Lots of things

February 7, 2007

This will probably be a longish, rambling post, but seeing as I haven’t posted anything in a way long time I’ve got to get started somewhere. I don’t really have any good reasons for my blogging hiatus, like cold weather and straightening out a new semester’s schedule in a large Irish university, but for the past couple of weeks whenever I’ve sat down to write something, I’ve found myself with nothing to say. Or rather, everything that I wanted to say seemed just too out of character to admit to, even though “admit” is kind of a strong word for an anonymous web publication whose readers are in the main people who know me well enough to know that I am six kinds of crazy in the head. In short, I think I’ve been having a small fit of “wait, this blog doesn’t fit me anymore,” which I hear is common, but in truth this blog does fit me. It is me. Onward, in no particular order:

1) This excerpt on Anna Akhmatova from Clive James’s new book, Cultural Amnesia is really well written and went at least part of the way toward clearing up why every poet I’ve ever met (and I do mean every poet: profs with 6 books, high schoolers who think they are precocious, MFA grads breaking into publication) has felt the need to write a poem that either is about AA or references one of her poems in the epigraph. I mean, I knew she had some hard times in Russia, but I could not grasp why she was the It reference. From what I gather from the piece, she pretty much had that effect on everyone during her own lifetime as well. Her poems are powerful, spare and profound, and apparently she was able to charm the pants off everyone in her day to day life as well. What I really liked about the piece, though, was its tone. In addition to offering a well-sketched biography and a concise (perhaps overly concise, but that’s just my own ignorance talking) explanation of the politics that doomed AA and her family, it offered geniune, committed reflections on why her art, and by extenstion Art, matters. Without resorting to theory or because I say so, James gets to the heart of why I think most of us suspect that writing really is more important than putting money in the IRA:

“What we have to grasp is that it needn’t have happened to her. That’s what history is: the story of everything that needn’t have been like that. We also have to grasp that art proves its value by still mattering to people who have been deprived of every other freedom; indeed, instead of mattering less, it matters more. “

(Not that I’m advising anyone to stop putting money in the IRA or give up on educational plans that increase one’s earning potential.) Anyway, I think I’ll be looking for this book once it trickles into the library, and I’ll be reading new installments as Slate posts them.

2) And further on the topic of how in times of immense crisis and peril, people tend to stay committed to jobs that place them in harm’s way for the sake of a whole bunch of paper, check out this NYT article on Saad Eksander, the Director of the Iraq National Library and Archives in Baghdad, and his web journal posted on the British Library website. After reading I vowed never to describe the deplorable conditions of our first floor women’s bathroom after the poddy vandals have made their daily rounds with the words “disaster” or “a horror show” again. It’s annoying. Having four staff members and the relatives of 66 staff members assassinated is a disaster I cannot even begin to comprehend.

3) Speaking of the high probability of being assassinated while being Iraqi, I am so mad about stories like this. I’m not mad that Sweden took 9,700 Iraqi refugees last year, I’m hopping mad that the US only took 220. The level of my anger over topics like this disrupts my life on a daily basis.

4) What are we going to do??

5) “Prosti-tots“—why didn’t I think of that word? Love it.

6) While AH was researching the history of Cookie Dough as a Ben & Jerry’s flavor today, she sent me a link to a page on their website describing how the flavor wasn’t released until 1991. That page had a link to the Flavor Graveyard. Scrolling down the lefthand frame that lists all the departed flavors was like learning that a whole bunch of my old friends had died and I never knew. No more The Full Vermonty? Deep Dark Chocolate? No more From Russia With Buzz, ever? (Actutally, FRWB was never a close friend of mine, it was a friend of a friend, and we never got the proper introduction.) And how could a flavor called Holy Cannoli lose? (Seriously, whenever any of you came and visit, I am going to get you some cannoli. I can’t believe I had never had it until I moved to Boca.)

Okay, I guess that’s enough of my thoughts chasing their own tails. For now.

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5 Responses to “Lots of things”

  1. LCB Says:

    Yes, From Russia With Buzz bit the dust a while back. There was a brief glimmer of hope when they had a contest to bring back one dead flavor, but apparently the rest of the world doesn’t know the glory of M—– W—– on a caffeine/sugar high, so they voted something else back to life.

    As for cannolis, I like them but can never eat a whole one.

  2. Liz Says:

    That’s why our local pizza/Italian joint has the perfect solution: mini-cannolis! Have one with a strong cup of coffee and wham, it’s breakfast. We’ll be introducing you in March.

  3. AH Says:

    They sell mini canolis at Whole Foods, too. This isn’t really a useful contribution to the conversation, it’s just that I have a huge grocery store crush on Whole Foods and thus, like Marcel, must endeavor to bring it into basically every conversation, whether slyly or embarrassingly obviously.

    By the way, I’m so happy for this post. I feel like we’re having a revival. Of sorts.


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