TUESDAY, Sep. 23, 2008 - Richard Chisholm (Query to a brown cow / Two-time Oscar winner Luise / Bygone school dance)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: IN HOT WATER (61A: Where 17-, 29-, 36- and 44-Across often wind up)

Tight, cute theme. If only there were fewer black squares ... :) I rated this puzzle "Medium," but now can't quite remember what the rationale was. Seems very easy, though I think I had to wrestle with RAINER (18D: Two-time Oscar winner Luise), of whom I'd never heard. Also probably dropped in ERIN where EIRE belonged (39D: Home of County Clare). Oh, and then I blinked at "AS I DO" (56A: "Like me"), both because I just couldn't think of a phrase that fit, and then because when I got the phrase, I didn't trust it: there's another answer with the phrase "I DO" in it just one black square away. Seemed odd. Other than that, I think, piece of cake.

Theme answers:

  • 17A: One risking arrest (law breaker)
  • 29A: Some seers read them (tea leaves) - I put TEA LEAVES IN HOT WATER less than half an hour ago...
  • 36A: Sink items (dirty dishes) - my sink is currently full of them
  • 44A: Trattoria offering (spaghetti)
There are some good action words in this puzzle, like WRING (48A: Twist, as a wet cloth or a neck) and WALLOP (52A: Beat but good) and CLASH (25D: Lock horns). Even ASWARM (3D: Teeming as with bees) conveys motion, especially when placed next door to MOB (4D: Group with enforcers, with "the"). AIR WAVES (Radio hosts' medium) also conveys a sense of motion, but the use of the word "medium" in the clue threw me. Radio is a medium, with the idea of AIR WAVES built into it ... no? Anyway, the clue seems accurate, if odd. I was also a little thrown by GNARLY (51D: Very cool, in slang) when I first solved this puzzle, largely because the original clue (when I was test-solving) was completely different: [Distasteful, in slang]. That clue was true enough, but when I hear GNARLY in my head, this is the voice I hear:


The Rest:
  • 22A: One of eight Eng. kings (Edw.) - well I don't like that abbrev., but since it's hot on the heels of another Eng. king (the "J" in K. J. V.), I'll call it a mini-theme and be done with it - 23A: The "V" in K. J. V. (Version).
  • 64A: Santa _____ Derby (annual horse race) (Anita) - would have preferred a clue relating to any of these three ANITAs:



  • 1D: Drool, basically (saliva) - gross.
  • 8D: Glasgow denials (naes) - Och!
  • 12D: Actress Caldwell (Zoe) - who is this? I feel like I ask this question every time this particular ZOE comes up. . . she's a stage actress who is not at all familiar to me. Wikipedia says her mother was a "taxi dancer," which is a phrase I want to see in a puzzle, like, tomorrow.
  • 30D: Conclude by (end at) - seems off. Clue implies approximation, where answer implies precision.
  • 67A: Note on a Chinese menu (No MSG) - nice consonant cluster
  • 38D: Query to a brown cow ("How now?") - great answer. What is the origin of this phrase? Whoa, it's a nonsense phrase used to demonstrate rounded vowel sounds. And here I thought there was some olde timey cultural reference I was missing.
  • 46D: Bygone school dance (hop) - as in ...


Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

68 comments:

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

I saw Zoe both play Medea and Callas on Broadway among other numerous roles -- one of the finest actresses in town!

Anonymous 8:59 AM  

...and in Hollywood, Luise Rainer is a legend!

treedweller 9:14 AM  

So no problem with "dinner" being part of a clue for DINEDON? I guess it's just me then. Resisting that answer probably cost me half a minute, and still I was a good minute ahead of yesterday's time.

hereinfranklin 9:15 AM  

Saliva (or drool for that matter) does NOT pass the breakfast table rule. Yuk!

Janie 9:19 AM  

as an usher at the brooklyn academy of music (1976), i got to see la caldwell (quite a few times...) as mary tyrone in long days journey into night. her co-stars? jason robards, michael moriarty, kevin o'connor. not too shabby!

and ms. rainer? one of her academy awards was for the (pantheon) role of o-lan in the good earth.

fun puzzle!!

