Monday, November 30, 2009

Welcome To the Lion's Den

As Suzette knows, I'm no pink ribbon waver. I wouldn't have given this video a second's consideration if it didn't make fun of early MTV, but the reason I'm posting it is the Madness Stomp in the middle. Who can resist dancing nerds? Not me!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Little Sugar On It, Baby

On New Scandinavian Cooking, Andreas Viestad discussed cloudberries, and how Norwegians jealously guard the secret locations of cloudberry bushes. He seemed most emphatic about it. His eyebrows took on a life of their own. I've been thinking again about the conflict between wild imagination and the frailty of the body. We could plant more, but I'm having trouble vacuuming a whole room. I'd like to teach grade schoolers to grow herbs, but my stamina runs out on the way to the coffee pot. I've skipped exercising 10 days out of the last 13 months and feel certain yoga three times a week would significantly improve the condition of my hip, but I need a nap I'm not going to get. Somehow, though, having the ideas seems like enough for the moment. After the holiday madness is over, I'll have time to ask questions, find programs looking for volunteers and think about the garden. Today, I found a new yoga studio four blocks from my house I might be able to move in and occupy. Depending on the schedule over there, I might not even have to wait. And, as Andreas let slip, cloudberry preserves can be purchased in the States. I'll never tell you where.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Nothing I Can Take To Relieve This

Lovely Drusy stares so hard at the finger puppet you'd think it would burst into flames.

Pete's baking bread. We had long, busy days at the family stores, which is actually good. When we're busy, time passes faster. It's all a blur of festive tissue and wrapping paper and - POOF! - we're home with our feet propped up while the bread machine whirs and squawks. The cats are curled up where they can touch us or at least keep watch: Topaz at my elbow, Drusy over my left shoulder and Sweetpea on an ottoman at our feet. They do not trust us. They dream of fishy treats and catnip mousies, but always sleep with one eye on us.


Friday, November 27, 2009

You Wrote It And I Played It

Lots of people don't think much about the words they choose. How about you: do you think about words or do you just talk? A phrase most people don't think much about is If I can do it, you can do it. Now, that is shorthand for something longer, bolder and more vulgar like, My parents were mouthbreathing, six-fingered triplets, and if I can do it, you, a person who eats with utensils and ties your own shoes, can do it, too. People misuse this phrase all the time. My favorite misuse of it currently on TV is Marie Osmond, mother of eight and professional entertainer since birth, insisting that if she can drop a pile of pounds, I can too. Frankly, Marie Osmond can do shit all day every day I can't do, but that's probably not true of you and me.

If I can dehydrate pears, I believe you can too - not because my parents were related but because I'm just learning how to dehydrate fruit. You can learn it, too. If I can brandy blueberries, I think you can handle it because I can't follow a recipe to save my life. If I can mix up brown sugar with cinnamon, a pinch of salt, some allspice and nutmeg, I feel sure you're up to it. Call it a hunch. I don't even have to have one and an entertaining lisp to know you'll be inspired to sprinkle this stuff on anything you bake.

So what did I do that you can do, too? Bake something architecturally unlikely and improbably delicious, that's what. Go ahead, scroll down. I'll wait right here. Go ahead. Feelings! Nothing more than feelings! Trying to forget my feeling of loooooooooove! Yup, I did that and a few other things, and you can too. Start at the grocery store with a box of phyllo dough, a spritz bottle of oil or I Can't Believe It's Stopping My Heart, a filling you make yourself or one you buy. You need pans and parchment paper. For some reason, tart pans are the shittiest things in everyone's kitchen. Don't put food on those!

I mean these! Don't put food directly on these, no matter how beloved the dead relative who gave them to you. How did I know? You didn't buy your own tart pans. No one does. Someone dies and you get them. Or there's a garage sale and the garage owner pays you to take them away. I didn't even know these were mine until Pete told me they came from Dad. Anyway, these pans had nice steep sides and the flutey shape meant nothing to me because I wasn't going to let food touch it. No touching!

