1. Friends of the ‘klept have embarked on a new culinary adventure. Read all about it at brand new blog Confined Nomad. Their mission:
The goal of this journey is to find cuisines from every United Nations member state, within New York City limits, in alphabetical order. We realize that there are a few flaws to this logic, and will make every attempt to handle these wisely when we reach a questionable issue. For instance, cuisines are not defined by the UN. There are regional specialties, there are countries not internationally recognized, there are border disputes, and new countries are being formed all the time . . . This blog will serve as documentation of the adventure, in which we will do our best to describe not only the food we eat, but also things we learn about its nation of origin, culture, and the immigrant communities here in New York City. We hope this will be much more than a food blog.
The virgin entries on Afghanistan and Albania are tasty fare (sorry!) and we’re looking forward to plenty more delectable treats (yikes! sorry again!).
2. We finally saw Frank Marshall’s 1993 film Alive this weekend. Alive, based on Piers Paul Read’s book of the same name, tells the true story of the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crash of October 13, 1972, in which a Uruguayan rugby team’s chartered flight crashes in the Andes. The survivors eventually resort to cannibalizing the dead to survive (let’s see what happens when Confined Nomad gets to ‘U’ on their list). Despite plenty of strange flaws, including egregious over-acting, the film is oddly great. An intense, chest-tightening narrative that offers few moments of relief, Alive is a real-life horror movie masquerading as an adventure tale. Recommended.
3. With distinguished Englishman Max Tundra’s new album Parallax Error Beheads You ready to drop any day now (glowing review forthcoming), we thought we’d bring up the greatness of his last CD, Mastered by Guy at the Exchange. Max’s MBGATE was easily one of our favorite albums of the early aughties. Weird and tuneful and splendid and frenetic, MBGATE is a neglected classic, perhaps due to its unclassifiable sound. Max programs old Amigas, plays dozens of instruments, and sings along with his sister on a strange group of songs about Michel Gondry, delivery jobs, amino acids, the break up of Don Caballero (with Storm & Stress as consolation prize), and, uh, girls. We love it and so should you. His website is awesome, by the way.
4. Today marks the one-year anniversary of gazillionaire adventurer Steve Fossett disappearing along with his single-engine Bellanca Super Decathlon airplane. We don’t think Fossett is dead, and neither, apparently, does Chris Irvine, who speculated in the Telegraph that Fossett faked his own death. We now invite our readers, again, to speculate on the whereabouts of Mr. Fossett. Check out our Steve Fossett Fan Fiction Contest blog for all the details!
5. Down here in The Florida, we continue to have hurricane concerns. And, because this blog likes to masquerade as a a literary affair, we offer a few lines from books on the subject:
In Shakespeare’s King Lear, Act 3 scene 2, we find one of the earliest usages of the word hurricane in the English language:
Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! rage! blow!
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o’ the world!
Crack nature’s molds, all germens spill at once
That make ingrateful man!
Bit of a drama queen, Lear, what with all these apocalyptic fantasies. Speaking of drama queens, how about the opening lines of Walt Whitman’s “With Husky-haughty Lips, O Sea!”:
With husky-haughty lips, O sea!
Where day and night I wend thy surf-beat shore,
Imaging to my sense thy varied strange suggestions,
(I see and plainly list thy talk and conference here,)
Thy troops of white-maned racers racing to the goal,
Thy ample, smiling face, dash’d with the sparkling dimples of the sun,
Thy brooding scowl and murk–thy unloos’d hurricanes,
Thy unsubduedness, caprices, wilfulness
Fanciful stuff. For a less romanticized description, might we suggest the end of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, where a massive hurricane turns Lake Okeechobee into a “monstropolous beast,” a monster that floods the streets and destroys homes. Stay away, Hannah.