Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Futurama 4ever: It's Even Got Newkirk Plaza

I don't get Family Guy. South Park is obscenely funny but just not smart. The Simpsons remains a classic comedy but still, to my tastes, too much the Sit Com. So, the four seasons of Futurama remains Prime for me. We have been watching those four seasons from 1999 to 2003 over and over.. Finally, a new release -- straight to video, full length film, Bender's Big Score..callooo-callay !

Emmy Award-winning show created by Simpsons' creator Matt Groening and developed by Groening and David X. Cohen for the Fox network. The series follows the adventures of a former New Yiork City pizza delivery boy, Philip J. Fry (voiced by Billy West) after he is accidentally cryogenically preserved at midnight, A.D. January 1, 2000 and is revived one thousand years in the future.

Futurama aired from March 28, 1999 to August 10, 2003 on Fox before going out of production. It has now returned as a full-length DVD release called
Futurama: Bender's Big Score, which will be followed by three additional films: The Beast with a Billion Backs, Bender's Game, and The Wild Green Yonder. Comedy Central has entered into an agreement with 20th century Fox Television (aka "30th Century Fox" on the show) to syndicate the existing episodes and air the movies as new episodes in an episodic format.

In case you don't know, Bender is a robot who needs to drink alcohol to function (when he doesn't drink, he gets drunk); the series has owls replacing rats and pigeons as the vermin plaguing New New York; Leela (voiced by Katy Sagal) is Fry's generally disinterested love interest and general foil, as well as captain of the Planet Express Spaceship, and a one-eyed mutuant (originally mistaken as an alien) --she lives in "Apartment 1-I"; plus Professor Farnsworth (also voiced by Billy West) who is his great great etc nephew and who is basically a mad scientist, deranged, senile, who resides in "Hell's Laboratory, NYC".OK, I admit it, I guess it is a show for nerdy science and science fiction types.

Funny, profane, prophetic, and, in the words of recrurring character "25 star general" Zapp Brannigan-- "Verrry Sex-ay!" (picture the voice of Phil Hartman, who originally held the role, only voiced, again, by Billy West). Brannigan is also known for "Carpet Bombing Eden 7" ;
"Defeating the pacificsts of the Gandhi nebula" and "conquering the Retiree People of the Assisted Living Nebula".

Brooklyn Best: one episode had Fry returning to his old neighborhood in "New York" (as opposed to "New New York" of the 30th century) which is located near the Newkirk Plaza stop on the Q train.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Read it and Weep--"Brooklynites are Natural Born Hayseeds": George Washington Plunkitt

Read it and weep. Famed Tammany Hall Philosopher and Politican George Washington Plunkitt told all in his book "Plunkitt of Tammany Hall as Recorded by William L. Riordon"

Speaking from a couple of centuries back, in his magnum opus "Plunkitt of Tammany Hall A Series of Very Plain Talks on Very Practical Politics, Delivered by Ex-senator George Washington Plunkitt, the Tammany Philosopher, from His Rostrum-the New York County Court House Bootblack Stand as Recorded by William L. Riordon" (a lucky man -- truly I wonder if he was on the pad?). We know Tammany was a truly evil place, almost as evil as 110 Livingston Street, site of the former Board of Education, which Presidential Candidate Giuliani once said "Should be blown up" (would he have anti-terrorism on his tail now for that remark? ) but the BOE has now been moved from Brooklyn to what was once a central boondoggle of Tammany Life, the Tweed Courthouse so go figure..

Well, despite all of the Borough of Kings' contemporary grandeur of high rises, massive construction projects, and Brooklyn's continuing real estate boom, it appears that Plunkitt thought that he had all of us pegged. No matter what, whether of the manner born or fresh from Hong Kong, once a Brooklynite ALWAYS a Brooklynite. So, according to Plunkitt, best to get our rears in check and realize that we should shake the corn silk out of our hair and the hayseeds from between our buck teeth. We may put on airs because of our fancy Zagat-listed restaurants on SMith Street and our Oscar-nominated residents and multi-milliion dollar condos but hicks we shall ever remain. So, here is something to chew over along with that turkey leg (or slab of tofurkey). And as for its unforgiving tone regrading Brooklyn's Democrats, well peehaps Mr Markowitz can chime in...But for now you decide:

