Snacks Tonight #28

October 14, 2019


Today I made an old-fashioned English bread pudding from a recipe by an old-fashioned plain speaking Englishman.  Best served with hot runny custard, but the sour cream was pretty good, too.

Night Music: Venus De Milo

October 14, 2019

The Trump Video

October 14, 2019

By now, I am sure, most of you have seen that disgusting and disturbing video created by Trump supporters and shown at a Trump event at a Trump resort a few weeks ago.  I have read quite a few articles about now, and the best analysis in my judgment is by Jonathan Last:

This—the video—is what Trump voters signed up for.

They don’t care about Syria, or tariffs, or the Russians, or the Wall, or anything else that we traditionally think of as policy goals. They don’t even care about judges or abortion or free trade.

They care about hurting their domestic enemies.

Not all of them, to be sure. Maybe not even a majority of them. But for a percentage of them that is greater than zero, a video about Trump killing politicians and celebrities and journalists they don’t like isn’t a regrettable side-effect of Trump’s presidency.

It’s the entire point of Trump’s presidency…  Because for many of this president’s supporters, the glorious promise of Trump is the feeling they get imagining him hurting the Americans they despise. This is not a coincidence. It’s a recurring theme.”

This is not a presidency. It is a cancer.


1066 And All That

October 14, 2019

Nine hundred and fifty three years ago today, one of the most important events in English and European history took place.  Harold Godwinson, King of England, met William the Bastard Duke of Normandy in battle near Hastings on the south coast of England.  Harold lost and died, and the Normans became masters of England. William was crowned king on Christmas Day, 1066.

The consequences were enormous.

  • Most of the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy had been killed in the various campaigns Harold fought against invaders that year. They were replaced by William’s followers;
  • The victorious William expropriated virtually all lands in the country by virtue of conquest.  The feudal system, which was in its infancy in England during the late Anglo-Saxon period, was firmly established when William granted lands to his followers in exchange for fealty and military service;
  • All important government and religious offices were taken over by Normans;
  • Anglo-Norman, a dialect of Old French, became the language of the elite and of government service; many Romance-based words came into common use in England;
  • The foundation of towns and urbanism generally was accelerated by the building of Norman castles.

Although Middle English would eventually establish itself as the national language, it and the society in which it grew was enormously influenced by the Norman conquest and its aftermath.  Moreover, the roots of English interference in continental European politics and all that followed from that involvement can certainly be traced to 1066.

England would never be the same again.

Poem: Creating Collage

October 14, 2019


we sleep together,

for sure,

but mostly we share together,

cutting out our memories

from the bark of life’s tree


— like pieces of collage

laid out on the floor

before an exhibition

celebrating our anniversaries –


unhurriedly pasting them together


— refocusing colors and shapes

and forms –


until it is late again

and again

for sure

we sleep together



In The Good Old Thanksgiving Days

October 14, 2019

In 1936, Camel cigarettes issued the following ad for Thanksgiving:

I hope you can read it.  Smoking between courses is the healthy thing to do it declares.  “Smoke a camel right after the soup,” it says. “For digestion’s sake … You enjoy food more and have a feeling of greater ease after eating when you smoke Camels between courses.”

Ah, those good old days!

I started smoking early and was already a confirmed smoker by the time I started to attend dinners with my father’s American businessmen friends.  However, it was still a shock to me back then (perhaps 1966) when they lit up cigarettes between courses.  I remember then doing it with my friends and explaining that it was just the chic thing to do.  Such dupes we all were!