That would be chaos!

Tear off strips of parchment paper to cover the surface of the pan. I was thinking of the parchment as a guide and not as an exact shape, then I cut the edges down to about half an inch above the edge of the form. You can cut this or leave it long. That doesn't really matter. I was warbling along to Side 2 of Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy and the sustained notes made me want curves and ruffles. Perhaps it was the extra oxygen.

When you're working with phyllo dough, the hard part is the easy part. Have everything you're going to work with laid out and ready. Heat your oven. Turn off your phone. Discourage your helpful pets! Open the phyllo dough, lay it out flat and cover it with a barely moist towel. Ready? Go! Gently peel a layer of dough, lay it where you want it and spritz with oil. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Now and then, sprinkle a little of your cinnamon sugar here and there. It's not engineering and you don't have to be precise. Peel, lay, spritz. Try to keep the towel on the unused dough so it doesn't dry out.

There's a muddled instruction I hear on cooking shows over and over, but variations of it turn up on all kinds of how-to shows, probably because people don't know what they're saying. You've heard it. Alton Brown says, Don't over-mix. Giada says, Not too much. Even Jacques Pepin is not beyond saying, Just enough! This tells you nothing and makes you nervous. What they should be saying is Mix until such and such happens, then stop, or Add the ingredient until you see or feel a desired effect, because then you'd learn something. No sense adding peril to a peril-free situation. In this case, I piled on sheets of dough until I decided plenty was in the form and that it was pretty. Don't be nervous. There's no right or wrong. You're making something fun and pretty. Don't lose your nerve!

I made two crusts in the two pans, filled them with fruit and baked them at 350 degrees for about 20 or 25 minutes, at which point the crust was golden brown. You should bake stuff to golden brown. If you get to black, you've gone too far. See? You learned something. Then I laid out phyllo dough in the same pattern, only flat and as close to even as possible. Phyllo dough grabs wet phyllo dough, so where it touches it sticks. When I was satisfied that I had a thick layer of stacked phyllo to work with, I put down a thick line of fruit filling down the center of this rectangle and folded like a burrito. You've folded a burrito, right? Then you can make strudel.

When the strudel came out of the oven we kept our paws off it long enough for it to cool to a temperature slightly hotter than lava. I cut pieces. I mixed homemade yogurt with a dollop of ginger marmalade and tossed in some allspice. At this exact moment, Pete's sister needed to talk to him, so the strudel cooled, exactly as you see it, for another seven or eight minutes. Then we ate it like we were raised by wolves - wolves with poor table manners.

I made a third kind of thingy by layering phyllo into a loaf pan. When it came right down to it, putting it together was no more difficult than messing with PlayDoh. Nobody taught me to do this. I simply decided I could, figured out the spray goo trick and everything else was just playing. You should give this a try because it was so freaking easy even I could do it. See?

After the shopping, I forgot to mention a crucial step. You cannot miss it! Tie up your hair with the silliest, girliest, most hilarious hair tie. If you're bald or have short hair, you can now get hair nets with rhinestones and swim caps with flowers. Could we look one another in the eye again if you missed a chance to synchronized swim in your kitchen? I fear not, you know what I mean?


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Stop Me When I'm Passing By

Sorry about the size issue. Sweat me later!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Too Slow But the Earth Is All We Know

Pete pads softly down the stairs, holding the phone and smiling.

Pete: It's your mother.

Maybe he's grimacing.

Tata: What's up, Mom?
Mom: Remember when - maybe you know - could you help me with something? - I'm not sure how to ask this but - when you were in the garage - perhaps the cat - the garage door clicker is still missing and - Tom says he told you -
Tata: He told me to pick up the gray thing and press the button. I picked up the gray thing, pressed the button and put it back on the shelf next to the macaroni.
Mom: It's catfood. Did you by any chance - while you were walking around -
Tata: No. It was missing while we were still there. He asked me this question before we left Cape Cod and I told him the same thing. He was there and watched me put it back next to the macaroni and catfood. I never touched it again.
Mom: So you didn't pick it up and walk around and forget about it?
Tata: Nope. Look under the stairs, okay?
Mom: Under the stairs! I'll do that. I don't know why we didn't think of that.
Tata: Me, neither. Look behind the catfood macaroni while you're there, huh?

