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Finnegans Wharf: Man, I am never going to Fisherman's Wharf again if I can avoid it. We went there yesterday and it was overpopulated. However during that trip I got to hang out with my uncle Robert, which was nice. Sumana comes in and looks at the text box I'm writing and says that I shouldn't say I don't want to go there anymore, having only been during big tourist days. But during those visits I've now seen everything I want to see, so why go again? I don't eat seafood so that's not a reason.

We went to the Múséé Mécháníqúé. I have been thinking about the penny arcade (now quarter arcade) entertainments on display there, trying to take them in the context of their time, and it's not working very well. My closest frame of reference would be old video games (in fact, they had some old video games there). But most old video games are still fun, and they're fun multiple times. Whereas all but the most complex mechanical entertainments at the Múséé are only fun once, if that. Some of them were really boring and repetitive, not even interesting on a mechanical level; I say this as a person who likes watching model trains.

But unlike video games, penny arcade machines were probably something you'd only see once a year, at the fair or on a vacation. In that context it makes sense to pay a cent to see something once, even if it turned out to be a cheap thrill you wouldn't want to repeat.

I think the best pieces at the Múséé were the music boxes. There were three "execution" diorama machines and my mother watched all three of them. I guess the entertainment-crazed populace needed to be weaned off of live public executions somehow.

[Comments] (1) My Favorite Wife: This was a weird, weird movie. At almost any point it could have become a noir thriller: the main character would be forced by his own spinelessness to kill someone, and the noir would start. But since it's not a Coen brothers movie that didn't happen. Instead, the characters constructed big tissues of lies which were destroyed and constructed again. It starts out awful Marx Brothers and soft focus sentimentality (which I guess is just the other aspect of awful Marx Brothers; hey, remember those Marx Brothers movies near the end, hideous in form, where Harpo's character was actually named "Wacky"?) but as you get used to it it becomes a sort of relentless psychological slapstick that dies out at the end.

For the first third of the movie I was driven mad by the voice of the male lead. Who was it he sounded like? Then Sumana told me: he sounds like Tony Curtis' imitation of Cary Grant in Some Like it Hot. Because he is Cary Grant. I had never seen Cary Grant in a movie before, except when I was very young.

[Comments] (1) Fast Hot Chili: This recipe is derived from a really complicated recipe for a non-chili black bean soup from a Greens cookbook. I got rid of most of the complicated steps and now it's made almost entirely from things that come in cans. The other recipe is worth making but it's not hearty like a chili, and it's really inconvenient to make without a food mill.

Saute a diced onion and 1 t oregano in 2 T olive oil. Add 2 chipotle peppers with sauce and 2 chopped serrano peppers and 3 chopped cloves garlic and 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes with juice. Simmer this for a while.

Then prepare in a big pot: 2 cans drained kidney beans, 2 cans black beans with juice, 1 package fake ground beef, and 2 cups vegetable broth. You could substitute the kidney bean juice for the vegetable broth, but I've never trusted kidney bean juice. You could also omit the vegetable broth altogether. Heat this up a little so it'll be about the same temperature as the stuff in the skillet.

Then dump the skillet contents into the big pot and cook a little longer. Puree some of the chili and/or add crushed up tortilla chips to make it thicker. Eat with avocado/chopped tomatoes/sour cream/etc. This is pretty hot; the hotness dial is the serrano peppers if you want to change it.


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