"Paul Ryan, who teamed up with Akin in the House to sponsor harsh anti-abortion bills, may look young and hip and new generation, with his iPod full of heavy metal jams and his cute kids. But he’s just a fresh face on a Taliban creed—the evermore antediluvian, anti-women, anti-immigrant, anti-gay conservative core." —Hey! Maureen Dowd wrote something I like! (Or, you know, maybe one of her friends sent it to her in an email or something. But close enough!)
"The part that feels worth underlining is the way that, whether he's writing about himself, about characters, or about the worlds around him, Ocean does amazingly little posturing, amazingly little audible management of persona, glamor, or cool—he seems to point a clear, calm eye all around, as if there's more than enough in the world to notice without trying to act out something attractive about himself." —Nitsuh Abebe has written the best piece I've yet read about the subject that everybody's writing about, which is Frank Ocean's new album Channel Orange—a subject that warrants all the writing and reading about. It is so, so, so good.
"As I kept dunking, my perspective underwent a Copernican shift. The sausage had seemed to be the center of the universe, but it turned out that it, and everything else on the plate, revolved around that mesmerizing naam phrik nuum. Though this sausage, a favorite in the Thai city of Chiang Mai, needed nothing more than a cold beer, I began dunking it into that chile paste. And then I’d dunk the Frito-size curls of fried pork rinds, and wedges of steamed kabocha squash, and long beans tied into knots. The paste, called naam phrik nuum, was hot but not chokingly so, and had some of the grassy sweetness [...]
"There is no question that the chip mounts a full-frontal flavor assault on the palate, with the spices as shock troops. The taco shell is demure by comparison, but it may well be that the restrained application of the spices, rather than a reformulation of the recipe, accounts for the difference."
"It’s the same feeling I get whenever someone uses the phrase 'dumbing down.' The implication is that if you need those things to get it, you don’t really deserve to get it. And it’s a few short steps from there to a very dangerous thought: Some people can understand science and others simply can’t. One of my deepest held beliefs is that science as a way of seeing the world is open to anyone and everyone. We are all capable of thinking scientifically, or—given the fact most people have other jobs, other interests, other loves—at least joining in the conversation. The people I want to reach are not dumb, [...]
"Claiborne observed everything when he was reviewing, but ultimately he judged restaurants by what came out of the kitchen. As this idea caught on, it became harder to confuse the country’s best restaurants with the ones that were merely favored by the aristocracy. A different hierarchy in dining, ordered by creativity and excellence in cuisine, was slowly taking shape under the guidance of a new aristocracy: an aristocracy of taste. Today, we call members of this aristocracy 'foodies.'” —I wish we didn't, as that word only makes me think of children's pajamas, which are distinctly unappetizing, and which I am sad to learn that they also make for adults. [...]
"Bonny’s parents performed intercourse merely once, but it was deeply tantric, lasting so long they conceived and birthed 3 children during the single act. Bonny was born Siamese twins, conjoined at every part of the body—overlapped perfectly on top of one another so he looked like just one guy. During puberty, Bonny’s Other began to itch, so he underwent a procedure to be surgically separated from himself, cell by cell. When doctors attempted to reassemble the extracted Boniface, they wound up with just two frogs, a jaybird, and a monkey holding a banjo. It was at this point he began to noodle around with music." —I do not like [...]
"Mr. White has said he engineered the dough to stand up to the rigors of delivery and reheating with no loss of quality. In that, at least, he has succeeded. Warmed up a day or two later, a Nicoletta crust is just as stiff and bland as when it was fresh from the oven." —Pete Wells gets out his razor blades in his review of Michael White's new East Village pizzeria, Nicoletta. The seafood atop the insalata mista is "as tender as an extension cord," he says.
"Jonathan Franzen, nobody is looking at you. You're in New York City. A guy in cowboy boots and underpants plays guitar for tips in Times Square, and another guy walks around town with a cat perched on his head. Carrying a pair of binoculars is not exactly letting your freak flag fly."
"He has entirely bought into the establishment idea that table clothes, square plates, and stars define an objectively good restaurant. The value system he applies to Harlem is not one the community has ever accepted, and frankly, the rest of New York’s neighborhoods and food scenes are rejecting it as well. While the rest of us are busy winning over New York City with fistfuls of cilantro, funny glasses, and raw dining rooms, Marcus is up in Harlem plowing for the old guard—trying to carve out a new market for an outdated sensibility. He’s importing a concept on its last legs and trying to convince Harlem it’s new and [...]
