like itchie and scratchy always confused by the absence of poochie, some of you taking a gander at Yesterday’s Sald might be wondering “where’s dailysalad?” well, unfortunately the truth is quite lame. rather than engaging in his standard thursday routine of baccarat at the trop, dailysalad’s been stuck in the library writing a paper (in hebrew) on the image of the native american in american hebrew poetry. i really wish that were a joke. still, it’s good practice for the next paper i’m going to try and write in Hebrew: amanut ha-sippur be-“ultimate annie swanson”: nituakh be-ofen Bakhtin (or, “Storytelling in Ultimate Annie Swanson: A Bakhtinian Analysis.” btw, there’s really no point in writing a literature paper if it doesn’t in some way reference Bakhtin.

anyway, before I get to the word of the day, i decided i’d try and keep my readers abreast of what’s in and what’s not in the salad world.

in: arguing over dutch cinema. is “turkish delight” really better than “soldaat van oraanje?” was rutger haur superior in his dutch roles, or in america? the questions are endless.

out: nederlandish proverbsnp.jpg

you heard me, Bruegel.

in: french bands that sing in english. phoenix’s last album was great, and the new remixes are just incredible. besides, who doesn’t tear up at air’s “playground lover”?

out: polish pop music. not even ewa sonnet can restore polish pop to its glory days.

in: tom vilsack, insurgency candidate. when did the democrats ever enter an election with not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 electable, popular candidates? for reference, they are: barry obama, hillary clinton, joe biden, and lieutenant general olver “daddy” warbucks. if there’s one thing democrats hate it’s a front-runner. look for vilsack to clean-up with the deaniacs.

out: john edwards, populist parent of leggy lawyers in waiting. why vote for someone with a full term in the senate when you could vote for someone who wont even have that?

in: the proletariat. making a comeback in ’06!

out: bill simmons. no updates in a week? no mailbag since i sent a letter? i only hope you’ve been busy researching an answer to my question.

in: complaining about pynchon’s hebrew translators. really, rendering the crying of lot 49 as “ha-ze’akah” (the scream)? how can you translate english when you don’t know the language. the “crying” refers to an auction. i mean, it’s in the book.

out: reading pynchon (except on the salad, of course). 1100 pages? uh…

in: homophones. here’s a good grouping: miner, minor, mynah. and if you don’t believe these are homophones, just remember, australian is the only pure form of english. also, since i probably wont write another column tonight (zay mir moykhl!) a mynah is a type of grackle, and a grackle is either a type of bird or the artificial fly used in angling.

and since i can’t stop talking about words…did you know that the OED entry that immediately follows mynah is

“my-ness”:  The fact of being individual; separateness of the self; (esp. in Indian philosophy) personal interest in or attachment to something. Also: the fact or state of possessing something; ownership; possessiveness.” ?

my-ness’ first recorded appearance is from the 17th century, and it was considered rare up until the 20th century. while i’m all for bringing back old words, something tells me that “my-ness” might not have been the battle to pick. why don’t we spend our time trying to bring back “hake, v-2” with its two pretty much contradictory definitions:   1. intr. ‘To go about idly from place to place.’ and 2. intr. To go, advance; ‘to tramp, trudge or wend one’s way: the act implies considerable exertion or endurance’ can one really be walking idly from place to place if one has to exert a lot of effort?

out: synonyms.

in: ascots

out: pocket squares.

and that’s what’s hip in the world. absolutely everything that’s cool was mentioned on this list.

Two of My Favorite Things

January 11, 2007

Star Trek and politics, at last, together in glorious union:

Personally, I think Congressman Wu is just blatantly lobbying to get a cameo gig on the forthcoming unannounced Star Trek sitcom that has set the internet ablaze with anticipation. Think Nancy Reagan on Diff’rent Strokes, except instead of an anti-drug message, Wu can discuss the dangers of letting your interstellar rivals conduct your foreign policy.

rudygiuliani1.jpgThis one is just too easy, so I’ll keep it brief. Can anyone really imagine the Republican party nominating a cross-dressing, socially liberal, cousin-marrying, divorced adulterer who would run on a national security platform despite the fact that he’s never even served at the state level of government?

