Thursday, November 29, 2007

I give up. I have NO idea what's holding up Judgment Day.

I'm #$%&ing speechless.

Look, if you're not in a particularly sad state of mind.

-J.

Posted by Joke at 4:44 PM 5 comments

In showbiz news

NOS has landed the role of the narrator in the St. [insert Catholic saint here]'s 2007 Christmas* play.

It was tough sledding for a while, because the director Sr. [not her real name] Mary Joseph was sorely tempted to cast the poor lad as St. Gabriel the Archangel, as NOS has a spectacular singing voice. So spectacular, in fact, that were we in 1807 Italy instead of 2007 Fringe O' Paradise, there would be every chance some choir director would sneak him off and return him unable to issue any grandchildren for us. Which might have pleased operatic purists and eco-extremists, but gravely displeased us, and we're the rightful owners his parents.

The problem with a 10 year old boy playing St. Gabriel the Archangel -- or at least this production's version thereof -- is the script's calling for St. Gabriel the Archangel to have...and there's no way to put it mildly...rather luxuriant blonde tresses. Furthermore, St. Gabriel the Archangel is also required to dress in a tunic which other non-St. Gabriel the Archangel-playing boys who are putative friends with the actor who assumes the role are convinced (and are wildly amused) is a dress.

These were all details which NOS, never given to poring over the minutiae which comprises the large print, failed to note. He was driven starry-eyed by the prospect of having wings and a bugle of sorts and permission to blast the latter to the top of his 10 year old lungs. The realization he might look like Tinker Bell in her retirement years took all the thrill off this prospect.

Fortunately, a girl had her heart set upon playing St. Gabriel the Archangel, and she came already accessorized with luxuriant-ish blond-enough tresses and none of her friends would tease her into her mid-30s for wearing** a dress tunic. So, the stage mother went to speak with someone in charge-ish and NOS, being the sort of bright lad practically ruptured with altruism, freely and cheerfully yielded the prize character of St. Gabriel the Archangel, in exchange for being the narrator, which has the added bonus of being offstage and requiring no costume. Or memorization of lines beyond those required for him to sing a bit of "Veni, Veni Emmanuel."

I haven't been updated on this, but I believe NTS is a reindeer. Comet, I think.

-J.

* The nice thing about it is there's no need to bother with calling it "Winter Carnival" or "Holiday Pageant" to appease the PC Thought Squad.

** Cynical people would suggest her friends would tease her for how the tunic might fit or what color it was, or what shoes she wore. I wouldn't suggest that of her friends, but cynics might.

Posted by Joke at 1:17 PM 1 comments

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

For immediate, or earlier, release

(In which I show the planet exactly how much of a badass I am.)
===================
Vinapedia.net takes on the Absurdities of the 100-point Scale

New Wine Website Calls for a "Wine Ratings System for the Rest of Us"

STUDIO CITY, Calif., November 28, 2007—
Vinapedia.net (www.vinapedia.net), a new educational website launched to help people learn wine basics, today posted "100 Pointless," which takes on and lampoons the absurdities of the 100-point wine ratings scale.

"The 100-point scale is like the Wizard of Oz. Yank back the drapes and it's really just a timid, elderly baritone," says "100 Pointless" author, Joke Googlia III.

In his inimitable mock-high-falutin' style, Googlia points out that the 100 point system is effectively a 30 point system, because anything below 70 is undrinkable and everyone knows it. Furthermore, Googlia suggests, the ideal range for most authentic, regional, food-pairing wines is 85-89. Anything higher and you get a fruit, oak and/or tannin bomb that will pair well with only a narrow range of heart-stopping cuisine. He recommends a simplified, 5-level system more suited to the average palate.

"Wine, to me, is not about superlatives in a vacuum," Googlia continues. "It is about superlatives that can harmonize with the gamut of human sensations, not just those sensations that pair well with medium-rare USDA Prime Beef."

"Besides," says Michael Mattis,
Vinapedia.net's proprietor, "Robert Parker might be able to tell the difference between a 96 and a 97 but most everyone else would not only be stumped, we couldn’t care less. It's high time we called the old system into question and begun to think about a new system — one for the rest of us."

