That's the view from across the street. This is where you've been sitting all week, looking out. I'd say it was the laziest Bleat Ban sequence ever, but I liked it. They'd be duller if I hadn't pretended to be an Artist and manipulated the images to my satisfaction.
Note: I am easily satisfied.
It was cold on Thursday. I don’t mean cool, as in “a nice respite from the August heat,” but straight into October. Fifty-nine degrees, overcast, drizzly - it felt like October and it smelled like October. It wasn’t entirely welcome; as I said to Daughter, at least you know no one’s having a perfect summer day at the beach and you’re missing out. Everyone’s indoors, huddled - but those of us who love Fall can enjoy the day for its foretaste of the cozy pleasures ahead.
Now knock it off.
The NYT had a piece on Buttered Rolls, a New York specialty. Talk to chefs who know regional food, and they’ll say it’s an unsung NY staple, absent in the rest of the benighted country.
A Buttered. Roll.
I’ll grant you this: we didn’t have Buttered Rolls as such in Fargo. We had Rolls, with Butter. Perhaps that’s the difference. But when you went down to coffee in the basement after church, you got some rolls - often the type that split apart into three segments - and you put butter on them. Any holiday dinner, any family meal large enough to require a Relish Tray - rolls, with butter.
So the author (Sadie Stein, whose work I enjoyed in the Paris Review) has no idea, really, what life is like out here in the strange land west of Gotham? Nothing needs be known until it gets to New York, and then its presence in New York reflects only the genius of New Yorkers, who have gathered it into their syncretic paradise and made it special. Why? Because it’s special to them.
Now, you could say - as a co-worker just did, when I brought this subject up to our food writer in the office - that you can’t stop at the corner store and get a buttered roll in the Midwest, as she used to do all the time growing up in New York. That’s true. That’s because our parents sent us off in the morning already fed, and didn’t send us to the corner store for something you could make at home. Also, we didn’t have corner stores that sold food to be eaten as you walked, because we didn’t walk around eating.
We were denied these pleasures because we weren’t New Yorkers. The summit of life is to stand at a counter behind a plate-glass window looking out at the vibrant, bustling city (pedestrians! Autogyros, velocipedes!) and see the infinite tapestry of the quilted mosaic roll past as you eat a bun that has butter.
Are you going to stand there forever, sister? You done? Because there’s people waiting for this space.
Elsewhere in the part of the Internet that annoys me:
It’s possible the editor - if they have such arcane old things - scanned the piece, said “this isn’t very good. Put fuck in the headline" and she had to comply, but it’s likely she was taking her cue from the rest of the site.
||Buzzfeed abounds with these people - young, presumably educated, full of brittle snark and conspicuous insecurities, constantly quizzing each other about which Harry Potter Punctuation Mark they are (you could be a comma tbh) or whether their score on this test shows they are a true 90s Disney Princess or the rest of the meaningless exercises in emotional onanism they perform nine times an hour to fill up the day.
At least there’s an occasional premium placed on adulting - the term used by these children to describe the minimum competence one should have after college. But Adulting usually comes down to cleaning your fridge and maybe not spending half your paycheck every weekend on clubs and take-out.
The impression I get from this site, over and over again, is emptiness. Loud, flailing emptiness. They have no beliefs. They have certainties, which are different: a modern right-thinking person is absolutely convinced that certain things are true and important, but there’s no structure, no underlying precepts except Equality! and Science is Real, Yo.
They have been certain since like forever and everyone else who is worth anything is also certain of the same things. There’s no wiring capable of processing alternate ideas. Mind you, they think that everything they believe is an Alternate Idea, as youth often does, but they’re just painting hot sauce on the cold cuts.
The most important thing you can do when you're young is to be Hopeless AF:
Who needs dystopian fiction? Reality has far outpaced Orwell, Bradbury, and Huxley for the past couple of years . . . People my age and younger can’t afford to buy houses or have kids, but why would we if coastal flooding will cause mass migration into the Midwest? I mean, that’s the peachy-keen scenario! I’m 24, and I’m not sure I’m going to live a full life before climate change makes The Road a reality.
Every June is warmer than the last, Al Gore is back with another Inconvenient Truth, and New York magazinejust about paralyzed everyone with fear two weeks ago when they published “The Uninhabitable Earth: Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak—sooner than you think.”
Paralyzed everyone? Just everyone you know on the Twitter.
Yeah, it’s worse than 1984. Winston Smith had to drag a blunt rusty razor across his face every morning, knowing it would have to last another month or two, and it was dull when he got it - goods are scant and low-quality. You walk home from your job through rubble; a telescreen in your room blares commands; you have to hide your diary lest the proof of your dissent gets you sent to a room where they strap a rat cage to your face.
Reality: Harry’s delivers great blades to your door. The streets in my city are clean and green. I tell my telescreen what to do, not the other way around. I can speak my mind on a global information platform, and the only repercussions I fear will be the self-appointed commissars who vet your tweets for wrongthink, or report overheard conversation to your employer.
That's the closest thing to 1984, and it's the one that least concerns the people who think we are in 1984 already.
Trump didn’t do it to these people. They were around the bend, whee-ha whipping the horses over the cliff before Trump won, because they’ve absorbed the message that everything is awful, except for a few enclaves where the proper thoughts are thunk.
The big interminable retail-killing mud-mess continues:
They say we're just days away from planting trees. Just in time for them to shed their leaves for fall. Sigh. Meanwhile:
One week, three floors. That's as high as it gets, I think - it's the Brewpub portion of the complex.
Yes, they built a brewery into the plan.. We think ahead up here.
As noted, I'm going through the entire Gildersleeve series this year. A million custom cues, giving you the feel for 40s vernacular.
Music for selling stereos: the lost genre of the Hi-Fi compilation album.
He also wrote the song that was used as the theme for "Hollywood Squares," and I hope he got a summer home out of those royalties.
That'll do - thanks for stopping by this week!