Metatalktail Hour: Dinner Party April 28, 2018 6:32 PM   Subscribe

Good Saturday evening, MetaFilter! I forgot to write down whose question this was, but someone (who should feel free to out themselves in the comments) wanted me to ask you the classic dinner party question: If you could have any three people, living or dead, at your dinner party, who would they be and why? (You can pick more than 3. Or less than 3. Or really any number, I don't know why I said 3.) For bonus points, would you have a menu in mind?

Or, just talk about whatever's on your mind, as long as it isn't politics!
posted by Eyebrows McGee to MetaFilter-Related at 6:32 PM (125 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

After I forgot to do these until super-late like three weeks in a row I finally set an alarm that has been reliably reminding me to post my metatalktails at a reasonable hour, but I think I accidentally turned it off this week! So sorry I'm a bit late today!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:34 PM on April 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


You said 'three' because it's a magic number. Yes it is.
posted by ardgedee at 6:54 PM on April 28, 2018 [5 favorites]


I'd choose "living".

Why yes, I am a dad
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:00 PM on April 28, 2018 [30 favorites]


I've been hosting a lot of dinner parties lately with friends and they've been awesome and so I have to say that hosting dinner with three good friends sounds better to me than hosting dinner for strangers, no matter how fascinating they are, because I'd get all neurotic about my cooking and the state of my house and such. So: Three good friends who appreciate good but not super-fancy cooking and who laugh a lot, that is who (whom? It's "whom," right?) I would pick.

If someone else were hosting, I might branch out more, but I wouldn't want to dictate whom someone else should be inviting over, so I'd try to be happy with whoever ("whomever"? Dammit, why did I start caring?) showed up.

This question is relevant to my activities today because I went wine-tasting with a friend and two of her co-workers, and she kind of invited them to a dinner party at my place. It was a vague enough invitation that I can easily wiggle out of it, in large part because, you know, she was inviting them to not-her house, which is weird, but I guess she's been talking up my cooking/hosting to them, and it kind of had the vibe of "Ooh, we should all go to this great restaurant I love!", which was flattering. But I'm not sure about hosting people I don't know all that well, even if they all work in wine and would bring very lovely bottles over. They are nice enough, though. We'll see.

There have been super-dramatic clouds today and the sun is setting and sunset-light filtering through the clouds is hitting the trees and four-foot-high wild grass outside in mega-dramatic ways right now, and the greens look super-saturated and the highlights are almost silver they're so bright. Very Andrew Wyeth.
posted by lazuli at 7:04 PM on April 28, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'd choose "living".

So picky! What about the living dead?
posted by ghost phoneme at 7:05 PM on April 28, 2018


They're so hard to cook for!
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:09 PM on April 28, 2018 [3 favorites]


I've always felt like I have a lot of questions for Pontius Pilate, Judas, and St. Paul.

I'd make salmon en papillote because it's easy and tastes good and I hear people in the Ancient Near East ate a lot of fish. (I'd make mine with chicken, tho.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 7:09 PM on April 28, 2018 [3 favorites]


They're so hard to cook for!

That said, I'm now curious about barbecuing brains in my smoker....
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:10 PM on April 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

Living:
1. Serena Williams
2. Marilynne Robinson
3. My friend Sarah.
I want my friend Sarah to be here because I only get to see her once or twice a year and she's my favourite person on the planet, so I'd want to share this special dinner with her. Serena Williams is so driven and such a titan, I want to just listen to her speak about her triumphs and how she got to where she is, and Marilynne Robinson has a gifted mind and a deep spirituality, it'd make for some interesting conversation.
Dead:
1. Rachel Carson
2. David Bowie
3. James Baldwin
David Bowie well, he's David Bowie, enough said. Rachel Carson was an environmentalist/writer that would probably have a lot to say and I feel like it'd be worth listening to. The same goes for James Baldwin, I'd love to just listen to him tell me a story or to speak on a current political topic.

Pizza and beer.
posted by Fizz at 7:17 PM on April 28, 2018 [3 favorites]


This is a trick question for people with social anxiety, because the idea of having a dinner party with three strangers whom I admire is kind of excruciating.

Speaking of which, I am going to a conference for newbie computer programmers next week, and I am very nervous. I usually am fine at conferences, because I make sure to go with someone I know and can make snarky comments to, but this is going to be all strangers. Also, I don't feel like I'm enough of a real programmer to go to a tech conference, which is kind of ridiculous, because it's explicitly for newbies. The good news is that it's inspired me to make a thing, just so I would feel less like an imposter at the tech conference. And my thing works and is kind of cool, so that's something. (I'm taking a stats class. We had to do a project which involved gathering data and doing a statistical test on it. I wrote a computer program that automates my project, and it can use a much bigger sample than I could do manually. I should be studying for my stats exam, but that was much more fun.)
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:19 PM on April 28, 2018 [8 favorites]


I'm also watching a documentary about Andre the Giant and I now want to invite him to my dinner party.
posted by Fizz at 7:27 PM on April 28, 2018 [5 favorites]


Barack Obama would sure as hell be one of them.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:45 PM on April 28, 2018 [7 favorites]


Barack and Michelle, certainly. That’s two.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:47 PM on April 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


What I'd make would depend a bit on time of year/ where I was hosting. My go to is my roast chicken dinner, it's not fancy, but I do a decent job of it. Or turkey if the crowd was large enough.

But if I was back home in Michigan in the late summer we'd grill out: hamburgers, hot dogs, beer bratts and all the fixings. And salmon for my dad, because we can't grill out without my dad. Sides would be fresh sweet corn, tomatoes from the garden, pasta salad, and coleslaw (both creamy and vinegar). Dessert options would include homemade pies (peach and raspberry), watermelon, and ice cream (ideally soft serve from the local stand if we were all up for a short walk). My husband would manage the beverages. Beer, barrel aged cocktails, and a selection of faygo.

Who I'd invite. If it's not a family/friends shindig where all my loved and liked ones near and far can magically show up for one afternoon/evening... Do they have to be real? Because I'd love to have a cookout with the characters from Parks and Rec or the Belcher family. Or both groups!
posted by ghost phoneme at 7:48 PM on April 28, 2018 [2 favorites]


There's lots and lots of historical figures I'd love to have dinner with, but whenever I wrack my brain for questions I'm left knowing I'd rather just wait to meet them and have an organic conversation.

No biking today. Rain. Heavy rain. I have been half-assedly trying to get new (used) finders on the bike. Like the last time I installed fenders I naively thought to myself "Oh, it's just a couple of screws, it'll be over in fifteen minutes. *cue four hours of cursing, skinned knuckles and filthy hands and then putting everything back the way it was to try again later*

If you know anyone who works on their own bikes, just ask them how easy it is to install fenders and watch their expression for stress or changes. They may actually flinch.

In gardening news, the basil is finally, finally popping and I'm going to try to plant a sprouting bulb of garlic I found in my friend's kitchen. It looks like every potting container has it's own little spider standing guard, which was just frickin' adorable the first time I saw them on a rare sunny manual watering day, and I'm starting to see ladybugs and lots of bumblebees and ground bees.

I also found my first snail and I think I caught it before it mowed down too many spouts. This means I should probably get my pots off the ground and put them up on some boards and blocks before they turn into a microgreen salad for snails.

That or I should start collecting snails and prepping them for escargot. I bet the snails around here are delicious. Hell, I might actually do this. I know we haven't sprayed anything in that yard in three years.

Also, my lazy tactic of laying down deer fencing over the pots as they spout seems to be a winner. It's kept the deer from being able to graze in the pots. I have some bean and tomato cages standing by and the fence will eventually become a vertical temporary fence and cage.

In cat news, I was awoken this morning by a cat that apparently spent so long running around in the rain that she might as well have gone for a swim. She has mostly trained me with a certain kind of short inquisitive chirp that means "Get a towel ready or I'm drying off on your face." but I wasn't awake yet. So I went from "Ahh, cat" making biscuits on my back to "AUUUGH YOU DAMN CAT" in however long it took for her wet ass to soak through my sleeping bag and make me roll over to find her dripping wet and happily rolling around on me.

Not that I'm not being uncharitable to the cat, whom I adore. If anything I care more about the fact she's soaking wet from running around in the rain than she does. She has a hell of a coat and grew up on wilder forested properties, and short of one cat I knew that would actually jump in tubs and pools I've never seen another cat less bothered by rain or snow. It's just that if I don't dry her off, she won't and will just roll all over me like she's part otter.

I'm also realizing that today is the first day I've been this lazy and low energy in a long time. Weeks maybe. And it used to be the default state, and it feels weird like I should be doing something, but it's like my brain and body are going "Nah, it's cool. Have a nap, you earned it." which is really kind of nice. And I still took the dogs out, washed some dishes, checked on the garden, and, oh, right, sent off a casual/exploratory job cover letter and caught up on some emails.
posted by loquacious at 7:59 PM on April 28, 2018 [6 favorites]


Margaret Drabble, Calvin Trillin, Laurie Colwin, John Brunner, John Steinbeck. Calvin Trillin would have to have a say in the menu, which would quite likely include barbecue. Laurie Colwin would probably cook. Although I could make Jacquilynne's mushroom lasagne - I add a layer of squash - maybe roasted brussels sprouts because I learned them from Colwin's Home Cooking. Apple pie. Good beer and good wine. Great conversation.

I planted seeds for peas, Brussels sprouts, nasturtiums and they are outside, which should be unthinkable this early, but it has been warm, the ground is thawed, and temps are predicted to be 40s. Will start some kale and chard soon, and the herb planters with basil and cilantro. I have to lay out the new garden bed. last year's garden did relatively well, so I am expanding.
posted by theora55 at 8:13 PM on April 28, 2018 [2 favorites]


I reserve flinching for rack installation. My partner actually installed extra diy struts on my most recent rack because I have this habit of overloading my racks. Which, imo, is a rack design flaw. Racks should be designed to fit my bike and carry whatever I pile onto them. Which, in fairness, I think I've only actually broken one so far. Also, all non-specialized (small s, eg., schmancy lightweight racing bikes) bikes should come with decent racks and generator bike lights and bells by default.