When that fails, Radio Shack opens at 9 a.m.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Photo: Bob Hosh

I have a cold. You get this picture from my co-worker, who takes the most startling photographs of flowers. You'd think this patch of mums was the face of a beloved child, and perhaps it is.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

And I'm the One With No Soul

Violet's on the money:
I think we need to say to hell with Roe v. Wade. By which I mean, we need to take the abortion fight to a different front instead of being blackmailed into voting Democrat so that the next SC justice will be pro-choice etc., etc., etc. As long as we’re locked into that paradigm, our hands are tied politically. I think we need to put abortion on a legislative footing; perhaps the ERA could accomplish that. Simultaneously, women need to build an Underground Railroad of abortion providers and patient transportation (working with Planned Parenthood, for example) so we’re not just at the mercy of the goddamn Democrats. Enough with the blackmail!

We need to be prepared to accept the risk of Democrats losing an election. This is just basic politics, folks. The only way to swing the game is if you mean business. All we’re doing now is enabling the country and the Democratic Party to move further and further right. Think about it: the Democratic administration we have now would have been the nightmare Republican bogeyman scenario a couple of decades ago.

I turned 18 months after Reagan's election. For my entire voting life, the Overton Window has been shifting to the right and shafting women, People of Color, GLBTQs and the poor as the Democrats cowered and surrendered every bit of street cred earned during the Great Society struggles. I'm 46, and still we hear the same threadbare threat: if you vote your conscience, the Republicans win. I voted for Democrats and Republicans won and win even when they're out of power because Democrats have become spineless appeasers. Fuck them. Fuck that.

I'm done. Last week, I registered Green.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Around Me Waist A Belt

I love these people, though their website looks like my five year old niece picked the colors.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Your Job Just Like A Holiday

So I came across this picture -

The description:
Designer Harri Koskinen
Year 2006
Architonic id 1076989

"The basic idea was to create a lamp series with space and atmosphere. I put my trust in the natural material of glass, in its beauty and its changing reflections. The lamp series consists of a white and grey version that both, and in their own way, bring forward the beauty of electrical light. The lamps are at their best in the late evening, creating a cosy mood around them."

MATERIAL Mouth blown glass, textile cord
DIMENSIONS Large version: ø 34,8 cm, Height 26 cm; Small version: ø 25,4 cm, Height 19 cm

The form is kind of interesting. The soft light source makes a lot of sense to me, especially since that site offers other lamps by the same designer that aren't nearly as successful. The lamp is made of glass, which I suspect would last about half an hour in my house full of cats. Generally speaking, I like this designer's ideas, but what do you think this might be?

Designer Harri Koskinen
Architonic id 1001840

Single coloured relief.
Material: Handtufted 100% New Zealand wool.
Colours: Standard.
l: 2000 mm w: 1580 mm
l: 2000 mm w: 645 mm
Customers size

It's pretty. What is it?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

But We'll Go Home Be Bearna

I have books and time to spend
I have soul and I have friends
I have a home and I have food and
Still I have a bad fucking attitude.

Difference Bedlam Rovers

The healthcare debate is such transparently stupid bullshit I'm practically speaking in tongues. Fortunately, while I %@%#)%&@_% and %&@)%!^% $%&!!, other people are saying doing smart things.
A Better World Cafe, housed in an historic brick church, is the fifth restaurant of its kind in the nation, which some are nicknaming "Robin Hood restaurants."

The original socially conscious eatery was opened in Salt Lake City in 2003 by a former acupuncturist and advocates of the concept hope it will revolutionize eating out.

