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Monday, 28 December 2009
Il caffe alla napoletana, and an appeal for a transfer of a tiny, hardly noticeable amount of your wealth to NER

The steady, as opposed to occasional looking-for-weekly-specials, clientele of Whole Foods can be roughly divided between the earnestly healthy (who buy those pills and magic potions promising health with just a hint of everlasting life) and the connoisseurs of taste. For the latter, those who drink coffee have taken quite a shine, anecdotal evidence suggests, to Ill, rather than Lavazza. There is no discernible difference in taste. The key to Illy’s victory was price. Not, as free market fundamentalists might have it, (ignoring what might be called the suprasegmental features of advertising), the coffee that is cheapest but, rather, the coffee that is most expensive has won: Illy costs nearly twice as much, in the United States, as Lavazza. This is a major part of its whole-foods-faddish appeal.

In a world where there is so little certainty, where many would be disoriented  if it turned out, for example, that the “best colleges” were no better than many of the un-best colleges, it’s important to be able to rely on lists. I don’t mean the honest lists of Consumers Reports, that tells you about toasters and car repair, of the Best Program in Art History, and the Best Chocolate Truffles, and the Best Recording Of The B-Minor Mass, and the Best New Conceptual Artist, and The Best This and The Best That. And so often, what else do we have to go on but money, the impressive size of the endowment of this school, the cost of that chocolate, the latest auction records for that painter?

In the Parthenopean impoverished penthouse depicted here,  was ravishing Sophia Loren using Illy, Lavazz, or some just-roasted coffee beans, no-name in name, at the local market, perhaps known only to people in her neighborhood? And what if that coffee she, Sophia Loren, has made in that fijm clip is better than anything you might be able to buy, even if you are a hedge-fund manager in Connecticut, or George Clooney lazily lying on that private beach he outrageously created on the Lago di Como or,  for that matter, some professor, with a four-hour work week (as long as those graduate students keep composing those lectures for you, and the teaching assistants do all the grading), say self-satisfied Homi Bhabha, shopping at the Fresh Pond Whole Foods, and wanting to make sure that he carefully chooses only the best, for only the best, you see, for such a person, will do.

Good God, where might it all end, if you had to judge for yourself, and you realized you could no longer assume that the cost of colleges and men and even websites and coffee was a guarantee of their value, their worth.

This website, for which you can, if you choose, pay nothing, costs you nothing. But it is of value. You know this perfectly well, for if you did not know it, you would be a fool, and fools tend not to visit this site, at least not more than once or twice. Right now this website is still in its eleemosynary mode. Keep in mind that it is a 501©(3), and that contributions are tax-deductible. If you never give to anything, and don’t intend to start now, that is maddening but not nearly as infuriating as would be your giving to other, far less worthy causes, with their cunning appeals, and the absurd sums people get away with paying themselves at some of these – let’s be charitable – quite profitable not-for-profit organizations. In the spirit of James James Morison Morison Weatherby George Dupree telling his mother that you must never go down to the end of the town if you don’t go down with me, don’t you dare give money to others, if you don’t give money to me. And by “me” I mean, of course, and not only royally, “us.” We of NER and the Never Never.

Meanwhile, by way of extra inducement, and to bring the supreme theme back to coffee and to Naples:



