Co-munching in Thailand
The lukewarm rice porridge in my bowl had zero flavor. None. It was a study in sensory deprivation.
The lukewarm rice porridge in my bowl had zero flavor. None. It was a study in sensory deprivation.
March 20, 2007, marks the fourth anniversary of the Iraq War, and within these last few years, much has changed. Our country has been introduced to wiretapping, reacquainted with torture and has come to feel, overwhelmingly, that we have been lied to. Some argue that because of these things we are safer. Perhaps we are, but if that is so, it is at a cost, a cost we cannot fully calculate.
Screen It In Spanish--On Thursday, March 15, at 7 p.m., The National Hispanic Cultural Center will present the classic 1950 film El Capitán Veneno. The film tells the story of an embittered army captain who gets injured during one of the uprisings against Queen Isabel and becomes a guest of the generous Countess of Santurce. The film will be shown in the NHCC’s Bank of America Theater and is in Spanish with English subtitles. This screening is free and open to the public.
The Italian, a modestly mounted, emotion-driven tale of international adoption courtesy of Russia, will either be Angelina Jolie’s absolute favorite movie of the year or will flat-out horrify the curvy child magnet. I can’t decide which.
During my time spent as a poor Mexican child in Liberal Kansas, my family got our cable TV the old-fashioned way--we stole it. Well, technically, one person on our block paid for it, and the rest of us hooked our houses up to that person’s service. I can still remember the tangled knot of black cable which spider-webbed out from my neighbor’s porch to every other house on our block, bequeathing upon us all the gift of HBO and some new-fangled station called MTV. Every Friday and Saturday night I would camp out on the living room couch with a stack of comic books and some snacks and take in the awesome mind-bending power of stolen cable. Trash cinema classics such as Magic, Fun House and Basket Case attacked my young brain like a swarm of pissed-off killer bees and firmly imbedded themselves into the essence of my childhood. These flix played a large part in the development of my cinematic tastes and continue to shape how I look at film today. Plus, I got to see a helluva lot of boobs.
Remember Jeff Goldblum, star of The Big Chill, The Fly and Jurassic Park? Whatever happened to that guy? Well, he became Jeff Goldblum, star of Fay Grim, Mini’s First Time and Spinning Boris. While the ’80s and ’90s were kind to Mr. Goldblum (starring in blockbusters like Independence Day, marrying Geena Davis), the turn of the 21st century seems less so, confining the 6-foot-4 actor to a string of direct-to-video flicks.
One for the Road—It's an exciting time for local crooner Tommy Gearhart. Last September, he released a collection of standards called Autumn Serenade; his way of cracking open a window in a charming but creaky old house, inviting a fresh breeze to circulate through its rooms and ruffle the pages of the American song book. And now velvet-voiced Tommy will carry the torch of, well, torch jazz on a four-city tour across the Midwest (specifically, he'll light up Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, and Cincinnati).
Trumpeter, composer and educator Ralph Alessi doesn’t have a problem winging it.
For Nick Pena, frontman of Santa Fe's Latin rap-rock trio La Junta, school taught him a somewhat unintended lesson. "In high school," says Pena, "I was never really a good son or a good student. Looking back, I think that if it weren't for my art and music classes I wouldn't have stayed in school."
Eek-A-Mouse is still in Ketchum, Idaho, when we speak. It's hard to imagine what the 3,000 or so people who live in Ketchum think of the Mouse, a six-and-a-half foot Jamaican reggae legend. But Eek-A-Mouse loves the West. He declared himself a cowboy in the mid-’90s and has donned a cowboy hat ever since. He's been on tour for about three weeks now, though really, he says, the road has been his home for the last 30 years or so. "That's how it goes," he says. "It's my life."
For a variety of users, from joggers to coyotes, the UNM golf course offers a green sanctuary amidst the city’s drab concrete and urban sprawl. Some call it Albuquerque’s “Central Park.” Now the pastoral north campus course may be in danger, among speculation that the university is considering the site for future development.
Towne Park resident Scott Varner says every board needs a watchdog.
For the last two years in his neighborhood, that watchdog's been him. He's seen a Homeowners Association run amok, with rules and regulations so strictly interpreted that talking with your neighbors by your mailbox was considered loitering, a handful of weeds could get you fined and Christmas invitations were referred to as "solicitation." Varner saw a board that perpetuated itself, keeping the same players in power, a microcosm of democracy gone awry. Varner's newsletter decrying the board resulted in a fine, which gave him cause for arbitration last summer.
Jowls Aquiver—Can it really be front-page news that a high school hip-hop club put out a track with sexual content and the word "ass"? The biggest, oldest, lamest daily in the state stuck it in the feature space under the clever photo caption "Hip-hop Headache," Thursday, March 8.
The e-mail about one of my columns came from Paul Gessing. I recognized the name instantly. I knew him to be the director of Government Affairs for the National Taxpayers Union. I had read his op-eds in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. I wrote back, asking how a column in our humble alternative weekly paper had come to his attention two thousand miles away in Washington, D.C. He answered that he was writing from Albuquerque, where he had recently taken over as president of the Rio Grande Foundation.
People attending the March 5 Council meeting found stacks of 103-page, ring-bound proposals presenting Mayor Martin Chavez' General Obligation bond. They also found single-sheet handouts from the City Council announcing that a budget compromise had been reached that afternoon.
Ben Altamirano of Silver City is the Democratic leader of the New Mexico State Senate. As President Pro Tempore he seconded the motion to have our Legislature call upon Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney. The resolution passed its first committee hearing 5-0. It sailed through two more committee hearings and gathered momentum on its way to the Senate floor.
Dateline: Serbia--Vampire hunters, fearful that late dictator Slobodan Milosevic would return from the grave as a bloodthirsty member of the undead, rammed a wooden stake through the former Serbian president’s corpse. Miroslav Milosevic, no relation to the deceased dictator, gave himself up to police after an investigation was launched into why a 3-foot-long wooden pole had been driven into the ground of Milosevic’s grave. The living M. Milosevic claimed he and his fellow vampire hunters acted to prevent S. Milosevic from “returning from the dead” to haunt the country. Slobodan Milosevic’s Socialist Party of Serbia, which led the country to civil war and oversaw the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, condemned the desecration of the grave in the eastern town of Pozarevac. Slobodan Milosevic’s daughter-in-law Milica Gajic said she planned to sue the vampire hunters and accused the police of failing to protect the grave properly. Milosevic died on March 11, 2006, while on trial before a U.N. war crimes tribunal.
Abstraction in Action—This week, Artspace 116 opens an exhibit of abstract paintings by Lilly Fenichel. Fenichel moved from Vienna to Britain during World War II and then migrated to California in the early '40s. A key figure in the abstract expressionist movement in San Francisco, Fenichel now lives in New Mexico where she continues to create art. A reception for her exhibit will be held this Friday, March 16, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Artspace 116 is located at 116 Central SW. For details, go to www.artspace116.org or call 245-4200.
Like most faux-adobe structures in Albuquerque, The Box looks just like a box. For years, the building housed a video rental store. If not for a simple twist of fate, it would have become a boxing gym. Last month, Doug Montoya and Kristin Berg met the landlord by accident and convinced him to let them transform the space into Albuquerque's newest theater.
As a wise man once said, “When in Rogue, do as the Rogue do.” This is old-proverb-speak for “Northwest breweries should stick with the badass bitter beers they're known for.” Just look at Rogue Brewery’s OG flagship brews Shakespeare Stout, Brutal Bitter and Old Crustacean, all of them harsh, complex and consistently on point. But with their newest concoction, Monk Madness, the preeminent Oregon tastemakers at Rogue have continued to stray from their roots to unimpressive results. Right now, every American brewer and his mother seems to think it’s his right, or obligation, to try his hand at a Belgian-style ale. The results can be disastrous for one simple reason: Belgian ales, even the strongest of the bunch, have a subtlety and traditional pureness to them that the American ruffian brewer can’t recreate. Rogue’s tribute to the Belgian ale, for instance, hinges on five varieties of malts and five different hops—an ambitious recipe on paper that damn well goes too far. The deep velour and rippled brown color is off-putting, the sour bite of it is upsetting. Everything about the burnt-caramel hop flavor and slightly hopped-up, nutty booziness screams "identity crisis," like an American playboy vacationing in an ancient monastery—and without the basic decency to learn Flemish. The fact is, Rogue’s ever-expanding list of beers seems more and more like an excursion from what they are known for, and what they do best.