"It’s about how we’re going to need to change our systems if we’re going to survive as a planet," said Tina Weishaus, a board member of Who is My Neighbor? The community group based in the Reformed Church of Highland Park co-owns the not-for-profit restaurant with Elijah’s Promise, a New Brunswick soup kitchen and culinary school.

Besides the lack of official prices — only suggested fares — the eatery uses mostly food from local farms and no plastic or Styrofoam. It also composts all food scraps and acts as a community forum by hosting talks and live performances by local artists.

Three blocks from my house: yay!
The Highland Park restaurant opened its doors Oct. 21. The simple dining room, with communal tables and metal chairs, has attracted roughly 50 to 125 customers a day, head chef Rachel Weston said. Three paid staff and volunteers serve food from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. Advertising has been minimal: there’s no sign for the cafe in the front of the church.

Listed each day on a dry erase board is a menu of roughly a dozen items that change every week or so, with suggested prices. One item, the "complimentary community entree," is free to everyone. On Thursday the free dish was curried pumpkin chick peas over rice.

A person who can’t pay anything is allowed to eat only the "community entree," but can volunteer at the cafe for an hour to get a bigger meal with more choices. Weston said all patrons are encouraged to volunteer, to think, for example, "What if I came back and baked bread, or played the piano?"

Supper: you can sing for it!
ustomer Kathleen Logue, 49, said she has been unemployed for two years. But she still paid $6, more than the suggested combined price of $1.50 for a cup of Moroccan tomato consomme and $3 for a medium slice of roasted tomato and Swiss cheese quiche.

"There are people worse off than me," she said.

Highland Park is an ideal town to host the novel restaurant, said Weishaus, with a mixed-income population that includes residents of housing projects as well as Rutgers University professors. The borough also boasts of progressive policies such as promoting fair-trade products at local stores.

The seed of the idea for A Better World Cafe was planted in January, said Lisanne Finston, executive director of Elijah’s Promise. She was giving a talk at the Highland Park church - commenting that the richest nation in the world should not have to have soup kitchens - when someone in the audience mentioned the new dining venture in Salt Lake City.

That's the kind of concrete, direct action I need to see and support. It can happen near you, too.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Everyone's Raging Everyone's Roaring

Our recent rescue kitten roaming the kitchen, after stumbling face first into the cat food bowl.

I am so tired I spent three hours this afternoon staring into space. That's not like me. I usually get up and go do something the moment my train of thought derails. Who knows what tragedy might occur if I let it crash into the tiny Alpine village below?


Monday, November 16, 2009

Maybe I'm A Dog That's Lost Its Bite

Topaz is curled up on a caramel velveteen pillow with one paw resting on my left elbow. Sweetpea snores peacefully a few inches from my right thigh. In a few minutes, she'll inch closer to my hip, then closer again, then lay her head on my lap and stare at me with the boo-boo eyes, then crawl on my lap. She won't stay. She's a restless sort. And Drusy's upstairs, telling Pete all her girlie secrets. It was only two nights, but according to the cats we were gone forever.

Sweetpea actually pretended not to know me. I was like, "Girlfriend, PLEASE."

Saturday morning, we drove up to Cape Cod in the misty and sometimes blinding rain and fog that was the tail end of Hurricane Ida. We had arranged a quick trip to replace the warped and waterlogged storm door and cross a few small tasks off the big DIY list. Sunday morning, Mom, Tom, Pete and I drank coffee and talked about the door, which came with a frame. Mom busied herself elsewhere. Pete tore out the old door while I counted hardware pieces and Tom read the instructions. It quickly became apparent that this was a two-person job. Mom proposed that she and I go visit Grandpa. I cleaned up and we hopped in the car, where Mom recounted the saga of Grandpa's shoes.

