Halloween senza white sheets, too

So the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is reduced to slightly less than zero because the con man in chief bungled the #trumpandemic response. Wait till it sinks in that there will be no Thanksgiving dinners this year, either — all these months on, it is still not safe to gather around a table cuz you can’t eat or drink while wearing a mask. Get ready for sheet pan turkey and trimmings. And sadness. Whatever you do, don’t think about Christmas…

Bacon queso at the health food store

Now that we’ve started eating outside at restaurants again, I keep flashing back on our last meal inside one before we went into lockdown for what was supposed to be two weeks and is now in the sixth month. We went to the Tang for lunch after the Sunday Greenmarket on March 15. It was slightly surreal — the few other patrons were spaced well apart, but this was weeks before everyone was warned to wear masks, and we were hoping the three cooks making our eggplant and dumplings in the open kitchen were okay, and it was impossible to enjoy the food without worrying we had made a big mistake risking it. As we walked home, we kept passing bodegas where I had tried to interview the Yemeni owners/managers three years earlier, when the nascent fascist’s travel ban was announced and shopkeepers were mobilizing against it. My story never went anywhere, but in retrospect I can see we were witless to believe he would only come for the Mexicans and then the Muslims. Eventually he would hurt us all because, as Adam Serwer perfectly put it: The cruelty is the point. 

To think we were promised taco trucks on every corner and now can’t even eat inside a restaurant. Let alone in a foreign country. 

10 percent solution

One thing about eating in the street outside NYC restaurants now: You really come to see cars as multi-ton killing machines barreling past. And those beautiful planters delineating the “dining room” start to look as if they were modeled on IED fortifications in Kabul.

Panchito & the Spanish Steps

I spent nearly the entire Bushwhacking on here trying to crack wise as the situation got direr and direr and the bodies stacked up higher and higher and corporate media still pretended the dangerous dry drunk was just a harmless good ol’ boy you could have a beer with. Now my advice under “hashtag we’re all gonna die” is: “Preserve your memories; they’re all that’s left to you.” Too many Americans seem to forget what it was like to travel in Italy and be asked “Americana?” and have to respond, trying to save face: “No, New Yorkese!” Now the orange national nightmare has made that designation humiliating, too.

“Mozzarella cheese”

As soon as the “Fairway is falling” hysteria started, I knew exactly how the saga would unfold in all the news outlets. Instead of seeing it as Chapter EleventySeven of the Twinkie tale, they sold it as the usual “not adapting to online shopping and new competition.” When the reality is that vulture capitalists loaded the chain down with debilitating debt while mismanaging what they had bumbled into. Now the lawyers and other bankruptcy grifters will loot the last assets until there’s nothing in the cash register left for the 1,400 employees, either for their severance pay or, most definitely, for their pensions. Who coulda predicted?

“What kind of restaurant is this?” “Massage.”

Our Goodwill Guide in Osaka was walking us down “the longest street in Japan” on the one cold and rainy day of our trip when we passed a pachinko parlor and my consort, Mr. Curious, asked if we could check it out. We stepped inside and my world was instantly rocked. After more than a week of living largely in real life, seeing and experiencing rather than compulsively clicking and reacting, I had just been transported into IRL Twitter. It was loud, a steady, rhythmic din of slot machines, like the firehose feel when everyone is responding to something either newsworthy or stupid (or, these days: both). It was too bright and too young and too neon-y but somehow still dark. It was smoky, very smoky, and even that felt right despite the fact that Japan has pretty much ostracized old-style nicotine addicts — assholes can always get through. It had everything but my keyboard and the instant notifications/gratification. I was almost vibrating.

Then I saw the writing on the wall:

This space overflows with dreams, hopes, stimulation and excitement

Dramatic developments await you

Please be released from everyday life and enjoy yourself free.

May the fortunate goddess smile at you.

@Jack could not have put it more insidiously better.

I was still scribbling that down when Bob reacted the way he did at Churchill Downs back in the early days of the consortium when I once won a few bucks on a horse. The same guy who insisted I get on Twitter (“if you do the cat book, you can drum up interest in it”) grabbed me by the arm and said: “We’re getting out of here.”

And here I sit, with the sound off.

Salt, fat, chocolate milk and Butz, too

Just to get the politics-is-policy stuff out of the way: The so-called prez wants to cut SNAP benefits when I have been ranting for years that food stamps should be rebranded supermarket subsidies, which you would think the “party of business” would be all for. I also keep getting sucked into a bizarre debate over whether a fruit-and-vegetable shortage or a disruption for automakers would be a worse consequence of closing the border. It makes me even more amazed that congestion pricing went through, because car dependency is apparently a hell of a drug. Fords over fruit? Mexico is not just sending avocados and tomatoes — at least half the produce section comes from there and Central America. What good are wheels if the produce aisles are empty when you get to the Piggly Wiggly?

White and Gold and cheese-chopped all over

Inneresting to see the whole Molto Ego scandale being treated as “one bad orange.” Everything’s fine now; nothing to see. Meet the new fud world, same as the old fud world. Also, too: Once an egoist, always an egoist. So the carrot color thing didn’t work out so well. The gadflying for Holy Foods kinda backfired. Why not swipe not just a name but a logo? The only amazement these days is that the Butter Guzzler is not back out on the national stage, letting her Confederate flag fly.

“It’s the nyeture of where we live”

I keep justifying overindulging in sauvblanc, as the server in an Indian restaurant in Sydney shorthanded it, as a way of supporting New Zealand and the world’s most inspiring leader (#putawomanincharge). But I also have to acknowledge that liquid support comes at a cost. We took a winery tour of Marlborough Sound last summer and were almost sobered by the grown-and-raised-there bus driver who lamented, as we looked out on vineyards stretching for miles in every direction: “We used to have apple orchards. Now, it’s all grapes. We lost our birds.” At least that takes some pressure off Northern California. Wineries there can buy the stuff by the tanker load, bottle it in the USofA and charge as if it’s Cloudy Bay.