CSotD: Happiness, pajamas and kimchi

A dose of philosophy from Barney & Clyde (Counterpoint) this morning.

I had a flash of a relevant thought that I couldn’t place, but then realized it was from a fencing lesson in Scaramouche, in which Andre Moreau is told to hold his sword like a small bird: Too firmly and he’ll crush it, too lightly and it flies away.

Well, not so relevant after all, except that it doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to make it fit the topic.

A slightly more direct reference comes from Turgenev’s On the Eve, in which Pavel Shubin compares his fellow Russian elites with the dynamic Bulgarian revolutionary Insarov, and is disgusted with people constantly taking their pulses and declaring how they feel and what they are experiencing while Insarov, instead, acts.

Clyde, the homeless street dweller, knows that you are either happy or you’re not. If, like Barney, the millionaire, you have to think about it, there’s your answer.

Dunno if Charlie is happy or not, but Barry Blitt shows him significantly diminished on the cover of this week’s New Yorker. Perhaps he should be happy: He’s finally achieving his predestined life’s goal and has finally been allowed to marry the woman he loves instead of the woman his family and advisors chose for him.

But, as is customary, he rose to the throne by the death of his mother, while, moreover, he’s seen his boys split and alienated from each other and perhaps from him and, to pull out yet another literary reference, you wonder if he might feel like Achilles, who told Odysseus “I’d rather slave on earth for another man — some dirt-poor tenant farmer who scrapes to keep alive– than rule down here over all the breathless dead.”

However I feel about it, or Charlie feels about it, or, for that matter, Achilles feels about it, you can find out how Barry Blitt feels about it, because NYer Art Editor Francoise Mouly has interviewed him on the topic. It’s a good, short look inside.

That New Yorker interview is not behind a pay wall, but this Bizarro (KFS) suggests a bit of impatience with the growing number of things that are.

I mentioned yesterday that Substacks don’t require you to pay in order to subscribe, which I like because I accept the theory that, if you find yourself continually reading and enjoying something, you’ll pony up out of guilt. I consume more than I could possibly pay for, but I pay for as much as I can.

To tell the truth, I’m becoming more annoyed with the sites that say they’ll let me read an article if I register for free, because I think I’d rather pay money than endure endless, pointless emails and suspicions of having been sold to sponsors.

Though I suppose the most annoying thing in all this is knowing that some humorless soul is out there reading the comic and saying, “But he’s already paying the dentist …”

Yes. Yes, he is. Thank you for pointing it out.

Though I will become pedantic enough to quarrel with Bill Whitehead over this Free Range (Creators), because everyone knows that the proper procedure is to quietly drop a ketchup packet on the floor and then loudly shout “Aaa! A mouse!” and stomp on it.

At least when you’re 12. It didn’t take much to be happy then.

The Buckets (AMS) raises the important question “Are pajamas even a thing anymore?”

I understand, in Sarah’s case, having a comfy pair of flannels to lounge around the house in in the evening, and I guess you wouldn’t take them off to go to bed, though being fully dressed in bed doesn’t seem like much fun.

It seems like a throwback to those TV shows that were required to show married couples in twin beds, leaving you to wonder where Little Ricky came from.

In fact, I remember a breakthrough moment in the sitcom Anything But Love when Jamie Lee Curtis popped into the kitchen one morning in an over-sized Miami Dolphins jersey. I can’t remember whether it was her kitchen or Richard Lewis’s kitchen but I suppose his because she wouldn’t have had a Miami Dolphins jersey at her place, would she? No, she would not.

Skip the negligees. There is nothing sexier than a girl in one of your shirts.

And if you’re tempted to analyze that, please go back, instead, to the part where the guy was already paying the dentist.

Anyway, I owned pajamas well after I’d ever put them on, because you were supposed to have a pair. However, if I’m going to look like Cary Grant, I’ll do it during the day, thank you.

Jeez Louise, he’s even got the neck buttoned.

I’d get more use out of a tuxedo, though I’m not sure “none” is more than “none.”

Putting on a tuxedo always reminded me of a torero putting on his traje de luces.

Okay, to be honest, it reminded me of Kid Shelleen getting ready to go do battle with Tim Strawn.

Which was a comedy.

Which was how most of my encounters with tuxedos unwound.

Juxtaposition of the Delicious

I cheated: This isn’t a Juxtaposition but, rather, two illustrations from an Atlas Obscura article about a number of Asian cooks who are creating comics in place of writing standard cookbooks.

Having complained recently about on-line recipes in which the cooks blather instead of telling you how to make the food, I’ll eat my words, only I’d rather eat some kimchi or smacked cucumbers. Or both: I’m in a humble mood.

The article interviews Jeff Yang, who suggests that Asian-Americans may be more prone than others to use comics because their alphabets are more visual, and notes that comics and graphic novels are one of the few places where Asian-Americans are over-represented.

Asian or not, I promise the article will arouse your interest on a personal as well as culinary level.

As Yang explains, “Food as a way of showing love or respect or caring is so deeply embedded in every one of our Asian ethnic cultures that if we want to tell a story, especially a personal story…food becomes a critical lens.”

Which reminds me of a favorite movie which does just that, which, if you haven’t seen it, you should.

Come for the food, stay for the love: