The Seventeenth Best Email We Wrote This Past Weekend
The Lucky Seventeenth Best Email We Wrote This Past Weekend: HMM WEEKLY PREMIUM for May 14, 2019
Good morning! Here is the latest edition of the SUBSCRIBERS ONLY Hmm Weekly Premium Newsletter, distributed exclusively to you, our paying members, supporters, and patrons. Thank you very, very much for your interest and support! If you're feeling even more generous of spirit, please share this message with your uninitiated or laggard friends, so that they too can take the opportunity to join us, and please spread the word about HMM DAILY DOT COM any way you see fit. We also consume bandwidth on Youtube. We're working on it, but if you find yourself on that web site and you could see your way clear to hitting the SUBSCRIBE button, we would appreciate you even more. Thank you!
LAST WEEK ON HMM DAILY
The Penultimate Update: Game of F•R•I•E•N•D•S
Things don’t always work out the way you planned, and when they don’t, sometimes others benefit. For example, I thought I was going to be on the West Coast this week visiting family, so I speculated and bought a pair of tickets to a Chemical Brothers show in San Francisco. Presently I am not on the west coast, my ticket insurance does not cover poor planning, and the thought of trying to sell these tickets on the Internet makes my head hurt, so what I’m saying, dear email and Premium Newsletter readers, as friends and supporters of Hmm Daily, here is an opportunity for one lucky email or Premium Newsletter reader and a guest to win admission to:
The Chemical Brothers W/ Special Guest The Black Madonna
Fri • May 17 • 7:30 PM
San Francisco, CA — Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
To enter into a random drawing, please send an email—from the address to which we send your weekly email or newsletter—briefly stating why you would like to attend the show, along with any thoughts you might have about your Hmm Daily weekly email or Premium Newsletter experience, to email@example.com. One entry per person, please. DEADLINE: Wednesday, May 15, 9 a.m. Eastern time, 6 a.m. Pacific. If you win, I’ll be in touch. Good luck.
NATURAL PERSONAL HISTORY DEPARTMENT
Photo: Mdf, via Wikipedia
Be the Angry Grackle
In the mornings lately, weather permitting, I open the door from the kitchen to the upper back deck, and G.G., our fluffy black cat, walks out to sniff around and hunker down to stare at the birds. Every morning she’s been out there, a big shiny grackle has been showing up to yell at her.
We inherited the cat from my mom, Jessica, who tried out several names until one stuck. She is an elegant feline, and my mom started calling her “G.G.,” for Greta Garbo, one of her favorite actresses.
My mom lived in a small apartment in a seniors building with a one-pet rule. She already had a cat, and she let me know she adopted G.G. on the sly, after talking with her friend who lived across the street who took in strays and fed street cats. After my mom heard her friend talking about how this cat had been abused and kept locked in a closet, while also somehow being in a situation where it would be attacked by a parrot, there was no way she wasn’t going to take that animal. It sounds sort of comical, the parrot stuff, but I think it was just one of several traumas for this cat. My mom and her friend are both gone now, so I never got all the details.
My mom died almost two years ago, and I am under her specific instructions to take care of G.G. There was a long period of getting her used to our other cat, a cute but cranky tuxedo kitty, who was on the way out, and who was very hostile even when she felt good, so we had to sequester the new arrival, which was sad, knowing her story of confinement, but we knew it wouldn’t be forever. We kept her in a bedroom with the door closed, and there were windows overlooking the street, but the animal would just huddle down low in a narrow spot between a bookshelf and the wall, facing the corner. She'd squeeze herself into this small spot and stay there, it was heartbreaking. It took weeks for her to be comfortable enough for us to catch her climbing around the bookshelves in her room and even longer for her to let us pet her. Eventually we flipped the arrangement and sequestered the old cat because she was no longer mobile, and G.G. took over a vast new three-floor territory.
G.G. is happy and active. She’s easily startled by things, but nothing like she used to be. One time in the kitchen, she was getting underfoot, and I raised a spatula over my head as if in warning, in what I thought was a friendly joking manner, and I know cats don't have facial expressions, but the way G.G. cowered and looked at me made me feel awful.
