Some land problems

My post last month about free land, Get yer free land!, has landed (har har) me in a tricky spot. I now seem to be the fifth Googe response for free land which is leading to strange emails from people. Two excerpts:

I would like to request more information about the free land. I'd like too know how I could get in on it also.

And today's missive, with (I hope) some typos:

would love to move from calif to on of the places that has free land . But i have quistions like I have two foster bays I need to know what that county would give to them to live on. The other thing is do they have places to rent until you build. the other is could you place a mudular or moble home on the land to live in while you get a job and you feel me.

I updated the post. I don't know about the free land, I only link to it. And I don't want to feel anyone.

So many interesting facts to know and use

The amazing interstingness of miscellany, specifically Schott's Food and Drink Miscellany has provided me with several hours of pre-sleep delight as I've perused its pages in bed. Last night I discovered that both the loganberry and the boysenberry are not in fact wild berries, but derivatives of raspberries! Beneath the heading, "Epicurean Eponyms," Mr. Schott explains:

LOGANBERRY · the sweet purple berry of the raspberry plant Rubus loganobaccus · created by the American judge and experimental horticulturalist James Harvey Logan, who developed the plant (c.1881). Some forty years later the botanist Rudolph Boysen created the hybrid BOYSENBERRY from the loganberry, the raspberry, and the blackberry.

No wonder I've never seen a loganberry bush in the wild! I'm loving this little book and all its wonders. Highly recommended for any foodie or food-curious person.

Book giving ideas

Not from me this time, though if I read more new books I would recommend some too you. This one comes from the New York Times: 100 Notable Books of the Year.

This year the [New York Times] Book Review has selected 100 Notable Books from those reviewed since the Holiday Books issue of Dec. 7, 2003.

Sadly I've only read one on the entire list, The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan, the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America, which was great. 2004 has been my most pathetic year for reading. I used to read the number of books I've read this year in a week back in the day. Hopefully 2005 will be different.

Good Bye Lenin

The other evening I finally got around to watching Good Bye Lenin!, a German film from 2003. Set in East Berlin prior to and following the fall of the Berlin Wall, it's the story of a boy (Alex) who's mother revives from a coma and can't be told about what's happened while she slept: that her beloved East Germany is no more. It was surprisingly funny, and very touching at times, as Alex and his sister struggle to recreate a quickly disappearing world in their mother's bedroom. It was definitely one of the better movies I've seen this year and I recommend it.

Can you name this song?

This is a favor for a friend of mine who heard a song at a bar the other night. We've searched on Google with the lyric snippet to no avail. So we're turning to the wisdom of the web, and hoping you readers may know the artist and/or the song. Do you know a song that's new and probably released within the past few years? He might have heard something about this band on MTV and this may have been the lead single off their major labor release. It's, "really good 'generic' funk." It's also, "The closest thing I've heard to Prince since Outkast." The lyric snippet that can be recalled is, "I'm gonna do it. Take your body out all night." He thinks. Do you know? Can you help?

Update: The mystery is solved! Reader's report it's, "Take Your Mama" by the Scissor Sisters. Well done readers, my friend thanks you.

The truth behind Strangelove

There's an interesting article in today's New York Times about Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove" (one of my all-time favorite movies), Truth Stranger Than 'Strangelove'

What few people knew, at the time and since, was just how accurate this film was. Its premise, plotline, some of the dialogue, even its wildest characters eerily resembled the policies, debates and military leaders of the day.

It's pretty horrifying to think that any of what happens, is supposed, and is said in this film is even slightly true. The article also notes that the Film Forum, "is screening a new 35 millimeter print for one week, starting on Friday." Sounds like a great way to see (or re-see) this classic film.

USA! USA! USA!

Though I had wanted to see it when it was in the theatres, I missed Miracle, the story of the US Hockey team at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics. But I caught it the other night on DVD and was not disappointed. It was everything I'd expected: great hockey, great 70s hairstyles, and great Minnesota and Boston accents. Oh and of course, great endings, with the US defeat of the Soviets in the semi-finals and the US defeat of Sweden in the finals for the gold medal. I love uplifting sports stories, and Miracle certainly delivered, even though I missed Mike Eruzione's game-winning goal against the Soviet Union because I was in the bathroom. Guess I'll just have to watch it again!

An appetite for A.J. Liebling

Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris by A.J. LieblingA few New Yorkers ago, David Remnick wrote a retrospective on the author A.J. Liebling, A. J. Liebling at one hundred. Mr. Liebling's writing appeared in the magazine long before I was even born, and I wasn't aware of him. But Mr. Remnick's article was just the thing to pique my interest. Towards the end of his piece, the author gives passing mention to one of Mr. Liebling's final "masterpieces", Between Meals, "a memoir of Paris and of pleasure itself."

On a whim I ordered it from Amazon, ignoring the reviews who failed to see its classicality and felt, "One star is an over-rating!" I'm happy to report I haven't enjoyed a book so much in ages! Here's a passage from page 62, where Mr. Liebling riffs on current (current being 1959, when the book was written) food preferences:

Personally, I like tastes that know their own minds. The reason that people who detest fish often tolerate sole is that sole doesn't taste very much like fish, and even this degree of resemblance disappears when it is submerged in the kind of sauce that patrons of Piedmontese restaurants in London and New York think characteristically French. People with the same apathy toward decided flavor relish "South African lobster" tails — frozen as long as the Siberian mammoth — because they don't taste lobstery…They prefer processed cheese because it isn't cheesy, and synthetic vanilla extract because it isn't vanillary. They have made a triumph of the Delicious apple because it doesn't taste like an apple, and of the Golden Delicious because it doesn't taste like anything.

I'm not so sure times have changed. These days I've been trying to focus on the essential elements of flavor when I'm cooking and eating. I'm growing a whole slew of herbs this summer, and edible flowers, to experiment with in the kitchen. I'm continuing to stick to seasonal, local offerings from the greenmarkets so that I may become an eater who truly tastes the tomato, the ramp, the fava bean. As Mr. Liebling puts it, I've begun my apprenticeship as a feeder, and I hope to be able to share more of the culinary experiences on this site. At the very beginning of his book, Mr. Liebling instructs:

The primary requisite for writing well about food is a good appetite. Without this, it is impossible to accumulate, within the allotted span, enough experience of eating to have anything worth setting down. Each day brings only two opportunities for field work, and they are not to be wasted minimizing the intake of cholesterol. They are indispensable, like a prizefighter's hours on the road.

The challenge is clear. Let the field work begin!