;-)

janie

Shamik 9:22 AM  

Felt like a Monday!

Would have been third to comment, but got sucked into the video whirlpool. Thanks for the clips!

william e emba 9:23 AM  

I started off with MEMO for 1A In-box clogger, and then only got SPAM from all four crosses. Once the idea of the physical in-box got into my head, I couldn't switch.

I had -OE, didn't reread the clue and filled in POE, and that led to GAPE for some kind of stare, again, not really rereading the clue. Oh well.

ZOE did win four Tony awards, so I guess I'll memorize her name.

As for Luise RAINER, I guessed RAINES, which led to DISH-------. That was just a bump, quickly fixed.

NO MSG. Ah, that always makes me smile. I remember when I first learned about MSG back in the early 80s, before it was the well-known big deal. I rarely ate out at a real restaurant, and one day some friends took me to a Chinese restaurant. As usual, 90% of the menu is stuff I can barely look at without getting revolted, let alone try. So I ordered spare ribs, and specifically asked for "NO MSG". The waiter looked at me funny, but sure, why not? Eventually our meal comes. Plates loaded with food are being placed as the waiter names each dish. He then puts an empty plate in front of me, and announces, "one order, NO MSG". He waits a dramatic moment, and then replaces the plate with my spare ribs. As a mathematician specializing in logic and set theory, yes indeed, it made perfect sense.

Unsurprisingly, I didn't eat in a Chinese restaurant again for 15 years after that.

Orange 9:50 AM  

Luise Rainer's Oscars were awarded more than 70 years ago. Austrian/Swiss poet Rainer Maria Rilke wants to know why he didn't get to be in the puzzle, since he is also a legendary artist.

ArtLvr 9:52 AM  

I agreed with Rex, not bad for a Tuesday and some good words conveying motion, even HOP, RIOT and JEER. Afterward, I asked myself if one could think of a way to get Jawbreaker into a puzzle! Too knotty a problem... GNARLY? a new one on me.

@ wm e emba -- Funny Chinese restaurant story!

∑;)

Jim in Chicago 10:08 AM  

Another week where I felt like Monday and Tuesday were swapped.

I almost broke a sweat yesterday - needing to hop all over the puzzle to get something started. Today it was just "start at the top and fill it in".

I found the theme a little blah, but overall not a bad puzzle.

Pete M 10:18 AM  

Re: Taxi Dancer

According to Wikipedia: 'A "taxi" is not a prostitute, and no sexual favors may be expected off the dance floor.'

I guess on the dance floor, anything goes... ;)

PuzzleGirl 10:25 AM  

Fun puzzle. Cute theme. 47D: Idiots, reminds me of a funny story PuzzleHusband once told. He and a co-worker/friend were on a business trip. PH was holding the elevator for his friend and urged him on in Spanish: "Venga aqui, amigo!" His (non-Spanish-speaking) friend asked, "What the hell does that mean?" PH replied, "It means 'Hurry up, idiot.'" His friend looked at him quizzically and asked "'Amigo' means 'idiot'??" Of course my kids heard the story and now AMIGO is a "bad word" in our house!

Anonymous 10:34 AM  

Hey Amigo, our secret is out. Thanks PG.

At least I now question ERIN/EIRE fill. I never guess right the first time. How do they do that? Also, had endon and a strange Italian dish of spaghetni.

/miguel

joho 10:42 AM  

hereinfranklin: saliva/drool
definitely disgusting!

An OK Tuesday for me. I didn't like ASIDO and IDOTOO in the same puzzle. And this did seem easier than yesterday.

@rex: any birthday pics?

Ulrich 11:07 AM  

This one was easier for me than yesterday's, but I didn't catch on to the theme until I saw the explanation at 61A.

