Friday, December 21, 2001

Financial advice for Buffy. Snerk.

Thursday, December 20, 2001

Who's that woman?
An old Internet friend of mine casually told me today that Google had found some very, very old Usenet archives. Google now indexes Usenet postings from 1981 to the present. Damn you, J├╝rgen Christoffel, Bruce Jones, Kent Landfield, Henry Spencer, David Wiseman. And bless you, too.

Back in the early '80s (gather round me, children), "news" flowed from UNIX box to UNIX box. We pontificated. We extolled. We flamed. We strutted. And then the storage space was reused, and the posturing was as lost as the voice of your great-grandfather. The bits scattered to the four winds; the disk drives died, the hosts were retired, and the oxides on the backup tapes flaked and became useless. Gone forever.

Except that now they're back. And I'm reading my Usenet postings with that mixture of shame and delight usually reserved for teenage pictures. "Did I really wear my hair like that?" "Oh, look at that shirt!" And in a quiet voice, one that nobody else is allowed to hear, "God, I was hot."

So there I am. Laying down the law about abortion, reviewing Alpha Flight, denouncing generalizations about costume history, asking why ar(1) isn't working. In a snarky voice that hasn't changed, as far as I can see, at all.

I'm not sure what "I was so much younger then" means any more. There I am, in my early twenties, so frightfully young. There's that young girl, with her life ahead of her. And the things she has to say are could as easily have been said by this middle-aged mother last week.

"Who's that woman, that cheery, weary woman,
Who's dressing for yet one more spree?
Each day I see her pass
In my looking-glass
Lord, lord, lord, that woman is me." -- Stephen Sondheim, Follies

Sunday, December 16, 2001

An open letter to the chefs of America

  • If it contains anything other than olive oil, salt, egg, and garlic (optionally potato or breadcrumb) it is not aïoli.
  • If the predominant flavors are not basil, garlic, olive oil, hard Italian cheeses, salt, and optionally pinenuts, it is not pesto.
  • If it is not based on tomatoes or tomatillos, it is not salsa.

You are not Alice fucking Waters. A salmagundi of discordant flavors is not a well-composed dish. It is more difficult, and more worthy of respect, to put together a well-balanced and subtle salade vinaigrette than to ladle out raspberry-vinegar rosemary-infused-sesame-oil dried-onion star-anise-scented mélange on virgin endive with pralines and gingerbread croutons. Oh, and would you like fresh-ground pepper with that?

Prove to me that you can dish up a perfect custard sauce. Then we can talk about the coriander-vanilla marmalade over duck confit on oysters with shredded deep-fried spinach.

This has been a public service announcement.