Monday, July 20, 2009

Tsk, tsk...

Is it any wonder I wish to disassociate from most of the rest of my species, when the passing of Walter Cronkite garners a mere fraction of the media -- and popular -- attention than that of Michael Jackson's demise? Priorities, people!

(Menopausal Stoners has some share-worthy thoughts relevant to all this.)

It's kind of a wonder that WC hung around the planet as long as he did, considering the state of "news" journalism these past couple of decades. Maybe those of us old enough to remember Cronkite, Huntley, Brinkley, and the other pre-CNN newscasters shirked our responsibility to re-direct the misdirected corporate news entities when they wandered so far off the path. Then again, it was the '80s, and lots of people lost their way back then. It was morning in America, and we hadn't had our coffee yet.

Here's to you, Uncle Walter...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ode to a Peach

(Revisiting a 2005 post I made to Journalspace, because my brain is taking the weekend off!)
It's that time -- roadside stands tempt -- baskets overflowing with blushing local peaches catch my eye as I drive by. A far cry from the grocery store's pithy, pathetic California peaches, prematurely plucked from their natal boughs, these peaches were nurtured to full peachhood. They are the peaches poets write about, singers sing about, painters portray. When I'm feeling just peachy, these are the peaches I emulate.

The peach (Prunus persica to you taxonomists) is perhaps the most carnal of fruits, but I don't need to tell you that. You've already noticed how familiar the soft, fuzzy skin feels, compared its almost anatomical cleft to corporeal counterparts. In fact it is difficult, if not impossible, to describe a peach without resorting to language that violates numerous sections of the Hays Code. And to relate the act of eating one, well.... I blush like a peach just thinking about it.

Eating a peach involves all the senses. Whether your personal aesthetic is prurient or puritanical, you will recognize the honeyed aroma of a ripe peach, and your eyes appreciate its sunset-hued peachidermis. Feel the nap covering its circumference. Hear the embarrassingly necessary slurping and sucking sounds that accompany the enjoyment of a really ripe peach. Taste the just-barely-acid nectar of the fruit that spreads across your tongue like liquid velvet syrup. Do you really believe Eve tempted Adam with a mere MacIntosh? No, it had to have been a peach.

Once the pulp is eaten and any juicy evidence disposed of by the means of your choosing, there remains the peach pit. This crenellated vessel of future generations of peaches deserves further comtemplation. If you're not going to cultivate your own orchard, you may consider the intricate art of peach pit carving. This is recommended over more sinister applications for the stone's interior seed, which contains cyanogenic compounds -- although presumably it would take a peck of peach pits to do actual harm.

Peaches, like life, deliver the bitter and the sweet. Buy peaches ripe, store them at room temperature. If you must refrigerate them, let them warm before eating to enjoy the full spectrum of sweet juciness. Or is that juicy sweetness? Either way, the season is all too short.

(For further reading on the enjoyment of fruits, forbidden and otherwise, I direct you to Christina Rosetti's poem "Goblin Market". Evidence that not all Victorians were so -- Victorian.)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The question nobody asks . . .

"How many times can we ask the same question, Ms. Intelliwench, before you blast us with imaginary death-rays and wish us gone from the face of the Earth?"

It's day nine of the month-long summer institute I organize, and I haven't killed anybody . . . yet. It's getting more and more difficult, though, to sound sweet and helpful when someone asks, ten minutes after I deliver the information both verbally and via handout, what the library's hours are, or what time we meet for such-and-such tour, or where the sign-up sheet for this-thing-or-the-other is. The institute participants are all college faculty themselves, which makes pandering to their inattentiveness even more difficult.

The good news is that I have finally been getting at least 6 hours of sleep a night.

The bad news is that it's only day 9 of the month-long summer institute I organize.