Briefly: a few weeks before, she'd picked up a second pair of Grandpa's favorite shoes at KMart, but the shoes were too small when he tried them on. Mom tried returning them but KMart didn't have a pair half a size larger. An employee - let's call her Alberta - promised to call when a shipment of Grandpa's favorite shoes arrived. Alberta called Mom the day before we arrived: a pair of shoes would be waiting for her. I didn't think much of this except that this meant we were going to KMart, and shopping with Mom is fraught with peril. It's hard to explain.

The strip mall was sad. At the other end, a Filene's Basement had gone out of business, leaving a huge empty space. The parking lot was full of holes and broken places. As we walked through the store to Customer Service, we passed people whose skin was colorless, people who were oddly shaped and looked damaged. At the desk, we found one lushly beautiful young woman of Middle Eastern descent to page Alberta for us. When after a long moment Alberta did not appear, the young woman went to the shoe department, which was maybe 30 feet away and plainly visible from where we were standing. We saw her walk around. We saw her pick up the phone at the jewelry counter. She came back to the desk. Then out of nowhere Alberta appeared. WHOOSH! And she looked mighty familiar because when we walked in and asked for her, she walked right past us. Anyway: WHOOSH! At the same time Alberta appears, we hear her talking.

Alberta: Hi, I'm Alberta! Did you get my call? I called you! I called because I knew you wanted these shoes so I put aside a pair for you and another for another man. He was actually here at the same time as you. You might have seen him. Did you see him?

In the shoe aisle, a large box sits on the floor and a number of shoeboxes await Alberta's attention. Mom is no slouch when it comes to talking a blue streak and I don't quite understand what we're doing so I keep wandering off and coming back. Finally, Alberta realizes I have something to do with this situation and extends a hand.

Alberta: Hi, I'm Alberta.
Tata: Hi, I'm Domenica and you've met my mother.
Alberta: That is your mother? That cannot be your mother. How old are you? And how old are YOU? I cannot believe you have a daughter her age. You're both kidding, right?
Tata: Want to see a picture of my grandson?
Alberta: You can't possibly be old enough to have a grandchild! You don't look old enough to have a kid who has a kid. It's the curly hair. That makes everyone look younger. See how young I look? It's the curly hair! How old do you think I am?

Mom and I look at each other.

Tata: There's no right answer to that question!

Alberta laughs, rushes to me and pulls her hair out of a clip.

Alberta: It's the curly hair that makes me look young. My youngest is 18. I don't look that age, and curly hair makes you look young, and you too -

Mom's hair is poker-straight. Alberta keeps talking as Mom's phone rings and Tom says, "I have a few things to tell you." I am holding the shoebox of replacement shoes in the correct, larger size. Mom repeatedly listens to something Tom says then responds the same way over and over. Alberta has noticed my nose piercing and we are off to the races.

Alberta: Did that hurt when you got that pierced because it really hurt when I got my tongue pierced -
Tata: I had to take my tongue ring out because it started chipping away at my dentalwork. Mom, say goodbye to Tom.
Mom: I don't have time to talk about this.
Alberta: I was never sure about leaving my kids with babysitters -
Tata: It's always a dilemma. Mom, hang up.
Mom: I don't have time to talk about this.
Alberta: Your hair was more recently frosted than mine but we have the same hair. It's nice hair. Do you wear makeup? I can't believe you have a grandchild -
Tata: You've been very helpful. Thank you so much. Mom, HANG UP THAT PHONE. WE ARE LEAVING.

Mom shut her phone and stared at Alberta. Mom doesn't listen like other people listen. You don't so much talk as have a story sucked out of you. I am not at all kidding when I say Mom makes car dealers cry. All she has to do is fix her gaze on them and listen until they beg her to sign something and for god's sake please go listen to someone else. Though I was absolutely certain Alberta was hopped up on diet pills and hair dye, I knew what would happen if matter and anti-matter suddenly realized they were at the same party and wearing the same dress. To save the universe, I stood up and shouted mysterious words. I think they were something like, "ISN'T THAT ANWAR SADAT? I NEED HIS AUTOGRAPH!" And I bolted toward Customer Service, knowing that Mom would follow because obviously there was a story to suck.

