Dallas Observer’s 50 Reasons to be Thankful for Dallas

Oh my home town, that odd place where high fashion, old money, new money, urban hippies, LGBT, and Latino culture mix together not unlike the margarita we invented. (Hey, what else are you going to drink on a hot night in August? Beer gets warm too quickly folks.) The Dallas Observer kindly made a list for us of the 50 reasons to be thankful for Dallas. They left themselves off the list, however.

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Castello Cavalcanti

Wes Anderson has done another short film ad for Prada. Unlike the Prada Candy ads, this one seems less specifically about a product and more about the brand itself. Or more about Italian dolce vita than even the brand. It’s classic Wes Anderson. While I realize Anderson’s work is not everyone’s cup of tea, I’ve been fascinated since I first saw The Royal Tennenbaums. The only reason I sought out Francoise Truffaut’s Small Change was because it was a Wes Anderson influence. The cinematic stylization, color schemes, set design, and off beat characters and stories work together to create a beautifully flawed world. I am so looking forward to The Great Budapest Hotel.

End of November Musings

A colleague of mine wants to go on a date with Taylor Swift just so he can break up with her and then be immortalized in song. I’m thinking this explains so much about her dating patterns. Also, he’s venue for immoratilization is highly questionable.

I’m stoutly refusing to play Christmas music until December. My will is crumbling, however.

I’m more patient than is probably good for me.

Someone who has good taste and doesn’t normally compliment without cause lavished praised on my home. Decidedly good feeling.

Lazy Sunday mornings are the best, particularly when I talk to my mom.

The Doctor Who 50th anniversary special was beyond my wildest expectations.

Resurrecting Domestic Service Extremes, aka NYTimes Style Pieces Strike Again

So this article by reporter Caroline Tell has been making the rounds. In it, Tell details the plight of really rich New Yorkers who have a nanny who cooks normal American food I suppose, or heaven forbid, boxed mac and cheese, and they want their five year old to develop a wider palate. In steps a consulting service to teach the nanny how to cook this wider range of menu options. I mean I like a wide variety of foods, but I’m pretty sure at five I ate whatever was put in front of me. The rule was you had to try everything on the plate just once. If you didn’t try, you got stuck sitting at the dinner table. True story, my brother got to sit at the table for over an hour after the rest of us had finished one night because he wouldn’t try something. Mom won that one. And when I got older, if I didn’t like it, I could go make something else. Or cook for everyone if I was going to be really picky about it. My sister tells me I like weird foods–quinoa included–and I do things like make brown rice pudding on a whim. Yet, I like boxed mac and cheese too, and pizza is not something I avoid. At any rate, the article is interesting beyond documenting the snobbery inherent in food choices. I mean clearly embedded in the idea of giving a five year old a refined palate is the notion that only those with refined palates are truly worthy of the good things in life. Boxed mac and cheese is soooo declasse, and really, we shouldn’t let our privileged five year olds anywhere near the stuff. It might give them working class tastes, or something like that.

No, the other interesting thing that both Matt Yglesias and Allison Benedikt note is what this kind of consultant service says about our service culture and the new forms of domestic service that drive the twenty-first century economy. The nanny is at the front line of the resurrection of domestic servants in this country. Sure, the really rich hire a broad range of people providing services–personal trainer, personal chef, personal shopper, life coach, therapist, housekeeper, hairstylist, etc. (I’m sure I’ve missed something)–but the nanny is the one that seems to produce the most anxiety. As the person in charge of the children, the nanny is responsible not for just making sure the kids end the day fed, clothed, and in one piece. Nope, the nanny is in fact in charge of the future paths of the really rich people who have had the kids to begin with. Thus, the nanny has to be better than a mere caregiver. I’m honestly surprised the article didn’t list speaking two additional languages, a BA in early childhood education, EMS training, in addition to the culinary skills as necessary requirements. Domestic servants faded from our economic systems as home machinery replaced some skills sets and as other kinds of jobs provided people with better wages, better hours, better job security, and more job advancement. As Yglesias argues:

