Wibble Wednesday: Exeunt Omnes (Genesis 47:28–50:26)

We’re now at פָּרָשַׁת ויחי (“And he lived” portion), bringing the book of Genesis to a close, so we’ll be picking up with a completely different section of Biblical narrative next time. Taste the excitement!

The quick snarky summary: A bunch of heretofore undeveloped characters get eleventh-hour descriptions, just in time for everybody to die.

Or, why “Isschar” isn’t a very common name


Idiots and Angels

[Screenshot]This is a rather odd creature: a silent, honestly fairly technically crude little allegory about good and evil, and how gifts are used. Because the art’s not deeply expressive and the characters don’t speak, emotion and attitudes have to be pretty simple and simply presented, so at any given point, each character is basically an archetype, and these archetypical modules get plugged together to form a story, which actually mostly works. It’s simplistic, but somehow rather affecting in its simplicity. It feels perhaps a bit long for what it is (in spite of not being all that long by feature-film standards) simply due to a certain monotony of style and slightness of story, but in spite of its crudity, there’s a sense of effectiveness about it in delivering its little fable. The lack of details creates a certain ambiguity in characterization and motivation at times, which perhaps serves to create a certain amount of suspense early on: what’s wrong with these people, we might wonder, to make them act as they do? All in all, this was an absorbing and quite imaginative take on animation-craft, and worthwhile. Bill Plympton is apparently best known for his shorts, and it kind of shows here, in that it starts to drag slightly, but his art is fundamentally sound.

A side note: Netflix really wants movies to have a cast, and was kind of flummoxed by the lack of either voice actors or body actors, which may be why they decided that this movie starred Tom Waits and Pink Martini.

See also: IMDB.

Bánh mì in Louisville (part 7 of an onging series): No-go at Cafe Thuy Van, Rereturn to Dong Phuong

So I continue to be awfully short on new places to go, at least until that Indocanadian French food truck gets out on the road. I finally got to Cafe Thuy Van several weeks ago: the bad news is that they don’t have most of the traditional sandwiches, although eventually I reckon I’ll go down and have one of their breakfast-like sandwiches. But a few weeks back I went down south on a shopping expedition, and went back to my old haunt, the deli counter at Dong Phuong.

[Photo of a sandwich from Dong Phuong]Dong Phuong (6705 Strawberry Lane) has, as has been discussed here before, a menu board with six varieties of bánh mì on, but they only seem able, at any given time, to make a small sampling of them. On this visit they had the cold-cut varieties which I’ve had before, but they were also equipped to make a xíu mại, which was a pretty solid bargain at $3. I was able to catch the counterworker off the phone early, so I didn’t have to wait around to place my order. Time passed swiftly in the company of an amiable local who was suspicious of the sandwiches but talked the counterworker into splitting a $5 Little Caesar’s pizza and bought my $2 bill off of me when I took it out to pay with.

So, since I was having a different sandwich than on the last two visits, the obvious question is: how was the meat? It was juicy to the point of being nearly runny, leading to a much moister sandwich than the cold-cut varieties, which actually worked out quite well: previous Dong Phuong sandwiches were a bit dry, without aggressive mayo, and with regard to the etceteras (mayo, fish sauce, pickles) this was no different, but the juicy crushed meatballs more than made up for the lack of sauces from a moisture-level perspective. Dong Phuong has demonstrated inconsistency in bread substantiality, and this time I was lucky to get a robust roll, since I imagine some of their “wonderbread-interior” rolls wouldn’t hold up to the liquid elements here. On pickles the sandwich was satisfactory but not inspired: I could’ve done with a touch more daikon. Cilantro was ample, and the overall flavor balance was nicely herbal in a way which worked well on a summer afternoon.

Dong Phuong continues to be a provisionally acceptable place, although in Iroquois that’s not high praise, I’m afraid. Althoguh many other places don’t do xíu mại, so if you’re hankering for that meat, this rises closer to the top. The inconsistency both in menu-item availability and bread quality continues to frustrate, but outside these parameters their sandwiches are actually pretty tasty. I’d actually give their xíu mại the nod over their cold-cut specialties, since it addresses some of the deficiencies I’ve noted before (particularly, the sparingness of the dressing).

Wibble Wednesday: Happy endings (Genesis 44:18–47:27)

The penultimate section of Genesis is פָּרָשַׁת ויגש (“Then he approached” portion), drawing the most dramatic section of this story to a close. It goes without saying I’ve liked the Joseph arc, which drew to its climax last week, and from here on most of the story is cleanup.

The quick snarky summary: Joseph threatens revenge on the one brother who maybe had nothing to do with his troubles in the first place. Things get heated and shouty, and Joseph finally decides he’s had his fun and brings his brothers in on the joke. We are told in far greater detail than is really necessary about the logistics of moving a household from Canaan to Egypt.

The triumphant and exciting conclusion!

Wibble Wednesday: Edmond Dantès goes to Egypt (Genesis 41:1–44:17)

This week I’ll be discussing פָּרָשַׁת מקץ (“Later” portion) which is a nice long, uninterrupted bit of cohesive narrative, stopping just short of the climax.

The quick snarky summary: Joseph, whose hardships have not exactly been onerous, continues to suffer the Least Unpleasant Slavery ever, where, after a short display of acumen, he becomes the second most powerful person in one of the Near East’s major empires. His family continues to be a bunch of well-off but not extraordinary nomadic herders, so they’re really no match for him when he decides it’s time to wreak a bit of vengeance. Jacob’s other sons continue to display the intelligence and good judgment that previously resulted in acts of genocide and unplanned pregnancies.

These dudes seriously deserve everything they get and then some

Wibble Wednesday: Kids These Days (Genesis 37:1–40:23)

Back onto a proper schedule, with פָּרָשַׁת וישב (“And he lived” portion), moving Jacob into the background as a minor character.

The quick snarky summary: Israel’s children continue to show appalling judgment. Young Joseph is a talebearer and a suck-up, so his brothers decide to sell him to slave traders. Sisters decide to do it for themselves: one of them nearly gets burned at the stake for her independence, and the other deflects blame onto Joseph. But he weathers prison well enough, trading dream interpretations for cigarettes.

Our horrible forbears