His value is 100% tied to the fact that he happened to be mayor on 9/11. The perception is that he acted boldly and nobly and I’m willing to believe he did a good job until proved otherwise. It doesn’t matter, however, what the reality is. When your value as a candidate is tied to a single biographical achievement, that makes you vulnerable. John Kerry was nominated largely because people believed he was a war hero. Decorated officer vs Champagne Brigade pilot sounds like a good match-up for Democrats on the national security issue, right? It may have been, except it opened Kerry up to the Swift Boaters. Because Kerry was relying too heavily on his war record, all Republicans had to do was cast doubt on it in order to undermine his entire campaign. Against a savvy opponent, Giuliani will be faced with similar charges against his performance on 9/11. In this media climate, it doesn’t really matter whether the allegations are true or not. Once they are made, they will become the story. It’s classic Rovian politics: turn the enemy’s strengths into weaknesses. The Giuliani campaign might be able to play defense, but so far it looks like the Keystone Kops are running the show. (As an aside, it bothers me that nobody knows who the Keystone Kops are anymore, so I’ve begrudgingly included a link)

Still it all comes down to this: how much money will it cost to erase the image of Rudy’s fuck-me pumps from the minds of American voters? Somewhere between eleventy-trillion and infinity would be my professional guess.

Notice I left out his connections to various unsavory figures, not least of which being his joint business venture with former cabinet-nominee and hilariously-corrupt Bernard Kerik. That might hurt him in the general, but based on their love of the Bush clan, I’m kind of assuming that sort of corruption doesn’t daunt too many Republican primary voters.

Rudy Giuliani is not alone! See who else won’t be president.

Drink of the Day?

January 11, 2007

Luminiferous Water

Recipe (old fashioned version):

1. Get a glass.

2. Place under tap.

3. Pour.

Recipe (fancy version):

1. Get a *nice* glass.

2. Place under bottle of store-bought water.

3. Pour.

I understand that some die-hard readers of the salad might be confused by this posting. Not by the recipe, as I hope that non-alcoholic aqua vitae is still familiar in this day and age; rather, by the fact that my postings have been spotty as of late, and that this particular recipe seems to eschew the antiquarian in favor of the antediluvian. The truth is that I’m simply tired of alcohol. My weariness is not the result of a hung-over lament, and no monument to excess persists in my memory. It is enough to note that I see little happiness in further drinking, and much from the time that I stand to gain.

This is hardly the first time that I’ve been off the sauce. Were Isaac and dailysalad to count the number of times I’ve taken a break from booze, they would probably need more than one hand to do so. This teetering with teetotaling hasn’t been the product of excess, as I still can count my life’s hangovers on one hand, but more a symptom of my never really deciding a good reason to drink in the first place. I hadn’t tried alcohol before college, but all it took was a pretty girl to hand me a beer during freshman orientation week and I never really felt that a whit of consideration was in order, after all.

I don’t regret drinking. I have had some wonderful times at parties, and great conversations over a pint. Provided that you weren’t referred here by a search engine like Google or Technorati, we’ve probably had a drink or two together at some point. I’ve even made my own beer, which turned out rather well. For the most part, those were all happy times, but they leave a question lingering: would they have been any less happy without the booze?

This is not to say that alcohol, that great social lubricant, made the friendship of these times any less salient, or the happiness I felt any less authentic. But it remained an intermediary. Not too long ago, a friend of mine remarked, “I can’t stand mixers and get-togethers by themselves. It’s not that I don’t like talking with girls, it’s just awkward unless we’re at a bar.” As much as I felt that his experience was in harmony with my own, I had a subtle, lurking feeling that something was just wrong with the whole thing. It wasn’t until much later that I realized what bothered me: at the same time that alcohol removes obstacles toward doing what we want, and saying what we will, it robs us of the chance to grow and to learn from these same challenges.

If I had the chance to do it all over again, I doubt that I’d change much. So much of our society is wrapped up with liquor and drinking that I’d be hard-pressed to understand many beautiful metaphors (Rumi alone makes it worthwhile), much less the experiences of my peers, had I not started with that first drink, had I not simply gone with the flow of things. Yet, with that knowledge quite secure, I’m not of a disposition to look down that path any further. There are many things I’d like to do, many challenges I’d like to try with a less sure footing.  Time is wasting, and I want nothing to regret.

Not twice this day
Inch time foot gem.
This day will not come again.
Each minute is worth a priceless gem.

Who knows.  Maybe dailysalad will let me begin anew, so that I might discharge “Drink of the Day” to someone who writes with a less jaundiced eye. In keeping with the highfalutin tone of Yesterday’s Salad, I could then compose a “Platonic Dialogue of the Day” instead.  I wonder.