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olt! is a way station and oasis on the ancient road from Bedlam to Bellevue, dedicated to free and open discussion of topics moving heart and spirit.
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Cruising Gulf Coast beaches in skimpy trunks.
A guy tows a canister, somewhat like an oxygen tank. For a few cents he sprays hot bodies with a mixture of baby oil and iodine to produce that perfect tan. Cover your eyes he says as he soaks me head to toes, front and back.
Days on the nude section of Jones Beach, roasting in the sun with only grapefruit juice to keep hydrated.
Endless Summers on Fire Island baking in the dunes.
Little did we know or care back then.
[Back then the fad was to mix baby oil and iodine together and smear it on. Research into Australian, U.S. and Swedish attitudes to tanning predicts people born between 1900-1960 will be at highest risk of dying from melanoma than any other generations.]
Not to alarm you, it's nothing that dire, just some skin growths, but here I am visiting my Dermatologist yet again. The receptionist behind the barricade directs me to a newfangled device, a pad, to sign in with. I enter my name, it knows who I am! Next item shows my Ethnicity: African-American. Well, that's not right. [Insert inappropriate quip about excessive tanning?] How about Congolese ... Ethiopian ... St. Vincentian?
I'm stymied. The receptionist comes out from behind her barricade to help this older guy who has no idea how to deal with computers, clicks some buttons and gets ASIAN ... Burmese ... Thai ... Vietnamese. BLACK. I'm African-American again.
She's lost as well.
I notice a small arrow bottom right and keep keep pressing it, reasoning there must be a W down there somewhere as it scrolls on forever ... NATIVE HAWAIIAN ... listing every tribe known to mankind and in galaxies beyond . . Cambodian ... Chinese ... Hmong .... what's a YAPESE and why? All those Spaniards ... Andalusian ... I like the sound of that ... or maybe Valencian, they have great oranges?
And there it is, all the way at the bottom! WHITE! So much for White Privilege. No mention of Aryan so WHITE will have to do.
A bit later in the Doctor's office after multiple zappings with his ray gun: You wouldn't do all that sun again, would you he says. No cancer. See you in a couple of months.
A PDF of Races and Ethnicity is attached below, seems it's standard for medical services. Future research project: what did the Nazi's chart looked like?
The 2004 Marilyn Merlot is out. I hoof it north for a mile or so to a likker store which may be the only joint in town having that bottle for just around $20. A small winery in California has made the wine a cult item since getting rights to use the name in 1985, featuring a different image of Marilyn Monroe each year. Remaining bottles of the 1985 vintage are $3,800 and a collection of one bottle from each vintage is closing in on $10,000 now. The latest, 2004, has a photo from the movie "How to Marry a Millionaire."
I overcome my initial hesitation at having to ask someone for a bottle of Marilyn Merlot? and casually sidle up to the a shop person kneeling there on the floor. "Where can I get Marilyn ..." I stop. He is stacking bottles of just what we're looking for. "Oh, there it is." "No," he says, "this is Norma Jeane, Marilyn is there," pointing to the next bin. Shortly thereafter I head back south guarding a bag containing one of each.
We come to taste not to collect, ergo tonight it's Marilyn Merlot. They don't say anything about being good with pizza and hot wings, but what the heck, it's real Americana, just like Marilyn. I improve two frozen Celeste Sausage Pizzas with anchovies, sliced tomatoes and a dusting of Romano and bake them alongside a package of Weaver's Hot Wings. The wings turn out to be a mistake, causing us to miss out on the full flavor of the Merlot until the heat dies down. Still, it's a satisfying dinner.
The wine is dark ruby in the glass, a standard California Merlot, smooth and rich with black cherries and chocolate and I do get vanilla lingering on the palate.
Now the question is what to do with the bottle, even empty it may be a hot collector's item in a year a two? I can't quite deal with that and suggest I'll simply spread the joy by placing the bottle outside on top of the garbage, leaving it for a passing connoisseur, but then Roomie calls a neighbor who collects things and who gratefully accepts the treasure.
moving on to jello chocolate pudding now ...
[That was back in 2006. Checking the online now I see where a bottle goes for a paltry $130 (unopened) and even some hits for less.]
