Oddly, given Bang's stated aims, she's happy to court obscurity. She says that the she-wolf that detains the pilgrim outside the wood has a "bitch-kitty" face; Virgil tells the pilgrim to climb the "meringue-pie mountain" that lies ahead. "Bitch-kitty" gets an explanatory footnote: Bang says it's something she found in the Dictionary of American Slang. My edition of that book says "bitch kitty" was a phrase of the nineteen-thirties and forties. (Roughly, it meant a "humdinger.") Did Bang expect today's readers to know it? Not really, it seems. She says that she wants these oddities to be fleeting pleasures for us. To me, they're not pleasures, but just oddities, something like finding a Tootsie Roll in the meat loaf.

(joan acocella, from "what the hell," on new translations of dante's divine comedy, new yorker 05.27.13)
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in the rain room

my sisters and i joined the line for moma's rain room (a temporary installation in which fancy tech creates the experience of walking through a downpour without getting wet; it's dazzling, and it's been wildly popular) at something like half past noon this past friday. it was (old-fashioned) raining (on the outdoor line) at the time, and a staffer with an umbrella and an impeccably-cut mackintosh approached me. "just so you know," he said, "the wait is about three hours right now." i grimaced. "no, you don't understand," he whispered. "that's the best it's been for a week." we ended up waiting a bit less than that, in fact, and it was...quite nice, all things considered? as kidchamp dot net is obviously above all things a destination for practical data, allow me to share some strategic information. if you intend to rain-room,

bring pals, three if you can; that way two of you can peel off to explore the rest of the museum (or forage for provisions, or use the bathroom) while the other two perform feats of strength for each other, or play cards, or argue about the new daft punk album* in line. the line must include one member of your group at all times, but beyond that you're free to come and go as you please, provided that you hang on to your ticket.

bring layers. i wore a short-sleeved silk shirt and suffered. misty, late-spring rain gets into your bones when you're standing in it for a long time, even if you've got an umbrella.

bring booze. i'm not saying you should whip a bottle of wild turkey out of your purse, but if, say, you jog up to the columbus circle american apparel in search of a cheap cardigan and pass both a liquor store and a starbucks on the way back, you should bring your sisters fortified coffee.

bring a real camera. it's pretty dark in the rain room, and most cameraphones aren't fast enough to take decent photos. unless you're deft with baggies or a wild kingdom-style photographer's tent, moreover, you've probably never shot in the rain with good equipment; do it now. speaking of,

bring a crossword puzzle, or some origami projects, or the sunday times book review. dancers in the rain are nice and all, but they can get wet; it rains in every dance movie ever made. if you just want to be cinematic, like, recite roy batty's speech from the end of blade runner. i say use the special circumstances to make something new.



101 in 1001 {III}: 036 enter a cooking or baking contest [completed 05.18.13]

while competing in a cooking or baking contest isn't especially difficult, finding a suitable one to enter is kind of rough. how does that even work outside of, like, county fairs and food television? i felt like the universe was tugging on my shirtsleeve when i got an email about a neighborhood cupcake-off in williamsburg last weekend: it seemed comparatively mellow, last-minute entrants were fine, and proceeds went to charity. also, let's be honest, my dark and stormy cupcakes are the shit. my friend lesley had at least two at her bachelorette party and i think she's paleo.

so: cupcaking. the event was held in a notorious den of foodies* and i figured i didn't have much of a shot at straight-up winning; presentation, on the other hand, i could do. i thought broken umbrellas were a win, but the little paper cocktail versions i had were awfully tropical and, when artfully mangled, said "hurricane" rather more loudly than "the shitty umbrellas you buy from some guy on the subway when you're caught in a storm on the way to the office and end up busting and throwing away two weeks later." luckily my sister (hooray sister!) noted that the shiny wrappers i'd found in the cupcake section at sur la table** made the cupcakes themselves look like little garbage cans. with that i felt we were in the clear.

ye cupcake entry

see how not-all-that-wobbly my penmanship is? one would never guess that the gal at the ticket counter encouraging me to get friendly with the crowd and talk up my goods had just caused my hands to shake so badly i had to delegate cupcake-quartering*** to my sister! i was fine five minutes later, it's - i like to feed people, but i'm deeply shy, and more of a lobsterman than a hostess. i thought i would just set up my stuff, motor off, and then come back later to haul up the traps. this crowd had petitions, and bow ties, and one lady was wearing a baby, and i don't want to look at people while they're eating or to have them look at me, and i was wearing a sort-of see-through shirt (they are a theme this spring, apparently). i spent most of the cupcake caucus skulking around in the store outside the event, is what i'm saying, and i am okay with that.


as hinted in my last post, i contemplated voting for myself for the people's choice award. i did in fact like my cupcake best, but i felt it would be unsporting to put a ticket in my own mason jar (yes, one votes for one's favorite cupcake in a mason jar; shut up, esb). sadly, my actual vote was even more ungentlemanly: i was going to go for an entrant who had pleased me by using salt, but she had an early lead and i still kind of wanted to win, so i went third-party. cupcaking pipes integrity from you like so much buttercream frosting.