"Chapter 10. Brooklynites Natural-Born Hayseeds

SOME people are wonderin' why it is that the Brooklyn Democrats have been sidin' with David B. Hill and the upstate crowd. There's no cause for wonder. I have made a careful study of the Brooklynite, and I can tell you why. It's because a Brooklynite is a natural-born hay. seed, and can never become a real New Yorker. He can't be trained into it. Consolidation didn't make him a New Yorker, and nothin' on earth can. A man born in Germany can settle down and become a good New Yorker. So can an Irishman; in fact, the first word an Irish boy learns in the old country is "New York," and when he grows up and comes here, he is at home right away. Even a [person of Japanese or Chinese ancestry] can become a New Yorker, but a Brooklynite never can.

And why? Because Brooklyn don't seem to be like any other place on earth. Once let a man grow up amidst Brooklyn's cobblestones, with the odor of Newton Creek and Gowanus Canal ever in his nostrils, and there's no place in the world for him except Brooklyn. And even if he don't grow up there; if he is born there and lives there only in his boyhood and then moves away, he is still beyond redemption. In one of my speeches in the Legislature, I gave an example of this, and it's worth repeatin' now. Soon after I became a leader on the West Side, a quarter of a century ago, I came across a bright boy, about seven years old, who had just been brought over from Brooklyn by his parents. I took an interest in the boy, and when he grew up I brought him into politics. Finally, I sent him to the Assembly from my district Now remember that the boy was only seven years old when he left Brooklyn, and was twenty-three when he went to the Assembly. You'd think he had forgotten all about Brooklyn, wouldn't you? I did, but I was dead wrong. When that young fellow got into the Assembly he paid no attention to bills or debates about New York City. He didn't even show any interest in his own district. But just let Brooklyn be mentioned, or a bill be introduced about Gowanus Canal, or the Long Island Railroad, and he was all attention. Nothin' else on earth interested him.

The end came when I caught him-what do you think I caught him at? One mornin' I went over from the Senate to the Assembly chamber, and there I found my young man readin'-actually readin' a Brooklyn newspaper! When he saw me comm' he tried to hide the paper, but it was too late. I caught him dead to rights, and I said to him: "Jimmy, I'm afraid New York ain't fascinatin' enough for you. You had better move back to Brooklyn after your present term." And he did. I met him the other day crossin' the Brooklyn Bridge, carryin' a hobbyhorse under one arm, and a doll's carriage under the other, and lookin' perfectly happy.... "

[End of Reel...]

Monday, November 19, 2007

Yo, Dude, Where's My Anchor: NY 1 & The Jerky Boys

Don't get me wrong, I am forever a believer in the First Amendment and the importance of communication as a cornerstone of American society, so, anything that vaguely sounds like criticism of the news media is not something I would pursue lightly. That said, while I suppose one would not expect that NY1 would engage in any hard-hitting investigative journalism of its own Dirty Laundry, the departure of Gary Anthony Ramsay seems to show how effective the corporate media have become in their own controlling of the First Amendment. The story itself seemed to have been based on the November 9th call-in by Ramsay to "The Call" that rather peculiar call in show hosted by John Schiumo, which my blog-colleague describes as a "a topical call-in show but its basically Double A ball for prank callers to cut their teeth before moving on to the big leagues." The story was covered in the Daily News on Saturday and then picked up in the NY Times yesterday.

As Gotham City Insider reports in its own inimitable style:

"I have no idea why Ramsay admitted to it in the first place! The first rule of prank calls and being busted is Deny Everything! ...Super-journalist John Schiumo called Ramsay after the show and said he recognised his voice and Ramsay apologised instantly instead of just denying it and telling Schiumo he was an idiot.

"I guess Ramsay was home alone and frustrated because he had in fact applied for some other gig and got word that it was given to some other reporter so maybe he was on his way out of NY1 anyway and just said fuck it - let me call Schiumo's stupid show and bust his balls. Ramsay joined NY1 in 1992, when the station first went on the air, and covered a range of stories, including the 1993 and 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the war in Iraq. He is the president of the New York Association of Black Journalists, and has received numerous awards from industry groups, including the Radio and Television News Directors Association. I think he's up for The Jerky Boys Award as well."