I 'd invite the three people who, when they were sharing dinner with each other and myself, I could learn the most from. I probably don't know who those people are, and I don't know what I'd learn from them, but this is a magic dinner already anyway, so they'd come.
posted by aniola at 8:19 PM on April 28, 2018 [3 favorites]


Ok, Barack and Michelle Obama and Trevor Noah. Talk about the right mix of interesting and congenial and fun.

We’d make our own pizzas on the barbecue (I make an amazing crust) with interesting toppings like fig and Chilean sausage. We’d drink a dry rose or pilsner beer and listen to Motown and soul music or perhaps Brazilian dance-pop.

Afterwards, we’d play Cards Against Humanity or 4-player Arms on the Nintendo Switch. Later, while everyone is vegged out on the sofa, me and Trevor would go up to the roof and get high.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:27 PM on April 28, 2018 [10 favorites]


I've always felt like I have a lot of questions for Pontius Pilate, Judas, and St. Paul.

That’s a helluva set up for a “three guys walk into a bar” joke.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:28 PM on April 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


Gelato straight from the carton, 4 flavors passed around, for dessert.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:28 PM on April 28, 2018


To hell with the living. David Bowie, Betty Davis, and Lou Reed. It'd be either a jam or a disaster (probably on Lou's account if so) and either way I'd kill to be there for it.
posted by invitapriore at 8:35 PM on April 28, 2018 [2 favorites]


I take that back, there's plenty interesting among the living, and I'd go with Hannibal Burress, Kim Gordon, and Janelle Monáe. I think that one would almost certainly go really well. Everyone would trade phone numbers at the end and really mean it when they said they'd give a ring if they were in town.
posted by invitapriore at 8:38 PM on April 28, 2018


Menu would be the same in either case: ribs, slaw and baked beans magically imported from Bogart's in St. Louis. Full bar to suit different tastes.
posted by invitapriore at 8:42 PM on April 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


There's a wedding happening down the road and I am trying and failing to appreciate marriage and loud pop songs.
posted by lazuli at 8:47 PM on April 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


I would invite my paternal grandparents. My grandfather died when my dad was in college and my grandmother died when I was a baby. I would love to be able to sit down with them and hear about what it was like to be first generation German immigrants in Canada in the 40's.

This week I started orthodontic treatment with full invisalign retainers, top and bottom. I am an unrepentant snacking grazer, so trying to balance optimal wearing time with my eating habits has been a challenge. Because the correction is somewhat minor they gave me the whole set of retainers in a big box. It was encouraging to flip to the last package and see what my teeth are going to look like in 18 months. The downside is that after this is done I will still probably need to have surgery. *Dead fish*

Here is a picture of my cat sleeping on my arm.
posted by janepanic at 8:54 PM on April 28, 2018 [7 favorites]


Richard Feynman, Werner Hertzog, Miriam Margolyes.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 8:54 PM on April 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


Jim Henson, Gilda Radner, Lin Manuel Miranda.

I might just listen, though.
posted by Mchelly at 8:55 PM on April 28, 2018 [6 favorites]


Jack Vance, Gene Wolfe and Ursula K. LeGuin.

And I would shut the fuck up and listen.
posted by y2karl at 9:05 PM on April 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


Except to change the subject if Jack got too political ranty. A skill I learned at the knee of my mother, who had a 10th degree black belt in that mystic art.
posted by y2karl at 9:12 PM on April 28, 2018


When I was young and rebellious, I always included John Lennon on my guest list, but although I would have still liked to have met him I now realize it was much, MUCH more likely that he would have been an asshole at my dinner party and he would have been an asshole if I had ever met him. Now I include George Harrison on the guest list, primarily because apparently when he was invited somewhere he wouldn't just bring a ukulele, just in case, you know, someone wanted to hear some tunes, and a ukulele is very portable and easy to carry around and a hell of a lot of fun. Instead, he would bring two ukuleles, because, you know, someone else might want to play too. Now, that's a dinner guest.
posted by yhbc at 9:23 PM on April 28, 2018 [15 favorites]


Absofuckinglutely.
posted by y2karl at 9:26 PM on April 28, 2018


Oh wow, grandparents. That’s good.

Tomatoes again, natch. Radishes and celery this year which are foods I’m so averse to it borders on a phobia, but the kids love em. Dinosaur kale, spicy arugula, peas (because I love viney things that crawl up the tower I built). Also planted sunflowers which are an awesome thing to have in front of your house all summer. And as usual pumpkins for Halloween. We’ve have a tradition of using the seeds from last year’s jack o lanterns but this year I bought these genetically engineered seeds of horror that are supposed to grow hundred pound pumpkins, because hundred pound pumpkins sound cool. Plus, there’s the sorrel, the rosemary, the oregano, and the hopvine that seem impossible to kill in Seattle. Also an apple tree. I want to get a variety of hot peppers when starts are available because they do really well here and after pickling we have hot peppers all year. I’d also really like to get another fig tree, we tore one out for a landscaping project and I miss figs. Lots of interesting cooking you can do with figs.

I also made my own hanging flower baskets this year and moved the bird feeder which wasn’t getting used much. On a hunch, I decided birds would be more likely to use it next to a tree and my hunch seems to have turned out to be correct. The feeder used to be next to the living room window, the thought being this would be entertainment for the cat while we were away. Unfortunately, there were only a few birds and one time we arrived home from vacation to find that particular window cracked. Our handyman pointed out how the window had been hit with a blunt object from inside the house while we were away. I love my cat but she is really not very bright.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:33 PM on April 28, 2018 [5 favorites]


I'd have to go with Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Un, and Muammar Gaddafi. Only cause I want to know what makes a human so utterly bananas, and I'd like to think I could win them over to the side of congeniality with fantastic cooking and hosting. I mean, maybe they just need(ed) a good dinner and compassionate conversation to woo them away from evil.
I'd start by serving French 75s (the queen of cocktails), move on to riesling and samosas, and then present a gorgeous curry feast (my best dishes are lamb biriyani, bhindi, and chana daal). I feel like that would go over well. We'd talk about life, love, and democracy, and finish off the night with homemade apple pie and ice cream (I do good pie). How do dictators feel about Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian? Did they always want to lead an autocracy, or was there a time when they wanted to run away and join the circus? Why can't we all just get along? I dunno, I think it'd be a pretty interesting dinner.
posted by Go Banana at 9:58 PM on April 28, 2018 [3 favorites]


Would the three people have to get along with each other?
posted by bendy at 12:51 AM on April 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm tired tonight. Autumn has - finally - arrived in Sydney; I went to bed cold last night,couldn't sleep so got up and then overdressed, so I then got too hot, annoying! Work has been quite hectic for the last couple of weeks, hopefully it will settle down a bit soon.

The dinner party question is so easy: my Dad. Back for a night of joking around with me and my three siblings. I can picture it so clearly. We'd get in a silly mood, Dad would cheerfully endure our ribbing and ridiculing of his life advice. We'd finish off with a game of something, maybe trivial pursuit, or scattergories - but that would really just be more of a stage for more banter. We'd finish the night with a small glass of port, perhaps on the verandah as the conversation turned a little more serious. I'd give him a hug, pressing tight up against that lean chest with his raspy cheek brushing against mine, and I'd take a deep breath of that "Dad" smell that somehow lasted from earliest memories, until I was 30. I'd go to bed happy, that he got the goodbye I should have given him (that I would have, if I'd known how sick he actually was) and that he was capable of accepting, freed of the depression and denial that his impeding death brought.

67, man. It sounds pretty old until it's your Dad.
posted by smoke at 2:22 AM on April 29, 2018 [16 favorites]


damn the answers people are giving really get me thinking. Grandparents - I would love to be able to have some time talking with my Oma, who seemed like the sweetest person, but we didn't speak the same language or live on the same continent, so it was hard to connect. I have noticed a particular sad expression in her eyes in every picture of her, that I see on my own face when I'm feeling down. And somehow, that's comforting, like, she's there with me, and she understands. I'd like to have dinner with my oldest friend, but she's moved to australia, and has such a busy life that she doesn't stay in touch. I think that she's mostly on facebook, but I don't facebook so I'm stuck hoping someday communicating will be easier. Also, dinner with Bowie would be awesome!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:21 AM on April 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


Or really any number

Everyone is dead but me, but somehow my reanimated parents and I have dinner this Sunday (me + 2 = 20 + 21 = 3 people at the table). We stretch it over the whole day, really. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks.

Then my parents and their parents and I eat dinner the next Sunday (me + 2 + 4 = 20 + 21 + 22 = 7).

Me and my parents and their parents and their parents the next Sunday (me + 2 + 4 + 8 = 20 + 21 + 22 + 23 = 15).

And so on. My ancestors going back 10 generations would be 2047 people at one dinner. We need a big room because I'm having this dinner every Sunday from now until life began, and we need seats (cages, tanks, etc. ) for sufficient numbers of ancestors, interviewers, historians, therapists, linguists, race relations specialists, anthropologists, witch doctors, biologists, and animal wranglers. And I want to be at every table (or cage or tank), every night, simultaneously. I want to have dinner with ancestors who would eat me if I wasn't careful. When we get all the way back to the spark of life on this planet, we start again with a different scheme.

But most of all, I want to enjoy it with my mother and father (and all the other people) as we go back one generation each week.
posted by pracowity at 3:23 AM on April 29, 2018 [7 favorites]


We have the Universal Translator right? The top-N of the widest holders of knowledge that has been lost to history.

The storyteller from before written language.
The last geek from the library of Alexandria.
Fermat might get punched if that proof doesn't turn up.
Feynman, Burroughs, The Dali Llama.

