On Wednesday night of this week, Martine and I had the great pleasure of dining at the table of Martine (la banlieusarde). It was a meal of many spectacular elements, including crab bisque, stuffed grilled calamari, salad plucked from her garden, wild salmon and scallop ceviché, and other tasty delights. The meal was outstanding, and one of its attractions was the use of edible flowers throughout.
The crab bisque was garnished with fresh pansy-like flowers, and the leaves from the same plant found its way into the salad, along with petals from another flower. Vital to flower-eating is freshness, as the experience is as much about texture in the mouth as flavor. We were not disappointed, as these flowers were fresh from her garden.
The floral pièce de résistance, however, arrived with the cheese plate. Day lilies stuffed with gorgonzola cheese that had soaked in Muscat wine for 24 hours. I’m still quivering!
The BBC has a fluff piece on bad travel experiences. Or, to be precise; bad holiday experiences. Reading through them, the problem is obvious: stupidity on the part of the holidaymakers. There’s something to be said for doing a bit of research, double-checking, and having realistic expectation. Check it out, then come back and see if you agree with my assessment. (Clicking the link will open it in a new window.)
[Franni, UK: sewage on the beach] In this case there was not much one could have done to avoid the situation, but one can always refuse to pay, or move to a different hotel!
[Elisa, Italy: Wrong San Jose] While it was the agent’s mistake that sent you to Mexico instead of California, you could have checked the itinerary on the ticket! And between the boarding announcement, the customs forms on the plane, the customs agents on the ground, and the proliferation of Spanish around the airport, you should have clued in that you weren’t in the United States!
[Gill Wain, UK] You go to Barcelona, get drunk on the beach, and leave your bag lying around unattended at 4:00 in the morning and you don’t expect it to get stolen?
[Nick Harper] Dude, if you’re using a flash to photograph an electrical storm, then you clearly have no idea what you’re doing. One never takes pictures in a foreign country unless one is informed of what is and is not allowed to be photographed. Virtually every country on earth forbids photography of military areas without permission. Did you even know where you were?
[Geoff Gwillym] You’re on a “typical” English bus tour holiday and you want good service? And good lasagna on the Isles of Scilly? What were you thinking?
[Steph, Canada] It’s too bad that a bit of real life got in the way of your fairy-tale holiday. Perhaps you should have gone to Disney World.
Sex and the… what?
You know you used to watch Sex and the City. Sure you did. Don’t even try to deny it. Here’s an interesting — and very perceptive — new spin on the characters.
More of same, but different
Speaking of urban ribaldry, we’ve been watching a bit of The Mind of the Married Man, which seems to be a kind of Sex and the City for boys. Except it isn’t — mostly because the characters are so unlikable. The dames of Sex and the City could be excruciating at times, but at least they were generally likeable. You could imagine having friends like that (minus the wardrobes). But the guys in “Married Man” are just lame. The main character is rumpled and disillusioned beyond hope (just jump off the Sears Tower and put us out of this misery fer Chrissakes) and his horn-dog friend is simply too over the top with (a) his horn-dogness, and (b) his level of deceit towards his doting wife.
In particular, I simply cannot believe that such a pathological philanderer would be able to maintain his friendships with the other guys — whose wives are friends with the philanderer’s wife. Speaking for myself, and most of the guys I know, if someone in our group of friends was behaving that badly towards his spouse we simply wouldn’t put up with it. I’m not talking about the odd fling or indiscretion here — this guy’s behaviour is way beyond anything that could be considered humorous for a TV character.
That’s my problem with this show — nothing subtle.
Tuck you, Charlie!
Speaking of ham-fisted scripting, we’ve also been watching Nip/Tuck, that drama series that revolves around a couple of plastic surgeons. The show is quite well done, with good acting and compelling characters. Unfortunately, they tend you smash you over the head with the theme every week, which gets tiresome. Also, the medical stuff tends to be a bit off.
For example, in last night’s show a woman came in for a lip reconstruction because her lips had been burned off when her stove exploded. It was interesting that her lips were completely gone (great makeup job), as in, she couldn’t even bring the remnants together to make MMM sounds. Yet her nose, cheeks, chin, and the rest of her face were completely untouched. That doesn’t make sense.
So they reconstructed her lips using her “other lips.” As in, the labia from her vulva. That would work just fine if it were just the lips that needed replacing, but the way she appeared before the surgery implied that all of the tissue in the area was gone, including skin, muscle, etc.
OK, so they exaggerated the makeup. The twist was that she didn’t want her Sicilian husband to know that her new lips were from “down there,” so she told him the skin came from behind her knees. But this is her husband. Don’t you think he might notice that her nether regions are all stitched up and bandaged, and that there is no scar tissue or bandages behind her knees?
Careful scripting could have kept the story line without introducing these incongruities. But am I expecting too much? Are even the so-called “good” shows dumbing-down and making up for it with outrageous situations, plentiful swearing, and obligatory nude scenes?