Saturday, October 17, 2015

Today's Recipe

Make a risotto.  Use real Arborio rice.  While you are busy using two hands adding the boiling water and stirring vigorously, use your third hand to clean some mushrooms with a darker-color hat, chop them up and fry them in some olive oil with chopped garlic (need a fourth hand here), rosemary, sage, thyme and ground black pepper. Deglaze the mushroom mess with a tiny amount of port.  This is very important.

You need a few more hands but figure that one out yourself.

Combine the two.  Add some grated Parmesan cheese and if you have it (I was given a bottle), drizzle a tiny amount of truffle oil on your plate.

To die for, it was.  And you can skip the part of the salad-making where I grated some finger in the carrots.  It's high in iron so that was okay and adds a nice color.

I'm sure this recipe already existed but I didn't know about it.  Well, I knew about the finger-grating, because I have done that before.  Next time I make this one I will organize the mushroom stage to happen before the risotto dance stage.

Friday, October 16, 2015


Sometimes it's very hard to write anything at all.  Sometimes life intervenes, kicking the carefully-ordered piles of plans onto the floor. 

Sometimes Brother Death comes calling and gathers someone close into his dark arms,  sometimes Sister Sickness visits (and visits and visits) someone close, demanding more and more cups of tea and nursing help, and sometimes that crazy great-uncle in the attic, The-End-Of-The-World-As-We-Know-It starts hammering the ceiling with his cane.  And sometimes all those things happen at the same time.

Then it's hard to write.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Four Observations on the First Democratic Primary Debate

The first Democratic party presidential debate was last night.  I watched it and all. 

First observation:  The debaters all acted like adults!  That's refreshing, given that they are competing for the chance to steer the largest bus on earth either straight into the abyss or away from it.  Not all such debates have been between adults.

Second observation:  The way the "judges" rate these debates is very much like looking at a horse's teeth before buying it, to judge its real age. 

Only the way Anderson Cooper managed that was by thinking of the nastiest possible questions and then seeing how the candidate would cope with the situation. 

That those nastiest questions came straight from the Republican playbook may be just a coincidence (and I might be Marie of Rumania), but the fact is that I learned more about Benghazi and Hillary Clinton's e-mail scandal than I ever really wanted to know.  I also learned that Bernie Sanders is a socialist (gasp!), except that he's not the kind of socialist the insinuation meant.  He's more like Norway/Denmark/Sweden type of red-hot commie.

Third observation:  It's pointless to ask anyone the Syria question.  There is nothing that anyone can profitably say about the situation there.  Should we arm a dictator who slaughters his own people?  Or should we arm some "moderate" Islamist group which would act just like ISIS if they were in power?  Or perhaps the guns should be scattered around like candy for the kids? (Or how about the inane proposal of arming the Kurds but in an apolitical way???  Except that the Kurds only want to fight for the Kurds (against Turkey and currently against ISIS), not clean up Syria and Iraq.  That wasn't in the debate but demonstrates the impossibility of doing anything non-sectarian and non-religious and less violent about the situation).

Fourth observation:  If you watched the debate with left-leaning friends or even checked what the Internet is saying you quickly found out that the candidate provoking by far the strongest negative feelings among progressives is Hillary Clinton, despite the fact that she is also the Democratic forerunner.

The reasons for that are complicated and would take a book to analyze, ranging from her long presence in American politics, the fact that she used to be the First Lady, the nepotism question in US politics (the Bushes vs. the Clintons), her past mistakes, the fact that the press never liked the Clintons, and then also the fact that what's inside her underwear looks different from what we are used to assume politicians carry there. 

Rebecca Traister wrote about some of those issues in Elle magazine, and an earlier article by Molly Mirhashem discussed the complicated questions of identity among young feminists and how those made them less eager to support Clinton's campaign.

So it's not just the progressive bros who might have trouble with Hillary Clinton, given that she is white and wealthy and privileged.  But then, of course are all the four men who shared that stage with her last night.

I have much more to say on that fourth observation in the near future.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Today's Hilarious Political Utterances: Charles Koch, Ben Carson and Timothy Egan

A little bit of laughter, however sarcastic, keeps a goddess in top form.  And I'm sure it works for you, too.

1.  Let's begin with Charles Koch.  The defining characteristic of Mr. Koch is that he is Very Rich.  The other defining characteristic of Mr. Koch is that he uses his enormous wealth to influence the US politics, naturally in the direction which works best for Mr. Koch.

So what did Mr. Koch say in a recent interview?  This:

Mason asked, "Do you think it's good for the political system that so much what's called 'dark money' is flowing into the process now?"
"First of all, what I give isn't dark," said Koch. "What I give politically, that's all reported. It's either to PACs or to candidates. And what I give to my foundations is all public information. But a lot of our donors don't want to take the kind of abuse that I do. They don't want these attacks. They don't want the death threats. So they aren't going to participate if they have to have their names associated with it."
"But do you think it's healthy for the system that so much money is coming out of a relatively small group of people?"
"Listen, if I didn't think it was healthy or fair, I wouldn't do it. Because what we're after, is to fight against special interests."

"Some people would look at you and say you're a special interest."
"Yeah, but my interest is, just as it's been in business, is what will help people improve their lives, and to get rid of these special interests. That's the whole thing that drives me."
"There are people out there who think what you're trying to do is essentially buy power."
"But what I want is a system where there isn't as much centralized power, where it's dispersed to the people. And everything I advocate points in that direction."

Now unscrew your eyes, rinse them, and put them back in the normal way.  Then remember that Mr. Koch, together with his brother, has spent a lot of money opposing efforts to combat global climate change and efforts to get Americans health insurance.  Because people who will die when the earth finally boils over are special interest people!  Well, at least they won't get health care during that final struggle if our Charles has his way.