December 2007


I already have more teacups (and teapots) than is necessary for any well-adjusted 24-year-old woman, but I just can’t stop myself when I see something that would enhance the drinking ritual. From Bits and Pieces: Heart-shaped teacup and saucer! Only (OK, only?) $12.99, or two or more for $9.99 each! Ooh la la!

(They also have a fun 3D jigsaw puzzle of a teapot and cup. Mmm. Gifties.)

I will go see Pieter Hugo’s exhibition, “The Hyena and Other Men,” at the Yossi Milo Gallery (525 W. 25th St.) before its run ends on Jan. 12. Hugo followed a troupe of what are sometimes described as wandering minstrels and sometimes described as animal charmers, men in Nigeria who travel with chained hyenas, babboons, and snakes. He won the first prize for portraiture in the 2006 World Press Photo awards and is genuinely interesting, in that rather than exploiting this already-charged topic, he takes quiet, sparse photographs contrasting man and beast, wildness and domestication. Top notch.

“Wombs for rent: Surrogacy business booming in India” (Associated Press)

The Indian/global press has been covering this story for some time now, but it’s a pretty compelling stuff, so I’ll let the article’s nut graf speak for itself:

“More than 50 women in this city [Anand, India] are now pregnant with the children of couples from the United States, Taiwan, Britain and beyond. The women earn more than many would make in 15 years. But the program raises a host of uncomfortable questions that touch on morals and modern science, exploitation and globalization, and that most natural of desires: to have a family.”


Tonight’s episode of The Amazing Race season 12 million (or whatever) is set in Mumbai, India. Moments of zen?

“Seeing Vyxsin twisting, turning, and contorting her body is always a highlight for me, and I think it was a highlight for the instructor as well” (Kynt, token goth, during a “speed bump” obstacle that involved them emulating a series of asanas, because yoga is all about tawdriness, titillation, and ogling supple young women)

“Follow the music to the bridegroom? Do we give it to the elephant?” (Token hot blond, looking to deliver a garland of flowers she just made)

“You know, I think this guy just wanted a free ride” (Racer — more, racer with race-induced hernia! — conned into allowing a young man to ride atop his bicycle load of gas cylinders under the aegis of getting directions from a local)

 “We’ve gotta find someone who speaks English!” (Token hot blond, again, who seems unaware that there are approximately 100 million English-language speakers in the subconty, the great majority of which are in metropolises like Mumbai)

Also? Obligatory India marvels: Man in a turban! Crazy traffic! Bollywood! Yoga! People dancing! Wedding! (Check, check, check, check, check, check, and check!) What could be more mystical and exciting?

Personally, I wish they had made them ride the local trains. My favorite picture of all time? Graffiti on one of the cars. Witness perfection:

Slow trains sucks!

So, I considered not posting these, because, well, they’re juvenile, they’re not very well executed, and they’re cartoonish, but what the hey. Let it all hang out, yes? Two excerpts from a series of small canvases for my kitchen. The theme, obviously? “Cookin’!” That’s right, I dropped the G. I’m that serious.

I think I was a pointillist in a past life.

The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reports that travelers on the New York Thruway can pick up free coffee or tea from 11 p.m. Monday (New Year’s Eve!) to 7 a.m. Tuesday (Welcome, 2008!) at any of the thruway’s 27 travel plazas.

While I applaud the effort to keep drivers safe, a steaming cuppa is no panacea for drunk drivers — no, not everyone chooses to imbibe on NYE, and many designate someone to safely steer them home, but it’s an issue. A big issue. If you’re going to drink, take public transport. Eat something, then wait a few hours before you pick up the keys. If you’re still soaking in gin, stay the night at your host’s place. Just, uh, be safe ya’ll.


 Interesting (quick) read on Bloomberg about a pretty sizeable drop in tea exports from India. Exports are down 24%, attributable partly to the rupee’s appreciation and partly to an increase in supplies from Kenya.

What are Kenyan teas like? Anyone tried? Can you get all tea snob and check out their estate wares like you can with Makaibari, &c.?

(Picture is from trip to Dharamsala in February — it’s always tea o’clock in my house!)

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