More like a week long drug fueled bender than a dinner party.
posted by zengargoyle at 3:30 AM on April 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


First, I’d invite Jesus, so I wouldn’t have to do the shopping or cooking. Saint Jerome because he never gets out anymore and he really needs to interact with people. The Queen of Sheba because she always shows up in an awesome ride, and she asks such great questions. Kurt Vonnegut because every party needs an asshole. I hear Lynda Barry brings the best weed so I’d probably ask her to come. I’d invite Buddha but his schtick of always trying to blow everyone’s mind gets tiresome. Totally comes off as enlightened-splaining. And I’m sick of hearing about all of his followers on twitter, and how it was better at 140 characters. I’d probably leave him off the list, but I would invite Loki, who would say he can’t come but then will show up as Buddha crashing the party, but be much funnier. And finally, I’d invite Thucydides because this one is going down in the history books.
posted by Stanczyk at 4:50 AM on April 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


My ideal guest lists are all living people in my life and they're not well-known. For privacy I'd like to name them The Muse, The Mentor, and The Writer. They live very far away and that's part of why I want them with me. They're all very interesting people but they've never met each other. I'll probably serve some red wine, and lots of green leaves in the salads with local fungi and special condiment, and some meat stew.

By coincidence, next week I will have 3 interviews. But I hate pretentious interviews, so I'd like to have them in a working lunch party where true communication can happen, but they must pay --- I don't do bribes.

And due to illness, even if I end up passing one or some of the interviews, it's still not super likely that I will be able to take any of them. Nevertheless I hope they'll be generous enough to give me some feedback, and that's why I imagine a more lively kind of interview instead of the stiffened ones.
posted by runcifex at 5:27 AM on April 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


Laura Ingalls Wilder, Ella Fitzgerald, and Amelia Earhart. I'm making fish chowder, biscuits, and roasted vegetables and chicken. Apple crisp and vanilla ice cream for dessert.

Today I'm heading up to my parents' house to celebrate my grandma's 84th birthday and also to spend the night with Triceratops. I just stopped and got a really delicious chocolate cruller from Doughboy Donuts in Southie before catching the bus, so I'm feeling pretty good about that.

I went back to ballet class this week for the first time in a while and was very disappointed in the teacher, who kept commenting about bodies in really unnecessary ways. I'm usually the largest, or one of the largest, people in ballet class now, even as an adult, and it really irritates me when bigness is a threat in ballet classes. Especially in an adult class, nobody is harboring hopes of a professional career and so how well my body matches the ideal body type for ballet is basically irrelevant. I've managed to dance in this body for 25 years so comments about acceptable amounts of jiggling in one's butt and thighs won't keep me from class, but they'll probably keep me from returning to that particular class.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:32 AM on April 29, 2018 [11 favorites]


My dad, Joe Maddon and Trotsky. My dad died almost a decade ago, and he'd love to talk to the manager who finally brought the Cubs back to the World Series. My dad also served twenty years in the US Army while still being a Communist at heart, and Trotsky was his revolutionary of choice. After Joe and Leon went home, my dad and I would just hang out for awhile and catch up on all the craziness of the last decade.

My dad loved cooking, so I'd help him make whatever he felt like, probably some sort of seafood. No alcohol - I like to think he managed to get sober in the afterlife.
posted by the primroses were over at 5:39 AM on April 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


I would invite all of my Mom's siblings, their spouses and their children (my cousins). They are scattered from New York to California. It would be lovely to sit at a table with them for a joyous occasion and hear the laughter. That last occasion that even came close was my younger brother's wedding nine years ago.

We would make steaks and salad and something with chocolate for dessert. Tea, wine and old fashioned's, milk, water and diet soda.

The first anniversary of my mom's death was this week. I took some time off and spent the day of her passing quietly, by lighting a candle, reading, eating avocado toast at my favorite breakfast place, checking in with my father and dealing the fallout from boy theBRKP getting into a slap fight at school. A fight that landed him in the principal's office for in-school lunch + recess detention, writing lines. The weirdness of LIFE continues, even in moments of reflection. And my mom would have found the writing of lines hilarious (as did the majority of my friends and family).

The upside is that boy theBRKP did not deliberately start the fight, he was defending himself. The downside is that he skipped a couple of vital steps in the "ok to defend yourself process", using his words to de-esclate and getting a teacher to intervene. So we will have to work on that part.

Now I'm nursing a slightly twisted foot from tripping while crossing the street. Mr. theBRKP is at a fish auction all day. Boy theBRKP and I plan to build the third story of the LEGO Diner, go to Starbucks and buy gifts for three new babies coming into the world this summer.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 5:49 AM on April 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


I’d be tempted to invite Proust and Joyce, so I could experience an hour or so of half-hearted conversation followed by long trading of stories of gastric complaints.

It might be fun to go for drinks with Sei Shōnagon and Murasaki Shikibu just to watch them throw veiled and not so veiled insults at each other and everyone else. Maybe the Emperess Theodora to keep them both in line.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:27 AM on April 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


First, I’d invite Jesus, so I wouldn’t have to do the shopping or cooking.

Just don't let him fool you into eating his flesh and drinking his blood. Not cool, Jesus. You need a vegan option for the non-cannibals in the flock.
posted by pracowity at 6:56 AM on April 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


I'm choosing more than three because I want to be able to move from conversation to conversation whenever my introversion gets the best of me. Or maybe I host several different parties.

For writery conversations: Terry Pratchett (sadly deceased), Neil Gaiman, MeFi's own John Scalzi, Connie Willis, Kate Atkinson, Mary Roach. I assume and hope that the convo would be way, way more than writery, but that's how I imagine it would start.

For the Anglophile part of me (which is HUGE): MeFi's own Wordshore, Bill Bailey, Alan Rickman, Ewan McGregor, Sue Perkins, Bill Bryson, Simon Pegg, Jessica Hynes. We would talk about rural English villages, pubs, the weather, British TV/movies, and how pretty Ewan is.

I have more groupings but now I have to go buy plants.
posted by cooker girl at 7:09 AM on April 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


Oh wow, grandparents. That’s good.

It made me think of Peggy Sue Got Married after she had been thrown back in time to her high school self but with her grown and jaded memories. Until the phone rang and she heard the again living voice of her long dead grandmother and burst into tears and put her hand over the bottom lest her grandmother should hear . God, I got so choked up. God, I loved that movie.

Also I like to garden, too. I plant black flowers, as in deepest red, blue black and black: Black Bearded Iris, Black Prince snapdragons, Black Knight Sweetpeas, Black Poppies and Black Hollyhocks, (as grown by Thomas Jefferson or so the seed package said.) to name but a few. All Grandma plants I remember from childhood.

I grow other sweetpeas, too, all old fashioned varieties like Old Spice, with smaller flowers but far more fragrant, which make my fellow tenants swoon when they walk by. Me, too.

Not to mention hollyhocks beyond count of all colors but white.

All edged by Crystal Palace lobelias , which are standing, not drooping, and electric blue with no white with deep red hidden.under the blue. Man, they glow at sunset and dusk.

But the star of the show opens at night: Night Scented Stock aka Matthiola Bicornus aka Matthiola Longipetala, nothing like florist's Stock but is a weedy looking plant from the Azores which has tiny pink crucified flowers that appear wilted by day and open at night. Then they pump out a fragrance of cloves and jasmine so strong that the mind reels and the intellect stand abashed, thank you Ibn Hazm, when one walks by.

Small when grown from seed but the wonderful wonderful Langley Gardens, who otherwise sell strictly to the trade, sell them as starts from their booth at the West Seattle Farmer's Market on Sundays, starting at 10.

They carry strongly fragrant Grandma sweet peas of all colors and all the above mentioned plants and herbs beyond mention: 6 or 7 basils, ditto parsleys and extreme hummingbird plants like Chilean Glory Vine.

Oh, the battles in the Broadway courtyard. They hate each other and the Lord of All He Surveys zooms down from his perch on the power line across the street, zooms over at warp speed and the dogfights begin, which start with twisting chittering spirals in all 17 dimensions and end in hovering beak to beak swordfights in midair. Oh, it is glorious !

So, get thee to West Seattle, Slarty, on Sundays to the intersection of California SW & SW Alaska. You will buy and buy and buy.
posted by y2karl at 7:21 AM on April 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


As much as I love abstract party conversations. . . this one is so ripe for bean plating that it's impossible to actually answer.

First of all, do translators count as guests or are they free? Having to include, "and also the leading current expert on early Quechua" sure cuts down on available seats. Let's assume translators are included as staff, just like the mediums who conjure the dead.

Second, it seems an incredible waste to spend the opportunity on living people. Meeting the famous people in my own field typically just requires bothering to attend the conference dinner. (And looking for an excuse to end thoroughly dull conversations with Nobel Prize winners isn't exactly uncommon.) Meeting famous people in other fields is a lot harder, but not impossible. Squandering the chance to raise the dead in order to chat with, say, David Byrne, Jan Švankmajer, and Steward Brand - or anyone else I can tweet at today - seems pretty hard to justify.

Then there's the question of what goals the party should achieve. Picking 3 people from history that I find really interesting and suspect I'd enjoy talking to is easy. But, it's also a wasted opportunity; to a person they've all left a huge body of written work and rich legacy. I have no doubt an evening with Ida B. Wells, Hubert Henry Harrison, and Mother Jones would be fantastic. (To pick related and regional examples.) But, I'm not sure I'd actually learn much that's new.

Or, should we instead pick elites who've witnessed amazing historical events that aren't too well documented? To pick three names at random: Monteczuma II, Töregene Khatun, and Cola di Rienzo. I don't know what they'd have to say to each other, but I'm sure I'd enjoy the evening. (I do hope we have armed security in addition to translators.)

