Monthly Archives: July 2012

Pony fever!

GI Joe as styled by Barbie.

I’m a sports fan, and unapologetically so. I love it all, and provided Boston is playing (or someone — anyone really — is beating the Yankees), I will happily sit in front of the tube for hours while working my way through a handy pack, watching baseball, football, basketball or hockey and turning the air blue with a filthy stream of invective and smack talk. In truth, I’ve even been known to take in the final rounds of golf tournaments, various college sports and the odd tennis match. I do have some standards, and as such I draw the line at bowling (it’s the shoes) and NASCAR (it’s just, I don’t know… everything).

This year, however, owing to some pressing personal commitments I haven’t really been following the Olympics. Just not that into it somehow. I missed the opening ceremonies and the unfortunate American athletes in their Pepé Le Pew costumes. I missed Sir Paul whipping the crowd into a nostalgic frenzy. I missed the Queen with her silly pink hat and her mean mouth.

But Sunday after dragging my ass to the gym, I finally got the Olympic bug while slogging along on the elliptical, and here’s why:

Via Telegraph Co UK

Horses prancing sideways, top hats, formal dress and a big group of people who actually got ponies for their fourth birthdays! And it appears it’s all taking place at Downtown Abbey! I cannot get enough of the equestrian events.

Photograph: BPI/Marc Atkins/Corbis, via the Guardian

I am totally hooked. Or hoofed, perhaps. I can’t wait ’til the rodeo part gets underway — no one beats the US of A in roping and barrel riding.

Whaddya mean there’s no rodeo competition? No clowns? No bulls either? Not even a lasso contest? What a gyp.

Keep Out

The misanthrope’s need for personal space

I’m having trouble with space. Not the intergalactic type, but the human kind, as in my personal space. People and things are cluttering it up, and my daily encounters with the lack thereof are wearing me down and cranking me up.

Via printable signs.net

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Hey Kitchen Slattern, you chose to live in one of the most densely populated areas on Earth — of course space is tight. Stop your bitching, why don’t you?” Thank you for your understanding. Let me clarify, it’s not just New York that’s getting tighter, it’s everything and everywhere: my shoes, my car, the distance between restaurant tables, the aisles at Bloomingdales, even the formerly inviolate area around my person. In short, there’s just too much stuff and noise everywhere, and any place that’s not filled with crap is chockablock with nattering, rambling, scrambling humanity.

It is really starting to bug me. Read the rest of this entry

Puritanism: The gift that keeps on giving

Mr. Slattern snapped this photo of a bumper sticker during a recent trip to Maine. I thought I’d share it with you just in case you were wondering why I drink

My life reduced to a bumper ornament.
Photo property WS Winslow.

Maine has it all. Or a lot of stuff anyway.

Ayuh. It’s time for summer vacation.

Wicked clean, as opposed to filthy dirty.
Photo property of Audrey Winslow

Living as I do here in the metropolis, I seldom encounter many of my fellow Mainers. When I do, there are the usual formalities – Where’re you from?   Do you know so and so? When’d you get out?  – as each of us tries to suss out what caliber trailer park the other sprang from, whether we might be related and which details of our personal/family history need to be glossed over. Having established one another’s bona fides, a good natured conversation usually ensues, more often than not with both of us lapsing into the native dialect, which almost invariably leads to general hilarity, and eventually, plans to hit the local watering hole for a couple of pops as soon as schedules permit.

There’s always a certain camaraderie in shared origins, and this is especially true if the family homestead happens to be in a place as weird as Maine. The particular language, common references, mutual food preferences and suchlike provide a solid foundation upon which many lifelong friendships are based, often much to the bemusement of outsiders, or as we tend to call them, flatlanders.

So as I contemplate my annual pilgrimage back to the land of my ancestors, I find that once again I’m looking forward to a little immersion in the cultural sesspit pool from which I emerged, mostly because Maine people are really, really funny. There’s a certain dryness of delivery that is difficult to convey in print, so I won’t even try. And then, there’s the accent. After a few cocktails, I have been known to offer a reasonable interpretation, but even without the accent, Maine humor is pretty SHAHP in large part because of its unique linguistic quirks.(If you’re one of my sensitive, caring readers — though I’m pretty sure I scared the last one away months ago — you might want to stop reading here. It gets fairly offensive fairly quickly.) Read the rest of this entry

Size does matter, but quality rules

How to choose fresh fish, avoid bad clams and triumph at the lobster pound by choosing the smaller, softer crustacean

Apparently lobster prices in Maine are at an all-time low. That’s very rough for all the hardworking lobstermen and women in my home state, and if you don’t think lobstering is tough work, think again. Imagine being out on the water in freezing weather (every month of the year but July) on an open boat deck, wearing rubber overalls while handling bait and pulling traps up from the bottom of the bay to earn your living. It’s cold, it’s backbreaking, it’s dirty and it’s dangerous.

HOWEVER

Whatever the price, if we don’t buy lobsters, the lobsterman’s labor is all for naught. So as we approach the season of my most favorite of all seafood, the soft shell lobster (or shedder), I thought you might profit by taking a gander at my seminal look at seafood, Avoid the Bad Clam, originally posted in October of last year. It contains many handy tips on choosing seafood to prepare at home and an invaluable guide to successfully navigating the lobster pound. Here you go:

Click the photo to read the original!

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