Fred W. McDarrah: “New York Scenes”

A superb hardcover presentation I am proud to own.

In sunny moments, I remember how seeing many of these for the first time on microfilm at Montana State University Library thrilled and excited me — this was how this world hidden by my isolated Montana culture looked!

In dreary afternoons like today’s, it can suggest not only a vanished world but a broken, or at least unfulfilled, promise: American bohemia would last forever; there was always going to be places, more and more maybe, where you could run wild and break the rules if you did it with grace and style. But true mass bohemia ruins the phenomenon. And the decline and fall of the Establishment made the rebellions empty.

In calm evenings like this, I can settle on being grateful that I met Beat writer stars Gregory Corso and Allen Ginsburg and found the latter to be especially funny, entertaining, wonderful in a rowdy Montana bar and even a wise, guru-type person. He conveyed a lasting impression of the freedom Beat and Hippie granted youth.

Oh, and the book includes a marvelous photo I had not seen of Leonard Cohen right before his first NY performance.

A Sauce Condiment I Won’t Buy Again, But Really Glad I Bought Once

Because it taught me a general lesson about condiment sauces.

The scoop: This is part of a new line of sauces that Whole Foods is introducing. the others did nothing for me, but this sounded intriguing — “White Pumpkin and Almond Murabba.”

Now the last is a name I’ve never heard of. And the description (and rather low calorie count of a Tbsp: 20) sold me on it:

“This preserve is used for celebrations in Central Asia and Middle East. Versatile enough to be used as a treat at any time — pair it with buttery toast, crepes, game or pork. On puff pastry with feta for an exotic twist to palmiers. Drizzle over vanilla ice cream with wine-poached pears or roasted figs.”

(D had a telling response when she saw the jar at home: “Wine-poached pears? WTF??”)

But of course I stupidly missed the most important part of the label: the second listed ingredient is sugar, so although we got this cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, mace … it’s essentially a kind of savory jam or jelly. Quite too sweet for me.

The lesson is that if a condiment/preserve goes well with just about anything, it’s some sort of jam or jelly thing. Which I don’t like.

Indeed, “murabba” is translated as “jam.”

 

Brookline “Incidents”: For the Birds

“a caller reported that a flock of turkeys had been separated behind the tennis courts. The caller said that one turkey could not figure out how to reunite with the family on the other side of the fence and all the turkeys were pacing back and forth.”

 

“a caller reported a blue jay appeared ill and had not moved ‘for hours.’ The caller said the bird was near the farm stand and that lots of people had been touching it.”

The Air Is Still And The Light Is Cool #27

One of the most satisfying surprises you can get from a music collection is pulling out a release you haven’t played for, well, a lot longer than you might have imagined, and though it’s highly respected in general and you know you like it, there’s a beauty and depth you haven’t noticed before. The album fits with you and times better than ever.

I’ve been on a quest to identify records that generate deep, intelligent peace (gosh, I wonder why). While it’s too old to put in a new review, I have to give my blog prize to

The Pearl by Harold Budd/Brian Eno (with Daniel Lanois), Editions EG, 1984.

You stay alert and want to follow all the way through the 42 minutes. Really does take you on a trip, scene to scene, second to second. Sensuous as much as smart, kinetic as much as still.