I’ve always been curious to know what sort of food is served to people in jail. I couldn’t imagine inmates having a make-your-own-omelet bar or anything, but I think we're also past the days when the chain gang stopped at noon for porridge.
Over his long career as a cult filmmaker, David Lynch has done some incredibly intriguing films (Blue Velvet, Mulholland Dr.) and some incredibly inaccessible films (Lost Highway, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me). Admittedly, the line separating these two is a razor-thin one. Aside from a couple brief diversions into “mainstream” cinema (1980’s The Elephant Man, 1999’s The Straight Story), Lynch’s films have all been hallucinogenic film noir nightmares filled with freakshow symbolism, nonlinear storytelling and a hazy aura of decayed decadence. Lynch’s new effort, Inland Empire, certainly follows that trend--although I’m still trying to figure out whether it’s of the intriguing or inaccessible variety. Both, I suspect.
This week, the Alibi puts Bill Richardson on the operating table, slices him open and pokes at his innards to determine whether or not he's got what it takes to be the next President of the United States. Special thanks to Christie Chisholm, Jessica Cassyle Carr, Amy Dalness and Marisa Demarco for helping me undertake this delicate procedure.
Like many of her Navajo neighbors in Burnham, N.M., Victoria Alba has no electricity or running water in her home. Yet, from her window, she can see the permanent black cloud that hovers low over the landscape, belched from the two coal-burning power plants nearby.
From One Who Knows—The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) might seem like an impregnable fortress to public access channels and stations—or even to someone like me or you, who might want to call and give the commission a what-for on occasion. It's highly ironic that the organization overseeing the United States’ most powerful means of communication has few meaningful contact numbers or e-mail addresses available on its website.
Within the institution of time-keeping, its manipulation in favor of daylight savings was originally suggested in 1784 by Benjamin Franklin in a cheeky letter to the editor of the Journal of Paris, where he indicated the change would save wax. The first honest-to-goodness proposal that we change our clocks, however, came from Brit William Willett in the early 20th century but wasn't implemented until World War I, when Germany used Daylight Saving Time to conserve coal. The United Kingdom soon followed suit, as did Newfoundland and the United States.
The New Mexico state quarter, slated to be released in 2008, is in the final stages of design. The last options for the coin are four variations of a zia overlapping an outline of New Mexico, three out of four also containing the phrase "Land of Enchantment." It's an accurate depiction of our state perhaps; but interesting? By no means.
Dateline: Japan--Officials at the Tama Zoo in Tokyo recently decided to try out a live safety drill, but the ridiculous scenario ended up leaving dozens of schoolchildren in tears. The idea was to test the readiness of zoo staff in the event of a dangerous animal escape. The staff was taking part in a make-believe scenario in which a strong wind blows a tree over in the orangutan enclosure providing one of the occupants with a ramp to escape over the perimeter fence. The creature in this particular instance was played by a zoo employee in an oversized orange orangutan costume. Despite the fake ape’s cartoonish appearance, the acting was apparently convincing enough to frighten a school party, which happened to be inside the zoo at the time. After racing around the grounds, the faux-furred “orangutan” seized a member of the staff before meeting his match in a zookeeper armed with a tranquilizer gun. Unfortunately, this King Kong-like finale was greeted with hysteria among the young crowd who, as they watched the drama unfold, were completely convinced of the animal’s “demise.” It took some time for staff to circulate and reassure the audience that the horror had all been a fantasy.
Q: Dear CBA,
I’ve been wondering for a while what the deal is with fish sauce. How can something that smells so gross be so popular? I mean, it smells like extra-putrid rotten fish. I’ve tried cooking with it, and the food ends up tasting like fish sauce smells.
I love Thai food, and I know they use a lot of fish sauce, so I’m wondering how they get away with it?
—Not Quite Hooked
A: Dear Unhooked,
I’ve experienced the same phenomenon, so I sympathize. The trick to using fish sauce is that you add a few drops to dishes that have strong flavors in other ways, and the power of the competing flavors balances out.