About Joke Googlia III
Joke Googlia III writes
Vinapedia.net's premier column, "The Oenophiliac." When not challenging people's assumptions about wine, Googlia serves as executive vice president of a strategy consulting firm in Fringe o' Paradise, Florida . In addition to wine, he collects cars, watches and fountain pens, and searches in vain for the perfect tailor.

He is available for interviews upon request.

About
Vinapedia.net
Vinapedia.net was launched in the summer of 2007 by the admittedly novice oenophile, Michael Mattis. "I created Vinapedia.net because I'm not an authority on wine," says Mattis. "I created it so that I could learn more about something I've become passionate about and share what I've learned with others." A founding editor of Business 2.0 magazine, a freelance writer and professional blogger, Mattis currently holds the trendy title of blogster-in-chief at Yahoo! Search Marketing in Burbank , Calif.

Contact:
Michael Mattis, Proprietor
www.vinapedia.net
mike@vinapedia.net
(XXX) YYY-ZZZZ

Inquiries regarding advertising, partnership and content licensing opportunities also welcome.

Posted by Joke at 9:35 AM 0 comments

Sunday, November 25, 2007

And we're starting to wind up.

Normally, we at Chez Joke put all our Christmas frippery the Saturday after Thanksgiving (the Friday I spend in a coma) and we grind on until we're done. But all the labor had to be postponed as we were having dinnah with Jujube and the soon-to-be Mr. Jujube. (Those who keep up with these things will be happy to note he is a swell and terrific guy.)

Anyway, today we returned from Mass, and immediately following a middleweight brunch (scrambled eggs with chives, sausage patties, sticky buns and milk/juice/coffee) we got down to business. The only thing harder than putting all this stuff up is taking the beast down when your reserves are at an all-time low following the protracted Christmas whirlwind o' hecticness.

As it stands, we're also going to have today's session cut short as we must repair to my kid sister's birthday party. But, as our strength began to flag, our spirits were buoyed by turkey club sandwiches and lashings of postprandial espresso; as a consequence we rallied nicely and things look good so far.

To keep the grownups in the proper frame of mind, the lads began to play Christmas-y music, ostensibly to ensure our productivity and motivation. After hearing Porky Pig's rendition of "B-b-b-b-blue Christmas" and the Stray Cats' "Nutcracker Suite" I think their approach was far more stick than carrot. But there you have it.

Pictures next.

-J.

Posted by Joke at 4:17 PM 5 comments

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Post Thanksgiving Stress Disorder -- UPDATED YET AGAIN!

UPDATE #2! The lovely and gracious Poppy has suggested Wolfgang Puck's Thai Pizza. MWAH!

UPDATE! -- The lovely and gracious blackbird has reminded me of how glorious it'd be to make turkey club sandwiches with the (meager) leftovers. I am so happy about this possibility I may cry, although this might also be due to how rattled I am.

============

It goes without saying -- but not without typing -- that by the end of Thursday evening I was utterly exhausted.

Prepwork had started Wednesday afternoonish, and I started the cooking proper by 9:30am on Thursday, and didn't get to plop down to taste my (now cold) turkey until about 7pm. I had two liberal tumblerfuls of Zinfandel and a liter (or was it a quart?) of sparkling water with my dinner. A system-wide crash was imminent. Fortunately, doing all the cooking means I do N-O-N-E of the cleaning and washing up or packing up leftovers. In reality I only did MOST of the cooking as people insisted on bringing their famous ____. Which invariably means that's what's packed up as leftovers.

Which is a boon to us who are insufferable food snobs foodies who are trying to watch our intake during the Eating Season. The temptation to graze all day or to pile a monumental stash of leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day is all but eliminated when the stuff available is about as tempting as flossing the cat.

The turkey was a particular hit, which I ascribe to two simple variations from the standard recipe: Rubbing the outside with a 3:1 herb to coarse salt mixture and starting the cooking upside down. Also helping was carving it with an electric knife, which means every slice of turkey came accessorized with a neat strip of absurdly crisp skin, made all the better by its salty hebiness. There were no leftovers, beyond the assorted bits that drop off as collateral damage during carving.

