Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Aldi and Garfunkel

[Click for a much larger view and look closely.]

I know from a friend that this arrangement is not found in every Aldi. I hope someone at our Aldi meant for it to be noticed.

Douglas Ewart in New York (and in The New York Times)

“Some artists earn the ‘multi-hyphenate’ label by doing two or three things. But Douglas R. Ewart works on a whole other level”: The New York Times reports on a night of art and performance. With eight photographs and a link to a recording of a 1981 performance.

Related reading
Five more Douglas Ewart posts

Monday, March 20, 2023

Brian Cox pronounces Scotch whisky names

As the post title says. There are many, all single malts.

Our household has now watched the first three seasons of Succession. ★★★, I’d say. Too much repetition, too many improbably spontaneous zingers. Here’s Brian Cox as Logan Roy, pronouncing the same two words, again and again. Second word off. Probably NSFW if you’re not in the inner circle at Waystar Royco.

It really can

I’m surprised to see that I’ve never made mentioned of this recording (which won’t embed): it’s a Betty Carter interpretation of “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most” (Fran Landesman-Tommy Wolf). Recorded in 1964, with Harold Mabern Jr., piano; Bob Cranshaw, bass; Roy McCurdy, drums.

I played this recording once for a class. I’m not sure what the context was — spring? Sappho’s sense of eros as glukupikron (sweetbitter)? What I am sure about: that class was struck silent. Serious stuff. Music of the Grownups.

Th’ foist

[Nancy, March 20, 1950. Click for a larger view.]

Sluggo has raced to tell the good news: “HEY NANCY,” he shouts. He slips on ice and falls. He falls with such force that enormous quantities of snow are shaken loose from a strategically positioned roof. And thus spring begins.

No snow here. But it’s 27°, feeling like 17°.

This spring strip ran earlier this month.

Related reading
All OCA Nancy posts (Pinboard)

Sunday, March 19, 2023

NPR, sheesh

This morning on Weekend Edition Sunday: “In Greek and Roman mythology, Venus is the goddess of love.”

Related reading
All OCA sheesh posts (Pinboard)

Southern Boulevard spect-op

  [2421, 2423, 2425, and 2427 Southern Boulevard, The Bronx, c. 1939–1941. From the NYC Municipal Archives Collections. Click either image for a much larger view.]

The post title is inspired by David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, which makes reference to “public spectation opportunities” or “spect-ops,” opportunities for “standing live witness” to events happening in real life, not on a screen.

The only question I have about these photographs is which came first. Click for much larger views and you’ll understand what I mean. It’s a sweet little surprise.

I can imagine a dialogue:

“Excuse me mister, whaddaya doin’?”

“Takin’ pictures for the tax records.”

“Whaddaya, gonna make me pay more taxes?”

“No ma’am, it’s just for the records. It’s a WPA project.”
Google Maps shows these residences and the garage still standing in 2022, all now sided or partly sided. The buildings in the distance are standing too. The two men standing in the doorways must be long gone.

Related reading
More photographs from the NYC Municipal Archives (Pinboard)

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Today’s Saturday Stumper

Today’s Newsday  Saturday Stumper is by Stella Zawistowski, and it’s tough. It look me a bit less time to finish (thirty-seven minutes) than some recent Stumpers, but it felt far more difficult. I started in the southeast with 36-A, three letters, “Fell”; 38-D, five letters, “Freegan’s bane”; and 41-A, four letters, “Brit’s bean.” After that, I was more or less stuck, trying an answer here, an answer there.

Some clue-and-answer pairs of note:

8-D, eleven letters, “Where a tiny cart is kept.” To my mind, carts are still kept only in supermarkets, or in their parking lots, or on the porch of a thief.

16-A, four letters, “Save for posterity, perhaps.” Stumpery.

22-D, eleven letters, “Middle management successes.” Very clever.

25-D, four letters, “What Patton called his colleague.” I guessed right.

29-A, six letters, “Famed farce’s title troubles.” I thought first of The Perils of Pauline, though that’s not a farce.

31-A, ten letters, “Scorekeeper?” Nice one.

33-A, nine letters, “Gotcha.” The answer sounds a tad passive-aggressive to me.

34-D, seven letters, “Mermaid in the pool.” I am mermaid-, pony-, and unicorn-conscious.

39-D, six letters, “Times up.” I like the pun.

52-A, ten letters, “Fully firm.” Pretty oblique. I guessed (and spelled) coreectly.

58-A, eight letters, “The buck stops here.” HARRYTRUMANSDESK doesn’t fit.

One oddity in today’s puzzle: 9-A, four letters, “Cubo pequeo.” Something must have gone wrong with the typesetting.

One clue I don’t understand: 30-A, three letters, “Quad wheels, for short.” I looked up “quad wheels” and the answer, but I still don’t get it. [Later: a comment at Crossword Fiend might be the explanation.]

My favorite in today’s puzzle: 28-D, five letters, “What I will always be?”

No spoilers; the answers are in the comments.

Friday, March 17, 2023

“In her wavering, collapsing script”

Arthur Grumm is playing Monopoly with his friend William Mainwaring. But Arthur’s mind is on “her.” That is, Eleanor Schumann. One of my favorite passages in this novel:

Steven Millhauser, Portrait of a Romantic (1977).

Related reading
All OCA Steven Millhauser posts (Pinboard)

Unhelpful reporting

The New York Times reports that the COVID-19 pandemic may have originated with raccoon dogs for sale at a market in Wuhan, China. Which raises all kinds of questions: What are raccoon dogs, and why were they being sold at a Chinese market? Are they specific to China? Are they caught in the wild? Are they bred and sold for food? Or as exotic pets? The Times article offers just a single brief appositive to clarify: “fluffy animals that are related to foxes and are known to be able to transmit the coronavirus.”

A Wikipedia article can tell you much more about raccoon dogs, which are found in Asia and Europe (in Europe, they are considered an invasive species):

An investigation by three animal protection groups into the Chinese fur trade in 2004 and part of 2005 asserts approximately 1.5 million raccoon dogs are raised for fur in China.
And it seems that they’re sold for food. Wikipedia makes no mention of that. A 2022 Times article seems to imply it:
In stall after stall of the poorly ventilated space, he saw live wild animals — snakes, badgers, muskrats, birds — being sold for food [in October 2014]. But it was the raccoon dogs that made him pull out his iPhone.
Fur? Food? Either way, today’s article is some remarkably unhelpful reporting, New York Times.