But, really, squandering an opportunity for time-travel on anything other than answering the most interesting and least soluble problems in history would be a huge waste. The question is, what three questions would be most valuable to history? (Or, I guess, human pre-history?) That's not something I'm actually qualified to answer. But, a party with the head quipu-clerc under Atahualpa, any random Olmec noble, and the dude who was highest on Monk's Mound at Cahokia on some random date in 1100 CE would be better than nothing.

All things considered, picking three people at random from pre-16th century cities would be a lot more interesting than any living person. Perhaps we can get a second dinner if we aren't too specific? Or - since we're allowed to pick more than three - let's throw a party for everyone living in London in 1250 CE and everyone living in Beijing in 220 BCE. We'll leave notebooks and selfie cameras at every table, wedding style.

Or, can we pick non-humans? Having dinner with a giant ground sloth, a pteranodon, and a stegosaurus would be pretty fucking cool. We can take photos, right?
posted by eotvos at 7:31 AM on April 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


Jesus, David Lynch, and my grandpa.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:14 AM on April 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


Living? Neko Case, Jason Isbell, and Ta-Nehisi Coates. Dead? Orson Welles, James Baldwin, and Zaha Hadid.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:19 AM on April 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Also: Ida B. Wells, Anna Akhmatova and Julie Newmar. With languagehat to translate.
posted by y2karl at 8:20 AM on April 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


This is a trick question for people with social anxiety, because the idea of having a dinner party with three strangers whom I admire is kind of excruciating.

Yeah exactly. My first thought was Mom, Dad and Gandhi. But I don't want to hang out with the three of them together, so maybe I'd go further back to my maternal grandfather who died when I was three and who is basically a legend in the family (did he really used to run the Hudson Manhattan Railroad? Did he really win a casino in a poker game? Was he from Uzbekistan?). I'd also like to meet my maternal great grandparents on my grandmother's side and ask them WHERE WAS THE CANDY STORE they ran in the Bronx because no one seems to know anymore and I'd love to go crawling around on Google maps. And then, last, there is one Missing West who basically left his wife to live to live in her own in a rooming house with my great great grandfather as a baby and wandered off to be an itinerant horse preacher. He got "warned out" of a town not that far from where I currently live (I don't live very near where I grew up) and then vanished. I always wondered what happened to him.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:04 AM on April 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Mnemonic: say hi to Gandhi.
posted by pracowity at 9:17 AM on April 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


I get easily confused because my domain host is Gandi without the H so I can never remember where it goes. I have fixed my own typo and now it's like it never existed.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 9:27 AM on April 29, 2018 [8 favorites]


This question really makes me wish my mom were still alive.
posted by SLC Mom at 9:48 AM on April 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


Adhering to the strict rules of the game, and apologizing to the people who aren't receiving the fictitious invitation, I'd invite Julia Child, my maternal grandmother, and my dad. The why: I have a very strong emotional connection to Julia Child not because of her food, but because she was almost always available (on PBS, pre-internet), and she always felt like a caring, grandmotherly presence to me. When I have trouble sleeping, I still seek out Julia Child or Jacques Pepin videos. Watching them makes me feel like I'm with a loving grandparent.

I'd ask my Grandma because she was also just a warm, caring lady. (And I say "lady" instead of "woman" because my Grandma was a capital-L Lady.) She and Julia Child had very little in common aside from the way they both made me feel. I'd love to just sit at a table with them and listen to them being kind to and interested in one another, because that's what (most) women of that generation did. (Because social norms, etc., I get it. Not saying it comes from a great place -- just that that kind of energy is nice to be around sometimes.)

And I'd invite my dad because the dinner we'd have -- served because it's the only thing I can think of that would please both Grandma and Julia Child -- would be the standard summer dinner we had when Dad's garden was in full swing: Freshly picked sweet corn, fried okra, cucumbers and onions in vinegar, green beans with new potatoes, some sort of squash (fried, sauteed, or cheesed), and homegrown tomatoes. Nothing fancy, no. Simple, but grown and cooked with love. I'd want my Dad there so he could see how much his work was appreciated.

And I would shut the fuck up and listen.

I feel greedy playing the imaginary game, because I have had a real-life dinner with two people who could conceivably show up on others' lists. When I was in my early 20s, I sat at a dinner table with Molly Ivins and Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone. There were 8 of us (the others were my coworkers), and that's what we did -- shut up and listened. I knew then that it was an honor to be there, but I know now how once-in-a-lifetime it was.

The only thing I remember them talking about in detail was Letterman vs. Leno, because each of them had been on both shows. Consensus: Leno was a nice guy. Letterman, not so much.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:58 AM on April 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


My dad, Fred Rogers, and Marina Abramovic. My dad and Fred Rogers because they were both incredibly decent, kind, generous people and the world feels a little colder without them. Marina Abramovic just because.

We'd have piles of barbecued brisket and big icy pitchers of lemonade.
posted by mochapickle at 11:09 AM on April 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


This is one of those questions where I don't have any sort of pat answer, maybe partly because (compared to whenever this conversation-starter of a question was historically conceived) it's so much easier today to go find loads of information about notable people. Which isn't to say there's no difference between having someone over for dinner and having your laptop and a search engine over for dinner, but our capacity at a basic utility level these days to at least partly answer "what was x like, what did they think about y" in somewhat granular detail is a newish thing, and a thing I basically grew up with as a burgeoning reality.

But for all that, I can think of plenty of folks it'd be interesting to trap at a dinner table and pester about interesting stuff they know about.

So for the sake of argument, right now, it's a trio of dead 20th/21st century artists: Sol LeWitt, Eva Hesse, and Julian Stanczak.

Sol, dead ten years now, because I've connected more directly with his working methods than any other artist I've read about in the last year and a half as I've been diving into painting and art history. I'd want to talk about conceptual methods of art-making, systemic art, the mediation by a human constructor/artist of (a) the instructions for the construction of a piece of art and (b) the resulting constructed piece.

Eva, dead by 1970 of a brain tumor in her early thirties, because of her working relationship with a lot of folks in the conceptual art scene and her close friendship with Sol, and her position as someone creating more organic, tactile, unnervingly liminal forms and sculptures and objects in contrast to the rigid geometric lines that attracted me to Sol and Frank Stella and other folks doing hard-edge and geometric and op art work at the time. And she was a woman working in a male-dominated scene at a time when feminism was just starting to apply some pushback in the NY/American art scene. I'd want to chatter about both of those things.

And Julian because his painting in the Portland Art Museum, Equivocal Color, absolutely knocked me over last March at a time when I needed to see basically exactly that painting. I'd been working on my own painting process and feeling a big internal conflict between ideas I wanted to paint—geometric things with tight firm lines and hard borders between colors—and my baggage about what I conceived painting, and oil painting, to be, some sort of classical "a brush wielded free-handedly is the only REAL painting" bullshit I was carrying around. And a couple of friends had been sort of pushing on me to not hang on to that baggage, and I was trying to shake it, but seeing that painting up close, seeing the clear evidence of careful and conspicuous tools (like tape stencils) to create something both optically stunning and museum-worthy really truly flipped the switch in my mind and let me embrace the idea of using tools in my work. And it fostered in a really exciting, unbottling couple months of machine-cut-stencil based painting and has carried on into my art work since.

When I came home from the museum that day last spring to look up Stanczak, I was taken aback to discover that he had just died, the same day I saw his painting.

And for all I said above about being able to learn about folks much more easily these days, there's not all that much out there in easy reach on Julian Stanczak, compared at least to Sol LeWitt and Eva Hesse. So getting him around the dinner table to fill in the gaps would be nice.

I'd want to ask them all questions about the fiddly little details of working methods, the stuff that doesn't make it into the biographical essays or the critical retrospectives. The messy day-to-day bullshit, the mucking about in the studio, the piece that got ruined in a non-famous-anecdote fashion such that nobody talks about it, nobody really knew or cared about it except for the artist in the process of accidentally undramatically ruining their work in progress. I'd want to say "I tried this this way and that way, but you got these clean lines and how; or what did you keep fucking up; or was this as much of a pain in the ass for you as it is for me, and is the difference that nobody writes about that thirty years later because all they see is the good art object you ended up with; or or or—"

But also I'd just want to get them talking and sit back and listen. Because Sol and Eva were close friends who influenced one another's art and kept up a steady correspondence; Eva and Julian were both profoundly impacted by early life trauma around WWII (Eva's family narrowly fled the German war machine in the late 30s, Julian permanently lost the use of his dominant right arm as a child worker in a Siberian labor camp); Sol and Julian both worked in systems and shapes and geometric forms but in distinctly different ways and both with their own dalliances toward more organic lines; Sol tended toward a deliberate, antiseptic colorlessness and then eventually also toward a very simple color palette, and Julian chased down vibrant colors and endless subtle gradients and gradations.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:59 AM on April 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


Oh, God, Oh, God, Oh, God, after 9 years, I am back on Facebook with a vengeance.

So, I thought "What the hey ?" and sent Julie Newmar a friend request. Then looked at her page thereon and come to find she had a myocardial infarction on April 27th.

Best wishes can be sent here

I know I did.

Because of My Living Doll, I had an early puberty and have thought her a divine goddess ever since.
posted by y2karl at 12:29 PM on April 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


My four grandparents, at about the age I am now. The last one died when I was 18, but my memories are a little child’s: a laugh, a voice, maybe only a smile.

They had lived all over the country, or stayed in Minnesota; one went off to war and one was a Civil defense Warden; one started and ran a big company in a new industry while the other got robbed by a partner and the always worked for another man; one coupe traveled and one did not; but both had several or many kids.

Why did they make the choices they did? What were the options? What would they change, and what decisions made them proud?

I want to think they would be open with me in a way they couldn’t with their own kids. It would be amazing to get to know them.

