Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


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Monday, October 18, 2004  

Old adages become so because they illuminate universal and distinct facets of the human condition. Be careful what you wish for, you might get it is one that surely applies to me, for while I would never want to return to my youth, recently I have lamented the exterior evidence of 52 years of living and have oft’ wished for a younger body. In answer to my prayers, my body decided to not only go out and catch the juvenile disease, strep throat, but also that bane of the fourth grade, conjunctivitis. Yes. I have the evil sounding, teen-horror-movie looking pink eye.

Like any good disease, it cropped up on the weekend, making wise health decisions much harder to make. Do I stick it out in gritty misery till Monday or spend hours spreading my germs at the hospital’s emergency room while exposing myself to god knows what other microscopic enemies? Fortunately I live in the quaint and old fashioned sort of community where your family doctor is also your friend and neighbor. A few phone calls and a trip to town and I was on my way to better health, if not a younger appearance. And so I am home again one more day while chemistry has it’s way with me.

Speaking of bodies and chemistry - in particular, the science of food, there is a wonderful article in the NYT today, about the American way of eating, with it’s Graham and Kellogg inspired scientific, reductionist approach to nutrition. We are compared, tragically unfavorably, to those FamousFrenchFeasters, who, every body knows, eat cheese and butter and heavy cream and croissants and are slimmer then we are, with fewer heart attacks. Some interesting thoughts are expressed about the social mores of eating in the two cultures. Author Michael Pollan brings up a point I had not thought of before: the American melting pot of ethnicity, combined with mass marketing, has stripped away not just regional cuisines, but local dining customs as well, leaving us with too much time and too many choices. Not mentioned, but surely just as important, is a prodigality of production that wipes out the chance of famine, nature’s way of limiting our options. The author even poses the idea that our larger brains evolved so that we could distinguish between foods good for us and foods dangerous.

The trouble with these big brains, evidently, is that they are power mad. Once they figure out what is safe food and how to make lots of it, they begin to fear loss of employment through redundancy, so they continue to seek out ever more points of distinction in the name of health and nutrition: low carb, high fiber, low fat, high omega7 fatty acids - good grief there is even something called an anti-oxidant, enemy of free radicals. (Hmmm. As opposed to radicals safely locked up in prison? Sorta makes you think of lots of Simbianese Liberation Army or Bader-Minehoff -types, running around around loose, doesn't it?). This organ’s quest for all the power, particularly in Americans, has pretty nearly usurped tongue and nose when it comes to distinguishing the good from the bad, the fun from the fatal. It is even possible that the brain needs to think about food or it begins to shrink. Koala’s brains, once they discovered the perfect nutrition in eucalyptus leaves, did just that. They spend long hours in trees now, nibbling on their high fiber, low fat, total nutrition salad. Perhaps our French brothers' brains have already begun to shrivel, limiting their choices to brie and chocolate and pate de fois gras. In return, they get to spend long hours over crisp white tablecloths, beneath shady grape vines, overlooking blue Mediterranean seas, sampling chevre and crusty fragrant bread and tiny bits of ganache, which, if the NYT photography captions are true, they abandon long before they see the whites of their plates.

Anyway, read for yourself. It’s the New York Times at it’s best.

Another interesting entry, under, of all things, their Fashion and Style section, is David Colman’s commentary on Dare Wright’s recently re-issued Lonely Doll books. Did you ever read them, you children of the baby boom? Mr. Coleman, and evidently lots of moms, even among the nostalgic, are upset about the spanking pictures, calling them sadistic and hinting at their prurient nature. Causing even more discomfort, though, is the theme of abandonment, which, we are not surprised to learn, was the theme of Ms. Wright’s life. Child of divorce in an era when it was rare, in the end, she even abandoned herself to death by alcoholism. What I find amazing about those books is the photographic magic Ms Wright produced in a pre-Velcro world. I read them again and again to my little sisters, fascinated with the assemblage, the lay-outs, the eye for detail spread across every page. We kept an ancient copy of the original Lonely Doll in the library for years and once Houghton Mifflin re-issued them, I snapped up all three titles.

Well, you would be surprised at the things one can find in a book, if one happens to be looking for them. I found the Christian metaphor in Stephen King’s The Dead Zone, so I am sure one can find sexual deviancy in The Lonely Doll. And lest you wonder if this is a knitting blog or just a platform for my musings, there is a Christmas book in the series, A Gift from the Lonely Doll. It is a knitted gift, so rest assured, we are still on topic here.

And don’t you believe what Amazon dot com says. The book is still available, but you will have to go to a book store to get it. Or a library, of course.

In more verbiage about knitting, I am working on lots and lots of swatches to use at the KRRetreat, so there is little progress on either BriccaTheAran or the Christmas Socks. I did finish sock #1, but you know how socks are - they are only half done when you finish one. Since I am home today and it isn’t raining yet and I have a roll of film, I’ll be a good blogger and perhaps in a day or two you will get PHOTOGRAPHS!

posted by Bess | 10:07 AM