If she'd followed a little more closely I would have sprinted to the exit. I stopped at Customer Service, declared to the lushly beautiful young woman that we'd made our exchange and didn't wait for an answer. Mom turned the corner, staring at me with wide eyes and the same expression cats fix on mice. I said, "We're done here," and made a break for the door. I hate shopping! I was thrilled when Grandpa's shoes fit because I didn't want to discuss hair care products with Alberta.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

We Are Strangers In Your Silent World

Mom and I are back now from visiting Grandpa in his impossibly good nursing home. Mom baked him cookies this morning and we brought him coffee. Mom wandered off. I sat on the edge of his bed. He and I ate cookies, drank coffee and laughed.

Tata: This is a good cookie!
Grandpa: This is a good cookie!
Tata: Pretty good coffee, too!
Grandpa: You can't usually get coffee this good!
Tata: And how about this cookie? This is a good cookie!
Grandpa: Your mother bakes a good cookie!
Tata: I like this coffee!
Grandpa: It's good coffee!

As conversations go, it's one of my favorites.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Electric Eyes Are Everywhere

The test of a democracy is not the magnificence of buildings or the speed of automobiles or the efficiency of air transportation, but rather the care given to the welfare of all the people. -Helen Adams Keller, lecturer and author (1880-1968) Via Wordsmith.

CREDO action:
Did 20 pro-choice Democrats forget what happens when women are denied access to abortion?

Why did pro-choice Democrats vote to approve the Stupak Amendment, the most serious assault on abortion rights in a generation?

According to, 20 of the 64 Democrats who joined Republicans to pass the measure are nominally pro-choice. We're telling these 20 Democrats -- all of them men -- to reconsider their vote and urge Congressional leadership to do everything they can to ensure the health care bill that comes out of committee does not take us back to an era of coat hangers and back alley abortions.

Sign our petition and we'll send a coat hanger to the 20 formerly pro-choice Democrats who voted to take away women's rights.

About twenty years ago, I participated in an action where we mailed hundreds of signed drycleaner hangers to anti-choice congresspersons. Maybe we should make it an annual public scourging.

It couldn't be easier to sign the petition.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Everything Under the Sun Is In Tune

I wasn't much different as a teenager than I am as showboating old bat. In August of 1979, I was at the pool in a friend's backyard and my friend's older brother had a supercute best friend in a very convincing blue Speedo bathing suit. I had taken diving lessons since the Mesozoic, so I stepped up to the diving board, took a few swift, sure steps, made my hurdle, did something zany with a few somersaults, pointed toes and sliced gracefully through the water. Aaaaand I swam into the side of the pool and broke my front tooth.

In retrospect, it was at this exact moment I should have realized comedy would be my life.

The cute boy helped me find the broken tooth. My friend's mother made one in what Mom remembers as a long series of "Mrs. LongItalianLastName, Domenica's okay, but - " calls. The dentist glued my tooth back together. A few months later, I was holding a ladder while a guy I'd just met hung decorations in the high school cafeteria when I recognized his butt. You would think a kid who spent all her waking hours in costume would have the sense to reach for a trenchcoat and false mustache, but no.

Tata: You're friends with Nipsy?
Imminent Unrequited Love Of My Young Life: Yep.
Tata: You swim a lot at his house?
IULOML: Sometimes. Why?
Tata: Remember a girl with a fancy dive and an exciting faceplant?
IULOML: Yes, I do.
Tata: That was me. Hey, I'd like to crawl in a hole, now.

Soon after, I spent two years picking leftovers out of my braces, so my high school years were like a catalog of dentalwork failures. Six years ago, I got braces again. That'll put a crimp in your adult sex life. Stop laughing! Three years ago, I had capped four teeth damaged by braces and moral sloth. Immediately, one came apart: the one I broke with my enormous ego and a concrete wall. I have my own dentist now. He's pretending all his patients go through gallons of epoxy. He glued it back together, and again three weeks ago.

