--The Joy of Cooking. This book makes my life happier and yummier at least one a week. It has a couple of features that set it apart from all the other cookbooks: it has a kick-ass index, it has comprehensive conversion-tables, it offers basic-ingredient entries ("Asparagus are best in the Spring, and you'll know the spears are fresh when..."), and it has an extraordinary knack of explaining very simple processes without ever seeming condescending. This may not be the most specialized, coolest, or most exciting cookbook you could buy, but it's like a dictionary to me. Irma, I thank you.
--Stop 'N Grow. This is a nasty-tasting nail-hardener. I've only bought it in Germany, but the label suggests that it is also available in England from the Mentholatum Co. Lemme put it this way: after six years, I no longer bite my nails. My fingers tasted vile--and every time I suspect I'm backsliding, urgh! they taste vile again!
--Adorno's lectures on Kant's epistemology: Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. I don't usually put "Adorno" and "useful to students" in the same sentence, but these lectures are brilliant, transparent pedagogy. I've been slogging through the first Critique with a reading group, and Adorno manages to address all of our concerns with clarity and panache. Yes, there are a number of comments about "bourgeois thinking," but Adorno's almost overwhelmed respect for Kant might excuse such brief flashes of the Oedipal knives. What Adorno is particularly good at is piercing through our contemporary acceptance of Kant as the "subjective Copernican Revolution guy" to demonstrate the stakes of Kant's system in its time.
--French Camembert. It's got to be made from raw milk; pasteurized will simply not do. Presidente can sometimes be quite good, even though it's a fairly common brand. You want to take the cheese out of its wooden case and palpitate its surface. If it isn't soft, it isn't ready. An unyielding camembert will have to wait perhaps another week to reach its peak. Eat with: apples, fresh bread (white, rye, dark bread with raisens), rich crackers, or, decadently, straight off the board with fingers!
--WNYC, my local NPR affiliate. Congress is threatening to cut the budget for public broadcasting by some %45. I like public radio. WNYC ran continuous coverage of the congressional debates during the run-up to the Iraq war; local political host Brian Lehrer offered shows about the goddamned alumnium tubes and satellite photos of the mobile tubes. Thanks to WNYC, I was able to put page A18 together with my misgivings in order to deem this war misguided. (*Oh!* and you know what? I was right!) I don't have cable, TiVo, or subscriptions to Sirius: I'm too poor for these wonderful on-choice, digital options. So what I see is basically a land-grab: because the technology is moving from analog-wired to digital-wireless, everyone iw moving to privitize formerly public services. A vote on this element of the spending bill is going down later this week, so write letters with vim