Saturday, April 30, 2005

About the Title II

Another reason I developed the shorthand SFNE is to reduce the amount of cursing I do in front of my kid. Which is why the tagline to my blog uses the euphemism "frakking." This is important because I don't want to offend someone who's just scanning--I can respect delicate sensibilities when I need to. (Tip to those with delicate sensibilities: Skip all episodes of "Deadwood" and anything directed by Quentin Tarantino.)

Also, I am amused by the word "frakking" because the characters on the new "Battlestar Galactica" use it as an all-purpose (but you know what they mean) swear word. I'm going out on a limb here with some of you, but . . . the new version currently on SciFi channel is WAY better than the original.

I know, I know--you're already thinking, "What a rebel!"

About the Title

When we first moved here a few years ago, I continually found myself exclaiming that a lot of stuff in New England is just so . . . New England. You know: charming town centers (Concord, we're talkin' about you!). Clam shacks (Woodmans, The Clam Box, J.T. Farnham's, etc. etc.). Snow in May (well into April, anyway). Taking the kids skiing on the iciest slopes known to man or beast and calling the weather "brisk." Four dollar a pound lobsters at Market Basket during the height of the season (two apiece! two apiece!). Like scenes from a movie about . . . New England. Especially the ones filmed in Toronto.

Eventually, my exclamations devolved into the shorthand, "That's SFNE!" Translation: "So f%&$*ing New England!" And I mean it as a compliment. I'm fascinated by the fact that this area is one of the few left in America that seems to have maintained its regional character in the best sense--from the accents to the sometimes persnickety need to take part in town politics to the beautiful tree canopy that still lines many town streets (including mine). This, despite the fact that we have our fair share of malls, chain stores, and Starbucks, Starbucks, Starbucks.

I live in a Cape Cod, for goodness' sake! How SNFE can you get?

My friend Michele talks about my love for the phrase here.

Ironically, another place I used to live, West Texas, also managed to maintain a sense of authentic culture. (Perhaps because it was so isolated that no one bothered to co-opt the place. Unlike, say, Atlanta.) People really wore cowboy hats because the sun is hot--not because it's fashionable (it hasn't been fashionable since the heyday of "Dallas"); restaurants served great barbeque and Mexican food (something I'm still missing); people really greeted you with "Howdy." They worshipped the music of Buddy Holly, native son. (I still do that myself.)

But part of that authentic culture was a weeeee bit on the conservative side. As in: I had to cut my son's hair back over his ears when he entered kindergarten and keep it trimmed all year. Because real boys wear short hair. (Except for the real boys in ZZTop of course.)

My son now proudly wears his mane over his shoulders (blond, such hair!) and only gets it cut to make his neck cooler in the summer. Freedom of expression: SFNE.

Friday, April 29, 2005

We Will Not Be Undersold!

I grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia. My family was one of the only Jewish families in my school, so as you can imagine, I never had perfect attendance. Missing school for religious holidays was an excused absence, but an absence nonetheless.

Here in Lexington, the picture is somewhat different. Although I'm now a heathen (doesn't that have a nice ring to it?), my son gets Yom Kippur and Rosh Hoshana off from school, because with the large local Jewish population, so many kids would be missing from class on those days that the district designates them official holidays.

This past week was Passover. In Virginia Beach, getting kosher-for-Passover food meant finding a few feet of shelf space at the grocery store with a few items such as matzo and gefilte fish. Everything else, especially the great candy, had to be ordered weeks in advance. Two weeks ago, the Lexington grocery store I shop at ran a full-page ad touting its Passover selection. Though I no longer shop for the holiday (except for the candy, of course), my eye couldn't help but be caught by the headline, "We Will Not Be Undersold On Five-Pound Bundles of Matzo!"

I sent the page to my mom, who's still suffering through Passover, Virginia Beach-style. She just told me that with two days of Passover to go, she and my stepdad have run out of matzo--and the local stores have already cleared their shelves of Pesach goods. To make room for all those Mother's Day groceries, no doubt.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Not About Roller Coasters

Welcome to Everything's SFNE, a bit about my life here in the great states of New England (and occasionally beyond--like, say, maritime Canada). As a relative newcomer to NE (a mere not-quite-four years and counting), I won't be considered a "local" for about three generations, so I figure I can do wide-eyed-newcomer stuff for sixty or seventy years. This blog will not only be about restaurants and food, but a lot will be. I like food. I also like participatory democracy. We have a lot of that here, too.

Second, a caveat: Despite the name--more on that later--my SFNE has nothing to do with roller coasters or amusement parks. Those of you looking for that topic--and you know who you are--sorry, that's not me. Roller coasters give me headaches. Although they look cool. And Gil Grissom on "CSI" likes them. Also cool.

Finally, although I have several blogger friends, at least one of whom has urged me to start a blog for about two years, I didn't actually get this going until I was asked to learn the Blogger software for "Take Our Demon Spawn--sorry, I mean Children--to Work Day," so we could show kids how to start their own online journals. So my later posts should be better. Hopefully. You'll keep me on my toes in the comments section, right?