Archive for the ‘My life’ Category

On the Beast beat

July 12, 2018

From my 5/18/18 posting “What have you done with your life? The LGBT department”:

It began a little while back with a request from the Daily Beast for an interview in a series about “unsung (or, at least undersung) LGBT heroes” — people of significance in both a professional field and the LGBT world. A daunting request, to which I’ve responded in three postings on this blog:

on 5/9, “The way I write now”: about my eccentric genre of flânerie

on 5/10,  “What have you done with your life?”: about my contributions to linguistics, via a huge list of things I’ve worked on in my academic career, plus two lists of characteristic terminology I’ve used, some of which has become associated with me personally

and now this one, about my contributions to the lgbt community.

That was then, and at this point my exchanges with Samantha Allen at the Daily Beast came to an end (though people keep asking me what happened to the project). There are three explanations for this development, of which the most likely is that Samantha was simply overwhelmed by events. So after a bit more about me I’ll write about her.

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Swiss spin-off: Züricher Geschnetzeltes

June 27, 2018

While searching on Züricher (and its variant Zürcher), as part of a look at men named Peter Zwicky in the Zürich area, I came across Züricher Geschnetzeltes, a characteristic Swiss dish that I did not experience as a child, but in fact first encountered at a little restaurant on Limmatstraße in Zürich — in September 1972, almost 46 years ago. A very simple veal dish, served on freshly made noodles, but absolutely perfect: melt-in-the-mouth strips of veal in a sauce that was both brown and creamy, elegant yet intense. Julienned carrots sauteed in butter. A crispy white wine. A plain green salad.

Something along these lines, but with noodles:

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(A style of food that is, unfortunately, not particularly photogenic.)

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Return to the Amherst Diner in Winchester VA

June 23, 2018

… in today’s Zippy:

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This visit framed in the Walk Into Bar joke format.

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The ways of plants are inscrutable

June 19, 2018

From my June 11th posting “Purple Pride”, about a calla lily:

Cairo Callen is twice the size he was last year, and a lighter, subtler pinkish purple than last year (the ways of plants are inscrutable)

He’s also blooming way late, even given a long cool stretch; all the other callas bloomed long ago, and have now died down to the ground for most of a year of dormancy.

But wait, there’s more. About Cairo Callen and about Spathy, the spathiphyllum that lives on my worktable.

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Background foods and food discoveries

June 15, 2018

The spur: this brief moment from the NYT obit for chef, author, tv personality, and social critic Anthony Bourdain, by Kim Severson, Matthew Haag, and Julia Moskin, on-line on the 8th as “Anthony Bourdain, Renegade Chef Who Reported From the World’s Tables, Is Dead at 61”, in print on the 9th as “Anthony Bourdain, Renegade Chef, Dies at 61; Showed the World How to ‘Eat Without Fear'”:

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He first became conscious of food in fourth grade, he wrote in “Kitchen Confidential.” Aboard the Queen Mary on one of the family’s frequent trips to France, he sat in the cabin-class dining room and ate a bowl of vichyssoise, a basic potato-leek soup that held the delightful surprise of being cold. “It was the first food I enjoyed and, more important, remembered enjoying,” he wrote.

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A plant too invasive even for me

May 31, 2018

Ann Burlingham asked on Facebook for an identification of a plant in her Pittsburgh garden, which turned out to be Houttuynia cordata, chameleon plant:

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A stunningly invasive plant, which spreads by what I’ve called dragon-toothing: any tiny bit of the plant will root and turn into a new plant. In Columbus OH, I engaged in what I thought of as “gardening with invasive plants”, but there were a few plants that were too invasive even for me, and this was one.

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Fenwich, come here, I need you

May 28, 2018

There’s Fenwick, and then there’s Fenwich, a Zippy name to conjure with: used as a narrative semi-generic address term, and in explicit discussions of names and their uses.

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In the morning: the B list actor and the scholar

May 26, 2018

On the 20th, the morning name was W. Sidney Allen; if you’re not a linguist or a classicist, you’ve almost surely never heard of him — but then great scholars rarely work in the spotlights of public attention. On the 25th, the morning name was Lisa Whelchel, an actor you would probably recognize under the name of her most famous role: Blair Warner in the American tv sitcom The Facts of Life. So, in the penumbra of the spotlights, a B list celebrity.

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What have you done with your life? The LGBT department

May 18, 2018

It began a little while back with a request from the Daily Beast for an interview in a series about “unsung (or, at least undersung) LGBT heroes” — people of significance in both a professional field and the LGBT world. A daunting request, to which I’ve responded in three postings on this blog:

on 5/9, “The way I write now”: about my eccentric genre of flânerie

on 5/10,  “What have you done with your life?”: about my contributions to linguistics, via a huge list of things I’ve worked on in my academic career, plus two lists of characteristic terminology I’ve used, some of which has become associated with me personally

and now this one, about my contributions to the lgbt community. There’s some straightforward institutional stuff, and then it runs off into the weeds about my speaking out in a way that makes me highly visible and so a possible model for others.

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trigger finger

May 16, 2018

I had this affliction, for about three months. It involved myalgia — that’s the name of the symptom, muscle pain — that limited my movements, produced frequent nasty cramps in several parts of my body, made me miserable and depressed. Among the affected muscles were those in my fingers, which cramped up painfully without warning. Especially my ring finger (third finger, left hand).

Eventually, it was seen to be a side effect of the very powerful statin drug I was taking (for blood pressure and cholesterol control), generic atorvastatin, trade name Lipitor, a very powerful statin prescribed at maximum dose. Which was breaking down muscle fibers. Essentially, I was being poisoned by one of my medicines.

That’s now over — I went off the Lipitor three months ago and recently started small doses of the steroid prednisone for symptomatic relief —  and I feel very much better, but an odd effect remains. My ring finger occasionally gets stuck in a bent position. No pain, no swelling or anything, just stuck, as here:

(#1) Stuck bent finger (workdesk spathiphyllum plant as background)

I can push it back with my other hand, and it makes a little pop! as it resumes its normal working position.

It’s called trigger finger, fancy name tenosynovitis. And it has nothing to do with the Lipitor poisoning.

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