To add my two cents as to why NY1 may need its own Viewer Ombudsman or Public Editor, like the NY Times, I couldn't help but wonder
why none of the recent reportage on Ramsay's shenanigans mentioned the sexual harassment suit againast NY1 that had been reported in the papers last year when Ramsay (allegedly) came onto another (women) reporter and she was subsequently fired, apparently after complaining about it, and after she complained about being the brunt of much frat-house-locker room humor. This story received some coverage and then seems to have died. When I mentioned the latest Ramsay issue to My Better Half , (showing why women are so politically superior to men), she immediately said "Isn't he the guy who was charged with sexual harassment or coming onto a woman reporter at NY 1?" Why did the NY Daily News and the NY Times omit this portion of the story?

As reported last December:

from December 11, 2006 (

Former Reporter Sues NY1 Over Busty Betrayal
A lawsuit claiming a hostile work environment at NY1 makes the station sound more like a frat house and not the scrappy channel New Yorkers know and love! The Post reports that Adele Sammarco claims she was fired after numerous complaints about being harassed. Here's a rundown:
- Former reporter Jeff Simmons (now press secretary for William Thompson) "manipulated a
picture of her by adding giant breasts, and the photo was then plastered all over the newsroom."- Gary Anthony Ramsay, the current weekend anchor, "attacked" Sammarco after driving her home from a party; she said Ramsay "held me down with one hand around my neck, crisscrossed my wrists with one of his hands and put his tongue down my throat"- "News assistants regularly referred to her by the acronym 'BBB' and later told her the nickname stood for 'Big Butt Booty.'"- She was secretly taped while she and a technician were "struggling with her stuck skirt zipper moments before she went on the air - making the innocent incident appear lurid and sexual. The tape was later edited into a bloopers reel that was to be shown to the entire company."- Vice President of Programming Steve Paulus had "a dozen news assistants rate who had 'bigger boobs' - Sammarco or another reporter. Sammarco won."- News Director Peter Landis once asked her to turn around in a dress she had on so he could "get a good look at it,"
We love that the Post made sure to take a picture of Sammarco with the photograph (we bet it's "exhibit A" in the lawsuit). Sammarco's lawyer says that ever since she filed the lawsuit in 2002, she's been blackballed. NY1 says the lawsuit is without merit and that Sammarco was fired because her work was "not good."

I guess Ms Sammarco has obtained some satisfaction. I guess because NY1, in our home, maybe in a lot of homes, is like wallpaper, an ongoing media background for adults, when you hear about stuff like this, you begin to think, is it a trusted news source, or is really something else? You realize how much is not being reported. Fires and government malfeasance are easy stories by comparison. Media covering itself -- not so easy. But don't they have an obligation to tackle even the tough stories that are close to home?

Friday, November 16, 2007

City Sidewalks

The chill is in the air. The 2007 Beaujolais Nouveau is in the stores. The holiday lights are going up all over Brooklyn. The 80+ foot fir tree is up in Rockefeller Center, waiting to be lit. There are strikes on both coasts, and two in New York City. The Democrats are arm-wrassling in Vegas, hopefully avoiding an implosion, and Karl Rove is in NYC to sign a book deal. Gridlock is here with a vengeance. It must be holiday time in New York City.

Starting a week from today, Friday, the end-of-the-year holiday hubub will be in full gear, as the Christmas shoppers, already out in force, will commence in earnest, approaching commercial escape velocity/meltdown a few short weeks after that. But for now, let's enjoy the gentle build up to America's mellowest civil holiday, Thanksgiving. We have until then to stock up on the wine and turkey (or tofurkey or turducken, depending upon your proclivities), pies and potatoes, and then mark some gentle time with our loved ones, culminating in the benevolence of the "Miracle on 34th Street" and the Thanksgiving Day Parade next week.

So, if your schedule permits, let's all enjoy this weekend, which is the calm before the calm before the storm.

--Brooklyn Beat

Sunday, November 11, 2007

"Her Sweet Love or the Way That She Could Sing": I'm Not There by Todd Haynes

You might expect that the prospects of seeing the first dramatic film on Bob Dylan might lead to nothing less than 99% anticipation. And so it was, when the lights went down at the screening of I'm Not There by Todd Haynes , the audience excitement and anticipation was palpable. But the film itself is not Ray or The Cole Porter Story or Walk the Line. As much as fans would hope for something that would help unravel, or at least prepare a Unified Field Theory of Bob Dylan, one must remember that even his own two films, the 7os release, Renaldo & Clara, and Masked & Anonymous which he co-wrote with its director, Larry Charles, (who also directed Borat), merited "Turkey", "Bomb" or zero stars in the leading film review texts.