Also: fresh sweetcorn brazenly stolen out of a field up the road, chicken on the grill, green beans, potato salad, homemade bread with “oleo,” ice tea, cold beer, and lemonade. And desserts by my two Grandmas including a fruit pie, plus I would make ice cream. All on a humid summer afternoon-into-evening on the back lawn out at the lake.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:32 PM on April 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


I would like to meet the tech/engineer grandfather on my dad's side that passed when I was a year old. Apparently he was at Bell Labs and on the transistor team, and was also involved in radar development during WW2. Later apparently he was involved with a lot of aerospace engineering.

I strongly suspect I'd think he was a huge jerk and way too WASPy and square and East Coast. My dad didn't have a lot positive to say about him.

On my mom's side I'd like to see my grandpa again but I suspect it might be mainly to browbeat him about music, religion and politics roughly in that order.

As such they're not really at the top of my list and that's fine.

I've been thinking more, and I'd love to meet Kate Bush, Delia Derbyshire and Hedy Lamar. That would be a hell of an unusual dinner party. I'd invite Admiral Grace Hopper but she's pretty dry.
posted by loquacious at 2:03 PM on April 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Chicago people: Ida B Wells, Jane Addams, Gwendolyn Brooks, Harold Washington

Art people: Keith Haring, Olafur Eliason (still alive), Georgia O'Keefe

Music people: Stevie Wonder, Prince, Frankie Knuckles, Arthur Russell, Nina Simone

Writer people: Sandra Cisneros, Ursula Le Guin, Gwendolyn Brooks again.

Or we could have one big party with all these people and it would be fascinating and probably a mess.
posted by mai at 2:29 PM on April 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Peter Buck, Johnny Marr, and the Edge.
posted by 4ster at 2:51 PM on April 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


Still always surprised that people actually have dinner parties. I grew up thinking that was something that only happened in old movies.
posted by bongo_x at 3:00 PM on April 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


I’m always intimidated by these questions and can never think of people to invite for dinner.
But I love reading everyone’s responses.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:30 PM on April 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


It helps if you just focus your answer on that particular moment. Literally three minutes later I had an entirely different response. :)
posted by mochapickle at 3:43 PM on April 29, 2018 [8 favorites]


David Smith (the sculptor), Barnett Newman, and Wittgenstein, though the latter would probably be a bit of an arse.
posted by Chairboy at 4:00 PM on April 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Can I have Paul Feyerabend on stand-by if Wittgenstein is too annoying?
posted by Chairboy at 4:01 PM on April 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


Too busy to think about thevquestion at hand; a quick update:
Eastern bluebirds are nesting in several of the bird boxes! The clematis is beautiful this year.
posted by mightshould at 4:05 PM on April 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


I started thinking about having, like, Guy Gavriel Kay over for dinner, and then that made me think about what a mess my apartment is.
posted by Sequence at 4:33 PM on April 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


First off, and maybe showing unexamined biases, I always think you should get a major religious figure for free with these things, like how they let you take the Complete Works Of Shakespeare on Desert Island Discs. That said the dinner party question is nearly paraphrasable for me as "Would you pass up the chance to meet the real Jesus?"

I'm not a practising Christian, but I'd have to "invite" Jesus. Without getting too Douglas Adams about it, I like to think that speaking with him would still leave one without proof, but with the personal choice of faith or not. I'd love to hear him speak, even if he's spending the whole meal being gracious (pardon the expression) about my cooking.

David Bowie's next. Yeah, they say you should never meet your "Heroes" but I'd be willing to risk it. Old Bowie, in case you're wondering. Blackstar Bowie. Maximum Bowie.

I wish I hadn't read other people's answers, because now I have to be a copycat and pick my Gran. She lived a long and hard life with undiagnosed schizophrenia, but she loved my Mum and me and she always put us first. I used to love spending time with her and tried my best to look after her. She could apparently recite the whole of The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, although I never got to hear it. That would make a good (dinner) party piece. She once got arrested for disorderly conduct in a Chinese restaurant, kicking her shoes off and refusing to be quiet. I'd like to see that side of her too. We've never nailed down the details, but she worked with computers in the '60s or early '70s. My first computer when I was barely into middle school was an expensive-to-us, then-out-of-date bargain ZX81, a joint birthday present from her and my mother combined, "He must have one, [Blue'sMum]!". She heard voices constantly and sometimes believed things that were patently untrue, even to a child. She loved Black Magic chocolates and Cadbury's Dairy Milk. I've got her eyes. She liked coaches, crabmeat, the colours green and mustard, plus living as well as you could whenever you could. If Jesus is half the man they say he is then he won't even consider changing her one jot.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 4:33 PM on April 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


My maternal grandparents, mostly so that my
mom could see them again although I miss them too, very much. And if I could only pick one more it would be my uncle Tim, who was my mother's favorite brother and everyone in my family says I remind them of, but who died too young and so I never got to know him as an adult. If I could have more than three I would just bring everybody on my mom's side back for one night so that we could have one last big family reunion with all the folks who were there at Thanksgiving and Christmas when I was a kid, plus all the new additions who have come along since then. I personally dread those parties, but it would be worth it for the look on my mother's face alone.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:26 PM on April 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Oh and it would be a potluck, like those Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, with Grammy Joy doing the main course as she always did, and snow pudding with custard sauce for dessert because that's how we do things.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:30 PM on April 29, 2018


Of the 4, I only met my maternal grandfather; I was very young and have just a shadow of memory of him, so meeting my grandparents would be something. My Dad died a long time ago, I was just 20, and being able to talk to him as an adult would be deeply satisfying. Also, I would love to hear him tell one of his lengthy shaggy dog tales, and I would love my son to meet him. This all makes me feel sentimental.
posted by theora55 at 6:18 PM on April 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


y2karl, I don't usually love white-flowered plants, but I live in an area that isn't totally polluted with light, there's a small lake, and summer full moon nights are just plain magic. I love it when I wake up in the small hours and can see the moonglade sparkling on the lake. So I am planting more white and pale flowers so I can have a moon garden near the back door. I will plant a moonflower vine again this year, even though they take a long time to flower, they are quite pretty in a very big pot with a climbing structure.
posted by theora55 at 6:19 PM on April 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


Oh, I failed to answer the why. Jesus, because I want to know if he was real and if he was a prophet he'd be a fascinating dinner guest. David Lynch because I think he'd be an interesting person to have a conversation with. And my grandpa because I miss him. Also I figure Jesus and David Lynch can have a spiritual chat together and I can catch up with grandpa.

Also the yellow-headed blackbirds discovered my bird feeder and bullied all the other birds out of the way. What does Audubon have to say about them? "The male Yellow-headed Blackbird is impressive to see, but not to hear: it may have the worst song of any North American bird, a hoarse, harsh scraping."

Ohhhhh yellow-headed blackbirds! YA BURNT.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:30 PM on April 29, 2018 [7 favorites]


Well, apparently I went and did a thing and now I have a job interview.

Don't get too excited for me, it's like half job, half volunteer, all non-profit, and the monthly pay is really more of a stipend. I will effectively still be broke, but a lot busier.

I am basically a shoe-in and given hire if I want the job, because it hasn't been filled for a while and the org has been languishing. I previously applied for the job just about this time last year, but ended up declining it to work on my gender and mental health stuff, as well as stepping out of the way of a friend who needed the job to actually pay bills.

So there's already a lot of rapport with the org, I basically already know what the job entails, I know what new things I can try for bringing in volunteers and retaining them.

It's also a really good place for GLBTQIA folks in general, a really good place to invest effort and connect with my community. Me being different is an asset. Having experience with being homeless is an asset. Showing up and doing the things even if you have stinky socks on is an asset, and is still well dressed for this hippy town. Showing up to work in whatever I want to wear is also fine and welcomed as long as I wear something and pass food health code.

I'm excited but I'm also kind of just doing this thing where I'm forcing myself to do something.

The main question is if I really can and want to commit to the task and job, and if I'm really up for it. It's not a huge job, but it's not a small job. It deserves to be done well.

And if it ends up being too much or a mistake, it'll be easy enough to make a graceful exit, and that's already my spoken caveat to my friend, contact (and potential manager).

More soon, I should know this week.

Note: I seem to be moody for some weird reason, it I think I know why and it's, uh, mechanical and I need to stick on a new patch. There's a tinge too much cynicism in the above that shouldn't be there. I think I just need a pickle and a nap.
posted by loquacious at 6:48 PM on April 29, 2018 [7 favorites]


Ludacris, Annie Dillard or Roxanne Gay, and my bff Kiah.
posted by Grandysaur at 7:08 PM on April 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, and my mother to do the cooking.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:26 PM on April 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Drank water, had two pickles, lined up a DJ gig in the summer?

*holds up spork, shrugs*
posted by loquacious at 7:37 PM on April 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


How does one limit oneself to merely two pickels?
posted by ghost phoneme at 8:01 PM on April 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Well, they're huge. And I had two before that.

I also apparently have some willpower and it's freakin' me out.
posted by loquacious at 8:50 PM on April 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


I am going with dead people (If it were Dead people it would be Jerry Garcia, Pigpen and Keith G.). One would be Babe Ruth. He loved beer and hot dogs and was a great baseball player and I love beer and hot dogs and love the Yankees so that is one guest and most of the menu. Another would be my mother's grandmother because she was this proper old Jewish lady who loved to sneak a beer and was a huge NY Giants Baseball fan I think because of the Jersey City Giants. She was mostly a quiet mother who never had a mean thing to say about anyone unless she thought she was listening to a baseball game on the radio alone and she would apparently curse out the Giants who made errors or played badly in Yiddish. The other one I am thinking would be Augie Busch because he made Budweiser and his family owned the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team, but screw Augie. It will be my girlfriend now because she lets me drink beer and eat hot dogs while watching Yankee games and she hates beer, hates hot dogs and hates baseball. Good thing she loves me.
posted by AugustWest at 9:29 PM on April 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


...and then that made me think about what a mess my apartment is.

You 'n me, buddy, you 'n me.

