Raspberry ice cream

Most of our childhood is stored not in photos, but in certain biscuits, lights of day, smells, textures of carpet…

– Alain de Botton

Because I’m a glutton, of course one of mine would be raspberry ice cream. Sounds strange, I know. I’ve looked for it in grocery stores here, but they only have that “sorbet” that turns into a sticky pond of high fructose corn syrup at the bottom of my bowl. Besides, its flavor isn’t compatible with sugar cones, which I adore.

I only had it once. I was 15, spending the summer at Oxford studying drama and psychology. I wouldn’t even know how to find my way back there. I followed someone else, seemingly through the woods. I think we passed a cow on the way — a shy one who didn’t want to be pet. It was a strawberry farm with palm-sized strawberries sweeter than I thought possible. They were selling home made ice cream. Since I’d had strawberry before, I tried the raspberry. I’ve never forgotten it. All those perfect days spent inappropriately lazing on lawns, tripping on cobblestones, being spoken to in British. I’m sure it’ll all flood back with just one taste.

duke of devonshire

years ago, i had this idea that i would like to marry the duke of devonshire because i liked the idea of being called “dolly, duchess of devonshire”.

that must have been nearly 10 years ago. the duke is also some 20 years older than me. sadly, i’ve discovered (by visiting his wikipedia page) that he’s married now. his little heir is not yet two years old. i’m afraid i’m not that much of a cradle robber. there goes my only life goal!

but perhaps i can still be successful. i define success as “being paid to kiss Alexander Skarsgård.” there are only a few people who are or ever can be truly successful.

Loki is my god

I promised a full entry back here about Loki.

He was certainly the most interesting character in the movie. Maybe that’s because he was brilliantly portrayed by classically trained British actor Tom Hiddleston. Eton and Cambridge? Excuse me while I swoon.

There’s something sweetly vulnerable and human about him and his desire to prove himself and out-do his golden boy brother, Thor. He’s honest about his desire to control humans. Not having to think — just accepting god’s word and god’s plan — is what comforts many religious people. Loki claims this outright. Maybe I want to take a vacation and let him make my decisions for me. It might be refreshing.

True story: a few weeks ago, I prayed to Thor for cookies, and I got them. (Thank you, Thor!) I haven’t tried asking Loki for anything, but knowing his desperation to compete with Thor, I should be able to ask for a whole bakery and get it.

I love hate mail

This is Richard Dawkins reading his hate mail. This is wonderful beyond words. I have said it time and again: I will consider myself a great success this lifetime if I ever receive the caliber of hate mail that Dawkins does.

I’ve found a, well, I hesitate to call it a news article. So, we’ll say… an opinion piece that seems to be hate letter to all atheists. It’s called You Whiny Sniveling Little Atheists Are Pathetic! 

Since it was written to all atheists, I like to pretend it was for me. She exhorts atheists to “Go start your own damn country” for simply wanting protection under the constitution to have freedom from religion. One wouldn’t think that an all powerful being would need his minions to use this sort of language towards non-believers. It shows the underlying insecurity and defensiveness that many believers have. If she’s right and I’m wrong, then there’s more room in heaven for her and her righteous brethren. So rather than being so hateful towards us doomed non-believers, you’d think religious people might feel sorry for us and show us a bit of kindness while we’re here for our brief mortal existence. I guess it’s too much to ask that they leave us in peace.

Name meanings*

When I first learned about the Civil War**, I decided I sided with the South. Not for any good reason (I was 8 years old), but because their general’s last name was “Lee” and I thought that meant he was Chinese. “They can’t be all that racist if they let a Chinese guy run their army.” I have since been informed that Lee is a popular white person name in the South.

The English apparently have (or had) something for naming their children after various sorts of meadows. The name “Lee” derives from Old English and means meadow, as does a variety of names that end in “ley” such as the following:

Ashley – ash meadow
Bentley – bent grass meadow
Bradley – broad meadow
Hadley – heather meadow
Harley – eagle meadow
Hayley – hay meadow
Shelley – sloped meadow
Shirley – bright meadow
Whitley – white meadow

Given all this, I had rather hoped that “Dolly” or, I guess, “Dolley” would be some kind of meadow. Like “creepy meadow filled with dolls”.

Unfortunately and ironically, the name Dolly actually means “gift of god.”

* All research done in a highly scientific manner by looking on thinkbabynames.com
** I still have a fondness of calling it “The War of Northern Aggression” — but mostly because it seems to anger people and only secondarily because it’s more accurate.

Carry on

Or, “Why I love the British, part 2.” Maybe you’ve seen various mugs, posters and other kitsch with the “Keep calm, Carry on” message. Or some funny variation about eating cupcakes. I didn’t know it had originated in wartime England, or that it was to be saved for the direst of circumstances (and then never used). The other propaganda posters were equally charming.

It’s the opposite of us Americans, isn’t it? Everything is a tragedy here, from traffic accidents to running out of saline solution. But being bombed by the Germans? That’s not even drastic enough to warrant the “Keep calm” poster. Maybe we’re a little histrionic as a nation, prone to throwing spastic fits over everyday occurrences. We’ve been flapping and fainting for months about Iran and its potential possession of the parts necessary to eventually pursue a nuclear weapon. We’ve been using overblown rhetoric about everything from our financial situation to making contraceptives available through the Affordable Care Act. I guess it’s to be expected, though. America was, after all, populated mostly by England’s debtors, religious fanatics and assorted criminals. Our current crises make so much more sense now, don’t they?

I used to have this idea that maybe we could go begging on our knees for England to take us back, at least as a member of the Commonwealth. Maybe if I write a sweet enough letter. Shall I try?

Why I love the British

This is just one of the many reasons. Look at this man. Look how cheerful and rosy cheeked he is. Now, look at the way he’s cradling that gargantuan onion. Like it’s his baby. In fact, it is. He had been raising giant onions for 25 years when he finally won the Guinness world record for largest onion. Thank you, Peter Glazebrook, for reminding me that there can be delight in just about anything.

More on Mr. Glazebrook and his 17lb 15oz onion here.