July 29, 2011

give me that old time religion . . .

Time for the 14th amendment . . . it's good enough for me!

no, no, not samozas . . .

Whaaaaaat? Ban samozas? How can the world forge forth without the basic necessities of life? Okay, wait a minute. I admit that I no longer eat Samozas. But I love the damn things! They are great! Too rich (and I'm not talking meat samozas because I've never had one) but still - food of the gods! The only way to properly prepare an edible greasy potato - I love the damn things! But, it seems that they have a triangular shape, you know, like the trinity . . .
No reasons were given for the bizarre move, announced by militants in vehicles mounted with loudspeakers.

However, residents of a south Mogadishu settlement and Afgoye, a town 30 kms south of the capital where the ban was imposed speculated that the Islamists may have associated the triangle-shaped snack with a symbol of Christianity that is not compatible with their strict version of Islam.
O world! Listen to the madness all around you! Ban Samozas? You might as well ban skinny dipping! Some things are basic to humanity . . .

what recovery . . . ?

This column by Richard Wolff is exactly on point . . .
The so-called economic "recovery" since mid-2009 was chiefly hype, a veneer of good news to disguise and minimise the awful underlying economic realities. The few (large corporations and the rich) who bear much of the responsibility for the crisis made sure that the government they finance used massive amounts of public money to support a recovery for them. The mass of the population was excluded from the government-financed recovery for the few. We now have the summary official statistics to expose this grotesque injustice.

July 28, 2011

my plans for the weekend . . .

We keep a book in our Kitchen that both A. and I very much enjoy reading and looking through: Kitchen Garden by Anna Nicholas.

It is a beautiful, informative little book. We like it . . . and, it doesn't now
cost as much as we may have paid for it. I expect to try a recipe from it this weekend when family come over: Garlic Broth Provencal.

Here's the recipe, simplicity itself, and I'll report back our reviews: add 6 (or more) crushed cloves of garlic, sprig of sage and a bay leaf to 2 1/2 pints (6 cups) of salted, boiled water. Boil 8 minutes and remove from heat. Beat 1 egg (come on folks, make it an egg from an uncaged, free roaming chicken who wasn't fed a corporate mash of growth hormones, etc.) in a large bowl, then still beating, gradually strain the broth into the bowl (add salt if needed and your doctor will allow it) and lots of black pepper (don't even talk to the doctor about the pepper!) until it tastes the way it should. Serve with your favorite (unsliced) bread (French should do nicely even if it isn't the favorite). Enjoy!

I intend to try this . . .

July 19, 2011

the worse, the better . . .

Comment by George Packer in the New Yorker:
The sociologist Max Weber, in his 1919 essay “Politics as a Vocation,” drew a distinction between “the ethic of responsibility” and “the ethic of ultimate ends”—between those who act from a sense of practical consequence and those who act from higher conviction, regardless of consequences. These ethics are tragically opposed, but the true calling of politics requires a union of the two. On its own, the ethic of responsibility can become a devotion to technically correct procedure, while the ethic of ultimate ends can become fanaticism. Weber’s terms perfectly capture the toxic dynamic between the President, who takes responsibility as an end in itself, and the Republicans in Congress, who are destructively consumed with their own dogma. Neither side can be said to possess what Weber calls a “leader’s personality.” Responsibility without conviction is weak, but it is sane. Conviction without responsibility, in the current incarnation of the Republican Party, is raving mad.
Read it all . . .

July 18, 2011

looking for cylons

I took this picture before I started watching the new (actually no longer "new") Battlestar Galactica series on Netflix (damn them, raising prices at a time like this) but I'm sure there must be Cylons down there and I ain't going down . . .

if you decide to post a comment

If you want to post a comment on this site, we welcome it. You can post as anonymous or use a name. You do not need to use both a name and an url. The choice name/url evidently means one or the other. If I were as facile with blogging settings and explaining them as I am with growing and consuming delicious okra my explanations here might be more satisfying . . . we will delete obnoxious bullshit but not necessarily obnoxious comments.

July 16, 2011

things i like to eat . . . and eat . . .

No recipe needed on this - just wide noodles with a few olives and veggies - including carrots, red peppers, few leafs of chopped cabbage, halved cherry tomatoes, fresh ground hard cheese and yummy for the heart and tummy.
The pictures don't do justice to this wonderful soup - cod soup is a staple Saturday lunch at our house - ingredients depend on what is in season (either in our garden or at the farmers' markets) with assist from the freezer as needed. A glass of cab, my cod soup and thee . . .

pandering to wall street . . . again

This story by Jim B. Stewart in The New York Times deserves a close read.
The economy is still suffering from the worst financial crisis since the Depression, and widespread anger persists that financial institutions that caused it received bailouts of billions of taxpayer dollars and haven’t been held accountable for any wrongdoing. Yet the House Appropriations Committee has responded by starving the agency responsible for bringing financial wrongdoers to justice — while putting over $200 million that could otherwise have been spent on investigations and enforcement actions back into the pockets of Wall Street.
How is it putting over $200 million back into the pockets of Wall Street? Because, even though the Republican controlled appropriations committee report cited the Federal debt as a basis for cutting the SEC budget, the budget of the SEC is funded not by taxpayer money but from levied fees on those that the SEC regulates - which, of course, includes Wall Street. That means the over $200 cut from the budget stays in the pockets of the very people who were so instrumental in causing the current rescission. It's more Repub hocus pocus.

