I believe in Sherlock Holmes. Moriarty was real. John Watson is not alone.

I used to love fandom. I think my old job dimmed my enthusiasm for public displays of obsession, but the BBC Sherlock has brought me back, at least a little, because nothing will ever change my feelings for Sherlock Holmes. So, in the last excruciating hours before the series returns, here is a post containing some original fannish conjectures onCollapse )

Enjoy the new season, friends.

And as a side note, I started this entry on 15 January 2012. Dude.

Lentil Soup a la Me

Which Apparently Tastes a Bit Like Stews They Make in Uganda, According to Jenny, Who is From Uganda
A Recipe I Made And Wrote Up Last Year Around This Time And Just Found Again

1) Have your Irish family's dad bring home ham hocks from Dunnes. With the skin on. With bristles on the skin.

2) Despite -- or because of -- recently having read The Omnivore's Dilemma, stare at ham hocks in alarm, thinking, "Pig. Pig. Pig. Pig."

3) Get over yourself, kinda, and taste. Mmmmm. Pig. Salty.

4) Stare at massive, Flintstone-like bones, and think "Stock."

5) Poke around on AllRecipes. Poke around in cupboards.

6) In the world's largest slow cooker, add
- 1 half-eaten ham hock, after throwing the skin to the three feral Pomeranians who live out back
- 2 mostly-eaten ham hocks, ditto above
- 2 cups of dry green lentils
- 2 cups of diced carrots
- 1 diced leek because you couldn't find any onions
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 can stewed tomatoes
- 2 tomato cans of water
- 1 tupperware of stock from the freezer, probably 2 cups
- 1 more pint of water, after consulting the recipe you're supposedly following
- 1 handful of soup mix containing barley, red lentils, and marrowfat peas, because the giant slow cooker now looks like Lake freaking Michigan and there's no way the lentils can absorb all that water
- 2 tsp of Meat Supreme Spice Blend, because your family is remodeling the kitchen and the spice rack has disappeared somewhere under the extra floorboards and caulking gun, etc, but the spice mixes are on a different shelf, so they're okay. This one contains red and green peppercorns, red berries (whatever those are), rosemary, mustard seed, onion, and thyme.

7) Between the spice blend and the salty meat, decide that you've covered Rachael Ray's irritating but well-founded "S&P" requirement. Realize you've been watching a lot of Food Network.

8) Turn slow cooker on "low" and go do your thing for the next eleven hours.

9) Taste. Find spices slightly overwhelming. Have brief fit of melancholy. Add some amazing tomato paste from a tube; soup will quickly becomes perfect.

10) Remove bones, and any suspicious bits that have fallen off the bones, and throw them to the ravening beasts. Poke large strips of meat with a fork and they will come apart into tasty pork floss.

11) Share soup with everyone you know! There will be enough.

Indian Neck Folk Festival 2011

Three weeks ago, I went up to the woods in Connecticut to attend the Indian Neck Folk Festival. It. Was. Awesome. We sang, like, all the time. We sang in the synagogue, we sang on porches, we sang four to an umbrella when the skies opened up Saturday afternoon. We even sang in a gazebo. Click/scroll for pictures and sound clips!

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Noster Humpodumpitus

Heather says she learned this about fifty years ago, so she's not sure if the Latin is entirely right, but it's amazing anyway. To the tune of "Good King Wenceslas":

Noster Humpodumpitus
Qui in muro fuit
Assidens improvidus
Violenter ruit
Regis equitatium
Et agmen militari
Noster Humpodumpitum
Non nobis restoraure!

Exceedingly Good Times

Last night was September's Exceedingly Good Song Night -- it's a gathering at Banjo Jim's in the East Village, and it's therapy, it's meditation, it's chicken soup for the trad singer's soul. Thanks to the surprisingly good microphone on the iPhone, I can let you hear for yourself how awesome it is. This is the song we close with every month, but it's not actually planned or rehearsed or anything:

If anyone's interested in coming, let me know! The next one is Sunday, October 10th, from 7:00-10:00, and the theme is "Clothing, Apparel, and Disguises."


Because I know Nina is a huge Sandi Toksvig fan, when I saw her YA book HITLER'S CANARY on the free shelf at work, I grabbed it. It looked interesting, NUMBER THE STARSish, so I started reading it on the subway home and finished it, crying, on the train the next morning. The part that got me was the narrator’s wrap-up of the war in the last chapter, when he talks about the Danish resistance blowing up a factory that made parts for the “bombs that caused such trouble for London,” aka the V1 and V2 “buzz bombs.”

Here’s the thing: sitting on my bookshelf at home are over three hundred letters that my grandfather, Herman “Hy” Messinger wrote home to my grandmother Toby and his little daughter, my aunt Robin, during the war. They’re an incredible inheritance, made almost more urgent by the fact that I never shared this earth with my Grandpa Hy, and Toby has been gone for nearly ten years now -- but I can hold the paper that Hy held in London, in the fields of France, in Paris after the Liberation and read the words that Toby read in the little yellow kitchen in the Bronx. They’re the same words I remember my mother reading late at night, carefully matching each letter to its envelope, ordering them by the postmark date. There are two that sprang to mind as I read HITLER'S CANARY: one in which Hy says he’s in London and everything is lovely, and one in which he says he’s left London and can now tell her how bad it was there. He was coat-shopping one day when they heard a buzz bomb coming, heard the engine cut out, and hit the floor as the glass in the shop windows imploded; when everyone stood up, they found the coats in shreds on the racks.

The Danes were not kidding around -- there were more Danish resistance fighters killed in the war years than Danish Jews -- and I like to think that even one fewer bombs fell on my grandfather because they took out that factory. It’s fanciful, I know, but it doesn’t matter if it’s technically true. Sandi Toksvig has her connection to the Danish Resistance; I have Grandpa Hy; somehow they intersected at an incredible moment in history. I mean, I say “history,” but it wasn’t all that long ago when 24-year-olds have held the letters and cry over the whole mess on their morning commutes, is it?

bad Hamlet good Hamlet

Sometimes I get words stuck in my head the same way I get songs. Lately, the following keeps going around and around:

I am preparing to play Ophelia.

It's scary. I feel Hamlet closing in, whole scenes suddenly cut off from my purview, other characters' relationships slipping away from me. Eventually I'll find myself in a play called Ophelia. We're performing just shy of a decade since I first read Hamlet , and all that time the play has been more or less a constant, infinitely accommodating canvas for thought. But the whole point of this production, of using the strange first quarto text, is to shake it up for everyone, so I can't really complain about the unexpected twist.

Had an amazing late, late, late-night talk with Nina last night about the mad scenes, which I would rather call the "terminal communication difficulties scenes," but then people would look at me like I was...well...you see my point.