I cannot make a decent crêpe. And it’s not for lack of trying, let me assure you. I remember being 19 years old, standing in the industrial kitchen of my culinary school in a starchy white jacket and houndstooth pants, staring at the cracks in the mahogany-tiled floor. My least favorite instructor was publicly humiliating me for forgetting to “snap” my wrist when I flipped the pan. My lack of snap had resulted in yet another charcoal doily instead of the mouth-watering, lacy brown creation we all coveted.
Imagine a place where healthy food actually tastes good. Where chocolate shakes are as nutrient-packed as a shot of wheatgrass, and burgers are as guiltless as broiled chicken breast. In your dreams, right? Think again.
Day of the Woman--Maiden Fest and Sol Arts are celebrating International Women’s Day with “songs to wage peace, poetry and short films.” The event will take place Thursday, March 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Sol Arts (712 Central SE). No word on what sort of films will be shown, but I’m guessing they’ll be ... you know, womany.
Like 2005’s Sin City, 300 is based on a graphic novel by comic book icon Frank Miller. Like Sin City, 300 replicates Miller’s original work nearly panel-for-panel. Like Sin City, 300 is shot in a highly stylized manner, utilizing greenscreens/bluescreens and digitally fabricating the backgrounds on computer. Like Sin City, 300 distills extraordinary violence and blunt sexuality into a man-sized shot of cinematic adrenaline. In other words: Whoa!
If you’ve ever been in an Asian gift shop, brushing past the “Hello Kitty” merchandise in search of delicious, delicious Pocky, then you’ve undoubtedly run across the character Pucca. Despite appearances, Pucca is not actually an offshoot of the all-powerful Sanrio corporation (makers of Hello Kitty, Pochacco, Badtz-Maru and all things übercute). The big-headed cartoon girl in the traditional Chinese garb and the odango atama (“dumpling head”) hairstyle (think Princess Leia) is actually the creation of the South Korean company Vooz. Having conquered the realm of merchandising (T-shirts, dolls, stationary, coin purses, adhesive bandages, cell phone straps), Pucca has made the leap to animation, landing her own cartoon series, currently airing on Toon Disney’s late-night Jetix block.
Where There's Smoke—A new University-area hookah bar called Hunab Hookah is catering to the 18-plus crowd with live music. (Don't fret, there's no booze at this place—just flavored tobacco called "shisha.") The space is at 3400 Constitution NE, just west of Carlisle, which you may remember has housed several coffee bar-lounge-type establishments over the past several years, including the popular but short-lived Café Riviera. Give it a spin this weekend as local hippies Meat the Vegans play a CD release show on Saturday, March 10. The show is listed from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., but that seems like a typo. Maybe it’s not. $4 at the door gets you in. Call 232-0223 for more details, or log on to www.hunabhookah.com.
at www.myspace.com/deepfromwithin. (LM)
Sandra Velasquez arrived in New York in 1999 and developed a longing. Brooklyn’s streets lacked familiar Mexican restaurants, dishing up grub on every corner. The large Caribbean-Latino population spoke Spanish with a different accent. Most importantly, the music of her youth wasn’t blaring from car stereos. “Even though I had traveled around the globe, it wasn’t until I moved to New York that I felt really far away from Mexican culture.”
Tabla, acoustic and electric guitars, alto and tenor saxes, palmas, synth, Fender Rhodes, vibraphone and marimba, bongos, cajón, kora, djembe, telephone (and more) ... the list of instruments and musicians appearing on bassist Jon Gagan’s latest release, Transit 2, takes up most of a CD panel. For Gagan, a Santa Fean whose background is heavy in jazz and funk, the multicultural instrumental palette reflects the world of influences informing his compositions, and a determination to break out of the confines of genre.
Cashew Van Harding and the rest of his band, The Prix (pronounced the "pree"), were sitting by the radio, anxiously waiting to hear their first radio single on Los Angeles' famed KROQ. When the time came, the DJ announced the song as "the latest from The Pricks." "We were all excited and then there it was, 'The Pricks,' right off the bat," Van Harding, the band's lead singer, says. "We're not opposed to maybe changing the name to 'The Grand Prix' so people get the idea, but we'll see."
The Sweet Taste of Free—As I'm sure you're already aware, Global DanceFest is back in Albuquerque courtesy of the fine folks over VSA Arts of New Mexico. This time around, some of the featured performers will be offering classes to local dance enthusiasts. The best part? The classes are absolutely free.