@orange: Thank you, thank you for not calling Rilke a Czech writer, as is done now as a matter of course with Kafka, who, like Rilke, was born in the former Austrian-Hungarian empire way before there was a country called Czechoslovakia or the Czech Republic (plus, he wrote in German, again like Rilke). If this continues, we'll have to call Kant a Russion philosopher pretty soon--back to the puzzle...

Anonymous 11:25 AM  

I also did not understand the "medium" difficulty. With the exception of Luise Rainer, this one was almost like filling in the blanks on simple form. Ken, New York

HudsonHawk 11:26 AM  

@treedweller: Yes, I had the same issue with DINEDON. The clue would have been better as "had for supper" or even "enjoyed 44A".

Doug 11:37 AM  

Agree with everyone who thought this was a Mon. puzzle. Easier than yesterday. I only got tripped up at 25A putting in PLEATS instead of CREASE because I got GRADEA and AIRWAVES so quickly. SEX sells straightened me out. Otherwise pretty routine and not too many pretty cool clues.

fikink 11:41 AM  

@williameemba, exactly my experience with "memo" since so many of them seem to be four-corner SPAM
Agree with Rex re: END AT, sounds off to me, too. Had END ON, as in, "Let me END ON this note," and before this puzzle never connected HOW NOW BROWN COW with "The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plains."
@orange, ulrich, would have preferred Rilke clued, too.

jeff in chicago 11:42 AM  

Yes, a clever, tight theme. Pretty much filled from top to bottom, and did not see the connection coming until 61A. Well done.

Not thrilled with IDOTOO and ASIDO. And "Had for lunch" is solves the DINEDON problem easily. Hmmm...

Had GROOVY for GNARLY, but I'm a child of the '70s. I still flash the peace sign. My inner hippie lives on.

Zoe Caldwell won 4 Tonys, yet her Wikipeida entry is a mere 14 sentences. Seems a shame.

Kalaala 12:03 PM  

Rex, Your clip of Danny and the Jrs was fun, and I LOVED yesterday's video of the Spinners "I'll Be Around". More, more!

foodie 12:19 PM  

Reading this blog has added to my perfectionism (not always a good thing). So, on the positive side, I thought the topic was cute and I noticed the placement of the 4 theme answers and the final explanation, and was pleased that they were balanced in the grid. But I would have liked a more balanced mix of categories that end up INHOTWATER. Right now, there are 2 items related to food/drink (SPAGHETTI AND TEA), one item relating to that ingestive process (DIRTY DISHES) and then there is the unrelated LAWBREAKER... I think we need another human in there, maybe JANETLEIGH in Psycho, in the ultimate "hot water" scene...

I too really hesitated because of the Dinner-DINE combo.

Hop reminded me of the first week of college. I went from a french school in Damascus to the American University in Beirut. During orientation week, I got invited to a Sock Hop. Whaaat? I had mental images of people taking off their shoes and hopping like Kangaroos, and steeled myself for quite a ride with the wild and crazy Americans. Sometimes I still feel like I'm hopping more or less shoeless...

ronathan 12:21 PM  

I feel rather unimpressed with this puzzle. The theme was okay, with the only minor quibble being that 17A (LAWBREAKER) is the only theme answer that is in metaphorical HOT WATER, while the rest can be associated with actual HOT WATER.

The fill is what ruined it for me. I could forgive any one of these individually, but the combination of having I DO TOO, AS I DO, NO MSG, END AT, the atrocious EDW, and the aforementioned DINED ON with the word "dinner" used in its cluing, all together in the same puzzle just strikes me as being lazy constructing.

Overall, another case of good idea and bad execution.

Cheers,
Ronathan :-)

Wade 12:25 PM  

I knew an author from Prague, a very beautiful woman, who was imprisoned for being a hot Czech writer.

Sound after a hangup is a DIAL TONE only if your prefix is 555.

Werdsmith 12:42 PM  

No mention of the cute crossing of GLEN and NAES? Och! Aye...

Greene 12:49 PM  

What a difference a day makes. Sailed through this one top to bottom without a glitch. Liked the theme. Thought the fill was ok.

