Monthly Archives: September 2015

Book Acquired Recently: Mennonite Community Cookbook

Showalter, Mary Emma. Mennonite Community Cookbook. Scottdale: Herald, 1950.

I received this classic of Mennonite cooking from a colleague who had it but did not use it, and knows I am a Mennonite and thus thought I would be interested in it. I grew up with my mother using a number of recipes from her well-worn copy, and some of the first dishes I ever learned to cook (most notably meatloaf) were from it. I am very happy to now have my own copy. This one is from the twenty-fifth printing in July, 1980. The book is a revision of Showalter’s M.A. thesis in Home Economics and collects recipes from Mennonite women all over the U.S. and Canada, so aside from being a good cookbook it is also an important early Mennonite feminist text.

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Book Acquired Recently: Jeff Gundy’s Abandoned Homeland

Gundy, Jeff. Abandoned Homeland. Huron: Bottom Dog, 2015.

Gundy’s seventh full-length collection of poetry (to go along with four chapbooks) just came out, and of course I ordered it right away (from amazon.com) because he is one of my favorite poets. It is his second collection to be published in the past two years, as Somewhere Near Defiance came out in 2014. One of the reasons I love Gundy’s work is that he writes eloquently about place, and judging from the title of the new book it also examines this theme. Abandoned Homeland is his third collection with Bottom Dog Press (Inquiries and Rhapsody with Dark Matter are the others), one of the numerous small presses that do the essential work of keeping poetry in America alive. Unfortunately I won’t have time to read it for several weeks, but I can’t wait to do so!

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Books Acquired Recently

Ingraham, Garrett. This is a Microphone Stand. Utica: VBLP, 2015.

Ingraham is the co-owner of the Tramontane Cafe in Utica and a regular reader at the weekly Utica Poets Society open mic. His chapbook of poems was released last week and I bought a copy for $5.00. Upon flipping through it I discovered that it includes a number of photographs and illustrations along with the poetry, which is a feature that I wish more books of poetry would emulate.

Mirskin, Jerry. In Flagrante Delicto. DuBois: Mammoth, 2008.

Mirskin gave a poetry reading at Utica College yesterday and I really enjoyed his work. Aside from the good poems, he was wearing an attractive, simple, peach-colored button-down short-sleeve shirt. Also, he was born in the Bronx like me, so it was an easy decision to buy one of his books.

Yanagihara, Hanya. A Little Life. New York: Doubleday, 2015.

I recently read a review of this novel, which is one of the nominees for this year’s Booker Prize. It sounds interesting and I haven’t read any recent British literature in a while, so I decided to buy it. It is lengthy enough that I probably won’t be able to read it until the holiday break after the semester.

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The 2015 New York Mets: One Month To Go

Wilmer Flores, Mets folk hero. Image ©MLB Advanced Media

Wilmer Flores, Mets folk hero.
Image ©MLB Advanced Media

It has been a weird, strange season for the Mets. They have had the highs of a franchise record-tying 11-game winning streak, several 7-game winning streaks, sweeping a season series against a National League team for the first time ever (they went 7-0 against Colorado), and historic (team-wise) home run production. They have had the lows of Zack Wheeler missing the season due to Tommy John surgery, of being no-hit, having long stretches when it was rare for them to score even three runs per game, and being swept by two other playoff contenders, the Pirates and the Cubs. They just won 20 games in August, their first 20-win month since 2000, the last time they made the World Series. They now have a Tug McGraw-esque folk hero in the nearly-traded Wilmer Flores. If they win the National League East (Old Man Voice: “Back in my day, they called it the National League Eastern Division”), Sandy Alderson has to be Executive of the Year for his shrewd trade deadline deals and timely call-up of Michael Conforto, and Terry Collins will be a strong candidate for Manager of the Year despite his consistent inability to properly manage the bullpen (including last night’s loss to the Phillies, when his decision to bring in Bobby Parnell to pitch the sixth inning was a blatantly obvious disaster waiting to happen that then promptly happened).

Going into tonight’s game with the Phillies, the first place Mets have a 6.5 game lead over the Nationals with 30 games to play. The Nationals have a game in hand (their game tomorrow against Atlanta), and play the Mets six more times this year. Therefore, in a worst-case scenario where the Nationals win tomorrow and then sweep the remaining games with the Mets, the division title comes down to which team plays better over their 24 other games. The Mets have four games against the Reds and three against the Yankees, with the rest of their games being against the Marlins, Braves, and Phillies, while the Nationals have three games against the Orioles and a make-up game against the Reds, with the rest of their games being against the Marlins, Braves, and Phillies. So the Reds might play a bizarrely pivotal role in the race, but it is appropriate that for the most part the division title will be decided by which team does a better job of beating up on the rest of the division.

I feel good about the Mets’ chances. Their recent bullpen additions should help shore up their recently shaky relief pitching (which still isn’t as shaky as the Nationals’, as the Washington ‘pen has blown late multi-run leads the past two nights), their starting rotation has been excellent and will be strengthened by Steven Matz’s return this weekend, and their offense is now respectable, and will get even more dangerous once Lucas Duda returns from the disabled list.

The past month as the Mets have moved back into first place has been incredibly fun for me as a fan. It reminds me of the vibe from back in the mid-1980s as a kid when they were always in the hunt, and there was always that delicious pennant race excitement. It makes it hard to concentrate on anything else. Let’s Go, Mets!

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