Bleecker Street Fair.

Once upon a time, I ran kicking and screaming from the Philly ‘burbs to New York City. Once I got here, I felt like a kid in a candy store. A really fucking great candy store. One that has fantastic toys too. (Also: shoes.) There were, and still are, too many charms and treats to enumerate in a blog post, but a New York summer street fair is definitely near the top of that list.

Some street fairs have specific themes (like food, or art) but my favorites are the more eclectic affairs that feature local artisans and collectors. Sometimes the artisans run the booths, tents and kiosks themselves, and engage potential customers in interesting conversations about their work. It’s like shopping at the ultimate Anti-Mall: there is little on offer here that one can find in a retail chain store. (I often start my winter holiday shopping in July at city street fairs.)

I unexpectedly stumbled into a street fair in my neighborhood on Saturday afternoon. I had very little time, so unfortunately I could only walk about half the length of it. But I wanted to try and capture the experience in photos. For you.

xo
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Bleecker Street
between 11th and Bank Streets
July 15, 2017

[NOTE: any unobscured face visible in this post is published with the express permission of said face’s owner. All rights reserved.]

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Blooming on Hudson Street.

Spring in the city = riotous color. Even those of us with the most monochromatic black winter wardrobes – for all intents and purposes a required uniform for living here – yield, however slightly, to bursts of brightness.

And why not? The streets and parks are enchantingly abloom. Apparently miniature daffodils, which I had never seen (or noticed?) before, were all the rage in the Village this April. They are fucking adorable and make me smile. (Okay, or at least make me want to.) Alas, their little yellow petals have just started to crinkle and droop, and now I haz a sad. :(

But all is not lost! Because the tulips have begun crashing their party and stealing their show. Shopkeepers are suddenly engaging in some kind of botany arms race, taking full advantage of urns and planters outside their businesses. Come see for yourself.  Continue reading

Happy birthday PZ!

pz2016It is once again the time to mark the joyous occasion of The Great Tentacled One’s completion of another orbit around our sun. Longtime readers of mine may recall that in February of 2011, PZ Myers published my little screed In Defense of Mockery on Pharyngula. At the time I was a fledgling blogger, and hardly knew whether I might be any good at this writing stuff. That boost of confidence—and the readers I gained that day—meant the world to me then, and now. By 2013 when PZ posted Casualties of War, I had come a long way in a short time, thanks in no small part to his generosity and encouragement. But this past year? He brought some serious next-level shit, man: he invited me to write for Freethought Blogs (!!!). For all of this and more, PZ has my undying affection and appreciation.

Today I will be celebrating the good professor by imbibing squid ink cocktails and copious amounts of calamari.

Happy birthday, my friend.

Long may we mock.

squidinkcocktailBarchetta’s Spezia cocktail.
vodka, caper brine and squid ink, whole caperberry garnish

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Now normally on these sacred occasions, I’d post some of PZ’s more trenchant blurbs, culled from his writings over the previous year. Just a sentence or two that strike me, like this one (perhaps my all time favorite):

[I]magine the culture we would live in now if, instead of a dead corpse on an instrument of torture, our signifier was a child staring in wonder at the stars. –PZ Myers

But in the past year the world has changed. For example, US government policy is now orchestrated by a madman via 140 character tweets in the middle of the night (Eastern Standard Time). So in keeping with the zeitgeist, please enjoy these pithy bon mots from the master:

Fuck you, Grandma. –PZ Myers

I could be quite happy with an octopus arm transplant. –PZ Myers

Stop me before I #ChristianMingle. –PZ Myers

So fuck the police. –PZ Myers

I’ll smack hope a few more times with a ball peen hammer and see if I can’t get it under control. –PZ Myers

OK, motherfucker, then do it. –PZ Myers

Stoned fish are so much more cooperative. –PZ Myers

I’ve made it on to the list! I feel so appreciated. –PZ Myers

Hate is a strong word, but not strong enough for my feelings.-PZ Myers

Go fuck yourself. –PZ Myers

Hear, hear.