But taken on its own terms, I'm Not There is part appreciation, part riff, and all Bob, inasmuch as it is difficult, elusive and mysterious, just the way the artist himself appears to be. It takes awhile to get into the groove of this film. But persistence, patience and openness will pay off handsomely. Marcus Carl Franklin as Woody, the Young Romantic, Dylan from the late 50s and early 60s, and Christian Bale as the Prophet of the early 60s folk and protest scene set the stage for Cate Blanchett in a remarkable turn as Jude Quinn, the Innovator of 1966, who blew the lid off of the folk scene, injecting a different kind of roots music, the blues, with electricity and volume. It is Jude, who turns away from the expectations of the folk scene, and dares to emerge as a different kind of artist, on his own terms, as he challenges his audience to keep up with him. However, by the time his fans do catch up, he is on to Something Completely Different. There are a number of good performances in the film, Franklin and Bale, plus Heath Ledger as an actor-playing a Dylanesque character within the film, Richard Gere as Billy, the Lone Gun, who meshes Basement Era - Bob with the ever elusive Bob of the Endless Tour, and Ben Whishaw as Bob as Arthur Rimbaud, the Enigma, speaking to an unseen interrogator.

But Cate Blanchett pulls out all the stops here, in her tour-de-force performance as Jude, the Most Obscure, when Dylan escaped all bounds and scenes and expectations, and seemed to achieve escape velocity, until gravity, and perhaps freedom, betrayed him, and he fell to Earth, reinventing himself yet again.

For the first few minutes, Blanchett as Bob is a real challenge to one's assumptions. I remember thinking how Blanchett played Katherine Hepburn in the Aviator and pulled off that role remarkably well. But here we are talking about a gender bending role as one of the most recognized artists of the 20th century at the height of his celebrity and early performance powers. But damn, if she doesn't pull it off again. Todd Haynes, who directed the Velvet Goldmine, on the glam rock era of Bowie et al, seems to understand androgyny pretty well and manages to reach down deep, showing us that we really probably don't know much about the Real Man, and so we will never understand who Dylan is, what makes him the artist he is, what prompts the ongoing metamorphosis of his persona, and why is he so elusive a figure. It is Cate Blanchett, who reportedly stuck a pair of socks down her trousers to help with her swagger, who mines Bob circa '66 for all he/she/it is worth, and brings it all back home, especially in her dialogues with the British Journalist played by Bruce Greenwood, in another excellent performance. Blanchett's Jude struggles to remain free as the microscope and tweezers of celebrity and the media bear down on him.

The film is also filled with a number of fine musical cover performances from the Dylan catalog, most notably Jim James of My Morning Coat, singing "Goin' to Acapulco," as well as some songs performed by Dylan himself.

In a discussion after the film, Director Todd Haynes said that in contacting Dylan to get the OK to use his music, he was given many instructions by Dylan's son, Jesse, and his long time manager , Jeff Rosen on what not to say "Don't use the words 'genius' or 'prophet', don't refer to him as 'voice of his generation', and on and sounds like Dylan has heard it all before and he doesn't like what he has heard...

"Who are you, Bob Dylan?" the French asked in '66. To paraphrase the song Bessie Smith by Dylan with the Band, 'is it who he is (or seems to be) or the way that he could sing ?' that makes him such a towering figure ?

I think that this film will not find the audience that it already seems to have found in Italy and France. David Schwartz, a curator at the Museum of Moving Image who moderated the discussion, noted that the film received a 20 minute ovation at Cannes. Here in NYC, there was sincere, but not sustained applause. The film answers no questions, connects no dots, nor does it close any circles. But it is a fascinating evocation of the life and work of a one of the most phenomenal musico-literary talents of the past half century. Bob Dylan remains elusive, but it is clear we will never really understand the mystery of who he is primarily because he has not wanted to be understood, and is skilled at obscuring the facts and truth of his life, and muddying his tracks as much as possible. But just why that mystery continues to remain so compelling is largely a fact of the continuing relevance of his work. But even more interesting is why the desire to uncover that persona, to pin down the man, still seems to remain something to be pursued, like finding Bigfoot, even as Bob Dylan approaches nearly five decades in the public eye. That alone seems to say something about Dylan, but more so something about us...

