Category Archives: The Diary

A TARDIS Please.

English: This diagram gives a detailed overvie...

There’s a little game that I like to play, and I bet you’ve played it yourself, where people answer the question: If you could live in any time period what would it be and why? Of course, being the irritatingly anal person that I am I ask: If you could live in any section of society in any time period (assuming that you will be a healthy individual who will not succumb to the local illnesses such as, for example, the Bubonic Plague if you are in Europe in the 14th century) who would you be? If you are playing with thoughtful and intelligent people this can provide you with hours of fun (alright, maybe I spend too much time with History majors).

Since I know that you are all curious about what my answer to this would be, here it is:

I would quite like living as myself in England at anytime during the Interwar period (1918-1939). Theoretically I would prefer to be eighteen years old just at the end of WWI, just able to avoid the draft but be old enough to enjoy life on my own, and I would enjoy becoming involved with the Bloomsbury Group (I suppose it goes without saying that I would need to be, at the very least, upper-middle class). The Interwar period, or the much more elegant Interbellum, has always held my fascination. Great Britain, and Europe, have just come out of one of the most shocking events in living memory: a slaughter held not even in their backyard but in their own house. The trauma of this shook the Victorian-Edwardian sensibilities of Great Britain’s society and helped to launch new schools of thought that began to reshape their world. This was the era of the Woolfs, Kafka, new philosophies, a changing world.

In my head I see myself taking tea with brilliant artists, locking myself away in a cottage to finish my most recent piece of writing, indulging my “artistic temperament”. There would be poetry readings, writing blistering literary reviews, gay dinners. (I would of course use this time period to become intimately acquainted with Quentin Crisp, Coco Chanel, Virginia Woolf, JRR Tolkien, among others.)

I do recognize that this time is not just the foundation of a brave new world but was also marked by racism, antisemitism, classism, along with a plague of other issues. The fact that as a white male I would have substantial societal privileges can not be denied (although my pansexuality, disregard for gender norms and Hebrew heritage would be factored into this I would still end up in a very cozy spot in the hierarchy). But isn’t this true at anytime? I mean, we still have a white male privilege system in effect today. This was also a time where some of these norms were being challenged (look at the Woolfs or Lytton Strachey or a variety of others) and I like to think that I would be directly involved.

And so, as the snow finally settles onto our little mountain, I dream of a past world. Tweeds. Walking through the halls and cobble streets of venerable Oxford. Striding across country fields. Crammed omnibuses. Rich voices over the wireless. Cold rooms where the fireplace can not reach. Music that swung. Discussing Homer and Plutarch and Montaigne in country homes as winter piles up outside.

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Must Love Books

I want to be the Jack and Avery of Democrats

I love chairlifts because you and your friend have just enough time to get into personal matters but just as things are becoming rather intimate you’re at the top of the mountain and in the middle of a crowd. Recently a friend of mine brought up The List. The List Of What You Want In A Partner. You have one. Admit it.

And because I’m a slightly compulsive list-maker (BBC article about us here) here’s my version of The List.

The List: A Partner…

  1. Must love books.
  2. Must be obsessed with history.
  3. Should be able to, at the very least, tolerate Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica.
  4. Must be able to enjoy BritComs (really anything British), if not be passionate about them.
  5. Would benefit from an avid interest in cross-country skiing .
  6. Needs to be able to critique writing.
  7. Is required to put up with my moods. (MANDATORY.)
  8. Should probably be neat or I might have to kill them when we move in together.
  9. Is encouraged to enjoy folk-Klezmer-classical music.
  10. Must be able to put up with Rachel Maddow, The Onion and John Stuart.
  11. Has to be a member of their local NPR station. (I can be flexible here, I can settle for someone who is addicted but not a member.)
  12. Is required to enjoy reading the same book together and to each other. (So maybe my romantic fantasies involve curling up and reading pages of Bill Bryson together, what’s it to you?)

Alright, after reading this list I have to admit… there’s probably a reason why I’ve been single all throughout my eighteen years…

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Coming Up On the BBC: Comedy

John Cleese (right) and Michael Palin (left) o...

