Lyndon Hood - discursite, Lower Hutt

Thursday, June 24, 2004


Alcohol Alley

Last weekend I went to the Food Show at Wellington's Westpac Stadium. There was a surprise $15 entry fee (it wasn't specified in any of the publicity) but the indoor space of the stadium was a donut filled with people giving away food or (mostly) drink.

There were any number of wineries giving away measurable quantities of product - a number more if you forked out three dollars for a glass. There was also Belgian beer (I'm told that if you didn't make eye contact and took a turn around the stadium in between you could get more than one helping). And coffee, though I wish to note the Caffee L'affare had the check to charge full price. But, between reminding me what all those grape varieties taste like and what the difference between oaked and unoaked chardonnay is, my highlights were actually foods.

Pastrami, for instance - supermarkets would have you believe that you make pastrami by fixing it so the edge of the slice has that coating on it. Proper pastrami has to be properly cured - cured of not tasting fantastic.

Am I the only one that didn't know that olive oil mellows with age?

And somebody was importing (from Spain, I think) saffron-infused vinegar. I haven't actually had much direct experience of saffron, and I tried it because I wanted to test something I'd read in a book (which was mostly about pigments rather than food, but recommended infusing it in hot water). Saffron makes you laugh. It turned the vinegar yellow, gave it a pleasant earthy taste, and when I tried a little on a scrap of bread it sent a big warm belly-chuckle into the world.

Now, saffron filaments have to be picked out of their tiny little flowers by hand, so they're not likely to be less expensive than your drug of choice. But the experience was, and this is the word I'm after, nice.

This is what happens when you take sports seriously

Now, I happen to think that people representing a country in sport should be, as they say, of good character. But surely, where that's a question about that it should be answered by people who have looked into the issue rather than talkback radio listeners.

And I happen to think that once somebody served their sentence we should stop punishing them. If not, where do you stop? It's not much incentive to reform if you're never going to be allowed to do anything with your life anyway.

For God's sake, let the man go to Greece and get beaten up.

National: The Bomb

Is it just me, or was National's stunning backdown on the nuclear issue precisely what they were proposing to do anyhow?

Should be called uncivil union if you ask me ha ha ha

Just listened to Today in Parliament, with New Zealand First a clear winner in the show-us-your-rednecks competition, by fielding someone sufficiently bigoted to, judging from what I heard, not address the substance of the legislation in any way. Fella complained about the use of the term "gay" to denote homosexuals and then asserted that same sex couples could not possibly enjoy the same depth of relationship as hetrosexuals, though the former would naturally not be able to understand the transcendant experience of the latter. I would love to know what his grounds for comparison were.

Correspondence entered into

It's a modern liberal faux pas to assume that everyone at the dinner party agrees with you. However, since this blog started up I've got a lot of work done on my being-opinionated and I won't try to avoid offending the Internet. And when I write about the current American Government I seem to loose all my wry self-depreciation.

I got this in the email shortly after my last post:

Hi Lyndon - The Krugman book was published 9/03. How do you calculate this to be "early in the wave of pre-election anti-Bush publications"? Also, while he is a Princeton professor, this doesn't make him "nobody's flake". Any dispassionate reading of his NYT columns reveal him to be little more than a partisan hack. His predictions of economic doom following the Bush tax cuts have not come to pass - in fact, quite the opposite has occurred. To finish, where did you get the "their behaviour is of a character with the way they got elected, by doctoring the rolls in Florida to a huge extent" line? I can see why you admire Krugman - you are both inclined to make stuff up! Later - Sean.
Leaving our respective rhetorical flourishes aside, I'll stand by what I wrote. If controvesy inspires you to reading, Krugman's NYT columns are indeed online. US economic indicators are here (check out that deficit!).

Ah, yes: sometimes I wonder whether there is such a thing as constructive political debate.

When I asked to quote him, Sean said that he mostly enjoyed the blog, which is good. Otherwise I would have to recommend that he avoid it lest the hate poison his soul (I once had this problem until I stopped reading Frank Haden's opinion pieces). I sure don't expect to be writing anything positive about the Bush administration anytime soon.

And as for the Florida election, well, I'm glad you asked, but we're running out of space. Tune in next time!

He's, like, a celebrity for actors

Keith Johnstone invented Theatresports and is pretty much the father of modern performance improvisation. And (in case you were hiding under a rock or something) Keith Johnstone is in Wellington right now.

I attended a question-and-answer session on Monday morning. I was fascinated and inspired, but I won't go into too much detail, partly because all I wanted to do was publicly associate myself with Keith Johnstone. Patrick was there too, so he is also cool.

You should go see the show ('The Sercet Origin of Improv') with him and the people he's workshopping with this week, who include a unique gathering of creamy improv talent from all over NZ. Sunday (June 27) 7pm at the Illiot Theatre.

Else you're just ungrateful.