Frankenstein's Snack Food

can I get nuts with those bolts?

Hey there, raiders of the fridge, how’s your summer going? Got plans for the 4th of July? This is late because I wanted to add just one more thing and I missed my own noon deadline. Sorry if you were looking for the timing to be perfect.

SHORT TAKES:

Language: Has anyone else started to give up on fixing autocorrect-induced mistakes? In a recent email, I found myself typing “that isn’t pretty” which autocorrected to “that ain’t pretty” and I just left it, because it was funny. This meant, people, that an AI was changing my voice. Suggested language replacing the intended language isn’t grammar correction. Forcibly changing language is Orwellian.

Fireworks: are you pro-or-con? I love them scheduled in the sky, and I love to come across them by surprise, but I feel for the people who live where they seem to be more celebrations of loud noise than celebrations of pretty lights.

Empty house: My men are hiking in picturesque terrain (it’s a ten day trip) and I cleaned the house the day they left and have been living with LadyTeen for a week in a spectacularly tidy and clean environment (leaving me lots of time to organize thoughts, send out stories, and debate starting a new longer writing project). It occurs to me that when my housemates leave for a long time, I clean on the first day, and when I leave for a long time, they clean up right before I get home.

Wish list: Someone should create an app where you input the place you’re visiting and you get a list of all the movies and books that have been set in that place, sortable to your personal taste. Cookbooks, yes, those too, but mostly just reading and watching films - for atmosphere. I’m sure lists like this already exist for anyone to Google, but I’m lazy.

LONGER TAKE - Frankensnacks:

Subsequent to a ridiculous week of baking “bars” for absolutely no reason except I had a cabinet full of ingredients — hazelnut chocolate bars on shortbread, Rice Krispy Treats and “magic bars” from my childhood—I was thinking about products that are created out of smashing together two other products.

I noticed that Guinness is making beer coffee — which clearly was suggested by the overlapping terms—cold brew — and also the fact that Guinness already looks like coffee, so why not put them together? Once upon a time, I did a video for Heineken in which I played the “bad waitress” who couldn’t pour a proper Guinness. I had to learn the right way to pull a beer in order NOT to do that on camera. Funny.

I think that an awful lot of new products are being thrown at the marketplace that were created by putting together things that either sound similar (like cold brew beer and cold brew coffee) or that are hard to choose between (like this Reeces candy that is part Reeces peanut butter cup but filled with Reece’s Pieces.)

Question: why are there no anti-peanut Reese’s Pieces…like almond butter pieces, walnut butter pieces, cashew butter pieces…?

Or even better: savory candy! Bite sized salty things that have a crunchy shell like outer layer - instead of sugar it can be salt-and-rice or cheese flavored, and inside have freeze dried broccoli or spinach or something. (Don’t say Kale—they only do this kind of dried stuff with kale because it’s hard to manage fresh kale in real life, but kale isn’t the tastiest of all the healthy vegetables, it really isn’t.)

Okay - sorry for that digression. We were discussing FrankenSnacks—products that are an amalgam of other products. And I was saying that you either have the kind that sound similar or the kind that are frequently chosen between. “Two great tastes that (might) taste great together.” —Chex Mix was an early one (1952). And of course Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups (1928).

Literature is now like snack food — instead of people inventing incredible new things from scratch, they assume everything has already been created and so they do smashups. Like that swath of books that came out after Pride & Prejudice with Zombies — was that really ten years ago?

Just because they knew the title would sell. And why does it sell? Because people find it too stressful to have to choose between two snacks? Or do we just gravitate towards weird mixtures?

Leading me to this ridiculous “new product:” water alcohol. Really people: time was when MIXING the drinks was half the fun of having them.


THINGS I DID THIS WEEK:

Speaking of things made of other things: I am included in a “Best of” anthology just released from Red Penguin Press: Stand Out – The Best of The Red Penguin Collection, Vol. 2. I just found out it is already on Amazon: here’s the link.

I also recently got news that a short story I placed with an anthology about eight years ago is finally going to see the light of day. The anthology, A FIRE TO LIGHT OUR TONGUES, will come out in the spring of 2022 by TCU press. Here’s what struck me: it will be only the second time I am ever published in Texas. (First time was in Sojourn: a Journal of the Arts in their 20th anniversary issue, and that story won an editor’s choice award and got to travel to Dallas for the ceremony! More importantly, the visual artist who also won an award is now one of my favorite sculptors: Eric McGehearty creates powerful structures with inaccessible books.)

Speaking of art: I went to this terrific art opening at the Museum of Math and wrote about it. (Thanks to Richard for the ticket & the company!) Follow me on mmdevoe.medium.com if you want to see more of my random responses to public art.

Speaking of public art, we will no longer find little chalk hearts scattered across the sidewalks of SoHo and the East Village.


PARTING THOUGHTS brought on by visiting that cool math museum:

Humans have this tendency to think that if a thing is good and we are not that thing, then we are bad. Math disagrees.

We have to stop thinking that just because something is not us it is necessarily bad. Stop thinking that just because something IS us it is necessarily good. “Goodness” is bigger than that.

Humanity could use some gorgeous critical thinking, don’t you think?

I couldn’t tell you, I’m off to stare at pretty lights in the sky. Maybe I’ll think a little bit about independence & liberty while I’m at it. We have brains, we should use them.

Happy Fourth.