The carcasses have been simmering away for stock purposes.

But dammit I was tired.

Not making things better is the fact TFBIM's 2nd Annual Surprise Birthday Party is on the 14th (!) and I haven't gotten all the goody bag stuff yet. This year's theme -- a theme is key to a successful party, methinks -- is "Martinis & Mistletoe" not because all that many people are excited by either, but because I was able to get this CD for about $1, and it gives off the proper retro-cocktaily-Christmasish vibe.

But I'm still missing some key bits. Some cocktail charms, coasters and swizzle sticks would leave me all set up.

But dammit I'm tired.

-J.

Posted by Joke at 6:33 AM 2 comments

Friday, November 23, 2007

One wonders.

The lovely and gracious BabBab has been forced to be involved with a Scholastic Book Fair. Apparently, she did this partly because she's a gentle soul and partly because she couldn't be bothered to ask for advice or opinions.

She has since grown to dislike this activity with unfettered intensity. In a stroke of unvarnished opinion, she mused that certain people detained at the Guantanamo Naval Station would be best placed running such book fairs.

Which got me curious as to what sorts of books the captured terrorists guests at Club Gitmo would have on offer for the little darlings. I figured it'd be something like:
* Heather Has Two Burqas
* Goldilocks and the Three Zionists
* Charlotte's Web of Phantom Charities
* Don't Eat The Daisycutters
* One Wife, Two Wives, Red Wife, Blue Wife
* Detonating the Bridge to Terabithia
* Green Eggs and Hamas
* The Journalist and The Jihadist
* A Fly Went By. Until We Blew It Out of The Sky
* Pat Down The Bunny
* The Little Totally Peaceful Hidden Nuclear Reactor That Could
* The Beauty and The Militant
* 1001 Night Mortar Attacks
* How The Grinch Froze Our Swiss Bank Account Assets
* Where The Wild Things Are Getting Illicit Funding
* The Pied Pipe Bomber
* Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See Going Up In A Colossal Fireball?
* The Wizard of Hezbolla
* Watership Down, With Loss of All Hands
* Everything I Need To Know I Learned In A Remote Camp Along The Syrian Border
* Itsy Bitsy Explosive
* I'm Getting 72, How About You?
* Amelia Bedelia Goes On The Achille Lauro
* Are You My Mother Of All Insurgencies?
* Charlie and the Munitions Factory
* Leo The Late Bomber
* Horton Hears A Who And Is Discredited By The Media Until It's Too Late
* Gerald McBoom-Boom
* Gulliver's Travels Avoiding Airport Security
* An Old Lady Who Lived In A Shoe She Detonated On A Flight Over Scotland
* Frog And Toad Put Aside Their Sectarian Differences, For Now.
* The Brave Little Terrorist
* Goodnight, Martyr
* Alice's Adventures in Dhimmitude
* If You Give Al-Jazeera A Cookie
* Three Blind News Agencies
* Babar Joins The Taliban
* Little Red Riding Hamas
* James And The Giant PLO
* The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde All Your Stuff In Syria & Iran
* Guess How Much I Loathe You?
* The Rainbow Fish School Is Seized
-J.

Posted by Joke at 12:38 PM 7 comments

Why I love them.

Thanksgiving went well. But that's not the important bit. The important bit involves my sons and why I love them.

NOS - Yesterday, someone showed up in a Ferrari 360. NOS and all the other boys went (all the others sprinted, NOS walked casually) to see the car. The guy who drove it -- someone's date, I believe -- stood by partly t to bask in the adulation of near-adolescent boys murmuring "Wow!!" and partly to make sure none of the little tykes gouged the paintwork.

Then NOS piped up and said "Why'd you get the automatic transmission?" in a tone of voice that suggested said driver is the sort of person who would get chest hair implants; and otherwise giving this guy much grief for being an all-around poseur.

NTS -- Woke up this morning demanding we put up the Christmas decorations. He is, as I type, walking around the house chanting "Christmas, Christmas, 1-2-3!" Which is probably a song from a show I cannot be bothered to watch.

Now, espresso.

-J.

Posted by Joke at 7:39 AM 3 comments

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Things for which to be thankful, in the negative

There are only three guaranteed* ways to raise my ire.

