Welcome Gentle Readers

This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Films, Snobs and Food

Warning: If you find yourself here via a google search for such things as TV shows or films, recipes or cities, this blog has some facts. However, this blog is one author’s very twisted musing on many weird things. It is sometimes graphic in content. If you read on, don’t write to yell at me.

As always, my issues are many and varied.

More Holiday Viewing

I forgot to mention some other films and TV shows that are fun for the holidays. Don’t worry, all of these are relatively safe. Shrek the Halls was good fun. It may repeat before the holidays are over. I also loved films like Pockerful of Miracles, a sweet, funny Cinderella tale with Bette Davis and a hilarious Peter Faulk reprising his role from Murder, Inc. for laughs. Then there is Bell, Book and Candle, a strange Christmas romance between a witch (Kim Novak) and a publisher (Jimmy Stewart). That film made me fall in love with backless dresses. To round out the list, there’s The Thin Man that was listed in the LA Times as a Christmas set film with more martinis than all of the James Bond Films combined. And Die Hard that also is set during Christmas.


I don’t like snobs of any kind. It’s silly to think one person’s interests or tastes are superior to someone else’s. I’m not saying that there aren’t good and bad ways of executing an art or a craft. There are badly executed films and books and music and whatever you can think of as an interest. However, I don’t think one person is superior because they prefer La bohème to Spamalot. Most of what is studied today as high art in literature began as pop culture. One of my favorite lit professors in grad school, a scholar in Victorian lit, said that the lions of fiction in that era were writing the equivalent of soap operas today. There are certainly different levels of sophistication to creative work, but that does not make them superior, merely better crafted. Jon and I really enjoyed Solaris. Jon calls it advanced film watching which means you really need some film or lit critical theory under your belt to know all of what’s going on. However, we also enjoyed The Day After Tomorrow, even with the ice chasing people down corridors and the attack of wolves in New York City. We adored Aquateen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters which Jon called remedial film watching. It may have damaged our brains. I think The Closer is one of the best police dramas I’ve ever scene in every way. Yet I watch CSI: Miami religiously, cursing all the way.

Why do I bring this up? A flame war over the quality of a diner started it. I was looking for an image of the 50s Café in Venice, CA for last week’s blog. I was going to mention that they had a sign in the entry proclaiming their support for the WGA strike. But the blog was unwieldy by then, and I decided to leave the reference out. In my search, I ran across a review site. One of the blogs totally dissed the Café. It’s a long time favorite for Jon and me. We’ve held production meetings there. It was where I first met Garett Maggart (who also loves the place). I have never had a bad meal there, nor have I ever had bad service. From what I gathered of the posts, it wasn’t fancy enough food for these diner connoisseurs (like those words go together). I find that silly. Diners are not for fancy food. If they can make a good burger and good breakfast, they have fulfilled their mission. I fired off a retort, but had to register for that privilege. Thus, I was exposed to more blogs. One of them was dissing The Food Network for their TV cooks‘with low cut blouses’ and quoting Mario Bitali’s lament that the network was going for the Walmart audience. Well, then it was on. I don’t fault Bitali for his crack, because he’s been having problems with the network. But these other foodies are really annoying to me by implying that food by non-chefs has no place on a 24/7 network. First off, it would be impossible to fill all that time with four star chefs. Second, the audience would be really small. Third, what the heck are they talking about? TV cooks like Rachael Ray and Paula Deen have inspired legions to pick up an apron. Ina Garten had no formal training, but God bless her for making me take on phyllo dough or Beef Bourguignon. In fact, much of what is considered French haute cuisine like coq au vin or Beef Bourguignon comes from cuisine À la Bonne Femme. That is a French term used to refer to a homey and simple but honest cooking style done by farm women. Enough of being on their high horses. They web site moderators will probably revoke my membership soon.

Holiday Fun

The baking is finally done, done and done! We’ll be handing out the LA goodies over the next week. We’ll also be mailing out packages to folks we missed. I really need a new address book. Today, I start on the Christmas dinner prep. We’re going out to visit our Sybaritic Press buds on the big day itself, but I like to have food here as well. I enjoy visiting or being visited upon at this time. We don’t see much of our cronies from the 3rd Street Promenade or ‘Traumenade’ anymore. The holidays are about the only time we have to catch up. Jon and are are blessedly free from the day job until Jan. 2nd. It’s paid time off, to boot! There will be much in the way of writing happening over that time. I can also address my long neglected work on Sybaritic Press.

I don’t like to get on a soap box, but I would like to mention a couple of charities that could use some bucks this time of year. The USO provides care packages for the troops and their families who need support no matter how we got in that conflict. Information can be found here. Also Second Harvest is reporting that food bank donations are down while need has sharply risen.

Seasons Greetings

I’ll post my holiday greeting later tonight or tomorrow. For now, I have roast beast to attend to and many more calls to make.

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