Note for future reference: I will not do puzzles while watching TV, I will not do puzzles while watching TV...

dk 1:18 PM  

@wade, thanks for the joke. I will use it to its fullest potential.

What is K.J.V.?

A substitute for MSG is raw sugar. They also put MSG on steaks although it has another brand name. It serves to open your taste buds, and give you the jitters.

Puzzle was easy and fun for me. Today I started with the downs (variety is the spice off life ya know) so I did not fall into the memo trap, although I would have.

Tried to find a clip of Arnold the Pig from Green ACRES but no luck.

fikink 1:23 PM  

@dk. King James Version
MSG=Accent

Anonymous 1:37 PM  

Why isn't the phrase "rounded vowel sounds" used to demonstrate rounded vowel sounds?

dk 1:42 PM  

@fikink, thank you and thank you.

archaeoprof 1:49 PM  

the mamas and the papas couldn't trust Mondays. But here in CrossWorld it's Tuesdays that we can't really count on. Sometimes it just turns out that way.

I enjoyed this one, especially because I didn't catch the theme until the end.

rafaelthatmf 1:57 PM  

[YAWN]. If not for the uplifting article in the Science section about a Chinese biologist who almost singlehandedly saved a population of langur monkeys from extinction I would want my $1.50 back. For all the bad news on the front page they should pay me!
I also enjoy how this site’s posters puzzle evaluations have evolved. Most positively insightful.

chefbea1 2:01 PM  

I agree - much easier than yesterday. I had inseam instead of crease but then did the downs and saw it was wrong.

Never use accent or msg. Do drink tea, eat spaghetti,and wash dishes.

Wade - hope everything is getting better in Texas and you get power back soon

Doc John 2:06 PM  

So there are complaints about SALIVA but none about SEX! I'm getting a feeling about this group...

I liked the NO MSG fill, especially since I had -OMSG and was wondering if I had written in something incorrect. Also in that corner was ID TAG, so the constructor had to come up with two abbreviated phrases that worked together.

Orange 2:08 PM  

Ulrich, I was going to call Rilke a German, but Wikipedia set me straight. Is Germanophone the German equivalent of Francophone and Anglophone?

Martin 3:07 PM  

@dk
The jitters thing is controversial -- double-blind studies have failed to demonstrate the supposed ill-effects. MSG, which was first extracted from kelp in Japan about a century ago, is prepared commercially from beets.

There's a ton of it in many fast foods, but fine chefs of any nationality won't use it because the flavor enhancement it imparts is one-dimensional. Japanese cuisine uses kelp, dried mushrooms, dried fish and other natural sources of "umami" for the depth of flavor that comes from glutamate and related amino acid derivatives. They point out that every cuisine uses ingredients with high natural levels of glutamate to increase savoriness, including veal stock, tomato paste and dried cheese. Chefs worldwide have discovered that glutamate-rich ingredients make diners' mouths water.

chefbea1 3:18 PM  

@martin that would be sugar beets not to be confused with the beets that we Rexites are constantly talking about

fergus 3:36 PM  

Martin,

I was going to chime in on the umami defense of MSG that was the major article in the Dining In/Out section recently. Personally, I don't care one way or the other, but MSG didn't have a good public relations agent for a long time here in the USA.

Moving to Southern California as a teenager I was keenly aware of the subtleties of new and varied slang, so I would have to say the most exact synonym for GNARLY is impressive. The kids up North don't seem to use it that much, but I am now getting used to the expression "That's sick," as in Very cool.

Other than HOOT, which I thought was the better Tuesday answer for a Barrel of laughs, I liked the flow of solving this puzzle. LOLL is not a word I hear Americans use, but Shortz must not find it strange to American ears.

EL GRECO would have to be labeled Spanish at this point, but I wonder which nationality has the best claim to Spinoza?

Two Ponies 3:44 PM  

@ jeff in chicago, as one old hippie to another, there was a bit of trivia on Jeopardy last night regarding the peace sign. They said it was derived from the letters N and D in semaphore and stands for nuclear disarmament. If that's true then it certainly is still relevent after all these years.

