Friday, November 15, 2013

people like blood sausage, too. people are morons

I realized today I don't really experience the feeling in O'Reilly's death in the alley anymore. I know it's a sad moment and an important moment but to me it's become just another thing that happens in the movie.

Just last night I was asked if the film was getting old yet. It isn't. I still recite lines along with it. I still notice new things now and then. But, I suppose that bit of feeling being gone means it's on its way to getting old.

Maybe.

In other news, an addendum to my recent Doctor Who-related entry: operating under the time lord version of things, Phil gets out of the time loop because of a specific good deed. Since, under that theory, Buster is The Master, and it's his hitting of the gavel at the start of the auction that ends the time loop, Phil doesn't get out of the time loop because he's a better person or because he's earned Rita's love but because he saved Buster's life. Every other day of the time loop, we can assume, Buster died in that restaurant. Maybe he regenerated but he's hardly going to be welcome at the Banquet no longer looking like the old Inner Circle guy. So, Buster's not there for the Banquet every other night, so he doesn't end the time loop by starting the auction with four knocks of his gavel. And Phil gets sent back to 6:00 A.M. all over again...

Maybe.

In other news, I'm a vegetarian but I'm curious about blood sausage. Phil calls people "morons" for liking the stuff, and honestly it sounds fairly disgusting... I mean, sausage if you think about it is already fairly disgusting. A bunch of ground up meat and meat byproducts stuffed in a casing--but good sausage is delicious, I know (haven't always been a vegetarian). Still, blood sausage takes it a bit far for me. Wise Geek explains:

In its most basic form, blood sausage contains onions and a few herbs and spices cooked together with pork, to which the blood is added. Additional ingredients might include cream, seasonal vegetables or heavier spices. After being thoroughly stirred together so that the blood distributes evenly, the mixture is forced into sausage casings. The proper amount of blood and thorough mixing are important so that clots of blood do not form in the sausage, which can make for an unpleasant experience for the diner.

Still, I'm intrigued. I'll try any food once, I suppose. Even casu marzu, though that one could be difficult. If you don't feel like clicking through that link, casu marzu is a fermented cheese that is not only no longer in solid form when you eat it but has live fly larvae in it that are known to jump so you might need to wear goggles. A little blood doesn't seem so potentially disgusting relative to that.

Wise Geek continues:

Blood sausage is considered to taste best when it is made with fresh blood that has not coagulated, so it is one of the first products that is made from a slaughtered animal. After being slaughtered, the animal is suspended and bled. The blood is collected in a basin and usually is kept somewhere cool while the animal is being butchered and dressed.

See. It's fresh, so it has to be good.

We eat oysters alive. We eat this:

And this:

(To be fair, I grew up not eating shellfish and the like and may have an allergy, so I never acquired a taste for them before I gave up meat. I did have some crab cakes that were delicious once but I'm pretty sure they involved artificial crab meat.)

Really, we'll eat anything that isn't explicitly toxic... and that's not even a dealbreaker anymore. Blood sausage seems tame compared to, say, lean finely textured beef (AKA pink slime).

Speaking of food, I had never looked at Phil's or Rita's dishes on date night. I'm still not sure, looking now on the blu-ray, what they're eating, not that it necessarily matters, but Phil hasn't eaten much of whatever it is; his plate seems rather full.

Not speaking of food, I just noticed some fuel for the anti-Rita rhetoric I espouse sometimes in this blog. Consider the following: Rita comes to Phil's room, sits down by the fake fire and says--in a rather suggestive tone, I would say--"what a wonderful room" and moves in for the kiss with Phil after he replies, "it is now." But, he squeezes her arm as they kiss and that's too much? Rita is very inconsistent. But, enough about Rita. Back to food...

Julie Ellen Benesh (2011) writes in her doctoral dissertation, "Becoming Punxsutawney Phil: Symbols and Metaphors of Transformation in Groundhog Day"--

(Which I am still mostly avoiding for now because I am hoping The Groundhog Day Project can be injected into as many grad school assignments as possible and maybe even my graduate thesis itself. For now, by the way, I'll be writing about Groundhog Day in two of my papers this quarter and I may mention Herman's Head, which starred as Animal one Ken Hudson Campbell of Chubby Man in Hallway fame in another paper. But, even actively avoiding Benesh's dissertation, I couldn't help but glance inside to see what she said about food; I'd flipped through it and notice the "The Digestive Metaphor" section before so I knew there'd be something.)

--about digestion as metaphor for transformation; we are transforming food into useable energy and nutrients plus waste products, after all. Aside from the metaphor, however apt it may be, Benesh points out, "Many scenes in Groundhog Day are set in a diner or restaurant [or bar, I would add]. Food is related to survival, nourishment, pleasure, and communal ritual" (98). She goes on to break down a few notable instances of eating. I find one comparison she makes particularly interesting. She compares Phil imitating Larry eating to Phil shoving the cake in his mouth; Phil, Benesh tells us, "essentially imitates himself imitating Larry." Notably, there is "no nourishment" in either of these acts. Benesh doesn't mention Buster's choking, but I think it's worth noting that Benesh's example of nourishment (in terms of food) in the film--Phil feeding O'Reilly--is the only scene of many eating scenes that has real nourishment in it. We see Phil eating other junk food (beside the aforementioned cake) at the Tip Top Cafe, we see him drink coffee straight from the pot, and we see Phil and Rita eating fudge. We see Phil drink alcohol but not eat from his overflowing bowl of popcorn while watching Jeopardy!.

(Well, we see him eat two individual kernels, but that's not much.)

Phil gives Larry a pastry but Larry never eats it. Phil and Rita barely touch their sweet vermouth and while Rita plays with something from her plate at the restaurant, she never actually eats anything in the scene. Phil has a container of Rocky Road ice cream but it cools the spot Rita has just slapped rather than being consumed. Buster eats but chokes. And, though the party at the Pennsylvanian is called a "Banquet" we see no eating taking place, only dancing. And, remember, on Day 1 when Rita asks if Phil's going to the "Groundhog Dinner" he jokes that he had groundhog for lunch, which it's safe to say he did not. Additionally, Phil calls the folks of Punxsutawney "hypocrites" for not eating the groundhog. And finally, Phil jokes about putting cherry syrup on his ice sculpture, both diminishing the skill he has acquired and invoking digestion once again without any eating taking place.

Benesh only spends a couple pages on "The Digestive Metaphor" but maybe she was onto something bigger than she realized. I began my entry about Phil as the Man with No Name by pointing out that Phil never actually has to eat--

(Technically, I pointed out that he can't get fat, the implication being that he could eat whatever he wants, but the inverse is true as well. I remembered it as having pointed out both things, but apparently, I did not.)

--but it's actually a little strange how little eating, and especially nourishing eating, takes place in a film with so many scenes in a diner. Hell, one of those diner scenes is Phil reading--which, I suppose the film argues, is true nourishment.

Today's reason to repeat a day forever: to try a lot of new foods without the problem of them staying in my system.

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