Monday, September 26, 2011

some recipes

With the holiday season upon us, I feel it appropriate to share some of my culinary gifts. TPTB have graced me with skills galore in the kitchenette so I would like to spread the wealth like so much chunky peanut butter.

The first rule -- Fry, baby, fry. Nothing there is that doesn't like a deep fryer. A bath in hot oil makes everything better, from chicken legs to chicken thighs. And poems by Frost. But for heaven's sake, use canola.

Rule number 2 -- if you wash all your dishes BEFORE you use them, you don't have to wash them afterwards. True fact.

Third -- there are two secret ingredients, depending on whether what you are making is meat or dairy. The ingredients are butter and schmaltz. The details are simply commentary.

Rule the fourth -- you need NOT preheat the microwave.

Number five -- choose your shirt to match the sauce.

Six -- regardless of what the name indicates, a side of beef actually has 2 sides.

Seventh -- many people have asked me about using wine to cook with. I prefer to stew the cook starting 3 hours before you begin. Wine? Wine not?

Rule number 8 -- cookbooks are a good place to start. Write the phone number of places that deliver in the margins of the cookbook. Only later should you consult a phone book.

Number nine -- you don't have to wear that cool white hat but if you don't, you're a loser.

The tenth rule -- once the food can get up and walk around by itself, it is no longer safe to eat. It IS safe to serve, and occasionally, clear and wash dishes.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A 9/11 thought

I'm not a political being and I don't try to understand most major issues, but one interesting subtlety in terms of the upcoming commemoration of the 9/11 anniversary has caught my attention.

This year (on Sunday) we will be marking 10 years since the country was attacked. 10 Years. I have been working to put that into context for a while, now. What I am left with is a comparison to other such horrors.

I won't compare this to events in other countries, especially ones where, sadly, terrorist attacks are more frequent and the per capita equivalent mortality statistic is significantly higher. I'm comparing this to the US. The only similar situation I can think of is Pearl Harbor. True, it isn't identical for SO many reasons, but it will serve my purposes for this post.

Ten years after Pearl Harbor, the world had changed markedly. WWII had been over for 6 years and the US was already focusing on another area of the world. The 50's had descended in all their pea soup green Father Knows Best glory. Everything had changed.

Ten years after 9/11, we are still living, daily in its shadow. Technologically we are in a similar place. Emotionally we are in a similar place. Geo-politically we are in a similar place. Some of these don't change because the nature of the event was different. Different bad guys, location, methodology. But maybe WE are part of the equation and we react differently now. I don't know.

I just wonder if in 1951, Pearl Harbor seemed as fresh and raw as 9/11 does now.

Monday, September 5, 2011

An Open Memo to the Good Folks at VH1

Recently, I found myself in Israel. I was taller than I expected but that's not my point. While wasting some time in my mini junior suite I worked through the TV stations and found myself watching VH1 Classic. It led me to some questions which I will now pose. These are aimed specifically at the people who run VH1 classic, and by extension, those with some expertise in the field.

1. What exactly defines "classic"? A segue from Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" into something by Fine Young Cannibals ( ) is jarring -- I can't see any category which includes them both other than "songs by people who breathe air."

2. Do you think that the director of the Miami Sound Machine's "Dr. Beat" really believes that the video he directed is either effective story telling, or a reasonable representation of "good" video work? [If you have stumbled upon this and have never seen the video, watch the video here
or even better, watch the "first version" which I guess wasn't even good enough to be considered the official one, ]

3. At what point did the video for the Pretenders "Back on the Chain Gang" turn into Yes's "Owner of a Lonely Heart"?

Thank you for your attention in this matter.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

There is nothing under the sun

I am sitting and trying to separate the good chaff from the bad chaff at a meeting and I find that the best way is to ignore content completely and assume that anything of value will be repeated by my peers later on. So I get to thinking and a bunch of random thoughts pop into my head.

First off -- is it wrong that when listening to the "Top 1001 rock songs" on the radio this morning, I get angry at the relative placements of numbers 999 and 1000?

Second thought -- when we look at history and we worry that our material to teach history is somehow outmoded is it possible that history never was the way we imagine it but is always some artifical construct that we teach? Do we worry about "accuracy" when we might never have been accurate, only true to that same artifical construct?

Next idea has to do with rearing my kids. What will they be like when they grow up? Am I trying to turn them into what a "success" was defined as in earlier generations? The thing is, if I try to turn my kids into what I have become, I am missing an important variable -- I became what I am because of the time, and the parents. The times have shifted, and the direct causal "parent" influence is different. No two generations can be identical because there are too many variables. We need to continually reevaluate our goals and try to figure out what we want and what we think is proper.

I know these ideas aren't well thought out, but that's because the speaker is making me angry with the stuff he says so I can't effectively ignore it. That's a rant for another day.