Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A December to Remember

-Homemade bread. A lovely idea, especially for those of us who live far from supermarkets let alone these mythological establishments called "bakeries." And a fine way to pass time on Christmas day. But, recipe author who shall remain nameless, "at least three hours" doesn't sit right when, if you add up the time of each of the three rises, plus time in the oven, you arrive at "four hours," with the kneading, prep, and so forth surely covering an additional "at least."

-On "Millionaire Matchmaker," one of Patti's "millionaire" clients said he wanted a woman who was a cross between Tina Fey and Anne Hathaway. Hello! (Yes, I'm married, and no, even if I were not, the "millionaire" in question was sort of eh, and didn't even have the decency to be a fallen Austrian aristocrat, a wild-eyed psychopath, or otherwise memorable.) The relevant fact here is that Patti responded to his request for a woman of that type as if he'd expressed an almost unspeakable fetish, something even Dan Savage wouldn't know what to do with, and proceeded to set him up with a Vegas cocktail waitress.

-Contemporary Jewish Demography 101: at the Chinese restaurant on Christmas, everyone else (aside from the usual Chinese-grad-student clientele) was of the Hebraic as well as geriatric persuasion. The only other Jewish festivities I was aware of involved the Israelis on campus assembled for a child-centric Christmas-night-of-Chanukah celebration, presumably with the goal of passing along some of their warm-weather culture to their children who, as it happens, reside in chilly New Jersey. (The Palmer Square tree is huge! And in the wealthy suburbs, people don't just have a Christmas tree. They have at least one big one inside, but also a few outside for good measure, sometimes wrapped in lights that are themselves miniature Christmas trees.) Presumably some Jews were off elsewhere being too observant for Szechuan Park. Vibrant, vibrant secular cultural Diaspora Judaism might thrive somewhere, but not in these woods.

-We saw Cornel West in the Radio Shack! Public intellectuals, they're just like us!

-Car? Yes? No? On the one hand, where we now live is one of those places in America where one needs a car. On the other, we live here because of my husband's work, and they provide a shuttle service to nearby supermarkets, and aside from that there are such options as taxis, car-sharing, and biking, listed in reverse order of how often we avail ourselves of them. So we might live where cars are needed, but we don't need a car. Plus, cars are expensive! Insurance is expensive! Driving lessons are something you're supposed to have your parents pay for when you're 16, and seem especially expensive if you've already paid for a bunch of them and failed two NYC driving tests! Princeton parents can probably afford to pay up, and their kids really want and need to learn to drive, so lessons here probably cost more than anywhere else in the country, no, world! But it's definitively too cold to bike anywhere comfortably. As grating as the "December to Remember Sales Event" commercials and magazine ads and otherwise ubiquitous presence may be, I'm leaning towards "car," but we'll see.


Erika D. said...

Yes, you must send that Cornel West anecdote to Us magazine tout de suite! Bonne année, Phoebe.

Phoebe said...

Alas, my material for such mags has dwindled since moving away from NY.

And a happy new year to you as well!