For literally no reason whatsoever, I’ve decided now might be a good idea to start looking for a full-time job outside of the United States. And since my questionable life choices mean I speak German fluently, it’s time to start walking the walk of my lifelong love of punctuality and mandated coffee breaks and send out some German Bewerbungen (buh-VER-boong-en), or job applications, in the hope that some magnanimous Firma will go You know what? This Amerikanerin with the bad grammar is exactly what’s missing from our well-oiled yelling factory.
I have thereby discovered that from the American perspective, German job applications are monumentally (and unsurprisingly) thorough—some might even call them invasive, though that “some” would be us, a.k.a. people who currently operate in one of the most toxic workplace cultures in the developed world, so maybe some should shut some’s big American pie-Löcher for once and reconsider some policies that, in a different context, might not be so bad. Or also they might. I don’t know. Please give me a job, someone in Germany. I’ve got to get my family the expedient fuck out of here.
I will not say this child has died in vain
whose picture made its way around the net:
publicity will bring about some change.
I’ve spread the word and shared the pic, arranged
a Google hangout and consumed my night
saying that this child has not died in vain.
The way we’ve treated them is inhumane;
I’ve posted all about the children’s plight.
Publicity will bring about some change.
If you were around for the original version of the ’80s the satirical bizarro nightmare repeat we’re living through now is even tougher to take for you than it is for all those blissfully ignorant kids who think the world started to spin during the second season of “Friends.” It wasn’t a total disaster, though: At least during the first go-round artists like Laurie Anderson and the Kronos Quartet were doing amazing stuff. I guess if we really are gonna run through the whole decade again, but dumber, we might as well have some of the music. Here’s a new collaboration. Enjoy.
★★ The dampness and darkness were stupefying. The rain in the forecast was like an upcoming unpleasant obligation, heavy in the clouds. In the mild air, a man in a grimy New York Jets knit hat threw his hands out, palms skyward, and cried out that it was good to be alive. The warmth in the winter light made no sense; the people wearing high boots with bare legs seemed to have made a practical decision about how to deal with the broken season. The clouds over the early afternoon had begun churning dramatically and some raindrops came out of them. The arrival time of the real rain bounced around in the forecast app. The text said it was 45 minutes off even as the radar showed a sharp green line already tangent to the city. On the way up out of the subway the rain was falling, tolerably. At bedtime, eyes that had just been looking at Christmas presents online found a mosquito perched on the bathroom mirror.
If you watched (and were underwhelmed by) this most recent season of FX’s Fargo, you might remember the odd and incredibly on-the-nose opening to the fourth episode. Each of the show’s characters was introduced with their animal and instrumental parallel from Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, an orchestral piece for children. It’s a morality tale—a fable—and it kind of gives away how the whole season is going to go. Even if you have no familiarity with Prokofiev at all, if you’ve spent this past month scratching your head trying to place him in classical canon, I have to imagine you’re familiar with Peter and the Wolf. It’s everywhere.
As I wrote last week, Prokofiev spent the final third of his career back in Russia, struggling to assimilate to Soviet culture. In the winter of 1936, the composer was drawn to the Moscow Children’s Musical Theater where his wife and two sons had started to go see productions directed by a woman named Natalia Satz. Satz was convinced Prokofiev would think nothing of their productions—which I think has more to do with the idea that Prokofiev was kind of a dick and less to do with thinking everything you make is bad—but it was truly the opposite. His eternal love for fairy tales drew him back to the theater again and again with his family. Eventually, Satz approached Prokofiev about a collaboration. She initially hired a poet named Nina Saksonskaya to write the text for the children’s piece, but Prokofiev immediately disliked what Saksonskaya did so he rewrote the whole thing himself. Then he composed the music in nine days.
No, I thought the same thing, but it turns out it really only is Wednesday after all. Yeah, I’m not sure how time works now either. Anyway, here’s music, enjoy.
★★★ Clear sun came from the east, lit up the buildings across Manhattan in all their individuality, then hit a blank pearl-white wall where the Hudson River would have been. Past all the crisp facades and the solid-looking plumes of steam, there was nothing. Some other mist had condensed on the face of the mirrored tower, revealing the usually hidden structure as it whitened the columns of blank glass panels but left the genuine windows clear. The fog on the river darkened to a creamy purple and drifted inland, moving below the tops of the towers on West End Avenue. Gradually in the west it became nothing but a floating transparent discoloration, but the view down Broadway to Columbus Circle lay in veil upon veil like some deeper and more picturesque landscape. The air stayed humid and chilly, and the sky in the distance stayed off-color, even as subtle blues and whites played overhead.
When I was a little girl, I got in trouble for flower-related crimes, like stealing the neighbors’ flowers, ripping up a lady slipper by her roots, and (my most minor but most common infraction) methodically popping the fuchsia buds that hung over our patio, squeezing them one-by-one until they opened with satisfying little sighs. When closed, fuchsia look like hot pink orbs, but when you apply a slight amount of pressure, those four long hot pink sepals open to reveal a cluster of purple petals that surround the sex organs of the plant (the baby pink pistil and stamen). There’s something slightly erotic about this action. Even famed recluse Emily Dickinson once noted the mildly hedonistic joy of popping fuchsia: “I tend my flowers for thee– / Bright Absentee! / My Fuchsia’s Coral Seams / Rip–while the Sower–dreams”.
Although fuchsia was “wildly popular” in the Victorian era, according to Judith Farr’s book, The Gardens of Emily Dickinson, it’s no longer as ubiquitous in gardens. I have such vivid memories of popping fuchsia as a child, but I can’t recall the last time I saw a hanging basket of fuchsia. It turns out that fuchsia—both the color and the plant—is something that slips in and out of fashion, peaking suddenly before sliding back into obscurity. Unlike the ever-popular Prussian blue or the enduring appeal of crimson, fuchsia is an uncommon color that few people list as their favorite. (Though perhaps this is because it’s damn near impossible to spell.)