Just when I had given up writing about food…
Today marks the release of Michael Pollan’s new book, “COOKED: A NATURAL HISTORY OF TRANSFORMATION” in which he decries the demise of home cooking.
You, of course, know Pollan as Marty McFly’s brother-in-law, but that’s because you think about pop culture more than you do about food. Except when pop culture is food, like when Guy Fieri travels cross-country to commune with an 8,000-calorie bacon-sausage-ham full-pound cheeseburger (I know, I know; I just drooled all over my Kindle). And so begins the problem with our relationship with food, which Pollan is working so hard to correct.
Pollan’s 2006 book, “THE OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA,” was a benchmark in changing American eating habits, a direct link to the spread of the grass-fed beef movement.
Earlier in that decade I had begun trekking to Berkley annually to soak up some sun at the Claremont Hotel Club & Spa in Berkeley, an oxymoronic experience until you consider my real reason for being there: to pick up a quarter steer from one of the early proponents of pasture-fed cows. My rancher friend couldn’t legally sell directly to the consumer unless it was in carcass-size lots, so he figured out how to match up two to four buyers and have them split a whole cow. A butcher in Petaluma de-supersized my share into dozens of individually wrapped packets that fit into two giant coolers I’d lug up in the back of our Volvo (the same one I now use to schlep Ressikan flutes and “Inner Light” scripts to cons in Phoenix, Las Vegas and San Francisco). Steaks, chops, bones, brains, hearts – the works, all from very contented cows free of the antibiotics mandated by the typical and highly unnatural diet of corn.
I had by then already become a pretty good home cook. When I asked myself how that came to be (more…)
Episode 6 of “THE OUTER LIGHT” is up – and speaking of sci-fi, I think POTUS needs a jolt of futuro fantasy in his campaign.
It was the show “THE NEWSROOM” on HBO that gave me the idea. Both “THE NEWSROOM” and CNN report to the same master, Time-Warner. I truly believe that Aaron Sorkin, all on his own, decided to take on the insipidity of the broadcast news business. But it is also not inconceivable that T-W said, “Hey, West Wing dude, how about juicing our ratings with a love letter to an old-style news operation like CNN?”
Which brings me to President Obama.
For his love letter, I picture a movie or miniseries in which a dude or dudette from the future drops in on 2012 Earth to tell us how poopy everything went after Romney won the election. Think of it like a “It’s a Really Not So Wonderful and Perhaps Even Sucky Life” – a look at the what-if scenarios associated with Obama’s defeat.
- The healthcare mandate will be repealed, photon-torpedoing Obamacare, and as a result the ballooning costs of healthcare tank the USA’s biggest corporations, forcing even more out-sourcing.
- India and China ride that wave and eventually join forces, forming Indochine, and when they run out of water they attack and colonize America. Our national dish became curried rice. (more…)
It’s a week since the excellent Phoenix Comicon and only a few days until the Creation Entertainment Star Trek con in Nashville and the release of Prometheus and my thoughts have turned to… robotics.
The trigger was the thought-provoking article in the new Economist magazine about robotic morality. That got me thinking about how differently robots are portrayed in pop culture.
At Phoenix – a general con with more TARDISES than Enterprises in sight – debates along the lines of Quien es mas macho, Star Trek o Star Wars (to borrow an old SNL routine) were frequent. It didn’t occur to me until reading the Economist article that the use of robots is one of the biggest differences. George Lucas peered into his crystal ball and correctly foresaw a future in which robots are utilitarian machines, each (more…)
I’m thinking a lot about “Game of Thrones” these days – all those scenes with guys getting their noggins lobbed off. (Sorry I don’t know the details; I watch it only sporadically. After a so-called work-day I often have to choose between reading and TV, and reading usually wins out. Currently on my Kindle app: “Lennon: The Man, the Myth, the Music – the Definitive Life” by Tim Riley [interviewed on these very pages] and “Redshirts” by John Scalzi.)
But back to Nog-Sep, as Trekkies might refer to de-heading.
I’m thinking about this because being a writer – if you’re doing it right – feels very much like putting one’s head on the block.
As a TV writer you do this all the time – and the person with the satisfied grin sharpening the large scythe is the showrunner.
In the blogosphere, it’s more like you’ve handed out thousands of nasty little razors. (The double-edge kind men used back in TOS days, before they conned us into paying for, then throwing out, an entire chunk of plastic every three shaves. But I digress…) (more…)
This was a sucky year for a lot of people in a lot of ways, but it had some bright spots: I started speaking publicly about “THE INNER LIGHT” for the first time since it originally aired almost 20 years ago. And, being a new empty-nester, I watched way less TV and read more fiction.
I sure feel good about not getting called to Vietnam after pulling the Lottery Number 3 back in the mid-70s. My favorite book of the year, “Matterhorn: a novel of the Vietnam War” by Karl Marlantes, eliminated any doubt I might have had. The only sleep I’ve been losing now is from pounding Bulls so I could stay awake and read more of this excellent novel. Like the ubiquitous E-tool the story’s Marines use to dig protective holes, this ultra-realistic Vietnam tale bores deep into the psyche of every character we meet, from Lieutenant Colonel Simpson, the eternally drunk Battalion commander, to 2nd Lieutenant Mellas, the green officer who is always second-guessing his own political instincts. It’s like “War & Peace” – except without the peace. Find a good soft LZ, surround yourself with some long rats, and dig in for a great if often disturbing read. (more…)