Mine has gone from Early Landfill to Late Post-Nuclear Apocalypse
posted by y2karl at 3:35 AM on April 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


I was on a long car trip- left home as a single person, came back unsingle. 40 hours of desert talking to someone can do that. One of the things that made me realise he was a pretty good person was asking this dinner party question (I'm pretty sure it's in the questions to fall in love with) and his answer was his grandmother, who had passed when he was a child. This got me in the feels because he made me see the question in a totally new light, and made me see the big softy that he is.
posted by freethefeet at 4:10 AM on April 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


Also the yellow-headed blackbirds discovered my bird feeder and bullied all the other birds out of the way. What does Audubon have to say about them? "The male Yellow-headed Blackbird is impressive to see, but not to hear: it may have the worst song of any North American bird, a hoarse, harsh scraping."

Four Words: Black Oil Sunflower Seeds.

It will attract House Finches aka California Linnets.

Best Singers on the West Coast, imho.

Bird song dialects can vary from block to block but the House Finches on my block on Capitol Hill are Grand Opera: long spirals of liquidescent trills that go on and on and on.

Right now I hear Robins, House Finches, Bewick's Wrens, who have 14 different songs and Chickadees, whose songs are so different from their eponymous calls: 2 to 3 notes in a minor interval that have the sadness of the Mourning Doves I remember from my childhood in Southern Idaho -- I so wish we had them here.

But my mornings here are glorious enough.

Wild Things -- You Make My Heart Sing!
posted by y2karl at 4:10 AM on April 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


My grandma, because I still miss her every day and she died before I graduated college. I want to ask her a thousand more questions about her life and I also want her to know that I became a professor. And how could I have dinner with my grandmother and not my mom? I want my mom there, too. And my great aunt, my grandma's best friend. She had a hard life and I'm sure she could use another several hugs from her sister in law. And I need her cookie recipe.

One thing that I find hard about this question is imagining the end of the dinner. How do you all just walk away from the table?
posted by sockermom at 4:50 AM on April 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


Four Words: Black Oil Sunflower Seeds.


Truth. One of my favorite things about my so-so trip to Hawai'i was seeing all new birds. And then coming back here and being all stoked to say hi to my birds again only to find a merlin had moved in to the front yard (a merlin!) and now all my feeder birds are hiding out somewhere, or near someone else's feeders, until the danged thing moves on.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:42 AM on April 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


I usually only feed black oil sunflower seeds because they're pretty cheap, comparatively. But I can't afford to keep feeding nothing but blackbirds, so today I'm taking it the feeder down and covering it with wire that will only let the House Finches and Goldfinches in and keep the blackbirds out. Sorry blackbirds, but you're bullying my finchies AND you ate 5 pounds of seed in three days.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:52 AM on April 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


*wakes up early to get hyped about interview, cracks the door open to listen to birds singing outside*

I think this is the fastest I've ever gone from "Hrm, you're hiring?" to arranged interview, ever. Well, maybe this doesn't count because of two years prior history, but whatever, I'm talking about my response time, scheduling and general anxiety. Or lack of it.

What's even weirder is I'm not even going to have time to take a shower before I go, I need to do laundry - and it sincerely doesn't even matter and I'm not anxious about it at all, because I'm still probably going to be better dressed than my potential manager, and we already had a discussion about this.

This is definitely an interview where I get to be myself. All of it. Weirdo, artist, hobo, wanderer, a survivor of depression, trans and all. My unwritten but spoken job title is really to be life coach, job trainer and facilitator to people dealing with these same things.

It's not just about staffing the non-profit with volunteers. It's more about connecting those volunteers to self worth and job training and opportunity.
posted by loquacious at 7:29 AM on April 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


This is tough, because while there are a ton of possible answers, at this point, I'd rather have dinner with my closest friends who seem to be drifting away a bit because I'm never available to hang out. People I used to see weekly if not more, who I go months without seeing because my kitchen schedule means I don't get to interact with non-kitchen, non-bar, non industry people (and some of those people are delightful, it's just...).

And even though it's my job, and a giant part of the appeal is just being able to sit and hang out, I'd cook. It's how I tell people I love them. I'd make ribs, and maybe some fried chicken (this is fantasy, after all, I can make what I want, and someone else will clean up, right). We'd have good beers. And I'd have enough time, finally, to sit with everyone and talk and just be there, not needing to run off because I've got an early shift, or a last train.

If we're going with people who aren't around anymore, I think I'd go with my father and my uncle, both healthy, both able to eat whatever. I'd make them my fancy stuff. I'd start with a taster of cold smoked shrimp sautéed in garlic and chipotle with a splash of tequila. We'd share some wine my dad brought, or a cocktail from when my uncle could still drink. I'd bring out the meat I've learned to make. Patê de campagne, Tasso ham thinly sliced into snacky meats. Rillettes. Smoked pork jowl. Some of my sausages. We'd have some beers I've wished I could share with them. For the main, I'd make them cold smoked lamb chops, sautéed with onions and mushrooms. We'd sit, and talk, and I would be able to tell them that on more than one occasion, people have called me a chef, and when I tried to differ, to say I'm just a cook, they've refused to accept it, insisting on saying I'm a chef, something neither my uncle nor my father lived long enough to hear. And then we'd have key lime pie, not because I know how to make it, but because in my impossible fantasy, dinner wouldn't be complete without the best pie in the world.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:52 AM on April 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


Living: Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. Really fine steaks on the grill. Whatever they want to drink. I need some answers.

Dead: My BFF, Jeff. Died way too young and I miss him, Marguerite de Bressieux because I want to know how she became such a bad ass motherfucker and if the legends are true, and Boudica, same. I'm going to go for really fine steaks on the grill and what ever they want to drink here as well.

My garden is going very well this year. I have one lovely little green tomato and I am looking forward to all of the tomatoes. I bought 7 different heirloom seedlings this year. So many tomatoes!!!
posted by Sophie1 at 7:53 AM on April 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


Wordshore, Huron Bob, Elizardbits
posted by she's not there at 8:58 AM on April 30, 2018 [6 favorites]


My current list would be Michelle Obama, David Attenborough and Ellen Degeneres.

I think Ellen and Michelle have a natural friendship, I could hear Sir David talk for hours, Ellen is a great hostess to keep the conversation flowing, and I think Sir David would be delighted with her humour and really interested in Michelle's pov.

I'd serve them a Korean BBQ so that I'd have something to contribute to the party.
posted by like_neon at 9:39 AM on April 30, 2018


I was just about to post something about how I had a tree full of angry blackbirds and that the finches were eating happily inside their wire bubble, but then I looked outside and saw the feeder was full of brown-headed cowbirds. I think I'm going to have to give up on the hopper feeder I made myself and buy a njyer tube feeder specifically for finches.

That's who I want at my dinner party. Finches, finches, and more finches.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:49 AM on April 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'm a big fan of thinking outside the box on this one. At my dinner party, I'd prefer everyone in the latter state as posed by this question.
1. Donald Trump
2. Jerry Sandusky
3. Martin Shkreli

I think that would be a good start to a nice quiet evening.

This comment is in no way a threat or meant as a threat, but as a thought experiment in reframing a question.
posted by Nanukthedog at 12:34 PM on April 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


1. Helen Keller
2. Rose Wilder Lane
3. My great aunt Sandra, whom I am turning into; would like to ask her how she deals with it.
posted by Melismata at 1:07 PM on April 30, 2018


...only to find a merlin had moved in to the front yard (a merlin!) and now all my feeder birds are hiding out somewhere, or near someone else's feeders, until the danged thing moves on.

For reals. For me, it was a sharp shinned hawk when I was living in a western facing 3 story brick apartment house on Summit.

I used to put black oil sunflower seeds on my living room window sill and the house finches would flock to it only to scatter ftl into the laurels for seemingly no reason.

Then, one day there was the loudest ka-thump on that window like someone had thrown a rock.

I went to the window and there was a sharp shinned bobbling like a drunken sailor on the cherry tree branch just outside.

Well, at least I didn't get to see it drop to the lawnlet below with finch in claws, tear its head off and then, damn, eat with gusto like my basement dwelling tenant did.
posted by y2karl at 2:44 PM on April 30, 2018


So, hi. I have a job?

They won't be able to pay me for maybe a month but I was kind of expecting that because I was familiar with some of their yearly budget challenges.

And to reiterate this isn't really about the paycheck. It's a minimum wage stipend and I can only really bill for so many hours a week, and there's definitely a culture of "work more than you bill" that they may be reckoning with recently. It's more about scratching my itch for some community and giving back to this town that's been so very good to me, and they need someone.

It's weird but I don't feel like I have a whole lot of control in the situation and it's just going to happen and be good. But ever since Friday but there's just been this kind of weird "Ok, this is happening and let's see what happens" feeling.

I wasn't humblebragging, they actually direly need someone, which isn't actually a bargaining chip on my end because it's not like there's salary negotiations.

I basically lead the entire interview and it started with me stating "So, I actually have no idea why I'm here all of a sudden except that I'm bored, you need someone and I like you guys." and then me itemizing all my anxieties, weaknesses and what I've been working on with trans stuff and ironing out work/life and budget issues and expectations.

I know the job well enough that I was able to recite the job description from memory. I think I'll make "Cat Herder and Troublemaker" as my official job title.

It should be a great place for me to grow, network, help people and make friends.

It's weird to think about but I'm now actually management and in charge of a whole lot of stuff, and it's weird that I have the skills and I'm not feeling much fear about that at all.

My main fear is if I can handle the stress (emotional and otherwise) because it can get really chaotic there, as it is also a place of shelter and healing, and that can get messy.

Onward!
posted by loquacious at 3:39 PM on April 30, 2018 [8 favorites]


Johnny Cash.

Iain Banks.

Helen Mirren.
posted by Kafkaesque at 5:10 PM on April 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


Yeah, black oil sunflower seeds. You know who else loves them? Squirrels.

