Lactose-Free Milk or Gratitude

I was in the kitchen at work, washing my dishes, and started spacing out when I noticed a carton of lactose-free milk (organic, too) sitting on the counter, well, standing on the counter (we’ll talk about my semantic hangups with the “sitting” expression some other day), and I thought, my god, in this society we have so much to choose from, so much to  please us, we are free to align ourselves with any belief, any brand, movement and organization and so many take it for granted or absolutely don’t realize that in almost any other part of the world things are not the same way.

I thought back to my Eastern European days, and my country men’s love of sour cream and other dairy. There was no lactose free milk there (but then again, I never met a lactose-intolerant person back there, either), no talk of veganism, gluten-free food and other gastronomic curiosities, self- or doctor-prescribed. What would a vegan do in Sarajevo? Heck, there would be no vegan in the first place, or there would be serious health problems after 1-3 years of veganism. And what about Africa, dare you even mention spelt bread or organic, sustainable, wild/farmed salmon?

I’m not condoning those things, these are great additions to our wonderfully cushioned life in the West, but they are things that a lot of those born here take for granted. Things that don’t even exist in the majority of the world, or for the majority of people. I suppose I’m saying that people should be a little more grateful, or not scorn the poor barista for over/underheating their venti skinny half-sweet hazelnut latte with extra foam. Bitch less about the excess of what you have and instead be grateful for all the wonderful opportunities under your nose.

There’s a Russian expression which applies perfetly: [Они ]с жиру бесятся.

Frank O’Hara & A Photograph

Yes, Frank O’Hara was featured in the last episode of Mad Men, season 2, and that’s how I first heard about him. Recently I acquired “Meditations in an Emergency” collection of poems, and to my delight, found that he’s an exceptionally talented poet. He mixes nuggets of pop culture with vivid images and aptly coiling phrases that project sly, sticky pictures in your head. If you follow the link at the beginning of the post, you will learn a lot more about him, and perhaps, be surprised. Frank O’Hara is not an obscure name in American literature, it is I who’s been an obscure mind in the dark about him! Bonus: he also loved Mayakovsky, and even wrote a poem to him.

Since I’m on a movie bend this week (and generally, too), I’m sharing his “To the Film Industry in Crisis”, below:

Not you, lean quarterlies and swarthy periodicals
with your studious incursions toward the pomposity of ants,
nor you, experimental theatre in which Emotive Fruition
is wedding Poetic Insight perpetually, nor you,
promenading Grand Opera, obvious as an ear (though you
are close to my heart), but you, Motion Picture Industry,
it’s you I love!

In times of crisis, we must all decide again and again whom we love.
And give credit where it’s due: not to my starched nurse, who taught me
how to be bad and not bad rather than good (and has lately availed
herself of this information), not to the Catholic Church
which is at best an oversolemn introduction to cosmic entertainment,
not to the American Legion, which hates everybody, but to you,
glorious Silver Screen, tragic Technicolor, amorous Cinemascope,
stretching Vistavision and startling Stereophonic Sound, with all
your heavenly dimensions and reverberations and iconoclasms! To
Richard Barthelmess as the “tol’able” boy barefoot and in pants,
Jeanette MacDonald of the flaming hair and lips and long, long neck,
Sue Carroll as she sits for eternity on the damaged fender of a car
and smiles, Ginger Rogers with her pageboy bob like a sausage
on her shuffling shoulders, peach-melba-voiced Fred Astaire of the feet,
Eric von Stroheim, the seducer of mountain-climbers’ gasping spouses,
the Tarzans, each and every one of you (I cannot bring myself to prefer
Johnny Weissmuller to Lex Barker, I cannot!), Mae West in a furry sled,
her bordello radiance and bland remarks, Rudolph Valentino of the moon,
its crushing passions, and moonlike, too, the gentle Norma Shearer,
Miriam Hopkins dropping her champagne glass off Joel McCrea’s yacht,
and crying into the dappled sea, Clark Gable rescuing Gene Tierney
from Russia and Allan Jones rescuing Kitty Carlisle from Harpo Marx,
Cornel Wilde coughing blood on the piano keys while Merle Oberon berates,
Marilyn Monroe in her little spike heels reeling through Niagara Falls,
Joseph Cotten puzzling and Orson Welles puzzled and Dolores del Rio
eating orchids for lunch and breaking mirrors, Gloria Swanson reclining,
and Jean Harlow reclining and wiggling, and Alice Faye reclining
and wiggling and singing, Myrna Loy being calm and wise, William Powell
in his stunning urbanity, Elizabeth Taylor blossoming, yes, to you
and to all you others, the great, the near-great, the featured, the extras
who pass quickly and return in dreams saying your one or two lines,
my love!
Long may you illumine space with your marvellous appearances, delays
and enunciations, and may the money of the world glitteringly cover you
as you rest after a long day under the kleig lights with your faces
in packs for our edification, the way the clouds come often at night
but the heavens operate on the star system. It is a divine precedent
you perpetuate! Roll on, reels of celluloid, as the great earth rolls on!

 

 

And to start the week on a friendly foot, here is a September picture of me, taken by Slava: