When did “decadent dessert” become a thing that is okay to say on a menu?  I hate the idea of anything being decadent.  Decadence, to me, connotes real iniquity (not the same as inequity) and lack of cadence.  Decadence is a bad thing.  It doesn’t have anything to do with chocolate.

How ’bout some invert sugar (cf. this blog, April 2012)?


JFK Would Approve

On the redeye train to DC, in the middle of New Jersey, I saw a sign in (I think) the Metropark Amtrak station advertising the JFK Breast Center.  I squinted at the sign in the darkened station and saw that it advertised a breast health clinic at the JFK Medical Center.  The affinity of our 35th President for the female form is legendary, so I can’t help but think he’d be pleased at the wording.  It sounds like the center–far from clinical–might be a gallery of his favorites.

Invert Sugar

So, one last pre-Passover caramel last night… and one of the ingredients was invert sugar.  I have always wanted Invert Sugar to be the name of a gay nightclub.  Or a drag queen who…cooks?  “Invert” was a term for queer folks around 90 years ago, give or take 10 years, but I’m afraid the joke would fall flat because no one uses the word anymore.

The Levin in the lump

In the book The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, the title character sometimes tells one of her students (I forget which one because I haven’t read the book in 20 years) that she is the leaven in the lump.  This phrase came to mind because it is almost Passover and I have cleaned out anything leavened, anything that could potentially be leavened, etc.

I worked with a lovely lawyer once whose last name was Levin, and I sometimes thought of him as the Levin in the lump, although I certainly never told him that.

The last name “Levin” comes from the tribe of Levi, the Levite priests (Christian readers will recognize the term Leviticus).

“Leaven” must have something to do with lightness.  “Luft” in German is air, as in the military term Luftwaffe and the sometimes affectionate term “luftmensch,” which means head-in-the-clouds-person and is actually Yiddish.  Levitate and levity also denote/connote lightness.  I love that levity is the opposite of gravity.

Private Bag

As part of my job, I need to get scientific articles from New Zealand from time to time.  The correspondence address on these often includes the term “private bag.”  A private bag is what we in the US call a post office (P.O.) box.  But I always picture a reticule* or some kind of supportive undergarment.  OK, Kiwis, I know I’m a perv.

*reticule=a little purse with a drawstring, used in 18th and 19th century (I think–I don’t have time right now to do research on costume history)


In the following lines, note the language we use to describe the beginning of a relationship:  “courtship” and “suitor.”  Tellingly, these words became less popular somewhere in the 20th century as finding a marriage partner became less like a job interview.  We have replaced the language of law with the language of human connection. “Relationship” is a newer word than “friendship,” I expect, although I am not sure.  Here are a few lines.  The unusual punctuation should tell you that this is a song, not a poem

I’m sorry I want it officially sealed
The business of feeling’s not really my field
a courtship devolves to a court
a promise is rendered as lies
I wish I could say we’ll get through this together
although that no longer applies.
The you you have chosen is yours
the I I am left with is mine
the silkydown threads we have woven together
unwind as the coarsest of twine
and if you would please to initial each section
and put your full name on the line.
A suitor evolves to a suit
in which there’s no winner or prize
I wish I could say we’ll get through this together
I know that no longer applies.

Mouseshit scared

I’m going to Home Depot soon to get something to deal with the mouse droppings–or, rather, something to deal with the mice.  The mouse droppings made me realize that “mouseshit” isn’t slang for anything.  When people are insane, they are batshit crazy.  When someone who is not normally crazy gets really angry, s/he goes apeshit.  Then there is bullshit in the corporate and political arenas, which Harry Frankfurt explains very well.  It’s time for mouseshit to enter the lexicon.  I am mouseshit scared, I think.