Hmm Weekly for April 28, 2020
This is Phase Three of Tuesday
Another Week, Another Hmm Weekly
GOOD MORNING! This is the latest HMM WEEKLY, successor publication to HMM DAILY, distributed via SUBSTACK, a newsletter delivery and reading platform.
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Last week’s recipe for TOMATO AND ONION SANDWICH inspired creation, correspondence, and photos. Please see RECIPES DEP’T., located near the foot of this week’s edition.
We encourage you to correspond with us on non-sandwich topics!
THE RAT WAS sort of lovely, unexpectedly. Nearly everything was lovelier than the indications had been. The afternoon was drizzling after a rainy morning, which meant that out in it, a softened cloudy light lay on the trees and water in Central Park, so that the colors were saturated against the dimness—saturated optically and in the literal, wetted sense, which left them darkened and burnished. Ezra Pound and his faces. In summer writing camp we spent what memory says was a whole bright afternoon, in the then-unfamiliar space of a college classroom, trudging back and forth over that tiny poem, totally useless to me at the time, but now and always there's a point of reference in my head, even while the camera in the phone in my hand couldn't get the mood of it right. Maybe there's a filter somewhere to fake an approximation of it, for phone-camera users less afflicted by literalism.
The balance of nature had shifted under the influence of the rain. People were sparse and the wildlife slightly wilder than usual—at least, there were two great egrets, luminous white in the gray, perching separately here or there along the edge of the Lake, then flapping across to set up on some other stretch of shoreline. One of them waded deep (black legs: distinguishing it from the white phase of the great blue heron) and its thin plumes trailed in the water. The millinery trade in dead egrets and other migratory birds was outlawed in March of 1913, the same month that Pound wrote in Poetry magazine, "It is better to present one Image in a lifetime than to produce voluminous works." In April 1913, the magazine published "In a Station of the Metro." The Weeks–McLean Bird Bill became law behind the lobbying of six thousand Ford dealers, "[t]he only time I ever used the Ford organization to influence legislation," Henry Ford wrote in his autobiography.
("Don't be 'viewy'—leave that to the writers of pretty little philosophic essays," Pound wrote.)
Before the rat, there was a squirrel, right up on the edge of the path by the edge of the Ramble. We'd been up and down along the dark stones of a trilling waterfall that I thought was half-manufactured but which, when I looked it up later, turned out to have been wholly manufactured. Invasive Japanese knotweed was springing up everywhere, ghastly and relentless, and it was the brightest thing in the little fake gorge. On the way out was the squirrel, evidently looking for a handout while acorns lay all around. I stooped down—slowly, so it didn't get any frantic ideas about what might be coming—and rolled an acorn its way. It considered it and picked up a different one instead, and began to eat. Its fur was silvery, frostlike in the light. Its toes were long and clean-looking. The eye can turn a squirrel into a rat if you focus a particular way and make yourself notice the hard skinny wire of the tail proper bending its way through the fluff of the agreeable, obvious tail. I switched the squirrel back and forth one time and then just let it stay a squirrel. No need to ruin the moment of communion, or of proximity anyway.
We left the Ramble for the more open spaces and I saw something else moving in the leaves and roots, squirrel-sized but not a squirrel. It took a moment for pattern recognition to register that it was a rat. The habitual revulsion came up briefly, then subsided. The rat's fur was a nice rustic brown, to match the woods. Its bumping gait did not register as so horrible along an uneven sideslope as it would have on a flat expanse of sidewalk or subway platform. It wasn't emboldened like the squirrel, but it was no more furtive than any other thing trying to be wild. It scurried along to a gap where a root arched away from the ground, and slipped inside. The squirrel made for a better photo.
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I BOUGHT ONE of these things today, for doing sit-ups at home! If you buy one of these things, which go under a door, make sure you attach it so that the door is opening away from the business end of the device, where you supposedly have your feet hooked under the padded things and are doing some sit-ups. You want the door closed and the force of you and your sit-ups transferred to the door frame, which is better than if you install it with the door opening in on you and your sit-ups. You will have all the force of your mighty sit-ups focused on the door latch thing, and that’s not good for that part of the door. Also, the door might open toward you while you are performing your sit-ups. I did five sit-ups today. The thing cost about 15 bucks, so right now my cost per sit-up is three dollars per sit-up. My stomach hurts.
VISUAL CONSCIOUSNESS DEP’T.
Spring, Part 8
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HOW LONG HAVE they been calling the buttons at a crosswalk “beg buttons?”
TOP SEARCHES DEP’T.
WE DRAW EVER closer to the time when we will cease presenting our selection of recipes for ancient but reproducible sandwiches, found in The Up-To-Date Sandwich Book: 400 Ways to Make a Sandwich, by Eva Greene Fuller; 1909; McClurg and Co., Chicago, found in the public domain for the delectation of all. What will we do for Public Domain Content when we have exhausted the supply of sandwich recipes?
ROAST BEEF AND JAM SANDWICH
Between thin slices of lightly buttered white bread, place thin slices of cold roast beef; on top of this spread plum jam.
CHERRY SALAD SANDWICH
Remove stones from two cups of cherries, add one-half cup of English walnuts and two stalks of celery that have been chopped fine; add enough mayonnaise to moisten; place between thin slices of lightly buttered white bread. Garnish with a cherry.
A pound of raw beef through the meat chopper; a teacupful of bread crumbs, pepper and salt to taste; mix with a well-beaten egg, and form into a roll. Take a flank of mutton, remove the bones and lay the above mixture on the mutton and do it up into a roll; bind it with a tape. Sew up the ends so mixture will not bulge out; dust with pepper and salt, then roast it; when it is cold, take off the tape, take out the sewing, and slice thin. Place between thin slices of lightly buttered white bread. Garnish with an olive.
• • • READER SUBMISSIONS!
No lettuce, oops. Otherwise, the recipe delivers. It tastes like a McDonald's hamburger. The 99 cent one.
—Zack, via the Internet
TOMATO CATSUP AND ONION: B MINUS
—A.J. Daulerio, via the Internet
If you make one of these sandwiches, before you eat it, please send a picture to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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