the presentation award went to a gal who arranged little spikes of bacon on top of her cupcakes like the skeksi palace in the dark crystal (quite cool). innovation went to a baker of tamarind cupcakes who fell ill and left before the winners were announced(!), the judges gave top honors to an elvis cupcake (bacon/peanut butter/banana, i assume; i skipped the baconful entries), and the early leader (a professional cupcaker!) won people's choice. there was a respectable handful of tickets in my jar at the end of the night; though i won't enjoy free berries for the summer,**** i feel like the cakes were appreciated. when asked to introduce myself and my baking to the crowd, i said in a steady voice that i like bad weather.

imaginary reading group discussion questions

01 have you ever entered a cooking or baking contest? what happened?

02 have you ever voted for a third-party candidate?

03 speaking of baking, i now have a tumblr featuring birthday cakes for animals. how about that?

04 are you a cupcake enthusiast?

*i've been trying to register for one of their weekend knife-skills classes for at least four thousand years and five deep flesh wounds; jumping on that calendar is harder than getting reservations at pdt.

**holy shit, cupcake section at sur la table.

***even after the quartering, anyone who tried all of the entries would have ended up eating the equivalent of at least...four whole cupcakes? the judges looked a little shaky by the time we wrapped up.

****heading out to brooklyn each week for a CSA share would have been a pain in the ass, but damn, that was a good prize.


fucking pimento cheese

a girl without her blog ('s comments) is a bit like a boy without his dog. it's more difficult to know when she's fallen down an old well, for example, and in the absence of interlocutors she eddies into creepy soliloquy. i've always had fairly strong feelings about what i want to say here; over these months and months of comment-less growing pains,* i've also developed a pretty intense appreciation for how very much you, friends and thoughtful strangers, share with me. i have missed you terribly. i am so glad to be able to ask you over again.

imaginary reading group discussion questions

01 if you were to make, say, a pot of chile verde, would you roast your own greenies, buy them canned, order the crazy express-shipped frozen kind, or what?

02 how do you feel about this sweater?

03 savages: derivative? interesting? both, or neither?

04 might it be reasonable to buy another little helium tank so that i can refill steve's mylar balloon instead of buying him a new one every few months? (little helium tanks are recyclable; mylar balloons from the local ninety-nine-cent store are not.)

05 is it poor form to vote for yourself in a baking contest?

*it's exciting to have been using blogger since 2001, perhaps, but it is grueling to play matchmaker between one's dinosite and the internets of 2012/13; both of my tech sherpas have been heroic.


1: Yo, Miss Thing!
2: Yo Merisa, what's up?
1: You heard what happened at the Donut Hill the other night? - Yo I was there and those De La kids was fighting, yo they was wildin'.
2: Word man?
1: Word, the whole thing happened in front of my face, yo, they was on the dance floor, right, some kid stepped up to them and said something about hippies, then punks, and the chubby one, Plug Three?
2: Yeah. Plug Three, yeah I know him.
1: All right, Plug Three, all right, he walked up to this kid, hit him real quick, think he didn't when he did, and then them other kids the Jungle Brothers and Quest and, um, what's the other ones, the other ones?
2: The Violators.
1: The Violators, right, right, throwing chairs, and they didn't care who they was hitting, you think they wasn't?
2: Yeah. I know, I thought it was supposed to be about peace signs, things like that, you know...


@evencleveland On my way home last night: a mini dachshund in an argyle sweater and rhinestone collar who answered to the name "Diamond."
@kidchamp @evencleveland would bowie be pleased? i like to think so.
@evencleveland Now I have a happy thought for the day: David and Iman, reading, suavely relaxed, surrounded by dachshunds in diamond collars.

collage #487


an aviation, ye dali book

the cocktail of the summer, in case you were wondering, is the aviation (our version is 2 oz. nolet's silver dry gin, 3/4 oz. lemon juice, 1/2 oz. luxardo maraschino originale, and 1/4 oz. rothman & winter crème de violette; shake with ice and strain into a chilled coupe). it is one of those beverages for which you must purchase liqueurs you're sure you'll never use again (any old gin will likely work and who doesn't have that, but the maraschino and the crème de violette cannot be approximated with other things), but an aviation makes you feel as though you're on a zeppelin in a spangled cocktail dress, and if that isn't your idea of an incomparable friday-night situation we probably wouldn't get along. they say it's called an aviation because it looks like the evening sky. joe downloaded a flight-tracking app a few weeks ago, so as we sit on the balcony with our drinks he tells me who's causing each vapour trail in the eastern air.



joe and the cats and i began our lives in new york city ten years ago today. i remember thinking as i was falling asleep a few nights ago that i'm the only californian left in our apartment, but that's not true. it hasn't been true for a long time.