Slippery & Walkable

The Banana Comic Hour
& a Cabbage Walking Tour

Only bananas to elicit such an immediate, jocose reaction from us. From shape to content, it’s not even a fruit, but a berry that comes with its own signature visual gag: someone slipping on a peel. A soul that hasn’t laughed at a butt being splashed on the floor is yet to be born.
The cabbage, on the other, still odorous side, is about foods not fit for dessert. Dieting, intestinal functions, and the sober, stark Irish and Eastern European cuisines are its realm, and it has thrived for centuries as a tool for parental torture of their crying, spoiled-rot tots.
And yet, for all its sensual pleasures, banana was central to colonial wars, even if slaves and marauders wouldn’t recognize it today: we now favor Cavendish, a seedless, sterile clone. But all is forgiven if that cream pie lives up to its billing.
As for the hardy cabbage, it may be bitter like a prescription, but its color palette is unmatched. Sure, it’s resilient, and it’ll remain fibrous after hours of boiling. It won’t apologize when others veggies wilt, and yet, some would take it for a walk, but we’ll get there before soup.
It may seem in bad taste to talk about food in a week like that. At least insensitive, some would say, to write about edibles and not mention Belgium waffles. But both bananas and cabbages beat any coward massacre, as the one we’re unfortunately forced to endure and grieve.
But what’s better than a hearty meal and a succulent shake? Cooking with compassion will always beat terror, let alone hunger. Rather than war, we’d serve bananas and cabbage to those suffering in Brussels. Here’s to your honor; may this meal lift your spirits.

TROPICAL RACE & THE PEEL SPIEL
The world eats more mangoes, but bananas have a more nuanced if brutal history: the rampage of Europeans and Americans to ransack Latin American nations, and the few politically-charged, and blatantly racist expressions to match: monkey business, banana republic, etc. And never forget those excessive plantains.
Its popularity growing, bananas may have climate change as a formidable adversary, and all sorts of fungi remain a constant threat. Some fear extinction, but while that doesn’t happen, we’re surely the big banana here, so don’t ever call us Berry.
Celebrity came with Andy Warhol, public demand brought it to Iceland, but monkeys were always the ones to better peel a banana. By the way, (more)
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Read Also:
* Fostering Clones
* The Whole Spiel

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Red Blotches

Blame it On Ketchup

​I once went to a McDonald’s and stopped everyone’s conversation when I asked for a ‘medium rare’ burger, with no ketchup. There was almost consternation in the silent crowd of late night bums and fix-income elders. The only one laughing was my 5-year old son.
It became a symbol of my inadequacy as an American dad, an outsider amid outsiders. Not so much as a rebel, who dares not to fit, and chooses to courageously break the rules, but as a prick, whose insufferable pretentiousness only got me singled out as a bore.
Off course, it was their loss, I reasoned with myself. They mistook my ignorance about the assumed routines and conventions of a highway rest stop for a stupid pose. As if I was in need of making a statement of my ‘difference’ to oblivious strangers. After that, I never stepped into a McDonald’s again.
Then again, they did catch a poseur in the act, I later admitted. At that time of the night, in the middle of nowhere, with plenty of road still to go, why on earth would a dad be so foolish to take his hungry son to a fast food joint and promptly upstage the kid’s hunger with a piece of vintage asshole-ism?
That he managed to halt for a sec all the talk about the day’s scores, or the latest police shooting of a black youth, without so much as getting punched in the noise, may have taken some skill to accomplish. But while the stares and downright disgust were acutely obvious, his misplaced self importance was not.
The great American failure of a dad finally got a hold of himself and tried to sneak a glimpse around, but didn’t go too far: the first eye contact with the crusty, battered man sitting next (more)
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* Ketchup With That?
* Not Food

* I Was Loving In
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The Arrow Has Flown


David Bowie’s Last
Surprise Is His Saddest

Here’s a mutation we never wanted him to undergo. And it had to be from the very top, again, which he reached over and over again, each time a different character, every time a step closer to greatness.
Now he did it: David Bowie passed away just a few days after his 69th birthday, a few days after releasing Blackstar, his last album and arguably one of his strangest, if that’s even possible.
We got so used to be startled by him that it’ll be hard to settle on his final bow. But now that his trip is done, we may finally get it, and in the process, learn something more about our own.
You gave enough to the world, including the arrest of your final twist. Years will go by and we’ll still be deciphering the wonder of your trajectory. We’re now keepers of your music and your art.
Rest in peace, David.
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Read Also:
* A Bow to Bowie