The official I'm Not There trailer:

The unofficial teaser, Dylan performing his unreleased "I'm Not There":

Bob Dylan wikipedia post:

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Coda: Norman Mailer Dead at 84

Norman Mailer has died at age 84 of renal failure at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC according to Michael Lennon, the author's literary executor.

Norman Mailer:Two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize
New York State Author 1991-1993
National Book Award, Distinguished Lifetime Literary Contributions 2007

Perennial Candidate,
Nobel Prize for Literature

Born: January 21, 1923

Mailer on :
The '70s: "the decade in which image became preeminent because nothing deeper was going on."

Poetry: A "natural activity ... a poem comes to one," whereas prose required making "an appointment with one's mind to write a few thousand words."

Journalism: irresponsible. "You can't be too certain about what happened."

Technology: "insidious, debilitating and depressing," and nobody in politics had an answer to "its impact on our spiritual well-being."

Mailer's suspicion of technology was so deep that while most writers used typewriters or computers, he wrote with a pen, some 1,500 words a day, in what Newsweek's Sokolov called "an illegible and curving hand." When a stranger asked him on a Brooklyn street if he wrote on a computer, he replied, "No, I never learned that," then added, in a mischevious aside, "but my girl does."

In a 1971 magazine piece about the new women's liberation movement, Mailer equated the dehumanizing effect of technology with what he said was feminists' need to abolish the mystery, romance and "blind, goat-kicking lust" from sex.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I'm Not There: Bob Dylan X 6

We are going to a screening of "I'm Not There" the Bob Dylan bio-pic this weekend...

I pray I am not disappointed. What do you figure are the odds it will suck or transport ?

I am concerned it will turn out to be like "Across the Universe" which our daughters have seen; they split 50-50 on that one...

The film's conceit, several different actors portraying Dylan (Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Marcus Carl Franklin, Richard Gere, former Brooklynite Heath Ledger and Ben Whishaw), seems alternately avant-gardeish or too cute for words. The recent NY Times Magazine piece on the film and its director, Todd Haynes, suggested that the "Bob" played by Richard Gere, who has done some very interesting work recently, may have been destined for much trimming. Who knows. Having viewed/loved/been confused/fascinated by the films helmed by and starring Bob Himself, it sounds like "I'm Not There" could almost have been imagined by him, as well, although Dylan's work generally seems only autobiographical through a prism.

Well, I won't pre-judge. "I'm Not There" is scheduled to open for its regular run later this month. Until then, Most Likely You Go Your Way, I'll Go Mine:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

CODA: CITYWIDE REPORT OF SCHOOL GRADES ---Now I Know My ABCs -- Schools Report Cards Released


Here are some of the grades released for a number of Brooklyn schools. For further information on the grading process and what it represents, and to locate progress reports for other schools, visit: the link at .

The DOE has added an awesome report of all schools and their scores that you can access at:

Then enter the school name or number; when you arrive at the school location, select "Statistics" & then "Progress Reports. The complexity of the grading system, mixing standardized test scores, school environment factors and surveys of opinions will no doubt receive reactions of schadenfreude and disbelief from parents and school staff. How this will impact upon the kids remains to be seen: How does it feel to be an "A" student at a "D" school? Or vice versa ? It appears high school reports have not yet been released. Special education schools likewise also appear not yet to have been rated. Here are a selection of scores for some Brooklyn area schools. No doubt this will play out further among politicians, parents and educationists in the weeks ahead...

An extremely incomplete list of schools and their grades this first time out:

Brownstone Brooklyn

PS 321: B
PS 020: B
JHS 51: B
MS 443: A
PS 008: C
PS 154: D
PS 261: C
PS 10: C
JHS 088: A

Red Hook
PS 27: C

PS 99: B
PS 217: B

PS 110: B
PS 84: D
PS 132: A
PS 250: B

Bed Stuy:
PS 21: B
PS 25: B
PS 81: A
PS 005: F

Monday, November 5, 2007


The Department of Education issued reports cards today, called "Progress Reports" for 1,200+ schools through the City. The report cards give each school a letter grade—A, B, C, D, or F—based on the academic achievement and progress of students as well as the results of surveys taken by parents, students, and teachers last spring. "These Progress Reports are the centerpiece of the City’s effort to arm educators with the information and authority they need to lead their schools and to hold them accountable for student outcomes" said the DOE.