Cleese: 'Ee, Ah wor 'ungry-loike! --Image via Wikipedia

My childhood wasn’t really that weird. I was never abused, I didn’t grow up on the International Space Station, my parents weren’t celebrities but it did have a few quirks. One of which is the fact that I grew up on BBC Comedies. There was PBS of course but my formative television years all involve people with British accents shrieking at each other, falling into puddles and tearing off their neighbor’s shirts. In fact, one of my earliest memories is watching Black Adder (played by Rowan Atkinson) dressed up as a Nun to escape some horrid fate.

By the time I was in Grammar School “Bloody hell” was as familiar as John Cleese’s mustache and I could understand Yorkshire accents as if they were speaking the Queen’s English. This could easily explain my different humor choices than most of my peers. To this day I can sort of appreciate some of their humor but nothing sends me into hysterics better than a dry voice or an elderly woman in a big hat throwing things at her neighbors.

This isn’t to say that I’m an expert on British Comedy. While I do know some of the more obscure ones (My Hero) I was only introduced to Doc Martin at the beginning of the month and All Creatures Great and Small on Christmas Day.

Please know I’m getting to the purpose of this post. In fact, here’s the purpose right now. I present to you a list of my top ten BBC Comedy shows (roughly in order of my favorites):

  1. Keeping Up Appearances
  2. Waiting For God
  3. Fawlty Towers
  4. Black Adder II
  5. Black Adder the Third
  6. Are You Being Served?
  7. Monty Python’s Flying Circus
  8. Last of the Sumer Wine (Not exactly a comedy show per say)
  9. Good Neighbors
  10. Chef!

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Well According to Facebook…

I…

  • Wrote the book on Harry Potter
  • Am Helga Hufflepuff’s Cup (Her golden goblet that Voldemort turned into a Horcrux not her- Oh never mind.)
  • Am Ginevra Weasley
  • Am Fleur Delacour
  • Should be dating Harry Potter

My apologies to my Facebook friends who just had their news feeds covered with my quiz results.

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This is NOT Fall

Great seal of Vermont. Although officially ado...

Image via Wikipedia

The weather up here in Vermont suddenly got pretty-and it kills me to say this-warm, and while I’m not complaining about warm weather… I kind of am. There is something great about bicycling down a leaf-bare driveway while the sun bakes you into sleepy submission. That sleepy submission-warmth-comfort thing really isn’t a Vermont fall though and so I feel completely cheated.

Here’s how a Vermont fall is supposed to go down: It’s windy, really windy and this isn’t a warm windy breeze but snapping cold gusts that whip around you. The wind in Fall is supposed to bring tears to your eyes, not crying exactly but tears that well up in your eyes and start to obscure your vision. This is in conjunction with the burning on your cheeks, of course. Winter might make your cheeks sting but in Fall it catches you completely by surprise making it burn like hell fire. A good Fall day isn’t a good one without red cheeks and teary eyes.

But this weak weather isn’t just taking away from the physical enjoyment of Fall but also the sight linked pleasure. In crisp weather you see leaves that capture green, gold, orange and red all in one little wisp of a leaf, you see the leaves being flung into the air. These colors, when taken in with the tear blurred vision, begin to blend together with the dying greens of the field, the solid greens of the evergreens, the amazingly lively blue skies, and just the faintest hints of white clouds.

As the wind whips around you can see animals like never before. Unlike Winter’s wearied attempts for survival, Summer’s relaxed comfort and Spring’s cautious joy Fall brings out this ferocity in nature. Not ferocity that results in maulings but a fierce attempt to live. Deer run and eat, pileated woodpeckers really get into their work and humans begin to can food, stack wood, anything to make sure they make it through the winter.

In this frenzy I find a great sense of bliss. This is life boiled down to the essence, like when you use dash alcohol onto a hot pan and get it down to just its most potent taste. I end up dancing in the our neighbor’s meadow, running through the woods with the dog like two puppies, reciting Dickenson to the trees and loving where I live.

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Things I Liked In September That You’ll Like In October

”]Family watching television, c. 1958

Drawn from all my September posts here are my recommendations (fun fact: clicking on each item will take you to the post I referenced it in):

Books:

  1. “The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks”
  2. “To the Lighthouse”

Television:

  1. “Bones”
  2. “The French Chef”

Blogs:

  1. After I Quit My Day Job

Food:

  1. Annie’s Mac and Cheese
  2. Seitan
  3. Quorn Chik’n Nuggets

Margaret Warner:

  1. Margaret Warner

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