1- Interrupt me while I am in the middle of something I consider important.
2- Make me explain myself.
3- Make me repeat myself.

These all boil down to the same thing: I have a finite amount of time on this earth and you are recklessly wasting it with no end in sight. At a bare minimum -- i.e., if the kids are around -- there will be some passive-aggressive sighing and eyerolling. At worst, there will be a detailed and protracted explanation, with a luxury of detail, why this is a colossal aggravation.

Even worse is when these vexations come in tandem, such as interrupting me to explain why I don't repeat myself. It is there that willpower takes a steely grip upon my soul and prevents me from chasing the offender over difficult terrain with assorted bits of cutlery.

But that's about as rugged as I get.

It may come as a surprise to some of you, but I don't do "rugged." It's not that I can't do rugged, it's just that I'd rather see Mongol hordes overrun my house than do those rugged sorts of things. For example, applying tools and implements to the innards of a given old Italian sports car. If circumstances really called for it, I could effect a repair (and have) but I really prefer not to. There are friends of mine who could think of no greater joy than being elbow deep in pistons and valves. They come home after a long slog in the office and this is what allows them to de-stress.

I don't see it, myself...but it takes all kinds to make a traffic jam.

Or outdoor pursuits, say. A very dear friend thinks that hauling the family to the middle of nowhere and setting camp for a weekend is an unalloyed thrill, whereas to me, the outdoors is defined by the space which separates the places where I'd rather be.

The same applies to wood crafty stuff, all kinds of household DIY-ness and the like. That's just not me. I can be very rugged conversant, and pitch in and all that but just between you and me, dear Internet, it's harrowing stuff. About the ruggedest I can be without displeasure is cooking over a real fire.

This is not to say I am the opposite extreme, all Wilde-ish and Keats-like and dreamy and, er, fey. The person at fault for my spot on the spectrum (besides me and those who gave me the genes with which I must work) is James Bond.

When I was seven (!) years old, I went to see my first James Bond film, Diamonds Are Forever. I liked the sort of contrast on display, a lethal and gadget-ridden Renaissance man in Savile Row suits. I had my doubts about being able to sprout such an impressive expanse of chest hair and after all these years still am. But that's all meaningless digression. I wanted to be a sort of manly connoisseur who was allowed to shoot people.

The shooting people thing never panned out and I lost interest therein, which is all to the good. But the whole connoisseur thing was a rough sort of process when one grows up in the late-1970s. About the time I had developed an interest in the most opposite sex, the members of same had (for the most part) split into two camps: The ones who liked them rugged like Grizzly Adams (you International-types substitute your "blokey-bloke" of choice) or those who liked them like Prince (or whatever androgynous hairless lagomorph strikes your fancy).

It took great perseverance on my part not to apostasize. Partly on principle but mostly because I couldn't possibly eat the food the Ruggeds ate, because I couldn't possibly dance to the Androgyne's choice in music and/or because I'd rather bleed to death in a ditch than dress like either.

The point behind this is that being sort of betwixt-and-between, while maddening at the time when pursuing the imperative borne of hormones coursing riotously through my veins was my single priority, spared me from a great number of heartache and aggravation. As I think back to all the romantic missteps which were stillborn, I can only exhale in relief.

The phone actress in Las Vegas, the convicted embezzler, the doubled-in-size with each passing year, the imperious princess...all of these managed to pass me by with only scratches and dings.

For that, I am more thankful than I can describe.

-J.

* There are a zillion ways to raise my ire, but only these are guaranteed.

Posted by Joke at 10:45 PM 8 comments

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Now, where was I?

One of the best things about Thanksgiving or, better said, my Thanksgiving is how I manage to avoid almost completely, my family. The way it works, for logistic reasons is that we do Thanksgiving with TFBIM's colossal -- which negates the possibility of conjoining the two tribes -- extended family and then we do Christmas with mine.

TFBIM's crowd is probably no prize, either but they are her crowd and therefore I don't have to be slapped with fresh reminders of exactly how scandalously low on chlorine is my gene pool. Furthermore, they are happy to let me stay in the kitchen, glowing with manly perspiration borne of what passes for honest toil, cooking away for a small battalion. I reserve a bottle of something to slake me, and I spend a good six hours in bliss. I rather expect Heaven to be like this, only I'd also be reading books and the accolades would come not from Uncle Francis but St. Francis.