You might expect an exhibit of medical photographs to be gruesome—or, at the very least, disconcerting. In this regard, Extraordinary Bodies, a show at the Albuqeurque Museum, doesn't disappoint.
In the ever-changing anteroom of the Great American Novel, young just got younger, and what it means to be an American broadened significantly. On Thursday, Granta magazine announced the lineup for their second Best of Young American Novelists issue at New York’s Housing Works Bookstore.
The year was 1991. I was parked on the couch in my hammer pants (they made great jammies) waiting for my dad to return from his bimonthly trip to Sam’s Club before I was forced to eat my brother (also wearing hammer pants) with a side of honey mustard sauce. Our household food supply was at a critical level. Dad finally came bebopping through the door and threw something in my lap on his way to the kitchen. It was a clear plastic packet filled with red and white strips of … krab?
Earlier this year, in a show of its space combat prowess, China obliterated one of its own satellites 500 miles above the Earth’s surface with a ground-based missile.
The term “space colonization” has been declared off-limits in polite society. The “c-word” is supposed to invoke all the terrible aspects of old-fashioned imperialism, particularly European imperialism. One notes that neither the Japanese nor the Turks nor the Russians feel particularly guilty about their now defunct empires. Even in Europe, the epicenter of the guilt trip questions now being asked, there was a major debate in France last year over whether the “positive aspects of colonialism” should be taught in schools.
The new Mexico Museum of Space History--the jewel of Alamogordo--sits perched at the foot of the Sacramento Mountains, looking over a veritable sea of decaying corrugated metal.
Earlier this month, the Alibi ran an article that focused on a single child support case in New Mexico, the case of Jessica Sanchez and her two children [News Feature, “Show Mom the Money,” Feb. 8-14]. The New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) did not respond to calls before the article went to print, but later contacted the Alibi with their comments. Katie Falls, deputy secretary of the HSD, and Betina Gonzales McCracken, HSD communications director, spoke with us about the article and child support in New Mexico.
Before David Schmidly looms a large and daunting goal: solving UNM’s “diversity problems.”
I’m writing this at the Flying Star in Downtown Albuquerque. I came to get a slab of their awesome strawberry rhubarb pie and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I ended up with a headache instead.
At the Feb. 21 meeting, Councilor Don Harris sponsored an extended moratorium on construction in Tijeras Arroyo and a bill authorizing a study of whether the speed humps in his district actually work. Both bills passed unanimously.
I knew Ritchie McKay’s father, Joe, when I was a UNM undergrad living in the Mesa Vista dormitory back in the early ’60s. I and all of our fellow residents liked Joey.
Ed Mazria takes global warming seriously. The Santa Fe architect is taking carbon emissions so seriously he’s brought his fight to reduce carbon emissions to the rest of the planet.
John Bear Loses His Head--So I'm mad at the televison news again.
Dateline: Serbia--A routine appendix operation in the Serbian capital of Belgrade turned into a knockdown, drag-out brawl after two surgeons abandoned a patient on the operating table to settle their dispute outside. Surgeon Spasoje Radulovic was operating when his colleague Dragan Vukanic entered and made a remark that started a quarrel, said the anesthesiologist on duty. “At one moment, Vukanic pulled the ear of the operating doctor, slapped him in the face and walked out,” she told the daily Politika. Radulovic followed Vukanic and an all-out fight ensued, resulting in bruises, a split lip, loose teeth and a fractured finger. The routine appendix operation was eventually completed by the attending assistant doctor.
Petroleum Requiem—For a little more than half a century, the Petroleum Club served as a central gathering spot for ladies who lunched in neat, white cotton gloves; bridge games with high social stakes; and steak-and-martini business lunches that had historic consequences for our city. The members-only restaurant was at one time attended by the city's most well-heeled and influential people, making the Petroleum Club a well-oiled social machine of the first order.
“Drink what you like” is an old adage in the wine community, meaning you should drink the type and kind of wine that you enjoy. What nonsense! You want to know what all the cool kids (mainly me) are drinking and what great wines I collect and drink, so let’s change that adage to: “Drink what I like.” It’s only natural for people to want to know what the fabulous people are doing. And now that I have obtained my allotments from the local stores, I am happy to let you fight over what's left. Let me give you an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at what I bought this past year to grace my fabulous wine cellar.
