Monday, February 6, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 02/05/17: Oatmeal Pancake Memories, The Essay, Pink Floyd and Beer

1. Back in the old days in Eugene, starting like over thirty years ago, I used to cook out of Laurel's Kitchen frequently. I lost my self-annotated copy of the cookbook when we moved to Maryland, but I find postings of recipes online.  This morning, fixing Laurel's oatmeal pancake recipe, I decided to relive times when I lived in the basement of a brick apartment house in Eugene on West Broadway between Lawrence and Lincoln. I cooked all the time in that little kitchen and, indeed, fun memories returned as I poured real maple syrup over my pancakes and enjoyed eating them.

2. Back in these same old days, when I tried to help students read, write, and think better, I also used to participate in discussions with fellow teachers about the essay as a form of writing. Today, I read a review/article in the Jan./Feb issue of The Atlantic about this very question, "In Defense of Facts" by William Deresiewicz. Much of the article savaged the work of essay anthologist John D'Gata. In order to support his attack, though, Deresiewicz laid out his own understanding of the history and purpose of the essay and this got me remembering essays I enjoyed reading in the old days and even reminded me that, in those old days, I churned out an essay or two and used to write rough essays more often in this blog.

3. Saturday, I so enjoyed the "Softly Spoken Magic Spells" Double IPA that, today, I approached beer historian, Mike, at DC Brau, about whether he knew Singlecut Brewery and this beer. He lit up. He didn't know this specific beer, but he's a native of NYC and has visited the Singlecut Brewery in Astoria, Queens and told me about his visit and the way the name of the brewery is related to Les Paul and how the brewery often names their beers after pieces of lyrics from songs. Well, being the not that cool and with it guy that I am, it took a search of the WWWeb for me to discover that Pink Floyd's famous song "Time" ends this way:

Home, home again
I like to be here when I can
When I come home cold and tired
It's good to warm my bones beside the fire
Far away across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spell.

And so with that last line, a beer's name was inspired.

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