Weekly Wanderings: May 6, 2023

The ongoing decimation of Twitter coincides with my own desire to get back into a daily writing practice, so I’m reviving this blog. I’m making a minimal commitment here: a photo and short gloss on Mondays, and a “Weekly Wanderings” round-up of five stories/thoughts/recommendations each Saturday morning. If and as I can, I’ll post occasional book reviews or such here as well.

I know Substacks are in and blogs are out, but no one ever accused me of being cool. If you’d prefer a Substack-like experience, enter your email address in the “Follow Blog by Email” box at the bottom of the page and new posts will arrive in your inbox.

Way back in 2015, I wrote about a day I spent in Kansas City, eating barbecue and touring the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. I noted at the time that the museum’s exhibits were excellent but largely empty of other visitors, and I’ve worried since that the institution didn’t have as much support as it deserves.

My fears appear to be unfounded, as the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum announced this past week that it’s embarking on construction of a new, much larger, facility. As The Athletic reports, the expanded museum will triple its current square footage and more fully honor the vision of former Negro Leagues player Buck O’Neil, one of the driving forces behind the museum’s founding in 1991. Museum leaders hope to open the new building within five years—and I hope to visit Kansas City again to see it.

Today marks the one hundredth anniversary of the Lincheng Incident, when a luxury train en route to Beijing was forcibly derailed and taken over by bandits. The Lincheng Incident and its aftermath are recounted in The Peking Express by James Zimmerman, which I reviewed for the Wall Street Journal last month. It’s also the focus of the latest “This Week in China’s History” column by James Carter at The China Project:

What makes the attack on the Peking Express such a touchstone is that it brings together many of the prominent strands that made up the fabric of China in the 1920s. Wealthy foreigners living above—often at the expense of—Chinese law and society; technological advances that contrasted with traditional practices in ways that were not always welcome; political fragmentation that jeopardized (some might say illustrated the demise of) the survival of a centralized Chinese state.

Expanded rail service (hopefully without bandits) for Michigan is surely many years away, but at least people are talking about the possibility. Although I’ve acclimated to the “drive everywhere” mindset here, I definitely miss the ability to get where I’m going and read at the same time.

The next book I’m planning to read is Red Memory: The Afterlives of China’s Cultural Revolution, by Guardian journalist Tania Branigan. Red Memory has been available in the United Kingdom for several months and will finally be published in the United States this coming Tuesday. In advance of the book’s U.S. release, Branigan spoke with Bill Bishop for his Sinocism podcast; an excerpt from the book also appears in the Sinocism newsletter.

While I haven’t been following the wall-to-wall coverage of preparations for King Charles III’s coronation today, seeing headlines about it reminded me of this Washington Post recipe for “Coronation Chickpea Salad.” The original recipe for “Coronation Chicken” (formally dubbed “Poulet Reine Elizabeth”) was created in honor of Queen Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne in 1953. As one might expect from Le Cordon Bleu at the time, it featured poached chicken coated in a thick dressing of mayonnaise and heavy cream lightly accented by curry powder and almonds. The chickpea version is a lighter vegetarian riff on that, with Greek yogurt standing in for the heavy cream, curry paste for a more pronounced flavor, and cilantro garnish for the ultimate 21st-century touch. I’ll be eating it for lunch next week in decidedly un-royal surroundings.

Feature Photo: The Huron River passing through Ann Arbor’s Gallup Park, May 4, 2023.

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