Album Art

When Covers Rocked
As Hard as the Music

There has been many a requiem for the vinyl album. After a post-war apogee of the thick 78s, the 33 and 1/3r.p.m. record reigned supreme for 30 years. But its demise was swift, vanquished by the CD, which like replicants of the era, wasn’t built to last.
During its glory, though, it was a perfect conduit for the music that engraved hearts and minds of three generations. While the sound outlast formats, the albums’ art covers were the signposts pointing to the narrative of changes that their songs were about.
The names of the artists who created the jackets and sleeves of the soundtracks of the 1950s, 60s and beyond never became nearly as familiar as the superstars who came to dominate the age. Nevertheless, some of the work has arguably surpassed the content they were supposed to illustrate and complement.
Peter Blake, Alan Aldridge, Roger Dean, H.R. Giger, the recently deceased Storm Thorgerson, along with already established artists such as Andy Warhol and Robert Crumb, were some of the outstanding creators of seminal works of contemporary art, for the packaging of pop hits they were designed for. That art, unfortunately, is no longer around.
Elvis, Beatles and Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd and Nirvana, Yes and Led Zeppelin, along with some notable jazz labels such as the Blue Note, have all benefited from the explosion of the art of album cover, and some of the era’s greatest hits are forever linked with the images that graced their albums. Some were controversial, but most were deeply inspiring.

END OF THE STANDALONE RECORD
Their downfall may have started with that shortest-lived of the formats, the Compact Disc, which arguably cut down on the space for art on the cover. When it went the way of the cassette tape, which it’s also buried, Continue reading

Not Food

Think Things Don’t Change?
Try a 14-Year Old McDonald’s

Not many corporations convey so well both the state of the economy and our social mores as McDonald’s, the world’s former biggest restaurant chain. And for its product’s poor nutritional value and the environmental impact of its business practices, it’s doing just fine.
Or so it seems. For news about a 1999 burger looking eerily ‘fresh,’ and of a CEO making $8.75 million, while the average patty-flipper earns $8.25 a hour, were both received with jaded nonchalance. No wonder an artist made a life size mummy out of McDonalds.
It’d be stupid to blame solely the economy on the company’s success. Granted, its origins are in fact linked to the Great Depression, and it’s no wonder that now, during such an extended reenactment of those empty pocket years, it remains the compulsory choice for those who can’t afford to embrace the organic, cage-free craze of the era.
It may also be the power of its muscular business model, the 1980s expansionary pull through emerging economies, what may have guaranteed its staying appeal. Such aggressive strategy made possible for McDonald’s to become more popular (read, cheaper) than Indian food in India, for instance.

But who can deny that other element that the most American of all corporations possesses, to which only a overused and detested word can be applied: iconic. The red and yellow colors, the rings, and that obnoxious clown are so infused in urban culture, that artists such as Andy Warhol had no choice but to incorporate it into their work.
As for those who see signs of hope, since McDonald’s no longer the world’s No. 1 food chain, let’s keep things in perspective. Researchers Continue reading

Checking In

Need a Hotel? Good
Luck Booking These

As vacation season in the north hemisphere approaches, many among the lucky are planning what to do and where to go. Some consider a trip to the Caribbean, while others may finally get to visit Uncle Bob who, since he’s moved to Alaska, no one has ever heard from. Gosh, he hasn’t even met the kids yet.
However you plan your time off, though, there are a few famous hangouts you’ll probably never get to sleep at: the Chelsea Hotel, in New York, and the Stanley Hotel, in Colorado, both celebrated in film and song, the Netherlands’ Divorce Hotel, and the fantasy-themed Balade de Gnomes, in Belgium.
The Chelsea Hotel, which is now operated by a chain and has lost much of its gritty appeal, was the home, temporary and permanent, of some of the most influential artists of the 20th century. You probably know the Stanley by its fictional name, the Overlook Hotel, made famous by Stephen King’s novel, and Stanley Kubrick’s movie, The Shinning.
If you think that none of these are appropriate to take the kids, the brainchild of Dutch entrepreneur Jim Halfens is even less so. Advertised Continue reading

The Whole Spiel

In a World Gone Bananas, They’ve
Now Fund Torture & Remove Splinters

And you thought there’s no tamer fruit than a banana. These clones that used to be your monkey’s favorites are now best-sellers in the global fruit market’s hit parade. From the tropics, where they’re originally from, to Alaska, the snowy foot of Mount Fuji to scorching deserts of North of Africa, bananas became our favorite, potassium-rich snack food.
But there’s more to this picture than meets the many eyes of the poisonous spiders that happen to have been hitching hiking aboard those big green bunches since the Discovery era and the Continue reading