 It’s obvious that in the future manufactured goods will increasingly be produced by machines. It’s also pretty clear that if you compare rich people in developed countries to middle class people in developed countries, the rich people don’t consume vastly larger quantities of manufactured goods than the middle class people do. Instead the rich people consume more and fancier services. The middle class kids go to day care. The rich kids have nannies. The really rich kids have nannies and nanny consultants. There’s a sort of infinitely elaborate hierarchy of personal services one could take advantage of in life were one to have limitless quantities of money.

And a big problem here arises because this kind of service work strikes us as servile in a way that proper working class jobs on assembly lines or in factories isn’t.

As our society becomes ever more divided, expect to see more and more domestic services jobs, and expect jobs that traditionally have been considered professional jobs, such as teaching, take on the hues of this kind of attitude towards service work. After all, if the really rich can simply train their nanny to cook a wide range of foods–by the way a lot of which is considered working class food in their country of origin–why can’t they demand that their kids high school teachers have additional training in something equally esoteric. The new economy is the old one. Again.

Musings in November

I’m taking bets on whether or not the fire truck parked in front of the ditch the gas company has been digging means I have no hot water in the morning.

Crafting is hard work. But Christmas presents must be made.

The wind keeps blowing my leaves into neat piles. It’s as if someone raked. Now if they’ll just blow themselves into bags.

Lily Allen’s new song is really catchy, but the video is really problematic. I like satire, I really do. I’m the only person I know who thinks Dirty Pretty Things is a comedy. But this video misses the point of satire. Not to mention the exploitation of black women inherent in the Miley Cyrus tweeting scandal.

On a related note. My Zumba needs to stop playing “Blurred Lines.” She thinks the word bitch is the only objectionable part in the song. I don’t know how to tell her that it’s actually the least wrong part.

Doctor Who Prequel

Stephen Moffat is known for his prequel episodes, short films setting up the next season. Pond Life was one of these transmedia devices setting up the Rory and Amy split at the beginning of the season 7. This new prequel, with an awesome Paul McGann as the Doctor (and I’m suddenly wondering why the heck he wasn’t cast as the 12th Doctor), shows us the effects of the time war. Technically, this falls under the spoiler category, but Moffat intends us to view this before we see “The Day of the Doctor,” so I feel like it’s just one more way for us to enjoy the show.

Joss Whedon Punches Up the World a Little

Joss Whedon gave a talk at a benefit dinner about gender equality. In his normally smart and astute way, he discussed the word feminist, it’s meanings, and why we perhaps need a new term. This Jezebel article gives most of the transcript, but it’s definitely worth while to watch the whole video. Whedon, as a writer first and foremost, brings his love of language to his understanding of equality and why words and how we use words matter. Power of the pen indeed. I love his parting line: “Is this idea of genderist going to do something?” Whedon asked at the end. “I don’t know. I don’t think that I can change the world. I just want to punch it up a little.” Imagine if we all try to punch it up a little what change we can cause.

Song of the Day: Chvrches, “The Mother We Share”

I’m just amazed at how good this band sounds in live recordings since this kind of music tends to be so over produced that a live performance is impossible. Yer Chvches seems to thrive on the live performance, on the connection with the audience, and thus, they’ve crafted an electronic dance music that can be performed live without losing the sound.

Musings on the First of November

There’s a certain continuity between leaving one sibling in FSM watching <emBones only to arrive in Dallas to find the other sibling watching Bones.

There are Ole Miss fans in Oak Cliff judging by the yard signage.

Hanging skeletons from trees is the new Halloween thing. All the cool kids are doing it.

Andromeda loves me even if Maximilian is still a kitty putz.

Singing at full volume to Frank Turner wasn’t the brightest idea for the recovering throat. It was an excellent idea for the soul, so I’m counting it a win. Is there anything better than troubadour punk rock?