Saturday, October 4, 2008

Brooklyn Party Cake, Telltale Signs, and Tales of Absolute Zero

Brooklyn Beat turned 54 yesterday . Yep, 54 years ago in Samaritan Hospital on President Street between 6th and seventh avenues, which is now, in the best of Park Slope's pre-Bailout/Economic Crisis Days, an apartment complex . Last evening, I arrived home from the office and our younger daughters, 13, were hard at work making a birthday cake from scratch. Since we are already in October, and Rosh Hashanah had just passed, one of my daughters is already anticipating holiday year-end mode, sneaking "Rat Pack" holiday CD onto the player, where I am still in "In the Fiddler's House"-Izthak Perlman/Klezmatics/"Flatbush Waltz" mode in the remaining days leading up to Yom Kippur. Anyway, we settled on an autumn-themed birthday cake, which Ilana designed and put the finishing touches on, along with Gaby. It was an amazing job, a layer of chocolate cake topping a layer of vanilla with lovely icing in a riot of color that somehow combined the amazon rainforest with Flatbush forests in autumn.

What made this more amazing was that they fashioned it using our antique stove, which came with the house when we got here 8 years ago but somehow, despite constant 'plaints, never got around to replacing. It is a monstrosity that looks like a Buick Roadmaster, all grillworke and chrome and dials. It has a ton of charm and four burners (that function more like rocket afterburners) and an oven that has basically two operating temperatures, Absolute Zero and 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Nevertheless, we have always managed to do an amazing amount of cooking and baking with it. It has large side and bottom broilers. It also used to have an internal thermometer probe that you could stick in a roast and use to monitor cooking temperatures...Well, despite all of this classic, aged, quasi-functional cooking technology, the homemade party cake was yummy, delicioso, and, as always, a work of art.

One of the great things about getting older (if not the only thing) is that the gifts get better. The kids are attuned to my interests and managed to get me "Indignation" the new Philip Roth book, the Blade Runner super special edition from my son, and other extra special goodies from my Mrs.... I also got a Euro birthday card from our Study Abroad child. The cards are always odd and off-kilter and I love it. Last but not least, I got the new Tell Tale Signs, Bootleg Vol 8, which they picked up at the always neat Music Matters in the Slope...it's another fascinating CD, many outtakes and amazing classic Dylan left-off tunes, along with excellent, really excellent liner notes by Larry "Ratso [Rizzo]" Sloman who authored the classic gonzo rock journalism tome, "On the Road with Bob Dylan" on the Rolling Thunder tour. The notes, like the album, deal with the late Dylan oeuvre, and are poignant, funny, thoughtful and moving, with a lot of inside info on various Dylan projects from the 80s til now. So far, another juicy Dylan package that I can't wait to delve into further. More later.

1 comment:

  1. Belated happy birthday and many, many happy returns.

    ReplyDelete

Current Reading

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  • Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat - Andrez Bergen
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  • How to Survive a Robot Uprising - Daniel Wilson
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  • Luba - a graphic novel by Gilbert Hernandez
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  • Nazi Culture - various authors
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  • Eichmann in Jerusalem - Hannah Arendt
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  • Anathem - Neal Stephenson - love Stephenson but tough slogging first few chapters
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  • ALEX COX - Alex Cox
  • FIASCO by Thomas Ricks
  • I, Fellini - Charlotte Chandler & Federico Fellini
  • Best of 20th century alternative history fiction
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  • 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
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  • Dali: Painting & Film
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  • Coast of Utopia - Tom Stoppard
  • Physics of the Impossible - Dr. Michio Kaku
  • Managing the Unexpected - Weick & Sutcliffe
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  • Yellow Back Radio Brokedown - Ishmael Reed
  • Burning Down the Masters' House - Jayson Blair
  • Howl - Allen Ginsberg
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  • The Palace Thief - Ethan Canin
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  • 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
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  • Commander Cody& His Lost Planet Airmen Live at Armadillo