But in all of these discussions, I often omit to mention the prepwork. Epochs ago, when I was a young man (less than half as old as I am now, alas) I worked as a line cook in the nicest restaurant in the university town where my (duh) university happened to be. This isn't saying a lot, mind you, and in any major city it'd be considered a pretty good neighborhood place. But this was 198X in a small collegiate hamlet a good hour from any sort of city worthy of the moniker.

During my first few weeks, I had to come in and "prep." "Prep" is shorthand for chopping and dicing and slicing and peeling EVERYTHING, as well as precooking all foodstuffs as far as they could be without (grossly) compromising their quality.

What you, dear Internet, need to know about prepwork is that it's unimaginably dreary and dull. Tedium is the term which leaps to mind. Boring. But it has to get done unless you want people to eat cooked onions out of hand as they would a pear.

In Thanksgiving mode, prep means a ton of work to a foodie such as me. For example, the cornbread stuffing/dressing requires cornbread. So cornbread must be made, and not that sweetish stuff, either. (I am debating making my own sausage)

The turkey must be brined, meaning the brine must be made (this year I am experimenting with apple juice in which herbs -- sage, thyme and marjoram -- have steeped, as well as having a few crushed cloves of garlic floating around) and cooled. Oh, and there must be stock for the soup. You get the idea.

The sad thing is that I sort of enjoy this. Maybe it's the solitude which I enjoy, the idea that were the phone to ring* TFBIM would intercept it like a missile defense system shooting down some Russian Scud. Even better, TFBIM is happy because the boys are galley slaves doing a father-and-sons thing in the kitchen which means they are both quiet AND she doesn't have to supervise them. This is all a win-win, when you come to think of it.

So, today is the last day of work -- in a certain sense it's the last REAL day of work, because December mostly means impressive amounts of foot-dragging -- before the fun begins.

I promise pictures.

-J.

* The definition of youth is pretty much "being of such an age that when the phone rings you hope it's for you."

Posted by Joke at 7:59 AM 6 comments

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Turkey-ish Delights

Some of you have expressed some frustration with the links to my Vinapedia.net columns. As a public service (and a special behind-the-scenes treat) here is my next column:

******

TURKEY-ISH DELIGHTS

Thanksgiving is nearly at our throats and, as this is the one holiday dedicated to the principle that one ought freely engage in lucullan self-abuse and be grateful for the opportunity, the motto of “What ought we drink?” is heard echoing throughout the top floors of Vinapedia Tower in ringing baritones.

Passersby accost us, women of a certain age and lurid disposition sidle up to us in the produce section of our local supermarkets, and incomplete foodies look upon us pleadingly. They all are aware of the searing need for Vinapedic guidance.

Which brings us – calloo, callay! -- to today, your day of potable deliverance.

In order for us to tell you what you ought drink, we must first start with whay you must specifically not drink: Beaujolais Nouveau. This is not some sort of atavistic Francophobia or anti-Gallic editorial policy or viticultural jingoism. It is based on the hard fact that Beaujolais Nouveau simply doesn’t play well with the typical Thanksgiving Day menu. The marketing wizards will tell you Beaujolais Nouveau “goes with everything.” Which is a yes-and-no proposition. It is simple enough and fruity enough and et cetera enough to not stand athwart the groaning board hurling vile abuse at your palate.

But that’s hardly a rousing endorsement, is it?

Mind you, this isn’t limited to Beaujolais Nouveau; the Usual Suspects (even when they avoid the dreaded International StyleTM) are all in trouble with the foodstuffs of gratitude. There is only one wine that has the muscle to cope well with the sage and pepper inflected turkey’s dark meat and white meat, and the cornbread, and the sausage bedecked stuffing/dressing, and the gravy and the cranberries and even that thing with the green beans and the canned fried onions and condensed soup your least favorite aunt brings every year. We’re talking about Zinfandel.