DES 3:48 PM  

Some day we should run a contest as to who can predict the most elements of Rex's commentary in advance. I had a good night in that regard, although I had expected some comment about the nice pairing of DIALTONE and AIRWAVES at the front and back crossings of DIRTYDISHES.

Agree with everyone else's issues re level of difficulty, etc. My favorite clue by far was for NOMSG.

foodie 4:15 PM  

My two cents re MSG, from two points of view. One is that some specific people are sensitive, at least to the commercially used powdered stuff. I know because my husband is like an assay for MSG, and when my son was little if a salad bar had MSG, it often triggered an asthma attack. So, unless the study was designed specifically to capture the response in people who are vulnerable, it can miss those effects.

Also, during specific periods in brain development there are groups of brain cells that are very sensitive to it and it can cause toxicity. In animal studies, they can totally disappear because an excess glutamate causes cells to fire too much and die. So, I guess I'm not recommending it...

mac 4:21 PM  

It's nice to see Rex in such a mellow mood, looking at the bright side at every turn!

I found it an easy, Tuesday-ey puzzle with some ugly (asido, idotoo, endat, in a) and pretty (gnarly, wallop, wring and aswarm, which I read as "as warm" a minute ago...).

@WEEmba, enjoyed the Chinese Restaurant story, and have always wondered how bad MSG was, never noticed anything myself. I'm cooking Indonesian tomorrow for a group of Dutch people, no MSG but plenty of sambal oelek and kroepoek.

Didn't Zoe Caldwell play in "Master Class" some years ago? Sorry to say I never saw her on the stage.

Doc John 4:25 PM  

@ two ponies- Stephen King in "Hearts in Atlantis" also mentioned that fact about the peace sign.

Ulrich 4:55 PM  

@orange: The German word for "Germanophone" is deutschsprachig ("in the German language"). I do not know if "Germanophone" is used in this sense in English--I've actually never heard it used.

@fergus: I'm not sure we should go down the nationality path since nationalities change in the course of history, whereas the culture in the context of which an artist works gets established at the time of his work--so, yes, El Greco is a Spanish painter, and Rubens a Flemish, not a Belgian one(yikes). That's why I find the sudden transformation of Kafka so grating.

Wade 5:04 PM  

I always ask for extra MSG. That gets you some funny looks.

Remember when Beavis and Butthead went to the job fair at the mall, and Butthead said, "These jobs suck! Everybody works in a booth!" Heh heh. Heh heh heh. Yeah, that's real funny until your power goes out for almost two weeks now and you have to go back to work at the mall and watch all the nubile teenage girls with their trendy eyewear making fun of you just like they did 25 years ago.

Anonymous 5:27 PM  

@foodie et al
Sock Hop = back in my formative years, the dances were held in the school gym, and to protect the floor we had to remove our shoes, thus *hopped around in our socks* to the music (at least until the wolly mammoths scared us off) ;-)

@rafelthatm (?)

If you think $1.50 is the entry fee, and find no other interest in the dead tree edition's other content, it might be more cost effective to look into the various xword only subscriptions.

Finally, Wikipedia

Cited often here, but given it's collabrative nature, I consider it informative, but not authoritive --- much like Google "hits".

.../Glitch

jeff in chicago 5:51 PM  

@two ponies: I have read that before about the peace sign. I have 2 shirts with that symbol on them, the newest being my Dennis Kucinich for President shirt! (Money well spent??)

I was referring in my post to the V-sign hand gesture, but all talk of PEACE is welcome as far as I'm concerned.

jae 6:05 PM  

Thought this was a pretty good puzzle, although more a Monday for me also. Did it faster than yesterdays. Briefly had PLEATS but other than that no hiccups.

Here is a discussion of the difference between EIRE and ERIN.

joho 6:05 PM  

@wade: it's a delight to see in the middle of all of your misery you are still funny.

