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Archive | December, 2010

Cliff

21 Dec

Cliff

Marc gave me the bad news last night, and it didn’t seem real until today. On some level, it still doesn’t. Maybe it’s because Cliff and I hadn’t seen each other in person for years, but the idea of him being gone is hard to accept.

He was one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met, and he made brilliance look effortless. (The guy won a James Beard award and he wasn’t even a food writer.) I used to read up on oddball news just so I’d have something clever to talk about with him in the work kitchen. He didn’t need to be impressed to like a person, but I wanted to impress him anyway; I looked up to him. He was always telling good stories, pulling out random fascinating facts, and making everyone howl with laughter. He could pull out a wry quip like nobody else, but he beamed with joy when talking about his daughter Gladys, which is what I’ll remember most about him.

Hank wrote a better remembrance than I can, as did the Reader. Some examples of his writing are here. I imagine Cliff, if he heard us talking about him, would crack wise and tell us to cut the sentimental crap. So I will, while missing him.

Hunks and homophobia

16 Dec

Hunks and homophobia

As longtime readers know, my mom is a fountain of notable quotables. There should be an entire Jeopardy category for them. “What are… things Betty has said about cat hair, Alex?” My mother mistakenly assumes that I am mocking her when I write these things down. I just think they are too good not to share. Besides, everyone who meets my mom is charmed by her. So now, some choice Betty quotations from recent conversations. (more…)

Unknown pleasures, indeed

12 Dec

Unknown pleasures, indeed

I missed Joy Division the first time around. Sue me, I was in diapers. Missed them when I should have liked them, too: In high school, aside from a track on a mix tape from my sister-in-law, I found them too gloomy and goth. New Order was more my speed, and even then, I secretly liked “Regret” more than “The Perfect Kiss.” Which, as far as New Order cred goes, is slightly weak. It wasn’t until my 20s that I really got into Joy Division. Of course I’d heard “Love Will Tear Us Apart” before, but one night at a divey polish bar on Division Street, the song hit me in a new way. From then on, I’ve been so-so on the JD/NO songs I don’t love, but those that I love, I love. (more…)