Sadly, most Zinfandel gets recognition for “white Zinfandel” which is a role for which it is catastrophically ill-suited…to make a wine that is little more than a wine cooler without training wheels. No, no, no. We’re talking real Zinfandel. It even has the happy characteristic of not being one of those grapes that has been planted up one continent and down the other. It’s a cheerfully American thing, this Zinfandel.

Now, if you are having a Thanksgiving bash with 50 of your closest friends and family some of whom might be considered, in technical terms, philistines you’ll want to pick a more accessible and affordable Zinfandel than if the party consisted of 20 or 8. Basically you want something with soft tannins, cherry-berry fruit and a good spice backbone. Here are the choices depending on how colossal your festivities are.

2005 Ravenswood Winery Zinfandel Lodi ($10 street price).
If you had to pick a Zinfandel with exactly zero research – blind, if you will – your safest bet is to reach for something from Ravenswood. At any price, this is a great wine. At $10, it’s practically pointing a blunderbuss at you and demanding to be taken home. The color is a standard red, no purple and none of the rust/brick either. It has a berry brightness that is adorned with very notable spicy and mineral-ly characteristics, with a hint (just a hint, but I’m not crazy here) of citrus. Around this time you notice how deliciously unobtrusive the tannins are, lending just enough support to keep things smooth and sleek. The closer you get to the finish the more pronounced the berry thing becomes, which wraps up with a delicious cherry/spice character. Given that my Thanksgiving will consist of a medium-sized horde, I bought a case of this very thing. With the case discount, it really is an stunning bargain and will also pair up fantastically with grilled steaks. (You’re welcome.)

2005 Ravenswood Winery Zinfandel Dickerson Vineyard Napa Valley ($20)
Yes, it’s another Ravenswood. I know. But this serves to underscore my point that, if you wanted the closest thing to a “foolproof” choice, Ravenswood Zinfandels are among the finalists. This one is clear scarlet, with the usual blackberry/raspberry aromas, with a smoky/herby edge. It has a gleeful acidity and a crisp minerality. Amazing finish, with a bit more tannin than its kid brother above. Good bet for cellaring. (If you can find the 2004, grab it and run, the extra year will have made it even more stellar.)

2005 Ridge Vineyards Geyserville Sonoma County ($30)
Ridge is another of the realibly excellent Zinfandel producers. This one is a deep red, with a bouquet of blackberries and cherries, assorted mineral-ness and herbes de Provence lifted, with hints of star anise and pepper. The body is less than you’d expect from a Zinfandel, but it’s lush and supple and the tannins just poke their heads out to say “hi.” (This is also available in half-bottles at about $18.)

Posted by Joke at 1:58 PM 2 comments

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Back up to speed.

After all this Argentiniziation, I'm wildly eager to get going on Thanksgiving.

Anyway, for the new kids, as a service to humanity here are my Thanksgiving recipes, all in one easy to access lump.

http://thejokeblog.blogspot.com/2005/10/thanksgiving-101-syllabus.html
http://thejokeblog.blogspot.com/2005/10/thanksgiving-101-soup.html
http://thejokeblog.blogspot.com/2005/10/thanksgiving-101-salad.html
http://thejokeblog.blogspot.com/2005/11/thanksgiving-101-turkey.html
http://thejokeblog.blogspot.com/2005/11/thanksgiving-101-potatoes-ormake-me.html
(keep in mind the above recipe is sheer heresy; its purpose is to have the potatoes absorb as much dairy as is humanly, er, potatobly, possible.)
http://thejokeblog.blogspot.com/2005/11/thanksgiving-101-stuffingdressing.html
http://thejokeblog.blogspot.com/2005/11/thanksgiving-101-pie.html
(pedantic types will complain that pecans and maple do not belong together, but I say this shows post-Civil War unity)

and for people to see exactly what it all entails:

http://thejokeblog.blogspot.com/2005/12/better-late-than-ever-part-1.html

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday despite the fact I (with NOS as sous chef and NTS as food processor/stand mixer switch operator) have to sling out the foodstuffs for a horde of friends and relatives.