Writing and Film--“1000 Palabras,” a film screening/discussion, will kick off the National Hispanic Cultural Center’s Women & Creativity festival (a collection of films, concerts, dance performances, book readings, panel discussions and more running March 1-11). “1000 Palabras” is an attempt to interrelate the fields of film and literature. Venezuelan writer Silda Cordoliani (Babilonia, Simon Bolivar: Un Relato Ilustrado) will speak about how the classic 1945 Mexican film Canaima, directed by Juan Bustillo Orohas, influenced her creative process and shaped her work. The screening will begin at 7 p.m. at the NHCC’s Bank of America Theater (1701 Fourth Street SW). Discussion to follow. For complete information on Women & Creativity, log on to www.nhccnm.org.
You know what’s scary? War in the Middle East. Rabid junkyard dogs. Current pictures of Britney Spears. You know what’s not scary? Numbers.
One of the few small surprises dotted throughout last Sunday’s 79th Annual Oscar telecast was that the obscure German film The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen) surged past its category’s most high-profile entrant, Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, to nab the Best Foreign Language Film award.
When this particular TV season started, back in September/October, NBC raised eyebrows for programming not one but two shows about the behind-the-scenes action at a “Saturday Night Live”-esque sketch comedy. One, “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” was an hour-long drama by TV wunderkind Aaron Sorkin (“The West Wing”). The other, “30 Rock,” was a half-hour sitcom by former “SNL” writer Tina Fey.
The Disco Balls Come Down—The bar door was wide open when I arrived at the Albuquerque Mining Company (AMC) one bright Sunday afternoon last October. Peering in, I saw a small gaggle of men in cut-off jeans and high-top sneakers, armed with brushes, rollers and buckets of paint.
One hour after Albuquerque alternative-pop sensations Ki broke up, ex-members Orio, Powell and Bradshaw, along with other former "lynchpin" musicians from HATEengine, Aisling and This Life (both from El Paso), created Mechanism Of Eve. See their first show ever Thursday, March 1, at the Launchpad. (LM)
Search for "August Spies" and you're not going to come up with an Albuquerque band bent on smart, tight songs—songs that kick over the genre trashcans as they run rowdy down Pop Ave.
I like to believe that, in my daily life, I exercise at least a small degree of free will and have some say in what my body does or does not do. So you can imagine my surprise when I found myself in a dive bar on my hands and knees, waiting for the Red Elvises' Igor Yuzov to sing the chorus to "Rocket Man," which would serve as the audience's cue that it was permissible to stop wallowing on the filth-coated floor. It is rare to see a band with that much control over a crowd (of 200-plus people, no less), but for these surf-rockabilly purveyors, it happens every night they put on a show.
Joan La Barbara hasn't been nervous about getting up in front of an audience and doing unusual things for many years. In the old days, the early ’70s, sometimes people would giggle. "I haven't gotten that reaction in a very long time," she says.
Adventures in Birdland—Suzanne Sbarge once again uncages her otherworldly birds for a one-woman exhibit opening this week at Mariposa Gallery (3500 Central SE). Her collage paintings conjure up dreamy sequences that are simultaneously homey and adventurous. The new show is called Breathing Space. If you haven't seen Sbarge's work, you're advised to attend the reception this Friday, March 2, from 5 to 8 p.m. If you have seen her work already, then I'm guessing your calendar is already marked. The show will run through the end of the month. For details, call 268-6828.
On the surface, the premise of Craig Wright's Orange Flower Water sure sounds like a big fat bore, doesn't it? Two couples live in a tiny, suburban-esque town in Minnesota. Inevitably, two of them begin an affair, and all four begin taking long turns at the pity machine, wallowing in either guilt or victimization, depending on their mood from moment to moment.
This witty and useful guide to a gentleman's etiquette runs the gamut from pickup basketball (don't call ticky-tack fouls) to ’do rags (if you're white, don't) to eating sushi (don't rub your sticks together). Long sections are devoted to eating and office life, with shorter chapters focusing on relations between the sexes, social events and, thank god, techniquette.