Monday, June 22, 2009

Things I learned on my summer vacation (2009)

In Cloverdale, Indiana, McDonald's sells SWEET TEA and UNSWEET TEA. That's how the urns are labeled.

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Ella Logan sang "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?" in Finian's Rainbow. Jazz singer Annie Ross is Logan's niece.

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Stephen Stills' "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" is a hilariously improbable choice for a sing-along.

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Gsus7 is a chord symbol, not part of the lyrics of "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes."

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WKCR's Phil Schaap is as gloriously redundant as ever: "the cornet, or trumpet-like instrument."

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Jean Dubuffet's Labonfam abeber (1950) is a book of erotic pen-and-ink drawings accompanied by a polylingual nonsense text. It was published in an edition of fifty.

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Unagi is delicious. Unagi is eel. (Thanks, Luanne and Jim!)

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The Elephant Walk in Cambridge, Massachusetts, serves elegant Cambodian cuisine. The avocado citrus soup is a dazzling combination of flavors. (Thanks, T. and Mr. T.!)

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The phở at Zenna Noodle Bar in Brookline, Massachusetts, is dinner in a bowl.

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Vietnamese coffee, made with condensed milk, is delicious. (Here's a how-to.). Was the coffee butter-roasted? Our waiter didn't know.

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Brookline Booksmith is a great bookstore, even better now that a nearby Barnes and Noble is gone. It is exciting to walk into a bookstore on a Tuesday night and find it crowded with paying customers. The moral of the story: if you have a great (or good) bookstore, don't use it as a library or as a source of information for Amazon purchases. Buy books.

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Overheard: "Dating a sixth-grader is social suicide!" Spoken by a seventh-grader in Brookline, who also explained that she was waiting for another seventh-grader to "sprout up" before she would agree to go out with him.

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Samson Raphaelson wrote Day of Atonement, a play that became the first talking picture, The Jazz Singer (1927). Raphaelson also worked on Trouble in Paradise (1932), a film Elaine and I both love. It turns out that we know someone who knew Samson Raphaelson.

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The downstairs men's room in the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline displays a Simplex 35-millimeter projector. Nothing comparable in the ladies' (I am told).

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Mass-transit in Boston and New York is a thing of beauty — clarity, cleanliness, and courtesy everywhere. In New York, one stands to the right on the escalator, leaving a passing lane for those walking their way up the machine. "There are a lot of unspoken rules here," said one commuter.

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In Newton Highlands, Massachusetts, Paul Gilbert & Daughters are general contractors. I'd never before seen "& Daughters" on a sign.

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Boorishness knows no distinctions. In Pennsylvania, young louts slalomed through closed-lane markers and threw a lit firecracker at our car. In Cambridge, a well-dressed man in his forties stepped from the Harvard Bookstore and spat a great gob of mucus onto the brick pavement, about two feet from where I stood waiting to meet Elaine. I looked the guy in the eye, to no effect. He crossed Massachusetts Avenue to talk on his cellphone just inside Harvard Yard.

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It is important to notice the grace and resilience with which people meet the cruel, stupid insults of old age.

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A wise traveler brings a jacket, even if it's June. That way he will not find himself standing in a Gap Outlet five minutes before closing time, trying to decide what to buy.

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Elaine: "If you look hard enough for a brown hat, you'll find three."

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Without regular news-checks via Internet, I miss most of what's happening in the world. (I began catching up this afternoon.)

More things I learned on my summer vacation
2006
2007
2008

comments: 2

TRH said...

Things I learned from Michael's vacation.

- He has excellent taste in bookstores.

- He appreciates a good Steven Stills tune.

- I really need to try that Vietnamese coffee!

Michael Leddy said...

I'd say everyone needs to try Vietnamese coffee. : ) I'm going to look for the filter the next time I go to my Asian grocery store (forty-five miles away, alas).