Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Things I learned on my
summer vacation (2011)

On the interstates, even lunatics seem to be thinking about getting better mileage. Traffic seemed saner and slower.

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Rude maneuvering in parking lots bugs me more than I seem to imagine. The evidence: a dream in which I punched out a guy who’d insulted Elaine in a parking lot. Three fast jabs to the side of his head, and he was out. The insult, like the KO, happened only in my dream.

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AT&T’s 3G service for the iPad feels like dial-up. 3G: Godawful. Godawful. Godawful.

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Tropicana now makes a six-pack: six eight-ounce cartons of orange juice. Each carton comes with a nifty straw that extends like a spyglass.

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“You’ve learned about juice.”

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Cornstarch and water combine to make a non-Newtonian fluid. Add a subwoofer, low-frequency sound, and a protective sheet, and you have a source of hilarious entertainment.

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On May 23, the-world-ends-on-May-21 ads were still all over Manhattan bus shelters and subways.

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“Assaulting MTA New York City subway personnel is a felony punishable by up to 7 years in prison”: New York State Penal Code 120.05.

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Luthier Mario Maccaferri dabbled in plastic. The plastic guitar I saw looked like something that might have come from the Woolworth’s of my childhood. Maccaferri tried to persuade his friend Andrés Segovia to switch to plastic. No luck.

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There is a venerable tradition of Italian-American guitar-making. (I knew that, sort of, but not really.)

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Veggie Heaven is an excellent vegan Chinese restaurant in Teaneck, New Jersey. The restaurant appeals to both those who abstain from eating animals and those who keep kosher (and thus do not eat in traditional Chinese restaurants).

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New Jersey is a peninsula. (Who knew?)

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Toilet paper can be an appropriate subject of conversation at lunch and dinner.

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On the Bowery is a 1957 film about life on the Bowery.

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Norman McLaren and Claude Jutra made the short film A Chairy Tale (1957). You can watch it on YouTube.

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Charles Sheeler was both a painter and a photographer.

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It turns out that we know someone who played with Charlie Parker at Birdland: a two-week Parker-with-strings engagement. Parker never repeated himself when soloing.

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“Smells Like Teen Spirit” can be heard on at least one “classic rock” station: 105.9 FM, The X, in Pennsylvania. (See this post for context.)

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If the language sounds a bit like Arabic, a bit like French, a bit like Portuguese, it might be Lebanese. (It was Lebanese.)

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The Corner Bookstore (93rd Street and Madison Avenue) is a wonderful Manhattan bookstore. It’s small, not exhaustive, but virtually every book is a good one. Browsing there is a matter of welcome surprises.

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Blue Ginger is an excellent East-meets-West restaurant in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

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Pho Lemongrass is an excellent Vietnamese restaurant in Coolidge Corner, Brookline, Massachusetts.

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The Pewter Pot: that was the now-defunct Coolidge Corner coffeeshop where Elaine and I went with our friend Aldo Carrasco in 1984. Neither Elaine nor I could ever remember the name. I spotted the Pot in a 1983 photograph on display in the Coolidge Corner Theatre.

More things I learned on my summer vacation
2010 : 2009 : 2008 : 2007 : 2006

[Summer: the time between the spring and fall semesters, regardless of season.]

comments: 2

Elaine said...

Wow. And it's not even summer yet!

Michael Leddy said...

That’s why I added the sentence in brackets at the end: “Summer: the time between the spring and fall semesters, regardless of season.”