July 14, 2011

cuts sometimes bleed greviously

Ms. & Mr. CongressRep, Bernanke is talking to you . . . again!
(Reuters) - U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned Congress on Thursday that overzealous cuts to government spending in the short term could derail an already fragile recovery and said a U.S. debt default may wreak financial havoc.

"I only ask ... as Congress looks at the timing and composition of its changes to the budget, that it does take into account that in the very near term the recovery is still rather fragile, and that sharp and excessive cuts in the very short term would be potentially damaging to that recovery," Bernanke told members of the Senate Banking Committee.

places i've been . . .

this ain't mayday, but . . .

The day the empanadas vanished

We have a local chain of grocery stores here in Houston (I think there is one in Austin and perhaps even elsewhere in region) that are unusual in the width and variety of stock offered. The international section is unbelievably comprehensive for a local grocery store - especially for items from Mexico, South America but also from far east, Europe and mediterranean area. It's the only place in town where you can almost always find a can of delicious smoked sprats (these from Latvia).

When A. and I first moved to Houston we were delighted to find that the bakeries in most Fiesta stores made a wide range of American and Mexican baked goods, including a variety of quite delicious empanadas. Our favorite became the apple empanada from a particular store (now closed because of freeway expansion - our freeways in Houston will soon cover the entirety of East Texas!) but most other stores had comparable apple empanadas so wherever we were if we saw a Fiesta store and felt the need, we would stop by for our empanada fix. Delicious. For years they were delicious.

About three weeks ago, we were shopping at our local Fiesta - looking for sprats actually for a surprise birthday party - and realized we had not eaten breakfast. We finished our shopping, went by the bakery and grabbed us a couple of empanadas and started back to the house, empanadas in hand. For some reason - perhaps our recent, slightly more austere, diets - but for some reason the empanada, while delicious, seemed a little too sweet. I am certain that the empanada was the same as before. But I guess I wasn't. After one bite, I stared at the portable pie in my hand (one eye on the road as I was driving) and realized it was not the most nutritious item available to staunch our hunger. I turned to A., "Do you realize what is in this thing? Look at it - do you know what we are eating?"

"An apple empanada?" she asked, clearly aware that she did know what she was eating.

"No," I said. "Look at it."

Okay, I'm not eating it, she said and she didn't and I didn't and we don't and evidently we won't anymore. We still go to Fiesta - but now we buy their fresh apples in the produce section (organic when they have them) rather than the empanadas which clearly are not made from the apples they sell in their produce section. I'm sure that those apples come with complete filling in large tins from . . . where? I don't know, but we don't eat them anymore.

July 12, 2011

wabi-sabi sunflower

The transcendent beauty of this poor bedraggled sunflower, unsuccessful springboard for a squirrel after bird seed, calls forth from my soul some understanding for the struggles that the uncouth volunteers in my garden must bear against the brunt of my weeding frenzies - they cannot or will not blend into the blandness of tomato, pepper, and basil plants but push forward with their otherworldly attempts to express some individuality demonstrating their unique right to a small spot in the garden, a spot that was clearly their own before the cultivation of my trim near-identical rows of easy eatables.

I like sunflowers.

July 04, 2011

July 4 Garden Pictures

We actually had our family holiday celebration yesterday - so today is kinda laid back and easy - run with the dogs early a.m. followed by day of easy living... I like days of easy living, a St. Arnold's ale and a bit of homemade cod soup.

The sunflower is a volunteer - probably from our being able to again share seed with the neighborhood birds since we no longer have backyard cats. There is an upside and a downside to this. We miss the cats. But while we had the cats, we missed the birds. I like cats fine. I also like birds and sometimes likes don't mix so well - sometimes likes require a little care and shepherding.

This flower is a reminder that life and living, relationships and sharing, are all ways always complex and mostly worth the trouble. I like sunflowers.

The rose is a survivor. A surprise and delight that is tougher than nails! Thorny anyway. It is an "almost wild rose" or some such name from a local nursery bought (with companions) a few years ago to live near a sweet olive tree reported to top out at about 12' or so. Well the sweet olive is double that in size and throws an immense shade that roses (including their almost wild kin) don't tolerate well. Roses like their sunshine!

After living in the shade of the olive tree for the last 2-3 years, the rose was mostly three or four sticks with a few leaves and no flowers. It would occasionally struggle to produce a petal or two of pink, but no real flowers. Finally we decided to put a shade-lover, a lover of the darker sides of living, in its place. We briefly considered tossing the bedraggled rose on the compost. But no, we decided, even in this hottest June on record (or at least since 1906) for Houston, we decided to try a new home for the rose. We transplanted the rose to another sunnier corner of the garden and watered it (I keep wanting to call the rose a her but I'm going to keep calling the rose an "it"). I was pretty sure that it would die in this heat, but how little credit we sometimes give to the urge for life - the urge to express oneself. So! one short month later, we have this terrific "almost wild" rose smiling into the early morning sunlight. I like roses.