God Bless You.

fergus 6:26 PM  

Ulrich, I agree. I was going to pull your leg about that Danish philosopher Nietzche, but then drifted elsewhere. (Spinoza spent his whole life, apparently, in Holland.) I've always been unconcerned about or even against the concept of nationality. And yet sensitive too, to some degree, since I'm in practice American, technically an alien, and with a recent heritage from somewhere else.

Bill from NJ 7:02 PM  

I didn't care much for this one. Good fill can redeem a less than strong theme and vice versa but neither of these things happened today.

I didn't like the fact that two theme elements were literal and one was metaphorical, too much ASIDO and bad three-letter fill, bristling with abbreviations and a continuing fascination with Luise RAINER.

I hope we have better luck tomorrow.

Janie 7:12 PM  

mac -- one of ms. caldwell's tonys was indeed for master class. here's a listing of her broadway credits (with a link to the awards she's won).

cheers --

janie

mac 7:42 PM  

@janie, thanks for the confirmation, I didn't see the play, to my regret, but I remember seeing pictures of this elegant, slim, Jackie O.-type woman doing the part.


@Wade: don't you even have airco in the mall? What are those teenage girls doing there? If there is no airco, they must be desperate.

@fergus: you sound so surprised that Spinoza spent his whole life in Holland. He was born there! I can tell you from experience that it is a wonderful place to live, be educated and fulfill your dreams. You just may not get as many $$$ for it as in the US, but you end up travelling a lot more, and retiring with a decent pension. He probably took his cue from Erasmus, who went back and forth between England and continental Europe, eventually dying and being buried in Basel.

mac 7:42 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Orange 7:53 PM  

Mac, I did another crossword the other day in which HOLLAND was clued as [Netherlands province], and supposedly Holland is not an official name of the nation. And yet you call it Holland. So does that mean we haven't all been wrong calling it Holland all these years?

fergus 7:54 PM  

Mac, when we were doing Descartes, Berkeley, Leibnitz, Kant, Hume, etc., my professor said he was Portugese, a notion that apparently stuck. Erasmus seems much more in the Dutch spirit, don't you think? Though when you get down to it, Spinoza's kind humanity and tolerance do strike me as consistent with the attributes I attribute to your ancestors. His exactitude and precision and superficial lack of humor may also have led me to believe he was other than Dutch. His tireless devotion to a grinding profession was inconclusive in the respect, however.

mac 8:45 PM  

@Orange: I did the same puzzle as well, Amy, and it seemed very odd to me. We call our country Nederland, and there are two provinces called Noord Holland and Zuid Holland. When I saw the clue and the number of spaces I thought Utrecht? Brabant? Drenthe? We would never take the Noord and Zuid away from these provinces.

And no, you can call it Holland, we are pretty comfortable with that. In fact, when asked where I'm from, I would say "Holland". The Netherlands sounds alien, and Nederland is not known abroad.

@fergus: I cannot claim to know either Spinoza or Erasmus very well, alas. I do think we have a sense of humor that is a little different, self-deprecating, and maybe a little harsh. We have very little patience with pomp and circumstance, hence the lack of statues in our country. We do give other-minded people a lot of time, though. Some would say to our detriment, but I don't think so.

fergus 9:05 PM  

Erasmus was a fun-loving rogue in my interpretation, like Voltaire. Or Ben Franklin.

Ovid seems like one of those classical writers who may have written in the same vein, though not as furiously as Dante did in between.

foodie 9:49 PM  

@Mac, I have a number of scientist colleagues/friends who are Dutch. They typically do very creative research, often slightly off the beaten track, which typically turns out to be more visionary than the currently official hot stuff. And I can totally see the kind of humor and directness you describe. I can hear one in particular who is quite nontraditional in his thinking. You say to him, often incredulously: "You really think this is related to that?" And he says with a touch of defiance and a little twinkle in his eyes :"Why not?"...(hear the Dutch rounding of the O). Why not indeed? Very refreshing.