Posted on 12/28/2009 9:28 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
29 Dec 2009
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Leaping Lizards!
Or: Gordon Gecko! Lizards Are Everywhere!
Or: Losing Your Elgin Marbles
Or: Frieze A Jolly Good Fellow
Or: Putting The Squeeze On The Reader
Or: Please, No Sackful Of Snakes From Santa To NER
Or: The Housman That Ruth Built
Or: Muslim Mit Der No Flying Firkin Napkins
Or: With Rue My Heart Is Degringoladen With Bin Laden
Happy Birthday to Partheopaically, Happy Birthday to Partheopaically!
Apotropaically was Googleable and suggests to impressionable minds that contributing to NER might serve to ward off the "evil eye" of the Committee of the Noble Dead. To be sure, that "band of brothers" to "the insensible rock" might be as dead as what Dalrymple's chum might call a "rotten pork chop," but even Mr. Fitzgerald has admitted to hedge funding his bets ala Pascal's Wager before takeoff.
One the other hand, a search of Partheopaically references (yes, some hate that verb) only NER itself, suggesting that HF has added to his neolexicon which had already included polypragmonic.  Where other than NER, Fellow Gentle Readers, could one find such treasures?
While I still haven't the foggiest fausse idée claire regarding Partheopaically, it does suggest to the Regular Reader the parthenogenetic bdelloid rotifers (possibly celibate for about 30 million years) cited by an erstwhile NER writer, and, of course, to most anyone (and almost certainly to HF, who, at 98, is surely no whippersnapper) the famous parthenogenetic species of whiptail lizards.  Yea, verily the staff of NER are themselves national treasures and unless contributions are contributed, parthenonically speaking, we, like the Greeks could lose our marbles. Ay, there's the rubbings though, and Hugh might perchance to dream of squeezes.
And iffen its reptiles ya wants, dumbledoresarmy gave us Guitarman's "The jackals prowl, the serpents hiss/ in what was once Persepolis..."  For the Reptile Reader who insists on lizards, NER allowed the posting of "The lizards are crawling over the exquisitely colored seats tonight, and the only sounds that are heard in the theater for centuries have been the desolate howls of the jackals," from Lowell Thomas' description of Petra, published during 1924 in With Lawrence in Arabia, a book which, oddly enough, I possessed, but didn't get around to consulting before the closing of one of HF's quizzes. (Parenthetically speaking of celibacy, snakes, Muslim misogyny, and, once again, Richard Burton, the book carries his translation,):
They said, marry,
I said I am free;
Why take unto my bosom
A sackful of snakes?
May Allah never bless womankind! 
The Reader seeking once-popular poetry need look no further than Fitzgerald's frequent bringing down the Housman works, such as his A Burton-On-Trent Literary Interlude: 
While I remembered doing a parody revolving around "Mithradates," I had quite forgotten how bloody awful it was and will spare the Reader here.  However, those wishing to read something of Muslims-On-Burton could do worse than to read:
Those unfamiliar with "firkin" couldn't do worse than to click on:
or suffer through:
And malt no more than napkins do
Excuse a Muslim's use of cue
Though surely evil lurks in firkin
When took to task a cask with merkin 
So, if there are any generous Daddy Warbucks out there, please, as Tiger Woods might say, chip in, lest without such Reader's ruth, NER, the Sultan of Swatting Islam, be driven to, as it were, to swallow a pistil:
Gee Whiskers! A rose and a nose is a rose and a nose is a rose and a nose.
I'll defer to NER whether it would accept monies or insider information from any surviving Gordon Gekkos and, incidentally, I suspect that those sorts might be scapegoated for the Dubai degringolade.
Lounge Lizard:
Stock Plunge Lizard

28 Dec 2009

Happy Christmas to you, happy Christmas to you!

A modest donation from *my* household (all thanks to my beautiful and generous husband who was easily persuaded that this website is necessary to his wife's entertainment, education and sanity, and to his own instruction as well, at times) has duly been sent on its electronic way.

28 Dec 2009
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Kopi Kaffee Kopfweh With Cream
Or: The Vidkun Quisling of Coffee
Or: Cross My Palm With Civets
Or: Alsass, Civitass & Gravitass
Or: Egged On Egregiously By Mrs. Olsen 
Mr. Fitzgerald has unaccountably passed on what is possibly the world's most expensive coffee, Kopi Luwak*, which is suitable for the finest civet ass-warm espresso.  It is also the brew of choice for the Saar's Kaffee mit Schlag and the SAR's coughing mit Krankheit.  Geddit?  Not funny?  Gives you a headache? Well, like Lady Assstor to Churchill, here's some poison for your coffee from another region bordering on the ridiculous Allemagne:
What's sauce for the Gaul is Alsace for the Quiche Lorraine.
I'm Mountin' - Groan,
And Makin' The Gravy Mit Residuals,
Mrs. Olsen, The Coffee Nazi

28 Dec 2009
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In Hot (or cold) Soup
Or: Fishy Vichy Vichyssoise Rots From The Figurehead Down
Or: From Soup To Shot-Off Nuts
Or: Good To The Last Dropped Blindfold
What's sauce for the goose-stepper is vichyssoise for the suave Vichy Auslander and Lavazza Lebensraum for La Raza and Laval.
Laval's Well That Ends Well,
Marshall Pétain