My office in my house is also my library, and on one side is a large picture window overlooking our tiny city backyard. But in spite of living in a city, I live in a part of the city that has lots of trees. Lots and lots of trees. In my backyard is one of the oldest. A 100+ year-old sycamore. The neighborhood prides itself on its trees. We’re a little forest in a mid-sized city.

So with trees, you get birds. Lots of pretty birds singing pretty songs. But you also get squirrels. At first, I had a hummingbird feeder, and there were points in the summer that there was sometimes a line at the hummingbird feeder that I could watch from my desk in the library’s picture window. But that wasn’t enough so I got a bird feeder, and quickly learned about the power of black oil sunflower seeds. But that power is a strong and imprecise power because soon the squirrels figured out they could jump onto the roof from the giant sycamore, and then shimmy down on top of the bird feeder. They were squirrel-proof bird feeders, but the hooks attaching them from the house were only 10 inches long. That meant soon squirrels were trying to break open the squirrel-proof bird feeders by smashing them against my beautiful picture window. This was untenable.

See over the many months I eventually kind of started to feel for those squirrels most of whom lived in that sycamore. And I began to wonder why I was so damn nice to the birds, like some Francis figure, but completely neglected my mammal neighbors. What did they ever do to me? Why were they undeserving of black oil sunflower seeds? Who did they offend?

After a while, my first strategy for keeping the squirrels off the bird feeder was simply to feed them both. I’d pour black sunflower seeds on the railing of the deck, and then I’d fill the feeders and everyone was happy. This lasted for several months until I was late on a couple days and the squirrels were back on the feeders, smashing them against the windows.

I may have neglected to mention that I also have a dog. A babyface beagle with an intense stare she used specifically on squirrels. She’d stare at them through the window of the library and these squirrels, they knew about how glass worked. They knew they were safe. But we also have a clear dog door, and the dog took to watching them from the dog door as they feasted on the black oil sunflower seeds on the railing. Occasionally she’d crouch, slowly push against the door with her snout, and then bolt across the deck in an always unsuccessful lunge at one of the gluttonous, round, and slightly slower squirrels who’d fly off the deck, onto the tree, and into the safety of one of its holes or crevices. Everyone got some exercise and excitement but no foul, no harm. Just nature bein’ nature.

The dog has such a hatred of squirrels that we bought her a stuffed squirrel toy that she could shake and toss in the air to express some of her pent-up hatred.

And things seemed to be going well in this little urban zoo I had created. After a year or so I noticed that we were going through a lot of black oil sunflower seeds. Like twenty-five pounds a week. We have a subscription for them with Amazon Prime. And we were no longer feeding just a couple of squirrels in the sycamore, who’d had baby squirrels, causing the sycamore to get further divided up into a bunch of tiny walk-ups and studio apartments just to accommodate them all. And I began to notice, from my prime spot at my desk in the library that word had traveled, and squirrels were coming in from other houses, and occasionally I’d look out the window and see as many as fifteen squirrels gorging themselves sleepy on black oil sunflower seeds. And I began to wonder about the sustainability of my charity. What if the neighbors noticed and began to see the squirrel colony I was growing as a pestilence? Were there ordinances against this sort of thing? Were they meeting about it secretly working on a strategy to have me thrown out of the neighborhood?

But this weekend everything changed. This weekend she caught one—and killed it. I didn’t see it, which I’m a little disappointed about. I’ve always loved nature documentaries. But I also felt really bad. I was clearly responsible. I lured them here with easy seed. I made them dependent. I provided resources so that their population exploded. Were it not for all the black oil sunflower seed I baited my deck with, that innocent squirrel might still be alive.

It was my daughter who found it. The stuffed squirrel toy had fooled us before so when she said there was a dead squirrel on the deck at first we thought she was mistaken, but I went out and there it was, with the telltale licked fur that was obviously a sign that the dog had no interest in eating it, just catching it and tasting it. I felt really bad. This wasn’t how this was supposed to go. If I didn’t try and create a little predator/prey terrarium in my backyard this tragedy could have been avoided. This was on me.

I felt bad for the entire day. The following day one of the squirrels came to the library window and just stared at me. I have no proof of this but it had the stare of a grieving mother, or spouse, or child. And the squirrel was right, I did this. I just am a terrible person, certainly among the local squirrel community.

But I’ve given it some thought, perhaps too much, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s all for the best. Just like the woods where I used to live when things get out of balance, nature responds. It’s on me for letting the colony get out of hand, but the squirrels are scared shitless. It takes them hours to trust the seed I put out now. Which has its own advantage. The birds I first hoped to feed eat off it for hours before the squirrels show up. So now I see more birds than ever. I’m beginning to think that maybe we’ll need to increase the frequency of our black oil sunflower seed subscription. This couldn’t possibly go wrong, right?
posted by Stanczyk at 5:26 PM on April 30, 2018 [5 favorites]


No need to ask when you already know the answer, Stanczyk......I'm sure it'll work out.....fine.
posted by mightshould at 6:10 PM on April 30, 2018


Stanczyk—20+ years ago, I planted 3 or 4 sunflowers that my kids enjoyed watching grow for tiny plants to giants that towered over them. I was looking forward to drying the heads, showing the kids the pattern of seed growth, roasting the seeds, etc. That didn't happen, however, because late that summer/early fall the local squirrels climbed on the backs of drooping heads and reached around to harvest all the seeds.

What goes around, comes around.
posted by she's not there at 8:15 PM on April 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


I had a dream recently where I was asked a variation on this question - only one person - and my answer was, inexplicably, Doug Marcaida of Forged In Fire.

For the purposes of this post, I would add Agnes Martin and St. Anselm.
posted by grumpybear69 at 10:27 AM on May 1, 2018


Gotta watch those squirrels, Stanczyk, the mother of a girlfriend past had a small tomcat that was sporting half a tail after an encounter with a squirrel. Those little suckers are a lot meaner than they look and a jaw that can crack a walnut can amputate a tail.
posted by y2karl at 1:03 PM on May 1, 2018


SQUIRREL!
posted by loquacious at 5:08 PM on May 1, 2018


It is my belief that Tom Waits, Sondra Bernhard, Julian Cope and John Cale would enjoy sharing conversation and braised Alpaca neck with my children.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 1:41 AM on May 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


So, I could get used to this being able to work from the yard, kicking it with the dogs and getting paid for it. I'm not doing anything I'd log for right now, just brainstorming and making notes about all the people I know in town to go talk to about expanding volunteer support and some ideas for volunteer incentive programs.

How about a town discount card if you donate XX amount at a fundraiser, or volunteer xx hours a month? How about coupons to the laundromat or a slice of pizza from a sponsoring biz? How about crosstraining days and getting experienced locals to come teach or pull a "celebrity" shift with some perks? How about a raffle for a bigger reward, where the more hours you volunteer, the more points you earn and the more entry chances you can have?

But, uh, yeah, it's nice knowing I have the chance to do some meaningful work for a thing that isn't some shitty corporate slave hell and even get paid a little for it, and it's not necessarily front line counter work (outside of coverage, like the rest of the staff) and doing training and stuff, and that I'm allowed to roam for billable work and it's trust/results based.

Ooo, note to self: Bring field recorder and/or cam to document my re-training rundown. I know my manager/cow-orker has his training patter down and one of the things we want to do is retool and update the script.

Yeah, this is probably going to be pretty good. It's really sudden, I mean I talked about the job on Friday, interviewed and was hired on Monday and technically kind of started with the homework and brainstorming on Saturday. Or over a year ago, depending on how you look at things, but still.

So there's still this weird/cool sense of irreality to everything like "Uh, hello brain and meatbot. Just what in the hell are you doing?" and I'm just along for the ride.

(Edit, I was writing this yesterday afternoon while sitting in the yard and forgot to hit post. Getting more and more excited about the gig, which is a great sign.)
posted by loquacious at 8:24 AM on May 2, 2018


It is my belief that Tom Waits, Sondra Bernhard, Julian Cope and John Cale would enjoy sharing conversation and braised Alpaca neck with my children.

Her oldest brother is my best friend of 49 years now. He is kind, gentle, wise and funny as Hell. Plus I can crack him up.

But I had to watch Sandra as she was starting out. Many times. Friendship and love are hard work. But at least she says Hi to me by name at QFC on Broadway when visiting friends on Capitol Hill. Raises my street cred, it does.
posted by y2karl at 8:48 AM on May 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


(I wrote this the other day and it didn't get posted, so the first para is a reference to something way up there that might not even be there any more.)

I really don't pick up on spelling mistakes because I feel superior to people, but because they are often lateral takes on the subject, introducing me to fabulous new ideas. Everybody make mistakes, nine times out of ten mine is posting at all. I only mention that because:

The Dali Llama.

conjures up such wonderful images, and I don't really understand what they are.

Perhaps unsurprisingly I don't get invited to dinner parties, and it's not a culture I really understand. Like most social situations, they generally end with a lengthy critical behavioural autopsy on my part, and an even lengthier period of self-recrimination and shame.

That said, a list of people of varying degrees of animacy I'd very much like to share a dinner table with in order to hear them converse would include Robert Fripp, Carrie Fisher, Victoria Coren, Ken Campbell, Brian Eno (perhaps not on the same occasion as Robert Fripp, as they know each other so well, but I'm sure they are enormous fun in combination), Orson Welles, Laurie Anderson, Mr Bowie and all the people I'll think of as soon as I press the Post Comment button. Especially if they bring significant others, where appropriate. To my equal regret and relief I've only met two of the people on my list, one so fleetingly that it barely counts.
posted by Grangousier at 10:17 AM on May 2, 2018 [2 favorites]


There are quite a few moments and events in Beethoven's life that I would like to have cleared up for my research, even if I wouldn't be able to use "L. v. Beethoven, personal communication, May 12, 2018" as a reference. But the shouting (or writing in conversation books) is perhaps a little prohibitive. Also, imagine him getting all miffed about something and throwing stuff while I, ducking, am thinking "dammit and this was my ONLY chance!" So, no Beethoven.