Iris: MIA.

Hello, beloved readers. You may have discerned my absence from this space for a little while now, which is not typical for me. Seems that perhaps some sort of explanation is in order.

I’ve been going through some difficult personal shit. Without getting into specifics, processing trauma and abuse—even many years later—is not exactly easy or fun, but it becomes absolutely critical when the unfortunate manifestations blindside you (again), seemingly out of nowhere. Suffice it to say that I have an amazingly supportive partner, a tight circle of friends (i.e. “chosen family”), and a skilled therapist* to guide me. In the meantime however, I am finding it very difficult to focus, concentrate and opine for your infotainment upon the vital and timely topics of fascist doucheweasels, patriarchal shitheads, racist conservatives, treasonous theocrats, native-born white d00ds in local bars suggesting an upside to the day’s news out of DC, terrorist squirrels and other assorted menaces.

Then again, I only have one rule—and one rule only—for posting: whatever I want, whenever I want.** So here, have some of that. Continue reading

Moroccan Bisteeya (chicken in pastry with cinnamon).

Okay vegans, look away for this one. I promise I’ll make it up to you with a Moroccan recipe for beets that will knock your socks off.

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Bisteeya (alternatively pastilla, besṭila, bastilla, b’stilla or b’steeya) is a traditional Moroccan savory pie, usually served on special occasions as a first course. When I first started exploring Moroccan cooking, bisteeya was my Holy Grail. I fell in love with it in Morocco many moons ago; here in New York, the late, great Cafe Noir used to serve it up (and well).

This is the most delicious chicken dish I have ever tasted, bar none.

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Say hello to my little friend.

While waiting for some prescription refills today, I wandered through a couple shops in my neighborhood. I made it a point, as I always do, to browse my favorite thrift shop. Oooh, some sweet sofas! But nah, I’m good. Nice art too, but nothing that would work for me. And hey, I’m always looking for new specimens to add to my eclectic flatware collection…shit outta luck. *sigh*

And then, there he was.

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I painted my sofa because Jonathan Adler.

Jonathan Adler is a designer based in New York City with a storefront shop in the West Village on Greenwich Avenue. I have sort of a love-hate thing for this d00d because, well, I loooove many of his designs, and yet I haaaaate the stratospheric pricing.

First, the love. If I had to describe Adler’s overall aesthetic, I’d say midcentury-modern-meets-obnoxiously-opulent-whimsical-retro-pop-culture-plus-drugs. Yes, drugs.

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And now for something completely different.

Behold, and be mesmerized:

Interested in documenting one of the oldest animals on Earth, Barcelona-based production company myLapse set to capture the minimal movements of brightly colored coral, recording actions rarely seen by the human eye. The short film took nearly 25,000 individual images of the marine invertebrates to compose, and photography of species, such as the Acanthophyllia, Trachyphyllia, Heteropsammia cochlea, Physogyra, took over a year.

The production team hopes the film attracts attention to the Great Barrier Reef, encouraging watchers to take a deeper interest in one of the natural wonders of the world that is being rapidly bleached due to climate change. You can see more up-close images of the coral species featured in this film on Flickr. (via Sploid)

Tell me again what religions have to offer that comes anywhere close to the majesty and deep beauty on offer in our natural world.

[h/t Caine]

Grave dancing! Phyllis Schlafly edition.

Phyllis Schlafly is dead. Whoo-hoo!

Yes I know, I know. I am a terrible person and you should definitely stay far, far away from me and especially my blog. It’s true that I was actually a bit sad when Scalia kicked the bucket, but that was only because I would forever be denied the number one experience on my bucket list: mooning that fucker.

But Schlafly? I feel nothing but unadulterated joy in her passing. #sorrynotsorry

I cannot wait until Dick Cheney’s day comes. I might throw a goddamn parade!