The reports also provide parents with detailed information about school performance, both to hold their schools accountable and to inform family decisions. Most Progress Reports issued are for Elementary and Middle/Junior High Schools. It appears Report Cards for high schools will be issued at a later time as they are still assessing data. Report cards for elementary and middle school will be distributed to parents shortly; Parent Teacher Conferences for elementary and middle schools will be held later this month. Parent Teacher Conferences for High schools were held last week. A meeting will be scheduled in the future to give parents a copy of their child's school's progress report and to discuss it further.

Media reports suggest that the ratings will have complex results, since desirable schools may receive a lower grade if some students in need (for example, minority, English Langauge Learners or special education students) are not advancing and making demonstrable progress as shown in test scores. However, as one expert commented, Would a parent not want to send their child to a specialized school like Stuyvesant, even if the school received a "C" or an "F" ?
Time will tell.

Information on school Progress Reports can be found by visiting the NYC schools link at . Then enter the school name or number; when you arrive at the school location, select "Statistics" & then "Progress Reports."

Friday, November 2, 2007

Dia De Los Muertos -- Day of the Dead

Dia de los Muertos -- everything seems to come together, past and future, forward and backwards, Halloween, Thanksgiving, All Saints Day... although some may view celebration of the dead as a somewhat morbid or depressing topic, celebrants from Spanish and Latin cultures view it as a celebration in honor of the lives of the dead. It is a celebration of the continuation of life, that life is a stage of existence and being. Or perhaps, in a more Anglo, existencialista perspective, Life is short, so lets look ahead, look around, and maybe be a little hopeful.

The celebrations vary widely; families visit cemeteries with ofrendas, or offerings, for lost friends and relatives, and may erect small altars in their homes, with Christian and personal symbols, and bring gifts and tell stories about the deceased los angelitos, little angels for children, or booze and sugar skulls for friends and relatives. Candied pumpkin (sound familiar? ) and pan de muerto, or bread of the dead . In Mexico, schools and even government buildings acknowledge the day with altars, since it is an important tradition in the country's history.

Short poems called calaveras, meaning skulls, may be written, mocking friends or relatives or the famous, recounting their lives, their foibles and their humanity.

George "DNA" Bush: Oh poor skeleton, the face of a calavera who's had one too many. You want to turn the Arctic and the rain forest into toxic cemeteries. You think honor and integrity are transferred to you because your moribund opponent lacks them and levity. Your epitaph: "Here lies the Texas grim reaper, the moral and compassionate executioner."

The above sample from

Here is an interesting link on making Mexican sugar skulls:

A simpler recipe, for Pan De Muerto at Global Gourmet:
Pan de Muerto, "Bread of the Dead"
In celebration of Mexico's Day of the Dead, this bread is often shaped into skulls or round loaves with strips of dough rolled out and attached to resemble bones.
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
5 to 5-1/2 cups flour
2 packages dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon whole anise seed
1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
In a saucepan over medium flame, heat the butter, milk and water until very warm but not boiling.
Meanwhile, measure out 1-1/2 cups flour and set the rest aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the 1-1/2 cups flour, yeast, salt, anise seed and sugar. Beat in the warm liquid until well combined. Add the eggs and beat in another 1 cup of flour. Continue adding more flour until dough is soft but not sticky. Knead on lightly floured board for ten minutes until smooth and elastic.
Lightly grease a bowl and place dough in it, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1-1/2 hours. Punch the dough down and shape into loaves resembling skulls, skeletons or round loaves with "bones" placed ornamentally around the top. Let these loaves rise for 1 hour.
Bake in a preheated 350 F degree oven for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and paint on glaze.
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, then apply to bread with a pastry brush.
If desired, sprinkle on colored sugar while glaze is still damp.
Days of the Dead

This page originally published as part of the electronic Gourmet Guide between 1994 and 1998.

Kensingston blog had a cool link with a nice graphic about a Day of the Dead show at SOBs tonite:

As Bob Dylan once commented somewhere, traditional music, and I guess by extension, traditional culture, recognizes that death is a fact, a mystery, but a fact, in a way that Modern Times may not...

Whatever you do, today is the Day of the Dead, remember how fleeting are the days...