This year NOS has more of a hand in the roasting of the turkey. It's good-funny to see NOS wielding a knife. We secretly exercise his knife skills because other members of the ::cough, cough:: family would go all Chief-Inspector-Dreyfus were they to see the spectacle of a 10 year old with something sharp. I'm sure the lovely and gracious Tere knows WTF I'm talking about.

But then again, I have always have issues with acquiescing to authority, etc. and I do whatever I want.

Of course, since I'm me, I cannot just traipse down to my local Food Hut and grab the first frozen turkey that hits my eye. No, no, no. I head directly for the butcher and place an order. The dirty little secret is that doing it this way not only helps out the butcher (which in turn keeps the supply of excellent and unusual edibles coming my way) but a vastly superior turkey is had at a very comparable in price. I walk up the counter, explain what we need volumewise, as what my choices are and then make my selection.

Fortunately, this year we have a great many choices. Different heritage breeds of turkey, organic, free-range -- even wild turkey bagged in the various hunting venues -- but I opted for the farm-raised (yes, free range, organic, blablabla) version of the turkey native to Florida. If for no reason other than my belief that ceteris paribus local is always better. I also ordered two of them, as they tend to be on the smaller side and you get a better deal with a couple of 11 pounders than one 20 pounder.

No, I won't go all Gordon Ramsay and start raising my own livestock in the side garden (zoning regulations notwithstanding) but I like the idea of having something yummy that my more progressive friends will consider virtuous.

Admittedly, Thanksgiving crept up on me this year. A navel-gazer more introspective person would have felt some tinge of guilt over that, but I have to press on, as there are 50+ for whom to cook.

-J.

Posted by Joke at 7:48 AM 6 comments

Monday, November 12, 2007

In their wake and wakefulness.

OK.

The Argentines are (pretty much) out of my hair. But the stuff they have left behind for me to wrap up still has me in knots.

At this rate, we may all exhale relievedly there ought be no suspenseful moments this month.

Silver lining and all that,

-J.

Posted by Joke at 6:32 PM 3 comments

Friday, November 09, 2007

a-a-a-a-a-and...breathe.

OK.

I have pretty much shipped off the Argentines. All went pretty well. But I am mentally exhausted. Spent.

Those who know me best will attest that I am someone who is naturally drained by constant human interaction. If I don't get some time to think by myself, I slowly start turning into protoplasm in a suit.

Which sucks.

How exhausted am I? So much so that I just might take a nap.

-J.

Posted by Joke at 1:46 PM 2 comments

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Briefest of updates.

Meeting with clients went pretty well. Not spectacular, but better than expected. Those of you praying/fasting/chanting/sacrificing vermin at the full moon/engaging in pastoral dances please keep it up, it's working.

I have been made aware of -- and intrigued by -- the concept of only having handmade stuff for Christmas. Those of you who wisely put me among their giftees should be pleased to note the most recent articles of apparel I have received (i.e., those two suits, the sports jacket and tuxedo and the shoes) are all 100% handmade from 100% natural stuff.

I'm just sayin'.

And should you have won a lottery or received a colossal inheritance, Aston Martin and Morgan still hand make all their cars. (Granted, cars in general and sports cars in particular are instruments whose express purpose is to turn fuel into exhaust and smiles isn't the most beloved thing among environmentalists.)

And then there is luggage from Adeney, Swaine & Brigg or Schedoni...

-Mr. Enlightened

Posted by Joke at 8:46 AM 4 comments

Sunday, November 04, 2007

See how YOU like it.

Finally.

Someone has done for Kahlil Gibran what Kahlil Gibran did to writing. Cruel, but funny.

Go, read.

-J.

Posted by Joke at 7:31 AM 3 comments

Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I'm free at last.

Daylight Savings Time has ended.

As we speak, I am squandering daylight recklessly.

-J.

P.S. It's light when I wake up, dark when I have dinner, i.e., normal. LOVE IT.

Posted by Joke at 6:35 AM 7 comments

Saturday, November 03, 2007

"Just get out the way and let the gentleman do his thing."* UPDATED

There may be one or three among the readership that would know his/her way around matters of warp and weft. It is for these blesseds I post the following.

When I was last in Poppyville, I availed myself of some excellent shopping. Well, the last of the items has arrived.