[Can't find anything about what I did with Norma Jeane back then.]
Can you tell me more? If so, creator, location, owner, ... ?
I took a snippet of a recent big news story and multiplied it.
Could be a rug design for a tyrant's throne room.
My computer shows a vicious storm cell approaching the City but timing should work out just right and we'll be able to get in dinner al fresco at Chinatown Brasserie, a new restaurant not far from home on Lafayette, specializing in dim sum and BBQ. We're the only ones outside, the beautiful people are all inside in air-conditoned comfort, but we get to see East Village hotties parade by and participate in the excitement of two separate alarms at the nearby fire station, engines pulling out, screaming sirens, while we sip our wine, a bottle of an Australian Rhone-style blend: Three Gardens Langmeil, syrah, grenache and mouvedre. It's actually a very nice peppery syrah even at a premium restaurant price; the same can be said of the food which is somewhere between standard and good Chinese fare. Tasty, but at a premium. Someone has to pay for comfortable wicker chairs and huge umbrellas guarding the tables, the sumptuous lacquered interior, not to mention the large, fat and obviously happy koi in a basement pool.
We'll have to take a closer look inside some other time, the clouds thicken as we finish our mere tastes of Pork Tenderloin - your ordinary tender slices of Chinese restaurant pork - Seafood Dumplings, Duck and Shrimp Dumplings, and Pork Potstickers - standard gyoza actually - all served appetizingly decorated with various sauces.
There are chocolate fortune cookies on top of the bill. Note: Langmail syrah and chocolate fortune cookies are a match. I think I managed to decipher the deep meaning of my fortune:
On the way home we stop at a market for Banana Split Häagen-Dazs and make it almost to our front steps where a sudden blast of hot air full of city grit is followed by rolling thunder and lightning. The first big drops start falling as we open the door. Excellent timing.
it's cool inside, ice cream coming up shortly ...
For a while there, many moons ago, I spent some time ray tracing and managed to create this one. The shadow of the rings was a surprise when it showed up in the rendering.
It's the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet at the Joyce tonight, ArtiePasta is located conveniently half way between here and there on Greenwich and serves a decent basic Italian dinner, mussels in a white wine sauce with lemon and garlic, tender fried calamari with a spicy marinara dip, linguini with olive oil and garlic, and a thin slice of pork loin with mashed potatoes, anchovies, garlic, and capers, all washed down with a fruity and juicy bottle of Chianti. We are prepared to brave the cold for the few short blocks to the theater.
At the Joyce it's a pleasure to watch the women glide effortlessly across the stage, the men lack the same finesse. Sweet Fields choreographed by Twyla Tharp is the highlight, set to hymns and traditional Shaker songs, an haunting ethereal theme of life and death coming from Ms Tharp that I hadn't seen before.
It's impossible to forget the first time I saw Twyla Tharp years ago, probably the first time for most people. It was a dark and foggy night in September, Shakespeare in the Park, the open air theater in the middle of Central Park, had a special performance of up and coming dancers and choreographers, endless performances running late into the night at the end of the Summer, a few better than most. There was one more troupe, doing something called 100 Steps. Now I may be confused by the actual sequence but it must have been about 11pm with the fog settling in when Twyla comes out, solo, doing 100 odd movements on stage. Most of the audience has left by this time leaving just a few hundred aficionados and friends of performers, lots of empty seats. Twyla finishes her 100 movements when, as it becomes clear, 25 members of the audience get up and rush the stage: 25 dancers line up and on cue they each do four of the movements Twyla did earlier. 25 more join the crew on stage and do two steps ... you know where this is going. Only a handful of friends and lovers of dance are left in the audience when the last 50 of the troupe join to do just one step each. End of the program. The few remaining watchers head into the night under rustling trees, heading for the nearest exit of Central Park.
Back at the Joyce: We've been members since they opened twenty five years ago, and from the looks of it so has the rest of the mostly subscription crowd who know each other by now. The seats are filled with old fogies, there's only a sprinkle of young 'uns. I hear one man complain to his wife that he has to sit next to that snorer again.
We'll be doing it again in a month or so.