--Brooklyn Beat

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Coda: Look at Autumn, Look at Winter

We have an unwritten rule in our home. No holiday music before November. OK, we will exclude the occasional playing of "Winter Wonderland" in July, or watching "Holiday Inn" in early August with Der Bingle and Fred Astaire in mortal combat, hoofin' and singin' for the hand of Virginia Dare, but chalk those up to rampant irony. Especially if it is Winter Wonderland sung by one of the Rat Pack, or the Saturday Night Live 1975 performance with Lorraine Newman, Candace Bergen and Gilda Radner, with uptown contra-melodies by Garrett Morris and doo-wop backgrounds by Ackroyd, Chase and Belushi. But those are the only exceptions.

So, of course, after we concluded our Halloween rounds last night, taking part in the West Midwood Holiday Parade on Glenwood Road (that was me in the long black wig, looking like a cross between Joey Ramone and Howard Stern), we sat on our front steps with candles, giving away as many Ike and Mike's and KitKats that we could, and the conversation quickly turned to "Why Don't We Go See the Grinch Stole Christmas." Later, as we watched the Village Halloween Parade on NY1, that Certain Feeling of anticipation and excitement started to build... Still, I thought we could hold the annual Winter Onslaught at bay at least until the week before Thanksgiving.

But, this morning, as we walked to the car to drop them off at school, one of my daughters excused herself, went back into the house, and came back with the Rat Pack holiday CD, and treated us to multiple listenings of "It's a Marshmallow World" by Dino and Frank from the Dean Martin Christmas Special 12/21/67. I tried to put on Elvis (Costello or Presley) or John Cale's "Strange Times in Casablanca" but it didn't work. Chastened, I finally turned the Rat Pack music off as they got out of the car at their middle school on 6th avenue. We all hugged goodbye, and I waited for the school crossing guard to wave me through traffic as the girls disappered into the bodega across the street from their school. But as I cruised toward 5th avenue, before making my way into the traffic flow and boom, I slipped a CD in and started crooning, Garrett Morris-style, in contra-melody, "In the wi-nter we can build a snow-man, we'll pretend that he is Parson Browwwwn......"

Strange Times in Casablanca....