It's remarkable to me how much a culture affects people's styles, their thinking and even their emotions.

mac 10:32 PM  

@foodie: which culture influenced you most and do you think living in the US for so many years has changed you? Sorry to put you on the spot, but I have such mixed emotions on so many levels, probably complicated by the fact that I have moved back to Europe several times.

andrea carla michaels 11:21 PM  

This seems bouncy to me in a nice way...
I liked all the compounds:
DIALTONE, HOWNOW, AIRWAVES, TEALEAVES, DIRTYDISHES.
Plus WALLOP packed a punch.

Learned SHIM and KJV (Not a Jewish thing, eh, DK?)
INA for Pig's eye, I don't like for reason's I can not quite put my finger on.

Hated the ASIDO, but they were trying to avoid a three word partial of "Do as I say, not..."
considering who would have all THREE words in it.
And yes, Dinner in the clue for DINEDON seemed a bit lax.

But in general I felt fun and bouncy.

MSG does exist and gives me a headache. First time I ever ate in a Chinese restaurant, (growing up in Mpls which had only ONE ethnic restaurant in the 70's which was Chinese and owned by the Goldens) I saw a dish of mustard.
Jewish deli mustard being my favorite thing in the world, I simply took an entire spoonful.
17 glasses of water and 18 years later, I ate in another Chinese restaurant.

foodie 12:27 AM  

Rex, please forgive the extra (and long) post today. But I hope it’s OK since it’s already tomorrow : )

@ mac, what an interesting question! I guess I’d say the mix of French and Arabic cultures originally defined my style and perspective (and my kids can readily point out those differences to me). It has also created the attachments to childhood places and people that are inexplicable and irreplaceable. I can fit right in whenever I go back to visit the Middle East, being in France feels wonderful, and being with my old friends from college makes me truly happy. But it’s also clear that the US is not only home, it’s one that has changed me profoundly. This may be particularly true because of the contrast between traditional cultural values and living in America, especially in the context of academia. I had to change, but I also wanted to. I appreciated some things that people take for granted which I could only dream of —e.g. the opportunity to carve your own path. I imagine that coming from the Netherlands with its very open culture, the differences in values are more nuanced, and that paradoxically may make it more conflicting.

In the end, I think what has influenced me most is the immersion in a multiplicity of cultures and my love of aspects of each of them…it taught me that there is more than one way to look at the world. This is probably at the core of my values.

fergus 1:19 AM  

.. the same genius and kindness you'll find in every corner of the earth, as Foodie recollects from her youth in Syria and dealing with the world as she grew older, which makes adolescence in California seem even more trifling.

Yet I recognize there's nothing else newer going on.

physsciteacher 1:44 AM  

@foodie

Your post filled me with hope for this great country even as we are currently in "IN HOT WATER"(700 billion bailout anyone?). I agree that it is the diversity of cultures that allows us to to at once develop an appreciation for all our unique and sometime strange differences and at the same time come to the realization that we share so many of the same hopes and dreams- especially for our children.

That's what I love about this blog - you can laugh yourself silly watching a video of Spicoli in the movie "Fast Times", ponder over Rex's analysis of clue wording, and end up shedding a tear over a heart-warming and hopeful post by one of the many wonderful commentators.

fergus 1:48 AM  

And reading what I wrote certifies me as a spoilt brat. There are so few brought in to the luxury of idle contemplation that I forget the privilege, since far too many betray their birthright, bypassing that nice French tense of noblesse oblige.

Catherine K 3:30 AM  

The saliva answer passed the breakfast test for me no problem. I sometimes actually drool at the kitchen table when I'm half asleep.

So I guess that's it for my insightful comments today. Goodnight all.

Orange 8:27 AM  

Catherine, I'm laughing!

Andrea, the problem is that the pig's eye ain't kosher.

foodie 1:49 PM  

@physsciteacher, thank you! Based on your name, I really like what you do. The way I try to pay back for my good fortune is to give opportunities to young people interested in science, from all over the world. Many have settled in the US. It's good for them and for us.

@andrea, I liked what I think was a typo. You said "But in general I felt fun and bouncy". I think you meant IT FELT... but it seems like a perfect slip.

@Orange, I had the same thought re Andrea and "in a pig's eye"-- non-Kosher and painful.

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