Mimesis and Violence

Let’s Be Honest
November 29, 2007, 5:44 pm
Filed under: Christianity, Domestic, Internet, Politics, Religion, Sexuality, Video

If the crowd at a Republican debate can boo a retired (gay) brigadier general with 42 years of service because he tells them that, in light of his voluminous experience, “don’t ask don’t tell” is a destructive policy that hobbles our military then it’s clear that we’re not participating in a pragmatist debate here. This is not about “unit cohesion,” offending the “Judeo-Christian values” of servicemen, or any such catchphrase bullshit. If you had any doubts (not that you should have), the video below makes it totally and completely clear that the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy is a thinly veiled cover for categorical hatred. As usual Romney comes off as a doublespeaking douche (sorry Alex, next time pick a better horse).

It’s interesting to me that the candidates (specifically Hunter, Huckabee, McCain, and Romney) are ashamed enough of the principles that they represent that they feel the need for a veil. The crowd clearly doesn’t.


November 20, 2007, 12:03 am
Filed under: Food, Judaism, Rants, Restaurant Reviews

Kosher ethnic restaurants are for me a lens looking in on a a lens looking out. It happens that both the lenses are distorted, mine by my self-imposed distance from Jewish observance and love for good food and theirs’ by their self-imposed distance from other peoples’ food.

I’ve found that such eateries exhibit an intense urge towards menu expansion, towards serving all things ethnic at one establishment no matter what kind of restaurant it is supposed to be. You’ll find supposedly Persian joints serving distinctly Israeli food, Chinese places serving sushi, teriyaki, thai, and korean, and steakhouses serving spring rolls. So when I was brought to Ozu Restaurant with promises of vegan Japanese food and sketchy kosher certification I sincerely hoped that the sketchiness of the cert and the general vegannes would contribute to a more focused menu. Instead I got apparently impeccable kashrut and disturbingly poor cooking over a wide swath of cuisines.

Don’t believe the hype (aka Sarah): Ozu is neither vegetarian nor vegan. Nor is the food any good. What they serve is anything and everything that can’t be called dairy or meat according to Jewish dietary restrictions (the preferred nomenclature is “pareve”). That includes fish and eggs. Ozu also serves anything and everything weird enough to be passed off as Japanese to a kosher client, including Portobello spring rolls (served with spicy marinara sauce!), kabocha gnocchi (served with bland marinara sauce!), and aloo gobi (seriously!). Their menu is also graced with the presence of such true Japanese classics as salmon croquettes served with couscous and a tahini lotus root sandwich.

At Sarah’s insistence we ordered the spring rolls and kabocha gnocchi as appetizers. They were as awful and bland as you might imagine. I later ordered some bland vegetarian soba noodles with mock-pork seitan and “spicy” miso broth. I’ll not delve into my thoughts on mock-food here; suffice it to say that I think it a mockery of food and that pork is much better.

Rule of thumb: chopsticks should remain as far from marinara sauce as possible. It’s just a heuristic dude, but fusion is about as hard with food as it is with nuclei.

Rule of pinky: serve things as advertised. If you tell me your dish is spicy it should be at least a little spicy. If you tell me your gnocchi are made of pumpkin they should taste just a little like pumpkin (and not at all like tepid marinara).

Rule of middle finger: If your job is to make pareve Japanese food and you’re not so talented that you can do much else with traditional Japanese ingredients then I humbly suggest you stick to the recipe. Maybe then I won’t write mean things about your restaurant on my blog.

November 15, 2007, 6:28 pm
Filed under: Food, Rants

I just had some (thanks again Google), and this beer tastes like malted Manischewitz.

World Wide Stout

Stay as far away from Dogfish Head Brewery‘s World Wide Stout as humanly possible.

Thieves in the Night
November 15, 2007, 11:20 am
Filed under: Art, Film, Music, Rap

Great song by Talib Kweli and Mos Def (on Black Star) and a really cool (but incomplete) video that appears to be made entirely in Microsoft Paint.