Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: McSweeney’s Recommends

This is the cryptic and odd image that McSweeney's uses for its logo.

I went googling for something or other and one of the links was to this.

Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: McSweeney’s Recommends.

I regained my sense of time after several minutes, and had only scrolled about a third of the page. This is a huge list of podcasts, books, movies, foods, music, experiences, and ideas. You’ll recognize some of them, and think the list is smart, so you’ll keep scrolling to find more familiar items. In the meantime, you’ll find out about more things worth checking into. An honorable time sink.

Tim and TMI

Look at all those unread items!

I sent Stefan “a link to David Foster Wallace’s introduction to the 2007 edition of Best American Essays. I have enjoyed his magazine pieces, and own two of his books, so I sent the link unread with a promise to him to come back to it later. Stef sent back a grumpy rant about the piece, and without getting into the nature of his complaints, what impressed me most was the closeness of his reading and the concentration he must have brought to bear. It forced me to realize that I don’t as a matter of course bring more than minimal attention to what I read – I’ve been scanning, not reading, and my mental muscles are weak. They need to do some weight lifting, and so do I.

Yes, “Tim” is an anagram for TMI, “Too Much Information.” Email messages unread: 68. RSS items unread: 625. Current browser tabs among 5 windows: 11. Too. Much. Information.

So where to cut back? I don’t want to lose more sleep. I would have trouble giving up reading political coverage during this run-up to an election year, especially when the Republicans are fielding such a bizarre misguided flip-flopping fear-mongering group of candidates. And the Democrats, ah the Democrats… they’re so amazingly timid about really pounding on the most incompetent regime America’s seen in my lifetime, and on the Congressional Republicans that have enabled it. George W.Bush makes Nixon look like a smart progressive on most issues. Who’d have thought we’d pine for Nixon? Ever? And in a situation like this, how can I keep from following it?

But back to Too Much Information. There’s always something new just a click away, whether it’s one of those emails, or in a feed, or on a site I haven’t checked this last foru minutes, or something. And I have this blog, see, the one you’re reading? Having a domain, and a blog, implies a commitment, and I have not kept that commitment. I have a camera, too, that camera implies another commitment, to take and publish pictures. I have not kept this commitment either.

Will Richardson writes and lives the Read/Write web, and I do not. Too much reading and not enough writing/photographing/publishing. I’ve allowed the too-many opportunities for something new to become data smog and I have to filter more of it out. I guess that output would become more of the smog for someone else, but the exercise of doing it myself would be better for my mind and my health.

B Kliban Picture Gallery

Thanks to Teresa and Patrick Nielsen Hayden for the link, a B Kliban Picture Gallery: Cartoons In Order Of Increasing Difficulty.

B. Kliban’s cat cartoons were very popular in the 80s, but his other cartoons were surreal and subversive. Just the thing for me, anyway, trying to find my way through early adulthood.

Of Cheese Toast and Welsh Rarebit

Welsh Rarebit, right from the oven

I really like Mark Bittman, “The Minimalist” food columnist for the New York Times. Today’s column, Overindulge? Snack on This is about Welsh Rarebit, a fancied-up version of cheese toast. He offers a recipe that sounds very good, requiring mustard, cayenne, and dark beer in addition to the cheese. Mmmmmm.

This reminds me of the staple late-evening dish of Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, their hallowed “toasted cheese,” ably described and beautifully placed in context by Anne Chotzinoff Grossman and Lisa Grossman Thomas in their Lobscouse and Spotted Dog: Which It’s a Gastronomic Companion to the Aubrey-Maturing Novels, a volume that will greatly enhance your enjoyment of the series.

I also recall Dream of a Rarebit Fiend by Winsor McKay. They were cautionary tales warning against overindulgence. Hah.

The Oyster Is His World – New York Times

Oysters on the half shell

R.W. Apple writes about John Rowley in The Oyster Is His World, and reading it, for a moment, I wished it was mine too. John Rowley has made a career and a calling of advocating for and raving about oysters, and to me, that’s one of those “Dang, that’s a great job!” jobs. Ah well.

Oysters – I love them. I love them to the point of becoming stupid about them at times. I love them smoked – the first way I could eat them as a boy in land-locked Atlanta despite oyster-loving parents – and in stews and fried. I especially love them on the half-shell. And yes, I chew them. Slo-o-owly and lovingly.

MFK Fisher's Consider the Oyster

I find that I have not read much of the literary oyster canon (see this list of suggested oyster books on CuisineNet). I have however read one of the most important and enjoyable books of any type, M.F.K. Fisher’s Consider the Oyster.
It’s a superb little book, and if you don’t know Fisher’s writing, a very good introduction to her. Just be advised, you’ll be hungry.

In searching for a bookstore link to the book, I came across several sites that refer to her and her books (including CuisineNet, linked above) and several were also thoughtful writers about food and hunger and human appetites. More on food blogs another time.

Oyster photo: Ron Wurzer for The New York Times.

[Update: Just after posting this, I found the site of the MFK Fisher Foundation, sponsored by Les Dames d’Escoffier International, which includes tributes and information about her work.]