Tata: Okay okay okay, I am in such a MOOD. A few days ago, I thought I was imagining my tooth was loose, but no. The cap came off in my hand. I was so mad I actually cursed my own ancestors, which means yours are cursed, too.
Daria: That explains the noises in my attic and my children speaking in tongues.
Tata: But the cap went right back on like a puzzle piece and everything was fine while I waited for the dentist. But then the dentist needed to take the cap for a couple of days to clean off the glue.
Daria: So you stayed home and whistled?
Tata: No, I went to work and scowled like George Harrison.
Daria: OH MY GOD! You snaggletoothed it for TWO DAYS?
Tata: Yes, and my job involves talking to lots of people, so I mastered the fine art of talking to people like they're actually standing five feet to their right, not to mention facing away from them in meetings. It's a good thing people already thought I was insane or it might bother them when I walk up to them backwards.
Daria: I can't breathe!
Tata: So he glued it back together and then I bit down on some frozen dark chocolate with 85% cocoa content. It's full of antioxidents, you know, and my tooth broke into three pieces.
Daria: I know how mad you were then. You don't have a Louisville Slugger anymore, do ya?
Tata: Nope.
Daria: Then your dentist's probably safe. Is it fixed yet?
Tata: It is not, and here's the best part: we're going to Cape Cod to fix Mom's front door and you know who cares more about my teeth than I do? Mom does. And our Mom's mean. She's going to stare at me. I'll have the heebee jeebies!
Daria: Your best chance is to bring extra wine and hope Mom gets crosseyed.
Tata: I thought my best chance was to dress up as someone Mom would ignore, like police officers and car salesmen. But your way is better.

For the first time in my life I look forward to getting dentures.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lay It All Down

Veterans Day 2009.

When are we going to learn?


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Be There, I'll Be Around

Tata: Knock knock!
Pete: What?

Pete: You awake? Still napping?
Tata: Is it dinnertime and you're making me a sandwich?
Pete: I am!
Tata: And it will contain bacon?
Pete: It will!
Tata: I'm about to have a great evening.


Monday, November 09, 2009

Spellbound, Falling In Trances

I don't know about you, but -

- I'm always surprised when singing doesn't break out.


Saturday, November 07, 2009

And Give Young Sally Some Room

Via every-freaking-body on the intertoobz, but in this case from Crooks & Liars:

Nicole Belle:
Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), one of the GOP's minions, continues the Joe Wilsonification of Congress to prevent discussion over Stupak's amendment, one that may actually lead to effectively a ban on abortion for low income women:
“The real goal of abortion opponents isn't to maintain the status quo. It's to extend federal prohibitions into private pocketbooks. By restricting coverage offered through the exchange, they hope to make abortion coverage so unattractive that insurers eventually stop offering it in the market for individual and small-group policies.”

And they don't even want us to discuss it. Those white men of the GOP don't want women to insert their remarks into the record.

Kind of makes you long for the day genuine leftists barged into Rotary Club meetings squawking "Property is theft!" and "Are you done with that cheese platter?" It is important to remember that each one of these censorious, shouting motherfuckers would run crying to Fox News if anyone did this to them. Almost no one does, except their own cohorts. Ask Lindsey Graham.

I was inches from losing my mind watching this vomitrociousness when a great, great thing happened:

the Bedlam Rovers' 1990 CD Frothing Green landed in my mailbox. I went from hopping mad to jumping for joy in seconds flat. The band stayed at my house when they passed through New Jersey a zillion years ago and I was hopelessly, droolingly starstruck every time. It's a little embarrassing to remember, but when the CD played tonight, none of that mattered. I love these songs. They've aged beautifully; their politics are more relevant now than ever before. It's even good to recognize that I learned a lot from meeting the band. For instance: genuine socialist health care would be good for everyone and everything, except the careers of corporate water carriers, who no longer even suffer the pretense of democratic process.

It's not easy to dance when I'm this testy.

