CSotD: Sunday Stuff

Let’s kick off the day with something silly, as Betty brings a needed word into being.

It’s a little unfair to real chefs, but, then again, real chefs are only a subset of people who want the waiters to call them “Chef” instead of “Hey You” or, god forbid, “Dave.”

And this tip to people who take a job waiting tables: If you call the cook “Chef,” your orders will come out quickly and correct, unless, I suppose, you work in a diner in which case he may suspect you are being sarcastic.

At least it took Betty a moment to detect what was going on with the fish-and-chips.

Having the food come out chefy is better than a blight that emerged back in the Eighties, which I called “Kids in the Kitchen,” in which everything was smothered in gawdawful sauces, dreamt up by 20-something greenhorn cooks.

By contrast, the best meal I’ve had in several years was at the Capital Grille in Denver — and, no, I wasn’t paying for it — where people deserve to be called “Chef” and they don’t mess with the food.

It’s not that it’s “plain.” Far from it.

However, it’s not messed with. The creativity is in the lack of pretense.

It’s like a martial arts expert who never loses his temper, and doesn’t do any of that kung-fu standing on one foot shit.

But never loses his wallet.

The hallmark of a good chef is a sort of invisibility, though you’d sure know it if he wasn’t there.

Things would be chefy.


Speaking of expertise

This excerpt from the new xkcd book is easily the most ridiculous and wonderful thing I’ve read in a very long time.

Yes, I pre-ordered. How could I not?


More Weighty Nonfiction

Africartoons passed along this salute to Nigeria’s 50th anniversary as a nation, by Tayo.

A number of African nations are examples of the folly of letting Europeans draw lines on maps, but Nigeria stands out: It’s not only Africa’s most populous nation but home to 250 ethnic groups.

Even within Africa, that poses some challenges, and Tayo is not the only cartoonist to use his relatively universal medium to help unify the nation.

A few years ago, Panaramic Comics began publishing a series of short comic books in which a wise man recounts the stories of Nigeria’s history and its various ethnic groups.

The comics were priced low and distributed at convenience stores to help them penetrate into the regular population rather than being in comic stores where only hard-core fans would find them.

It reminds me of the spinner racks of my youth, where Superman, Little Dot and Classics Illustrated were an alternative to Three Musketeers or Snickers.

And just as you knew a Sugar Daddy would last a lot longer than a Hershey Bar, you knew a Classics Illustrated would keep you occupied longer than a Richie Rich.

Not a bad approach, in a diverse nation that values unity and knows it doesn’t just happen.


Speaking of Unity

Paul Berge has a collection of Turn-of-the-20th cartoons on the topic of immigration, and, in case you didn’t know it, for all the rhapsodic fawning over Ellis Island, we thought your grandparents were garbage.

That’s the collective “we,” of course, the “we” of accepted, acceptable Americans.


He also features this panel, emphasizing the importance of turning all those unacceptable, unwanted immigrants into proper Americans.

As the Stan Freberg lyric says, “Let him know he’s almost as good as we.”

And, if he behaves himself and assimilates well, we’ll let him carry a tiki torch in the next parade.

By the time Ellis Island opened and these cartoons appeared, there were some very basic restrictions on immigrants, but no quotas or other limitations on “good citizens,” even if they weren’t assimilated yet.

As a mongrel American whose last ancestor wandered in just about that time, I was surprised as a young man to learn the difference between “immigrants” and “refugees.”

Hanging around with Irish-Americans, there was always a sense that, if things changed back home, we’d just as soon be there. Not that, when Ireland got her freedom, there was a huge rush back, but the feeling was there, just as it was with Ukranians and Lithuanians and others.

The closest branch of my Irish forebears tried working in England for a few years, to stay closer to home, before they had to give up and head for the New World. They were happy here, but there was always a distinct note of nostalgia for Ireland.

By contrast, the Scandinavians were here because they wanted to be here, and if they wanted to be back in Norway or Denmark or Sweden, they’d have stayed there.

In fact, my great-grandfather and his brothers came over and worked the fields and mines and logging camps to make money to go home and buy land, and, AFAIK, his brothers did just that.

But my great-grandfather decided to stay, and, when he went back to Denmark, it was to say goodbye to his family there.

He set himself up on the Upper Peninsula, re-spelled “Pedersen” and, once my great-grandmother died, that was the end of speaking the language at home.

As opposed to my great-great-grandfather who came down to Saratoga from French Canada but only stayed a few years before heading down to Louisiana, presumably to join the rest of the Acadian diaspora.

I’ve got enough variety in my own family tree that I find it hard to be terribly judgmental of anyone who makes the decision, eagerly or not.


Trump Family Values

Dear Leader’s delusional ramblings about buying Greenland should have convinced even his most ardent True Believers that it was time to call Joan London and find him a place he’d be happy and safe.

Which didn’t happen because they’re called “True Believers” for a reason.

But, quickly as the concept appears to have melted away like an ice sheet in the sun, Ann Telnaes managed to get a good laff out of it.

Send them back. Send them back.