I guess I'd like to have known my mom's oldest brother who died in a traffic accident when I was only a few months old. I'd totally throw him party, together with my mom, whom I also miss. My dad may join us if he promises not to start imitating his school teachers, or otherwise he'll come for drinks afterwards.
posted by Namlit at 1:11 PM on May 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


Jessamyn, cortex and wordshore would be my choice. Judging onby the podcasts this should be an entertaining dinner. I would take them ou to my favourite Heurigen.

The funny thing is though, IRL arranging dinners with distinguished guests is part of my job.
Once i have the guest list (in itself a delicate accomplishment), trying to find a date can often resemble trying to artificially align some stellar constellation meant to only occuring once a century.

Choosing food and drinks can be fun, but most often the constraints of scheduling and dietary restrictions and budget determine the choice. Often protocol requires choices too.

And tbh the aspect of conversation over dinner is overrated, former politicians don't really relish being grilled on their active time, and active politicians will not discuss policy over dinner and it would imo also be rude to bring up politics.
Writers quite often seem to prefer to observe, and ime do not enjoy making small talk about their own books. And why would they. By the time their latest book is in the shops they are already writing a new one. Same for the scholars. One quite eldery prof, famous for his life work and the top of his field, told me that he finds nothing more tedious than people wanting to talk about his life work and books, because his current but of course yet unpublished research is what he is interested in discussing.

The scholars are often the most fun. One the best evenings was listening to a philosopher , a writer , a phenomenologist and a sociologist discuss the issue of pain. Does not sound fun but it was because of the lightness of the moment, no stakes involved, they were playful like kittens tossing each other balls of yarn to unravel and toss back.
Some scholars have great sense of humour and can easily entertain the whole table.
posted by 15L06 at 3:30 PM on May 2, 2018 [5 favorites]


Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman and Stephen Hawking. For obvious reasons.
posted by Splunge at 5:02 PM on May 2, 2018


Do they retain knowledge of the evening? Can I use this to affect the past and future? If not, I will just eat alone in my room. I don't want to bother anyone unless it's really worth all of our times.
posted by GoblinHoney at 2:04 PM on May 3, 2018


Just coming home from a dinner my boss hosted, and i arranged, for some top politic al scientists and economists, and GoblinHoney's comment made chuckle.
Will they remember the evening? I do hope so. Some of the conversations were really deep and substantial.
Also the food and wine was nice, and a cosy restaurant.
Can it affect the past - no. But indeed the future, these was a group influental thinkers.
And yes it was worth the time and effort i could tell they were stimulated into genuine exchange.
The best part was actually the (public) lecture preceding the (private) dinner, dont want link here but will put a link in my profile.
posted by 15L06 at 3:32 PM on May 3, 2018


Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman and Stephen Hawking. For obvious reasons.

I forgot Frank Zappa.
posted by Splunge at 4:42 PM on May 3, 2018


Ah, hell, what did I get myself into now? *wakes up before dawn to dive into the second day of training-training*

Honestly, this is all moving much faster than I was expecting and when I approached the job I kind of told myself "Ok, you should set a start week for after next weekend because you had some things on your calendar" but no I've been there pretty much every day and diving into the giant six month backlog of paper and orienting myself with the filing.

The good news is I seem to be liked and respected by my volunteers, and this may be the most valuable tool in my toolkit. I'm going into this knowing that good managers lead by doing and listening, and that there's no job too small nor too dirty.

This is especially important here because a lot of our volunteers are marginalized youth or students getting their very first work experience or community hours. It's not run or managed like a business in many facets, while the retail segment of the org is run like a business with thin margins.

It's already really easy for me to pop in to the shop whenever as I'm going about my day to see if someone needs a break or anything, and that pretty much always earns points. If this works out my future this summer involves being able to get my biking in, do a lot of real work remotely from wherever I can get wifi and concentrate and be highly available on site.

My few years of slacking off and being social are already paying off. I've been able to pester about half a dozen alumni and volunteers to talk about coming back for regular shifts. "I'm going to bug you about this because you love me and it's my job now." "Ok, deal!"

I think the main challenges I'll be facing is running out of patience and compassion. Even by my standards this org is very chaotic and dynamic. There are some conflicting goals and uses of the space that happen that frustrate me and almost everyone involved. This is kind of why I stopped volunteering last time, but this time I'm actually in charge of some things and it seems to make it easier to deal with.

The main risk for me is breaking my damn fool heart feeling/caring too much. This is actually giving me more than a little bit of anxiety and trepidation. I know it will be good for me and a good learning experience, and that patience is something I can learn more of.

I'm starting to think about a 4-5 year plan in which I learn a bunch of stuff here about non-profits and grantwriting so I can enter this sector and industry and do good stuff. This part of the region could use some trans advocacy.

Thanks for letting me think out loud. This actually really helped me figure a couple of things out.
posted by loquacious at 8:20 AM on May 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


I would really like to cook dinner for Johann Sebastian Bach - and Mozart. I speak German so that's OK but they would probably have huge musical arguments as their styles are so different - Mozart so flamboyant and Bach so disciplined. I might need to add a third person to keep it all sweet and friendly - probably a lady, someone charming and radiantly beautiful who would divert the two guys and make them behave. Preferably not a composer - but certainly a music lover; it would be such a waste if they were so distracted that didn't talk about their music at all. Who should that third person be? Eva Cassidy maybe?
posted by ncouchman at 12:34 AM on May 5, 2018


On the dinner with the dead thing: I often (OK, too often to admit to people other than MeFites) think about what I'd say if I could speak to the Founding Fathers, and try to come up with ways to explain electricity (well, to anyone but Franklin) and women in jeans (and in the Senate). Since Hamilton, I've even thought about how much I might be willing to warn Hamilton, Burr, Jefferson, et. al., away from doing stupid things. (These are similar to my imaginary conversations in case I'm ever seated on an airplane next to celebrities, but with extra-special fortune-telling skills.)

I rethink this often, but I pick:
John Adams
Jane Austen
Barack Obama (Sorry, Michelle.)

Though I know Adams' flaws, and Hamilton would have been a more charming guest were I seeking some flirtation for Jane or myself, with the four of us, I'm pretty assured nobody will hit on anyone else, so the company will be lively without any social discomfort.

I believe the manners and felicity of expression of my guests will be well-matched, and by both JA's will feel more at ease not being the only person unfamiliar with modern circumstances. I suspect Adams would have been at least familiar with Austen, if not her writing. The presidents can discuss the evolution of the job, and I can tell Jane of her fame while she observes the rest of the conversation and makes her little bon mots.

And I will serve them ice cream.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 7:30 PM on May 5, 2018


But I had to watch Sandra as she was starting out.

Doofus me just figured out that l am officially 2 degrees of Kevin Bacon !

Whoo hoo !

Champagne for all !
posted by y2karl at 6:41 AM on May 8, 2018


And on a sidenote, may I add this from my yesterday's Gmail inbox:
Dear Karl,

Thanks for the input, and apologies for the lengthy delay in my response. This is quite an interesting idea and we will put it before our production team to see what they have to say.

All the best,
John Vance

On Mon, Apr 30, 2018 at 11:30 PM, Karl Kotas
wrote:

Just bought Ursula K LeGuin's The Hainish Cycle for a birthday present

Everything she wrote in her common universe

And tried to buy the one volume The Book of the New Sun. It's out of print.

Ended with the first half of the two book edition

Paid over $100 happily.

So, here's my question: why, Oh, why is there not a one or two or three book edition of

The Gaean Reach - Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaean_Reach

I would gladly pay $300 for that

All the above names shine.

All transcend genre into high literature.

For me, Jack Vance stands highest

For me, Emphyrio is the most wonderful book of all.

I am of the same opinion as Joanna Russ on the subject.

The Gaean Reach:

The Concept Has Merit.

Make it so.
This is the coolest thing to happen to me since Johnny Guitar Watson left a message on my answering machine in 1990. John is Jack's son, for whom he wrote Emphyrio, my all time favorite Jack Vance novel. I am utterly giddy.
posted by y2karl at 1:25 PM on May 10, 2018 [1 favorite]


This is the coolest thing to happen to me since Johnny Guitar Watson left a message on my answering machine in 1990.

Wow.
posted by bongo_x at 3:53 PM on May 10, 2018


Actually, he left two.

I saw him at the Paramount in 1979.

I was with Jeanne Legault and her friend Patti the Punk and we were three of perhaps ten people of white in the audience, all seven of the rest being extremely beautiful tall blondes. And, man, everyone was so nice to us despite the fact we were in t-shirts and jeans while everyone else was dressed to the nine times nines.

Best audience ever.

They came for Johnny and man, I swear to God, one woman took her baby up to the rail to be kissed by the Man himself. I have never had a better time. I have never felt so privileged as to be among such a happy wonderful crowd of people. They blew me away.

And he tore the roof off the Paramount that night.

I have told this story more than once here but this one is best.

Scroll down just past Man, the Buckinghams are still around. That's scary...

I have mp3s of both calls, should anyone be interested.

I am y2karl at the Gmail.
posted by y2karl at 8:36 PM on May 10, 2018 [1 favorite]


I would really like to cook dinner for Johann Sebastian Bach - and Mozart.

Bach's trip to Halle apparently had him consuming on the order of 4.5 pints a day of beer on the basis of reported expenses, so yeah, sign me up for a night with The Old Wig.
posted by invitapriore at 8:41 PM on May 10, 2018


I forgot Frank Zappa.

Actually, come think of it, given his history with Johnny and who else ? -- you get:

Frank Zappa, Johnny Guitar Watson and Don Van Vliet aka Captain Beefheart.

Now that might be fun to hear.
posted by y2karl at 7:47 AM on May 11, 2018


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