"The bacon on the sundae I tasted, from a location in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood, did add an oddly fancy visual element to an otherwise very ordinary-looking sundae. The cup of vanilla soft serve, at twelve ounces, is no Big Gulp, but it’s still sizable—much bigger than the promo images would have you believe—with a pleasingly messy pool of hot fudge and caramel sauce sloshing around the sides and bottom. The bacon, sliced on a bias in relatively elegant strips that taste fine enough considering they’re cold, resides on top—incongruously and a bit smugly I thought, as if it feels superior and a little out of place among its [...]
"There are, abundantly, prizes for regional writers, for black writers, for Christian writers, for Jewish writers, for prison writers, for teenage writers, for science writers, and on and on. Why must a prize for women’s writing be the single object of contention? Yet this argument will not hold water. Each such category signals a particular affinity, or call it, more precisely, a culture (and in the case of Jews and Christians, a deeper and broader civilization), and women are integral to all of them. To argue for femaleness-as-culture is to condemn imaginative and intellectual freedom and to revert to the despised old anatomy-is-destiny. And to the sheep pen and the [...]
"During another Ceca song, I saw a man waving the three-finger salute—to me, the equivalent of 'Heil Hitler'—and a switch went off in my brain. I flashed to the time my family was stopped at a checkpoint and a paramilitary cocked his gun at my back. The soldiers laughed, proud to demoralize a 12-year-old boy. I wished I could wake up the next day at age 18, to take revenge as a soldier. But as an adult, I’ve never once used my fist, afraid of what I might do. To get the guy’s attention, I threw a crumpled napkin across the bar. It bounced off his head. His table [...]
Behaviors Cited As Quirks Or Oddities In An Article About Single Living That Are Actually Totally Normal Things That Lots Of People Do Even When They Live With Other People
2) Singing Journey songs in shower. (Especially "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'." That's the jam.)
"Things get sillier when the network brass begins getting upset: Apparently humiliating Tea Party freaks in live debate is … horrible for ratings, for some reason? And this makes network owner Jane Fonda threaten to fire McAvoy. 'He humiliated congressional candidates on my network,' she says at Sam Waterston, as if that were a thing someone who owned a cable news network would be mad about. Oh no, people might turn off this news channel that has politicians being humiliated, routinely, by the world’s smartest asshole!" —Awl pal Alex Pareene considers Aaron Sorkin's "The Newsroom."
"Romney is going to have to define a vision of modern capitalism. He’s going to have to separate his vision from the scandals and excesses we’ve seen over the last few years. He needs to define the kind of capitalist he is and why the country needs his virtues. Let’s face it, he’s not a heroic entrepreneur. He’s an efficiency expert. It has been the business of his life to take companies that were mediocre and sclerotic and try to make them efficient and dynamic. It has been his job to be the corporate version of a personal trainer: take people who are puffy and self-indulgent and whip them [...]
"Pick a country and describe a sequence in which: First, a presidential election is decided by five people, who don't even try to explain their choice in normal legal terms. Then the beneficiary of that decision appoints the next two members of the court, who present themselves for consideration as restrained, humble figures who care only about law rather than ideology. Once on the bench, for life, those two actively second-guess and re-do existing law, to advance the interests of the party that appointed them. Meanwhile their party's representatives in the Senate abuse procedural rules to an extent never previously seen to block legislation — and appointments, especially to the [...]
"If you think you’ve got writers’ block after 45 seconds of not writing, you don’t need an app, you need someone gently to tell you that you should consider the possibility that writing is not just about writing, it’s also (and maybe mainly) about the space in between the writing, when nothing seems to be happening, or random stuff is having an incoherent party inside your head. Almost always, you do eventually start to write, and it seems that you’ve been considering after all."
"For those who believe that philosophy is, by and large, little more than stating the obvious with extra jazz hands, De Botton's porn manifesto will not persuade them otherwise."
Nick Cave's Handwritten Dictionary, And The Love Letters Jamie Shupak Gets From Her Boyfriend Every Day
You know Nick Cave must write the best love letters in the whole world. Because pretty much everything he writes is the best of its kind in the whole world. Well, now we know his secret: a handwritten, not-quite-exactly-alphabetical dictionary he made for himself and kept in the '80s. Here are two pages of the "A's" (wherein a certain very important "A" word is for some reason omitted.) And here is a page of "M's" ("Micturition," "Murk," "Mordant," etc.) Also, oddly, traffic reporter-cum-relationahip columnist Jamie Shupak is currently dating a man who she says had never eaten eggs before they met. (This is an assertion that [...]