--Brooklyn Beat

Current Reading

  • Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War- Tony Horwitz
  • A Sultan in Palermo - Tariq Ali
  • Hitch-22: A Memoir - Christopher Hitchens
  • Negropedia- Patrice Evans
  • Dead Funny: Humor in Nazi Germany - Rudolph Herzog
  • Exile on Main Street - Robert Greenfield
  • Among the Truthers - A Journey Among America's Growing Conspiracist Underworld - Jonathan Kay
  • Paradise Lost - John Milton
  • What Is Your Dangerous Idea? Thinking the Unthinkable - John Brockman
  • Notes from the Edge Times - Daniel Pinchbeck
  • Fringe-ology: How I Can't Explain Away the Unexplainable- Steve Volk
  • Un Juif pour l'exemple (translated as A Jew Must Die )- Jacques Cheesex
  • The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
  • Pale King - David Foster Wallce
  • David Bowie: Starman bio - Paul Trynka
  • Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat - Andrez Bergen
  • The Future of Nostalgia -Svetlana Boym
  • Living in the End Times - Slavoj ZIzek
  • FIrst as Tragedy Next as Farce - Slavoj Zizek
  • How to Survive a Robot Uprising - Daniel Wilson
  • Where is My Jet Pack? -Daniel Wilson
  • Day of the Oprichniks - Vladimir Sorokin
  • Ice Trilogy - Vladimir Sorokin
  • First Civilizations
  • Oscar Wilde -Andre Maurois
  • The Beats - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • SDS - Harvey Pekar, et al
  • The Unfinished Animal - Theodore Roszak
  • Friends of Eddy Coyle
  • Brooklands -Emily Barton
  • Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahme-Smith - Entertaining and historical
  • Dictionary of the Khazars - Pavic
  • Sloth-Gilbert Hernandez
  • War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy
  • Charles Addams: An Evilution
  • Life in Ancient Greece
  • Time - Eva Hoffmann
  • Violence - S. Zizek
  • Luba - a graphic novel by Gilbert Hernandez
  • Life in Ancient Egypt
  • Great Apes - Will Self - riveting and disturbing
  • Lost Honor of Katherina Blum - Heinrich Boll - could not put it down
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed (author deserving of new wide readership)
  • Living in Ancient Mesopotomia
  • Landscape in Concrete - Jakov Lind - surreal
  • 'There Once Lived A Woman Who Tried To Kill Her Neighbor's Baby'-Ludmilla Petrushevskaya - creepy stories - translation feels literarily "thin"
  • Mythologies - William Butler Yeats (re-read again & again)
  • How German Is It ? - Walter Abish
  • The Book of Genesis - illustrated by R. Crumb - visionary
  • "Flags" - an illustrated encyclopedia - wish I could remember all of these. Flag culture
  • Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut
  • Ubik - Philip K. Dick
  • Nobody's Fool - Richard Russo
  • Hitler's Empire - Mark Mazower
  • Nazi Culture - various authors
  • Master Plan: Himmler 's Scholars and the Holocaust - Heather Pringle
  • Eichmann in Jerusalem - Hannah Arendt
  • Living in Ancient Rome
  • Traveling with Herodotus -R. Kapuszynsky
  • Oblivion - David Foster Wallace - Some of his greatest work
  • Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace - still wrestling with this great book
  • Netherland - Joseph O'Neill - staggeringly great read
  • Renegade - The Obama Campaign - Richard Wolffe
  • Mount Analogue - Rene Daumal
  • John Brown
  • Anathem - Neal Stephenson - love Stephenson but tough slogging first few chapters
  • 7 Deadly Sins
  • ALEX COX - Alex Cox
  • FIASCO by Thomas Ricks
  • I, Fellini - Charlotte Chandler & Federico Fellini
  • Best of 20th century alternative history fiction
  • Judah P. Benjamin - Eli Evans - Confederacy's Secretary of State & source of the W.C. Field's exclamation
  • Moscow 2042 - Vladimir Voinovich - Pre-1989 curiosity & entertaining sci fi read; love his portrayal of Solzhenitsyn-like character
  • Gomorrah - Roberto Saviano - Mafia without the It-Am sugar coating. Brutal & disturbing
  • The Sack of Rome - Celebrity+Media+Money=Silvio Berlusconi - Alexander Stille
  • Reporting - David Remnick - terrific journalism
  • Fassbinder
  • Indignation - Philip Roth
  • Rome
  • Let's Go Italy! 2008
  • Italian Phrases for Dummies
  • How to Pack
  • Violence - Slavoj Zizek
  • Dali: Painting & Film
  • The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight - Jimmy Breslin
  • The Good Rat - Jimmy Breslin
  • Spook Country - William Gibson
  • A Blue Hand - The Beats in India - Deborah Baker
  • The Metaphysical Club - Louis Menard
  • Coast of Utopia - Tom Stoppard
  • Physics of the Impossible - Dr. Michio Kaku
  • Managing the Unexpected - Weick & Sutcliffe
  • Wait Til The Midnight Hour - Writings on Black Power
  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed
  • Burning Down the Masters' House - Jayson Blair
  • Howl - Allen Ginsberg
  • Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Palace Thief - Ethan Canin
  • John Adams - David McCullough
  • The Wooden Sea - Jonathan Carroll
  • American Gangster - Mark Jacobson
  • Return of the King - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Gawker Guide to Becoming King of All Media
  • Jews and Power - Ruth Wisse
  • Youth Without Youth - Mircea Eliade
  • A Team of Rivals - Doris Goodwin
  • Ghost Hunters -William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death - Deborah Blum
  • Dream -Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy - Stephen Duncombe
  • Love & Theft - Eric Lott
  • Exit Ghost - Philip Roth
  • Studio A - The Bob Dylan Reader

Current Listening

  • Alexi Murdoch Wait
  • Wilco Summer Teeth
  • Wilco The Album
  • Carmina Burana - Ray Manzarek (& Michael Riesmann)
  • Polyrock - Polyrock
  • 96 Tears - Garland Jeffries
  • Ghost of a Chance Garland Jeffries
  • Yellow Magic Orchestra
  • Mustang Sally Buddy Guy
  • John Lee Hooker
  • Black and White Years
  • Together Through Life - B. Dylan
  • 100 Days 100 Nites - Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
  • DYLAN: 3 disc Greatest...
  • Glassworks - Philip Glass
  • Wild Palms - Soundtrack -Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Dinah Washington - Best of..
  • Commander Cody& His Lost Planet Airmen Live at Armadillo