Archive for the 'Worth Reading' Category

Worth Reading: The Love Song of Dennis J. Kucinich

December 7, 2007

In Wednesday’s Post, Libby Copeland finds out how in the heck 61-year-old presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich ended up marrying a tall redheaded bombshell less than half his age.

It involves a Buddha statue, a radical economics institute leader, love at first sight, oh, and Shirley MacLaine. Why not? Also implicated are a series of random coincidences: a fortune cookie that has the Chinese word for “hat” when Elizabeth Kucinich just bought a hat the other day.

As Dennis later told his buddy Shirley MacLaine, he had to stop looking at Elizabeth for fear he’d declare his love for her right then and there.

“Did I give the slightest indication?” Kucinich asks his wife on the couch. “Tell me — I didn’t.”

“Maybe not consciously,” Elizabeth says, “but I did walk out and I phoned my grandmother and said, ‘I’ve met a congressman and he’s fallen in love with me.’ ”

Dennis gives a deep belly laugh. He seems amazed once again. Elizabeth caresses the spot above his ear where the black hair is turning gray. “I’d fallen in love with him, too, but I didn’t tell her that bit,” she says.

Kucinich gave the redhead and her boss copies of a bill proposing a U.S. Department of Peace. And he gave them his e-mail address, hoping she’d get the hint. They left.

He ran down to the floor of the House beaming.

He told his friends: “I met her.” He didn’t say who. He didn’t explain what. He just said, simply: “I met her.”

“I said, ‘Well, Dennis, this is deep,’ ” recalls Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio).

“I didn’t know what he was talking about,” recalls Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). [WP-The Love Song of Dennis J. Kucinich]

Kudos to Ms. Copeland. Double kudos to the copywriter who came up with the headline. (In another bizarre coincidence that can only be attributed to kismet, I have a scheduled post coming up with some T. S. Eliot poetry…)


Those darned crispy onion things

November 22, 2007

For all my professed cosmopolitan leanings, I’m still a Midwesterner at heart, because for me, without these, it’s not a holiday. As more proof that great journalism doesn’t have to be about taking down the mayor and changing the world, Post writer Monica Hesse takes us to the one and only French’s French Fried Onion plant, in New Jersey:

The texture on this test batch is good — thin and crispy, no soggy onions in this kitchen. The taste? Fuggedaboudit! Now this is one delicious fried onion. Sometimes, if the national crop is weak, you’re going to end up with a product that’s not as sweet as millions of Americans have come to expect. But these? They’re good. Sprinkle on top of a green bean casserole and bake it at 350 for a couple-five minutes, and you got a holiday meal.

To ask why we eat FFOs is an attempt to get at the root of Thanksgiving gluttony itself. There is no reason except that we are Americans and it is our God-given right.

I grew up with a green-bean-and-french-fried-onion casserole (sorry, hotdish) at every Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some fellow Midwesterner expats (during a study abroad trip) conceded that no matter how horrible the idea of these stringy greasy fried things are, it’s not Thanksgiving without them. (And despite the gruesomeness of the idea, they taste darn good.)

I was gratified upon reaching adulthood to find that a) pretty much every can of FFOs has a recipe on the back for green bean casserole–they’re not used for anything else (despite what the Post article might say about “the chicken”), and b) even Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s carry FFOs in autumn. Long live the FFOs.

Worth Reading: on barrel chairs and taste

November 19, 2007

This piece in an old Washington Post Style section cracked me up.

Taste, guilt and barrel chairs are beasts preying on couples shopping on 14th Street. Perhaps they should seek counseling from Jennifer Marshall, a Stanford art history professor who specializes in 20th-century American aesthetics. Marshall listens to a description of the chairs. She says they sound like they were “made in a home workshop . . . completing the picture of a guy’s dream den.” She says the chairs may be part of the Do-It-Yourself age. In such cases the very garishness of an object is what makes it appealing.

After seeing a photograph of the chairs, she states: “Okay. Those are pretty ugly.” Then again, she doesn’t have to live with a man who loves them. [“Before You Have a Seat, Take a Stand“-WaPo]

Worth Reading: Why We Compete

November 7, 2007

Why We Compete has been updated with its latest installment. This one’s about BASE jumping.

Why We Compete: Adrenaline

Edge of your seat rush, that’s for sure.

Worth Reading: In Search of Bill Watterson

October 22, 2007

New York Magazine links to a Cleveland Scene piece about trying to track down the elusive Bill Watterson, the Calvin and Hobbes creator who virtually disappeared from public life after retiring from his comic strip. Also included is a biography of Watterson. I for one never knew all this about him. I knew the guy was talented and that he refused to sell out (whatever that means)…definitely an interesting read.

Calvin & Hobbes belong to Bill Watterson. Please don’t sue me

But what’s the occasion to link to a 4-year-old article about a guy who hasn’t done anything the media’s paid attention to (or could pay attention to) in years?

Just this: A new biography of Charles Schulz, Peanuts creator, hit shelves earlier this month, and the Wall Street Journal asked Watterson to write the review. And he said yes.

(Aside for DC residents: Biographer David Michaelis will be at Olsson’s Penn Quarter this Thursday at 7pm to discuss and sign copies of Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography.)