2013.11 minutiae

  • I went to the Berkeley Bowl to pick up some scallions and discovered that they had a sale: a big bag of them for $2.69.  I decided to go for it.  When I got home I discovered that the bag had 55 scallions in it.  What on earth do you do with 55 scallions?  I wound up using scallions in almost every meal I made for the rest of the month: pea and scallion pasta; coconut scallion curry; crepes filled with cheese, eggs, and scallions; I even made a scallion lasagna.  All to avoid wasting the remaining two dollars' worth after I'd made the first couple of meals.  Meanwhile, I think I had about ten dollars' worth of dairy products go bad and didn't care.

  • Speaking of cooking, I've been getting recipes off the Internet since I discovered the Gopher recipe archive back in 1993, and I have to say, this is one area in which the net still hasn't caught up to print media.  I have had way better luck with cookbooks than with recipes I've found on the web, even those that hundreds of people have given five stars.

  • One last thing about recipes: the U.S. really needs to catch up to the rest of the world and start listing quantities by weight, not volume.  Not only is it easier to measure out 14 grams on my kitchen scale than it is to transfer butter from a giant block into a tablespoon, but "a cup of flour"?  How densely packed?

  • Spam subject line: "Skin may make an individual ideal".  It's too bad I'm not teaching LSAT classes any more — this would be a perfect example of necessary vs. sufficient.

  • I followed a link to this article about a book full of pictures of malls from 1989, and had two thoughts:

    • Yep, that is what my childhood and early adolescence looked like.

    • That's a landmark of aging that you don't often hear about: when you discover that all of a sudden you grew up in a Historical Period.  This isn't even 1982 or anything — it's 1989.  While these pictures were being taken, I was up in my room watching "The Wonder Years" and thinking, "Wow, the '60s looked weird."

  • Speaking of being old, here's a Gen-X reference for you — remember Slim Goodbody?  I was astonished to learn that he's still around — not just that the actor is still alive, but that he's still wearing the outfit and performing at school assemblies and stuff.

  • You've probably seen these maps of American dialect differences.  I happened to look at them again, and something jumped out at me: whenever my pronunciation of a word or phrase differed from the California standard, it was because I pronounced it in a way distinctive to Philadelphia.  Here are the two most striking cases:

    This isn't really shocking, since my mother grew up in the Philadelphia area and I lived there from ages three to six.  I was just struck by it because I had no idea that these were unusual pronunciations at all, let alone specifically Philadelphian ones.

  • I was adding pictures to the Stochastic Planet queue, and as I started typing "Tsavo East National Park" into the list of tags, Tumblr suggested "#don't save me".  Eek.

  • I saw a candy bar wrapper that said, "I'll Make Your Tummy Yummy!"  I suppose that's handy for any Scottish cannibals out there looking to turn me into a human haggis.

  • It has become a commonplace to complain about how electronics have destroyed our communities — that people out in public don't engage with the world around them anymore.  And, yes, when I go out and find myself surrounded by people who are all just staring at their phones, I too can't help but think, "What's wrong with all of you? You live in a society! Talk to the people around you!"  The problem is that when I get stuck next to people who are talking to each other I'm like "SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP"

  • There was a hullaballoo this month when basketball player Matt Barnes, after getting ejected from a game for fighting, tweeted that "I love my teammates like family, but I'm DONE standing up for these niggas!", then told those who were offended that "the word I used is a word that's used on the court, used in the locker room, used amongst my friends and family […] you guys have to get used to it."  Charles Barkley weighed in: "In a locker room and with my friends, we use racial slurs. […] The language we use, sometimes it's homophobic, sometimes it's sexist, a lot of times it's racist. We do that when we're joking with our teammates."  It seems to me that this is an important social divide you don't often hear about: between (a) those who have internalized that you're not supposed to be racist and sexist and homophobic anymore, and aren't, and (b) those who have internalized that you're not supposed to be racist and sexist and homophobic in public anymore, but take it as a given that secretly everyone is making racist and sexist and homophobic jokes in private with their friends.

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