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 05, 2009

To Memory Now I Cannot Recall

As I watch Congresspersons preen, bicker and bargain away our reproductive rights for the illusion of healthcare, I am bracing myself for the return of commonplace botched back alley abortions and the deaths of our nieces, sisters, daughters and friends.

One of my sisters votes Republican and refuses to consider what that means. "Roe v Wade will never be overturned!" she hisses when the subject comes up, but there is no balm in Gilead. Democrats have made common cause with the anti-choice mob and since women will still need abortions they cannot afford, women will die. It has nothing to do with right or wrong but everything to do with money, shame and social control of women. Today, I believe this is coming, that Americans will have the nerve to be shocked and scandalized and we will have to start the fight all over again because we do not learn and remember.

Months ago, feminists were warned not to mention abortion in the context of the healthcare fight. Blue Gal scolded me about it. She said mentioning abortion was asking for trouble. It's in her archives somewhere. I said then and I say now: we have only the rights we are willing to defend, and we should have taken this fight straight to Congress, because the antis were always going to do that. You saw it today. That was always going to happen, and they're not going to stop.

Perhaps in daylight, cooler heads will prevail on other matters, but not on this one. It's all over but the tears.

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Too Long To Wait Too Long

I am all out of faith. It's time for me to think less about politics and more about direct action for the greater good.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Beyond the Throes Of Our Time


Monday, November 02, 2009

The Same Without A Gun

Tonight, Pete reclined with his feet up and eyes closed while I tried out making compound butter without him. I had questions.

Tata: What if the butter's too cold to combine smoothly?
Pete: Turn up the speed.

A minute later.

Tata: The mixer and I have had a disagreement.
Pete: What's all down the front of you?
Tata: Dill and lime juice. I smell tangy and floral!

A minute later.

Tata: Get up and come taste the compound butter!
Pete: I don't like dill.
Tata: Is it balanced or what?
Pete: It is! Want me to wrap it up?
Tata: Sure. I don't know whether to wash the bowl or scrape it and moisturize.

Cosmetic issues aside, the butter is refreshing and I'm shocked. I thought it would be harder to do but it just isn't. Plus: since everyone else in the whole world seems to know this already, you've stuck zillions of wildly exciting recipes all over the intertoobz. Clever you! I can't wait to sample your handiwork.


Sunday, November 01, 2009

Every Word That Was Ever

Pete and I live under towering oaks, which means we're also up to our knees in drifting leaves.

Pete: We're gonna blow the leaves to the driveway and you'll push them into the backyard.
Tata: So...there's nothing for me to do until you're done with the leaf blower?
Pete: Not really, because I have two. Would I hog all the fun?

For two hours, we blew leaves all over the place, though it seemed much longer because "Scenes From An Italian Restaurant" was stuck on the mental jukebox and I fucking hate Billy Joel. I was hoping for "Ghostbusters" but not such luck. Anyway, we had a blast tossing a giant pile of leaves into the leaf shredder and dumping piles of mulch around our trees for the winter. Hooray! Before we went in for the afternoon, I cut a daunting pile of fresh herbs, then we fell down and took short naps, during which I cursed Bill Joel's ancestors.

Many moons ago, I fell in love with the idea of making compound butters, but lacked the nerve to try it. Pete tossed the cleaned and stemmed herbs into the food processor, and two pounds of butter into the stand mixer; he combined the butter, herbs, some ground pepper and white wine and took it for a spin. We tasted it and opted for more wine and ground pepper. Pete wrapped three separate portions in parchment paper (though we could just as easily have glopped it into Gladware), labeled it and shoved it into the freezer.

I had absolutely no idea it was that easy to make. No idea. Pete says for decades he's put all kinds of things like sun dried tomatoes, shallots and spices into compound butters. Tomorrow night, I want to try making compound butter with tomatoes I dried in the dehydrator and herbs from the backyard. Suddenly, I see what I might find at the farmers market in a new light.

And now I'm much too tired to come up with a punchline.