Item #1 is a dark slate-blue double breasted number from Paul Stuart, in a multiseason weight. The tailoring and styling are impeccable. It looks and fits as you'd expect. I love it.

Yes. Working sleeve buttons. A must, really.

Now.

Item #2. The swatch had an excellent "hand" and it felt more liquid than anything else.

But I wasn't prepared for the completed garment. The finished piece is gossamer light. Super 180s, with a very high twist, if that registers with you. It feels as if someone had made me a suit of facial tissue. You put it on and its as if you had stepped into a room cooler by about 10 degrees. It's glorious. I won't be able to wear it if the temperature drops below "mid-autumn" but WOW.

With something pretty posh like this, you want to avoid the very, very fashionable tics of the moment (high gorge three-button suits, anyone?). After all, you want to highlight construction, cut and drape, not the lunacies of the moment. So the color is a pretty sober almost-charcoal grey. But, OMG, it feels so good. My next fear is that my beloved will catch me trying to get into its pants.

Wow.

-J.

* The Staples Singers, "Respect Yourself."

Posted by Joke at 3:05 PM 8 comments

There. I said it.

I don't like Hallowe'en. Or even plain ol' Halloween.

At some point early in my career I realized that dressing up as if I were an imbecile, in the technical sense of the word, and begging for candy couldn't possibly hold a candle to staying at home and relaxing in my sleepwear.

As I reached man's estate, my feelings darkened, culminating in what happens these days when I have to assist in putting all kinds of "scary" things around the house. Scary, incidentally, means things that make annoying loud-ass noises for no good reason. The whole thing reaches a climax on Oct. 31, when platoons of strangers parade by your house asking for cheap candy. Even worse, we are treated to the musings of people who use -- without even trace amounts of irony -- the word "magick."

Furthermore, Halloween kicks off the eating season in worrisome style. From here on out, there is some event each month in which gargantuan, lucullan amounts of food are sent down the national gullet in a frenzy that will simply not abate until Easter, when everyone starts wondering why they look perfectly foul in swimwear.

Mind you, I put up with it for the sake of keeping peace in the valley, but I hate it.

And now you know.

-J.

P.S. To those kind souls among you who have, re. my impending Big Business Thing with the Argentines, prayed, fasted, chanted, sacrificed vermin under the full moon, etc.: Keep it up, DO NOT STOP...it seems to be working.

Posted by Joke at 2:25 PM 3 comments

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A slightly confessional bit.

WARNING: Nothing has happened, so I don't want any of this "Whew, for a while I thought..." stuff. There may be some slight (but diplomatically phrased, I think) TMI.

*****

As a card-carrying Papist, there are certain moral obligations which I derive from my theological mindset. Praying for Badger when she goes in for that test to see that nothing evil and lethal is lurking somewhere near her, uh, bottom...that's one such less-well-known obligation. The fish thing during Lent.

There are a few other more famous (and famously controversial) strictures to which Chez Joke hews close.

As a consequence, we are aware that there is something of a chance that one day, maybe, we may be called upon to haul out all the old baby stuff and give it one more lease on life. It wouldn't be the most convenient thing ever, especially given that she's just discarded her 30s...but this goes with the territory we've staked out.

Most of the time, this isn't a practical worry as we have very Ladyhawke schedules, and thus it'd take St. Gabriel the Archangel making an official announcement for us to really believe our merry band would actually increase in number. But not all tides are slack and so, this week when TFBIM's...uh...red envelope failed to arrive on schedule (it's wildly punctual) we sort of looked to ourselves and wondered.

Then it was delayed some more. And now we really wondered.

But what struck me was that I had not worked myself into a blind panic. While still not ecstatic about it, I was surprisingly cool with the possibility, you might say. By the 3rd day of the delay, I was starting to think of names and what options would be viable for the nursery. (I'd hate to give up the den.) Then the call came early this morning:

"For the love of all that's holy, get me two [brand name analgesic] and some water! If you find morphine bring that instead." And I knew; it might have been lost in transit but it has arrived, late, sure, but with a vengeance.

And you know what?

I was actually a tiny bit disappointed.

-J.

Posted by Joke at 10:36 PM 15 comments