Hmm Weekly for May 11, 2021

Where Does the Sidewalk End? Tuesday.

ANDY ROONEY 2.0 DEP’T.

THE SIDEWALK UNDERFOOT in the night was covered in little grids of light and shadow. I'd looked at this pattern before, over and over, but not properly seen it: the pavement looked like a window screen—maybe it always had? Maybe I had been looking at it all my life without seeing it. Some things do take a while to catch on to. Honestly, what with the kids, it's not like I'm walking around the streets in the dark all that often.

But now I was outside, by myself, and I was thinking. The light was coming through the leaves of the street trees. By day, there would be dappled sunlight—each little dapple a pinhole projection of the round sun in the sky. That was a fact I hadn't understood till I was in my early 20s, when I went outside from my temp mailroom job to take in a partial solar eclipse and was startled by the fishscale pattern of the crescent sun repeating on the ground.

So this grid-light was showing me something. I looked up and there were the LED streetlights, with their diodes packed in rows. It was hard to see them straight on, but if I moved my glance across a lamp head, its infernal flicker would give me a little strobe snapshot of the individual lights. I hate this about LEDs—more than their cold and thin color, or the way they cycle off with no explanation, or the offhand warnings about how permanent LED fixtures will eventually just get gradually dimmer and dimmer—the insistent glaring dot pattern that keeps jumping out, where the eye just wants to see a simple glowing brake light or reading lamp. They save energy, and they are superior to other energy-saving technologies, but they are still ineffably worse at being lights, the way digital music is super-convenient yet thin and brittle-sounding. The night sidewalks had not been gridded before, after all, and now they were. The grid was a new fact of life.

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WEATHER DEP’T.

Ten Writing Issues a Computer Found in This Possibly Computer-Written Press Release

A TWITTER USER announced their theory on a piece of Business News:

The theory seemed sound, and there was an original version of the announcement:

Taking it a step further into the AI zone, a pass through Grammarly dot com coughed up these results:

Now nobody’s accusing anybody of plagiarism, that’s just Grammarly dot com being Grammarly dot com. Conclusion: Sloppy rewrite. Human!

ADVICE DEP’T.

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VISUAL CONSCIOUSNESS DEP’T.

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THOUGHT DEP’T.

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SANDWICH RECIPES DEP’T.

WE PRESENT recipes for sandwiches from Salads, Sandwiches and Chafing Dish Recipes, Copyright 1916, by David McKay, Publisher, and now in the public domain for the delectation of all, written by Marion Harris Neil, M.C.A., former Cookery Editor, The Ladies’ Home Journal, author of How to Cook in Casserole Dishes, Candies and Bonbons and How to Make Them, Canning, Preserving and Pickling, and The Something-Different Dish.

HIGH-SCHOOL SANDWICHES
Chopped English walnut meats
Buttered bread
Crisp lettuce leaves
1 lemon
4 egg-yolks
1/4 lb. (1/2 cup) sugar
1/2 teaspoonful salt
1 tablespoonful flour
3 tablespoonfuls vinegar
1/2 oz. (1 tablespoonful) butter
1/2 pint (1 cup) water

Strain the juice of a lemon into a saucepan; add yolks of eggs mixed with the sugar, salt, flour, vinegar, butter, and water. Stir and cook until thick, then cool and add as many walnut meats as desired. Spread this dressing over a crisp lettuce leaf and place between thin slices of buttered bread.
The whites of eggs may be used for cake or meringue.

HORSERADISH AND TOMATO SANDWICHES
1/4 pint (1/2 cup) grated horseradish
Skinned, sliced tomatoes
1/4 pint (1/2 cup) mayonnaise dressing
Salt
White bread
Butter
Parsley

Sprinkle the tomato slices with salt. Spread thin slices of buttered bread with the horseradish and the mayonnaise mixed together; put the slices of tomato between, cut into fancy shapes, and serve garnished with parsley.

JELLIED CHICKEN SANDWICHES
1 boiled chicken
2 stalks celery
1 teaspoonful grated onion
2 tablespoonfuls powdered gelatine
1 gill (1/4 cup) hot water
1/2 pint (1 cup) cream
1/2 tablespoonful lemon-juice
Salt, pepper and paprika to taste
Buttered brown or white bread

Put the meat of the chicken and celery through a food-chopper, then add the onion, seasonings, cream, and the gelatine dissolved in the water. Turn into a wet, shallow dish and set on ice for two hours. Cut into thin slices and place between buttered slices of brown or white bread. If liked, a little grated horseradish may be added.

If you decide to prepare and enjoy any of these sandwiches, kindly send a picture to us at hmmweekly@substack.com.

HMM WEEKLY IS written by Tom Scocca, editor, and Joe MacHorseradish, creative director. If you enjoy Hmm Weekly, please let a friend know about it! If you're reading this because someone forwarded it to you, we invite you to sign up for a copy of your own right now. Thanks for reading, and any time you want, email us at hmmweekly@substack.com.