooler than being on The Simpsons (which everyone's done) or even Family Guy. Go David!

I cooked dinner tonight for the first time since I hurt my foot some weeks ago. I think we were both happy to eat home-cooked food again. I made broiled wild salmon with teriyaki and ginger; sauteed zucchini, baby pattypan squash, and spinach with a lot of garlic and basil; and a mesclun salad with avocado (I've been using a Bragg's ginger salad dressing that is just fine with everything). Teriyaki salmon is always a winner around here, and even though Barry shies away from certain healthy things (whole grains, whole grain bread, broccoli and cauliflower), he likes salads, most greens, and even tofu. He eats fish that is boneless and not too fishy (salmon, sole/flounder, and red snapper filets), and also squid and shrimp. (Our local fish store is kosher, so no squid or shrimp there, but sometimes one of us goes down to a Chinese supermarket that has great fish and grabs some shrimp there).

It's just been nice getting the kitchen up and running again. I cooked myself breakfast this morning (Barry went out early to his job-counseling place), and enjoyed that a lot. Going through a few weeks of take-out was of course expensive, and sometimes healthier than others. We ordered quite a few times from a very nice Kosher/vegetarian place nearby. They serve fish, but the emphasis is on vegetable dishes. They do a killer Southeast Asian Stir Fry with brown rice, that kind of thing. And a great grilled tuna wrap. (I've heard that certain kinds of tuna are not sustainable, but I'm not really up on the should- and shouldn't-eat fish, for which I feel guilty. I don't eat that much fish, but that's not a good excuse.)

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