July 2007


  • I have a hard time cooking for myself.
    No, seriously, I do.  When I’m on my own, cooking takes a lot of energy I just don’t have; that, and oftentimes I’m not sure what I’m allowed to access and what’s being used later on for a family meal.  I think if I lived by myself I’d have to plan my meals and shopping list on a regular basis, because I’m definitely afraid of ending up eating only processed food.
  • I’m a sucker for home improvement shows, a lot of the other shows on Discovery Channel/Food Network/TLC, and random documentaries on PBS. 
    We don’t have cable, so the latter is the only thing I get to watch regularly.  I blame Smith’s American Studies department for this, as well as adjunct profs Larry Hott and Diane Garey.  (Incidentally, their Niagara Falls film has been on PBS for the last couple weeks and is, as all of their works are, really well made.)  Like, last night, there was a film on about people who breed ferrets, and I watched the whole bloody thing.  Also, Simon Schama is pwning with Power of Art–I saw his history programmes when I was in Glasgow.  Melodramatic, yes, but terribly interesting.  I am now educated.
  • I prefer canned green beans to fresh.
    This has been much to my grandmother’s dismay for years.  In fact, I don’t mind cheap food too much, usually.  This means that while I’m reading Ari Weinzweig’s book at the moment, I feel Massive Guilt.  Until I remember I’ve saved some cash…if he wants to pay for me to eat artisanal pasta, by all means, I’ll eat it.
  • I don’t really think Wisconsin is a cultural wasteland.
    There are places that are worse, I’m sure.  I think everywhere one goes, you find a majority of the population in the mindset that This Place Is Best And People May Be Doing Things Elsewhere But Not As Well And Who Needs Them Anyway, and Milwaukee is definitely no exception.  What bothers me is the fact that we’ve only just got our firsts of various upscale chains within the last five years or so, because corporations think this is a non-market.  (Clearly those people have never met anyone from Brookfield…)
    Seriously, there are good things here; I just want to live elsewhere, in due course, and chains can be detrimental to locally owned businesses, I know.  Besides, in fifty years, this’ll all be Milwauchicagary, and that’s not cynicism.

And I’ll write more about this later: Jonathan Franzen declares himself to be trying to be an OK American.

It’s what all of us who, you know, actually want to compete internationally are trying to do, really, but why does the way he says it rub me in all the wrong ways?  I’ve been annoyed with him ever since he was too cool to be on Oprah, and his commentary in this article just carries on with more of the same.

That is, stuckup neo-bohemian liberalism, which I hate in anyone over the age of 25.  It’s like white guilt and international relations got together and had a baby.  Though I’m not denying that I feel it too, there’s something wrong with tooting the horn of I’M REALLY A GOOD PERSON EVEN THOUGH I’M AN AMERICAN CITIZEN all over the press.  Actions speak louder than words, in the old cliche, and all he’s proving to me is that he’s in fervent denial.

In a phrase, Jonny?  Say it, don’t spray it.