Now that I work from home it's a whole new thing for this cat to have a doorway to an area of open sky, and she will probably never be completely comfortable, even skulking under tables and chairs, but this cat went from a closet to my mom's one-bedroom apartment, and now she has the run of an entire rowhouse and limited access to the outdoors on our elevated deck.
In the morning, I crack the door open and sit in the kitchen, just inside the door, in a knockoff Eames lounge chair my wife bought that my mom moved into the kitchen one time when we were away and she was checking in on the house. When we came back we thought it was the funniest thing, to have our classy lounge chair at the end of the kitchen table, but we came to realize it’s the best seat in the house; the light is perfect for reading, you’re in the nerve center, the kitchen, enjoying the salubrious breezes off the deck, weather permitting, a puffy black cat is tentatively making its way out the door, and the grackle is on the case. The other day he drew a crowd to the tree next door; a few starlings, two robins, some sparrows, and a cardinal. The mourning doves didn’t like the action, so they took off as the grackle rallied his kin in service to the bird population. I know cats want to kill birds, but I doubt G.G. is ever going to make a move, especially with that grackle keeping her at bay. I keep an eye on things anyway and don’t let her out unsupervised. She doesn't seem to be afraid of birds, just interested, at a respectful distance from the grackle.
A Brief Observation About Clothing
"By a man's finger-nails, by his coat-sleeve, by his boot, by his trouser-knees, by the callosities of his forefinger and thumb, by his expression, by his shirt-cuffs—by each of these things a man's calling is plainly revealed." — Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet
It may seem embarrassing, and a sign of captivity to technology, that a pair of jeans would carry the faded outline of one's mobile phone, precisely where it sits in the pocket every day. That's not really embarrassing, though.
What's embarrassing is the fading and fraying of the pocket edge created where one habitually reaches in and pulls the phone out, to look at it.
*** NINETEEN FOLKTALES: A SERIES
Illustration by Jim Cooke
16. The King of the Trees
The trees had decided that they needed to choose a king from among themselves. The hickory spoke first, as was its habit: "The oldest and tallest of forests are mine," it said. "Where I stand, the trees have fullest dominion. I should be the ruler."
"What pride or glory is there in that?" replied the birch. "I am the first to grow above the thickets on bare land. All land that trees cover Is first claimed by me."
"You dance on our graves, you mean," the hickory began to say, but now the pine interjected: "I grow the fastest and straightest, until a full forest rises where the birch established mere groves. I am the one who should be king."
"A forest of darkness, of yourself alone," the oak said. "I dapple the light with my leaves and scatter acorns for the forest creatures to feed on. Because of me, the whole woodland comes alive."
And then the poplar had its own opinion, and the hickory, and the ash, and the beech, each claiming its particular kind of supremacy. The maple pointed to its luminous fall crown, and the holly countered with its evergreen winter leaves and berries, and no one tree would recognize any other's claim. So they continue to argue, kingless, to this day.
We present here for your (and our) continued amusement, delectation, and possible puzzlement three recipes for sandwiches, hand-picked from The Up-To-Date Sandwich Book: 400 Ways to Make a Sandwich, published in 1909 and now in the public domain. We found more sardine recipes!
SARDINE SANDWICH NO. 4
Remove skin and bones from the sardines and pound to a paste; season with salt and cayenne pepper and a dash of lemon juice. Spread on thin slices of lightly buttered white or rye bread; cover with another slice of bread and garnish with a pickle.
BROILED SARDINE SANDWICH
Use sardines in oil, remove from can and put on a platter to drain off oil. Toast thin slices of bread and cut in triangles or squares, and butter while hot. Dip each sardine in cracker crumbs, put on a broiler and broil over a coal fire first on one side, then the other. Lay two broiled sardines on a piece of toast, cover with another slice, and garnish with a slice of lemon. Serve as soon as made.
PINEAPPLE SALAD SANDWICH
Shred one medium sized pineapple, add one cupful of skinned and seeded white grapes, one-half cup of finely chopped English walnuts; moisten with cream mayonnaise. Place between thin slices of lightly buttered white bread with a crisp lettuce leaf between. Garnish with a red cherry.
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