Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Breakfast at Ed-fany's

The diner is the most American of all eating establishments. Folksy, yet efficient. Wholesome, yet processed. It's a place where doughy, pasty white old ladies can still command the attentions of paunchy, balding men. 

For all their bulges, rolls and jowls, the staff is constantly in motion--cracking a joke here, refilling a coffee there, and even pointing out the napkin dispenser, with its never-ending supply of thin, papery, slightly absorbent tissues, to the uninitiated.
The dishes are without fail fried on the grill. The walls may be grimy, the menu frayed at the edges where the lamination is coming apart and the photographs on the wall might be faded and sun bleached, but by God that flat silver surface will be pristine and perfect. Usually with a whole mess of bacon or potatoes slowly crackling in mounded waves at the far corner of the grill. 

Every dish comes with toast in either white or wheat. It's ubiquitous. Accompanying either are vegetable spreads that glow a brilliant white-yellow that to the bleary-eyed and lazy tongued could be mistaken for real butter. There is also the option to shimmy out a perfectly rectangular mixed berry globule, usually some combination of grape, strawberry or raspberry, from a plastic container to be smashed and smeared across the toast's surface.

The coffee is instant, but black and hearty enough to cut through the grease from the fried foods. The ketchup is called catsup, but still glows a robust red. You can cover pretty much any dish in chili, except for Gladys (who I'm told was once quite the dish). 

The patrons are polite, but respectful, which is as it should be.They still read newspapers the old fashioned way, which is also as it should be. 

If all this sounds like your local diner, chances are it is the very same one. The name outside may vary and the box scores might relate to a different team, but once those eggs-over-easy break open and ooze into the hash browns, brother, you know you're home in the heartland of America.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Stranger encounters

Some friends of mine and I were sitting at a sidewalk table on a bright sunny morning when the nicest guy in the world walks up and enthusiastically asks to pet my friend's dog. The whole time he's laughin' and chucklin' and soon asks if the dog can do any tricks. My friend says that he can shake and lie down. I joke that he can slobber, to which the guy says, "just like Obama!" Then he laughs and walks off without explanation.

Then on Monday, I was in a cafe bathroom washing my hands when the guy next to me yells out, "Enjoy your stay at the Hilton," and leaves. I was not staying at a Hilton. To my knowledge, there weren't any Hilton locations nearby. The man was not wearing anything associated with said hotel. So the only logical explanation is that the man was psychic and I will soon be staying at a Hilton.

But hopefully not next to Obama. I hear that guy slobbers.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Book Review: The Fortress of Solitude, By Jonathan Lethem

The Premise:
A coming of age novel in a gentrified neighborhood of Brooklyn in the 1970s through early 1990s.

The Good:
Lethem can write. He’s one of those writers that makes ridiculously detailed, yet evocative scenes seem effortless. Not that you would notice. He grabs the reader and submerges them in his story. Each scene, each character, each place seems fully formed. Each action has consequence, for better or worse.

The Bad:
I didn’t like the main character, Dylan Ebdus. I know I’m not supposed to say that, especially since it’s “his” story, but upon reflection, I found him to be a flawed character—not in an endearing way. In a sense that made him more human, but I just didn’t think he made the best decisions. Or at least no enough to redeem himself. Also, like the book “The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay”, there’s a moment halfway through that comes out of nowhere and almost ruined it for me.  I’m just not sure that all that was necessary.

The Verdict:
Read it. From a sheer technical writing aspect, Lethem’s writing is amazing. I haven’t read his other books, so you might want to start somewhere else. But if you do read this book, just know that there’s some adult subject matter in parts. For better or worse.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Lady parts.

A local department store is going out of business and I was able to purchase an item which I think will eventually become my new lamp. It's still a work in progress.

Half Woman.

Half Swedish.

An idea you can stomach.

Turn-ons include electricity.