Every Dog has Its Day: Thoughts on Gluttony

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The 66lb hot dog sundae from Epic Meal Time includes chimichurri, donuts, caviar, bacon, chili, and pad Thai among other things. It is the most extreme example of the super-size-me, everything-included food culture we have become accustomed to over the past 10 to 20 years.

While I enjoy bizarre food combinations and strange cuisines (e.g. peanut butter on a cheeseburger, chicken and waffles, french fries and milkshakes, pickles with cake frosting, kimchi on chicken-fried steak etc.), I found myself disturbed (as well as disgusted) by Epic Meal’s compulsion to pour the contents of an entire grocery store on top of a frankfurter.

This got me thinking about the nature of gluttony, not only as an excess of food (both in quantity and quality), but also as the epitome of excess as an impulse across human experience.  Continue reading

Monday, Monday: Two Years, Two Writers, Two Words

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Deborah Eisenberg and Antonya Nelson

I.

Last Monday marked two years of writing essays for Reflection and Choice, so I went and celebrated by hearing two writers who are far better than I am do a reading at the Wortham Center in Houston.  Two words:  Lucky. Me.

Honestly, all day the two words ringing in my ears were “Columbus Day,” since it was Columbus Day, and a certain anxious part of me that really wants readers is always seduced by exploiting bank closures for hits on the site.  More people are available, and, weirdly, people want to read stuff about Columbus on Columbus Day.  But last year I already wrote about him in an essay on writing for ONE year, and it was starting to feel a little cheap wracking my brain figuring out how to redo that essay.  In an irritating addition, I had to hope that no one platonically recollected my first stab at getting people to get on some figurative ship that will change the world forever.

Sometimes, a voyage is just over.

Plus, a lot of things have happened since then:  death, love, trips, books, retail therapy at the Chanel counter, love, writing, books, chauffeuring my son Christopher to orchestra practice, nature, religion, poems, love.  The super shallow that gets us through, the profound that lifts us up.

You know, the usual.

Plus, if after another year, you are the same kind of writer, with pretty much the same message, the same turn of the phrase, something is wrong.  You aren’t moving, you aren’t going anywhere.  People will start leaving you behind.  You start to parody yourself, wear a costume that maybe you should have put in the back of the closet, and not for Next Year, but for Never Again.

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What Really Happened In Houston

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Over at First Things, Mark Movsesian has provided an adequate summary of “what’s happening in Houston.” The mayor’s office tried to subpoena documents from local pastors. The pastors cried foul, even though the mayor’s staff might have had legitimate grounds for the subpoenas. Movsesian thinks that the subpoenas won’t be allowed in this case.

Then he provides this analysis:

Still, even if these pastors succeed in resisting the subpoenas, significant damage has been done. It’s hard to see how this episode will not chill religious and political expression. Most people, quite rationally, want nothing to do with lawsuits and subpoenas. They don’t want to make legal history. The lesson they will draw from the episode is this: If you want to avoid trouble, don’t make politically-charged statements about religious convictions that the government doesn’t approve, even if you’re at a private meeting in your own church. In fact, don’t revise or retain such statements. Otherwise, who knows? You may one day have to lawyer up.

I think he’s exactly wrong in this.

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