Vanquished Nobility: From Jimmy Carter to Korean Cartoons
Peter Tatara - November 30, 2006
"Hey, Jimmy Carter is going to be in town tonight reading from his new book about how he'd solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict! Wanna come to it with me?"
Never have I been so coldly dismissed as when I spoke the above to several friends yesterday. When a former President swings by your neighborhood, I was under the impression you get your ass outside, listen to him talk, buy a signed copy of his book, and prominently display it on your coffee table. Apparently, though, I was mistaken, and the proper protocol actually involves going to GameStop to trade in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance for Dead or Alive 4, eating dinner while watching a rerun of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, and buying toilet paper. Granted, not as exciting as meeting Jimmy Carter, but there's a vanquished nobility to it.
Because, realistically, if I had gone out to meet Jimmy Carter, I'd have ended up being frisked by a couple dozen guys just to get into the building, and the fact that I had screw drivers in my backpack meant there'd be no way I'd be able to get into the same room as him. If I couldn't take my screw drivers into the Queens County Court House, there'd be no way I could step within fifty paces of Jimmy Carter with them. But think of it if I did. I could of gotten ‘em signed.
Even better, I picked up a Christmas present yesterday morning for a friend of mine. A 1/100 RX-78-2 Version Ka. A robot. If I could have gotten that signed by Jimmy Carter, that would have been the best Christmas present ever. But I doubt Jimmy Carter would have signed a Japanese toy. I do have a Sharpie right next to me. Perhaps I could forge the former President's signature atop the thing. Perhaps I should ditch this train of thought. Perhaps I will.
I would have never read Jimmy Carter's book anyway.
I've just started The Bobby Gold Stories, a novel by the above-mentioned Anthony Bourdain, one of New York City's top celebrity chefs. The Bobby Gold Stories is a delightfully filthy book. I really hope Bourdain washed his hands after writing it. If not, it's not like it'd matter anyway. Bourdain, you see, is a fervent fan of blood, sinew, and organ meats, while I survive on rice and lentils.
It's not as boring as it sounds. With a proper spice rack, rice and lentils can be combined into any one of a million different dishes. Forgetting about even the spices, there are enough sheer varieties of rice in the world for you to eat a different plate of rice and lentils every day until the end of the decade. In the past, I ate a lot of koshi hikari -- ubiquitous Japanese white rice -- but I've recently begun eating a longer-grained Spanish variety. (A local market sells 20 pounds of it for $5.) Changing the rice has changed everything I cook. What were once elegant, subdued meals now take on an earthy, hearty flavor.
Most recently, actually, a bag of premium, polished Japanese rice has come into my possession. I wish I could recall the grain or brand, but both escape me. What doesn't escape me, however, is the airy, buttery flavor that envelops my whole being the moment it touches my tongue. It's good.
I had a bowl of this rice last night and proceeded, then, to spend several hours with a neighbor on my sofa playing Dead or Alive 4. He had timed his visit to overlap with both of the ABC Family Channel's showings of Pucca, a delightful cartoon I watch and record for my girlfriend. This is sadly the third week in a row I've been unable to tape Pucca. If a neighbor isn't interrupting me, the ABC Family Channel goes dead. Well, not dead, but it gets all wonky. The picture stutters, pixilates, and goes through any number of digital convulsions. It only happens to the ABC Family Channel and only when Pucca is on.
This means I'll be waking up on Saturday and Sunday at 6 AM to catch repeat airings. As long as the rerun doesn't halt midway through and then start running in reverse. It's happened before.
Why am I sharing all this? To explain to my girlfriend why I don't have this week's Pucca for her today. If you've never seen the show, it's an animated, spastic romantic comedy about a violent, little Chinese girl -- Pucca -- in love with a ninja. Pucca began in Korea, but the series is the result of Disney money and a, I believe, Canadian studio. It's cute, and my girlfriend fancies herself a real-life Pucca.
I doubt she'd be that upset if I presented her with a signed copy of Jimmy Carter's new book, but showing her Dead or Alive 4 will probably result in a huff, rolled eyes, and unanswered phone calls until Pucca reairs on Saturday.